Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Who's Really to Blame?

We had two separate incidents this week with our higher-functioning individual not getting his way. He could argue with a wall, and sometimes may actually be when we get fed up and walk out of the room and still hear him arguing. He will argue and debate for hours, but you know when he is done when the blame falls on some crazy outside third party.

For example, this past weekend, he was very upset about the temperature in the house. His room is upstairs, and unfortunately, heat rises. He has a fan in his room and almost always keeps his windows open, however on this particular day he also wanted the air conditioner on. This would not be a problem had it not been 50 degrees outside. We overheard him arguing with weekend staff about his "right" to turn on the air conditioner in "his" home, and decided she needed us to intervene.

When we went over, the conversation began about him and his comfort. When we discussed other ways for him to be comfortable, the complaint turned to his roommate. When we pointed out that he also pays rent and utilities and it is 60 degrees downstairs and he has the "right" to be comfortable to, the complaint turned to the "freakin" weekend staff and their need to control everything in the house. We brought up the fact that our side of the house is the same way, and Joshua's bedroom is also upstairs, but that he is considerate of the fact that other people live there too and doesn't try to freeze out the rest of us. This seemed to have made some sort of impact because he finally calmed down a little and turned the blame where it needed to be. On the "freakin" builders of the house. Whew! We knew we were done when the blame transferred to the very distant third party.

But just to show us he meant business, he blew out the pilot light on the water heater upstairs. 'Cause you know how much heat those pilot lights generate...

A few days later, he goes out and sits in the van. When Lowell goes out and asks him if he is wanting to go somewhere, he pulls a "just drive and I'll tell you where to go." Well, this doesn't really work for us and we tried to explain that. He wasn't really buying it, but then realized that we truly weren't going to just drive until we got to the surprise destination. So he pops out with, "I need to go to Kansas City to the airport." Uhmm, what??? What kind of crazy afternoon activity have you got planned???

He goes on to tell us that he has a box of foreign change and wants to go to the airport to exchange it for American money. He says he has tried to go to local banks and they have told him that the airport is the closest place to exchange currency. Lowell and I are kind of dumbfounded and realizing that he doesn't know that there is a reason people bring you back change when return from travel to other countries. It's not worth anything!!!!!

We tried to explain that the airport is an hour away, we have to pay for parking, we are pretty sure that he is going to be disappointed with his exchange if it is even possible, and then another hour back home. We also point out that our van is not in the best condition and we aren't sure if it could make the drive, and that if we are going out of the county, the trip has to be approved by a supervisor. These clearly meant nothing to him because after our explanation of this he gets really upset and yells, "If we weren't standing here talking about it we could have been there and back by now!!" Okay, so maybe that whole two hour drive part was missed somewhere in there. Every time we try to discuss this, we very literally get yelled at about how we could have been there and back if we'd just shut up and get in the van.

When we refused to succumb to his wishes, he goes inside the house, gets the house phone, goes back outside and sits in the van to call our supervisor. We aren't sure why he felt the need to sit in the van to call unless he worried we were likely to jaunt off to the airport when he was inside for a minute. We hear him yelling at her about his rights and how we aren't respecting his wishes. Then he gets mad at her and hangs up. He immediately calls her back, realizing she is his only hope at this point. He yells at her for a bit, but we all relaxed and knew it was over when the blame shifted to the mechanics who work on our van. If they would do a half decent job, the van would be in fine condition to drive all over the state. Since he himself is a big reason that the van is in such terrible shape, he declined to talk further about it and decided he just wanted to go to the gym instead.

We haven't heard anything further about the airport, so maybe that's over, but I'm sure there will be another secret mission awaiting us very soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blessed Assurance

Even though Munnie was dying for some time, there was no doubt when the end was truly near. We all stayed with her as much as possible and talked to her, read to her, and sang to her (those of you who know me may find that comical, but she really did like it when I sang - or at least she made me think she did, so I sang my heart out whenever I was alone with her). That last night, Lowell and I left and went back to the house to get some sleep. Lowell's sisters remained until late in the evening and finally went home, leaving her alone. For some reason, Lowell and I both woke up around 1:00 am and decided to get dressed and go back to the nursing home.

When we got there, the nurse informed us that it could be any time now and that she was glad we were there. We didn't call the family because we had been hearing it could be "any time now" for a couple of weeks. Lowell sat on one side of her, I on the other. He was reading the Bible and I was softly singing "Holy Holy Holy". And then she started to move. This may not sound incredible unless you know that her body was not obedient to her mind. She had not willingly moved more than a finger in several weeks, and had not even moved the finger in a couple of days. Yet both of her arms raised up and she smiled one last beautiful smile. Then she was gone. Lowell and I just sat there for a minute, still stunned at what we had witnessed, while at the same time knowing that her suffering was over. Lowell called his dad, then his three sisters to tell them his mother went to be with Jesus.

A week or so after the service and life was getting back to the new "normal" without her here, I wrote the following tribute. I wrote it mainly for Lowell, but he shared it with his family, then with mine, and it got around a bit, so I thought I would post it here in honor of her one year anniversary of hanging out with Jesus!

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Imagine wondering what’s going on for several months or even years. Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office finally knowing what’s been happening, even if you cannot quite pronounce the terminal diagnosis – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

This was the death sentence handed to my son’s precious grandmother several years ago. And with this curse, she made a conscious decision to turn it into a wonderful gift. She (along with my father-in-law) decided to use this dreaded illness to teach the children about death, about love, and about the blessed hope that each of us has in Jesus. For this decision, I will always be profoundly grateful.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Watching someone suffer has to be one of the worst feelings of helplessness that there is. I think that the only thing worse is to be the one suffering. Her perfectly good, alert mind was trapped in a body that over time became stiff and rigid, unable to move, to swallow, to speak, and yet she chose to be more in love with Jesus and never bitter, angry or questioning why. Even as she walked out of her home that last day, she never looked back, for she knew that her treasures were not here on earth, but had been stored in heaven.

Of course, she would have never chosen to go into a nursing home. Who would? But little did we know. Her presence in the nursing home was like a light on a dark hill. I watched in amazement as staff brought their children in to meet her, even on their days off. They wanted their own children to see and know this woman. Her good nature and sense of humor showed the nurses and aides that even in suffering and death, with Jesus, there is Light! This was her story, this was her song.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission. When your body no longer does anything you will it to, one must be submissive to the desires of those around them: those who bathe that body and move it and medicate it. But for the submission to be perfect, the spirit must also be willing. Witnessing a loved one slowly dying is not something I would ever wish on anyone, but it is something I think everyone should go through. For it is amazing to see how the spirit lives on when the body refuses to.

Death can, and seems in our earthly minds like it should, be a time of extreme sadness. But my in-laws faced it head on and encouraged the rest of us to as well. We talked with her about heaven and how much we would miss her. Personally, my heart burst with pride and joy as I watched my son telling his grandmother goodbye. Whispers of love - what courage it takes to acknowledge that we may never again (in this life anyway) spend time with a person whom we love so dearly. And what better lesson can we possibly teach our children.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

In the last days, the only thing she could do to communicate was to smile. How thankful I am that her beautiful smile lasted until the end. Whether the family was singing her hymns (or numbers from the musical Annie), or reading to her, or just reliving memories together, it was a blessing to see her smile and assuredly know that any pain her body had suffered was gone and that she was at peace and full of joy.

I was honored and privileged to watch my mother-in-law’s body die. Even writing that sentence feels so wrong, but as the tears stream down my face, I know with no ounce of doubt that although her body ceased to function, her spirit is alive and well and with Jesus.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

She was always known as a great gift-giver. That is one quality about her that has come up often as we reminisce. And although we are sad and will miss her terribly, she gave us each one last beautiful gift. She gave us a lesson in dying. She taught us that even in dying, our light can shine. Even in dying, we can glorify God. Even in dying, we can love. Even in dying, we can bring others peace and joy and allow them to see Jesus. Even in dying, we can have the blessed assurance that Jesus is ours.

Perfect submission, all is at rest. This was her story; this was her song, praising her Savior all the day long.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lessons from a Child

It will be one year ago tomorrow that my mother-in-law passed from this life. She was sick for a long time and we knew the end (or the beginning for her) was near. When we were discussing preparations for her memorial service, my father-in-law told us that anyone who wanted to would be welcome to speak. Lowell and I both declined because we thought it would just be too hard. Later in the day, Joshua came to me and said that he knew we didn't want to speak at her service but wanted to know if it was okay if he did. I was in shock, but told him that I thought Munnie (what we called her) would love that. One day the next week, I told him that instead of school, I wanted him to focus on his speech and write it out. He went off alone for a bit and came back with the following:

Hello, my name is Joshua Terrell. I am number 8 of the 9 Terrell grandchildren. Thank you for coming and honoring my grandmother. This is a happy day, but also a sad day. It’s a happy day because Munnie is free. She has a new body and I think Jesus gave her a room filled with Munnie’s coke and Krispy Kreme donuts. I think you all know why it is also a sad day.

I want to tell you about a great gift my Munnie gave me. This is something she made for my dad in 1980 and she gave it to me in 1997 when I was just a baby. It says:

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in a state of mind.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the mans who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

Even though I love the poem, the greatest gift is that my Munnie believed I could do anything I wanted to do and be anything I wanted to be. She gave this gift to all of her grandchildren.

Thank you.

When he read what he had written, I couldn't possibly imagine being more proud of him. Until a few minutes later when he asked if he could call her and read it to her. At this point, she was unable to speak, but we knew she could hear and understand us. So we allowed him to call her on the phone and my father-in-law held the phone up to her ear as Joshua tearfully read to her what he planned on sharing at her service. When he finished, his G-Dad told him that Munnie had a big smile on her face as she listened to him.

I have a hard time with goodbyes. I did tell her goodbye (several times in fact as she held on much longer than expected). However, I know I did not do it nearly as eloquently as my son did. Watching my eleven-year-old tell his grandmother goodbye while at the same time telling her how precious she was to him had to be one of my proudest moments ever. When he was done, we realized that he didn't really need to speak at the service. He had already told the only person who really mattered what he wanted to say. We told him that if he was too nervous or sad or uncomfortable, that he could back out, even at the last minute. But his response was that he had told her and he wanted everyone else to know how wonderful she was too. And I must say, he did an excellent job at the service.

Joshua taught me not to fear goodbye. For it is only for a moment, and we will be reunited. But oh how I miss her!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Job Interview Tip #3

Don't Be Afraid to Share Your Fears

When we talked about the services offered by Joblink, we were impressed at the time and the quality of service they provide. Our guy has qualified for 90 hours of time with a job coach. So this coach will help him find a job, choose interview clothing, interview, and assist with training. After the job has begun, they will be a link between him and the employer to ensure communication of expectations is clear. They will assist him with understanding the employee handbook and will even help with transportation to and from the job site if needed.

We asked about the types of training that will be provided and were given a number of different topics. However, when she said, "we also do training on riding the bus in town" there was an immediate passionate response of, "Oh no, I will never ride the bus. Busses get hijacked!!!"

Busses get hijacked??? Really? We all tried our best to convince him that hijacking doesn't occur here. We are in Lawrence, Kansas for pete's sake. But he was not hearing it. Someone mentioned that busses only get hijacked in the movies, and usually in the movies in countries where there are chickens riding on top of said bus.

However, when we pointed out that this only happens in movies, he quickly responded with, "But it happened in 'Speed'!" And not seeing that this was really our point, he continued on about some documentary that he and Lowell had watched where they did research to see if the bus would tip over if all of the passengers got on one side and leaned. (And apparently it doesn't really make any difference whether you do that or not in case you ever happen to be on a hijacked bus).

So even though the Kansas Speedway is a mere 20 minutes away, and it would be easy for the hijacked bus to make it there and speed round and round the track until Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock showed up to save the day, I don't know that we will even try to continue with bus training.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Job Interview Tip #2

Always Be Totally Honest

When we were answering questions about job history and preferences on Monday, it certainly got interesting.

She began by asking him very basic questions about his history and education. When she got to "Could you pass a drug test?" the answer was "oh yeah, I never have taken drugs." Well the very next question was, "Are you on parole?" And the answer was easy, no he's not on parole. Okay yeah, stop there... but no, we go on with, "I've never been on parole and the only thing that I think is on my record is when I was underage." At this point, the lady interrupts and says, "Well if you were underage, then it won't show up, so we needn't worry about it." But I guess he wanted to tell the story anyway because he interrupted her with, "See, when I was younger and was on drugs..." Yeah, so much for the never have taken any drugs. We did manage to get the subject changed before he continued on.

Later in the interview, she says, "I see elopement has been a problem in the past. But not presently right?" Uh, well, yeah he is presently right here with us, and yesterday was technically in the past right, so yeah it's definitely a past behavior.

Once all those technicalities were taken care of we got to actual job possibilities. She says, "So, are there any jobs which you know you don't want to do?" He thinks about it for a minute and responds, "Yeah, I know I don't want to be a male stripper." We were all kind of taken aback by this statement, until the lady says very naively, "You mean like stripping floors?" We were just as taken aback by that statement. Uh, no, he means like dancing around a pole.

I guess she finally got a completely honest answer, even if it wasn't quite what she was looking for.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Job Interview Tip #1

If you read yesterday's post, then you know we recently had a visit from kind lady who is trying to get one of our guys a job. We met with her for about an hour and when she left, Lowell and I rehashed everything that happened and decided it was probably several blogs worth of information. So I'll start at the beginning.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Several times yesterday morning, I reminded our job hunter that he had an appointment and should probably take a shower and put on clean clothes, but alas, that was all for naught. As we were waiting for her arrival, we talked about making a good first impression. Again, why do I even try???

The doorbell rang and I prompted him to answer it since it is his home. He walked over to the door and prior to opening it, he banged loudly on it, like he was on COPS about to bust in someone's home. It scared me. I know it scared her. Then he opened the door and laughed like it was the funniest thing ever. Maybe we need to work on door-answering skills?

Then he just walks in, plops down in his recliner, and reclines. Mind you, he hasn't showered, brushed his hair, or put SHOES on. So his feet are kicked up, barefoot, while he is putting together a resume with the lady who is to try to get him a job. Lowell said maybe he thought the saying was, "Put your bare foot forward."

Anyway, he immediately gave us two "first impression skills" that we probably need to work on before he has an actual interview.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Putting out an all-points bulletin!

After the big elopement excitement on Monday had calmed, we talked to our runner about the importance of staying home, talking about his feelings, and not just taking off where we are having to chase him or call the police. He told us that it is stupid to call the police, because he always comes home, and they are going to eventually turn it around on us and arrest for making a fake call to them. I don't think he quite gets that we are responsible for him and that if we do not know where he is, it is our job to call the police and it is their job to know we aren't kidding.

We worked through several different scenarios with him, then we started talking about how we feel and what we do when we don't know where other people in our life are. Lowell talked about how he would call the police if I were missing, or if Joshua wandered off and we didn't know where he was. It's not that we don't trust people to come home, it's just that when you are responsible for and care about someone, it's important to know where they are. Lowell went so far as to say that if the weekend staff didn't come in, he would call them, then call their home, and then contact the police if necessary. We were trying to make him understand that it wasn't because he wasn't capable of being out alone, just that it's not necessarily the most responsible thing to do - wandering off.

So on Tuesday, we had a meeting at the house with a lady from Joblink, who is going to try to get this guy a job (which we can all agree he needs). We were there with the case manager and were waiting on our supervisor. She was supposed to be there early so we could discuss some other issues, yet she was not there at the time the meeting was to start, so Lowell starts in on how worried he is about her. The case manager and I understand that he is just driving in the point a little on how we worry about everybody who isn't where they are supposed to be. So we join in and we go a little overboard. We tried to call her and text her, but unfortunately got no response, so we had to continue our little "worry charade." Lowell says, "I'm going out to look for her" and walks out the door. And we were honestly getting a little concerned, but not where we would call in a search party had we not been banging this idea into his head.

A few minutes later, the Joblink woman shows up. Lowell comes in a few minutes later, and she looks at him and says, "Weren't you just standing at the corner a minute ago?" Well, yeah, he was, cause you know if someone is missing and we go stand on the corner, maybe we'll see them, right? Isn't that the first thing you do when you can't find someone, walk down to the corner? So this woman has no idea why we are being so overly dramatic about someone being a few minutes late and we couldn't really tell her, cause you know, elopement problems aren't really a high point to put on a resume. Our supervisor called shortly thereafter and said she was on her way. And maybe you had to be there, but is was really comical at the end of the meeting when the Joblink lady assured us that if for some reason she was going to be late to the next meeting, she would be sure to call and let us know well in advance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Emily!!

Not that I forgot to get her present in the mail, but I wouldn't want Ben or Katie to think that I was giving preferential treatment... Seriously, I am TERRIBLE when it comes to getting birthday cards, gifts, etc, in the mail. So following along with the precedent I set back in February with Ben's birthday, here is a birthday blog shout out to Miss Em! Love ya girl!!!! Here is a monkey skull and crossbones just for you! (Yes, I know you hate it Mimi, but it's not your birthday is it???)

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Cinemax is Boring"

Well today was another interesting day in our lives. It started out just fine and was happening along with no bumps in the road until Mr. "I ran up a $200 bill calling 900 numbers and then asked to go look at porn at the library" asked Lowell to take him out. He was very casual about it and didn't want to say where he wanted to go, only "I'll tell you when we get there." Well, since anybody who actually knows how to drive knows that it is somewhat helpful to know in advance where you are driving, we pushed the issue.

He finally confided to Lowell that he wanted to go to a local store, whose slogan is "where fun and fantasy meet reality." Ummm, hello, not really our idea of the best place to stimulate the economy, but technically, I guess he is an adult and does have the right to go there, but we questioned whether we had the responsibility to take him.

I called our supervisor and filled her in on the request and she very reasonably responded, "No." Well, as you can imagine, this was not an acceptable response. We talked about the fact that we are having a meeting tomorrow and will put this on the agenda to formalize whether or not this is a place where he can hang out alone, or if he has to have a staff member with him, or if he can even go at all. BUT, he didn't want to talk about it tomorrow. He yelled and cussed and took off down the street. In the meantime, the other roommate is crying and "sad" and is having a hard time digesting what is happening. So I leave Lowell and go out to locate the runaway.

He didn't look quite so far away when I first saw him. But after catching up with him, I was tired, and far from home. For whatever reason, I called out to him and he turned around and started walking back home with me (well kind of with me, we were heading the same direction and that's all that mattered). Once we were back home, he continued to insist that he was going to this store tonight - even if he had to walk. I'm still not sure what that was all about. If he was going to walk, why did he turn around and come home? We were halfway there. Which is probably what made us realize this was an empty threat. He was tired too.

After about thirty minutes of yelling at our supervisor on the phone, and making statements like "Cinemax is boring," he gave up, began to laugh, and asked if Lowell would take him grocery shopping. We were too worn down to argue. He got to go the store, but as you know, there is not a lot of fun or fantasy when shopping for groceries, only reality.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We're Not in the Bible Belt Anymore

The first Sunday we were here in Kansas, we visited a local church and went out to lunch afterward. We didn't know really where many restaurants were and we live close to On The Border, so we went there. We walked in, said we had three in our party, and were immediately seated. We saw other diners at five or six tables but the rest of the restaurant was virtually empty. We all three noticed and commented on how odd it was that on Sunday after church we could just walk into a restaurant and not have to wait for a table. It was when one of us mentioned how in Arkansas we would have had to wait at least half an hour at On The Border after church on Sunday that the reason struck us. We aren't in the Bible Belt anymore. Nobody goes to lunch after church, because nobody goes to church. (And yes, that is an exaggeration. Of course there are churches and people in them, it's just way different here.)

And then tonight, Lowell and I were watching the news. And by the way, we cannot find a decent weatherman in this town. I think I would do a better job. It's like they look out the window and see it's raining and then say, "Looks like rain today. Take an umbrella!" So honestly, we are relying more on the weather channel for our predictions and watching very little local news. But tonight it was on for some reason and we were catching bits and pieces. Lowell and I both were startled though when we heard the weatherman say, "Looks like rain this weekend. The holiday may be in jeopardy."

Hold on, the holiday may be in jeopardy? Well, yeah, this holiday has been in jeopardy for years but it isn't because it might rain. It's because it's about Jesus! And people who don't get Jesus just don't get it. Jesus died. Jesus died a terrible, horrible, awful death. And he did it because He loves ME!!!! And He loves You! And then He was resurrected. He came back to life, so that we may have life. All I can say to that is WOW! I am humbled beyond belief when I think of what my Savior did for me. And on this one Sunday a year, we all get dressed up in new clothes, and go to church, and remember Jesus, and what Easter is about.

Yet we still live in a world where the weatherman says stupid things like "the holiday may be in jeopardy" because it may or may not rain. Tell me that our pretty dresses may get wet, or that we may have to hide the children's eggs indoors instead of outside, but I know that rain, or snow, or a tornado, tsunami, or hurricane doesn't change the fact that Jesus died and rose again, and we celebrate THAT on Easter Sunday.

Jesus overcame death, don't you think he can handle a little rain??

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For a Good Time, Call...

This past weekend, our day staff called in due to a death in the family, so Lowell and I had to put in a few extra hours. The guys were cool, caused no trouble, and hung out in their rooms a lot. On Friday night, I was watching television in the living room and thought I heard the phone beeping. I looked around, but then realized that it was upstairs. I watched the phone's base and noticed that the red "in use" light was on for quite some time. Then it went off, then came back on. This happened several times, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out who he was calling. He NEVER spends time on the phone.

On Saturday night, this same cycle repeated. I wasn't too terribly worried, because there is a restriction on the phone that prohibits long distance calls. My greatest fear was that he was dialing numbers at random and prank calling people. And as much as that is irritating, he was causing no trouble, and he wasn't saying anything, so I just assumed if he is calling, he is just listening and then hanging up. One thought that flashed through my mind was the story line that the library used to have where you could call and listen to a story. (Whatever happened to that? Are we now expected to read to our children ourselves???)

On Sunday morning, I asked him who he had been calling. He just laughed and said, "I'll never tell." I joked with him asking if he had met a girlfriend on his recent Special Olympics trip. He looked embarrassed but didn't really answer. There were no more calls made.

So today, the phone rings and the other guy answers it. (We always have him answer because he says, "hello" and then just proceeds to say his name and repeat back whatever the caller just said. If it's a telemarketer, they always hang up.) He goes through the routine with the caller and then hands me the phone. The lady on the other end says, "Hello this is Sheri with AT&T and I was just calling to verify some activity on the account." I immediately knew the "activity" of which she was speaking. Of course, since I am not the account holder, she couldn't give me any information, however, she let me guess. And I guessed correctly on the first try. Yes, there were approximately $200 worth of calls to a 900 number on Friday and Saturday night.

Once I caught my breath, I asked how this was possible since the line is restricted from making long distance calls. She informed me that there are two separate restrictions, one for long distance, one for 900 numbers. Oh give me a break - a 900 number is NOT long distance???? She allowed me to authorize putting the restrictions on the phone. (This was a case where it certainly helped for her to first talk to the person whose name is actually on the account and realize that she would get exactly nowhere with him.) She was very friendly and helpful, and I was extremely grateful that they called about this. She even called me back a few minutes later and argued my case for me and told me how to contact the business office when the bill comes in to have the charges removed. So even though I am not understanding how the calls went through and am greatly frustrated with AT&T, Sheri's professionalism and understanding went a long way with helping me actually feel helped!

Of course, when confronted with the $200 evidence of who he had been calling, he denied it. And then, of all things, he asks if Lowell will take him to the library to look up some "stuff" on the internet. Um, yeah, I'm thinking, not tonight.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Do You Say to That???

Tonight we ordered pizza from Papa Murphy's (one of our favorite places). We asked the guys what kind of pizza they wanted and they each chose one kind. When Lowell arrived home with it, he went upstairs and informed Mr. Mediterranean Chicken Herb Delite that his pizza was here. Lowell was told to put the pizza in the freezer and he would make it later. About 45 minutes later, this same guys who didn't want his pizza bounces downstairs and says, "Is the pizza ready?" I just looked at him in shock for a minute and then responded that we were of the understanding that he didn't want his yet and therefore it was in the freezer. He looks at me like I am crazy and says, "Yeah, I don't want mine yet, I was planning on eating some of (downstairs roommate's) and then fixing mine later when he's asleep so I don't have to share." Now I am normally very quick with a response, but what do you even say to that???? Mr. I want to have my pizza and eat it too!

Sharing this conversation with Lowell, we started talking about some of our favorite "what do you say to that" stories. Here are a couple.

We had a new guy move into the group home who was relatively high functioning. He was carrying a copy of the manual for the Arkansas Driving Test. He very politely asked me if I would help him study. (We had previously had a client with his license, so this wasn't a terribly odd request.) We set a time that I would sit down with him and go over the book together. When that time came, he pulled out the manual, handed it to me, and when I opened it up, he said, "Oh yeah, first can you teach me to read?" Hmmmmm, probably not....

When Joshua was very young, we were serving one young man who, in Joshua's defense, did sometimes seem very feminine. Joshua asked him, "Are you a boy or a girl?" This guy thought for a minute and responded, "Of course I'm a boy. And I know I am because I live in the boy's hall." Guess that answered that.

One of my favorite lines though has to be the time that one client got into a fist fight with another. We were at the emergency room waiting for the physician to come in and examine his eye, which was already immensely swollen and all colors of blue and purple. It looked really awful and the whole side of his face was quickly swelling. I must interject here that the other guy didn't have a scratch on him and we were at the local ER. We were discussing the fight and what caused it and how there are really better options for settling differences, when he looks up at me and says, "If the fight hadn't been stopped, I could have taken him. He hits like a girl!" Umm, yeah, maybe Laila Ali or something. He looked more like he'd been hit by a freight train, but whatever, hang on to that pride.

And then there was the sixty-year-old lady with Down Syndrome, who thought Lowell was a real "looker" but assured me on a regular basis that I had no need to worry, she "respected me too much to take my husband from me." Yeah, thanks, I feel much better now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who Needs a Fancy Curtain Rod??

When we first moved in, we noticed the curtains on the guys' side right away. Well, I guess I should say window coverings. In the kitchen, there is a big fleece blanket hung with thumbtacks. The living room actually has real curtains, but they're velcroed to the wall. (Apparently a lot of these consumer-served homes have velcro curtains.) It's not the most aesthetically pleasing way to hang them, but it's better than getting whacked on the head with a big curtain rod when they are pulled down.

And they get pulled down frequently. I always try to say that we were just letting a little sun shine in. The curtains in the living room can be opened and tied back, if we ever decided to operate them that way. However, the blanket in the kitchen is just one big "panel" so to speak so there is no "opening" them. I was trying to persuade the chef of the house that we needed real
curtains in the kitchen so we can open them during the day.
He promptly demonstrated how to rip up the sides of the blanket to make your own tie-backs. So, instead of having light come in the middles, it comes in through the sides. It's interesting. He's offered to come over to our side of the house and bring his curtain-making talents. So far, we've resisted the temptation.