Archive for October, 2007
The new digs, as it were, are a cosmetic way of saying that it’s time to shove aside the pile of crap that I’ve been living under for about two months and start living again. It was inevitable–a new job, a new hectic schedule, planning for next year–but it’s enough already. I have a therapist, an incredibly gentle and understanding husband, my favorite weather of all (cool, moody), and a table-top dishwasher procured by aforementioned husband.* There no reason in the world I shouldn’t be able to start writing again, both here and on the diss. One hopes, anyway. The goal is to make this semi-permanent, with room for the ebb and flow of energy, instead of merely cyclical.
At any rate, pursuant to YOU, I want my readers back. I don’t know what I’ll be writing about exactly–maybe more on adoption (and how much I’m looking forward to expanding our family, though we’ll have to wait a few more years), maybe a little about the group home (or maybe not, as I’m trying to respect their privacy)–but I want you guys back. I like the writing but I like the community the best.
Meanwhile, please go over and support Kohana for her brave and intelligent posts of late.
See you soon.
*I’m undergoing a bit of a personal feminist revolution and I’m wondering if I should abandon the term “wife” and go with “partner” or something of the like. Problems: “partner” is the preferred term of gays and lesbians, and why should I use that when I can LEGALLY be actually and truly and in the sight of the law married to the person of my choice?; and really, I AM a wife–why should I pretend that there aren’t real structural issues with the fact that I am saddled (quite happily) to a man? On the other hand, might it help me to start seeing myself as a partner so that I can let go of all of my latent, and let’s face it, manifest sexism (against women, yes!)? So.
Watch this short video and be spurred to action!
“I finished my application letter to X. I’m proud of it. It’s good. Once advisor looks it over and I make the necessary revisions I’m applying the heck out of that job.”
“Do that shit, mama.”
If anyone’s still reading–
I’d like to nurse the Snapper as long as he’s interested, but I’d also like to sustain lactation until we adopt our next child (probably 2-3 years from now, and the Snapper turns 1 next month). I’ve googled the heck out of the topic but can’t find out how long after weaning one can sustain a milk supply from pumping alone. Anybody know the answer or where I can find out? I don’t mind pumping and would donate the milk in the meantime.
Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Pic
9:30. Less Bad Mega Superstore is closed so I go to Really Bad Mega Superstore to buy glue traps, glass & metal dry goods containers, four rolls of paper towels, and bleach. It’s to be expected, this little bit of extra company in the fall. We live less than a block from the river in an ancient rental house full of cracks and gaps. Time to renew the yearly commitment to washing all dishes every night, wiping up every crumb, drying out the sink and stopping all the drains. Except that we’re exhausted all the time so I don’t know how it’s going to happen.
Yesterday. I was having a miserable time of it–unlike today’s pumpkin farm trip at a location I won’t reveal because I love the smallness of the place, where you use the bathroom in the family’s farmhouse and the grandkids help carry your gourds to the car, the place we took the group home guys yesterday was the D*sneyland of pumpkin patches, complete with dumb theme ‘rides’ and a kid puking in the crowded bathroom–but I was determined that the guys would have a good time, and they did. I wish I could say that their joy was infectious (wouldn’t that be nauseating anyway?) but just as I was about to cheer up–we were in line for the hayrack ride (PA readers, this is the same as a hayride) which one of the residents was very excited about–a woman came up to me, rubbed my shoulder and said, “I admire your patience.” “Oh, he doesn’t take much patience.” He’s right here within earshot, dammit, and why would you assume that his wheelchair and retardation automatically make him difficult? “Oh, I’m sure he is.” “No, he’s actually a lot of fun.” (moving away) If you were really genuinely trying to be nice you would have backed off after my first response. Now it’s clear that you want to go home feeling good about yourself, encouraging that nice young lady whose job is such a burden and thanking God you don’t have to do it and that someone else is ‘willing’ to for a pittance.
I’m too busy to care about the fine lines on my face, though every commercial on Loaftime (my latest pumping-at-night rerun addiction is Fraiser) insists that I must. This is why I mute commercials.
I’m enjoying my new job at the group home more than I thought possible. Because I knew I’d be there for at least a year I prepared myself for the ‘worst:’ bodily fluids, unpleasant odors, unmanageable behavior. But you know, the things I so feared are not only not that bad, but they’re a relatively small part of my job. Most of the time I am cooking nutritious meals, guiding a bowling ball down a support into a bumpered lane, laughing at a joke told for the thousandth time (you want to go in that house? that’s not your house! you want to ride in that van? that’s not our van! and so on). Some of the time I am helping to maintain seriously fragile egos (it’s OK…you don’t have to apologize…everybody has accidents…you’ll be good as new in no time).
The gentlemen I work with are adults but they in many ways have the minds of children. In addition their bodies don’t work in the ways they should. I am constantly walking this tightrope between honoring their adulthood and acknowledging their limitations, and time after time I find myself falling too far on one side or the other. If one guy is not eating regular meals (but snacking on junk in between meals), do I insist that he sit down with us or do I have a conversation with him about making good choices? The answer is, of course, to encourage him to make good choices and to figure out what exactly we need to do to entice him to eat (in this guy’s case, it was having the staff sit down and eat the same thing as the residents, “like a family,” as he puts it). But in the meantime while we’re trying to figure it all out it’s really tempting to go into a parental mode. Then again, if he doesn’t eat properly his health is at risk. I’m constantly working to assess which situations warrant the more disciplinary approach (is he or someone else in danger by his actions?) and which ones will lead to naturally undesirable consequences that do not require my intervention. The hard ones are the ones in between, in which the guy is not really in immediate danger but his (or another resident’s) quality of life is seriously compromised. I’m still learning how to make those assessments, and I’m trying really, really hard to see these guys as equals with different needs. It’s hard when there’s a power differential like that. Thank God I have Lisa in my head at all times when I’m working.
Their preferences present another challenge. Because their mental ages are far below their chronological ones, all three enjoy children’s music, books, and activities. They like some stuff that’s universal age-wise like bowling, dancing, going for walks, etc. so we try to do as much of that as possible. But what do I do when one of my guys wants to play on the playground equipment? Well, I take him because he likes it. Sometimes I take to the swings, too. I always wonder if I’m offering him the chance to be an adult in the community. On the other hand, what’s the point of that? He is what he is and he shouldn’t have to apologize for it or pretend (if he could, anyway). Why should we teach him that he shouldn’t like some things just because he’s chronologically an adult? Doesn’t he have enough shame in his life? So when we take them to the library we wander through the adult section for a while but we always end up in the children’s section where they enjoy themselves completely.
Sometimes I like this job because of these dilemmas–it’s interesting, challenging work that I can sink my teeth into. I like it all except for the cleaning of the toilet. (I should be teaching THEM to do it! )
I’m stealing a meme so I can keep up with posting every day I’m not at the group home.
Choose a word for each letter of your middle name (then you must tag other bloggers, one for each letter).
L: Lemons. When we were planning our wedding I had a fantastic session with our florist in which I proposed these beautiful centerpieces with lemons at the base (the bridesmaids were in sage and I wanted a fresh, summery look) and tall lilies with blooms bursting at the top. I was so excited to have lemons that I completely missed the fact that the centerpieces actually looked kind of obscene until years after the wedding. Think about it. [I tag Gail at The Love Project]
Y: Yelling. Attic Man and I have this ongoing argument about what ‘yelling’ constitutes. I maintain that ‘yelling’ can be effected by one’s tone of voice (as in, you can whisper aggressively and I’ll accuse you of yelling at me), whereas he insists that one must raise one’s voice in order to be charged with yelling. [I tag witchtrivets. Neither her name nor her blog starts with Y, but nobody's I know does and I'm curious about what her answers will be.]
N: Not Hillary. Don’t like her, never did, don’t like her wimpy ‘stance’ on the war, won’t vote for her, am dismayed that she may be the Dem. candidate. Woman or not, she is a card-carrying member of the Old Boys’ Club. [I tag AmericaN family. OK, so I'm stretching it but I really want to know what superpower she would choose.]
N: Napa Cabbage. For our stir-fry tonight. [ClemeNtine, you're it!]
1. If you could have super powers what would they be and what would you do with them? (Please feel free to be selfish, you do not have to save the world!)
Definitely invisibility. I’ve always been quite the voyeur but only because I don’t want people I’m observing to feel weird or bad about being observed. Does that make sense? In other words, I don’t get excited by the prospect of watching people go about their lives without them knowing it, I just like watching people go about their lives, period. And because saving the world was mentioned, a loaves-and-fishes superpower would be awesome. I want everyone to have enough food. It’s absurd that they don’t. Does anyone know the actual statistics on how much food we have versus how many people there are to feed? I’d like to think that if the over-privileged (me included) were to hand over a portion of their overflow everybody would have enough to eat, but I don’t know the numbers on that one. We should at least try, anyway. I’m not sure how to do that on a mass scale without superpowers.
2. Were you to find your self stranded on an island with a CD player…it could happen…what would your top 10 blogger island discs be?
1. Soundtrack to The Thomas Crowne Affair. The week it came out Attic Man and I saw it in the theatre three times.
2. U2–Joshua Tree. I stole this one from Abebech but this is my Life-CD, the one I go back to again and again, because it still speaks.
3. Alison Krauss + Union Station Live
4. anything live by Railroad Earth that contains a long version of “Seven Story Mountain” and “Cold Water” and “Bird in a House.”
5. Indigo Girls–Rites of Passages (OK, now am I really dating myself or what??)
6. Tori Amos–Little Earthquakes. I promise, I was not a lesbian in college. I haven’t bought a new CD in ten years. Can you tell?
7. Carol King–Really Rosie. I am known to hate most children’s music but this one is an exception. I regularly listen to this CD all by myself with no children around just because it is so much fun. You cannot go wrong with Maurice Sendak as your lyricist.
8. Soundtrack to Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Need I say more?
9-10. Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East.
Music I’d like to strand on an island? that whiney stuff that hipsters like.
3. If you were a smell what would it be?
There was an amazing scent at the French Manor where we went for our honeymoon. I never did find out what it was but it was this sweet, warm, summery smell that made us immediately relax. If I could be that smell for the world I would.
4. What bird would you most like to be?
A mockingbird–it just sounds like so much fun to sit on a branch and try out different voices.
6. Are there any foods that your body craves?
Are there any foods that my body DOESN’T crave? Um, no.
7. What’s your favorite time of year?
Every fall I think it’s fall and every spring I think it’s spring. Actually, it’s the beginning of each new season, when the quality of the air and light changes and takes me back to every poignant memory I have of that season.
8. What’s your favorite time of day?
I have two favorite times, one for my weekday schedule and one for my weekend, and like Abebech, they’re both reunions: on weekdays, it’s when the Snapper and I skip to the car after daycare. One day on our skip he discovered rain to his utter delight, right there before my eyes–he peered up at the umbrella in wonder at the funny sounds the rain made on the fabric and laughed. On another day he discovered crispy leaves. Soon he will discover snow. The other time is on the weekend when I come in the door from my long shift. The Snapper lets out what we call his “happy scream” as soon as the key hits the lock and runs (yes, he RUNS now!) to the door for his mama.
9. If a rest is as good as a change which would you choose?
I’m going to have to be boring and say that it entirely depends upon how tired and I am how much my life might need a change.