Literally and figuratively.
My treadmill arrived and Mr. K and I put it together in less than half an hour. I've been running between 3 and 4 times a week so far and I intend to increase that once I'm acclimatized to exercising, attending classes and going to placement. I usually have a tendency to jump in full force, but then have to take a break because I've burnt myself out. So, I am trying very hard to be a little more balanced.
2015 is off to a fast and strong start. I can't believe that we're already a week and a half in. I'm not entirely sure where the time has gone.
First, I'd like to wish my furry princess a very happy third birthday. Her Royal Highness, Princess Hermione Sophia turned three on January seventh. Again, where has the time gone? It was a low key day, but we did play our new "find it" breakfast game for an extended period of time and all of the dogs got to chew on some yummy bones.
This week also marked the beginning of my placement. Monday was a work from home day. I read tons of articles, watched videos and generally acquainted myself with my agency. I also had to enroll in and start an online course that teaches service providers about the ADA. I'm glad we started that way because I felt like I eased in a bit and was really ready and excited for my first full day at the agency.
Tuesday was that day. My yellow beast and I headed out at about 8:30. We took a cab because the weather was supposed to be terrible. We arrived on time and from the moment we walked through the door, we didn't stop.
We first met with my supervisor and she gave me a brief welcome. She then walked us around the entire building, stopping to introduce me to every staff member. Some people were not in their offices, so I didn't meet everyone that works there yet, but I have a feeling it won't be long before I've met all staff members.
I have to say the people are fantastic. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. And, in a genuine sense. The CEO of the company even stopped in to meet me as well and told my supervisor to schedule him and I a meeting some time soon. A lot of the staff who have their MSWs are interested in how the USC virtual academic center works. I had told my supervisor during my initial interview that I wanted to be better at giving presentations. So, as we wandered about and people expressed an interest in the ins and outs of the program, she came to the conclusion that we will have a working lunch where I will present the intricacies of the virtual academic center; not to mention the accessibility and inaccessibility of the thing.
After my tour I met with another staff member who runs a women's with disabilities support group. The group is peer led, but she acts as a facilitator. I've been assigned to shadow her every Tuesday. We did go over to the little community building that is located right outside of the office building and I was introduced to the women's group. (I told you I hit the ground running).
After the group it was lunch, a very quick lunch, and it was off to talk with the volunteer coordinator. Somewhere in there I was signed up to take part in a two day workshop on Motivational Interviewing. It is a technique we learned last semester, but the more practice I get, the better. She explained her job(s) and told me about presentations she would like me to accompany her on. After her it was time to talk to the guy who is in charge of the data base and quality assurance. He is also their unofficial Tech dude. Not only did he explain his job(s) to me, but he also got my company email address and such set up. By the time we were finished chatting, it was almost home time.
My supervisor came back to get me and walked me down to the little space that will be my office. I think she may be playing tour guide for a few more days because the building is laid out in such a way that there is absolutely no geometric pattern to it at all. It's a really old building which really cool, but it's like they smushed two or three half buildings together to create one building. Thankfully I've got my beastie because, as always, she was a super star. She never ceases to impress me, but we got what I consider to be one of the highest compliments a working team can get.
When we came back from our women's group, the other staff member was walking in front of us. She is low vision, but doesn't use a cane or a guide dog. We were going to head to lunch, but needed to go upstairs to the staff break room.
"Do you think she will find the stairs?" She asked me as we passed through a doorway into a wide open room.
"Probably." I said. I wasn't entirely sure where the stairs were because of how open the room was and because I had only been in there once before. I kind of lifted my hand and waved it in what I thought was the general direction of the stairs and told my little worker bee to "find the stairs." She took off like a shot, stopping confidently with her front paws planted on the bottom step. Good girl! The staff member was impressed.
"I don't like dogs," she said "but you are changing my mind."
This final demonstration of beastie's skills had come on the heels of her showing me chairs, doors, bathrooms and more chairs and stairs; all in places where she had never been.
Of course we made little mistakes: like I told her to turn left too early and she did, so we ended up not getting to our office. However, those are the navigator's mistakes. One office was even so small that when I said "find the chair" she curved herself in such a way that she was touching both as if to say "which one? This is confusing!"
We both slept well Tuesday night. It wasn't really all that physically demanding, but mentally I think we were both exhausted. We were supposed to have a half day at placement today, but everyone is snowed in. So, I'll work from home again. I'm sure though that Miss Yellow would prefer to go to work.
We're back at placement Monday, weather providing, and we already have a full schedule. We'll be starting our day with a phone conference about transportation accessibility and then who knows what else. Sky's the limit with this placement I think.
PS: As you have probably noticed I haven't said my working beast's name and it's because my computer keeps auto-correcting it to something else. So, until I figure out how to shut that function off, she will be referred to in a myriad of ways.