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View Full Version : I totally messed up a first-time meeting today. (And now I might get fired for it.)



Plot Device
11-26-2009, 09:45 AM
It was a surprise meeting that popped up out of the blue. And it messed up my day. And I lost my patience with the whole affair.


Here's the deal ....



I took a job back in August as a full-time live-in nanny. My employer is a single mom, very driven, and a total doll to work for. She was so awesome all during my mother's illness and then her death. She even came to my mother's wake.

She has repeatedly mentioned a brother whom I had never met before (until today, that is) and who I have quietly witnessed let her down again and again by his repeated failure to do things he promised. Such as he was supposed to come to the house back in September and DJ her children's double birthday party -- no show. He was supposed to come to the house in October and bring one of his older computers and set it up for the kids to do homework -- no show. He was AGAIN supposed to come durng the first week of November and set up the computer -- no show again.

And then my employer tells me a few weeks ago that she is heading off to her timeshare in the Berkshires for Thanksgiving and wants to know if I'd like to come. I asked if I could instead stay behind and cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family here at her house. She was fine with that. And I shared with her the silly quirks of my family, how we haven't spoken in years, how the illness and then death of my mother these past 5 months pretty much brought us all together, how my brother is a chronicgambler who believes the Anti-Christ is coming any day now, how my father told me he won't come to dinner unless there's someone else there to offset my brother and his rantings, how my sister is a health food enthusiast and so I need to appease her with my food choices or she won't come to dinner either.

I spent nearly $500.00 this past Sunday to please my sister by buying only organic stuff for Thanksgiving -- all natural, no anti-biotics, not GMO's -- and I drove nearly 90 minutes round trip to buy it for her.

So, my employer and her two kids jmp in the car yesterday evening and head for the timeshare in the Berkshires. I now have the house to my self until Friday evening.

I slept in this morning and then by 11:00 I started doing laundry and cooking some of my Thanksgiving stuff ahead of time. I chop some vegetables, I get the greenbeans cooking on the stove (organic fresh greebeans which will take 3 hours to cook). But I had no potato peeler because my employer took it with her to the Berkshires, and I have no roasting pan either. So I intend to leave this afternoon by 3:00 or 3:30 to go shopping for a few odds and ends, and especially the potato peeler and the roasting pan.

But by 3:10 she calls and says her brother is coming by with the computer so she asks if I can be there to let him.

Sure, I say. So I set up a corner of the living room for him where the computer needs to go. I pull out a set of TV trays for him to use and I dust off one of my old powerstrips and brig it downstairs to where the computer will go. And I wait.

And wait. I am cooking, but there's little left I can do without that potato peeler.

By 5:00 he's still not here so I text her asking if I can just go to the store because I need to get cracking with my pre-cooking stuff. She says yes, feel free. But just five minutes later, before I can leave, he comes in and so now I meet him for the very first time.

She never told me he was physically disabled with partial paralysis to the left side of his body and a pronounced limp. But that's not a big deal, right? I can socialize with a physically disabled person, right?

Meanwhile, he seems to have an incontinence problem and he reeks of urine. But that's not a big deal, right? I can get past the smell, right?

Meanwhile, he's a "mumbler" who never shuts up and is always talking out loud to himself, making sound effects and contantly engaged in a running verbal commentary. But that's not a big deal, right? I can get past his motor mouth, right?

Meanwhile, he is getting dropped of by a friend who drove him here because it turns out he cannot drive. Oh well. His friend is coming back "in just a while" he said to me. (How long can it take to set up a computer?)

Meanwhile, he is also what I shall delicately call "a hinter." Many physically disabled people have developed the skill of getting people to do things for them by hinting and cajoling, and doing their very fucking rock bottom goddamned best to never utter the words "I hate to be a bother, but could you possibly ....." Nope--never utter it in the form of a request. Never if they can possibly help it. It's an art form. And I absolutely HATE "hinters" no matter what corner of life they come from, able-bodied or not, I detest the practice of "hinting." It rubs me the wrong way on so many levels. Just come out and SAY it .... please????? I really am very accomodating if you'd just ask me with a forthrightness and you don't resort to "handling" me and "managing" me and "coercing" me and ... (there's no other way to say it) ... "manipulating" me. The hair stands up on the back of my neck if I sense anyone is trying to manipulate me.

So ... first thing he says as he's limping through the door with a laptop in his hands is: "Hi, I'm Mike. You ust be Plot Device. I need an electical outlet because my computer battery is dying." No problem. So he hands me the laptop (without asking if I'm even willing to take it, just thrusts it into my hands) and orders me (yes, he ORDERS me) to plug it in as soon as possible. And I do. And as I a plugging it in he keeps directing me at every step of the way on the best way to plug it in and the need for me to keep it as upright as possible as I do so.

Next ... he wants to me carry in the monitor that his friend set down on the porch before said-freind hurried off to his car and took off. But he won't actually ASK me to carry in the monitor. He needs to "hint" about it. So I do it.

Then he needs to go down into the basement and find a spare computer cable. I tell him there's no railing. No worries. He fully intends to go down into the cellar in spite of no railing. He tells me he needs a flashight (doesn't ask, just announces that he needs one). I run upstairs and get mine from my bedroom. I hand it to him. Then I resign myself to not doing any more chores (cooking or laundry or whatever) while he is still here. If I do chores upstairs, he will probably disrupt me by hinting at his need of me to do this or to do that. If I try to do my laundry in the basement where he currently is, he will again probably try to get me to do this or to do that. So I instead just sit down at my computer in the living room and I resign myself to wait for him to leave. Then once he is gone I can get back into my groove of trying to get my pre-Thanksgiving cooking done, get my laundry done, and also to head out to the store eventually to buy my potato peeler so I can peel potatoes and squash and yams.

I hear him bumping around downstairs and he is being VERY loud and demonstrative about it. He's TOO loud for his bumping around to be anything more than some need he has to be loud and to constantly make other people aware of his presence. And he's "mumbling" too -- he's endlessly making private commentary out loud (operant word being "loud") accompanied by whistles and sighs and grunts and laughs. And I keep thinking he might be wanting to entice me into coming downstairs via these overt verbal offerings, but my patience is wearing thin. Between the smell of piss and the tiresome running commentary and his doing the one thing that irks me right out the door --subtle manipulative coerciveness-- I just want to ignore him. He'll be gone soon, right?

And then he calls out: "Here's your flashlight!" But I simply call back to him: "You can just leave it by the washing machine."

Little did I realize that his true intention was for me to come down stairs to get the flashlight becasue he had another chore in mind for me. After he repeatedly said "Here's your flashlight!" And after I repeatedly said he can just leave it by the washing machine, he finally came upstairs with my flashlight AND a second (much bigger) flashlight in hand. And then he puts on a big dispay of exhaustion whereby he huffs and puffs and sighs to me: "Whew! I really didn't wanna have to come all the way back up stairs again but you didn't come down and I really needed you to --" So I interrupted him: "If you needed me to do something, why didn't you just SAY so?" He didn't answer. But I knew the answer: he doesn't want to ever have to actually ask. "Communicatio is a good thing," I added. "What do you need?"

He explained: "I found a better flashlight, but I can't change the power cell. It's stuck." And he gestures it toward me.

I take it and I try to change it. It IS stuck. So I ask him if he can hold one end and I'll try to pry it open myself at the other. He does. We did it together with a lot of effort.

After he has his new flashlight working, he goes back downstairs and again bumps around for easilly half an hour, making needlessly loud noises with his hands and his mouth, never ceasing. Never.

Its almost 7:00 and the stores will all close by 10:00. No stores will be open tmorrow. If I am going to go to the grocery store and get a potato peeler and a roasting pan, I have to go right now. The alternative is I have to peel over 15 pounds of vegetables by hand, and I have to mickey mouse a pan for baking a 12 pound bird in.

He comes upstairs and I ask him how much longer he needs to stay. He says his friend wil be back in half an hour. He calls his friend and says he needs a computer cord. His friend says he is out getting a haircut and will be there in half an hour. He keeps messing with the computer, endlessly commenting out loud to no one.

By 8:00 his friend still hasn't come. I ask where his friend is. He says "he'll be back soon." And he assures me he and his friend are going to a party together tonight. "What time does the party start?" I ask. "At 7:00," he says.

I suddenly get a call from my employer who apologizes and explains that her brother got shot in the head about five years ago by an armed robber and that's why he's semi-paralyzed and also why he sometimes doesn't think things through very well. (She never once told me he was in any way disabled, that he couldn't drive, or that he has reasoning difficulties.)

I explain to her I am worried he is perhaps getting ditched by his friend who is supposedly out getting a haircut (at 8:00 PM on the night before Thanksgiving??). I am worried he will wind up spending the night and then he will be here tomorrow with my family. I do not mention to her the fact that he smells like piss, but he has no change of clothes and so he might be here tomorrow in those same clothes while I am trying to mend a 20-year rift in my family. I further explain that I need that potato peeler and that roasting pan or I will not be able to complete about 50% of my Thanksgiving dinner before 9:00 tomorrow morning. I tell her I can gladly give him a ride wherever he wants to go. She tells me to give him a spare house key and to instruct him to toss it under the mat when he leaves. Then I can feel free to go to the store.

I go downstairs and explain to him about the key. He expains that his friend just arrived a few mintes ago and then left again-- he dropped off the computer cord and so now he will complete the installatio of the computer. I wanted so much to ask "Why the hell didn't you just fucking leave??" But I didn't.

I go to the store at 8:30. I get all my stuff.

I get back by 9:30 and he is still here. The smell of urine is worse.

I call her and ask her where she might like me to have him sleep if he DOES spend the night. She assures me that she beleives his friend is indeed coming.

After I hang up with my employer, I ask him when his friend is coming. He says "Whenever. After you gave me the key I called him back and told him to just take his time now."

I just ignore him and I start peeling butternut squash with the potato peeler.

I overhear him calling his friend and telling him "I gotta get out of this house, man!" I go back into the living room and try to assure him he can come to his own sister's house whenever he wants to. He says: "You're making me uncomfortable!"

And then he just leaves.




So ....



I think I might get fired now. And what's worse is that when you are a live-in nanny who gets fired ... you are not only out of a job, you are also out of a home.



.

alleycat
11-26-2009, 10:35 AM
Well, I read most of that; no offense meant, but I couldn't quite make it all the way through without just scanning it.

I know it can be difficult, but when something like this happens, there is no use trying to guess the "end of the story". Your employer might listen to the whole story, apologize and give you a bonus . . . or might fire you. I would say the best thing for you to do is try to lower the drama a little (Zen in the art of everyday living). We all get pissed off and rattled when we're in the middle of some conflict; three days later we can be laughing about it. You probably feel a little better just getting it all off your chest by posting the story here.

In any event, make a mental note of all of this, or write it down. Surely you'll be able to use it in some novel or script in the future. ;-)

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 10:39 AM
It's her brother. It's her family. And she loves him the most intently. Before his assault he was her hero. After his assault she still loved him to pieces. She has other family she just can't stand. (I've met them, and they're very difficult to deal with.) But this brother she sticks up for.

How can she not find fault with me?

And no offense taken --this is easilly the longest post I have made outside of sharing the first ten pages of a script. Even I am having a hard time reading through it.

alleycat
11-26-2009, 11:06 AM
Yes, but this might be a much "bigger thing" to you (since you were there), than it will be to her.

I know really know any of you, of course, so I can only get a hint of the relationships from your post, but I can easily see your employer shrugging her shoulders ("Yeah, I know he can be like that . . . ") and writing the whole thing off. People tend to "blow up" around holidays anyway. You might be stressing this because you're already stressed. I know it's the easiest thing in the world to give someone else advice (not as easy to work on oneself), but it probably would be better to "let it go for now" than to keep replaying the "scene" in your head. If you have a calm attitude it will also help to resolve things if worst comes to worst. About the best any of us can do is to stand up for ourselves if we feel we're being misused, and apologize when we find ourselves in the wrong.

Why do I suddenly feel like Dr. Phil? Only with more hair. :-)

JoNightshade
11-26-2009, 11:10 AM
I read it all, and I think your employer will likely be understanding and not make a big deal out of it. When you called her multiple times it sounded like she was pretty understanding, and she has to know how her brother comes off to other people. That said, he IS her brother, so I wouldn't get up in arms or complain (much). If he complains to her about his "treatment," just tell her you did the best you could but you weren't prepared to be HIS nanny on your holiday.

Cassiopeia
11-26-2009, 11:26 AM
I really don't see why she would be upset with you. She obviously knows how he can be and also, he may never mention it to her so don't you either. If she brings it up, say, I didn't mean to offend him, I'm sorry.

not_HarryS
11-26-2009, 01:28 PM
Seriously, things like this are really easy to explain away. As long as your employer is a reasonably reasonable (that's right, reasonably reasonable) person --and it sounds like she is, from your post-- just try to act as apologetic as possible and express your concern about his well-being.

In fact, I'd talk to her before he gets the chance to. Say something along the lines of, "Your brother kind of stormed off the other night. I hope all of my running around and preparing for Thanksgiving didn't make him feel neglected. If so, I'm really sorry. Maybe he can come over again for dinner sometime? I'll make you guys something really nice."

And whammo. You've got the moral upper ground, no matter what he says.

Because:

- You expressed concern over his abrupt departure (and the possibility of your having hurt his feelings).
- You mentioned Thanksgiving and your family, which will soften her up.
- You apologized for any harm done, and
- You offered a means of making up for the situation.

A killer (albeit a bit manipulative) combination in my book.

As a side note, no matter how much she loves him, she knows her brother best; she sounded apologetic enough in her phone call to you, so my guess is that she's pretty aware of the impression that he gives people and/or the impression people give him.

Don't worry about it :) Have a nice Thanksgiving with your family.

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 03:09 PM
For all I know his "friend" never even picked him up. A semi-paralyzed man with reasoning difficulties walked out the door last night by himself at 10:00 at night and I have no idea what became of him.

At best he hung out in the rain for ten mintes before his friend arrived. At worst, this city is listed as one of the top 10 worst America cities to live in, right up there with Detroit and Cleveland.

KTC
11-26-2009, 04:20 PM
I read your entire post. I can SO see how he would be uncomfortable. Wow.

Ambrosia
11-26-2009, 04:22 PM
For all I know his "friend" never even picked him up. A semi-paralyzed man with reasoning difficulties walked out the door last night by himself at 10:00 at night and I have no idea what became of him.

At best he hung out in the rain for ten mintes before his friend arrived. At worst, this city is listed as one of the top 10 worst America cities to live in, right up there with Detroit and Cleveland.

Repeat after me: It is not my responsibility. It is not my responsibility. It is not my responsibility.

Her brother, her decision. As proven here:


She tells me to give him a spare house key and to instruct him to toss it under the mat when he leaves. Then I can feel free to go to the store.

You are setting yourself up for a collapse with all this worrying. You are overly stressed about Thanksgiving and trying to repair a 20 yr rift and then you are adding this incident with your employer's brother into the mix. Realize you did the best you could and move on. It will work out, regardless what happens.

Any employer that would give her employee permission to cook Thanksgiving dinner in her house and invite people to her house she has never met before sounds like the type of person who cares deeply about said employee. Yes she loves her brother. But she values you and what you do for her. She doesn't have to choose between the two of you. Trust your relationship with her and the goodness that is in her heart and her understanding nature. Then put the whole incident with her brother behind you. You have enough stress about right now. :)

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 05:00 PM
I read your entire post.

God bless you.


I can SO see how he would be uncomfortable. Wow.

But how I wouldn't?

After he was gone I began to realize he probably also might have a very bad sense of time. The words "just half an hour" kept comig out of his mouth again ad again. If he had only told me he fully intended to spend 5 or 6 hours here, I would have gladly said "Fine! Hop in my car. We're going to the store. I have a potato peeler to buy." And I also would have fed him dinner. (I offered him dinner and he refused.) But his constant harping upon the phrase "half an hour" kept me thinking he would be gone ... in half an hour. (Silly of me to believe such a thing, eh?)

One of things my employer said to me on the phone during one of our LATTER phone calls (not the initial call where she said her brother was coming by FOR NO OTHER REASSON THAN TO SET UP THE COMPUTER) was "I honestly didn't know he was coming. I got a phone call from him a few hours ago wherehe said 'Guess what! I'm comig over today to hang out with you all day!'" So that tells me HE FULLY INTENDED TO HANG AND HANG AND HANG until his friend came back at some outrageously late evening our to bring him to the latter half of this party I kept hearing about. And then at the end of his visit when he yelled at me and said "You're making me unconfortable," he additionally tossed in the contrdictory claim of "I had time to kill today." He had time to kill? SO he killed it here?? Here??? of all the places he could have killed time, he killed it here? And he still kept telling me "just half an hour" and he even once said "he'll be here any minute now."

If only either he or my employer had said to me from the fucking get-go: "He will be there for 5 or 6 hours" I could have readjusted my day and also adjusted my psychological ability to deal with this guy I had never met before who came with a surprise package of disabilities that no one mentioned to me or clued me in about -- on top of my stressing over the goddamned $500.00 worth of organic groceries that my sister is surely going to find something to snub me over today. I'm NOT the world's best cook. I can manage cooking with some skill but I'm not a natural at it. And screwing up Thanksgiving dinner before the eyes of such an unforgiving sister is a load of stress I was already operating on overload with all day yesterday.

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 05:06 PM
Repeat after me: It is not my responsibility. It is not my responsibility. It is not my responsibility.

Her brother, her decision. As proven here:



You are setting yourself up for a collapse with all this worrying. You are overly stressed about Thanksgiving and trying to repair a 20 yr rift and then you are adding this incident with your employer's brother into the mix. Realize you did the best you could and move on. It will work out, regardless what happens.

Any employer that would give her employee permission to cook Thanksgiving dinner in her house and invite people to her house she has never met before sounds like the type of person who cares deeply about said employee. Yes she loves her brother. But she values you and what you do for her. She doesn't have to choose between the two of you. Trust your relationship with her and the goodness that is in her heart and her understanding nature. Then put the whole incident with her brother behind you. You have enough stress about right now. :)

Everything you said makes eprfect sense.

But ths is NOT my house. And this guy is her family -- her FAVORITE family member to boot. Emotions can run high so I think I might get fired.


GAWD! Holidays!!! :(

KTC
11-26-2009, 05:07 PM
But if he read your mood the way I'm reading it here...he had a right to feel uncomfortable. People talk to themselves, whistle, laugh, etc. So what. White noise. Shut it out. You repeatedly mentioned his disabilities. People have to warn you of somebody's disabilities before you can deal with that person on a social level? What's that about? This part tells me that you have issues with this...and that you most likely are horrible at hiding them...thusly, he read your mood perfectly loud and clear. There is no reason on God's green earth you needed to be warned of his disabilities ahead of time. I'm guessing your emotions are an open book and he didn't like what he was reading.

That's just one opinion though...disposable as you see fit.

KTC
11-26-2009, 05:11 PM
For what it's worth, I just wanted to add that I don't think this will have any bearing on your employment status...I really don't think it's THAT big an issue.

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 05:24 PM
But if he read your mood the way I'm reading it here...he had a right to feel uncomfortable. People talk to themselves, whistle, laugh, etc. So what. White noise. Shut it out. You repeatedly mentioned his disabilities. People have to warn you of somebody's disabilities before you can deal with that person on a social level? What's that about? This part tells me that you have issues with this...and that you most likely are horrible at hiding them...thusly, he read your mood perfectly loud and clear. There is no reason on God's green earth you needed to be warned of his disabilities ahead of time. I'm guessing your emotions are an open book and he didn't like what he was reading.

That's just one opinion though...disposable as you see fit.


I have a hard time dealing with someone who manipulates me and who orders me around and who never says please and instead re-tools his requests into manipulation rather than staright requests.

And I was a live-in personal assistant to a wheelchair bound man for over a year. He was sweetherat and I got a great reference from him after I left. I had to help him every day to get out of bed and into the shower and then help him get dressed, and then I had to help him every night get undressed and into bed. I did all his laundry and I sometimes had to clean up his (rare) accidental bowel movements including scrubbig off the cells of his Roho cushion and laundering the Roho cushion cover. He also had zero sense of smell, so if he smelled bad he never knew it, but he was very conscience about the possibility that he MIGHT smell badly so he was very dillgent with his personal hygeine and he requested that I always tell him if he smelled of either urine or of bowel movement -- which was very rare.

I can handle physcially disabled people. But I can't handle someone manipulating me and ordering me around and then fucking up my day with their own inability to keep track of time.


::ETA::

If someone has a disability, then those around that pperson have to compensate. I can compensate if I am prepared to compensate. But I was instead needlessly blindsided yesterday with not much operating capacity left in my over-taxed emotional energy to try and regroup and readjust. The lack of correct information about time frames and about the depth and extent of the disability was not helpful either.

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 05:28 PM
For what it's worth, I just wanted to add that I don't think this will have any bearing on your employment status...I really don't think it's THAT big an issue.


Perhaps not.

KTC
11-26-2009, 05:28 PM
She never told me he was physically disabled with partial paralysis to the left side of his body and a pronounced limp. But that's not a big deal, right? I can socialize with a physically disabled person, right?

Meanwhile, he seems to have an incontinence problem and he reeks of urine. But that's not a big deal, right? I can get past the smell, right?

This was the point at which my alarm went off. Who even considers this question? This is before he even opens his mouth.

DVGuru
11-26-2009, 05:41 PM
How busy is your employer's life? How good are you at your job? I think those are the important questions. The fact that you live there tells me your employer is possibly single (you never mentioned a husband/boyfriend and said she went to the timeshare with her and her kids), and busy enough to need a live-in nanny. Even if she is upset over what happened, it's not like you insulted the guy to his face. It might be more work for her to have to go through the process of firing you and finding a new nanny, especially when she trusts you enough to leave you alone in her home and have your family over for Thanksgiving.

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 05:44 PM
This was the point at which my alarm went off. Who even considers this question? This is before he even opens his mouth.


You are justified to be alarmed.

But on a psycho-social level of human interactions, how many poeple can deal gracefully with meeting a person for the first time when that person reeks of urine?

You're asking me to forgive much. I can usually forgive much and to look past much. But I was ill-prepared via lack of knowledge of his many disabilities, via the assumption that the house was supposed to be "all mine" for the duration of the entire day yesterday, and via the fact that I was operating way the hell at the opposite end of the face-the-world-with-a-smile spectrum yesterday and I was intsead operating in an introspective zone of stewig over my family. I was focuassing all my engeries toward making sure I did as little damage as possble to Tnaksgiving diner, and also focusing upon tryig to make sure I looked my best for my family in the followig 24 hours.

But a huge monkey wrench got thrown into my prep-cooking time and my prep-laundry time and my prep-get-reday-to-deal-with-the-family time.

No I didn't handle it gracefully. I'm neither a natural at cooking nor a natural at spontaneous surprise encounters that are invasive to my privacy and which overtly fuck with my head. I'd make a lousy foreign dignitary.

Libbie
11-26-2009, 06:04 PM
I grew up with a mom who's an occupational therapist, and as a consequence I was around a lot of physically disabled people. I don't blame you or judge you for wondering whether you could get along with one. It's a natural reaction, I think, the first time a person is really confronted by interacting with a disabled person. At the very least, we often wonder whether we'll be able to help them if they need help.

I think you may be worrying too much, though. I know your employer loves her brother, but she also knows what he's like. She invited you to the Berkshires for Thanksgiving, for corn's sake -- she clearly values you as an employee and as a person, and she's a business woman -- she will very likely be objective, even though this is her brother we're talking about. She knows what he's like.

Cheer up! Enjoy your dinner. I'm sure you did a great job with it. :)

Plot Device
11-26-2009, 06:13 PM
Okay guys -- I just opened up the bird and the label says it's a 13 lb tukey, not an 11 lb like I thought.

Total fuck up on my part! I am now late getting the bird into the oven!

Gotta go! Thanks for all the encouragement.

See ya! And Happy Turkey Day!

Devil Ledbetter
11-26-2009, 06:27 PM
Look at it from your employer's POV. You live at her house, you get along great with each other and she's confident you're taking excellent care of her children. She's a single mom who is "driven" and therefore you are a critical part of how she runs her life.

Don't underestimate how difficult you would be to replace.

backslashbaby
11-26-2009, 09:32 PM
Take care and have a great Thanksgiving!! I'm sure it'll be fine.

Next time tell him you are swamped with things to do because you are cooking up a storm. To give a yell if he needs a quick hand with anything. Be upfront yourself, girl! Then leave him be to chill out at his sister's house if he likes.

Sometimes it's easiest and most upfront to go about your merry way. But I bet you're fine, jobwise. Just one of those things!

Snowstorm
11-26-2009, 10:07 PM
I agree wth Not_HarryS, IMHO. Relax, and try to enjoy the day! And I do NOT mean for you to hit the liquor too much if you're still real worried. Getting liquored up just makes things worse. :Hug2:

scarletpeaches
11-26-2009, 10:12 PM
This was the point at which my alarm went off. Who even considers this question? This is before he even opens his mouth.Anyone who's unprepared, anyone who's unsure of their own ability to cope with said disabilities, anyone who's already stressed, anyone who doesn't like the stench of urine, perhaps?

It's an entirely natural reaction. I mean say for instance a person in a wheelchair wanted to visit me. My first reaction would be "Shit, how are we gonna deal with the stairs?" That doesn't mean you look down on a person, it just means you foresee problems between their disability and your ability to cope.

Especially when your ability to plan has been fucked up for you, given that the brother was a last-minute surprise.

Pretending everything's hunky dory doesn't magically make a disability or any special needs disappear.

backslashbaby
11-26-2009, 11:22 PM
Usually disabled folks really will give a yell if they need anything. I had sweet guys at school carry my bag up the stairs as soon as they heard how bad my back is, but I also have no problems asking people to carry things for me. Or open the door, etc. I don't hold it against anyone for not anticipating what I'll need - that's not their job :)

OK, except a girl I knew forever, who knew tons about my back, who expected me to help her carry her big potted plants around her yard. Um, no ;)

A disabled person can't very well say, "If I need anything, I'll tell you" to someone they just met. But if you can see their disability, you can always say "Oh, tell me if you need me to get the door or anything like that" and that makes things clear, imho.

And if you are busy and not meant to babysit, they shold have brought someone else to help set up the computer, imho. He doesn't get to run you around just because he needs help - spoken as someone who always asks first about who I have to help me carry things! I'd have let him know that I planned on doing my own stuff, but of course I didn't mind if he hung around his sister's place setting up things. He could call his friend if he needed help (well, I'd grab a flashlight, certainly).

scarletpeaches
11-26-2009, 11:29 PM
From what I read in the OP, it's the guy's legs that don't work, not his mouth. He wants help, he can bloody well ask for it. Plot Device isn't a mindreader, a babysitter, or his slave.

KTC
11-26-2009, 11:31 PM
You don't answer a door, see a disabled person and think, 'oh shit! well, I guess I might be able to deal with this!' You say, "Hello."

I do not agree with you, Peachy. For the record.

KTC
11-26-2009, 11:33 PM
From what I read in the OP, it's the guy's legs that don't work, not his mouth. He wants help, he can bloody well ask for it. Plot Device isn't a mindreader, a babysitter, or his slave.

So you don't see in the OP that PD got her back up when she opened the door? Wow. Really? Because I do.

scarletpeaches
11-26-2009, 11:34 PM
You didn't get that he showed up hours late smelling of urine?

Since when was a physical disability an excuse for that?

KTC
11-26-2009, 11:44 PM
You didn't get that he showed up hours late smelling of urine?

Since when was a physical disability an excuse for that?


It's not an excuse for that...but personal hygiene is another topic. I wager her back was up before she smelled him. The whole explanation reeks of disdain for the guy.

scarletpeaches
11-26-2009, 11:48 PM
I dunno. We disagree on this, clearly, but with no hard feelings I hope.

Lateness is a bugbear for me. That alone would get my back up. I'd be waiting for a "Sorry I'm late," and if I didn't get it, yeah, I'd be annoyed.

KTC
11-26-2009, 11:52 PM
Of course with no hard feelings.

I read a hostility at even having to deal with the guy at all...and further hostility when she opened the door and saw, well shit...he's disabled too! That's just great!

escritora
11-26-2009, 11:52 PM
PD, I think what will throw your employer off is that you made it clear you were worried he was going to spend the night (I get it and understand). She may infer, whether intentionally or not, that you did make him uncomfortable. That will probably upset her. Not enough to fire you, tho.

What also may upset her is that you called when you were being inconvenienced but didn't call to let her know that her brother walked out. And as you said, his reasoning skills are lacking.

Those are the only reasons I can think of that she may be upset. That said, everything will most likely be fine.

DWSTXS
11-27-2009, 12:00 AM
Well, I too read the entire post (nice little Curb Your Enthusiasm-style short story there IMHO) and I think that you should be, and probably will be, commended for dealing with what was an extremely uncomfortable and difficult situation.

You just need to remind your employer that you have no experience in dealing with her brother, and had no clue as to the origins of his disability.

Sounds to me as if you went way above and beyond the call of duty/family/employee/employer, and any offense taken was his, and he doesn't know any better anyway.

I'm also betting that your employer has already had to deal with far worse, and much more difficult/awkward situations between the brother and outsiders.

I think you did a great job.

Now, if you really want to flex your muscles, I'm needing some help with my mother. . . LOL

Xelebes
11-27-2009, 01:08 AM
You don't answer a door, see a disabled person and think, 'oh shit! well, I guess I might be able to deal with this!' You say, "Hello."

I do not agree with you, Peachy. For the record.

As a (mentally) disabled person, sometimes I prefer the former to the latter because I don't know what I'm going to do that will seem odd. If the other person notices this right off the bat, asks themselves what needs to be done to keep the conversation going instead of just saying hello and expecting me to respond appropriately.

Uma
11-27-2009, 06:59 PM
It's interesting to read all of the perspectives of this issue - when I read your story, I was thinking more of my time as a nanny and how my pet peeve was always how any 'time off' spent at the house, could very easily be eaten up by work - ie. there was never any down time.

To me, this guys sudden demands impeded your day off, which you had already filled with plans. Yes, he was disabled, which further stressed the feeling that you should be accommodating, but you really wanted to just do what you wanted to do without having to plan around something else.

If you are a good nanny, I don't think this should be cause for firing. Finding a good nanny relationship is not easy, and not one to be thrown away for nothing.

This guy had already not shown up several times for his sister - which kind of points towards other issues afoot anyway.

Hope your dinner was a success!!

Thump
11-27-2009, 07:39 PM
I think you dealt with it well considering how little you expected him to show up so late as well as his behaviour, which is unnacceptable from almost anyone. Also, you had reason to dislike him to begin with as, from his sister's accounts, he was a loser who never showed up and didn't keep promises. If she had mentionned his disability before, then you wouldn't have started out from a position of expecting someone unreliable and selfish. He might be those things but there are a least factors that make it more forgiveable from him than from the average person.

You behaved towards him as you would any other person, disabled or not. If he didn't like it, too bad for him. His disability doesn't mean he should be treated like a king. If you want consideration, you have to deserve it as much as you can. If all you can manage is limited by a mental illness, as long as you're doing your best, then fine, you can be difficult to manage. I've known people much more disabled than this man who were hard to deal with but it clearly was something they couldn't help and they were doing the best they could with what they had.

I'm sure everything is going to be fine and if your boss is angry, just explain in detail your behaviour and words. From your post, it's not that you were being unpleasant or rude, you were just busy and were not in a position to dedicate your entire time to him and his needs especially as he didn't clearly ask for your assistance. Yeah, he is her brother but I'm sure that if you explain your position clearly and calmly she will see that what really happened and whatever he might say to her are completely different things :)

kaitie
11-27-2009, 07:57 PM
I also think you're worrying about something that isn't really that big of a deal. She knows her brother and you were handling it pretty well. I wasn't there and don't know the situation, but my guess is she would understand and at worst probably make it a point that you don't have to deal with him on your own.

I did just want to add, however, that there's nothing inherently wrong with being a "hinter." Different people have different communication styles. I live in Japan and it's an entire country of hinters. It's actually considered rude to be direct. Yes, it drives me crazy, but I try to see it from there perspective. It would be rude to just ask for help and potentially put someone out, so if you're very indirect then they're supposed to pick up on the hint and offer help as just the nice socially appropriate thing to do.

I'm thinking from the perspective of someone who is disabled, and I can imagine easily that always asking for help and depending on people would be very difficult. I can see how someone might feel uncertain, and maybe even guilty about that sort of thing. Maybe not asking is his way of dealing with that. Maybe that's just how he is.

I also would like to say that there's a definite level of inherent forgiveness required from a brain injury. It is entirely possible that before the accident he might not have been demanding or a hinter. He might have been a perfectly polite, well-mannered man. He may not have any idea how he sounds, and might be attempting but unable to reason through situations and read social cues correctly anymore. Yes, it makes him more difficult to be around, but it's also the kind of thing we should try to be understanding about.

You could probably say (probably would take quite a few times) "Please, feel free to just ask," in a situation like this and potentially negate the first problem (eventually). It would have to be said in a really nice and sincere sort of way. If it's the second problem...well, there isn't much you can do but try to understand that he isn't capable of the same mental processes we are blessed with.

Elaine Margarett
11-27-2009, 08:40 PM
You didn't get that he showed up hours late smelling of urine?

Since when was a physical disability an excuse for that?

Consider for a moment that this poor man is also mentally disabled. He smells of urine and he obviously has no clear understanding of time. PD mentioned how he would promise to come to the house and not show up. That tells me there are other issues he struggles with.

PD, I think you could have handled it better. Helping the guy would have gotten him finished sooner. I understand your particular pet peeve, but you're the able-bodied, able-minded person in this scenario so I think it fell to you to be the bigger person.

However, I do think you are way over-thinking this. Your employer knows her brother's limitations and will be understanding. I wouldn't mention it. If it's a problem she'll bring it up, but I'm thinking the last thing she wants is to hear someone complaining about a person who can't help himself.

scarletpeaches
11-27-2009, 08:59 PM
Consider for a moment that this poor man is also mentally disabled. He smells of urine and he obviously has no clear understanding of time. PD mentioned how he would promise to come to the house and not show up. That tells me there are other issues he struggles with.This is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness. This could also be a symptom of sheer bloody rudeness.

Elaine Margarett
11-27-2009, 11:22 PM
This is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness. This could also be a symptom of sheer bloody rudeness.

Sure.

But given that the man suffered a grevious injury, and his vague/weird conversations, and the other info about the guy, all point to a mental defect.

It seemed obvious to me.

scarletpeaches
11-27-2009, 11:25 PM
Could well be.

I still think PD deserved some preparation at least. Say, how to cope, how to provide for this man's individual needs if necessary.

If he does have special needs, she definitely should have been 'briefed' for want of a better word, if only for this man's sake, so he wasn't inconvenienced, or his health didn't suffer.

benbradley
11-28-2009, 02:42 AM
Consider for a moment that this poor man is also mentally disabled. He smells of urine and he obviously has no clear understanding of time.
One would have thought these things would be important enough that the employer/sister would have brought up to PD.

Well, I would have thought it. Maybe the sister's a reasonable person and I'm crazy.

The woman apparently idolizes her brother a little too much, otherwise this would not have been the imposing problem it was on PD.

PD mentioned how he would promise to come to the house and not show up. That tells me there are other issues he struggles with.

PD, I think you could have handled it better. Helping the guy would have gotten him finished sooner. I understand your particular pet peeve, but you're the able-bodied, able-minded person in this scenario so I think it fell to you to be the bigger person.

However, I do think you are way over-thinking this. Your employer knows her brother's limitations


and will be understanding. I wouldn't mention it. If it's a problem she'll bring it up, but I'm thinking the last thing she wants is to hear someone complaining about a person who can't help himself.
Especially if that person is her dear brother she idolizes so much. Geez.

Could well be.

I still think PD deserved some preparation at least. Say, how to cope, how to provide for this man's individual needs if necessary.
"You'll figure out when he's asking you to do something. Go ahead and do it for him." Ahem...yeah.

If h He does have special needs, so she definitely should have been 'briefed' for want of a better word, if only for this man's sake, so he wasn't inconvenienced, or his health didn't suffer.
What about PD being inconvenienced? Cooking thanksgiving dinner is a time-sensitive project, and the last thing she needed to be doing was to help out an unexpected (she was notified at the last minute), unexpectedly late and "needy" (apparently in many senses of the word) house guest.

There's got to be substantially more to the story. Does this woman really idolize her brother so much that she totally ignores the many problems he's apparently developed since the accident or whatever? That's quite odd.

Perhaps significant is this guy didn't come around before (to be DJ), when the sister and others were around. I could be reading more into this than is really there, but so far he has only come around when his sister is NOT there.

scarletpeaches
11-28-2009, 02:54 AM
That's my point, Ben. I had a rare moment of niceness and trying to see things from this guy's POV. Sorry. Won't happen again.

*pulls on bitch hat*

RAWR!

aadams73
11-28-2009, 10:16 PM
And I shared with her the silly quirks of my family, how we haven't spoken in years, how the illness and then death of my mother these past 5 months pretty much brought us all together, how my brother is a chronicgambler who believes the Anti-Christ is coming any day now, how my father told me he won't come to dinner unless there's someone else there to offset my brother and his rantings, how my sister is a health food enthusiast and so I need to appease her with my food choices or she won't come to dinner either.

I spent nearly $500.00 this past Sunday to please my sister by buying only organic stuff for Thanksgiving -- all natural, no anti-biotics, not GMO's -- and I drove nearly 90 minutes round trip to buy it for her.

.

Wow, urine-soaked disabled guy sounds like a far better deal than your family, imho. What a bunch of pains in the asses. I hope you managed to please them.

Plot Device
11-28-2009, 10:59 PM
It's interesting to read all of the perspectives of this issue - when I read your story, I was thinking more of my time as a nanny and how my pet peeve was always how any 'time off' spent at the house, could very easily be eaten up by work - ie. there was never any down time.

Yes. The day was supposed to be mine. The house was supposed to be mine. He took that from me in a huge way. It's not like I could have smiled at him and said "You know what? You seem to have some need to hang out so I'm just gonna leave right now 'cuz I have shit to do at home," because .... that house IS my home!!!


To me, this guys sudden demands impeded your day off, which you had already filled with plans. Yes, he was disabled, which further stressed the feeling that you should be accommodating, but you really wanted to just do what you wanted to do without having to plan around something else.

or have to RE-plan around something else.


If you are a good nanny, I don't think this should be cause for firing. Finding a good nanny relationship is not easy, and not one to be thrown away for nothing.

This guy had already not shown up several times for his sister - which kind of points towards other issues afoot anyway.

Hope your dinner was a success!!


It was actually. :) Thanks.

Plot Device
11-28-2009, 11:04 PM
Also, you had reason to dislike him to begin with as, from his sister's accounts, he was a loser who never showed up and didn't keep promises. If she had mentionned his disability before, then you wouldn't have started out from a position of expecting someone unreliable and selfish. He might be those things but there are a least factors that make it more forgiveable from him than from the average person.

I'm glad you picked up on that. Yes--I assumed he was a selfish, rushed, can't-be-bothered-to-come-by kind of a brother. I didn't realize he was dependent upon other people for rides.


You behaved towards him as you would any other person, disabled or not. If he didn't like it, too bad for him. His disability doesn't mean he should be treated like a king. If you want consideration, you have to deserve it as much as you can. If all you can manage is limited by a mental illness, as long as you're doing your best, then fine, you can be difficult to manage. I've known people much more disabled than this man who were hard to deal with but it clearly was something they couldn't help and they were doing the best they could with what they had.

I'm sure everything is going to be fine and if your boss is angry, just explain in detail your behaviour and words. From your post, it's not that you were being unpleasant or rude, you were just busy and were not in a position to dedicate your entire time to him and his needs especially as he didn't clearly ask for your assistance. Yeah, he is her brother but I'm sure that if you explain your position clearly and calmly she will see that what really happened and whatever he might say to her are completely different things :)


From what I can see, she knows what happened--he probably told her-- but she's not talking to me about it. She seems happy and fine and it's all water under the bridge now. :)

Plot Device
11-28-2009, 11:13 PM
Consider for a moment that this poor man is also mentally disabled. He smells of urine and he obviously has no clear understanding of time. PD mentioned how he would promise to come to the house and not show up. That tells me there are other issues he struggles with.

PD, I think you could have handled it better. Helping the guy would have gotten him finished sooner. I understand your particular pet peeve, but you're the able-bodied, able-minded person in this scenario so I think it fell to you to be the bigger person.


When he was done, I offered to give him a lift to wherever he needed to go--anywhere! I was willing to drive him all the way to Southampton (about a 40 minute drive one way). He said no and he insisted upon waiting for his friend who was coming "in half an hour." Fine. But afterg half an hour, no friend. I asked him again. And the answer again was: "he'll be here in half an hour." That claim of "he'll be here in half an hour" was repeated incessantly from 7:00 until 10:30. I continued to offer to give him a ride, but he kept declining.

Plot Device
11-28-2009, 11:18 PM
What about PD being inconvenienced? Cooking thanksgiving dinner is a time-sensitive project, and the last thing she needed to be doing was to help out an unexpected (she was notified at the last minute), unexpectedly late and "needy" (apparently in many senses of the word) house guest.

There's got to be substantially more to the story. Does this woman really idolize her brother so much that she totally ignores the many problems he's apparently developed since the accident or whatever? That's quite odd.



Her not telling me the details of her brother's disability might be an inner need my employer has to never be forced to apologise on behalf of her family -- something I don't blame her for. No one wants to apologise for their family (but many of us feel we must at times, myself included).