Thursday, June 1, 2023

Footing

Well, things are under way. The first concrete pour happened. The giant hole in the ground now has a rectangle of concrete in the bottom, which is called the footer. It is the base that ultimately the whole house will be built on. 



The picture below is taken from what will be the outside entrance to the basement. 
You are looking east.

Looking south




Looking north



Looking west. 



 Today, they will be building the walls. The iron rods standing in the concrete are called 'rebar'. There will be four rows of rebar going horizontally along the vertical rebar. This will provide reinforcement for the concrete walls, just as your bones provide support for your body. The 'planks' that you see leaning up against the dirt walls of what will be the cellar are the forms. They will be stood up to provide a mold for the walls. They will sit on top of the footers and the concrete will be poured between them and around the rebar. The floor will be poured, which will fill in that concrete rectangle we have now. 

This is the foundation, and it will be strong enough to hold up a house. The inspector told a funny (?) story about a fly-by-night person who was trying to build a house on the cheap. He built it without rebar support, and didn't call the inspector until after the pour. The inspector refused to approve it. Ultimately, being cheap cost him a lot of money, because the concrete needed to be redone. Concrete work is not cheap. Our job is $20,000, and those fellows are earning every penny of that money.

In other news, a group of teachers addressed the behavior problems at the school that William attends. I am very interested in this. We meet William and walk home with him pretty much every day and I see plenty of behavior that does shock me. That's not just a word. I mean, it truly does shock me.

After reading about the problems, I talked to William this morning. I told him what the teachers had said. He said in a musing way, "I didn't know they talked to teachers like that too." 

(too???) This warranted further questioning. 

William said, "Walter came at my friend Levi with a metal water bottle acting like he was going to smash him in the head with it yesterday." 

(*deep breath*) 

"Well, you do understand that when a kid behaves like this, nine chances out of ten, he is not going to hit you. He's getting off on making you afraid. That's what makes him feel powerful." 

(please, God, let this be true.)

William said, "I know. We stand our ground. I told Levi he wouldn't do it." 

(good, good...) 

"And then what did Walter do?" 

"Oh, he got mad. Then he told me, 'You are a waste of space, you shouldn't even be on this planet. No wonder your father ran away.'" 

(*gasp* long pause as I figure out what to say next). 

"William, you do understand that your father did not run away from you. He was a dangerous man. It was unsafe for you to be around him, and the courts agreed." 

"I know," he said. 

"You are a good kid. You know this, right?" 

"I know," he said. 

"Walter is not a bully. He is abusive. For a kid to be that cruel and hatefilled is not normal. Something terrible is happening in his home. If he's talking like that, he's not talking like that just to you and Levi. I'm going to guess he gets in trouble a lot." 

"He does," William answered. 

"And the thing is, that behavior is not going to stop when he gets out of school. In the adult world, abusive behavior gets you in trouble. Abusive people get arrested. They get criminial records. They go to jail. Every single abusive person learns that behavior as a kid." 

William listened. He listened as I said, "If this shit ever lays one hand on you, you need to stop right there. You need to go to the office. You need to call your grandmother. He cannot lay a hand on you, and I'm going to guess he knows that, but if he doesn't, he needs to learn it."

I dropped William off at school. I worry about his footing too. Is the 'rebar' we are building that boy around strong enough to hold him upright in the middle of bullshit like this? 

37 comments:

  1. What an awful situation to be part of. It sounds like William is capable of handling it at the moment, but some situations need authority to step in.

    Glad you are making good progress with the newbuild anyway.

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    1. I just really think that there needs to be consequences. One teacher I was talking with said that the problem is IEPs. That kids cannot be punished due to their IEPs. I don't believe that. I honestly don't. There HAS to be consdquences, and the school needs to enforce them. I understand that some kids are coming to school from bad circumstances but at some point, they need to learn how to control their behavior.

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  2. Gosh, I feel so bad for those teachers at William's school. I don't have solutions but they need more parents/grandparents like you to help children know how to behave appropriately. Maybe involving more of the parents would help return order to the school. It sounds like such a scary situation. I'm glad they are talking about it and looking for solutions...

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    1. So do I. I think it was very brave of the teachers to bring the issue up to the schoolboard. Things need to be different next year.

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  3. Poor William, I am glad he has a grandmother like you that loves him enough and cares enough to listen and be ready to step in if needed and that William knows it. School is out here but I still worry about the little ones that will be abused and go hungry in their home this summer. I know people bad mouth free lunches, but I have seen firsthand how many kids come to school hungry and with the same dirt on their face that has been there a few days. The times I run my hand down their little back, and they flinched as I run over ridges on their back. After being checked they found belt or wire marks, but the kid was afraid to say anything. The sheriff was not afraid to go to the house and the kid did not go home that night or until the abuser was removed. Sorry I tend to get away from the subject but some of the middle school kids are the ones you might see on the news in a few years.

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    1. It's a horrible situation for kids to be in.

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  4. An interesting article you linked to. It's often been observed at the school where I work that the pandemic set kids back emotionally by several years. They are less organized, less able to follow through on tasks and more immature behaviorally. I wonder if that's what teachers are seeing there?

    (Though it also sounds like there are issues with disciplinary enforcement and staffing. It shouldn't be a teacher's job to control a kid who's swinging a chair at him/her!)

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    1. It's pretty horrifying, Steve. We are by no means a big city. Our town has a population of about 9000 people. We are a small town. I remember reading stories as a kid about how rough things were in inner city schools. I thought it was horrible. How does that happen in podunk, PA? Mindboggling.

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  5. Glad William has you in his corner. At least the school is working to make parents aware of what's going on. Any repercussions for Walter?

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  6. Easier to place rebar in concrete than to place its metaphorical equivalent in our children. By far. But you are doing a good job, I do believe.

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  7. When I was growing up in grade school (in the late 50's) we had the occasional bully but they were the exception. But I do not recall anyone who was as abusive and prone to violence as this kid seems to be. You are doing the right thing with William, it is a good thing he has you. He needs you.

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  8. 2nd comment from me. I just read the link regarding the situation at William's school. I cannot fathom how the administrators let the situation get out of hand the way they have. The inmates are running the asylum. Seriously, if they don't get control of that and soon, things are going to get worse than they are now. All the more reason that it is good that William has you to support him.

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    1. To be honest, I don't really care if he finishes the school year. He's got another week. This is an awful situation to put teachers in. It is an awful situation to put the kids in.

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  9. You're doing a good job. It's tough being a parent / grandparent in today's world. The school environments ARE different. Hope the bully settles down. William knows who he can trust, and that's you and your hubby. Hang in there. Linda in Kansas

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    1. The problem is that it is not one bully. It's not. It's multiple kids, and multiple incidents with the same kids.The bully(ies) will not settle down, because there is no one to make them do so.

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  10. You are doing a good job building...boy and house

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    1. I can only hope. I am not perfect. I'm also quite a good worry wart.

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  11. It's great that Wiliam can talk to you. I wish I'd had someone I could walk with then I had troubles at school. Instead, I kept all to myself and thought they were my fault. Or maybe that was just how I am anyway. Kids need to be able to feel valued and of value.

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    1. I think it's important for us to keep a watchful eye on things. He's quite easy to read. If there is something wrong, I can see it. If there are kids misbehaving, I can see that. I can see how he interacts with other kids. He's come a long way. He's overcome a lot of fears. He's gotten a lot more confident in himself.

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  12. I think William is very fortunate to have you in his daily life. As someone who’s an experienced parent and now more mature, I think you may have a lot more patience, wisdom, and the energy it takes to discuss those issues - maybe more than many young parents have. Patience and energy are sometimes hard to find when you’re young and ‘in the midst of it’, if you know what I mean. (I’m just thinking back to my own days as a young parent) I hope William’s school days will get easier and gentler! Your work photos are great- so exciting!
    Ricki

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    1. As a retired person, it's a little easier to keep track of things. I worked nights when my kids were young, and it was exhausting. I wasn't a great mom because I was so fucking exhausted all the time. Everything was slap dash.

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  13. Ahh, well done with the connecting metaphor.

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  14. You have some very knowledgeable and supportive conversations with William. I like your rebar analogy.

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    1. I have more time to think about the conversations I need to have with him.

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  15. William knows you have his back. You are teaching him to stand up and not be intimidated. Yes, his footing is sound.

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  16. I used to work for over twenty years in a school for very vulnerable children and I'm well aware of the problems that educational plans can often cause. I'm sure that the advice that children should not be punished does not mean that teachers are meant to stand idly by. They still have a duty to the safety of all children. It's a difficult situation but the fact that they are having meetings about the problem surely means that they are aware of it and want to do something about it. In some schools that won't happen.

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    1. I believe that it is an excuse. Not all the problems are coming from the children with disabilities. A good, IEP, by definition should lay out how to help a child meet goals within the framework of the school structure. The article says that there were 143 parent-teacher conferences for children with IEPs. There were 331 conferences for children WITHOUT IEPs. In other words over 2x the conferences were for kids without disability. They also said that in examining it, you saw repeat offenders, some kids having as many as 12 conferences. For one child. To me, that is a paper trail that clearly displays who the problem children are, and these are the children that should be handled with firm guidelines and consequences for bad behavior, including expulsion from school EACH and EVERY time the child creates "an incident". Instead, you have a principal who (for a time) was separating the boys and girls and having an actual physical inspection to make sure they were appropriately dressed for school. Sending a girl home because her shorts are deemed to be too short while ignoring boys threatening the teachers and other students is not even sensible. But lets throw our hands in the air and claim that it is the kids with disabilities making the problem. Scape goat for poor administration.

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  17. One of my sons and my grandson also, work in a factory operating the machines that make the rebar, son-in-law and grandson work with the concrete side of building.
    Well done William!

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    1. My first thought was: perhaps we are using that very rebar....but I reckon not. LOL. But let me tell you, your son-in-law and grandson would have all the work they could juggle were they in my area!

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  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdPaqt6RY_Q
    Debby, have you seen this? Food for thought for William's school.
    Bonnie in Minneapolis

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  19. Bonnie, that was amazing. I have posted it to my facebook page. It is something to be considered.

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  20. Back in the day, we started all our pours building forms from scratch out of plywood, 2x4's and lots of nails. It makes me so thankful to have access to concrete forms like what you have pictured in this post that go together much faster and with less effort.

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  21. Oh gracious! This is scary, Debby. I'm so glad you are there for Williams. He is so very lucky to have you both.

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I'm glad you're here!