Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Furloughed Day

Today was a furloughed day for me. Actually it was yesterday that was furloughed, but because I work only 30 hours a week I had to take off today. Dear dear, what a hardship! I had a few errands to do in San Francisco, which I entered into my new errands app I had recently downloaded. An exquisite fall day was a perfect opportunity to BART into the city by the bay. As always, when times are tough, (work wise) and down to the gritty side of life, I like to visit places of luxury. One of these, for me, is Pashma, a luxury cashmere and silk store. Just the feel of this luxury fabric calms me down! My errands list included a trip to Uniqlo - a Japanese owned store which opened on Friday. I was absolutely unprepared for the long line which snaked between iron bars as a few people were let in at a time. However, I decided to brave it The woman in front of me was of Asian heritage, and we spoke about the shock of standing in line, which we both did, patiently. Eventually a burly doorman gestured to me and in I went - to utter consumer insanity! I must say, the frenzied customers certainly behaved better than they did in the New York store of the same name. No-one pushed anyone (that I could see) and people asked each other their opinion as they tried on garments without the benefit of a mirror. (People stood about 3 feet deep in front of the mirrors.) I found a coat I had come for, and thought paying and leaving should be a breeze. No, it wasn't. Another line of people, stood in a another long snake line waited to pay, stuffed Uniqlo baskets in hand. I took my place. A Uniqlo worker stood there holding a large sign, "End of Line." She smiled continuously and informed those around her that this wasn't actually her job, but the store had been so unbelievably busy that this is what she had to do. She continued happily smiling all the while. The lady standing behind me suddenly leaned forward and whispered in my ear that she was having a "power surge" - was she sweating, she wanted to know. I informed her she looked fine. She went on to tell me she is from Colorado and she and her sister were on their way to Fisherman's Wharf but they got waylaid. She had a stuffed basket and told me she had bought Xmas gifts for her daughter. I smiled, and remained silent. Undaunted she continued, informing me of something about her ex-husband, which I didn't quite catch. Thank goodness, besides her power surge she didn't seem to have any health problems that she felt I should know about. Shopping here is far better than it is in Denver. She had also been to Tiffany's. Macy's was just amazing. Suddenly I heard a voice shouting "next customer, debit or credit" and I saw a young woman pointing to me from behind a cash register. I bade her farewell and went to the young smiling woman who said "thanks for waiting" as if there was a choice. When I returned home and unloaded my spoils I realized there were a few things I had forgotten to do, because although I diligently entered my errands into my app - I neglected to look at it! Damn, I am not ready to return!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Work, a strange header. I do believe work is something I have not mentioned in a while, even though I began this blog ostensibly to write about my work. The fact is that because of the constant cuts and changes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for kids to be found eligible for services. Up to two years ago I had many referrals and new ones kept coming in. There were occasions that I was unable to take on a new referral. What has happened more recently is that referrals have really decreased, and the nature of referrals has changed. For instance, last week I received a referral to a little girl who is to be turning three on November 5th. That means I will see her for all of three visits! This is a little girl who at almost three has no words, and appears severely delayed in her social and self help skills. I spoke to mom over the phone to arrange a visit. Mom works every day and so cannot be present. She said she will tell the girl's babysitter that I will be there on Wednesday at 2.00. Needless to say, when I got to the house, no-one answered my knocking. Suddenly a man drove up in a car, looked at me, and asked what I want (in spanish.) I told him the number of the house and who I was looking for. "Mi nieta" - "my granddaughter" he said and gestured to me to follow him to another door. He went in and then came out and said to me that she is being showered and told me to go inside. In a bedroom I saw a young woman toweling off a little girl. I sat in the living room and pretty soon the young girl came in, hopping on her tiptoes. She hopped around in circles. Neither of these things are a good sign. The young woman told me the mother had not told her I would be there. The grandfather, who appeared young enough to be the father, said to me "she doesn't speak, you must help!" The following morning I went to another new referral. This one to a baby boy of 5 months. On my way to the apartments I passed the 98cent store on San Pablo and Rumrill. About three police cars with flashing lights stood in the parking lot. Two blocks later I arrived at the building, which I remembered from when I had worked in home health. I had seen a man with a dreadful degenerative disease who lived in this low-income housing building. He died. I had to call mom as there was no board with names or a keypad. Her sister came downstairs and I followed her into the building which looks like a jail. Iron bars, and badly lit concrete steps and passageways. Three women live in a crowded one-room apartment. The little boy was sleeping so mom and I filled in forms. There is no dad, whatever he was in her life, he is no longer present. He is on a marine base in San Diego. The boy was born with his cord around his neck. He presented blue and floppy and was in hospital for a week. Mom returns to work next week - she works at a gas station in San Francisco, but we have found a day for me to come, when she is not working. At least he has come to services at a very young age, so hopefully he will benefit from intervention. I have more than just three weeks! When I left an ambulance blocked the one street I was going to exit on - someone on a stretcher was being loaded in. I turned down another street and on the pavement was a body - either dead or passed out, I have no idea. A man with a shopping cart stood next to it. I was not sure what to do, but just then someone came out of a house with a phone in her hand. She was calling an ambulance. Goodness, all in the space of an hour! This is why I have not written much about work - it is rather depressing. Also, I am working on what I hope will be a book, so much of my spare time is spent writing.