Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Random Summer Reports

Let's see....

Andrew did make a real effort to apply for a job. He even went to the fast food joints he didn't want to apply to last year where they told him that they couldn't keep paper application forms in stock and if he wanted to apply he would have to go home and print his own application from the internet and bring it in. He goes to the orientation for volunteering at the animal shelter on Thursday. We are hoping they can put him to work for many hours every week.

Brian also wanted to volunteer, but not being sixteen he had limited options. I remembered though that the private cat-only shelter (which was started way back when the county animal shelter only took dogs) lets teens as young as 13 volunteer. So he went in and they told him they could fit him in from 2-3 on Mondays. He went yesterday and weeded around the outside of the building. I'm thinking they are fairly overwhelmed with volunteers.

Gary complains that he needs a project this summer. He can't get a job either, even though he is signed up with a governement-funded program that will pay his wages for the first couple of months. That's right folks. Local businesses are so overwhelmed that they are turning down free part-time employees. To be fair, these employees need to be trained, supervised, and reported on. In any case, he can't get a job, but he wants to do something. He didn't want to volunteer with Andrew because one of his ex-girlfriends volunteers at the animal shelter sometimes and he didn't want to volunteer with Brian because he spends a lot of time with Brian and it would be good for them to have some more time apart. (Okay, he didn't exactlly say that, but that is what I understood).

As seems typical with Gary, he only wants to do something if it is big. He doesn't want to spend a couple of hours walking dogs, he wants to do something that will change the world in meaningful ways. Like start a group that advocates for kids in foster care. I asked why he didn't join the local organization of foster youth/alumni that advocates for kids in foster care. They do good work and he could certainly help them. He seemed disappointed that such an organization already existed and didn't seem to think that attending their meetings would be very interesting.

It's a hero thing, or something. He doesn't want to do grunt work. He wants to do something Really Important, or else spend the summer complaining periodically that he doesn't have anything important to do.

He keeps going back and forth on the MMA tournament thing. The only person who thinks it is a good idea is the job coach, who might not think it is a good idea. He might just be facilitating Gary's ideas and thinking that we are supportive of it. We aren't. It isn't that it might not be a good idea under some circumstances. It is just that the gym where he trains doesn't think he should participate in a national tournament before competing in regional ones, and he has to pay for half of it himself. Seeing as he doesn't have a job, that will be difficult. Yesterday he and the job coach had this idea of having a car wash at the church.

It took a while to explain that yes the church would probably let him use the parking lot, water, etc, but maybe not if it was just him and not a club or any other type of organization. However, it wasn't a good location for one. Oh, and no, he couldn't count on people at the church coming. He can't use their parking lot when there are services and the absolutely won't allow him to sell tickets to his car wash at the church. Yes, they let the church youth group do that, but they are the church youth group. He is a boy who never goes to church who wants to make money for his own project.

We are not in close communication with the job coach. We need to talk. On one hand I feel strongly that kids should be allowed to pursue their crazy, unrealistic ideas. It gives them something to do and they learn a lot along the way. And then there is always the possibility that they will succeed, and that is good too. Still, there is a difference between Gary having crazy grand ideas about what he will do, and the job coach giving him crazy ideas. I remind myself that all my information about what the job coach says is from Gary.

Anyway, I am seeing a theme here with Gary. Nothing is worth doing unless it can be done in a spectacular way. If it can't be done in a spectacular way, then why bother? Of course a lot of this is self-doubt and self-protection. It sounds like he is a kid who wants to take risks, but it actually protects him from risks. The things that are within his grasp are not worth doing. The things that are worth doing are not possible for him to attempt.

Let's see...

It really looks like Alice is not going to get the money together to go to the art institute. On one hand I am so very sad for her. On the other there was never any way for her to do it other than getting people to co-sign on loans for her. The amount of loans she would have had to take would have been overwhelming. She is sad about that, but adjusting. That Andrew can come home as often as one weekend a month seems to help, I think. Of course my main goal is to keep Andrew from even considering leaving the college he is in and sticking around here so he can be with her all the time.

We invited her to go with us to the cottages this summer. To her surprise her mother agreed without argument. She didn't even have to explain that she and Andrew wouldn't even be sleeping in the same cottage. She figures her mother must know that if we are there we will be supervising them. I figure her mother realized that if she didn't say yes, Andrew might stay here and they would have the whole house to themselves. Also both of them are over 18 and they have been dating for two years. I think we all trust them to be responsible about whatever decisions they make, and believe it is their business what decisions they are making.

So all that is good, although it is going to be complicated. I have to plan menus and write a grocery list for all six of us, plus maybe my dad. I have to get it right too, because the closest grocery store is 2 hours away. Well, there is a tiny store where we can buy a $5+ gallon of milk, but that is to be avoided.

And I am happy to report that I don't have anything more interesting to report.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Damn. That previous comment was from me. Then I messed it all up. Summary - Gary should be a firefighter & it sucks Alice can't afford to go.

  3. Anonymous12:18 PM

    My daughter is volunteering at the local nursing home. As you know, she is 14 and cognitively disabled. OLD PEOPLE LOVE HER. I think she is making their wrinkly stinkly day. At every hospital and nursing home there is an activity or volunteer director. While it isn't always lucrative, volunteers are making a HUGE impact on lives. If your boys don't turn their noses, I bet they could find some opportunities in this area. Plus, your local county may run a Volunteer Services center. This is technically what my daughter volunteers through even though I contacted the nursing home directly. It is pretty cool. There are a million things out there. Also, you can check out some websites like www.volunteermatch.org or www.idealist.org for more opportunities.

    The car wash totally cracks me up. He honestly doesn't sound like the volunteering type.

  4. Hey! I just remembered a link a friend from the US put up on Facebook this week. Maybe the boys could find somewhere to volunteer on here - http://www.serve.gov/

  5. Anonymous3:10 PM

    I wonder if part of Gary's problem is that he has trouble conceptualizing how small steps lead up to big accomplishments - this seems to be a common theme in his life. He wants to go to college (and expects he will do well) but can't seem to grasp how doing well in his high school course (which means doing well on small, individually unimportant/boring assignments) is part and parcel of getting a spectacular college degree. He wants to do big projects and doesn't understand (or isn't able to see and accept) the small steps needed to get there.

    Of course, I realize this is a fairly depressing realization, having had to make it over and over again in my own life. :) It's _hard_ to slow down and see all the steps and take the time...

    I wonder if something like CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) would help him organize his thinking and make his plans more realistic.

  6. I had strong reservations about the Art Institutes, but this is still heartbreaking news... I hate that Alice won't even get to try.

    Do you think this might push her to consider your local liberal arts college for next year? I (obviously) don't know her at all, but it still seems like such a nice option--since, as you mentioned, she could get a good, rigorous education while building up her confidence in (what sounds to be) a really supportive environment. And living at home would cut down on costs tremendously. I wish there were magic words to convince her--or maybe just a bucket load of free money to give her, so she could follow her original plan and head happily off to the AI in Seattle.


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