7.31.2007

Reunion Weekend Capsulized

Reunion Weekend Capsulized

FRIDAY

  • 12:30 PM Pile four kids in car (mine + niece Nicole), drop Leelo off at school
  • 1:00 Leave Deadwood.
  • 2:00 Stop in Gilroy for reinforcements: drive-through triple latte
  • 2:05 Hit snarly Garlic Festival traffic
  • 3:00 Leave Gilroy
  • 3:30 Did they give me decaf? Pull over to side of road and tell big girls to watch Mali while I take a short nap
  • 4:00 Onward, stopping every 30 minutes - hour for some reason concocted by the big girls. Decide that I no longer like listening to Henry the 8th I Am (Iz and Mali's constant request) or Rehab (Nicole's)
  • 9:30 Arrive at my brother's place in Orange County
SATURDAY

  • 8:30 Wake up everyone so as to gear up for the beach
  • 9:30 Phone call from Dee as I'm getting in the car: Apparently the World Cup of Surfing is taking place at the beach we'd targeted
  • 10:00 Beach!!!!!! Dee was there with family, so was Mr. and Mrs. Bakery, and we even had a surprise showing from Joshua and family, whom I hadn't seen since their wedding in '02. The very best fun was had, all the kids were cute, and I was reminded once again that SoCal beaches trump those up here.
  • 2:00 Ack, time to go to the restaurant! Mr. Bakery rode with me and the kids. On the way we debated the etiquette of flatulence, seeing as Nicole was bombing the car every five minutes. Mr. Bakery averred that it was silly to hold them in as it would give you bad cramps. Mali's response: "Are you serious?" Everyone in the car laughed.
  • 2:20 We picked up Godfather M at his mom's house. His sister was there, too as was their new beagle puppy! The girls went into cuteness apoplexy.
  • 2:30 At the restaurant. Met up with Dee's family, Mr. & Mrs. Bakery (sans kids; they'd been jettisoned to a relative's), and also Riane and Ima from our high school class. Much photo taking took place. The kids were all cute little bugs, especially Dee's Lecia, who is almost two and narrowly escaped being eated up by me because she kept requesting that I sing "Wouldn't it Be Loverly" and the cuteness, it was too much. The ticket for all those people plus quite a bit of Sangria was around $60. I still owe Godfather M my share.
  • 4:30 Hit my brother's house. My mom, her dog, my pilot brother, his two kids, his heavily pregnant wife, and her mother had arrived in my absence so that the cousins could all play together. Much jovial mayhem ensues.
  • 5:30 Ran into the bathroom to scrape, scrub, and shellack myself.
  • 5:35 Looked at the bright red water running from my head and realized that not only did I forget to bring the dark towel I had been using as a pillow cover into my brother's white bathroom with me, but that all of his towels are either snow or milk colored. (And if you get that reference, I'll send you ten dollars.)
  • 5:40 Used a white hand towel, to dry first my body and then my head. Tucked ruined towel into a plastic bag to sneak home.
  • 6:00 Okay, now I'm ready:
Afterwards

  • 6:05 Kat, my date, arrives with her two kids so that they can be part of the frolicking.
  • 6:15 We drive all the kids to the local park, where they will meet my sister-in-law Bree and her two kids in my absence.
  • 7:15 Kat and I arrive at the reunion.
Um, I'll finish tomorrow.

What You Don't Want to Hear From Your Kid's Teacher

What You Don't Want to Hear From Your Kid's Teacher

Leelo's main teacher was out yesterday, so instead the class was lead by the assistant teacher and a sub. I have been assured all along by the program director that they really get Leelo and that his instances of behavior have been manageable. This is why I was a little surprised to have the assistant teacher tell me yesterday that "Leelo had a really great day! He had nowhere near his usual amount of explosive aggression!"

Sigh. This is the class where it looks like he'll be going in the Fall. I've not found anything else that works for him, and have still not had any luck getting in touch with the County classroom folks. The one time the County director did call me back--thanks mb!--was when I was at an IEP and couldn't talk. I'm not thrilled about this class for Leelo, even though I think the instruction is mostly very good. But Supervisor M thinks Leelo needs the legally mandated first grade curriculum of five hours per day, the classroom is far too small, there's no playground, the bathroom is not in the building, it's only three hours per day, and it's in the afternoon from 1 - 4 which completely fucks up my day as it is in direct opposition to his sisters' schedules: Iz will be in school daily from 8:30 to 2:50 and Mali will be dropped off at Teacher Anarchy's school (thank you Baby Jesus) from 8:30 to 11:30.

Calling the county folks again today.

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7.30.2007

Simps0nia

Simps0nia

We stopped off in The Valley on the way home from The OC, to drop off my niece Nicole at her mom and stepdad's house. (Nicole had stayed with us in Deadwood for the previous week; we drove her back to and stayed in her dad's house in Orange County for the reunion weekend.) This is not terribly remarkable.

What is worthy of note is that Nicole's mom and stepdad are both animators on a certain show/recently released Springfield-centric movie. Nicole's mom gave Iz a signed season box set (she created and directed all the interstitial pieces), and Nicole's stepdad not only gave Iz a signed copy of the Enterfoinment Weekly sporting his cover art, but walked her through the storyboards and script and general episode development process he was currently working on. Which meant I got to see it too. So frickin' cool! Iz nearly passed out, so intense was her glee.

To those of you who know of Nicole's mom: I am happy to report that she seems to have matured one thousand fold, and has become a person upon whom I no longer wish to take out a contract.

I also feel obligated to report that the fact that our intended Highway 101 route was shut down due to a thirteen-car pileup, and that the Valley-top 405/5 interchange was plugged due to an accident including a Jeep that was still in flames as we passed did very little to alleviate my near-phobia of El Lay and general Southland traffic.

More reunion weekend stories coming.

When Your In-Laws Offer to Pay

When Your In-Laws Offer to Pay

Someone recently asked whether or not it is a good idea to have well-heeled in-laws pay for an autistic child's home therapy program when public (school district or regional center) funding is available. Here is my reply:
My first thought would be to take your in-laws up on their offer. Private pay often affords you more control and flexibility (i.e., if you do not like the agency's approach, you can take immediate action; if a wonderful therapist feels he/she may leave due to cost of living, you may be able to offer them a raise), and you may be able to transition to regional center or school district (SD) funding later. We did private pay (thanks to fairy grandparents) for three years before transitioning to the school district. Because we had a truly fantastic, well-documented, established program, the SD agreed to take over funding rather than disrupt our son's program and life. We feel extremely lucky.

However, my in-laws are tolerant, trusting people who feel that those on the front line -- my husband and I -- are the experts. They wrote the checks and read the reports, but never imposed themselves on our program or decisions. If your in-laws' financial help comes with their intolerable interference, it may be better to go with regional center funding. (Though that also usually means a big struggle.)

Another thought is that your in-laws may be able to help you out with respite/babysitting that is completely separate from your therapy program. My in-laws still pay for a "babysitter" (actually a behavioral pre-K school teacher) to come for a few hours a week to do "engaged play" with our son, to follow his lead and keep him interacting in the less structured real world outside of therapy.

Good luck, and please keep reaching out when you need to.

-Squid

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7.29.2007

Fifty-Five Hours There and Back

Fifty-Five Hours There and Back

I had no idea a person could drive 1000 miles and see so many wonderful friends and relatives and do so many fun things in less than fifty-five hours. 'Twas fun, but I'm going to sleep now.

Leelo was very happy to see me. I felt the same way. And look, my handsome husband!

7.26.2007

Chest in a Vice

Chest in a Vice

That is what my lungs feel like at all times for the past few weeks. I am not dealing well with living my life in sixty- to ninety-minute increments.
Moderately trivial events are stressing me into paralysis. And I am no use to my family or friends in this state; in fact I am being awful to people who are helping me out.

Today the girls and I head south for Ye Olde Reunion. My hair, it is hot. My dress, ditto; same for the shoes, purse, and baubles. But I will be missing my favorite accessory, which is Seymour. He and Leelo will be staying here in Deadwood, because no event is worth giving my son three weeks of post-travel-stress right before Poo(t) Camp. But I so very much wanted to show off my hot husband with the cool job, seeing as I myself will have very little to crow about. Sigh.

Mali's Mom Gets Bedhead, Too

Mali's Mom Gets Bedhead, Too

Mali's Mom Gets Bedhead, Too

My high school reunion is in two days, so I figured I might as well dye my hair one of the school colors. I used to do this before football games in high school--too bad the cheer coach didn't agree and banned the practice, along with black leggings and skull earrings. This may have been why colored Sebastian Fizz was discontinued, and why you don't see a whole lot of conflicted goth/ska cheerleaders.

7.25.2007

Bet You Can't Make This Face

Bet You Can't Make This Face

Bet You Can't Make This Face

AAAAAAAAARGH! GOD DAMN IT!

AAAAAAAAARGH! GOD DAMN IT!

That is all.

7.24.2007

All Grumpy, All the Time

All Grumpy, All the Time

I am in a state of Perpetual Grump. Everything makes me grouchy: HP7, my house, other drivers, my kids (though I think you would be grumpy too if your 8-year-old called you during your Iron Gate work shift to say that she was in the middle of dyeing her cousins' hair magenta in your brand new bathroom with the brand new white bath mats without proper gear or knowledge and she only needed to ask where the tin foil was).

Anyhow, as I told Jo tonight, I am sporting a very short fuse. I feel particularly awful as so many of my friends (Ep, JP, etc.) have been so kind in helping out with Leelo as I finish out my last Iron Gate shifts ever.

Please don't take it personally.

Leelo Makes a Small Adjustment

Leelo Makes a Small Adjustment

For the entirety of Leelo's solid-food-eating life, he has had to have his grub cut up in bite-sized pieces or else. Seymour, Babysitter A, and I have been trying to help him increase his tolerance for taking the bites himself, but he has never greeted a non-bite-sized piece of sandwich, etc. with anything less than a screaming tantrum. (Except, for some reason, bananas.)

Until today. Today I laid out five slices of PB&J sandwich, and he ate them not only without complaint, but by taking bites! In the past his slice-eating technique was to shove each slice straight down his throat with only a couple of perfunctory chews.

This may seem like a small victory, but it really is huge. The fact that he continues to take these steps makes me think that we might be able to potty train him after all. I certainly hope so, because we're going to do potty training boot camp--all underwear, all day long--starting August 5th.

I wonder if we might as well try to indoctrinate Mali into The Society of Independent Butt Wipers along with her brother. You know, as long as we're going to have shit all over the place anyhow. She currently views going to the potty as merely another pretend play activity: she loves sitting on the potty, wiping her bottom, taking down her pants, all that. But the actual excretion, it is not happening; she prefers to talk about all the people who excrete, instead. If she has ever been introduced to you, rest assured that you have come up in one of her enthusiastic declarations listing that "...and XX goes poo-poo on the potty."

I am going to try to be optimistic about Leelo and potty training. Even if it doesn't work out, at least we'll have a nice soundtrack, as Leelo has recently taken up the kazoo again, and we get to hear him playing his favorite songs--while clapping to the beat--all day long. Clever boy.

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7.20.2007

Oh, God, No

Oh, God, No

Today I have exactly two semi-free hours, with Mali as my only sidekick, in which to find the perfect cocktail dress for my 20th high school reunion. Which is next weekend.

I hate shopping. And not just because my ass is a lot bigger than it was twenty years ago; so is everyone else's except Dee's (bitch), my date Kat's (bitch), and Gwen Stefani's (who as you may know has put a lot of effort into making sure her ass is several sizes smaller than it was when she and Dee worked at Dairy Queen). I actually think I look good and that it's all about attitude anyhow. No, I just really hate shopping. Hopefully I won't lost my temper and patience before I find that magic frock.

7.19.2007

Bedhead

Bedhead

Seymour thinks we should do a Daily Mali Bedhead project. I think the idea has artistic merit, but I can't really shoehorn in another daily anything (except, obviously, "find where the kitten shat and clean it up"). Also I don't think photos could possibly do justice to the thunderhead that is her wake up hair. Here's an approximation:

Mali Waking Up Bedhead


Note cavernously empty living room in the background. Who needs furniture when you've got a Nice Big House?

7.18.2007

Great, Full

Great, Full

I also very much need to mention how wonderful it is to have a quiver full of friends who know what Leelo can be like on a bad day, and who hang out and help out even so. And then come over in the late afternoon for drinks! I am so glad Ep is back home after her two weeks in the U.K.

Shopping Newsflash for Parents of Special Needs Kids

Shopping Newsflash for Parents of Special Needs Kids

Yesterday was toasty here in beautiful Deadwood, so I decided to sport a tank top. Which meant that after Leelo got pissed off about Mali's Iron Gate pickup time and started smacking me (again) in front of all of those tiny children and their parents, I was also sporting two or three bright red Leelo-sized handprints on my chest.

However, I have figured out a solution. I went to Old Navy and picked up a t-shirt for Leelo. It says, "Take a photo, it'll last longer." I'll have him wear it every day. Friends, they had many of these shirts available. They are in the boys' section. They are gray. Probably I should have bought several.

Oh, and also I will ask Teacher K if I can pick up Mali a few minutes later than the other children so Leelo can avoid the madd(en)ing crowd.

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To Those of You Who Have Ever Wanted to Live in a "Lovely Big Home"

To Those of You Who Have Ever Wanted to Live in a "Lovely Big Home"

Big houses are a pain in the ass. I am starting to think that anything over 2000 square feet is just plain crazy, both from a logistical and from a "where the hell did I put my keys" perspective.

7.14.2007

Like Pushing Rusty Thumbtacks Into My Delicately Quivering Eyeballs

Like Pushing Rusty Thumbtacks Into My Delicately Quivering Eyeballs

When I am already grumpy, the only book that irritates me more than a pretentious, depressing novel is a pretentious, depressing novel in which every other sentence is a metaphor or simile.

7.13.2007

Dude, Where's My Cat?

Dude, Where's My Cat?

Shia

This is Shia. She is eight weeks old. She would not be in this picture if it wasn't for the bad mood and crappy day chronicled in my Post of Despair

Shortly after I published that post, Leelo's school aide Rosie, who has started working with Leelo at home, called to say that she couldn't come in because her cat had ten kittens and her dad said they had to go today or they were going to the pound and did we want one?

I called Seymour and begged please please please cute tiny kitten we can save it and waaaaaaaaaaah I had a bad day and the only thing that will help is a cute tiny kitten please please please we haven't had a cute tiny kitten in thirteen years oh please? I suspect he would have done anything to get me to stop behaving like a twelve-year-old, so he said yes. I now owe him a to-be-named Big Favor.

Rosie brought Shia over about an hour after the unsuspecting Iz got home from camp. Our eldest went into unprecedented hysterics of joy for about five minutes. That was pretty amazing to watch.

And how that our washer is fixed and I've got my head back, I think adopting Shia was the right thing to do. Seymour seems to like her, too.

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Proud

Proud

My smart and talented husband is such a natural at editing, voiceover, and overall production that his second-ever professional web video piece got picked up and reworked for national radio and TV broadcast. If you listened to NP'R yesterday you probably heard it; if you watched The News Hour with J!m Lehrherher last night, you saw it.

Seymour is doing well at his job, and is enjoying being of use. That's more than most of us dare to hope for -- but then there's the cherry of the job itself being a webhead science- and techno-geek grand slam. I wish such positions had existed back in my era, the ice age of CD software development. He is a hard-working, fortunate bastard. (Jealous? Me? Yes.) He has found a professional and creative g-spot. And I am so proud of and happy for him. Even though I grump about the hours.

Email me for the links.

7.12.2007

My Body, the Traitor

My Body, the Traitor

It will surprise no one, least of all my partner, that today is the first day of my monthly damp red celebration of womanhood. Stupid hormones, messing with my head like that. Today I am fine. But my, was I vulnerable yesterday. Witness:

Feeling Better

7.11.2007

Crybaby

Crybaby

This life of mine, it can be a challenging one. But generally I am able to deal.

I am fairly well reconciled to never having any free time except when stolen (like now) from time allotted to something else, in this hour's case drying all the laundry my mom and I brought home from the laundromat wet because drying it there costs buckets and takes forever and the kids' summer schedules are too tight to fit it in anyhow, and besides our dryer works even though our washer still smells like a beach bucket with a week-old dead starfish in it because the people who lived here before us didn't know how to clean out their drains and now all the outgoing water in the house is backed up into the toilets, sinks, dishwasher, and of course the clothes washer, and has been backed up for seven days now because the plumber who came out for a consult six days ago dropped off the face of the earth shortly afterwards, but didn't bother to notify the home warranty people who contracted with him, probably for the same reason it took me two days to reach them--they are so backlogged that all calls take at least fifteen minutes to get through the queue, and half of the time you get dropped when the final connection clicks in.

I have been dealing fairly well, I think, with the very upsetting events of the past few weeks; divorces and separations in the family, more unfair death (this time good friends of my pilot brother, who was with his friend when he got the news), and such. Changes of that magnitude just don't seem possible.

But just when I think I am made out of smooth, hard stone and nothing can touch me, Leelo takes advantage of the Iron Gate pre-Mali Summer School pick up waiting time to use me as a punching bag, in front of five hundred or so impressionable parents and their teeny tiny breakable children. I have never been so grateful that Iron Gate leases facilities from my church; I was able to drag Leelo into the sanctuary and hide us there until I collected myself. I don't think anyone saw me actually lose my composure, and that's the way I'd like to keep it.

On days like today I am so very frightened about Leelo and his future; about whether he'll be able to stay with us, about whether we'll have to end up sticking him on some kind of horrible tranquilizing drug; about whether he's going to injure one of his sisters or some random stranger, or, you know, me. He is very strong.

Now I am crying again. Thankfully I am hiding in my office and my mom is watching Mali.

Time for more laundry.

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7.10.2007

A "Great!" Day for Leelo

A "Great!" Day for Leelo

Leelo's ALSO summer school teacher was so sweet and enthusiastic yesterday during pickup. She took special pains to let me know that Leelo had, "...a great day, just a really great day! He only hit me twice!"

*Sigh*

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7.08.2007

Celebrity

Celebrity

Iz is now a self-proclaimed obsessive of the following three items:

1) Kittens
2) The D!sney Channel (and she SO does not mean Playhouse D!sney)
3) Politics

In that context, the following conversation with her friend makes sense:

Friend: "My cousin knows Hannah M0ntana and she had her call me on my birthday!"
Iz: "Yeah, well, I've met Ira Ruskin and I got his autograph!" (Mr. Ruskin is our district's state Assemblymember.)

7.05.2007

Define Crazy

Define Crazy

There are many variations on the theme of eccentricity. This week, as I take care of Ep's cats and her many, many plants, I am feeling quite comfortable declaring her a Crazy Plant Lady. And I am a little uncomfortable with the the thought that, by selling her our 3/4 acre plot of land, I have become an enabler.

Did I mention that my mom has been here since Saturday? We are having a lot of fun and getting mountainous loads of work done, but we are getting very little unpacking done, which makes her feel as though her Visit Is For Naught. I am pleased to have her company and help regardless.

In the interests of preventing additional crazies from taking roost within my own noggin, I am leaving tonight for two solo days on the coast. See you on the other side.

7.04.2007

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th!

I realized yesterday morning that today is our glorious nation's birthday, during which we get to wallow in barbecue, parades, and a day off. I called a couple of people to invite them over for afternoon swimming and barbecue, but am realizing that most people prefer a lead time of more than 24 hours, as they already had plans. But still, anyone who wants to come see the southern Peninsula's fireworks displays from the comfort of an apple-pie- and beer-laden back porch, give me a call. We have a view that starts with Deadwood and goes straight on south to San Jose.

7.01.2007

Notes on 6/29

Notes on 6/29

Leelo peed standing up today! First time ever! He also started tolerating goggles, which will be excellent as his eyes are chlorine-sensitive but he refuses to shut them when he swims.

Still haven't found the dishes. Or the pancake griddle.

Can't find the kids' books either. Thank goodness for the library.

Haven't watched TV for over three weeks.

Did I mention that we have almost no furniture? I welshed on leaving the bar stools at our old house; they're the only things we have to sit on in the entire house. Except the futon in the play room/den, and that's only a temporary fix until we get a real couch in there as the futon is white and completely kid-incompatible.

Haven't met any neighbors yet, except the lady who came over to ask us to move our car as it was "in her spot." On a street with plentiful parking, including two other spots in front of her house. Ya, whatever, OCD comes in many different guises and I am hoping that Her Special Parking is the one glitch in an otherwise delightful and neighborly personality.

I do have to say that I worry about our new neighbors constanly hearing "Leelo, hitting Mommy is all done" drifting out of the windows that will be left propped open all summer long.

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