June 29, 2020 by Adam in Family

I have one of those fun procedures you get after you turn fifty coming up tomorrow.  I've been eating a modified no-fiber diet for the last couple days and my stomach isn't liking it much.  Plus I got a COVID-19 test, which made me squirm, clutch the steering wheel, and make loud uncomfortable noises for twenty seconds.  The next day my sinuses really hurt and I was pretty useless all day.  I'll be glad when this is over.

Emma made dinner for Duncan and I Friday night, the last meal with seeds for a few days.  We've been alternating between watching Community and me watching her play My Time At Portia, which is a not-quite-as-good Stardew Valley game.  I think it's the sense of low risk and making a difference in the world that's appealing to her.  Emma also went and had ice cream with Isa, which she enjoyed, though being around people at St. Vinne's kinda grossed her out.  

Sam got the computer and laptop I sent him, which is the only Windows machine in the house at the moment.  He and Skye picked up Outward in the Steam Summer Sale and have been playing quite a bit since they're basically stuck at home for months.  I played more The Last of Us 2, which alternates between sadly sweet and intensely terrifying.  Clearly I don't have enough of that in my life.

Joanna returned from Portland on Saturday night in time for pizza. She was riled up by the stolen signs and ended up ordering new security cameras and more and bigger signs.  Joanna's also setup multiple places for Ben to go next, both in Oregon and California.  Ideally Ben would be nearby, but some of the California places seem pretty good and may have a bed sooner.

As for me, I keep slogging through 2020, glad we're halfway to the end.  I'm taking tomorrow off for my procedure and looking forward to a week off for July 4th.  Today's my last day working with the Care Management team.  It'll be nice to get back to my usual team, though I'll miss the well-defined and straightforward work of the last few months.  In times of crisis, boring is a welcome change.

Stolen Lawn Signs

June 26, 2020 by Adam in Family

I awoke this morning to find our Black Lives Matter and all people welcome signs stolen from our yard this morning.  It didn't help with my slowly eroding faith in humanity.

The week has been relatively uneventful.  Isabell is settling in at mom's house - I chatted with her on Wednesday for my weekly visit.  Emma was at the beach all week, coming over a little early to hang out.  I'm hoping I Isabell and Emma can hang out some this weekend.  Duncan continues his Minecraft playing routine.  Sam and Skye hopefully get the computers I sent them today.

Joanna's up in Portland, likely for two days this time.  She's working very hard to line up next steps for Ben, making some progress.  Nothing is ever definitive, but we're looking at either a place in California near LA or the state hospital part of the Children's Farm in Corvalls.  The latter seems better in that the program seems good and the closeness means we can visit more frequently.  The great irony would be that if the Children's Farm and Aetna contracted with each other, Ben would have been there over a month ago.

As for me, I'm wrapping up with with my temporary team.  There are people I'll miss working with and some things I'll miss doing.  I also like my Leading Wisely team and feel a little more freedom to make my own solutions, despite the occasional chaos.

The Last of Us 2

June 23, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I'm playing another of those games where a disaster has swept the world and wiped out most of humanity.  There's a beautiful catastrophe with such things - wandering freely in the ruins, the simplicity of surviving until the next day.  Real life seems so complicated, despite our own global pandemic and economic recession.

The game itself is excellent and occasionally soul crushing.  The writing, voice acting, visual storytelling, and gameplay have been coming together to make for a gripping game.

Once I'm done, the plan is box up my PS4 and send it off to Sam as he waits for his life to sort itself out.  Hopefully it will contain useful distractions.

Father's Day Weekend

June 22, 2020 by Adam in Family

It was another full weekend.  Joanna had a migrane on Friday and was pretty miserable all day.  Emma made dinner and then we went over to visit mom, Isabell, and Robbie for a little before coming home.  

Saturday was our anniversary, though it was pretty low-key.  I made gluten free crepes with strawberry and whip cream, which Joanna said she'd love me forever if I made it long ago, but I redo it annually just in case. 

Emma and I went on a morning errand run.  I reset and packed up an old computer and laptop and shipped it to Sam and Skye.  We picked up a long list of prescriptions at RiteAid and did a quick shopping trip at Market of Choice.  It was the first time since the pandemic started that Emma had been in a grocery store.  It's probably good that she got to experience a group of masked people wandering six feet apart in a store at least once.

Sunday was Father's Day.  Joanna got me a nice card and Emma declared that she was doing all my chores for me - breakfast, cleanup, and all the rest.  Towards the afternoon she decided she wasn't quite up for mowing the lawn.  At the end of the day there was a bit of incredulity that I did so much work every day.  It was very sweet.

Joanna headed up to Portland to visit Ben.  Duncan, Emma, Sam, and I all played Jackbox games in the morning.  I chatted with dad briefly.  The afternoon was pretty lazy, full of video games, board games with Emma, and resting on the couch.

As for today, I'm hoping to do my first curb side pickup at the library this afternoon.  Emma's going to the beach with Jamie.  Joanna returns.  Duncan continues his non-stop Minecraft play run.  I'm down to my last week before switching to my old team.

Mocha Friday

June 19, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm hoping to get insurance to start covering my Friday mocha as a medically necessary mood enhancer.  It's been a hell of a week and I'll take whatever I can to feel slightly less overwhelmed by everything.

Things with Ben have gone downhill.  I'm not sure we can say that issues with insurance and delays in getting him into the next step in care were the cause, but I can't see how they helped.  At this point we're looking at a referral to a state institution, which ironically may be the Children's Farm Home in Corvallis or possibly a similar Trillium run facility in Portland.  Joanna has some meetings with state officials to try to get Ben on the Oregon Health Plan.  The referrals to the next place may take a month or more, so Ben may be stuck where he is for quite some time.  

I spoke a little with Sam, who is essentially stuck at home until things get resolved.  I'm trying to do what I can to help him keep his spirits up - I sent him a couple books and am working on getting him a working computer.  It's another case where it feels like my kids are caught up in broken systems and the outcome is more a roll of the dice than something thoughtful and fair.

Duncan is in good spirits, his teeth recovering nicely.  With Joanna away for much of the week I've felt a little like a single parent, cooking him soft food and making sure he gets his pain killers and antibiotics on the right schedule.  Last night he went to a socially distant birthday party for a friend, hanging out six feet apart in the front yard.

Emma comes over tonight and I'm excited to see Isabell and Robbie this weekend, who just made it to town.  Tomorrow Joanna and I have our eight year anniversary, though with everything going on it'll likely be low-key.  Sunday is Father's Day, where I'll be thinking about my kids that are far away.

Rainy Days

June 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been wet these last few days, the rain strangely comforting.  We went off on a few walks into the outdoors.  Skye called, which was nice as well, and I heard on Monday that they were back in the same house again.  At this point neither of them are working, but they're in good spirits and plan on watching Netflix and playing video games until everything gets sorted out.  I sent Sam a couple books and hope to ship an old computer their way soon.

The latest Ben plan is to try and get him into an in patient facility in southern California, possibly as soon as this Friday.  I may need to drop everything to head up with a car full of people and cats to visit with Ben.  It'll be nice to see him.

Joanna heads up to Portland again today while I manage the care and feeding of Duncan and the cats.  Duncan is a little more complicated than usual, requiring painkillers and the occasional bag of ice tied to his head.

Slightly Less Wise

June 16, 2020 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan got his wisdom teeth out yesterday.  All went well, though he emerged quite loopy and wanted to record the experience.  We checked and he was fine sharing his hijinks with the world.

Mocha Friday

June 12, 2020 by Adam in Family

Life seems a little more cheerful today.  Joanna made it to Portland and had a long visit with Ben.  We're starting to explore other residential facilities - there's one near San Francisco that might work.  Hopefully we'll get some clarity before the end of the day.

I chatted with Emma about her first day of summer - I think it's gone quite well so far.  She chatted with Sam for a long while, which I think was good for both of them.  Duncan spent the day playing Minecraft with friends, dutifully going for a walk after dinner.  Work was somewhat busy yesterday, troubleshooting some weird problems.  I'm excited to be returning to my normal team in a couple more weeks.

I feel kinda lame not being involved in any of the protests - I dutifully put up a Black Lives Matter sign that Joanna ordered.  I suppose we have a few other things going on these days and just keeping everyone safe and alive to the best of my abilities is okay for now.

Things Fall Apart, The Center Cannot Hold

June 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

We're all feeling despondent again.  Ben was all set to move to a residential care facility tomorrow but at the last minute we got the news Aetna doesn't actually contract with Trillium and they weren't going to take him.  Ben's already stayed where he is for longer than usual because we were waiting for a bed.  Now that's all upended and we're feeling lost.

Joanna's been reaching out for help to everyone she can find.  There's a place in Port Townsend Washington that might be a possibility.  Ben's regular counselor doesn't like the idea of having him so far away.  We're not even sure we can get Ben in there anyway.  Then there's the issue of traveling in the time of a pandemic.

Joanna's headed to Portland in a couple hours.  I'm hoping she comes home with at least the outline of a plan.

No news about Sam.  Talked to my mom yesterday, who was somewhat reassuring.  I sure feel surrounded by broken systems these days.

Slept All Night

June 10, 2020 by Adam in Family

I went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up at a normal time.  The day before they ran a story on NPR about getting enough sleep in times of anxiety and one trick they had was to start counting and breathe.  Somehow I thought of it each time I'd wake up and distract my worries on this boring task.  I don't think I ever got past ten.

Sam's back home and worked yesterday.  I talked to a bunch of people in the family to give updates and I appreciated all the support they gave.  I think we're in this weird, long period of time where nothing happens for awhile.  My brain keeps whirring away, trying to figure out what it can do to help, but I'm not sure I have enough information to make good decisions yet.

Joanna and I had a nice walk through the woods yesterday, warm and wet with rain.  I did a little meditation and went for a run.  We watched a bunch of late night comedians on YouTube, talking about the current events.  All of that plus a full night's sleep has made a huge difference.

It's the last day of school for Emma and Duncan, though I'm not sure there's been much to do for a few days.  No idea what those kids are going to do over the summer.  Joanna and I were talking about how as parents our expectations keep lowering.  If we can keep them all alive, we'll declare it a rousing success.

Hard Times

June 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

Things with Sam are apparently worse than I thought and after talking to him yesterday and looking things up on the Internet, I didn't sleep much last night.  Jamie, mom, and I are hoping to get together to talk about things and try to come up with a plan.  There was some poll where 80% of Americans felt like the country was spiraling out of control and I certainly understand the feeling.

Emma and I had a nice walk up on Moon Mountain yesterday - I used to wander up there during the summers when I was a kid, roaming free.  There were a few sprinkles but overall it was nice to get out into nature a little after so much time stuck at home.

Hoping to keep it together today.  Joanna offered to find a counselor for me awhile back and after yesterday I asked her to try and find someone.  I'm thankful that my marriage, home, and job are good.  It's everything else that keeps feeling more and more overwhelming.

The neighbors took a picture of a double rainbow over our house.  Hopefully it's a positive sign.

Lazy Weekend, Playing With Kitties

June 07, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been another lazy weekend so far.  Joanna headed to Portland after a hearty breakfast Saturday morning, hanging out with Ben for a couple days.  Apparently the hotel doesn't normally supply comforters anymore due to COVID-19 stuff, so after being cold last weekend she asked for a comforter this weekend and it was a greatly improved experience.

As for me, I've been hanging out with Duncan and Emma.  We played a bunch of Minecraft Dungeons yesterday.  Emma came to the realization that she'd played too many video games, somewhere around dinner when she hadn't gotten out of her PJs yet.  Duncan went for a brief walk after the usual "stay clear of protests" advice we've been giving him lately.

As for me, I've been mostly holding down the fort and trying to finish up my latest interation of my blog.  It's crazy how complicated modern software has become.  I think after a couple years of fiddling around I finally have it ready to go.  Give it a try if you have a chance.  I'll eventually bite the bullet and have it open up by default.

Mocha Friday

June 05, 2020 by Adam in Family

I'm glad the week is winding up.  Joanna and I had a lovely date night, buying plants, eating takeout on the patio, and putting flowers in hanging baskets and planter boxes.  It somehow makes everything more cheery.

Work's been fine.  I may get pulled back to my normal team due to new, unexpected work that needs to be done.  Until then, I keep cranking out my admin screens, which is strangely calming.

I need to make my mocha and get ready for the day.  Hope all is well.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

June 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a hard week.

I've been worrying about Sam quite a bit.  I heard his voice a couple days ago, reassuring me that he was okay.  News from Austin isn't always great, but then again news from everywhere is pretty bad.  I sent Duncan out for a walk before bed, as usual, and had to check the every-changing curfews to see if he'll be in trouble.

Jenny and Dez both called to ask about Sam, which I appreciated.  Dez told me Sam was a good kid, which was strangely nice to hear.

Joanna's up in Portland, trying to take care of Ben.  I think she's one of the few parents that show up regularly.  Ben seems to understand this, and appreciates the effort, even if sometimes they have difficult conversations.  I'm hopeful that Ben is getting benefit from counseling and we'll eventually get him into an in patient facility.  The mental health system is a difficult, stressful process to navigate.

School is winding down.  It felt pretty ineffective, though I think the kids learned a little bit.  Emma showed off her OnShape models - a lamp, mechanical pencil, and part of a music box.  SATs are probably going to be ignored, so that's one less thing for Emma to do.  Hopefully she gets decent scores on the weird one-quest AP tests.

Dad came over Monday, which was nice.  We're still trying to figure out the social distancing rules, especially with his high-risk job.  Fortunately it was a nice night and we ate outside, with him at a seperate table.  "The little kids' table!" I told him, "it's payback time, dad!"

The big news is that Seraph, Robbie, Isa, and Hanni are planning more seriously to move to Oregon.  Isa may magically appear in a few weeks, staying with mom for the time being.  Emma likes the idea of having family around - I think she misses that older sibling feel since Sam is gone.  Joanna likes the idea of having someone at the farm and hanging out in the trees.

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