Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Funniest Person I Know

I have to say that Joshua Terrell is probably the funniest person I know. It's a joy and an honor to be his mom, he's fun to be around and he really makes me laugh a lot.

He has such a knack for describing things in such a way that you know exactly what he is talking about. He was talking the other day about one of the guys next door and was telling me about how he walked around the gym watching the other basketball players "like a lion stalking his prey." I could totally see it, because that's exactly how this guy is.

The next day, he was talking about this really sweet little girl from Arkansas who he talks to regularly on the phone. He is NOT a phone person, but we encourage him to stay connected to this friend because we really like her (and he does to). It would be an understatement to say that she talks a lot. Hearing his side of the conversations, we usually just hear "uh huh", "oh wow", and then "oh hey I gotta go" (we are working on his skills at closing a conversation). Anyway he gets off of the phone and says, "You know how if you are reading a book and skip ahead a couple chapters and are totally lost in what's going on because you missed pertinent information? That's how it sometimes feels when I am on the phone with her. She tells stories about Mary and Anna and Claire and I feel like I skipped the chapters where they were introduced."

Today he came in after playing outside with some of the neighbor boys. He was very excited to have made new friends and was telling us about them over dinner. He said, "The only problem I see with them right now is that they are acoustic. Is that the word for not believing in God?" We informed him that we thought they probably said "agnostic" and were explaining what that is. As we were telling him that it is important to get to know people no matter what their religious beliefs may or may not be, he interjects with "Oh I'm not worried about what they believe. Give me until the end of the month with 'em and they'll love Jesus too!" See why I love that kid?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Because we are so refined

I received a picture via email just the other day of Joshua from last November. One of Lowell's cousins got married in Dallas (and since at the time we had nothing tying us down), we decided to go hang out with family for the weekend.

One night after the wedding, we all went out to eat at a local restaurant at the stockyards. Now Joshua is one of those people who will try ANYTHING! He looked over the menu and decided that he wanted to order some escargot for an appetizer. We decided that it was a special occasion and the rest of the family was egging us on to let him try them, so we agreed.

I wasn't at all worried about him doing anything embarrassing when he ate them. I knew that he would swallow them all down if for no other reason than to prove he could do it. He's just like that. However, nobody will ever let me forget that when the waitress came by to take our order, he looks at her and confidently says, "I'll have an order of snails." Yep, he asked for snails. Of course, we all know that's what it is, but do we have to proclaim our lack of refinement in front of people who will remember it forever? Guess so!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you need to stay awake

Well, 51st (as Lowell likes to call the new guy after the movie "Fifty First Dates") did not move in today as was expected. Some paperwork glitch and apparently he'll come tomorrow. I'm betting he wasn't too disappointed though. Chances are really good he didn't even remember that today was the big day.

So all going on today was the normal terrorizing that we get. Tonight, the chef came downstairs, went into the garage, grabbed a propane tank and demanded to go get it filled. Never quite knowing what is going on in his mind, Lowell responded with, "That's a great idea. We all love to grill out, but I will need to talk to my supervisor tomorrow to see what the protocol is for this." Clearly, this was not an acceptable answer. He wanted his propane and wanted it then. But serious questions in our minds gave us pause about whether or not this was okay. He claims to have had the grill for two years and never having any propane. (Thinking there has to be a reason for that.) And since it is his grill, shouldn't he have to pay for the propane?

Anyway, when presented with that, he grabs the propane tank, walks outside and sits down and kind of cradles the tank. I went outside to try to talk to him, but he refused to speak. So I came back inside and we just watched him hugging on the empty propane tank. He finally came back inside, slammed some doors, knocked some stuff around, and pulled the curtains off the wall. We just let him have his time.

Then he grabs the tank and goes back outside again. This time Lowell and I both went out to try to talk to him. He finally joined the discussion. He was very focused on the propane and couldn't see where we were going when we talked about respect and not being demanding. I mentioned that we are here to help him live successfully, but that we are not his personal taxi drivers, and he cannot just summon us to take him somewhere and pay for his purchases whenever the whim hits him. He explained that he only does this because he doesn't have a driver's license. (See where he is totally not getting it?)

So we go into several examples of how we should treat one another and be respectful. We are talking and he keeps interrupting about the propane, because we didn't understand, he wasn't being disrespectful, he just has wanted this propane for two years and nobody will get it for him and that makes him mad. Again we explained that even when we are mad, it's not good to yell at people, slam doors, hit walls, and pull the curtains down. "Oh the curtains?" he responds, "I pulled those down because I was tired and trying to stay awake, not because I was mad."

Well, I guess there is really no use arguing with that now is there? So much for caffeine, just pull the curtains down. Certain cure for sleepiness!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hello, my name is...

So tomorrow we are finally getting the third resident next door. When we moved in, there was a third person, but he was gone before we finished our training. Then the plan was to move a girl in who was known to "take people down" - as in to the ground, by grabbing their shirt collars and doing some move she apparently had perfected. I was so not looking forward to that. The next person on the list seemed okay, she didn't have a "take down" move that we knew of, but she did scream. A lot. Like any time she moved or looked at you. That really wasn't too cool either but I thought, "guess it could be worse". Until we asked about aggression with her and were told that there had only been one incident where she had been aggressive and she reportedly bit a guy's ear off. Yes, she pulled a Mike Tyson on him. Uhhm, yeah, throw bananas at me, rip off the rearview mirror, whatever, but see, I really like my ears. Both of them. Anyway, it was decided it was not in her best interest or ours for her to move in (breathe a sigh of relief here) and thus, we have had an empty room for the last five months. We've rather enjoyed only having two guys, as they have kept us plenty busy and overly active. However, we do feel like we are settled in and ready for the third person and he is coming tomorrow. Our world will never be the same.

We don't know a whole lot about him. We know his name, and that may be all even he knows. He was not born with a disability. He apparently had an infectious disease that has worked its way into his brain. He has two children and an ex-wife. Until November of last year he worked in a warehouse and had a home and a seemingly normal life. Then he got sick, but since he didn't have insurance, went and lived in his parents' basement for the next five months until he was too much for them to care for and they took him to the hospital.

He seems to have had an interesting life even before this. Somewhere in the paperwork, there is mention of being in the military but being discharged due to an injury when his "parachute failed to open." No kidding, it really says that. And yeah, I would guess that there would be injury if that was the case. I really hope to learn more about that sometime. But it probably won't happen.

Unlike our other two who have had developmental disabilities all of their lives, this guy has what amounts to a traumatic brain injury. But since he didn't hit his head and the "injury" spread internally, it has affected several parts of the brain. This manifests itself primarily in the form of no short-term memory. That's right. I am thinking our life will be a little like the movie "Fifty First Dates" with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. We will be able to prove the old adage wrong, as we really will get a second chance to make a first impression. And a third chance, and a fourth, and a....

The part of this that all my friends laugh about is that I am really excited about this one. It's different and it's intriguing. And it absolutely should bring about some good blog material. So, we'll see what happens!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

He's How Old?

While we were reviewing some of the testing for one of the guys whom we serve, we noticed that testing shows he is on the level of an average four-year-old. It's hard to look at a six-foot black man who jumps out of vans, throws bananas at you, chases you around the house with frozen logs of hamburger meat and regularly pulls rearview mirrors off the windshield as a sweet little innocent four-year-old.

However, we have seen in the past week or so that this is exactly the case. He is just trapped in a man's body.

When Joshua and I were preparing our trip to come to Arkansas, I decided that I needed to prep this guy that I wasn't going to be around for a few days. Well, he immediately shut down. He refused to talk to me and looked really sad. When I asked what was wrong, he broke down crying. And crying. And sobbing and crying. He wanted to go see Lowell, but when he did, he just cried to Lowell. I was flabbergasted and continued to ask what was wrong, when he responded, "I'm sorry, I'll be good, I'll be better, I promise, I'm sorry." It truly broke my heart. He thought I was leaving because he had been bad. (Totally not saying that thought didn't cross our minds the first few weeks here, but not now. He really is better.) His experience in life is that he has been "bad" and people he cares about have left him. Now, as bad I felt, it was still really funny. He was sobbing and flailing around and essentially throwing a tantrum about the fact that we were leaving. When he finally calmed down, he just wanted a hug. It was really sweet, but also reminded us of a child whose mother has just announced she is going away for the weekend.

Then, when we came home, he was very excited to see me, but the first thing he asked was, "Did you bring me a treat?" Remind anyone of those preschool days?

But today, the thing he did truly and completely convinced me that the tests got it pretty close. We were going to get him a haircut. He waited patiently in the waiting room until called. He sat in the barber chair and as the woman was about to put the drape over him, he says, "I need a go to the bathroom." Well as any good mother would, I told him he needed to hold it and could go as soon as the lady finished. He sat there for a minute and then yells out for everyone to hear, "I'm a pee myseeeelllllffff!" The lady looks at me, rips the drape off of him and says, "I'll just finish getting everything ready while he takes a break."

Okay, lesson learned. And for the record, let me say that four is one of my favorite ages. I think we'll stick around awhile. It's pretty fun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If I Only Had More Cheese

So, after I posted last night about the Velveeta Shells and Cheese misuse going on in the house, I walked in this morning to see this on the counter.

I guess when the Velveeta ran out the Kraft Mac & Cheese was a good standby. And yes, of course, the noodles were still in the box. And although I understand how one can eat the cheese from shells and cheese, I dare not even ask what he did with the dry, powdery cheese that was in this box. So Lowell went grocery shopping today and bought this:

We'll see what kind of mess we have in the morning when we head over.

On a side note, we have a night monitoring system that watches the guys while we sleep. I've always thought that to be a rather boring job, but honestly think it might be interesting to see what's been going on over there the last few nights with the cheese cravings...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Could Put It on the List...

On Thursday of last week, we were making a grocery list and I opened the door to the pantry on the guy's side of the house. My very first thought was "we could put Velveeta on the list" because this was what I saw.

The reason I say put Velveeta on the list is because we don't need the noodles. Yes, that's right, the "garlic chef" as we like to call him, came down for a midnight snack and used 6 packages of the cheese in the Velveeta Shells and Cheese. The shells are all still there - he says he'll make a pasta salad at some point and use them there. We tried to point out that it would be much less expensive to purchase cheese separately rather than waste six boxes of mac and cheese. But as you might guess, he wasn't buying into our reason. Pasta anyone??