Winter Weather Lessons

The snowy weather that we’ve gotten this winter has taught me a couple of really important life lessons, and it is with great hope that I will do them justice in the writing of them here, and that they will in some way help you, the reader.

This morning I awoke with visions of getting out of the house dancing in my head. The day was gloomy and rainy but the temps were much warmer and I was very hopeful that the ground would be clear enough for me to go out. Then I saw that Bob Cat’s food bag was empty and he was a very unhappy kitty and so Campbell and I having had quite enough of the indoors agreed together that we were a great team and could handle whatever was left of Mother Nature’s last fit.

So I got myself all cleaned up and dressed, harnessed up my dog and out I went. Now before I continue I should let you know that yesterday evening I took one hell of a tumble. I fell out in the ice and so when I awoke this day I was very stiff and sore, had a skinned face, and black eye, yet I was still very determined to go out and about.

So as I say I harnessed up my dog and away we went.

Well, once I got off my street I realized I was not at all prepared for the mess Mother Nature’s fit had left for me to walk in. First off I haven’t a clue how the hell the city expects people to walk to the bus stops their city fathers have worked so very hard to make possible for those of us who use them. The sidewalks aren’t cleaned. In fact it appeared to Campbell and me that when they plowed the streets they had tossed all the snow on to the sidewalks with not one thought to folks who might actually want to walk on them. On top of this the curbing’s were solid sheets of ice. This made finding my way down the street quite a task.

My thoughts on this subject are, that there is absolutely no reason for anyone to be out of work this time of year. Anyone wanting a hot meal and place to stay ought to be able to earn such just by working at snow removal and making things safer around the city, but who am I?  As we went along I was working so hard at keeping my balance, and encouraging Campbell to keep going because he was stopping every few inches or so being very careful of everything more so than ever before due to my having fallen the evening before that I lost count of street crossings, and that along with the blended curb being totally buried in snow and absolutely indiscernible for me I ended up someplace I did not at all wish to be. Missed the bus entirely and then although I know the man who was trying to help me meant well, he had a dog with him and this simply caused more trouble. Not to mention he did not give very good directions. As if this were not enough, my iphone picked this moment in time to decide that the GPS did not need to give me a correct location and the voice over that I am always bragging about decided it did not any longer have a damn thing to say to me. To say I was over it and rattled would have been the understatement of the year and we are not even through January yet.

Finally I got to the bus stop but by then I was pretty sure that the bus I wanted was already gone. I called the station and when I asked the girl on the phone she said, “I’d say it’s a pretty good bet you have, they’re pulling in to the parking lot.” I was ready to cry. I did not want to walk all the way back home. I wasn’t even sure I could. As I stood there trying desperately to figure out what to do with tears of frustration and total embarrassment running down my face the girl on the phone said she’d radio the backup van and have them pick me up. I was totally relieved, and began to calm down. Campbell was sitting at my feet, and he too was more than a bit stressed. He had done a great job helping me get back on track, and at one point had actually shown me the correct left turn to find the bus stop.

Finally the van was there and we were on our way. I began to take deep breaths, and try to calm myself down even more. Soon we were at Food City and the driver said he was letting me off at the door and gave directions for me to get safely inside. I was relieved and feeling more sure of myself again. As we went in though my backpack slipped from its place and I began to be off balance. This threw Campbell off and we lost our way going in to the store. Once again I was feeling  lost and confused, and a bit pissed off at myself. I finally got some help and we got to where I needed to be. I sank down in to a chair and began to cry, burying my head in my hands. I felt like the worst guide dog handler ever, and had totally lost my nerve.

I met with my friend, we talked for a while, I got Bob Cat’s food and went with the assisted shopper back out to the bus. The backup van driver was waiting in the parking lot and drove me back to my house, helped me park Campbell and get back inside. I think I have decided to never  leave my house again, and find myself wishing I had more snow training.

Anyhow I know I’ll be back out and about, and I know I can do it, but it will be a while for sure. I am going to be using the door to door transportation for a while. I have for sure lost my nerve. I hope I can get it back, but between taking a bad fall and then getting hopelessly lost I am shot for now. To be sure, and feel I truly have no one to speak to about these matters who can lend good solid help for my troubles with sense of direction in the snow and things I can do to help myself. There was a time when this was so, but no longer.

As I am writing this I hear my nephew clearing away all the crud from my porch and drive making a path for me to more safely walk Campbell. I do love my family because as soon as they’re aware of a problem they do everything within their power to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Until next time this is Patty and Campbell saying, if you’re a guide dog handler, or anyone for that matter, be careful in the snow, and remember you’ve nothing to prove. Just be safe and well…

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