I had CPS dreams last night. It’s been a while, and I didn’t enjoy them one little bit. They were triggered by an e-mail I received from a friend, asking advice on behalf of some friends who were being investigated by CPS. You know, when I first started the job there, I loved it. I loved the feeling of getting up every morning knowing that I was making a difference, making it safer for kids to grow up. But as time went by and I had to deal with burned-out supervisors (after having had excellent ones, so seeing well the contrast), spiteful former spouses who called in false reports just to make trouble for the ex (never realizing or else not caring how it affected the children), a horribly broken system, I got to where I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t do the hours (60+-hour weeks) or the caseload. I couldn’t deal with getting a bonus because of our heavy caseloads, only to be told that since investigators were getting a bonus, we were also going to be on call more often. I couldn’t deal with the parents who cared less about their children than about their addictions. I couldn’t deal with the kids who were so damaged that they could hardly function–suicidal pre-teens, children who were perping on other children because that’s the only way they knew life works–but who the legal department said we couldn’t remove, and the family services department said we couldn’t provide services because they’d already had plenty of services and nothing had changed. All I could do was go in, say yes, there is child abuse, and walk back out again. I didn’t do that, of course; I tried desperately to find some remedy, some help for these children. But in the end I could do nothing.
And now here I am sitting behind a desk, doing something I swore–when I left UTA–that I’d never do again. I’m an admin assistant. I pull credit bureau reports. I prepare reports. I do an occasional PowerPoint presentation. It’s tiring, soul-suckingly boring, and I think that there’s no way I make a difference doing this. I’m not making anyone’s life any better for my being at my job every day. Then I realize that’s not true–I have some friends that I’ve gotten to know through work, and I like to think that having me in their lives does as much for them as it does for me. I still don’t want to stay here forever, which is why I’m writing away on the book the incomparable Izzybella and I are working on together.
Now let’s leave the nightmares and move on to reality. Joe left town yesterday morning, so it’s my first solo time with both dogs. They were good when I got home yesterday afternoon. They seem to be getting along better, although perhaps that has something to do with our blocking off the entrance to the hallway so they have to stay together in the living room. But oh! last night! It was around 2:30 when I was awakened by the pitter-patter of four little paws scampering down the hall just before I was dive-bombed by a 20-pound pooch. Obviously Scout had found a way through the barricade to the hall. I tried letting him stay with me, but he was up and down and up and down and up and down, so I finally gave up and ushered him back into the living room and fixed the barricade. I hadn’t been back in bed more than 10 minutes before he was running down the hall again. After two more efforts to get him to stay in the living room, I finally gave up, and he finally fell asleep. That was 4:00. The little stinker! He gets to sleep all day while I’m here at work trying to stay awake. And then I’m going to go home and we’ll probably have a repeat performance. I need a nice high pet-gate, one he can’t jump over.
And for those of you who’ve asked, whether in comments or e-mails, his former name was Cole. I have nothing against that name, it’s just not him. I attach a lot of significance to names, even for characters I create. It’s not unusual for me to spend days trying to find just the right name for even a minor character in a book. This little boy is a Scout. And he is, as I mentioned yesterday, starting to answer to Scout. Like last night at 3:30 when I was sick to death of his running back and forth between the living room and bedroom. I called, “Scout! Come!” and he came and jumped in bed. He’s learning “No” and “Down.” Spraying a little water in his face when he ignores orders is really helping get the message through. I only had to do it once yesterday; otherwise, just seeing the bottle reminded him.
He is still trying to steal food right out of Molly’s mouth, but she’s not letting him get away with it. And she’s actually back to sitting on the sofa instead of hiding under the table feeling sorry for herself. While it may be too much to hope for, I am nonetheless hoping that they manage to become friendly. He seems to adore her. When they go out in the back yard, she usually pees first, and then he goes along and pees right next to where she did. And then he moves a foot or so away and kicks dirt over where he thinks he just peed (he’s always off, but the effort is appreciated.)
I promise this blog will become less Scoutcentric shortly. We’re still in the big adjustment phase. But he’s a sweetie boy, and Molly’s a cutie girl, and we’re all doing just fine.
Oh, and Mom, he doesn’t sleep on my feet yet. As you have probably gathered, I’m lucky if he sleeps by my side. Or at all. But one never knows how things will unfold.