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Posts Tagged ‘journey’


We got up and went early today. We went to the beach in St. Petersburg. We left early and stayed until after 1:00 pm. It is was really fun. I was scared at first, though. I haven’t been to the beach in six years. The beach was always special to me because I like running through the water and making it splash. Having fish nibble my toes was always a fun treat, too. Those are very special memories for me. I really didn’t know how I could enjoy the beach again, and I didn’t want to spoil the beautiful memories I had. I needn’t have worried. We walked the beach a good ways at first. Little Joe was dilligent and didn’t trail to near the water’s edge. Just a ways from me, Anthony is walking with Hall. All of a sudden Hall took off for the water jumping several times in the waves before Anthony and the two trainers, Kate and Katie, could pull them both back. Hall wanted to go swimming very badly. It was sooo funny. We all laughed. Kate and Katie were having a ball, too. Later, the Lion’s Club of St. Pete’s fed us lunch. It was very good and sweet of them.After lunch, everyone went walking again. Kate took me to the water’s edge to let Joe and I get our feet wet. I carefully walked into the waves a bit. We were allowed to get wet this trip, but I slowly got out about knee deep. I was scared some. If I got knocked down I was afraid I would get disoriented. Joe only seem to be tolerating the water though. He stayed a step or two back. It was funny. Water was slapping us both. All of a sudden, Joe jumped up and placed his wet front paws on my chest. Water splashed all in my face, and the whole front of my shirt and shorts got wet. He pressed close and put his head on my chest. It was like, “Mama, please get me out of this water.” I really liked it. Slowly the fear went away. Maybe next time, I will go out further. I will take Joe’s harness off for that though. We came back in time to take a nap before feeding the dogs. I did my nebulizer treatment again while Joey slept next to my leg. He let me rub and massage him all over. He was snoring in no time. At his feeding time, he gulped down his food in record time. smile

I worked on JAWS and ZoomText until supper time. I also like the braille display. I don’t have to use my eyes to read it. They didn’t hurt after about 15 minutes like they usually do. Most of the time I ignore it because so much of my work is on the computer. Unfortunately these refreshable braille displays cost 2000 dollars or more. It was nice though.
After supper, I talked to Scott again for awhile.
Then little Joey and I went to play in the room before bedtime. He then slept on the floor while I took a shower. We finished off the day listening to a Sherlock Holmes story. Tomorrow is going to be a really big day. We are traveling down to Tampa for the whole day. It should be fun. Scary, though, at the same time. We will being doing routes on the busy roads and intersections. Until then, sleep tight.

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Day 15: Busy, Busy. New Neighborhood Routes and the Mall

This has been a busy, fun day. We first went to DTC and walked differents routes in another neighborhood. The routes were longer. My usual trainer has the day off since she worked a 36 hour shift over the weekend. Chuck is the training supervisor. He said Joe and I worked perfectly together. After that, we went to the DeSota Mall in Bradenton. We ate lunch first. We individually went to the place of our choice to order. I went to Chick-Fil-A because it was very noisy. I ordered everything without stopping and listed all including sauce and no ice. That way I didn’t have to listen and figure out what was being said. A new place would have been difficult since they would
have to read the menu. I would never have understand them. I made it easy for myself.
We came back and fed the dogs. It was storming here then. We had free time until supper at 5:00 then I talked to Scott for a short while and played 4 or 5 matchmaking games on X-Box. I even won one. Cool.
Next is shower and floor time with Joe.Tomorrow is a surprise day. I am gonna get some sleep now, so I will be ready. Oops. I better use my machine. Nancy just came from next door to check on me. She thought I was crying or something from all the sounds. I am wheezing pretty badly. Well, let me take care
of it. I will check back tomorrow. Good night.

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After awaking at 7:00 am and breakfasts for me and Joe, we went back to the room for our own worship service since I still had gotten a ride to a Baptist church. I told them I didn’t care as much about Baptist as long as it was a Bible believing, Jesus as God type of Church. Anyway, Joe and I read, sang, and prayed for over 2 hours. I don’t know what others thought, but I did it any way. I do feel sorry for those who had to listen to me sing, but God was ok with it, I’m sure. Lunch came quickly and then Joe and I listened to a Sherlock Holmes book for a while. I fed him at 3:00. Then Jerry and Nina played with Joe and I. Actually, we sat in chairs and the dogs played. The trainer helped us listened for the inappropriate growling and barking. When dogs play together, there is some growling and low barking, some mild playful nipping, etc. Anything over that and we have to correct quickly. I was glad for this training because while puppy raising we were never sure what the rules were about that.

After that, I groomed Joe for about 15 mins. He loves it. He turns around when he is ready for me to groom another side. I get about 5 mins. per area. He is sooo funny.

Then I got incredibly bored and hyper. We walked around the inside of the building 6 times. Then Kate asked if I wanted to play with Trigger. I said, “Who?” She said, “Trigger. Our very bad guide dog who has to be corrected an awful lot. I was game for anything, and she seemed to be glad to stop me from continually walking. smile With Trigger, a stuffed black lab with harness strapped to chair, Kate ran me through scenarios and helped me to learn and practice carefully all the different steps, commands and most importantly, corrections. You would never want to correct a real dog this much. He would probably get a low self-esteem and sore neck.
Ok, its straight back pop of the leash with the left hand for not heeling or for missing a curb. New things like overhanging trees is just a stop, touch whatever it is and say watch. If you give a direction command, the correction for not moving in that direction is a pop of the leash in the direction you want to go with the right hand.. Left with the right hand is hard. Down correction is a pop and release of the leash with the right hand in a downward direction.

Lots to get straight in your head, especially if you still get your left and right mixed up. :-< smile

Well, I made it to supper. I talked to Scott again, as most nights. I looked at the pictures of him, Brendan, Hartley, Kaz, and Dino from the security cameras around the house. Scott fixed a private page on our website for me to go and look at when I want. I get to keep up with what is going on. At least,some. smile

Well, bedtime for Bonzo and me. Good night.

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I got up feeling really bad when Kate opened the door at 5 til 6:00 am to wake me up. Joe wagged his tail. I quickly took Joe out, took meds, did an asthma treatment with the machine.
At breakfast I tried to eat some scrambled eggs, toast, and juice, but didn’t get much down. I finally gave up and went to feed Joe. Afterwards, I took him to his grassy spot and perfect. He poopied without hesitating. Good boy!

We were to have obedience at 5 til 8. Everything being moved up some because 150 guests were coming for some reason. Lunch was being moved up to 11:30. I came back to my room to do another treatment. At a few minutes til 8, I went to get up to go. I rushed to the bathroom thinking I was going to get sick. I didn’t, but I gagged. I just couldn’t breathe. I used my asthma inhaler and laid across the bed til I felt better. During obedience I began a coughing and wheezing fit. I became very dizzy, and Kate said I was through for the day. No routes for me and Little Joe. She led me sighted guide back to my room and helped me put little Joe back on tie down. He didn’t argue at all. I gave him his bone to keep him busy. Kate asked me if I needed anything while I laid down. I said not now. She said she would check on me frequently and then check at 11:15 to see if I wanted lunch.
Kate did check on me frequently. I got up and did my nebulizer about every hour or so. About 11:00 I began to feel better. Voice was very tight and hoarse, but I didn’t feel so dizzy. I went to lunch. I know I am better when I feel like eating. I ate a cheeseburger with all the decorations, chips, and brownie with a blind cocktail. Oh if you know I am diabetic and wondering about my concoction, don’t worry the lemonade is sugar free.
After lunch which was early, I went back to my room to nebulize and rest more. I got on the computer at 1:00 to talk to Scott for a while, but spent most of the day in my room nebulizing, sleeping, or watching a movie. Joey was fed at 3:00 and did his poopie on the grass. I called it an early night. This humidity is very high. I guess I will level off when we can have a nice thunderstorm. Good night for night. Sweet dreams.

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I fell asleep last night listening to my book. I woke up sometime and turned it off. This morning Darlene, the night person, woke me up at 5 til 6 this morning. She had to flick the light to wake me up. Well, Joe was wagging his tail, although he didn’t get up, yet. I quickly got dressed and led him out. He gladly did his busy. Once back in, I took another slightly cold shower. I haven’t mentioned that, but every morning or night or afternoon I take lukewarm baths. I have no clue why. First few days I took very cold baths because I couldn’t figure out how to work the shower. I turned it toward hot water, but it was always cold. I would turn it toward C, and it would get really cold. After about three days of very cold showers, I figured out the warmest water, lukewarm, is in the center. It is a good thing I took plenty of cold showers with the Boy Scouts on camp outs. Cold showers take serious getting used to. big grin

After mine and Joey’s breakfast, I took Joe out to busy. I had been told that since Joe really wouldn’t go much on those rocks, I could take him out to a grassy area a little ways away. He seemed extremely happy. He immediately poopied. Finally! Now I can rest easier. I will just have to bring him here.
We did obedience right after that. We practiced a new command stand today. You never correct for this one. If they don’t stand, you put your hand on their underside and and push gently upward and say stand again. Then we did a sit/stay and practiced distractions. Joe only moved one time. The rest of the time he stayed like he was glued to the cement. Good boy!!!! Then we practice Come and the finish. Joey did perfectly. Then we took a break. That means praising and excitement.

Next, we loaded the two vans and headed to DTC. This time the work was short, but fun. We did the route from earlier in the week in reversed. At times, a van would come careening very close to us as it turned in a driveway or turned a corner as we were crossing the street. Joe stopped perfectly and once as the van got very close, he stepped backwards and took me with him. The first time Joe stopped, but I walked past and Joe stepped in front of me. I was not going any further. Good boy! He is soooo good. Of course, listening to traffic and deciding when to cross direction is my responsibility, not Joe’s. He can’t listen to a car and judge how long it will take before it goes by. Only problem, I can’t either. We will have to work hard together on that part, but I am sure we will be alright.

After everyone finished, we loaded back up and headed back. We arrived just in time for lunch. I retired back to my room after lunch to listen to my tape book. Joey slept beside me and dreamed, his little feet flicking back and forth.

I was awakened at 3:15 or so by Kate asking if I was coming to feed Little Joe. I couldn’t believe it. I had fallen asleep on the floor mission I don’t even know how much tape of my story. Joe was still asleep, as well. I would think his tummy was grumbling, especially hearing people noisily walk down the hall and out the metal door with it thudding its frame and shaking a good part of the building. He didn’t, though, so I guess we were both seriously out. I also found out that only a few had done their routes when construction crews who have been working on the front large parking lot decided they needed to tear up all the sidewalks around it. Those places run through almost every route on the map. Therefore, they had to cancel the rest of the day’s activities. We had had our lecture at DTC, as well. We were asked to do obedience on own. I did mine after feeding and busying Joey.

I talked in the Day Room with Chris, Jerry, Misti, Wayne, and Nancy until Supper. After supper I got on early and talked to Scott for an hour. Joe and I busied again and went to bed. I watched a movie until bed. Then listened to a tape until I went to sleep. I later got up long enough to check on Joey and put up my hearing aids. I am sleeping a lot, but the humidity is taking a toll on my asthma control. See you in the morning.

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I awoke at 5:40 this morning. I was still tired from our late night last night. I evidently was not alone. The table was quiet this morning as well as the others. We fed the dogs and did obedience immediately after breakfast. Routes were done after that. We started out toward the Freedom Trail. However, Joe quickly stopped. I did the ground check. Uh, nothing. I started to say forward, but remembered to do the hand in the air check. Ah, a banner stretched across the way. Next he stopped and I found a large hose piled on the sidewalk. He then found some cones down the sidewalk a ways. He missed the dipping curb with dirt at the bottom. I said Watch curb and did a round about command and walked back a short distance. We round about again. When we went forward again, he caught the curb and I did a really good praise. We went forward and walked the Freedom trail through the garden and past the gazebo and out to the other side. We did a find the planter from a different direction before. He found it with no problem. Good party held there. big grin We finished the courses doing a few more obstacles.

After lunch, we did the route again, but Joe did not do quite as well, nor did Shotzie with Mitzi. The cement was just too hot for them. We got them to do the obstacles and then got out of the sun.

After cooling them off, we fed them. We were free until 4:30. I gave Joe a rest and then we played with a Kong. Joe loved it. He mostly wanted to chew it today. I let him and rubbed on him. I put on my audio tape and listened to a murder mystery as I rubbed him.

Kate knocked and opened the door (because I can’t hear the knock and I know she knocked) and said lecture in 5 mins. I turned the tape off and gathered up Joe and made my sit/heel way up to the day room. We went over the over around command which is stop for obstacle/take a step back so the dog can choose the safest route around/follow dog checking for curb if dog stops again. If he finds a curb, praise him and go forward down the curb. Give him the direction (opposite of the way you went around the obstacle) left left or right right and then find the curb. Praise him and say forward to get back in alignment after the obstacle. We talked about dangers such as traffic when in the street if that was the safest way to go, etc. Then it was supper. We have 2 new people in class. They are only here for a few days for some reason. One is a friend of Chris’ who is a executive of a large software company. I have been asked not to say. Well, that just shows that some people talk a lot to look important and then others talk a lot, but are important.
After supper, we were free. I checked e-mail and talked to Scott for a while. I retired to the room for more floor time and book reading until it was time to shower and get to bed. We have an early day at DTC again. Well, new routes and adventures tomorrow. Good night.

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Day 10: Wal-mart and a night walk
We awoke at 5:45 this morning. No present was waiting for me, fortunately. I busied him and he poopied. We had a
big party.” We had breakfast and fed the dogs. Obedience was more practice of distractions during stays and come and finish. At 9:30, we left for Wal-mart. It took us 30 mins. to get there. Once there we busied the dogs and we went in through the store to McDonald’s. In there, we sat and took turns going shopping.
Kate taught me how to walk in the store with a buggy and sighted person. I walk behind the cart with dog next to me, so he is safe from injury and knocking things over. The sighted person stands in front and pulls the cart around.
The best command is Follow. You tap the arm of the sighted person you are going to follow and say, “Follow.” Joe was very good at following. Kate tried to slip away from him, but Joe stayed with her even in crowds. She then took me around and I picked out me some sugar free candies and a Kong hydrant and big Nylabone for Joe. Kate then left us to see how we would do own our own. We could walk around for 10 mins. then head back to McDonald’s. I walked Joe around departments, in the clothes dept, and in the hat dept. I stopped and pick out a baseball cap to help keep the sun out of my face. I brought one (I am sure my husband is mumbling about that now.), but the humidity has been so bad that we can’t keep the floppy parts from being too floppy. I look like someone one pulled my turtleneck up over my head. big grin That is not safe right now. Anyway I found a $5.00 Levi Strauss hat. Joe sat or followed me around looking at each hat in each bin until I decided on that one. He was perfect. We then headed back to McDonald’s. However, somewhere along the way I got disoriented and could not find McDonald’s. I was mumbling about needing to find McDonald’s. Finally, Joe started pulling me hard to turn around. I kept telling him no and trying to focus. Finally, I said ok. Joe take me to McDonald’s. He led me around bins, through dept. and straight into McDonald’s and turned left where everyone was sitting. I was amazed. We had a big party. Other people had similar experiences. I don’t think anyone had any trouble. The dogs’ had been here to practice on several occasions. Oh, Joe is perfect!
We came back and did lunch, took a nap until 3:00 and fed the dogs. The dogs were very tired. Obedience at 4:00 was practicing sit/stay and down/stay with distractions. That is a biggie. Our dogs were all distracted today. They wanted to break command for almost anything. Joe finally just wagged his tail and only slightly moved. That was enough for today.
Lecture was more about why we do the commands and a repeat of the life in the Public Eye. See everyone watches us and if they they we did something inappropriate, someone will call us on it by reporting to SE or Humane Societies who report it to SE. Well, we got a real first hand experience today. Daniel was seen doing a push to Alex because he was being stubborn and refused to sit like he was supposed to do. It was not anything that he wasn’t supposed to do, but someone thought he was abusive plus he was heard uttering some utterly horrible word at the poor dog as was reported. Actually the word was a Spanish dialect from Puerto Rico meaning, “No, sit!” Daniel wife is Puerto Rican and speaks that a lot at home to help her children be bilingual. We were given a way to deal with a refusal like that which didn’t give quite the same appearance, but told Daniel did nothing wrong and his actions were explained to the caller. People will call faster for a dog than they will a child. I love my dogs and would never want them harmed, but I see a real problem here.
Anyway, after supper, we waited until dark and went back to DTC. I was very nervous, but was trying to keep it in check because of Joe. My nervousness would only confuse him. I couldn’t afford that. Evidently, this neighborhood came to life at night. It was reported as not the worst, but definitely not the best. I was not afraid of that, but I am afraid of the dark. Because of RP, I am totally blind at night. I do not like to go out at night with people much less alone. Well, I need not have worried. First, Joe poopied before went on the route and then he took me safely around all cracks, stopped at all curves, avoided all of those bushes and hanging limbs. He crossed the street with the traffic next to him like an old pro despite a teeny bopper car roaring past. He took me back around the block coming to the DTC from the opposite direction, found the steps and found the door perfectly. I was ecstatic as we had walked at a fair clip around the four block rectangle. I have never felt completely comfortable in the dark anywhere, especially outdoors where every hole, branch, and creature stretched to grab me and pull me to the ground or crawl on me. This was absolutely perfect!
Well, I can’t add anything better. I am still buzzed about my walk with Joe in the dark! I hope I can sleep. Good night.

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Wow! This was a great day. We woke up at 5:30 am to find that Joe had left me a “present” at the foot of the bed. I cleaned it up and took him outside. No punishment because he may have tried to wake me up and couldn’t. Once outside I busied him and when he did “we had a big party”. The constant rain for over a day had really dampened spirits, but the dogs hated it worse. Everyone was having problems.
Well, after breakfast, we did obedience and added the come and finish to our repertoire of commands. Come is simply happily telling the dogs to come and the dogs walk forward and sit directly in front of us. Once seated, you praise and then say Finish. This means we step back with the right foot and say “Heel.” The dogs go behind us and come up beside us and sit ready for commands. Joe did this very well. We also did the sit/stay and down/stay commands leaving our dogs at the end of a long leash. The dogs are then distracted in various ways by the trainers to see if the dog breaks the command. They all did the first couple of times. The correction was a quick no! with a pull and release of the leash. Once they are back in position you praise. The order of correction is give command. If dog does not respond correctly, you give a no with correction pull of leash. Then praise when done correctly. Sit, again, is relax leash, pull, then relax again. Down is relax and then pull straight down and then relax again. Always praise when the dog gives appropriate response. I, myself, always forget to do the down correction straight down toward the ground. Hopefully, he will be ok when I finally get myself straight. 
After obedience came, a trip to the Downtown Center aka the DTC. It is the SE property in downtown Bradenton that allows them to have a main base for in town training. We stayed all day. Did neighborhood routes in the morning and afternoon. We also had lunches there, as well. There were lots of cracks in the sidewalk, bushes hanging out and over the sidewalk. Offset curbs which took us into traffic some, etc. Before working any time, you must busy and water the dog. Joe refused to poopie. I had taken him every 15 mins fore we left, but no doing. I tried to busy him before we left on the walk. He still wouldn’t go. Of course, once in harness and having to walk a good distance, He poopied in the middle of my route in harness, you know. Well, we cleaned it up and finished the route. I will have to really do the “parties” until I can get him not do it on routes and in the house.
After a hard day, we came back to the school and fed the doggies and fed ourselves. We had lecture all about safety in the neighborhood and how to act in front of the public since our correction are usually not understood. Later I talk to Scott on the X-box about issues at home. Joe and I retired to the room for shower and floor time.
Well, another day has gone and I am tired. We are going to Wal-mart tomorrow. That sounds fun. I am going to buy some doggie toys for Joe. Good night!

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Day 8
I awoke at 6:00 am. Joe needed to busy, so I got up to take him out. The weather was not looking good. We put on rain suits or coats. A few went on routes, a tropical storm was coming in and the wind and rain picked up. It became too dangerous to work outside. We did obedience and called it a day. The storms rolled in. Joe wouldn’t poopie for anything. He didn’t like peeing, but I insisted long enough that he gave in. Stubborn Joe, my name for him today, would not give up anything else. I took him out every hour, but he refused. Then we fell asleep until lunch. After lunch Joe and I listened to an audio tape until his food time at 3:00. We played a game of Outburst next. There were eight of us. My team was Misti, Anthony, Nancy and I. The other team was Daniel, Jerry, Wayne, Chris, and Walter. Our team won, but it was pretty much neck and neck until we got the Original Star Trek category. Nancy and I got all but 1 of the words. We wouldn’t have gotten the last one. It was the name of the actual village Spock was from. I knew when I heard it and what it was, but I didn’t think of the word. Supper was good, but again it was fairly quiet. Some of the group had slept pretty much of the whole day. It began to rain a little after supper, so everyone went to bed early. The storms were too bad to get on the x-box. We had heard that we were going off campus the next day if the storm passed through. I couldn’t wait. Joe sensed the excitement and seemed to wag his tail more energetically.
So, I do not have much to report today. I just finished obedience with Joe and we worked on our stay command. He is very good at this.
Well, here’s praying for a good day tomorrow. Good night!

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Day 7: A Lazy Sunday

Well, this blessed Sunday morning finds me up at 6:00 am. I, of course, busy Joe and get ready for breakfast. This morning we have a conversation with Walter. He is the 82 year old man who is hard of hearing and pretty close to totally blind. His dog is Heidi. As we eat our eggs, grits, bacon, wheat toast with sugar free jelly, he tells about living in Poland when he was 16 and hearing the Nazi troops pounding into the village in which he has lived his whole life with his mother and father, brothers and sisters. The tanks and marching men could be heard 10 minutes before they arrived. As they entered the village, the people began to scramble. Guards grabbed children from their mothers screaming. Women were slapped hard to the ground with blood trickling from their lips and their deep sobs welling from their throats. Walter says I am not a Jew, but on that day it made no difference. I was drug into the trucks like cattle. I managed to hold on to my youngest brother, but the other and my father disappeared into other trucks. I caught a glimpse of my mother and sisters being pushed into a truck with the other women. I thought at least they are together for whatever awaits us. My brother and I were sent to a work camp where we broke rocks every day with chains on our feet. One day a Nazi soldier grabbed my brother and I forcing us to follow him. I thought maybe we would get an easier job. My brother who was 10 was sickly and could not do much work. How wrong could I be? We would have been glad to break all the rocks in one day than do the job we had to do that day. The soldiers had tired of doing this sick job so they passed it on to us. We spent the day dragging out the bodies of Jews of all ages with their star of David sewn on their sleeves. We dragged out men, women, children, and even infants and threw them in a ditch about a 100 yards away. I could hardly walk much less drag as I sobbed for these dead. If I took to long, I felt a rifle butt hard in my back. I looked once at my little brother as he carried the bodies of two infants. I never looked again because I could not stand the sight I saw in his glassy eyes. What was almost impossible for me to do had been impossible for him. I was almost thankful when he died six months after we arrived. Some now say there was never a holocaust. I know there was. I lived it, not as a Jew, but a burier of their dead. When the war was over, and we were rescued by American soldiers, I tried to find my family. I succeeded in finding only one brother. Our home had been destroyed. We tried to dig through the rubble and find what we could as mementos. I found my mother’s apron that she wore as she fixed our meals and sang or hummed her melodies. I still have that apron. Now I say again what I said before, I am American from Poland years ago, but I am American.

Well, as you can see, nothing the rest of the day could have beat that. We finished our meals and headed to feed our dogs. After that a few of us who are allowed to go on short walks with our dogs without dogs gathered together and did obedience in the courtyard. We did a few doggie pushups, stay with long leash. We even moved around our dogs. They were good. They watched us all around, but did not move. Then we went on the short route. It was very fun. Joe caught all the cabs and cracks. We made it to the gazebo and turned around. We actually made it back safely.
It stormed a while after lunch. I went to my room and watched a movie and napped on the floor with Joe.
After supper, I got on live with Scott and talked with him. I also talked to Hartley as she sat in front of the TV. Scott said she sat up and listened intently.
We played a couple of Xbox games and then Joe and I retired to our bedroom. I showered and then laid on the floor and finished our movie from earlier. At 10:00, I hugged Joe good night and turned out the light. I will be ready for the day tomorrow. See you there, too. I hope.

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