Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Best Man For The Job

Uncle Archie,

Thank you for giving everything you had to our family.  Each and every one of us is better for having you in our lives. You loved my cousins with a level of unconditional love, support, enthusiasm, and generosity of spirit that many people with "biological" relationships won't ever experience.  I loved my cousins like they were my own sisters and knew as long as you were in their lives, they would somehow be okay. You didn't know the meaning of the word "step", other than to "step up" to the job to be the best dad, uncle, grandpa and friend you could be.  You made a difference Uncle Archie, you made a difference.  I hope your legacy lives on in relationships that will be mended, anger and bitterness that will be sloughed on like the old and tired snake skins they are, and that each and everyone of us serves each other like you served us.

Enjoy heaven Uncle Archie and dance, dance, dance!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You Don't Have To Be So Angry!

If I had a dime for every time the hubs and I have fielded that question/accusation.....I'd be sittin' on the veranda of my castle on The Strand with the laptop on my lap and an iced tea at my side.  But alas, no dimes, so I sit here in The Mt. Crumpet Compound where I've just had a fresh revelation from God Himself as to the source of The Most Annoying Phrase that has started more fights in this family than I can shake a stick at, and that is, "you don't have to be so angry!!" Usually this is hurled at us with accusing and flashing eyes when we are feeling just about anything OTHER than anger.  We may be distracted, impatient at answering the same question for the 14th time in two minutes, or we may not be in the proper frame of mind to explain in detail the differences between the Catholicism and Buddhism (real question)ff, but very rarely are either of angry with either child....unless provoked.....or unless we're hounded MERCILESSLY with the ever-present phrase, "You Don't Have To Be All Angry!!!!"  Just the other day the hubs and I were sitting outside and we decided that we're going to get that screened onto t-shirts after the kids leave home (hahahahaha, who am I kidding?  who's EVER gonna leave us??)

But here's my honest-to-goodness God inspired revelation this morning after hearing that phrase yet AGAIN just minutes ago (it had only had a 12 hour break since we ended our evening with HIGH drama and histrionics laced with that phrase over and over and over until she finally fell over exhausted):  when she asks that, our dear sweet Aspie is feeling very insecure.  "Think of it", the still small voice inside me said, "she can't discern people's facial expressions, and she interprets nearly ALL tones of voices as being angry because her ears can't tell the subtle varying degrees in tonal qualities between being distracted, impatient or very upset"  "that's VERY confusing and frightening for her.  She WANTS to please you....She's TRYING to be a good girl but when she can't tell the differences in your voice, she panics and thinks that she's messing up and it comes out as anger, but it's really panic in her heart that she's dissapointing you in some way."  That screeching sound you hear is me stopping in my tracks.  For one of the first times in my child's life, I'm getting a clue as to what's going on in her heart and brain.  This has the potential to be family-changing.....life changing!!
So hubs and I went into her bedroom and I laid out what the Lord had laid on my heart and what I suspected was going on in her heart.  The result?  Home run!  At one point she stopped at asked me, "Are you sneaking in my room?"  (meaning, you must be coming in my room and taking the thoughts and feelings out of my head).  Hey, I'm good, but I'm not that good!!  So we had a pretty nice little chat and the result is that she gets to ask that annoying little loaded question twice a day.  She tried to talk me into three times a day, because 3 is a "good number", but I held fast to twice a day and I promised her that we would always, always, always tell her ahead of time if we're impatient or unhapy with her so she won't have to wonder.

Crossing my fingers and hoping this will work.  Pray for us.  I joke a lot and I willingly choose to look at the bright side of life, but the truth is we live on the ragged edge and often feel like we won't be a family of four for long.  We need every clue we can get to help understand this nasty little puzzle people call autism.

Another Shot-Through-The-Worm-Hole Experience.....or More Adventures With Clan Lachlan

A little over a month ago we received the news from our landlord that he wanted his house back, so we would have to move, but to where we would be taking our happy little band of merry children, small horse, the blind-but-still-evil Cairn terrier, and Mimi The Wonder Cat, we didn't have a clue. Technically the landlord gave us nearly six weeks to vacate, but we didn't want to give him any more $$ than we absolutely had to, so we paid him through the end of July and began the quest. 

Within hours of the notification the troops (the mother unit of whom can call up a frenetic amount of energy) were called into action and the packing began at a feverish pace.  The daughter did an AWESOME A+ job on her bedroom, bringing great joy to the parental units.  When we weren't packing everything in sight ("you don't need this toothbrush for the next three weeks do you?") we were on craigslist, real estate agencies and rental sites.  We filled pages of a notebook with addresses and details of possible future homesites.  And then we did what we've done for the past two summers (because last summer we had this "you-have-to-move-in-two-weeks scare" also....turned out to be a false alarm that was called off in the 11th hour when we were about to sign a lease on another house the next day), but I digress.  So there we are;  dragging the children (and the dogs of course) from here to there and everywhere in between following MapQuest on our quest for a new little castle.  Our hope was that we would land as close as humanly possible to our other little cottage-by-the-sea, but we looked high and low; places east, places west, and places not even close to Mt. Crumpet (perish the thought), just so we could say we had covered our bases.

Some places were charging close to what we were already paying for the apparent convenenience of being able to buy crack right outside your DOORSTEP.  Who could ask for more?  That particular one was even painted blue; what could be better for our Aspie than a house (and I use that term loosely) in her favorite color??  A few blocks from that one, and at about the same scorchingly high monthly price we could live on a dead end dirt road.  Sounds bucolic, right?  Dirt road dead ends into a field.  A green field with sunflowers blowing in the wind.  Wooden fence lining the drive. Not so much.  Think dirt road on a narrow (the big Red Sub barely fit) one-way alley where you could actually see from your cut-out-front window what your crack dealer was eating for dinner across the way (and def NOT "The Appian Way") in his hovel.  But we wanted to be good sports and keep an open mind.  You never know where the "road" of life may take you, right??  Besides we wanted to cast a large net and see where God would take us.  We know and reminded ourselves every other second of the day that He had every stinkin' little detail of our lives in His caring and mighty hands.  Trust God or go home.  Oh wait, we were about to not have a home.  The Almighty and Loving Father it is then!!  (BIG digression here, but I just can't let this go without inserting the CALM and peace that both the hubs and I felt during that entire time.  I don't want my humor to be mistaken for flippancy or irreverance. We were "happy" to have to move??  Ya, like happy you have to have a root canal--you may know it's the best thing for you in the global sense of "best thing", but no one wants to sit in the chair for three hours listening to the sound of the drill and smelling that smell......think I'm making myself wretch here.......But during every single day we gave EVERY care and concern over to the Lord knowing that it was HE who was causing this to happen and knowing that He does everything for OUR best interest when (and that's very important here---WHEN) we trust Him and Him alone.  This wasn't the "Jeff & Gigi Show" on the road makin' things happen and stirring things up us to "keep it fresh".  This entire scenario was from God and for His glory.  So we pressed in everyday in prayer and thanksgiving that HE was (and is) in charge of every stinkin' little detail and that He actually CARES for us in every stinkin' little way.  Just wanted to clear that up (and end a sentence with a preposition).

In the end, we ended up just a mile up the road at the very BASE of Mt.Crumpet in a little compound (complete with a rot iron fence around the driveway) at the end of a quiet dead end street.  Total time elapsed from us seeing the photo on the real estate site to us signing the lease in the morning and then moving in the first boxes in the afternoon of the SAME day:  SEVEN DAYS.  Count 'em seven WHOLE days.  Actual time it took to move this antique-store-guised-as-a-crazy -little-family: FOUR DAYS.  We started the move on Thursday afternoon and by that Sunday we were completely moved in (no, I'm not dizzy at all---hahahaha!  liar, liar pants on fire---I still can't see straight!!).  Worm hole?  Ya, I'm pretty sure our shorts are still smokin'!

Today marks our third Sunday here at The Mt. Crumpet Compound and like with all moves, when the dust settles and you're able to look around a little at your surroundings, you notice some things are missing, or at the very least out of sight for the time being, and we're noticing some things too.  Things like:

*badly behaving neighborhood children whose PARENTS regularly called my daughter names (always when I wasn't around, of course)

*The destructive and frenetic energy of one of the neighborhood girls in particular, who could EASILY replace Susan Lucci as the Queen Of Daytime Drama, who stirred up our daughter with lies, nasty name calling and 70+ decibels of yelling and screaming everyday she was in the neighborhood to play.....when she wasn't being sweet-as-pie (ya, Sybil's got nothing on this little one).

*Our next door neighbor (if you read my FB, you know her as the husband's "girlfriend") and all of her INSANE antics like cooking all their meals everynight OUTSIDE on their back patio at 11pm, filling OUR upstairs bedroom with the ever-so-lovely stench of alley road-kill, all the "love notes" she wrote to us in unintelligable English written on the back of paper bags and envelopes accusing us of everything from causing her husband's cancer (never verified) to us staying awake all night beeping our car alarms at her (ya, because with two kids with special needs, I've got nothing better to do between 11pm and 7am everyday).  Oh and we can't forget this:  we miss actually NOT being able to park in front of our house!!  For two years she parked two of her cars (which she never drove, one of which was covered) directly in front of our house and the house on the other side of her, refusing to move them to allow us, her neighbors, to park in front of our very own homes.  We BEGGED her husband to PLEASE move their cars so we could park but he refused.  Ya, we miss that daily stress like a boil on a backside.

*and last, but certainly MOST importantly, we miss the stress and blood chilling fear of #1 child walking out the front door and into the dangerous streets, which happened twice in the six weeks leading up to The Move.  Having a rot iron fence was, and remains the number one selling point of this house.  It's exactly what we need for peace of mind for this piece of the crazy little pie we call our family.