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My Day

Well, I made it through the day. Actually it wasn't bad at all, other than the fact that I got picked up at 8:30 this morning, got to the VA, and found out that both guys I was supposed to work with today had canceled. One pretty cool thing, (and this is probably really trivial but I'm still going to consider it an accomplishment), is that I got from the front door of the VA to the office on the eighth floor without any help, and without getting lost.

Okay, now I need to explain a few things. First, over the last several years I've developed what I consider to be quite good mobility skills. If I have to travel a route often I make sure I'm paying attention when traveling it with someone else, and I am usually able to reverse a route after traveling it. (I've actually gotten sighted people unlost a time or two as well, but that's another story.) I pick up on routes fast, and typically, even if I don't travel a route for a long time, or visit a building, I am able to remember the route or layout when I do it again. Having said this though, I want to explain a bit about the VA. When you walk in you have two options. You can either go through this absolutely large revolving door, (which can literally hold 4 people at a time and still have room for more), or you can go through a regular door. Once inside there are hallways branching out all over the place, and hallways that lead to other hallways that lead back to the original hallways, and well, you probably get the picture. Let's just say that it's not exactly a normal building. There are three banks of elevators, and all three of them get you to the same place but from different approaches. And, everybody I've ever gone there with has taken a different route. So, over the last couple of months I've sort of been trying to put together a mental map of this place in my head. When I got picked up this morning I was told that I could wait in the lobby for this guy, (I don't remember what I called him in my last entry), or I could go up and wait for him in his office while he went and parked the van. I decided that I was going to see if my mental route was correct or if I'd missed hallways and turns by walking with other people. My first major accomplishment was making it to the correct bank of elevators. From there, getting to the eighth floor was obviously no problem; elevators usually only go up and down, right? SMILE! Once I got off the elevator though I had a couple of options. I'd taken them both, and found one of them more direct. However, there were a couple of doors along that route, and I wasn't sure if those places were off limits since I wasn't an employee there so I chose to take the long way around. I started walking, and passed several of the hallways that intersected, but I was pretty sure they weren't the right ones. Finally I came to the one that I thought was correct. It was the last one and I had to take it or I would have hit another wall. So, I turned left and kept going. I came to the door that I was expecting, made a right, and I was there. I asked someone to let me into the office and was there probably ten minutes before anyone else showed up. I know you guys are probably thinking that it's no big deal, but you'd have to go into this place to understand what I'm getting at. It's a maze, and sighted people get turned around all the time.

Since I was there, I sat in on a group meeting. Someone from LS&S came in and was showing some of their new products. They've got a clock that was really neat. It has a male voice and runs on electricity with a battery back-up. What I liked about it though is that it didn't look like a blind product. I mean, a lot of times products designed for the blind look different, and it's obvious by looking at them that they're not regular pff-the-shelf products. This clock looked like a normal alarm clock. This is different from the talking clock radio alarm clocks that are being sold everywhere; it's just a normal clock but it was nice.

One other thing they have that I'm really hoping to buy some day soon is an Olympus digital recorder. It's about $65 and has a recording capacity of 16 hours. It also offers a computer cable to connect it to the computer and transfer information. Can you say "Podcast potential" boys and girls? SMILE!

Anyway, Jim and I are going out to dinner tonight and our ride should be here soon, so I'm going to get out of here for now. Just had to give an update on the day though. Oh, and one other really exciting thing. The weekend of the fourth I'm going to get a 4-day weekend!