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November 15, 2021

zoom, because free time is all I've got

Today Coach turns 50. More on that drama later, but I feel you've been waiting for this next part of the saga. 

Laying down some background info here. Setting the stage. Getting you squared with the cast of characters, or ass holes, if you will. And if you won't, they're  . . . well at least one of the peeps . . .  is STILL an ass hole. 

My worker Alice needed to check on the boys in person every other week. Then their worker, Jo, needed to zoom with them also every other week. They also had Donna, a CASA, court appointed special advocate . . . in this case CASA stands for court appointed special ass-hole, it works so well with the acronym, right? I mean verbally it might add a bit more of an 'AH' sound at the end, but I'm casting my vote to keep it this way for this particular CASA(H). 

Real time:  check this out . . . our once white house is getting dark gray siding. I was afraid I wasn't gonna love it or I might need to adjust to it, no adjustment needed. Loving it. I will be thrilled when they're done and the pounding on the walls is over. Oh, what's that? Lad's orange kayak that was tossed next to the bushes. Seriously we need to clean up our act so we look as classy as our 'new' house.

* Note:  I have a wonderful, dear friend who happens to be a CASA and the change in acronym doesn't apply  to her because she's simply amazing. The updated version is on a case by case basis. 

Early on, Jo emailed me to let me know something like:  I NEED TO SEE THE BOYS IN A ZOOM CALL BY WEDNESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. Or something like that. Keep in mind, they also had therapy on separate days after school. They had soccer practice on Tuesdays. They had homework (mostly Harry, and that was fun - because he literally came unglued when Larry could go play outside and he had to do homework). Sometimes they had to zoom with the psychiatrist. To top it all off, Indiana is an hour ahead of us, so their workday ends at 4:00 our time. 

Donna was on the email too. I emailed back 'all' and gave them the date/time that I thought would work best for us. Jo said sure. She's the boss, so I went with that time. I didn't even know if Donna needed to attend the zoom or if she was only on the email because she kept records or something, check and balances to be sure Jo was doing her stuff. 

The boys did the zoom. I was surprised that it was just with Jo, no Donna, but whatever. A few hours later, Donna emailed me:  SORRY I COULDN'T MAKE THAT ZOOM TIME, I STILL NEED TO SEE THE BOYS BY SUCH AND SUCH A DATE, WHAT WORKS?

Well, CASA(H), what works for me is that you respond to an email and let me know if the selected time doesn't jive with your lame ass SO I CAN OFFER ANOTHER TIME. What even is this? You think I have all kinds of spare time to just gather up the boys and sit them in front of the computer? 

I emailed back and said as much, but with about half of the hot sauce as I used above. Not gonna lie, I was beyond busy and this really frustrated me and I said as much in my response. Then we picked ANOTHER time and they chatted with Donna the Dope on zoom. They weren't all that excited, like WHAT? WE JUST DID A ZOOM. They wanted to play. It was a hassle. They weren't particularly nuts about this woman, in other words there was no YES, DONNA. SHE'S SO GREAT. (not that they have to be head over heels about everyone, but this point makes more sense later).

The next zoom with BOTH Jo and Donna landed on a Friday. The boys had a half day. It was early September. Coach was out of town for dad's weekend at Ed's fraternity. I made mac and cheese for lunch. They were thrilled. It was a gorgeous day and they were a tad bummed that they had to zoom.

I got them set up at the desktop. Larry was on a chair and Harry sat on the yoga ball that I used to sit on while at the computer to help my back. Have I mentioned I'm married to a physical therapist? I digress. 

I hung in the hallway and a few minutes into the meeting the boys started to argue. OF COURSE. Harry was off the yoga ball. He was bouncing it like a basketball. Larry was hollering PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP. I had twins upstairs that had just gone down for a nap. I stepped into the study and took the yoga ball. 

Me:  THIS IS A DISTRACTION.

Harry:  AM I IN TROUBLE? 

Me:  NO, BUT THIS ISN'T WORKING, SO I'M GOING TO KEEP IT IN THE HALLWAY.

Har (who had CHOSEN to sit on the floor while he bounced the ball):  OH SO I DON'T HAVE ANYWHERE TO SIT?

Me (as I slide an empty chair that is literally inches away from him towards him, slowly mind you because I'm just leaning in from the hallway trying not to get in the way of the zoom, plus the chair was RIGHT THERE):  YOU CAN SIT HERE. 

I go back into the hallway and half listen.

Donna:  SO REMEMBER WHAT MY JOB IS? I TELL THE JUDGE WHAT YOU GUYS WANT. 

*prior to this part Jo had asked what did they like to eat, what friends had they made, and the vibe had all been upbeat and positive, but now . . . 

Harry - was mumbling and pouting . .  . remember he'd just had his yoga ball removed.

Donna:  DO EITHER OF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU NEED TO TELL US. DO YOU WANT TO TALK TO US ALONE? 

Harry:  I DO. I'LL TALK TO YOU ALONE.

Larry:  I'M ALL GOOD. I LIKE IT HERE. CAN I GO PLAY OUTSIDE WITH MY FRIEND JIMMY? 

(now alone with Harry)

Jo:  WHAT'S GOING ON BUDDY? DO YOU LIKE IT THERE? DO YOU STILL WANT THE SHENANIGANS TO ADOPT YOU? 

Harry:  NO. I DON'T LIKE IT HERE. I DON'T WANT THEM TO ADOPT ME. I MISS YOU GUYS THOUGH. WHEN CAN I SEE YOU GUYS AGAIN?

Donna (cooing over the fact that he is PRETENDING to miss her, someone he doesn't give 2 shits about):  OH BUDDY. WE MISS YOU TOO. ARE YOU OK? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL US? YOU CAN TELL US ANYTHING, IT'S OK. 

Harry:  NO, NOTHING ELSE. (more pouting and hem and hawing)

He runs outside to play and I have smoke coming out of my ears. I call Alice. 

Alice:  ANYONE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT CAN GRASP WHAT JUST HAPPENED. HE DIDN'T LIKE THAT YOU REMOVED THE DISTRACTION THAT HE WAS PLAYING WITH. JO HASN'T REACHED OUT TO ME WITH ANY CONCERNS, BUT I'LL POINT THAT OUT IF SHE DOES. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. 

Jo emailed me the next day to let me know that they had to re-zoom with Harry again. We set it up for that afternoon, and when he zoomed with them they asked him if he was still not wanting to be adopted by us, etc. He was baffled. Jo told him that he scared them because he was acting so unhappy the day before. He couldn't remember anything that would've made her think that. 

I wanted to poke my head into the zoom and say HEY THERE, I MAY NOT HAVE A DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK BUT I CAN STILL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED HERE. HELLO, YOGA BALL TAKEN AWAY? ANYONE? BUELLER? 

The following week it was time to meet with the psychiatrist via zoom. She asked Larry:  WHAT'S THE BEST THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU? 

Larry: (initially said he didn't know, then  . . . ) OH, I KNOW. GETTING ADOPTED IS THE BEST THINGS THAT'S EVERY HAPPENED TO ME. I NOW GET TO HAVE A GOOD FAMILY AND THEY TAKE GOOD CARE OF ME AND DO FUN STUFF WITH ME. THEY FEED ME GOOD FOOD TOO. 

I stood in the hall and wiped away my tears. My heart burst. Now as I write this my heart breaks in a different way. It's still hard sometimes, because my current self who is afforded clarity and space is like HEY, WTF HAPPENED BACK THERE? WHY'D YOU NOT JUST DO STUFF DIFFERENTLY AND MAKE IT WORK? 

I wish it was that simple and I wish to God that we could've made it work, but it just was impossible. For awhile, Larry's words kept me going. They helped me power through. Now they cut through me like a knife. 

I swear one day I will re-introduce normal length posts. Now you know the CASA(H), Donna, who needed to be named before the next part. She's a peach - it isn't obvious yet. Hold on to your hats. 

I'm posting the next part tomorrow in case you need to set a chunk of time aside to tune in to more of the drama. 

18 comments:

Nicole said...

Happy birthday to Coach, and I really love the siding. It looks great with the brick.

Pat Birnie said...

It took a like Donna is in the wrong job, unable to filter the reactions. Love the gray siding. Cannot believe coach is 50- whenever we get a glimpse of him he looks so young!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I have some other choice names for the Donna's of the world and they aren't nice ones.

Happy birthday to your coach. Drama? Birthday drama? Does that mean he's having a hissy fit, mid-life crisis and is going in for botox and a butt lift? *giggle*
I'm assuming the drama has to do with his family.

I LOVE the siding. It looks so great. So great that I didn't notice the random kayak laying around.

Ally Bean said...

The siding looks pretty. Happy Birthday to Coach. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

Love that dark gray color on the house! And happy birthday to Coach.
Man, what an emotional rollercoaster you’ve been on, definitely sounds like Donna has never worked with kids before or shouldn’t be. How manipulative.
-AM

Jenny in WV said...

The new siding looks great! If there is leftover siding, perhaps you could side you playhouse to match, that would be cute!

I think CASAs are volunteers. It sounds like Donna does have the the qualifications or qualities, necessary for the job. After reading some much of your experiences with the Indiana Child Welfare system, I'm not surprised, just sad.

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

I LOVE the siding color!

Happy Birthday to Coach!

Kara said...

The grey looks gorgeous against the bricks! Great (greyt?) choice!

Donna seems like a pip, as my mother would say (meaning a pain in the ass). Of COURSE a kid will be unhappy if something gets taken away from him and will lash out. He's a kid. It generally doesn't mean anything except "I'm mad that I can't have my way."

Gigi said...

Excellent choice on the siding!

Ernie said...

Nicole - I made him chili and cherry dessert, so he is very happy. Thanks, we are loving the siding too.

Ernie said...

Pat - CASA is a volunteer position, but I don't think she should be in that position for reasons that will soon become obvious. Coach does look young. I should've figured this out before I married him - that I'd always look old enough to be his mother . . . because when we were in high school I used to see his family at church and I thought his dad was one of his brothers. Hello, genetics. I walked right into that.

Ernie said...

Suz - Well, Donna doesn't know that I know what I know (this will be clearer tomorrow) but she's really stepped in it and I have her phone number and her email and she is gonna wish I didn't.

Coach might be the last one in need of a botox butt lift, but you gave me a laugh. It is part family and part men and their communication styles. Ugh. More later, because I'd never deny you the whole story. I'm in no mood for people to be moronic.

We are so very excited about the siding. I suppose it won't surprise you, but no one in our neighborhood texted to say HEY, LOOKS GREAT. Jealously. ;)

Ernie said...

Ally - Thanks. We stressed about the color and Coach wanted to go lighter. Oh how we love it. Hooray. Coach worried I'd not have any dessert tonight, so he stopped and got me a GF gluten free bundette cake. But I HAD made a tiny portion of his cherry dessert GF . . . translation: I ate my prepared cherry dessert AND 1/2 OF THE BUNDT CAKE. Gah. NO.SELF.CONTROL. The next part of the story ticks me off, so much - cause this whole story hasn't had enough ticked-off bits, right?

Ernie said...

AM- Thanks. I'm not sending pics to the college kids. Can't wait till they get home and feel confused, as in WHERE'S OUR HOUSE WITH THE CHIPPING WHITE PAINT?

Yes, she's a piece of work. I'm sure there are questions Donna needs to ask and part of it is her job. Up until now it is just a blunder . . . tomorrow's post is all kinds of bull shit. Oh boy-ee.

Ernie said...

Kari - Thanks - it was a big leap, but glad we took it.

Coach says he's waiting to hear from Jay. Kidding. I couldn't resist.

Ernie said...

Jenny - Too much birthday dessert here - I'm out of order. That playhouse needs to be tossed out. I keep it off to the side, but it's just too big - can't justify giving it more central space in the yard and Coach doesn't like it to kill the grass. No one ventures over there. A playhouse covered in matching siding would be cute though.

Yes, CASAs are volunteers. Still, they shouldn't be idiots. What she did thus far in the story is simply 'blunder' level of nonsense. Just wait.

Ernie said...

Kara - Nicely done with the 'grayt' - clever girl. We are super excited that it turned out so nice. In the 11th hour I had to decide if I was going to do white pieces on the corners. I was like HUH? But they insisted that's what most people do. They pointed out a few houses in the neighborhood, but their 'outline' pieces were not quite as contrasting. We went with white and it looks great.

Donna is a PIP, hadn't heard that one before, but dead on. She really steps in it going forward. Power trip? It's seriously so off the rails. That zoom played out so predictably when you think about what went down. Duh.

Ernie said...

Gigi - Thanks. I think the consensus here on the blog was to go dark, so I guess I should be thanking all of you who voted.