Hope for Eighth Grade

Last week, after my visit to the Sheriff’s Department, I had a meeting with The Boy’s former ASD teacher and the Special Ed teacher he will have this year in 8th grade.

Yes, they have virtually dismantled the high functioning autism pilot program in The Boy’s school, the main reason we have him up at 6am, taking an hour and a half bus ride to the school across the county.  As of his IEP this spring, we were having to make some adjustments, as his ASD teacher would not be there full time, but we found out a couple of weeks ago that she has now been transferred to another school entirely.

So much change for this kiddo…

We agreed, his former ASD teacher and I, that having a meeting with the Special Ed teacher for 8th grade who will sort of serve as his “home base” like she had for the past two years would be a good idea.  The 8th grade Special Ed teacher has actually had The Boy briefly, covering for another Special Ed teacher who was out on maternity leave, and we had a nice, long chat about The Boy, his obsessions, routines, what works, what doesn’t work, etc.  I found out who he would have for his two general ed core classes, and both of those teachers will be better to work with than last years’ teachers, so that is a welcome change.  We also discussed the new principal and assistant principal, and how both would be easier to work with than their predecessors, as well.

Afterwards, I spoke with The Boy about 8th Grade and what he could expect, who would be familiar faces, and who would be new, but nice people.  Even though so much has changed for him, he is looking forward to 8th Grade. I think he’s been looking forward to it for so long, it would take something earth-shattering to make him any less excited.

It seems the district is making some wise choices in terms of placement and hiring, so that even though the pilot program will no longer exist, the competence and kindness of the teachers and administrators in place should help The Boy progress towards his goals as if nothing has changed.  Time will tell, but as of right now, I am extremely hopeful.

Moving, Removing, and Limbo

We put our house on the market in June.  Two days later we had an offer.  We negotiated and agreed upon a price.

Since that time, we have been going through the process – appraisals, inspections, etc.  All of the details that have to happen, be approved, and then to the next step.  This past week, we were supposed to close on Friday.

Monday we got a call that there was an issue with the paperwork, which could nullify the deal. Tuesday, we got another call that the issue had been cleared up, and we were all set to go with the closing on Friday.  Wednesday afternoon, we got another call with another issue, which could delay the closing, but were told to plan as if the closing was still going to happen.

I don’t know about where you live, but apparently here, the buyers take possession of the house immediately after closing.  This means if there is a closing, your house better be packed up and empty.

As a result, we packed up our entire house Wednesday evening so that The Man could move it all to the place we were supposedly renting on Thursday to be ready for the closing Friday.

Thursday, we were in limbo, but emptied the house.

Friday, we were notified that the closing would be postponed 2-4 weeks.

How do people do this? All of the professionals kept saying, “This happens all the time,” and the response in my head was, “Why? How?” I think my stomach was in perpetual knots the entire week.  I couldn’t concentrate at work.  The Boy was completely confused, staying at Grammy’s several days and nights so that he at least had some consistency in his life.  As it is, he is still confused, as am I.

limbo roomWe decided to move everything back to our house, and forgo any rental until the papers are signed, and the money has cleared.  It’s just too much to bear.  In my opinion, attorneys handling the closing should get their paperwork in order way before the week of the closing, so that if there are any issues, people are not having to rent another moving truck to re-move back into their own homes, hopefully they haven’t yet signed a lease on a rental, and they are able to cancel cable installations after they’ve already happened.  It’s insanity.

Apparently, everything is still going to happen, but we have some steps to follow to clear up an issue.  So keep us in your thoughts. The real estate rollercoaster is always aggravating, but this has been beyond the pale, especially with a young man with autism in the house struggling to understand what’s going on.

My Aunt

About a week ago, my aunt was killed in a car accident on her way to our family reunion.

She was my dad’s only sister, and my only aunt not by marriage.  She was my godmother, and mother to 10 children, including three sets of twins, and a son with Down’s Syndrome.  She was a teacher, and when she retired, she continued to teach GED classes at the local prison.  She came from a long line of strong, active, intelligent, family-oriented women.  I’ve written before about her and these strong women here and here.

We were so looking forward to seeing her, and listening to her and my great-aunt share memories.  It was a hard weekend, but it was amazing to be able to share our grief with extended family members.  We won’t be able to make it to her memorial service, but she has been on our minds and in our hearts all week.

Even though she was 87, she was taken from us too soon.  She was an inspiration, even though she’d probably roll her eyes at that.  She was another one who, when asked, “How do you do it?” would have simply replied, “I just do.”

I love you, and I’ll miss you, my dear Aunt Mickey.

The Ex and Summer Plans

The ex has never abided by our agreement which states that he is supposed to give me his intended plans for summer visitation by May 1.  It has never happened in the seven years we have been divorced. This has never surprised me because he has always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy, but it is problematic.

This year, we hadn’t heard much from him since April. A week or so ago, he texted me to inform me that his dad had been diagnosed with stage 5 Alzheimer’s, and as a result, he wanted The Boy for the last week in July so that he might be able to see him before it’s too late.

While I feel absolutely awful for my ex-father-in-law, as he is and was rather a sweet guy, our plans for the summer have already been made, and a huge part of that summer includes camp for The Boy.  He has always looked forward to summer camp and ESY as a highlight of his year, and when I asked him if he would prefer to go to Dad’s and miss camp, he said he thought his dad needed to make some other arrangements.  Out of the mouths of babes.

I informed the ex that the last week in July was out, but we would be happy to discuss times when The Boy was not in camp or in school, which left a few weeks in July and exactly one week in August.

He obviously couldn’t get his act together in time to make anything happen in July, but expressed interest in the one week in August, the last week before school.  If you know any child on the spectrum, you know that transitions like going back to school are a huge, huge deal, and just contemplating The Boy making a long trip in that week was making my head hurt.  But I knew in my heart of hearts that probably nothing would come if it anyway – sad, I know.

Sure enough, the ex wanted to bring him back on the first day of school, and I explained that that would not work at all.  He responded by suggesting The Boy fly by himself within an airline assistance program…

Uh… yeah, right.

How friendly are these skies, anyway?

How friendly are these skies, anyway?

In the past when he has suggested this, I have flat out said no.

This time, I didn’t.  I called his bluff.  He wants to pay for a plane ticket, pay extra for special assistance that in all probabliity isn’t even available, all when he is many hundreds of dollars behind on child support? I told him our limitations in terms of airlines that fly into this general area, and suggested he do some research to see if they were even available.  He said he would, and he was excited to have The Boy that week and be able to go camping with him.

Sigh.

What’s Been Going On

Hello, Friends!

This is high season at work, so working a few hours extra is not unheard of, and there’s a lot going on at home, too.  I just wanted to write a quick little post to say “hey!” and to give you an update.  It seems everything happens all at once, and unfortunately, it’s not the right time to write about these things in detail, but…

  • We don’t want to jinx it, so The Man doesn’t want me to write about it yet, but things are looking good in the selling-of-our-house arena
  • This ugly situation has reared it’s head again, and this time, we are speaking to a lawyer…
  • Camp will work out after all, for The Boy, but he’ll have to wait until the end of this month, which happens to coincide with the only week his dad wanted him this summer.  If you follow the page on facebook, you may remember that the ex’s dad has been diagnosed with stage 5 Alzheimer’s and he asked for The Boy the same week camp started, as well as a family reunion we are attending out of state, so I told him we could do another week in July, and have yet to hear back from him.
  • Some friends and I are looking into Rising Tide Car Wash in Florida to see if we can replicate something like that in our area for our kiddos.  We are excited!
  • I answered one of our phone lines at work and connected with a local mom who just moved here. “My son is on the autism spectrum…,” she said, and so the conversation began.  I love it when that happens!
  • Did you know it’s almost the 4th of July? Where did the summer go??

Thanks, friends, for listening and sticking around.  It’s been a tough summer so far, but how do we manage?

Simple. We Just Do.

;)

Who’s Afraid of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Recently, I have written a few posts venting about my job. I decided to take that risk because I felt it was important to write about what happens when a person like me who cares for a person like The Boy has a work-life balance that is out of wack.  It is extremely overwhelming, and when work intrudes on home life, it can be incredibly defeating.  You need the job to care for your loved ones, but the job is actually preventing you from giving your best to your loved ones.

Today, my boss revealed to me that someone in our office made him aware of this little blog, and he has read some of it.

Luckily for me, I think it gave him some perspective he didn’t have before in regards to my need for more balance, and it was the jumping off point for a refreshing conversation between the two of us.

But now I’m left to wonder… Who wanted to get at me so bad that they would report what I say here to my employer?

This happened to a close friend of mine who had a crazy person create a big crapstorm about her handling of the finances of a nonprofit, contacting the state level people of the nonprofit (who assured her that the finances were just fine), and then even going so far as to contact my friend’s employer, anonymously of course, to insinuate that they had better check out my friend because she was mishandling money.

When you start messing with people’s livelihoods, you have a problem.

And so now, I am wondering about this little blog of mine.  I’m wondering if I still even feel comfortable enough to write here.  I’m not going to get stuck in the cycle of asking myself whether I should have or shouldn’t have posted.  This blog has never been just for you, or just for me.  It has been for all of us. But now that I know someone is reading who felt like it was necessary to take that step, use what’s written here for their own personal gain (whatever that was), and quite possibly in the end, could have hurt me and my family…

I don’t feel “safe” here right now.  And I have to think about that.

Let me know what you think.

Here We Go Again

Last week, I posted about feeling very overwhelmed, and I thank you for your patience.

Most of the reason for feeling so overwhelmed is that my job just sucks.  It does every summer. It is our peak season, and things get hectic, and my boss does not handle stress well, yet simultaneously craves it. My job duties change daily, and sometimes are diametrically opposed to what I was told to do the day before. Everything is an emergency, his schedule is incredibly erratic, and he gives no one the power to make decisions on their own.  A project that is time-sensitive may sit on your desk for days because you can’t get him to talk to you for five minutes to make a decision, and then when it doesn’t get done, the blame is placed squarely on your shoulders.  And somehow, there is always time for blame.

I got a dressing down this past week about lunchmeat, people.  LUNCHMEAT.

I’m to the point where I cry before I go to work (ok, only when it’s that time of the month… usually), and that is a very real sign that something needs to change.  Meaning I need to find a new job.

Yet, it took me five months to find this one, and I’m not exactly a shlub…

So, I look. I do the job search dance. I count the minutes and hours down during my work day. I take solace during the times when the boss is not in the office. I dream of walking into his office to give him notice, and have even toyed with the idea of simply walking out and not going back. And I hope for something better.

I really hate to wish the summer away, but this is really just too much for too little in return.

When I go, I'm taking my red stapler.  Because it's mine...

When I go, I’m taking my red stapler. Because it’s mine…

Treading Water

Hey, friends. I’m having a hard time keeping my head above water lately. There’s a lot going on.  Our busy season at work is here, and the crap is hitting the fan.  Where I work, that means the blame is flying, and my job satisfaction plummets.  The Boy is just about done with school, which means I need to be gearing up to support him with activities and enrichment for the next five to six weeks until his camp starts.  We listed our house for sale today, which meant a weekend of staining the deck and the porch, and painting window trim (and getting a really stellar sunburn while doing it), and now means keeping the house tidy for showings…

When I get overwhelmed, I start to feel like someone or something is sitting on my chest.  I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to engage in a little self talk, and I have to, HAVE TO carve some time out to plan.  Planning helps me to see the possibilities, see the light at the end of the tunnel, and keep things in perspective.

In the meantime, I wanted to say thanks for reading, thanks for sticking around after a week with no posts, and if you get a chance, please send positive vibes my way.  Congrats to the teachers for making it through another year, and remember to be nice to people in the service sector.  We’re not all idiots.  Now, I’m going to carve out some planning time so I can send some really good posts your way this month – I can’t believe it’s June already!

Not Easier, Just Different

Mom & The BoyThe other day, I pulled out all of the scrapbooks and went through them, remarking at how little The Boy was, and reminiscing. I think some people look through old photos and are wistful for easier times…

I don’t know about other parents with kiddos on the spectrum, but I don’t miss those times. They certainly weren’t easier.

Back then, I had to deal with diapers, until the age of five.  Now I have to deal with the toilet clogging on a regular basis (Thank you, Intestinal Surgery!)

Back then, I had to deal with The Boy wandering and getting lost in department stores.  Now I have to deal with getting him to get some fresh air and come out of his room.

Back then, he was obsessed with Wubbzy and Mat Man.  Now he is obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog, and the dome lights of cars.

Of course, our history isn’t entirely one of struggle. Luckily, the blessings of that little Boy continue to make him my joy today.  He is still (even at thirteen!) affectionate, at least at home. He still has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a lot of fun to be around. He is still able and willing to participate in the world around him (as soon as he finishes his game).

Nope, I don’t miss those days — OK, maybe I miss the smell of a baby, the giggle of a toddler, and the ability to pick him up and carry him out if he started fussing. But I don’t miss not having a single clue about autism, or a single person to talk to about it. I don’t miss the what-ifs and constant worry that is only lessened with experience and time.

I’m not saying it’s easier now.  It’s just different.  And now, even if I don’t have all the answers, at least I have a clue. ;)

Did You Know? I Turned the Big 4-0…

And it wasn’t easy.  40 was tough for me to celebrate because it somehow seems so adult, so “sunset years,” and I still don’t feel like an adult, let alone middle-aged.  Now, this happened in October, so why am I wiring about it now?  Sometimes it takes things awhile to process – go figure!

  • When my mom was this age, she had a six year old.  How in the hell she did that, I will never know, because if I had to be chasing around a first grader right now?… I just don’t know…
  • When my grandpa was this age, my dad wasn’t even born yet.  Different times back then, but still… YIKES.
  • The Boy is now a teenager (technically, and physically.  Even a little mentally, too).  He will have turned 20 by the time I “graduate” to the next decade… YIKES.
  • The Man will be in his 60s by that same time… YIKES.
  • Half a lifetime ago, I was in college.
  • I have been a mom for as long as I was in public school.

All of this adds up to me feeling much more mortal, and it’s not an easy feeling. Couple that with feeling more aches and pains than I used to, an amazing ability to put on weight, and getting tired more easily, and I wonder sometimes how much longer I have.

But The Man is happy that, at least for the next few years, we are in neighboring decades.  And when I’m with him, I don’t worry too much about how old I am. :)