Starting Right

I’ve discovered something about myself: how I start the day makes a huge impact in the rest of my day.

Case in point: Saturday morning not five minutes after I woke up there was a knocking on my door. When I opened the door I was greeted by an older man in a black trench coat who informed me I needed to move my car. He did not ask me which car was mine, but instead told me immediately “you need to move your car.” in all actuality my car was parked on the opposite side of the street and did not need to be moved. Seth’s car did need to be moved, but he was out of town for the weekend. This thirty second interaction left me so peeved, who did this man think he was to demand I move my car when he didn’t even know which car was mine? The mere thought of going out in the cold, when it had snowed the night before, made me want to crawl back in my warm bed and never leave. I did move Seth’s car and when I came back I put my pajamas and stayed in them for hours.

That was not starting right. My day was a disaster. I had no motivation to do anything, not even to walk to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee. I had loads of laundry to do, but couldn’t gather the motivation to start, couldn’t think about doing the dishes, or let alone vacuuming the rug.

I have discovered if I sit on the couch first thing in the morning, I will not get up until the absolute last second. On Saturday I could be there all day. Now that I am out of school and don’t have the pressure of any deadlines I don’t manage my time nearly as well as I used to. Even though there isn’t anything I am required to do, I end the day feeling extremely unproductive and as though my day has been wasted.

On the other hand, if I get up and walk to the kitchen, start the coffee, and put away dishes, I am more likely to have a productive day. After that I might just start a load of laundry and take a shower before the laundry goes into the dryer. Then I might just decide to sweep the apartment and clean the bathroom. I might or might not turn on the tv and I might check my phone, but I’m not turning into a total vegetable.

My goal for this year is to start right. Every day. Every. Single. Day.

Social Worker’s Friday Night

Hint: Not as exciting as it might seem.

Until I am done with training (which starts monday) I am stuck doing visits. I’ve complained about this before, nothing new. Last week I was assigned my first Friday night visit. The family is actually super likable, but I wasn’t introduced prior to the visit and the worker who manages this case kind of left me to fill in the gaps on my own.

At the first visit there is an extra kid present, nearly a billion candles burning, a random man shows up, it starts 30 minutes late, and it is absolutely freezing inside the home. Also, the children have names that don’t fit into conventional boy and girl names so having the extra kid there really threw me off. I was playing catch up and trying to stay warm the entire visit.

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Thankfully, last night went much smoother. The whole family really seemed to warm up to me and I felt like I had a handle on the family dynamics. For much of the visit I was the focus of a little boy. He spent the bulk of the two hour visit telling me all about Angry Birds and then narrating the tales of the above pictured police/army men. About every thirty seconds he would say, “Now, I bet I know what you’re thinking!” and then proceed to tell me whatever it was I should have been thinking. It took me several times of saying “Actually I was thinking you should join your family for dinner” before he finally gave up playing and decided he was hungry enough to eat.

After he went to the kitchen to join his siblings and mother, the grandmother came and joined me in the living room. She’s barely said two words to me up to this point, but somehow we got on the topic of her growing up on a farm. My grandparents live ons farm so I was able to semi-relate. I just remembered how we got to that–she was talking about her aversion to pork during her pregnancies (incidentally this is a common food aversion during pregnancy, according to her doctor), which led to her talking about using literally every part of the pig, which led to talking about growing up on a farm.

From what I gathered they had many chickens and pigs. She detailed the process of butchering a chicken, from cutting its head off to chopping up the body. I was thankful I had not yet eaten dinner as she was quite descriptive. She spoke about how as a child she had taken a chicken leg with the tendons still in tact to school for show and tell and was take to the principal’s office because the teacher was disturbed by it. Thankfully, the kids were done eating and invaded the living room to play once again.

Never a dull moment in social work…

Spinning My Wheels

I am now in my third week on the job, which is just crazy. I can’t believe I’ve already put in two whole weeks. That’s probably because I’ve been doing exactly what I did as an intern. And I’m really getting tired of it. I should probably enjoy the fact that I am getting paid to do just what I did as an intern, but I find it really frustrating. I am frustrated by the fact that I have a masters degree and haven’t had the chance to use it. I feel like I am losing intelligence, so to speak. I’m just ready to get through “training” and start my job. My for real job.

I’ve realized that one of the things I think I will like most about my job is the ability to set my own schedule. I can split my days between being in the field and doing paperwork. There are some days I just don’t want to deal with people and it would be better for all involved if I didn’t have to. As my schedule currently is, I have to deal with kids for hours (and entertaining them in the car is a big chunk) and its starting to make me a cranky individual.

I’m sure that makes me sound like a terrible individual, but that’s the truth. Last night when I was taking a couple kiddos home I had a six year old telling me every turn to make to go to her house, even though I take her home every week. When I braked heavily because there was a herd of deer running in front of my car, she freaked out and told me it wasn’t time to turn yet. Having almost hit a deer while I had kids who aren’t mine in the car with me I was a little on edge. And then a six year old tells me I was in the wrong for braking? It kind of made me want to come unglued.

I’m also sure that everyone will say but didn’t you know you were going to spend all of your time with kids when you became a social worker? No, because in all truthfulness social workers don’t spend that much time with kids. We devote much of our time to the paperwork that is necessary for them to have permanency. Whether that be with their natural parents or adoptive parents. That is why I went into the field of social work.

Brain Dump

1. I am watching House Hunters International. Even though I find most of the families extremely pretentious and out of touch with 99% of the world.

2. Sadly, I have seen the last 2 episodes that have been on at least once before. And yet, I can’t turn it off. Or change the channel. Sad, I tell you.

3. I kind of failed at budgeting so far this month and we have barely any money in our checking account. I am fighting back the urge to transfer money from the savings account and keep telling myself that it is only 3 more days until payday.

4. With that being said, we are going to be cleaning out the fridge and cupboards this weekend. I suppose that’s one benefit of our poor financial planning.

5. My former best friend from high school is marrying one of my cousins. I think my lack of invitational is not an accident. Just saying.

6. I think more pictures are in order. Sadly I don’t think I’ve taken a picture yet this year. An outrage I tell you.

7. I’m sorry house hunters lady, yes you will have to sacrifice if you want to live in paradise. Stop crying over spilt milk.

8. I’m not sure anyone is reading this seeing as how I haven’t told anyone about it and I haven’t linked any of my social networking accounts to it. I’m not sure what to do. I really don’t know what I want.

Send ‘Em Home

This week I had the joy of getting to see children reunified with their father. This moment was all that much sweeter because their foster home was well, less than ideal to say the least.

Of course I know they don’t have an easy road ahead. Transitions, even those for the positive, are difficult. All change is loss and changes are to be mourned. Even when change is in the positive it is still a big adjustment.

For example, starting a new job is a big transition. It’s exciting to have new opportunities, but stressful learning the ropes. So, here’s hoping we all have a good transition period.

The Inevitable

I think it just comes with the territory. Papers. Stacks and stacks of papers. Every new caseworker gets a stack up to their knees of papers that need to be sorted and filed. Just so they don’t start out feeling like they have a handle on anything. If that isn’t a good time, i don’t know what is.

I came in Monday thinking it would be a slow, boring day. That was my first mistake. I didn’t even get to start filing that ginormous stack of papers. I finally got around to that stack today. However nothing has yet to make it into an actual file. Oh joy.

Nevertheless I am enjoying myself and feel like I am getting a better handle on my job. I met some kiddos for the first time yesterday and they warmed up to me so quick and we had lots of fun playing games. I can’t wait to get those kids home. I’m struck by how much responsibility is placed on me and I’m honored to get to work with these kids.