Sleepovers: Spectrum Style

Last Saturday, we invited The Boy’s best friend over for a sleepover.  He is on the spectrum, too, and is in The Boy’s program at school.  They get along really well together, share the same interests, and this boy just seems to get it when The Boy doesn’t answer a question or doesn’t want to do the same thing he does.

The two spent the morning at our Autism Society’s chapter’s “Friends and Fun” party, during which everyone who celebrates a birthday for that month gets to come to a church youth group center and hang out for a couple of hours.  Presents are given by the chapter, and there’re cupcakes, so it is a great way for the kids to get together without the pressure of a formal birthday party (and figuring out whom to invite).

Then I picked them up and brought them to the beach trailer that The Man and I are renovating… Have I told y’all about that?  Not yet?  Another post entirely…

They waited patiently while I put in a new window…

window work

And then The Man, the boys and I walked over to McDonald’s for some lunch and some much needed sweet tea.

Next, I drove the boys up the way a bit to a bowling alley that we had heard also had an arcade.  After getting lost twice (thank you, iPhone!), we found the place and proceeded to spend quarters on slightly beat up machines that didn’t always give us tickets.  The boys had a great time playing foosball and air hockey, and ended up with some fantastic plastic slinky bracelets that promptly broke within the next half hour.  But it was fun ;)

foosball

We stopped at Target to see if the Halloween costumes were out yet, which they weren’t, but we had a good time poking around the legos and stuff, and they were patient with me while I poked around in the office supplies, ogling washi tape.  We picked up a couple of toys for Raphael, too.

On the way back home, we stopped at a Halloween superstore, as The Boy’s friend seems to have an obsession with Halloween and the haunted house he and his parents create in their garage every year.  This superstore actually had a small haunted house setup through which you HAD to walk to get into the store.  The Boy’s friend seemed to like it and be scared by it at the same time, while The Boy was just scared.  We checked out the costumes, and I think The Boy was most traumatized by the fake boobs in one of the aisles.

We headed back to the beach trailer to see The Man’s progress and then headed over to one of the piers with a restaurant (and a great view), ate dinner, and walked out on the pier after dark.

pier at dusk

We headed home and let the boys do their thing with DSs and iPads and computers – oh my!  As The Man and I headed to bed rather early – he tired from the physical work of putting in new sub-floor by himself, and me tired from entertaining two preteens for the past 9 hours.

Let’s just say I’m glad it doesn’t happen every weekend, but I am SO glad The Boy has a friend to be able to do this with.  It’s a small slice of normal for him, and he loves it.

Incognito

I apologize for hiding lately.  Between the stress at work, and the stress of The Boy returning to normal after spring break (yes, still in the process), I’ve had a rough go of it lately.

My goal for work down here was to have something less stressful than what I left.  I left a really good salary, but an increasingly Sisyphean job to come here.  After being unemployed for five months, another sort of stressful way to spend one’s days, I thought I had found something rewarding and with far less stress.  I felt challenged and rewarded, appreciated and meaningful.  And then the tourist season began to get underway, and the tasks began to pile on and the procedures began to change from one minute to the next, resulting in my new-ish job keeping me awake at night, and my feelings of love for it becoming a distant memory.  I still enjoy it, but the frustration level is beginning to exceed the reward.

And The Boy is just now returning to his normal happy self, albeit with a renewed obsession with toilets, which is not the easiest to roll with.  I thought we were past this one, as of several years ago, but all it took was one visit to his dad’s to rekindle the fancy, and now we have to check and see what brand of toilets every single store and restaurant in the county has, and re-create several “flushing” scenes from Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo daily.

Luckily The Man has been a rock for me, and we are fast approaching our anniversary, both a little amazed at how good marriage can be.  We’re missing date nights with my working every weekend during wedding season, but as I said, he has been the support I have needed over the past several weeks.

I have lots of posts in me to write, and now I just have to find time to write them.  Bear with me, peeps.  I’m working on it.

:)

I Fought the Dock and the Dock Won

Yeah, so this weekend, THIS happened…

not mom bruises

I was walking down the dock, minding my own business, waiting for a very late bride to show up at the boat, and I stepped over a shin-high chain that keeps people off the end of the dock…  Well, I attempted to step over the chain, but the chain had other ideas.  I’m not sure what happened, and even though I have tried to determine, CSI-like, what happened from the resulting bumps and bruises, I have not been successful.  All I know is it was not graceful, and I ended up flat on my back on the dock.  I took a moment to laugh at myself, and then hopped up, ready to see how many people were laughing at me on the waterfront (luckily only a couple people, like my boss).  I knew I had some abrasions, but I was wearing long pants, and was determined to suck it up and get through the wedding and be home before I even looked at my wounds.

Suffice it say that I thought I had broken something near my left kneecap by the time Saturday night rolled around, and couldn’t move too well on Sunday, either, with strict orders from The Man to keep my feet up.  I don’t think you call them goose-eggs when they are on your shins, but I have one the size of an Ostrich egg on my right leg, and the bruise the size of Montana towards the back of my left knee?  Let’s just say I still can’t bend my knee all the way.  Do you like how the bruises are wavy-shaped, like a chain?  Monday was still stiff and sore, but today was much better movement – I’d say I’m at about 70 percent.

I must be getting older, because I’m finding it harder to bounce back, so to speak, but I’m glad it seems I’m on the mend.

And I have learned to always, always, always unhook the chain on the dock.

Headaches, Deadlines, and Change

Yes, I am still alive.

Due to pollen and week-long headaches that eventually turn into migraines, deadlines for taxes and healthcare and other bureaucratic things, and CHANGE – the ultimate anathema to an autism household, my plans for blogging fabulousness have gone awry.  But isn’t that just the way things go?  “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans,” or so said John Lennon, and I tend to agree.

Mid-week crankiness and crabbiness and the to-do list that isn’t getting quite to-done have left my head spinning.  And so, I make sure there is food in the fridge, not-too-dirty clothes in proximity, and we hang on by our fingernails until the weekend.

I may get time to write tomorrow, and I may not.  I apologize and thank you for your patience.

Life is happening.

Standing Up When It’s No Joke

Today I had to say something.

I know it’s different in the South, but really?  How long are we going to let this be an excuse?

At work today (which just blows me away, coming from a work environment where nothing off-color would ever escape my lips, not only because that’s really not me, but also because it would never fly with anyone else), a co-worker used a not uncommon Southern phrase which also happens to be derogatory to an ethnic group.  And then the person she was speaking to repeated it in his response.

I bit my lip, sighed uncomfortably, and tried to focus on my work.

It was said again.  And again, in response.  This happened three or four more times – it almost made me feel like I was getting “punked”, they couldn’t really be saying this same phrase over and over again so many times without it being a parody, right?  Nope.  They were for real, and I was fed up.

“Could we use a different word for that?” I asked.

I was not confrontational, but it was also clear I wasn’t joking.

The first woman immediately said, in a sing-song voice, “Uh-oh!  We’ve offended somebody!  Oh no.  Someone’s offended!”  And I don’t think she meant further offense with this — more of a Southern way of backhandedly telling you you’re overreacting while trying to smooth ruffled feathers, kind of like “Bless your heart!”

The man approached me and asked if I was a member of the slighted ethnic group.  Shocked, I asked, “Do I have to be to be offended?”

“I’m just asking a question!” he responded.  “And I’m just asking a question,” I said.

He went on to say he didn’t think it was offensive, and thankfully left soon after.

I wasn’t intending to be confrontational, just speaking up.  Because it bothered me, and I don’t care if it’s a “Southern” thing.  Truthfully I was more bothered by their responses to being called out for being offensive. It made me feel as if I was somehow in the wrong.  And maybe I am, geographically.

But we can’t accept this anymore.  “It was the way I was brought up,” is no longer an excuse, because you were probably also brought up to not hurt others.  “It’s just a saying down here,” is not OK anymore.

And when you offend someone, you need to say you are sorry, and leave it at that, whether or not you agree with the person who felt offended. Why don’t people get this? It’s not up for debate!  Every single person is different, and has had different experiences and backgrounds.  If you hurt someone enough for them to speak up and tell you to your face, you just end up looking like an ass if you insist you didn’t hurt them.  You may not have intended to, but you did.  Own it, apologize, and change the subject.

Thoughts?