Colorado Center for the Blind, friendship, guide dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, life, puppy raising, Residence Inn, zoomtext training
Last Two Days of ZoomText Fusion Training
Wednesday 21 July 2016
Kindness of strangers and a Dog Day evening
First of all, thank you all for your patience as I was delayed posting this. It will be a long update, to cover Wednesday and Thursday. Someone asked where this was all happening. I was taking a class in an adaptive technology software program called ZoomText fusion, a screen reader and magnifier combined, putting it simply. The class last three days and was held in Littleton Colorado.
I worried all Tuesday night about getting to class on Wednesday. Would it be another disastrous start to the day? And it could have been. I asked the front desk to call the taxi at ten to eight, and at 8:30, it still had not arrived. Crap, I thought, though I’m sure I thought worse than crap, I’m going to be late again! Suddenly, a guest in the hotel walked up to ask if I wanted any breakfast. I had been sitting there a while, waiting for the blasted cab, after all. I politely thanked him, told him no and that I was waiting for a cab. And out of nowhere, he offered to give me a ride! And what did I do? I did exactly what I would have warned any other single woman not to do. I got in a vehicle with a man I did not know and trusted him to take me where I needed to go. And he did! I don’t even know his name, think it was Walter, or something like that. I have good instincts, so I felt I could trust him, and the hotel people knew I’d left with him. He was a businessman, and he was very kind, and I got to class five minutes before start! Thank you sir for your act of generosity. And for being a good guy!
Class went well. We covered so much each day, and I only hope I retained a lot of it. I was getting to know the other members of the class and enjoying their company very much. We got lunch from this incredible place called Etai’s. I had a turkey avocado sandwich with a seasonable fruit salad, chips and carrot cake. The sandwich was so good, and the variety of offerings on the menu blew me away. Oh, Etai’s, please come to my neck of the woods, please. They deliver too, and it would be so nice to have something besides pizza to order for delivery on a Friday night, when I actually want dinner but will not cook.
Wednesday night, I’d arranged to get together with a few friends, guide dog puppy raisers and a former trainer. Dot picked us up from the class and we went directly to her house. She had three dogs there, her old career change guide dog puppy she’d raised, an eight-month old puppy she had, her own dog, and a retired guide she was dogsitting. Then we had Barb with the dog she’s raising, Melissa with the dog she’s raising, and Becky with her career change guide dog puppy, that she raised a few years ago. At one point, we had seven large dogs, Labradors and my golden, running and raising cane in the back yard. It’s a testament to the fine training all the dogs have received, that all seven got along. They had fun, and there were no fights or other problems. Seven well-trained dogs, five experienced dog handlers, great food, great friendship, a perfect evening. Dot made the best food, homemade chicken salad, with these amazing appetizers, and Sangria. It was lovely outside on the patio, just sharing time with friends and laughing at the antics of seven dogs. I never wanted the evening to end. Well, except for being tired.
Thursday, 22 July 2016
Last Day, saying Goodbyes, Coming Home!
If I’d been stressed about the morning situation on Wednesday, it was almost nothing to the stress I felt about it Wednesday night. I probably only slept about three hours. Okay, so yeah, I have insomnia anyway, and I don’t sleep well in a strange place. Add to that the fact that a hotel is never really quiet. Room doors opening and closing, people or luggage bumping walls, it all wakes me up. I knew I’d have to finish packing everything, and somehow get me, my dog and my luggage to the center for class, on time!
That morning, I call the front desk, even before heading over, at 7:30 and asked them to call the taxi. By the time I got Petunia relieved and got to the lobby, it was close to eight, and they had heard from the cab company that it would be another fifteen minutes for the cab. If they showed up, of course. Surprisingly, to me, anyway, they did. At first I thought the cab driver was going to try to refuse the ride. He kinda freaked out when he saw Petunia, but he didn’t object more than saying a few things about how nobody told him there’d be a dog. For those who don’t know, a person with a disability is legally allowed to be accompanied by a service dog in places or services of public accommodation. This definitely includes taxis. Anyway, he didn’t object, and he was reasonably friendly. We got to the center in plenty of time, in fact, I was the first one there. Go me.
Last day of class. I had such mixed feelings about it. I was eager to get home, brain and body tired, wanting desperately to sleep. Petunia doesn’t care much for traveling apparently, as she hadn’t eaten Wednesday night or Thursday morning. I needed to get her back home to her own environment. At the same time, I had enjoyed the class greatly, loved learning the new stuff, was becoming friends with classmates, and part of me hated to have it end and to go back to my quiet lifestyle. Hmmm, I guess there still is a social lady inside me.
At the end of the day, we got to evaluate the class, and I gave it all the top marks I could. I’m very happy I was asked to take the class. I learned a lot and feel like I have the beginnings of a grasp on the program. Obviously, I won’t have a deep grasp until I get to play with it in real life time, but it was a good start.
My classmates and I shared email addresses, and I already heard from a couple of them. I do hope we keep in touch. We’re all scattered around the state, so we probably won’t see each other, but keeping in touch by email will be nice.
We all got a fun goodie bag for completing the training, with shirts, demos, thumb drives of materials we covered in class and a nice certificate of completion. I must admit I had some trouble concentrating in the latter half of the training day though.
Sandie picked us up at the end of the day, and we were finally homeward bound! Petunia got in the back seat and crashed. We made it home in good time, dumped my luggage, relieved all parties, and then we were off to dinner, for the humans anyway. We went to chili’s and had a good dinner, and I had a margarita too. But I was just tired and wanted to get home. Once we did get back, Petunia finally ate her dinner, and Sandie did some yard work for me.
When Sandie left, I thought Petunia and I would both fall upon the bed and sleep, but we didn’t. I unpacked a little, watched a bit of the RNC out of curiosity, and just unwound. Finally, I went to bed, called Doug to catch up and slept till time to get up for work.
I still feel exhausted and brain and body tired to the bone. I want to curl up with a good book or a movie and let the sound lull me off to dreamland for a few hours! But it’s Friday, and that means, the weekend is upon us, once five PM arrives!
Overall, the experience was fabulous. I have to say a huge thank you to the Residence Inn and all there staff. And I don’t even have words to express to the training people how much I enjoyed the class. Thanks, ZoomText University, Mark and all involved! Knowledge increasing is a glorious thing!
Two little comments, I believe I left my charm bracelets in the hotel. I’m kinda crushed about this and need to call them to see if they have been found and if the hotel can send them to me.
And what am I reading, a book called Coyote, about a trip to colonize another planet, but oh, there’s so so much more to it than that. Political intrigue, family dynamics, character development, survival, and all kinds of good stuff. Check it out!