Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is Kansas, not Rockefeller Center

One thing Joshua really likes about our new house is the big backyard. There is a huge lot behind us with a small creek and pond, some trees, and lots of area for exploring. Although we haven't gotten a whole lot of snow, it has been bone-chilling cold. So last week, we finally got a couple good days of snow, but it is a very powdery snow, not a wet snow like Arkansas, so there were no snowballs or snowmen. But when you are 12, snow is snow, so of course he wanted to be out in it.

He bundled up nice and warm and headed out. He was outside playing for quite some time, but finally came in. As he was warming up by the fire, he told me of all of his adventures of the morning. I was kind of half-listening, but quickly perked up when he mentioned walking across the pond. Oh wait, "what was that, you walked across the pond????" This was no longer just a story, but the beginning of a mother's worst nightmare, so of course I needed more details. Not to worry, he tells me, "I jumped up and down on it before I walked across to make sure it was frozen solid." I stopped him there, as the story was getting worse, and I had to say something before the steam came out of my ears. It didn't take long for him to recognize that this was one of those "big deals" that would not be quietly overlooked.

To really drive in the point, we pulled out the "Man vs. Wild" episode where Bear Grylls falls into a freezing pond and almost doesn't survive. Needless to say, the child whom I have always bragged on for his common sense, is no longer allowed anywhere near the pond. I've assured him that if he wants to go ice skating in the future, I will take him to a rink.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Timex of Televisions

So we are living with two men with developmental disabilities (as opposed to the 12 we were with in Arkansas, but believe me, these two would give those 12 a run for their money). Anyway, the behaviors in this house are extreme, but also quite comical at times.

One of the guys, when upset, will go immediately to the television. His way of letting us know he is no longer in control of his emotions is to first push the television off of the stand. When we came to interview for this job, we noticed several holes in the walls behind the tv, but had no idea they were actually from the tv. We talked with the maintenance guy, who has repaired the holes several times and made the decision to put some MDF on the wall behind the tv. Not being in the construction field, I had no idea about MDF, but quickly learned it is much harder than sheetrock and is not easily busted through. A home decorated in MDF also puts out a "don't mess with us" signal, if any of you were thinking of giving us trouble.

So in the two weeks that we have officially been on the job, I would guess that the television has been on the floor at least 15 times. It's been on its side, upside down, screen down, pretty much any way a tv can fall, this one has. But what is amazing is that TVLand just keeps playing.

We laugh often about the guys who helped us load the truck to move. (WONDERFUL people who we could not have done without). They told us to be sure to put the televisions in the cab of the truck or the backseat of the car to keep them from "shifting and breaking". Well I tell you what, if my television ever "shifts and breaks" then I am buying an ILO. I have seen with my own eyes, that it can be picked up and tossed and never miss a beat. That is one brand that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beware of the "Jesus" Bandit

In November, Lowell, Joshua and I stayed for a couple of weeks at my father-in-law's house in Batesville. It was very relaxing for us. Joshua got to hang out with his cousin Wes a lot and we truly had a good time. Lowell's dad was gone to prepare for a sailing trip that was to start in early December. While there, Joshua played outside quite a lot with his cousins, and a favorite activity was football!

We went back up in December so that Joshua could hang out with his Aunt Ellen while Lowell and I came to Kansas for an interview. On the drive to Batesville, Ellen called and said she needed to tell me something but didn't want me to worry. She had been going out to the house to check on it regularly, and on the last visit had noticed where someone had apparently sprayed graffiti of some sort on the outside wall. She said it is not very dark, but appears to say "Jesus". She had notified her friends to be on the lookout for this and had even put in a call to the a local police officer, who happened to be a friend, just so others would be watching for these graffiti artists who are trying to spread the good news. I did not mention this to Lowell or Joshua, as Joshua is in this strange phase of life where he is constantly worried about being robbed.

The next morning I went outside to look for myself and immediately had a good notion of who the culprit might be. I went back in and casually asked Joshua if he had ever used chalk or anything like that and written on G-Dad's garage. The look on his face answered my question, yet he responded with, "Oh my gosh - is that still there??? Dad said it would go away." Turns out, on an earlier visit, Joshua and Wes were playing football and using that "invisible" spray that makes your hands sticky. My little artist decided to spray the word "Jesus" along with a cross on the side of the wood on the garage. When it didn't come off immediately, he did ask Lowell what to do and he told Joshua not to worry about it, it would wear off quickly.

Well, here we are three months later and it is probably still there. A couple of good lessons learned though. First - don't ever spray the wall of a house with ANYTHING!!!! It just might stay forever. And second - if you do decide to graffiti someone's home, don't do it in Batesville, Arkansas. They will get after ya!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Back!

So it has been quite a while since the last blog entry. On October 21st of last year, Lowell met with his employers and it was decided that it was no longer best for us to be at the group home. Needless to say, blogging was the last thing on my to-do list. (Finding a home and a job was up there though.) I’m sure I will soon write about the whole transition and job search, because it was all truly a fun and positive experience. But to shorten the story for now, we moved to Lawrence, Kansas on December 29th to begin work serving people with developmental disabilities.

We moved into a three-bedroom duplex and we work with two guys who live on the other side of the home. It is a much better living situation than we had before and we have a considerable amount more privacy. So although technically, we no longer live in a “group home,” I think it is close enough to count, so the website “” will go on.
Off to a meeting, but hopefully will have time to write later about what we are terming “Initiation Day.”