Archive for January, 2009

Update January 23

Posted in LCB on January 23, 2009 by Brian

Monday Janurary 19.  Still no internet connection yet and without a phone, I am missing the family terribly.  If I don’t get my DSL modem tmorrow (Tuesday), I will go get a prepaid cellphone at Walmart.  Went through intake and orientation of the Center.  My class schedule will consist of the following : Eight am to ten am Industrial Arts /shop class.  Here I will learn to use all manner of power tools  (hopefully, I will come back with all my fingers) and hand tools and learn to measure with a “click ruler”.  At ten am I have computer class in which I will learn to use screen readers (no monitor) and develop skills on managing information, workjng with most business applications, and navigating the internet.   At eleven am I will have Braille class or as some of the students here refer to it as the “hall of dots”.

Then we have one hour for lunch and then my next class is Home Economics from one pm to three pm.  It includes shopping, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, small home repairs, etc.  That class is two hours, the same length as shop class.  Then at three to five pm I have cane travel class.  During orientation, I was informed of the school rules.   No alcohol allowed! YIKES!   How will I make it through this without a beer?

Orientation is done and now the shades go on…out of the light and into the darkness.  Shall I fight the dying of the light?  NO! I embrace it. I fear no more.  So far I have almost learned to navigate the school buildings and classrooms.  I have found Braille class the most challenging thus far.  Shop class is a bit frustrating insofar as learning to measure a completely different way.   We also have to use table saws, radial arm saws, wood lathe, routers, and drill press.  These tools are not modified in any way for blind persons.  I hope I don’t lose a finger.   I am at lunch now for this update and I need to go find my sandwich in the fridge and eat.  More later.  Toodles!

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Trials and Tribulations

Posted in LCB on January 21, 2009 by Brian

Let me preface this writing with the fact that my internet connection was not setup upon my arrival, so Iwas unable to update The Blind Compass. So the next one or two entries will not be posted on the day of the events.

So I arrived in Ruston on Friday afternoon. Got my aprtment key, unloaded the vehicle, went to the store for some supplies and groceries. Then Terry and Josh left. I began to unpack a little.

My apartment is basic, but nice. I claimed the bear bedroom as I have yet to be assigned a roomate. The apartment is gas heat and has a gas stove. The apartment has furnishings including a couch, a recliner, tv table, kitchen table and chairs, twin bed, desk, dresser, and bedside table.

Pam Allen, executive director of the School came by and introduced herself and showed me around the apartment complex and the activity center.
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I crashed early that night due to long road trip. I met Saturday morning at an early hour and I worshiped the God of Folger’s DarkRoast. Worked on unpadking and setting up and cleaning the apartment.

Orlando from our NFB chapter in Nashville came by to visit Saturday afternoon. I then met some of the other students. Each are in various stages of training ranging from 8 months to one week. Suprisingly, there are 3 State NFB Presidents attending. The Florida president, the Georgia President, and the Tennessee president.

I went on a walking tour of the local fare. There is a restaurant/bar everyone attends called Sundowners, a music store,a Walmart, fast food joints, and a coffee shpe called “the Frothy Monkey” It has a monkey on top of the building!

Sunday I slept in a bit. Actually a lot. It was almost lunch time. Another neighbor stopped by to introduce herself and her guide dog. Cathy is an older lady and her dog Davy is a sweet Lab. She was a wealth of information on the program and training yet to come. She said Monday I will do my intake and the paperwork is about 3 hours long… yuck!

Well, time to go on another walking tour and meet some other neighbors. I am truly looking forward to what Monday will bring.

Road Trip

Posted in LCB on January 15, 2009 by Brian

Well, the vehicle is packed.  The oil changed.   Leaving in 4.5 hours (3 a.m.)  Time for a road trip.  My buddy Terry Wilson is driving.  He won’t let me drive…even out of the driveway.   My son, Josh is riding along to keep  Terry company on the drive back..The trip will be over 550 miles and will take about 8 hours.  Road Trip.  Ruston, Louisiana.

Took Aaliyah out to Monkey Joe’s. Crazy name but a fun place for kids.   She played until she said “I’m tired, Papa.”   After dinner, my little “sweetness” cried and wished that I did not have to leave.   I could barely keep it together in front of her.   I promised I will be back and I will talk to her every day.   I will miss you too, baby girl.

Sleep eludes me.

Genesis

Posted in LCB on January 10, 2009 by Brian

Genesis or more appropriately, the beginning.

I am bound for Ruston, Louisiana for at least six months.  I will miss my family terribly.  But, I must do this for both family and myself.   It is Sunday night at 11:45 P.M.   Cannot sleep with such an abundance of nervous energy.

I hit up all the friends and family for things in their closets or garages.  I have to setup an apartment away from home for quite a while and that comes at no small expense.   Answering the call to action with a resounding abundance of offerings, all came through.    I now have everything I need to go and most of it is packed up and ready to leave in the early, early morning of January 16, 2009.  The car ride will be 568 miles from my driveway and take about 8 to 8.5 hours.  Are we there yet? …  Are we there yet?  I have to pee!

Thank yous go to  Beverly, Terry, Laurin, Chris, Mom, Dad, Cheryl, Courney, Kevin,  and Granny.  Thanks to Heather at the NFB for telling me about “Informed Choice”.  I would also like to thank my director, cast, crew, producers,….oh damn, wrong pocket!  Sorry.

Most of all, thank you,Venus.  Your consummate organizational skills made smooth that which could have been a tumultuous endeavor.