Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today we spent the day celebrating the birthdays in the month of January in our family. That means that today was my and Jackie's (my nephew's wife) day to be celebrated. Days like this are great days because it's all about family and getting together, putting aside differences and just enjoying each other. Somehow we've learned to put aside any grudges and play games, enjoy a really good meal and spend time together as family.

This is a concept that is foreign to many people. I realize just how fortunate we are to be able to do this. It's nearly sickening how well we get along. At least to those on the outside looking in who have become so cynical as to consider these times we get together freakish, weird, or just simply nothing that would ever happen with their family.

It's really quite sad to know that many families NEVER are able to enjoy these times together. It reminds of a BBC tv series called 'Mulberry'. The main character is Death's son and is being prepared to take over when it's time for his dad to be finished. His first assignment is an elderly woman whom he becomes quite fond of and shows her ways to enjoy living, even with a family that she doesn't care for and would rather have little to nothing to do with. Of course the dilemma is that Mulberry never follows through on what he's supposed to do, which is transition to old woman to her afterlife. Instead he's teaching her how to enjoy life and live it fully.

To my understanding the program lasted only two seasons and I've watched both. I'm not certain as to it's popularity as the series doesn't seem to have an end. Season two ended with nothing tied up and as if it were being prepared for another season.

The important bit of that though is that none of us knows what's really around the bend so it's best to live and make the very best of every opportunity. Even when it's difficult or seems nearly impossible.

There are family that are extremely important to me. There are friends who are also extremely important to me. It's my hope they understand just how much they've given me just being available and sharing of their time and themselves. I'm grateful for every moment.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Driving home last night I received a phone call from my Doctor's office. His nurse quickly stated that my tests all turned out fine and that they wanted me to stop the aspirin regiment that I had been on at his request. I will not have to start with cholesterol reducing medications and I should be fine. That is a huge relief and I do give credit for this to our God who I have asked for healing and I know others have as well. The issue that brought me to the doctor in the first place was very real and frightening. Four things need to happen. I must lost weight. I must eat better.  I must exercise more. I must give thanks for the health that I have and take care of it better.

I don't know where this all leaves me to be honest. The job search continues, that's for certain. A co-worker's doctor told him that working in the kind of culture that we do at the Village can take 8 years off a healthy person's life. I believe that to be true. My doctor and my specialist BOTH mentioned separately how stressful working with abuse/neglect/delinquent teenagers is and how it's not a healthy occupation for the adults. I know someone has got to do it and that we are never placed in a situation that is beyond who we are, but I also believe it's important not to ignore signs, messages. The message seems clear and it is not pointing to staying where I am currently.

My brother and I watched "The Book of Eli" the other night and both really enjoyed it. Denzel Washington was terrific in it. His character believes he had been Spoken to and has a mission that he must follow through no matter how difficult or impossible the circumstances. We are never given more than what we can do. The story is full of societal and religion concepts to talk about after. And it rings true, in many ways accurate in it's depiction of what a world turned upside down could look like. It's a bit overwhelming but well worth the visit.

I would like to have the faith to follow through on what I'm asked to do. The clear understanding of my purpose, not necessarily knowing the means to that end. And faith. Without it, I am nothing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My stress test happened January 19th. It's a very long process, not simply getting on a treadmill and walking fast for a little bit hooked up to monitors. At least it's not that simple for the complete testing.

When I arrived I was taken to a men's dressing room that resembled a very small locker room. There was a bathroom, a couple of areas with curtains to stand behind to change, about 5 chairs, 4 lockers, and a TV up toward the ceiling. The TV was tuned to Animal Planet but I didn't really much care what was on. I had also brought my music and a book prepared for some waiting time that usually happens in a doctor's office. This was different. At precisely 8 AM I was taken to a room and being prepped for the initial portion of the testing.

I was told to lay on a hospital bed and my blood pressure was checked. My shirt needed to be removed and the shaving of chest hair began. Swipes at my shoulders, mid-chest, then down lower to the sides quickly and efficiently removed follicles so that sticky pads with metal nibs could be placed without risk of them falling off during the test. It also prevents the painful experience of ripping the hair out when removing the sticky pads. An EKG was connected and that's when I realized I was to take the first part of the test nearly naked. If I were a committed runner this would not have been so bad. In fact, I would probably run shirtless in the summers if I were in decent shape. This is not the case however. The one person who was started the procedures remained and a second person came in and asked questions about history and such. Okay, two people, that's fine. Then a third walked in and he started asking questions and inserted a needled into the back of my left hand and left it there to feed the tracer chemicals at the appropriate time. The small room all of a sudden felt pretty crowded. With needle dangling from under my skin on the back of my hand a fourth person came into an already crowded room. Including me, there were now 5 people.

The fifth person was the doctor who was to preside. The same questions, more taking of the blood pressure and though I recognized the doctor as the man my grandmother had as her heart doctor I was oddly put at ease by his questioning and his responses to my answers. He seemed pretty optimistic, never once mentioning my weight. I think that the hospital has some standing policy to NOT mention people's weight as a factor or an area of concern. My experience with this doctor in the past with my grandmother was that he was typically short with the people who came along for the appointment but treated his patients very well. That's why I mention I was oddly put at ease with his questions and responses. When I had spoken with him before he was short, abrasive, and not very pleasant. So this was a nice light to see this doctor in. It's better to be his patient than the family members who are simply trying to help.

After his questions I was asked to get on the treadmill. They warned me this was the hardest part of the test. It really wasn't nor did I think it was going to be. I was looking forward to being on the treadmill because I like that sort of thing and exercise. I just don't do it like I should. The shunt or whatever it was in the back of my hand was there so when I reached a certain target heart rate the first dose of radiated tracer could be injected without my stopping at the point of reaching the THR (target heart rate). The doctor had assured me if the level of radiation in the injection were to be worried about the would certainly not be in the room with me when it was injected. I had to admit that made some sense to me. The test began slowly, it was actually difficult to walk that slow. It increased at 3 minute intervals, both speed and elevation. By the second increase I was breathing quite heavily but the THR just wasn't insight like I had hoped. The third increase was the charm though it took nearly the full three minutes. I saw the THR within reach nearing the next level. With under a minute to go before the treadmill increased once more I reached it. Then the injection came and it was cold, chilling, I almost pulled my hand away. So that was that. The first part was over and it wasn't too bad.

There was a waiting period to make sure the injection had time to course through my body and I was taken to a room with an unmistakable orange radiation warning sign on the door. The door was closed, I placed the key to the locker where I kept my clothes in a plastic basket and was asked to lay down on a long, narrow table. The room was darkened, there was a loud continuous hum or rumble, and a cushion was placed under my knees as my legs were strapped together to prevent them from moving during the x-ray process. I was asked to lock my fingers up over my head and keep my arms in that position for the duration of the x-rays. It wasn't very comfortable but it was bearable. The table moved slowly up and then back toward the door and stopped under a large white v-shaped machine. I closed my eyes, laid still and just let the machine do all the work. It hovered over me and turned incrementally to the left every 30 seconds or so. After nearly 30 minutes of this I was free to go back to the dressing room, or anywhere in the hospital until the next injection. By this time I had my shirt back on and the EKG equipment had been removed.

The waiting is the hardest part. Do I need to give Tom Petty credit for that? I mean, it really is. Plus I was starting to get a slightly tinny taste in my mouth and a headache. I left the room with Animal Planet still blaring and got some water. It didn't take away the headache or the metal taste in my mouth but it was nice and cool and made me feel better. I was a little self conscious walking around the hospital in light weight hiking boots, shorts, a t-shirt, and a needle sticking out of my hand. I could have eaten at this point but was a little to self aware to brave the cafeteria. My thought was someone might mistake me for someone who should be in a hospital bed, try to get me back to where I belonged, there would be a scene, it would wind up in the paper and it would give the hospital a bad reputation. Since I happen to like this hospital AND they have my life in their hands I decided against any potential scene making.

Time arrived for the next injection. I was taken to another room with a sign exactly like the x-ray room and was seated with my left hand up and turned down with easy access to the shunt. An injection was given and the needle used placed in a special metal container the likes of which I've never seen before. I presume because of the radiation. And then a second injection was given. This was a full syringe of some clear, thick, cold substance. That was probably the worst part of the day. The feeling of something that cold entering my veins was nearly too much for me. It looked like some sort of gel. Then before I could blink, Jack, the guy doing the injections (very nice guy), peeled the tape of the back of my hand and with blinding speed pulled the needle out and covered the hole with gauze. That part happened so quickly it nearly made me dizzy.

Then there was waiting for the injection to circulate and a second series of x-rays. These were similar to the first series so nothing to expound on there.

Probably the weirdest part of the whole experience was waiting in the dressing room while other men entered and left with me just sitting there like a pervert or something while they changed and then changed back when their testing was finished. I'm sure it had to be a little unnerving for them, but while I waited I kept to my book and had my headphones in listening to Hammock trying to relax and get rid of my headache. I had also decided that TVLand would be better viewing in the men's dressing room so I had changed channels. I don't know why that was important to me since I wasn't watching it anyway?

The entire process took about 5 hours. When it was finished I still had a headache, funny taste in my mouth, and I was exhausted. That's when I realized how stressed I had been through this process. But it feels good to have done it and now I wait for results. In the meantime I do my exercise/walking and eat the things I should be eating and work to making these changes last. I have to admit, the treadmill made me miss that kind of focused, aggressive exercise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I was up early this morning to have blood work done after fasting for 12 hours. In my mind 12 hours seems like such a long time. Compared to days and even weeks that others are forced to fast 12 hours is nothing but a simple annoyance really. To all of that is added the fact that for me it is an option, something that I can choose to follow or not.

There are thousands, millions of people worldwide who have no choice in the matter but to ration if they are that fortunate, or just hope and wonder when the next sip of water or bite of nutrition will arrive. Haiti right now is an obvious example of people waiting, starving, hoping for something...anything to help them arrive at the next minute. The hugeness of this is so far beyond my understanding, never EVER having been without. It's so very simple to never see outside our window to the world that is desperate for any light.

Yet, some find Hope and cling to It. Some find beauty, rest, miracles, life, Love and really know and understand how fragile and important these things are. I can only imagine and do not have the experience to where imagining can even come close to the reality for so many fellow souls, lives, brothers, sisters...humanity. Humility. Never, ever take for granted what we have for it could be stripped away at any moment. "Time to be tried, humbled, and broken...". Words from Charlie Peacock, "Time to hear the Word of Love spoken."

A time of trials will come for each of us. How we respond, how we treat others, what we give of ourselves, what we accept of others and our Creator will make all the difference.

"Time is a gift of love and grace. Without time there'd be no time to change..."

When these times come I pray that I will be humbled, broken, changed and not stand my ground on my own and try to muscle my way through them learning nothing, giving nothing, staying the same.

Make us new people. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The follow up with my doctor after Monday night's episode was this afternoon. The ER doctor had prescribed medication but my doctor decided against it since everything was normal with my blood pressure and heart rate this afternoon. I've got a months worth of blood pressure medication that I hopefully will not need to take.

We talked about my risk factors, family history, and he seems fairly confident that it was not my heart. He hesitated before saying something about my age and me not being "the healthiest man". My response was, "You mean I'm fat." He hemmed a bit and then answered, "Well, we can't say that...". I grinned and said, "Yes we can, and if you can't, I can. I know and I'm working on it." In fact, I have lost 10 pounds since I was last weighed. I'm kind of proud of that. Since I'm more focused on it right now I should be able to lose more and pretty quickly. After all, I've got a jump start that I feel pretty good about. More exercise, better eating, and some weights should help out quite a bit.

I have a treadmill stress test scheduled for Tuesday. These tests are much more involved than I ever would have imagined and they take at least half the day. So I am taking the day off from work on Tuesday.

I'm grateful that it's likely nothing more serious and something that I likely do have control of still at this point. The Saturday before this all started to happen I was listening to Accoustic Cafe' on the radio and Buddy Miller was the artist this episode. He talked about his triple bi-pass surgery that he'd had not that long before and how he's acquired a new treadmill to hang clothes on and aloud to drink more red wine. He joked but you could tell he was taking it seriously. Serious as a heart attack.

More breaks at work (any would be nice), more good quality time with people who are important to me, more time to meditate and read the Gospels, more exercise, more rest, more red wine (like breaks at work, any would be more).

Complete us, oh Lord, and leave us not wanting. Thanks is not enough for Your forgiveness.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well, maybe birthdays aren't all they're cracked up to be. After spending a decent day at work on my birthday I spent the night of the next day in the hospitable emergency getting checked out. It was about 6:15 pm, I was attempting to quiet the boys down to get them in a space to move on. I was using my usual quiet but firm/you know what you need to do voice. Then there was a very sharp pain in my chest on the right side that lasted just a moment, long enough for me to take notice, and a flutter that lasted for a few seconds, long enough for me to start moving to my co-worker to let him know while it was happening that I didn't want to panic him but I wasn't sure what was happening but I may have to leave immediately. I made phone calls to supervisors who told me to keep a radio on me at all times, our campus wide means of communication, and to let them know if I needed anything.

I calmed down a bit, got the boys back under control, spoke with them about how awful they've been treating each other and that the rumors and mean talk had to stop in order for the house to function and be able to do things outside of the house. They took this pretty well and I felt better but still wasn't good. Some of the boys went to the gym, others stayed at the house with me while I tried to get a few more things done all the while keeping a radio at my hip. When the other boys returned I decided it was better to err on the side of caution and go to emergency. I left work about 8:15 pm and was at emergency just before 9. So far I'd done everything wrong in a situation where seconds count. Don't do this if you are ever in this situation. It was stupid and I know that and will NOT do this again if it should ever recur.

They admitted me right away and started tests and hooked me up to monitors. The pain and flutter had long since subsided but I was still having some issue taking a slow, deep breath. It helped me to know that I was finally where I should have been in the first place. Blood was drawn to check for enzyme levels, a calming pill that protects the heart in case of emergency was given and x-rays of my chest were taken. Then I just had to wait and see how things were going to turn out from the tests.

My initial doctor, first name Sarah (I don't recall her last name) put 2 and 2 together (my name and where I worked) and realized she had spoken with me earlier that night trying to reach one of our foster care workers. I had answered the phone and done my extra duty as campus wide secretary since the assessment center has closed and transferred her over to foster care with debating whether or not to go to the hospital. Coincidence? Fate? We seemed destined to meet face to face last night. She was very nice even when I realized she must be a Nazi. When it was the end of her shift she came into my room and asked if I wanted a remote for the television. I told her I was fine and that I already had the remote, that I just don't enjoy most television. It's actually the commercials that bother me. I don't have the patience for them. The book I am currently reading was just out of reach for me so I asked if she could get that for me. She did, noted the title, "Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. I shrugged my shoulders and admitted it was kind of heavy reading for a night like last night. Her response was literally, "Ann Frank. Oh what fun." with an approving smile on her face like reading the book is supposed to be enjoyment or something. There was no hint of sarcasm or jest so I have to assume anyone who thinks "Diary of a Young Girl" is a pleasure read is a Nazi. I'm grateful she didn't euthanize me on the spot but was instead very nice to me.

The next doctor came in and I don't remember his name either. I just recall that he took plenty of time to talk to the staff about his vacation in San Francisco and countless other things before entering any of the rooms to meet the patients. I have to admit though, this was entertaining, unlike the book I had been reading, and when he did finally come into the room he was well prepped and new exactly what had been going on and what was to happen. A very nice job by the San Francisco returnee. I imagine I would be preoccupied with reminisnences of my vacation throughout my entire overnight shift. He informed me there would be a second blood draw at midnight. I waited and at midnight it was a little creepy how the laughter increased in the common area, the voices got louder, there was an increase in activity all around. Blood was drawn, I simply had to wait and see how it came back. They were also trying to get my blood pressure down.

When I arrived my BP was 140 something/120 something. Really high and very unusual for me. In fact, it's the first time I've ever had blood pressure above normal. It's always checked out at about 112/71 with a heart rate of about 60 or less. My heartrate was up around 90. It's no wonder I felt awful previously. Between reading, listening to the staff out in the lobby, and staring at the ceiling I was deep breathing trying to calm and get my BP and HR back to where I know it should be. It took about three hours and some medication but it finally was back down to 113/67 and my HR was down to 57-58.

All of my tests came back fine. Enzyme levels undetectable so that meant no heart attack. But it is still a wake up call and I have to do a stress test which I have yet to set up. And I have a prescription for a blood pressure med for the time being and have to take my BP daily and keep watch of it. It also means that I have to start with more salads, raw nuts and fruits, lot's of vegetables and up my exercise to more than walking the dogs 4 times/week. I want to have my BP back to where it needs to be without the use of medications, though I will use them for now as prescribed.

I do not think this second doctor was a Nazi. He may have been gay or just a lover of San Francisco though I noticed he did not have a wedding ring. He was nice enough, distant from the patient but still very involved in the care.

Overall I have to rate this experience as a big suck but have no one but myself to blame for letting the stress of the job and at home get to me and not taking care of myself like I should. I got to my mother's, which is three blocks away from the hospital, around 1:30 AM.

Don't wait, don't ignore the signs, the world is a better place for having you and would miss you very much indeed, even in the grand scheme of things.

Monday, January 11, 2010

As birthdays go, yesterday was fairly good. No cake, no singing, just a group of 8 teens who for the most part remained in control of their deeper aggressions toward the world and several adults who it's always good to spend time with as co-workers. There was nothing unusual, strange, shocking or disturbing throughout the day and it was fairly nice weather. It's always a sort of blessing to watch a 17 year old abuse neglect boy slide down a hill on a sled as is he were 8 and enjoying the exhileration of the wind against  his cheeks, the snow stinging his face and hands, and the laughter that eminates from deep down when he falls to the powdery white groud and rolls uncontrollably to a stop facing the sun, dizzy. That really is a birthday worth remembering if it wasn't the one I had wished I had planned ahead.

It's so great to be blessed with moments unasked for. So much forgiveness and a great big dose of Love from the Creator. How wonderful that we are not forgotten and even, unexpected, grace is there whether we know to look for it or not.

I re-read "The Book Thief" this past weekend. I spent most of my free time reading it. Though many have complained that it's merely a shell of a story and overly simplistic I get the feeling that many of those who find the book empty are looking for more of the blatant horrors that were common during the Nazi rule. Perhaps what they didn't like was that the book not only hints at the horrors anyone Jewish suffered but also the fear that was constant to anyone German who dared to dissent from the reigning forces. Some may not be prepared to accept that everyone suffered under this rule. Everyone. In my thinking that does not lessen at all what was happening to specific groups of people but makes the overall heaviness that much more difficult to comprehend or understand. I highly recommend reading this book if you haven't.

I've also been reading the gospels in the Bible again. So very much of it is like reading it for the first time. It's wonderful, tragic, heartbreaking, promising, lovely, many things as well as the Truth.

May we have lovely a day full of grace and beauty, forgiveness and love, blessings for us and blessings to pass on to others.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I should be sleeping or at least getting ready for sleep. In a way I suppose journaling is like getting ready for sleep. A chance to unwind, slow down, breathe deep the breath of God and quiet myself for the night.

Tomorrow I turn 45 and I haven't prepared for it. I SHOULD have put in for the day off from work. I SHOULD have made plans to spend with my family. I SHOULD have gotten stuff together to prepare a special meal and a cake. I should have, should have, should have...but I didn't think of it until it was too late. That's one of the potential dangers of having a birthday so close to Christmas and New Year. A person gets so busy with those things (and I have to admit, the birth of Jesus IS a bit more important than the birth of modern day Joseph) that one forgets until it is too late to make preparations to celebrate with the day off. So tomorrow I have 15 hours with unruly teens. It's my own fault.

Had I planned I would have liked to have made some very tasty, perhaps of the Mexican vein, with black beans, chicken, quacomole, fresh salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, all the good things that come along with a south of the border dish. I may have gone to church in the morning. I know I mention this second. Perhaps because it's been so long that I've gone to church. It used to be by choice but over the past few years I would have to put it on the unable to attend list as it's important to me again and I work every Sunday, a fifteen hour shift. So the food would have come AFTER church.

And a cake. My mother offered to bake a cake if I told her what kind I wanted. I didn't let her know. It seemed to depressing after realizing I had forgotten all about it. I'm not even sure what kind I would have chosen. She bakes excellent cakes, from scratch, frosting, pudding, batter, whatever you crave. She takes the time to make it all. We're planning for next week now.

A week or so ago I went to a big blockbuster movie that my brother bought tickets for. Three of us went and it was sold out. I mean there wasn't a seat left in the theater and they came over the speakers asking people to move to the center to make seating easier for those who came in just before the movie started. Honestly, no one was late. We were about 30 minutes early and seating was already getting scarce. Anyway, I moved toward the center and being a big man I typically like a seat buffer between me and the stranger next to me. I knew this wasn't going to happen this day so I very carefully and almost apologetically moved over to sit right next to a young girl who may have been 12 or so.

I was uncomfortable, she was obviously uncomfortable. I knew this because she asked her dad to trade places with her. He refused! He told her he was a big guy too and it would be uncomfortable. I don't have a daughter but I think I'd be willing to trade with her so she wouldn't have to sit next to some stranger. I mean, it was fine and all, but even her two friends (both boys) and a brother wouldn't trade seats with her! What the heck has happened to men/boys in this day and age? I felt bad for her. She dealt with it well though and when the movie started it was all good. I have to say that I'm impressed she handled it as well as she did. A father should know that a girl her age is already probably pretty self conscious. Then to have to sit next to some old guy she doesn't know and have her dad refuse to switch seats with her...I gotta say, she's a trouper.

I won't mention the name of the movie because more than enough has been said about this mediocre film. It looks great (once the 3-D syncs up) but the story is stolen from other much better films. Man if it weren't for how good this movie looks it would NOT be worth watching. We got passes to see another film because of the theater error at the beginning. We will not go to see this movie again. We're holding out for something better. Or at least a different movie, even if it's not something better. I'd rather watch something boring that I haven't seen. If they could make this movie about an hour and some shorter I might go watch it for the visuals. Nah.

Peace throughout the new year, blessings from above, family, friends, neighbors, love....

Friday, January 01, 2010


Every year where I work it is a very big undertaking to decorate for Christmas. My supervisor insists on it, doles out the varying responsibilities to the staff, washes his hands of it apart from making sure the orders he's set in place are carried out.

No one ever wants to do lights, especially the outside lights. This year the task was taken on by an older staff and he did a great job of it. Lights were strung around the entire house hanging from the gutters, outlining the roof. It was really very lovely.

I'm typically kind of a curmudgeon regarding Christmas at work and think too much is made of it. Presents are donated in nauseating numbers. People we've never heard of want to stop by and leave snacks and gifts for the boys. Guests are ushered through touring the house, set up by our financial department in an attempt to show off what we do and solicit funds for the coming year. The boys get antsy and irritable. The staff get antsy and irritable.

Pretty much the only thing that made this whole process bearable for me this year was the string of lights that were hung outside to border the roof line. I don't know why I haven't noticed how pretty that really does look but this year it did not get past me. I used the lights as a sign of hope in a year that has been pretty dismal in outlook for the Village.

Our Adventure Learning Center which drew outside clients as well as being used for therapy with residents and families has been closed. The house I worked in that was able to keep 12 boys closed it's doors. The Assessment Center which housed up to 24 residents and did the initial assessment of new residents closed down also. There are only 4 houses left open and I know of only one that is at full capacity. It happens to be the house that has the lights of Hope on it.

Dark comes early in the winter months and for two nights in a row I had walked the boys back after supper and sledding, to those lights shining in the dark. Even if the boys were still wound up these lights calmed me, gave me a reason to slow myself down and breathe deep.

On Monday we were told to turn off our Christmas lights during the day. The Village is in such a financial state of crisis that someone didn't want us to have the lights on then. I accepted that but somehow I didn't get around to it. Neither did the other staff that had been asked. It gets busy and it was presented to us as no big deal.

Tuesday an e-mail had been sent asking us to turn off the lights and I did unplug half of them. I got distracted and didn't get to the other half that morning and didn't think to send a resident out to unplug them. That afternoon two people from administration stopped by the house unannounced. One walked over and unplugged the Christmas lights then they both walked through the house looking it over. There was no explanation as to what they were looking for or why they were there. My personal suspicion is that it was solely to turn off the lights and to check out the staff and house to see why the lights weren't completely off after we'd been asked. No one said anything though. They walked through and then left.

Later my supervisor sent out a house e-mail with a forward of an e-mail he had received basically asking him why his staff refused to follow a directive they had been given. Yikes. So my supervisor was angry with his staff because the lights hadn't been turned off.

The next day he made sure to have me stay after my time to leave (after I had already come in early at his request) because he had not been able to confront this during team. Our team hours have been cut to save money. So many things we used to get done do not get done anymore. My supervisor stressed that this was a defiance of a directive that had been given. (It wasn't meant to be anything like that. Honestly, I had just felt other things needed my attention more than unplugging the Christmas lights outside.) He mentioned this kind of thing is the reason the Village is in the state it is currently. I know he meant the attitude that seemed to be "I will do what I want and not listen to my administration." but this was a string of Christmas lights. I took full responsibility and mentioned the lights being left on were not an act of aggression or defiance. We simply got distracted. I also pointed out that the Village is not in the state it's in because someone didn't unplug a string of Christmas lights. Instead it's because staff has not been properly trained, because there are two facilities on campus closed because of probation status, and we are not getting referrals because of the probations, not a string of lights. He said the lights weren't the issue. I said they obviously were to someone.

Anyway, the lights that gave me hope, felt like something good and positive in a very difficult time at work have been turned off.

I'll have to dig even deeper from now on.