Update on Roy

For those of you just tuning in …

We moved Roy into the house on Saturday.

It was … fun … ish.

The house needed a good cleaning though. It’s been vacant for a little over a year and with all the construction that we’ve had done and Kevin’s projects that he’s been working on, it was a giant dust storm. (In fact, when I got done cleaning the wood floors – which nearly the entire house is wood floors, I was actually wheezing).

Then Blake helped me move his tubs of clothes over to the house and Kevin went over to his parent’s house with Roy to get the rest of his stuff.

Two truck loads later (no seriously – TWO truck loads), we finally have all of his stuff moved in.

And the place is JUNKED up.

Let me explain.

I know people do what’s necessary to cope with stressful situations. I get that. However, it annoys me to no end that Roy’s caregivers didn’t see, or plan, for the bigger picture. Instead of allowing him to spend money on superficial, spur-of-the-moment and rash desires (I think he has five remote cars, one violin, a drum set and countless video game systems) in order to entertain and appease him into submission, why didn’t Roy’s caregivers start a hope chest for him. Like a bedroom set. Living room furniture. Kitchen gadgets and appliances. Items he could store away in his “hope chest” so that WHEN he moved out (because come on – it HAD to happen one day, one way or another), he would be better equipped to start his new life.

Instead, when we moved him into his house, he had nothing. Nothing. Not even his own bed. And being the middle of the month, and several hundred dollars poorer (not sure where that money went, quite frankly), he’s starting out with the barest of bare essentials.

We ended up buying him a $100 bed frame. It’s rickety and sheer plywood, but it’s a bed. He didn’t have enough money to buy a mattress, so we ended up buying him an air mattress. And he’ll likely have to sleep on it for several months because we’ve already budgeted his money out a few months and he has upcoming expenses that he won’t be able to get out of, unfortunately.

He doesn’t have anyplace to put his clothes, so he’s quite literally living out of plastic tubs, for now. He does have his own TV and plenty of entertainment, OF COURSE, and his own recliner that actually belonged to his mom (Kevin’s grandmother). He also got her dishes and towels, so there’s that.

We bought him super cheap (like you can actually bend it with your hands) cookie sheets, silverware, kitchen gadgets, toaster and pots and pans. (The pots and pans are so small, like almost look like they belong to a doll, but they will work for now since it’s only him). He already had a George Foreman grill and a toaster oven, which he’s okay using. We’re not sure he can handle a full-blown oven yet. And I’m not sure we feel comfortable with him trying. So, he’s not to use the oven, for now.

Of course, the house has a microwave and a fridge, so there’s that.

And that’s pretty much it.

I can assure you, Kevin now has full control of his money and will make every dollar count because Roy is going to need every dime in order to make a life for himself. No more brainless purchases. We counselled Roy and told him when it comes to money, bills first, needs second, wants third. Period. That’s how life works.

So what the heck was the two truck loads of stuff, you ask? Good question. We haven’t had time to go through it yet. But just Kevin’s initial survey? It looks like we will be donating a bunch of stuff to the Goodwill and/or filling a dumpster.

Roy has his dog. Who is 11 years old and not getting around very well. She belonged to his mom (Kevin’s grandmother) and she has several teeth that are rotting away. They made an appointment for her to see a vet the beginning of next month (government payday) and Kevin found out how much that is going to cost: $320 – they will have to put her to sleep and pull several teeth. And they also cautioned that since she’s so old, she may not even survive the procedure. So … Roy has the emotional stress of not knowing if his dog will survive another month or not.

This poor kid (I call him a kid, but he’s 44 [?] – a kid in a man’s body) has been through so much in his lifetime. I found out some pretty shocking news about his birth mom – Roy told me himself. I never knew his family history and I won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say, NO ONE should have to go through life with the crap that Roy has had to go through. I think that’s another reason Kevin and I are so determined to help him – we just feel sorry for the guy.

I’m a little annoyed with Kevin’s family, to be frank. I feel like everyone is just waiting to write Roy off. No one offered to help move him into his own house, no offers to periodically bring him food – complete silence. (What the hell??) Granted, we have no idea if Roy will be able to handle living on his own, but at least this way, we can say that we tried it. This is a trial run for Roy. We’re hoping he’s able to handle it, and himself, and if/when the time comes that his parents want to move into the house, Roy will be used to living on his own and will prove that he CAN live on his own, so we can move him into a nearby duplex or apartment. If Roy can not live on his own, then we will have to look at a housing program for him. Which, in some ways, may be better for him because at least this way he will have people around him and can make friends.

Roy has lots of acquaintances. He is the most sociable, and likable quite frankly, person that I know. He has no qualms walking up to people and striking up a conversation. (Which is both a good and bad thing). But friends/friends? I’m not sure. He goes to church every Sunday (Kevin has been taking him) and he has friends there. We sort of have a standing joke that people are always saying “Hi Roy!” to him wherever we go. He seems to know EVERYONE. But I don’t know how “close” these “friendships” are, you know? I think people are just being nice to him because of his mental condition. I don’t know that Roy has ever been close to anyone outside of Kevin’s grandmother.

So maybe a home would be good for him in that aspect.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re in trial mode now. We’ll just have to see how he does and hope he doesn’t hurt himself or burn the house down.

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If You’re Going to Be A Christian…Then Act Like It!

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If you’re going to be a Christian…then start representing! Stop moping around…giving people attitude…and complaining about every little thing that throws off your day. People are watching you.

How do you think you’ll ever be able to convince someone that they should investigate Christianity if their only interaction with Christianity is poor old you and your negative outlook on things? Have you ever considered that you’re actually hurting Christ more than helping him with how you treat other people? Do you think that showing up on Sunday and listening to the band or singing in the choir is going to bring others to Christ?

Christ said that you should “let your light so shine” so that others will want come unto Him.

Instead…you’re like a walking fire hydrant extinguishing any light that might be burning faintly within others.

So if you call yourself a Christian…then just start loving others and overlooking their faults. Quit trying to make everyone else pay for their sins. God’s got that under control. Become ambassadors of mercy instead heavenly bounty hunters and you’ll never have to beg someone to listen to your message about Christ again.

Source

We Have a New Member of the Family

At least, temporarily.

At least, I HOPE it’s temporary.

Kevin has a special-needs uncle – let’s call him Roy. His grandmother adopted him out of foster care when he was a toddler.

I guess, technically, he’s not really special needs. He’s not retarded but rather, just slow. His birth mother drank and probably did drugs when she was pregnant with him which caused brain damage. He’s only a few years younger than myself.

Kevin’s grandmother passed away and he’s been living with Kevin’s parents all of these years.

However – Kevin’s parents are getting older and it’s harder for them to get around and quite honestly, they just want to live their remaining years peacefully. The situation has become tense and Kevin became his co-guardian – he’s now fully (or will be when his mother passes away) responsible for him.

We knew, at some point, he would need to get out on his own, learn to be independent. The challenge? He can’t really be by himself. He has no concept of money. He will never drive. And he doesn’t always have common sense when it comes to some things. So he will need frequent supervision. Our plan was to get him moved into an apartment and the family would take turns dropping by to check on him – take him meals once in a while, etc.

I came up with the plan of moving him into our rental house across the street. He would pay us rent and we could keep a close eye on him. (He gets money from the government every month due to his disability and might I just add – THIS IS WHAT GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS WERE MEANT TO DO: to help those that can’t fully help themselves. NOT SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO ARE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF WORKING. *ahem* Focus Karen, focus). No one is currently living in the house now and we need to get someone in there so we can start paying down our loan.

Kevin originally bought the house with his parents in mind and they are still welcome to move in, as soon as they sell their house. The problem? Who knows when that will be. It could be months. It could be years. In the meantime, Roy can live there and we’ll come up with another solution if/when his parents sell their house and/if they still want to move in when that happens. We talked about this plan and he was going to present this plan to his parents after bowling with Roy.

Things sort of reached a breaking point on Sunday night. Kevin left to go bowling with Roy and was gone for several hours. He was gone so long, I started to become worried about him. When he finally came home, he had Roy with him. He felt like the situation was getting worse and why wait?

Our plan is happening now.

The problem is – Kevin didn’t do this gradually so Roy doesn’t have any of his stuff moved into the house yet. So, he’s living with us until we can move him into the house. I’m sure we’re still going to have to “introduce” him slowly to being in the house and living on his own. I’m going to try and talk the boys into spending a few nights with him at the rental house so he doesn’t get scared being on his own. Plus – it’s always a little spooky spending the night in a new place.

But it’s time. Kevin’s parents won’t live forever and no one in the family really wants him to live with them. And to be perfectly honest, Roy is mentally capable of living on his own, he just hasn’t up to this point. There has always been someone to baby him and look after him.

And he won’t be “alone” per se, the family will still be available and did I mention we’ll be across the street if he needs anything?

I think it’s a win-win for everyone, quite frankly.

This is going to be quite an adjustment on everyone’s parts. I think this will actually be good for Blake. He has always had a special connection to Roy – Kevin’s grandma watched Blake when he was a baby so I could continue to work and Blake and Roy have sort of grown up together. They are pretty close. For example, right now, Blake is watching TV with Roy and I can’t tell you the last time Blake came out of his room to watch TV. I think he feels like he needs to take care of Roy and that might be a good thing in the long run for Blake. Roy gives him purpose. He feels comfortable around him and he’s the most animated whenever he’s around him.

Again, a win-win situation. Stay tuned … we’re turning the page to another chapter in our lives.

Commitment is Too Hard Nowadays

LOVE this article!! This was linked on Facebook and honestly, I don’t have much to add. It’s spot on. It perfectly describes the social media age.

And if you wonder why you can’t commit, or if someone you love can’t commit, consider this article. It might save your relationship and possibly teach you long-term happiness.

When we choose—if we commit—we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

Read more…

Photo: Vancouver, You Have a Lot of Glass and Boats

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October 2013 – we’re in Vancouver, British Columbia. We flew into Vancouver the day before our cruise was scheduled to leave and we spent the day sight seeing. It was a GORGEOUS day and this is one of my favorite pictures.

One. Because there is so much glass! And boats!

Two. Because I think I look pretty good leaning up against that post. Note to self: wear dark clothing – it hides the chunky monkey.