To my followers…

  • I got my 40th subscriber today which amazes the hell out of me, but I wanted to say thank you!

I know in terms of bloggers 40 is nothing to boast about, but considering I’ve been doing this off and on, gambling about like a bunny, I assumed mostly I was just communicating to friends and my important family. However, I don’t know any of my subscribers! Most of the people I know read the links I post on Facebook.

This makes me very curious about you guys. I’m not sure how many of you read regularly or just kinda followed because you found one post. And then there is always the possibility that the follow didn’t really mean anything, lol.

So I want to know about you, if you’re reading this. Leave a comment and tell me why you followed me. In return this is a chance for you to tell me about your blog and I’ll check it out. 🙂

I want to get to know you guys.

 

iluvyousign

Advertisements

So I made a bet with my Grandpa (Part 2)

Bob

Bob

Really, this story starts in February with a very hard truth that I had to accept. I had to accept that even though I had been doing really well I was no longer coping with my PTSD effectively on my own and that I desperately needed help. I was honest with my friend, Gabrielle, who stories I love illustrating, but whose schedule has been affected by my disorder. I got some good advice from her and she pointed me in the directions of a fabulous therapist and the idea of a service dog for PTSD.

My therapist got to know me and my unique issues and I did a lot of research until we did both agree that a service dog would benefit me in a big way. I began to read and watch everything I had access to on the net and I spent a lot of time really looking at my life and trying to decide if this was something I could handle. I’ve gotten so much advice at this point that I’m not sure what to do with it all, as some of it is conflicting.

And conflicting information is really hard for me to deal with. There’s no way I can afford to go through an organization, they can cost anywhere from $20,000-$40,000. It was apparent pretty early on that the only chance I’d have is to train a service dog myself.

But that’s a huge task! And while I know how to teach the basics, I have no idea how to train a dog to snap me out of a panic attack or a flash back or to wake me up during a nightmare. On top of that there’s all kinds of questions like should I buy from a breeder so it’s health is more reliable in the long run or should I adopt a shelter dog because they really are just as good? Should I get an adult or a puppy? All of these have different things to think about.

It was really too much for me to feel comfortable making a decision with no direction. As much information as I can find online, there’s still so many things I need to know about the socialization and training process. I started getting really stressed when trying to think about what the hell I was supposed to be doing and planning for. It’s generally much harder for my to feel confident about making decisions for myself. I had talked to my Gransparents, a very few select friends, and my therapist about this decision, but not really anyone else.

But I digress. How does all this have anything to with the bet I made Grandpa and that adorable dog named Bob?

From reading Part 1, you know Gramps has lots of business ideas and lots of trouble with computers and the internet. He needs lots of help running his blogging business, but I really don’t want to run it for him and he essentially needs someone to do that for him, or to sit there and explain a lot of stuff every day or several times a week.

I’ve been feeling like shit because my own mental health often keeps me from doing anything productive for myself, that doesn’t really leave a lot left over for also helping someone to run a business from home. I’ve been feeling really guilty that I just can’t do a lot for him. I have no money to give him. I can’t do all the things he needs help with, I don’t have the skill or energy. I can’t make him physically less ill.

Well, when I was doing research for my own dog, I found lots of lists with tasks service dogs can be trained for to make their handler’s lives better. It clicked into place really quickly, the idea of how much a service dog would help Gramps around the house. He falls a lot. There have been a lot of times where he’ll lose his balance and spin around and crack his head on something ten feet away.  Sometimes, if there’s not something sturdy nearby he can’t get up by himself. I’ve found him on the floor in a few places where he just couldn’t stand on his own. My paternal grandfather died because he fell in his home and couldn’t get up. He laid there for three days before someone did check on him and he died of pneumonia in the hospital. I do not want this to happen to Grandpa Jim.

So I was thinking about all that and I’d also been looking around at adoptable dogs. Bob had been on my radar, but I didn’t think much about it because I wasn’t ready to make my decision. At some point I realized Bob was big enough to help Gramps brace if he falls.

So that’s when the idea began. I started talking to his Foster person, asking all sorts of questions about the dog. We talked for a couple of days before I sat up a time to go see her. And then I sat down and had a talk with Grandpa.

I explained my idea. I don’t know if Bob will make it as a service dog, but at the least, he can give us something to do together and more importantly, he can keep an eye on Grandpa around the house. Bob can give Gramps companionship when he’s lonely, depressed, or unable to communicate his feelings with a person.

He told me that he’d actually been thinking about getting a dog to keep him company. I showed him a picture of Bob and told him I sat up a meeting on Tuesday. I told Granny as well and talked to her about it and we all made plans to go together.

Waiting for Tuesday was damn difficult and I only had to get through Sunday night and Monday, but the time did eventually come and we all drove to Killeen to meet Bob.

Everything went fantastically. Bob was adorable and sweet and very friendly. The kids made lots of racket and played with him. I walked him around on the leash to make sure he had manners as Gramp’s would need to be able to handle him.

Once all that was decided, it made more sense to me that our videos would feature this project heavily because with both I don’t know where the hell we’d find the time or energy to accomplish everything.

We’re going to work out the budget and equipment details tomorrow and start making space for the dog and cleaning up the yard. We’ll have the adoption papers signed before the week is over.

This will help assuage my guilt at not being able to help Grandpa. It’ll also give me some structure and something to be responsible for, as Gramps needs to be able to rely on Bob’s good behavior and willingness to obey the commands we teach him. It’ll give us a good project to work on together, and that’s really cool.

And as far as I go, well, I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to buy a puppy from a breeder or adopt a dog from a shelter. If I get one from a breeder, I may have finally picked out a place that looks trustworthy, but damn, German Shepherds are expensive and White American Shepherds more so. (I was looking at the second because someone told me they were healthier dogs, or lived longer or had fewer dysplasia problems or something.)

If I get one from a shelter, than I have to go through this process all over again, except I have to be even more on my shit because here I am needing to pick out a dog that can be trained to sense my anxiety spikes. Either way, it’ll take me about a year to save up to buy one (and if I adopt that money can be put towards training, or paying someone to locate an adult dog with potential.)

So that’s the story behind the bet. I hope you stay to enjoy the show.

So I made a bet with my Grandpa recently…(Part 1)

I could definitely describe my 76 year old Grandfather as obsessed with the internet. He can’t tell you what a URL is or a web page and he doesn’t understand just exactly what a Web Browser is, but he’s still able to search around and find all sorts of neat things.

The first time I remember him getting really into it was with one of those get rich quick things for selling things on eBay. He bought tons and tons of stuff that stayed in the house. (On top of whatever he paid for the eBay course BS.)

After that he got into real-estate. He even bought some “tax” properties, but I don’t think he has sold anything and after working at that and spinning his wheels for a while he found his newest obsession, which is that Empower Network stuff.

He’s really into the idea of blogging now. This is fascinating to me because he has so much trouble with computers. His memory is unreliable with recent things and he has trouble staying with one thought sometimes and it’s really difficult for him to learn new things involving the computer. On top of that, he still “invests” a lot of money in the businesses without really knowing what it is he’s paying for, how it works, and how to avoid being scammed.  (He’s a repeat offender on the getting scammed list.)

I don’t know if Empower Network is a scam or not. I do know that they’ve told him over and over how anyone can blog and make money, no matter what they’re skill level.

That is a lie. I know that’s a lie. There’s more to writing. There’s more to holding a conversation and catching people’s attention. There’s something said about rich content and providing something to offer. You need all that and some kick ass talent for the mechanics of running a blog (or painfully won skill.) If it were as easy as they market it to be everyone would be doing it.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to crush Grandpa’s dream. I understand why he wants to do this and that drive doesn’t just disappear because the method isn’t working. I understand that he wants money and because of his own physical limitations, the internet seems like a powerful tool. I believe he’s right and what’s more I’ve  seen him be passionate about something he loves.

I’ve seen him sit and learn the same things over and over. I’ve seen him write dozens and dozens of letters to strangers in the name of business. He’s sat on the phone with tech support for hours and hours. My Grandfather was reclusive my entire childhood. But now he looks through one of the three web browsers he uses regularly to see another world and talk to people thousands of miles away. That in itself was a powerful thing. But it wasn’t the only thing.

I showed him how to use Google Docs (although, he’s kinda forgotten and we’ll have to go over that soon) and he started writing blog articles. I told him to write about his life. To share his memories and experiences so our family can read it, but also to share his story with the world because he has a genuinely interesting life.

But I don’t think blogging is perfect for him. He has a hard time writing, although he enjoys it. I think it would be perfect if there was someone who could work with him once a week to edit his recollections. He can read like a pro, I’ve never met anyone who is as voracious a reader as my Grandfather, but his grammar is poor. (Sorry Gramps! Love you!)

Videos would be better with a good mic. We’d still have to do a lot of takes and some editing, but Gramps is pretty charismatic and with a familiar script, I think he’d do fine.

But there’s really only one way to prove it to him and that’s results. I also wanted to help him and to do something with him. I love him a lot and I want to see him accomplish the feat of telling his life story however he can. So I walked into his office and sat down and said, “Gramps, I wanna make you a bet.” I explained that I thought using YouTube for free was better than paying for whatever it was Empower Network was actually accomplishing for him.

The bet is as fair as I can make it. We’ve both spent about two years learning about blogging. Neither of us know shit about recording or editing videos. I also thought that since the purpose of this bet was for Grandpa’s benefit we would be working together in a fashion.

I will be vlogging on YouTube. Gramps will put his videos on his blog. At the end of the year, the person with the most subscribers wins. I told him I would help him some. I plan to shoot and edit videos, but I’m leaving it up to him to do the writing parts because I’ll also have videos to shoot and edit for me.

Now, this story is running a little long and it’s getting late so I’ll have to end it here, but I’ve gone and left out one very important little detail. I haven’t told you what we’re going to be making videos about. Here’s the hint…

It involves a dog named Bob.

Bob

Bob

Go to Part 2.