News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

When I was a little girl, I was known for saying “I can’t wait until …”. Sometimes it was anticipating an event, but more often it was wishing something was over.
My mom would say, “Don’t wish your life away.”

This week is one of those weeks that — despite not having as much life left as I did as a child — I just as soon was over. I try very hard not to write posts like this — especially as straight pros with no fun in it –, but I just can’t find a way to make this stuff fun.

First, We are under siege this week. the street south of us is 38th, a major thoroughfare with tons of traffic and some of our buses. Because it is so busy, it’s a great street to walk along for judging traffic. 37th on our north is very quiet, and crossing some streets there isn’t the wisest move. This week, they are paving and doing lots of construction along the section of 38th street where we live. this means the roads are closed, and there is no traffic and potential for obstacles. I’m nervous for Phil crossing the streets every morning walking to his bus stop. The noise vibrates the house, and our little 15th Avenue is about to get very busy this weekend with the Powderhorn Art Fair three blocks away. I can use metro mobility sometimes but not for errands from one place to another. I am thankful a friend could help out, because I was down to my last of needed women’s essentials. Of course, that’s happening too, and women you understand how that impacts things.

Phil hasn’t felt good the last few days and stayed home yesterday. Tuesday night at dialysis, he started itching, and no one knows why. he went back to work today. it sounds like his stomach has been bothering him, and he is in quite a bit of pain. I just warned him not to wait for the weekend to get in touch with someone about this. We don’t need another hospitalization! both of us have had periods of dizziness and headaches which have caused us to forget things, run into things or injure ourselves in other fashions.

The new computer came Monday, but we needed eyes to get Phil started. Wednesdays are our normal reader day, and despite how he felt, he wasn’t going to pass up help getting it set-up.

Speaking of the new computer, it’s definitely not my area of expertise. I just let Phil do his thing, and so I knew it was serious when Phil told me he had a terrible thought. Phil forgot to have a parallel port put on it for our printer. We have had a laser printer since the late 90’s. We had just recently and finally found a cartridge which consistently distributes toner making our documents look sharp after a couple of years of having it splatter making them blurry. I asked if there was such a thing as a parallel to USB converter, and the answer was no, so we had to get a new printer, which also is a scanner, a fax, and a copy machine. Phil had also been concerned with the security of our network and that we weren’t getting the Internet speed we should, so a new modem was purchased. Compared to the computer, these are minor expenses, but it reminds me of a remodeling project which starts out small and then seems to grow exponentially as people realize that getting a new X will probably mean needing a new Y.

Yesterday I had a call from a number I didn’t recognize. With the kind of week I was having, I was ready to give a telemarketer a piece of my mind. It was fraud prevention services on my credit card, and Someone was placing charges on my card to places in New Mexico. I thought disputing the charges was going to be pretty simple, as they said they could send what I needed by e-mail. but oh no. It was an inaccessible PDF file. Some are readable by our speech screen reader, but others aren’t. This meant more time on hold awaiting my fate this afternoon. they’re sending it to me in Braille, so we’ll see what happens. There was a fed Ex Envelope on the porch, which is probably my new card. But that will have to wait until next Wednesday when we have our reader.

And finally, speaking of access issues, the web site from which I love to buy music has incorporated some new software which makes it very difficult for people with screen readers. Granted, they understand that it needs to be fixed, and I know we are a very small population. My husband gets wound up about this, because companies only think of accessibility when everything else is done rather than building it in from the beginning. I think I am among the first blind people who have discovered the obstacles they have put in our way. I’m now seeing other blind people on Twitter starting to have the same problems, and if the wrong blind person — someone who feels like suing over access — gets a hold of this, there could be trouble. they say they are working on it, but the mutterings have started. This company has been sued for access problems before, so they’d better not waste any time getting it fixed. Fortunately, they have a top-notch customer service phone line, and I’ve been passing that number along to others. It’s one of those sites on which they’d prefer to do things electronically, so phone numbers are not as prominently displayed. Our issues aren’t among the frequently asked questions to which they refer people. Because I had trouble before, I just happen to have it, and my friends are appreciative.

All of these things are low-level by themselves, but when put together present a frustrating picture. Perhaps one day I’ll look back and laugh at some of this, but right now, it’s all a big pain in the rear.

Rebecca Kragnes with Seeing Eye Dog Zane (Black Lab )
E-mail: rebeccak
Twitter: RebeccaKragnes


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