Blind in the Land of Nutmeg

Some of you may not be aware that I am blind. Well, to clarify, I am “legally” blind.  All that means is that my visual acuity is worst than 20/200 and cannot be corrected with glasses.  I have a macular disease. How it affects me is that I lack the ability to focus on depth, making it almost impossible to read normally.  It's severe enough that I cannot read books, magazines, street signs or my smartphone or iPad without a visual aid.  I have software that magnifies my computer screen and magnifying glasses that help me see most of my smartphone and tablet. 

Earlier this year about a couple of months before I went to BlogPaws I started taking writing courses.  I wanted to improve the quality of my post to attract more readers.  My instructor set up a curriculum that allowed me to use the previous post as my course material.  I didn’t think I was making so many mistakes, but to my chagrin, my blog post was far worse than I imagined. I have been relying too heavily on my own ability to visually recognize grammar mistakes, and because I didn’t always edit on my computer, wasn’t using and up to date text-speech program to review my edits. 

I hadn’t kept up with changes in technology because what was available made it so cumbersome to do things on the go. The revelation led me to question everything I was doing; my hobbies, my job, even my relationships.  So, I had to make a change.  I replaced my old tablet for Apple’s latest and greatest and found an excellent computer app to assist with editing.  Grammarly is working on a tablet version, I’m using in beta.  So I wouldn’t have to rely on doing all of this at work, I set out to not only update my home equipment and software but change the way I approach my disability in general.

I wouldn’t say it was my pride that kept me from not recognizing that I needed the help, not completely anyway.  The Veterans Administration is a pain to deal with (crossing my fingers for the new President and the same Bullshit Congress to change that), and the process to get assistive technology is a bit involved.  I have to enter the VA’s Blind Rehab Center, and it’s an in-patient program. It’s in Connecticut, and I have to leave my cats at home. By the way, your tax dollars are paying for this, so, thank you.  In truth, it’s scary sometimes to think that I need to be connected to so much to do so little.  I have always been a resourceful person (a kind way of saying I’m a survivor).  The technology has developed well and become more mainstream.  Listening to Audiobooks is common for anyone and I can get the audio version as soon as the hardcover appears on shelves.  What’s not in audio I can pull up my iPad, and Siri can read books and magazines now (by the way, if you want a different Suru voice you can change it). The “Cloud” allows me to do away with carrying hardcopy and standard functions on iPad and my smartphone eliminate the need to carry several devices.

Hopefully, I’ll only need a couple of weeks of training (you never know how long your stay is until you are assessed). It will be hard to be away from Moshe Moshi and Lexi Liu, but especially Moshi.  It will be the longest we’ve been apart, and since he has had so much loss in his short life (his first owner, Maus, Jake), I'm hoping he won’t think I’m gone for good.  Lexi, I’m not too worried about.  She bonds quickly with new people. I can imagine her saying, “I love the MaMa, but she’s not here, and a bitch gotta eat, so let me make this new human my best friend.” She’ll do fine. I’m going to see if the kidz will interact with FaceTime.  If they do, I’ll have to invest in one of those interactive video gizmos and treat them remotely.  I’ll post from the hospital, and I’m sure Curz and Swirlz will post about the cats and how they are doing in my absence. Either way, I’m hopeful it will do me some good. 

BTW -  to explain the post title, the first Connecticut State Nickname was The Nutmeg State.  It was later changed to the Constitution State based on a story that the first US Constitution was drafted there. You see, Fake News is not a new phenomenon.    

On the Road Not Naked

I have come to the conclusion that I am rather attached to my cats.  I know what you’re thinking, “You write a cat blog Captain Obvious.” Considering that one fact alone, I guess it is that obvious.  The reason why this fact escaped my perception is that I’ve not been without their presence consistently for about 10 years. 

Typically, when I travel the cats go with me.  I only stay in pet-friendly hotels.  If I was going to be out of town for more than a weekend, only stayed with friends or relatives that would let me bring them.  Now that I can take them on Amtrak as well as planes having them with me makes the journey worth the effort, when I can make it work.

This time it won’t work.

I am going out of state to a training facility that doesn’t allow pets while in the program.  I did look into either staying at a hotel separate from the program or boarding them someplace I could visit every day or two, but neither option was viable.  What’s a cat mom to do?

If your cat does not do well out of its familiar environment, a service like or Fetch! might be a good fit.  You can arrange for a sitter to not only feed your cat but spend some quality time with them.  My friend’s Sitter even took in the mail and put out the garbage for her.   Companies cost will vary, some fixed fees and some on sliding fee scale.  Make sure the company you use is bonded and that they background check their contractors.

Some Veterinary Clinics like Just Cats Clinic in Reston, Virginia provide boarding services.  With the added factor of a facility being a pet clinic or hospital, this might be preferred if your pet has medications or needs to be monitored.  Some private boarding services are attached or have working relationships with nearby Veterinary Clinics, and it’s a good idea to ask how they handle emergencies.  Also for private boarding, ask to see the facility where your pet will be housed.  If they don’t allow that, turn and walk away.

If you have someone, you can trust to care for your furry (or naked) kidz, and you believe your friendship will survive after the experience, then ask a friend.  You know who you can depend on, and a familiar face can reduce the stress your cat will feel with you being away.

In their absence, I will be taking their stunt doubles with me, I need the comfort.  If you do decide to board or have your cat anyplace other than your home, make sure to bring along things with familiar smells like blankets or toys.  For boarding, check with the facility first.  Some boarding facilities for reasons of sanitation, environmental control or liability will not allow you to do so.  Also if you can bring your cat's litter box and/or litter, their regular food and treats, and write down the schedule/routine. Try to keep thing as regular as possible.

I will post about my trip and time away from Moshe Moshi and Lexi Liu and I'm sure FurryDance B&B will post about them too.

Naked Cat Confessions - Light

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
(children's song, author unknown)

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