Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daddy/Daughter Date Night

If only my children knew how much their father loves them.  They speak, and he jumps to meet the need.  He won't play his video games while they are awake; instead, he'll wait until everyone is asleep and then he'll have his own free time.  He worries that he doesn't spend enough time with them.  He'll follow them around the house and check to see if they need him.  Ugh...I think...if they need me they know where to find me!  No, not Gregory, he wants them to know that their father is here for them at all times.  
So then Kindsay will spend all weekend in her room.  And it bugs him.  I say--she's happy, when she wants attention she'll come get it--right?
Greg doesn't want his baby to be alone, so he goes to her, seeks her out--Kindsay, do you want to go spend time together?  
No, she tells him, but she does want Starbucks (she loves the chocolate frappe thingie.). If you want it, he says to her, you have to go with me to get it. 
Ugh...she replies.  Annoying!--she's thinking.  Why can't he just go get it???
He wants to spend time with her, talk to her, give her some attention--is that too much to ask?
So she gets dolled up. We're talking bling, jewelry, hair bow, big purse--all 9 of the yards.  She stomps down the stairs ready to go.
"OK, I'll go, but I'm sitting in the back of the car and you're going through the drive thru."
Yes, she dressed for the tinted back seat in the drive thru.  
No, he tells her--you will go in and sit with me and we'll have a treat together. 
(Wait, how many kids have a dad that dotes as he does?) 
Kindsay really has no idea that this is actually all for her benefit.  While Greg loves being with them, he really is worried that they will grow up and wish their father spent more quality time with them.  
Yeah...I know, I've told him, and imagine how bad I'm going to look in their rearview?
So again, she's annoyed, but agrees.  I mean, she's getting a treat for heaven's sake.  She's getting something she wants.  On the drive there she laments.  "Why do I have to go in?  Why are you making me do this?  It's like you have special needs.  Yeah, I think you have special needs."  If there was a camera for Greg to look into to give a look of confusion to the audience, he would've.  No camera, he mugs to himself in the mirror.  I'm special needs?--he asks.  Yes, it's like you don't get it.  I just want the treat, I don't want to go in.
They pull up and he does not budge on the deal.  He knows that she could use some 1:1 time with him, she likes to vent about this and that.  She needed the sun on her face (literally 3-4 days indoors in a row.)  She finally gives in.  They go in, get the treat, and go out to the tables to sit and talk.  As she gets situated, here come two guys lighting up cigarettes.  If you know Kindsay, and even if you don't, she cannot tolerate for one second any smoke.  She had been blasting smokers for years about the blackness of their lungs (up until she was seven or eight years when I said people don't think it's cute anymore...don't do it.)  She just won't take it for a second, and won't hold back either.  
Greg knew this.  Up he got from his seat and to the car.
When they got home, Greg gave me the story, maybe he was breaking it to me that he is indeed special needs.  He truly was dumbfounded that she could not understand his true intention.  Here she came again, stomp stomp stomp (she has my huge feet and no grace to her walk.)  "Kindsay, " I say, "That was nice of Daddy to take you out."  She stops...halts actually.  
And here we go.  Buckle up:
"And you know what?  I'm an adult.  I don't think people should be making me do things I don't want to do.  If you think I want to go to Starbucks you're wrong.  You cannot make people do things they don't want to do.  It's wrong--and I didn't want to go.  And I'm tired of you guys making me do things that I don't want to do--it's wrong!  It's just just wrong.  And if you would just stop being bad parents and take me out and not be lazy.  You guys are so lazy you never take me anywhere. I say I want to go somewhere and you say" (use a whiny mocking voice) "'I don't want to' and I'm tired of it...."
OK..this went in a few directions.  First she chewed Greg out for his desire to spend time with her.  Then she went off on us for never taking her out.  Then she called her friend and gave her the earful.  UGH...not worth it---this is the autism spectrum in her--people are a means to an end.  If she wants something, it is our sole responsibility and objective in this life to meet the need/want.  Once we do, our job is done, our usefulness dries up, and we can scooch out of her way.  My mother thinks this is a sign of her being spoiled.  Yes, she is spoiled, but only as long as I want to spoil her.  The rest is just plain ol' Kindsay at her best.  I will remind Greg next time she's quiet in her room for a few days and he wants to get her out--do not wake the beast.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Wall

I vow that from now on (my hand is in the air in some kind of vowing pose) I will try to write more! It's not like things haven't happened...because they have--such is life, right?  But I keep trying to write a novel loosely based on my life and every time I get three pages in I get stuck.  I'm a great writer.  I attended the G.A.T.E. schools as a kid due to my academic and creative abilities.  I wrote papers in college that would make you cry.  I had professors tell me they graded everyone else against my work which was used as the standard.  I have so few talents, and writing happens to be a minor talent that I could certainly build upon, but I keep hitting the Wall. I wracked my brain trying to figure out how and why I smack into the Wall.  I mean, I have the story, and it starts out with a great flow, but then...screeeeeeeching halt.  However....during this last attempt a week ago, I think I've stumbled upon that which slams me into the Wall.  Did you know that to write a book, unless it's completely nonfiction with indices in the back and everything, and not autobiographical, you have to show a vulnerable side of you?  Yes!  And you have to write about emotions by going into your deepest, most tenderest places in your soul and find the stuff that pulls tears out of the ducts and things that wrench the heart or even just start a flutter...for me wherever that is, it has a sign on the outside of the door with my picture on it and a line drawn through it.  I get sappy and emotional like the next gal, but something about revealing such a personal part of me is unnerving.  Even if it's "loosely" based on facts, it still requires me to go to the door of "don't go in there" and "I'm warning you" because then I might have to answer to some of it.

I mean, how many of us have thought that about the shades of gray author--that the woman gets freaky deaky, from what I hear.  Come on, you have to find the material from somewhere (the emotional stuff, people...I know I can "research" any topic and write extensively on it.)

Well, then don't get emotional in the story, you say...

This is how little I want to share--I got all the way to the part where the reader meets the male of the story.  It's based on a real person you know, and this person's eyes have this Colin Firth or Antonio Banderas gaze that captures women and draws them in--no! for real, this is for real.  But how do I explain even a little bit of that without getting "blecky" about it?  Yes, blecky.  Bleck.
I rarely cry in front of people.  Sounds like a personal problem I have?  In my defense, I've revealed those tender parts of me in little baby doses, only to have the recipient look around for a lifeboat or an exit ramp.  Just as little as three months ago I started tearing up in front of my teens sons, and they rolled their eyes.

I like the Wall...I have a Wall...I will stay behind my Wall, until I'm 80 years old when I get to do whatever, and no one can say anything.  And it's all cute too, right?

In other words, by the time I get to the point where I can write a story loosely based on my life I will have forgotten most of it.

The other side of it is the prospect of my children reading it.  My adolescence was seedy, sketchy, stuff of the underbelly...well, I never killed anyone, I've never done more than silly "girl fighting," but I've skipped along the tops of everything else, and that is stuff for my posterity after I'm dead.

Am I exaggerating?

Just the other night I shared something with my spouse, of twenty years now I'm going to add, and he stopped the conversation and said, "Did you just say that you _____  ______  ____?"  Yes, I answered in a matter-of-factly way, I am not embarrassed or ashamed of who I used to be to get where I am today.  I didn't turn out so badly, after all.  Just ask my mother.  Well, my husband was a bit jarred and probably even sad for me, but no tears over here buddy, I'm just chatting through the Wall I lean against when I share "that" stuff.

SO...that said...I will be back blogging and making light of the things in my life that I can't laugh about in the moment but certainly can a week (a month?) later.  Remember, I sit on both sides of the desk where special needs are concerned.  I do it 24/7...unless my mom wants to give me respite, and then she'll take Kindsay for an hour or two.  And then I now have two teens sons and my oldest daughter living at home, and not enough three-day weekends in the world to get rid of my puffy eyes.
Bottom line--I spend much of my day walking across the top of my Wall, leaning to one side in a self-reflective state of "to leap, or not to leap."  And that is the question.  Or rather...Y Me?

Monday, August 3, 2015


Summer was here before we knew it!  I had planned way back in October to take the family on a trip. We quarreled about where we were going to go.  Half of us wanted NYC, the other half wanted a cruise.  I compromised, because leaving half of us unhappy meant a 50% chance I'd have to hear about it.  We flew to NYC, spent a couple of days, boarded a boat to Canada for four days, then went back to NYC for another five days.  Despite my efforts to make everyone happy, I still heard the grumblings from my youngest son who said he wanted to go to Mexico, not Canada.  Yes, I tried to explain that Mexico wasn't possible from NYC in the time we needed, and we were still doing something he wanted to do, but he wasn't having it.  Once in the city, I gave up talking him into enjoying the sights and sounds of NYC and let him spend as much time as he wanted in the hotel room and NOT in the Big Apple.  Fine with me--one less child to please and spend oodles of money on!
Before we go into the trip itself, let's get off the ground and into JFK.  Kindsay has been on a plane before.  We took the family to Hawaii a few years ago and flew without incident.  Not one of the four kids said "BOO" about it.  For some reason this time I had two unsettled kiddies.  My youngest son, Ty, and Kindsay were not happy about getting on a plane.  Ty managed the anxiety well.  He'd try me out a few days prior by saying he wasn't going at all, and that netted him a bunch of havoc from me, so he dropped it.  Kindsay, however, didn't fuss until we were on the plane.  Here we are aboard a 767 jet with over a hundred people and almost six hours of flying ahead of us.  We've got Kindsay clutching Greg and me, her arms are across the aisle holding onto Greg while I sat beside her holding her left hand.  Instead of watching a movie on the screen in front of her, like we all did to distract us and pass the time easily, she watched the flight plan the entire time.  She watched the little plane on the screen cross the country over the course of six hours.  Yes, the entire six hours we watched the plane travel in small dots with updates about speed and elevation.  We left at noon so it wasn't like bed time or anything, and even then she wouldn't have slept.  She kept rocking back and forth, making her squealing noises every now and then, and held our hands with sweaty, nervous palms.  She'd comment every few minutes about the plane, "Mom--is it going high?  Is this how fast it is?  Is the plane moving?  Are we close?"  No Kindsay, we still have five hours and twenty minutes!  And then her bathroom breaks were more often, every twenty minutes or so.  I kept trying to keep her calm because she didn't care who heard her when she would get anxious.  I thought, If someone were on this plane and super nervous about flying and heard Kindsay talking about 'going down'...they'll lose their cool and jump up screaming for the door.
My sister has done that before on a flight, so I know it can happen.
It went okay until landing.  She could feel the landing gear setting itself in position to land.  Kindsay grabbed us and leaned way over as though it were her body keeping the plane balanced.  She squealed and started panicking in louder and louder volumes so that I had to shush her more and more, to no effect.  I know people were looking and wondering what this full grown woman (Kindsay is 18 years old and a few inches shy of six feet tall) was doing sprawled across the aisle, bent in half, shrieking as though the Wright brothers were conducting their maiden voyage with her in row 33.  When the plane hit the runway, she jolted and shrieked again then called out, "I am not flying home.  I am taking the train.  This is my last trip.  I am staying with Grandma next time!"  I was thrilled to see the beautiful city lights of New York out the window, but mostly to know that Kindsay knew she was on the ground and that would be the end of it...for ten days at least.  Alas, not to worry, Kindsay reminded me every day after that how she is taking the train and staying with Grandma next time.  It really made me look forward to breaking the news to her that she was indeed flying home...but staying with Grandma next time?  Done!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mouse Trap

We had a smart mouse.  It would leave small traces of itself around the kitchen or bathroom, but our attempts to catch it were futile.  We finally had to call pest control.  I started thinking the pest control company had hired the mouse to torment us for business.  The mouse was finally caught, but with our own traps and not until after we paid $75 for pest control to come out and lay out more traps.  Lesson learned…pest control won’t do much more than you can already do for yourself. 
But it was a good lesson.  My husband, you know the animal rights carnivore that he is, didn’t want to hurt the mouse.  You know how he found a pack of baby squirrels and hid them in our closet because he knew I’d be furious, but his heart was so broken that the mother wasn’t around that he couldn’t take it anymore.  I had squirrels in my closet.  He reluctantly, (other options?), took them to the animal shelter where I am sure they nodded with agreement while my husband pleaded their case.  “Sure, we’ll feed them and nourish them and get them on their way.”  He left satisfied while they probably chucked the box of squirrels in the canal behind the shelter.  So he bought mousetraps that would keep it alive until he was able to set it free outside.  I’d say—what, so it can come back in?  Let’s just make it a bed while we’re at it?  He couldn’t bear the thought of killing it, but after months of finding torn this and poop that, he agreed—we have to get rid of the mouse!  And we had to be serious about it!
So I bought a bunch of those old fashioned, Tom and Jerry mousetraps.  Amazing how years will pass and some things don’t change.  I’ve never used one, but they are simple contraptions that can be figured out after watching just a few cartoons as a kid.  My husband was hesitant and a little uneasy about putting them together, but I assured him it would be no big deal.  Never underestimate my husband. I’m sitting on my lounge chair in the den, and I can hear my son and husband in the kitchen.  They are working together to get these mousetraps ready to lay in wait for their intellectual victim.  The way they were talking I imagined them with their heads together, one doing the work while other did the coaching.  “Okay, careful now, pull it back, don’t let go!  Okay, pull and clip…there!  Okay, be careful…careful…easy.”  Oh good, one down only eight more to go.  I thought, See?  You CAN do it…easy!  Just load and pull back the clip. 
Then I hear them again…oh dear.
“Okay, now gentle, gentle, set it down…oooh!  Careful!”  I sat up.  

No, they weren’t.  They didn’t.  I didn’t have a comment because I didn’t want to believe it. 

“Gregory….are you putting the peanut butter on AFTER you set the trap?”
“No…we are using cheese.”
Cheese?  Okay, now I know he’s stuck in a Tom and Jerry cartoon only Tom was smarter by putting the food on FIRST.  He’s got my son holding the trap while he sets down a piece of cheese, gingerly, with the hope that the trap doesn’t go off on my son.  I look around the corner to see for myself that this was happening.  They both look up at me and realize their erroneous ways so apparent through the sheepish look on their faces, which turns to embarrassment…and so they should be!  Despite my call out of their backwards methods, I still verbally instructed them in case the obvious to me wasn’t obvious to them—Put a bit of peanut butter on the plank THEN set the trap. 

Lucky for them, the mouse fell for it.