Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Unexplored country?

Seems like when you are young, you have plenty of advice on how to live your life. So much advice, that you spend most of your time trying not to follow it.
And the advice, most of it, comes from people who know what they are talking about. They have already lived through being young.

I was young, but now I am old.

And I think I find myself in unexplored country. I think I find myself with rare circumstances, which no one else has experienced.

So I have no one to turn to and say "Am I doing this the right way?"

I live in an unexplored country, bordered by pain, sleep, and drugs. How do I find my way here?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Kenneth has been doing so well in school. His last report card was straight A. His behavior has been exemplary as well.
When I found out about the website sumdog, I thought I had found an end to the homework hassle. All I would have to do is turn the kids loose on an educational learning site, and my work was done. That's pretty attractive to an old guy with not a lot of energy.
And there were other educational sites besides sumdog, like coolmath. Actually, coolmath bothered me a little, because it appeared to be more game than learning. So, when Alicia continued to struggle, I told her she must not go anywhere but sumdog; I let Kenneth run free.
And on weekend, the laptops were just another entertainment tool. They could go to the Disney site, or pretty much wherever they found joy. No downloads, no for-pay, but still they were able to navigate and have fun.
And it gave me a couple of teachable moments.
TANSTAAFL. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Kenneth wanted this benefit that was free to members. And I was able to explain to him that if you had to be a member, and you had to pay to be a member, then the benefit wasn't free; and that lead to a lot of other topics about the way things work. Air is free, if only because nobody has figured out yet how to restrict it.
And then today, he told his teacher her assignment was boring.
Well, screeching halt time.
I had let him play on the laptop all weekend, with time off to run a 5K charity race with Vanessa and church. Other than that, he was on the laptop all weekend long, without wanting to take time off for food. He was still on the laptop at 8:29 on Sunday night, and he was fully aware that he needed to be in bed by 8:30.
There were no flashing lights and engaging sound effects in his classroom today. Therefore, by comparison, it was boring.
Doing something that feels good, to the exclusion of all other activities, even if doing that brings harm: yeah, that's a start of addiction.
So, the conversation with Kenneth started with his description of what happened.
And then, what is the difference between discipline and punishment, and an assurance to him that he was NOT going to be punished, and in particular that he was not going to be spanked.
And then we proceeded.
And he doesn't like the results, which are that he doesn't get to use the computer, but it's possible that he may be able to understand the rest later. I have to keep him from having his intoxication becoming an addiction.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What have they missed?

Today is October 24, 2013. My last blog post was on June 17, 2013.

I entitled this blog entry, what have THEY missed, because I haven't missed a thing. I've been through every single moment of these past nearly five months, and endured it. Might have forgotten some of it, though. 
But this blog isn't really for me. It's for my grandson Heath. It's for Kenneth and Alicia. And perhaps it will also be valuable to my adult contemporaries as well.
But I didn't write it down; and, if you don't write it down, it didn't happen.
So, I can say: since my last post, I thought we had found the perfect pain med, a patch that managed my pain very well, and didn't goof my head. And then in September I developed an allergy to it, and had to stop it, and got to experience withdrawal again.
But what I missed, by not making a daily record of my experiences.
And I can also say that I was asked, once again, to serve on a Tres Dias weekend, made the last team meeting, packed all my clothes in a backpack, and rode up to the mountain on Thursday. And got sent home on Friday. That was only two weeks ago. But if I had been writing daily, there would have been a great message about "What am I doing here?" that might have been a benefit to some.
See, right now, as I think about the past five months, I can see all the possible opportunities to reach out and share my life; and I just realized this is JUST LIKE IT WAS FOR ME IN SCHOOL! Always trying to play catch-up; it's SO aversive, and so I dropped classes, changed career focus, and dropped out of degree programs.
Months ago, Pastor John told me to write every day. He said it at the same level of emphasis as he told me I had to be in church each week unless I was in the hospital.
Last night I made it to choir practice, because Vanessa was meeting Anne and Tina at the church to drive to Mississippi. The night before, I think, I had written an email to Pastor Shelia talking about me NEED to sing. 
What can I do?
Well, physical stuff is right out.
Pretty much any catch-up is right out.
But I ought to be able to write every day.
And I'm listening to praise & worship while I'm doing it, and will be doing so while I'm on the computer, as long as I can make that work.
Just do the next right thing.
This might not be a coherent statement to the uninitiated reader. It does, however, emerge out of this tarpit I seem to be in. Now, if I could just get tossed into the briar patch...