Carin’s Guide Dog Diary: Day 1

Holy crap it’s happening. I’m on the plane. I’m on the plane I’m on the plane! Man oh man what an early rise this morning. I’m so glad I packed yesterday afternoon. It was such a relaxed day yesterday. I had everything planned out. I was actually able to enjoy having mom and dad around. It’s funny. For this trip, I really didn’t want mom and dad to drive me to the airport. I thought I wouldn’t be able to say proper goodbyes to people, pack, etc. but because I started packing on Friday, I really didn’t have to do much packing once they got here. I could just hug them. I could hug grandma too, she sent me some money! Sweet! Much love to Grandma. I mean I’d already taken out the American money and all that, but unexpected dough is always a pleasant surprise. Anyway, I got all packed and got up this morning and didn’t have to do much last-minute preparing. Ok, this was funny. We left at 5 in the bloody morning. My flight was at 8:40. That should have given us enough time to have a nice
breakfast at this truckstop that dad likes, right? Wrong! Bzzz! Sound the buzzer. Not if you’re my dear old dad and decide you’re going to try and take a shortcut to Highway 25. We end up wandering aimlessly around *guelph*! for a half an hour. So guess where we ate breakfast? At the airport! Ouchers on the pocketbook. I couldn’t believe it when, at around 5:30, dad says, um we’re at Victoria road. Oo there’s York Road. Uh, chief? that’s in Guelph still! *arg*! And that was the part I was the least worried about. I figured mom and dad knew how to find the airport. Arggy.

We get to the airport, and holy crap this group of two in front of us take forever to get processed, and we managed to lose dad! He went to the washroom and took forever to find us again. I was starting to worry the group in front of us had been flagged as a security threat they were taking so long. Well they weren’t getting shoved over to the side, so that was good. Anyway, at 7, we finally get seen, they stamp my passportt and look at my ticket and give me a bording pass. They tell me I should get my butt back to the waiting area by 7:30 and they’ll help me through. So we wolf a breakfast so fast and then we go use the washrooms. So they take me back to the waiting area, and we twittle our thumbs for another 20 minutes! Gees! I would have eaten much slower if I’d known we had 20 more minutes. Then they started taking me through the various gates, etc. and holy crap I felt like the hot potato in a game of, well, hot potato. First dude leads me through and this scary woman asks me where I’m going, but starts to smile as soon as I tell her I’m going to get a guide woofer. Then, they pass me off to a security dude who leads me through this area that’s beeping and beeping and beeping. I have to take all my stuff that I’m taking on the plane with me off. So that’s this elba doodad, my fanny pack, my purse, my coat, and even my cane! I told them the elba was a computer, and I didn’t even get asked to turn it on. Awesome! Then I get everything back and the security dude hands me off to this woman who hoofs me through a gate almost to the plane, and then two flight attendants decide to help me. It’s really weird watching your luggage get put on the belt. After every leg of the journey and each time I was passed off to someone else, it took everything not to ask if they had my bags. Not that I’m complaining about how they treated me or anything, it was just a lot of pass-offs. They were pretty cool, telling me how many rows back the washrooms were, where the life vest was god forbid I ever need it, the jazz about the oxygen masks. I’m in a window seat. There’s a dude two seats over in the aisle seat. He seems pretty nice. We haven’t said much to each other, but he was cool enough to help me with the jammed final section of my stupid cane. Ha ha, cane, your days are numbered once again! I can’t believe this is actually real. It’s 10:15 now, so 7:15 California time. I still have lots of flying time. I wish this stupid headache would go away. It’s not horrible, but it’s annoying. Luckily I brought some Advil with me. Man I hate saying goodbye. I suck at it. I always feel like I’m being rushed off elsewhere. The goodbye was so quick with mom and dad. I said I’d let them know when I was at San Rafael. Those poor souls, having to drive home now. They’ll be driving about as long as I’ll be flying. I’m so excited! Heehee!

Man there was this weird older lady in a wheelchair. While we were waiting to be the hot potatos in the great old hot potato game, she kept referring to all of us as the cripples. Ok, that’s one way of putting it. My poor confused parents. They somehow thought I was flying directly into San Rafael even though I’d been telling them it’s San Francisco! It’s San Francisco! They kept asking people where the flight to San Rafael was. Oy yoy. But I love them. God the airport was a zoo. Just to get from parking to the airport was all screwy, and then we had to find the floor we were supposed to be on, which wasn’t exactly easy. But at least finding food wasn’t hard. They had pictures of knives and forks directing us there.

I didn’t get a chance to get headphones. I was really sleepy when they were coming around with headsets. Apparently you get to keep them now. Allrighty then. Poor Steve, having to share a rented headset with someone else. That would have sucked balls.

I’m so restless. I know I still have just under four hours to go, but I’m so restless. It’s funny. If I’m riding the bus, I’m not nearly this bad. But then again, I’m never riding the bus to woofer school.

God I hate being short. The call button is out of my reach. Not that I need anything right now, but if I did, I have to bug the dude two seats over and ask him to push it for me. Stupid shrimpiness.

I hope poor Steve got some sleep. When you have to get up at 4 to catch a plane, that’s one thing. When you’re just awake because everyone else is running around getting ready to leave, and you have a stupid cold, that just sucks. There’s a baby on the plane who isn’t very happy. Not fun, not fun at all. Guess there isn’t much else to say yet. I’ll say more when I get settled in my room. I wonder who my room-mate’ll be. Stop hurting, you stupid head! Ok, I must be crazy, talking to my own head. Hopefully no one’s bored yet. Now maybe I’ll go write a list of questions I want to ask the instructors. Well that didn’t take long. I swear I had more questions. I’m sure I’ll think of them. Man I hope the time-change doesn’t mess with me. With all the sleep deprivation I’ve had, I hope I sleep like a baby. Oh, guess who I get to meet tomorrow? Sue…Sullivan? She said I meet her tomorrow. Man it was cool calling and getting my phone number. They say when we arrive in San Francisco it’ll be 20 degrees! How cool is that? Man over the last week I’ve been saying How cool is that? a lot. Should stop doing that. Maybe I should stop writing for a while until I have something useful to say. only 3.5 hours to go. Gick I’m restless. Damn I’m tired. Must remember my cane when the flight is over. It had to be stowed. It must be the relief that this is actually happening. I was actually able to have a nap. Slept for a half-hour. Man the lady who does the French has trouble. Oh, the weirdest thing happened when I was getting on the plane. One attendant asked the other if I could read French braille. French braille? What the? I said it wasn’t my native tongue. What did they have in French braille that they wanted to give me. That was weird. Oh crap I wonder if the seatbelt sign is on. Well nobody’s telling me to shove this underneath. Ooo we’re supposed to arrive early. 20 minutes early. Hope the instructors will be there. Only 2.5 hours to go then!

Man I feel like a fool. They came around offering drinks and I asked for a snack, fully intending to pay, but they somehow teefed a little bag of cornchips from the first class snack stash. Oops. And they not only got one for me, but they got one for the dude sitting in the aisle seat of this row. I feel bad, I haven’t spoken a word to him. For some reason I’m shy. All I know about him is he likes to read, from the amount of page-flipping I’ve heard. 55 minutes to go. come on come on come on! Man I wish I knew what to do with my garbage. I don’t want to set it on the tray like some kind of shlub. But this isn’t like the bus where there’s a garbage bag beside me. My head still hurts damn it.

Well, I’m off the plane! I’m now sitting in the bus. I’m the only one here. We arrived early. It was lucky I wrote down the instructor’s cell number. I phoned her and said hey dude we’re early. She’s like ok come to baggage claim. My god that time at baggage claim was the longest ever. But finally both my bags showed up, safe and sound. So she led me out here to this bus and gave me a sandwich, a cookie and a water! She even told me where I could get more water if I wanted it. She’s off getting more students. Get this. Some people do worse than I did in Ottawa. They bring so much luggage that the instructors need a cart! A cart? Good lord! She said I packed “quite reasonably.” This is good to hear. Hahaha. So anyway, she led me here, and I’ve now eaten a turkey sandwich. I had a scary moment where I thought the turkey was going to disagree with me and I was going to lose my lunch right on this bus. Ouch that’s a loud horn. Hope that doesn’t mean anything bad. But luckily for me, I didn’t hurl. That would have been uber embarrassing. So I’m sitting here, waiting, apparently seven more are coming, I want to meet them. I wanna meet them now now now! I wonder which one of them will be my room-mate. Maybe none of them will be, and it’ll be one of the other four that I guess are driving? I don’t know. Heehee I’m in the GDB bus! So far I’ve met Jen. She seems nice, we had a good giggle all the way to the bus so that’s cool. Come on it’s almost noon, I wanna meet more folks. She was impressed that I wrote down her cell phone number and had it on me to call her. Well duh, that’s what they gave it to us for. But maybe I’m just anal about making sure I get where I’m going, hahahaha. Damn my head it still hurts. I felt sorry for the flight attendants. They were getting yelled at by some woman who thinks she’s so important because she’s in first class and knows french,and she thinks the french lady said the wrong flight numbers or something. She wouldn’t leave them alone! I managed to learn that the dude sitting in the aisle seat lives in Toronto, goes to Greenwood College, and was visiting his aunt at Burkley. Man it’s warm in the sun. Heehee it’s nice here. Guess I’ll stop for now and eat my fig newton now that my stomach settled down. Ug that was scary. Ok it’s now 12:10. I really hope someone shows up soon. Is everyone lost but me? 7 lost people? Holy lord! I know it only seems like an eternity because the plane landed at 11 and I guess it took a while to get my bags and get out here. But eek eek I hope someone gets here soon cause this is mildly spooky. Ok this beast decided to get all weird. Ok it seems fine now. Icky I’m sweating. It’s 12:15. Ok I took my coat off. Jebus I’m hot. Met one person, Jill. has four kids and a grandbaby. not my room-mate. Two more people just joined us. Sylvia and David, seem to be together. *What was I smoking? They were just on the same flight. David is a highschool senior, I don’t know what to make of him. He’s very quiet, but when he speaks, he’s a total asshole. I didn’t think much of one of the guys from my Ottawa class either though and he changed, so maybe this’ll be the same. Sylvia is very much older than young David! Oh god I was stupid to think they were together. I guess Sylvia lived in Oakville at one point. Met my room-mate, Autumn. This could be interesting. She’s happy to have a Canadian Room-mate so she can come to Canada sometime. Ok then. She’s a ball of energy. Carmen is a quiet lady. David won’t get off his phone. Very odd. Bernard sounds like my friend Anton. He scares me a little. He had a giant suitcase. He’s weird. Later on, he fell asleep while they were reading the code of conduct/contract. And I don’t mean drift off, I mean snore snore snore! Um ok. He doesn’t speak much, and when he does, he mumbles and talks very very slowly. Then there’s Amy. I think I’ll like Amy. She’s from South Carolina. She not so proudly says her town was the birthplace of the KKK. She made fun of Autumn for treating me like some kind of alien entity, being Canadian. Then she said, “Well, now you can go back and say you’ve officially met a redneck hillbillie.

Have I got everyone? Autumn and I, Jill and Amy, David and Bernard and Sylvia and Carmen. Yup. So we all took off, and went for a bus ride that seemed to take for frickin ever! Then we finally arrived, and one by one, they led us to our rooms. My room was right after this funky loading lounge thingy, so that confused the hell out of me. My room’s pretty cool. They even brailled out instructions for the phone! How cool is this? Oh there I go again. But you can dial a number and get your class schedule for the next day, the menu, and all that stuff. Pretty sweet.

Then the alarm clock, ug the alarm clock. Now that I’ve mastered the beast, it’s all cool, but it was a stubborn sucker. It also helps when you find the switches on the sides. Uh-huh, that was not so brilliant.

They took us for a tour. If I could just tie things together from one side of the hall to the other, I think I’d get it. But I can find the day room, dining room, my room, which his key, and the computer room. I know where the nurse’s room is if I need it, because it’s right by this buzzing laundry room. I’m happy. The dryers are stacked, but the buttons are in the middle! I won’t need a stool like in Ottawa!

It felt like I could never unpack. I’d just get started and the phone would ring, or I’d have to go somewhere. We had to go and meet at 5 and they had to read out the boring stuff, and, er, Bernard had a nap. We met the rest of the class then. There’s this slow but sweet lady named Meredeth I think that’s how you spell it, a loud rehab counsellor dude named Frank, and a guy named Al who seems very quiet and stuff.

Then we went for dinner! Mmm prime rib! And espresso ice cream. and then I wonder why I’m still awake. But I’m gonna keal soon. I’m finally unpacked and stuff. I’ve felt very anti-social today, but there’s so much to process! But this place rocks! I think that’s everything for today. If I think of anything else important, I’ll throw it in another entry.

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