Thursday, August 30, 2007
Yesterday, a co-worker and I stopped by my house to drop something off while we were running some errands. I called ahead and warned Robert that we would be there shortly and have Dustin watch for us out the front window so we could have some help bringing it inside. We pull up and there is Dustin bright eyed and cheery in the front window, the dogs on each side of him.
I nearly cried. Sometimes I look at that boy and my heart swells with love and pride. Even though sometimes I want to "pull his ears off" (as my mother loves to say) I adore that little bugger. Dustin bounded out of the house, said "Hey mom. I had a good day at school." and helped take the boxes inside. My co-worker who has worked with me for more than 10 years said, "Boy, he sure has come a long way!" That sure is true. . . sometimes it's so hard to see when you are living through the daily turmoil of his disability, and the rages, and the impulsivity, and the stealing, and the hoarding, and, and, and . . . .but he truly has come a long way!
I had a phone call from a woman in my support group from church the other day. She is the grandmother of two children that she and her husband have raised since birth. Both boys have organic brain disorders, one is definitely and FAS kid (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). She is STRUGGLING! Our conversation reminded me that our world, the one with FAS children, is a fickle and ever changing one. It could be "hell and high water" one day and perfect peace the next. Her rough patch is continuing for some time and she is overwhelmed, tired, feeling like a failure and just ready to give up. She knows her child cannot control most of what she deals with, but that realization doesn't always make it easier when you're going through it. I have SOOOOO been there. She is talking about a residential placement being her only option. I feel for her.
The talk we had made me realize all that I am thankful for. I am blessed to have a good report with our doctor and he listens to what we say. He understands Dustin's brain chemistry as much as is possible and truly takes to heart what we say. He is a God-send. I am thankful that I don't have to fight the insurance companies like others do. We are blessed to receive Medi-caid for Dustin automatically since he is an adopted special needs child and from what I read in the blog-o-hood, Indiana's is far superior to most. I am thankful for a husband who truly takes Dustin's best interest to heart. He is patient and kind, loving and thoughtful when it comes to Dustin. For the most part, because his behaviors can tire anyone out, we are human we lose it occasionally, but we do our best.
I say all this knowing that today he could come home from school and have pulled a a stunt that will have grave consciences (again). He could have a rage and take off running down the street and the authorities will have to be called to "retrieve" him (again) . He could attempt to pull the cat's whiskers out with needle-nose pliers (again), or he could get mad and leave the faucet on in the upstairs bathroom and make it rain in the dining room (again). He could. . . . but maybe he won't. . .
That is life with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I can remember the devastation and being glued to the television, watching the horrible footage of trapped people and hungry children, dying for a drink of water. It broke my heart. Hearing story after story of nursing homes, hospitals, and retirement homes full of people who didn't make it out. I watched not understanding why reporters could be there giving everything they had with them to needy people and not understanding why the government couldn't get the trucks full of aid into the areas that needed it most. I can remember the joy of watching the trucks full of soldiers and supplies parade through the city. The relief, knowing that thousands of people would be rescued, fed and given water, was overwhelming. I vividly remember watching that video at work and crying out of pure relief.
The arguments of why it took so long, was it a racial issue, would more help have come from other countries if we had not burned so many bridges with Iraq, didn't matter to me. What mattered was that people and children and animals were suffering. Our government has treated refugees in Iraq and Afghanistan with more aid than our people received in the short days that followed Katrina.
The following is a video my husband created marking this anniversary. Please share it . . .
I have mentioned that we adopted a hurricane dog on several occasions. Here is a picture that we believe is her chained to her home in New Orleans. And then one of Cayenne now. She is my precious baby-dog and we love her with all our hearts!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Outside Joshua's Demolition . . .
The wrecking ball coming thourgh the wall . . .
Noah's Pet Shop, some of the "windows" will be filled aquariums . . . .
Inside the "Surf Shop" . . . .
Outside of Samson's Gym . . . (our playrooms)
Down one finished a hall . . . .
Pretty cool huh?
Friday, August 24, 2007
I have had some realizations lately of exactly how far behind Dustin is compared to other children his age. Our neighbor's step son ran away with his pregnant girlfriend last week. He is 13. Dustin will be 13 never February. Dustin is in seventh grade, and here I am talking about receiving unhappy faces on a behavior card. This child is getting girls pregnant. I am grateful for mental illness sometimes. Does that sound callus?
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today the daycare opened in the new location. It was awesome. I also sent my baby boy to kindergarten today. I put my baby on the bus at daycare and got in the car and drove to the school so that I would be there when he arrived. I was terrified that he would cry when he got on the bus, but he did great. He was terribly excited. I was also afraid I would cry, but I held it together. He had a great day. I was a little nervous as his bus was over minutes late. I knew it was the first day of school, and the buses are usually crazy, so I tried to keep busy and ignore the fact that I had no idea where my boy was. He bounded off the bus and was so happy to see me. That was when I cried. I'm sappy I guess.
This was our conversation on the way home:
Me: What did you have for lunch?
Harrison: Pizza. Guess what color it was.
Me: What color?
Me; Oh! Was it good?
Harrison:Yes, but it was gray.
I spent the remainder of the ride home having to hear McCartney continually saying, "I want gray pizza!"
Mmmm. School lunches . . .
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I was working at the new building and the cook needed some help in the kitchen. I came to her aid and was putting some things away and making some decisions about what would work best where. This kitchen was a professional kitchen. It was an empty shell when we took possession and it has taken some imagination to decide how it could be set up. We bought these large and quite expensive stainless 6 foot tables. These tables are in 2 separate areas of the kitchen. Under each set are double electrical outlets on the floor. We decided to run a surge protector up the table leg and use some industrial velcro on the bottom of the table to plug in appliances such as electric griddles. I collected all the stuff and sat down on the tile floor to plug the surge strip in.
I flipped open the outlet cover and stuck the plug in. It nearly knocked me on my butt. Sparks shot up about 15 inches and it began humming and making horrid smoke. I grabbed the other end of the strip and pulled it out, after saying my first round of choice words in the new church. I shouted for the cook as it was still smoking and sparking and told her to call the director, my mother. I forgot that the kitchen is in the other side of the building from us and the guys pulling wire had yet to get a phone down to the kitchen. My asthmatic self ran to another room quite a way away and intercom-ed mom. "I need you in the kitchen right away. I think it could be on fire." Nice . . .
She runs down, hollers at me to grab and extinguisher. No flames at this point, but much smoke and sparking. Flames begin. I say, "Do I shoot it?" She says, "Shoot it, while on the phone with 911." I shoot it. Then and only then do I realize that it is a K extinguisher and I have just shot water into and electrical outlet. And, I am standing in that very water as well as being covered in water as it sprayed back at me. Needless to say I stopped shooting it and backed out of the kitchen. At this point it was only humming and slightly sparking. Even though I could've been electrocuted, it did put out the flames. . .
The firemen came. Cute too. They thought I was nuts for spraying the fire with water. Then they infomr me that it isn't just water, but ot does have some chemical in it and I probably should go remove my shirt. I was on the phone to my husband, he asked if I was barefoot, which I usually am. The only reason I had my flip flops on was that you have to go through an area that is still construction , and Saturday I stepped on something in there that hurt. Thank God I was a hillbilly on Saturday or else I would've probably been barefoot today. My husband pointed out that I was probably saved by having on my beloved flip flops.
Yeah flip flops. Maybe I should tell that story to Old Navy. I can see it now, they could offer to keep me in flip flops for life . . .
On a side note, the kitchen is fine. Our building committee chairman happens to be an electrician. He came over and unhooked the outlet and safely capped the wires. A new outlet will be installed tomorrow. We did find out that had I discharged the correct kind of extinguisher, the kitchen would have to be shut down for 24 hours, have to be cleaned top to bottom, and be checked by the board of health before it was cleared to use. The cook JUST finished washing everything in the kitchen since the move AND we open tomorrow at 6:00 am. Thank heavens I screwed up! Thank heavens for flip flops.
You need to understand that the church that was in he building we are now moving into had many issues over the years. The family that founded the church and ran it for many years as pastors were not exactly honest with their congregation and didn't have the highest moral values. The church split for a second time about 3 years ago now and it has been a struggle in the "religious" (I hate that word) community of our city. The family went on to found another church which then gave them the "boot" recently for the same issues that were evident in the other church. I will not sit and bash this family, or the people who chose to follow this pastoral family and finally saw in the end they were being bamboozled, I will however say they smashed people and their hearts. Many of the congregation that struggled after the split, have wandered over to our church. They have healed and moved on, but this move back into the church-home they knew for so long will be difficult for many of them. Many are happy to see it come full circle. For many, wounds will be opened and the healing will have to begin anew. It does help that the building was in pretty great disrepair so it has been almost completely renovated (since we got it in foreclosure this was possible with funding) so these families will see the shell of the building, but will see new insides. What an allegory for what happened there and in their own hearts . . .
I will say that the people of that particular congregation know how to work. They will pitch in for anything! I must say that has been lacking in my current church for many years. People are content to sit in church and be "ministered to" without putting in a helping hand. Ministries such as our outreach for construction help, community projects etc has come from those from that congregation. Volunteers come out of the woodwork for projects and special gatherings at the church, most of whom are from that former congregation. They have a strong volunteer and work value. I think those from our "original" congregation can learn greatly from them. I pride myself on being what my mother calls a "workhorse" and I will jump in a help in anyway I can. That is sorely lacking in some in our church. Going on a mission's trip, or volunteering once a year for a carnival is fine, but what happens day-to-day in helping the needs of our community needs to be one mission of a seeker-friendly church. That pastoral family which lacked in so many other areas, definitely taught their followers that goal.
I give you all that background to tell you that I discovered a wonderful family yesterday. This family used to be on staff at this former church. They have adopted several teenage boys out of the "system." The boys all seem to have special needs. What a WONDERFUL bunch of boys. I have yet to meet their mother and father, but I know that with a bunch of special needs kids, from the system that act like these boys do they must be fabulous. These boys were polite, kind-hearted, nice, helpful boys. Kudos to their parents! What a ministry.
The day is about to get hectic for me. Hopefully all the jobs will get done. Coffee is calling my name . . .
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The picture at the beginning of this post is Caesar. Caesar is our Timneh African Grey Parrot. Caesar is a smart bird. Research has shown that African Grey's can have the intelligence of a five year old child. Caesar is definitely a fun bird. He asks questions, immitates noises, and will speak in my voice, Robert's voice and his own "voice". He imitates the keys in the door, the dog's barking and the telephone along with many other things. He loves to laugh. He however will do NONE of this on command. Caesar came to us when he was about 2 years old. Before that, the woman who owned him was afraid of him and handled him with elbow length raptor gloves. She was unable to spend much time with him due to her hectic schedule and being a single mom of a teenager. She was upset that he wasn't talking. Two days after he came to live with us he said, "You think that's funny?" while I was laughing at Robert and he hasn't stopped talking since. And he definitely has an attitude.
Being in a home with a teenager he learned a few choice things. He learned when the phone rings, you shout "Phone!" and he learned the "F" word. He loves to say it when he is mad. If I clean his cage, he drops it on me. If the dog's irritate him he says it. I remember one time I was cleaning up poop he had oh-so-lovingly shot of of his cage onto the floor and I was scolding him and he said, "Oh yeah! F--- you!" Oddly enough, he says it really low, almost under his breath, like he knows it is a bad word. Usually I just ignore it.
Below is Boomer, our Blue and Gold Macaw. He is dumb as a box of rocks. He simply repeats things that have been said to him many times, or with great vigor. He shouts at Dustin to "go to time out", he shouts "Dinner!" and "hello". His favorite words are "shut up". We said that many times to him before we had kids. We tried to teach him to say thank you by always saying "Say thank you Boomer" when we gave him a treat. Now he says, "Say thank you Boomer" not just "Thank you" when he is given something. Duh! We should've thought that one through better.
Both birds are tame and allow us to handle them quite well. I even got so tired of paying the vet to trim their nails and beaks that I bought a dremel tool and do it myself. That is pretty amazing. Caesar doesn't much like to be handled since he wasn't early in his life, but he will tolerate it and he isn't mean. They are a real joy! I'm glad we enjoy them because they will be around a long time. They both will live well over 60 years. . . .
Monday, August 06, 2007
This is my last week of pool trips at work. I am looking forward to being able to come home from work without wet towels to wash every night. I always bring an extra one because either one of our staff members or one of the kids forget their towel. It always get used, which means it needs washed. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the pool is so stressful for me because I am ultimately responsible for 15-20 kids that belong to other people. People who pay me to keep their kids alive. It's nerve wrecking, but the kids enjoy it and I like being outside typically. By this time in the summer, I'm done with swimming, going back to work with wet hair, and washing towels. . .
The inspection went well last week. All is full steam ahead to move the daycare in a week and a half. The things that needed to be fixed are fixed and all is well. The license is steadily moving forward. It is crazy to think about moving 15 room daycare that houses 269 children. The church has come to our aid for the most part, and they have a large moving crew to help. Hopefully all will go well.
I registered my baby boy for kindergarten last Friday, including filling out those crappy green cards in triplicate. I paid his lunch fees, set up busing and then we went to Steak 'n Shake. I was sitting in the booth and was reading the school's handbook. I burst out crying. Then I realized how ridiculous I was being and began laughing hysterically. So now I am laughing, shoulders shaking and tears rolling down my face. Nice. I'm certain I looked like a real basket case. But, WOW, my baby boy is going to kindergarten. He is almost as old as Dustin was when he came to live with us.
A small mention . . .
Kelty grand jury began today. We shall see how this all pans out. A certain liberal activist flashed dear Mr. Kelty his "undershirt" the other day. It happened to be a Henry for Mayor shirt. I hear it was quite amusing, I wish I could've seen Matty's face.
It has been reported in the Journal Gazette that Kelty took out a new loan . . .
The Fort Wayne mayoral candidate who has campaigned about the city being too far in debt has taken out another loan of his own.
Republican nominee Matt Kelty and his wife, Tamilia, took out a $46,000 variable-rate line of credit in June, according to documents from the Allen County recorder. About the same time, the Keltys also closed a $16,000 loan with Tower Bank, leaving the candidate with a potential $30,000 net increase in debt.Perhaps that money will be used to pay this months $26,000 loan payment to Fred Rost. Who knows. . .
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Today is my 10th Year Anniversary. Happy Anniversary honey! I had panned a nice surprise dinner at a swanky place in town. Mom was going to watch the kids and I made reservations. Well, no luck. There is far too much work to do and Robert isn't feeling that well, so we are postponing. "Happy Anniversary to me, I'm working overtime . . . "
I am so thankful that I met and married such a wonderful man. I admire his patience toward the children. His love and devotion toward Dustin. His commitment and love for me. I admire his convictions and his heart for peace. I even love the things that irritate me, his penchant getting lost in projects and his constant "It will all work out" speech.
I love you, Robert. You are my rock, a wonderful father, my encourager and the love of my life!