Isn’t It Thursday?

My house is a wreck and it smells like smoke.

I ran the auto-clean cycle on the oven a few days ago and filled the place with noxious fumes.

The girls are coming over on Friday night and I think that smoke smell is in the drapes.

Did I say drapes?

I meant cheap, twin-size JC Penney bedsheets that we hung over the windows when we moved in ten years ago.

They’re still up.  They’re tattered, torn, and dingy, but still up.

Because window treatments are low on the list of priorities in our budget.

Our budget that is completely blown because I don’t have an income and we can’t cover all of our monthly costs.

Maybe that’s why the holidays drag me down a bit.  They’re expensive.

Back to the smoke in the drapes sheets.

I need to take them down and wash them.

But my dining table looks like this:

So I keep getting distracted.  Poor dining table.  It never gets to feel free of messy burden.

I didn’t write yesterday.

I shoulda.

I coulda.

I woulda.

But the table depressed me.  The table and the smokey drapes sheets.

Last night I added up all the receipts and entered them into our ledger.  I have concluded that we cannot afford to live anymore.  At all.  It costs too much to exist.  That’s my official finding.  That depresses me too.

Thank goodness the little boy is joyous and excited for the season.  Today he decided that my sheep needed Christmas trees.

Poor sheep.  I have neglected him.

The little boy wants to put up Christmas decorations every day.  Every day.  He made me buy a pack of these at Walgreens this week:

They are kind of pretty.  🙂

He wanted to hang them immediately on our arrival home.  I managed to get two pages of homework out of him first.  When ornaments are waiting, my kid can finish ten math problems really fast.

A few years ago, this ornament came home from school with him:

It’s one of my favorites.  My little baby…so cute…so not that little anymore.  Sigh.

I took a picture of these too.  Did I ever show them to you?  They’re from Pier One.  I know, I know, not my usual thing, but I love them.  LOVE them.

I love them even more because half of them are from my friend Sarah.  I always wanted our initials, but could never find them.  I bought myself the flowers instead.  Sarah pounced when the store refreshed its supply, so now I have the flowers and our initials – yippee!!  Thank you, Sarah!  😀

And speaking of lovely gifts from lovely people, look what beautiful Leighann sent this week:

It’s a batik stamp.  I love the design.  It now hangs on the wall with two others I have.

And since they say that three of something makes a collection, I guess this fourth one seals the deal.  I am officially a batik stamp collector.

I really love the texture of the chunky wood and the patterns that are cut into them.  It’s funny to think that these are designed as tools for making another kind of art.  I find the stamps amazing and beautiful on their own.

I love to believe that they have each been in the hands of a hard-working artist at some point.  They have an organic and rich cultural feeling about them.  But please don’t like them, because I need them all for myself.  😀

Anyhoo, there is clearly no real direction to this post.  Its poorly written, I don’t feel like editing and I’m getting kind of hungry, so…

Happy Wednesday!  I mean Thursday.  No, it’s Wednesday, right?  Wait, Wednesday?  Thursday?  Thursday.  No.  Noooo.  Right.  Happy Wednesday!

P.S.  I really like our next door neighbors.  I really do.  But I really do NOT like their motorcycles.  Will someone please tell me why people with motorcycles are always working on them and revving their engines and speeding them down the street all the time (like right now)?  Don’t motorcycle owners ever take those beasts to the shop?  Why is all tinkering done in the driveway?  It’s annoying.  Annoying and loud.  LOUD!

P.P.S.  I want cheese.

♥♥

A Little Relief, Please

I left the school in tears again today.

The little boy started out happy and was looking forward to his morning run with his classmates.  But there was an assembly scheduled first thing, so they didn’t do the laps.  My son had a complete meltdown.

After ten minutes of trying to calm him and offering to run with him myself, I realized I had to leave and let the aides deal with whatever he dished out.  It killed me to walk away while he was so distraught, but I had to.

I drove to a thrift store.  Browsing there would cheer me up.

There was a man in the store who reminded me of Willie Nelson, partly because of his looks, partly because he had a lovely southern accent and gentlemanly way about his speech, but mostly because he was singing.

He wandered through the store much like I did, only extroverted and conversational with everyone he passed.  The last word or two of each sentence he heard reminded him of a song which he would then happily sing as he browsed some more.  Hymns, carols, interesting old country hits, he knew all the words and he carried the tunes.

He walked and looked and found more clerks and customers with whom to exchange pleasantries.  With each of them, he found a new song.  And he had a lovely voice.  A lovely, homey, comfortable, Willie Nelson voice.  And I love Willie Nelson.

But I was in my autism fog, blue and teary, with a lump in my throat and no courage in my demeanor.   I didn’t want to be one of the people this man spoke to.  I didn’t want to be one of his songs.  So I had to navigate through the store carefully, being small and quiet.  And I’m not very good at that, so it stressed me out.  Lovely song man stressed me out.  And made me stay in the store longer than I wanted, just so I could avoid him.

Once I finally made my escape, I headed to the grocery store.  That was rife with even more awkward social moments.  I still can’t believe I asked a twenty-year-old produce boy if he had fresh zucchini.  😳

My mind raced this morning – everywhere I try not to let it go.

When I got back into my car, I flipped on the radio and was annoyed to find Gloria Penner at the Editor’s Roundtable, discussing unemployment.  I usually love Gloria Penner and the editors too, but people without work at Christmastime?  Too depressing for me today.  I pushed another button.  I thought music might boost my mood.

Nope.  It didn’t.  Four more stations – all playing sad ballads or songs of despair.  I wanted a lift, you know?  I wanted something to pull me from my melancholia.  I’m not the type to indulge the sad music.  I was looking for a way out of that.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I could turn to a Spanish station.  I understand a lot, but I probably wouldn’t be able to translate lyrics fast enough to be bothered by them.  I could tune out the words and just hear something musical and cheery.  Fighting back a fresh wave of mom tears, I pushed another button on the radio.

I sold myself short.  I understood every word.  And do you know what they were talking about on the Spanish language station when I tuned in?  Oh, you will never guess.

Sangre.  That’s what.  Sangre en el papel y en la taza.  Sangre de hemorroides.

Seriously?

I’m depressed.  I’m looking for something to cheer me up and these people are talking about hemorrhoids on the radio.

Hemorrhoids.

Pain, itch, general discomfort and sangre.

In Spanish.

On the radio.

Well, what do you know?

That cracked me up!  No pun intended.

I laughed in Spanish too.

Ha!

Happy Friday!

I’ve lost track of my photos, so if these are duplicates, I apologize!  😀

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♥♥

Green and Red

We put up a few more Christmas decorations today.  Just one more little box and we’re done!

I love how our house looks when it’s all decked out for the season.  I wish we could carry the sparkly glow of that through the whole year without diminishing the special feeling of it in December.

We dim the lights and burn some candles whenever we have guests, but there’s nothing quite as romantic, cheery and welcoming as holiday lights.  The trees, the garlands, the string of fat old bulbs on the backyard fence, they all just add so much to the fun of day-to-day living.

I often think I’d like to keep the backyard lights throughout the year and simply change their color for each season.  They’re very festive and seeing them out there makes me feel like I’m in Bazaar Del Mundo or something.

But enough about that.

The little boy went to school as happy as can be this morning and seemed the same when I retrieved him in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, I just found a red card in his backpack.  Apparently he was “not following directions, pushing others and slapping the classroom aide.”  Blech.  Will it ever end?

I had lunch with a dear friend today.  He asked me what I thought would happen to my son after I was gone or just too old to care for him.  My friend wanted to know if I thought my son would ever be independent and capable of living alone or being in a relationship.

I confess, those questions circle my brain on a regular basis.  They put a lump in my throat at least once a week and occasionally motivate a full blown sobbing panic attack.  All of that is laced with heartache, but I try very hard not to let it get the best of me.

For the most part, I am full of hope for my son and I consciously choose not to worry too much about his future.    There’s just no way to know it or to control it, so I can’t borrow the trouble of it while I’m busy getting him through elementary school.  I simply can’t afford the energy that would require.

I do know that he has come a long way since he got his first diagnosis around 18 months.  For a while, we weren’t sure if he would ever talk.  Now he talks all the time and he has an infinite capacity to learn new words and to correct himself with each sentence he tries.

He constantly labels things aloud, narrates whatever action he sees and is eager for clarification or fine tuning of his vocabulary.   I just see all that growing and, I think as it does, it will naturally improve his ability to navigate successfully through the social nightmares that surround him.

I guess I gave some shortened version of this response to my friend.  I know he worries about my son too, so I hope he was okay with this answer.

I feel like I’m rambling now and, really, I’m more than ready to sit on the couch with the remote in one hand and a fudge bar in the other.  (No cracks about that please.  Or the fact that I linked to Walmart.  What can I say?  The fudge bars are good and Walmart sells ’em cheap.)

Oh, just one more thing – RageAgainstTheMinivan cracked me up again this week.  I swear, she’ll probably think I’m a nutso blog stalker or something, but she’s really funny and you all deserve a laugh, so here’s a link to one of her recent posts.

Enjoy!

Day Twenty-Nine 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Flat as pancakes out there.

Pumpkin pancakes, mind you.  Just like IHOP.  :mrgreen:  Not.  Heh heh.

As usual, there are a few other pix in there too, including a couple of the little boy with half closed eyes and really dirty teeth.

He’s the sweetest, smartest, cutest, kindest, most beautiful baby boy that ever lived.  And, no matter what, I tell him that every night.

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Happy Monday!

♥♥

Holiday Wait

The little boy broke more stuff today.

I snapped at him.

I cried some more.

Ugh.

Hate myself for not just letting it roll off my back.

He’s really excited about Christmas.  He has been bouncing off the walls all day.  He wants to hang EVERYTHING on the tree and he wants to do EVERYTHING himself, including things he really can’t or shouldn’t do.

Sigh.

I have less patience this week than I ought to.

And such guilt.

Husband and I got to talking over dinner with some friends about how much waiting kids have to do at the holidays.

While the grown-ups get together and cook and eat and exchange pleasantries, the kids wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.

I think my son does a lot of waiting.

I think my son does a lot of waiting for something he is sure will be exciting.  Instead he gets more waiting, nothing too exciting and a mom who snaps.  And maybe a vague sense that the snapping has something to do with him.

I think my son probably doesn’t understand why grown-ups take so damn long to do everything and when they do it, they don’t have the same joy about it that he does.  I think my son deserves a mom who isn’t tired.  A mom who finds that same joy and shares it with him as well and as often as he shares it with her.

I try to be that mom.  I do.  I really do.  I don’t think I am though.

My son is so hopeful.  I hate that I can rob that from him with impatience or delay or fatigue or a quick temper.  He deserves more.

Tomorrow, I will try to give him more.

Day Twenty-Seven 2010 Pumpkin Demise

I took some of these photos in the morning and some just before dusk today.

The later pix are softer, even downright fuzzy, for some reason.

I don’t know if I chose the wrong camera setting or if it was just dark clouds in the late afternoon sky that made the difference.

I decided to include the later pix anyway since there are a few cute ones of the boy and his chocolate mouth.

Enjoy!

Oh, and just in case any of you are worried, I will not be showing you the demise of those other squash on a daily basis.

Happy Saturday!

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P.S.  My oldest cat barfed in three places on the floor behind me as I was typing this.  🙄

♥♥

Did That Actually Work?

My son was completely on board with going to school today.

He ate something, he turned off the computer without argument, and he dressed with enthusiasm – undies, pants, shirt.

When we got to the socks and shoes, he decided he would rather sit on the couch.

He sank into the cushions.  My heart sank into my gut.

I was okay with his missing yesterday.  He was coughing and he really seemed like he wasn’t feeling well.

But today?  No way.  No way! He could NOT stay home.

I told him three or four more times to put on his socks and shoes.

And then he uttered the dreaded words, “no school.”

“Yes, school.”  I said.  “Please put on your socks and shoes.”

No response, except heavier limbs sinking into the couch.

Again I said “please put on your socks and shoes.”

Still nothing.

With huge and purposeful concern screwing up my face, I quietly stated “I’m going to have to talk to Santa and tell him not to bring any presents on Christmas.”

The little boy ran down the hall and grabbed his socks, then sat on the floor and put them on in front of me.  The shoes came next.

Did that actually work?!?

It did!

He understands the fairy tale.  Santa brings the presents.  Ha!

I cannot tell you how much that cheers me.

He always looks forward to Christmas.

We decorate the calendar, we mark off the days, we celebrate and we have traditions, but I never know how much of it he believes.

I have always wanted him to experience the same sense of wonder and joy that I did at his age – the anticipation, the merry making, the singing, the yummy food – all of it.

But especially Santa, because my feelings about Santa are hopelessly intertwined with my love and memory of my dad.

I’ve always had a lump in my throat waiting for the moment when my dad came to mean as much to my son as he does to me.  The Santa thing makes me feel like it’s actually possible.

To the little boy, Santa and Grandpa are both snapshots in front of him, one maybe not so different from the other.

If he gets the two a bit confused, I’m okay with that.

For me, they’re sort of the same person anyway.

Yes, the presents are foremost in the boy’s mind.  He has been circling pictures in the toy catalogs for a week, but  today I saw a glimmer of something in him that I haven’t seen before.

For some reason, it makes me feel hopeful about the holidays and about my son’s ability to live an enchanted life.  And that’s my father’s legacy.

This is good.

On Saturday, I was gone for several hours.

Our house rules are a little different when I’m away.  😉

For example, husband has no scotch tape preservation clause in his daddy manual.

I’ve decided I’m okay with that because look what I found when I got home:

We should all see our names like this at least once in our lives, right?

A few minutes after I arrived, he started methodically taping those pens to the wall down our laundry hallway.

He affixed them at a variety of heights and distances from one another.

I wish we’d snapped a photo of that too.

There was a mysterious order to it that we will probably never understand.

In case you’re a glutton for punishment, here are your pumpkin pals…

Day Nine 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  If I ever order veggie fajitas at Applebees again, I’m gonna ask them to go easy on the poblano pepper sauce.  My tongue doesn’t feel right.  😳

♥♥