Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keeping Up With Laura

It's been an exciting week here. By exciting I mean, "Look at that paint! Is it dry yet? Nope! Not yet! Keep watching!"

We had an uneventful weekend. Hubby spend it playing Halo 3 with other freaks. Actually, I have no idea if the other players are freaks, but I'm ready to throw the Xbox out the window after Hubby literally spent all weekend playing, and didn't leave the house. I ran errands with the boys Saturday, and picked up lunch for Hubby. I came home and he was still wearing his bathrobe, playing Halo. That night, after I'd made dinner, which Hubby carried upstairs to eat while, once again, playing Halo, I put the boys to bed and did some internet surfing. Hubby told his Halo buddies he was feeling sick and had to turn in. Then, looking glazed, he told me, "I've played too much Halo! I feel sick." I gave him one of my looks, the one that's somewhere between, "Cry me a river" and amusement at his pathetic situation.

The next morning, thank goodness, he was feeling better and was back to a day of Halo. I made him fend for himself for lunch, and ducked out for two hours to get a console table from someone on Craigslist, then to shop at Target, sans children Ahh, sweet therapy. Then, after making dinner, I rearranged furniture all night. It's a weird thing I picked up from my mother. I, along with my siblings, am into redecorating. Even if a room is "perfect", within two years I will change my mind and generally hate everything about it. Thankfully, I can usually get away with just rearranging pictures, furniture, and throwing on a slipcover, rather than buying all new stuff. After I'd moved the couch back and forth, and back to its original position, along with every small table in the three rooms, I called it a night at 1 a.m.

Monday I got payment for some leather pants I sold on ebay. Don't ask me why I had leather pants. I got them on sale in 2001, and never wore them. Strangely enough, after having two kids, I'm not in any position to wear leather pants, not that I was before. So I put them on ebay and they sold. A buyer from Italy won them. But, I discovered after he sent payment and I was trying to print out shipping and customs forms, that importing leather goods into Italy is prohibited. I got freaked out by the thoughts of fines and/or fraud issues and canceled the shipment and refunded the buyer's payment. I don't want to end up out of money or in jail over a pair of pants I sold for $5.99. So, the lesson of the day is, don't sell things on ebay to buyers in Italy. At least not leather. In addition to it being illegal to ship leather pants there, you also cannot ship the following:
(From the US postal service website)

Albums (photographs, postcards, postage stamps, etc.)

Arms and weapons

Articles of platinum or gold; jewelry; and other valuable articles unless sent as insured Priority Mail International parcels.

Artificial flowers and fruits and accessories for them.

Bells and other musical instruments and parts thereof.

Cartridge caps; cartridges.

Clocks and supplies for clocks.

Compound medicaments and medicines.

Coral mounted in any way.

Ether and chloroform.

Exposed photographic and cinematographic films.

Footwear of any kind.

Haberdashery and sewn articles of any kind, including trimmings and lace; handkerchiefs; scarves; shawls, needlework including stockings and gloves; bonnets, caps, and hats of any kind.

Hair and articles made of hair.

Human remains.

Leather goods.

Lighters and their parts, including lighter flints.

Live bees, leeches, and silkworms.

Live plants and animals.

Nutmeg, vanilla; sea salt, rock salt; saffron.

Parasites and predators of harmful insects.

Perfumery goods of all kinds (except soap).

Playing cards of any kind.

Postage stamps in sealed or unsealed First-Class Mail International shipments.

Radioactive materials.

Ribbons for typewriters.

Roasted or ground coffee and its substitutes; roasted chicory.

Saccharine and all products containing saccharine.

Salted, smoked or otherwise prepared meats; fats; and lard.


Toys not made wholly of wood.

Treated skins and furs.

Weapons of any kind and spare parts for them.

Damn, better cancel those Italian bids on that "Lonely Night In" auction, consisting of a deck of playing cards, lard, some hookworms, chicory coffee (that stuff is awesome! Love Cafe Du Monde!) and a hairshirt I knit from my own and my children's hair. Just kidding. I haven't knit anything from human hair. Yet. Also real hairshirts are normally goat hair or something more itchy than human hair. Just so you know.

Also, if anyone is in the market for some kick-ass leather pants, let me know!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mornings are FUN!!

Yeah, they're just so gosh-darned WONDERFUL! I love 'em! I love hearing Hubby's alarm clock go off at 7:15, quickly snoozed. Then the garbage truck comes down the street. Then Margene comes up to visit me on the bed, lovely and purring. (That actually is nice, not being sarcastic, but she did keep me from sleeping.) Garbage truck heading back up the street. Should I get up? Nah. Pet Margene some more. Close my eyes and think about things to do today. Sally sees me open my eyes and comes over for a pat. My alarm clock goes off. Turn it off. Pet Sally again, and get up.

Shower. Dress. Realize it's already after eight. Go into the office to find Hutton, who I heard milling around. Tell him to go get dressed, though still in pleasant voice (very rare to hear pleasant voice in the morning before 10 a.m.). Feed cats. Rush downstairs to feed the dogs and wake Harrison up. Harrison smells like poop. Take off poopy diaper, take stinky pajamas into laundry room and douse with Febreeze. Febreeze sheets in his room. I'll deal with them later. Show Harrison some clothes he might want to wear. No go. He's starting to whine. Mornings aren't his thing, either. He wants a striped shirt. I get it for him, and show him the "soft pants" that will match. Nope. He wants different "soft pants." Moving into more angry whining. Leave him to deal with clothes drama.

Make two bowls of cereal for boys. Hutton gets flax seed granola with some Honey Rice Puffins and chocolate almond milk. Harrison gets flax seed granola with Koala Krisp and regular almond milk. Hutton comes in, fully dressed. Hallelujah! I tell him I'm so glad he can get himself ready in the mornings, and can get himself dressed so well. Then I give him some of his supplements and adjust his socks. Harrison has actually dressed himself as well! He's not wearing the striped shirt, but I don't care. He's actually matching and isn't whining anymore! Hallelujah again!

Ask Hutton what kind of snack he wants at school. Trail mix. I point out that he didn't eat any of the trail mix I packed yesterday, except for picking out the chocolate chips to eat. I tell him I'm just going to put the uneaten trail mix back in his backpack, but he doesn't have a complaint. We'll see if he eats it. Run upstairs to brush my teeth and hair. Run back down and tell the boys it's time to go. Do you want to wear boots, Hutton? It's raining! No. I don't know where your brown shoes are, so do you want to wear the new blue ones or rain boots? Here's your jacket. Here, put these blue shoes on. Don't forget your backpack! (More than once we've been running down the street, late for the bus, when I've realized we left the backpack at home.) Harrison, come sit on the stairs and let me put your shoes on. Sit on your bottom, please! Hurry! Put your coat on! No, let me do it. OK, let's run, boys! Hurry!

Run down street. Well, sort of lope, so Harrison can keep up and not get tired. Make it to the end of street and bus still isn't there. Hope that we're early and that we haven't missed the bus. Oh boy! Here it comes! I won't have to drive Hutton to school and make Harrison late for school, as well.

Hutton is on the way to school. Harrison and I amble back home in the rain. Turn on the TV for Harrison to watch while I put on makeup. Come upstairs to find Hubby getting dressed. Yes, he slept through all of my morning rush drama, then took a nice leisurely shower. Asshole Lovely, lucky man. He leaves for work, and I finish getting ready. Let the dogs out and tell Harrison it's time for school. We head to the car. Sally comes into the garage and waits by her crate. Where's Fergus? I back the car out. No Fergus. I get out and run around the house, calling Fergus, which is pointless since he's deaf. No sign of him. Finally, cursing the bleeping dog I mumble he'll have to stay outside in the rain till I get back, and go to put Sally in her crate. Fergus is already inside the crate, waiting. Jeez, didn't see him there. Sally of course, won't go in the crate until I'm right there to nudge her and close it. Rush back to car. Great, we're about ten minutes late for preschool.

I get Harrison into school, wash his hands, and manage to get out without a big separation anxiety mess. Do I hear another Hallelujah? Get in my car, and realize, shock, I don't have anything I need to do. I drive around aimlessly for 15 minutes, listening to the "Nine at 9:00" segment on the morning station I like, then come home. To write it all down! My morning routine. Sigh. Latte. No stress. Nowhere to rush off to in the rain. Another 45 minutes until I get back in the car to go get Harrison, then the afternoon rush starts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Look Who's Coming Around

So, Nicky, our bitchy cat has been acting, dare I say, friendly lately. She's out and about in the house more frequently, has been hissing less at the dogs and Margene, and even lets Hutton pet her.

Here's the photographic evidence:

Yes, that's Nicky rubbing against Hutton, who has a new buzz cut to mask his Silly Putty-induced bald spot growing in.

Fall Beauty

This weekend we had some lovely fall weather -- was warm and sunny. Now we're back to cold and rainy, and the batteries on our thermostat died yesterday. I replaced them with some I'd recharged recently, and yet none of the recently charged batteries were working. Grr. I put twelve batteries in the charger, but in the meantime took to wearing a down vest in the house to keep warm. Thank goodness this morning the batteries I charged yesterday were ready, so I could get the furnace working again. For some reason, we can't run the furnace if the thermostat batteries die. Not a good thing. Think I'll suck it up and buy some nice Energizer batteries to put in the thermostat, rather than keep having the change the lame rechargeable batteries every week. And did I mention the battery holder on the thermostat is broken, so I have to try to hold the batteries in place, while angling the thermostat back into the holder on the wall? Fun. Oh. Where was I? Oh yes, warm and sunny.

Saturday, the boys and I went out to check for salmon at the creek at the end of our street. We only saw two. Hope there are more next year!

Sunday we went to the nearby "farm" for our annual fall tradition of going through the corn maze and buying a pumpkin. The "farm" is about 27 acres, so not too big, but they always have an acre corn maze and some nice pumpkins for sale, and it's only ten minutes from our house. The corn maze wasn't too high this year, but much more impressive than it was the first year we went, when there was a summer drought and the corn was only about three feet high. Not exactly a challenging maze that year! The maze has ten differently patterned hole punches hidden at various points, and if you find all ten and punch your card, you get a mini pumpkin at the end. So, of course, we had to find all of those. It was fun, though Harrison had some whiny moments. We all made it through, though, and picked out our mini pumpkins (the boys both wanted white ones) and then found a nice big pumpkin for carving.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friendship...or the Lack Thereof

Something has been weighing on my mind lately. It involves of all things, a Halloween party.

Back story: We have been "friends" with another couple, the Xes, for several years, since we met them on a ski trip the winter after we moved to Washington. We don't hang out that frequently now that both couples have kids, but see each other a few times a year at parties or other get-togethers. Over the years, they have invited us to their annual Halloween parties. Several months ago, Hubby and Mr. X started working together in the same department. Hubby actually told Mr. X about the job. So, they are seeing each other more and are closer friends than they used to be.

Now, onto the weighty issue. This year, we received an invitation to their Halloween party in the mail. I was excited to go. Figure out what the boys would want to wear, come up with costumes for Hubby and myself, you know, the regular party deal. Soon after, Hubby asked if we'd received an invitation, and I told him we had. He then said, "So I was talking to Mr. X., and he mentioned that last year, the babysitters they hired to watch the kids at the party had a hard time dealing with Hutton. So, he asked if we could bring a babysitter for him." I gave Hubby the death glare I wished I could have given Mr. X, but since I couldn't transmit the glare through Hubby, it didn't do much. After a moment of glaring, I said, "Yeah, we weren't invited to their party last year." Hubby said, "Oh, then I guess the year before..."

Hmm. We weren't invited to their party last year. I had invited them all to Hutton's birthday party that summer, but only Mr. X and the younger son showed up. And we hadn't been invited to the party, so I had conned myself into believing maybe they weren't having a party that year, but I think I really knew and felt bad that we weren't invited. But now I know why. Because "the babysitters had trouble with Hutton."

This makes me both angry and sad. I am angry that we are made to feel obligated to hire a babysitter to accompany us to a party, when there will already be babysitters there. But, because our son is apparently so hard to handle, we need to hire one-on-one help. Now, if my BFF had brought this up, I really don't think I'd have a problem with it. If she said, "You know, it might be kinda loud and get crazy at the party, so do you think we should hire a babysitter to keep an eye on Hutton?" I wouldn't blink an eye. I'd probably say, "That's a great idea!" In fact, we did just that at her son's first birthday party this year, as it was a month after Hutton ran away from an outdoor birthday party. So, it makes sense, and I can see why they suggested it, but I still feel angry. I guess I can see how much Hutton has progressed over the summer, and I don't really think he'd need an extra one-on-one sitter to watch him at a party, where both of his parents will be present, as well as at least two babysitters hired by the host family.

And then the sadness kicks in. I feel sad that this is what we have to expect from this family in the future. And I'm sure they won't be the only family of "NTs" who feel this way, who won't want my autistic son at their party unless he is completely reined in by an adult who can devote full attention to him only. I really just wanted to go have fun at a party, but now I don't think I'll be able to do that, knowing we're being silently judged with our "crazy" child running amok.

So, after mulling this over more than it probably needs mulling, I've come up with a lot of cons to attending this party, including that hiring a babysitter, at $20 hour for three hours or so, is going to be a lot money, and Hubby says we need to budget. If we're going to spend that on a babysitter, I'd rather go out on a date than to a Halloween party. In addition, I'll be watching Hutton regardless, to make sure he doesn't eat something he shouldn't. I really don't trust others with this, since apparently one of his teachers has already forgotten about his food issues within a month, and gave him a graham cracker the other day. So, if I'm going to be watching him carefully to make sure he doesn't eat something he shouldn't, why should I pay someone else to watch him, too?

After thinking of these cons, I've come up with the following options:

1. Suck it up. Hire a babysitter and attend party. Pretend to be happy to be there, so Hubby, who will actually enjoy being there, can have some time with his friends.

2. Tell Hubby I couldn't find a babysitter, so he and Harrison should go, and Hutton and I will stay home.

3. Hire a babysitter, have her stay here with the boys, then attend party. Tell hosts, "Well, since we're spending $20 hour on a babysitter, I figured I'd rather the boys get to bed on time. And Hutton has food allergies, so I didn't trust him to not have an infraction, anyway."

4. Have Hubby go to party solo. He can tell the hosts whatever he wants. (My wife hates you now. My family all has small pox....)


So, what do you think? What would you do? Am I being unreasonable and touchy? Or am I just feeling something only a fellow touchy Autism mom could understand? Give me a vote in your comments!

And I was really getting excited about this Halloween party. I have a great costume idea for myself, but it will remain a secret until Halloween, provided I actually dress up.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Something on Autism

I haven't posted on the big "A" in a while. Believe me, it's still one of the main focuses of my life!

An hour or so ago, I called a local compounding pharmacy to see if they could make Hutton's Methylcobalamin injections. These are also known as MB12, and he's been getting them for about two months now. In that time, his verbal skills have greatly increased, so I think they're a keeper. The downside - I have to give him a shot every three nights. I do it while he's asleep, and the needles are tiny, so he doesn't feel them. The shots are given subcutaneously, into the fat, at a 30 degree angle. The best spot for this subcutaneous fat? The buttocks. Yes, that's right. Every three nights, I sneak into Harrison's room (where Hutton sleeps, too) and attempt to expose enough of Hutton's booty to get the syringe in at an angle, all without waking him. Needless to say, this is hard to do. Most times, he'll wake up as soon as he senses my presence, or what he probably thinks is the Boogie Man hovering over his bed, and flip from his side onto his back, so I have to wait a few minutes for him to go back to sleep, then try to flip him on his side again and hope he stays asleep. If he hadn't had the huge improvement in language, I don't think I'd bother, but there's undeniable progress there. Even his bus driver noticed, after all!

Anyway, the local pharmacy can prepare the shots, and they'll ship them overnight with no additional charge, plus our insurance covers the shots. Hallelujah! One less thing to pay for. The previous pharmacy, in New Jersey, charged us an additional $34 to ship the shots every month. Thirty-four dollars is just a drop in the bucket of our Autism supplements costs, but I'll take what I can get! The new pharmacy is The Falls Pharmacy, and even though they're about a half hour drive, I consider them local! (That's what happens when you live in the boonies.)


Also going on: I've been reading lots of Autism related books this month.
Kenneth Bock, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders This book was wonderful. Easy to understand, with lots of the science behind the current treatments for Autism. I definitely feel like we're on the right track after reading it.

Jenny McCarthy, Louder Than Words This was a great, fast read, and I love how Jenny has made the world of biomedical treatments for Autism so mainstream! Her appearance on Oprah a couple of weeks ago led my 82-year-old grandmother to call me, excitedly announcing, "Laura! You have to watch Oprah! There's a woman on taking about Autism! She's talking about that diet stuff you've been doing with Hutton!" I LOVE that! If my grandmother is paying attention, who knows how many other grandparents and other family members are out there learning about Autism and that treatment is possible! Fabulous!

I'm still reading:
John Elder Robinson, Look Me in the Eye This is a great story, and I would have finished it already, but I got distracted with the new fall TV season and with my knitting. It's a lot easier to knit and watch TV than it is to knit and read a book!

Bryan Jepson, Changing the Course of Autism This is another book, like the first one, written by a doctor who treats children with Autism. This one has lots of statistics and more complicated scientific writing that my poor little English major brain can handle easily, so I'll be reading this one for a while. Good thing I bought it, rather than checking it out of the library! Oh yeah, I need to return the Kenneth Bock book to the library. It was due yesterday. D'oh!

Off to go to the library and take Hutton for a haircut. It's picture day tomorrow, and he looks like an early era Beatle, but before they'd grown their hair to mop-top perfection. In other words, he looks like he needs a haircut.

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