Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pre School Orientation and Registration

Today, Maya had her school orientation – and met her teachers and other students. But none of that mattered. EMILY IS IN HER CLASS. Unbelievably – they are the only two kids from Maya’s class last year: MAYA AND EMILY! I thank her teachers from last year in recommending this be the case again for the two of them this year.

So the parents signed papers, signed up for things, and the kids played. I didn’t want to sign up for anything (Kim did for me, I’m sure) so I took pictures of the kids.

First, Maya dressed up in this kind of Madonna/Vogue outfit, she told us she was pretending to be ‘Hollywood’. I don’t want to think what that means for the future. I really don’t. I don’t know how she figured out to dress up this way and call herself ‘Hollywood’. It ain’t genetic from my side of the family.

You Pick…Which One ‘s More Hollywood? I’m going with the class act on the left

Second and Third. There are 10 girls in her class and 5 boys. The kids all kind of fell into the classroom together this morning. The boys all literally headed to the Lego table and built spaceships, boats, etc…the girls went to the dress up bin and coloring/craft areas (and without being sexist – the kitchen area) and went to town.

The girls will overrun these poor boys by the end of the end-of-the-year

Finally. Don’t tell me this picture of Maya and Emily doesn’t say best friends all over it. Let me say, that when the two of the quit playing this afternoon – Maya cried for about half-an-hour that being away from Emily for 5 days that they wouldn’t be best friends anymore. I think this picture shows that won’t be the case.

Emily and Maya – One’s Martha, the other Madonna

BTW – blown motor in the air conditioning unit. It’s being fixed right now. Cool air a’comin!

Posted by Jerry in 20:53:23 | Permalink | Comments Off

Still Hot In Alpharetta

The air conditioner is still broken – to be fixed today.  But we all feel kind of weird – sleeping on different beds and in different rooms. A little like when you stay at a hotel…at least for Kim and me. Of course, the kids think this is totally cool.  They get to sleep on a mattress on the floor in the living room, the whole 9 yards of it.  As Clemenza says in the Godfather, ‘We’re going to the mattresses’.

I’m not sure Pete Clemenza had air-conditioning issues in NYC like we have in Alpharetta

We are still evaluating the trip up to South Carolina.  Right now it’s a go, but the hurricane turned into tropical storm has hit the Atlantic and seems to be picking up speed again.  So we’ll probably know by the end-of-day today whether or not we’re going. 

Lets hope that it all works out so we can head up.

Nonni Cheryl sent us a care package (I think that’s the second one in two weeks) that included a new video game (Disney/Pixar Cars) that we just had to play last night.  On the upstairs computer…where the thermometer read 86 degrees. Now, for little kids this is just something you put up with if you want to play.  For me it was, “Holy Crap.  It is as hot as Hades while I install this game!”  After installing, the kids typically want me to sit around with them and watch them play (and help them figure it out), but not last night.  Too damn hot.

It was funny to call them down for dinner, and they have that little kid sweat going.  You doesn’t smell, and they are wet just along the upper lip….

Of course Demetrius ate as fast as he possibly could (I’m not sure he chewed at all) and shot back upstairs to play some more before he had to start getting ready for bed…which wasn’t like getting ready for bed on a normal night..cuz, you know, we were hitting the mattresses!

Posted by Jerry in 14:55:20 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Air Conditioner On The Fritz

It is August 30th in HOTlanta, GA….and our upstairs air conditioner broke. Oy! So the kids slept on the floor (on a mattress) in the living room, and Kim and I slept down in the basement. I got up this morning, as always, to go to the gym…and as I putzed around the house getting ready to leave. I hear, “Who is that!”

“Maya, it’s Daddy”

“Daddy, this room is weird.”

If there ever was a sign or statement that a four-year-old is getting scared… That’s it. So I put her down in the basement (that’s where one of our spare bedrooms is…the other is upstairs, thus, of no use) with Mom. She looked at me and said, “That’s better.”

Demetrius could sleep through a nuclear attack. Maya, well, she needed to be next to Mom and ordered me to take care of this. I complied, then went to gym.

It’s good to have direction in one’s life…even at 4:45 in the morning.

Posted by Jerry in 13:15:30 | Permalink | Comments Off

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Perfect Storm

Unfortunately we have the perfect storm brewing, and unfortunately again, George Clooney (poor Kim) is not involved this time.

Some friends have invited us up to Hilton Head for the Labor Day holiday, and that’s at risk thanks to Ernesto (poor Demetrius and Maya). Gotta like this Hurricane’s name – has some flava’ – but I don’t like where this is going…which is straight up the gut to South Carolina.

Ernesto, possibly screwing up Demetrius’ weekend

Now, we aren’t leaving until Friday afternoon, which if you look at the map above it shows that we might miss the storm (cross the fingers) but if it stalls or slows…bye-bye beach.

So storm #1 , Ernesto. Storm #2, making the call on Wednesday on whether or not to go and telling Demetrius….which leads to fits, crying…not believing it because he’s been obsessing about the beach with his friends for a month. Here’s where the autism really works against him. He’s so structured in everything in his life that when something like this happens, he just has a hard time handling the roll of the dice. Therefore, we’ve got to make a call on when to go/not go a bit early, to talk him back from the ledge by the time we hit Saturday, so we can attempt to enjoy the weekend without tears and whining (poor Jerry).

We’ll see…..but then again, I’m talking about a vacation. A year ago today, New Orleans went underwater. Maybe I should just pipe down….

Posted by Jerry in 13:10:34 | Permalink | Comments Off

Monday, August 28, 2006

Follow Up To Interview W/Chris Peterson

Well, its not the same as putting a face to a name…but how about a voice to an interview?


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to listen to Chris talk about his book on Montana Public Radio.


Posted by Jerry in 14:56:24 | Permalink | Comments Off

Why Demetrius Is Special – Cheesy Parents Writing

Demetrius’ teacher asked us to write a piece on why we think he is special, from the parent point-of-view, for a project (Sure Ms. Ball, no problem, I can probably do it in about 5000 words..what do you need me to write more about him? Wink).  Here’s what we penned.  Its cheesy and sappy – so you have been warned!

C’mon, you gotta agree, this kid is way special! So handsome..and those big brown eyes…whatta ladykiller I tell ya

Demetrius is special because that term means something more than warm and fuzzy, it is, simply, a clinical term for him… along with being the requisite sun that Kim and I revolve around daily. 

Each and every day this boy works harder than most any other child at Abbots Hill to do the normal things that others learn easily.  For him to learn to color in the lines, it takes all his senses and motor skills to do the job, and he doesn’t fuss and resist as he does this task.  He tries and tries again.  He’ll try his best today, and he will again tomorrow.  No matter how tired he is, no matter how hard it is for him to uncross, and recross his wiring.

Demetrius is special because he smiles every day and thinks of things that make him most happy.  He’ll repeat Spongebob episodes, or talk about going to the beach. And if you listen closely, you’ll hear the excitement each and every time he tells you about going to the swimming pool.  Demetrius is special because his condition teaches all of us to slow down, and enjoy the simple things in life, like splashing in water or laying down and watching the clouds.

Demetrius is special because the little things take a lot for him, and they show how far he has come. Demetrius is special because he has given us something to focus on beyond ourselves in this life, and the material things that modern suburban living revolve around.  Demetrius is special because he has made us more than we could have been without autism, he has made us live in the moment, and appreciate each day for what it offers.

Demetrius is special because Demetrius is Demetrius, he is who is he is – our son.

Posted by Jerry in 14:01:29 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dad Had It Comin’

“Get ready Dad, I’m going to kick your butt.”

Now, I’ve been threatened before in my life…not in the last few years…but no threat I’ve ever received has made me happier.

Eye contact, changing inflections, karate moves.  How could I not let him attack me?

Daniel  San Did Okay  with Karate…Maybe the Same With Demetrius?

Wrestling with Demetrius is a lot of sensory integration.  Laying on top of him, rolling back and forth, squeezing his arms and legs.  He really isn’t trying to win, or have fun, as much as sometimes it is just to get that input.  Tonight, he was trying to wrestle, and teach me who was boss.  Maya joined in, and so did Buddy.  Even the dog got into the act!

Once in a while it stuns me when it all comes together.  Just before my butt got kicked, I saw it all happening.  Like I said before, sometimes it is great to have it coming to you. ☺

Posted by Jerry in 01:47:31 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, August 25, 2006

Johns Creek and the Love Shack

The little area of North Fulton County we live in has broken off from its parent and formed a new city known as Johns Creek, and we’ve got our first brouhaha a’brewing!

A local proprietor of adult video/book stores here in Greater Atlanta is trying to take advantage of some zoning laws to open a 10,000 square foot facility smack in the middle of a commercial shopping area (I’m not joking here – we are talking Krogers, McDonalds, a dance school for girls…typical suburban paradise strip mall shopping) that is about two miles from a high school to boot and a few miles from Casa Grasso. This should make for some great news in the next few weeks, it really has the residents fired up, and is going to put Johns Creek on the map…probably not in the way that the new founding fathers had hoped.

There will be some fighting over this, but all the lawyers say this guy who owns these stores knows what he is doing, and will probably win…unless, somehow this is the place that a judge decides to draw a line in the sand. Read more about it here.

Kim went to the public hearing last night at the high school, and she was a bit disappointed with the turnout (timing sucks, it is the 2nd week of school and everyone is running around with after school activities, etc…), and she didn’t like that the Mayor really played politics in his handling of the event (we have, like 12 candidates running for Mayor in the next election…this dude is up against the wall…he’s interim, for lack of a better term, and if this dude opens his porn shop, it will be on his watch. It’s probably political death for Mr. Interim for sure).

I’m with Kim on that. I’m proud she took the time to go and represent the Fam.

But there is an element of much ado about nothing. Here’s what I mean. That Kroger and McDonalds I mentioned above? We won’t go to them. I won’t get gas at that gas station and I won’t shop at any of the other stores around there. If Maya wants to dance, she dances somewhere else. I have to figure that’s going to be the case all around the area. It will be strip mall death. Further, the element, I think we worry about coming to the porn shop…won’t drive to upscale Alpharetta to go to the porn shop…it will be either the high school boys (which of course, is against the law, but that’s a whole different discussion for a different blog) and some neighborhood Dad. Yea, its gonna be fun when you begin hearing the stories at the pool “So and So’s husband was seen by Betty coming out of the Love Shack. I always thought he leered at me funny…” So, that’s the dumb dad. The smart, porn-addicted dad will either continue downloading from the Internet or will hit one in another town.

I’ve seen this before in a very similar suburb. We used to live in Seattle, but I worked in upscale, pedestrian friendly Bellevue, WA. There was a non-descript porn shop there too… a block from our realtor that sold us our house…and down the street from our financial advisor at Morgan Stanley and it was caddy-corner from a Thai restaurant that Kim and I liked to eat at (thus, this is how we knew – also a great Slovakian restaurant). Two miles in one direction, upscale houses getting close to Lake Washington a mile the other way, white collar office buildings and banks. Finally, further down the street: one of those malls that have Nordstrom and Crate and Barrel stores. I don’t think this controversial store made people not buy million dollar homes by the lake or not spend their cash on overpriced mall merchandise. You only noticed if you were sitting by a window in a Thai restaurant and said, ‘Hey Honey…this is really good Pad Thai, and is that a porn store over there? And is that your boss walking in (just joking)?’

Bellevue Square still attracts platinum credit cards….regardless of the adult bookstore down the street

But back to Johns Creek – I don’t want it there, and I don’t want it anywhere near my town. I don’t want it around any more than a busy liquor store, in my opinion. But I’ll deal. I just won’t spend my dollars around there, and we’ll see what happens. Or doesn’t.

Lets just hope they don’t move any of Demetrius’ therapy offices to a adjunct strip mall or office building!

Posted by Jerry in 14:32:07 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mr. Science, The Boss, The Foo Fighters and Car Insurance

This posting today is about me.

First, I noticed this morning in the garage that someone must have scraped the side of my car, at some point, a little dent and paint scraped off. I hate that. Hit and run in the parking garage or a parking lot I bet. Its not bad, but it is frustrating….anyway…we’ve all been there…all you can do is get in your car drive to work….

Which brings me to today’s posting.

I’m going to take you back to 1985. In that year, a few friends and me went to the Cotton Bowl to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. It was on my 50 things to do list I had at that time in my life (this list is much shorter and different today, not because I’ve achieved 37 of those things, but because I don’t want this pressure to achieve on me!) – it is something a 16/17 year-old would have on his list. So we are standing there in stadium, and we look around and realize that we are like, the only people around us that are under the age of thirty (now those fans are in their fifties)…and many of them have concert shirts – that don’t fit well (I remember one guy wearing one that said THE Asbury Park Concert ’79 and bragging about still being able to fit in it. I’m not small boned but that guy certainly had beer goggles on all the time when he wore this shirt).

I was on the second seat from the aisle, Jeff Wolpa was on the aisle, and Springsteen came out (the place erupts) and then Wolpa WIPES OUT and takes my right side and Dr. Pepper with him. A woman carrying beers down the aisle, realizing the concert was starting, tried to hurry to her seat and tripped and just launched. The guy behind (hurrying too), ate it right into Jeff. And he fell hard…as only people in their thirties do (you just stop landing softly when you fall at some point in your thirties). I mean it was like Twister Gone Wild.

The woman twisted her ankle, knee (I forget) and the guy just hobbled off. Jeff’s 16, he’s perfectly fine. She ended up giving me five bucks to buy another Dr. Pepper (really, we weren’t sneaking beer or anything). By giving up cash to a kid, this proves she was older than her twenties. She was classy. Back to the point – Springsteen plays long concerts. About an hour and a half later, she is gingerly coming back up the stairwell with her husband/boyfriend and basically says to Jeff “I can’t stand anymore, I hope I didn’t hurt you.” And left. We joked that this must be the point in life when you realize that you aren’t cool anymore…when you wipe out at a concert…except, this concert is nothing but people who wipe out (not teenagers, like at say, a U2 concert). Further, throughout the show, these older people sat down. What was that about?

We shot the shit about these older folks thinking they were cool and laughing at them on our way back home. (We probably also ate a bunch of high calorie, high cholesterol fast food right before bed and got up and repeated that first thing the next morning.)

This all came back to me driving to work this morning and hit way too close to home. I’m on my commute in and a song by the Foo Fighters, ‘Best of You’ comes on the radio, and I start singing along. Well, in stop and go traffic you kind of watch your neighbor to the left and right (why look where you are going at 10 miles an hour?) and I see a dude next to me that a) looks like what an 8th grade science teacher should look like, b) driving a Ford Taurus, c) wearing a short sleeved business shirt (you know, like pentacostal kids that knock on your door wear when they come to witness you), d) with very thick glasses – singing along with the Foo Fighters song too.

Wait a minute. He’s not cool like me.


He is me. Did one of the kids in his class, the one that taught him how to use his iPod, turn him onto this song…as a cruel joke? Mr. Science couldn’t like the Foo Fighters on his own…since Dave Grohl was in Nirvana like me…but wait! If he’s my age, then Nirvana was around in college for both of us. Oh God this is not happening! What’s the demographic of this station – ugh, post song they are interviewing the dean of students at UGA about on campus drinking, this is not a good sign that I’m their core audience. Crap – in the passenger seat is a briefcase, not a cool backpack…what’s that in the – OH JEEZ/THIS REALIZATION HURTS – MY TAPE PLAYER! …Toddler Sing Alongs Volume 1.

Didn’t I just donate to NPR a week or so ago?

Somehow, these thoughts all wander through in the course of seconds. Mr. Science is still singing, and is getting into it (I cuss him for probably knowing a lot about bunson burners and stuff and ruining my morning).

When I get into our elevators at work from the parking garage (which are mirrored)…I see…the husband of that woman at the concert. Or the guy that fell over the woman and almost killed my friend Jeff.

Of course, I started to think about whether to call the insurance company about the car ding…but what would that do to my insurance rates…

That’s what guys with briefcases think about, right?

I wonder if Mr. Science went to the Foo Fighters concert when they played The Gwinnet Center last year?

How much would it cost to get a babysitter to do that, I wonder. :-)

Hey it is what it is, I guess.

Posted by Jerry in 13:45:52 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Naked Kids and A Stinky Dog

A number of you reached out to us yesterday, offline, to offer us your thoughts and prayers in regards to Demetrius.  Thank you.

What a Tuesday…when I got home last night, the fam was just about to sit down and eat some dinner and talk about our day.

Demetrius sang a song from school, but I’m not sure of the words…not because of his speech issues…I’m 90% sure he wasn’t sure of the words, but that’s not important.  What’s important is that he was singing.

Maya told me that she played with clay at Ms. Heike and Emily’s house.  She told me it doesn’t go on the carpet.  That is very good to know.

Buddy had a vet appt. He got shots and acted as if he had been violated 16 ways to Sunday.  Maya told me he had ‘stinky toots’ from going to the vet.  This also, was very good to know.

Demetrius confirmed it with a one-word answer while eating noodles, “Stinky.”

One thing that did come up, unexpectedly, is that when Demetrius and Mommy went to get Maya at Emily’s house, the moms started chatting…and the kids all went upstairs and got naked.

We told the kids that they were too old for this, and they only take their clothes off in their rooms for baths and showers.  They were ‘too big’ to act like babies this way.

Of course, in about 12-13 years, they’ll be doing this again in college, but they don’t need to know this right now.

Posted by Jerry in 13:33:15 | Permalink | Comments (4)