Sunday, May 23, 2010

Woot woot!!!

This morning I had the house to myself. The girls were in NJ on a scouting excursion. The boys had made a jaunt up to HarCo to clean the cabin and maybe hike/swim.

I had been waiting for this opportunity for quite a while. Total solitude for a decent amount of time. I took some deep breaths and waged battle against the beast. I found a pair of vice grips, stuck my hands in the belly and removed 3 hose clamps. On the 3rd removal I found the clog. I shed some blood on some sharp edges, but the clog was removed. A sock, a mongo ball of lint, a bunch of coins and a straight pin were removed from a lint trap shown in the picture above.

I persevered through the difficulty of reinstalling the stinking hose clamps and ran a test rinse/drain cycle. Water shot out. The fact that this lint trap requires blood to be cleared shows a supremely stupid design, but it's been cleared. Huzzah!

It might be a sign of hubris, but I declare victory.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Short notice

This is starting off feeling like a rant, so I'll try to take some breaths before type faster than my brain can work.


Ok, I'm no longer mad, but how about annoyed?

I'm relatively new to being a high school parent (eldest is a sophomore) and I was willing to chalk-up last year's HSA confusion to a freshman who was disorganized. But this year that's not the case.

So on Saturday, before leaving to get out of the city for a little non-wired R&R I asked my high school student what her schedule for HSA week was and if it was like last year, i.e. show up for one morning (one test) and the rest off the week you got to stay home. "Ummm....I know we have HSA's but I'm not sure...ummm." I asked if she had a flyer with the information. No flyer. OK, I went to check out the website. No information beyond what was published on the City School calendar at the start of the year. Desperate calls and facebook pleas and it turns out HSAs are in the morning this year and you're expected to go to school in the afternoon. Can everyone say "transportation logistics nightmare"? And you take two HSAs sophomore year. Suddenly, the week I had thought would be relaxed just turned into a mess.

I'm guessing these decisions were made long ago and if, at that point, something had been sent to parents I would not be the annoyed mom that I now am.

Whatever. We'll cope.

Here's my root cause problem analysis. If you want involved parents, you might actually have some sort of way to communicate with them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Late spring

The second wave comes. Determined and aggressive after the first wave's tentative start. The timid celedines have melted away and those first dandelions have greyed and scattered on the wind. Now the buttercups come, beyond number. Floating above the thickening grass their yellow is abundant, staining shoes and legs and dogs. After tromping through the field we hit the path through the forest. On trees, the pale, small leaves have thickened to a rich green. Now they fight amongst themselves to get sunlight, turning the pathway dark. All sounds are muffled, even the roaring water. This verdant canopy provides privacy for reacquaintance with the feeling of a springtime stream.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A chilly day

Life goes on regardless of how you feel about the progress. Dark, cloudy, cold days come after beautiful sunny ones. Adolescence hits the eleven year old and all traces of cute are pushed aside. Chilly after refusing a jacket, he won't turn back and admit he can't take the cold. Learning to parent an adolescent male with very limited expressive language abilities, I don't push the issue after my first request is rebuffed with a scream. We talk about yelling at people and feelings. Time for a walk. A friendly stranger asks if he's cold. My response, rather than explaining, is to ask him if he wants to go home and get a coat. The "no no no" answer settles it for me and the stranger.

Monday, May 10, 2010

That time of year again

Is it just me? Somehow I find the idea that we've now hit May and I don't have solid plans for msk's summer worked out terrifying. First I've got a kid who needs structure to keep anxiety at bay. Then I've got a school system that hasn't figured out when or where ESY will be, or if they have, they haven't conveyed this information to me.

I guess the easiest answer would be to blow off ESY and schedule our summer without it. The problem is, msk needs the additional academics. He's a smart kid, but being in an autism specific program that focused on behavioral issues for 2 years basically put him 2 years behind academically. I think that he makes close to a year's progress every year, that's not going to get him caught up. Repeating a year would be a disaster socially, given the friendships that he's made and the fact that he's not a little kid anymore. He would really stick out in a grade with kids younger than him. Even though ESY isn't about academic catch-up, it seems important to keep him academically challenged. Plus, msk really liked ESY last summer. So, we are planning on doing ESY again this summer.

I really, really, really want this summer to be a good one for msk. Beyond academics, he's a very physical guy and would do well in a situation with lots of running and hiking and swimming and the like. For his safety he needs an aide to be with him in these situations. Because of the unknown date of ESY we haven't been able to find an aide for him that's up for physically challenging activities. Without an aide lined up, it's hard to find a summer camp that would be willing to accommodate an autistic kid and his aide. A creative aide could try to schedule physical activities on his own, but that would mean that there is little socializing with peers going on.

Honestly, just thinking about it makes me anxious. Without structure, msk is not a happy kid. My two neurotypicals have 4 weeks of sleep-away type camp booked for the summer. That means there are four weeks when msk won't even have siblings to interact with. Without some good activities going on this could be bad. Very bad.

Maybe it'll all fall into place, but it makes me worried. When are the letters about ESY going to get sent out?