Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Fricken Christmas

Yes, this is Diane. It's been really quite hard since Mike got a short time job in Detroit. But money is money and this is a great opportunity and will hopefully help him to get a foot in the door with this company.

But when he's not home, Katie reverts back to her old old self calling me that endearing name of "fucking bitch". Yes, as Mike has noticed I have "checked out" regarding her and my relationship. I really tried to make it work when she got home, and there were some nice moments, but sadly that's all they were, moments.

When Mike got home on Christmas Eve, she was all peaches and cream. Christmas day was fine until around dinner when she reverted back to screaming about things and making everyone miserable. Even Scout has gone back to hiding again when she starts her fits.

The lies have returned and its almost like she wasn't gone for three years, and has not retained anything that they tried to teach her there. The "real" reason she quit Frisches came out when she was talking to one of Erik's friends yesterday. She was sitting on the couch talking like no one else was around when Mike and I were just steps away. Though she exclaimed to us -- sometimes at the top of her lungs -- the "real" reason was because her grades were being affected, we all knew that was a lie. I even went so far as to talk with her manager to make sure she wasn't fired. No, she quit. No two week notice and at the beginning of Christmas break when she could have been pulling in the dough. Just another of her extremely bad choices in life. It seems that she thrives on negativity. Oh, and if you're wondering, the "real" reason was because she didn't like some girl there. Big fricken deal. Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. You will go through life and every job you have there will be someone that rubs you the wrong way.

Today we had our big family meeting before Mike left. We didn't have one when he wasn't here because he is the calming person in it all. It can very quickly break down to a screaming match -- with Katie doing the screaming and then she storms off and cries in her bedroom, playing the victim and drama queen to the hilt.

Mike laid ground rules that this was not to be a session of pointing fingers and we all have things to work on around here, which I agree with. When it was Katies turn she came out and asked "of the two family leaders sitting here" why she hadn't been kicked out yet! I asked her if that was her goal because she truly has been acting like it. She has been making sure to push every button she can to see if we will. And I guess if it were just my decision -- which I'm very glad it's not -- she would be out of here. But luckily Mike has the solid, calm head in the family. Plus it's HIS daughter, it's not my blood daughter and I would maybe feel differently if she was.

I spend my days longer at work, or up in my room again just to make sure there is no fight or confrontation. But then since I'm not around she'll start picking a fight with the boys and they end up coming to me to try to knock sense into her. We've all had it.

When she was having a screaming fit at Jon the other night (it was amazing how calm Jon was through the whole thing!) she said she is planning on getting an apartment with a friend in April or May. He tried telling her that in order to get an apartment you have to have a job, a steady source of income. But she knows everything, rules don't pertain to her. I truly feel she'll have to hit ALL the bumps in the road that life will bring before she learns anything.

Sad but true.

Hope I make it through the next few days until Mike gets back here. Lord, give me strength.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It amazes me sometimes how, after all this time in the program, Katie still doesn't understand that actions have consequences, or in this case inaction.

She is really struggling in one of her math classes. So she asked me last night for a ride in early to school to work on her math. Not a huge deal, I do this at least once a week as her brother has German club before school as well.

So I get dressed and go downstairs, turn on everyone's lights and tell them to get up. Her other brother is already in the shower.

Come 7:05, I go back up and she is still in bed. I yell at her and her youngest brother. At 7:20 she comes down staird and goes out for a cigarette, since she is not allowed to smoke on the property. She then comes in and says she is ready to go.

Well the bus comes at 7:28. They are the last pickup on the bus - after they get on it is straight to the school. It is 7:26. I say too late - the bus is here, it will get you to school as quickly as I can. There is no reason to waste the gas and my time. If she wanted to be there early, then she should have gotten up on time. So she is pretty mad at me this morning.

I feel bad because I want to be as encouraging and helpful as possible, especially with trying to get her math grade up. But actions have consequences, and I have to stand firm on this. (Just like I won't give her a ride to work because it is three blocks from the house - it is very difficult to find any place closer. Sure it is cold some times - but that is what coats are for.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back up to level 3

Well, things are going, if not as well as I'd like, they are at least going. Katie is back up to level three as of yesterday. She is still smoking unfortunately, but there isn't much I can do there. There is still a lot of conflict going on between her and her brothers - and both sides are guilty of instigating it.

Katie is starting to learn some of the harsh realities of economics in the real world. With her job, she needed bank accounts. Yep, she already bounced some. First she ordered some CD's online (at Amazon) and had it come from her savings - the first mistake. Then she didn't have enough to cover it, so had to deal with the bank charges, and then the vendor charges as well. Of course she didn't have that kind of money - so now her allowance goes to me until it is taken care of. I said that I would help her this once, and have also started doing a check on her accounts to make sure she is actually writing EVERYTHING down in her register - or she earns a Cat 2.

It is very frustrating as a parent to watch your children insist on making the same stupid mistakes, and not listening when we tell them how to avoid them. I just think it would be nice, if, for once, they would listen and not have to do all the stupid things for themselves.

But hey, we all have our fantasies.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Questioning the church

The day to day things seem to be going ok for now.

Katie is smoking again, unfortunately, but as an adult I can't stop her.

She has decided to 'take a break' from her church for a bit - she is struggling to find herself and just isn't liking some of the answers she is getting there for her questions. She doesn't like to admit that I might ever have a point before the world hits her over the head with it. I tried to explain to her months ago that she did not know most of what the Mormon church is about, and would just be starting to investigate it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the LDS church any more than I am any other - I respect their beliefs even if I don't agree with them, and I respect their right to have them without judging them (i.e. I don't consider their beliefs wrong - they just aren't what I believe).

Katie is just struggling with the role of women in their society (i.e. as wives, taking care of the family - generally not the breadwinners nor having careers) as well as the strong family orientation - specifically how it excludes those who aren't in the church. She is upset that her family is not part of the church - doesn't like the idea of going to heaven without her family. Fairly admirable in some ways when you look at it.

I never forced her to go to church, and supported her exploring and questioning them.

The only regret I have if she does leave it is the good people in the church, and the positive influence there. She really needs that support.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back to square one, or less

Things were going well. So we thought. Then I get a call yesterday - and Katie is suspended from school for three days, for walking off school grounds, and having tobaco on school property. Basically a person who lives near the school saw a bunch of kids smoking in their yard so called the school, and when they came back they were busted.

She managed to come up with something not in the home contract. It will be though. It is a cat 4 - immediate loss of all points and levels.

Diane is so mad she can't see straight, not only about the suspension but also the smoking.

While I don't like he smoking, she is eighteen, and it is not illegal. It will not happen in the house.

Now we are also having some interpretation issues on the contract - she has no unsurpervised activities - but does that mean she isn't allowed to leave the house at all? I am not a prison guard, this is not a jail.

If she is going to smoke, I'd rather know about it, and I have less of an issue with her walking across the street to do it - but Diane has major issues.

Diane is also upset with how I'm handling this, though she hasn't all I've been able to determine is that I didn't yell enough - though I don't see where that would have helped at all.

At minimum it is going to be a bit tense around here for a while.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

So much to do, so little time

I seem to have no time to update my blogs lately - and never think of them when I'm at home.

Katie is doing well. She has started her job, and just got a savings and checking account today. She has started to find the joy of working (i.e. there is none, but at least you get paid).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Four years ago today

Hard to believe now that Katie is back home and doing reasonably well, but it was four years ago today that we had her escorted to the school. (Ok, technically it was a 2 am in the morning, but the date was the same). I didn't even think about it until she mentioned it.

I hope it was worth it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First day at work

Yesterday was Katie's first day at her new job - delayed because of the storm. She was fairly nervous and excited the night before, and when I got home Diane said she looked good in her uniform.

Then she got home - and reality had reached up and smacked her in the face big time. She wasn't at all happy about having to start her training by busing tables. And was extremely tired - so much so that her ride came this morning and we got a call they were waiting outside - though she was up I'm thinking she might have dozed off waiting.

It will be interesting to see her reaction to her first check, and how much our dear old uncle takes out of it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Among the gainfully employed!

Katie went in for a 2nd interview yesterday, and got the job at a local Frisch's Big Boy! One of the best parts it is all of 2-3 blocks from the house - walking distance even in winter and bad weather (she was a little disappointed when I said that no, I was not giving her a ride to the interview yesterday).

This will help to fill some of her time now - between school, the job, church and her wanting to help out with the band she will definitely be busy. I did specify that she has some priorities - school first, then the job, and then the other stuff.

Her first day is Friday. I don't know how long she will be there - but Friday is also a home football game - so I'm guess she won't be able to help out there like she did at the first one. But those are choices we all have to make in life.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Teenagers and relationships

I'm not yet so old that I can't still remember being a teenager - and remembering that it sucks. High school sucks. Hormones raging through your body sucks. Puberty sucks.

Of course, then you graduate, get a job, an life goes downhill from there :-)

Katie is struggling a bit with relationships. I feel for her, but I can't take this burden, of learning how to deal with people, from her. Being so sheltered for the past three years doesn't help in the real world. She needs to learn both to be more open in some situations, and much, much less in others.

She likes a boy. I don't know at this point if the feelings are reciprocated or not. And it won't be simply either way. Problem is she told another girl, who then turned around and started flirting with him - not a good thing, but a typical teenage girl thing.

Then it didn't help that she got a bad sunburn on her face this weekend helping with the band. That is really hurting her self confidence. Which isn't a good thing, because she has a 2nd job interview tonight. It will be great if she gets this though - because it less than three blocks from the house! (Though she was a bit upset that I wouldn't give her a ride there this evening - I doubt I will even be home in time to.)

One other thing - it looks like the September issue of the schools newsletter is out - with an article by Katie in it! I do like that they still use it even after she left without graduating.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The beat goes on

Things are still going ok. Katie earned her level 3 at home this week, which was good. She didn't like facing up to the fact that since she still hasn't been able to find a job, she can't get / do all the things she wants. Specifically the class ring orders were today - and I'm not going to pay for one (I'm not sure it is even worth it) and she was upset about it, but not much I can do about that. She apologized today, but the fact remains that learning the value of a dollar is still a bit lesson for her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First days of school

are tiring. Yesterday was the first day, and so of course it meant that we had to do even more school supply shopping last night.

Katie and I had a wee bit of a verbal tussle, though it was as much or more my fault than hers. All over issues that weren't hers, but all the kids, however she just happened to be the one that I unfairly unloaded on, and then she took it way past where it needed to go. So she isn't really talking to me today, but I think after some cooling off it will be better. And the table is FINALLY cleaned off, with baskets for everyone's crap!

I'm a bit concerned that her friend from the program seems to be awol lately - I haven't heard back from her in a few weeks. Nothing much I can do there.

She got home tonight and introduced a friend from church - a girl that used to live close to us back in our old apartment - what over six years ago now? She is a junior, but in her church group as well as school - so it sounds like she has a friend at school finally, which is a really good thing. I didn't recognize her AT ALL, but then kids do grow quite a bit over the years.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


(In posting at least).

I have noticed that without the regulararity of a phone call every week, I don't seem to have the regular point to post an update.

Things are going fairly well. Some communication issues for Katie, both with her older brother (now temporarily resolved since he has moved into his apartment two hours away) and with the rest of us, but we are trying to work through it.

Next week starts school - this will be really good as Katie has been very bored every day with nothing to do. Plus her Mormon Seminary class starts monday as well - at 5:50 AM every morning. That will truly show here committment to get herself up every morning at 5 and get over there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Honeymoon Continues...

Well, things are still going ok. Jon is now in his apartment so THAT sibling rivalry won't be going on every day. Matt is at Scout Leadership Camp and doesn't get home until Monday. Hope he's having a good time. Katie will have just gotten back from church, and Mike and Erik are out mowing lawns. I'm at work.

School is fast approaching, just 8 calendar days away. So I guess this week will consist of school shopping. Oh boy. I'll probably take both the boys together, and then just Katie so we can have some girl time. She is much pickier about the clothes she wears now, which I'm glad. She has learned more feminine ways while at school. She take care of her hair, wears makeup very lightly, and keeps saying how she enjoys being a girl. Oh, and her senior pics are Friday.

Two of the biggest things that seem to be popping up all of a sudden are "crushes" on two boys. One is from her church, the other is her brothers' friend, and also goes to church with her. Both are 2 years younger than her. I've talked with her a bit about the brothers friend, saying that would be a REALLY bad thing to pursue, and she seemed to understand, but these feelings are all so new to her and she's unsure how to deal with them. Mike and I both can see that these crushes are probably because they are the only two boys that really have talked and paid attention to her. That worries us a bit. In a way that is typical -- she used to be all over someone that showed her any attention, and practically buying their friendship. This is pretty much the same, except the stakes could be higher. We've always thought that she would marry and get pregnant (and possibly not in that order) the first boy that says he love her.

She is still trying to do too much for everyone. Still trying to make her brothers see that her way is "right", but all in all, I think we're doing ok. Her maturity level is more where I think it should be, not overly mature, but not always acting like a little girl, either.

We'll keep plugging away.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Continuing on

Which is you can do. Katie has earned enough points for level 2 at home now, and things are still going relatively well. She has been having some issues with the older brother Jon, but that actually will resolve itself this weekend as he moves into his apartment on Saturday.

She is registered for school and has her class schedule - which doesn't sound too bad though she has to take two math courses at the same time to graduate, as well as pass the Ohio Graduation Test in October (and a final chance in March). School starts two weeks from tomorrow - hard to believe already.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


an quick apology to my loyal readers (and you know who both of you are :-) ) for the post yesterday, that was meant for my personal blog, not this one.

So I am at band camp, which means that I haven't seen her all week, though I have talked to her on the phone a couple of times and she still seems to be doing well. Diane and I talked a bit about her home contract and how we do points. She wasn't sure if a category didn't apply one day if she should get 0 points or 2. Since I look at this as building her levels, she shouldn't be penalized (i.e. 0 points) if there is nothing to do - just getting a 'standard' value.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 6

Well things are going pretty well, as I expected. No real issues yet. The biggest thing I notice now (aside form my grocery bill seeming to skyrocket, but that is probably not a direct correlation) is that Katie is simply trying too much, too hard. Jumping into as much as she can, always wanting to help and do everything with everybody.

At our first family meeting on Sunday we discussed this a bit - the fact that she needs to build the relationships back with her brothers, and not just jump into them going full speed ahead.

She is getting involved with her church, and that should be a good thing. She has put in several job applications, also a good thing. So we just keep going for now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Long time no post

I've never been one for journaling, writing in a diary, or keeping track of every bit of food that goes in my mouth and writing in this blog is no different. That's why Mike has written the bulk of entries here.

But right now, Mike is in a car with Katie, heading to the Vegas airport. I've talked with both of them. She said she cried a bit, mostly because she couldn't say goodbye. But she's excited to be coming home, excited to see the boys and Scout. I told her I hope we can have a fresh start and things will go well.

Mike did give her our home contract and she has read it and understands there are new rules to live by.

I didn't sleep well last night. I think I turned off the tv sometime after 3am when Girl, Interuppted was just finishing on HBO. Very apropos, I guess. I am worried that Katie will go back to old ways, and so will I. Mike reminds me that we have more "tools" to use now and we are much stronger as a couple and as a family. I agree, but I still worry. I know she's not "fixed", I know there will be ups and downs. I just really hope that if she chooses to not follow the rules and has to leave the house that she doesn't start cutting, or actually follow thru with her threat of suicide -- which I truly feel was always just a cry for help. Though I know we can't make her do anything anymore, things are HER choices, I would still feel horrible.

I will not hold any past grudges, I am willing to make this a fresh start. The boys, however, are having some problems. There is a lot of anger there towards her, money spent on her that could have been spent for family vacations or other things. They just don't understand why she wouldn't just do what needs to be done and get out of there as soon as she could instead of just sitting there for 3 years. And no one can really answer those things except her. And I have a feeling that those questions will be posed to her in the coming days.

The boys have already tried the "well, I'm sleeping at so-and-so's house on Wednesday night" trick, but we said no, they will welcome her home. It's not a celebration, as it could and should have been, but we will ALL start with a clean slate. Yes, there will be more rules for awhile, and more accountability will be held, but they are going to be alright.

The oldest even said he wishes he could get into his apartment sooner so he just wouldn't have to be around her at all. And I understand his thoughts on this because he's the one that has gotten to talk with her the most and he is the one that she has really ripped into the most, both on the phone and through letters. And he says he's not holding back when she gets home. He will not put up with her trying to push her "program" onto him. I told him I understand but to try to just welcome her home with an open mind and give her a chance.

It's going to be interesting! Stay tuned.

Monday, July 21, 2008

T - 44 hours and counting

I leave at 10 tomorrow morning, and will get into Vegas about 2:30 MDT (gaining 2 hours). Then the 2 hour drive to Utah.

I will be at the school at 8:00 am on Wednesday, and our flight out of Vegas it about 3 pm, so I'm hoping to leave by 11, and that shouldn't be a problem. 'B' plans on meeting with Katie and I, and they will get her stuff for us to pack up, and we are out of there. No goodbyes or anything - because we are pulling her we are effectively cut off from the program.

After almost three years, $150, we run out of money and that is it. No support, no access to the BBS, no more seminars, nothing. No reunion keys, no staffing. I don't like it, but it is our choice.

I am not happy about the lack of support for any transition plan from them, but am very grateful for the support we have gotten from local familes we have met through the program. I had really hoped to hav gotten past PC III, to see what we could learn there, and get the free family coaching. But none of that - in 44 hours we are on our own.

We have a home contract, and I think it will work. Her older brother has been working on her room - though he will be VERY busy the next two days to get it cleaned out completely - he had wanted it done last week but as is typical is waiting to the very last minute.

I'm taking Thursday off work since it is her first day home, to help a little with the transition. I have no idea how many clothes she will have from the school - I know she only has one other outfit, that we bought here during our pass before Christmas last year. So that is one of the first things - to get her clothes because after all, she has lost about 30 lbs since she was home over three years ago.

It will be a big change having her home - she hasn't lived here for the past 39 months (except for one week, she left in May of 2005).

I have to hope for the best, and stay strong and live by our values.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

T -6 and counting

We had what was our last weekly therapy call last night - a day early due to a scheduling conflict with 'B' the therapist. It didn't go so great. It surprises me how quick she has wanted to take her exit plan, not two weeks after committing to stay. I'm real curious as to her reaction next Wednesday when she sees me there to bring her home.

One of the girls who was in her group and graduated in March is back in the program - a bit of a disappointment because when I met her she seemed to be doing so well. So even those who graduate don't always work out, and sometimes those who don't graduate do.

Katie also said that she overdid basketball practice on Tuesday, and then fell out of the top bunk and hurt her leg, and is now on crutches. I told 'S', the family rep, to go ahead and let her see the doctor to make sure nothing is really wrong, but this so much seems to be her old behavior.

There is so much to do before I leave on Tuesday, right now it feels overwhelming.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Not much going on

I feel like we are just marking time, waiting. Some things are going on, but not really too much.

There is a couple we met at the seminars locally here, and Diane and I had dinner with her a few weeks ago to talk about Katie coming home (their son graduated close to two years ago from another school). Then this weekend I had dinner with her again and a really good conversation, including her giving me a copy of her son's contract so we have an idea on what to start with.

Diane dropped off Katie's two younger brothers at the Leadership camp in California yesterday, so I hope that goes well for them - I hope it is both fun and a learning experience for them.

That also means I'm a bachelor for the week - what fun! I hope to start working on the home contract this week.

On our call on Thursday (Katie's 18th birthday as well) things went pretty well. She got support to be back fully on level 3, and chose not to vote up this week until she can show some consistency first - a good sign. Of course now she is working again, once the clock is really ticking.

16 days to go.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wow - 200!

Not quit up to the 'We Are Spartans!' level, but 200 posts is something I guess. I almost missed it in fact - I was checking the URL for someone (hoping to get that elusive third reader!) and realized I was at 199!

Time to reflect a bit I guess.

It has been a little less than four years since the troubles really began with Katie. Therapy, three inpatient trips to local hospital teen programs, the summer with her mother, and then moving her to the school. Ups and downs there, but most of it being her resistance to the program - she is nothing if not stubborn.

Diane and I were given a great gift in the adult seminars, graduating Discovery, Focus, and the Keys to Success to become Keyholders, though because the actual 'keys' are now given out only at PC IV we will never receive ours. Giving her brothers the opportunity to go to Discovery, and Focus for the younger ones (coming up next month at the Youth Leadership Camp they will be attending) will, I hope, help them as they get older.

I do believe that Katie would have only have gotten in more trouble had we not sent her to the program. I do fear that she would have gotten pregnant, and probably gotten into drugs, as well as much more alcohol. And she could have ended up dead.

Have we stopped that? I dunno. Postponed it definitely. We have tried to give her tools to live her life, and she has fought us on that. She will not graduate the program, but that is her choice. She will have spent exactly 34 months there when I pick her up - not the longest stay by any means, but way past any 'average', if that existed.

I hope that someone has been able to benefit from my ramblings here. I have tried to be open and honest about what we are going through - just for other parents who might be going through the same thing. I plan to continue to update this, though I don't know the frequency (and eventually she will be on her own, one way or another, and there will be nothing left on my part but the worrying).

So thanks to anyone who has joined us for this journey, and it continues on.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firming up plans

I bought the airline tickets yesterday to go pick up Katie. While not the appropriate blog for it, I am amazed at how some airlines price things - wanting to charge more for a one-way ticket than for a roundtrip!

Anyway, I fly out on July 22nd and back with her on the 23rd. Our flight out of Las Vegas is at 3, and it is a two hour drive (plus time change in our favor), so we will have to be out of there no later than noon, preferably by 11:00 am. Since I get in early enough to actually get some sleep (I get into Vegas a little afte 2 on Tuesday, putting me in Utah easily by 6 (as opposed to getting in at 12:30 am as one flight had it - putting me in Utah just in time for dawn!)) then I can be at the school first thing - I'm not sure how long it will take. So the countdown begins. 15 days until she turns 18, 35 days until she is home.

One thing we have to do is get them an exit plan for when she turns 18 - if she decides to just up an leave. We don't want to tell her we are picking her up - but I really don't want to end up having to get last minute bus tickets a week before the flight, and waste the airline tickets.

We have to get her room ready - her older brother is in it for the summer, and we need to clean his stuff out and make room for her. He moves into an apartment in August, so will have about three weeks of bunking with his younger brother.

This is going to take some adjustment. She hasn't lived at home since she left in May of 2005 - she will have been gone (except for one week) for 38 months, 34 of them in the program). A cost of roughly $150K. And that doesn't include any of the travel or seminar costs for Diane and I. A big part of me wonders if it was worth it. Is worth it - I'll be paying on the student loans for the next 30 years - which is basically the rest of my life. But I guess the real question is what would have happened if we hadn't done this?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Change in plans / expectations

After our call with 'S' last week, Diane and I have talked a bit. It really looks like that we won't be doing PC III in June, and I'm feeling now that even if she were to make level 4 I don't want her special case'd in. I think that she has gotten all she is going to get out of the school. One more month won't make any difference, except for costing us money we truly don't have.

So we are going to talk to 'B' on Thursday as normal, but our plans have changed. Katie turns 18 a month from tomorrow. We are paid up through July 22nd - but we are probably going to go get her the weekend before that. I just don't see where spending another 4200 bucks for another month will make any difference - and we can use that to instead actually play for the tickets out there to get her, as well as get her a new wardrobe (she has lost 30 lbs, and it has been three years since she was home, so when we cleaned out her room we basically didn't keep ANY of her old clothes (or much of anything else)).

I'm a bit bothered that Diane and I will never receive our Keys as Keyholders since they have now moved that to PC IV, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about that either.

We talked with one of our keys family members this weekend whose son graduated from another school, and that helped a bit as well. So it looks like probably 7 weeks to go. Of course that assumes she doesn't decide to walk out on her birthday, but I don't see that happening. If she does, it will be a bus ticket home for her, but otherwise pretty much the same plan.

We are going to work up a contract, and will make it clear that she can either follow our rules or live somewhere else. There will be some simple no-tolerance points (such as violence, cutting, etc), but it is the little ones that are more difficult that we need to work on the next few weeks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

It doesn't seem to be getting any easier

I've been very frustrated lately. Katie is still not working like she should, and it has been 32 months as of today. She, of course, doesn't know that she only has three months left there before all our money is gone.

Right now it really looks like we will be going to PC III in June, though she won't have fully earned it. To fully earn it she has to be level 5 by next week, and she is still at 3. However when we talked with 'B' last night before she was on the call he said that it would probably be much better for us to do it in June instead of August, as if we did it in August then we would bring her home immediately afterward, which would not be good.

I haven't been writing much ( and haven't gotten many letters either), and again she called me on that. I'm bothered, both by the fact that I am not wanting to write much, and by the idea of her calling me on this, when she has been sitting there for so long.

At one point she asked about my expectations, and I said that I gave up any expectations long ago - letting this be her program. It came through that any expectations had been missed quite some time ago though. She is getting real concerned about turning 18, and asked what our plans were. In response I simply asked if I had every said anything to her other than that she has to graduate, and she said no.

I'm a bit concerned about her coming home, but it is still three months off, and I haven't really worked it up in my head yet. Her older brother moves into his first apartment the weekend before that.

To top things off, it appears that AirTran has stopped their non-stop flights between Dayton and Vegas - which is a real bummer, because that means the airline tickets we are going to need for that this summer may be twice as much as we were expecting - could be close to a thousand for a pair - OUCH!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another heavy sigh

We had our call with Katie and B again tonight, and unfortunately it wasn't a good or happy one. She is once again not working, and once again falling into the same old patterns. It gets very frustrating dealing with the same thing over and over again.

The irony is that it isn't big things, but her responses to them. She now claims to be writing a novel - which is an excuse to not be working. She tried to manipulate several people today in order to check out a book from the library, after she had already gone for the day. Dumb, stupid little things. And then denying she did them.


Friday, April 18, 2008

All shook up

Did I really feel the earthquake last night? I don't remember what time it was, but I do remember at one point waking up and feeling like the bed was shaking slightly, kind of like when you are shaking your foot when it hangs off he bed. Weird I guess.

The monkeys are still there, but lately I've been on other fire drills, which ends up meaning that I'm doing other aspects of their jobs for them. Been a very frustrating week. A whole lot of 'No time to research, just fix it NOW!" Do it fast, don't do it right, but you better not screw it up. So I've been a bit more frustrated with the gorillas than the monkeys.

Not much news

Nothing seems to really be going on lately. Katie made level 3 last week, and she has worn out her socks and underwear, as well as the shoes we bought her when she was on pass in December.

It feels lately just like a 'been there - done that' with her. Yes, she is working now, but she has been before as well. I feel the clock ticking, and am just wondering if there will be any real difference in the next few months.

We talked with 'S' and mentioned again that we are out of money in August, and my goal anymore is to get her to PC III and get a life contract (at least the base of it) to use when she comes home.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Working again

We talked with 'S' last night, who unfortunately isn't feeling well. Katie is in the vote up book for level 3, meaning that all she needs is staff support and she will get it.

She seems to be working again, though still really struggling with her Algebra, and I am concerned about that.

She has now decided that she wants to go into music in college, and go to Julliard. It is very hard to be supportive of unrealistic goals.

Not much else happening right now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Minor update, not much to say

Phone call with Katie yesterday. It started pleasant enough, but we eventually dug a bit deeper and defintiely got her a but more uncomfortable. It seems so easy for her to say she is going to work on this or that - so we challenged her to now work on things, but to DO them. Not to work on voting up to level 3 next week, but to DO IT.
I'm a pure geek. So in the words of Yoda, there is no try. There is do or do not.
Now is the time to do it.
She has decideded that she probably won't make PC III in April - we had to correct her that there was no probably - she did not qualify at all for it. She has decided she is now shooting for October graduation. I honestly don't see that happening, though there is a slight chance. My goal is to get some type of home contract started for when the money is gone in August.

Friday, March 21, 2008


That is one thing that does happen with this program, or so it seems to me.

The most obvious one is, of course, the cost. For those of use who aren't independantly wealthy, or are just middle class, the cost si significant. $4300 a month - for 30 months now. Five more now to go. The loan payments are close to breaking us.

Of course, then there are the seminars. Those cost both time and money. I don't regret them at all, but it does seem to me that they have a knack for falling when I have other plans. I had gotten concert tickets for my birthday years ago, that I had to sell because Discovery was that weekend. We just found out the dates for June's PCIII, which is what we are really hoping Katie will make. And it is the exact same time as the Origins gaming convention that I go to every year. I guess it is good that I haven't bought the very expensive 4 day passes there yet - because they are non-refundable. Of course we won't know if she is going until the end of May, so everything is up in the air completely. I haven't told her brothers yet - one has scout camp that week anyway so can't go, but the other two were hoping to go (and now the oldest will probably have to pick the youngest up from scout camp as well - good thing he has his driver's license finally!)

I sound petty, self centered and greedy, but there does come a time when you don't want to keep giving up things for your children - or even more, sacrificing something for one child for another. And it isn't short term either - the financial sacrifices will be ongoing for the next what, 28 years? Katie will be older that I am now before I have her loans paid off.

Being a parent is hard, I know that. But one of the keys to being a good parent is showing your children how to be well adjusted adults. Unfortunately sacrificing for your children doesn't always show that - very often it shows a child that everyone should sacrifice for them, rather than showing that people should sacrifice for others (indulging kids gives you spoiled adults, it does not give adults who indulge their own kids).

I guess I'm just venting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Like pulling teeth

Actually that isn't quite accurate - it was pulling teeth. Specifically Katie's wisdom teeth.
They have been bothering her for some time. When they first started to come in we tried to wait, hoping she would be home to have them out. Yeah. :-)
So on our call three weeks ago 'S' tells me that they are really hurting her, so I say go ahead, and 'S' says she will send me the information to get the billing set up. Two weeks later, 'S' is sick but emails me, saying we really need to get this set up, and FINALLY sends the dr. information. So I call them on Friday, get the forms, fax them back, and send 'S' an email Monday morning saying everything is good to go, and she says she will make the appointment.
Of course, the next thing I expected would be to hear when things were scheduled. Not an unreasonable expectation from my point of view. This is my daughter after all, and it does require general anesthesia, so there is some minor risk. Just a quick one-line email giving the time of the appointment, or a 30 second call. When I don't hear anything back immediately, I'm not at all concerned - I know how long it takes to get in anywhere around here - usually several weeks out at best.
So I get a call at lunch today. From the oral surgeon's office. No, it wasn't any question about her appointment, or billing or anything. It was letting me know that the extractions had gone fine and she was recovering well! WTF!?! I took it in stride, she is doing great. Like a duck.
So is it unreasonable to expect them to let me know AHEAD OF TIME when my daughter is going in for non-emergency surgery? Am I out of line here? I'm not one to worry, but I do like to be informed.
It isn't like I hadn't heard from 'S' this week. I sent her and ben an email detailing the financial information. Because I feel that we are all on the same team, all working together, and to do that we need clear and open communication. But it seems that I may be the only one who feels that way.
Now this week would be our call with 'B, but he is out this week, so we had it last week. After two and a half years I've learned that they aren't very pro-active on the communication front there, but I feel this is rather ridiculous.
I haven't decided if I'm going to call 'S', or just wait to see if she can find the time in her busy schedule to bother letting me know that my daughter had surgery and came through it fine.
(Would have been nice to have been able to send her a get well card that had a snowballs chance to get there before she was fully recovered as well, since snail mail takes at least a week to get there and even longer to get back here).

And here I thought I wouldn't have anything to update my blog with this week :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Soup For You!!!

Well we heard back from Teen Help - and to paraphrase the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld - No Loan for You!

I have to look at this in a slightly positive way - we are having a very hard making the payments we currently have, let alone more.

Now comes the time to empty Diane's IRA - that will hurt come tax time but I feel it is important that we get Katie to 18 at least. It is funny, we like to joke that we can never afford to retire - but that isn't funny anymore.

With the next PC III being April 14th, it would mean that Katie would have to be level 5 by Friday to make it, and if things went well she made level 2 today. So that is out. Which means maybe PC III in June.

So at this point I really doubt we will be able to keep her in until she can graduate, as the earliest she could would be October, and that would be without any further hiccups, and I really doubt that would be a possibility. Most likely she will be coming home in time to start her senior year - that would make the most sense to have her here in time for school to start.

Friday, March 07, 2008


We had our call with Katie last night - 'B' will be on vacation next week, so we switched. It went ok - nothing huge. Still level 1, but maybe 2 next week. One thing is that she is learning to do some self-analysis - kind of doing therapy sessions with herself instead of a therapist. This is actually a good, and powerful thing, and I view it as progress.

Her wisdom teeth are really bothering her, so I need to call the oral surgeon in a little bit and get that arranged. We were hoping they would hold out until she was home, but that isn't to be.

As for the loan, we are working on re-submitting co-signed by my dad (thanks mom & dad) - we'll see what happens then.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


The parallels to Oliver are even worse this time.

"Please sir, may I have some more?"

"NO", and then the beating begin.

No loan. I called "aunt sallie" and they aren't even sure why they turned it down, but will try to get more information. So I need to call them back on Friday to see why they decided that I make enough, but don't have enough of a credit history to get this loan.

So now we see if we can get a co-signer. From Oliver to Animal House.
"Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Frustrated and worried

I got a letter from Sallie Mae this weekend, saying that they turned us down for the next loan claiming "Limited credit experience". WTF!?! What the hell is that? Don't give me that I don't have a long enough credit history - heck I've had loans with them for 18 months, plus the other student loan, my friggin house and car (paid off), and credit cards. I could see them saying that it was too much, over extended or one of the other reasons, but I don't know what this one means.

So I'm worried and concerned. I need to talk to the guy helping us at Teen Help to see what to do next. Do we try to get a co-signer - and who? Does we try with someone else (the first loan isn't with Sallie Mae, so that isn't the only option out there)?

If we can't get the loan at all, then what? Katie is currently paid up to March 22nd, and we have just a tiny bit ($640) over, which would be what - four more days? Diane and I both have our 401-K's, which are a possibility. If we were to close out Diane's then that would be real close to covering the next six months. I feel guilty about asking that while leaving mine alone. However I still have the company match going into mine, and she doesn't. My company changed their 401-k provider and policy to only allow for 1 loan - which I already have. So I'd have to take a withdrawal (and it is allowed for tuition). However I'd have to stop putting in for six months if I did that, and lose the company match I get for that (which would be about $3k), making it an even bigger hit.

So I talk to our guy tomorrow, and then see. I so hate this waiting and not knowing. I really don't want to have to pull her. Even if we waited until she was 18 and then we pulled her at least then it wouldn't feel so bad. Especially since if we had to pull her now she would be back in the house and we wouldn't have a choice.

At 18 we could do an exit plan and life contract of some sort. I really was hoping we could at least get through PC III anymore to get the life contract started, even if we couldn't keep her there until graduation.

I just don't know anymore.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Out of orange, again.

Well, for what seems to be the zillionth :-) time Katie is out of orange. I had our call with 'S', and she is still working. She is thinking she wants to make PC III in April, but June is much more doable. But at least she is working.

Unfortunately, her wisdom teeth are really bothering her now, so I guess it is time for them to go. I had been hoping that they would wait until she got home, but we can all see that my hopes lately are pretty irrelevent to the real world :-).

I sent in my load application for another six months on Wednesday, now it is just a matter of waiting. I hate the wait. *sigh*

Thanks you sir, may I have another?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Three steps forward, two steps back

We had our call last night (actually Diane wasn't on it, she was still in Vegas at a convention she attended after PC II). It was good. Katie is very positive about being in Orange, and seems to be willing to start working. She has been trying this week to be very diligent about her integrity - the question for me is can/will she keep it up?

I just take some comfort in that each time she slips, she doesn't seem to slip quite as far back as she did the previous time. Kind of a three steps forward, two steps back type of thing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Well, we did PC II this weekend. It was a very strong, powerful seminar, and I think it did a lot of good. Unfortunately Katie was back in some of her old patterns, and these definitely came out. Specifically breaking rules, and then trying to hide the fact. Most of the things were, in her words, "Stupid little stuff" - but it was more the fact that she was trying to hide it than what she was doing.

So she was given the opportunity to show everyone there what a "come clean" looks like, but didn't do it, at least not in the large group. But she is doing it - part of it will include a full letter of all the little things.

The question is how will she handle it now? How will she deal with being back in Orange? Will she turn it around and work to get back where she was? Or will she sit.

Unfortunately, to make the next PC III she would have to be voted up a level EVERY week for the next month, and I just don't think she will. She would have to be at level 5 for four weeks for the seminar. Since you are supposed to be at level 4 for PC II that isn't that hard, but since she had dropped just before the seminar to level 2, and now is back in orange, well we will just see.

It is a bit disheartening for me, to be able to see a big difference in her, yet still find her not fully working the program.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Getting Ready for PC II

Well, I talked briefly with 'S' this afternoon. Instead of going up to get off Jeopardy on Monday, Katie instead dropped to level 2. She did vote back up to level 3 today however. But that means she won't be going to the last basketball game tomorrow, so we won't be driving the extra hour up and back to go to it. But we are still on for PC II.

'S' says that Katie has a lot of things to talk with us about - oh boy! :-)

She then called me back asking about Katie's meds. We save quite a bit (though with the insurance changes every year it is less than it was) doing mail order for meds, so they have been forwarding the scripts. Unfortunately, even though the script was dated 1/4/08 we didn't get it until this weekend, and of course we haven't gotten the new pills in yet. So they will have to go and try to get a few weeks or so - that is more wonderful news.

I do get frustrated that they seem to lose track of some of these things (I don't think it took a month to get the script here in the mail). But then, it is only money, not like that is a big deal for anybody!

But I guess using sarcasm is just hiding a bit of anger and frustration on my part.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Good / Fun call

We had our call with Katie and the therapist 'B' last night, and it was both working and fun. She is still on Jeopardy, and we discussed that. We talked a bit about emotions, and Katie was saying that she would feel something then mentally yell at herself because the feelings were irrational.

I talked about that, saying myself that ALL feelings are irrational, by definition. Emotions are not rational, they simply are. That is one of the differences between thought and feeling - feelings are never rational, though is something that we do try to be rational. It is these two factors that should be in balance - and they are both part of being human.

So we processed not that her feelings were irrational, but more of why she was having these feelings come up, especially because there is a new girl in the group who strongly reminds her of one of her old, non-working friends. I think we made some good progress there.

We then got pretty far off track (the fun part actually) just discussing some of the 'facts of life' and the fact that she is quickly approaching 18, and yes is starting to notice more things in boys (and men) (such as how certain men smell good, and some of the biology about that (and the fact the teenage boys do stink - another fact of biology (and (at least for three more weeks) I have three teenage boys, so I can vouch for that fact (my oldest turns 20 on the 19th))).

It was a good call. We are really looking forward to PC II next week, and she has no idea we are coming - even better. I'll have to get my head back in seminar mode however - haven't done that in quite a while as well.

Monday, January 28, 2008

No Pass for You

Well, Katie is still on Jeopardy. She might get off before PC II, we don't know at this point. So she might still have some sort of pass, but as of right now she doesn't.

So I'm booking my return flight for Monday from PCII. If she does earn a pass then we can do one day on Sunday (why take a red-eye Sunday night if I'm still going to miss work on Monday anway, when I can take a non-stop during the day?).

First call

We had our first call with 'S' on Friday, and she was very nice. While we are going to miss 'A', 'S' does seem to be on the ball.

Katie is going to go up to get off of Jeopardy today, and 'S' says that she has been working hard, though still has some honesty issues and the rebuilding of trust to work on . We are set for PC II in less than two weeks, but still don't know if Katie has earned another pass with that or not ('S' is supposed to find out this morning on that).

It also turns out that the last regular season basketball game for the girls is on the night we fly out, so we also are having her check to see if it is ok if we go to it (we probably won't be able to make the freshman game (at least not all of it), but should be able to be there for all of the varsity game). I don't know if Katie has been going to any of the away games as manager, or if she will be there at all. Still, it isn't like we have anything else to do that evening before PC II anyway (though I have seen some people talking about meeting at a local restaurant).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

firming up plans

Some changes. I don't remember (and I'm too lazy to check) if I mentioned, but we have a new family rep now - 'S'. 'A' didn't leave, but is now doing staff instead. She will be missed.

We actually have our first real call with 'S' tomorrow night, but I did talk with her briefly yesterday, to find out the status on Katie and the next seminar. She is still in Jeopardy, and still not supported for level 5, so no PC III. Instead we will do PC II the weekend before.

Not completely bad news, though not good. We had other plans on the PC III weekend, so we can now do them. What it does mean is at best we could do PC III in April, which would put, at best, PC IV in August. Of course, throughout this entire time, when has anything worked out under the best case?

What we still have to find out tomorrow night is if she gets another pass with PC II. If so then we could do the two days (Sun-Mon) afterward. Diane has her realtor's convention on that Tuesday, so she has to be back in Vegas for that, and I'll fly hom then. If she doesn't have a pass then I'll fly home on Monday.

But we did get cheap flights out (though I haven't booked mine back yet, as I don't know which day I'm returning), and I don't think we will need a room for her, as she won't be at level 5 so she won't be staying overnight with us.

We are also going to ask about going to the last girls basketball game - it is away about an hour north from her school. I don't know if it would be an issue, or if she would even go. Making the freshman game will be a bit of a rush - we basically would have to go straight there from the airport and not loose much time getting out of Vegas (arrive 1 pm, lose and hour, drive for 3 - that is the start time of the game). But then she isn't with the freshman, she is a manager for the varsity team anyway. But we have to ask 'S' about that as well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Songs in my head

Lately it seems like I constantly have songs running through my head - like someone has picked a soundtrack for my life, but it constantly gets stuck for hours at a time (even in my sleep). So last night on our call with 'B' another one hit, and I almost laughed out loud (and it wasn't funny).

Katie is on Jeopardy (and no, it isn't the Jeopardy theme, but the Greg Kihn song ("Our loves in Jeopardy"), or even worse, the Weird Al Parody ("I lost on Jeopardy") right now.
A part of me should feel frustrated (not about the music going on over and over and over again in my head) because there is a good chance we won't be doing PC III next month now, instead doing PC II a week earlier. Which of course would mean at least 2 more months before a possible graduation. But I'm not, because learning to deal with these setbacks is exactly what she needs.

I am frustrated because I hate being in this limbo state of not knowing what is going to happen, not being able to plan (and in this case not being able to book our flights). But in a way I'm almost relieved, because it has been so long since we did PC I (back in April of 2006), doing PC II wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Ben suggested the possibility of doing both, but we just can't swing that (it would mean us being out there for almost 2 weeks, and there just isn't any way we can afford that, nor can leave Katie's two brothers home for that length of time at once (they are good boys, but even so 4-6 days is quite a bit, evne with people checking in on them (and we have no relatives around either, except their older brother who can't just take a couple weeks off from college))). And we don't know if she would have a pass with PC II like she will with PC III.
So still we wait. We will call Ben mid-week next week to get a final determination, as we will run up against that wonderful 14-day advance purchase limitation to get out there.

So I don't see this as a bad thing, either way. But I do want it to be settled, that is where my frustrations are right now.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More progress

We talked with 'A' last night - she had to reschedule our normal call. Still good all around - Katie is on manor service, and only needs a little over 200 more points for level 5 - she is hoping to go up next week. So it really looks like we will be doing PC III in February.

I didn't realize that the pass with PC III was an overnight one. Right now it looks like we would just do two days though - with travel and all even that is pushing it for the amount that we can be gone. I laughed though, because for the first time CC's scheduling is actually in our favor, slightly. Diane has a conference in Vegas right before PC III, so the night before I have to drive back there to pick her up (I'm hoping to come in a couple of days early for the pass). Having to have Katie back by 8 pm the night before works out well for us then!

Now we just have to get final confirmation next week that she is eligible so we can actually book the flights etc. And figure out how to pay for them of course. That is not getting any easier.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year, good start

We had our weelky call with Katie and 'B' last night. Diane and I laughed a bit, because Katie comes in and says she has to cut the call short (to about 20 minutes) because of the basketball game. We both immediately responded that we should then whine about it for 15 minutes - and Katie immediately caught it and said NO! We didn't of course, but it was fun turning that table on her (and it actually worked out fine for us as we had dinner reservations anyway for Diane's Birthday).

The call was really good, going over her pass as well as her new years goals. She was commended on them by both 'B' and 'A' because instead of the 3 or 4 pages of junk she usually did she simply had a few, straightforward concise goals.

We talked a bit about how realistic they were - she is saying she wants to graduate high school there - but that would mean she needs something like 9 more credits after what she is already taking now, and we said that just wasn't realistic. What would be realistic is for her to complete her junior year by this summer, so that when she gets out she will be where she should be in school.

She has started the 18 year old meetings, and is staffing the pre-discovery meetings. She is also working on her points, and she thinks she can go up for level 5 next week (she should be able to be voted up and just wait to complete the staffing). Angie said we should know by the 15th if she is going to make it for PC III in February.

It is such a change to start talking about her actually coming home. We have not wavered on our committment, but she is really working to make PC IV in June. One way or the other she will be out of there in about 9 months (at most) (either graduating in June or August, or because she turns 18 in July and leaves, or the last loan (assuming we get it) runs out at the end of the September).