By Judith Ashley (this post was first published on Romancing The Genres)

I’m very aware that this month’s topic for the Genre-istas is “Favorite Romantic Cliches”, after all I’m one of the Blog Queens who came up with this idea.

The only thing that came to mind as I sat down to write this month’s post was “It was a dark and stormy night” along with “Time stood still” and “He was tall, dark and handsome”. Not much for a 200 – 300 word post.

Doorway at Roslyn Chapel, Scotland

What did pop into my mind more than once was the phrase “When one door closes, another opens.” I know those words do not fit the topic: romantic cliches. I’m not sure those words even fit cliche-status. Area they trite? I’m not sure but I do hope they are true.

Why? Because the weekend of September 5 – 7 I’ll be working as an After Hours Consultant which translates into I’m a resource for vulnerable adults in Multnomah County, Oregon should problem occur after normal business hours. And, this weekend is the next to the last one I’ll be scheduled for. I retire from this work on October 31, 2014.

October 1, I start my nineteenth year in this position – one night a week, one weekend a month (sometimes more if one of the other team members is unavailable).

What do we do? Tonight I was paged because a neighbor was concerned about a disabled woman in the apartment complex where they live.

Last weekend, the four team members split the long weekend. I had the Friday from 4 p.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday shift. My replacement has been hired and he shadowed not only me but the other team members all weekend.

Friday night a police officer called in with concerns about a man he’d checked on who had a head injury who was refusing medical treatment. When we went to his house the next morning, we found him on the floor, blood caked all over his head, face and upper body. The house was filthy with no electricity or water. The gentleman had no phone and was unable to call for help. I had my phone and called 911 asking for help. The fire department and ambulance responded and he was taken to an emergency room to be evaluated.

A woman who is on dialysis due to renal failure called. She was out of food. That call came in near the end of my shift so the next team member got her some food – enough to last through the long weekend.

One of my favorite places in the world – Depoe Bay OR

I tried to find a woman who was reported to be confused, thinking people lived in an apartment above her (there is no apartment above her, only the roof). She wasn’t home.

One of the day staff was worried about an older gentleman whose roommate, who also did some care-giving activities, was arrested. He was managing well because someone else stepped up and made sure he had groceries, etc.

Since I made the decision to close the door on this part of my working career, I’ve had so many experiences. A dirty home that made it to the top three of all the homes I’ve ever been in (and that number is well over a thousand); taking police out with me twice in one day due to the reported possible danger I’d be in if I went alone; an EMT in his 20’s or maybe his early 30’s lecturing me about patient rights (I did not say anything snarky although I know one eyebrow arched and my jaw tightened).

In the last two months,without After Hours interventions, at least three people could have died.

When this door closes, I do expect another door to open. I’m not sure what will be on the other side. I am not picturing fleas, filth, rotten food, cockroaches, sticky floors, squishy floors – well, you get the picture.

The Blog Queens Book Signing – Desert Dreams 2014

When the next door opens, I’d love to see quality time to write, large royalty checks and books signings.
Whenever I offer a workshop or training, people will sign up! I’ll have time to spend with family and friends at the coast, in the mountains and at home. In this utopia, weeds will not grow in my yard nor will any plants die.

My belief that when one door closes another opens is soon to be tested.