Monday, August 30, 2010

My Love Language - Interrupted

I remember years ago reading Dr. Gary Chapman's book "5 Love Languages." Later published were many spin-offs of this book: Five Love Languages for Children; Five Love Languages for Teens; For Men; For Singles, etc, etc. The five languages that convey love are affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. And supposedly we all fall into one of these categories.

But I don't think mine is included. And this may sound completely off-the-wall, BUT, I feel really loved when a person I love watches a television show I love. Crazy right?? And you may say, "Oh that falls under quality time." But no, it doesn't. 'Cause see, they don't have to watch it with me. They just have to watch it. So we can talk about it later.

I hesitated to even write this, because even I think it sounds a tad, or a lot, ludicrous. I feel loved when someone I love watches a TV show I love. But there it is, in black and white, out there for the world to see.

Now, on to the story. There really aren't many shows I "love." I L.O.V.E.D the show LOST. But it's over. And I will watch pretty much any reality show out there. (As Joshua can attest. He watches Survivor, and Amazing Race, and Next Food Network Star with me because he also loves those shows. He watches Project Runway SOLELY because I love it, and he loves me!) But my most recent television obsession has been "Drop Dead Diva" on Lifetime. I won't even go into the premise because it's so dumb it's embarrassing. But my super sweet husband watches it with me. And lest anyone question his manhood over this, I don't think he enjoys it too much. He just likes how happy it makes me to be able to talk about the show with him.

So last night was the two-hour season finale. I watched it when it was on of course, but it so happened to be on at the same times as the Denver-Pittsburgh preseason game. And I would never be the kind of wife who pulled her husband away from an NFL game. Because after all, I was DVRing "Drop Dead Diva" and there was an encore presentation on Lifetime later in the evening.

So at ten, we put Joshua to bed and start watching. I have to leave at eleven to go "sleep" next door (yes, I agreed to do it again!) but I told Lowell to text or call me at midnight when the show was over so we could talk about the cliffhanger that happens in the last 2 minutes of the show.

So, imagine my shock and surprise when my phone rings at 11:55 (not 12, like it was supposed to.) My first thought was, "oh how sweet, he wants to be on the phone with me when the aforementioned cliffhanger happens." But as soon as I answered the phone, all I could hear on the other end was our house alarm. So I am yelling the code and how to turn it off to him. And then he hangs up because the alarm company is calling. And then we meet outside to see and hear the big hook and ladder fire truck making it's way down our street.

And of course there's no fire. Just our resident cook making some (smoked/smoky/burned)sausage. What's funny is that when Lowell heard the alarm and ran next door, the guy just looks up at him and says, "Can you turn that thing off?" and continues cooking. Like Lowell was the one who set it off! But after dealing with the firemen and restoring some semblance of order to the house, there was no chance to get back to seeing the shock of Grayson being hit by a car as he is chasing after Jane as she dramatically left the restaurant after learning that Grayson had asked Vanessa to marry him.

Lowell seemed pretty okay with missing this. I was sad for him to have missed it. But I filled him in. And we talked about it together. And I felt happy. And very very loved!

And I also know we have it on DVR in case he decides he needs to see it for himself.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Somebody's Watching You

When we moved into the group home in Arkansas, I would NEVER sleep in the common area of the house. I knew if I did, and I woke up and somebody was standing over me, it would totally freak me out to the point that I would never ever be able to get over it. I would awaken in a panic if I accidentally fell asleep on the couch in the living area, even if no clients were in the house at the time. I was just that adamant that nobody was going to be watching me sleep. I thought that was a characteristic about me that would never change.

I was wrong. I don't know what happened really. Maybe I realized that probably nothing is going to happen (after I get over the initial shock of course). Maybe I realized that these guys have to intention to hurt someone (except when the voices in their heads tell them to). Or maybe, and most likely, I'm just tired.

The company for whom we work has several homes like ours around town. This summer, there were several couples who left for other jobs, had babies, and/or took vacations. Due to lack of staff we were asked if we would be willing to do some overnights in the homes with no couples. This essentially meant going to the home and sleeping on the couch from 11 pm until 7 am when the day staff arrived. Our initial thought was something like, "Heck yeah, we can get paid to sleep?? Why say no?"

But you know how some things just aren't worth the money? Overnights just may be on that list.

In our house, people sleep. (Well, technically one stays up playing video games but he is in his room for the most part and doesn't come downstairs.) Apparently our house is the exception. The first night Lowell stayed at another house, he didn't sleep. One guy raced around the house all night. Literally ran around the house. Didn't need anything. Just wanted to speedwalk. Another got up before the sun came up, walked outside and urinated on the house next door. Apparently this is an attention-seeking behavior that he has tried before on new staff. It's a real shocker and definitely gets attention, but Lowell handled it like a champ and didn't make a big deal about it, so the guy walked back in and said, "not appropriate to pee outside." Yeah, like he was telling Lowell something he didn't already know.

The next house (yes, we agreed to do it again) was not much better. This one was supposed to be better because he wasn't going to have to stay on the side with the guys. He was told he could stay on the couple's side of the house and monitor the cameras to make sure everything was okay. What he wasn't told was that one guy walked outside every chance he got and an alarm on the couple's side of the house said, "FRONT DOOR" every time the door was opened, because of course the guy is not supposed to be outside alone at all hours of the night. When Lowell thought he was finally ready to settle in for the night, he looked at the monitor and watched this same guy eat a whole package of hot dog buns. When he started looking for more food, Lowell felt obliged to go back over and try once more to get the guy to go to sleep.

So this week, we were again asked if we could do the overnight shift at the house next door. We know these girls and we were under the impression that they all three sleep. And it's next door. However, one of the girls has a real fascination with men and for reasons left unsaid, we felt it was best for him not to be sleeping on their couch. So it fell to me. And since I am past my issues with people watching me sleep, I thought it would be cool.

The night kind of reminded me of a hospital stay. You know, where someone comes in every couple of hours to check on you. My first wake-up was actually another staff. She said she was just coming around to make sure I'd locked all the doors. Seriously?? Why wake someone up to see if the doors are locked?? My next wake-up was when one of the ladies was standing in the living room saying (in a very spooky voice), "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." Nicole is the day staff at that house and she and I look nothing alike, nor are we even the same race. And then every hour on the hour, there she was again. "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." I might have rather heard a loud alarm saying, "Front Door" than "Nicole, is that you? Is that you Nicole? I don't know who you are." In between the freaky stares and questions, she would go back to her room and listen to the radio. Except she would only listen to around 20 seconds of each song and then change the station. That is until the song, "Somebody's Watching You" (yes, the one from the 80s, or the Geico commercial depending on how old you are). This particular song, she listened to in its entirety. I'm not lying or even stretching the truth on this. Freaky doesn't begin to describe it.

Maybe my irrational fear of sleeping in someone else's living room and being stared at while I sleep was not so irrational after all.

A "Family" Conference

So I just noticed that it's been two months since I blogged. I guess maybe I took the summer off. I thought about blogging several times. It just didn't happen. Maybe I'll backtrack and catch up. Maybe I won't. I think that even though our life seems crazy to others; to us, it's just our life and sometimes just doesn't seem that interesting.

But the other night, we lost power. For hours. One would think that the guys would have just gone to bed being as it was dark anyway, and past at least two of their normal bedtimes. But no. We sat in the living room and held flashlights and looked at one another. I decide that it would be a good time to have a family meeting. (We are supposed to have these regularly, but since we cannot get the guys to sit down at the dinner table at the same time without major disruption, we don't have them nearly as often as we should.) But we were all in the dark together, so I suggest we have our family conference. One guy laughs, another just looks at me and the third says, very dryly, "The tv's broke. I guess we gotta talk to each other."

I start by asking if anybody has any problems or concerns they want to address. One guy is "just fine", another just looks at me and the third says, "Yes I do." He brought up the fact that he did not like for other people to use his bathroom. We explained that he rents his room and that just because the bathroom is upstairs, it is a part of the house just like the living room or kitchen and it is a common area that can be used. We also assured him that the only time anyone has ever used his bathroom was once months ago when the downstairs toilet was having issues. He was not satisfied with this response and threatened to sue if anyone went into "his" restroom. We said that we would be sure nobody ever entered his bathroom if he promised to quit going in the living room. He didn't like this suggestion so he went into the garage to "fix the electricity."

We hear him flipping every breaker switch out there while we moved on to activities we'd like to do next week. One guy says "whatever", another just looks at me. The guy in the garage is quiet and we wonder briefly if he's maybe electrocuted himself. But, alas, he came back in. He apparently heard the next topic because he suggested we all get a room at the Great Wolf Lodge for a fun activity. Seriously?? I can't even begin to go there in my mind. Can I imagine much worse than being in a hotel, in a waterpark, with these three, ALL TOGETHER??? Nope, I can't.

So I move on and ask if there are any special meals anyone wants next week. One guy says, "I'm happy with whatever you make," another just looks at me, and the electrician proceeds to give me a twenty-five item grocery list before flipping every light switch in the house to see if maybe that will get the electricity going.

It didn't work.

So - I kid you not - he goes outside in the pouring rain and starts banging on the side of the house. When we asked what he was doing, he responded that he thought if maybe he hit something hard enough it would jiggle the wires and reboot the power of the house.

And what we learned from his trial and error, is when the electricity is out, there is really nothing you can do but wait patiently for it to come back on. And have a family conference. Or not.