Saturday, July 26, 2003

Where to begin?

Donaldo came home yesterday afternoon.

My mom made a ridiculous amount of food which I was obliged to eat a ridiculous amount of.

I received a call notifying me that I was suspended from work.

I focused on the positive side, having an entire weekend free, so Donaldo and I hung out with a few friends and had a few drinks.

Around 11:00 pm I found myself in Tiffany's pants. She has very nice pants, but they were pretty snug on me. She was wearing my pants which were baggy and comfortable on her and a hat turned sideways to complete her look. I couldn't even zip up the pants. I forget who's idea it was to trade pants in the first place, but I know it wasn't my idea to go into Fry's (off of Ray, in Tukee) like that. But whoever suggested it in the first place, the fact that I went further supports my theory: Girls can get you to do stupid things. Our mission to pick up pizza and a Virgin Mary candle was successful, and I had hobbled back to the car as quickly as I could.

I got a ride back to my parents house and took a shot of Nyquil. I usually don't take anything for colds, but I'd heard good things about the "big 'N', little 'y', big f**kin' Q!" But I'd also heard bad things about mixing it with alcohol. And I guess one of those bad things is writing frantically on a paper plate with a green Harry Potter pen before the damn cold medicine does what tequila, vodka, and beer couldn't; knock me out flat.

I managed to take a cold shower before I crashed on my parent's couch.

Now I'd like to share with you a little Ny-Quil-inspired creation:

Gurg No-Point Oh

My eyes are burning
cold water churning
A numbness that comes far too late
Because my mind can conjure
ecstatic or somber
appeased or irate
Another stove to the state
When your body is losin'
The time's gone for choosin'
This spirit wants to tear out
The body is refusin'
And we're lost

The moral of the story is: Ny-Quil reduces fever, not fervor.

I woke up around 8:00 am and had a very nice breakfast with my family

Now I'm home and going to sleep away the sickness.

Wow, Donaldo hasn't even been back a whole 24 hours yet.

The Lopez boys are together again, and that isn't good for anybody. It is fun, though.

*I don't know what the line "Another stove to the state" means. It might have been a shout-out to the oven that cooked my pizza. But I do like the "Gurg No-Point-Oh." I think I will keep that and throw the rest away.

*Today would have made a week of not drinking. So close...but six days is pretty good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Work was interesting. Very interesting.

Upon turning 21, I became eligible for driver status at my work. Drivers get to pick up clients, take them to their day programs or work programs, take them to medical appointments, stuff like that. (By the way, I work at a group home for people with developmental disabilities. I work directly with two adult males that have schizophrenia, mental retardation, and a smattering of other disorders. We call them clients. I understand that other people call them tards.) Drivers also get to do fun stuff, like take the clients out to movies, and dinner, bowling, or whatever. Oh yeah, and one more thing...

The guys I work with have been known to do really interesting stuff, like try to get out of the car while it's moving, or suddenly grab the wheel. They might not want to get in at all and you can spend hours (yes, four, I think it was) at a gas station that you didn't want to stop at but the car was running on fumes. And let's not forget that even if you put them in the back seat that has the child safety locks so they can't just get out, you are completely vulnerable to be scratched, grabbed, or worse from behind.

I turned 21 on May 12, and have managed to weasel out of being certified to drive for almost two months. But they got me in the end. Lousy work, making me do my job. I was finally certified on the group home's vehicle, a Chevy Caprice, like the police car. It's not a bad ride. It has air conditioning and picks up 103.9, neither of which are qualities shared by my little Toyota Tercel. Heh, and even after being certified, everyone at the home was so used to me not being a driver that I was able to stave off my duties for another week and a half.

Today I picked up the clients from their day programs. My first pick-up in downtown Phoenix was uneventful. He was the one I was worried about too, because he had drank the cleaner before. My spirits were a bit higher as I drove all the way to Gilbert to pick up my second client. I enter a sort of office building lobby at the end of which is a small table. A woman instructs me to sign my client out. I do so, and then she goes about her business. I stand there awkardly for a moment, then decide to be assertive and go find the client.

I march off determinedly. I boldly round a corner and find myself almost face-to-face with a very attractive young lady. I stop short. She is standing and talking to someone but at that exact moment she looks over at me and our eyes meet. I hear her last sentence trail off as I stand there looking into her eyes and I can only wonder just how low my jaw is hanging and if there is any hope of playing it off somehow.

Just an instant longer and there would have been no hope.

Fortunately, at that very moment my other client comes crashing through a doorway bellowing at an unseen staff (myself and others like me are "staff." With some of the people I work with though, I swear "staff" must also mean "un-diagnosed". But that's another story.) This client is oh, about 300 pounds, and he is very good at crashing and bellowing. Just the distraction I needed. My client is apparently after some female staff who he later tells me accused him of breaking wind. (I was tempted to suggest responding with "He who smelt it, dealt it," in the future as opposed to launching a physical assault. But I've long since learned that my more subtle humor is lost on him.) The client is blocked by a male staff which he then turns on. It was pandemonium. Every staff I could see was yelling at my client to calm down. Normally a good suggestion, but I've noticed that "calm down" becomes less effective when it is shouted from all sides. My client grabs the arm of one of the staff and threatens to strike him. The staff immediately grabs him and puts him in one of the restraints that all staff are trained in. This whole time I have just been trying to stay in my clients line of sight so that he sees only me and not whoever it is he is mad at. I guess it didn't work but I wasn't about to scream at him to relax.

He calms down a bit and is helped to his feet. I tell him that we should just all get out of there and he says "Okay" but he is still looking around with fire in his eyes. He then spits in the face of another staff as I lead him to the car so that we can head back to the group home. It's funny, it took a long time but I can usually get him to listen to me even when he's spittin' mad. But then again, I'm the only person that works with him that hasn't put him in a physical restraint. And I know that isn't lost on him.

Somewhere on the ride home between Tempe and Ahwatukee I realize why I'm in a good mood and not worrying at all about how the rest of the day of work will go. I had felt really foolish standing there looking at that girl like that. Really, I had been waiting for her to just look away and (hopefully) pretend she didn't notice me. But I couldn't shake the impression that she had been waiting for me to do the same thing and that when neither of us did, we were both caught incredibly off our guard. And even though I usually find it funny when I am dumb around girls, this was a much more pleasant kind of stupid.

I know, of course, that I could be wrong.

I should ask her what she thinks the next time I pick up the guys.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Comic Con '03 was sweet! I'm back in town a little burnt and very thoughtful. I met a lot of creative and hardworking people, like Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaimen (Labrynth, The Dark Crystal,) the guys that do Samurai Jack, the guys that do Futurama and the Simpsons, the guys who do all the Adult Swim stuff on Cartoon Network, and I even met Atreyu from The Never-Ending Story. Hugh Jackman was there, Angelina Jolie, a bunch of the Hobbits, Mark Hammil, and some unexpected people, like the guy on Just Shoot Me who looks like a bird and sounds like a muppet. And he was just there for the convention, not even doing a panel or anything. Oh, and a few porn stars were running around, that was cool. You want to see funny, watch guys approach a porn star.

I'm glad to be back though.

All hell has broken loose at work. On of the clients at the group home drank some sort of cleaner (a behavior we haven't seen in almost a year) and had to be treated at the state hospital. This could be the start of some kind of relapse, so to speak. These things usually get worse before they get better. One of the other staff is suspended, and I guess I have been written up. I'm not sure for what, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

I'm glad to be back though.

Donaldo, my younger brother, got back from Iraq and Kuwait into the States a couple weeks ago and this Friday he should be in town for his 20 days of leave. I'm excited, to say the least. But I'm trying to contain it, since I have long since learned not to believe anything the Army tells you. I am also a little concerned how he will handle being home after whatever he may have experienced. I spoke to him on the phone for a bit, and he seemed okay. However, he is still a Lopez so I'm sure I'll have to get a few drinks in him before I know how he really feels.

And hey, I may have plenty of time to spend with him if I get fired.

Oh, and if you get a chance, welcome back D.C. from his exhausting stay in Hawaii.