Monday, January 25, 2010

The Demise Of The Garden Club

Michelle Morgan
Garden Club founder

The garden Erin And Paul would have killed

Life is so impermanent as it is, I dislike seeing things die. Especially for no good reason.
Our Garden Club here at the Las Americas was founded by my case manager at the time, Michelle (another Michelle! They're everywhere!) Morgan (pictured above), lovely girl, oh, let's say in the Spring of 2008. Being the founder she was naturally very enthusiastic about its implementation and maintenance. At the time of the founding she was the only case manager for both the Las Americas, and the Olympia hotels, which kept her rather busy I imagine, juggling the trials and tribulations of possibly 100 or more clients or so. I do remember she was promised assistance in the form of a partner to help shoulder the caseload burden she suffered, but that help was a long time coming.
Part of her job description was to facilitate various group activities, such as the Support Group, which was basically a form of group therapy, and at that time that was the form the Support Groups took. A small group of individuals sitting in the lobby, discussing events in their lives. Usually these groups began with everyone taking a turn telling about 3 beneficial events that had transpired within their lives since the last meeting, or within the last week. That finished the groups attention would move on to something else, possibly some exercise the facilitator had thought up, these sessions generally lasting an hour.
These groups were not mandatory for the residents. If you lived here under the Shelter Plus Care Program you were not compelled to attend, although you were required to do a certain amount of activities that Skid Row Housing Trust and The Housing Authority deemed beneficial, gaining a required amount of "points" per month, in order to maintain eligibility in Shelter Plus Care, which paid two thirds of a clients rent.
Being the maverick that I am I didn't care one twiddle about "points," even though I am in the Shelter Plus Care program. I thumbed my nose at them, and continue to do so to this day. Here, I'm going to thumb my nose at them right now. Take that points!
I however was very fond of my case manager and wanted her to do a good job so she wouldn't lose it and become destitute, become homeless, wind up living in a place like this in the Shelter Care Plus program, start drinking and shooting heroin and smoking crack, start turning tricks, and dying before she reached 30 years of age. I helped her the best way that I could considering the position I found myself in, I supported her by attending her Support Groups.
I do it to this day. I support my lovely case manager Erin, because I'm very fond of her and we are friends, even though she drives me crazy about half the time. I do this by attending the various groups she facilitates, like Yoga Class, the Drama Free Support Group, and the Garden Club, all of which are sparsely attended, with me and Hardy (curse him!) being the only two who regularly show up. This is what would happen if Hardy and I didn't show up to these groups. They would cease to exist due to lack of attendance, Erin's bosses would wonder why she was not doing her job by facilitating these groups and she would be fired, become destitute, become homeless, wind up living in a place like this in the Shelter Care Plus program, start drinking and shooting heroin and smoking crack, start turning tricks, and dying before she reached 30 years of age.
Does Erin appreciate our selfless actions on her behalf. Of course not!
As a matter of fact she hampers our efforts not realizing the serious danger she is in during these perilous economic times. She did it today!
How? Funny you should ask, dear readers. She did so by informing me that she and Paul had decided to suspend the Garden Club until the weather gets warmer.
She told me this when I went to her office this morning to put into practical effect the conversation which is the focus of the post that's right below this one.
I asked why she was suspending it.
"Because everything out there is dead."
"That's not true," I told her. "The blue point is alive and doing well. The dwarf orange tree, the gardenias..." on and on.
She rolled her eyes at me.
Let this be known. The real reason she (and by diabolical infection, now Paul. He until Erin infected him, was still willing to go out and tend to the garden despite the weather. Now he has joined "The Dark Side," as Erin calls her sociopathological disregard for the very plant life that we all fostered and nurtured to begin with) does not wish to continue with the garden is because it's a itty bitty cool out there right now during this time of year, and maybe a little damp, and it may be uncomfortable for her to go out and work. Boo Hoo Hoo! Well, I'll tell you this, plants like it when it's damp! And the cool temperature certainly hasn't killed them as Erin would have us believe. She and Paul would kill them with neglect now that they have made this disastrous decision which meant virtually the end, or the demise of Michelle Morgan's dream, the Garden Club.
I'm afraid I reacted badly when she told me this. A knee jerk reaction due to nicotine withdrawal no doubt.
"Well then, I'm going to divorce myself from the Garden Club from now on..."
"Why should I spend all of that time out there when I know you're just going to kill them off at the end of the year because it gets a little cool?"
"That makes me sad, Rick," she said. "But not enough to go out there."
I left in a bit of a huff, determined never to attend another Garden Club for the remainder of eternity. Why not, as the limits of my immaturity are boundless.
And then on my way back from the Depression Group at the VA, I came upon an idea.
I do that occasionally.
When I got back to the hotel I checked out the garden. Those plants I described above were thriving, as was the asparagus fern, and the hanging plant, whatever it is. All of these would have been doomed if Erin and Paul had their evil and lazy way.
I marched into Erin's office.
"I'm going to take care of the garden," I told her.
"You are? Just you?"
"I guess, since you guys aren't going to help."
"It won't be that long before we start again Rick..."
"Yeah, and by that time all of those plants out there would have died."
"Rick, we'll start again soon..."
"Erin, you don't get it. You've given up the Garden Club. You don't get a say in it anymore. Come Spring, Hardy and I will decide if we want you and Paul back! You can't be trusted around these poor defenseless plants, and we don't need you're stinking petty cash, we can finance it ourselves. And I better not find you guys out there picking our peppers, you little plant sociopath you."
"You go, Rick," she said as I left her office. "You're awesome."
Well I certainly told her.
And the legacy of Michelle lives on.

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