I’m thinking this will be a long post, so grab your coffee, tea, water, beer or whatever your favorite beverage is at the time you open this post. You might want a snack too. I feel like I’m predicting the future here, since I just started writing, but well, I have an entire day to write about and it might just take me a few hours with breaks in between, to get it all down.
Twice a year, Georgie and I go shopping. This has only been since I went blind, when I needed a trusted pair of eyes to help me pick out new clothes. This time was going to be especially fun since I’ve lost so much weight, so it was very much anticipated. I woke up yesterday morning excited to hit the mall and Kohl’s. This was also going to be Jayden’s first extended trip out and about with someone other than B or Dave.
I had a check to deposit and usually B and I do that on Sundays at the ATM but the stupid ATM has been broken. So I had talked with Georgie about it earlier in the week and she said she was pretty sure my bank was near the mall, so we could just stop there before our shopping began. Perfect.
After we spoke in the morning, she said she’d hop in the shower and get cleaned up, and she’d call when she was on her way. So I finished breakfast and jumped in the shower.
It doesn’t take me long to get ready to go anywhere. I think I said on FB that I need about thirty minutes to get fed, get clean, get dressed, go. So I was ready and the waiting began.
Tick tock. Read some blogs. Think about what kind of new purse I might find.
Tick tock. I can’t wait to get those running pants Georgies has told me about. Maybe I’ll get a new workout top too, oh and a long sleeved shirt for Goalball.
Tick tock. I wonder what size jeans I’ll be in now? The last pair I bought were twelves.
Tick tock. I should gets some socks too and I really need a new pair of cross trainers.
Tick tock. I know what my budget is. It’ll be helpful that I have to get cash back from that check because I can monitor spending that way.
Tick tock. I wonder how Jayden will do with such a long trip out.
Tick tock. Make a random post on FB and start having guide dog discussion.
Ring ring. She’s on her way. Turn off computer, make sure I have everything I need, lock up Timmy, Take Jayden out. Come back in, let Timmy out, harness Jayden.
Tick tock. Oh I hear her car. But she’s not turning it off. Her daughter had called when we were on the phone so she must be finishing up the conversation. Sit next to Jayden. Wait. Waiting. Hmmm. Letting heat in since door is open. Well. She’s still in her car. Jayden sitting in harness. Hmmm. Ok close door, remove harness. Knock knock. Let’s go. Phew!
Doesn’t it seem like when you’re really excited about something, time just drags? Part of it is that I’m so prompt and punctual that I do a lot of waiting for others. Ah well, at least I’m never late. We finally set out about noon. I was so excited because I rarely spend money anymore, so my two big shopping ventures are just awesome, and that money was burning a whole in my wallet.
We drove to where she thought she had seen my bank but she wasn’t having any luck. So we pulled over and she Googled it on her iPhone. Oh, it’s in the store right here. So we go in and don’t find it so she asked and they had moved. Ok, go back to the car. We’re both getting used to me working a guide dog rather than hanging on to her arm. I was laughing because usually she wears shoes that make noise, but she had picked a silent pair so I kept asking where she was.
We went to the bank finally and made our way inside and waited. More waiting. Finally get to the teller and he’s working the drive through window too. Sheesh. Finally get my cash and head back to the car.
Remember, I live in the desert. It’s not at all fun to get into cars in the summer. Luckily her car cools off quickly.
We get to the mall and I ask what entrance we’re going in. It’s the mall I’ve been working with Dave, so I know it fairly well. I thought Jayden seemed to know where we were because he was walking really fast. Then he blew an upcurb.
These two things were my first warning. A warning I didn’t compute as a warning.
We go in and Georgie is remarking how fast Jayden is going. I’m like yeah, he knows this place. We visit the Nike store where I got the running pants I’ve been fantasizing about for months ever since Georgie told me about them. They are super thin and go just below the knee. Right behind the knee is this mesh material to help keep you cool. They’ve got a little zipper pocket in the back right below the waist line. I got them in dark gray. Then we found a long sleeved top with similar type areas to et you breathe, to wear for Goalball to protect my skin from the hard ball. We then found a workout tank top with mesh all down the back where you sweat a ton.
I knew these three items would add up fast but I didn’t care. Really I pretty much live in workout clothes, and I go out in them twice a week. When I first started working out, Georgie told me not to buy anything cute yet, because I was just going to lose weight. I’m glad I listened, because you don’t want to drop that kind of money more than once if you can get away with it. They will all still fit when I lose some more since really all that’s left is some toning in the belly and those pants are made to form to you. So I was thrilled to finally get some real work out clothes. They were all on sale too! I’ve been working out in scrub pants, which are not the ideal workout pants. So we left there quite happy.
Next we were going to head to Famous Footwear to look for shoes. I wanted a pair of grey shoes to match the outfit, and I think gray works nicely, better than white.
We stopped by the restroom first. Restrooms are the bane of my existence and can zap spoons faster than just about anything. Jayden is great at finding the big stall so that’s not the problem. The problem is juggling my stuff. Usually I just have a purse, but now I had a shopping bag. I had sunglasses on my head and they went flying. Ugh. Then it’s time to find the sink which is no biggie. But no bathroom has everything strategically placed. I have to hunt for soap. I take great pleasure in messing up the mirrors haha! Sometimes soap is on the wall next to a mirror, sometimes it’s next to the sink. Then it’s time to find the paper towels. Sometimes they’re right next to the sink. Sometimes they’re across the room. Then you have to find the trash. Sometimes it’s right below where you finally found the paper towels. Sometimes it’s across the room by the door. Ugh.
We are heading in the direction of Famous Footwear. All is going well. Suddenly Jayden stops. I think he’s sniffing and say no, but when he’s sniffing and I say no, he immediately moves.
He did not move.
Reach down, feel his back. It’s hunched. Oh no. Oh no. Move my left foot by his rear and call out to Georgie. “It’s this way,” she says.
“come here!” I hiss.
She approaches. “Oh…” she says.
Like a six shooter drawing his gun, I reach into my pocket and whoosh, snap open a poop bag.
I always have poop bags in my purse. But I also always have a poop bag in my pocket. I kkeep a box of Mutt Mitts right by the door and I never step foot outside without one on me. (Thank you Gary.) I had imagine this moment. I knew it would happen. I’m pretty sure it happens to just about every guide dog handler. I remember in school, when they said to always have one, and the women on the list saying they kept poop bags in their purse, I remember imagining this moment. I remember thinking how awful to have to keep my foot marking the spot while holding on to my dog and trying to rifle throw my bag for a poop bag. It was then I decided to always have one in my pocket.
I knelt down to grab the present and Georgie made sure I got it all. Then she had a paper towel. Where did she get that? She wiped the spot and we covertly, with poop bag in palm, made our way to the trash and made a deposit to the poop bank. Georgie explained that a store clerk came running with the paper towels.
Have you seen ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’? There is this scene where Robin and his men are bringing weapons into the castle grounds to stop a hanging. Everything is done completely on the sly, with guys walking past one another, passing around hidden swords and the like. That was what this felt like. It must have all happened in twenty seconds. It was over before it began.
We kept walking. I could feel it in Jayden’s step that he was sad. I kept telling him it was ok. I told Georgie we should go outside because he probably had to pee.
We went outside and of course there’s no shade. We found some gravel, I removed the harness and Jayden definitely had to pee. I lamented on the signals I had gotten. Jayden gets a hurried trot feeling to his walk when he has to go. I misread that as him being excited that he knew the mall. When he blew that upcurb, I should have thought hmmm, maybe his body is distracting him. All these signs and signals come with time. I’ve misread them before. Maybe now it has sunk in. This was the first time he’s relieved indoors. He went on route twice at school, both outdoors, and once here at an outdoor mall with Dave. It still blows my mind, because he had his normal number two right after he ate and usuall he doesn’t go again until after dinner or even the next day.
But, we had made two stops and done some walking before getting to the mall. Then we did even more walking when we reached the mall. All that activity stimulates things. I will know for the future.
We got back inside and I’m freakin hot from standing in the sun, removing the harness while juggling my stuff. I will bring a backpack next time. We got to Famous Footwear and found the cross trainers. I told Georgie I wanted gray shoes, something light weight. She found a bench and I gratefully sat. Jayden lay down immideately and I felt the bench legs to see if I could loop his leash around it. Sure enough I could, so he was able to get a quick nap in. Georgie handed me a shoe and it felt really nice, very light, lots of mesh. She said they were Adidas running shoees and they were grey with pink. Cute!
She got my size and I tried one on and it was instant love. And they were on Sale. So We headed towards the register. There was a family with kids and I heard, doggy, doggy! Haha, that is too cute.
I was planning on getting socks at Kohl’s but they were having a sale on socks, the clerk told me. So we got the black ankle socks I wanted as well as a pair of black knee socks to wear for Goalball. We finished up there and as we were leaving I heard, “those dogs are so amazing…”
Georgie asked if I wanted to grab a bite in the food area and all I could think of was something cold to drink. I was hot and cotton mouthed. We made our way there and found a table, and began discussing how to get the food when she was like, do you want to go to the actual restaurant? Oh yes I did. So we got up, poor Jayden had already gotten comfy, and headed towards the restaurant. It was pretty noisy and Georgie asked if we could sit somewhere somewhat quiet. I went ahead and just took her arm and heeled Jayden to the table. I was about ready to collapse and it was hard to hear in there. We got to the table and Jayden settled in underneath. The server was like, he or she doesn’t have to scrunch under there. I explained that it was safest for him, so no one would step on him, and also so a server wouldn’t trip on him. She agreed with that haha.
The iced tea was freakin awesome! Hahaha. We sat and ate and relaxed and cooled off before heading to the next leg of the adventure.
As we were leaving, I heard two kids.
Kid #1 “That’s a guide dog.”
Kid #2 “Yep.”
I heard them follow us a bit and it brought a smile to my lips.
We stepped outside into the heat. Ugh. We got in the car. Double ugh. We drove to Kohl’s. Georgie found a spot shaded by a tree and I gave Jayden water. We made our way towards Kohl’s and he blew the upcurb. “Let’s take him to pee,” said Georgie.
Hahahaha! So we found some gravel and sure enough the boy had to pee. Sheesh.
We went inside and by this point Jayden knows he can just follow Georgie. So it was an absolute breeze in Kohl’s. Not only was he just following her and weaving me around all the racks, I could hear her since it was much quieter in there. There were absolutely no problems in there. Jayden would stop so I could feel it was very narrow before getting around racks and shelves and such. We found the jeans and Georgie held out a pair of twelves, since the ones I was wearing were twelves. I just got them not long ago from Gamma and already they were loose. Georgie thought the twelves would be too big, but we took a pair anyway, along with two pair of tens and an eight. We went to the fitting room and into the big stall. Jayden lay down calmly while I tried on the jeans. The twelves were definitely too big. The tens fit perfectly. I was able to pour myself into the eights and actually zip them. Too small, but I bought them anyway to have on hand for when I am a size eight, which won’t be long I’m sure. Georgie and I celebrated that I was in the size eight and I danced around a little haha! We remember when we celebrated that I was in a size sixteen.
Next were shirts. She was describing the latest fashions and holy crap the eighties called, they want their clothes back. I was singing ‘Girls just wanna have fun’. ripped up shirts on top of tank tops. Wow. We were looking in the juniors section because I can fit into juniors clothes, but I’m sorry, I’m not 14. No ripped up clothes for me, thanks.
We checked out the tops in the misses section and those were much better. I was happy to discover the peasant look is still in, so I got two peasant type tops, flowing cotton, very soft and light. We did pick up a junior’s t-shirt too. So we went to try those on and they fit just fine. The one top had this silly rope type belt thing but Georgie said she had one like that and she just cut the thing off.
I was going to pass up the purse and wallet but heck, we walked right by them so we had to give a peak. I showed Georgie the purse I’ve been using that I’ve had awhile. It works perfect. It’s not huge, but it holds my wallet and Jayden’s booties and poop bags and such. It’s got an adjustable strap that I like because I can make it so I can wear it over a shoulder and it lays across my back and doesn’t go flying when I bend over. But the way the strap is, I had to safety pin it to keep it short. So Georgie was on a mission to find something similar. She did, and it’s perfect. It’s black and I can’t explain the material. It’s kinda slick I guess, but not like vinyl. You can whipe it clean though, which I like. It’s got the adjustable strap, one large compartment for wallet and booties and some smaller ones in the front, perfect for baggies, Gentle Leader, feminine stuff and a cell phone. And, it was on sale. Orig. $60 now $20. Score! Next she looked at my wallet which was falling apart. I liked the spot where I kept cash because it was like a flap so I could have the bills folded the way I like but could get to them easily. She found a similar one with a checkbook holder thing that you can remove. The spot where bills went would work, but it wouldn’t be as easy as the other one. But, it’s sturdy and it’s black and purple, and it was on sale.
Ok we were done. I was pretty sure everything would add up to exactly as much cash as I had leftover from the mall. Georgie said we were heading towards the register but really she wanted to look at shoes. Shoes? Well, I need a pair of shoes to go with my new tops. Casual closed shoes you know, that I can wear with socks. I don’t really have a pair like that and I can’t wear my running shoes with peasant tops. So she found a pair of black swede ankle boots, on sale. Ok get those. She looked at some sandals. Jayden is laying down. Finally we go to the register.
We’re waiting in line.
“Dog. Dog. Dog. Dog. Dog. Doggy. Dog. Dog. Doggy. I like your dog. Dog,” says a child.
“Oh Ro, oh no, there’s these other boots on sale over there, should we check them out? They’re cheaper than those,” says Georgie.
“Dog. I like your dog. Doggy,” says the child.
“Ok, yeah,” I say and we leave the line as I stifle giggles.
We go and check out the other boots but they aren’t as comfortable. Georgie tells me Jayden is looking sad. She thought they only Photoshopped those puppy dog eys. I tell him we’re leaving soon.
Finally we check out. The total came to a little over my cash so I put it on my card. The clerk told me I saved $160. Seriously? That always helps you feel ok with the money you just dropped.
Absolutely everything I got was on sale. There wasn’t one thing that wasn’t. Georgie knows the best times to go shopping. I wish I could tally up just how much I saved. We always get a ton of stuff for the least about of money.
We’re in the car and by this time it’s nearing 4:30. I had been contemplating canceling with Dave today, since we have been doing the stupid mall on the 5th day of the week anyway since it’s so hot. I checked my voicemail and Dave had called, telling me he’d like to take a personal day tomorrow unless I really needed to work on something urgently, then he’d be here. So I called him back and left a message.
“Hey Dave, it’s Ro. Just got your message and I do have something urgent I need to work on. I’m really sorry to take you away from your personal day but….hahaha just kidding! I was gonna cancel on you!”
I’m such a brat.
We finally got home and Jayden was pulling me to the door. He knows it’s always frozen Kong time when we get home. It was actually his dinner time, but I didn’t want him to chug food right after getting home, so I had planned on the frozen Kong as an appetizer. Georgie brought the bags in and as she was leaving, Timmy was right by the door. She told me he was there but he was backing away and I told her I wanted to catch him anyway since I’d be taking Jayden out soon. I knelt down and he just escaped my reach so I dove after him, completely stretched out on the kitchen floor, grabbed him and stood up. Georgie laughed and said maybe I should put bells on him to practice my Goalball since that was totally a dive move hahaha!
She left and I put on a half pot of coffee. It was a little late for coffee but I was bone tired and needed dto cut tags off stuff and try on my workout clothes.
I swear half the money we spend on stuff is going towards the cost of tags. Does every item need two tags and sometimes a sticker?
I tried on the workout clothes and man those pants are trippy. Georgie had said you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything and she’s right. The whole outfit is so light, including the shoes. I feel barefoot in them. I ended up just hanging out in the workout outfit while I cut off all the tags.
Jayden finished his Kong and then got dinner. What a lucky dog.
I started checking out the purse and wallet. My old purse and wallet were stuff I had when I was a sightie so it’s always a little weird to get used to new stuff now. They work perfectly though, and that checkbook holder thing actually has a flap just like my old cash spot in the old wallet. So it’s gonna work perfect.
The pre-game show came on at 6:30 since the Rays are on the west coast. So I started the game just as B got home and I showed him the stuff. He was shocked when I told him I was a size eighteen when we started dating and now I’m a size ten. Since he sees me every day, it’s not as easy to notice the weight loss. So when I told him that he couldn’t believe it.
We had dinner and then It was already time for Jayden’s nightly game of tug. Think he was tired? He didn’t even want to play hahaha! I took him out then took the laptop into bed to listen to the Rays lose to the A’s 4-3. There’s this commercial for the grocery store on the Rays radio network and this guy says, “The eggs? It had to be the eggs? That’s the worst.” So I wrote on Twitter, “The A’s? It had to be the A’s? That’s the worst.” Thanks to them we’re out of first place, now a game behind the Yankees.
I fell asleep pretty instantly after the game was over and didn’t wake up until 8:00 this morning. I’m definitely in recovery mode from all the activity yesterday. Jayden is quite content to lay around as well, though I just gave him his frozen Kong.
Sooooo, is that the longest blog post I’ve ever written? I warned you. When I’m low on spoons, sometimes blogging is the best medicine, though truth be told, it wore me out to write this monster even though I took breaks and edited as I wrote. *Yawn*