Hello all! Isn’t it a beautiful day? It certainly is a beautiful day, nice and sunny 45 degrees here on the far east of Cleveland. This is definitely a change from 30 degrees and snow that we had two days ago. I feel so lucky to have been enjoying this beautiful weather since three-freakin-thirty in the morning! That’s when I woke up to find out that LilProgrammer is sick and has a 102 degree fever, a sore throat, a headache, and all the good stuff. I’ve been up since then because I couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve made good use of the time. I cleaned three bathrooms and the chinchilla’s cage, then I had a real breakfast with coffee. This rarely happens to me on weekdays. So now I’m sleep-deprived and hopped up on coffee. Usually, when that happens, I ramble, as indicated by this post.
Here’s what I wanted to show you today. A few weeks ago, my credit card company decided to reward my loyalty by sending me a big-ass refrigerator magnet that you take apart and make like a hundred small ones with positive words on them, such as: “THANKS”, “LOVE”, “GOOD JOB”, etc. Apparently, no one in my credit company has been reading my blog, or else they would’ve realized they sent their magnets to the wrong person.
ChinchillaBoy and I have been having fun with these things for weeks. We use them to make all sorts of sentences, which, I guess, is what they’re actually intended to be used for. Here’s a few of our creations. I take lousy pictures, so each one will be followed by a short explanation, just so you know what it says.
Here’s ChinchillaBoy’s request… I’m guessing he wants money, but I’m pretending I don’t understand what this message means.
“Give me big thanks with nice recognition & a little something valued”
And here are a few from me…
“Friends want to make love”
Some strong language:
“For the love of…”
And, finally, my masterpiece:
“Attention parents, you are cordially invited to our elementary school’s awards ceremony” – to which I reply…
“Thanks a million. We care.”
My brain is kind of mushy right now so I cannot think of any good closing lines, so here are the recent pictures of my kids. They look funny because their bodies are all going through changes and stuff (well, except for the chinchilla).
New furry creature to be purchased soon… stay tuned!
Figured I’d post an update on our Aspie-related stuff.
LilProgrammer is doing well (if you don’t count his school grades). I am told that the teachers are happy with him, and that he’s shown an improvement compared to 6th grade. So far I have seen no D’s on his end-of-term reports. I have seen a D or two on his last interim report. He’s probably getting tired. Truth be told, so am I. The school year, for me, pretty much ends after the testing week is over. Never fails. Every year, after the kids are done with their tests, I fall apart and stop giving a shit about their schoolwork. It is especially true this year, as they are both graduating from their respective schools. I know… despicable.
(UPDATE: I wrote this post yesterday. This morning, LilProgrammer got in trouble at school because a project he'd turned in was unacceptable (not formatted correctly, repeating words to inflate word count, etc.) The project was... are you sitting down? "Make a mask of diversity and write an essay explaining the mask". Why oh why does the school have to make it so hard for me? How in the world am I supposed to convince LilProgrammer that this project is important??? *bangs head on wall*)
We are seeing his new therapist every 3 to 4 weeks and she is awesome. She gives very good practical advice. Here are a few examples that may be of use to you.
1. Bathing. I want LilProgrammer to take showers at least every other day. He wasn’t really against it, problem is, it’s very low on his priority list so he kept on forgetting. I’d be nagging him all evening: “LilProgrammer, don’t forget to take a shower” and he’d be, “Right before I go to bed”. And then he’d forget completely, and I’d be sleeping by then so I couldn’t remind him. What we did was, I took two index cards and on each of them I wrote in red marker, “SHOWER” and on shower days, I tape them to both sides of his door at his eye level. It works like a charm. 2. Homework. LilProgrammer used to procrastinate and procrastinate and end up starting on his homework at 10 and 11PM. Then, one of the two things would happen: he’d either do a horrible job on his homework, or he’d stay up till the early hours of the morning and be late for school the next day. The therapist suggested that I take away LilProgrammer’s computer cables every morning, and only return them to him after he’s done with his homework. We had a long discussion in front of LilProgrammer about the logistics of taking and giving back the cables. That scared him half to death. He started doing his homework early in the afternoon. He even started doing it in school during study period (before, he refused to do that on principle). Of course, the problem remains that I don’t do a good job checking his homework. And I don’t really know his assignments. Oh, and ninety percent of the time, I cannot read his handwriting.
I thought LilProgrammer would be happier typing his homework, essays, etc. I am not sure if he is. The teachers certainly are – this way they are at least able to read his work. The problem now is that LilProgrammer has uninstalled Microsoft Office from his computer, because, he says, Microsoft is evil. (He has a valid point, but that is no reason to use Notepad for his assignments!) He uses Notepad for everything. This is crazy. He also refuses to store his completed work on his hard drive for more than a day – he deletes everything, so if he needs to make changes later, he has to start over. The reason for that is, he says it’s taking up his drive space.
LilProgrammer seems to be communicating with people less and less every day. He barely even talks to people on the Internet, much less IRL.
He says he doesn’t like being around people and he doesn’t like it when people try talking to him and asking him questions.
He does talk to us (me, Mr. Goldie, and ChinchillaBoy) but it’s very hard to understand him. He kind of mumbles. But we’re used to it. He’s being nice and polite and makes comments on the general flow of the conversation.
LilProgrammer is becoming more organized and responsible. He doesn’t like being late for school. When I was on call in January, I had constant calls at night and as a result overslept and made him late two days in a row. I then told them that he could not count on me to get him to school on time. He has to count on himself. Now, he sets the alarm, gets up at 6-45, gets ready for school, and leaves for the school bus at 7-05. A few days ago, he got up late and missed the bus so he walked the two miles to school and got there before the bus did.
LilProgrammer makes some of his own food. Mainly, he makes his tea. He makes five mugs of tea at a time, and carries it to his room on a tray. This way he doesn’t spill it. When he’s done, he washes the five mugs.
A few weeks ago, he filled out his choice of subjects for 8th grade. He got into accelerated Math and Science, which I was very happy about. (Well I knew about math, because he’s in accelerated math right now – to put him into regular math in 8th grade would mean he’d have to repeat a year!) He also chose a workshop, which is good, because he likes building things with his hands and he’s good at it.
He writes a lot of code. It works, but no completed projects so far. He writes everything in C++ now.
Last Saturday, he took an out-of-print ACT test as part of Midwest Talent Search. However, he spent very little time getting ready for the test. Then the night before the test, he looked at the practice questions and was puzzled because they used material that he didn’t know, like trig. I said that, had he read the book I got him to study for the test, he would’ve known the trig by now. LilProgrammer replied that he didn’t believe in studying for tests. He said,
“Your test result should be a sample of how smart you are and what you know. When you study for the test, that throws off your sample”.
Next morning, I took him to our high school four miles away, to take the test. At noon, I was supposed to pick him up. At 11:50, halfway to the high school, I suddenly saw LilProgrammer walking down the street towards home. Turned out they had finished early because they didn’t do the optional essay section, so he decided to walk home instead of waiting for me.
LilProgrammer starts junior high this fall, and I am scared out of my mind. Our high school consists of the 8-9 building and the 10-12 building. They stand next to each other, are connected, and some classes for the 8-9 students take place in the 10-12 building. Basically, LilProgrammer will be interacting with juniors and seniors. I am very worried. He looks and acts very strange. I hope they won’t tease or bully him.
Our therapist says that, for high school, we definitely need to an IEP put in place for LilProgrammer. Right now he doesn’t have one. The school says they’re not sure if he’s eligible, and nobody, including myself, knows what to put on his IEP. The therapist says she’ll help us with it. I probably won’t be posting its contents, but I’ll let you know when it’s done, in case anyone out there is in a similar situation and could use help. This way you can email me and we can talk. So far we have nothing.
The discussion at Michele’s yesterday got me thinking.
Why would someone choose to betray their partner and have an affair with someone else?
Why would someone choose to date a married person?
I cannot tell from my own experience. Never happened to me. Fortunately, I have an over-active imagination. So I tried to picture a hypothetical situation that is in no way connected with any real people I know. And this is what I came up with.
Suppose you’re a married woman. Lately, things have been bad between you and your husband. You used to be madly in love with each other, but somehow, between poverty, exhaustion and your undiagnosed PPDs, things have changed. He hardly ever talks to you anymore. And when he does, he calls you names. He says that you’re ugly and stupid.
How does that make you feel? You chose this man. You fell in love with him. You trusted him.
You’re thinking he’s probably right. You probably really are this ugly, brainless, hideous creature that he says you are. And how does it make you feel?
The lowest of the low.
First, you miss his love. His signs of affection. You want your old relationship back. But, as time goes by, you adjust. You don’t want his love anymore. You just want him out of your life forever. You want him gone and you never want to see him again. You don’t want him around, poisoning your children with his harebrained ideas about their mother and about women in general.
But he refuses to go. He wants to stay together for the kids. He says he doesn’t love you and doesn’t want you, but he’s prepared to make this kind of sacrifice.
How does this make you feel?
And that’s when he comes along.
Your knight in shining armor.
He tells you how special you are. He speaks of your beauty. He marvels at your mind. He takes you out to lunches and he pays. He says he wants to be friends.
He tells you things are bad between him and his wife. They haven’t had sex in years.
It’s the usual line.
But you don’t know it.
Before you know it, you’re dating. You still want to be friends. But he says he wants more. You don’t want to be more. But you cannot afford to lose your closest friend. You need someone to be on your side. To listen to you. To cover your back. Your husband cannot be that person for you. Because he cannot stand you.
You come home late and go out on weekends. Your parents watch your kids while you’re gone. Or sometimes you bring the kids along. Your friend doesn’t mind. Your husband doesn’t care, as long as you and the kids are all out of his sight.
Your friend’s wife doesn’t mind. She has her own personal life. Her own friends. You get to meet her. She’s nice. She is a strong, independent woman. You two get along fairly well, given the situation.
And so it goes on for several years. Until, suddenly, things get better with your husband. A lot better. He’s a changed man now.
By then, you’re tired to death of your so-called friendship with your so-called friend. So, you end it.
And everybody lives happily ever after.
Except, some time later, his wife dies.
How does it make you feel?
The lowest of the low.
You actually liked the woman.
She had a short life. And you did nothing to make it better while it lasted.
You vow never to do it again as long as you live.
But, when you hear of someone having an affair, you find that you cannot cast a stone.
Because you’ve been there.
You’ll never go there again, but you’ve been there.
There are exceptions, of course.
Those bitches that walk out on their husband, even though he loved them and treated them well?
They make your blood boil.
So this is how it might go, according to my imagination.
To the girl who worked the checkout counter at our local grocery store this morning:
I hope you don't mind a middle-aged has-been giving you fashion tips. Anyway... if your skin tone is dark, never, ever, under any circumstance, should you use bright white, cream-based eyeshadow. From a distance, it makes you look like you're either blind or having a seizure, and your eyes are rolled back in your head so far that only the whites are showing.
This seriously freaked me out. Seriously. Please don't do that again.
I was reading Kim* the other day and she complains about the use and abuse of the word “basically” in our area. That got me thinking. I joined the American workforce in 1997, and, back then, “basically” was all the rage in the office. It was the corporate buzzword of the day.
It scares me to think that the word somehow made its way out of the meeting rooms and into the streets. Is this a trend? Will more of the corporate slang eventually seep into our daily life? I can only imagine what it may sound like a few years from now:
“Well honey, you could’ve met a couple more milestones, and there was too much hands-on facilitation on my end, but, at the end of the day, it was good sex.”
“Sorry I couldn’t answer the phone, I was in the middle of leveraging my bowel-movement process and got a bit behind schedule on the timelines.”
“Your son is doing very well in preschool, Mrs. Jones, lately he’s been realigning his approach to other kids and he doesn’t bite his teammates as much as he used to.”**
This seriously worries me. The only way I can listen to this kind of language without throwing up is when I’m getting paid for doing it. No way am I going to put up with it for free. So, I hope it never happens. At least, my son ChinchillaBoy hasn’t given me any indication so far of bureaucratic talk being popular, and he knows all the popular slang of the day. For instance, yesterday, he replied to every single thing I said with the word “Really”. Apparently, for now, “Really” is in. Use it before it goes out. Really.
Some days, though, ChinchillaBoy takes it too far. I once watched him play Counter-Strike on the Internet. His mike was on, so, being the cool kid that ChinchillaBoy is, he felt compelled to talk street at his Internet buddies:
“Yo, wazzup, it’s gonna get all gangsta in here, yo.”
We heard ten seconds of silence.
Then we heard ChinchillaBoy’s Internet buddies laughing their asses off.
Then we heard one of them ask the rest:
“Can you say that any whiter?”
Poor ChinchillaBoy. How embarrassing. Of course, at the end of the day, these guys do not know him personally, so it’s not like they going to communicate it to his friends or the kids in his school. So basically, they can go forward and synergize themselves.
* - By the way Kim, I’ve thought and I’ve thought and I decided I just have to say this. I love your new design, but I now spend most of my workday waiting for your site to load. I’m your biggest fan and, as I stare at all the pictures and wonder what your latest post is about, the suspense just kills me. Just so you know.
Whew, there, I said it.
** - all buzzwords have been borrowed from this post on Almost Lucid, since I could not recall any. Don’t get me wrong, I hear them every day, but so far manage to block them out.
Another one of my blogging buddies is now on indefinite hiatus. Is this a sign from above?..
Truth be told, I have no energy to blog lately. Mostly it’s because so many people have quit, but also there’s a lot going on in real life. ChinchillaBoy’s doctor suspects that he has asthma, so we’re in the process of checking it out. LilProgrammer’s teachers call me daily because he consistently does a crappy job on his homework and school projects. Technically, I should take his computer cables away, but I don’t have the heart, because, each time I come into his room, I can see him working on actual projects in C++. He has pieces and parts of a programming language that kind of works; a random music generator; and two days ago, he started writing some kind of graphic game that has two stick people moving around the screen. When I first saw them, I honestly thought they were jacking off, but it turns out they’re just moving their arms as they walk, therefore, this game is suitable for children. LilProgrammer and I have daily discussions about his future, all of which end with one of these two phrases:
- “I do not have to graduate from high school in order to write good software”,
- “I can’t help it, I have Aspergers”.
(There, I’ve gone and given my son a blanket excuse for everything he ever screws up in his life. I get the “Dumbest Mom of the Year” award. Hooray for me.)
On top of it, we plan on getting a dog. ChinchillaBoy and I have always wanted a dog – that’s how we ended up with our chinchilla (we decided to start small). But this time, we’re dead serious. We drove Mr. Goldie to Petland, where he held and sniffed a puppy (to make sure he’s not allergic to that particular breed). We got books on dog care. So in all likelihood, this spring, we’ll get the animal. This will successfully remove what’s left of my free time.
That said, over the past weekend I have managed to produce some very interesting dishes. I’d like to share two of them with you. Here are my recipes.
How to Make Bread… NOT!
1. In the breadmaker bowl, add all ingredients except dry yeast. 2. Open fridge, look for jar of dry yeast, wonder where it’s gone off to. 3. Find the jar in the far corner of the fridge, wonder how it got there. Add yeast, start the breadmaker. 4. Wait three and a half hours for the bread to bake. 5. After the three and a half hours have passed, call the entire family because the bread is finally done. Observe the hungry anticipation on their faces. 6. Open breadmaker, remove a tiny, shriveled loaf of bread. Wonder aloud how it turned out this way. 7. Open fridge. Discover that you have, in fact, two identical jars of dry yeast, except one of them expired in 2004. 8. Use profanities of your choice. 9. Toss expired yeast in the garbage. 10. Start over.
How to Make Eggplant Spread… NOT!
1. Decide to make eggplant spread, because, you know, it’s Lent and all. 2. Go to grocery store to buy everything for the spread. 3. Put four eggplants in the cart. 4. Add carrots, onions, red peppers, garlic to the cart. 5. Add four Cuban mild peppers to the cart. 6. Upon some thinking, add two Jalapeno peppers to the cart. 7. Upon some more thinking, add two Habanero peppers to the cart. Return home with the produce. 8. Boil the eggplants until soft and mushy. 9. Sautee carrots, red peppers and onions and add them to the eggplants. 10. Add salt and pepper to perfection. 11. Cut up the four mild Cubans, two Jalapenos and two Habaneros. Sautee them and add to the mix. 12. Proceed to cook to perfection. Admire your work. Try one teaspoon of your newly made spread. 13. Yelp in pain. 14. Call husband and ask him to check “if it’s not too spicy”. 15. Watch husband yelp in pain. 16. Put eggplant spread in a jar. 17. Draw skull and bones on the jar, along with a sign “VERY HOT!!!” 18. Promise to family that you will buy four more eggplants and try to save the spread, the first chance you get. 19. Warm up leftovers for dinner.
Just found out while I was poking around on IMDB.com. The discussion is here, but you have to register in order to see it.
Now, how fair is that?! As soon as ChinchillaBoy and I find a decent show to watch, it goes bye-bye and we’re back to square one. That’s on the one hand.
On the other hand, the show had it coming. It started out six years ago as a show about kids. Now, the “kid” actors are in their twenties. Yes, technically, you can drag it out to the point where Malcolm battles midlife crisis, Hal checks into a nursing home, Reese is promoted to CEO of a large corporation, etc. etc. Question is, would it be funny?
All good things must come to an end, I guess.
I’m going to go home and break the news to ChinchillaBoy now. He’s so cuddly when he’s upset.
PS. I looked it up in the news and it is indeed being canceled along with That 70s Show, but this last one is even more of a no-brainer. I mean, come on - ninety percent of the original cast has left the show. This reminds me of one day in my previous job when I looked around and all of a sudden I couldn’t find anybody that was already working there on the day I started. Everyone was gone. That’s when you know it’s time to make like a tree… er, kill a tree and print out an updated version of your resume. That show has been on its way out for a long time.