Tag Archives: Homeless

Mid-summer holiday party

I’m totally time-warped this week. The internal clock was thrown off Monday night, when Mrs. Poolman and I spent the night at our church as “hosts” to a couple of homeless families. This is a regular ministry of our parish, and Mrs. P and I usually volunteer to handle the overnight shift. Not a big deal, but it certainly throws the internal clock off.

Yesterday was the 4th of July, and now I’m back at work for a single day, which feels like a Monday, except it’s actually a Friday. Huh?

Mrs. P and I hosted a holiday pool and barbecue party yesterday. We had several more people than we anticipated, and four more dogs. Individually, the dogs were not a problem. But when you add four new dogs to our pack of two, the result is a lot doggies running around.

Water and beer on the Fourth of July. A bit of a cliche?

Water and beer on the Fourth of July. A bit of a cliche?

July 4 2w

Even the dogs got into the action. This was this particular lab’s first time swimming.

I grilled burgers and brats; Son-in-Law provided spare ribs and another friend cooked up some wings. Everyone else brought some side dish or another.  It must have been a good party. We started at 2 pm and had to chase people out at 10:30 pm. It was a work-night after all.

Both our children typically invite some of their friends to our parties, which we encourage.  One couple of the younger generation, Ronnie and Kate, came yesterday with their now-six and a half month old Tommy. We have spent some time with Tommy in the past, and actually were the first non-family members to baby-sit him. Yesterday, he was his usual cute, good-natured self and was totally entertaining.

Mr. Personlity

Mr. Personality

I don’t know what we are going to be up to this weekend, but I think we are partied-out, at least for parties at our house anyway.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Here it is, 2013. Where did you go 2012?

Our weekend kicked off Friday night with a sleep over, not the fun kind. We participate in a homeless ministry at our church. Once of twice a year, the church provides overnight housing for a group of homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to cook meals, be “evening hosts” and “overnight hosts.” Since we don’t have small children at home to worry about, Mrs. Poolman and I usually take one of the overnight assignments. It’s just a matter of going up to the parish center and spending the night sleeping on cots. It’s not a real hardship duty, and it apparently does some good. Our night was uneventful, except that Mrs. P hardly slept a wink. I rarely have such problems.

So Saturday was largely a wasted day. Mrs. P spent most of the day napping on the couch. I made some corn chowder and delivered it to our daughter and her husband who were sharing a case of the flu.

Trouble with the curve We rented a pretty good movie that evening – Trouble With the Curve (Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake.) It’s a story of an aging baseball scout whose attorney-daughter joins him on the road to help save his career and reputation. It was Clint being Clint and Amy Adams being her usual cute-self. Throw in a boy-meets-girl sub-plot with Timberlake and you have a fairly predictable, but still very enjoyable flick. Mrs. P went back to sleep before we were 20 minutes into the show, but I liked it anyway.

Lincoln-Movie-Poster-1536x2048_extra_bigOn Sunday, we hit another movie at the theater that we both really enjoyed. “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones was simply outstanding. I’m sorry we waited until it was almost at the end of its theater run before getting around to watching it. If you miss it in the theater, be sure to catch it on DVD or pay-per-view. The movie is not a comprehensive bio-pic of Old Abe. Rather, it focuses almost entirely on the single month of January 1865, when Lincoln lead a determined effort to convince the House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. At face value, that probably sounds boring to a non-history buff. However, the script is very well written, and the acting is outstanding. Watch for it to come up frequently when the awards season rolls around.

Mrs. P had to work both Monday and today, New Years Day. Unfortunately, they can’t send those babies home just for a holiday. Last night, some of our friends invited us to their house for dinner. We had a great time, but were back home by 10 pm so Mrs. P could hit bed in time for her 5 am wake-up. I’ve mostly watched football games today. So far the SEC is looking pretty good. Florida plays Louisville and long-tine, popular Gator assistant coach Charlie Strong tomorrow night. I’m back to work tomorrow. It’s been a good break. I may need it. Right now,  January and February look like they will be rocking.

One less thing to worry about

Last night Mrs. Poolman and I spent the night on cots at our church, as overnight hosts for two homeless families. This is part of a program called Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. Our parish take two or three weeks of the year and provides overnight housing, breakfast and dinner for two or three families. Other churches pick up the other weeks.

I didn’t sleep that well, so I’m a little raw today. This will be a short post.

I thought that the reason I didn’t sleep well was the uncomfortable cot and the unfamiliar surroundings. I was wrong. Apparently I was worrying about the new etiquette for gay weddings.  Marlo Thomas has all the answers for me.

I’ll rest easy tonight.

Catchin’ up on a holiday week

Christmas is behind us, but I still have nearly a week left before having to go back to work. Life is good.

We had a rather quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas. Mrs. Poolman and I went to 4 pm Mass and then over to some friends for their annual Christmas Eve open house. Both our children were either working or were tied up with their spouse’s or GF’s families. They came over to our house late Saturday afternoon. We did the gift exchange and had a fantastic holiday meal of prime rib roast, twice-baked potatoes, squash casserole, and more. Yum-yum!

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I took off for Jacksonville to visit her two sisters. We had hoped some more of the nieces and nephews might have been able to join us for dinner, but it was not to be. That’s life. I contributed a pan of chicken enchiladas to the evening meal and we had a very nice visit.

We had a fairly busy day today. I had a routine dentist appointment this morning. After a lunch of left-overs from the above-mentioned Christmas dinner, we took two of our pets to the vet. Penny the Kitten needed her initial check up and round of immunizations. Casey the Lab, however, has some sort of growth between two of his toes on one of his front paws. The vet isn’t sure what it is, but says it’s about a 50-50 proposition that it may be a malignant tumor. He’ll remove it next week and sent it out for lab work. At the same time, Miss Penny is going to lose her “lady parts.”

We’re off to the church tonight for this round of the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. As I have described in other posts, our church cooperates with others in the area to host homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to spend the night at the church to “host” and troubleshoot as needed. We’ve done it several times already over the past two years. It’s an all-together good thing. Actually it’s less of trouble for me because I can sleep like a baby under almost any conditions. Mrs. P, on the other hand, hears every bang or creak and never does get much sleep. I guess I can count on her taking a “long winter’s nap” when we get home tomorrow morning.

It’s Friday!

Things have been slow around here this week, but I did finish another book worth mentioning. Here are some bullets.

I got an email this morning from an old friend. We probably haven’t seen each other face-to-face in probably 40 years, but we have exchanged some Christmas cards over that time.

Dr. Betsy Kennon and Scooter, courtesy Readers Digest

She said “Andy Warhol is right.” Betsy is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame in the form of an article in the August edition of Readers Digest. Betsy is a veterinarian in Pittsburgh. She saved a stray kitten with a broken spine. The cat, Scooter, now moves around with his hind-parts on a cart and visits nursing homes. Nice touching story you can see, complete with video, here.

I attended the Savannah Gator Club annual gathering last night. The speaker was GatorCountry.com editor Franz Beard. Franz did a great talk. Things are looking better for the Gators this fall than many opponents would like to admit. That’s just fine. It’s better to sneak up on ‘em.

I just finished reading “The Blind Side” by Michael Lewis. Everyone is at least familiar with the movie by the same name starring Sandra Bullock. The book upon which the movie is based expands the subject matter of the movie. The film pretty much concentrated on football player Michael Oher and the manner in which he came into the family of Sean and Leigh Ann Touhey and eventually became a star athlete. The book adds significant color and texture to that story. It also develops two additional themes – the change in the NFL that made the left tackle position the second most important position on the field; and the issue of poor, black, inner city kids trying to use sports to get out of the ghetto.

I enjoyed the book a lot. The Oher-Touhey story is interesting and touching all on its own. The two additional themes just add on to the value. If you liked the movie, you’ll like the book. Even if you thought the movie was a little schmaltzy and over done, you’ll still like the book.

We are looking forward to company this weekend. This time it is the gang from Mrs. Poolman’s side of the family. It will include a sister-in-law, a niece and nephew, both with significant others, a grand niece and a large rambunctious boxer (dog.) There will be lots of eating, drinking, visiting and hanging out by the pool. When I got home tonight, I went ahead and mowed the lawn, and cleaned the pool and back yard  to be ready for them.

Should be fun!

Helping out

Mrs. Poolman and I spent last night sleeping on cots in our church parish center. This was part of our parish’s participation in the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. We did this last year. It’s a good program and we enjoy supporting it.

Essentially, a group of churches takes turns providing breakfast, dinner and overnight shelter to a small number of homeless families. This was one of three 2010 weeks our parish is assigned.

Our job was to be the overnight hosts. We showed up at our parish center around 8:30 pm and met one of the two single-mom families. The second family was already in their room and put to bed for the night. I played Scrabble with one of the boys for about 45 minutes until his mom came around and scooted him off to bed.

Mrs. P and I had a curtained off section of the gym with some cots. We were up at 6 am to lay out the breakfast food. We then cleaned up the eating area and were out the door headed home by 7:00 am.

The families in this program are not the hard-core drunks and drug addicts. These are families who have hit bad times and need some help to get back on their feet. We are very glad we were offered the opportunity to contribute.

Sometimes you get lucky

Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Last night at CCD class, we made a connection.

Most of the class was fairly routine. This was the first class we’ve had since mid-November, so it took a little bit of effort to get things rolling. And the material in this particular chapter wasn’t particularly interesting. Finally, the last section of the chapter was a fictional story about a parish that got together to provide a shuttle van system for elderly who couldn’t drive to the grocery store. The point of the story was to show how, as Catholics and Christians, we are obligated to look out for and care for others.

That got us into a discussion of just exactly who we are supposed to care for. The answer, of course, is “everyone.”

Before dismissal, we were supposed to give the students a flier on next week’s class, which will be a special Christmas program. The students are being asked to support the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry (See this earlier post.) by bringing in something to help homeless families who are being sheltered by the IHM. They suggest things like schools supplies, toiletries, towels, diapers, etc.

I challenged the “little darlin’s” to join this effort, but not to take the easy way out. Don’t just ask Mom or Dad to buy something for them to contribute.  I asked them to use a part of their allowance or to do extra jobs around the house to earn money to buy something to contribute to the project.

I am always amazed when a message seems to get through. They actually seemed to “get it.”  We had a good discussion about what they should buy and how they could get the cash to do so. I jokingly suggested they could come over and rake the leaves in my front yard, but I backed out on that when half the class jumped on the idea. I don’t need a gang of 10-year olds showing up at my front door on Saturday morning.

Next week, we’ll see how we’ll see if the message actually translates to action.

Rasslin’ with the kids…or not

We’re running a little low on energy tonight. Mrs. Poolman and I spent last night in our church’s parish hall as overnight hosts for three homeless families. It was really OK, and we’ll probably do it again when our parish’s next host week comes around. A group of churches rotate the program among them, each taking a week at a time. The adults and the children were all very nice.

Since we were on the overnight shift, we didn’t get there until after 8 pm, when things were starting to settle down. One of the families was set up in a meeting room. The other two had partitioned-off “rooms” in the larger gymnasium. Mrs. Poolman and I had cots in the other meeting room, which is also where the toys and VCR/DVD player were located.

Mrs. Poolman's digs.

Mrs. Poolman's digs.

My bunk.

My bunk.

Before they settled into the “rooms,” I was sitting on the floor playing with a three year old boy and his two year old sister. We were playing with some cards (as opposed to playing cards) when someone said, “Look at that” and pointed to the TV screen where The Lion King was playing behind me. I just laid back and looked at the TV upside down. The next thing I knew, the girl had sat down on my chest and was babbling at me. She was quickly replaced by her bother. He got on all fours on my chest and began growling like the “lion king.”

I thought “OK. Game on! This child wants to rough house.” Mrs. Poolman saw the look of eager anticipation in my eyes and stopped me before I ever got going. She pointed out the child’s mother would be angry if I got him riled up just before bed time. So I was good and didn’t toss him in the air, spin him around in circles or flip him into somersaults. However, that didn’t discourage him from climbing all over me and generally having a good time. We did a couple of piggy-back rides, but nothing more energetic than that.

Later, I talked with his mom and told her that I was sorry her son was such shy young man who didn’t take to strangers and didn’t like to rough house. She agreed and said that her son was just very quiet and didn’t really like to wrestle or rough house. Huh? I wonder if she has another son I didn’t meet.

It’s a wonderful Friday!

A couple of random thoughts today…

Mrs. Poolman and I went to a meeting at our church last night about an outreach project that should be interesting. It’s called the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. Essentially, the way it works is that churches agree to provide overnight housing and meals for a small number of homeless families for a week at a time. Church members volunteer to provide food and be evening and overnight “hosts.” We are already signed up to be the overnight host couple for a night late in August. We’ve never done anything like this before, so it should be interesting. I’ll keep you updated.

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In this part of the country, college football is a dominating presence. As the summer drags on, die-hard football fans are starting to froth at the mouth awaiting the beginning of the season. It is especially fun being a Gator fan in the heart of Georgia, the home state of what is arguably UF’s biggest rival.

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Some of the annual silliness was back in the news today. A Georgia legislator has come out tying the political and legal “water wars” among Florida, Alabama and Georgia to the annual Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville (aka Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party or WLOCP).

The crowd split 50-50

The crowd split 50-50

He says it should be moved to Atlanta every other year, as leverage against Florida in the fight over water rights. Unrelated to the whole water issue, the fuss over the game-site has become a regular refrain among a minority of Georgia fans for several years. Florida fans think the whole controversy is hysterical and just giggle with delight when Georgia folks suggest it. You see, the WLOCP has been played in Jacksonville for something like 70 years, except for a two-year home and home series played when the new stadium was being built in Jax. It’s a big tradition and, actually, a fairly big money maker for South Georgia businesses.

Florida fans think it the controversy is funny because Georgia fans never suggested such a move in the 1960s, 70s or 80s, when UGA dominated the series. However, since Steve Spurrier’s first year as coach in 1990, the ‘Dawgs have only been the victors in three of the last 19 games.  So every time someone in Georgia brings up the subject, Gators just think “Sore losers!” Better you than us.

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More parking lot woes…

I went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch today (cilantro addiction). I often park in an adjacent vacant lot because it is shaded and it is (usually) easier to get in and out of. Of course, there are no parking lines in this lot. Most people either park around the perimeter or “head-in” in a double line down the middle of the lot with the cars in each line facing each other.

Today, I pulled into the head-in line and noticed that several cars had not pulled all the way up to the imaginary center line. I did –my mistake. When I came out I discovered some jerk in a 25 year old Grand Marquis had pulled in behind me. So I was completely surrounded by other parked cars, except immediately on the left side.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

My car is the navy blue Accord in the middle. The late arriving Grand Marquis is behind it.

Many other cars had also not pulled completely to the center line leaving a space between the two lines of cars. Fortunately for me, there was just enough room for me to “wiggle” out of the parking space and no one had “plugged the hole” at the end of the line, so I was able to get back to work. Oy!

Dating back to the days when my late father-in-law drove one (badly), I’ve never trusted Grand Marquis drivers. Today is one more piece of evidence my prejudice is right.