So, I thought I’d do a couple days of describing what its like to actually live day to day as a JV, and how we try to incorporate values of community, simplicity, spirituality, and social justice. Its fun to me to reflect on how those values influence my day to day decisions, and how some decisions I decide to choose another path. Hopefully it’s not too boring.
Thursday, Feb 4th.
6:45 AM Alarm goes off
6:45:30 Hit the snooze
6:50 Reluctantly get out of bed. We keep our house around 64, which unfortunately means its about 58 in the basement where my room is. Making it very, very difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning. My bed is plenty warm…once I put 5 blankets on it, sleep in flannel pants, a sweatshirt and a sweater. I’ve actually heard you sleep better when its cold.
6:52 Get dressed. JV style – my pants are from a thrift store and my shirt is a hand me down.
7:15 It’s super snowy out. Catch a ride to work with one of my housemates. This is questionably simple. Yes, it means my commute for work has no additional impact on the environment. Taking the bus is much more an exercise in solidarity.
7:25 Arrive at work
7:30 – 9 Do all the set up, making coffee, etc.
8:00 My turn for coffee. We have terrible coffee. I think people don’t rinse out the coffee pot before they pour water back in, so we’re making coffee with burnt coffee. Delicious.
8:30 A nurse from Public Health shows up. She is looking for one of our clients. “It’s not contagious, though, don’t worry.” Her card says she’s a specialist in infectious disease. Not suspicious at all.
8:45 A lady from St. Patrick’s hospital comes once a month to do mental health outreach. Usually several people talk to her, but not that many today.
9:00 Put in a movie. We show a movie every morning around this time, and its usually something pretty bad. Today it was The Game.
10:00 Two clients are starting to yell at each other. One begins to take off his jacket and say, “let’s take this outside!” I ask him to leave on account of making threats. He backed down immediately, but still had to leave. A few minutes later both of the clients come back in saying they had worked it out and it was a misunderstanding. While it was encouraging to see them resolve it, I explained we still had to create an atmosphere of safety for everyone and needed to uphold the no violence rule.
10:45 A volunteer from UM comes in.
11:30 Things slow down…I look at bridesmaid dresses on the computer.
1:30 Go on my lunch break. It usually consists of 20 minutes eating lunch at the Poverello, 20 minutes of going for a walk or running errands and 15 minutes of quiet time. For that I’ll go down by the river, or into St. Francis for a chance to reflect on the morning and geared up for the afternoon. Lunch at the Pov wasn’t the best. Pot roast, lukewarm chicken noodle soup, and gravy and rice. Usually there is salad but it was already gone today.
3:00 Things get quiet in the afternoon usually. I work on the crossword. And eat stale brownies that grocery stores donate.
3:30 One of our clients chucks a pop bottle at her friend. I ask her to leave. Her friend says its okay, that she doesn’t have to go. I say its not his decision. She opens the pop bottle, which spews all over our floor. I ask her to clean it up and she refuses, so I ask her to leave for a week. I hate when things go like that.
4:00 Help a client fill out a housing application. He’ll get denied as he has no source of income. His SSI was cancelled. I try to tell him this politely but he still wants to go ahead with the application.
4:15 Tried to decide if I should go home for dinner or not. Usually we eat together about 4 nights a week. The last couple weeks have been hectic for all of us, plus we have a fridge full of left overs, so we’ve been taking things easy this week and just eating leftovers whenever anyone is home. One of my housemates is out of town, another has choir practice, so I text and say I’m gonna miss out on dinner tonight.
4:45 Try and convince people last minute to fill out our Montana Housing Status surveys. It’s the last day for them. The purpose is to give a point in time picture of homelessness in Montana. The weird thing is they define homelessness is staying at a shelter/transitional housing or a motel on a voucher or outside. Usually it includes people staying with friends or family, and staying at a motel.
5:00 Put the news on.
5:45 One of our clients comes in who is a former medic. He asks to speak to me in private so he doesn’t “alarm the men. One of the brothers is outside. He got beat up by the cops. He’s bleeding everywhere.” I rush upstairs, phone in hand ready to dial 911. It looks like he had fallen and his glasses had cut his nose. Another former army medic decides to help. (To paint this picture, the former is drunk, the latter is high.) I think there “help” gave them more of a sense of purpose than they’ve had in a long time though. I convince the guy to come inside to wash up, but he’s too drunk to make it to the bathroom. So then he’s sitting on a chair well past closing and we have to threaten calling the cops to get him to leave. I probably shouldn’t have gotten him to come inside.
6:45 Finish cleaning. Busy day! Walk over to John’s.
7:15 John has an Alaskan Amber in the fridge for me. That’s why I love him. Their winter beer is my favorite beer in the world. Usually John and I or my housemates will watch Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. At John’s, I had gotten used to his DVR recording, so we didn’t turn it on right away. We had forgotten to record it though! Oops. We watched the dog whisperer instead. Oh, and 19 Kids and Counting. (Well, I watched that. John grumbled…he got sucked in though.)
8:45 Decide to order Chinese. It’s Missoula though, so virtually every place closes at 9. This is not simple living, really. However, I owe John $50 for my grad school application, so I pay. $25! That’s more than a week’s worth of my stipend. He says we’re even though.