Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nala and I Go Adventuring: Part 101

Okay, we haven't gone adventuring 101 times, or perhaps we have, but I'm assuming that I will be using this title a lot and not remember what number I'm we're starting at 101, Okay?
The last couple of weeks have been a blur. A blur of school work, classes and tooth pain. I had an infected wisdom tooth for over a week and then it was pulled which resulted in more pain, albeit different, for another week. All of this on top of trying to complete final assignments, exams and presentations. I wasn't sure I'd make it, but with only one exam left and the pain pretty much gone, I think I'll be okay.
With the tooth problems and having so much work to do, I really haven't been very active. My mini exercise routine fell by the way side because I just couldn't do it due to both physical and time constraints and I found myself in the sitting on lying down position a lot. I've been getting antsy the last couple of days as the pain has subsided and the assignments were getting checked off of my "to do" list. Ever since finding out where my placement is going to be I've been devising plans on how I'm going to get there.
Initially, I thought I'd take the door to door service, but started thinking that I should look for other options for a few reasons. First, that option was going to cost me sixteen dollars a week which adds up. If I took public transit it would only cost three dollars a week. Second, that really doesn't give Nala and I a chance to work together. I enjoy walking and working with her. So, I scratched that option off of the list. I'm not saying it's completely out. If there's some terrible weather forecasted then I will probably opt for that option, but otherwise, we are going to take the bus; especially since it's only three miles away and I used to walk that to work in Scotland. Maybe when the weather turns nice, we'll walk.
When I first looked up the bus route I was concerned because it said that I needed to take two buses to my placement. I am not a huge fan of buses. The longer you are on them, the more likely you are to get lost somewhere. At least living here the majority of the buses talk. However, I really didn't want to take two buses. After examining the route further though, I realized that the second bus only went three stops before I would have to get off. It seemed silly so I decided that I would take one bus and walk from the terminal to the placement. Then, I started thinking "how am I going to do that? I don't know where I'm going."
I looked up the directions on Google walking directions, but I was still concerned about how I would know when to turn into the agency's parking lot. Mr. K had brought it to my attention that my iPhone would give me step by step directions. So, yesterday I spent some time researching how this function worked, but there really wasn't a lot of information. Most of the stuff I found applied to the phone when not using the screen reading software and the stuff I did find about the screen reader was all this advanced stuff that I had no idea what it meant. It certainly wasn't applicable to what I wanted to know. So, after getting completely frustrated, I grabbed a handful of treats, suited up Nala and set my phone's map to return to my home address. I didn't turn the map on until much later.
I started by patterning Nala to my front door. We live in condos which really look like townhouses to me and so finding the right door can be tricky. I wrapped a hair tie around the handle so that if she took me to the wrong door I would know instantly and wouldn't reward her for picking the wrong place. After I thought she had an idea of where we needed to end up at, we headed out.
We took a route we've walked before, but eventually turned down a street we've never walked before.   Lala was excited, but I could tell she thought I was wrong in asking her to go this way. (My auto correct won't let me spell Nala's name properly). I wasn't though. I was trying to find a circular route that would land us back at our complex, but when I switched the map on, it told me to turn around and go back the way I came. I knew my street wasn't a dead end, but I couldn't figure out how far I needed to go to find the street that would meet up with my street. In order to not confuse Nala, I turned around and we walked back the way we came. We were out for about twenty minutes and I was really impressed by her skill.
She crossed all streets dead straight on, she found curbs and paused confidently which made me comfortable; especially on the streets we had never been down before. She walked across grassy boulevards when I asked her to and found the sidewalk on the other side. At one corner she was a bit confused because it is a corner we have gone many directions before. She found the curb straight ahead of us and when I asked her to go right she thought I wanted her to find the cross walk button. So, she found that instead. I praised her because I probably will want that pole one day. Then I tried to proceed and she found the other curb and the pole that allows me to push the button to cross that street. It would seem that Nala's theory is "safety first." I tried again, making smaller hand signals and she got it. We were off again.
Back on our street I was worried I wouldn't know when to tell her to turn into our driveway. As we walked along I heard a few cars up ahead turn right and I wondered if that was our parking lot. As we got closer a giant truck was backing down the driveway. I waited for it to go and then asked Nala to turn right. She hesitated, but a car that had turned in earlier had sounded like our neighbor's junker, or at least I told myself it did, and I insisted that she turn. She went, albeit slowly and I second guessed myself, but as we walked further into the driveway my phone made some kind of crazy alert noise. If the phone was accurate, I had [picked the right driveway. You never know how accurate these things are and so I encouraged Nala to "find home."
She took me to a curb and then a door. I checked and there wasn't a hair tie. Had we turned too soon? I turned us around and said gently "no, find home." She took off like a shot, took a hard right into the place next door and charged up to the door.
There was a hair tie.
Party and treat time.
Our little trip out was great for a few reasons. First, it accomplished my goal of figuring out how to work my phone's map function better. I still need some work, but I'm excited that I even tried. I hate technology and just a year ago I probably wouldn't have tried it. Second, it reminded me of just how well NNala and I work together. This dog can never retire. And, last but not least, it gave us some much needed leg stretching. We weren't out for long, but we walk fast and it felt really good to just "vrrrrrm" along with her. In fact, the speed in combination with my lack of exercise lately and some steep hills we climbed made my legs a wee bit sore this morning. (Must do this more often).
So, there you have it. Our adventure with a functional purpose..
Mission accomplished.


Kim C said...

I'm so happy you and Nala had a successful adventure! I'm also glad you are a wee bit sore from walking fast! HA!! You and Nala do walk fast that's fore sure!!

I am without a puppy! Tammy and Patti were in town on Monday and they kept Kayla for the night and then Tammy brought Kayla home with her and this morning at 9:00 a.m. Tammy returned Kayla to Leader Dog for me.

It sure is quiet and lonely without my sweet girl. Thank goodness for Pike puppies! I'll wait until after Christmas before I take one on furlough.

I miss you!!!!

Julie said...

If you figure out the mapping functions, I'd be very interested in a post explaining them. All the tutorials I've found are for advanced users. Something for new users would be grand!