Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Party time for Paul

I got up early Saturday morning and drove to Tori's house in Riverside. I had a date with Paul to attend his "Best Buddies" movie day suarez. He and I were supposed to meet the rest of his "Project Team" mates at the "Project Team" site. The Buddies were scheduled to pick up the students and take them to the location of the party. I figured Paul and I would follow the caravan to the venue and I couldn't have been any more wrong. The instant we got to "Project Team" Paul was out of my car. I thought he just wanted to greet his friends but no, he wanted to ride with one of the Buddies. One of Paul's friends asked if I was Paul's mom and Paul said no. When their conversation about me was over, Paul's friend walked away with this knowledge: I live in my car, I do my laundry every day and that is why I keep it in my car, I couldn't give friend a ride because there was no room in the back seat because of my laundry and I have two cats. This conversation was very matter of fact and simply taken for the gospel truth. No questions asked.

There was enough room for all of the student in the Buddies cars and that made them all very happy. I followed the Buddy to the dorms of UC Riverside. I was starting to panic over the idea of 15 handicapped young adults and 3 Buddies and me all in one dorm room so I was happy to discover that this was actually "off campus" housing and it was a 2 bedroom suite with a living room large enough to accommodate everyone. The students were all very nice and couldn't have been happier about getting to go to someones apartment on a Saturday afternoon and "par.....taaaaay." Most of the students brought snacks so there was plenty of junk to eat. Paul brought 3 bags of microwave popcorn that was burned up in the microwave. Not to worry because that didn't stop them from eating it.

We were supposed to watch the cartoon "Happy Feet" but for some reason that DVD didn't work. The students were all very full of suggestions on how to make it work but the Buddy decided that it would just be better if they watched "Chicken Little" instead. The young man who was sitting next to me asked me approximately 10 times if we were going to watch "Chicken Lego".

I tried to explain to him that it was "Chicken LITTLE" as I didn't want him to be disappointed when the cartoon started and there was no mention of Legos, but no matter how many times I enunciated "LiTTle"...he insisted that it was "LEGO". Ok, "Chicken LEGO" it is.

We watched the movie and they all laughed and laughed. Paul had a good time "inventing" a new snack: burned popcorn, nacho cheese Doritos and potato chips. He loved it and they all ate it. At one point I caught him eating a cookie sandwich. (3 cookies piled on top of each other. There was no actual bread involved.)

Some students had a little more fun than others. I caught two of them sitting in a corner MAKING OUT. With their tongues!

Ack! Paul is by far the most capable one of their group and I've never heard of him making any attempt at such a thing so I was completely bamboozled when I saw the smooch-fest going on. I tilted my head and stared at them with my eyebrow raised. This look usually causes people to stop whatever it is they are doing and confront me. Not these two. They were not coming up for air. I went over to the host and asked him what their thoughts on PDA were. He said that they try to discourage it but it's not usually a problem. I tattled and told him that there was a grab-ass-athon going on in the corner. He thanked me for the info and then went to break it up. There was a handful of buddies who were not watching the movie because they were thoroughly ensconced in the show going on in the corner. When the show was broken up there was a lot of laughing and complaining and none of it was coming from the two actual participants. Praise the Lord for Paul's innocence. I don't know what my sister would do with a sexually mature mentally retarded man/child.

After the movie was over they put out some craft items. Colored paper, markers, stickers, foam sticky letters and a big cardboard display card. Paul and some of the other buddies went right to work drawing masterpieces. Some of them scribbled and some of them wrote their name. That is what I expected from Paul. He likes to see his name, but when I looked over at what he was drawing I found that he had drawn a very tiny picture of a penny and was searching through the foam letters so that he could spell out "penny". When he was done with that picture he turned the paper over and drew and labeled another picture. This one was of a plum. I would love to know what or who is Paul's muse. Why would he draw pictures of a penny or a plum? I asked him if he wanted to make a thank you card for the Buddy whose car he rode in and whose apartment we were in and he said, "no." I told him that it would be a really nice idea and he still said no, so I told him that I would do it by myself. He changed his mind and we did it together.

I found the letters and he peeled the backs off and stuck them to the paper. You can see by this picture of Paul and his card that he was thrilled to pieces. NOT.

While Paul was busy giving the Buddy his card I helped one of Paul's friends, Richard,(the one who was under the impression that I lived in my car.) make a card for his friend. I picked out the letters and gave them to him and he layed them out on a piece of paper. He wanted it to look like a card but he couldn't figure out how to fold the paper in half and he asked me to do it for him. Once again he set the letters on the paper and then he told me that I didn't give him the right letters. His friend was named Jessica. How many different ways was there to spell Jessica? I thought he was telling me he needed a "C" and I told him that I gave him a "C". "NO", he said, "a "V!" I told him that there was no "V" in Jessica but I found a "V" and gave it to him. He took the offending "C" out and spelled "Jessiva". I will forever wonder if the girl was actually named "Jessiva" or if that is what he thought her name was.

When it came time to leave Richard asked me if he could have a ride home. While I have no problem giving him a ride home I am in awe of the parent who lets her retarded son go places without securing a ride home in advance. As we pulled out of the parking lot of the apartments Richard told me that he had a cousin who lived around there. He gave it a minute of thought and said, "You can drop me off at my cousin's house." I asked him if his cousin was going to take him home or if his mom would come and get him. Then while he was thinking about that I asked him if he knew where his cousin lived. "No.", he said. "THAT will slow you down. Why don't I just take you all the way home?"

I didn't really know where I was but I figured that I would just point the car in what I believed to be the way home and hope for the best. As I was driving down the street I saw the freeway and figured that I was home free. I jumped on the freeway and all hell broke lose in the car. "YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! NOW WE'RE LOST." "I'M SCARED. NOW WE'LL NEVER GET HOME!" "WHY DID YOU GET ON THE FREEWAY?" Yikes! Apparently I made a huge mistake. I asked both of them what they were talking about and they both agreed that I didn't need to get on the freeway and even if I did I was going the wrong way. Now what they were saying went against everything I felt at the time. So now what do I do? Do I continue on in what I think is the proper direction or do I trust 2 non driving handicapped man/children to tell me how it's done? In an effort to not have another panic-alooza I went the direction they told me to and before I knew it we were in the correct neighborhood and Richard's house was on the horizon.

They really put me in my place. Go figure.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is, God bless these adult children and the people who care for them!

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everytime I read your stories about Paul, I laugh till I have tears rolling down my cheek, yet somehow, the same antics just arnt quite as funny when I am the adult in charge!
Paul's Mama

8:48 AM  

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