19 December 2009
Well, Merry Christmas! Time for the State of the Blain again.
Continue reading 2009 Christmas Letter
I realize this is a bit “already in progress” but it’s been an interesting day.
Being a work day, my day started at midnight, as my swing shift turned into my graveyard shift. I usually take it a bit easy across that time, catching up on my online things a bit, and see what’s on History Channel. When it came time to start on the paperwork for the new month, I went to the office computer and set up the med sheets for the month (they just needed some minor adjustments), and then sent them to the printer. Nothing happened. So I checked the printer queue, and found my file sitting there, right next to three copies of a job the case manager had sent to it, none of which was going anywhere.
Some brain-fuel burnt later and I figured out that what seems to be going on is a network problem. Last week, as I was leaving, the Comcast guy was there changing us from DSL to Cable internet, and my coworkers were complaining about having trouble getting on the internet, so I think there’s a problem in the network, probably the router. I think the IPs might have gotten assigned differently than they were configured, and now things aren’t talking to each other the right way. I tried resetting the router a couple of times, and powering down the computer and the printer and the router, but it wasn’t working. There’s a network device in there for filtering things that might be messing with stuff, and I don’t have admin privileges on anything, so I can’t do much more than that.
So I couldn’t print out new med sheets for the month, and had to have a place to track the meds for the day, so I squeezed them into empty spaces on the February sheets, and I’ll probably have to do that tonight, and try to get it worked out in the morning when the case manager gets there, in the midst of all the other chaos of the morning. It’s going to be a rough sleep time — I’m behind on sleep heading into the night, and I’m going to have to stay to get that laid out at least, and then I’m going to have to go to the Lynnwood Parks and Rec department to pick up my hat (I left it there after the pottery class Friday — in a year, it’s the first time I’ve forgot that hat anywhere — much better than my record with baseball caps, but very annoying), and I’m still left with only a few hours to sleep before I have to pack up and head to my afternoon job.
All of this time spent on getting the printer to not work came out of the time I had other things to get done, so I was behind. And, being tired from a bad sleeping day yesterday (yes, this is becoming a pattern), other problems arose. There are three sets of keys for the house, and, Friday night, the other two staff that finished the swing-shift took the set they were carrying with them, so we’ve been working with the set of keys I had that night ever since. And I lost them for about half an hour, right in the middle of becoming more frantic about trying to get everything done that I needed to in the time I had remaining. In a faith-promoting moment, I had a short, frantic, direct standing prayer of “I could use some help here, please,” and I walked to the place where I’d placed some papers on top of the keys and there they were. It was helpful — it’s nice when God puts up with my mouthiness when I really need it.
And then the 0700 staff called to say she’d be 15 minutes late (which wasn’t too big of a deal). By that point, I was in pretty good shape — I just had three baskets of laundry to fold. So I folded laundry while she dealt with kids that were bored in their rooms, but can’t come out until 0900 (other than bathroom things). One of the two 0800 staff that are to relieve me didn’t get there until almost 0840, so I had time to finish folding the laundry and got some of it put away before I left.
The problem with leaving that late was that I was trying to get to Church by 0900, and the ward I tried this week is about 40 minutes away. So, I was about 20 minutes late when I got there. I picked this ward because some friends of mine that I haven’t seen in a few years live there (for those in the know, it was Jay and Audrey), and it would be good to share space with them on the weeks I can’t be at home (and I can’t do the Sunday trip home more than a time or two a month — it just about kills me). Being late, I sat in the back and scanned the crowd to see if I could find them. I found their older son first, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t him — it would be too convenient if the first boy I saw about the right age and size just happened to be him. But the older lady playing with him looked familiar, and then the short-haired guy in front of her turned his head and it was Jay, and then I realized that next to him was Audrey. That was cool. But then I looked and noticed that, next to Jay was Audrey’s brother, my former home teaching companion. I had no idea he would be there — I thought maybe his family had moved into this area as well, and that would just be weird in a good way. But I couldn’t remember his name, and it bugged me — a lot. I’m not good with names in general, and I was just not even thinking about him, and there he was. I couldn’t remember his wife’s name either, but I could remember their older daughter’s name — she used to think I was about the best thing around, and would follow me around, but, not too long before they moved away, she got some taste and decided that she’d at least play a little coy with me (she was like 18 months at that point).
So I sat at the back of the room, staring at these people, trying to remember their names, paying attention to what the speakers were saying for the most part, and having the spiritual experience, while tipping my uncomfortable metal chair back to reduce the muscle spasms in my ribs (which are still there) so I can keep breathing. I closed my eyes at some point in this and started dozing off — making a very unsettling moment when I came awake and realized that I had almost tipped my chair over backwards. At some point, Jay got up and carried out a rather small looking baby, so I figured they’d had another one. Not a huge surprise — it’s been a few years since their second.
After the meeting, I wandered over behind their seats, and the best moment came when Audrey glanced back and saw me, because, when she recognized me, she smiled. See, I’ve been running into people I haven’t seen for a long time on Facebook, but it doesn’t allow you to see what their process is when they get the friend request. It’s hard to tell if they’re at all pleased with the prospect, or if they’re just approving the request to be polite. But there was nothing in the polite or forced in that smile, and that meant a lot. She told Jay that I was there, and it took him a second to think about what Blain she was talking about and then to look over and “Oh.” But they were both glad to see me, and I got to meet the new baby girl, who is only six weeks old. The reason they had all the family there was that they had blessed her this morning, and Jay reminded me that Audrey’s brother’s name is Spencer (I remembered Brooke’s name while driving out of Marysville on the way back afterwards). I told them what’s going on, a little bit, and then they needed to leave, because all the family was there and had seen what they came to see. But they said they hoped I’d come again, and meant it. Again, very nice.
The rest of the meetings went reasonably well. The Sunday School teacher this week (the rotate between two) is someone I know as well, although we weren’t particularly close, and I’m not sure he recognized me. I’ll talk with him next time, when I’ll hopefully be a little earlier getting there — maybe even before the meetings started. Sunday School went well, and that was good — a bad Sunday School experience is enough to not come back, since I have quite a few wards to choose from. So I will be back, at least a time or two.
Sleeping this afternoon didn’t go very well. I woke up for good just before 2000, and now I need to get ready for work — I need to leave in about 40 minutes. And, when I go on-shift at 0000, it will be another interesting day.
This story lays out some of the basics of what happened. It doesn’t include that the permit is somewhat conditional base on the impact of the home on the sewer system. Nor does it include the step about the phone call from the Secret Harbor attorney pointing out that discriminating in housing against residents on the basis of their mental illness is illegal. But, whatever. The new home is slated to open in November, after the Cypress Island facilities are completely removed (including the six year-old $3 million sewage treatment system, but not including the Richter Home and surroundings, which the state is keeping for retreats) to make the area pristine and original (except for the Richter Home, again).
Just to update.
Another article about Secret Harbor’s transfer to group homes, this one in the Skagit Valley Herald.
I got a call from my sister this afternoon about a problem Secret Harbor is having in getting permitted for one of the four new group homes they’re moving to from the Cypress Island facility. So I looked and found this story that tells more about it. The basics are that there is a church right across the street from the house they want to use, and the pastor of the church and a few of the members spoke against the idea at the permit hearing, and the permit was denied.
Now, the permit will come through, and the group home will be there. There’s no way this will withstand appeal. That’s a little annoying. But what’s more annoying is that we even had to go here. This is what’s been going on with Secret Harbor forever — everybody is so afraid of the boys there that they just freak out at the name, without bothering to know what they’re talking about. I know most of the boys who will be in that house (maybe all — I don’t know who all is going there), and I’ve worked in the first group home they’ve operated — my sister works in that home, so I’ve had updates on what’s been going on there since it opened. These folks are thinking that this home will have extremely violent boys and sex offenders, who will sneak out at night in the middle of the day to sneak into the church during services while no one is watching to hurt people, and if you’ve noticed some problems with that reasoning, you’re paying better attention than they are. These boys are supervised at all times — leaving supervision is a very large deal. They’re not going to put SOs in that house, because the church is there, just like they haven’t put SOs in the house that’s across the street from a day-care center (and where there have been no problems with the day-care center). These boys just aren’t that dangerous. There was a time when the boys on the Island were very dangerous, but that had already started changing when I went out there for the first time seven or eight years ago, and has been very different the past five years, as they’ve passed on the very violent boys.
But reality just isn’t important when you’re dealing with fear. And that’s what’s at play here.
So this afternoon we took the kids to the Experience Music Project in Seattle, which was created by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. It was rather cool, but it was not a good match for the kids — attention spans are too short for this kind of thing, so we didn’t stay very long. They had much more fun playing in the International Fountain instead.
But while we were at the EMP, looking around the Music Lab, I noticed a computer in the recording area that had a program that looked familiar. So I looked closer, and found that it was, in fact, the same open-source Audacity I use to record and edit the Blaincast. Which was amusing, so I thought I’d share.
The first is that I found a way to get a working iPodderx derivative podcatcher under Hardy. Google was, ultimately, my friend. It just took a while for somebody to post the solution to a forum that Google index. And, because this is Linux, I just renamed the config directory and it magically worked the first try — all my podcasts set up properly.
Second happy wasn’t quite as tricky — I found the micro-to-full SD adapter on the floor under the desk I thought it would be at. Okay, so I looked down and there it was. But finding SD-sized cards isn’t terribly easy.
So now I’ve just loaded my latest podpacket on my phone, and I’ll get to work on it while I’m working.
I also have a happy in that my new boss managed to cover my Thursday shift, so I get to go to the Teacher Learner Academy Awards Thursday night. I don’t get paid for the day, but it also saves me two nights in the motel room — I’ll only need one night for the week.
So, happy, happy, and happy. Not bad for one day.
Due to holidays, and the (thus far) impossibility of getting Vista to connect to the internet via a cable connection, I will have limited access to things like email until tomorrow morning sometime (probably 10 or so) when I can get to the library and use the wireless there.
I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you need to reach me this evening, and you have my phone number, that would be your best bet.
Finished my first shift in the other house today. Not too bad, but definitely different procedures. It does sound likely that I will be able to attend the ceremony to receive my Academy Award, although I haven’t yet set that up. I’m pleased. It also appears that I might get holiday pay for today, in addition to working it. I think that makes it double-time, which would be darn nice. I’m also doing a swing-grave double Wednesday, which will make the paycheck nice, beyond which it’ll help me be more confident when I do the grave on my own next Friday night.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to check this space again tonight before I crash, in case anybody needs to reach me here.
But first, another word from our sponsor, Teh Cute:
I slept like four or five hours yesterday afternoon, and then nine hours last night. I feel better now.
Not sure yet if I’m heading down tonight to the place I’m staying so I don’t have to drive home every night (since I’m doing one shift each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), but I probably will. I might need to shift a dinner invitation from tomorrow to later in the week. We’ll see.
I might take a nap now, and maybe try to get the next blaincast recorded before I go down. Not sure.