Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Celeste" Fricassee

So I was sitting browsing some blogs when "Jill" came flying in and babbling about how "Celeste" was cutting and "bleeding all over the place". "Jill" is quite the drama queen, but in a foster home those are words that chill your heart no matter who says them. I live in fear of the day when a child doesn't answer the breakfast call and we get a visit from the police and the coroner.

I went in to check it out, and indeed "Celeste" had done quite a number on her arm. Smallish cuts, none deep but numbering like the stars all up and down the top of one arm, plus a few for good measure across her wrists. She's smart enough to know (and our subsequent conversation verified that she does know) that if she were going to do a good job of offing herself, she would do far better to cut her arm deep the long way from wrist to elbow, so I'm taking that as a sign that this was a more mainline variety of cutting. Still, it's worrisome.

She had just today lost her internet privileges and most of her phone privileges until at least Saturday as a result of some truly nasty things she was IMing with a boy. The girl is 13 and hypersexualized to the point that she's barely recognizable as a human.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

One, Two, Three, GO!

Has anybody but me noticed that ESPN2 is a fountain of the interesting, the funny and the obnoxiously absurd? I tune in once in awhile, especially when I see something particularly grotesque on the schedule.

I am currently watching the Rock, Paper, Scissors ("RPS" to those who know what they're talking about) championship. I sh*t you not. The winner takes away $50,000.

Watching this is a treat. If it was a college class, it would be a cross between anthropology and abnormal psychology. I just watched an old guy with perfect white whiskers and dressed up as Santa clause lose to some college-age punk by repeatedly picking "Paper" while the other guy picked "Scissors" like 5 times in a row. We're in the semifinals, so it's a sudden death match, natch.

It comes complete with the obligatory hot chick, who just beat some giant slob who looked like he hadn't showered since Clinton was president. She had a large cheering section. I'm guessing it was her "mental focus" and "intensity" that won them over. No way could it be her hot body, beautiful hair and killer boobs.

Seriously, this comes complete with little clips like you see in football broadcasts about their training regimen, how well they try to eat, how long they've been participating in this "sport", and everything. Naturally, they have a retired "RPS champion" as color commentator.

I'm not sure if things like this indicate that we're too rich as a society that we need things to spend money on, we're a sick society in a heated race to oblivion, or people are just plain weird. I want to believe the first or last, but sometimes I fear the second.

The worst part is, I suddenly feel an obscene urge to see this thing in person sometime.

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Road Trip

The Wife took our Little Darlings on a bit of a road trip yesterday and are scheduled to return later today. I'm home alone and loving it, taking care of our menagerie and not doing much of anything.

There is a dog at the local Humane Society (where we sometimes volunteer, as I think I've mentioned before) that has been there for TWO YEARS. He's always been a bit of a problem child...sort of like a foster dog, I guess. Longtime readers may recall that we took in Mitch (some sort of a German Shepherd/Pit Bull cross or something) and worked with him a bit to make him more adoptable...Hunter (a dog who reminds me of nothing so much as Old Yeller) never had that same advantage, and he's been languishing in a kennel this whole time.

Well, The Wife's sister, who lives down near Minneapolis/St. Paul, has a friend who wanted a dog and heard about Hunter. They thought they could handle him and help him become a real dog. He IS a "real" dog, of course, but he has some behavioral issues. The worst one is that while he doesn't really bite per se, he does tend to gnaw on your hand if you let him. He's also difficult to walk and various other issues that make him not a suitable choice for a family with small children, for instance. These and other issues may just be due to his long confinement and lack of attention, of course.

And early reports indicate that that is the case, too. Last night The Wife called, just thrilled with how he was behaving with his new family. She couldn't believe it was the same dog. Just goes to show you what a little love and attention can do.

And apparently we have not yet given enough love and attention to "Jill" and "Celeste" yet to make their nasty behaviors go away. They are with her on this trip, and from what I've heard from The Wife, they need to be either loved more or smacked upside the head, and almost definitely a little of each.

The Wife's sister and her friends are big drinkers, especially by our standards since we don't keep alcohol in the house and I'm a teetotaler while The Wife has a drink maybe a few times a year. So when Hunter was coming, it was a time for socializing and drinking. "Jill" didn't like this, and said so. Loudly. Accusingly. In front of the sister and her friends.

NOW...I'm all for the idea of "Jill" not drinking and letting her friends know that she doesn't like it. That's commendable in a teen and I'm very glad for it. However...she really needs to learn to shut up in certain situations. One such situation is when people far older than her--and strangers to boot--decide that they want to legally partake in an activity. That is their right. She should have nothing to say about it whatsoever. And yet it sounds like she had plenty to say. Well, I'm going to have a few things to say to her when she gets home, I think.

When The Wife appropriately stepped in and told her to back off and go for a walk to "cool down", she did. But "Celeste" followed her. The Wife called after her that she didn't need to go with "Jill" and that she should come back. She ignored The Wife and went with "Jill" anyway. I will have words for "Celeste" about that, too.

Aside from blatantly ignoring a direct request by The Wife, this is part of an ongoing problem, particularly with Celeste but I've seen it with "Jill" on occasion too. When one of them gets sent to their room because we're angry, the other one (particularly "Celeste") seems to think it's completely fine to go with them to their room. Usually shutting the door (against house rules) so they can complain and cuss about us to each other.

I'm soliciting suggestions on how to handle this, as it's really annoying and not appropriate. When we make one of them go to cool off, it's not so that they can get together and work each other up. Quite the opposite. The whole point is for them to be alone with themselves and see if we can't get them to reflect on their behavior a little bit. We've told them this, and it's not sinking in.

In the absence of any better ideas, the next time this sort of thing happens it will begin cutting into their internet time, and particularly their phone time. We've been way too lenient with their phone time anyway, and it's officially out of hand.

Man, but these two are great manipulators. We'll be experts at counter-manipulation by the time we see the backside of these two.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Flesh-Naked Fish of Doom

We had a long weekend at the lake after the 4th, and it was really, really cool. The girls are settling in nicely (finally!) and I have several stories to relate, but I'll pace myself and just give you a smallish peek into our weekend.

"Jill" can be a pretty good worker when she gets it into her head to get off her lazy princess butt and do something (not to put too fine a point on it). One day this weekend, she was in the lake swimming and noticed that, well, there are just a hell of a lot of weeds around our dock. This year the weeds must have had a meeting and then went tooling around the lake together until they found their perfect place to grow for the summer, which happens to be the area within a 50-yard radius of our dock. So we're sitting in a weed pit.

"Jill" decided to bust my image of her as a spoiled little brat with a fragile work ethic and actually pull weeds for awhile. And she actually managed to make something of a difference. Until...

I was on the other side of the cabin when I noticed the shock wave from her scream ruffling the leaves in the trees and jostling the clouds just a bit. I ran around the cabin just in time to see the lake settle back within its normal banks, having been raised by the violence of her now-continuous, ear-splitting vocalizations. She flew up the ladder onto the dock and whirled like a dervish up the stairs where she stopped, beating at herself and gibbering uncontrollably but thankfully at less than 120 decibels. It was a little like having the Tazmanian Devil from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons jump out of the lake and buzz up the bank straight at you. Yeek.

Her speech wasn't much clearer than Taz's, either. The only things I was able to discern that she clearly said was something about a fish and "it's bones are sticking out!" Sigh. Since we aren't allowed to start a morphine drip, we had to wait awhile for her to calm down, after which we found out that basically she had been pulling weeds when from the weeds came The Fish Of Doom. A carp that in its livelier days must have weighed in at 6 or 7 pounds, minimum. It was dead enough that some of its body had rotted away and it now weighed maybe 4 or 5 pounds. It looked like it had lost a battle with a boat propeller or something, because part of its flesh was gone and its bones were, indeed, sticking out.

And did it stink. Whew.

The next day, "Jill" carefully checked the entire area and sure enough, the fish had drifted in to shore and maybe 30 yards down the shore from the dock. It seemed to reassure her that at least she knew where it was hiding though, so swimming was okay again. I did notice that she avoided the weeds after that, though. Heh. Too bad. It would have been nice to get some more weeds gone.

Ah, well. Maybe next time, after the terror has worn off and she gets into the same type of mood where she needs something to do. That's a handy feature in a foster kid, I must say.

I'll have more on this weekend later. In the meantime, don't let the fish get you.

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