Tears, farewells and homecomings

The last week has been a busy and emotional one. On Friday my better office half – the wonderful Jo- had her last day at work. I confess to being teary as we said our farewell’s, I am really going to miss having her around the office. She was incredibly efficient and always so much fun to be with. Work will not be the same without her.

I think Wiley could tell something was up as he was a little subdued all day. I am sure he was picking up on my emotions as he certainly didn’t understand that Jo wouldn’t be there next time we went into work.

On a positive I have plans to head down to Jo’s new coastal location with some of the other girls in the office for a ladies weekend (Wiley included of course!) Walking along the beach, shopping and a weekend with friends is something I am already looking forward to.

I spent several day at my parents as Dad was having a medical procedure and was going to be in hospital overnight. I am very happy to report everything went well and he is happy and healthy and back home. The main reason I went to stay was to keep mum company and help out with dog walking and other heavy lifting tasks that Dad is on strict instruction to not do for the next week or so.

While we were there I gave Wiley a bath as it was a warm day and i could bathe him in the garden. Despite a few issues with a hose fitting he seemed to enjoy himself. He did the biggest zoomies around the garden once I had towelled dried him. He then slept on the lawn in the sun for a couple of hours.

I have been a bit of a dog walker this week as I have also been walking Haggis my friends dog each mornings she is still off her feet after surgery. The few days I was at mum and dads she had other friends come around to help out so he didn’t miss out.

Work has been busy as I’ve been trying to get on top of things before Jo left. Now she has gone I will be spending even more time in the office. It will only be for a few weeks until someone new is hired.

Thankfully I only had one talk last week, anymore would have been hard to fit in. Wiley and I went to a great After School Care group. The kids were all so lovely and very keen to see Wiley work and also pat him once his harness came off.

Despite lots happening Wiley and I have still enjoyed some gorgeous morning walks, including meeting up with a friend and his dog which is always fun as Wiley loves walking with company.

We also managed to fit in Wiley’s doggy massage, he was very relaxed while his massuse worked on his tight back leg muscles. I am going to try and keep up with regular appointments until we have moved and he no loungers has to negotiate a steep flight of stairs several times a day.

The happiest part of my week was visiting my sister and niece. They have just returned from their overseas trip. They had a wonderful time, although I think they would have liked to stay a little longer. I have only heard the tip of their holiday stores so am looking forward to hearing more about their adventures. As soon as work slows down we will arrange a sisters and nieces brunch.

I am hoping to meet the real estate agent sometime this week so I can sign contracts and find out what else I need to do. I am getting quite excited.

Change is in the Air

The theme of the week just gone is ‘change is in the air’

Selling Update

I am making good progress getting my place ready to sell. Sometimes I get anxious when I think of Wiley and I living somewhere new and unfamiliar but then I remind myself of how much he will enjoy some outside space and the confidence in my decision returns.

This week my wonderful BIL has made great progress fixing the ceiling in the garage. My lovely parents have bought me some new blinds for the kitchen and bathroom and more items have left my garage with hopefully more leaving this afternoon. I have moved the rower from my bedroom down into the garage and re-arranged the bedroom furniture. I have also tidied up the outside of the house.

On my list of things still to do is – install the blinds, get the fan fixed, move the treadmill into the garage, have the carpets cleaned and borrow a sofa for my lounge area (at the moment the treadmill is where most people would have a sofa).

Once all that is done I can sign contracts with the real estate agent, engage a solicitor, get all the required inspections and paperwork sorted and have someone come and take photos for the sales listing. It sounds like a lot to accomplish in a few weeks but I am hopeful my lovely little home will be on the market sometime in March.

Work Update

If I thought life was changing at home it is nothing compared to the speed with changes at work. At the end of  last year our Regional Manager resigned, then early January one of the Orientation and Mobility instructors was offered their dream job so they have also left. That leaves two positions that need filling.

For me however the biggest change is that my better half Jo is also onto new adventures. I know the decision to go was a hard one for her but it is most certainly the best thing for herself and her lovely family. Of course I fell to the ground and sobbed when I heard the news, – ok that didn’t actually happen but it is what I felt like doing!

Life without Jo in the office will be a little less rosy with fewer cathartic belly laughs, not to mention her efficiency and general awesomeness will be missed at work. It also means that my position needs to be reviewed.

Job sharing has worked well but with staff vacancies, a more extensive roll out of NDIS and other operational considerations I believe the ACT office would be better served with a full time Client Liaison Officer. A full time role would prevent me from fulfilling my responsibilities as a PR speaker so it isn’t something I would consider, consequently my future in the office is uncertain. I do know that change is inevitable and although it is scary it can also lead to new and unexpected opportunities.

Wiley of course is oblivious to everything that is happening around him, he lives and enjoys each day for what it is without worrying about what will happen tomorrow, next week, month or year.

To illustrate just how unfazed by work changes Wiley is, here is a photo of him happily sleeping under the desk while I work.

Wiley asleep under my desk at work

Wiley asleep under my desk at work

I am trying, perhaps a little unsuccessfully, to emulate his relaxed attitude. At least I am comforted with the knowledge regardless of what lies ahead each day will start and end cuddling Wiley and whatever happens he will be by my side.

Australia Day 2015

Happy belated Australia Day. Wiley and I had a reasonably relaxing long weekend. We decide to celebrate by spending as much time as possible enjoying the beautiful Australian bush as possible. We have walked many miles in the last three days – here is a photo of a kangaroo we met on one of the walks – you can’t get much more Australian than that!!

Kangaroo on Mount Majura

Kangaroo on Mount Majura

Unfortunately I am yet to hear back from the electrician about fixing my bedroom  fan. At least it has cooled down a littlest I haven’t really needed a fan to help me sleep at night.

I have come across another thing that will need to be fixed before listing my place for sale. On Monday my Brother In Law came to collect some boxes he had been storing in my garage. He noticed there was a mark on the ceiling indicating a leak. It was directly below the kitchen sink so it was a safe bet that was where the issue was.

Fortunately my BIL is a plumber, he had a look and found a very slight leak in the dishwasher connection which he tightened and fixed. Once the ceiling is sanded and painted everything will be as good as new – most importantly the issues has been completely resolved and won’t reoccur.

Preparing a property for sale is much more stressful that I remember – I am more determined than ever to make sure this next move will be a long term one! To help keep my motivation up I remind myself how much Wiley will enjoy having a garden to play in.

I think Wiley’s favourite part of the weekend was going to visit some friends who have recently moved to the other side of town. They have a gorgeous little boy who adores Wiley and the feeling seems to be mutual. The two of them had a wonderful time playing and cuddling.

It’s starting to get hot around here

Wiley and I have had another interesting week. It started on Monday when we made our way out to Fyshwick for Taxi Training only to be told it has been cancelled until further notice. In some ways it is good news as it temporairly frees up my Mondays so I can focus on various other projects.

Tuesday was our one non work day, we spent it running errands and I finally had some time to catch up on domestic chores.

Wednesday I attended another fall prevention talk plus an interagency meeting. It was great to hear what other vision impaired/blind organisation offer in the way of services.

Thursday was an office day, working with my much better half, the other Jo, on a long term project. We got a good start figuring out priorities and a timeline for what we want to achieve and when we want to achieve it by. Wiley loved Thursday as there were a couple of people in the office, plus some deliveries so he had lots of pats. I have worked out that my first job when I arrive is to check out all the bins and put any with tempting rubbish on a bench out of Wiley’s reach. Some things you learn from experience!

Friday we headed back to the office, this time I worked with our regional manager on another project. It was quieter in the office so Wiley spent most of the time snoozing. He was still tired by the time we got home as we had to catch lots of buses and it was a warm day. I put his cooling bandana on which helped to keep him comfortable, it wasn’t quite hot enough for his cooling jacket. I also took a mat with me to prevent him from having to lie down on warm or hot concrete. I have a feeling it is going to be a long summer. I expect Wiley will be needing all his sumer gear including his boots.

Because it’s so hot we have been leaving for our morning walk before 5:30AM. We can get a two hour bush walk before it gets uncomfortable.

The weekend was a social one, with birthday brunches, walks with friends and their dogs and my nephews family gathering for his 21st – where have the last 20 odd years gone?

On my mind at this moment is our big adventure next week. Wiley and I will be flying together for the first time. I am pretty confident everything will be fine but I am feeling a little nervous. I have all the paperwork and other equipment needed to board a flight set aside, it would be awful to forget something important. Wish us luck!

The week that was

Wiley and I have had a lovely few days. No overnight trips and being able to sleep in our own beds made for a restful and rejuvenating week.

We have still been reasonably busy. Monday we had a Taxi Talk, I had to cut some of the content as the time allocated for the talk was cut down from around 1hour 15 minutes to 45 minutes. I worked on the new content over the weekend and managed to come up with a lesson plan that still got across the most important messages. There just wash’t time for me to go into as much detail as I used to.

My main priority is to ensure the students come away knowing the importance of always talking  to passengers with vision loss and not using body language such as pointing or nodding their head. I drum into them that they must always take Guide Dogs in their taxi and what will happen if they reuse. I also give them tips on how best to assist any passengers who are blind or vision impaired and the basics of sighted guiding.

On Tuesday Wiley and I had the great fortune of attending a Morning Tea organised to say thanks to Guide Dogs supporters and bequestors. I had such a lovely time. I tried to talk to everyone personally. Saying thanks to the people who make the wonderful work of Guide Dogs possible is such a privilege.

I also gave a talk, it was meant to be a short one but I couldn’t help but go overtime. I shared what an average day in Wiley’s life is like. People were quite surprised at just how much off duty time and fun he has every day. To show them the difference between a working and off duty Wiley  we went for a walk with Wiley out of harness and wearing his recreational collar and lead. Andy, Guide Dogs ambassador dog was also there which made things a lot more fun for everyone.

It was such a great event, I throughly enjoyed myself. It was even more special as my parents and some of my colleagues from the ACT office were there and I was able to say thanks to them for all their love and support as well. Catching up with the wonderful Sydney based Guide Dog staff who organised the event was the cherry on the top of a great day.

Wednesday was errand day, not something I normally look forward to but I made plans to catch up with my sister so we could run errands together. Being able to chat as we banked and shopped made the day a lot more fun.

Friday I headed into the office for a meeting. I was hoping that JAWS would be up and running on one of the Guide Dogs servers that I need to access but the IT guys are still having a few technical difficulties. I am so fortunate to have the wonderful Jo as my job sharing partner. She is truly amazing and has the office running so efficiently. I feel bad that I can’t do much at the moment to assist her . I hope to help out with a couple of projects as my contribution to the office while I wait for JAWS to be operational.

Thanks to some perfect spring weather Wiley and I have been enjoy lots of our longer bush walks. It is the perfect way to start the day.

Next week I am enrolled in a two day First Aid course, It will be interesting figuring out how to administer First Aid with my visual limitations. I’ll update the blog next week with how things go.

The week that was

It has been a busy week for Wiley and I. We are enjoying some beautiful spring weather and wonderful early morning walks. There are a lot more people out and about, cycling, running or walking. Quite a few people have dogs with them. I have been pleasantly surprised that most of the other dogs owners have asked before letting their dog say hi to Wiley. I really appreciate this as it lets me explain that as Wiley is off duty he would love to say hi. Such positive interactions make our walks even more enjoyable.

I had a meeting in the office yesterday,  it was so nice being included and having the chance to catch up with all the instructors. I am excited as some of my future projects sound very interesting . We are still waiting for my screen reader and some of the other equipment to arrive so I am not fulfilling all the duties of my new role just yet. I did mange to transfer phone calls without hanging up on anyone – phew!

I have purchased a new laptop – I had to order it to make sure it had a compatible system with the one at work. It should arrive next week. I looked into adapting my Mac but was told as it is an older computer without much memory it would probably be best to get a new one.

It has been an expensive week as I also had to buy a new phone as I dropped my old one and the screen smashed. I was very sad to  let it go. The staff at Telstra were great, helping to set up the new phone before I left the store. They loved Wiley who was being a very patient boy, lying down and waiting for me to finish.

Afterwards on our way to the bus stop he got distracted by not one but two different people. He was very keen to say hello. which is most out of character for him. Sometimes I wish I could read his mind to figure out why that person at that time. I reminded him he was working and praised him when he got his mind back on the job. Other than those indescretions he worked well.

It is along weekend here in Canberra. Tomorrow I have plans to go for a bush walk and picnic with a friend and her dog. The rest of the week is taken up with talks and other work related matters – should be fun.

The week that was including my first day at work

For the last few weeks I have been enjoying house and dog sitting for my parents while they were away. That meant walks in different areas as well as a garden for Wiley to play in. My parents wee dog was well behaved, despite his diminutive stature he is still very much the boss of the dogs.

I think Wiley’s highlight of the week was last Sunday when John and Jazzy came over for a visit. The two dogs had a great time playing chases through the garden. I had blocked off part of the garden as there was a high wall I didn’t want them to play near but fearless Jazzy soon taught Wiley how to jump over my barrier.

John and Jazzy are the dynamic duo raising funds for Guide Dogs by participating in the 5km Canberra Times Fun Run on Sunday 7th September. There was a great article about their efforts in yesterdays Canberra Times.

For me the weeks highlight was my first day at work. I only did a part day which was just as well as even that was quite exhausting. There are some limitations on what I can do until I get adaptive technology in the office but despite this I was still able to be productive. I think my favourite task is going to be answering the phone, I love talking to people 🙂

Wiley had a very relaxing first day on the job, being a Guide Dog office it is well set up for visiting dogs. There are water bowls and everyone was happy for Wiley to be off harness and have a bit of a wander around. Once he had investigated he chose to stay close to wherever I was. To my relief he didn’t feel the need to get up and go to the door whenever anyone entered or left. I think I will take in a bed and a toy or two that he and any visiting dogs can enjoy.

Wiley’s least favourite activity of the week was his mobile dog wash and blow dry. At least he feels and smells lovely and clean now. He is starting to lose his fine haired undercoat, the same thing happened last spring. For the next few weeks I will do twice daily grooming sessions instead of our usual one. This won’t bother  Wiley as unlike baths he enjoys being brushed.

Later today Wiley and I have plans to go walking with a friend,  it is such a lovely day I am really looking forward to it.