Thursday, December 17, 2009

Live & Learn

Live and learn folks. The one bright part of your day may not be the smartest. I was quietly advised by a caring coworker that my Top 10 list of previous posts was unwise. I never remember that 1- anything on the Internet can be read by anyone 2- People are jerks.

I certainly didn't get in trouble, but I want to preempt that, if at all possible. Most people at work thought it was funny. But you never know. And safe is smart.
What a downer. I didn't think it was that bad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays

Holiday season is definitely party season. This week (starting with last weekend) had minimum 6-7 parties, shin-digs, and get-togethers. Jewelry parties, game nights, holiday parties, plus one cannot forget the kick ass little holiday bash at Nanny's nursing home. Epic. Nearly everyone stayed awake! Which is exactly what I was thinking at Matt's UMASS Christmas party. Very few, if any, passed out on the floor- but I had a feeling it was only a matter of time. Very classy crew. I'm so excited this time of year. I'm really trying to make the most of it. Spend time with family, decorate early, presents pretty much out of the way by now, and I've been listening to Christmas carols on 96.1 since Thanksgiving. I can't believe this week marked the one year anniversary of the ice storm. It was one week of freezing uncertainty and nomadic existence I'll never forget. Holiday things were unimportant and half-assed to say the least. Cheap little gifties I picked up for coworkers I hardly knew and unexpected visitors became the gifts I handed out to close family members (sorry, Medines) . It was pathetic and I felt a little embarrassed, but it didn't matter to anyone because we had a shared experience that justified any cut corners (or winter psychosis.) This time around, I hope that collective bond is just as strong and helps me remember the value of friends and family in uncertain times. Happy Holidays, everybody.

(Yeah i said happy holidays. And I'll say it every time. Cause nobody celebrating Christmas with half a brain cares if they hear Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and it makes everybody else feel nice not to be left out. Plus it saves the trouble of saying "and a happy new year!" Which can be tough to remember after several HOLIDAY cocktails! WOOO)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Madness I Live With

Just an update from Thursday- for everyone I mentioned my run in with the boss lady, you can tune out now.

Last Thursday, after a stressful week where a friend and colleague of mine was sent home for not following an ineffective procedure during a child's attack on a janitor, tensions were high with the boss lady and on Thursday. I was told to go to Prudy's office because I was in the hot seat. I quickly scanned my brain for anything I may have done wrong. Except i do NOTHING wrong here. The only thing I've ever had the slightest talking to about was for doing too much and taking too much responsibility (apparently it encouraged laziness in others. Too bad laziness was here long before I was!) .

Prudy said to have a seat and explained for what felt like an eternity that several people, including herself, fellow teachers, and the principal have noticed things that I've been doing. She said she needed to discuss my position here. She said it was high time someone spoke to me about them. Would I like to know what they were? I told her yes, but honestly, I was really tallying every mistake she's made (that I have documented) and getting ready to give her the "I can take you down so fast" speech. Because this is BCI and that's what you do to stay alive here.

She said you have been doing an exemplary job. Your performance is truly superior and blah blah blah. She said if times weren't so tough, this would be a promotion talk. Then she proceeded to let me pick of the out of the Treasure Box, a small wooden box of mediocre rewards for good performance, like $5 Dunkin Donuts cards, $2 lottery tickets, candy, pens, and certificates to arrive 1/2 hour late to work. I realized that the past 5-10 times I've been the one earning accolades and prizes, so I really picked this thing empty. I chose some premium M&M's with Almonds, if any one is curious.

This morning I went into Prudy's office and thanked her for her praise. I'm done griping about this job, but that doesn't mean it ever gets easier. It's so rare that we get genuine praise, though we believe enough in its effectiveness to give it to the kids 100's of times everyday. I told her maybe that wasn't the best way to begin positive reinforcement, seeing as I felt like I could throw up from stress/fear afterwards. She said it was duly noted. We'll see. But that, I mean ALL of that, it's just madness, right?

Wedding Daze

I'm officially in withdrawal from Erik & Tracy's wedding. I've been looking forward to last week for months. It came. It rocked. And now it's gone. To me, it sort of felt like they were married already. They already shared a home, a bank account, and of course, Red. The actual wedding and reception were everything you'd expect from Erik & Tracy. Modern, fun, and definitely a little lavish. I still have 6-8 bottles of Erik & Tracy Oil (Rosemary Olive Oil) that were tossed in my huge Foach bag (fake Coach).

Today the kids went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the Manor Restaurant. Good ol' Manor. They do so much free stuff for our kids. The children sat down at a beautifully made table and proceeded to whip apart the carefully folded clothe napkins and pushed away the turkey, rice, potatoes, corn, and stuffing they were offered. They pigged out on candy and cookies, and I frankly didn't stop them. I'm working on saving my energy for the fights that matter. So 3 cups of diet soda? Why the hell not! 4 cookies- go nuts! They danced, or more accurately jumped and swayed and stimmed, their booties off for about 1/2 an hour before the behaviors started, as I most definitely expected them too. Placing highly sensitive autistic children in a room with blaring music and 200 other children spells disaster any way you look at it. Now I'm enjoying a lunch break (minus lunch since I took advantage of a free meal from The Manor) and listening to the sounds of kids who are coming down from their sugar rushes just in time for me to be relaxing on the computer.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Witchy Woman

As I stare at the bulk bottle of extra strength Tylenol in the staff office, I can't help but appreciate the calmer times of last weekend. While Matt was away for boy's weekend, I stumbled on a decent deal to visit Salem. Had I appreciated that it's not more than 1 1/2 hours away, I probably would have made it a day trip, but we had a fabulous time.
We arrived and it was pouring, but very atmospheric. We walked downtown to a Maritime museum (not exactly exciting, but very nice anyway) and saw a short film. Then we went to the New England's Pirate Museum, which I thought was pretty fun. A little cheesy, but very creepy, with the blood- red paint splattered on the floor and the costumed figure hidden at the end of the tour that was actually a living ,breathing tour guide. Then we went to see a play where the audience was encouraged to participate (ew) and got to vote whether or not a woman was sent to a witch trial (yay). I remember seeing this over a decade ago and it was still impressive. Matt and I had a ridiculously overpriced dinner before our ghost tour around Salem, and called it a night. All in all, it was a weekend of nice memories and soggy shoes (thanks, rain).

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Impressions

Since school started a few weeks ago, I've met several new people. I don't necessarily put a whole lot of stock in first impressions. I've known plenty of people who seemed strange or obnoxious, who are simply lovely people (or vice versa). After all, if someone walked in right now and met me for the first time, they'd see someone deep breathing, hunched over a computer, shoveling a half frozen lean pocket in my mouth- not really my best foot forward.

A few of these folks were work related. Jon, fresh to the Basics program was quiet, but ultimately very cool. The only crappy thing about working with him is that he left for greener pastures after 1-2 weeks in (and not a soul here blames him). Another new person is my boss, Prudy. I'm pretty sure everyone outside BCI, and several in, know my opinion of her and writing it on an office computer would be profoundly stupid. Let's just say, I thought she had promise her first day, but I will never be comfortable handling an aggressive child with this lady.

Last weekend, Matt and I went to meet Amanda, Matto's new girlfriend. For everybody curious, Amanda works with Matto at NECC. She's 25 and goes to folk festivals, doesn't smoke, and can handle the absurdly strong drinks Matt pours. I really liked her and as the evening (and drinking) progressed, she started to remind me of a sweet and intelligent version of Steph, without the crazy undertones. They have really similar voices, but let's hope the similarities end there.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Caitlin Update

Just a Caitlin Update- still rising and shining to visit the ABA (applied behavioral analysis) crazy house. New boss, new changes, but nothing I didn't expect- with the exception of my new boss's bipolar management style. Yikes.

Enjoyed last weekend in the camper, but I keep thinking relaxing shouldn't be so much freakin' work! Having a camper is definitely a hobby, rather than a vacation. Can't wait to see Matto and his new girl tonight. Yay!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Last night I read that today's date had specific and numerological significance to several cultures. Apparently, 9 is a magic number. If you multiply 9 by a 2 digit number and add the numbers of the sum, you'll always get 9. Ex. 9x35=315, 3+1+5=9. Spooky. I guess you can do the same for every 2,3,and 4 digit number, too. To Chinese, this is supposed to be a great day. To the Japanese, not so much. To the ABA therapist on her way to work, this means blinding cramps, but less morning workload thanks to coworkers who are grateful for the times I've covered for them and the coffee that fuels them.
If that fails, I say I need to do paperwork and sit quietly- recouping, regrouping. Because I always do my paperwork the previous day, in preparation for the next day's class (silly me for doing what everyone was directed to do last year), I never really have any to do during the day, so I stare vacantly at data sheets and write random letters and cross random things out. I have finally embraced the way of the slacker- but for emergency only.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Back at Basics and I'm excited to see what changes this year. We have a new supervisor and therefore a new attitude and new protocols. Overall there's more of a "Cut the CRAP!" attitude towards behaviors and I think it is about time. I'm sick of hittings, kickings, and listening to screaming while I'm poor-babying, ooing and ahhing and rubbing backs until the widdle schnooky wooky zips his lips and is ready to move on. I prefer complete and instant removal of toys, snacks, and attention.

We're taking the camper to Swanzey this weekend and I'm excited about the fall-like weather all ready! Can't wait to get to the serenity of nature and plug in all my electronics and light a scented candle- if you've smelled our camper, you'll understand.