Fiona and me in the snow

a short update

The plan is to go to the beach this afternoon, but I'm not sure when. We don't have too much special planned besides that, but it's the last full day here, so I'm sure we'll make it count. After the beach, we're going to cook out (ribs and steaks), and then leave tomorrow morning a bit early. My father-in-law has not been feeling good lately as he's been dealing with a cold for a while, so we haven't been doing much today. We shall see.

I edited my last entry so taht maybe the picture should show from Twitter. Twitter has some weird photo linking I didn't know about, but i think I fixed it, so hopefully my photo showed this time. At least now, I know how it's done in the future.Should be nice to get back home though even though the drive will suck. It's been a really nice time here, epsecially since going to the beach isn't necessarily something I love to do.
Fiona and me in the snow

the NER Crotch Sand Index and deer near the house

I'm not sure what the plan is today, but we have done what, in my opinion, is the perfect vacation activity, slept in and veged out so far. I think we're planning on going to the beach later. Low tide is near 3:30 this afternoon, so that should give us plenty of time to get there.

This whole island is a gated community, complete with guard shack. Once you drive on, most people have golf carts on their property for transportation on and around the island. Dean (my father-in law)'s boss owns this house we're staying in. He has three golf carts, one of which sits six, and we used that one yesterday when we went to the beach. It takes about five minutes to drive the quarter mile to the beach and another five minutes to walk through the sand and over into the beach, so it's really quite easy to get to the beach. Like swimming in a pool though, at least for me, it takes a lot of energy, especially when you're carrying lots of other stuff. It's still fun though, and the beach is nice.

Before I talk about yesterday's beach experience, let me invent an index which I will cite while we're here. It's called the Collapse ).

At low tide, the beaches here are extremely wide. I think ti's an artifcat of the South Carolina barrier islands and beaches as I have heard that Myrtle Beach is similar. Not only are the beaches really side here, but they are very flat, and you can walk out really far, probably because all kinds of sand continues to build up to create these islands. Makes me wonder how they build anything on barrier islands. I know that this house is built on stilts, and they must go way down to secure the house to the land. Beyond that, I don't know.

The surf was very gentle yesterday. the NER Crotch Sand index was not even a 1. I did get some sand on my face, but that might have been because Julian threw a shovel-full in my face, jerk. the waters are oddly warm, and they don't lie when they say they're warm like bath water. True, they're not as warm as my bath water as I like hot baths, but they're definitely lukewarm, probably in the 80s. This is very different than the water in California or Alaska which are freezing. They got me a life jacket last night which isn't necessarily needed, but ti'll be nice not to have to worry about swells going over my head unexpectedly. I'll test it out today.

Last night, we spent most of the evening watching the deer that live on the island walk around. Fripp island is somewhat of a nature reserve, and the deer are protected. They terefore don't have much fear of humans or their habitations. There's plenty of vegetation for them to eat here, and there are strict rules not to feed the deer, but they still come around. I would bet that there are some deer that get fed by tourists or residents, judging by how close this deer came to the house. a picture of two deer taken off the porch through the trees. One deer's name is Elliot One of the dder that was here had a hurt leg and spent lots of time near the steps hoping we would pay attention to him. Apparently, he's been hanging around here for two years, and has been disabled for probably longer. He lives fine though, and he's in a good place. In the real wild, he'd probably not survive. It's definitely wild to have so many trees in the living areas with all of these animals, and then to transition to the beach. Very cool.

That's about all I can think to write about, that and I'm getting more long-winded than normal. More soon.
Fiona and me in the snow

welcome to the jungle, for real.

Well, we made it, finally! Everyone's up right now, but we're not doing anything so I'm writing.

We got here last night, after several delays and fun times, at about 11:30. This was mostly because we stopped to get something to eat, had a GPS issue finding a gas station almost causing us to run out of said gas, and (c) it just is that far from our house in virginia to Fripp Island in South Carolina.

Before explaining the island, I have to write about Collapse )

Now to the island. From how Holly has described things here, I wonder if i'll find a cave and meet some people who have been required to enter in a code every few hours. i don't think i'll get lost here thank goodness, but the jungley pines that are here sure could fool me. Pretty much everyone here drives down to the beach and around the island on golf carts. We haven't done this, but we followed a whole convoy of golf carts to the house last night from the beach. The plan is to go to said beach in a bit and check it out. My father-in-law says the beaches are wide and the surf is gentle, so I'll probably enjoy it without breaking an arm, something I did when I had a close up and personal experience with a boogie board off the outer banks of North Carolina.

Should be a fun-packed day, and I'll write about it later prvided Julian doesn't tire me out.
Fiona and me in the snow

precursor to travel

Well, we haven't left yet but it's in the works. We're planning on leaving within the hour which, provided we get there in 7 and a half hours (projected, we should be there by 8. We are going to a beach on an island in the southeastern part of South Carolina. John and my father-in-law are already there and they say it's nice, so we'll see. For now we have to cross most of North and South Carolina. Lucky for us, we don't have to traverse the long bits of those states but we're going from north to south. More when we get there.
Fiona and me in the snow

reading evenings and daily happenings

I've got the vpn pretty much dialed in now, and don't get as many drop-outs and slow-downs as I got when I didn't have much of a clue and/or the network wasn't behaving properly. This is a good thing because I'm having some true fun playing around and listening to cool stuff around the world.

I cleared all of my work today, again, which is good in some ways because I've finished everything, but bad because I haven't figured out what I'll do tomorrow. I"m sure I'll get some work, but it could take some time. Lots to listen to olympicish, so I'm sure I'll figure out something to do should it take a while for work to appear.

Holly et al went to DC today and they apparently had a tough time. I don't know all the details, but they apparently did not time to do all of what they planned to do which was go to museums i.e. Smithsonian etc.

<lj-cut text="Scalzi Book Talk (What I'm reading lately)> I've been reading John Scalzi books lately. I've been meanng to read Scalzi, mostly because Wil Wheaton reads many of his audiobooks and I loved his reading of <u>Ready Player One</u>. I'm really enjoying them. Lots of crazy humor akin to some of my favorite authors--Terry Pratchett ec. With Scalzi, the concentration is more dealing with crazy space people and situations whereas Terry Pratchett seems to deal with overall craziness and mayhem with lots of humor mixed in. His (Scalzi's) books are shorter, but I don't mind. He seems to be teaching me the valuable lesson that longer is not necessarily better. Though I like maximizing my Audible subscription by buying long books for credits, I may buy more shorter books, and I definitely plan to flesh out my John Scalzi collection and buy the books that aren't available from NLS (National Library Service). </lj-cut> I guess I"m going to try to hit the show and then see how long I can stay awake to wait for the fam to get home. Tomorrow will be packing day and Wednesday will be travel day provided no one gets extra sick or hurt in the time being. We shall see.
Fiona and me in the snow

The Olympics play-by-play, and an upcoming trip

I've been spending the past few days trying to find an alternate way to listen to some kind of realiable and accessible London Olympics stream. Unfortunately, most countries block their audio streams, and definitely their video streams thanks to rights issues. It's not necessarily legal I am sure, but I"m using a vpn service with points of presence in the UK and now, as I'm writing now, Australia. I'm not too saddened about doing this and here's why. Note, rant coming up.

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Holly's family is back. Her Dad is on vacation this week, and so John wanted to go to some DC museum, so they are here until Tuesday at which time they'll head to the South Carolina beaches. Holly's Dad's boss powns a house on an island near the beach, and he's letting them borrow the house for the weekend. I'm taking off a few days to follow. I usually don't enjoy the beach, but it should be fun hanging out with the family, and I'm looking forward to it. John talked about how they'd brought fishing poles, and if that's the case, I'm all about that!

Otherwise, not much else going on now. I haven't been sleeping as much as I would have liked lately, but that is pretty much par for the course for me lately. That being said, I think I'm going to take a nap pretty soon. Back to the Olympics.
Fiona and me in the snow

I win!!!

Man it's hot out there today. So hot in fact that they issued a heat advisory this afternoon.

I came home after lunch so that we could make a deposit at the bank. I had an email from teh contracting officer from the pool as follows.

Good Afternoon Mr. Romey. My name is ??????. One of my responsibilities is to oversee our pool here at ??????. I would like to apologize for the incident that happened on July 12th. Upon further investigation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we found out that it is acceptable for your dog to accompany you inside the pool area.

Score! I shouldn't be happy because this is the outcome that I expected, but it does make me feel good to help educate the workforce. I got a call from him shortly after receiving the email. I missed his call, but I'm sure I'll talk to him tomorrow. I think he was calling from the pool to tell me that all staff was made aware that I could go to the pool deck with Velvet, unhindered. Again, Score for guid dogs!

P.S. More blind people inprocessed into our center yesterday as interns. They don't work in mya rea, but some use JAWS so I will probably get an opportunity to help them later on, especially with the accessibility concerns we have with some of the systems that we use.
Fiona and me in the snow

Manmade, natural, and more manmade pools, waterfalls, and geysers

I woke up this morning before my alarm, and decided to start work at 6 so I could get off at 2:30 this afternoon. The consequence of this was that I was really tired when I got done and took a short nap. I'm ok now, but I haven't been sleeping well lately, so I'll probably go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I heard from EEO today and she emailed the people who run the pool. The top person, not the contracting officer, and she agreed that I probably should have been able to have Velvet near the pool. The MWR headperson plans to talk to the contracting officer tomorrow and we'll see what happens. The writing is on the wall really--it's only a matter of time--but I need to hear the official word that I'm allowed to bring Velvet onto the pool deck.

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We got several tropical thunderstorms yesterday afternoon and evening. I'm not sure what the status of it is today, but our mostly dirt backyard, already saturated by the flood induced by the broken pipe, was a mud pit. Too bad we don't have any grass there yet, because it, and any stray ducks, frogs, or worms would have been very happy.

I contacted the water company today, and first thing on my agneda tomorrow will be writing the "leak letter" that will adjust any extra water usage due to the incident yesterday. Should, as all days have been lately, be exciting.
Fiona and me in the snow

My dog got kicked off of the public pool deck, details.

I went out this morning and it was damp outside so I wondered if it rained. When it thundered later and poured, I knew it was not a fluke. Been playing cribbage on the iPhone and really appreciate that I may be able to play online with others. No one knows cribbage around here, so that's really cool!

I've been doing lots of working and a bit of play though that was wrought with excitement a bit too. My mother-in-law has continued to be here and definitely helps out.

I finished my EEO training on Thursday and promptly used it that afternoon. We decided to go to the pool on base after I finished the training at midday. We ended up getting there later than we'd liked because I needed to get my ID redone and that takes forever sometimes with the security that's required sometimes. Let me first say, we've been to the pool several times, and all of those times without problems. When we got there and checked in, the person manning the pool told me that I would have to leave Velvet outside the pool fence. I didn't think too much about it because, like I said, I'd been there before and tied her to the fence on the very edge of the deck. We all got ready to go in and I tied my dog to the fence like I've done before, and the pool manager approached me again and told me that I had to move my dog or leave the pool area myself. She said it was a military regulation and a health code violation to have an animal of any type on the pool deck. I believed this to be incorrect ant I told her that. We went back and forth, me getting more angry and her remaining steadfast, and after a time, I decided to follow her rule, remove my dog, and follow EEO processes to educate them and produce positive change. I didn't plan to have Velvet in the water--she's terrified of getting in pools--I just wanted to have easy access to her. I ended up having to put her across the pool from where we were on the other side of the fence.

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So I've contacted our disability program manager, and we're working on it, but it could take some time. Hopefully they (the people who manage the pool and its contract)will see reason, and it won't take too long to resolve, but it could take a while. It seems like we need to make people frm the bottom to the top know amor about guide dog etiquette as even the pool manager's contracting officer denied me.

I'm much less angry about it now , but man I was mad. There haven't been too many occasions when I haven't been able to go into a public place with a guide dog, but ion most cases, it's been because of either a person's being from another country, or because they're not educated. I never thought this could happen on a government installation, but there's a first for everything I guess.

On another note, we grilled salmon last night, and it was really tasty. I've never really tasted Caribbean jerk much, so this was a completely new thing for mme, but it wasn't too spicy and I enjoyed it.

Holly's brother John arrived back from EFY with hi sister, so they will all head back tomorrow.

So ends another long entry. What can I say, I have lots of fun and excitement in my life, either that or I'm just wordy.
Fiona and me in the snow

a post about life, diversity, and Julian's radio babble

Well, it did rain after all last night, and it rained on and off today. Walking to and from my training today was quite enjoyable as it was cool and cloudy and nice, and unlike earlier in the week, though humid, the air felt very fresh.

I am a member of a special emphasis program committee and have been so since I started working at DLA, pretty much. Basically, a SEP is an outreach arm of the EEO office. They are the eyes and ears of the organization's policies on equal employment, and they advise and help to get people with diverse backgrounds and abilities employed. Sounds boring I know, but I enjoy it because I feel like I can make a difference in people's lives, especially if I can help them get a new job. Through the committee, I've gotten involved in other committees, and I've learned new skills and knowledge about 508 compliance (more about what that is in later entries). Before now, they have had six different SEPs--all concentrating on various groups. I, amazingly and shockingly enough, was a member of the persons with disabilities committee. Over time, we started having problems getting people to come to the meetings etc. Don't get me wrong, we did accomplish things and helped lots of people out I think, but we started to lack in participation. To make a long story a bit shorter, our EEO director decided to make all six SEPs into one, and so today started the training for the big committee. I'd done this training before a couple of years ago, and though it was very good then, I was worried I'd be bored, but I was definitely surprised.

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Tomorrow, we're covering disabilities all day, so I shouldn't get too much new info, but I'm participating in a panel and representing visually impaired issues. I think I'll bring some of my tech in, but most of it fits in a pocket, so all I'll need to remember to bring is my braille display. Should be great fun answering questions.

On other non-related notes, I played with Julian on my radio and it was hilarious. I tought him to say such things as "rogre" and "k5. I set the radio to not transmit, and he held the mic and talked to the world about how my name was Daddy and that I pressed the button. Very hilarious. He's liked my radio since he was really little. It seems like it has some mystery to it--that and it's got lots of buttons on it--so those things combined with a curious two year old Julian makes for lots of fun. I just need to remember to lock transmit or he'll be transmitting jabber and Daddy to the world. Reminds me of what I do minus talking about Daddy in this journal.