Since the end of December I've been working as an assistant property manager of a subsidized apartment complex for seniors and people with disabilities. So far, I love it. The only thing I'd rather be doing right now is staying at home with my kids. But if I have to work, I love working with these residents.
So far I've really had the best of it. I'm the assistant property manager, so the buck stops with my boss. But since she can't be in two places at once, I get to be on the property full time, so I get to interact with these people. And drink coffee in the morning with them.
There aren't many colorful characters here like there was at Fontaine - the other property my boss manages where I helped her last year. At Fontaine there were pole dancer wannabe grandmas and fall down drunk grandpas.
These people here, they're your typical midwestern farmer grandmas and grandpas with an occassional small towner. They speak with swedish accents and their eyes sparkle and shoulders shake when they silently laugh. Their morning entertainment is waiting for the postman. Their afternoons are spent napping or playing cards. These are my peeps.
I thought I might have some excitement one day when the new paper boy came into the office and told me that there was a stack of newspapers outside of #506's door. I pictured him in the apartment, dying. "How many papers are lying there?" I asked. "About six or seven," he said. I pictured him in the apartment, decaying.
I recalled my boss telling me of when she had to go check on a lady who hadn't picked up her paper for two days and they laid outside her apartment door. When my boss went in, she discovered the woman had had a stroke and couldn't make it to the pull-cord in the apartment. She called 911 and they walked her through trying to save this woman. She died later the next day.
She told me this when we were going to do a courtesy call on a Fontaine resident whose family had not been able to get ahold of her. They wanted to make sure she was okay. "How do you feel about possibly finding someone dead or dying?" she asked.
"Death is a part of life," I said. "I'm not scared of death. I don't enjoy the thought of it, but it's life, death is." That's when she knew she liked me, she told me later.
I'm not looking forward to that if it happens. But I'm so glad that right now I have the chance to live life with these people in the last stages of theirs.
THE REST OF THE STORY
update Jan. 27th, 2011
I left you hanging with the story of #506 didn't I? Here's the rest of the story:
When the newspaper guy told me that there were that many papers piled up outside his door, the first thing I did was check to see if his car was in it's parking spot which I can see from my desk. I hoped maybe he had gone out of town and forgot to tell the paper. Alas, his car was there, so I knew he must be in his apartment. In what condition, I wasn't sure.
Before I make courtesy checks, I make a phone call to see if they'll answer the phone. If they do, of course I can check on them that way. If they don't, I use the master key to see if they are in the apartment and if they are okay. Fortunately when I called #506 he answered. Turns out he was just being cranky. He didn't want the paper anymore and wasn't going to read it.
As Paul Harvey says: "now you know the rest of the story."