After the second part of the discharge conference on Friday, I expected that n. would spend most of his time at the apartment on Balmoral Street, until that arrangement collapsed. When he had been in hospital, n. told me a story about Keith, the actual tenant, slicing a phone cord to make a point to a visitor who had outstayed his welcome.
His plans held up for two to three days.
On Saturday morning, I emailed to Jan to ask her to let me know when she heard from n. and to let me know if she was giving or buying food or helping him. She replied that after the Friday conference she drove him to the hotel to collect his belongings and drove him to a food bank to get groceries. In the same message, she said she was taking him to an open house at a music and performing arts conservatory and she wanted to know if I was willing to pay for voice lessons. I sent a message back saying that I didn’t think we should be making those plans at this stage. I thought that it would be hard for n. to follow through with music lessons if he didn’t have a place to live or food. I thought that it was unusual for a kid’s mom to be driving him to the food bank and giving him a lift back to the rooming house! I told Jan that I thought the doctor’s advice about backing off and letting n. manage his life applied to both of us.
In the mean time I had followed some of Dr. Perlov’s advice. I bought generic Kraft dinner to make up an emergency care package the next time n. asked for food. I made a crockpot chili on Sunday and phoned n. and offered to drop off enough chili for him, and his girlfriend and their hosts, with milk, bread, cheese and dessert. He accepted and thanked me when I delivered the meal. I told him that I would call again in a week and make dinner again or take him out for a meal. I said he could call me to make a different plan or if he needed something.
I sent Jan another email to let her know what I had done. I asked her to advise me of her other planned interventions. I also responded to her suggestion of music lessons. On Tuesday morning, the day of the proposed visit to the conservatory, Jan sent me an email advising that the plan was on hold. had phoned her Monday night and told her that Keith had thrown him and Sydney out. I phoned her to follow up and she said n. was trying to find a place to stay and refusing to go back into CFS care. He didn’t want to stay at the shelters. He said Sydney had a friend who managed a fast food restaurant who would give him a job if he could put an address on a job application. I said that if that was the only obstacle, n. could use my home address. I asked if n. had wanted money or raised the issue of getting him an apartment. She said he had not asked. Last (Wednesday September 1) night I had a call from one of the shelters – the one on Mayfair – advising that they had taken n. in for the night.
I don’t know if n. is going to make any changes in his life while he is living on the street. If he wants to get a job, he will have to clean up and try to look like someone who is prepared to live with an employer’s rules and expectations. He won’t get a lot of support for that from the other kids on the street. I don’t think he will make those changes if I set him up in an apartment either.