Kameron take a picture“So what will you have to drink?” the waitress asked.
“Uuuh” Kameron looked at the menu then back up at her in confusion
“I’m sure they have Dr. Pepper” I rescued him, “he’ll have a Dr. Pepper and I’ll have a Vodka & 7-Up, Grey Goose” she nodded and left.
“You see anything you like?”
“Uh, well, if I could understand anything on the menu… and it’s so expensive”
“Well, this is your night, hon, we’re celebrating”

I had decided to take Kameron out to the nicest restaurant in town: Culpeppers. They serve some very nice food along with excellent service & atmosphere. We were celebrating because, after a month that seemed to drag on forever, Kameron had finally scored a job, and a good one too. I was proud.

He’d been to an interview that morning, for a job working at a pawn shop, as soon as he got home he rang me to let me know he had the job.
“So, how are you” I enquired nervously, my stomach had been in knots all day I needed him to get this job as much as he did.
“I’m ok”
“So, how did it go?”
“Well, you know, it was just an interview”
My heart sank. Although I had prepared him for potential disappointment, I had been really hoping this would be the one.
“Well, yeah, that’s ok, you just have to keep at it”
“I start on Thursday”
I immediately lept up from my desk at work and made my way quickly outside, talking excitedly.
“Oh, I’m so proud of you, sweetie, well done, we have to go and celebrate.”

When I got to a quiet place in the carpark I yelled as loudly into the phone as I could. I’d promised that if I got the job I’d have a good scream with him, we laughed. It was a great relief for both of us, the whole ordeal had not got off to a good start.

After arriving at my apartment, I left him to his own devices, hoping that he would rise to the challenge, not wanting to interfere too much with his plans. It became apparent, however, after 7 days with not a single job search that he wasn’t about to do anything in a hurry, so I put my foot down. I came up with a plan: if he and Stephen weren’t out of my apartment by the 7th of September, I would charge them half my rent ($475). If they were ready to leave, then I would pay their deposit and the first few months of their rent. It was a good deal, an excellent deal. A better deal than most people get their entire lives.

So, he was motivated, he got the address of a few places in the city and begged me to drive with him. He was nervous about city roads and wanted someone calm to help navigate or (better yet) drive him. I agreed and arranged to take the whole day off so we could achieve as much as possible. I also took the time to help him write up a professional-looking resume.

I awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed that morning to discover him asleep: he had stayed up all night playing video games. No matter, he knew how important this was. I tried to wake him up a few times to no avail. My temper beginning to rise, I decided to run a few errands such as getting the tires on my car fixed (one had a slow leak). I returned home after a busy day of car maintenance, shopping and posting things to discover that he was still asleep. I waited, my level of annoyance rising rapidly till he finally woke up, at about the time when the employment agency closed. I was livid, and let him know about it. The next time we tried that place, Kameron woke up on time but we turned up only to realize he didn’t call to book an interview, which is what he should have done. I put a brave face on things, but I was annoyed. I put more pressure on him, grilled him daily on the applications he was making, told him to do more.

That was just one of a great many little annoyances for me this month, one of which seems rather petty. You see, he leaves the toilet seat up. Now, I understand completely why girls get upset when guys leave the toilet seat up. It has nothing to do with aesthetics, it’s purely practical. You see, I sit down to pee. The first time Kameron visited was the first time I accidentally sat down on the cold, wet, ceramic bowl: a very unpleasant experience all around. I tried but have yet to successfully train Kameron to leave the seat down.

The Shrink's RoomAll this tension at home started to rub off on Stephen, he started with the usual borderline behaviours of pushing people away, being snappy, rude and irritable. Then, the depression kicked in and he started sleeping 20+ hours a day, till it got to the point where we raised it as a serious concern with his psychologist, Rhonda. It was then that he dropped a bombshell: the suicidal thoughts were back. After a private discussion with Stephen, Rhonda insisted we contact his psychiatrist and see if Stephen’s medication could be increased to help him deal with the issue. I arranged an appointment for the very next available slot: Tuesday 4th, the day after Labour Day. It just so happened to be the same day as Kameron’s job interview.

Buzzing with excitement with our change of fortune, Kameron and I dragged Stephen out of bed and bundled him into the car, I explained the route to Kameron as I went, fully expecting (and hoping) that they would be making this trip by themselves from now on. Dr. Crumpacker, as gregarious and red-faced as he was, however, failed to deliver a new solution. He just increased the Seroquel dosage by 100mg. Stephen was bitterly disappointed. So disappointed in fact, that he went straight to bed after the appointment, we ended up leaving him there and going to eat on our own.

It was with that and the residual anxiety of having just completed my New Zealand tax return (quite late) that we sat down to dinner at Culpeppers.

“So, have you decided what you want?” I asked, after having chosen an appetizer.
“Well, to be honest, there’s nothing” he said finally, dejectedly “it’s just too nice”
I rolled my eyes
“I mean… and there’s only fish, steak or salad, really.
I looked at the menu. Sure enough, most of the menu either involved some form of seafood or some form of steak. I rolled my eyes again. Kameron has rather complicated tastes.

He won’t eat lettuce and won’t touch anything with fish in it. He doesn’t like too much spicy food so that rules out most Mexican, Chinese, Thai and Indian food. I also discovered from my own cooking that he dislikes Alfredo sauce. He also doesn’t like to eat too much steak.
I smiled broadly. “Do you want to go somewhere else?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind. This is just too nice. I mean, I know this is going to sound strange, but I am a country boy.”

So, I ate the appetizer as best I could on my own (Kameron doesn’t eat jalapeños) and we had dinner at Chillis that night, the cost of that entire meal was as much as my drink and appetizer at Culpeppers. Still, I think we enjoyed it just the same.

It was with a great deal of relief that today, after explaining the situation to Crumpacker on the phone, I secured a new prescription of Wellbutrin, which should improve Stephen’s mood a lot. I’ve also found what looks like a nice apartment complex in Garland for me to put them when I leave. Most of the cheap ($500/mo) places in Dallas have very poor ratings online. One could expect anything from cockroach infestations to drug dealer infestations from these places. I just didn’t feel right putting another human being in a situation like that if I had the power to do otherwise. Things are on the up & up.