Leaving on a Jetplane

Beanie and I are headed off to California! It’s my brother’s surprise (shhhh!) 30th birthday, and we’re just hopping down for a long weekend. It’s a luxury, but Bean’s giddy with excitement.

This is the first time in years that I have travelled with only one kid, and not with an infant of some sorts. Bean is a notoriously bad flier, or at least he has been in the past, so I’m really hoping having me all to himself will make him a happy boy. A crying baby for two hours is one thing, a crying five-year old is just really sad. Keep your fingers crossed…

He’s going trick-or-treating with his cousins, having a party with his namesake uncle, and having the grands to himself for five days. It’s been two years since I’ve been back to the Bay Area- there are a few restaurants I want to hit up, but I probably won’t have time to even see friends.

Here’s hoping for short lines at security… remember this time?

RC: Out the Door Edition

Boy, has my writing tanked or what? I’m just so flippin’ busy that I don’t have time to sit down and ponder out anything good- so this is what I’ve got: Random Crap. Again.

Today is a luncheon at my visiting teacher’s house- and google maps have no idea where she lives. I’ve tried every variation of her address I can think of. The just built a big house out in the middle of somewhere, and I’m excited to go have scrumptious vittles there, but I don’t know where ‘there’ is. My VT is one of those women who does EVERYTHING awesomely. She has seven kids, she’s pretty and slender and her kids are fantastic, she has a great house and his thoughtful and kind and I have no idea how to even be normal around her! She rocks.

Beanie is finding his groove at school, and now that he has HIS book labeled with HIS name, all the planets are spinning in their orbits again. Whew.

Beanie and I are headed down to California for the weekend to surprise my brother Eric (Bean is named for him) for his 30th birthday. Well, it was a surprise until my mom ‘oops-ed’ it. Now how, do you ask, can a woman from an eleven-month unemployed family afford to jaunt down to the Bay Area for the weekend? Ah, that, my friends, is where having cousins with no kids and lots of frequent flier miles comes in very handy! Two free tickets, thank you very much! Just me an Bean. Jeff is in a snit, but I keep reminding him he got the trip to SLC and now it’s Bean’s turn.

I played hooky from church yesterday. My back hurt, but really I want to until after this election is over. Politics and religion are strange bedfellows, and I really don’t enjoy the party. Only one more week. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

My new attempt at creating a better routine (who am I kidding, I had NO routine at all!) is going well. I’ve actually gotten dinner on the table every night for a  week. What? You do that every night? Well, it’s new for me. I’m such a whirlwind of whimsy that I forget to cook (a lot), until someone small is pulling on me begging for some food. It’s been kind of nice to have more of a routine, and I think the kids are liking it. Now we just need to work on FHE. If only my head weren’t so in the clouds all the time…

The Dresses have come back to haunt me. Yes, sitting here on my desk is another wad of the cream dupioni silk and a pattern. Someone saw them and wants her granddaughter to have one, and now I have been cursed. I have to make another one. Only even smaller. Size 4. Smaller arm holes, smaller zipper, smaller smaller smaller. FUN. When in desperate times, the offer of cash for my sanity seems like a good deal… Talk to me next week though…

TMI: Anyone else ever have a period last for a couple of weeks? It’s like the winter that never ends, or the faucet that keeps trickling and driving your batty so you tie an old sock over it in the middle of the night and then it soaks through anyway and the crazy noise comes back and now you have a bigger mess to clean up… no? Oh. Nevermind then.

Men and women are not meant to spend all their time together. Men and women should not be at home all day together. It’s not the way of the circle of life. Trust me.

David’s mom has been bringing over her old OK and People magazines. I can’t believe how addictive that crap is! I need to see what new thing Shiloh is wearing, or how an $1800 pair of Louboutin shoes- everyone has them, you know- are the new Must Have. Crikey. Who lives like that? I feel like a peeping tom, but I can’t put them down! I never buy them, but somehow having them given to me for free makes them great bathroom fodder. Must. Have. More. Willpower.

Proverbs 18:24

After dinner last night, one of my dearest friends was helping me make cupcakes. She offered some new techniques, and after my initial resistance, I acquiesced and let her take the lead. The mood was light, and the kids were off tearing up the basement, waiting for our call that the cupcakes were done and ready to be devoured.

My friend’s technique was not going quite as she had hoped, and I was teasing her, poking at the frosting and joking as I sprinkled little orange and black waxy tidbits on the tops of the orange cupcakes. It’s a mark of my density that I really didn’t understand my friend was getting more and more frustrated that her method wasn’t going well. Finally, she snapped at me that I being awfully critical.

Wha…? Huh? Wow. Immediately embarrassed and self-conscious, I apologized and told her I was joking and trying to be funny- it’s something I’ve seen her do a million times. Obviously my comedic timing is more than a little skewed, if I had hurt my friend.

Here’s where she was different: She proceeded to explain why she felt the way she did. She took the time and care to show me, from her point of view, how tearing me up for things she sees me do with great ease is not the same as my joking with her about things with which she struggles. She said- and these are her words- a person as talented as I am cannot harass people the same way as people who are inept can. I never really thought of it that way, but I can see her point.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Yeah, like I said, my density knows no bounds. My track record with friends is not so hot. Surly I have done this in the past to others I have cared about- certainly I have to my own husband, who is far more sensitive to subtlety than I. It makes me wonder how many times I have trampled rough-shod over people I love. Clearly, there are areas where I am fantastically un-talented.

The ironic thing is, cracking jokes and playing light is really not my strong suit. This friend happens to be a superstar at witty biting sarcasm and making people laugh. I was trying to be like her, as she was trying to teach me something, and in doing so, I hurt her feelings.

It turns out she taught me something much more important than a new way to frost cupcakes. Among other things, she taught me that she loves me enough to call me to the mat. That she loves me enough to be frank and honest with me even if it’s uncomfortable for us both. And she taught me that we can have discussions like that and then pick up the threads of our friendship and carry on with laughter and grace.

I’ll never frost a cupcake again without thinking of her with gratitude.

Ten Things That Drive Me Batty

Or: Holy Crap I’m a Weirdo…

1. Flies. I know. They’re called bugs for a reason. But really, they wig me out. If there’s a fly in the house, I cannot rest until it’s dead. I’m a terrible swatter, so I have invented a way to get them- you squirt them with cleaner and they fall on the ground and then you squish them, doing an evil gleeful tap dance on their little fly parts. I’m a nice person. Really. Just don’t be a fly.

2. Ketchup that spits water out on my food before the runny red goodness. I mean, come on! It’s hard enough to get crispy fried food, you gotta dump insipid tomato water all over my stuff first? I’m kind of lukewarm on ketchup as a whole- I like it on tater tots, but not much else. Of course, my children would bathe in it. Actually, I suppose they must, if you measure how many bottles we go through…

3. Dry mouth.Gah! Even thinking about it give me the yeeshies. If I’m talking to someone and they have cotton mouth, I have to restrain the urge to whomp them over the head and run away. My skin starts to crawl and all I hear is their smacking lips while the words just float away, unheard and uncared for. I’m a bad person. Just carry a water bottle, for heaven’s sake! Spare us all- or at least ME.

4. Cotton Candy. Oh. My. Crap. How is this food? The horrid, nasty, texture makes my skin crawl and the skin on the back of my neck go all goose-bumpy. It’s just… just… so WRONG. And in Googling to poach this picture, I learned people actually LIKE how it smells- enough to make lip gloss, perfume and doggy shampoo smell like it! Heinous! Heinousness of Heinous. I would rather eat… peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter is better than cotton candy. And y’all know how I feel about peanut butter. I need to go shower now.

5. Brushing teeth. Ok, more like, brushing teeth as a family. Euwwwwsh. No way. Teeth brushing is a solo affair; if I try and brush my teeth with someone else in the bathroom, I start gagging and have to leave before I throw up. Not sure if this is a holdover from all the barfing I did while preggo, or what, but there it is. I can’t hardly watch the kids brush their teeth. It’s bad. What a freak I am. Why are you my friends?

6. The telephone ringing. I mean, who doesn’t like people calling? It’s not that! I love when friends call to talk. It’s just the jarring, electronic whiiiiiiine of the modern ring. It always surprises me, then I drop something or snap at the kids because my nerves are rattled. Gee, I wonder where Beanie got some of his quirks, eh?  That is why I purchased an old skool phone for my kitchen that rings with a real bell. It rocks. You can call me on it. It doesn’t scare me like the other one, and after I answer, I will change phones so I am untethered and thoroughly modern.

7. Obsequious waiters. Oh man. Please please please don’t be a toadie to me. Just be a person. It’s cool to be friendly, it’s cool to be aloof if that’s how you’re rollin’, just don’t be all smarmy and fawning. It’s not going to get you a good tip- I’m a 20%-er right across the board. It’s fair. I’ve waited tables, I’m not complaining about shoes I haven’t walked in. Maybe some people like a showing of servile complaisance but really, just bring me hot food.

8. The sun.Oh yes, I know- Mr Sun is wonderful and makes all life possible on planet earth. Woo hoo! Ok, give the fiery ball of gas his props, then get out of my eyes. There is a reason I love living in the northwest.  The weather here doesn’t bother me one bit. I like it when the clouds part and the rays slant down all picturesque, sure, but that’s about it. I hate being hot. I hate sweating. I live in my sunglasses- yes, even up here. But I do like sunshine on my shoulders…

9. Tuna in a can.I mean, maybe this a holdover again from preggo days, but why? Why would anyone want to eat cat food? Because that’s essentially what canned tuna is- cat food. Looks like it. Smells like it. Acts like it… hmmm. Ergo… My DH, who is lovely to me, and also loves tuna, is kind enough to wash the cans out, rinse the sink, and wash the can opener when he is done. I love him. It’s CAT FOOD, people!

10. Fluorescent lights. The flickering. The constant hummmmm- it drives me to distraction and I cannot think. The cold light, the sterile, ugly shadows… Give me some golden firelight, some soft amber glow, some warm, honey incandescence… I mean, can you hear Keira saying to Mr Darcy at the end of Pride and Prejudice “I’m fluorescently happy…” Yeah. Not even.

Day Three

Well, it only took three days before the school called me about Bean. *sigh* I was visiting teaching yesterday afternoon, when the they called David. David called my cell, and I then jumped in the car, and roared off toward the school.  My jumbled thoughts went along the lines of “Nooooo nonononono not again these are specialists nonononononooooooo what happened what will I do please please please don’t kick him out no no nonononononononoooo” Or something along those lines.

It seems, when getting-on-the-bus time came, he had a nuclear melt-down, and they cannot ride the bus when wigging-out. The teacher took him back to the classroom and called us. While waiting for us, he ran and hid, which is typical, and once he calmed himself down, all was sunshine and rainbows again. When I arrived, he was playing quietly. The teacher was unfazed by the whole thing. *huuuuuge sigh*.

Turns out someone else had a book he likes HAS to carry to the bus stop for the world to continue to spin. Once they teacher got him back to the classroom and he hid-it-out, he was able to explain this to her. She found the book, put his name on it, and all was rosy and rainbows again. Think “Monk” in a very small redheaded body.

This is nothing to me. I deal with this all the time. What IS new and awesome: Having a teacher who completely understands and doesn’t look at my child as the Tasmanian Devil. She understands autism and understands this is not a typical kid being manipulative or bratty- even when it looks that way. This teacher understands he cannot make eye contact well, she knows not to hug him or touch him unexpectedly- and I don’t have to constantly explain and justify the boy that is my beloved son.

He’s excited for school this morning. He’s assured his book will be in his cubby, and all is right in the world. I love me some Special Ed teachers. I really, really do. Angels among us…

Riding the Short Bus

All you have to do is Google “short bus” to be overwhelmed by the (often unkind, sometimes funny) cultural references and jokes having to do with riding the little bus. I’m of mixed mind how to handle the inevitable cracks, jokes and ignorant remarks- and I’m forced to admit I made jokes about the little bus when I was younger. Ick. Facing your own history is mighty uncomfortable sometimes.

This morning, I put my son on the short bus for the first time. He was glowing with happiness and delighted to be going to school. His backpack strapped on, his hood up and sporting his tight girl jeans-  he clearly felt like such a big kid. You could see the happiness and pride as he climbed the stairs of that bright yellow bus. The ladies in charge welcomed him by name, and he posed for a quick picture, smiling brightly. Blinking hard so my tears didn’t blur the lens, I clicked the picture, and the nice ladies helped him to his seat.

My tears were tears of happiness and joy for my son. What a blessing that a special education is available to him- what a blessing his team of amazing and dedicated teachers are going to be in our lives. So much fun and learning await him in the AIM classrooms this year. I am overflowing with happiness and hope for my son, and am so eager to see how this program helps him be a happier and more confident child.

Today, and I suspect from now on, I love the Short Bus. The Short Bus reminds me of hope, and help and support- of acceptance and love for kids who are wired a little bit differently than other people.

The image above is from a sweatshirt I can order from a website with kitchy joke merchandise. I know they mean it as a joke, but I’m thinking really hard about embracing the stereotype and making it our own, on my terms. I just may buy one of those sweatshirts. For me. If I take the sting from the “jokes” by embracing them, maybe I can change what “riding the short bus” means. It’s already changed in my life. Riding the short bus rocks.