Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Design

Well, SOMEBODY has to make a few bucks off of bumper stickers. Might as well be me, right?

Why JoeyAndyDad ROCKS.

1. He does laundry.
2. He does dishes.
3. When the computer isn't working, i can hand it to him, and it becomes magically fixed, usually in under ten minutes.
4. He loves to play with the boys.
5. I can leave him with the boys and go grocery shopping without a second thought.
6. If I give him a list to go to the grocery store for me, he almost always returns with everything that was on the list. And when he doesn't, its because the store didn't have it.
7. If I send him to the grocery store with a list, he almost always also picks up the thing I forgot to put on the list.
8. He likes to give the boys a bath.
9. He works his butt off to be good at his job so he can get a really big raise and keep the roof over our heads- while I can stay home and work bit part-time gigs and get everybody to therapy.
10. He's an excellent kisser. And foot masseuse.

I love my Allan. He totally rocks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No. Not going here.

So last night, Joey discovered that you can use poo to write words on the toilet seat.

Allan kept his cool, explained that this was unacceptable behavior, had him clean it up, and continued with bedtime routine.

Unfortunately, this all occurred in front of Andy. So when Andy was at school, and had a nice little BM (which is unusual at school), he decided to try out Joey's little trick.

No. no. no. We are not going here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


We are embarking on several new campaigns here. Well, we are planning on embarking. Maybe we'll actually get started. Eventually.

The problem is: when to begin? As we know, major changes to routine upset a child, especially one with autism, and can make any campaign an instant and unmitigated failure. We have some big disruptions on the horizon.

The big campaign for Joey is "staying in bed." This will involve returning him to his own bed at night instead of letting him curl up with us. With summer coming, it will be more comfortable for everyone; and besides, the child is now six years old. Time to stay in your own bed. I am making several adjustments to Joey's room in anticipation of the campaign- but then, those changes are, in and of themselves, disruptions. I am getting fans ready for circulation, rearranging furniture to maximize space and ease of use, setting up the computer so he can play his games up there, and re-adjusting the comfy corner to be more comfy.

For Andy, we are considering a new "sit and eat" campaign, trying to get him to stay at his chair during mealtimes- but more importantly, at the table with everyone else. I am prepping the kitchen table for his return to the family circle. Again, changes that are disruptions all by themselves.

But the real disruption upon the horizon? The coming absence of the husband. Folks, please congratulate JoeyAndyDad on his promotion!!! Woo-hoo!!! He has worked really hard and done a spectacular job. He got a fabulous raise, and now he's moving up the career path to the next position! This being awesomely cool, and wonderful, and all, it also includes two weeks' training in Virginia Beach. We get to spend the weekend there with him, but during the week, I am going to be winging it all by my lonesome. The boys are sure to notice that mom, and not dad, is bathing them and putting them to bed every night for two weeks.

So is this really the time to begin campaigns of such a major nature? I have already voted a nix on the Joey campaign. It can wait a few weeks at this point. Besides... I need my cuddlebug to get me through two weeks without the love of my life by my side.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Joe Snow

My friend MonkeyGirl is supporting the Joe Snow Memorial Bass Tournament. Joe Snow was a paramedic who gave his life trying to save two young boys. The money raised goes to support Mr. Snow's sons.

I never knew Joe Snow. But I have met some wonderful people here who came to my home and saved my Joey. And I read MonkeyGirl and Ambulance Driver and on occasion a few other EMS- connected blogs, because they are interesting people who save lives for a living. How about that- they save lives for a living. As MonkeyGirl says- it's just what they do.

So folks, we all have families and challenges and know small things can be done in great ways. Here's one way to just let these folks know how much you appreciate them: head over to MonkeyGirl's blog and give to the Joe Snow Memorial Bass Tournament. Give two young men a big hug. And hug your own little guys and gals tight.

From Andy's Point of View

To give Andy something to do during Joey's birthday- mostly to distract him from the fact that he was not the center of all attention- Grandma gave him a couple of toss-away cameras to take pictures. He had a lot of fun with them. Here's some of the pictures- the world from Andy's point of view!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Joey has been taking drumming lessons for a good long while now. They are supposed to be good for his bilateral coordination, and he was enchanted with drums and music when we started. Lately, we have been seriously considering discontinuing them.

First, the rules kinda got changed on us. The guy who was running the lessons and I had a kind of unspoken agreed understanding about how this was working with us- we paid week-to-week, instead of by the month, and we had some flexibility where if Joey was sick or having a particularly bad day, we could cancel without having to pay for the missed lesson (technically, we are supposed to pay and then have a "make up" lesson, but when would Joey be able to "make up" a lesson?) Now that guy is sick, and the fellow in his place wants us to pay for the whole month, and the lesson we missed when Joey was sick (even though the teacher has a very sick father and so asked us to please cancel if Joey is sick). I paid up, but it really makes these lessons expensive, and the new lack of flexibility means I really need to give it some thought about continuing.

On top of that, and far more relevant, Joey has been doing the "I don't wanna" dance. "I don't want go Mr. Shelby. No Mr. Shelby today." Joey has been increasingly sensitive to noise, so that we started using earplugs for the lessons- and that helped for a while, but now not so much. Today the drum was "scary". This is exactly the kind of shift in sensory trouble and attitude that I was worried about- why we had that week-to-week idea in the first place. He seems to perk up about halfway through the lesson. But is that enough? If this isn't fun, what's the point?

I'd wait it out until our other guy is back, but we're not sure when that will be, and time is short- I have to give two weeks' notice, and before I pay for another whole month of lessons Joey may not want- and that would be now. :P On the other hand, is Joey really not interested now, or is there something else going on? Has being sick knocked him for a bigger loop than anticipated, and he just wants to stay home for an afternoon, and Mondays are particularly tiring? Should I just try to juggle the appointments and find a different lesson day? It's not like I can just ask Joey and expect a direct answer to decide the matter.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bouncing Around My Head

I collect quotes. When I was a child racing about trying to figure out who I was, I had a way of connecting meaning to quotes, attaching ideas and emotions to them, weaving them into webs of understanding. Snippets of things would bounce about my head making connections, and those connections would knit into the fabric of thinking. I think Joey does this, which is why echoing is so much easier for him than coming up with his own words. It's a shorthand for what would take him a ton of energy to create himself with his own words. He has other things to do and to think about, and I really do think language is tiring for him. Anyway, things bounce about and make the warp and weft of memory and being. What to do with them?

So here's what's been bouncing about my head lately. It becomes something of an odd mantra of meanings and connections, and flavors the way I think about other things.

Do you know who I am?
Do I know who you are?
See we one another clearly?
Do we know who we are?

“Like I always say, keep an open mind, and you never know who might walk in!”

Why should I cry for you?
Why would you want me to?
What would it mean to say
That I loved you in my fashion?

So you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Well maybe I'm too close to see you clearly
Or is it now my role to simply believe?
You're just one of those mysteries
That may never be solved in time
But you do
You do
You shine.

No, I have no idea what it all means. I just know the webs of meaning that I am tatting in my brain.


As the semester draws to a close, I stand at the brink of that horrific time of the year when students begin to realize they are about the face the grade music for the work they didn't do. I get an amazing array of excuses, pleas, and prayers about this problem every year. Sometimes people get creative, but then, usually if they have the wherewithall to get creative, they've done the work in the first place. And this isn't just a "those damn kids" issue. I teach at community colleges- I have all ages and stages in there.

As a note, many of my students have their grades- often on a weekly basis- throughout the semester. My syllabus includes the formula I use to calculate their final grade, and it is extremely simple- each test is worth 25%, participation in class is 25%, and then either a paper or a set of weekly quizzes is 25% (I stopped doing it with appropriate weights and things because too many students complained they couldn't work the equation.) So at any moment, they can calculate "how they are doing."

Just in case some poor student of mine stumbles across this blog after googling me, sees some excuse they gave, and starts getting all "she's doggin' me!" about it, please note that the semester does not actually end for another three weeks. This entry is anticipatory, based on past experience. If you use one of these excuses, I can only assure you that I do not possess a time machine, and so cannot go back in time to rag you about your given excuse or plea before you provide said excuse or plea. And at this point, you have not emailed me about why you absolutely must get that "C" or "B" or "A".

So here is my totally snarky responses to common excuses and pleas that appear on my voice mail and in my email boxes after the semester is already closed. I have no intention of actually responding to any students with these retorts. They just tend to bounce around and cause me a lot of sleepless nights after the semester closes.

Remember to read the excuses with a properly comedic whiny tone, or it loses its effect.

I need a grade of X to get off of academic probation, or they'll kick me out of school! If school is so important to you, why didn't you bother to complete your work and study for your exams? (Now, after your final exam is turned in, ain't the time to make an appointment for tutoring, sweetie.)

But I get A's in all the rest of my classes! Obviously not in math. Or are you suggesting your other professors do not expect you to complete your reading and assignments, complete them with at least 60% of the answers correct, and complete them on time?

I got sick/pregnant/in an accident/lost a relative during the last two weeks of the semester, cut me a break! Where were you the rest of the semester? {Folks who have real problems during the last two weeks can apply for an "incomplete" IF they were not already failing the class}

I couldn't get time from work/my work schedule got too hectic! Welcome to the real world. You're taking a class. You have to complete the coursework to get credit for it. Were you too busy to drop me an email when your schedule got posted?

And of course, with online classes, there is the ever-popular: I lost my innernets! Go to the library.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.