I don’t have a lot of time out here this visit, so there’re no wasted minutes, and people to meet.
We started off going to see Miss Alicia, the new tutor. Bex likes her, and yet there was clearly something that was holding her back from wanting to go. I needed to assess the situation and see whether I felt like it could really work. David had been over there and wasn’t clear whether the piles and piles of stuff all over the place was an episode of “Hoarders” waiting to happen, or the honest result of a publicist moving in to a new house in the middle of Pilot Season.
At the kitchen table Alicia’s assistant was trying to convert Alicia — who prefers people to technology — to a new computer. Another mother and daughter came in — I think they actually live there. We seized a lull in the activity to sit down to talk.
First, my quick assessment was that the necessary living areas — Kitchen Table, Living Room Couches, and Bathroom — were all put together and clear. No hoarders episode, just an understandably slow un-packing. Cool — we can handle that. Thanks to the dry climate, no worries of mold. 😉
It was clear that it could be a good place for Bex. Alicia gets learning style differences, and life-work balance, the need to take breaks and run around, that some people actually need noise to concentrate, etc. Bex just needed to communicate what she needs without worrying that she was hurting Alicia’s feelings.
So I pulled out my coaching tool-box and designed an alliance between Bex and Alicia, which worked well! We left with a clear understanding of what each of them needs from the other, and what they were willing to commit to. Bex has regular hours, communication with Paideia got Alicia the information she needs, and Bex left with clear homework assignments. Confidence is high.
Lunch at Hugo’s — I’m like a homing pigeon, I can’t visit LA without at least one trip to Hugo’s. We get home at 4:45 and Bex is off to make arrangements to pay for the broken window with the people from earlier in the week (remember the pine cone?). I get a rather frantic text — yes, frantic reads in texts — to come over now, there is someone you want to meet. I have no clue what she’s talking about — this is Hollywood, so I’m thinking it might be some celebrity or something — and I find myself in a rather dark 2 bedroom apartment that is clearly a “permanent” residence. Apparently, G-d threw the pine cone through the window so that we could meet.
Candy kicks a teenager off the couch so we can sit down, and offers me a piece of cheesecake. WHY am I here, exactly? The joys of a non-communicative teenager. I listen and start piecing it together. She wants Bex to stay here and rent the second bedroom so that she can continue to stay here with her two adopted, teenage daughters. She’s not trying to convince me, or anything, but …
Okay, Candy is a big woman, a former US Post Office Police Officer who has lived here with her 2 teen-age daughters for 3 1/2 years. Her husband is still a postal worker back in (I think) Wisconsin. She’s been constantly relying on “G-d to provide room-mates” so she can make it work. She doesn’t have a job any more — she was in a car accident that left her in a coma for six months and so she can’t carry a gun anymore. When they don’t have a room-mate, the husband works lots of over-time, which is hard because he has seizures. They only see each other twice a year. She would be like a second mom to Bex. I get a glimpse of her parenting style as she praises the older teen who is focused with her work, and then criticizes the younger one for not being committed. She even demonstrates for me as she yells at the kid to get off the computer, and then looks back at me with satisfaction, as if to say, “see what an attentive mom I am?” OMG!
Back to find David and figure out what we’re doing for the evening. Bex realizes its Karaoke night. We negotiate the math that needs to get done before tomorrow, and she’s outta here. There is, clearly, a lot to talk about.
And remember… I’m not a fiction writer. Who needs fiction when the characters are so creative?
<posted by Elaine>