I got up at about 5:40 because I was going to be picked up at 7:00, and I knew that I'd forget something. I was right. After putting together everything I realized that I hadn't embossed anything. So I did the email thing and then started embossing my notes. I didn't have time to do anything with them so the formatting absolutely sucked, but by the time I realized how bad they really were there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I figured they'd be all right though because I had the PowerPoint that I could use anyway, and I'd been over that thing several times. So, I got the notes embossed and it was time to eat breakfast. I wanted to have something that would give me energy. I'm not normally a breakfast eater. I just can't eat much early in the morning or I feel like crap, but I knew that I probably wouldn't be eating until around noon and the last thing I needed was to be distracted because I was hungry. So I grabbed a cinnamon pretzel. Now, these things are great. They're stuffed with some sort of filling, (possibly some flavor of cream cheese but not totally sure), and then the top is loaded with frosting. Normally I put these in the oven, but because of lack of time this morning I threw it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Apparently that was too long. The thing was way too hot to eat, so I left it out to cool. By this time it was coming up on 6:50, and I knew I was getting short on time. I wasn't dressed yet because I didn't want to get frosting on my clothes, so therefore my hair wasn't done or anything. Now, as short as my hair is I guess that was probably the least of my worries, but I at least wanted to make sure that it was all going the same direction.
Finally I decided that I just had to eat the pretzel. It was still really hot, but I had to at least try. One bite and I knew something was wrong. It was heated through, but it was really weird. It was hard and soft at the same time, and it wasn't a good hard. I poured a glass of milk and tried to eat it. It just wasn't happening, and I knew I had to get going. I put the rest in the fridge, drank my milk, and decided I'd had enough. I went in to do something about my hair, and just as I was about to pull out my brush the phone rang. It was my ride calling to let me know that I had ten more minutes. I had enough time to wonder if she was a little psychic, and then I decided that I just wasn't going to care. I had a little time.
I had the brains to pull out my clothes last night so I didn't have to fight with the closet and the cats to get at my stuff this morning. I got dressed, found my shoes, (and was extremely happy that my feet weren't too swollen for a change so they actually fit me), and grabbed my stuff. voyagerjc, in his infinite wisdom told me not to forget anything. He was no doubt referring to my lapse in memory from a couple of weeks ago when I went out of town and left my cell phone on the charger. (That was a different story, and not a very good one, accept that I really missed my phone!!!) I said that I hadn't forgotten anything. I had my laptop backpack, my Pac Mate, the KNFB reader, and other essentials. Never mind the fact that I almost left without my cane, but we won't go there. Oh yeah, and I also had a cart with the SARA because I had it sitting here. So, I was pretty loaded down.
I got outside maybe a minute before my ride pulled up. We got everything loaded and took off. The traffic was absolutely terrible, and from what I understand there was some sort of accident. We were supposed to get to this place by 7:30 to set up, but it didn't happen. Fortunately we still had plenty of time, but it was still interesting. We're almost there and we were talking about how things were going to work for the day. That's when I realized that I had completely forgotten to bring my scanner. Pretty big oops, but fortunately there were two of them there, and I had all ready installed the drivers, so that wasn't as big of a deal.
So we get to the building and I started to set up. Everything was going all right. I hooked up to a projector so that everyone could see what I was doing, got my speakers and numpad connected, and then realized I was short a USB port for the scanner because I had my braille display and numpad connected. Again this wasn't a big deal. A couple of weeks ago I had, pretty much on a whim, dropped my portable USB hub into my backpack. Another situation averted.
Then it came time for the Internet access. Someone from the IT department came in to hook things up. The laptops that were being used all had built-in wireless access, accept for mine, which is older than dirt. As it turned out though, I had to be hard-wired into the connection because the wireless wasn't working because the router needed to be reconfigured and it wasn't worth it. So the software was installed and I had my access that I needed.
So by this time it was time to start. I have to say at this point that I was slightly concerned because my laptop had been acting up over the last couple of days, and I hadn't tried the PowerPoint on it. So I started, and ran into problems almost immediately. For whatever reason, the slides weren't working quite the same way. They were created and tested on a newer version of PowerPoint than I have on my laptop which may or may not have contributed to the problem, but I suspect that was the least of the problems. So I'm fumbling my way through, feeling really incompetent and embarrassed. Everybody seemed patient enough, but I felt like I was really fumbling, and I'd been through this over and over, and I knew the material.
I finally got to the point where I was flipping back and forth between K1000 and PowerPoint and things got really bad. My laptop got extremely sluggish, and at one point during the morning I had to have them take a break while I rebooted. The group was really difficult anyway because they were really quiet, so I wasn't getting a lot of feedback. At one point though they started talking to each other, and I was told later that they were walking around and not paying any attention. Now, I'm sure I mentioned that the people I was working with were teachers of the Visually Impaired, and I would have thought that teachers in general would have been a little more understanding and patient.
By lunch time we realized that what I was doing just wasn't working and it was due in part to the problems with the laptop, but also because we didn't have scanners for everyone and I was the only one who had Internet access, so many of the features that I really wanted them to work with could only be shown and not tried. After lunch I tried a different angle. I asked them what they wanted to know about me, the products I use, and why I chose what I chose for adaptive software and hardware. The first question, and I guess in some ways it really kind of surprised me was why I use K1000 instead of JAWS. I said that it was like comparing apples to oranges, and that in fact I was using both. K1000 was giving me speech, but JAWS, although muted, was giving me the braille that I needed to read my PowerPoint and things. The discussions went on for a while, and there were several questions. Every once in a while I was able to show them a K1000 feature to answer a question and at the end I was asked to demonstrate MP3 file creation. At about 2:00, an hour before things were supposed to end, pretty much everyone left. They filled out their evaluation forms that we had asked them to fill out, but everyone was pretty much gone. I was home right around 3:00, and we weren't scheduled to be done until then. I felt like it was a complete disaster, and even though several things happened that were completely beyond my control, I still felt like I had done something wrong, and that the people would think I was unprepared or didn't have a clue what I was doing. I can't even really explain how it felt, and how I still feel accept to say that I feel like I totally blew it. I guess it's the bit of perfectionist in me that's coming out here. I know I did the best I could, but that doesn't change the fact that something obviously went wrong, and whether it was the group or me, something still happened, and I feel responsible. Right or wrong, it's how I feel.
Then, just to add insult to injury, I started getting a stomach ache after getting back home. So, I've been in bed since about 6:30 just kind of trying to take it easy. I've had a book on, and then I decided to remote into my desktop so that I could write this entry. So now I'm just sitting here trying to figure out how to end this entry.
Well, I guess I'll stop here for now. I'm going to proofread this and post, and then I've got other entries to read. Later.