The Wonderful Husband of mine has been busy since retiring from the railroad. He's been working with a local non-profit organization to spearhead the establishment of an Oxford House in the local Burg of Wayne. It has been a labor of love and serves as a safe place for recovering addicts (drugs or alcohol) to begin their lives anew when they decide to.
Unlike halfway houses and rehabs, the Oxford model is a self-sustaining, democratic environment. Anyone caught using (random drug tests and room inspections take place and can be held at the request of any resident) has 15 minutes to pack up and leave. There are high standards but also high success rates for those who are really ready to get away from the "people, places, and things" of their addiction. I am really proud of all he has done.
This house (which is filled to capacity with six residents) has been in operation for the last six months. It took a lot of fundraising and volunteer work to get it up and running. There has also been a steep learning curve. The young man featured in the news article linked above had everyone buffaloed and was removed days after the article appeared. (Those heroin addicts can be so wily.)
Today there was a July 4th picnic at the house to honor the residents and all of the people who volunteered and donated to make it possible. There was also some irony. Police came to the house across the street just before the picnic began and took away two presumed drug dealers/users in handcuffs. A few hours later, two police cruisers and two ambulances zoomed to this neighboring house in what appeared to be an overdose.
I've got to believe that under other circumstances, this commotion would have drawn all picnic goers to the scene to gawk and stare and wonder and gossip. Instead all guests were ambivalent in a sort of "been there, done that" kind of way. Each one likely remembering Fourth of July's gone by when they were in similar situations. Someone joked, "the police are here, it's officially a party." Only this time they weren't there for them.
The last six months have been spent on the skilled nursing, private care in-home nursing, assisted living roller coaster with the aunt that is mine. After many emergency trips to Steubenville (2 hours away) sometimes in raging snowstorms, Aunt Sippy is finally safe and happy in a beautiful assisted living home 25 minutes away. She had to give her dog to a loving caretaker but in return I'm guessing she gained at least another ten good years full of laughing.
Next up for bids on the Price is Right (also referred to as "dammit I have to be a grown up still") is finding a place for my cousin to live. Currently she resides in a HUD apartment (still two hours away) that is a refuge for prostitutes and meth heads. I am looking to change both the quality and location of her living conditions. Also it would make the weekly grocery store trips much easier, as she does not drive.
She's "on the list" at our housing authority with thirty or so ahead of her. There are a few local low income private housing options not directly associated with HUD that I have investigated.
Red flag number one: a bulletin board full of restraining/no trespassing orders.
Red flag number two: a bulletin board full of bed bug prevention tips.
In spite of all of the craziness of the last six months, I must say that things have worked out miraculously every time I've needed them to. A bending of the rules here and there at just the right time to keep things manageable. On New Years Eve last year I declared the "word of the year" to be "happy." The Gods laughed at my audacity in that self-declaration and instead have made it the year of "the kindness of strangers." I'm cool with that and am hoping my luck hasn't run out. The goal is to have my cousin closer by the time school starts. With a two week vacation at the shark shore approaching, I'm cutting the time line close!
In the meantime, I try to follow the "be sure to take care of yourself" advice everyone always gives. I found myself with a two hour chunk of free time between doctor and housing appointments (who plans for a doctors appointment being AHEAD of schedule?!) and paid a visit to the local pottery painting place.
I can't wait to see what this will look like once it's fired up!
Because it has meringue on it.
Summer blogging seems to have commenced.
For anyone who wondered about Prince Charming and the dragon slaying post- last week we moved my aunt from Steubenville to Morgantown. This involved (and I won't explain why) about eight hours of driving a Penske truck over a two day period. The truck was the dragon. And with the help of a former student and his friends, no one was injured during the process.
That leads to the first official adventure of the summer. Aunt is well and happy in cruise-like surroundings. Her only disappointment is at dessert time when everyone else partakes in double scoops of ice cream and sugar laden desserts. Her diabetes goes to extremes and she has to be ever mindful to stay alive.
She mentioned missing lemon pie. I went to the internets and found a diabetic recipe. It was my first brush with meringue. 12 eggs later, it could have been worse. The thing about separating eggs- it's easy enough- but as soon as you begin to think that, you might as well go buy another dozen because yolks are going to break. As for the crust, I let Pillsbury take care of that.
I really have no business being left alone in the kitchen. The taste test is tomorrow. If nothing else it was a valiant effort and something to check off of the bucket list.
In addition to the folkways course, I have also upgraded my Mac to OS X Yosemite (holy beach ball batman) and read a book about Charles Manson. Bring it on, Summer!
Last week I attended a Smothsonian Folkways Pedagogy Workshop. It featured West African, Brazilian, and Appalachian music. I also found my laughing joke of the summer
The culmination of the project was a presentation by participants using the collection at the site. I chose to do some research on the song Old Blue which is about a dog. Wikipedia lists about twenty different versions of it.
This led to a story from my new best friend Rachel. She said she once asked her grandpa why dogs sniff each other's butts and he told her:
A long time ago, the dogs had a meeting and they took their butts off. When the meeting was over and they put them back on they all got mixed up and now dogs go around sniffing trying to find their own butts."
The obviously funny part of the story is the why. But for me it was much more. I just imagined all the dogs dialing up their dog friends and saying "hey let's have a convention." Then Rachel and I began naming the sessions at this year's dog convention.
Domestication: is it all it's cracked up to be?
Leash Laws 101
Bathtime Dos and Don'ts
Cats and when to avoid them.
Mysterious Smells: when to investigate
For the Love of Catnip!
Who Let the Dogs Out??? (Pt 2 to Leash Laws
When you can no longer lift your leg.
What would YOU do for a Milkbone? (Sponsored session)
Drool::::: What is it good for?:: Absolutely nothing.
Buttsniffing: Debunking the Myth
Crack. Me. Up. Even when no one else is around.