Boss: Weren't you scheduled to be back this week?
Me: No. The 13th.
Boss: Okay, Thanks.
Which, if you knew my boss, really isn't that surprising a conversation. After 4 weeks, you might tend to be a little absent minded. I, however, have the sword of Damocles over my head and am well aware of the passing of time.
Remember when we were kids? A whole year seemed like an insurmountable time period, summer vacation lasted forever, Christmas and New Years were more than an eyeblink? I still remember when walking out to the big oak tree in the back yard seemed a long way (maybe 50 feet), and a walk to the woods ( about a half-mile away) seemed a full-day event. Now it seems like the "five-day week" goes: Monday, work on Time Machine, Friday/Saturday, football, and Monday. Maybe that's why Scrappy explodes from the house every time we walk, sniffing the ground in a million places at once as if he'll never get the chance again.
So anyway, still waiting on Unemployment to kick into gear- and it might be a bit. It takes three weeks now to get them to look at you, so maybe they'll pay out something by the time I go back to work. And maybe I'll have wandered over to the fitness center more than the one time I have managed in three and a half weeks. There's always hope, as Bing used to say.
In the meantime, I have accomplished next to nothing- even my Christmas lights have begun the process of taking themselves down without me. I did watch Titanic last night for, what, the fifth time? Never has a movie got to me like that one did. I still think it's the finest movie ever put together. Always in tears at the final scene, when you sweep around the Grand Staircase, and everyone is applauding Rose and Jack. I can't get over the excellent casting- Rose's Mom, the Captain, Molly Brown, even Bruce Ismay, weasel that he was. I was reading last night that they originally thought of Matthew McConnaughey as Rose's fiancé. That I don't see.
And this morning I did get around to posting about the little drinking game I played Saturday on the caps blog. So go up and hit the link.
Anyone else getting tired of Bloggers little "An error occurred while trying to publish or save your post"? I know I am.
There was one news story that broke around here that Bobby G. informs me that I am to have at. And it isn't funny or amusing in the least. As I understand it, the police were called to a local motel about children living in "deplorable conditions"- and that they should hurry, as the parents were apparently preparing to am-scray. When the cops got there, what they found:
-an unheated van, putrid smelling and full of trash;
-a father, apparently mentally challenged, also putrid and trying to "explain";
-a mother who would not leave the van, apparently taken away in handcuffs after she through the keys out the window;
-seven children, all putrid, dirty clothes, no shoes, half frozen, including a one-week old in a onesie;
-at least two of the children were zip-tied to the seats, one of them a severely autistic 14-year-old who wouldn't sit still any other way;
-a dog in the van, and two cats back in the room- a vacant room that they had apparently "moved into", which Neighborhood Code had discovered and called police about.
The woman told police that there was an open Child Protective Services case and that the caseworker had "approved" the child seats being used (likely as an excuse for the zip-ties). The room was covered in food debris and smelled of... well, you know.
How many people out there let these people fall through the cracks? Was there a CPS case? Was the one-week-old born in a hospital? How long were they holed up in the room, with or without the motel's knowledge, before NC got involved? The autistic boy was the oldest, 14 years old- are you telling me no one has bothered to help these people- and I mean REALLY help- in FOURTEEN YEARS? Looking down the comments on the INC story, you find this telling tale:
"I can tell you that these children have family that has tried to fight for them. They have been involved with CPS since the 14 year old was small. They have been removed from the home in the past, family tried to fight to keep them from going back to these conditions. CPS continually gives them back to these people and they continue to keep having children!!! It is a very sad situation and there is nothing anyone can do until it gets this bad or I should say until they are checked on and found to still be living this way. It has nothing to do with lack of money or resources and more to do with the parents lack of ability to see how wrong all this truly is. I hope I am wrong but I can almost guarantee they will get these children back again. I always pray that maybe this will be the final straw and the children will be saved and given a chance at a normal life only to be disappointed by the system that is supposed to protect our children again."
One thing I do have against Indiana's GOP government is the continual short shrift being given to statewide CPS. Their solution a few years back was to remove control from county level to state level, which has proven not only to NOT be the efficient solution they thought it would be, but a convenient excuse for pushing families like these under the rug. You can't fix everything by streamlining them. Sometimes you DO have to spend the time and resources and manpower.
Here's a thought: I counted 77 people JUST in Marion County government (Indianapolis' county) making from $150 K up to almost $3 million a year. Another 39 in state government. And at state-run universities, another 227- including 13 at various levels of coaching or administering athletics- making $250 K on up. IU basketball coach Tom Crean could give 53.8 families of nine like that a federal poverty level income of $43,650 and STILL make $100 K a year! In all, three members of the Citizen's Energy Group (the utilities trust) make an average of $1,849,177.57 a year; and the IU and Purdue head football and basketball coaches combine for the average salary of $1,946,089.07 a year. Which, for the football coaches, comes out to $611,705.11 PER WIN. Do you see where I'm going here? From a 2011 report:
In a brutal budget session, child protective services (CPS) fared better than most state services for 2012-13. The proposed rate cuts for foster care and adoption payments were not implemented and some caseload growth for these programs was funded. At this funding level, CPS hopes to move forward with its proposal to redesign foster care to help children move to permanency faster. With the budget, CPS can actually start hiring new staff to work with children and families at the start of state fiscal year 2012. Finally, funding for families services was maintained at 2010-11 levels.
But the overall budget for CPS is 10 percent less than what CPS estimated it needed for the biennium to help families affected by child abuse and neglect. Caseload growth for family services was not funded and statewide intake staff, adoption services, and child abuse and neglect prevention programs were cut.
So you see, it's not how it's spent in Indiana, but WHO it's spent on.