Saturday, August 22, 2009

To the Beach!

Heads up, folks, we are headed to the beach for a whole week! We're very excited, we're looking forward to boys relaxing in the surf (especially Joey- he doesn't get much "time off"), and I may even read a book or something. But I'm not going to guarantee it.

So if there aren't too many posts this week, that's why. And if there are lots of pictures of boys and sand, that's why. All hands on deck- we're going to the beach!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Goodbye to an old comfort zone

There are three Walmarts in our area. A fourth is in the works.

Walmart is one of those catch-22 things. when it comes to your area, the whole flavor of the place changes. Suddenly you find yourself in Anywhere, USA, and its as if everything implodes and all you are left with is Anywhere, USA, for miles and miles and miles round. It is hard to compete with a place that can sell anything you have in your shop for 10% less than you can buy it wholesale. Only they don't. They just undercut your retail price enough to take your customers, while raking in all that extra dough.

At the same time, when you need a can opener, and you can get the same can opener at the local hardware store for $15, or go to Walmart and buy that same can opener for $10, its hard to argue with that, especially these days. It's easier to justify going to the local hardware store if they are selling that can opener for $11, but $15? And in this economic climate?

Walmart can be evil from some points of view, salvation from others, and I'm not here to get into that debate. I have a habit of going to Walmart not to buy things, but simply to wander around someplace that is large, relatively quiet, and full of stuff to look at. I used to develop a lot of film there, now I print some digitals off, maybe browse what's on clearance. Sometimes I have a list of things that its best to get at Walmart than any of the other places around, which are all big-box chains, anyway, and Walmart's a lot cheaper than Lowe's for a lot of things.

I digress.

I shop at a Walmart that is not the closest Walmart to my house. There is one huge, honking reason for this: It is not a Super-Walmart.

Super-Walmarts are so huge, so overwhelming, and so warehouse-ish that there is no pleasure in shopping in one. Even for a completely utilitarian visit, the hugeness of the space is such that trying to find the thing wanted is a pain in the patookas. And to make it worse, they move stuff around, so where it was last month, it may not be there now. The signage sucks. Heaven forbid I have the guys with me, and have to drag them across the store, because the thing that was just inside the lawn and garden door last week is now all the way over in Grocery. Oh. My. God.

No, no, I had this nice little Walmart, just a bit further than the Super-Hellmart, and in the other direction (putting it in a neighborhood that is a good bit safer after dark). I loved my little Walmart. I could wander into the lawn and garden area, and browse the flowers or the holiday wares, maybe get some cat pan liners, pick up some pictures, Meander through the craft section, then wander back through the hardware and toys and home. It was a lovely little circuit, not exhausting, familiar, unchanging. If something moved, it moved predictably, because I knew the aisles that were "seasonal" and the aisles designated as "clearance" and nothing else wandered. If I wanted something, I could go in, get what I wanted, pick up a few other things that were convenient, and be out in 15 minutes, cheerful and happy to give them my money, with thoughts of giving them my money again, no problem.

Note the past tense.

Some schmoo somewhere in the corporate higher-ups of Walmart made the disastrous decision to expand my nice, comfortable Walmart into a Hellcenter. The renovations are underway now. My store is a mess. I can't find anything. They changed the entire location of the entrance and exit, completely disorienting me when I go into the store. And my favorite lawn and garden center? Demolished. DE-MOL-ISHED. Gone.

Some poor cashier, when I expressed my distress after having spent twenty minutes in search of an item that I preferred to purchase there, started telling me how wonderful it would be, because the groceries were so much cheaper, it would be fabulous. I didn't bother to tell her that the Super Hellmart with the groceries was closer to me already. If I wanted Hellmart groceries, I could easily go to the closer store. In fact, it won't make much sense for me to go to my little Walmart anymore, because its gone. I may as well save some gas and just go to the closer store. Except that I hate that store. Its ugly. Its dirty. The people who frequent it are rough. People get mugged there a lot. And on top of that, I've priced it, and the Wegman's is beating them up one side and down the other on grocery prices right now, except for slowcooker liners (the item I spent 20 minutes finding) and cat box liners (hence me picking them up whenever I make a circuit). Everything else I buy? Nobody is touching Wegman's right now.

So the end result is my once-little Walmart is going to lose a customer. I'm sure no one cares that one person is not going to go there anymore. I'm sure so many people in that area will be very happy, as there isn't a nice supermarket on that side of town right now, so folks in those little subdivisions will fill the void I leave. But it is very, very sad to be forced from a place that was so quiet, and calming, and comfortable.

But I bet I save a lot of money, since I won't be wandering about the Walmart.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Charlefromage

As we suspected

The guidance counselor who tested Andy this morning said he totally rocks. Well, actually they said, "There are definitely some skills there..." which we know in guidance-speak means "totally rocks." We knew this wasn't a "can do it" issue, but a "will do it" issue.

Next: the BASC-2 Scales.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mama Bear on the Prowl

I am just not getting the vibes about Andy's eligibility process that I want to be getting. I feel like no one is seeing the behaviors we are concerned about. They keep insisting on testing him the morning, when he is at his brilliant best, instead of in the afternoon when he is All. Over. The. Place. And today I got smacked with, "well, kids act differently at school that at home..." No kidding! But I just spent yesterday morning explaining that when I pick up the child at noon, he is NON-FUNCTIONAL for at least twenty minutes- you cannot speak or make any noise in the car, or he completely melts down. What is he going to do after lunch in a couple of weeks? So they want something from his teacher from last year, to prove this stuff effects him at school. The teacher I've been telling them would regularly answer the question, "How is he?" with "I don't know" because she had another kid in there that was not getting OT and stuff and needed a lot more attention. To her credit, she did go in to school to fill out the last form I had sent over. And the clear statement: without this new form, he doesn't qualify for service in the eyes of the school psychologist.

What does this tell me? I have provided them with letters from a psychiatrist and his occupational therapist, both stating that this child needs support (and the OT even gave recommendation for what support would be helpful.) And they mean to the school exactly Diddly Over Squat. Somehow, this looks really familiar to me. Oh, yeah, they like to ignore my private professionals. After all, they're school folks. Until we can prove that a regular environment is inappropriate, it's appropriate.

Um... huh?

So, like, you can put a child into an inappropriate placement until it is proven inappropriate?

Well, until you are actually in the system under IDEA, the answer is apparently, "yes indeedy!"

So what do you do? Make the school deal with him for a couple of months and see if you don't end up right back at the eligibility table? Because we are very probably looking at one of the school folks fighting us, and we know what happens when school folks fight you at eligibility. Remember, consensus must be reached. I have a bad feeling that I am going to be having a long talk with a teacher who has minimal special ed training before school starts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Round Three

Stay tuned for more members of the Choir Invisible. As soon as we get the nerve up to take care of it.

Summer Fun

With summer well underway, we decided to spend our free Friday at Colonial Beach. Fun!

The boys love it, and when its not a weekend, its beautifully quiet.

Summer swimming! Woo-hoo!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Death of the Snake

Just to let you guys know, the snake is pining for the fjords. The snake is no more. He has ceased to be. He has expired, and gone to meet his Maker. He's a stiff. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. His metabolic processes are now history. He's off the twig, he's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the Choir Invisible.

He's an ex-snake.