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Greeted by a shotgun

Chapter 1

My first real job after I graduated from college my first go around, was working as an investigator of adult abuse. The position worked out of the County Prosecutor’s office. I would investigate alleged abuse in six counties- ranging from medium-size cities to back woods shacks. My first client was harming herself- a malnourished woman who had 5 dogs in her yard and house. The house had no working toilet, no air of any kind throughout the place. That was a hot summer.

I didn’t go alone my first visit. My supervisor brought me along. As we pulled up to the little house we were greeted by lots of small yapping dogs. They had no water and looked pretty dirty. I gave the dogs some water and then followed my boss into the house to meet Miss Ada. The smell nearly knocked me over, the smell of human waste and animal waste was overwhelming. I had to go back outside to get some fresh air. Then I prepared myself then went back inside to conduct an interview. Miss Ada was very confused, filthy, and looked malnourished and concerned for her dogs. Ada had no food in the house except dog food which she was feeding to the dogs as well as herself. A neighbor had brought over the bag a few weeks earlier and made the call to our office. So the first day was mainly to see what needed to be done.

A call was put into the local clinic, which used resident doctor’s who were first or second year doctors. Dr. C. arrived, she was young like me and was also overwhelmed by the smell, she walked in the out caught her breath, and went back inside and attempted to conduct a physical. She recommended Miss Ada be admitted to the local hospital and then possible place her in a nursing home. We were in luck there was space at the county home. The neighbor would take care of the dogs, family members called and appropriate care of all would happen. I stopped by the County home a few days later. Ada was clean, she was much more aware but still struggled with confusion. She seemed to be happy to be around other people and laughed and smiled a lot during my visit. I spoke with the Dr. who said, she appeared to have dementia, was very malnourished, high blood pressure, and possibly cancer. Her family didn’t live close by, and didn’t express any interest in visiting or helping her get back home. Miss Ada died a couple of months later. I am grateful she didn’t die alone. She had made friends. Miss Ada was my first client.

Chapter 2

My next case I was doing by myself I was told it was just a wellness check. It was in the backwoods of a local county. The house (which was more of a shack) was down a dirt road. I passed the house of the neighbor Jed who called, he was a kindly older gentleman who was concerned about the twin brothers living in the shack with their mother after the father had passed away a couple of month prior to my visit. The twin brothers who were 73 and named Woodrow and Wilson. Both had fought in WWII, never married and were not especially bright. Wilson was the brighter of the two and was the driver of the family. But he was suffering from colon cancer, the same disease that killed his father. Wilson’s mother refused to let the father get treatment for his cancer.

What this case had a perpetrator?

Jed shared background on the family. They had been in the cattle business, their home had no running water or indoor plumbing. He would check on the family and pick up items from the store for them from time to time. He told me lots of paper towels. I gave him a curious look and he just said, yes they always want at least a dozen rolls of paper towels every time I go to the store for them. Jeb didn’t come with me because he wanted to stay neutral about the call. So I drove down the road in my cute little Subaru Justy to their house. I grab my notebook and a pen. Then went and knocked on the door. I heard people inside the house and identified myself and was told they were coming. I was greeted by less than 5 feet tall Edith the 93- year-old mother of the twins who held a shotgun at me and asked what I wanted and then told me they were all fine and to get the hell off their property.

I was only 22 and this was before cellphones so I got back in my car and drove back to Jeb’s house and called the local sheriff. Up to this point in life I had prided myself as being able to get along with everyone. I had a ways to go with Edith. I met the Sheriff at Jeb’s house. He knew the family well. The Sheriff had to pull over Wilson for driving with expired plates on the family car a year earlier. He just gave the family a warning, which they took care of. The Sheriff went with me to their house. Explained the situation, and Edith allowed me to come in and visit with her and her sons. I told her I would like to make doctor appointments for the whole family including her. She told me they were all fine. So the Sheriff had to tell Edith that I would be making doctor appointments and that he would follow up to make sure they went.

On the way back to my office I stopped by the nursing home where Edith’s husband had been a patient and found out Wilson had also been a patient and they were very concerned about his health. (This was why Edith didn’t want Wilson to go to the doctor’s because she knew Wilson needed more care than what she could provide.) I made doctor appointments for the whole family. I also knew that if Wilson needed additional care after surgery and treatment for cancer I would have a fight on hand with Edith.

The day arrived for their appointments I met them at the office. Woodrow was healthy for the most part. His cholesterol was a little high but nothing too bad. Wilson had colon cancer, which I already knew about and needed treatment. Edith’s cholesterol was also a little high. Edith pulled me aside and asked if they bought a mobile home and got indoor plumbing could Wilson stay home. I said, it would need to be discussed with the doctor but if they were able to do that, and services could be provided at home after some time recuperating in the nursing home I would do what I could to help them. (I had my doubts they could afford a new home with plumbing.)

(I am skipping the part about having to get a court order for Wilson to recuperate in the nursing home.) Wilson had his surgery, and made lots of progress while in the nursing home. I got a phone call from Jeb one day about 5 months after our original visit it was a message from Edith wanting me to come visit. Wilson would be released the next day, and she wanted me to come and see if their place was appropriate.

I was shocked when I arrived to their homestead. A brand new mobile home with air conditioning, running water and Edith said quite excitedly, indoor plumbing. Jeb picked up Wilson from the Nursing home and home health care arrangements were made. I spoke to Jeb about the new home. He told me Edith picked out what she wanted and then went to a realtor and bought the home with cash. Over $50,000 cash for the home and getting plumbing connected. When I asked Edith about the new home and buying it she told me she had been saving the money for a rainy day in case they needed it.

Edith lived a couple more years in her new home. Since she had been in control of the family’s finances, Woodrow nor Wilson had any idea of how to manage money. So Jeb helped out and then a court appointed attorney took over. After their mother passed, the boys (men) decided they wanted to live at the nursing home full-time so they could be around other people and be in town instead of out in the country. They were always laughing and smiling whenever I stopped by to say hi.

Next step- after TLC mess

My job is ending.  Thank you!  This year was not what I asked for or what I was hired for.  TLC- right~ therapeutic learning center.  No curriculum, no direction, so when I would try and make it more about social and emotional learning, I get, “no we want you to…

Make it more academic- ok, so we will just work on academics.  But wait aren’t these kids with me because of emotional issues?  How easy it is to learn when you are thinking about past trauma or insecurities or anxiety or being overwhelmed?  Sorry, guys~ just trying to do my job.

Names and activities are changed to protect innocent.

RO- mother passed away a few years ago, his aunt became his guardian then she got cancer and died, then moved in with grandparents who speak a different language, sexual orientation is in conflict with their religion. Angry, overwhelmed, obese, feeling unloved.  Great sense of humor, loves plants and animals, tender heart, open to sharing, great artist, friends support system.

DP – bullied in middle school, parents divorced, chronic health issues, ADHD, lonely, just wants to belong. Kind and polite to all, wants to be successful but lacks skills, great artist.

RL- Parents that have drug dependency, missed over 100 days of school in middle school, started high school by missing over 30 days in the first 3 months, lonely, feels unloved and guarded. Great sense of humor, kind, can laugh at himself.

VK- trouble with the law from a young age, mental illness, ADHD, chaos at home, a parent that is mentally ill, struggles with academics when depressed. Great sense of humor, loves videos about nature, loves plants and animals. Can be successful if allowed to learn own way.

PG- Strict homelife, poor, large family, ADHD, chronic health issues, anxious, hard on self, mental illness. Hard worker, wants to succeed, loves music, can laugh at self, big heart, caregiver, loves to sing, friends- support system.

PJ- Dysfunctional family, mental illness, anxiety, wants to belong, quiet, angry. Loves animals, good friend, kind.

SL- Dysfunctional family, parents don’t speak English, ADHD, large family, mental illness, insecure about body image, insecure about intelligence, first-generation, hard on self.  Great sense of humor, kind, generous, bi-lingual, big heart.

DL- Angry, violent, first-generation, anxiety, mental illness, parents speak little English, a victim of bullying, bully. Funny, sense of humor, great artist, kind, helpful, bi-lingual, hard worker, wants to succeed, big heart, supportive parents.

MK- mentally ill, parent enables, school anxiety, school avoidance, manipulative.  Smart, capable, supportive parents, loves to sing, loves anime, friends- support system.

AI- Angry, bully, on a spectrum, low small motor skills argumentative, Good attendance, loves to sing, friends- support system, supportive family.

AZ- Dysfunctional family, alcohol abuse in family, divorce, parents low functioning, poor attendance, chronic multiple health issues, on the spectrum, school avoidance. Loves puzzles, loves physics and math, has friends- support system, kind, generous, helpful to classmates.

There are more kiddos but these are the main ones.  So many kids have so many strikes against them.  I feel like the only thing I can do is, love them, listen to them, try to give them tools to support them, and remember them.

For the love of teaching

Some things have come to light about my former job and the teachers that were hired after me.  They are things that make me incredibly sad and frustrated that I didn’t pass that fuckin exam in time to get rehired.  Yes, I know the timing wasn’t right anyway.  I know it was way more important that I was here at home to help out with Marion than to be at EDCO but I think about the kids that are there now and how these teachers are selfish, rude and immature.  They are unable to not take things personally with the students.  Grow the fuck up! Seriously?

My chosen profession of Special Education Educator can be quite challenging at times.  If you are especially good at what you do~ ie: not sending kids to the office every hour. You become a dumping ground (I know, bad term) for all the behavior problems that other teachers are struggling with.  I used the word dumping because that is how a weak administration often handles difficult students.  Grouping them all into the category of they must have cognitive weakness otherwise why would they behave so poorly.  At times this could be a good fit for my class or it could be a negative fit.  One student a young lady Patience (names were changed) was put into my mildly cognitive challenged self-contained classroom.  She had quite a few problems going on at home, mom was trying her best but Patience challenged authority of every kind.  So someone said,  oh Patience struggles with the material so let’s put her in Jen’s classroom.  As soon as Patience was placed in my class I knew she was much higher functioning than any of the students in my class.  She quickly went through the assignments with little or no guidance.  I pointed this out to our department chair and administration.  So her schedule was changed, she was put into more appropriate classes.  She refused to do work.  The administrator was pretty savvy started having Patience walk the track whenever she was refusing to work.  For some reason this worked.  Now Patience lost some weight and started receiving attention in a positive way for staying in class and being open to new topics.  The reason the walking around the track helped was she was doing something physical, and she got to talk to a teaching assistant or other special ed. teacher.  But this also worked because it appeared that Patience realized she was important and not to be discarded.

In my current placement, I have a student, Roman.  Roman’s mother died a couple of years ago, it was also at that time he found out he was adopted.  Roman is now living with grandparents.  And English is not their first language, they are also very religious. Roman, is gay and rather low cognitively.  He is very critical of himself constantly putting himself down.  Roman is in a class with some tough students.  Kids that are used to being critical of themselves and others.  I was able to have a little one on one time with Roman the other day.  I told him I didn’t want him to be so critical of himself.  I also told him, I was so happy he was in my class and that I loved him.  I really loved him for his interest in plants and animals. How he thinks of others and is kind.  He started getting a little teary-eyed.  I did too when I realized the reason he was acting out, he didn’t feel loved or wanted.  Just the simply saying that yes, you do matter and you matter to me was enough to help him get back on track.  Is he perfect? No – but he is trying now, which he wasn’t doing before.

My students just want to be seen.

I wonder~ I have the feeling I should…

So I just watched this video that talked about imagination and how to spur it on~ and it is to say “I wonder” about everything.  So here we go the other thing I am going to work on is my intuition by saying aloud. “I have the feeling I should…”

I wonder how long I will have to wait to find out about my dream job.  I wonder if the weather will continue to stay nice for a bit. I wonder what my dream house will look like.  I wonder when I will find my dream house.  I wonder how I will pay for my dream house.  I wonder how close to the ocean I will be?  I wonder if that light up harness bothers Lucy?  I wonder if my daughters will give me a chance?  I wonder if they will ever see them the way I see them which is beautiful?  I wonder if I will get to go to Cuba? I wonder what I will need to do to be able to afford to go to Cuba?  I wonder if I will have to eat beans when I go to Cuba?  I wonder why my body doesn’t process food the way other people’s bodies do?  I wonder if Mark will ever like any cooking dish I make?  I wonder why I am so disorganized?  I wonder why I love to send people postcards?  I wonder why I like to share joy with so many people?  (Share joy as is sending postcards)

I wonder when I will get to share my gifts with the students of EDCO?  I wonder if my intuition is right and that by listening to my heart I will be going back there.  (Maybe this is a good one for the I have a feeling…)

I have the feeling … and I am afraid to believe it because I want to go back to my old job.  Now the stupid what if… which is not a game I should play.  What if there is something else I am supposed to do.  When will my heart tell me~ ok right now it is telling me.   I have the feeling I shouldn’t even go down this road.  I am so blessed in so many ways.

 

 

 

Gallery

Gratitude right now!

So I picked up this book called 52 Lists for Happiness.   I bought it last year and did some of the activities but didn’t write them down in the book.  Probably because this time last year I was working full … Continue reading

5-1-5

5-1-5~  A woman in my meditation group mentioned this is what she does when she is having trouble meditating due to the all too famous monkey mind.  When I first learned this ~ life was not going especially easy for me.  I was doing odd jobs, dog walking, house cleaning, filing paperwork, substitute teaching at a preschool anything I could do to earn a little money.  There were times when I would get down on myself for things not progressing as quickly as I would like.   So I took Lynn suggestion~

5-1-5   Five things I am grateful for,  really think and express appreciation for those things i.e.,  the weather, family, food, friends, the list goes on.  So I was usually dog walking when I felt inclined to do the 5-1-5.  And in the beginning the weather was less than perfect (it was the year we got 10 ft of snow).  But I almost always expressed gratitude for the weather.  This could be things such as the right clothes, the sun shining or how beautiful everything looks with a layer of bright white snow on top of it.  I really consider my statement and even if I am not feeling 100% that way, focusing on my gratitude somehow makes it smile.  Each item I try to focus on for  a minute or two.

5-1-5    One thing I need help with~  at the time I was job hunting, healing from a break up, needing a home, and just feeling lost.  You can think of it as a little prayer or asking your angels or your own inner being.  One time, I was walking Lucy in a big park,  I started doing the 5-1-5, I got to my 1.  And I was going to ask for help finding a job.  I got a phone call from one of the schools I had applied.  I didn’t end up getting the job (actually didn’t want it).  But I felt like my prayers were being heard and I think that was a big part of the 1.

5-1-5    Five people or ideas you want to bless.  This one is pretty straight forward.  Somedays I would focus on people who were easy to love, like my daughters, Lucy, family.  Other days I would focus on people not so easy to love. i.e.  ex-husband, ex-boyfriends, mean people or just difficult people.  I found sending these people my love instead of my disgust made me feel better.  Well somedays.

I was doing it on a pretty regular basis ~ but I have come back to it many times.  I have tried to teach this technique to my students and I tell them it will change your life.  And I honestly believe that.  So now sure where Lynn got this idea or if she came up with it herself.  But thank you!  You are definitely in my first five.

Unemployment checks!

Since my job was restructured last year~ I have been able to recuperate from my last teaching job.  A job that started off as a great place to work and I thought it was my dream job but after the first year~ it became a nightmare.  The director though a nice man ~ he is also a very weak administrator so there was no follow up on discipline or support given to staff.  Even though I was the most experienced on staff and the oldest and the most grounding I still needed support especially since I was put into a nearly impossible position.  Full time special education teacher (or in charge of all the paperwork and making sure all the services were being met and teaching 4 history classes.  I thought at first no problem~ the director understands this is a big job he will support me.  But nope he didn’t in fact when I asked him for help and even gave him suggestions as to what would help me do my job better and/ or make things easier for me.  He actually gave me more responsibilities.  WTF? dude seriously?  But the guy has some serious passive aggressive issues.  I started to push back too.  I didn’t make any attempt to waste my time doing pointless paperwork  such as writing out my lesson plans in a complete format ~ and I told him I felt like I had more important things to do like actually teach rather than fill out some sheet that he would look at once and then forget about checking on it ever again, ok I didn’t say that to him but I had noticed had been his MO.

When he told me he was going to restructure my position, I told him good luck with that. And good luck finding someone to fill my shoes.  Well, he then restructured it to what I had originally suggested to him but he waited to tell me that on the last day of school. And told me I could reapply if I wanted.  Well, that and I needed to pass this fvkkcing exam that has nothing to do with special ed.  As of this writing, I am still waiting to hear if I pass it or not again.  I was angry at first ~ feeling like he never appreciated me.  Well, seriously he didn’t until it was too late.  I did speak to him and told him my issues and I recommended he think about going into another field where he could actually make a difference instead of holding back progress at the school.  He rolled his eyes at me~ asshole.  So he lost all 5 of his teachers.  He had lost 5 teachers the year before too.  But he was saving the collab.  money by hiring new inexperienced teachers every year.  The program be damned.

But I would not have been ready to return to work back in mid-august ~ the woman I lived with was dying.  I was still feeling burned out, and I had that exam to retake.  eye roll!  But lucky me~ I could get an unemployment check.  So I go through the motions~ applying for jobs and re-writing cover letters.  But this time has given me time to think and appreciate.  I will write later about Marion’s death but if I had been teaching  I wouldn’t have been an option to assist and then be apart of her transitioning.  I am reading books, going to the beach, spending time with Lucy, hiking in the woods, think about my own health and write letters.  We don’t know what the future holds for us~ and sometimes we are giving such sweet little gifts thrown in among the sludge.

parenting quote

Update~

Well my life continues to amaze me in the twist and turns of life.  I say this everyday and mean it.  I love living here in Boston.  So much to do and see  and experience.  My heart and head feel so much freer.

It will be a year  in August since my former partner Brian decided he wanted to see if the grass is greener and released me from his heart.  It has be tough,horrible, wonderful and a learning experience.  I packed up my van and Lucy and moved 1,000 miles away from him.  Hoping and waiting for him to come to his senses or for it to finally sink in that ~ he wasn’t all I thought he was. He lied to me repeatedly, cheated and took advantage of my heart.

I can only speak for myself and observe what I think makes a good and healthy relationship.  Brian started putting his energy into his on-line relationship instead of putting it into our relationship.  Of course when I look back I see myself as never doing anything wrong but I did.  I tolerated his disrespect because he was affectionate with me.  I had my own demons of being needy and wanting more.  I really did love him.  But from the beginning, it was too much for me.  But I needed the attention he gave me, the “love” he gave me. When I bought the first house for us.  I wanted it just for MY girls and me not for him and his girls.  But he had the down payment and I had the good credit.  He was out of work but I encouraged him to really look to his heart about what he wanted to do.  He didn’t ~ he just looked at porn.  lol  (I was able to joke with him about this back in the early days.) Little did I realize that his time waster was more that idol past time.  But  I have been at that place where avoiding life seems easier than dealing with the hard truth of life.

He has moved on and got engaged to her 6 months after I left.  He had asked me to marry him too early on too~  he wanted to go to Vegas.  I said, no I wasn’t ready yet.  The universe was looking over me.  But I stayed for 4 and half years.  I think because I loved his girls.  And I loved him and his promise to me.

I have moved on too~ I will find a new dream house, a new career that I love, a new life partner.  Maybe he is already in my life.  We will see.  I say I have forgiven him but that isn’t true all the time.  I want to get to that point and I will.  Now to set my own goals and plans for my life now.

Marriage~ this was written 2 years ago

I was driving this morning dropping some child off for some activity, when I started thinking about friends and others who have been married for a while.  Why do some couples make it and others don’t? And what constitutes a good marriage?

What makes a good marriage?

What keeps you going?

Does it get easier?

Is it just a habit?

Now a little about myself~ I am a divorced.  I was married 21 years.  I was pretty unhappy most of my marriage.  I tried hard to please him but he was also very unhappy.  And even though divorce has been the right decision for me as far as being a much happier person, I  can’t answer that question for him.  He doesn’t speak to me at all, even when he sees me in public.  We have 2 wonderful daughters together.  I am currently living with a man I love very much, but there are commitment issues.  I am so interested to figure this out.

I read once that the answer to a long marriage is a poor memory.  So over the next few months.  I hope to interview or develop some type of survey to find out about marriage.  I would greatly appreciate any input, everything would be kept completely anonymous.  Message me on Facebook.