Change Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

We are now multi-generational household! Aren’t WE trendy!

Grammy, Poppy, The Boy and I are all living under the same roof now, along with two disgruntled felines, and lots and lots of stuff that either has to find a home, or find its way to the dump. Change is always difficult, especially the older we get, and also especially for those on the spectrum. So while there is lots to be thankful for here (no chance to be lonely in this small house!), there is also adjustment – poor Grammy doesn’t really have a space to her own, and we’re still bumbling our way through setting up boundaries and routines.

But this is all in preparation for the long game. This will save us money, time, gas, and provide a little more support to The Boy and I. It’s also going to help us move toward our next step – something I’ll share more about when we know more. This split has been harder on me in many ways than my first divorce. That one was expected, and a bit of a relief. This one was neither. I didn’t want this, so working through the stages of grief will take more time, especially since there wasn’t really any closure.

The Boy, too, is still struggling, even though having grandparents here is mostly a good thing for him. Change is change in his eyes, and it’s unsettling. But the nightly upsets have decreased, and he gets more time to do what he likes after school because he gets dropped off at home now, which I think he likes.

I’ll post about the normal autism-related stuff we’re going through soon. Can you believe he’s a month away from turning 16? I sure can’t.

Cheers to all of you for hanging in there with us!



Our House

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Last spring, The Man and I bought a lot which would put us safely within the boundaries of the high school The Boy was supposed to go to before the district abandoned the HFA program at his middle school. It … Continue reading

New Home Soon

The Man is making great progress with our new house. The plumbing and electric are in, and so is the septic system. We are awaiting inspections today to proceed with insulation, heating and cooling, and drywall. The roof is complete, and the siding is half done, thanks to The Man himself.

The Boy and I visit every weekend and some weeknights. He walks down the cul-de-sac that is one street over, and recently we brought his bike over to the new house so he can ride it there, as well (as he really has no space to ride it at our current house). We have met and befriended our closest neighbors, both of which have dogs, and The Boy loves to visit them. When we visited the site this past weekend, I couldn’t get him to leave.

We’ve also begun talking about his room and what he would like that to look like (blue walls with white puffy clouds, thankyouverymuch). We have begun stopping at a nearby convenience store run and owned by some great people who appreciate The Boy and his quirks. It even has a retro arcade so he can play his favorite games for a quarter.

The time it has taken to build this house ourselves has given The Boy ample time to adjust to the idea of living there, and become accustomed to the surroundings. He is now excited about the move, and this process has been ideal for allowing him time and experience to accept the change.

We can’t wait.



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.

No Program Extension. Now What?

I found out the week before break that most likely, The Boy’s pilot program for “high functioning” autistic middle schoolers will not be extended into the high school, as we were previously encouraged to believe.

So now what?

He is currently bussed across the district for his program, and has a community of friends in and out of the program. If they do not extend it into the high school, he will have to go to high school here in his own community, where he knows absolutely no one, and if the high school over here is anything like the middle school was… Let’s just say that’s not going to happen.

what nowThe Man and I have been looking to buy property and build a house out towards The Boy’s school anyway, but so far have not been in the right place at the right time to make that happen.  Moving out that way would make his current school his home school, and the high school I’d like him to go to his home school, as well, but we’ll just have to wait and see.  And unfortunately, we only have another year to make all of this happen.

And then I begin to think, “Could I make homeschooling work with a full-time work schedule? Maybe with the help of Grammy?…” I think I’d be killing myself to make it happen, and The boy would miss out big-time on socialization with NT peers, but I’m not ruling it out.

Part of me is saying, “Well, maybe there are decent schools in Florida, where we want to move eventually, and maybe we should fast-forward the timeline…”


Being forced to make major life decisions like this because a school district can’t do the right thing and commit to the needs of its students really bites.

Progress That Doesn’t Look Like Progress

Wow, what a mess we have here.  Four days left until we pick up the truck and begin to vacate this house!  And the place is messa wreck – no visible counter space, the contents of our medicine cabinet on the floor in the living room, boxes obscuring every view in the house… But I’m keeping my panic at bay, because as a special needs mom, I know that progress doesn’t always look like progress!

The Boy is holding up well, being a real trooper.  I have shared our “moving book” with him, and he seems to be doing pretty well, even with the house in so much upheaval, even with the end of the school year upon us.  Today we talked about the lady with the son who also loves Cars who will be coming to pick up his Cars bed this week, and he was OK.  We talked about how he could sleep on his mattress on the floor until we head south, and he was accepting and conversational… he was fine!

My parents have been here for four days already, helping me in numerous ways, as they always do when life throws me big change.  And together, we’re chipping away at what needs to be done.

So, while I can’t exactly walk across the floor without impediment, and while I’m sleeping on a crash pad in the basement, and even though there is much yet to be done, we’re making progress.  And that’s more than OK!

The Moving Book

Tonight, The Boy turned to me and said, “Why do we have to move?”

change goodIt just about breaks my heart, because I know on the inside, he is still adjusting to this very big change I have foisted upon him, although on the outside he has been a trooper.  And even though we have talked, and talked, and talked about this for a long, long time, I know it is still hard for him to understand.

A long while ago, I came across the suggestion to make a book about the moving process so that The Boy could have a resource to refer to when he was feeling anxious or unsure.  My lovely mother helped me flesh out the idea, and even did some of the legwork for me, taking pictures of his favorite places in our new area to include in the book.

My goal with the book was to acknowledge his fear, but accentuate the positive.  Tell him what exactly will change, and what will not.  Include pictures of familiar things in our new home and community, and pictures of good times with The Man, and with his grandparents.

I’ve been working on his book for awhile, and I shared it with him tonight, hearing his anxiety once again in his honest question.  We read through each page, and he looked at the pictures.  When we were finished, he was at least smiling.  I asked if he felt better and he said he did.

If you’re going through a move with an autistic child, I highly recommend the National Autism Society (UK)’s page, and a couple of other resources listed below.  You can never begin preparing your child too soon, and creating a moving book is one strategy to help calm those moving anxieties that I think will be so helpful!

Tips for Making a Move More Successful – Different Roads

Tips for Moving with an Autistic Child – Elsia R. Sebastian, Yahoo

A Packing Tip: Necklaces

I was a packing fiend today, and managed to get just about everything packed up in my bedroom, including my jewelry.  Remember my storage board for necklaces?  It was fairly simple to pack up all those necklaces using some Glad Press n’ Seal:

I put some, sticky side up underneath each set of necklaces, and arranged them so that there was some space in between every strand.  Then I placed another piece of Press n’ Seal, stckiy-side down on top, pressing it into all of those spaces.

When I was finished, I slid the tops of the necklaces off of the hooks, finished pressing the pieces together, and rolled them up lengthwise to pack in a box.  So easy! (and much easier if you turn the cieling fan off first, so it doesn’t blow your Press n’ Seal all around so that it sticks to itself…)

Time for High Gear: We Really Are Moving

We have 10 weeks to go before the big move, and it feels like we’re out of time.  We have prepped The Boy, and he has shown increasing acceptance, although he still talks about cloning himself, so that various copies can attend all the middle schools in our area, and one can even play video games all day and visit his current ASD teacher after school.  I don’t disabuse him of these fanciful notions, choosing instead to concentrate on the realistic, and I am getting a strong urge to kick it up a notch with this approach.  I picked The Boy up from his dad today, and began talking about the changes to come, reminding him of everything we had talked about with the moving process.  At first, all seemed OK, and then he began to fret about last spring break.

Labyrinth of MemoryPart of his autism includes never forgetting things that have upset him, which are usually times he has missed school for various reasons.  Luckily he does not get ill often, but there have been times over the years when he has either had to stay home from school or be picked up due to illness (I learned early on never to make appointments for the doctor or dentist that interfered with school, because I would never hear the end of it).  Last spring break, I had to make an agonizing decision about pulling The Boy out of school for a week so that I could have a vacation.  Our breaks did not coincide, and not pulling him out meant I would get no break at all.  It may sound selfish, but I am firmly in the camp that believes that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, and therefore I decided to pull him out.  I also chose not to tell him that he would be missing school.  Honesty is usually the best policy, but if you don’t have to step in manure, than why would you choose to?  Unfortunately, a parapro let it slip a few days before that he would, indeed, be missing school, and that was just about the worst thing that could happen.  It was as close to the end of the world as it could get for The Boy, and on top of it all, I had “lied” to him.

Needless to say, with the memory he has, especially for tragic events, this has come back to haunt us a time or two, as it did today.  The Boy was in tears about something that had happened a year ago, and it is one of those things about autism I have a hard time wrapping my brain around.

We talked about how it was in the past, couldn’t be changed, and how we had to move on from that.  I promised it would never happen again, and he launched into his next set of fears, having to give away all of his toys, because he is “skipping middle and high school, and going to college”, like Andy from Toy Story 3.  We have talked about how we will be purging some toys before the move, and this is how he interprets it.  So we talked about part of growing up is outgrowing things like baby toys and baby clothes, and that once you learn what those toys have to teach you, they are much more suited to younger children.  I reassured him we weren’t throwing toys away (a constant fear, again, thanks to Toy Story 3), but donating them so that 3rd graders could play with his 3rd grade toys, and so on.  This idea of outgrowing clothes and toys seemed to make more sense to him, and he quieted, thinking about everything I had said.  After a while, his tears turned to smiles, and we were back on track.

Making the Best of it

I’ve mentioned before how my patience is wearing thin, and contrary to expectations it is actually getting harder rather than easier as we approach the end of the school year (and the move, and all of the requisite life changes).  I feel a bit like a lame duck must feel.  Restless, bored, ineffectual, and impatient.  It’s a pretty unsettling feeling.  I have been so content and happy these past three years, that this daily unrest (albeit mental) is getting old, real fast.

I am also not one to sit and complain and do nothing, so…

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

Tom’s Restaurant, NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I plan to make a list of some of the things I enjoy about this place where I live, and this situation in which I live, and attempt to make the best of the rest of our time here.  For instance, I love a good restaurant, and living in this big metropolis, we have plenty to choose from, which will not really be the case after we move south.  We generally eat out once a week or so, and if you do the math, that leaves 13 restaurants to visit one last time (give or take a few).  Whoa.  Mind boggling!  Which ones will make the cut?  And what will I order?

This is a much more fun way to look at these remaining few months before we can start the rest of our lives, don’t you think?