Friday, June 19, 2015

The Wonderful Wedding and Two Weeks After

Hello everyone. It has been nearly two weeks since our wedding. I ended up having a bachelor party the night before. We went to the Lionheart pub and had a really nice evening. Ron Schamerhorn and a few other friends from Oakville joined us. The food, conversation and noise level were all optimal. It was so good to reconnect with that happy bunch of guys.

The wedding day went wonderfully. A lot of really special people in both our lives were there to celebrate with us. Adam was a great best man for the second and hopefully last time. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and have a good day. For me, that was paramount. The kids were quite good. I needn't have worried about their being too bored. The Orthodox wedding service seemed to interest more of our non-orthodox crowd than I would have thought. They don't use the standard questions when it comes to "I do." They ask whether you are doing this of your own free will, [hopefully yes], and whether you have been prom iced to another for marriage, [hopefully, no.]. Glad I didn't mix up my answers due to nerves. I don't harbour any doubt that I've chosen well marrying Sara. I was very conscious, however, of the possibility of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Other than some unexpected confusion when dealing with signing the registry, all went splendidly.

Seeing so many close friends and family in one space was one of those lifetime memories. None of the close friends I invited had to miss the day. Joseph and Rose from my former church were there. I was so glad they could share the occasion. Steve Murgaski and his parents, all very key figures in my life, were there. This made it easy for Michelle McQuigge, our good friend and match-maker, to also be present. The day would have been scandalously incomplete without her there. Mom got to meet and talk with Michelle for the first time in over two decades. Sadly, I didn't hear that reunion. Sara's good friends Shannon and Kim also attended. We had a little time to talk. I look forward to getting to know them both much better. Hearing people meet each other for the first time was as fascinating as I thought it would be. I wish I could have heard more of that happening but needless to say, I was somewhat occupied. Getting to introduce Shannon to the actual Adam, the Immortal Gamer was a priceless moment. Also, dad finally got to briefly meet Rose. Small moments but no less satisfying for their brevity.

Carine and Richie, our photographers, were very good. A number of people commented on how active and professional they looked. Despite never being able to see their accomplishments on our behalf, I have no doubt that those who can see the photo albums will be pleased. I hope the pictures will also serve as good advertising for Carine and Richie's services. They're two of my newest friends who have quickly become special enough that I was originally going to invite them as guests until they insisted on doing our photography free of charge. I'm very pleased to learn that there is some actual audio of the day recorded. That's going to be nice to hear and sharpen the memories with. So much happened in such a short time. Hearing such a big crowd of people outside of the church knowing that they were all here to celebrate our wedding really sticks in my head as something wonderfully special. A sonic snapshot of the people who helped us get to where we stood by being important in our individual lives. They all sounded so happy for us.

A day like our wedding really illustrates just how blessed we are with good people in our lives. So many different beliefs, life styles, and points of view were represented there. We had some brief but wonderful conversations as we attempted to speak with all who were present. It being a Sunday, a number of people had to leave relatively early. I don't think any had to miss the delicious dinner, but I could be mistaken there. The food was great. I enjoyed every last bite. The DJ was very good and kept the volume reasonable so we could hear each other talking without it being an Olympic feat to do so.

The first week of married life has been a combination of relaxation and setting the foundation for our lives together here. That process is proving somewhat less rapid than I had hoped when it comes to officialdom. Our files have been joined at ODSP. That went smoothly enough although we won't know precisely what our income will be until later this month. And then, there's subsidized housing. they need the ODSP income before they set the new rent. In theory, July should see all of this worked out. I don't anticipate any troubles but will feel ever so much better once this is done.

Next week, we'll be shopping for some furniture. Dog-proofing this place is an absolute must. It really should have been done much sooner. Having my stuff so vulnerable has proved very stressful for me. An electric toothbrush was the latest victim of Aladdin's jaws. It's not like he's destroying things every minute. However, when you're wearing headphones in order that two blind people can work on separate things as we often do, the potential for such destructive acts looms large in my mind. There's simply no warning or way to detect an act of destruction until after it happens. Sometimes, long after it happens. At that point, it's too late to try teaching the dog not to repeat such acts due to their short memories. I just have to try to batten down the hatches and put up with the ongoing state of affairs until this place can be reconfigured. I just hope we can find affordable furnishings I'm relatively happy with quickly. Something as personal as a desk isn't the kind of thing I feel comfortable just ordering online without knowing what it feels like. Therefore, I need sighted help to do the shopping. I think it'll also be necessary to replace the credenza so we have room for two desks and something hopefully with more drawer space in between them. That would be ideal I think. I'll be living with my decisions, made in all too necessary haste, for hopefully many productive years. For me to be productive, I need to feel that my stuff is safe and handy. Right now, I can choose only one of those options and safe has to win out. Thank God he doesn't seem too interested in going after wires. There comes a point where you simply can't have everything tucked out of reach. The only danger there is that he'll accidentally run into or snag them as he makes his way around the apartment often at great speed. Sadly, he's not as infallible as I once thought. I've heard him hit his poor big head on a few things while racing around. It never seems to trouble him much though. He barked at me when I accidentally stepped on a paw. Just one sharp little bark and then all was forgiven. I envy him his marvellous equanimity.

Our online community has really been busy lately. Lots of congratulatory messages on all social platforms to respond to. And of course, there were plenty of wedding gifts to sort through. Thankfully, lots of people went with gift cards. Those will come in very handy indeed and aren't counted as assets by the powers that be. The physical gifts are gradually making their way into everyday life. Lots of thank you cards to do over the next while. Ultimately, I'm rather glad we didn't plan some sort of honeymoon. The reality of married life will progress from somewhat chaotic into whatever our new normal ends up being. Going away for a week or so would merely have staved off that process leaving it hanging over our heads like an anvil rather than the more natural journey it has turned out to be. This also gives Aladdin and Sara time to bond and settle in their relationship. They aren't the smooth well-practiced team I experienced with her former guide dog. I don't know how relaxed a vacation in a different place would actually have been just now. Better to get all our ducks in a row first.

It is now Tuesday morning of the second week of married life. Sara sleeps much better than me. I've taken some time to read a little from the iPHONE user guide about the hearing aid mode option. I get tested for hearing loss today. I don't know whether it's all in my head, serious enough to warrant action, etc. It'll be good to have an objective opinion. ODSP and ADP can help if I find that hearing aids would be beneficial. Hopefully, I can get a pair compatible with my iPHONE. Not sure whether that's taken into consideration at all by the rules governing the selection of any sort of hearing aid. If it's simply a drastic improvement in hearing ability, all well and good. However, what about echolocation, noise filtering altering my perception of surroundings, etc? I've never really thought about hearing aids much. I guess that's partly due to that myth that blind people have better hearing than sighted people. The nugget of truth behind that myth is that we use our hearing for more things than sighted people. That doesn't mean we can't lose our hearing or have substandard hearing.

It's Thursday morning. I'm sitting out on my balcony for the second morning in a row. Tuesday was very eventful. We met one of the building staff who told me that the balconies were in fact safe to use and stable. All that remains to be worked on is some loose concrete. I wish communications had been better. I could have enjoyed my balcony quite a lot over the past couple of months. At least July  can be fully savoured. August gets tricky due to wasps. It isn't safe to enjoy anything which might attract their attention.

We went out to look at some desks. This process did let me feel a few desks within our budget but we were unable to feel as wide a range of desks as I had hoped. Stores are leveraging online shopping more and more. This reduces the floor space they need but can make it harder to try before you buy. I honestly could have done just as well shopping online with a sighted person making certain what I picked didn't clash horribly or something. We're not quite at that point but it's just around the corner. We ordered a desk I was unable to feel first. However, it was good to have some tactile notions to go on in terms of height, texture and such. They'll arrive in early July.

My hearing test was interesting. It took quite a while to do. They played a bunch of tones at different frequencies which could be devilishly quiet. I often wondered if I was imagining them as I raised my hand in response. Apparently, I did quite well on the test. The technician thought I had mild nerve damage related loss. She felt that it was borderline whether I needed hearing aids. Definitely some loss there but for sighted people, likely not enough to justify hearing aids. Because of my increased reliance on my hearing, she still recommends them. I was relieved to learn that I had no eardrum damage and only soft wax in my ears.

I'll be going to see my family doctor to discuss the letter I was given by the audiologist. She thinks I should see an ENT specialist to investigate further. The process will likely take time over the next while. I'm really wondering if I'll end up choosing hearing aids. That would be yet another piece of tech which would have to be kept charged and accompany me everywhere. They're starting to add up a little disconcertingly. On the bright side, all these devices are getting smaller and smaller. My next laptop will, I think, be a little smaller and certainly lighter.

Sara is making herself right at home here. She has found a good spot for her keyboard and musical instruments. We still have a fair bit of stuff in boxes kept in the storage room. That'll get less crowded once the desks get here. One of the great features of the apartment is that built-in storage room. Far better than having stuff in a basement locker. Sara and I will attend the upcoming building barbecue in mid July. If nothing else, we get a free dinner out of it. I'm hoping the noise level will be kept at a level which allows proper discussion with our fellow residents this time. There are so few opportunities to really have those and meet new people.

Our walks around the park are slowly becoming more coordinated. I don't find them very social. I need to give enough space for Aladdin to work and tend to walk ahead or behind far enough not to get in the way. BlindSquare is performing magnificently. I recently switched off the shake sensitivity thereby solving a major annoyance I was having with announcements being cut off by location reports. When in the pocket, BlindSquare interprets ordinary walking movements as shaking fairly often. Sara has gotten hold of KNFB Reader and has very quickly mastered it. That app is worth its weight in gold.

As things settle down, the responsibility of both enjoying our wedding gifts and using the financial ones wisely takes hold. We have to lay down good foundations both physically and habitually. At the same time, we need to enjoy this first Summer as a couple letting it be as extraordinary as it might. A Summer of building up relationships as a couple with each other as well as with friends and family. There are also threads of life which must be re-worked into a new richer tapestry. I need to get back to serious work on my book soon. That will likely be after Canada Day. It feels like too many threads are hanging unresolved at the moment. Getting all furnished and organized is taking longer than I expected it to. All sorts of stuff is tucked away in strange places. I find that far more unsettling than is rationally warranted. I didn't realise how much my sense of home depended on where things were. It has taking me more mental effort and longer than I expected to come to terms with change. I'm more in the flow now but feel like I'm mid-point between two realities. Once the paperwork is done and the desks are here, this will feel more like a home suitable to our new lives together.