Toledo: Part One

This week I attended the Lucas County Prevention Conference. Sounds great, huh? Well for me it was fantastic! I have been down lately with the looking for a job thing, and must admit I was letting it slip from my mind the reason(s) I wanted to be a part of this field.

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The conference was great because it was free! I did have to pay for the hotel…that is quite the story let me tell you. I learned of this conference last week, I decided at the last moment to attend. When I called for a room, they were sold out. Despite the flyer saying rooms were set aside for attendees? Hmm. I called around and booked at a hotel about 40 bucks more. This upset me, but Mom said she’d cover the difference, because she’s awesome like that…or because she really wanted me out the house. Looking at the websites I told myself the place I was staying at was actually nicer (you get what you pa for, right?) Ok we’ll come back to this…

So after applying for my dream job on Tuesday, I start packing for the trip. Do I go business? Casual? Business-casual? I opted for the B-C. I packed a pair of black slacks, my black heels and a nice purple and black blouse. For the second day I had my blue heels, blue Dockers and a ruffled blue blouse and sweater. Little did I think the girl who never wears anything but flats shouldn’t pack two days worth of heels.

Getting up at 5:30 wasn’t the best idea I ever had, but it was better than another night at the hotel. The drive went really quickly too and before I knew it I was handing my keys to the valet and walking into the lobby. By this time I was starving, and wondered what would be left of the “free breakfast”. Normally these things serve coffee and a few bagels, maybe muffins and surely all would be picked over. SURPRIZINGLY NOT! I chowed down on some fresh fruit, granola and juice. Not gonna lie I also had half a cherry danish.

The keynote speaker for the day was phenomenal! I learned so much about the AoD culture in Toledo, and it wasn’t overly factual or dry. Did you know there are two types of pot? One that mellows you and another that will make you active? Also, apparently Michigan has better quality stuff then Ohio, so dealers will wrap their goods in MI lottery tickets (they’re a different color) to prove it’s the “better stuff”. Oh street language you are so interesting!

The first real session I went to, was a refresher course if anything. It was called Prevention 101. I chose this, because it focused on area data. Since I do not know where I will end up living/working, I thought it might help me out to see where cities other than my own are headed.

At this point they served us lunch. I thought we just had free time to buy lunch…free food was better. I didn’t spend any money on my trip other than the hotel! I feasted at lunch I didn’t need dinner. We had potato salad, real salad, fruit, sandwiches with fresh cheeses and deli meats, as much as you wanted, a pickle and treats! I had TWO brownies with Oreo crumbles. Talking with other people I found out the main hotel (sold out one) the A/C was broken. YIKES! And they were sold out 3 weeks ago! Long before most people even knew of the conference. Yes, there were over 100 people, but apparently most were local and few needed rooms anyway.

The second real session focused on 18-25 yos and how to focus on them via employment (for drinking/drug use). This ended up being beneficial on several levels. First, I was able to see how important employers are in creating and maintaining a certain image. Supervisors who allow underage parties at their apartments, or talk up partying while around underage employees aren’t doing them any favors. Likewise those whoa re of age but do not have clear and enforceable rules could really damage their company with bad behavior. An unexpected benefit was the viewpoint of people with this age group and the whole process of independence. It seems this is a new age frame called “Emerging Adulthood”. Most researchers show people do not feel “you” are an adult until you 1) move away from your parents 2) have a full time job 3) Can keep a committed long term relationship (preferably married) and 4) should also have kids. My personal opinion on the last one is you should have kids by choice and you should be a responsible parent. Anyone can pop out a baby; it doesn’t prove you’re capable of attention outside yourself.

Many people were adamant if you’re at home past your early 20’s there is something wrong with you. Mind you very few people in this session were educated on an advance level. I almost had to have words with the girl next to me. While I agree there are different choices I could have made over the years, and I am lucky perhaps spoiled, I do not think of myself as a lesser adult, nor do I feel I have any great handicap socially.

The final session was a “hot topics” round table discussion. My first choice was “Pills versus Pain Management”. Unfortunately, there were two girls who dominated the whole topic and I was not too certain they were informed so much as passionate based on family stories. This is the point in the day I realized I was one of few treatment professionals. Yes, it was a PREVENTION conference, so why was I there? Instead of fighting against what they had to say, I sat back and listened. It was interesting to see another piece of the puzzle for the whole field. Honestly, I didn’t learn much from this first topic, other than I can hold my own with what I know and have done.

The second topic was “K9, bath salts and other new drugs” or something to that effect.

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Driving into town I heard a story about a boy dying from bath salts, but had never heard the term before. Honestly I thought kids were snorting bath salts (like the soaks) see how out of the loop I was? Well about HALF the people in attendance went to this topic (of about 10 choices) because we were all so out of the loop. I mean I feel totally lucky to be in on this new trend. Not that it’s a good trend, but that it’s professionally on the up and up. So I can’t explain what they actually are, but I can tell you they aren’t normal bath salts. They look like a bath salt, and they are legal. It’s some strange mixture and people are buying them right at gas stations and stuff. They are VERY dangerous and VERY deadly. People are seriously messing themselves up with these. The effects can last for days, people have psychotic breaks months after trying. Some reports are of people reacting like they did to PCP/LSD stuff back in the day. Users can’t be sedated; they’re killing other people, jumping in front of cars. Insane stuff. K9 is fake marijuana and it’s also much more harmful.

After the sessions I had BIG PLANS for Toledo! Unfortunately it did not have big plans for me. Everything was closed by 5 on a Wednesday and it rained, not sprinkled, but stormed. So I retreated sadly to the hotel.

I was excited about the fitness room and other possibilities. It was not exciting how the national gymnastics competition was in town and everyone around me was dressed in furry sparkly bathing suits, with more makeup than I wear in a month, and ribbons as far as the eye could see. Looking in the directory I didn’t see the pool listed or the hottub. Turns out they’re both GONE! What? How does a hotel not have a pool? Grrr. The “fitness center” two old treadmills, an elliptical, and a weight machine, I could not find the “3 bikes” anywhere and the TV wouldn’t go loud enough for me to hear it over the crack crack crack of the worn out treadmill. After 45 minutes I called it quits. I retreated to the sauna, which I sat for an hour and tried to sleep. After a while I was still cold and I heard it kick off….at only 30 minutes. I put on my pants and went to my room.

I kid you not, I did sit ups for 15 minutes then jogged in place for about 20 while watching Modern Family.

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Finally I went into the bathroom and drew up some water to play with the free rubber duckie. No pool, crap gym, over 100 dollars a nights…here’s a kids toy. I bet the gymnastics girls loved it.

Once in bed, I made sure I was wearing pants… didn’t want a repeat of the fire alarm in Columbus!

Then just before Midnight…I heard pounding and banging and…sizzling? What the crap?? I stumble out of bed and see lights at the window…I walk over and…fire works. The Mudhen’s stadium was right next to my building and setting off fireworks. Lovely.

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7:45 was going to come too soon.

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