Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby, it's COLD outside. And INside

No, this isn't another story about a baby, well, maybe about a big baby, me! It's COLD in here! The furnace blower went out again some time yesterday. I didn't get home until 10:00 PM and the house was CHILLY. It's quite one thing to have 50 degree weather outside but inside it's uncomfortable, for sure. I slept wearing gloves, hat and robe. The pajamas I ran in the dryer to warm them up before putting them on. Still, it was like camping outside--in this near-wintery weather. Brrrrrr. Right now the temperature is below 50 degrees inside, like in the 40's. This is not good for my house plants, the ones that survived the drought when I was on crutches and couldn't water them often enough. It's been a bad, and a fatal year for most of them.

Needless to say, I won't be doing much blog reading or commenting today. It's just too chilly to type without gloves and too clumsy with them on. I'm waiting for the repair people to call me back. They said they can't look at it today until after hours, which has an additional $150 fee. I asked them to waive that fee because this is the THIRD time the furnace blower has gone out and the third time (last 2 times were last spring) that I have called them to fix it. The furnace ran all night long but not a whisper of warm air came out of it. Stay warm!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The baby who loved books

Here's a little job-related story that is true. Well, elements have been changed because job information is confidential.

Imagine a baby girl taken from her parents. She only sees one of them a couple of times each week. The other parent is not permitted to approach anywhere near her. When the one parent who is allowed to see her has that precious time, that parent spends the entire time discussing their own ailments and problems. One comment was, "Watching a baby is so boring. You just gotta give them a toy to make them happy."

Safety is an issue during the visitation. The visiting parent has had many oops moments of nearly dropping, losing, and otherwise jeopardizing the baby's safety. Of course a crawling baby CAN zip away from its caretakers very quickly. Yesterday we had the visitation at a public Storytime event. The baby has attended Storytime before, with a different Observer in attendance. Before the Storytime began, she crawled over to a shelf of books, stood up and smiled. She took one of the books -- AND OPENED IT CAREFULLY to look at the pages. We're talking about a young child, not even a year old. This same child had, during a previous visitation, pulled out a book from the diaperbag and thrust it into the attending parent's face. The baby was ignored, the book returned to the diaperbag and a bottle stuffed in the baby's face instead.

During the Storytime the baby was very animated. Several times she crawled over to the person reading the story aloud and stood up, hanging on to her. She crawled to the table were the books were displayed and tried to take one of them. Parent scooped her up and brought her back, giving her a toy to play with. After a while of this, baby grew fretful and restless, crawling over to other children in the circle and trying to take their toys. Her parent seemed very tired and "out of it" not participating in the fun songs and games we played. Soon the time was up and Foster parents came to take the baby away. I mentioned to them how much the baby seemed to love books. They replied that they read to her and the other children and had a houseful of children's books. I was glad to hear that.

That was just one simple story of the many, many situations I deal with in my new job.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Those Damned Dollies

Just finished a visitation and now need to write the summary and do a billing document. First, I thought I'd blog a bit.

Have you seen the movie "A Scanner Darkly"? Weird animated movie that takes place "seven years from now" and is about an addictive substance called "D" by the same guy as "Blade Runner." If you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out. I got it from the library.

I want one of these!

Damned Dollies

Hard to pick a favorite, maybe Maude. What a great Christmas gift! But it's too early to be thinking of that, we haven't even had Halloween yet.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

"HIgh," "Bong" and "Goosed"

After a shaky start, the rest of the visitations this week have gone well. Well, the ones that actually happened, that is. There were many time mess-ups, no-shows and cancellations but the visits that occurred were good ones. That's encouraging.

Also I had a job interview this morning. It sounded like such a great job, they cross-train and encourage people to move up in the organization. Except for a couple of things: the office is up two flights of stairs! I arrived very early, climbed up the stairs (with the cane, of course) then had plenty of time to look around in the building's hallways for an elevator. There was none.

Previously I would have not thought much about it, just a "good, now I'll get some more exercise" sort of reaction. But now I'm wondering how they can not have an elevator up to an office that, obviously, workers and clients would be going in to work or to do business. Isn't there some sort of law about accessibility in a public building? Maybe it's not really considered a public building since it's an office building with suites.

And besides the stair-climbing problem, but related to it: the job requires courier work--running in and out of the office to pick up things! What a fun job that would have been, but
A.) I'm NOT going to get a call-back even though the interview went well, and
B.) I don't think I can do that job, sadly. Gee, I really wish I could walk normally again.

I had three visitations scheduled for this afternoon and evening. Every single one of them had the time or something else messed up with them. (No, I do not set the times--the social worker does all the scheduling! They just tell me when and where to show up) But the ONE visitation that actually happened was a great one, really heartwarming. I do like this job quite a lot, and they were not joking when they said they need someone who is very flexible!

Driving over the interstate bridge to those visitations was rather sad today. There was a large, dead goose on the bridge. I wonder what the car that hit a GOOSE looks like?! They are a really big bird and could have done some damage. That interstate bridge is locally called, the "High Bridge" even though it has another, official name. The other interstate is called the "Bong Bridge" named for Major Richard Bong, a pilot of WWII fame. 'Way back when I was a college student the out-of-state students would have a good laugh at the names of our local bridges, "The HIGH bridge and the BONG bridge? What sort of party place IS this?" Actually we are kinda a boring, backwater sort of place, but peaceful.

OK, the conversation question this time is: Do you have any weirdly named (or commonly called) local roads, bridges, etc.?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not a Super Nanny

It's been a week already. That certainly went fast. Well, most of it. Thanks for the great cold-cure advice! When I asked that question, it was more of a "tell me about yourself" type of question but I quickly realized that there was some really good advice in the comments. I still have a sore throat and cough but am feeling so much better!

Last week when really ill I drank lots of green tea, opened a can of chicken noodle soup. I normally would make the soup from scratch but was just not up for all of that messing around. There are things like frozen food and canned goods still around for when the kids come to visit. The canned soup came in handy.

As I'd feared, Worker's Comp is not too pleased about the job situation. They're planning to do a job shadow to find out what, exactly I'm required to do. That's good of them to want to protect me but the visitations are confidential and I can't just take a "civilian" in with me! Maybe I could walk the WC agent through and just show and explain what I do without having a real family there?

And there ARE some issues about the visitations that are not ideal: there is a lot more walking and standing than they had told me. I'd asked many questions about it during the interview and the employment intake and was led to believe that the job was mostly sitting (and I could put my foot up) but it's not. Kids are lively and I have to follow them around. Families and foster parents are dealing with carloads of children and don't arrive on time (lots of standing around and waiting for everybody to get there).

I can't tell you very much about the situations, but they all are interesting and every family is unique. The children would break your heart. They are such beautiful children! My non-politically correct Mom would call most of them "half-breed" children, ethnically mixed. But those little angel-looking kids often behave like demons! Have you seen the TV show Super Nanny? Jo would have her hands full with ANY of these families.

In fact I had to speak to my boss last night about a family that has visitation in their home. The youngest child involved is so out-of-control that he actually attacked me (habitually attacked any and all of the family members)during the last visitation. It was in the family's home and everyone is required to remove their shoes so I was sitting in the living room with only a stockinged foot and my cane to get up--actually quite vulnerable to an attack like that. The child did back off but I realized that even a young child can really hurt somebody-the older siblings always bear marks and wounds from the youngest. Yikes! I really hated to bow out from that visitation as the boss has enough problems trying to schedule them all, but missing a few weeks may make me unfamiliar enough once again so that child actually listens to me again like during the first visitation, instead of ignoring what I say and attacking me, the fate of the rest of the family.

Yeah, I have to say that my friends and WC were kind of right about this new job. It's less than ideal, physically I can barely do the walking and standing required. But it's very interesting and at least a bit of money coming in.

So a natural follow-up question to all of this, as I love a dialogue, not a monologue: How has your job been lately?

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

and then come the germs

Oh dear, do I ever have a sore throat, can barely swallow and I'm almost never, ever sick. Working with families with babies and little kids brought it on, I'm sure. I remember when my son at daycare used to bring home all the little flu, cold and fever germs currently going around. But even then, everyone else but me would get sick.

Oh well, some nice warm brandy with honey and lemon will help. Make that several of them.... I almost never take cold medicine, that nasty stuff that just makes a person feel even worse. The only time I took some was years ago when we all had walking pneumonia and I had to travel for work, I was sucking down the Nyquill every couple of hours during the day and on the flights to and fro. It worked to get me through but I was just so doggone CHEERFUL and vocal during the day-long staff meetings! By the time I got back home, though, I pretty much wanted to roll up into a little ball and die, except I couldn't breathe when lying down and had to sleep in the recliner. Glad I don't get sick very often. Although those upcoming brandies sound really good.

What do you do when you get sick, how do you pamper yourself?



Wow, my head is spinning and it's great to be working again! I love my job, so interesting. It entails a lot of running around and last-minute step-ins. I worked pretty much all Friday until after 7:00 PM, and the same on Saturday and Sunday working until after 7 PM. The weekly visit with my Mom got moved to Monday, before a staff meeting late in the afternoon.

It's been hectic. Worker's Comp may not like the schedule since the driving and the waiting parts aren't paid. Any job has some time like that. My former job had a half-hour commute each way and a half-hour unpaid lunch for a total of an hour-and-a-half per day that wasn't "covered" or paid for. I hope WC will see it that way. The new job has a bit more of that sort of time just because the nature of it: waiting for the visiting parent(s) to show up, foster parents, driving to different sites. I had a 4-hour visitation in a family's home on Sunday. I got to watch them eat dinner, among other things (didn't get any dinner, of course). Spent Saturday afternoon on a playground and even got a bit of color on my face again. It was a beautiful day. Nice to get paid for stuff like that!

Unlike the previous schedule, the three shadowings required were completed by Friday already and I was out doing the visitations on my own. I think I've done maybe eight of them already and am scheduled for one this afternoon. SLA and I are going grocery shopping since I'm out of all the food I usually eat. Breakfast has been only apples when normally I have an apple, a banana and assorted other fruit chopped up and tossed with plain yogurt. I still have some reports and billings to write for work so I'd better get to it.

What's on your plate (fruit?!) this week?

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

I just joined the Army!

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  • Army of Women
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    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho

    YES! The three required job shadowings are finally scheduled! One for Friday morning, one for Friday evening and one for Saturday late afternoon. Then there's a 4:00 PM meeting on Monday for me to presumably sign up for shifts on my own. Exciting! A bit scary too. I'll have to watch really closely and see how things are handled, how to act, what to do and say. I like the idea of learning by shadowing, and we'll see just how well it works out.

    I just finished a meeting with the Worker's Comp job person. She gave me five new job leads that I must follow up in 48 hours. Tomorrow is that appointment with the bone doctor and another WC person will accompany me to that one.

    Watched a horrendous show on public TV last night. I think it was called "Critical Care" or something like that. The show followed several people with medical issues (cancer was one of the issues) through the medical maze when they had no health care insurance coverage. Scary and so so sad. I think all but one of the people died--basically for lack of timely health care. The financial and emotional hardship on those who were ill--with no or little recourse to good medical care--and on their families was so heartbreaking. I've heard some say that total health care would be too expensive but some financial figures were bandied about that NOT covering people turns out to cost taxpayers and health care enrollees even more.

    On a lighter note, a couple of days ago I borrowed the 5th season of Buffy from the public library and am eagerly anticipating watching those episodes! Probably late at night.

    OK, the question of the day for you is: What are you eagerly anticipating?!

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