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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pressing Matters


I broke a promise today that I made to myself almost ten years ago.  It all stemmed from a poor judgement call I made, and resolved never to make again.  


Now, I consider myself a fairly smart person, and usually when I do something stupid or thoughtless it's because I'm too lazy to do it correctly, not necessarily because I don't understand how it could be done better. And while I still consider myself 'smart' after I've completed whatever ridiculous inexcusable thing. . . a small part of my brain says, "That was stupid."  I compartmentalize that part of my brain and try not to think about it again, drowning it in alcohol.


So ten years ago (or so) I was on my way somewhere.  I can't recall where, but it's irrelevant. I had just put on a button-down long-sleeve shirt. It was pressed and neat but lengthy closet storage had left behind a slight crease partway up the front. It was such a tiny little thing, but it was irritating, and I felt like it made sense to iron it out.


Still, it was such a tiny little wrinkle! I mean really, to set up an ironing board, warm up the iron, doff the shirt and press it and . . . for this tiny little wrinkle. . . it just seemed like much ado about nothing. Regardless the wrinkle bothered me. 


I decided that rather than getting out the ironing board and getting undressed it would be soo much faster if I just ironed it while it was on my body. I know. . . sounds stupid, right? But I assure you I'd done it many times with good results. I almost always wear a tshirt underneath a long sleeve shirt, and if you move along quickly enough you hardly feel the heat reach your skin before you've moved on, the shirt rendered wrinkle free, the ironing board remaining untouched against the wall of the laundry room.


This particular tiny little wrinkle, small though it was, was just a stubborn little cuss. It was obvious that I was going to have to take the damn shirt off UNLESS. . . and just like that, before I had a chance to even really think about it, my finger pushed the steam jet button and directed a pressurized burst of steam out of six little steam nozzles spaced evenly along the arc of the iron's heating surface. Boy was I surprised! So surprised was I in fact that I invoked the name of the Lord and discussed loudly and colorfully my lack of judgement at great length, interjecting terms for forbidden sex acts and jumping up and down for good measure.  


The aftermath of the affair was that I had six blisters spaced evenly in a smooth arc up the flat of my belly for at least a week before they burst and time healed them, and a vow never to do something that stupid again.


That was then.


This morning after breakfast was finished and my plate and coffee mug were rinsed and ready to be loaded into the dishwasher, I climbed the steps to the bathroom and prepared to brush my teeth.  In one hand I held the toothbrush.  In the other hand I held my iPhone.  I stared incredulously at the word "tuatera" (blogger's spellcheck doesn't know wtf it means either, Karen) that Karen V had played to the tune of 63 points on Words With Friends and began typing the message, "Tuatera?  Really?" to her when it happened.  A dollop of drool-diluted toothpaste escaped the gentle confines of my mouth and dripped from my lips where it glanced off my shirt-clad stomach to land on the counter.  


File photo
I shook my head and put the iphone down, spitting out the toothpaste and dripping water on the spot on my shirt.  I daubed a bit of it with a wet fold of toilet paper and the stain was gone, replaced by a puckered bit of wet shirt.  I grabbed my wife's blow dryer and dried the spot away, but the pucker remained.  And it looked ridiculous.


I got more water. . . I pooched out my stomach as far as it would go and wetted my belly with water from the tap, then dried that off, thinking it would act almost like an impromptu ironing board.  But it didn't.


I thought about the steam jet incident then.  I went downstairs intending to iron my shirt.  I was at war with myself.  Do I take off the shirt?  In the end my laziness once more beat the shit out of my common sense, and I heated up the iron, rubbing it over my belly, careful not to push the steam jet button.  Mission accomplished, the pucker was gone.  


So. . . what lesson did I learn?  I learned that it's OKAY to iron your shirt with it on.  It was a lesson I forgot nearly a decade ago when I gave myself second-degree burns, but as time dulled that painful memory, this newest triumph has overshadowed it completely.  But I also learned that it's ONLY okay if you don't push the steam jet button.  So it's almost like a real lesson.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Surprise!

My wife has Lily at Speech and O.T.  It's a Tuesday ritual.  Or will be until next Tuesday when I take it over.  She swoops in to the summer program to pick up Emma.  She swoops home to pick up Lily.  She flies north to drop Emma off at my parents before zooming to the speech appointment. . . then the OT appointment. . . then she does it all in reverse and returns home.


Until next week, when I'll be taking over the swooping, scooping, zooming and returning.  While she's gone there's a tremendous amount of imagined guilt building up about what I should have done around the house before she gets back, and because she's got the lion's share of the work to do, the amount that should be done around the house to alleviate my stress is "a shit ton".  


So I read a chapter of "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" and let my time tick by, because I am almost useless unless I'm working against a clock.  


While that was going on, I was exchanging texts with Leslie in a little campaign I like to call, Operation "Lower Expectations".  Things like, "Ugh, I just got home, traffic was such a nightmare!"  and "God, I'm so tired I could just pass out in bed right now. . . remember how Lily got up so early this morning?  Yeah, getting up with her is totally dragging me to bed!"


Then I asked her what she wanted to eat for dinner and she said that was MY responsibility, and so I said, "In that case I'm thinking about making pretzels for dinner."


"I hope you didn't strain yourself with all that thinking."


"You want Doritos instead?  I can thaw some out."  She ignored this, so I did a search and found a chicken piccata recipe on Pinterest because, as Google continues telling me, apparently I'm a 25-34 year old woman, and I started thawing chicken and cooking angel hair pasta and mixing sauces and so forth.  This is the part of the operation called, Operation "Surprise!"


THIS was done before I blogged.
Only two things can ruin this surprise:  1)  Leslie reads this blog, so she will totally know I'm cooking chicken piccata and it will be done when she gets home CONTRARY to my campaign of misdirection, and 2)  I'm not positive she even likes chicken piccata.  Is it too late to say "LESLIE!  DON'T READ ABOUT THE SURPRISE CHICKEN PICCATA I'M MAKING YOU!!!"  so that the surprise isn't ruined?  Probably.  And I can't ask her whether she likes chicken piccata because she is a smart cookie and will see right through that ruse.  It's sorta how I ruined the surprise of buying her an iphone.  It went something like this:


"Hey Les, if you were to get an iphone someday. . . you know. . . not SOON or anything, but SOMEday. . . how much memory would you want on it?  Would you want 16G or 32?"


"I don't know, Jim, that's really sort of your area."  Fine. . . fine. . . it is.  So then a couple days later. . . 


"Hey Les, if you were to get an iphone someday TOTALLY not soon, would you want a black one or a white one?"


"Black.  Why do you keep asking me about iphones?"


"NOT BECAUSE I'M BUYING YOU ONE!  SHUT UP!" 


And then the next day I had to leave a note for the UPS guy to drop the phone off and leave it because otherwise I'd have to drive to UPS to pick it up, and Leslie was leaving the house and saw something on the door and drove back up the driveway, got out of the car, read the note, rolled her eyes, got back in the car and left, waving cheerfully to me as I got in my own car.  


I watched her go and said, "Well, fuck."


So anyway.  I have. . . well, HAD 20 minutes to write this blog post because I'm timing the chicken so that it's done and hot when she walks in the door, and she JUST LEFT my parents house.  So . . . nice timing for me!  Because this post is DONE!!


So then WHILE I was writing this post, she had Emma text me to say, "This is Emma, we are on our way home."  She does that because I swear when I text her.  So if she doesn't identify herself it would be like:


"We are on our way home."


"'Bout fuckin' time!"


"DADDY!!"


"um. . . wrong number."


Anyway, she got home and the chicken was done, and the pasta was done, but the sauce was still reducing and I hadn't added the cream or capers yet, so I ran about 10 minutes late.  And the sauce didn't thicken as much as I'd have liked. . . BUT. . . 


She liked it.  It was really good if I'm being fair.  She liked it and she cleaned her plate.  And then, because I had made enough to give us each lunchtime leftovers, she walked by the strainer filled with angel hair, and she nabbed a couple strands and dunked it in the sauce pan and ate it like a mama bird eating a worm (except no disgusting Alicia Silverstone regurgitation), and THEN, she got another fork or two of pasta and put it on her plate and ate THAT and THEN. . . and look. . . I don't want you to get the wrong idea about my wife, she's a LADY. . . but she tipped the plate up and drank the piccata sauce off the plate.  Slurped it up. . . um. . . like a princess.


Like a princess.


So. . . the pictures:
3-4 minutes per side in butter and olive oil. . . 

so it looked like this. . . 

End product!  Easy recipe too!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to My Nightmare

We started giving Lily Tenex about four weeks ago to help her with some of her impulsivity. . . tooth grinding/spitting (which is much reduced now anyway)/heavy breathing, hand wringing, etc. Because she's tiny, the doctor started her out not with half a tablet of the lowest dose, but with a quarter. We ramped up as follows: 1/4 tab every night for a week at bedtime (to get her system used to it), 1/4 tab at breakfast and before bed for a week, 1/4 tab at breakfast and a half tab at bedtime for a week, and now we're at 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 at night.

I don't know what I've seen so far for sure, but one positive, that is invisibly disguised is that . . . well nothing seems to have changed. In terms of Lily's personality, joys and hatreds, she's the same little girl. And maybe she's even been a little more low key. This is a big departure from the stimulants experiment more than a year ago. Her potty accidents continue to be very low, sometimes none during a day, sometimes one or two. Her appetite is unaffected. Her sleeping seems mostly unchanged. Mostly.

Sometime after we ramped up to 1/2 a tablet at bedtime Lily started waking up in the middle of the night and calling us. Every night. This hasn't been a big deal for us because we put her on the potty, and then take her back to bed and she essentially falls back to sleep within a few minutes. Is it a pain in the ass waking up every night at 12:30 or 1:00 because Lily's awake? Kinda. Does it beat the shit out of the Chinese fire drill we used to do when she'd wake up, pee the bed and we'd eventually hear her moving around in bed and have to change bedding, get her on the potty, change her clothes, put her back to bed and get her settled down? Absolutely. She wakes, calls one of us (it's usually mommy), we arrive to a dry little girl who we take to the potty and then put back to sleep. I'd live with that arrangement indefinitely. Developmentally, it's a big step foreward. Lily is calling us and telling us 1) that she's awake and allowing us to help her 2) get on the potty. It's a win.

Last night I put Lily to bed around 9:00. It had been a long day for her, the details of which I'll have to cover in a different post. Bedtime for Lily is usually much earlier, with one of us (we take turns with the kids) getting her upstairs, teeth brushed, story read, on and off the potty and under covers by 7:45 or 8:00. Although she fell asleep in the car ride home from my parents' house, by the time we had her ready for bed she was wide eyed again, though clearly sleepy.

I lay next to her and stroked her hair, whispering her prayers to her complete with pregnant pauses allowing her to fill in the blanks.

"Dear. . . " I began.

"God," she completed.

"Bless. . . "

"Mommy and Daddy and Emma and Lily"

"Ayyyyyy. . . "

"MEN!"

"Very nice, Lily."

I recited my nightly litany to her. "Lily," I began, getting her attention, "I love you. I believe in you. I am proud of you." She accepted this silently, tired eyes gazing alternatively between me and the ceiling when her lids weren't drooping slowly over them.

She wrung her hands, picking at her index finger and I inserted my finger into her palm and she clutched instead at that, stopping without protest, her body calming. We lay like that for fifteen or twenty minutes. Leslie came in to wake me from what she imagined must be my slumber and Lily looked up at her. Leslie backed quietly from the room. It doesn't typically take that long for Lily to find sleep and she was very quiet.

When she finally did shut her eyes for the night, I rolled as smoothly as I could from her bed and put up the railing. She moves quite a bit in the bed and when the rail's not there, and even sometimes when it is, she finds herself on the floor or almost on the floor.

I went downstairs to pack lunches (although I took a lengthy pre-work break to watch Season 2 episode 6 of Game of Thrones) while Leslie dried Emma's hair from her bath. When Emma was ready for bed I went back upstairs and gave her a kiss goodnight while Leslie read Half Blood Prince to her before bed. I returned downstairs and started making lunches.

Around 10:15 Lily started to whimper. She'll whimper as she tries to get comfortable sometimes. When she's sick that whimpering can turn to coughing and that coughing turns to vomiting, but I really didn't expect that last night because she's been pretty healthy. I listened as I worked. Her whimpers got louder.

I finished up the lunch I was working on and resolved to head upstairs to check things out. During the time it took me to formulate that plan her whimpers ratcheted up to yelps then screams. I had no idea what was going on, but started sprinting for the steps. I took them two at a time and pushed open the door to her room, not knowing WHAT I would find.

The first thing that struck me was that the nightlight had burnt out. Had she awoken and gotten scared because it was so dark? I didn't know, but in order to see I had to turn on the overhead light in her room, flip the rail down and sit next to her whispering words of comfort, hoping to get her settled down and back to sleep. Her eyes squeezed shut against the too-bright light.

But she didn't settle down. She kept alternating between pained whimpers and shrieks of terror. I picked her up wondering if she was laying on her arm wrong or something, but she wasn't, and I patted her back telling her it was a dream (had she had a nightmare? I had no idea) and that it was okay and that I was there and it would be alright. She didn't calm down.

After a couple minutes I put her back on the bed and tried to get her to drink water. NO! I asked her if she wanted mommy but if she said yes, I couldn't tell. Was there a perceptible calming? It wasn't apparent to me, but as she lay on her back and I talked she did calm a little. I told her I was going to get mommy, then crossed the hall to where Leslie had fallen asleep with Emma and woke her, telling her I needed her.

TYPICALLY that means Lily is throwing up because she's had a coughing jag, but Leslie blearily crossed the hall and I explained. She lay down next to Lily and tried to calm her. I sat next to them both. I can't remember whether Leslie asked for it, or I just noticed it, but Poopers, Lily's stuffed puppy, was in her swing, and I retrieved it and handed it to her. She was still sobbing and whimpering. Leslie asked if I had a blanket for her and I said no, but grabbed one from her drawer.

We tried asking about scary dreams but got nowhere. Eventually I asked Lily what a puppy says and Lily responded through sobs, "Woof woof." I smiled encouragement and continued.

"That's right, Lily!" I was being uber-upbeat. I hadn't really wanted to be high energy, thinking that it would wake her up and get her too alert to get back to sleep, but nothing else had worked, and calm happy awake Lily beats the shit out of sad horror-stricken sleepy Lily any day.

"And what's a monkey say?"

"Oooh ooh, ee ee," she replied.

She had calmed dramatically. I had no idea why. Was it giving her something to focus on? If it was a bad dream was it just distracting her from the memory by giving her mind something else in replace? No idea.

"Do you want your monkey?"

"Yes," she replied meekly.

I got her monkey and handed it to her.

"There's pink monkey, Lily. What color is his coat?" (I swear that question isn't as stupid as it sounds. He's a pink monkey, but he has a coat that's green)

"Green," she said. She was almost herself again.

"Good job! What color is Poopers' hat?"

"White."

"And?"

"Red."

"Yeah, Poopers has a white and red striped hat!" I started thinking about how to get her back in the mood to sleep, "Poopers wears his striped hat to bed, Lily. He sleeps in it."

Leslie told me later that at the mention of sleep Lily started getting agitated again, but we moved on from it into safer waters, making. . . conversation, for lack of a better word until Lily was calm.

The whole thing freaked me out more than a little bit.

Leslie stayed with her as I kissed her on her head and told her I loved her. I replaced the 7.5w nightlight bulb with the lowest watt bulb left in the house (25W) before I left. It was way too bright, but I figured it beat the alternative. She fell asleep a short time later and Leslie put up the rail and left her room.

"What the hell was that?"

"No idea."

We talked about the idea of nightmares, and how her response to the distraction seemed to have worked, and to remember that little trick in the future. We wondered whether the bulb burning out had made it worse. Really though we have no idea. I've heard of kids on ADHD meds (but this was stimulants, I thought) or Melatonin having nasty nightmares. Lily never has.

"When it's time to meet with Dr. Cheerleader, we're not going to the next higher dose," Leslie said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, before we got to the 1/2 tablet at night, we were seeing some good effects but no bad ones. She's more tired at bed time, and she goes through a sleepy spell in the morning, but nothing bad. Now that we're on 1/2 tablet, she's waking up every night, and napping in the afternoon, and maybe her body will get used to it, but right now I don't think we should go to a higher dose."

We don't know whether the nightmare was medicine-induced or not, but it's the first one she's ever had (if indeed that's what last night was), and we're looking for what's changed. Her big sister made her share of tearful treks down the hall, fleeing nightmares to comforting parents; maybe Lily is just at that stage in her life where she's starting to develop fears that are capable of manifesting themselves in dream form. Or maybe it's the medicine.

I don't know, but if it's a side-effect, the sheer terror she went through last night is not worth any amount of impulsivity abatement. We have an appointment on Wednesday with Dr. Cheerleader (assuming I can find her office), so I'm keeping an open mind until then.




Happier moments in her bed

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wake Up Call

When my wife bought me the new Sony iHome for Father's Day, it replaced the old, slightly defective digital clock-radio that I'd been using.  I took the old clock radio from my nightstand to Lily's room so we'd at least have a way of telling time in there when we were trying to put her to bed.


My exact bookmark.
Lying in bed last night, I'd fallen asleep reading Jenny Lawson's "Let's Pretend This Never 
Happened". Not that the book wasn't riveting; it was, of COURSE it was, but I was tired, and I kept nodding off moments after jerking awake, rereading the same line over and over before finally giving it up as a bad job, marking my page with my Ignignokt sticker/bookmark, closing the book, and placing it on the nightstand. I looked at my new Sony iHome. The clock read 11:56. Not as late as last night, I supposed, but I hadn't realized it was quite that late.

I shut off the light, got comfortable in bed, and fell immediately to sleep.

The buzz of the alarm seemed to come a moment later. My wife's clock has the alarm set because she typically gets up to shower earlier, and she fumbled in the dark to find the off button. I could hear the scrabble of her fingernails across the clock's controls. The alarm's demands continued to bleat. What the hell?

"Les, shut off the alarm," I murmered angrily into my pillow.

"I'm trying! I can't find the button."

The alarm was ridiculously urgent at this point. There's only so long you can listen to that sound before you get angry at it and want to throw it across the room. I sat up in bed, looking at my new clock. 12:00. What the. . . 12:00?

I'd been asleep for four minutes. I turned over as Leslie continued to frantically probe the clock face for some sort of "off-turning" feature. It took my brain a minute to register what was happening.

And then, like the voice from a phone in a slasher movie, I said, "It's coming from Lily's room." The alarm was braying through the speaker of the monitor beside the clock radio that Leslie was so desperately punching into submission.

In the past when we had someone cleaning our house, the cleaning women would dust and clean around or on the clocks, and occasionally the alarm button would slide from "OFF" to "AUTO". Several times in the past I'd sprinted desperately to Emma's room to shut off the alarm clock that was wailing beside her head only to find her completely asleep, utterly unfazed by the alarm shrieking less than a foot from her ear. I'd switch it off and curse the cleaning woman.

I launched myself from the bed. I didn't have my glasses on and could barely see where I was or what I was doing, but burst into Lily's room as quickly and silently as it is possible "burst", searching desperately for the "OFF" button on that old, slightly defective clock radio. When I had silenced it (it was "mostly" on "OFF" but not completely, jiggling the switch even a little turned off the alarm) I turned to see whether Lily had woken up. For the past week or two Lily has been waking up at 12:00 or 1:30 and calling us. This is preferable to NOT calling us because usually we can get there and get her on the toilet fast enough that she doesn't have an accident in bed. Not that I wanted to set an alarm for it, mind you.

Without my glasses, I squinted over at Lily from across the room. She wasn't fidgeting. Was she, like Emma unmoved by the clock's reveille? I couldn't see well enough to tell. I tiptoed over to her bedside. Her eyes were open and she glanced up at me. I stroked her hair and whispered, "Back to sleep baby," but although she closed her eyes at my touch, they fluttered back open and I decided to put her on the potty before trying again.

From the hall I heard her relieve herself and I stooped to help her dress before scooping her up and carrying her back to her room, lying down next to her in bed and stroking her hair. A few minutes later she fell asleep and I slowly rolled from the bed and padded quietly from the room.

I climbed back into bed, noting the time: 12:16. It took longer to get to sleep this time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dr. Cheerleader and Tale of the Parking Lot Labyrinth

I haven't been particularly bloggy of late. Between work, and Sprocket, I'm getting a little over-blogged and things at home have been more than a little hectic and when I feel like I have time to write, I don't, because I'm either asleep, or in bed nearly asleep, or out of bed and awake, but exhausted and muse-less.

And it's not that there's nothing to write about. Sometimes it's worse when there's TOO much to write about. The potty training blog is sitting there "in draft form" (which means, I've written "Potty Training" as a title, and nothing else so that it reminds me that I promised to write a blog about potty training) but the whole experience was so big and detailed and full of woe that I just haven't been able to get my brain around the idea of putting it all on 'paper'.

Something that happened shortly after the last visit to the doctor, is that we visited a psychiatrist about getting a non-stimulant for Lily's impulsivity. The stimulant experiment (another 'draft') was such a failure that I think we needed at least a year to let life wash the bad taste out of our mouths before considering it again. We visited our magical autism doctor, and I previously blogged THAT little encounter as sort of a venting thing, and the overwhelming response was that we should pack our bags and find a new doctor. But we're not doing that.

So anyway, during that visit, we mentioned to Dr. Autism that we were going to see another doc about prescriptions and he got mildly butthurt that we hadn't come to him but then made some elaborate "fine, go see her, I don't even have TIME to talk to you about prescriptions so it's awesome that you're cheating on me seeing someone else for that. It's better. I WANT you to go. And I sorta felt bad for Dr. Autism, like he felt like we were totally going to date the cheerleader even though he was the plain girl who played drums but was providing us moral support all along, and probably he was screaming in his head, "John Hughes movies don't end this way!! You're supposed to end up with the supportive girl after you verbally burn and dump the cheerleader for being so vapid!!"

But that was the frame of mind I was in during that visit. So we went to see the other doctor. The appointment was at 4:00 I think. Or maybe it was some other time, but it's irrelevant because I could just pick some arbitrary time and tell the story around it and how would you guys know?? So it was 4:00. I mean it.

Leslie had mentioned Risperdal and Dr. Autism had gotten a little concerned and said. . . "Risperdal is a big gun. I don't think Lily needs that big a gun. If I were prescribing something (insert imagined sniffle) it would probably be Tenex." I had that in the back of my mind as we went to see Dr. Cheerleader.

Dr. Cheerleader's office was in this medical complex on Pittsburgh's Northside. Or near a medical complex. It was somewhat unclear exactly where Dr. Cheerleader's office was, but I plugged the address into my phone and listened to the GPS tell me where to go. I zoomed right into the parking garage with about 10 minutes to spare and took the escalator up to the main floor to find the office.

I eased into my parking spot and took the escalator up into what had once been sort of a fancy little inside mall.  I walked past locked doors and empty spaces looking for promising. . . medical complexy type offices but didn't find any.  


I doubled back the way I'd come and started over. This time I spotted a girl cleaning up in front of a coffee shop and I asked for directions. She had no idea. I did a few more laps of the building, starting to get stressed out and maybe a little brow-sweaty. I walked back into the courtyard outside the mall and found what looked like a security guard. Surely if anyone knew where to look it would be him, but he just said, he had no idea and pointed to the bank saying, "They probably know in the bank." Yeah. Cause that's what banks do.


The whole complex was under construction. So even following the bank employee's directions of, essentially "thataway", I ran into fenced off construction and had to go inside the mall to get around it. My feet had blisters the size of quarters and I was more or less limping everywhere I went. 
The "Cruel Shoes"  Apologies to Steve Martin

Time for a brief sidebar: I went shopping at DSW because I needed new dress shoes. My old ones were worn out and I wanted a pair that were a little more current. So after about a half hour i found a pair I liked, and were $75 each.

One aisle over I found a similar pair and checked the price. $50! Sweet. From there it was like this weird sort of reverse "Let's Make a Deal" with me exchanging the pairs of shoes I'd found for new ones that cost less as I progressed through the store. I threw caution to the wind and finally headed to the clearance rack. Two pairs of shoes, $35 each! With the money I saved I bought a pair of casual shoes too.

The dress shoes I bought were cheap. And I don't mean "inexpensive". They LOOKED nice, but 1) The insole kept coming unglued and sliding toward the toe so that I was always walking on a wrinkle of leather and would have to take the shoe off, reach in and smooth it out. 2) They hurt my feet. In fact, it is JUST now occurring to me that the foot pain I've been suffering for the past several months probably has nothing to do with imagined plantar fasciitis and everything to do with the fact that my feet kill me after I wear these stupid shoes all day, and 3) they smelled of cheap rubber. The first month I wore them I'd have to take them off in my office and walk out because the fumes gave me headaches. My boss told me to put them in kitty litter because the activated carbon in the kitty litter would adsorb the cheap rubber fumes. And I did it.

It's not a huge stretch to say I'd just walked two miles in those stupid cheap shoes. I called Leslie, but she was already in the exam with Dr. Cheerleader and said, "I can't talk now, bye!" and hung up. I texted her a terse message indicating I had no idea where I was but that I'd be there if I ever found out.

Eventually I just got frustrated and started walking North up the sidewalk. And there it was.


I had parked in the wrong garage. And not just sorta wrong, really wrong. I was late, and sweaty (it was hot outside) my feet hurt and I was stressed out and frustrated that I missed the start of the appointment. But I was there. Leslie hadn't been able to talk to me because the doctor was working with Lily and Leslie was in the office with them and didn't want to screw it up.

Also. . . to be clear, Dr. Cheerleader doesn't really look like a cheerleader, and there's no "popular" vs. "nerdy" vibe, and I'm starting to regret bringing my whole reimagined "Say Anything" storyline into it, but Dr. Cheerleader works as a nickname for the story since I'm not offering up real names, so we're just going with it.

We talked about Lily and answered questions for 15 or 20 more minutes and Dr. Cheerleader made her recommendation.

Tenex.

So we could have stuck with the plain drummer girl with the bad haircut after all! Not really, but it was actually nice to have a built in second opinion completely independent of the first. She, like Dr. Autism, felt that Lily just needed to take the edge off some of her impulsivity, calm the tooth-grinding and hand-wringing, possibly keep her from feeling the need to pick at her fingers. . . we shall see.

Because Dr. Autism had given Lily four new supplements to incorporate, and because we wanted to first see what the Tenex would do, we agreed to start the medication very slowly and ramp it up and let her get used to it before doing anything with the supplements. We agreed to meet again, and we ended the appointment, I limped Leslie and Lily to the minivan (which was parked about 50 yards from the door) before heading back to my car which was parked in the next county.

When I reached my car is when I noticed the signs that said, "Cash Only Upon Exit" and "Exit via Gate C". I had no cash. I had no idea where Gate C was. I decided to drive around the garage looking for the exit but inexplicably could not find it. After going back and forth about five times I parked the car and took a service stairway up to the mall where at least I knew I could find an ATM for cash.

I got money out then couldn't find the stairway I'd taken to get up in the first place, so I just picked a stairway at random and walked around the garage holding my car remote in front of me like a dowsing rod, pushing the "lock" button and hoping to hear my car's beep in response. But I never did, and ultimately found the car around the corner from the service stairway without TOO much more difficulty.

It probably took me 30 minutes to get out of the parking garage. I was sooooo pissed by the time I left. It was a bad brain day the summary of which is essentially, late to an appointment because I got lost. . . then got lost trying to leave the appointment. It was like the doctor's office was the Sargasso Sea and the parking garage was the Bermuda Triangle.

That was two or three weeks ago. Which brings us to today. I don't know how much the Tenex has impacted Lily. She HAS been less impulsive while still maintaining her happy and energetic personality (unlike the changes that killed us when we tried the stimulants) so I suppose if nothing else it's been a much better fit for her than stimulants EVER were.

And returning briefly to the subject of potty training. . . she's down to about one accident per day. . . many days NO accidents. Is that the potty training we utterly failed somehow taking root? It was better even before the Tenex, but now, when she wakes in the middle of the night, she calls us, and often she's still dry. We put her on the potty, she goes, then we put her to bed and she goes back to sleep. All of that is good good good.

I'm not saying she's completely potty trained, but she's really close (for no apparent reason other than she's doing better).

Her behaviors are way down too. She grinds her teeth a little, but I cannot even tell you the last time she spit. She's happy. She doesn't resist as much when we transition or offer to take her to the bathroom.

Part of the reason I suppose I haven't really been putting much of this down on 'paper' is because things with Lily have been. . . good. . . boringly good. There really haven't been too many stories to tell. And there have been, of course, but with everything ELSE going on, I just haven't made time to tell them.

I've been meaning to mention the ridiculousness of the visit with Dr. Cheerleader for weeks now. Anyway, in the midst of all the autistic kids dealing with tough transitions from structured school work to completely unstructured summer chaos. . . Lily's just been steady as the northern star.

She starts ESY next week, and we've mentally prepared ourselves for some backsliding, but it's really been sweet and stress-less (to an extent) and nice here, at least where little Lily is concerned.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Handling Stress: Road Rage


This morning I read a blog about a road rage incident stemming from a stressful back-story over at ProfMomEsq's aptly titled blog, "ProfMomEsq".  She was asking for tips and tricks to control your stress/temper, or in her words, "check yourself before you wreck yourself", which rhymes.  I linked the blog, so if you hover over it, you can totally click.  And you should, she writes well.


My own road rage issues have gotten considerably better since I had kids, primarily because I try to 'check myself before I wreck myself' verbally when the kids are in the car.  But I do still lose it.  And in the comments of her blog I told I'd tell the story about the time I was 'that guy'.  

------------------


Me. . . blinker flashing. . . first to the stop by a mile.
Yeah. . . I'm going this way.  My blinker is flashing, see?
As I was waiting for my turn at the 4-way stop, a bitch (yeah, I said it) cut me off.  She was directly across from me.  I had my turn signal on patiently waiting my turn, and she went.  

Wait. . . what the. . .?
It was clearly my turn.  CLEARLY.  


I was. . . frustrated with her lack of courtesy.  To add insult to injury, however, as she passed me she began mouthing words to me through the window of her car and pointing down the hill to the right of me (I was trying to turn left when she cut me off).  I wasn't going to make a big thing out of it, until she started yappin' at me.  I was, though not content, at least willing to suffer the slight and turn once she passed me, until she opened her mouth.

My brain's immediate response when I saw her chirping at me was, "madam, I'm frustrated by your lack of courtesy and i'm irritated by your hand gestures and mouth movements.  I bid you, cease."  What I said out loud, however, at the top of my lungs, from inside my vacuum sealed sedan, was, "FUCK YOU, WHORE!!"  I pointed, so she knew that she was the whore I was talking about, because I'm all about clarity.


She passed, and I turned, content in the knowledge that she now was aware she was a whore who drives like shit.  I'm reminded of the old joke. . .


A man is driving his convertible up a long narrow winding mountain trail at top speed.  A woman is driving her convertible DOWN the same treacherous trail.  As the cars pass each other, the woman yells, "Slow down, pig!"  The man replies, "Fuck you, whore!" but is almost immediately thereafter forced to swerve to avoid an enormous wild pig in the road, crashing through the guardrail and plummeting to his eventual fiery death.  It's a joke typically told by women about how inconsiderate and ignorant men are.


Back to our story. . . 


As I turned my car left, I glanced down at my turn signal.  It indicated I was turning right. . . not left.  What the hell??  How did that happen?  I don't think I've ever turned my signal on opposite the way that I'm turning.  About the only way that ever happens is when A)  You change your mind about going one way and decide to go the other (but you know your signal is wrong) or B) when you make such a slight turn that your signal doesn't turn off automatically.  I had done neither.  For some inexplicable reason, I had my blinker going the direct opposite way I intended to travel.

The woman across from me, seeing that I was turning right, felt free to jump in line and drive through, since I would be turning away from her.  Once she saw I was turning across her, she (probably frustrated) pointed down the hill to my right, perhaps saying, "I didn't mean to cut you off, you signaled the other direction!"


So um. . . sorry about the whore thing, ma'am.  You were right.  I was wrong.  I apologize.


None of this really has much to do with ProfMomEsq's blog post requesting guidance regarding snapping your cap, but it is instructive to recognize that there's always a story, or a back-story when these things happen.  In this case, we have the benefit of being able to jump into the brain pan of the idiot driver (me) who flipped out on the person who did the right thing. . . because I legitimately thought *I* was doing the right thing. . .and in the heat of the moment I got all butthurt at the perceived slight and lashed out.


The idea that everyone brings their own baggage into each stressful encounter is always one that I *try* to take into consideration.  Bad day at the office?  Wife left you?  Sick kids?  All that emotional back-story gets dragged with us into each encounter until we finally lash out, fed up with all of it. . . but possibly to the person we lash out AT. . .it's out of the clear blue sky.


Anyway. . . I'm a dumbass.  But you knew that.  ;)





Friday, June 8, 2012

Special Needs Ryan Gosling - Week 18





So. . . for Adventures in Extreme Parenting's "Special Needs Ryan Gosling" meme THIS week, I departed a little from the special-needs-centricity of previous posts and just got real.


To recap, since 99.7% of the participation is by "mom" bloggers, the interpretation generally seems to be "pretend as if Ryan Gosling is your significant other and or side project, and fill in the blanks, fantasizing about how supportive and awesome he'd be".


My take however, is to interpret Mr. Gosling as ME.  So I write my meme's as if it's me saying the words, and as supportive and awesome as I am. . . I'm only a man. Sometimes I can be kind of a dumbass too.


Today's Ryan is all intense and showing off some indecipherable ink he's had done on his arm.


Without further adieu, today's participation:



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zombie Bath Salt Epidemic Hits Home

     Yeah, yeah, another bath salt blog post.  I've seen a whole mess of them today.  Jillsmo and Amy both blogged about it, and Sprocket is ALL over the Zombie Apocalypse tie-in.  I was actually saving this post for Halloween, since it's Halloween-centric (shut up, it's a word), but with all the Zombie Apocalypse face-eating craziness of the bath salt generation (I totally coined that just now and expect credit if I see it later), I figured I'd throw in my two cents and/or strike while the bath salt iron was hot.  
     If you've been living in a barn, or are forced to take your news solely from Nick, or Disney because your children completely dictate what's on television (honey, I'm talking to you, but I promise not to mention you by name, LOVE YOU!) 'bath salts', "not to be confused with cleansing products, are an inexpensive, synthetic, super-charged form of speed. The drug consists of a potpourri of constantly changing chemicals, three of which -- mephedrone, MDPV and methylone -- were banned last year by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency."
     They've been linked to the "Crazy Case of the Guy Who Ate the Other Guy's Face Off", and touched off a tongue-in-cheek (oh my god, I totally didn't even do that on purpose!!! Tongue-in-cheek?  Whew. . . you, know, cause he ate his face off, did I mention??) Zombie Apocalypse scare that's trending across the Interwebz (shut up, spell-check, Interwebz is cool-guy talk for "internet").
Emma, about to eat my delicious brains.
     But my daughter Emma may have started the whole thing without even knowing it.  Emma was ingesting bath products before it was "cool", because she's a gangsta, yo.  
---
2009:
     I watched my daughter as she peered into the black felt bag filled with Halloween candy. She held the bag by the straps with one hand and stirred it with some difficulty with her other, searching for that one special treat.

     "Daddy, can you help me find my Sweet-tarts?" she asked.
     "Sure, sweetie, let me see your treat bag."
     She dutifully handed the bag to me and I took the heavy, black felt bag and, unable to resist, pushed the small blister in the lower corner that made the skeleton on the side of the bag light up colorfully. I then held it by the base and opened the bag, spilling the candy out onto the bedspread.
     I sifted through the sweet spoils of her Halloween campaign and swiftly uncovered the "large" packet of Sweet-tarts amid the rubble. THIS packet was desired because it was an actual BAG of Sweet-tarts as opposed to the two-tart packages MOST people handed out on Halloween.
     I handed her the bag and said, "Here sweetie."
     She took it and thanked me politely as I scooped the candy into a pile and attempted to 'rake' it back into the bag. As I did so I found a clear package shaped like a ghost. Inside were white wafers so thin they almost looked like paper. I scowled slightly and picked up the package to examine it. THIS candy had to suck.
     My daughter looked up from her package-opening and confirmed, "I tried those. They aren't very good."
     I turned the package over, examining the back. "Honey?" I said.
     "Yeah, daddy?"
     "You know why this doesn't taste good?"
     "Why, daddy?"
     "Because it's soap. You add it to your bath to make it smell like vanilla. You ate soap. I can't get you to try tacos, but you'll eat SOAP?"
     She giggled.
---
     It was cute and funny. . . but:
     The neighbor had asked her to take some with her when she'd left the Halloween party the previous night. I had been through her Halloween candy, and hadn't seen it, so I was confused when I looked through her candy the following day and spotted it. I want to say that if she'd have gotten it Halloween night I'd have noticed it and pulled it out of the bag, but I'm not completely sure. That scared me a little. Or at least served as a wakeup call.
     When the neighbor told her to go ahead and take it, Emma didn't ask what it was, and either the neighbor failed to mention it, or Emma forgot. Probably Emma spotted it in the house, asked about it and was told. . . "oh go ahead and take some home with you".
     Even the pickiest of eaters will try just about anything that they think is candy, so I've tried to be a little more vigilant when vetting her treat bag now. Not that this was IN her treat bag that Halloween night. . . but it just served to warn me that it probably COULD have been in there, and I'd never have known the difference. This time it was bath soap. . . next time? Who knows?
     And THAT is how Emma turned into a Zombie.  Alright. . . fine, it wasn't "bath salts" it was "bath soap" and she's not a zombie.


Or IS she. . .