Since I've been in Alaska, I have posted many pictures and a few highlighted stories of the trips I've taken. Most of the trips have been work-related, which fact engenders no small amount of gratitude on my part. My travel schedule is beginning to pick up again and I am having to spend extra hours here in Anchorage to make up for lost instruction hours while I'm away. At the center, we have training terms wherein I teach Orientation and Mobility on a daily basis and also do PR work at various conferences and meetings.
I'm going to surprise the world and admit that organization is not my strong suit. As a matter of fact, it's probably not even a suit at all in my card game! Yeah, you know how the saying goes that someone is not playing with a full deck. My deck is missing a whole suit, when it comes to being organized and managing my time well. Or managing it at all. Well, I can go in spurts, like I did yesterday when I went to Costco and purchased some storage tubs and a rolling duffel bag for my office. Grand plans to organize my road-travel equipment in clear storage tubs to prevent all that digging around to see what's in there. And the duffel is for air travel. I didn't get very far with those grand plans and now I'm stepping over the duffel and the tubs to get to my computer. I am staying late to chip away at that task, as I have four 1 1/2-hour classes a day this term and am also trying to coordinate upcoming travel and appointments and ordering and report-writing. But I sure do like that wheeled duffel bag! I know I'm especially going to love it when I get to pack it.
My colleague who does a similar job, travels with 200 pounds of luggage every time she makes a trip. She flies to all of her destinations, rents a car and then sets her low vision equipment up in a clinic room where she sees upwards of 8 clients a day in one location. I've been on a few trips with her, done some of the on-site work with her, and helped carry her load, but usually, I take my bags of equipment to make home-visits to people who have difficulty getting out to her clinics, or I just take a cane to teach O&M to someone in their own environment.
I can travel 50 miles from the clinic in a town to see just one person, sometimes, or go across town to a senior center to work with residents there, or to another facility to do a presentation, etc. I do not want to carry 200 pounds of luggage everytime I make a trip. I have my own clinics in areas where I have to fly to reach the people. Fly, rent a car, take a ferry or a hover craft. I do not want to take 200 pounds of luggage everytime I make a trip. Oh, did I say that already?
I've decided to mail things ahead of me when I fly--things that I don't plan on bringing back, like catalogs, calendars, and other give-away items if I can get organized enough to do that. And my personal luggage is light. I don't carry two laptops like my colleague does. She takes her work laptop and her personal laptop, so as not to mix up passwords and security, etc. I don't know what all else, but she has even done those trips on crutches and this last time her arm was in a cast. No. Thank. You.
We take low vision aids to demonstrate to people who are experiencing vision loss as adults. Magnifiers of all types--stand, hand-held, electronic, adaptive household aids, various low vision glasses, Talking Book recorders, financial organizers (there's that word, again,) marking supplies, informative literature etc. We have money to offer $100 worth of equipment to each client we see at no cost to them, which is a happy part of my already happy job. Yes, my job is happy and I am happy to have this happy job. I also take a lot of give-aways that people really like. I don't know where they all came from but I found them in my office when I moved in. "Finders get to take 'em and give 'em away," I always say.
On my first road trip, I packed some inexpensive talking watches to give away, and one of those watches talked to me on the whole trip. I couldn't discover which watch it was--everytime I stopped and looked in the container, it quit talking. Cheeky, sneaky watch.
And now the best part. I get to meet people. People in the bush, off the grid, in the village, in rural areas, in towns and I was going to say cities, but I don't think Alaska has cities. Maybe Anchorage is a city. You have to know there are some stories out there!
- long-time homesteaders,
- champion bull riders who have to stop riding in their 50s after the last event resulted in a crushed leg,
- people who have worked "on the slope" for many, many years,
- 90-year-old tennis champions who have lived in the same place for their whole 90 years,
- 94-year-old ship builders who build ships in the mountains and still carry their own water up the steps in their "dry" cabins,
- native artists, herbalists, crafters, culture-keepers and kuspuk (or qaspeq) makers,
- people with signs on the inside of their doors that read "Do not take any more cups out of this house. That is stealing. Stealing from the blind is a shame."
- people with wooden signs in the trees that read, "In loving memory of ________'s 25 trusting dogs, murdered in their yard."
- young people who hitchhike to get around and take rides on snowmachines in temps as low as 30 below