A letter, a nervous knock-out & a couple of pumpkins.

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I got a letter in the mail last week.

I’m talking about an actual, two-page, handwritten letter, complete with family update, inside jokes and miscellaneous witticisms.

Are you jealous?

I am lucky.

Truth be told, I invested a few notes of my own to get this amazing return.

What can I say?  I have a thing for pretty stationery.  And stickers too.  I can’t just stockpile it all forever, so I sent cards to six or seven people on my address list a few weeks ago.

And I got a letter back.  🙂

It came from a 90-year-old friend of the family.  She lives in town, but I never see her, so it was lovely to read something she had written just for me.

I highly recommend that you send out some notes.  These days, snail mail is a luxurious treat and it’s still relatively cheap to send.  You might even get something spectacular in return!

That’s your assignment…

Go!  Write!  Now!


The boy had the big sedated dental appointment last week.

I think we did a good job talking to him about it.  We explained it well in advance, I put it on the calendar, and we brought it up everyday for almost a month.

He knew what would happen and he even seemed proud of himself for having the information to talk about.  “We’re going to the sleep dentist!”

He was quite a little trooper too.  We explained the food restrictions and he never even asked for his morning chocolate milk or snack.

He dressed and rode in the car without complaint and he waited patiently through every part of the process at the hospital.

He wore the gown, he held out his arm for blood pressure, he got on the scale and he used the bathroom when we told him to.

He was a model of compliance…

right up until the moment he was on the table in the O.R.  😦

I was right there with him and I really do think that helped.  I kept my cool and I saw his body briefly relax when our eyes locked, but it was a losing battle.

The nurses, the anesthesiologist, the other techs – five people in all – surrounded him and tried to do things quickly.

I get it.  There are a zillion kids out there, only a limited number of surgical teams, rooms, etc.  There is no space or time for letting my autistic son catch up and comply.  They had to assume he never would, so they just dove in and grabbed him.

As you can imagine, he freaked the hell right out.  I stayed calm and talked softly, but it was tough to watch.

It took all of them to hold him down.  Well, all except the one wise nurse who heeded my warning about too many people in his face.  I figured she was the only parent in the room.  Before I even finished my comment, she took a step back.  I love her.

The others forged ahead and managed to get the mask over his face.  He collapsed back onto the table pretty fast, but his eyelids were purplish and fluttering, so I knew he wasn’t done struggling.  It made me sad to see that.  I kissed him and told him what a good job he did.

They put a tube up his nose after I left.  The gas through that would knock him out harder.

One of the nurses took me back down the hall.  As we walked, he said “you know, your son is only going to get stronger.  Next time, maybe you can ask the doctor for some medication to make him drowsy in pre-op, so that the mask isn’t as traumatic.”

Why the hell no one suggested that this time, I don’t know.  It kind of pissed me off.  😡

I made it back to my husband and ripped off my tight paper goofy suit.  I made Husband promise to erase the memory of that vision from his head.  Those suits aren’t really meant for rubenesque women.  😳

Husband followed me out of the building.  I led him thirty yards from the door and behind a big pillar near the parking garage before I started crying.

There wasn’t really anything to say.  I was sad that only one of us was allowed to go in and I was tortured by the fear I had seen in our son’s little face.  Husband understood and hugged me.  Then we ate bad food and waited.

The boy woke up hard and was mad about having to stay so long in the post-op bed, but he was basically okay.

He came through everything emotionally and physically drained, but he was eager to go back to school the next day, so we knew he would be fine.

The net result of the whole experience was positive.  We learned some things for next time and the boy’s teeth are in pretty good shape.

And the most important thing?  During the struggle in the O.R., he said “all done” over and over again. That may not seem significant, but it’s really quite huge.

He doesn’t communicate well under duress.  He loses his words and sometimes violently tantrums or becomes eerily still and stuck when he’s upset or frightened or hurt.

This was a worst case scenario for him – a cold scary room with weird lights, odd noises, and a bunch of strangers grabbing at him – and he perfectly articulated how he was feeling.  “All done!”

All done, indeed.  😐  I felt that way too.

I don’t think I realized until I dropped him at school the next morning just how much dread and anxiety coursed through my body in the days before the appointment.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I am reminded that heightened stress often keeps me from writing.

I am so glad we don’t have to do this again anytime soon.

I don’t think my kid, my blog, or I can take it!

Fall Decorating

I stowed a few pumpkins in the china hutch this week.

Then I came to the conclusion that I need to get the hutch out of this room.  😦

It’s just too huge for this choppy, awkward space.  I love it, but it limits what else we can do.

Stay tuned for the next round of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-house?


It never ends.

Happy Wednesday!


Days Of Our Lives

Friday and Strange Men

There are men in my house.  Two of them.

They’re putting new vinyl in my upstairs bathroom.

They are loud and animated, speaking Spanish at lightning speed.  I can barely keep up.  My Spanish is rusty.

I have yawned about thirty times since they arrived at 9:15.  They were over an hour late.

I waited to eat.

As I listened patiently to the compulsory explanation of lost phone messages and misplaced directions, I just wanted to pour the milk over my cereal and sit down.

Whatever, dudes!   Please do the work and GET OUT of here!

And just like that, they were gone.

Vinyl installed.

Baseboards ruined, but nailed back anyway?!  What the heck?

He did mention that one of them had swollen from moisture…

“Maybe your cat has peed in that corner?”

Um…no…but my son has, repeatedly.


Flushed cheeks.  Why did I tell them that?!

My embarrassment may have motivated a thoughtless answer to facilitate a hasty exit.  Did I actually tell him to nail the swollen baseboards back to the wall?

Maybe I did.  How inconvenient of me to request such a thing.  😐

The contractor will have to fix them next week.

And the plumber will drop by this evening to install the new toilet.

It’s taller.  It’s a grown-up toilet, because we are grown-ups.

The vinyl feels good to the tootsies.  It’s thicker and squishier than the builder grade crap that was in there before.

Thicker and squishier is better for my freaked-up feet.

Don’t ever get tile, you know?  It’s unforgiving.  And by that, I mean that your feet will never forgive you.

Saturday and Upset

The little boy had a three-hour, house-destroying tantrum tonight.

He smacked the computer monitor in anger, he got a warning, then he smacked it again.

So I shut it off.  And he lost his mind.




The husband had to follow him around to be sure he didn’t break anything of value.  That angered him more.  He really just wanted to rage through the house as he pleased.  I guess he thought that would get us to turn on the computer again.  It didn’t.  But it did make me cry.

He finally tuckered out and fell asleep, but not before breaking a couple of toys, putting fresh gouges in his bedroom wall, busting a small chair to pieces, and further destroying his window screen and curtain rod.  It was a long night for all of us.

I must exercise first thing tomorrow.  It will help me to deal with another trying day, if we are meant to have one.

Sunday and Familiar Men

I woke to find the husband and the boy in the kitchen making pumpkin bread this morning.

We only had one really large can of pumpkin in the cupboard, so husband almost doubled the recipe.  Almost.

He employed some impressive mathematics to get the measurements right for the rest of the ingredients.  I admired his painstaking care, but suggested he throw out half the can of pumpkin next time.  I hope there is a next time.

We ended up with two small loaves, two big loaves, and a bundt pan full of batter.  We have lots of bread.  Lots of really delicious, oh-geez-how-will-I-ever-lose-weight, warm, cinnamon-scented loaves of yummy.

I love these familiar men in my kitchen.

The little one has basically recovered from his upset and is actually very huggy.  Sweet pea.

We stayed in our jammies all day long, except for twenty minutes this morning when I followed through on my exercise vow and took a brisk walk through the neighborhood.

It was a good day.

Monday – Exercise & Veggie Burgers

I walked again.  Twenty minutes of cardio.  Yea!

Then the husband and I took the little boy to the popper fountains.

He loved it.  He always loves it.

He’s always hungry after playing in the water, so we actually got to go to Island’s and enjoy a meal without pancakes for a change.

He ate some fries and an entire chicken strip.

For him, that’s a LOT.

Tuesday and We’re Back to Square One

The boy didn’t want to go to school this morning.

I think that Friday tired him out.

His class spent two hours at the new little park adjacent to the campus – sort of a treat for being good this year.

Unfortunately, it opened a whole new can of anxiety for him.

He likes clouds and there really weren’t any, so he was in the sun for two hours.

We sent him to school with sunscreen, but he won’t wear glasses or a hat.

He just doesn’t like to be out in the open with the sun in his eyes for that long.

It’s sort of the intersection of all of his sensory issues.

I explained this morning that today was a regular school day and there would be no extended time in the shadeless play structures of the park.

He calmed enough to go, but even the regular schedule proved too much for him. He came home with a yellow card.

Yellow is just a cut above red and way below the much coveted purple.  He hates yellow cards.

The aide explained that he doesn’t like to wait, so he pushes the little girl in front of him quite forcefully if she stops in line.  Not good.  The line stops frequently.

I just had a conversation with him about this, but I don’t know if it will make a difference.

As I type, I can hear him freaking out in the other room.  He’s on the computer and not exercising the greatest restraint when it comes to displaying his frustration.

Husband is sitting next to him, so today I am deferring to his judgment and closer proximity.

I’m drained this afternoon.  Don’t know why, really.

Perhaps a diet of pumpkin bread and stress?

Just heard a more chipper, musical sound from the little boy.

Maybe it’s safe to venture back out there after all.

Are you still here?

This is a long damn post.

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What are you reading this week?  I just started The Help.  So far, sooo good!


Gentle, Slow and Careful

It’s 7:25 a.m.

The little boy is in the kitchen, pouring and scooping water back and forth between a large loaf pan and my Tupperware batter bowl.

He is using a giant black ladle and the spoon side of my cheap plastic salad tongs.

He is humming Christmas music and stopping every few moments to repeat our water pouring chant, “gentle, slow and careful.”

He’s getting better and better.

Maybe next time we make pumpkin bread, he will be ready to hoist the heavier pyrex bowl up over the pan.

I didn’t let him do it today and he couldn’t handle my decision.

His spiral into compulsive, trembling obsession started immediately.  And the wet eyes.  The wet eyes kill me.

“Do it today.  Do it today.  Do it today!”

“No, sweetie, it’s already done.”

Do it today.  No do it tomorrow.  Do it today.  Do it today!”

“The bowl was too heavy for you, so Mommy had to do it.”

“Do it today.  No tomorrow.  No tomorrow!”

He covered his face in despair and kept on shaking.

Hence the need for an alternate pouring activity.

He loves to “help” me in the kitchen.

He wants to pour and measure and stir and say the names of each ingredient and tell me the colors and crack the eggs.

I let him do most of it, though I draw the line at the eggs unless we have plenty of extras.  Today we had only four and I needed them all, so I couldn’t gamble on my his still-developing skill.

Oddly enough, that didn’t seem to bother him as it usually does.  It was the batter into the pan part that got him instead.  It had to be something.  His life is full of tiny, frequent disappointments.

Again, I must thank God for the child’s cheerful disposition and his ability to recover faster and faster, the older he gets.  With age, he bends more easily to an appealing distraction, like the other pan and a different bowl.  And water.  He’s kind of a sucker for water play.

He poured for a while – enough to let me escape for this post even  – and just now he floated past me up the stairs, humming, headed for his room and its bounty of Christmas toys.  Tantrum crisis averted, avoided, evaded.

And now I can smell the bread.  Nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin.  Heavenly combination at this hour.

So glad my big bundt pan didn’t quite hold all of the batter.  There’s another little loaf in there just for us.  The big one, which I hope will turn out in one beautiful round piece, will go with husband to the office.

I was going to make a loaf for each one of his coworkers, but he has too many of them now.  I would have to get up at 4:00 a.m. to do that.  No thanks.  They get one big loaf to share.  And even that’s a miracle these days.

I never have time to do anything anymore, what with training the child to chant and pour.  😐

Speaking of the child, he just came to me and asked for tape.  He’s holding his first homemade 2010 Valentine’s Day decoration.  He ripped down all of those green paper trees and now he wants to put up this funny little heart he drew.



I haven’t even put away Christmas yet.


There is never enough time.

I feel stressed.


Gotta remember how to deal with my emotions, my life, and my kid.

Gotta remember the chant…

gentle, slow, and careful.

Happy Monday!

P.S.  We used our fireplace this weekend.  It was the first time in about six years.  We were cold!

P.P.S.  We also watched movies.

Inception wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, though I love Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard.  None of the characters was very compelling, but I was entertained enough to see it through.  Husband was equally unimpressed.  Kind of a forgettable movie, really.

I watched Garden State by myself.  I actually enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t pay full price for it at a theatre and I don’t think husband would have loved it, but I found it sort of charming.  And it did have a few very memorable scenes.

Did you see Inception or Garden State?  What do you think?


Out My Pores

I feel a little overwhelmed this week.

Last night, husband and I had a misunderstanding/episode of marital strife/short period of silent resentment/argument/tiff/goofy weird miscommunication.  We have since resolved it, seen a decent (albeit slow-moving) film, had lunch out, and visited See’s Candies together, but I’m exhausted anyway.  And my eyes are red.  Husband is, in fact, napping as I write this.  Tall husband.  Short couch.  Guess he’s tired too.

Child has been a bit defiant in the past few weeks and now routinely runs from me in public.  Nice.  And he’s a little gassy today.  Sorry Sarah, I know you don’t like this topic, but I’m trying to be honest here.  Think old broccoli.

My mom is in pain and can’t seem to get any real answers from her doctors.  We know it’s not life threatening, but it seems to be enjoyment-of-life threatening.  She is kind of sad about it and so am I.  There isn’t anything I can really do.

My house is at the scary end of the chaos meter.  Neither husband nor I seem capable of throwing out anything or donating anything or storing anything or putting anything where it’s supposed to go.  On the plus side, I was motivated to scrub down the two front doors a few days ago.  Now that they’re clean, I don’t actually have to repaint them like I thought.  Huh.

We need a newer, bigger couch.  (See comment above about tall napping husband.)  Unfortunately, our options are limited because we don’t have enough budget, space, cooperative children, short family members, or clawless cats.  I mentioned all that to a guy at one of the big furniture stores over the weekend and he promptly lost interest in me.  Was it something I said?  Why yes, yes it was.

And food, damn it, food.  I want something spectacular every time I eat, but that just isn’t possible given the aforementioned lack of budget, cooperative children, etc.  Oh, and I don’t cook very well.  That’s part of it too.  Okay, maybe that’s most of it.  Well, that, and the fact that I don’t eat animals and am trying  to limit my intake of animal products too.  And I’m not that fond of soy.  😐

And you know what really stresses me out?  Last night’s blurb on the news about women and what stresses them out, that’s what!  Stay home moms weren’t even part of the study.  Obviously, only working women have stress in their lives, right?  How could I be so dumb annoyed?

Last night, I accidentally conked myself in the forehead with the phone. I can feel the knot there now.  Tomorrow there will probably be a bruise.  How could I be so dumb annoyed clumsy?  The bruise will look great with my peeling nose.  The weather has ruined my skin.

Two days ago, I finally rearranged all the photos and reduced the number of frames on the wall next to our front door.  This is something that has been bugging me for over a year.  Good for me, right?  Wrong.

I edited down the frames based on size, shape, and color instead of contents, so now I’ve got a solid wall of mostly my son and no one else.  I love him, but I don’t need twenty pictures of just him up there, you know?  It will probably be another year before I take all of the frames back down, open them up, and swap the pictures.  I feel defeated by this project, but I am a bit amused that the final (and totally unplanned) frame arrangement sort of resembles a Christmas tree.  See:

I wish that top frame were a darker color.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll paint it.

Okay, enough whine.

Happy Monday Evening!

P.S.  Oh, and another thing, you all need to get past your distaste for my rotting pumpkins.  I’ll be posting pix of them everyday right through the end of November.  Just another few weeks, people.  Deal.

P.P.S.  This is what we got at See’s.  When husband was little, he got them from his grandmother.  We’ve decided to carry on the tradition.  😀

P.P.P.S.  Jen, how the heck did you make those potatoes?  Mine were a tad disappointing.  😥  We soooo ate them anyway.  :mrgreen: