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

Well, if I did it correctly, my public profile on this blog should have a photo of me and Zane in it — if not now, very soon. Aside from my Web Site (which is in need of an update) this will complete the social media I use which have spaces for photos. It all started last week when the woman from social media site requested that blind people consider at least putting up a profile photo. Some blind people are resisting the idea of having photos, and initially I did, too. But hey, if it helps the sighted have a better idea about who I am, OK, I surrender. Some blind people wanted to take their own pictures, and that’s possible on the iPhone. Phil has done it, and the picture of him on his Facebook and Twitter profiles is one he took himself. Sure, I could do that, but I really preferred to have someone else take and help me pick the right photo for my profile picture. Our reader arrived back from Peru this week, and I asked her to use the camera to take various photos of me and Zane. Other blind people are taking photos of places they are, etc., and although I know it’s possible, I don’t know that I’m that into it. The people who are doing this say they really don’t care what others think about how it comes out, because it’s something they did themselves. I just can’t share that sentiment and would rather have quality photos on my social media presences.

Speaking of social media, I’ve really gotten into Skype in the past couple weeks.
I’ve had a Skype account for quite a while on my phone, and that’s exclusively how I use it. I use my wireless keyboard in the living room and don’t want to be tied to the desk with a microphone. With the lanyard around my neck and a microphone on some head phones, my Skype is extremely portable in the house. I’ve always been mystified when playing games with others about why they want me to get on Skype with them to talk. I have found out why. I think I’ve written about a new game Phil and I are enjoying called Farkle. It’s on a gaming site for blind people called RSGames, and we now also have it on our iPhones. The iPhone version only lets us pass the phone between players or play against the computer. . I was invited to a big Farkle game by someone I didn’t know. Eventually, he learned I had Skype, and he patched me into a conference on TeamTalk. Through that conference, I met another blind couple who live about an hour away in Wisconsin. The woman and I have chatted on Skype and found we have a lot of things in common. They’re a little younger than we are — in their thirties — but I’ve enjoyed talking on Skype while playing on RSGames with them. Last night Phil got on Skype for the first time, and all four of us played Farkle. For those who have never used Skype, I think the sound quality is better than the phone. This couple lives in a small town and are newlyweds of a few months. I don’t envy them, because as much as we complain about transportation in the city, transportation for blind people in a small town really stinks. And the job prospects! These are some sharp individuals, and I really hope they are able to find employment where they live. On the plus side, I was startled when on Skype with the woman, and her husband had computer problems. Despite it being midnight, they had someone with eyes at their door to help them get the computer speaking to them again. We’ve had to call on friends for emergencies, but that would never be something we’d be able to do and expect to still keep our friends. The combination of Skype and RSGames really brings about a social experience which is pretty similar to being in the same room.

We had to have a visit from the plumber, because all of the sudden our bathroom sink started backing up. We had a friend and then the plumber come in with snakes, and they weren’t able to clean it out. A guy from a draining company who works hand in hand with the plumber came out and worked on it with a more aggressive snake. He said it was one of the worst he’d seen in a while. He told us it was likely it hadn’t been done by the last house owners, and that’s why we had trouble. We’re also watching our tub drain. We’ve been using draino, but that stuff can eat away at the pipes and could cause headaches down the line. There’s a drum trap in there instead of a p-trap, and I guess those are harder to work with. We’re definitely going to ask a few more questions and try to hold this off for a while if we can.

I have been waiting all day for my new Victor Stream to be delivered. I have tried a couple alternatives to see if I could be without one, and the answer is no. The behavior or my Stream got worse and worse, and eventually a tech support guy told me there was a short in the power button. As we suspected, it would cost almost as much to get it repaired as to get a new one. A generous soul was not using hers and gave it to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t work at all for some reason. Another person offered to sell hers for a reduced price, but hers is two years old. Given that the power button issues have to do with age and heavy use, I decided the cost difference between getting a new one and buying hers was not that significant. I have acquired an app for use with a book service to which I subscribe. National Library Service has a lot of books for Blind people narrated and in Braille, but because this service is about people scanning books, this service has even more, and the latest books are available much sooner. The synthesized voice in the app is very nice, and I’ve already enjoyed a book on my iPhone. Still there are things the Victor Stream has which still makes it something I heavily use. There’s speculation about a new model coming out soon, but I’m not convinced it will have any features I need.

Usually, I put Phil’s health news at the beginning, because I know many people are keeping track of it. Since the health news is not as dramatic, it’s coming at the end. He had that split tooth pulled the Friday after the New Year by an oral surgeon. His jaw hurt for a while, but things seem to be settling down in that area. We still have some of the usual dialysis things. Two nights ago, he awoke with one of the worst cramps he’s ever had. It started in his leg and traveled up his back. I’m convinced dialysis may be pulling too much fluid, because he many have gained a little “real” weight (as opposed to fluid retention weight). The ice and uneven surfaces have made an area on the side of his knee with the prosthetic leg very soar, and he tried to stay off of it as much as possible yesterday. He’s taking rides into work, which eases my mind a little. One of his hands continues to give him problems, but it’s not related to lack of circulation. He’s in process to go see if he needs to have the trigger surgery he had a couple years ago in the other hand. The important part is he’s in pretty good spirits.

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Comments on: "photos, social media, electronics, plumbing, and Phil’s health" (1)

  1. Kelly Dunn said:

    Hi there. Hay, instead of doing draino try vinegar and baking soda. It’s more friendly on the environment. I think it’s 2 cups of vinegar to a half cup baking soda. Pour the baking soda down the drain and follow it with vinegar. It will fizzle and bubble but it works great and is less expensive and less harmful on your pipes.

    Kelly

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