Why Do I have To Sit Down?

 

This may seem like a silly question to you. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some experiences that are baffling to me.

 

It seems like every new person I meet wants me to sit down. It is so aggressive in some cases. I was pushed into a chair against my will many times. I am always in shock when it happens.  . This is always very uncomfortable as it is often in situations where I am a guest and do not want to offend. I am not just talking about a recent experience, but I can remember asking this question ever since I could articulate it.  BTW, if you are one of the people who did this, I am not upset at you. My own family treated me this way.

 

Here is where I think it comes from. I think people do not know how to interact with a “blind person”, me. They just want me to sit so I am out of harm’s way. It is truly amazing as sometimes this happens at networking events or Service club meetings where everyone else is mingling. It is actually not appropriate to be sitting down. I want to scream sometimes! I want to just tell them to sit down and get out of the way. Of course I know that would be a bad diplomatic move. I am thankful for all the people in my life who do not do this and actually often forget that I have a disability. Well, with the help of my guide dog, I am usually ok. I just want to wear a sign sometimes that says” I do not want to sit down”. “I am able to order my own food/drinks and pay for them thank you very much”. “I am blind not helpless”!!! Now, these words sound really harsh, but I wish people would stop and think sometimes. One of the consequences of these things, is a feeling of total isolation. I would often feel like I don’t belong.

 

I am also quite capable of asking for help when it is needed. I welcome it when it is needed and offered in a respectful manner . There was a film I saw years ago where this blind guy was wanting to get off a bus. The driver gets so uptight he picks up the guy and carries him across the street! It was funny at the time, but it does make the point.

 

I have had this experience several times. Well, ok, they did not carry me across the street, but pretty close. I have been grabbed and dragged across the street often landing in a totally different location or direction from where I intended to be. I don’t get angry, well, most of the time, because again, I know people are thinking they are being kind. I have the desire here to tell them to “mind their own business”! Again, I don’t as I don’t want to insult anyone. I do appreciate the people who offer help, but are respectful when help is declined or accepted. I am very aware that there  are times when it is necessary to ask for and receive help. I am very thankful when it is offered in an appropriate situation.

 

Do you think there is a  good polite way to let people know not to do these things? Of course   this question I am asking is for new situations. Looking forward to your ideas.

 

PS When we meet, don’t feel like we need to stand for our entire visit.

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Snowmaggetton

 

So, Toronto got lots of snow on Friday. In preparation for this, all stores were cleared of stock the day before in case people had to stay home for a day or 2. Parents were warned to keep their kids home from school, and many did not even attempt the trek to work. It was so bad they closed Federal Government offices Downtown. Coming from Montreal, this seemed silly. We did take the day to enjoy though. Re-arranging furniture, cooking a great roast, and just relaxing. Did I mention how I love the brightness of fresh snow? The glow is wonderful. Things feel so clean that is until my dog goes out and makes it less so.  The salt trucks come out and cause it to look so drab. I wondered if Mr. Ford was getting ready to call in the military.  The question that kept coming up all night was “are we not in Canada”? What would Toronto do if it were really up north?  I will leave you with this last thought. Check out Rick Mercer’s “snow in Toronto”. Have a great Monday. Oh and do you think we over react to snow here?

  1. 1.    Special Report: Snow in Toronto – YouTube

 

Great Service

I am not sure what good karma I have lately, but I’ll take it. The great service that is. I recently got new business cards to reflect my new contact info. I was not prepared for how fabulous they would turn out to be. To top that off, the nice people at 121 Media in Kingston out did themselves by bringing them to me while I was in Kingston. Thank you Roy! I can’t wait to start really passing them out.

 

Next, I am still on the hunt for an accessible accounting program for invoicing clients. So far I had struck out. Well, until last week. I was referred to see if Fresh Books would work for me. Well, on the surface of it, it did not appear accessible. However, contacting their support people was so easy. I not only got a call back on the same day, but a few days later I had a call from a senior programmer. He had downloaded the demo of my screen reader to test the obstacles for himself. Wow! I understand they are working on making the changes. I am so impressed that they would listen to me. I am not a paying client yet. They may have wan my loyalty for life with this amazing effort.

 

Now, do not get me wrong, as I have been getting awesome service from my IT consultants at Weehooey, our Real Estate Agent back in Kingston Tracie Tattrie, and many others.  I have been so blessed with such great assistance where needed. Feeling like I am at the awards here, I am not able to list everyone, as it would take to long and I don’t want to be cut off.  I hope this sort of charmed existence with service providers will continue. Thank you for doing what you do. I aspire to also provide a great level of service to my clients. Do you have great tips on this?

Surfing

 

I have often been asked how I am able to use my computers, IPhone, and so on. I try to have as many talking machines as possible. This is much to the dismay of my husband who claims they talk at night and wake him up.  For reading and using the computer, I have a Screen Reader. It is called JAWS. You may download a demo here. www.freedomscientific.com It is not perfect, but what a world of difference for me. I am able to navigate web sites, word documents, email, and almost everything else. The voices have even come a long way. They sound almost human. There are many accents, voices and even languages. I invite you to take a look. Download the demo and step into my shoes for a bit. To clear up a question that comes to me from every second person I meet, I do not speak to my computer, but for unmentionable things I hurl at it in frustration, it reads to me. I navigate with the keyboard and short cuts. I do not have the ability to use a mouse. Yes, try it sometime. You may find yourself frustrated. I love it when I ask for assistance from a Tech support person and they tell me to look at the right of the screen or that the link I want is half way down the page and to the left. When you are using this technology, be prepared to listen to every link that comes before the one you want.  I still feel extremely awed by the fact that I can do any of those things. I feel so fortunate to be able to use such amazing technologies. I do want to explain that there are many web sites that are not written with accessibility in mind. I wish the programmers would step into my shoes. I understand it is very simple to make your pages accessible. You just need to take the time to find out how. Before I sign off, I also want to say how much I love my IPhone! The voice over feature included in the IPhone and Mac Products is wonderful. Seary and I are not always getting along, but I hear that is common. Have an accessible day.

Getting Around

So, I went on 1 adventure on Friday. This involved taking a bus and switching to a street car. This sounds so simple. Why am I telling  you about it?

Well, because it is a big deal. My guide Dog and I need to learn our way around a new place or many places in this case. We met up with our friend for lunch and continued with our day with no incident. A few observations though. The bus driver was very friendly and helpful. The Street Car driver was surly to put it mildly. They are supposed to ask a person if they are at the stop if they are looking to take the street car, but he did not. It was so busy at Dundas I could not hear the electric sound of the car. Oh and he did not ring the bell either. No cues. Thankfully a kind stranger asked me if I am waiting for the street car.

Later on, my dog and I wandered around the Eaton centre. Malls are easy right? Yes and no. It is mostly a safe place, there was no indication of where we were in the mall. Again found our way without any problem. I did get to speak to a lovely sales person in one of the stores.

So far, my impression of the city is that it is friendly. I have met many people and am loving the interactions. My dog is also loving the stimulation and work. Now, if only we could convince other dog owners around here to pick up after their dogs, life would be easier.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I am working on my goals of 2013. What better way to remain accountable, but sharing them with the world? I know they should be very specific with numbers and dates and all, but I think I will start by just figuring out what it is I want/need to accomplish!

First let me back track for you. We recently moved to Toronto! Anyone want to purchase a house in the Kingston area? This is a serious question. 🙂

So, my goals are related to our move. The first, de-clutter and finish setting up our small place. This is a much more challenging task as we have more stuff than space.  My second goal is to learn how to get around Toronto. My dog was trained here so hopefully, he will make it easier for me. I still will need a fair amount of help with this. The third goal is to meet people and start networking. I am still working on my business. I am a mediator and Negotiator. I need clients. 🙂 I have joined Meet Up and I need to attend something. I am reaching out to friends as well. Do you know an awesome person in Toronto looking to get to know new people?  My Forth goal is to exercise. There is a room with all kinds of equipment down stairs. I need to use this. I am thinking twice a week? I also need to find a pool where they offer Aqua fitness. Fifth, I need read less fiction and more substantial books. My sixth goal is to finally work on a budget and plan vacations. We don’t seem to look after this very well. Something always gets in the way. Also as a part of this, I need to get back on track with my own financial planning. Must call advisor soon. Is that too vague? Ok, by the end of next week! Seventh, Post in this blog more often. So, at least once every 4 weeks. My eighth goal is related to my work. I need to start working on my website again. I keep thinking that I need to share more information about our services. I have so many great ideas on articles I can write, but I seem to get side tracked when at the computer. I will keep it simple for myself by planning on writing one piece for my page every 4 weeks. I do hope that is not too ambitious.  My ninth goal is to look after my own wellbeing. Sleep more; eat better even though I do eat well. There is always room for improvement. Part of this is to look after relationships with friends, colleagues and of course husband. I need to plan and actually do fun stuff such as going to the theatre, park, and using our canoe.

You may have noticed that I don’t have a tenth goal listed. This is because there is always room for more. Please feel free to check with me about what have I accomplished lately. I hope all your goals happen. I wish you a positive and healthy new year.