Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday Weekend

(some assembly required)
We celebrated my birthday, or as it became, my birthday weekend, or as I would prefer to refer to it, my magical birthday week this past week.  We had decided that an Ipad was in our future, and it became a question of 1)  Birthday gift for me?  or 2)  Christmas gift for the whole family?  

My thinking was as follows:  1)  if it's a Christmas present for us from us then we will get absolutely no help from the rest of the family (and it's a spendy proposition).  2)  if it's a gift for me, then I can decide who gets to use it and when, short circuiting the whole. . . "But it's the whole FAMILY'S present!" argument that Emma would no doubt employ to yoink it out from under me.

So, I was very excited to go to the Apple store and buy it.  It was a bit of an anticlimax though.  After dropping almost a thousand dollars on the thing, I didn't find the good people at the Apple store to be particularly helpful or accommodating.  They had a "personal setup" guy who was responsible for me and another guy.  The other guy was more clueless than I was, so he ended up spending the majority of his time helping him.  As a result, when I encountered problems I didn't really get the understanding and helpful ear that I'd expected from a store supposedly known for their customer service.  The problems I solved for myself snowballed into other problems and at one point the personal setup guy consulted another guy, and when neither knew the answer he said, "I don't really know what to do here," then turned back to the clueless guy, who was less inconvenient to help.

I eventually solved my own problem, but my personal setup guy took his lunch break.  So I packaged up my ipad. . . went behind the counter, got my own Apple store bag, slipped it inside and left.  

I was reminded of the South Park episode where it's Christmas, and all the kids in South Park are consumed with opening and playing with their presents and they show a cutaway of Jesus (who on South Park is an actual character (or used to be)) sitting all alone with a party hat on singing "Happy Birthday to Me" mournfully.  Stupid Apple store.  On top of that, they used my patch cord from my Ipad box (I've since learned this isn't SOP) and when I boxed everything up I forgot the patch cord in the stupid store.  

The iPad is cool, and I'm still setting it up, so I need like THE coolest autism apps for it before I introduce it to Lily.  Please leave your "THE COOLEST APP" suggestions in comments!  Emma and I played Angry Birds on it yesterday as I was organizing apps and setting up email addresses, but she hasn't been pining for it the way I thought she might.

That night my wife and I went out to eat at a gastropub (not to be confused with a gastropod, stupid spell-check).  She didn't know what a gastropub was, so I explained it, but I'm not sure I know what a gastropub is so I just winged it.  I sorta do, but when I imply I'm an authority on gastropubs it seems pompous, so I'm going to downplay it.  I like the place.  I went there with my Dad a few weeks ago, and wanted her to get to try it.  The plus side is, she really liked the food.  I did too. . . sorta.  They were out of a few things, but I decided pumpkin pierogies sounded sorta awesome and different.  She got steak. . . rare. . . as usual.  We got mussels for an appetizer and the sauce was fantastic!  I always want to drink what's left as soup, but I didn't, cuz I'm klassy.  

They brought out my wife's steak (cooked just the way she likes it, bleeding as if stabbed) and chose that moment to inform me that they were out of the pumpkin pierogies.  Now I'm very easy going when I dine out.  I'm mostly just excited to have someone cook and clean up and try new things.  But if you're out of something the time to inform them is not as you bring the other person her supper.  I stared blankly at the waiter (who seemed sort of "new") and said, "And you're telling me this now?"  

I eventually settled for skillet-seared scallops with bacon on honey-siracha polenta.  They were good, if somewhat sweet, and we were going to cap the evening with coffee. . . but they were out of it, so we settled for their version of a molten chocolate cake.  After a few minutes they stopped over to the table to inform us they were out of that as well.  So we said "FUCK YOU!!!"  "we'll take our check now".  

Although the owner, and both waiters came to the table to apologize for fucking up my dinner so spectacularly, when the final check came, there was no "hey, sorry about your dinner, we took one of your cocktails off the check" sort of gesture, and I admit I was thinking they would do that.  Not that I expect it, or even ask for it when it's not given (unless it's a total debacle) but it's still something that a "good" gastropub should do.  

I was mostly disappointed because I really wanted my wife to have a good experience there so I could convince her to go back, and it was my special magical birthday week dinner. . . and they botched it. . . so I tucked my birthday tail between my legs and we went home.

So, sort of a weird anticlimactic birthday celebration, but it remained "a night out with my wife".  And the food was good and the company was great, so all in all it was a win.

Sunday everyone came over and we opened a couple more presents, watched football, and ate chinese food with the whole family.  Lily 'helped' me open my present (which amounts to me handing her pieces of wrapping paper (she has no patience for unwrapping) and her ripping them to shreds and trying to put them in her mouth to the chorus of "NO LILY" coming from every corner of the room, which I think secretly made her laugh).  That helped pick up my gloomy Grinch attitude.  I called the Apple store and they told me to come in any time to pick up the cord.


  1. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!! Since I have no FB to link to you, I cannot send you a crappy ecard to further harass you. However, you can consider all the greeting cards at from me to you!

    The iPad is a wondrous thing. You don't need no stinkin' Apple rep to show you how to use it! Dude, I thought you were a man's man - ask your kids. They'll show you. My 5 year old (who was 4 when I got mine which was promptly stolen by him) showed me everything I needed to know.

    Hmmm - for the autism apps - Lily is the same age as Tootles. We just don't use them anymore. He's onto YouTube and Cut the Rope. She might like Hello Kitty, Talking Tom (a cat that repeats everything you say in it's cat voice - you can punch Tom the cat - my son enjoys that), and Autism Xpress which displays faces for emotions and makes silly sounds. That's all I got.

  2. that's a start! I hate FB. I have one, but I hate it.

  3. Little Miss is a bit younger than Lily, but I do have a collection of apps that I have reviewed on my blog ==> Hope it helps!

    Another thing that might help out when having small people with rather large tempers handling an expensive piece of technology is this little bugger ==>,default,pd.html?dwvar_APL2-IPAD2_color=D9&start=1&cgid=ipad-2-cases

    Now DO NOT purchase it from the manufacturer -- they charge 2X as much as Amazon... but you seriously need to get one. Throw proof (big one for us), spill proof, spit proof, lick proof... you name it... and worth every penny!

    I'm sorry about the birthday dinner suckage. If you're ever in the Cleveland area, let me know and I'll make sure you end up at the most fabulous place. Promise!

  4. Oh, and if you need any iPad help, me and the hubs are both IT people -- and happy to help out!

  5. wellllll. . . i don't need setup help. My technical issues came from apple id issues. They encouraged me to just reset my apple id, which trickled down to my iphone, and my daughter's itouch, and every other friggin' app I owned that was registered with my old apple id.

    Anyway, what I need is the "cool" apps. I'll look on your page to see some suggestions.

  6. Happy Birthday, mine was this weekend too!

    So many ipad apps...

    My 4.5 year old likes Tozzle, Puzzle Me, My Play Chef, My Underwear, The Bob book app, Dot to dot. She’s a Sesame Street fan, so she likes Elmo’s ABCs, The Monster at the end of the Book.

    Also iWrite Words.

    “Stimmy” kind of games - color squares, fish pond and Uzu (I had to delete that one, too obsessive)

    The most expensive app we have is Garage Band, and it is so worth it. She plays guitar, drums piano...

    I have some reviews on my blog too.

    Have fun with your ipad!

  7. Mine do not like the ukulele tuner app. Or The Sporting News.

  8. Happy birthday!

    Our best autism apps: Sound Touch (just for basic getting used to the touch screen technology if that's hard at first), Pictello (social stories), any of the Dr. Seuss books, Dexteria if you want to do fine motor skills actual OT-ish therapy, Draw Free for fun, Word SLapPs is awesome since you can completely customize it and use for teaching receptive vocabulary skills, Dropophone if she likes music, Virtuoso (free piano app), First Then Visual Schedule.

    And if you feel like paying for it, Injini. We got it on sale for $30, but it's usually around $50 I think. It is by far their favorite app, it's really about 9 apps in one (puzzles, matching games, balloon popping game to practice colors, letter and shape tracing, etc) It was made by early intervention therapists and is by far the best designed app we own.

  9. @mamafog - thank you. I'll check those out. Lily's 5, almost 6, but developmentally probably closer to 2 or 3 at MOST.

    @token - that made me laugh out loud.

    @christy - i've seen injini and want to check it out. I downloaded a couple Seuss books that she likes and they were really cool. Specifically 1 fish 2 fish.

    A couple of the apps she was engaged in, but she's VERY rough with the ipad. I think I have to take mom2littlemiss's advice and get some sort of protective cover for it, or i see it lasting only a very short time. . .

  10. I have seen you around...commenting on other blogs and what-not. Perhaps you've seen me too?? I've been hanging out, just kind of waiting for you to drop by, but you didn't. So I finally gave in and stopped by. I feel dirty now.

    Out of all that story-telling up there, the thing that leaped out at me was "South Park". I was just really happy to see another grown adult that sees the merits of such a fine piece of animation. And I KNOW that Jesus episode. It made me laugh. Yes, I'm okay with being this politically incorrect.

    I, too, yearn for the Ipad...perhaps for Xmas this year. I hope to see a follow-up to this post that reveals all the magic and intrigue of the new magic picture screen.

    I googled Gastropub. All caught up now.

  11. @Flannery. . . mmmmmaybe I've seen you around. Where do you hang out? I have a tendency only to read my comments, or comments about me. I think it's because I'm really self-centered. That's probably not a good thing.

    I'll come visit you today.

  12. What a fabulous weekend for birthdays!!!!!! We got an ipad for Christmas last year..."we" meant my husband and I, as I am fairly certain I saw no decrease in the amount of loot the kids hauled in from my parents. I tried to display the apprpriate level of excitement, eventhough I knew nothing of the power of the tablet. We could not turn it on at their house because we needed to sync with our own kill!!!!! I had to report to the Apple store soon after getting home because I couldn't figure out how to blog on it (techno-phobe!) Let's just say my daughter LOVES it, and clearly is more knowledgable of its powers!

  13. @Andrea. . . it was. It realllllly was.

    My daughter pounds on it like it's a drum. Day 1: Fail.

  14. Jim - OK. Did you already know that our Lily's are both 5? And I definitely think my Lily is around 2 or 3 developmentally, too - just like your Lily.

    So, because right now I don't have time to backtrack and read older posts, is your Lily verbal? Or does she have words? Because I think that makes a big difference in the apps she'll enjoy.

    My Lily doesn't have words - but is plenty verbal!

    And she has her iPad with her at school right now so I can't look at it but her favorites I hear her playing the most off the top of my head are Elmo's Monster Maker, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Wheels on the Bus (by Duck, Duck, Moose) and Alphabet Freeze Tag.

    Have you heard of Check it out - it's a good place to visit when you're looking for apps.

  15. very verbal, but she has SOME vocab. Honestly, she may have 1000 words at this point. But. . . it's mostly scripts and echolalia type stuff.

    We both named our kids before Ross and Rachel named theirs Lily. . . that's the first and most important thing I need to get off my chest. Although, the fact that they stopped the show the following year did help. I was SURE everytime someone met her they'd just nod and smile sardonically and say. . . ohhhhh yeah, fan of the show Friends, were ya?? And then I'd punch them.

    I'll check those out. Thanks for the input!

  16. I can top your Ross & Rachel - not that this is a competition or anything.

    Ever seen the show Cold Case? The leading lady is named.... wait for it.... Lily Rush! Not just my kid's first name, but last name, too.

    I even watched the show regularly before we had her and when we chose Lily for our daughter's name, it never crossed my mind. A nurse pointed it out to me and asked if we chose the name on purpose. Duh.

    I didn't punch her, though.

  17. I don't watch Cold Case, but that's pretty cool!

  18. Ha! A fellow Libra! I knew I liked you.

    Only real women eat bloody meat. Your wife is a keeper!!

    Oh, and congratulations on the anniversary of your birth.

  19. that she is. . . that she is.

    And thank you.