We’re back

I can’t beieve it has been well over 9 months since I posted an update. So much has happened it is hard to know where to begin.

Our New Home

Wiley and I finally moved into our new home in September last year. Before we moved in I had new floors laid. Naturally all chosen to suit Wiley, i.e. hard wearing, non slip etc. The only other work was installation of some celling fans which have provided some much needed relief during the summer heat waves.

One of the biggest issues when I purchased my property was the fact all the windows had been painted shut. My Dad as been wonderful, installing new ones so at least I can open some of them. The next project is the purchase and installation of a heater, this is a priority as winter isn’t too far away now.

Unpacking wasn’t too much of a chore thanks to the audio labels I put on all the boxes. As my new place is considerably bigger than my old flat there was plenty of space to put everything so within a day the whole house was organised. Wiley has two cupboards dedicated to his stuff. all his gear, spare toys etc is in one and his food, treats, supplements and medications in another.

I haven’t done much in the way of modifications. A couple of tactile markers here and there as well as hooks so everything has a place to live is all that was required in the short term. I would like to install a hand rail for one set of stairs, it is next on my to do list once the heater has been purchased and installed.

I love living in Yass, it is a friendly town and very easy to get around. Everything I need is a short walk from home. There are regular week day bus services into Canberra which is essential as I need to go into town once or twice a week.

Work

There have been big changes for me at work as well. I am still doing (and loving) my PR work but I have handed over the role of volunteer co-ordinator and accepted the position of Client Feedback Officer. This is a wonderful position, I can do some of the work from home but also head into the ACT office to work from there. There won’t be much written on here about my new role but I will continue to share what Wiley and I have been up to as far as our PR duties.

PR Talks

I have had some lovely talks at schools, community groups, girls brigade and other venues.  I am still doing training for taxi drivers and bus drivers and a couple of weeks ago I spoke to court staff for the first time.

Last Tuesday was a very special day as for the first time ever Guide Dogs NSW/ACT held a graduation outside of the training centre and it was held in Canberra. The event was held at the Federal Golf course, Gulliver the giant guide dog was there as well s the graduates (five gorgeous young labs) and three puppies.

I gave a brief speech about the impact both my beautiful Guide Dogs have had on my life – it was only for five minutes and it was the most nervous I have been giving a talk for a long time. I was so anxious I’d go well over my five minutes but I am pleased to say I didn’t ramble and stuck pretty much to time.

For me the highlight of the day was meeting a wonderful lady who sponsored Wiley’s litter five years ago. I took Wiley’s harness off so she could give her boy a pat and we had some photos taken together as well as one of Wiley on his own. What a privilege it was to be able to say thanks in person to someone who was such an important part of Wiley’s guide dog journey.

Travel

Since the last update Wiley and I have done quite a bit of travel. One of the highlights was flying over to Perth to attend the Blind Citizen’s Conference last year. It was a fabulous conference with engaging speakers and lots of information. There were quite a few Guide Dogs and Seeing Eye Dogs in attendance, all of whom were very well behaved.

Wiley handled all of the travel incredibly well, he loves planes as he get lots of treats whilst flying. The only issue for me was that as the stay was so short (3 nights) I wanted to keep him on his regular feeding and tolieting schedule – that meant finding time to give him his meals during the afternoon tea brake and taking him for his morning relief walk at around 4AM. Despite having an absolutely wonderful time we were both happy to be home.

Training Courses

The other travel has mostly been to attend course or training. A couple of trips to Sydney which are easy compared to flying to Perth. I enjoy attending courses as I love to learn. All of the course have been related to my new position – I have done several complaint focused courses with the NSW Ombudsmen as well as an Accidental Counsellor Course in Canberra run by Lifeline.

Without exception all of the trainers I have worked with have been fantastic about Wiley being in the class and also providing me with course material in an accessible format. I have been able to participate in the training the same as everyone else which is the way it should be, but isn’t always the way it is.

Wiley

What can I say, my boy is as special, talented and loveable as ever. He isn’t perfect, can still be a little food distracted, but it is the fact he does naughtily things occasionally that makes him so adorable and fun to work with. He has never let me down when I needed him and I have asked a lot of him at times.

He loves his new garden, every morning after our recreational walk he does zoomies around and around chasing his ball or playing fetch. He also loves to venture outside during the day to sun bake on have a quick nibble on the grass. The fact he loves his outside space so much reinforces to me that we made the right decision in moving further afield.

I know I have missed out a lot of what has happened during the last nine months but I am sure I will fill in missing pieces here and there. For now it just feels good to be back at the keyboard sharing our adventures.

Wiley in his new garden

Wiley in his new garden

The fortnight that was

Firstly I am pleased to report Wiley is back to his normal happy, fun loving and playful self. I am so relieved. I didn’t realise how incredibly stressed I was until he was well on the road to recovery. I have started to reintroduce his normal food so fingers crossed his digestive system copes.

Here is a little summary of what else has been happening in the last couple of weeks.

Easter

Wiley and I had a lovely Easter break. We spent some quality time with my family, heading over to my sisters for some delicious food, great company and scrumptious dark chocolate. Wiley loved his Easter toy and treats. I often wonder what Wiley thinks of these special occasions, he certainly seems to enjoy them as much as the rest of the family.

Our walk and talk catch ups with friends were lovely, plus it was good to walk off some of the dark chocolate.  Overall we had a great few days

House Sale

The agent has had an Open House every weekend for the last four weekends. Each time we have had at least a couple of people come through for a look but so far no offers. I am getting quicker at getting the place ready for inspections. This week we might have a mid week evening open house as well as a Saturday one. The agent is confident my place will sell but said it might take a while.

Talks

The big news is that the Taxi talks are back on again. I will be going in whenever they have a class, which is most weeks. The content has been tweaked a little. I had a great meeting with one of my lovely colleague from Community Education in Sydney. We worked through new power point presentations for both the Bus and taxi talks. It was great having her support and assistance.

I also had a bus talk on Friday, the new presentation seemed to go down well. There are a couple of interesting talks and events coming up that I am looking forward to.

Dog Sitting

Last weekend Wiley and I had an enjoyable couple of days staying at my parents. (Well until Wiley ate something he shouldn’t have and became ill) Wiley and the wee dog seem to getting on better than they used to. It is funny when they try to play together as the size difference makes things rather awkward. Tug of war is especially one sided so I join in to help the wee one out.

I took advantage of having some extra space and gave Wiley a bath, not sure he enjoyed it but he was a good boy and let me do what I needed to without making a fuss.

Today Wiley and I enjoyed a lovely morning walk, he is now crashed out while I catch up on some bill paying and other admin tasks. This afternoon we have a lunch date then I think it will be a quiet afternoon before another busy week next week.

Here is a picture of Wiley and the wee dog taken last weekend.

Wiley and a wee friend

Wiley and a wee friend

My still neglected blog and our first open house

I can’t believe another couple of weeks have passed since I updated the blog. Time is flying by – the big news since the last entry is my place is finally on the market!

Talks

I had a lovely talk at an after school care program on Monday. They were very well behaved and attentive, especially considering they had been at school all day. There were lots of great questions including one that I hadn’t been asked before – How would I feel if I got my eyesight back? I really wasn’t sure how to answer.

CLO work

Last week was a huge work week, it included – some filming for a Guide Dog project, a trip to Gundaghai, two pre-school talks, two days in the office, an interagency meeting and staff meeting. No wonder this poor blog isn’t being updated, Wiley and I were exhausted by the end of the week.

My CLO role is probably going to be winding up soon. The position needs to be full-time which I can’t do as I have my speaking role to consider. I am hoping another part time opportunity will open up for me but at the moment I am just taking things day by day.

House sale

Saturday after a long walk with Wiley I spent a couple of hours cleaning my little home from top to bottom in preparation for the first open house. Wiley and I needed to vacate while people were walking through. To fill in the time we took a slow stroll – Wiley loved it as he stopped and sniffed every bush and tree. It was a nice way to fill the hour or so. I hope whoever lives here after me appreciates the beautiful mountain as much as I do. I am really going to miss walking there when we move

On the whole it was a successful start to the marketing with five people coming through. Unfortunately no offers have been forthcoming but it was nice to know people were interested enough to come and have a look. There is another open house scheduled over the Easter long weekend. Fingers crossed more people are interested enough to have a look through.

Weekend happenings

It’s Easter – a great time to catch up with my gorgeous family, not to mention the perfect excuse to eat some chocolate. Wiley has a bag of roo tendons and a new toy as his Easter treats.

Walking catch ups. We have not one but two walking dates lined up with friends and their dogs. Wiley will love having doggy companions to walk with. The exercise will also be good to help offset any chocolate consumption!

Playing with my GoPro camera. I am going to dedicate some of the weekend to play with my GoPro camera. I want to work out the best way to capture Wiley at work.

Massage for Wiley. Hopefully Wiley will enjoy a massage sometime over the weekend.

Open House. More cleaning – fingers crossed there will be an update with a I’ve sold my house’’ post very soon J

Just because he is adorable – here is a photo of my boy taken on one of our car trips last week.

Wiley in the car

Wiley in the car

Home appraisal

It has been a hectic couple of days. Sunday was my youngest nephews 18th birthday so we dropped into my sister’s place. I am not sure why him turning 18 makes me feel old but it does. Sunday was also a big cleaning day. I decided to get a real estate agent in to value my property so I wanted it to be spotless for their appraisal.

Yesterday was even busier. It started with a talk to a wonderful groups of young students in a school holiday program. They were very attentive when I was talking, asked lots of thoughtful questions and were very respectful when they came up at the end of the talk to pat Wiley.

Next up was a couple of hours of filming. I think Wiley likes being in front of a camera. He is on a very frequent reward schedule as what we are doing can be repetitive so I need to keep him motivated.

After we got home from filming I called our Regional manager to discuss the project I have been working on. I finished up with the phone call and had 15 minutes to take Wiley for a wee walk and get changed before heading out the door to dinner with the delightful Jo and her equally lovely husband.

We went to a cafe at the Gungahlin town centre, the food was delicious and the portions were huge. Best of all was the company, lots of talking and laughing – a perfect evening. It was a big day, both Wiley and I slept very well last night.

Today started with our favourite bush walk with our favourite walking pals. Then Wiley got to chill out while I did some more housework as I had an appointment with an agent at 10:30. It is a buyers market in Canberra at the moment, not so good if you want to sell but very good when it comes time to buy. I now have an idea of what I can expect my current place to sell for which means I can do some sums and figure out what else I could buy. I’m not looking forward to moving but I am looking forward to Wiley having a wee garden to play in and no stairs to worry about.

Walking in the rain

We have had a lovely reprieve from hot summer weather over the last couple of days. The weekend was an extremely wet one which was great for the garden but hampered our bush walking activities.

Wiley and I still went walking but we stayed on proper paths as the bush tracks tend to get very slippery when they are muddy and wet. I think Wiley actually quite liked the more suburban walks as there were new smells and as they say a change is as good as a holiday.

Things had dried up enough for us to chance a walk on Monday morning, we went out with Jean and Haggis so at least if either one of us took a tumble there was someone around to help. The sounds of frogs reverberated around us, I love the sounds of frogs doing their thing – I took a quick audio recording so I could share the froggy goodness but somehow managed to delete the file when I tried to transfer it to my computer.

Much to Wiley’s delight yesterday was another office day, we all went out to lunch which was a nice social way to start the year.

This morning we tackled one of our more energetic walks, it incorporates heartbreak Hill which gets us both panting by the time we reach the top. I had a day at home so Wiley has enjoyed a day off, he has spent most of it sound asleep on his bed – lucky boy!

Clearing away the cobwebs

The title of this post is literal not figurative so if you’re an arachnophobe look away now!

It isn’t a secret that I like my morning bush walks, in summer we often leave before sunrise around 5AM. It is such a gorgeous time of day, even with my limited vision I can tell the difference between dawn, sunrise and early morning.

More often than not I am the first person to walk along the track, consequently I am the one who walks through the myriad of cobwebs that the busy spiders have been working on during the night.

Most webs aren’t that big and all I end up with are a few strings of sticky web covering my face, arms or legs. It is a little creepy and I do my best to wipe them off but generally I can still feel them until I get home and jump into the shower.

This morning was a little different. I walked right into the middle of a big web that covered most of my chin and chest. It was awful, despite trying to get it off for what seem like ages I couldn’t escape the feeling I was encased in it. I also kept having the sensation a spider was crawling on me. I am sure it was my imagination but that didn’t stop me from doing a funny little dance with lots of foot stomping, spins, waving of my arms and repeated brushing down of my chest and back.

I am sure Wiley thought I had lost my mind. He stopped and looked at me for a while before he got bored of my antics and started to sniff a nearby bush or tree. Obviously the web had been spun at my height because as far as I could tell he didn’t have any web or spiders on him.

 

I am sure sighted people walk into the fine webs but I have no doubt they could have avoided the one I walked into this morning. Oh well, in the scheme of things it is a small price to pay for having the opportunity and ability to get out into the bush and enjoy all nature has to offer.

Welcome 2015

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a wonderful year for you and those you love.

Our year has got off to a great start with a gorgeous 2 hour plus early morning bush walk. When we left at 5:30 it was nice and cool but there was some heat in the sun by the time we got home.

Kangaroo’s were everywhere, the birds were singing, insects buzzing and the air smelt beautiful. Wiley’s nose was in overdrive, I let him sniff certain trees and bushes until he had his fill and he willingly walked away. Sometimes I stood there for a couple of minutes, enjoying being still and listening to Wiley’s nose inhaling his delicious scents.

I have got off to a good start with my 2015 goal, several cupboards have been cleaned out and I have a number of boxes of things to donate to op shops and animal rescue groups. I am being ruthless with what I keep and what I’m giving away. That way there is less to move and less clutter in the house.

I’ve also spent part of the morning focusing on a work project. I’ve been doing a couple hours on it here and there during the holidays and it is finally starting to shape up the way I want it to. Now I’ve had a decent break I am quite looking forward getting back to work next week.

Here is a photo of my beautiful boy taken earlier today after he had enjoyed his special New Year’s treat of a beef ear.

Wiley New Year's Day 2015

Wiley New Year’s Day 2015