Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

Back in the Virtual Saddle

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Back in the Virtual Saddle


Well, friends and readers, I am now the proud owner of a Dell Inspiron 1700 series laptop. In Mid—January I spilled a drink on the other laptop and ruined the keyboard and shorted out the sound driver. So, $1500 later I now have a Windows 8.1 OS and JAWS 16. So far, I am not happy with the typing echo delays and the tinny sounding headphone feedback. The other laptop is an XPS series with a kick-ass sound card and full range speakers, so this little speaker and quality is just not going to do. Maybe it’s the JAWS software demanding too much of the sound card, don’t know and as long as I can still do what I need to and hear what I’m doing, the tinny voice will suffice. My Dad would have said, serves me right after being so irresponsible and spilling water on the other computer. Sigh. Do we ever graduate from the misdirected beliefs of our parents?


Anyway, I’m just glad I can pay the price. The new computer was $680, the new JAWS software was $550, the repair on the old computer is about $300 and a very good friend helped me install JAWS and get going again. The repair tech was very disturbed by how much the assistive technology costs. Maybe he’ll take pity on me and give me a discount.


In other news, Verona is retired. She is done and I can feel it by so many of her Verona-like signals. She’s a subtle dog, what I’d call a typical gentle, female persona for a Labrador. So, in March I’m going back to Guiding Eyes for a new dog. I’m actually excited, as working Verona in her gentle reluctance has taken a toll on both of us. Even my family can see it now.


There have also been some health concerns regarding my Mom, Mary, who is 81. She has lymphoma and it has progressed. She is undergoing a new treatment to shrink the tumors and we are all very optimistic that it will help. We will know more in a few months.


While I was out in San Jose seeing Mom and family, I reconnected with one of my high school buddies. I was so happy and relieved to finally spend time with him, catch up. The best thing was that he treated me the way he has always done, blindness or not. There were a few times when he wasn’t sure how to work with me or direct me and Verona, but overall, he was about the best at just going with the flow and letting me show him what to do and not be upset or nervous. I tried to tell him how touched I am by his just accepting me, asking questions, and not letting my disability get in the way. The last time he and I met, I could see. Now I can’t and have a dog guide. How hard that must be for folks to understand and yet, my friend of over 30 years just accepted it. Now we talk at least once a week and I am so grateful for the opportunity to let him know how much he means to me.


So, friends and readers, it has been a very intense couple of months and I intend to blog about the new guide dog training once I get the new dog. Until then, stay warm and hope for spring!


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