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We had a guest for Thanksgiving, a neighbor from down the street. I'd filled one of my rice rings with roasted brussel spouts with pomegranate. "Wow," Dave said, "these are the best damned brussel sprouts I've ever tasted." "He took another bite, "I've never liked brussel sprouts, but these are good."

I took a bite myself, "Yep, they turned out pre' good."

Dave tipped his chin at the table. "How'd you learn to cook like this?"

"Well, it wasn't from my mother." I waved my fork. "She used to always kick us out of the kitchen when she was cooking."

Across the table, my son Sam snorted.

"Oh," I said, sheepish, "do I do that?"

Sam rolled his eyes at me. "You did that to me three times just today."

feast prep

Nov. 23rd, 2016 01:00 pm
ljgeoff: (Default)
We'll have a for-us traditional feast:

Roast Turkey and gravy

chestnut stuffing

mashed white potatoes and baked sweet potatoes

whole cranberry sauce and also the jelly stuff that comes in the can

dinner rolls

deviled eggs

2 savory rice rings1, one with buttered rutabaga and one with

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pomegranate and Hazelnuts -- except I'm using walnuts because hazelnuts? really?

ambrosia -type fruit salad2

broccoli raisin salad (except mine is very plain, with no onion or bacon)

and pies -- blueberry crumb, pumpkin, and either a small cheesecake or apple pie.

There will be our household of 3 adults and 2 children, and Sam, Kayla, and their daughter Torrin, and Stoner Dave from down the street -- a total of 6 adults and 3 children.


1) with a hand grinder, grind up a 1.5 lbs of white mushrooms, 2 green bell peppers and 1 red, and two medium white onions. Prepare rice, with 3 cups long grain rice. While rice is cooking, saute ground veg with 1.5 sticks of butter or margarine. When rice is done, let it cool a bit, and then mix veg well with rice.; salt and pepper to taste (best if you make it a little on the salty side) Butter 2 ring molds and fill with rice mix, pressing gently. If doing the day before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bake in a water bath (cover rings with foil) at 350 for 1 hr; I place ring in something like a cast iron skilled and fill the skillet with water. Fill rings with your favorite vegetable.

2) The crazy people I live with don't like coconut or nuts in anything. I'm throwing this one together with a couple cans of peaches, some canned pineapple, pears, and some canned sour cherries. And mini-marshmallows.
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This morning, at 0630 or so, there was a knock on the door. Mike got up and answered, and I could hear a woman talking, trying to be quiet but clearly upset. I'd just fallen back to sleep from being woken up by Zary, and I was groggy. (Mike must have not gone back to sleep, he was up so fast; he's asleep now.)

When I made my way down, a woman was on Mike's phone, and she saw me and handed the phone to me, "Can you give him directions? I'm not sure where I am."

"Hello?"

We talked for just a bit, and when he said that it'd take him about 20 minutes to walk over, I said, "Well, I've got a car. How 'bout I just drop her off?"

There was a pause. "That would be wonderful," he muttered.

While we drove the few minutes to her uncle's house, the woman told me that she was twenty-seven and had just got out of jail. The Ingham county jail is located in Mason, and is about 15 miles from my house. She (I never got her name) had got out yesterday in the early morning and been walking since then. She had no money and everything that she now owns is on her back and in a gallon plastic ziplock that she was clutching to her chest.

She'd had a place with a boyfriend but he'd moved to Texas while she was in jail, and everything she ever owned is gone. She has an adopted mother with whom she doesn't get along. She doesn't have any friends who can give her any help.

I asked her why she came to our house? She just shrugged. "I thought someone I knew lived there."

Yesterday I was at the YMCA pool with my buddy Chris. We alternated sitting in the hot tub and swimming in the lap pool until a group of little kids came in, a big birthday party, mostly girls around six years old or so. Then Chris wanted to go play in the sprinklers of the kiddie pool (he's developmentally and physically disabled) and so I sat on the edge, watching Chris and watching the kids. They were all so beautiful, the kids and their parents too, so much that it made my heart ache. Every once in a while, one of them would come close and watch Chris with wide eyes, look at the tube coming from his belly and at his strange face. I'd nod and smile at them, try to reassure them that it was all going to be okay and not worry about this guy. They'd look at me dubiously and go back to playing.

I'm an atheist, but I believe in people. I believe in a grace that we share.

As I was sitting down to write this, the oldest of the kids up the block came and asked if they could all come down for breakfast and now they're watching cartoons over their cereal, Trentyn and Zary, too, so six boys munching cereal and commenting on Bernard Bear (goes to youtube).

It feels very homey. I think that I'll spend the rest of my life with a household of boys.

I've got the number of the uncle that the woman called, and I'm trying to decide if I want to reach out to her, throw her a line. It's a lot of work, and I'm getting ready to go back to nursing school. But it makes me feel good to lessen the misery of folk, when I can.

As I wrote that, I thought that I should make the offer, if anyone is feeling like they have room to help some folk -- the kids up the block need boots and winter gear. There're two boys and a girl, (there were three boys, but the youngest is living with his paternal grandmother now, which is probably a good thing) from about ages 11,10, and 7. I don't know about the cousin who's staying with them, he looks to be about five. And the woman who knocked on our door this morning, well, she needs a phone. Maybe I can see about giving her one of our old flip phones and putting it on our bill; it'll only be $10/mo or so.

And, hell, I'll put this out there too: If you have a desktop system that you are done with, send it my way and I'll hook up the kids up the street.

cookie day

Dec. 23rd, 2015 11:19 am
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I have this morning off and none of the kids are puking, so I am baking. I love to bake. Last night I made up three small batches of cookie dough: Russian Tea Cakes, Jam Thumbprints and Rolled Sugar Cookies. There's about 2 dozen of each cookie.

This morning, I made the tea cakes and thumbprints, and a pan of baklava and some little lemon tarts. I still have to make up the rice ring for tomorrows dinner the cranberry jello mold and the ambrosia salad.

Mike's going to make the rolled sugar cookies while I'm at my counseling appointment, and I work from 5p-10p. Tomorrow afternoon, everybody with frost the sugar cookies. I have to work for a couple hours in the morning, and then we'll have a nice dinner.

*sigh* aaannd, Zary just puked all over the carpet.
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I've got a meeting with Jerome's lawyer on Wednesday. I'm not sure how it's going to go -- he mentioned the mental health court and that would be great if Jerome would be compliant but I really don't see that happening.

Yesterday was Sunday, and I spent most of the day in the garden. I got the third bed weeded out and planted with quinoa, sweet corn, and beets.

I've got my first vertical farm tower up and have begun to plant it. I paid one of the guys next door to help me with the digging and filling, and the neighborhood kids helped me plant pumpkin, cucumbers and unfortunately, some zucchini -- unfortunately because I had a brain fart about the zucchini and forgot how they shouldn't be planted near pumpkins. Oh well! Oh, and we also put some peas in the vertical planter. I'm going to also plant strawberries, tomatoes and lettuces in there. I can't wait to see how it does.

Filling it up, the whole thing took on a bit of a tilt. Not much, a few degrees, but I'm keeping my eye on it.

It makes me think of Mike. He's gone this weekend on a trip with Sylvia. I need to write about us some more, but I -- it just seems like I say the same things over and over.

Anyway, now I've got the first vertical planter up, I need to get the second one up, and the rain-catch roof that'll unite them. On the back end on the house, I've got the greenhouse all ready for when the weather gets cool, and the same guy who helped with the vertical farm is helping to dig the tomato beds in the back yard. I should have the tomatoes in by the end of the week.

Also, I'm going to ask the art studio at the corner if some kids would like to come down and design and make a mosaic for between the planters, under the rain-catch. I need to get out there with my camera!

No word yet on nursing school...

a day

Apr. 14th, 2015 04:46 pm
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It's such a lovely day! Sun, a bit of a breeze and temps in the high 60s. I got off early today because my client had a bad seizure -- I always feel bad when that happens, even though there's nothing I can do to stop it. And also because I'm always happy to come home, so it feels like I'm happy that he had a seizure, even though I know that's not true. bleh.

Anyway! Got home, grabbed the little boys and took them off to the thrift store. We got a newish bike helmet and two pairs of knee pads for their scooters, and something like six pairs of shorts and tshirts, all for under $25.

Then we came home and I threw supper together -- a multigrain pilaf with rice, barley and quinoa, and carrots, onion. celery and turkey. And corn on the cob on the side. Yum. Now I'm laying across my bed trying not to fall asleep while the kids eat. Then I need to pack them in the van again and haul them to soccer. While they play, I'll work on my algebra homework.

Then I'll bring them home, correct Luke's algebra homework and his paragraph, talk to him about the documentary he watched today, then get the kids to bed and do more algebra homework and at 10pm, go pick up Mike from work.

Tomorrow, I need to do my algebra pre-test quiz and at 7:30 am go off to my second to the last exam. Three more weeks!
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I've got to study for two tests tomorrow -- an anatomy lab quiz on All The Bones and a physiology lab quiz on sensory enervation. Hey, I got a 93% on my last algebra test, so I'm def. nearing the 4.0 mark for that class. Also? I got some extra credit in anatomy and now have a 4.0 in that class -- never thought I'd do so well in anatomy because I pre' much suck at memorization. Physiology is still hanging around 85%.

All of this studying is for nursing school. It's actually a bit hard for me to wrap my head around it -- that a year from now I'll be halfway to my RN. Mike and I were talking about the advantages to going for the Nurse Practitioner degree. If I did it while I was working, it would take some three or four years, but the knowledge might be worth the effort. I dunno. The clock is ticking and there is only so much of me.

Today is Coltyn's birthday -- Trentyn and Zary's little brother. Lindsay, the boys' mother, got married after she signed off on the boys and had another baby right away. It's going about as well as you'd imagine and I kinda worry about the kid. We're going to his party at 2pm today.

Also, today I want to clean out the corner of the basement where the fish tank is going to sit. The tank is going to be 2 meters in diameter and about 1 meter deep -- no, I should use English because I everything is going to be in English gallons -- so, about 6 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep. That will give me about 85 sq. ft., about 635 gallons. I'm looking at having more than one tank, because of the lag time of raising fingerlings to eating-sized fish, but one thing at a time, eh?

Finally, I've got to get some construction bags today so we can bag up the lathe in the bedroom we're gutting. When we get our taxes (just filed last week) we'll be finishing up that room, Luke will move in there and we'll gut the little boys' room.

Sandbox!

Sep. 14th, 2014 02:53 pm
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Look! I have minions!

digging sandbox 2
digging sandbox 3

digging sandbox 1

I took all the perennial from the side that is now the sandbox and planted them in the other bed. That bed should look lovely next spring, and I'll put a nicer fence around it -- needed so that the kids and neighbor kids don't trample my plants.

Just some cleanup to do and it's ready for the sand.
digging sandbox 4

All the dirt is piled under the tree that's at the streetside. I'm going to plant that with vinca (periwinkle). Now for the back yard. Then tomorrow I can focus on the garden beds across the street.
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I'm off today!

Work is going better -- I'm feeling less overwhelmed. But on the days I work, I pretty much do nothing else, and that's a bummer. I still go in early so that I can get set up without feeling so rushed. I usually get in at 0430 and we are required to punch in at 0515. The first patients start trickling in at 0530. I punch out at 4pm, at home by 4:30 and I'm usually asleep by 8:30 or 9pm. The four hours before bed are usually spent making dinner and cleaning up (though not last night -- Mike cooked and zoning out in front of a screen or monitor.

This morning I am thinking about bees. We will be moving within the next 30 days. Our yard is very small, but there are two community gardens - each one about 5 blocks away to the east and west of us, and I wonder if I could put a hive in each of those.

Ok -- off to get b'fast for the boys.

Aaand back. Pancakes were made and eaten, the boys are in the tub, a load of wash is going and the dishes from last night and this morning are soaking. Next on the list is to get the boys dressed, unload the dishwasher and load it back up and pick up the living/dining area.

Today I am going to be boxing stuff up. I'm hoping to spend at least 3-4 hours sorting through stuff, boxing it and, when Mike gets home, hauling it to the other house.

And sometime today I'm going to make a climate post.
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I feel like I've been rolled in a carpet and beaten with sticks. But last night I got a solid eight hours of sleep, so at least I'm not exhausted on top of it. Which is good, 'cause I gotta bust out a dinner today.

In my family, Thanksgiving is all about the carbs. We'll have a turkey, but more importantly mashed white potatoes, Grandma's Rice Ring, chestnut stuffing, baked sweet potatoes and rutabaga (swedes?). Hmm, and also a jello thing made of orange jello, shredded carrot and crushed pineapple, steamed broccoli in the rice ring, an apple salad (waldorf) and cranberry sauce (both homemade whole and the canned stuff.)

Ok -- the boys just got up and now they're having some cereal. Yay for cereal!

Yesterday I wanted to quite my job. I didn't want to enough to actually quit, but I really wished hard for it for a good half hour.

Things that are good in my life right now:

-- The little boys are healthy and happy.
-- All of my children, their wives and children are healthy and happy.
-- Mike and I are making enough money to pay our bills.


That's three really, really big things.

Next week, there's a court hearing for Jerome, and we're expecting some good news. I know that the DHS plan continues to be reunification, but I don't know how things are going to work.

So, something that I haven't talked much about is that Mike and I are buying a house. It's old and needs a new roof, and we're getting it on land contract for $1200 down, payments of about $525/mo. Total sale price is $35,000. Here it is on Zwillow. There are pictures of the lovely woodwork.

It needs a new roof to the point that there's been some significant damage to one of the upstairs ceilings, but we're handy and Keith does roofing and we can call down a couple of sons for the weekend and knock it out. Downstairs, there is a small fireplace in the living room, and the room is L-shaped, so we can make a bit of a playroom there. There's a small formal dining room and the kitchen is ok. Upstairs, there's three bedrooms and a sun room. We won't be able to have our big bed, but we have a queen that Jerome is using, and we'll use that.

There's only one bathroom and there's an attic and a basement.

We've been talking to Jerome about how he's going to work things out with the kids. He knows that he's not quite up to taking care of the kids 24/7 -- even if the DHS declares him fit. So we're thinking that we can sell the double-wide modular we're in (it needs a new roof, too, and we might be able to get 8K for it) and when we redo the roof, we can raise it up a bit and make an apartment for Jerome there, with a bedroom, bathroom and living/kitchenette.

The yard is very small, but there's a community garden and a park.

I'm really hoping that after the court hearing, Jerome will at least be able to parent the kids here while we're at work. About 3/4 of my pay is currently going for childcare. The boys really love the center, though. We're applying for a grant to cover the childcare expense, but I don't know if they'll pay us back for what we've already paid out. We'll deal.

Okay, the cereal is done, and the boys are heading to a morning bath. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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Wow, I've had a great week. I mean, A Great Week. I got a new job, and then I got another *ever better* new job. Also, once I am trained with this company, I can work just about anywhere, if I have the need.

I began working as a Volunteer Fellow at the Obama for America campaign, here in Lansing.

Working on the campaign, I met a very interesting woman who happens to be a lawyer (solicitor) and will help us with Jerome's adoption papers, and let us pay her monthly, which we will actually be able to afford.

I've been walking around my trailer court and registering people to vote. They are so happy to see me! It is very cool. Yesterday I spent most of the morning at a local Democratic convention meeting where I submitted a party resolution about addressing climate change. For real! I wrote it on a piece of notebook paper and handed to the resolutions dude. He said he'd type it up and put it up for a vote at the next meeting. Then I went to a UAW picnic and manned the Obama table and signed up more volunteers.

We haven't heard anything about the little boys; I will call the Marquette DHS office tomorrow.

Also, today I am cleaning up a bit around here, doing laundry, taking a walk to the garden to see if it has survived since I planted it -- I don't have any fencing and the wildlife might have eaten it -- as well as go about with the voter registration clip board. Pork chops with mushroom gravy are in the crock pot, and we'll have that with potatoes and a salad for supper.

Edit: this is what functional mania looks like.
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Today has been a day. We got up early and went to court with Jerome. Last March, a friend of his took him practice driving with her mother's car, and Jerome jumped a curb. He got a ticket for driving without a permit or license. He had a deal with the prosecutor that the charges would be dropped if he got his permit by today.

But he got mugged two weeks ago (and got beat up a bit) and had his wallet stolen -- and his only copy of his birth certificate was in the wallet. I knew that, to get a license, you have to show a stamped copy of your birth certificate, but I didn't know that you needed it just to get the permit.

So I was expecting that Jerome would go to jail this morning, because he couldn't take the permit test (we tried last night - no go.) On the way in, I asked him who his court appointed attorney was -- he said that the attorney who had given him the plea deal was his court appointed attorney.

In other words, he thought that the prosecutor was his court appointed attorney.

When we got in front of the judge, I explained that Jerome was learning disabled, and had thought that the prosecutor was his court appointed attorney. The Judge assigned Jerome an attorney, and he has a new pre-trial date. Hopefully, we'll be able to get his birth certificate from Colorado by Aug 31, and go get her permit, which is all the prosecutor wanted.

He also woke up with a horrible tooth ache. After getting out of court, we took him into the doc and got a script for antibiotics.

Then Mike and I went and looked at some houses. Once we get the little boys, we'll need more space. We found one we really like -- it's close to Mike's work, it's in the country on over three acres, and it has four bedrooms. It's small, but it will work well for what we want. But there's already an offer on it -- bummer. The real estate agent is going to send me links to others that might work.

While we were out driving around the country side, Jerome was here at the house. Jerome has a daughter who lives with her mother in Colorado -- his daughter is 2yrs old, and her name is Isabelle. Yesterday, Isabelle was taken from her mother. Jerome wants her to come here (Isabelle's mom is a pill popper) and we said that we're open to that, but we don't think Colorado would be cool with it. Jerome is going to get a call from a social worker from Colorado's CPS sometime tomorrow or the next day. So we'll see.

Things to do:
-- schedule a dentist appointment for Jerome
-- get Luke registered for school (he'll be starting 6th grade)
-- tomorrow -- interview at 7:30 am for Patient Care Tech job -- might take it, I dunno
-- tomorrow -- go in to work for Obama campaign at 11am (I'm being trained as a 15-hr/wk volunteer intern)
-- work on the golem

FML

Aug. 9th, 2012 11:35 am
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If you looked at me, you probably wouldn't think I was angry. Even talking to me -- I might seem a little excited, but not angry. As a kid, we weren't allowed to be angry and so I don't do angry very well.

I got a call from the boy's social worker today saying that something had come up on me when they pulled my DHS record. They can't place the boys here unless and until it is expunged.

I've had several contacts with the Marquette County CPS. I told the social worker this and she replied that as long as I was never formally charged, then it would be ok. Since I have never been formally charged, I figured that it would all go smoothly.

But not so. This is the situation:

Back in 1995, I was trying to open an Adult Foster Care home. Mike and I had bought (on land contract) a piece of property out in the township with two brick homes on it. But when we applied for an AFC license, we were denied because our credit rating was sucky.

So, having all of this room, I started taking in folks; some could pay but most of them couldn't, and I ran a small Adult Day Care for a while, taking in clients from the Veteran's Hospital. And I worked at Taco Bell in the evening. Mike drove truck hauling wood chips down to the Wisconsin paper mills, but the company he worked for didn't pay much We lost the place in'97. The mortgage payments were just too much, and I didn't have enough clients – and too many free loaders.

When I look back on it, I think that it was a good thing that it closed. I didn't know enough about myself and other people to run something like that. I hated asking people for money, and I let people live there who couldn't pay me. No one wanted to do any work, and I wasn't good about making them pull their weight. So I just worked as hard as I could, holding it all together. I was always running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I guess you'd have to say that it was a learning experience.

One of the clients out there was a young man on SSI who happened to be gay. That first year, I had to throw a woman out. She was disruptive -- lied to everyone and started fights. After I threw her out, she called CPS on us, saying that both my clients and the kids were neglected and abused.

So CPS investigated and at first, they had no problems. Then they found out that I had a gay man on the premises who sometimes looked after the kids while I was at work in the evenings.

Jordan is a great guy, and I trusted him. I was aware that he had been sexually abused as a very young child. We talked long and hard about it. I talked to the kids. I talked to the rest of the folks who were living out there. The kids said that Jordan had never done anything that made them uncomfortable or afraid, the other folks said they had never seen or heard anything that might make them suspicious, and Jordan said that he'd kill himself before he would hurt a kid.

The CPS worker, though, had a problem with Jordan. He was a practicing gay man, he had a record of mental illness (gender identity disorder!) and he had been sexually abused as a child. But in the end, I said that there was nothing wrong with Jordan, I refused to kick Jordan out and the case was closed.

But the investigation is on my record, and until I get it cleared up, the kids can't live here. I'll be sending out a formal request today, by snail mail. It goes to a guy who is on vacation until Aug 13th, and then he has to formally hand it to his boss. Because that's the way it works.
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If you've been reading this journal for any length of time, you've probably read me writing about Jerome.

Back in August of 2010, Lindsay and her baby Trentyn came to live with us. In September, Trentyn's dad, Jerome, moved in, too. Lindsay was pregnant with their second son, Zari. During that time, we also had Michael and Mel and their girls living with us and then we had Sam and Kayla and their daughter Torrin.

It was not an easy time. But over the last two years, a strong bond has grown between Jerome, Mike and me. Last September, when I went away to South Dakota, Lindsay and Jerome were kicked out of the trailer court for driving the neighbors crazy screaming at each other. Living with them, I would say that it was equally their fault.

They moved into an apartment, lost the apartment, crashed on people's couches and finally had their kids taken away. Last month, Lindsay signed off on her parental rights; she's met someone new and either doesn't have the ability or the will to jump through all of the hoops to get her kids back from foster care.

For a while, about 3 months or so, we all talked about Mike and me adopting Trentyn and Zari. Mike and I knew that Lindsay was going to give up custody of the boys, and we were afraid that Jerome wouldn't be able to get them back from foster care.

But do you know what? Jerome has not missed a day of visitation, and has so far accomplished almost all of the requirements of his child protection social worker. He now has some unsupervised visitation, and is looking for a larger apartment. I have to say that I'm glad that he's had to go through this process. He's a much better parent and the counseling has made a real difference in how he deals with stress.

Last week, Mike and I asked Jerome if he would let us adopt him. His eyes got big and he gave a little grin and said yes. Then he looked down at the ground and shook his head. When he looked up, his smile was huge and he said, "Hell, yes!"

We thought that we were going to have to go out of state to adopt Jerome, because I'd read that Michigan did not allow adult adoptions. But it does! So now we just have to save up a little money and jump through some easy hoops.

Of course, we aren't as close as the boys I've spent a lifetime with, but that's ok. We love Jerome and Jerome -- well, he really wants to love us. He says that we've never let him down, and no one else in his life has ever been that way for him.

So, here you are internets -- my seventh son, Jerome:
two big pics )
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Sam and I have been scoping out trees along the highway. We found a good one out by the old airport, where a local company is making some gravel. So, not exactly legal. The fact that it was right across from the state police post made it a bit problematic, too.

"We better come in at night," I mused. "A quick chop and grab."

Sam smiled lazily. "Covert Tree Ops."

Sam's friend Zac said that he needed to come because he hadn't had anything interesting to blog about in weeks. And besides, he had a black leather jacket.

So off we went, puffed out in coats, scarves and gloves (cold!) and packing a bow saw. The bit of highway we were looking for was just 5 minutes down US 41. "Right here!" Sam pointed, and I pulled onto the shoulder.

The snow was thigh-deep, with a thick crust from yesterday's freezing rain. But what a difference in temperature! As we crunch-waded toward the trees, the snot in my nose froze -- which means it was right around zero, Fahrenheit (- 18 C).

Within just a few minutes, we'd picked out our tree, sawed through the base and pulled it back to the Festiva. We jammed the tree in the hatch, butt first, and piled in.

"Go! Go! Go!" Sam shouted.

It's a lovely tree, just the right size, quite a bit less bushy than the ones that folks buy. It just brushes the ceiling, and we've strung it with lights. Tomorrow I work, so we will finish decorating it on Wednesday, playing Christmas music and drinking cocoa.
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In the fall of 1989, I was 28 yrs old, newly divorced with a two year old, living in a trailer park out in Sands and working at the Big Boy on the midnight shift, pouring bottomless cups of coffee to cab drivers, drunks and the lost. A kid showed up at my counter one night, sucking down coffee and smoking one cigarette after another, his head dropping lower and lower over his mug as the night wore on. At 5am, I filled up his cup and he startled awake. "What's the matter kid? Don't have anywhere to sleep?" He just looked up at me and blinked. "Well." I set the coffee pot back on the burner and considered him. "I get off in an hour. If yas wanna, yas can sleep on my couch."

That was Keith. He was 17, and he lived with me for about a year and a half, helping take care of Jake while I worked.

Keith is married now with two kids. He works construction - roofs and siding and that kind of stuff. Our relationship is both complicated and simple. On Monday, he came by the shop, bitching about being short-handed and behind on a siding job. I poured him a cup of coffee and said, "I got a kid at home, 17, but big and strong. A good worker. You want him?"

He did, and Justin's been working with him all week. When I came home last night, dropping off bread and milk in the kitchen, Justin was there making toast. "Hey, Lis?"

"Hmm?"

"Keith and I have been talkin'. He's pretty cool." He turned to me and grinned. "We've got a lot in common. I told him that you call me one of the Lost Boys. Know what he said?" At the shake of my head, he slouched against the counter, and mimed sucking on a cigarette and flicking the butt away. "Shit, kid," he drawled in perfect imitation, "I'm the fucking original."
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On the way home from class last night, I picked up a few groceries and, once home, gathered the boys in the kitchen. Present were Sam, Kyle, Justin, Luke and I. conversation and spaghetti )
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Present were: Sam, Kyle, Justin, Fred, Luke, Josh, Travis, Brianna, and unknown female friend of Brianna's.

For being as tired as I was, the talk went well. I think one of the reasons it was so successful is that I didn't just talk one-to-one with Justin; we had a big house meeting about drugs in society (1), house rules, and the coming school year.

I did make it very clear, specifically to Justin, that any type of drug use, possesion of anything illegal (including paraphenalia), and general ass-hattery would get him kicked out of the house. Justin said that he wasn't a pot head, he didn't have anything on him and he definately wasn't selling anything. He just liked getting high occasionally, and he could keep it out of the house. I told him that he was on probation, and if there was a next time, he'd be out.

The longest part of the meeting was more about what it took to live together cooperatively, and how if people didn't pull their weight, it didn't work. Everyone agreed sagely that the jobs needed to be done, but I'm sure that I'll have to bully them through the carry-through.



1) "Do yous guys remember that part from 'The Matrix,' when the dude held up the battery and told Neo that that's what humanity was? Well, to corporate America, to the rich and the powerful, that's what you are. You are a consuming machine whose only purpose is to power the economy. Your purpose is to work as hard as you can, and spend all of your money on the 'stuff.' Drugs play two important rolls in society: they keep you passive, so you don't think or worry about this dynamic, and they give the rich and powerful control of you specifically, so they can throw your ass in jail when they want. Recreational drugs make you stupid, passive and easy to control."
ljgeoff: (Default)
Yesterday, feeling kinda sick and headachy, I had a conversation with an irate parent. Seems that someone using my phone was talking to one of his kids about snorting Ritalin. After work, I had a conversation with the boys. Present were Sam, Fred, Justin, Brianna, and Dillon. It was about the house rules, and went something like this:

Me: Ok, everybody, what is the number one rule in this house?
Justin: No fighting?
Me: Nope.
Dillon: No getting in trouble?
Me: No, but closer.
Sam: No police.
Me: Bingo! The number one rule in this house is to not do things that will bring the police to my door. This means everything from being a general ass hole in town, breaking curfew, fighting, underage smoking and drinking, and anything involving drugs. Boys, I ask you, what happens when the cops have caught all of the crooks? (blank stares) ... Come on, think!
Justin: they need to keep finding crooks, so they can have a job.
Me: Ah! So, if there aren't any crooks? Let's say that you live in a small town, and there's just not that many crooks? What do you do?
Fred: I hate cops.
Sam: They would arrest more people for little stuff.
Me: Now, I ask you, what do the cops think about this house?
Everyone: ...oh, man,... drug house! ... if they only knew....
Me: Right! And why do people think this is a drug house? 'Cause it's got a bunch of weird looking kids, and the yard is always a wreck, and the house is always totally wasted. Obviously, we must be doing drugs.
Brianna: One of the cops told my Dad that this was a drug house. If they only knew ..
Me: And if they raided this place, what would they find?
Everybody: Geeks! ...D&D dice ... computer systems ... poo ... lot's of poo.... lot's of computer systems...
Justin: Cops get promoted and stuff, the more they arrest people.
Me: Indeed. Are cops interested in justice?
Sam: No.
Me: Right. Justice is not a cop's purview. Justice is the court's job. So, we have this system where we hire people to find crooks. They *have* to find crooks, or they loose their jobs. What happens if we don't have cops?
Dillon: Everyone is happy?
Me: No.
Sam: Anarchy!
Me: Warlords. Warlords with thugs.
Justin: Not so bad...
Me: if you are a Warlord.
Sam: Or the Warlord's thug.
Me: And if you're not the warlord or the warlord's thug?
Brianna: Not so good.
Me: Right. So, what have we learned from this little conversation?
Fred: I still hate cops.
Sam: But they're better than nothing.
Me: And what's the number one rule in this house?
Everyone: No cops!
Me: Now, let's have a conversation about recreational drugs. Does anyone know what the word "underclass" means? ....

bleh

Aug. 20th, 2008 03:50 pm
ljgeoff: (Default)
If my head would stop hurting, the world would be a better place. It's just hard to think past the migraine. It's hard to remember what life was like before the migraines.

I tried writing, but can't focus. I cleaned the soft-serve machine and wiped down the walls around the coffee machines. I placed an order for stock, and made up a shopping list. Before the headache, I wrote two long emails and waited on about 40 customers.

Amy and the boys are cleaning the house. People are coming over to look at the puppies. Tomorrow I have an appointment to talk to the principal of the alternative high school, for Justin.

Being the second half of the month, I have tallies and columns running through my mind. Our overhead is about $125/day, so right now we are paying ourselves about $100/wk. We are open a total of 119 hours/wk. If I paid $8/hr for each of those hours, it'd come to $952/wk. I am anxious to see if we will make those kinds of sales. We'd have to have daily sales of around $225-$250. Right now, we're averaging $140/day. NMU starts next Monday, and the public schools the Monday after that; I've been told that sales would double when the schools start back up -- that's what's happened in previous years. If that's true, I have nothing to worry about...

Damned headache -- temple, eye socket, cheekbone, upper teeth, jaw, lower teeth. Carl will be here in an hour and a half, and then I go to get supplies, and then I go to my cleaner house, throw some laundry in the wash, take a shower and go to bed.

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