Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Car ride thoughts

Some of the best things we talk about are on car rides.

The cuter half and I can solve all the worlds problems in 20 minutes or less. KIDDING. but really, there are times that having an additional distraction can be useful when having a serious discussion.
Tonights was about Christianity.
I know, right?

There are some who do not believe we are Christians in this house. We don't pray before meals, or recruit people to subscribe to our church or religious practices. Our experience at one as a family was not the best. Then the other place took more than 6 months to realize we hadn't been there. We got put in with another special needs family (we all get along you know because we have all the same experiences and no one else would want to deal with us) who we never heard from.

So what do we do? Huh? we go where ever we are needed. We are there for anyone who needs us at any time; many times at a GREAT inconvenience to ourselves. We see my princess every evening and we go to see the "laws" and friends regularly. If you haven't figured it out; when stuff sucks we usually have your back, even when we don't want to.

Right now we are at a crossroads. For the first time the boy is done with school. Yes really done. He got his associates and HE decided he was done with school for now. He wants a break. I guess it is similar to a "gap year" to figure out things, look for jobs and decide where to be. That and the job market is dryer than dirt.

Being at the crossroads means that some decisions need made. We don't have a fucking clue how to make that decision. Unfortunately we aren't exactly patient with the "GOOOO to CHHHHHUUURRRCHHHH and say your prayers." from Bloom County (remember Bill the cat?) Well we are finding that the cuter one and I are floundering....marking time, or whatever. I can't justify being holy and religious when, in fact, I am not getting the whole "destiny with God" thing. Yeah, its there but trying to get through the gray clouds with an Aspie regarding religion and God is kind of like banging your head against the wall and not being drunk at the time.

We try so hard to do the right thing by everyone else but ourselves. We taught the boy to be kind, respectful and nice to everyone but us. WE have learned to be hardest on ourselves, yet get walked on by people we barely know. We are the ones being told "I am not a day care." by our son's coach. My response was classic- "I am trying to encourage him to take this seriously. I know you don't want him there but please don't let him know that." Unfortunately the boy did know he wasn't really part of it. Sad, given the right support I think he would have done well instead of "retiring" after high school.

What does all this mean? Well after today, I feel really sorry for the shmuck that gets my old phone number....and I feel really badly that AT&T ripped us off by about $900 for over billing on our cell account. To get this fixed it took 3 phone calls and a temper tantrum (again Bloom County- Opus having a meltdown). But being responsible for myself, the cute one and the boy but being a
"global thinker" really hasn't gotten me anywhere but broke. So right now we are gonna work with what we need to do and not worry so much about being the right kind of people.

So pray, if you wish. We pray...but it is highly unlikely we will pray in front of you or at your church.
AND I am truly tired of being the one who is supportive then dumped when we are no longer useful to said person. Just putting it out there that we might not stick around for the next time....just saying.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bone weary tired

I've got nuthin'.  
Really.  It's true.  
The boy is growing up but still missing on things example- I told him to keep flip flops on since he hurt his feet.  
He argues fuse ears and fights w us.  I'm SO bAD. I dk what we were discussing.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"disability sensitivity training"? And MORE

Have you ever thought about this? I mean seriously, we have race sensitivity training, religion sensitivity training; we have to learn to tolerate others and their beliefs, fetishes and other weird shit. But if you are disabled pretty much you are written off as a weird person with nothing going for you. This seems like such a long time ago; since this book was written the boy has graduated college, with A's and President's List to boot.
Re-reading this chapter seems like eons ago; what the heck it is something that we went through and really that is what this blog is all about.....

In 2009-2010 I wrote a book. Since my book is unlikely to ever be published, I am taking a chapter of it and putting it here. This was our experience during a transitional period in the boy's life. See what you make of it:

Subtitle of this chapter should be "Getting Snowballed in More ways that one."

I know that isn't a fair statement. It is all a matter of perspective. This book is about our perspective; that is what we are going by and how the book is being written. It may not all seem fair or equal but when going through a difficult time it is harder to keep your thoughts and perspective together.

However, back in the _____ district school, we were getting stumped. This was just before the boy's full time re-entry into a regular district school. The boy was getting jumped (beaten on) in the therapeutic day school gym class for being too smart. This was happening regularly, I had conference calls with teachers and others when I was sick with pneumonia trying to get this worked out. Unfortunately, we needed a bigger change than just the part time mainstreaming. We weren't convinced the boy was ready for such a change, but we knew something had to happen. He couldn't take the bus as he was getting beaten by the other students, nor could he ride in a cab with one or more kids for the same reason. Essentially we were in between a rock and a hard place.

Quintessentially, we thought we were snowballed by the into believing our son was better than he really was. What parent doesn't want to believe that of their child? We don't know if he was really ready, but we did think so at the time. Ergo the old Talking Heads song with the refrain, "We don't know where we are going but we don't know where we have been." OR another case of wishing SO MUCH for your kid to have what others have is common. But frankly, the phone isn’t ringing off the hook here. It is so frustrating for parents when you KNOW something is wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. We, as special needs parents, all have been there in one form or another. 

At the time, what we thought could help was a full time change to Middle School. Making this kind of move is huge; putting your kid in a place where they may become dependent on a classroom aide could be disastrous (it was). What it came down to is that I didn't do my job as a proactive parent, the cuter half didn't have part in this, but I did and I needed to do more and didn't. The problems we faced at the Middle School level weren't really bad to start. Several things I didn't do were make surprise visits, ask too many questions and accepted too many things on face value. The worst of it is; I know better. I wanted to be comfortable and believe what people told me. I wanted to "live the dream" if only for a little while.

Had I verbalized my suspicions to to the cuter half, we might have done something about it. However, at the time, I was supposedly moving up in my career, I had things happening with other family members and I really wanted the boy to do well at school; no matter what. Telling me what I wanted to hear really didn't help much in the end. We really needed to stay on top of it more and keep the calls and check ins coming into the district again.

Would've, should've, and could've meant nothing is happening. The boy hates it when I say that but it is true. What the heck was I thinking? Obviously, I haven't been thinking clearly about the boy's placement. It quickly became apparent to me that I SO WANTED all of the good things to be so good and I wanted to forget that there were bad things in place. We decided that since we didn't know the "regular" district that we should just go with the flow and adjust to the new people, environments and things.

That was a mistake.

Going with the flow and thinking that the teachers and educators would be "professionals" meant that nothing got done. The IEP was violated right, left and center. As with lower level employees there are times when you need to sit on them to get anything done.

Legally, most schools will attempt to get by with the bare minimum. This should be making the parents the natural enemy of the education system. Although in many cases this is the facts; we prefer to be nice and live in a state of chronic denial…. no not really, but there are times when you really need to stay on their butts to get the IEP followed. IT is up to the parents/ guardians, whatever to insist on a quality education for your child. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that they have your child's best interests at heart. They don't.

During out son's last year in middle school we experienced a ton of IEP pain in the last month or so… at one point, we were counting down the days until he began High School. Our home district blamed him every time some kind of altercation came down with him involved. He rarely was backed up or defended by any staff (except his case manager) in front of the kids. It was hard on him and on the rest of us…. processing why a particular special Ed student would pick on him wasted many a therapy session. It was an amazing waste of our money.

In fact, one of the special Ed kids that targeted our son decided to stab himself with a pen or pencil and then accuse our son of doing it to him. Our son almost got expelled, and wasn't going to be allowed to graduate with his eighth grade class. What saved him was a couple of the boy's friends heard about it and then told the principal that the special ed kid with the problem had, in fact, stabbed himself with the pen or pencil and planned to blame our boy, just to get our boy in trouble. Now that is pathetic. Did anything happen to that kid, well sort of; we heard that he was then escorted everywhere and incapable of walking the halls alone during the school day. Later we heard that the school hadn’t even contacted the other student’s parents and they had no idea that their son was incapable of walking the hallways of the school on his own. We also got a letter for our son, apologizing for trying to get our boy in trouble.

Please note: forcing a special ed kid to write a note of apology under duress is similar to forcing a drink on an alcoholic. It is unkind, unfair and just plain mean; to the victim and the kid forced into it. It really doesn't teach anyone anything except how to manipulate others to be getting out of real punishment or discipline. "Look, I can self harm, blame someone else and all I have to do is write a note saying I am sorry." Really, how relevant is that? It isn't, it is comparable to going to your wife, beating her and then saying, "Oh look, here is a note, I am so sorry I bashed your head in." A forced apology means nothing.

Here is some of what went on at the IEP High School transition meeting and why we were so frustrated. Mind you, we are comparing 8th grade physics to 9th grade biology…. it is just pathetic. 

Anyway, here we go:

From the 8th grade science teacher:
"Thanks for the e-mail; it is truly wonderful how supportive and engaged you are in ___'s education. In response, I do show concern with having ___ in the regular section (science). He has an aide next to him most of the period currently, as well as during tests. During his warm up he regularly gets frustrated when he doesn't know the answer and has to be comforted by the aide and encouraged. When the students have to write 3 sentences in their warm up, ___can write only one. I grade him on that one, but it will be unlikely that those grading accommodations will be present in a regular class. Lab directions and activities are often overwhelming and he consistently needs help in staying on task and completing his work. ___ is smart, but does need the extra support."

Our response:
"This is very disappointing.
We were not aware that there was such a struggle for ___in your class. Last October at the PTA meeting we specifically asked you about issues with the curriculum and class: we were told that everything was fine and ___ was doing well and a good choice for a lab partner. We had heard nothing about problems in your science class prior to the IEP meeting on Monday. He rarely has homework in your class, so if material is modified we knew nothing about it before today.
 Now we are told the (above)??
We don't get many positives in our lives and when we heard from you in October that things were fine, we were under the misguided delusion that if things in the class changed we would have been contacted.
SO much for independence and working well with others…. this is really terrible news to us. We wish we had heard about it sooner so we could have done something to help ___with your class at home.
I hope you can empathize with our frustration; this is one class that has always been a strong suite for ___ and now we are finding out he is barely managing?? This entire IEP process this year has been fraught with disappointments to us."

Oh there is more…. she backed off when we expressed the above. We then heard this:
"I am sorry if I misled you in our earlier meeting, I can see where this would be frustrating! The truth is; he is working well with his group. Now because I did not have contact with him last year, I have nothing to compare his progress to in science. He has shown growth this year in the ability to reason scientifically, organization and participation. His areas needing growth are complex directions and accomplishing tasks such as lab questions and procedures, without the assistance of an aide. The modifications ___ receives for science are limited. According to his IEP the only modifications on the test are form related. Which means instead of having 4 choices to choose from Abe may get 3. He is given more room to answer questions and can answer essay questions with 3 sentences rather than 5. As long as the question is fully answered. During note taking in class, ___has expressed some frustration at times, so the following assistance has been given; he will fill in blanks to the notes, or highlight important portions of the text on a copied sheet. He does a great job of this and it allows him to process the information instead of just focusing on writing things down. Homework is done well, however by the next day he often doesn't remember how to do some of the portions of the homework. He does ask me for help when needed and today in our study session he showed that the lessons he was learning were mastered!!"

Misunderstand? What exactly did we misunderstand? The fact that she didn't know our son and who she was talking to at the parent teacher conference?? This was so bizarre. Ok, now for the really hard part. Finally, the cuter half got a load of all of this and came up with a doozy of a response. It is a long one so if you aren't really interested in this section you can skip it…here it is:
"Thanks for the details; we are just frustrated as we were given the impression at our transition meeting that ___ is totally incapable of even finding the lab table in your room. We are meeting with the HS twice next week and now need to decide if ___ would be better served in a regular section class with a classroom aide, like he has now and we have been told that they do offer; or if he should be in the co-taught prep level class without and aide but two teachers.

Our concern is that the prep level class will encompass all the undiagnosed BD and less than motivated students and ___ won't be challenged enough; and will resume some poor behaviors as he does mimic what he sees.

We have the textbooks and the entire semester of assignments from ___ for both classes and the area of concern is the prep level than what he has now, and the regular section has a higher level book than what he has now, but it is in no way above his reading ability, so both books are fine. The homework for prep consists of read along and fill in the blank notes, the regular sections does like you do now read the section and complete the notes. We think he can do the work in either section.

Prep would risk him being in less than desirable company and he would be less challenged academically, but would have to develop "me" independence, whereas in regular he will be in with normal goal oriented students like he is with now, but would need assistance similar to what he has now.

So do we develop independence and risk falling back or worse in the prep level, or do we insist on a regular section and continue trying to wean him of the aide? The biology course work is a topic ___ loves and the sections they are in now are about things he already studied. Plus there would not be as many labs in biology as you have in physical science and the math would be less. He is doing amazingly well on the speed and velocity as he is just now starting those types of problems in Math class. What we have covered this year in science is not topics Abe has ever seen before and we are comparing new topics to a science area (biology) which ___ loves.

So if you could let us know and you do not have to worry will not be made, is Abe at the same level academically as his peers in your class or is his grade, as we have been given the impression, not a true reflection of his talent but rather and "A " for effort grade and he really needs to be in prep because he does not have the ability to understand the concepts and do the work expected of him. We are under the impression from working with Abe at home he understands the topics and is struggling with directions and needing extra time and like you said reduced choices and more space to write things down?

Please know we appreciate your candor and all you have done for ___, he has come so far and you working on the math with him are really helping him in other areas, last night he knew the work and knew what to do, which is huge, as he in the past would have refused to do the math. We are just very worried about the classes at HS; we can not let him be in with BD kids or in classes where the teacher thinks he is not capable of doing the work, which is why they are in prep.

We are also concerned that middle school is basing their recommendation off lee than accurate information as the Physical Sciences are a much more abstract topic then biology, and abstract is not goof for Asperger kids. We are just very frustrated that HS has Classroom aides and that middle school is recommending things for ___ based on the assumption there are no aides at HS and the choice is total independence in regular or two teachers in area. So it all comes down to us not knowing how much assistance ___ is getting and the amount of assistance varies depending on who we ask and the time of day we ask.

Please understand our frustration here, as ___ told us in his IEP report that in social Studies he was on task about 85% of the time and that the aide organized his work for him, we interpreted that to mean ___ is doing the work himself and day-dreams more than a regular kid, but we since found out that we should interpret it to mean 15% of the time the aide is working with ___ and he is incapable of being there without an aide. Same with math, she told us he was on task 97% of the time but no mention of an aide helping him, and for LA where he has a one on one aide, she works with him 37% of the time so we were lead to believe, OK ___ is in need of a little help in Math, has a day-dream problem in social Studies and is doing quite well in LA given 63% of the time  the aide is pointless and she is probably working with him part of the time she is because she has nothing else to do. We had NO idea that these reports really meant ___ is incapable of being in any regular section classes because the aides are with him for most of the class. We also ask all the time and get told things are great and now we find out he is dependent ton aides and getting graded on effort and not ability.

We have spent a week now shell-shocked and in tears over what we see as half truths and sugar coated reports. Or under the belief that _______ has duped us into believing that ___ has been in regular Ed classes for t3 years when in actuality he as been in prep level classes with lower content and expectations for all of the students in the class, and he expectations are the lowest of the low. We are seeing these prep classes as merely a way to lie to the parents and tell them their child is in regular ed when in actuality they are in a special ed class with a regular ed teacher, as it allows the school to pay the teacher less money, have a happy family who won't question anything anymore because they are in a regular ed section (trust us we know of f3 families who think there child with autism will never hold a job, so to them prep level is heaven for them, no stigma of special ed) and before now no one has questioned this system.

We just do not know what to believe anymore, as we thought the aides were classroom aides working with ___less than 15% of the time and now it turns out he is dependent on them and we are made to feel like the dumbest people on the planet for not demanding weekly meetings with his team, visiting ______ unannounced to observe  classes  and hiring independent observers to watch ___ so that we would know what was really going on, instead we believed what we thought we heard in meetings and read in the reports we got from _______. No one has ever brought up the academic deficiencies to us, we have been working all the time on behavior and social skills and figured the rest was going great as no one told us differently. Please make sure in the future you and the rest of the staff tell parents how much assistance their kids needs as right now we fell like we have been lied to and that ___ has just been passed along the system as yet another one of those special ed kids."

This response was one of the longer ones from us. We had a lot of negative frustration during the transition process to high school. At this point we decided to pull the middle school out of the transition meeting process. We continued to meet separately with the high school to work out a plan for the boy and come up with programs and things that would work for him.

Talk about feeling abandoned and alone: we just had no hope at this point and went to the elementary school district offices to try to make sense of this problem. We both just cried….non-team members were at the boy's IEP meeting; our case manager lied to us about her being there and then to hear what we heard. The devastation of our thoughts, beliefs and feelings were complete. What more can a parent do? Eventually the details were worked out with the high school however; our relationship with the principal of the middle school was diminished.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Keeping promises

I have always thought that keeping promises was a big deal.

As a kid, you promise to be friends forever with your fellow Barbie playing girlfriends. As a pre-teen you may promise to help your friend meet that boy with the cool shoes. Then as a high school student one may promise go to prom or a date with a guy who may or may not have paid attention to you ever before. Life is full of promises, and before we die we get to learn which are the important ones and which aren't.

For the cute one and I; keeping promises with the boy is a big deal. We still do a lot of pinkie swear promises; which in this house, I may not remember half of them but we do make a bit more of an effort to keep them. Having things the way they are with the boy means that we don't appreciate "pie crust promises" which if you don't know are "promises easily made and easily broken" (read Mary Poppins or watch the movie).

We have taught the boy that promises are like uber-commitments. If you make a promise or a commitment to a person who is important to you whether it be to go to a meeting, going to a Doctor's appointment, or the great friend who comes over after a 10 hour shift tired and worn out to celebrate your Grandmother's birthday, you keep the promise.  Even if you just eat and go home and crash....those are the friends worth keeping.   They keep their promises.

On the grown up level; the cuter half and I have been committed and promised to each other for upwards of forever....and you know we are happy to be so. I am always very happy to admit that we still love each other after all these nutty years. 

However, if we make a promise to someone else (outside of our little trio) we make every effort to keep it. Whether it means picking up the mail if you are on a trip or walking your dog, meeting for coffee, or helping pick up sticks after a tornado. We do what we say we will do and pretty much do it even if we don't want to (most of the time we want to), because we promised we would and you want us there.

We may be old-fashioned this way but if one makes a promise one needs to keep the promise.  For us, this week we get to help a __ year old get over having a promise to visit which was broken (there are exceptions- working or another emergency- that stuff happens), but was made by people who should know better than to make "pie crust promises". In addition to us dealing with yet another school stress, some work stress and the fact that the cuter half and I need to go on a serious diet and exercise plan.....we kept our promises.

Deciding to not keep a promise to someone (who btw hasn't forgotten you MADE THE DAMN promise). Then expecting others to pick up your promise does not make for a very happy situation. Especially when the one's breaking the promise tell us that they are "working" and instead fly off to D______.  Promises are important in our house, but hopefully the D_______ will be there when one needs them. 

For us, family is people we can count on to be there; like our aforementioned 23 year old, non-relative, who came by (after a double shift at work and NO SLEEP yet) just to make a __ year old happy.  The people that made a long trip into the area, stayed a good long time and really visited. That is true family; family is the people who are there for you even when your special day conflicts with your desire to go elsewhere (our desire to go to the c ____ is often curtailed by this celebration).

The morale of the story is: teach your self and your children promises are important, in the end all you have is your word and when you lose that....well there is always D______ . In fact, Hannah Montana does not mind you missed her show, the re-runs are still on and it is likely that she will be back on three more times this week, and four the next week.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I feel good.

 I was out for dinner with the cute one this evening. We went to a bistro/bar, Milwalky Trace that reminded us of being in England. Curtains  near the hostess table, small seating area, sweet potato gnocchi (Jaime Oliver with wild rabbit our first night in London- fabulous) excellent menu, great Pino Grigio. We will be back to this place, especially if we need a reason to feel like we have been able to relax and return to a place we always seem to want to be. If you are near-by try out Milwalky Trace- shared plates and quiet/sort of but nice is really relaxing.

The boy, well he is being himself. Which at least I don't have to worry about him doing something too off the charts but well there are times when demanding, and nagging kind of get me down. Usually if I am nagged or feeling thus I am shutting down and hiding away....the boy still doesn't get it after all these years. Nag/demand/yell at Mom and she will INTENTIONALLY not do what you wish her to do. I am just good like that- explains why I have never made "Mother of the Year". 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Our current perspective.

Has anyone thought about what we actually do? Have you seen the meme of what people think you do but what you really do and the comparison pictures?
I will use my fav Harry P to illustrate where I am going with this:

that is us.
It is, really. What we do with the boy. We don't have to do as much as we did but we still have to focus and make sure he is staying on target. He works harder than most kids in college because he has to. His efforts are really amazing. He still has semi-colon issues but he does know what he is writing about. Pulling it out of him is a challenge. We are regularly getting him to talk and tell us what he thinks and why.

I have heard we make it look easy. Right and Voldemort like to play with puppies. We keep the boy organized. Once again my dining room has turned into the biggest study cubicle on the planet ever. Text book, notes, story books, notes, ideas, notes, notebooks, papers......and maybe if I am lucky we will be able to eat dinner there again sometime soon.

We are exhausted. the cute one and I are almost too pooped to pop.
The level of focus to keep the boy on track, in school and graduating is tremendous. He will graduate soon and we are done. If he decides to finish and get a BA or Masters he will have the tools to do the work on his own. He is learning the tools at home. Not from school- the friends he used to have did not teach him that politics is important and he needs to watch to see what is happening. We had high hopes when he left therapeutic day school. we did, we wanted to believe that he would have been supported and that he would be allowed to expand and become more.

He did do more. He did 7 years of a high contact sport. He wasn't the best at it and coach put up with him - barely. Once the coach mentioned that we were making him "babysit" our son. It was highly offensive but at least I knew where he was coming from and frankly I appreciated his honesty. I did tell him we were trying our best to take his sport seriously and we had hoped for a lot more than what the boy had learned. After all that, the boy learned to work hard. He still does work hard. We expect a lot from him and we want him to do the work and do it right the first time. Later I heard that he was asked to work out with some of the kids on the team and the boy asked them, "Why would you want me to? You didn't want me around when I was here? Why would you want me around now?" All I could think when I heard that was, "Well, I guess they thought he didn't know." He knew; and whether anyone likes it or not - they all know who accepts them and who doesn't.

As a family what we have found is that intolerance is not only racially motivated. Intolerance is freely given to the disabled as well; usually the disabled won't call anyone out on it though. Just so you know, it isn't because the disabled don't notice; they do. Mostly they won't call anyone out on it because they either can't. don't want to bother or don't want to hurt any ones feelings. And yes, as an example, usually the boy's feelings will come in second or third for himself.

Right now the boy is adjusting to a new period in his life. He has stopped stressing so much - the 5 classes last semester almost did him in although he did get 5 "A's" (we celebrated for several weeks as did he). He will be moving on to the grown up part- and honestly, maybe I should push him harder to get there but you know what? Hes in for a tough semester with a very involved class and I am thinking it will be about all he can handle. I know he can do this and get through school and be done. He may continue with online only classes (more relaxing but harder work) or not.

Either way, he will be able to take care of himself, and not live off of other people. Oddly enough, more recently a friend of his asked us about letting the boy move into an apartment with several like themselves (all Aspies) I said, "No. Not right now. I am saying No for now but it in a permanent No." You would have thought that no one ever said "No" before. I guess hearing a "No" for the first time is hard- the boy is used to it. I wasn't called, "My-no" when he was a toddler for a reason. I said, "No" a lot. right now I say "No" to any number of things. I also found out that doing so has not hurt the boy but in actuality helped him accept the "No's" better than most.

At that he isn't perfect, but then who is? He is a smart kid who I want to believe will do well and yes, will be able to learn math and help others in his career. He will be able to give back, in his own way and with his own abilities. All I can hope for is those wise enough to accept him, and tolerant enough to give him a chance. If Stevie Wonder can do anything (I loved the Braille thing at the Grammy's- marvelous)

 "Every single thing acceptable to every single person with a disability."

Powerful shit Sherlock - think about it- and he doesn't mean throwing them all in a classroom and dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator. He means giving every single person a chance.

I wonder how many gens would- or would even think of being friends with someone like the boy- I know of only 1 who has been brave enough to come to the house. She has found we are tough, but we have one thing most other  places don't - unconditional love. We don't care what she does or what's going on- we are her other family and we accept it all - warts and all. Just like our son needs/ desires acceptance, warts and all.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Today's lesson - ear infection

Today's lesson:  
Today The boy came and told me abt an ear complaint.  He was having trouble w his left ear.  I used wax cleaner stuff and it irritated it. After talking to the cuter half we decided to take the boy to a Walgreens clinic.  
The one available had an appt at 12.  
After a bout of screaming ("You are a fucking bitch" "I hate you you stupid mother-fucker": there's more but you get the idea) I got the boy to Walgreens.  It was about a 20 min drive (in the Midwest everything is 20 minutes away or in the Loop) while driving to the clinic the boy started apologizing. A lot (raised eyebrows here). We got lost getting to the store/clinic - found it and checked in early for his appt. 
initially, the nurse said, "we no longer clean out ears" then I mentioned a possible ear infection. She proceeded to throughly clean out his ear. This took several minutes and was very painful. - after checking again she discovered I was right.  The boy did have an ear issue and a ruptured ear drum from infection.  No idea how long he's had it as he only expressed concern this AM. 
Since he is likely to have more than just one ear I asked her to check both as a young one he usually got them
In both ears. 
The big thing is that as he gets older he needs to learn to listen to his body. To pay attention and be proactive instead of waiting so long it takes 1/2an hour to clear out his ears. 
All of this takes practice - he's getting better at talking to docs about issues but still is not great about telling cuter half and if he's really ill. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Storage Solutions- Hello it's me.

today's post is something that I have had to deal with lately. Storage issues.

The cuter half and I redid the master bedroom- painted, redecorated and all that. We lost a dresser in the changes - We will be getting another one but we had to take the one we had and move it out since we need a smaller one for the space that we have (and it doesn't go- we are doing darker wood in this room). ANYHOW I have had to put in short, long term storage some clothing items that I want around but don't use every day.

Use this link to listen to the recording I made. It isn't perfect but it will do for a first time attempt.

I have attached some pictures of what I did (I think it is a cool short term idea) maybe it will help you too. Hey the blog is about Aspies and collectively they are notorious for organizational issues.

Starting out:

Step 1- Choose your fabric. I used old queen sized flannel sheets. Fold in half and cut down the center.

 Step 2 - Use sharper fabric cutting scissors- they work better on heavier fabrics, like my flannel here.

Step 3- Obviously now you have enough for two baskets. I made up 2 baskets using the RE Sterilite baskets I had gotten at Target.

 Step 4- Cover the basket with one sheet, Try to center it then shove it down with one hand.

Step 5- Let Kitten help- Garfy-kitten is always around to lend a paw.

Step 6- Load up whatever you are storing and fold the fabric over the top.

Step 7 - Finished product. All tucked in and ready to store under the bed or in the closet. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Allergies- over use of laundry soap

We have been on the short end of the stick with allergic reactions lately.

The cuter half is allergic to any number of things and it has been years since he has had problems. Lately though it has gotten worse; he is really suffering so we went through everything (food, vitamins, household cleaners, cat fur, weather; you name it) and finally determined what the problem was.

Laundry Soap.

Yup that is it. Laundry soap. He is reacting to over exposure of the new pod format and it is really bothering him.

Which means we went to a laundromat in town. Anyone who lives in the burbs knows that a laundromat is a pretty rare commodity. We finally found one in town near the mall. The owner is a sweet man who has put up with us for the last couple of days. He thought we were off our rockers NOT using soap- we didn't need soap all we needed was water, the clothes, et al provided all the soap we needed. Watching the clothes getting wet and all the soap coming out of the clothes (who needs soap through your clothes in and watch) made us realize how MUCH soap had been going into our clothes. OMG.

We are now NOT going with what is on ads (shit have you seen the over use on those things holy crap) Retraining the boy is another matter; he was doing laundry for grandma and now he is relearning that we don't need as much to clean our clothes. (Grandma's clothes had other issues and more soap was necessary).

SO today's lesson is - watch your laundry soap usage; usually covering the bottom of the cup is more than enough. Over use is not always better it can cause hives, chemical burns and other issues that will be pretty dreadful to the sufferer,

I am still planning on getting rid of our front load washer- that thing is a bloody menace to our home (cute one FINALLY agrees with me). Cleaning it after every 5-7 loads? Seriously? I spend more money on cleaning (and water for) the stupid thing than what I am actually using it. Currently, I am in for a top load washer (clean 1x per month) and am currently taking recommendations. FYI- please ton't tell me how wonderful your front loaders are; the amount of laundry I do for us and my Mom is ridiculous and frankly a front loader is not able to handle our usage requirements. In one day I can do upwards of 10 loads of laundry. A front loader is not capable of handling 10 days of 10 loads every day. I have done it and have borne with a ton of frustration.

ALSO while doing all of this great stuff ("Watching the clothes go round" is a song you know), I have a new book recommendation: Troublemaker by Leah Remini. Really great book and very telling about a number of different things. Although she had applied this to Scientology I can see this being applied to mega-churches as well. I have been reading this book while hanging out at the laundromat- if I started singing I think the owner would have sworn I was on something- I am adding one of my favorite songs here just for fun:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


One of my college roommates reminded me of a time where I would jump on the couch and lip sync to David Bowie. I remember dancing and trying to imitate a graceful move that probably landed me right on my butt. Usually I would sing one of the 80's favorites- "Let's Dance", "Heroes" or one of the other popular radio highlights.

I think the reason David appealed to me what the fact that he just flat out "said it" in his music. There were no garbagie blah-ness-ick. there was Bowie, singing, sometimes dancing and working his head off. Greatness within a person is truely rare and sadly his family has lost their stardust. It really is devastating for them. I believe, though, that a strength for them is the actual business acumen that David showed - 'BlacklStar" ( I shouldn't write when I've had several martinis I make stupid mistakes)  is one of his best pieces of work. Has left them and us a legacy - in music- and also how to take care of those we love.

Taking care and making certain that they are able to handle themselves when we are not here anymore. I worry about that a lot....the boy has a lot of brains and very little sense about what he needs to do and how to do it. I don't mean like work and stuff. I think he will be OK in that venue. I more mean regular life skills. Feeding himself, setting up his meds, reading his health insurance plan, you know- the fun stuff....the little picky stuff that most people wish they didn't have to do but are glad it is done for the week when it is completed.

Oddly enough I had heard that the boy was taught that in HS. Apparently they didn't teach him what he needed to know outside the school life- why balancing your checkbook is a big deal. How much money do you think you need at a given time for a purchase. What you need to do to get a mortgage and why this is important. What is better? Free online item and spend enough for free shipping or getting the free online item and paying the shipping. What about online banking- they didn't even touch that one. Credit cards? Nope- in fact the boy told me he is afraid of them after seeing what has happened to friends of his who used them and couldn't pay them back.

I think that the life skills we can learn by watching David Bowie are kind of important. He was iconic in his music; but look at his financial portfolio (Bowie Bonds- absolute genius). He has cared for his family in a way that will help his wife, Iman, and his two kids. THAT is important. He was able to rest in peace knowing he had covered his family in the best way he could when he wasn't around any longer.

I will never be a financial David Bowie, but I am going to be damn sure the boy will be able to balance his checkbook, pay his bills and stay employed. Deep down I know that the boy will be able to take care of himself and do what he needs to do....I hope your Aspie can do the same things too.

In the mean time, "Let's Dance"