That's right "vacation". It is a time where you are to have fun, cut loose, and relax. Unless.....you have a child, a dog, and 4 niece/nephews visiting at your parents house. Tuesday morning we head out after packing that morning, yeah, we procrastinated, who doesn't. We drove the opposite direction to get to campus so Morgan could talk to her professor about something that didn't exist and that he wasn't there, because that something was automatically posted from last year. Long story short, it was a waste of time, so we laugh about it get back in the car, and start driving west to Vancouver, Washington.
DVD player is already started before we get out of town, Morgan has decided she would work on her paper in the car (using a laptop), I think she got about 2 pages done in the 7-8 hour trip. When she wasn't working on her paper, she was reading Hunger Games: Catching Fire to me, since she had a captive audience. We stopped at a rest area to let Freddy run off some energy, probably shouldn't of had him off leash, but we were the only ones there, so whatever. We got hungry early and stopped at a subway (instead of the one in Hermiston/Pendleton that we always stop at). By the end of the trip we were sick of being in the car and just wanted to blast our way through no stopping.
We arrive in one piece, Abby has half a water bottle in her lap from holding it upside down for an hour or so. She looks like she has peed herself about 8 times over. We get scolded from my parents that we should change Abby during our trip, I tried to explain that her diaper is full because they absorb water even if its an outside source, phew, I am off the hook this time, and Abby is changed into a very large T shirt until we can get her unpacked into some other clothes.
Abby has a blast being the only grandchild for a whole day, well, 2 days basically. My younger brother Andrew and his wife arrived sometime in the middle of the first night there. My sister arrived later that next evening, they called at 1 pm for Nana (Mom) to talk to the oldest niece while they pack, dead give away that they would not be arriving anytime soon.
So my plans for this week consisted of....NOTHING. I figured I would try to make it to OMSI/Zoo/Children's museum, or even Voodoo Doughnuts. I never got a chance, so since I never planned to go, I was not disappointed. Totally out of order but the first day we arrived we had to figure out what to do with Freddy (the dog). My parents had gotten new carpet installed and did not want a dog inside. We put Freddy into the back yard, and he got out 3 times trying to make his way inside this new house trying to find us. Parents decided, well the upstairs doesn't have new carpet, we'll put him upstairs. Freddy came inside and sat down, all nice and chill. Never ran in the house, didn't destroy a thing, went outside to go potty, didn't track any mud inside. At one point he waited by the baby gate downstairs (just before the carpet) waiting for Abby to finish playing with all the new toys in the family room.
Freddy slept upstairs with us the first night, when Andrew arrived that night Freddy did his usual OMG THERE'S SOMEONE HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I MUST PROTECT! *Woof* (once, quietly to alert me he thinks something is up) *walks quickly out of the room*. Great....so I chase after him and do my harsh whisper, FREDDY! Sit, Stay! I greet Andrew, and Freddy wags his tail like crazy ready to meet new friends. I think I have almost trained the protective instinct out of him and all that is left is love and fun.
That next day we were planning on sleeping arrangements, we were being relocated from the nice comfortable bed to the downstairs uncomfortable IKEA pull out bench/bed King size mattress from the caveman era. The Croods had a softer cave then this slab of wood and 2 inch mattress of death (Mom if you are reading this sorry, we really hated the bed, but thanks for having us!). Question was, if we were downstairs in the no dog zone, where would Freddy sleep? No dog zone area was removed and Freddy had free reign on the house. He was everywhere at all times, 5 children, 8 adults, Freddy was in someone to follow around at all times heaven.
Journey to Vancouver, check, dog issues, check, tiny tornadoes....incoming. My sister has 4 children, they are everywhere at once, it was chaos, it was madness, it was not Sparta. We (Morgan and I) were constantly doing head counts to make sure we still had 5 kids and 1 dog. We also had to make sure that the 2 oldest girls were not torturing Freddy with affection (pulling on his collar to have him come play with them). Lucky for them Freddy is AMAZING with children, and all 5 kids made it out alive.
Later that week one of the kids said look a doggy! and pointed outside. Great, how did Freddy get out...wait....that isn't Freddy. There was a random dog in the front yard. I grabbed everyone who was outside and stuffed them inside, and went to confront this dog. Dog was barking and would not let me approach him, so I had an idea (dog had a collar with tags), I would get the leash, dogs love walks and love leashes. I open the door a crack and ask dad to hand me the leash. He opens the door fully and hands me the leash. Freddy BOLTS out! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I fly down the stairs and try to break up the incoming dog fight, I grab Freddy before he can destroy this dog who was not playing nice. I am in panic mode because I have Abby crying, Dad staring, Freddy frozen in fear of my wrath (won't move to go inside), and a loose dog who I have no idea his intent/nature. FUN TIMES! I start screaming for some kind of assistance to get the other dog away, dad casually walks over and says shoo to the dog. The dog moves about 10 feet and is still loose, fantastic. Mom tells dad that we need to restrain the other dog not just tell it shoo casually. I get Freddy on the leash and rush him inside, Abby is still crying because I won't let her outside.
Everyone is back inside and I have a leash, it works perfectly, the dog comes to me and sits waiting to get latched on. I read his tags, extremely useless information, Dogs name, a road (incomplete abbreviations) and a phone number. I look up the road, it is in Kelso (one hour north), great, guess I won't be returning him. I call the number, disconnected. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!? Why would you have a dog tag if all of your information is old, incomplete, or completely invalid?! Ok, time to go door to door, someone might be visiting and their dog got loose. One problem, pretty much every house I went to, had dogs, and not just dogs, but dogs that love to dart out and kill on sight. Now I know why I hated dogs growing up. Doesn't anyone train their dogs to behave, give them attention and take care of them instead of just locking them up in the backyard all day? So after about 7 houses and 3 near dog fights later, a car drives up and I flag them down. It turns out to be part of the search party for the dog. I tell them they need to update their tags as all information on it is completely useless.
So what about Thanksgiving, well, we had it, I think. The kids had a table to eat at, and the adults, theirs. We wrangled up all the kids and sat down to say the blessing. By the end of the blessing, all the kids had taken 1-2 bites, and had already run off to cause mischief. Fantastic. We finished our meal realizing we had made about 4x more mashed potatoes than anyone could possibly eat. Stuffed ourselves on pumpkin pie, I got in trouble from my wife for having too much pie and whip cream. Two days later Andrew got a 24 hour fever/stomach flu, which spread to his wife, the oldest niece, dad, Morgan, and Abby. Best thanksgiving ever. We bailed just as it was spreading in hopes of getting out alive. Abby threw up the night we got home, luckily on our carpet and not my parents brand new carpet.
And this has gone on too long so I'll have to talk more about the foster care program, neighborhood reunion later.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Well that did not take long, only 3 sessions in and I am beginning to question myself. Morgan is telling me it is scare tactics to weed out the less capable. I don't know if it is true or not, it really doesn't matter. I have never been able to connect with people on an emotional level. Ask any woman I dated...I can't read people unless they talk to me and speak in plain English what they want or what their problem is. Oh right, you are probably ignoring everything I just said and focusing on WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED IN SESSION 3?! Abuse, neglect, and everything wrong in the world happened in session 3. If anyone who has a heart attended that session, their stomachs would churn, their hearts would sink, and if they are anything like me, they would feel helpless in solving the worlds problems.
Let me just interrupt this with a comic relief story, with a story told to us during session 3. Child A and child B are born at the same time, both from new parents, A however has a strong marriage, and B, well B not so much. A did whatever they could to meet the needs for their child, B not so much, B could not really put up with their child so they turned to the MARIJUANA and that made them ignore their child even more. I get it, it was less about the drug and more about the neglect, it was just a very humorous insert into the story....I can think of many things that would be more dramatic and effective at abuse. You know like smoking (not vaping), and alcohol for starters.
Now that you have a half smile, let me crush it. I over simplify feelings, because I don't understand them. I can tell you that child B suffered neglect and abuse, as to the specific kinds of abuse/neglect, I could not answer any questions during the story, nor could I respond with what child B was feeling, other than crappy and miserable.
Every movie and story was mostly about a male figure being the abuser, it scares me to think that I would be a monster in some children's eyes, just because I'm not female. This fact worries me that because of my emotional detachment from everyone I won't be able to do this. I don't mean to say I am a robot, I am a fun and loving guy, I enjoy every moment I have with my daughter (even when she is super duper annoying) and I want to have more children. I just wont be able to help someone who is, I hate to say, damaged, I won't be able to identify what is wrong, without being told what is wrong.
I really hope that this week break I will have for thanksgiving will allow me to breath and think about it. I will be surrounded by my immediate family next week, and it could not come at a better time, they are my pillar, my support. If I ever thought I was not capable of accomplishing something, they are there to encourage and believe in me. If they think I can't do something, they help teach or show me the way on how I can.
On a completely off subject post ending statement.....my daughter is awesome. Thank you so much for getting me sick, I love it.....this feeling is so good to have just before a big trip. You are the best COUGH COUGH BLARGH.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Awesome, Humble Bundle has a store front! great company doing great things, games will always be sold at whatever price (comparable to GoG/Amazon/Steam), and 10% goes to charity, smaller cut taken from developers, its a win win win. I just wish that Humble Bundle kept with their DRM free philosophy, like GoG does. For anyone who doesn't know what DRM is I will do a short angry explanation for you. It can vary from something as simple as enter in a CD key, to something as stupid as, enter in a CD key, but you only have 3 times you can install/use CD key, then you have to authenticate with online servers, if the servers are down (which they usually are) you cant authenticate, then after authentication you need to stay connected to their server to play the game, on single player.....ever played a game on single player and died from server lag? its crazy I know. So with Humble Bundle kicking out DRM free only you have to be wary, at least when you highlight the game it will say which OS (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/Steam) and if it is DRM free. Picked up System Shock 2 from there, NOSTALGIA OVERLOAD!
So aside from playing a ton of Awesomenauts, X-Com Enemy Unknown (not the recently released DLC Enemy Within), Startopia, and Beyond Good and Evil, we have been keeping busy getting the house Foster Child Ready, We will call this FCR for short, I like it! We went to a VIP sale at furniture row and found a nice bunk bed with stairs instead of a ladder to get to the top bunk, and on these stairs, each one has a drawer! Then after getting 2 bunk beds/4 mattresses we went down to the Honda dealership where we got the CR-V. Instantly got nabbed up with the first salesman when we walked through the door. Said we just wanted to test drive an Odyssey since we wouldn't be getting a van till we get approved for foster care. So he sits us down and starts running numbers. Great...I know where this is going. Then as he's talking about sales we see our original salesman (from the CR-V) who recently returned from fighting fires and said to my wife hey look there is Ben! Salesman realizes hes never going to get the sale through us, and turns us over to him. Ben actually remembers us from 2 years ago (creepy and awesome) and without setting us down, goes and tracks down keys for an Odyssey for us to drive. During the drive we go through all the questions and concerns as well as selling points, great experience. Currently Odyssey's are nearly impossible to find, and the only one on the lot cannot be sold until they get the parts to fix the recall, which are back ordered as late as February. We have our fingers crossed that everything goes well.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Lets dive in to what I have experienced so far, being the introduction and the first session. First off Foster parents are in high demand here in Idaho, if you are interested check out the health and welfare website. So we watched a video about how the children really felt like nobody could love them, but they were glad that they came around to their foster/adoptive families, it was depressing, and heart warming. We asked questions about legality issues, background checks, safety and other concerns. It was quite the informative meeting.
There is also an organization called One Church One Child, very misleading name, since I am all for the separation of church and state, you know, being an Atheist and all trying to take away your rights to oppress all other religions into forcing your religions beliefs into law that conflict with everyone else, shame on me. It was included with all the paperwork and is endorsed by H&W, I had to find out more, like how can they get away with this. Turns out it started by a religious guy, and then turned into a Community Group or Church. I am going to look into later to get my group the Idaho Atheists, West Valley Freethinkers involved in this and at least the minimum a support crutch for my fostering.
The title of this post suggests there is something awkward going to happen, well it is just around the corner. If you aren't atheist you probably don't understand what its like to be, alone...sure you can say oh I have had that experience all the time when I am Catholic in a room of Christians. Not even remotely close to the feeling of exclusion you get as an Atheist. No matter what religion you have, they all have God in common and hey if you're going to hell because you didn't choose THAT religion, at least you thought you were trying, A for effort! WOO! Atheist how ever have nothing in common with any religion. So situation slightly understood by all walks of life now.
We start the first session by introducing ourselves, drawing a picture on the back of our name card showing what is important to us, like an ice breaker. Well it started out with Hi I am blah blah blah, and my faith is important to me, and then my family. Hrmm interesting. Hi I am blah de derp de blah, and my faith is also important to me, oh yes and family. Great, our turn. Hi I am Morgan, and my family is important to me, my stick figures suck and this is supposed to be a dog, I also like music and school. Weird no faith. My Turn. Hi I am Chris, and I LOVE VIDEO GAMES, I drew an awesome controller! I also enjoy playing around with my family and having fun, my stick figures are way cool, here is me lifting my daughter over my head and playing airplane while my dog tries to jump in...oh yeah and here is the family cat way off to the side glaring at us for having fun. Nailed it. Next person, Faith, family, next, faith, family.....ok ok I get it Morgan and I have nothing in common with you guys way to single us out. I think there was enough murder/torture devices drawn on name cards to kill all 12 apostles.
The meeting then went on talking about taking the kids to church and using your church as a crutch and your church will be there for you and to use your church. Oh yes H&W will be there too, sweet I can use them. Then the meeting took an odd turn, they started talking about if you got a child that was NOT of your faith! GASP WHAT! NO! NOW WHAT!? Well um, accommodate their faith silly, you are not here to convert them, you are here to give them a safe home and keep them inside the community they are used to. So I think to myself dude peace of cake, I have every Sunday free, and I have no religion to convert the child to, I have a leg up on all these people! I am actually excited because now I have a reason to go to ANY church and learn from the inside what they are all about and what their way of thinking is, it will be a wonderful educational experience.
I am atheist, but I am not a monster, I will not tear down a child's belief system, they do enjoy believing in Santa, Easter Bunny and such, why ruin the fun. Now when they get older I will perhaps let them know that their way is not the only way, and that they could just be nice, out of the idea of being nice. I will save that for another time, point being. A small child who doesn't know any better is safe from my evil ways, and I am going to be more then happy to take them the church of their choosing, if they have none, great! I can also show them how ethical you can be to better humanity without a belief system. I hope.....
OK SO, big posts are out of the way....I hope, I thought this was going to be small but I had to vent, it really sucks being alone and not able to have the courage to say I AM AN ATHEIST. Thank you so much IA for being so supportive, you guys make me feel like I can do this, and this is the right thing to do. I just live in fear my application will be denied and I am unfit to be around children or some crazy thing because I put down that I am part of IA.
So I have decided that I will at least somewhat perhaps maybe try to document my adventures from here on out. Well with the exception of getting you up to speed with where I am at currently of course. It all started in time long lost and forgotten, 3 weeks ago to be exact. I have finally turned in my badge at Micron, laid off at last! Abagael, my daughter, had finished her last day of daycare as well.
I was now officially Stay-At-Home Gamer Dad, an upgraded model of just Gamer Dad. My wife got her job offer at a CPA firm just down the road, so everything was just going great. We went out and adopted our new dog the next day. He had been staying at a foster home on Elm Street, because he wasn't doing well in the dog shelter. He had been biting his leg out of stress/scared/etc. So it was only 4 days before Halloween, he was staying on Elm Street, so we decided to name him Freddy Kruger, or just Freddy.
So far Freddy has been a great addition to our family. Despite being a stray (I don't believe it for a second, aka we believe he was abandoned) he is extremely well mannered, knows many commands already, house trained, in fact he has a special poop and pee spot off to the side of the yard! He follows us around everywhere in the house, doesn't need a leash (unless required by law of course).
Abby and Freddy have become great friends, Freddy guards her door sometimes when shes napping. He has learned that Abby is not a big fan of being licked and has kept it down to a minimum. While we are preparing dinner, those two will just wander around together in the backyard, doing their own thing, but together.
Well now that we have the career for one parent, and a stay at home parent, we decided it would be time to expand our family. Abagael is already 3, and after a pregnancy, she would probably be close to 4. That age difference felt like it would be too much. So we thought, the world has a population problem already, lets do our part and take in some Foster children. It is going to be tough, but these children need homes, we have one, with 2 unused bedrooms.
Of course with announcing that we are going to be in the foster care program everyone had to put in their two bits, such as you have to watch out for those foster kids, they are in the program for a reason, or those are just bad kids you don't want to do that, and my personal favorite you aren't cut out to be a parent. Love the support guys! You are awesome!
We are still going forward, we have found many people who have come out of the woodwork and have actually given support and think this is a fantastic idea and have volunteered help whenever needed. So we filled out the application, set up the initial training, background checks are underway, fingerprinting is just down the road and we are super excited and nervous.