xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes 21 & Happy New Year!

This morning Child 2 wakes up and the first words out of his mouth are "Oh, man. What happened?"

He's 5.

If you were born on this day 21 years ago

Then you can legally drink now in California. Congratulations!!

On the other hand, 21 years ago tonight, I went to my first Grateful Dead show. So, I thought I'd tell the story. Why not, right? I KNOW! Too bad it's not very interesting. Maybe you can tell your own story in the comments?

So, I had this boyfriend in college... blah blah blah.... I actually thought I was going up to just visit him in the Bay Area; I was living in Santa Barbara at the time. But, since I had never been to a show before, I didn't know what I was really in for. So, he brought me to the Oakland Coliseum on December 30, 1989. He had a ticket, and of course I didn't, except I'm pretty sure I got miracled that night (meaning, somebody gave me a ticket for free) but, maybe not, because NYE shows are impossible to get tickets for, so who would have miracled me? I don't know, it was a long time ago. Anyway, I made it inside.

My purpose for the evening, however, wasn't to go to a show, because I had no idea what that even meant. All I knew of the Grateful Dead was Touch of Grey, which was okay, I guess, but a little poppy (poppie?).  My purpose, on that day, was to find and take some Ecstasy... which I very much succeeded at doing. YAY! So, we went inside, and found ourselves a seat up in the bleachers or something, I don't know, and all I remember was looking at this giant crowd of people and saying "oooohhhh myyyy goooodddddd...... look at all the peeeooppllllleeeee" and being just so impressed at the size of the crowd. I'm pretty sure my boyfriendatthetime wasn't as impressed as I was. Okay, he had been there before. Whatever. It was new to me; and awesome. So awesome. I didn't even know the music, but the music was so awesome. SO AWESOME. It was only until I tried it again at the next set of shows that I realized it wasn't just the drugs that was making it awesome; it was just awesome.

Here's the setlist. Most of you won't care. Some of you will care a smidge:
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA (12/30/89)

Good Lovin'
Walkin' Blues
West L.A. Fadeaway
Music Never Stopped

Jack Straw
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Estimated Prophet
Terrapin Station
I Will Take You Home
The Other One
Standing on the Moon
One More Saturday Night

Baby Blue
Anyway, that was the beginning of almost 6 years of bliss. I wish I had gone sooner. I'd had the chance, but I didn't know what was waiting for me so I'd opted out. I was dumb. I miss it. Go listen if you don't believe me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bookkeeping confessions

...kind of like Taxi Cab Confessions, except in this case there's no Taxi Cab and it's about bookkeeping, instead of sex, or, whatever Taxi Cab Confessions is about. I'm just assuming it's about sex.

Sometimes... I'm with a client... and I'm explaining something.... like this afternoon... I was explaining about double entry bookkeeping and how you can't just increase an asset account without increasing or decreasing something else... because that's how double entry bookkeeping works.... and I think to myself.....

"I have no fucking idea what I'm talking about, do I?"

Bohemian Rhapsody: You are my nemesis

Regular readers will know that I like to sing; I mean, I talk about it all the time. I go to Karaoke and, as often as possible, we play Rock Band. We've been at it for about 2 years now, and on version 3 of the game, and we have about 600 songs. I was SO excited when Rock Band 3 came out, because it had Bohemian Rhapsody on it. I don't need to go on and on about how much of an awesome song it is, we'll all just stipulate to that fact, shall we? Here, let's start with all the evidence we need; I picked a version with lyrics built in:

So, the thing with Rock Band is that if I want to score well in the game (and not fail out and therefore die a horrible, embarrassing Rock Band death) I have to sing it exactly the way the game wants me to. Most of the time this is fine, except when it's a song that I usually sing the harmonies to. The game wants me to sing the melody but I always get really fucked up by that, because I'm so used to doing it one way... but that way is wrong, according to the game. So, even when it's a song I adore and know really well, it's really hard for me to get through. Case in point:

OMG! Uncle John's Band in Rock Band! How exciting and wonderful! But... NO. I only know the harmonies to this song, and the harmonies are WRONG. That sucks! I had no idea what I was in for with Bohemian Rhapsody. Of course there's that Rock Opera part in the middle, but that shit is 4 part harmonies. I have no idea WHAT the fuck I'm doing trying to get through that. I've learned any one of the 3 harmonies, I don't even know which, and not the melody, so I'm constantly jumping around trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be and I'm always FAILING. And this is a song I've been listening to practically my entire life, it was released in 1975! It's really hard to sing it a different way than I've been singing it for 30+ years.

What the hell were these Rock Band assholes thinking with this?? I mean, according to the B.R. Wikipedia page, "May, Mercury, and Taylor sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day. The entire piece took three weeks to record, and in places featured 180 separate overdubs." AND, if you look at videos of them performing the song live, whenever they got to that Rock Opera part, they would switch to the studio version because there's no way they could recreate it. So, the band that wrote and performed the song couldn't do it, but I'm supposed to be doing it in my living room? NO WAY! It's fucking impossible! Seriously, check out the difficulty level on this song:

That doesn't stop me from trying, of course. We did it tonight and I failed the first time but then got 91% the second time. Actually, earlier tonight Child 2 says out of nowhere "what's that song that goes 'oh mama mia mama mia mama mia let me go'..... Can you do that on Rocking later?" What can I say? The kid has good taste and he's only 5.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Autism and Office Depot, or some sort of clever title for this post

Child 1 has always loved stores; anything with a long aisle. He likes to look sideways at the shelves and go running down the aisle watching the stuff fly by him. It's a sensory thing I totally don't get. I'm cool with it. This isn't always appropriate, though, depending on the store and how crowded it is or what kind of mood I'm in. (I usually just try to go to the store without either of my kids, honestly, it's just easier that way).

I've always been very vigilant about keeping an eye on him, for a number of reasons, mostly because I cave to the social pressure that it's just a weird thing to do. But, also, because I just want to keep an eye on my kid. There's nothing I hate more than a parent, or a person who isn't a parent, who is clueless that the world exists around them. You know, the rude ones that stop walking right in front of you, leave their cart and walk away. Or they'll take up 2 parking spaces right in front of your house and then go out of town, leaving their car behind for a fucking week and a half. (That may be a more specific example than you need). And, I know how kids are, of course, having had a few myself. I know they will scream and meltdown regardless of where you are; they will ask you inappropriate questions like "why are you so fat?" or they'll try to grab things out of your hands, or whateverthefuck kids do in a store. Kids are kids, and it's up to their parents to teach them proper social behavior. The question of "what's wrong with kids today?" is phrased improperly, because there's nothing wrong with kids today. Instead we should be asking "what's wrong with parents today?"

Anyway, this is kind of a life mission of mine. My kids will not be these clueless fucks who only care about themselves, it's actually kind of ironic, really, that I ended up with a kid with autism, but that's not the point right now. But, in the store, with my kid with autism, I'm always hovering on the line between "appropriate social behavior" and "he's really not bothering anybody so who cares what he's doing?" And he's not bothering anybody, except maybe for those obnoxious, nosy Berkeley hippies who think it's their responsibility to tell everybody else what to do and how to live (the other end of the spectrum of "clueless fucks," by the way) but, really, there isn't much that's not going to bother those people (uptight bitches, the lot of them). When he was little, I was always hyper sensitive about his whereabouts, and constantly making him stop having his running down the aisle fun and stand next to me. Over the years, though, I've lightened up about it, because, really, it's not that big of a deal for a kid to be running up and down the aisles. He's never once bumped into anybody, or knocked anything down, and I've learned that while it may look like he's not aware of his surroundings, he actually very much is. So, I trust him. And, over the years I've lightened up and let him have his fun.

(One time he was "arrested" by the staff at Berkeley Horticulture Nursery and taken to the front desk, where they paged me over the loudspeaker. He wasn't even 4 and not very verbal at the time and I was VERY proud of him for being able to answer the question of "what is your name" but less so when I heard "Will the parents of Child 1 please come to the front? He needs you." Nosy Berkeley fucks! He wasn't bothering anybody, he just REALLY likes to watch plants fly by his head!!!)

Sometimes he'll ask to go to a particular store because he knows they have the best aisles, and today he asked to go to Ikea. We compromised on Office Depot, though, because I actually needed something from there. So, we go in, and he instantly takes off running in the other direction. The store isn't that crowded so I decide to just let him to his thing while I go looking for 1099 forms, and I tell myself to lighten up about that social behavior pressure thingy. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke! Or something. It took me about 5-7 minutes to find what I needed and that whole time I had no idea where he was. So, I'm done with my shopping and I start wandering around looking for him. I'm not panicked, because I know he would never leave the store without me, I just have to find the correct aisle. I bet toner cartridges look pretty cool when they're rushing past your head!

Eventually I start calling his name, because I'm done and want to get the hell out of there. And when I do, he comes walking right up to me.... holding a bag of M&Ms and 2 things of Reese's peanut butter cups. Just like any other kid would do! And I get to have a very typical "no, you can't have all that chocolate" conversation with him, just like a normie parent would, and we settle on just the M&Ms.  He hadn't been running up and down the aisles, at all, he was in the fucking candy section picking out his favorites! Just like any other kid would do.


The Dive Bar Welcomes: Anonymous!

This person has asked to remain anonymous, but if you figure it out please keep it confidential; kind of like AA, except we still drink a lot. By the way, if you ask me who it is, I'm not going to tell you, so don't bother....

A few years back I found our wedding album had gotten stuck in a box that had been sitting under a slowly dripping pipe.  I pulled it out and found that the pages had curled, some had mould on them, some photos had the colours running.  Most of it was un-salvageable.  All that remained intact was the legal document that proclaimed our union.  I took it out and put it in a safe place.

The significance of that discovery was not lost on me at the time.  Not a believer in randomness, I knew damn well that, indeed, the only thing left of the marriage was its legal hold on us.

That was sad enough, and, I played my part in allowing that slow drip of years to rot away the foundations of our relationship.  For that, I am truly sorry.  But what has happened in the last little while since our daughter's fateful destiny with disability, I cannot take responsibility for.  Something is very, very wrong.

It dawns on me now that I watched your father do the same thing to your mother.  As she became more and more disabled, he took more and more control over her life, never at any time empowering her to live as fully as possible.  It was suffocation, pure and simple.  The two became a co-dependent mess of a couple, resentful one of the other, both believing it was their "love" that kept them together, rather than their complete inability to function as independent human beings.  The good son is following in Daddy's foot steps.

You expect now that two people must always be present at our daughter's bedside claiming that is it not possible for one person to handle her.  The two most always being me and the hired caregiver.  If the second is not around, you hover within the space, your frustration at being "trapped" evident, your tension spilling over into the very air we breathe.  You panic at every episode and seizure.  You take every "bad day" as a personal assault on your freedom, claiming ever that you hate to watch our kid "suffer".  You haven't worked in 10 years, refuse to allow me to do so, and wonder what will happen when we run out of money.  You claim that it is her disability that keeps you here.  It has become your convenient excuse. 

I have had a few successes and opportunities arise from the blog...you chaff at it and you refused to support me for a conference trip, a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Indeed, you hate that I have discovered that people actually live full, albeit alternate lives, in spite of their children's disabilities.  You prefer to surround yourself with Facebook "friends", none of whom know anything of disability, who stroke you with their pity and praise you for your seemingly super human effort and sacrifice in dealing with our child.  We aren't the only ones, you know, and you hate that.  You have pushed away any real relationships, you resent anyone else's freedom.  You even complain, behind my back, when I take my daily half hour walk.  You seek out conflict at every turn.  Once you overcome one by being "right", you move on and find another.

You are not a bad man.  You truly love your daughter.  You are, I know, scared to death of having to deal with this child on your own.  Upon observing my sudden weight loss your only concern was for yourself:  "Don't die and leave me to do this on my own", were your very words.  You have said other things that I cannot repeat here, lest some overzealous soul call in some authorities to haul you away.  You keep waiting for a miracle or some stability before you can do anything, you claim.  Yet, she has been the same, up and down, for 10 years.  It's bad enough that you keep us all in lockdown 24/7, but you won't even let the child go to school anymore, claiming her uber-fragility and the impossibility of proper care being extended in a school environment.  She is bored and deeply lonely, like her mother.  She is slipping away into her anxieties, feeding her with your own every minute of every day.  It is beyond sad and into the pathetic.

I take the blame only for having allowed this all to happen, to develop and entrench itself so deeply.  Admitedly, it took me completely by surprise.  It's almost like I woke up one morning and found that all your rationalizations had finally turned the key in the lock.  I was living in a prison...and I didn't know it until it was too late to walk out the door.  No amount of talking, no reality check of any sort has been able to get you to see what is going on.  I have checked with others, some professional, to make sure I wasn't the one off kilter...but they all agree with me.  The situation is untenable.

This time next year, I and your daughter, will be long gone. We will be living in a different world...the operative word being "living".  I'm sorry for it, but it is my only recourse.  What you don't understand is that I won't be alone in doing this job.  I will make friends, I will reconnect with family, I will use all the mandated supports available to us from the government.  I want nothing from you.  You will be a welcome visitor, her father, after all.  I wish you well...though I don't know how you will survive, stripped of your excuse for hiding from life and living in fear and anger.  Good luck, anyway...I release you to your lessons.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Drunk blogging 4tw

I've been thinking about this blogging thing that I do. That's what I do, you know, I think. I have a constant ongoing conversation with myself going on in my head at all times about everything that I've ever thought about in my entire life. By the way, I'd like a show of hands, please, from everybody that I know: how many times have you received an email from me that starts with "I've been thinking...." I bet there are a lot of you. Oh, wait, though, not very many people I "know" read this blog, ever since I stopped posting things to Facebook, and I stopped doing that the day my mom told me "I always stop reading after the first 'fuck' or 'shit' It's.... embarrassing...." Hey, thanks Mom! You've always been so supportive in the past, this is exactly what I expecting this time! Anyway, moving on....

I've been thinking about this blogging thing that I do. I've talked about this before, but I don't feel like hunting those posts down, so just take my word for it. It's weird, this blogging thing. I take what's in my head and I type it out, and then other people read it, and then they comment, or they don't. It's weird. The only thing that I've ever done that's similar is to type out long, rambling emails to friends that they either don't respond to or they say "Oh, yeah, hey, that's GREAT!" Yeah, you're nuts. (show of hands?) It's strange, because I'm not a writer, and yet that's what I do here, every day. When I say "I'm not a writer" I don't mean "I'm a bad writer," I mean it just doesn't come naturally to me, it's hard, it's not something I do. I'm not freelancing for some paper; I'm not working on a book, like so many other bloggers are, it's just not something that I do. It's not like when I say "I'm not a teacher," because when I say THAT I mean "I'm a shitty teacher." One thing I AM good at, though, is talking, and also typing, and this blog is just the combination of the two.

Okay, so, what was my point? I have no idea, but I'll continue. Hey, you know what I'm doing right now? Smoking. In my kitchen. That's totally unheard of most of the time, except right now it's okay because the kids aren't here. They're still in Tahoe. And since I'm the one who makes the rules about this kind of thing, it's totally cool if I break them. HA HA HA HA.

Hey, you know who's cool? Hubs. I would show you his picture but he would never be okay with that. Okay, so, here's a likeness:

I KNOW, right?? That's totally what he looks like, for the most part. So, anyway, he works his fucking ass off at this job that he hates, at this place that sucks, but he does it for his family even though he hates it, and I don't tell him enough how much I appreciate that. I need to tell him that him person, rather than him reading it here. He hates it when he reads stuff here before I tell him about it. I can understand that.

Okay, so, anyway, I've been thinking about this blogging thing that I do. Actually I think about it way too much, almost like everything I now do has become fodder for what I might talk about here. It's kind of lame, really. The truth is.... I had to look up the word "fodder" to see if I was using it right. I think I'm okay. These words come to my head and I'm not entirely sure if I know what they mean. I think I lucked out this time.

Okay, so, if you were expecting a point to any of this, I'm sorry to disappoint you because there is no point. I mean, you read the title of this post, what did you expect? However, check out this video I just found; can you imagine ever being so awesome? I can't. YAY Jerry!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Song of the Day: Black Velvet

I know, I KNOW! This song is SO fucking cheesy... and the video.... soooo 80's (except that's almost exactly what my hair really looks like). But, I've decided that this is going to be my next karaoke song, which we'll probably do on New Year's Eve, so I have to start learning it, which means it will be stuck in my head constantly for the next 5 days... and now in yours. HA HA HA!

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Jennie B

Today we have Jennie! She actually lives kind of close to me.... I think we'll be getting together for drinks at some point in the future.....

Would everybody just SHUT THE FUCK UP??

…Was what I was thinking, but wouldn’t allow myself to actually scream out loud. It’s Monday, the first day of our two week break, and Moe was on his fourth – or was it fifth? – meltdown of the day, which included him coming after me, teeth bared, trying to bite me for no reason other than he was just pissed off. And Jelly, because I’m not paying attention to her, joins in, in perfect hellish harmony. So instead, I just slam the bathroom door, needing some way to fight back and hoping that the shock of the loud noise might get the kids to at least pause and take a breath. But no one seems to notice except maybe the dog, who of course I trip over because she is always right underfoot when something stressful is happening. The dog: my other “special needs” animal, who lately has added nothing but stress to my life. Every day I fantasize about letting some other family pay for her Prozac, but it’s been 7 years and what message does that send to my autistic son that when things are challenging we just kick you out of the house? So she stays.

And anyway, that’s another topic not up for discussion with my husband. The sometimes wonderful man who never missed an OB appointment when I was pregnant, makes every one of the kids’ doctor appointments, but has yet to show one fucking emotion when it comes to the fact that our kid has autism. The same man who I can’t quite forgive for calling me inconsiderate during an argument a couple weeks ago, but then comes home after a day when I was home sick with two sick kids, declares he’s “not feeling well” and goes straight to bed. So no, I don’t feel like having sex with you tonight.

Monday night I’m up at 10, 12, and 2 with Jelly, who I know is sick, but I can’t help be a little pissed off at because you know what? I’m sick too. And I feel like shit and if I don’t get some sleep I’m never going to get better. At 3am, just after Jelly is finally asleep (for good this time?), Moe is crying and we go to his room to find him butt naked – shit all over his sheets. And it would be funny if it weren’t just so depressing. My three and a half year old – still in a crib, nowhere near toilet training, but with enough dexterity to take off his clothes. He fights with superhuman strength while we wrestle a clean diaper and pajamas back on him, and then, once he is almost calm, comes after me again, grabbing my arm to bite me. And then suddenly I get it because it’s exactly what I want to say to anyone who tells me to calm down: BITE ME.

We go back to bed, tired and on edge, and it’s almost 4 in the morning and we shouldn’t even speak but we fight because I ask When is it going to end? and he tells me that doesn’t even make any sense. But it’s what I want to know: WHEN WILL IT END? When will I get my sweet little Wesley back? Because that’s his name, Wesley, not Moe, the autism blog pseudonym I made up for him a little because of anonymity but a little because it’s too painful to talk about all of these things happening with my beautiful Wesley. The boy I was supposed to have. So tell me, when do I get to have a conversation with my son? When do I get to show up to a playdate with a child who I don’t have to worry is going to run away or get hurt or spill the snacks all over the floor?

Not like we get invited to many playdates anymore, since our regular playgroup dropped us, or “changed formats” right after the diagnosis. Sure, a couple of moms have become friends, but the others were more than happy to fade away. And then there is the one who started it all, she knows who she is, and I just can’t forgive her for deserting us right when I needed her the most. But your husband flirts with me whenever we see you, so fuck you too.

And now… it’s Tuesday.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I love everything this man has ever said

I was tweeting from an airplane today. Tweeting. From. A. Fucking. Airplane. So, I thought I'd repost this....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh my god. I hate snow.

Here we are in beautiful Tahoe City, in a giant 4 bedroom house that my sister in law rents every year. We've been up here once before, some Thanksgiving when Child 1 was a toddler. I was pregnant and really dizzy from the altitude the whole time so my memories of this place were not good to begin with. The drive up here was uneventful, until the last 300 yards, when we encountered an icy uphill final stretch and couldn't make it, in the giant van with front wheel drive. We had to get out and put on the chains and the whole process took about an hour, after we had already been driving for about 5 hours. Luckily it was warm in the car and we had a DVD player and Finding Nemo.


We stopped for gas in the little town of Auburn, California, and while there I went into the local Starbucks, and I swear this place was like fucking Cheers. Every time somebody walked in, everybody who worked there would shout "FRANK!! FRANK'S HERE! HI FRANK!" and the same when they left. It was, without question, the greatest Starbucks I have ever been in. They got my name, too, and shouted a cheery goodbye to me as I left with my mocha and tea for my mother in law. Love that place.


Okay, so first, let me start by saying that I was born in Los Angeles. I then lived in Santa Barbara for 10 years. I then moved to the SF Bay Area, about 13 years ago. I've experienced snow maybe 3 times in my life, this trip included. We came up to this area last winter and it was fun, the boys discovered sledding and I discovered falling in the snow, but it was still fun. I was also in much better shape last year than I am now (mental note: in the future, work out a lot before coming to the snow). I also discovered my hatred of snow last year, but last year we went at the end of the season and it was really more ice than snow, so I'm not sure if that counts as actually experiencing it.

Right now, however, it's fresh. And powdery, I guess you call it. And it's crunchy. And it's fucking everywhere. Right in the backyard of the house is a kind of hill that you can use for sledding, so the boys and their cousin and their grandmother (my MIL) went out to frolic. Child 2 is a natural, last year he took to it like a fucking polar bear (or, some sort of animal that lives in snow, I don't know. An arctic rabbit, maybe?) and this year is no exception; he attacked the mountain with his usual enthusiasm. Here is some of his handiwork:

If you think you're looking at a sled full of snowballs, you would be correct. This is a sled full of snowballs.

Child 1 is good with the idea in theory, but in practice I think he's a little let down. He has trouble with the concept that if you point your sled towards a tree, you're going to sled into a tree; and that's bad. So there's always a lot of "NO! Don't go that way" and "STOOOOOOOOOPPPP!!!!!" But, he keeps insisting on doing it again and again. He likes the sledding part, but he also likes just sitting on the sled and hanging out, which I'm okay with. Until he starts tasting the snow, which he sometimes does.

Just chillin. Literally.

At one point, however, he decided that he wanted to carry his narrow ass all the way up to the top of the hill and sled down. Except, once he got there, he couldn't get any momentum going and he just sat. My MIL was up there and tried to help but he wouldn't allow her to touch him or the sled. He wanted me, thank you, autism! So, I started carrying MY ass all the way up to the top of the hill, except with every step my foot would shoot down about a foot into the snow and I would end up with snow up to my fucking knee. And then when I would try to climb out of my newly formed crater, my other foot would shoot 2 feet into the ground. I had to crawl my way out of these giant holes I had created, with my arms and elbows, and when I got out, my shoes and socks and pants and sleeves were full of the stuff. But I had to keep going, to get to the top, and the process would just repeat itself. Step. FALL. Step. FALL. Crawl, crawl, crawl. Fuck. Step. FALL. Step. FALL. etc.

I finally got to the top and Child 1 decided he didn't want me to push him, after all. I was like "fuck that, you're going" and I gave him a shove. He didn't go very far because the trail was now full of giant craters and it's hard to sled down a hill full of giant craters. So, he got off his sled and said "I'm going over there, instead" and started walking toward a hill that, if he were to sled down it, would lead him directly into the side of the house. My MIL started yelling at him not to sled directly into the house, while he said "but I want to go down this way" and at that point I was like, fuck it. I'm outta here. I loudly announce "I'M GOING INSIDE" and I step, fall, step, fall, crawl crawl crawl my way back down the hill and back into the house, leaving my MIL in charge.

Now I'm inside and I refuse to go back out there. Snow fucking SUCKS! Hubs has taken the boys out again and has graciously agreed to let me stay behind. He says it's too early to start drinking, though (it's 2:30pm). But... he's not here right now, is he?

UPDATE (the next day):

Okay. Fine. I guess it's kinda of pretty. Whatever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I. Must. Own. This

This picture was sent to me by @NicoleRitonia. Yeah, you're looking at a Grateful Dead snuggie. Yeah. That IS what you're looking at.

She said she got it at Spencer's, but I went there and couldn't find it. I must own this item. Somebody help me make this happen.

Frenzied Packing Scene

Me: slightly freaking out What am I forgetting? I know I'm forgetting something. I always forget something

Hubs: slightly impatient with me We're not going to space or anything, we're just going to Tahoe. There isn't anything you can forget that you can't buy once we're there

Me: What about my birth control pills?

Hubs: Okay, there's one thing

Merry Everyone!!

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Big Daddy Autism

Please join me in welcoming Big Daddy Autism to The Dive Bar! I would say that we should pour him a drink, except he doesn't (can't) drink, so maybe just a diet coke. Also, check out his awesome artwork. See anything familiar?

Wilford and Me

They say there are no coincidences in life so I guess I shouldn't be shocked that Griffin (my 13 year old autistic son) has formed a bond with Wilford Brimley, he of diabetes supplies fame. I've had diabetes for almost 15 years now. In reality, I don't have diabetes so much as diabetes has me. Recently, more often than not, diabetes has kicked my ass.

I read and write about autism every day. Though complications from my diabetes are slowly killing me, I rarely speak of it. Even when my wife injects me with insulin countless times a day or examines my feet, we don't discuss it. So I wanted to take advantage of the Dive Bar to say one thing to my diabetes.

Fuck you! I fucking hate you.

Okay. That was two things. So kill me. Oh wait, you already are. Fuck you again you piece of shit.

More than likely, Griffin and I will endure our respective ailments for the rest of our lives. We will require medical attention, medications, therapies, and other forms of intervention. We are hampered and limited by diabetes and autism. But, just like my devastating good looks and his overwhelming cuteness do not define us, although I may have diabetes and he has autism, it does not mean that all we are is a diabetic and his autistic son.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Song of the day: Christmas Wrapping

Because I don't think I should be the only person with this song stuck in their head fucking constantly. You. Lucky. Bastards. I have no idea what's going on in this video.

Hey, Jill.... whatever happened to that cat?

You know, the one that was in your garage with a broken leg?

Oh, YEAH! Thanks for asking, I'd forgotten about that cat; I bet you're wondering what happened to that little fucker? I mean, um.... yeah. That little fucker.

Background posts are here and here and here and I guess here. TL;DR (too long; didn't read): I have a feral cat, he broke his leg, he lived in my garage with a cast, he hated my fucking guts.

So, yeah, he was in the garage for a while, and we were going in there and giving him drugs twice a day. At first we had him locked in this enormous dog carrier inside the garage, but I thought that was cruel, and since the garage doors are all locked, I just let him out of the carrier and into the garage. I mean, the point was so that he wouldn't try to climb and jump on stuff while his leg was in the cast and he didn't need to be locked in a cell to accomplish that.

Yeah, that may not necessarily have been the best plan, though, because we still had to go in there and drug him twice a day, and if he's in the dog crate we just reach him and grab him, do our thing, and then cram him back in, right? But, loose in the garage, which has been converted into a man cave, complete with a bed, and a weight bench, and an entertainment system with a projector and a screen hooked up to a computer with all kinds of movies on it... it's pretty cool, actually. Anyway, all that stuff in there makes it really easy to hide when the humans come in with their grabby hands and torture devices. So, we had some difficulty getting him out from under the dresser or behind the wardrobe.

Hubs would always put on these industrial silicone bbq-ing gloves to protect his hands and arms from getting scratched to fucking hell. One night we had some extra, extra trouble finding the cat and if it wasn't for those gloves we probably would have ended up in the emergency room. Or with a dead cat. It was like he was the devil in cat form; hissing and clawing and yowling, it was actually kind of scary. After that day, hubs vowed never to go near the fucking thing ever again, so we just shut the door and stopped giving him medicine; we kept feeding him, of course, and checking on him every day (or, um... most days).


About a week later, I was drunk and went in there and actually found the cat, and apparently I picked him up and fed him and gave him a pill and I was all "Oh, I love this cat SOOOO much." I have absolutely no memory of this. Hubs just recounted that tale and said it was exactly like that scene in the Hangover where the guys steal Mike Tyson's tiger and casually lead him out of the mansion on a leash, and then wake up the next day and are VERY surprised to find a tiger in their hotel room. Drunken bravado, he called it. I'm still dubious it actually happened.


So, the cat got his medicine for about 3 weeks out of the 5 that he was supposed to get it, but I could tell he was feeling better because he started getting louder and louder and louder. He would stand at the door and shred the shit out of the carpet, apparently trying to tunnel his way to freedom, and the louder he got the more I knew he was feeling better. Then one day I went in there and his cast wasn't on anymore. It was just fucking gone. So, fuck it, I let him out. I figured that would make him happy, not being all cooped up in the man cave and screaming, right? But, no. For about a week he would stand in the kitchen and scream and yell, instead. That wasn't much better. I considered putting him back in the garage.

But, his leg seemed okay, he had a little limp but otherwise he seemed fine. Now it's about 2 months later and he's completely healed. The moral of the story: It only takes 3 weeks for a cat to heal from a broken leg, not the 5 weeks the vet tells you. Okay, perhaps there's a different moral to this story, but that's the one I'm going to go with right now.

Anyway, what inspired me to write this just now is that I'm starting to pack for our trip and I dragged the big suitcase out of the garage and LOOK what I found inside! Can you guess what that weird red thing is? Yep, that's a cat cast. Nice hiding, McDougal! I never would have found it there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Update on the one from yesterday

By the request of the author, I have removed the Dive Bar post from yesterday. Some of you may have no idea what I'm talking about, and if so, that's cool. Some of you may have come here looking for just that post, so this message is for you.

You guys got all kinds of awesome in the comments there, offering to take up a collection so she can leave. She is VERY VERY VERY thankful for your well wishes (a direct quote) but your incredible generosity feels a little overwhelming to her right now. She wants you to know that she did not write what she wrote in order to ask for money, or to ask for pity, it was just a rant from her heart; and seeing it out there in the world, and then seeing how amazing you all were in the comments, was a little freaky. I can understand that.

She feels that it would be irresponsible of her to just take your money without first being on solid ground. She needs to take care of things, and if she takes your money, she hasn't taken care of anything. I can understand that, too. She has a lot of kids, she has a child with autism, there is a lot to do, and she wants you all to know that she has a plan; except plans take time.  She can, and will, take care of herself and her children, and for now we need to give her some time to see things through.

Again, if you know her, don't mention any of this outside of this blog, in any manner whatsoever.


** to all: " my cup runneth over." ~the poster

I wanna go to Mt. Splashmore....

Child 2 was being, um... a little enthusiastic, in his requesting this evening, so hubs went and found this video and showed it to him as an example of "what not to do."

"If you do this," he says, "then you get to go to Mt. Time Out."

Now Child 2 is singing along. LOL.

My turn to write something. Kinda.

I haven't actually written anything for almost a week. This is actually good because I think my brain is broken right now and I keep thinking of potential topics to write about but then I never actually make it past the title. I have about 3 posts that I've started that are titles only; I'll probably never get around to finishing them.

So, on Thursday the 4 of us are packing up and heading up to Lake Tahoe for a few days. We're staying in a rental house with hubs' sister and her family, and his mom. I'm, um... not exactly looking forward to it. The boys will have a great time in the snow, but, um.... well... it probably won't be that much fun for me. It's a long story.

I'm actually flying back to Berkeley on Sunday, because I have to run payroll for one of my clients on Monday, but the boys will be staying behind until Tuesday. That's right, I'm going to be all alone in my house for 2 days. This is like my dream come true. I have never spent a night alone in this house for the 10+ years we've lived here, and now I get 2 in a row! You might be worried that I will be lonely, but I assure you... I will not be. I just have to make it past the 3 days in Tahoe first. I'm worried about Child 1, though, he doesn't do so well with change like this and 5 days away from home is longer than anything he's ever done. And I won't even be there for the end of it. I hope he's okay.

Anyway, I have one Dive Bar post waiting in the queue, which I will probably post tomorrow, and then I don't have any idea if there's even an internet connection where we're going. Just thinking about it makes me all cold and clammy. At least I'll have my trusty Blackberry. Assuming I get service, of course.

I'm scared.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Blogger: Autism Success Story Part 2

Here is Part 2 of Lynn's Autism Success Story

Daniel at 17 with his sister Keely, 20
The book that changed our life: The Out-of-Sync Child.  I read this book and I couldn’t believe it…this was MY CHILD.  It was like I had a jigsaw puzzle in front of me and all of a sudden, I saw the picture.  We contacted Developmental Therapy Associates in Durham, NC.  This is about an hour from our home.  We received the questionnaire in the mail and I couldn’t believe it. There, on paper, were all the little strange things about Daniel that I had never really thought about and these people were asking me about them.

Head banging…check.
Tuning in and out … check
Unpredictable behaviors … check
Easily distracted by sounds…check
Trouble shifting attention … check
Trouble delaying gratification … check
Fidgety/overactive … check
Always in a hurry, does many things too quickly, fails to learn from experience…check, check, check

Hundreds of little questions and hundreds of little checks.  OH MY GOD!

They recommended Occupational Therapy Services with a Sensory Processing approach but the biggest thing they recommended was an intensive deep touch at home program for Daniel.  They hand me a surgical scrub brush…yeah, a crappy little surgical scrub brush…and tell me that I need to SCRUB Daniel 6-8 times and day followed by Deep pressure joint compression.  They tell me that Daniel will be a different child in two weeks.  WAS I skeptical?  HIGHLY.  I couldn’t believe the bullshit they were selling.

But what did I have to lose?  Let me be honest here.  This process SUCKED.  You took the scrub brush and brushed Daniels arms, legs, and back with the brush as hard as you could.  Then, you took his major joints: shoulders, elbows, fingers, knees, hips, ankles and pushed and pulled them.  It was excruciating for Daniel and in fact, took two people to do at first.  He would be hysterical and I would be scrubbing his back and then compressing his joints … every 1 ½ or so.  He was crying; I was crying.  There’s no nice way to explain the process other than tormenting your child, even for their own good, bites.

But guess what?  In two weeks Daniel MacDonald was a different child.  A DIFFERENT CHILD.  He was calmer and would walk around barefoot; he wasn’t as crazy about his clothing.  He was just more open.  I just couldn’t believe it!

We continued going to DTA for over a year, twice a week. It was an ordeal and we listened to a lot of books on tape during the ride. Occasionally I took the girls along with me and they, of course, thought it was loads of fun.  After all, you do a lot of rough and tumble play in that type of therapy.  Daniel was also in speech therapy here in Greensboro and he was attending a pre-kindergarten program as well. 

Keely and Andie were in a Private school; I had an IEP drawn up by the public school system but, very frankly, I really didn’t want Daniel in one of the special programs that he would have been assigned to.  The school where my girls went agreed, on a provisional basis, to allow Daniel to attend school there.  It was contingent on his behavior, his staying on meds, continuing his Occupational Therapy, receiving even more OT on his hands ( he was ambidextrous…although lousy with both), Speech thereapy…you name it.  They had the right to boot him out at any time.  We signed the contract and so began Daniels schooling.  We had extra conferences to discuss the many occupational and behavioral issues that we had to deal with but, when Daniel entered 5th grade, they told us we no longer needed the contract.  That was a good day!

When Daniel was in 2nd grade, his speech therapist game him a standardized test on some mental retrieval skills.  He scored in the 1%.  That’s right, the first percentile.  I had always wondered about those poor people in the lower percentiles as my girls were always scoring in the top and now we were one of them.  It was a truly humbling moment.

I was panicked in middle school because Daniel couldn’t write; not handwriting wise…although that was terrible too.  Because he had huge retrieval problems and organizational issues, he wouldn’t know where to begin on a story or essay.  If you asked him what he DID that day, he could write down a series of events BUT if you asked him what he THOUGHT about what he did that day, he was stymied.  I was really worried because, with two older sisters, I knew how much writing there was in Middle School and High School.  I figured that there was no way he would get good enough grades to get into college with these huge holes in his abilities.  He got tutored, twice a week.  They assured me that organizational writing skills were something that could be taught.  I didn’t believe them.  I was wrong.  He’s now in AP English and he’s got an A.  He’s always gotten A’s.

So, here we are.  I know this is long and yet I’ve skipped SOOO much.  Daniel had plenty of aggressive circumstances in school where I was required to go in and deal with other parents.  He hit occasionally and once led a huge rebellion because he didn’t want to do something.  He has called people names and it took years to get his temper under control.  I can’t even tell you how many Xbox controllers he’s broken.  And yet, you’ll never find a sweeter, more caring individual than Daniel.  He’s friendly and loving and people really love him.  And he’s smart…boy is he smart.  In 7th grade he got National Honors on the Duke Talent Identification Program.  He just took PSAT’s and I’m sure he will be a National Merit Semifinalist.  He’s brilliant at Math and his writing has improved.  His grades are incredible and every year he receives academic awards.  He’s a huge sports fan and has copious amounts of knowledge.

He’s 17 and in one year he will head off to college.  Does he still have issues?  Yes, he does.  Although he no longer takes Prozac for anxiety, it took 3 separate tries before we could wean him off the stuff.  He definitely has SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  He gets extra time for writing and prefers using a computer as writing is still difficult for him.  He still rocks when he studies…he must have about 70 elbows because he’s always jabbing you when you cuddle with him.  He definitely has Sensory Issues to this day. 

I forgot to tell you about the two weeks we spent dealing with his hearing issues.  That could be an entire posting unto itself.  Let me say that his hearing was so acute that he could hear sounds that dogs could hear and was always in excruciating pain.  He once demanded I turn the windshield wipers off because the noise was killing him; he had to wear ear muffs in movies, the list goes on. 

So, here we are, back to today.  I told Daniel this morning that I was writing this.  He doesn’t remember a lot of it because he was so young.  He’s interested in it though and this morning he asked me “do you think that’s why I’m so fidgety?”  Yeah, I do.  He also wanted to make sure that I told people that this is HIS story and not to lead people to believe that EVERYTHING can be fixed.  I told you he was a sweetie.

So, I wrote this piece yesterday and then I was somewhat emotional all day afterwards.  I hadn’t looked at the records in so long that I’d forgotten how horrible that period was.  I suppose when you look back on something that is so frenzied, it’s difficult to remember all the details.  As I was talking to my husband last night, I once again apologized for not taking his concerns seriously earlier.  I think that when Daniel was with me, as his primary caregiver, that his problems weren’t as acute. 

Kevin had much more difficulty in dealing with Daniel’s behavior than I did.  He didn’t know all the little cues to his personality thus he could never forestall the impending storms.  Daniel’s tantrums and melt downs completely changed my parenting style.  When he started wigging out, I got dead calm.  I quickly learned that the best way to intervene was quietly, calmly and methodically.  This one change was such a great way to be with all three of my kids that I’m actually thankful for it.   It usually kept the situation from escalating and taught the kids how to calm themselves down as well.

At any rate, I did want to once again remind you that this was Daniel’s journey.  His results were excellent and his outlook is fantastic.  While everyone might not receive the exact same benefits that we did, I hope this story brings you hope.  Thanks for letting me share.

Lynn MacDonald

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: An Autism Success Story

Last week I made a new friend on Twitter, Lynn at All Fooked Up. We started chatting and I guess she stopped by here and saw that I had a kid with autism, and she told me that her son, who is now 17, was diagnosed on the spectrum when he was 4. He's now a junior in high school and he will graduate next year and most likely go to Duke, like his sisters. I said OMG a success story! and I asked her guest post for me. It's long, so at her suggestion I have split it into 2 parts. Here is part 1, I will post the rest tomorrow.

Daniel, at 3 years old

Before I begin talking about Daniel, his diagnosis and all that entails I would like to make one thing clear.  This is Daniel’s story told from my viewpoint.  Autism Spectrum Disorder is just that; a spectrum.  We were very lucky.  Although Daniel was diagnosed with Asperger’s, he was very high functioning and indeed, I don’t even believe that was a correct diagnosis for him.  He also had a tremendous amount of intervention which, for him, was VERY effective.  Therefore, I don’t want people to get the wrong idea that Autism can be “fixed”.  Symptoms can be fixed; certain issues can be fixed and indeed, I’ve been both surprised and amazed at how many problems that seemed so bleak have proven to be otherwise.

So that’s my first point.  My second point is that we were very lucky in that we had the financial resources to do what needed to be done, as well as, access to tremendous programs due to the proximity of both Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We certainly availed ourselves of their services.

My third point is that we were driven.  I tell anybody who listens that Daniel MacDonald was the single greatest achievement of my life.  He was intensely broken and while I can’t claim to have “fixed” him, I spent copious amounts of time and research finding the people who could.   Any test that was available to take, Daniel took.  Although I had already had psychological testing, sensory integration testing and others; I also utilized every state service that North Carolina and the Guilford County school system had to offer.  Even if it seemed that I already had all the information at my fingertips on the makeup of the boy who was Daniel, there was ALWAYS the chance to learn something new.  I always took that chance.

Now that I’m done with my disclaimers, I’ll begin the story…

Daniel is my third child but my fourth pregnancy.  Andie had followed on the heels of Keely, unintentionally I assure you.  The next time I wanted to wait as having two kids fifteen months apart wasn’t easy.  Adding to the stress was the fact that Andie had severe asthma and indeed, was on a nebulizer four times a day.  So, I wanted to wait a few years to try for a boy.  I got pregnant instantly but, unfortunately, I had an ectopic pregnancy.  We always refer to this child as the MacDonald that wasn’t.  That’s just how we cope around here.  At any rate, on August 11, 1993 Daniel MacDonald was born.  We knew he was going to be a boy and we were elated to have both sexes accounted for now.  Other than the fact that he had the HUGEST overbite I’d ever seen (seriously…he looked like that guy on the Simpsons), he was a beautiful baby.  Actually, he was huge… 8 lbs, 10 ounces which compared to his sisters who were 6-15 and 7 pounds, he was huge. 

So, he was with us and he was just your normal, typical baby.  None of my kids were early developers and Daniel was no different but he crawled and eventually walked; talked poorly but still communicated; no big deal in my opinion.  He also had a LOT of strange idiosyncrasies but, as he was so beautiful, I didn’t give them a second thought.  It took two of us to trim his nails while he went apeshit; haircuts were a screaming mess; clothes drove him crazy; he would never go barefoot…the list was endless but, as I said before, he seemed perfectly normal to me.  If he had screaming fits, so what?  Andie did too and she was fine.  Daniel had bad ears but then, all my kids had bad ears.  He got tubes at 6 months and if I could have gotten them inutero I would have done so.  All my kids had bad ears, bad ear infections, and multiple sets of tubes so again…so what?

My mom died when Daniel was three.  I certainly won’t go into details but needless to say, it was a stressful period on the homefront.  Keely was in first grade, Andie was in kindergarten and Daniel was in preschool.  Life was stressful, but normal as any life would be with three small kids and that situation.  The next fall, Daniel started his last year of preschool.  He had an August birthday and was one of the youngest in the class.  
In January of 1998 when Daniel was 4 ½ years old, he got thrown out of preschool because he was having aggressive incidents four or five times per day.  We were told that Daniel needed to be evaluated.  This was a big deal as I had been the previous CHAIRPERSON of said preschool, so this was not taken lightly by the school so they must have felt that something significant was wrong.

This is so out of order but I need to address the previous fact.  One of the toughest thing that can ever happen as a parent is to have a child with issues and have parents that are completely on different pages.  To write this story, I went upstairs and I got all my records and I’m going to put down, verbatim, what some of them said.  I never felt like I was in denial; I just didn’t think anything was a big deal.  I had grown up with a huge medical situation in my family and I usually roll with the punches.  My husband felt otherwise but I ALWAYS pooh-poohed him.  Here’s what the report said:

“Mrs. MacDonald does not remember specific developmental milestones, but does feel Daniels language development was somewhat late.”

“Daniels father reports feeling something was wrong with Daniels language or communication over a year ago. It is very difficult to teach him new things, including alternative ways to behave.  He doesn’t seem to respond appropriately in many situations.  Daniels mother feels her son is capable of having any conversation that he chooses but that he chooses to ignore people often.  The parents considered Daniel to have peculiarities, but were not particularly alarmed by them.  His mother has always expended great energy to adapt to Daniel’s needs and avoid setting off the numerous catastrophic reactions Daniel experiences.  His father is more frustrated by these episodes and has felt Daniel will not adapt in the world if he continues to require such special adaptations.  Getting him dressed is a major ordeal and the mother has not tried to make him dress himself.  The father may be more insistent that Daniel cooperate to get dressed and experiences more frustration.”

“Many areas of sensory processing were described as “different”.  He has a long history of auditory defensiveness.  He is highly stimulated by baths and loves water and swimming.  He loves being thrown in the arm (vestibular stimulations).  He is rigid in his clothing preferences.  He can’t modulate his moods.  He bites and insists that his food be cut into particular shapes.  He loves to play with other kids until something goes wrong in his route.”

“When Daniel walked into the examiner’s office, he didn’t greet the Psychologist; his eye contact was very limited but Daniel seemed to take in all the necessary information through peripheral vision”

I was with Daniel during the evaluation but sat to the side.  When Daniel got “silly” I intervened, usually with a bribe.  The testing wasn’t easy; Daniel could only focus for about 20 minutes before he got silly and yet, was smart enough to tell the Psychologist that “I don’t want to answer because she keeps saying stuff” referring to me.

As you can see, this is a pretty common picture of a kid with “Aspergers” which they diagnosed him with.  The recommendations included a structured environment, referral to the Project TEACCH program, referral to Developmental Therapy Associate in Durham, referred to a neuropharmacology clinic down at UNC-Chapel Hill for medications, referral to the Coordinator of Preschool Handicapped Services for the Guilford County School system; the list was endless.

Our reaction:  we were DEVASTATED, in a word.  We cried and went into Daniel’s room and looked at this gorgeous child and it just didn’t make sense how someone so precious could be so damaged.   One night.  ONE NIGHT!  That’s how long we mourned.  The next morning I got up, took the girls to school and went to Barnes and Noble.  I was there for four hours.  Remember, this was before the internet was really the internet so I literally read through every single book they had on Autism, Pervasive Developmental Delay, Bi-Polar kids, Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  If there was a book on it, I read it.  Operation FIX DANIEL was just beginning.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So tired. So very very tired.

Before I begin this post, please go read this and then come back.

I'll wait.

Okay, you're back? Great.

So, I've been trying to figure out a way out of this horrible sleep cycle I've gotten myself into. It must end. I've started by talking to Child 1 about it. Have to start somewhere, why not start there. At bedtime we've been discussing the issue of "what happens when you wake up in the night" and "how you should stay in your bed and not come into mine" and "Mama just might die of fatigue one of these days." Okay, not that last part. Anyway, tonight we were discussing it again and I was being very clear that you should stay in the bed that you fell asleep in until it's morning, and this is what he tells me:

"No. I go to sleep in my bed and then I wake up when it's still not morning yet and I come into your bed. That's how it works."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because that's just how it works," he says.

He's right, you know. That IS how it works. I couldn't do anything but agree with him. And I only have myself to blame for this being the way it works in this house. And, again, I have no idea how to make this better.

Gotta love how well he explained that, though, right? He was very clear, very concise, and, of course, very correct.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I quit the PTA

So, I have a problem (don't laugh, I haven't gotten to my point yet!!) I'm not so much a "control freak," per se, it's just that I do things better than other people (that's all I'm sayin). I don't necessarily have to do everything, I just know that if I don't, it either won't get done or it will be crappy.


Okay, let me back up a little.

There is a very common attitude among people who don't have kids with special needs, that SPED kids "steal resources" away from the normies. As such, when we first entered public school, I was afraid that people would judge either me, or my child, because he was in SPED. (I've written about this before, and I'm not going to rant about it now.)

When Child 1 was in preschool, the school district shelled out a shitload of money for his home program; 15 hours/week, non stop, for 2 years. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if it weren't for that home program, he would not be as high functioning as he is today. So in addition to being afraid, I also wanted to pay back; to the district, for spending so much money on my kid. I had a goal: to personally raise $X (I won't say) in my entire time (16 years, including Child 2) in public school. Nobody could say MY kid stole resources when I'm doing all that fundraising, right??

I went to my first PTA meeting when Child 1 was still in preschool.  I had a friend with a kid C1's age who also got into the school, and together we went. She ended up getting involved before I did; I kept sending emails to the PTA folks and nobody would answer me and I guess they answered her? I figured that meant they already hated me but, no, what it actually meant was that they were too disorganized to figure out how to tell me what kind of help they needed. But then my friend says "I've been trying to work with these guys but it's been hard because they're so flaky." Well, it just so happened that this is what I do for a living, at least at the time: I fix disorganized organizations. I won't bore you with the details. So I said, "I know how to fix this place! Let me show you....."

So, that's what I did. I just walked up to one of the co-presidents at a meeting and I said "You have an opening, put me on your Executive Board." And he was like "Uh. Okay. Who are you? Yeah, whatever." He didn't really care. So, I came in with all kinds of energy and drive and I did what I said I would do, I made them organized. Agan, I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it's a good thing the IRS never paid them a visit.

Unfortunately, what happened after a while is that I started volunteering for everything... and therefore doing everything. At one point I think I was in charge of every committee that existed, I don't even know; it's kind of a blur. People were always saying to me "I don't know HOW you do it!" I would always answer "I don't." It was fucking insane. On the plus side, though, we raised about $120,000 last year. I can't take credit for all of that, of course, but I think that's more than any other elementary school in our district.

One day when C1 was in 1st grade, I brought him to school in the morning and discovered that he had a field trip that day, but I had forgotten about it and therefore had forgotten to make him a lunch. It wasn't a big deal, there was extra food and he would get fed, but still.... I was so wrapped up in my PTA duties that I forgot to make my child a fucking lunch. It was time to get my priorities in order.

So, I started quitting stuff.  I gave away everything that wasn't absolutely crucial.  But then, as the year went on, it turned out that the stuff I gave away either wasn't getting done or it was getting done badly. What did I tell you??? I was obviously needed. So, I picked things up again. Ugh. Seriously? Yeah. By this point, though, I no longer cared about paying back or proving myself and my child worthy. I'm pretty sure I took care of that part halfway through my first year there. Now I just had to make sure things got done, and got done right. Not because I'm a control freak. I said NOT.

Unfortunately, by the end of C1's 2nd grade, I was really burned out. SO tired of the PTA. When the prez-elect asked me to be on the board again for the next year (that would be this year) I said ok, as long as I didn't have to go to any meetings, because I'm sick to fucking death of meetings. She said "we all just do what we can!" I don't know how she still has such a good attitude, she's been there longer than I have.

Okay, so now it's this year, and I think I've been to one meeting. I'm the Vice President of Fundraising, which means I get all kind of emails saying "HEY! I HAVE THIS GREAT IDEA FOR A FUNDRAISER! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS." And I just don't give a shit. I really, really don't care. Plus, my work has gotten really busy, and hubs works really late every night, so I don't have the time during the day and no childcare at night. Anyway, my disinterest in the whole thing causes me to just forget the PTA exists, so I'll get an occasional email and say "OH YEAH! I remember the PTA!" and then feel slightly guilty for not having done shit this year.

So, I emailed the prez and I said "I don't think this is working out, what do you want to do?" And she said maybe they should try to find somebody who actually cared about fundraising to, you know, be the VP of Fundraising? She was concerned about hurting my feelings. Isn't she the sweetest? I was like "fuck my feelings, I just don't want the responsibility anymore!" So, this past weekend I emailed the Exec Board and said I was stepping down. I don't even care anymore if things don't get done or if they get done crappily. If the place falls apart, it's their fault for relying on me in the first place. That's some pretty serious burnout, right there.

But, hey, more time for blogging now, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I have cooler friends than you do

I have an online friend who I have mentioned here before. Tina at Not Just Another Mother Blogger (our online friends know her by another name). I've mentioned her as my mom/friend hero before, for many reasons, that I won't go into, unless she chooses to blog about it one day.

She was asking me about Child 1 and his love of YouTube elevator videos, so I gave her a little bit of info and LOOK WHAT SHE DID!! She made a video just for him!! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!!! THANK YOU!!!

You wouldn't even believe the look on his face when I showed it to him. He's been watching it over and over again for the past 10 minutes and giggling hysterically.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Things I find in my house V

Go, little dude, go!! Be the best Tony Hawk that you possibly can be!!!

How to butcher a goat: Step by step instructions

So, I was bored today, and I asked Big Daddy Autism to keep me entertained. He said of course, except first I would need "a rope, transistor radio, 2 cherry tomatoes, and a freshly killed goat." Luckily, I had most of those things and only needed to go out and get the rope and the tomatoes. I would need to make sure the goat was still warm, and "If not, get some blankets and a bucket of warm whole milk. From a cow. Not the soy crap you hippies love."

Then, he asked me if I had ever butchered a goat before. I said no and asked for a pdf. Luckily... he had one to send, and MAN was it helpful!

I can't wait to see what I'm supposed to do next!!!!

Well, hello, Monday

All day yesterday Child 1 was trying to convince me that he was sick and couldn't go to school. He's a very bad liar, though, and not very convincing. Just being sad and adorable is not a good enough reason to stay home from school, dude. Sorry.

So, I was all ready to take the kids to school and go to work, but I woke up this morning and I whistled when I breathed. Huh. That's not supposed to happen. But I was still all ready to get them ready and go. Child 1 was still trying to convince me that he was sick. He's so cute. "I can't go to school today because I have a fever." I feel him, using my Momometer and he's not hot. "How do you feel?" I ask. "I feel like I can't go to school today." he says. Yeah, he's really bad at faking it.

Then I turn my attention to Child 2, who is bouncing around the room as usual, chasing the cat, throwing blankets at the cat, yelling at the cat, etc. I also notice that his nose is completely stuffed up, he's coughing a juicy cough and his eyes are red and crusty. Oh, god. I can't keep him home but send Child 1, who has been trying to convince me for a day now that he's sick, that would just be MEAN. What do I do, what do I do???

This is one of those parenting moments where you know you're hovering on an ethical line. He's sick, he really shouldn't go to school, but I have a client and I don't really feel like sitting in the house all day long with a sick and a not sick kid. Do I send him, knowing I'm being irresponsible? Or do I keep him home, even though I don't really want to? So, I ask Child 2 what he thinks. "Should you go to school today?" I ask. He says "No, I should stay home." Of course he says that, what else is he going to say? "Why?" I ask. He says, "Because I don't want to get my friends sick."

Shit, the kid is more responsible than I am. How the fuck did THAT happen? Okay, fine, we're staying home. I go and tell Child 1 the good news. He doesn't believe me. No, really, we're staying home today. I think he got a little teary.

So, now we're home, with 12 hours of nothing ahead of us. What the hell are we going to do today? I ask Child 2 what we're going to do today, and he says "We're going to do three things: First, we're going to do the thing that I do when I get home from school." "Play computer?" I ask. "Yes, play computer. The second thing we're going to do is chill out. The third thing we're going to do is take a little rest."

So, there you have it. This is what we're doing today:

1. Play computer
2. Chill out
3. Take a little rest.

So, I'll be here all day I guess. If anybody is around, feel free to take it upon yourself to entertain me.....