Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Damn Hot

So Santa brought Maya a gift card from REI for XMAS. The note from Santa said that he knew she wanted a new bike, so she could take this card to REI to pick the bike she wanted and to get it fitted out.


So we went and she picked the bike I knew she’d pick.  She was on fire. Hopping around, all excited (well, we did go to REI after the American Girl store – so it was a super Maya shopping morning).  Just Daddy and his daughter.  

While the ‘bike dude’ (who fit the bill completely) was fitting out her bike. She was talking non-stop about the outfits she bought at the American Girl store. His mistake. He told her she could come back and watch while he worked on her wheels. 

He now knows that Marie (Maya’s American Girl doll, if you didn’t know) is a ‘just like me doll’ and that she really is alot like Julie.  And Marie has Julie’s bedroom set, which plays real records from when Mommy and Daddy were little kids, and Marie sleeps in the bed, but Maya’s not happy about her bed set being in the closet right now while Mommy and Daddy try to sell the house.  

The dude did his best, but I’m pretty sure he did not keep up.

Anyways, the kick stand he wanted to put on didn’t fit just right, so he had to get one outta the back. It would take about fifteen minutes.  So we wandered the store.  Like when we went through this exercise with Super D in February, we went to get into the tents. Maya liked this as much as her bro’ did.  A REI sales chick wandered up, and she had to either be high off of peyote, or she was actually trying to sell an individual sized tent to a seven year old who ain’t buying.

Maya: Mommy won’t sleep in a tent.  She only sleeps in hotels.  She doesn’t like bugs.

REI Chick: Well, this tent has great ventilation for air circulation (like Maya understood this…I barely understand this) without letting in any bugs, due to its tight, but very breathable screen system).

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it….

Now, say something completely inappropriate Maya!

Maya: Yea, Mommy won’t sleep outside. It’s too damn hot.

We have a winner.

And the chick wandered off. She knew she was outclassed.

Maya was so excited about the bike that she actually rode it out of the repair shop.  We actually caught her (me and Bike Repair Shop dude) around the time she started to get to the climbing gear. She thought the walking track around the store was a riding track.

Juice, and in December in a store, it isn’t too damn hot either.

I love her channeling her inner Kim.  And all of you who know Kim, can hear her saying every damn day that it is over 90 degrees in Atlanta, or Dallas, or soon to be Lexington….

I love ‘em both….
Posted by Jerry in 01:39:02 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not Really Either/Or; Right/Wrong; Maybe Just Which One?

When it comes time to write Santa letters and put together Christmas lists, I always worry a bit about Super D.  With Maya, I’m fairly certain she know exactly what she wants.  Since we talk about her birthday every other day year-round, we have a good gauge of it from a top ten list when we hit the stores in November for her birthday, and then the following month for Xmas.


With Demetrius, it more so tends to be what catches his eye at the time, and no matter how many times you ask him, “Are you sure that’s what you want?” You always get the answer ‘yes’.  And with about one out of every five gifts, he has no interest beyond ripping off the wrapping paper.  You try to force him to play with it, which, of course, defeats the purpose of a gift completely.


The model is following the same this year too – Maya needs a new bike, has said she wants one (though she wants more than just a bike) and this is what it will be.


Demetrius found an erector set in a toy catalog.  He’s pointed that out to Mommy. No doubt this is certainly something we would love to get him, it is right up the alley of a parent wanting an autistic child to build and conceptualize beyond building towers and squares with Legos (and Mommy likes it, she’s an architect by schooling).  But I really wonder if this is something he’ll want to play with.


I fully support our buying it (family members keep quiet about this please, don’t mention the toys to Demetrius), but he has repeatedly shown interest in handheld games – like a PSP or Leapster (I think he might be growing out of the latter at this point) and wonder if this is the direction we go…but at the same time we worry about the stemming it might bring on.  I try to realize that with the desktop computer and TV we’ve managed to block it so he can’t stem (I’ve had to sell a TV and he’s broken a number of DVD players but we’ve managed), but I know this is a concern with this specific type of gift.


It feels a bit like a ‘win-win’ or ‘lose-lose’ paradigm at this point.

I promise though, if I ask him to choose between the two…the erector set goes bye-bye off the list.





Posted by Jerry in 16:21:23 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Sister’s Touch

Get a robotic dinosaur from your aunt and uncle for Christmas…..but when you turn your back, your sister “American Girl-izes” it…

Only a little sister would put a pink shirt on such a scary robotic lizard….

Posted by Jerry in 21:25:51 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, January 4, 2008

Photos From Christmas Break

Demetrius found a lost/treasured pair of shades (Batman, of course), he told me to take a picture cuz he’s ‘cool’ in his glasses….

When we got to Kansas, it snowed about 4 inches. Nanny Joan set us up right… mittens, gloves, etc….you know, to play in and eat the snow (big time for us, I mean, come on…we are Georgia kids, we don’t get to play in snow ever here in the Southeast!)

While Maya ate the snow, Demetrius made a snow angel…..

Poppy, being a snow expert (unlike Mommy and Daddy) helped Maya and Demetrius build a snow fort (and then he proceeded to get the flu from being out in the snow! He’s out of the ‘grandpa with little kids’ game these days, but we whipped him back into shape!)

I am no photo expert, but I love this picture Kim took of Maya wandering in a field of snow, with the open Kansas plains in front of her…

Christmas morning, and the unwrapping of presents commences! (Demetrius’ tee shirt reads: Will trade sister for videogame….as he opens a new retro Atari Space Invaders video game….how ironic {note – we kept Maya and didn’t trade her in})

Brabec Family Chirstmas: Front Row – Kim, Rachel (Kim’s sister), Pam (Kim’s sister in-law); Second Row – Hannah (D/Maya cousin), Maya, Nanny Joan, Demetrius, Poppy, Nathan (D/Maya cousin); Back Row – Jerry, Cam (Kim’s brother in-law), Garrett (D/Maya cousin), J.C. (Kim’s brother)

Merry Christmas From The Grassos (Jerry, Kim, Maya and Demetrius)

Posted by Jerry in 15:20:24 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Funnies From Kansas

Right in the red dot, Greenleaf, KS – where the in-laws live and where the Grassos traveled…

We’ve spent about a week in Kansas at the in-laws. So good to get away, though I think the balmy temperatures in the mid-teens could have been just a degree or two higher. Nonetheless, my nephews are each two feet taller than when I last saw them, and my niece now is making eye contact with me…eye-to-eye (7th grader!). They grow em big in Kansas.

That said, two absolutely hilarious moments from the trip:

Originally, we were going rent a car, but the bro-in-law graciously provided an extra to the Grassos to tool around the town in. As it goes in such situations, there was an itty-bitty problem – that being the battery died.

Of course did it die in a parking lot or at my in-laws? No…it died in a stall at Sonic in Marysville, KS. We were through with lunch and the kids were eating their ice cream cones (in 18 degree weather) and the car wouldn’t start….and the temperature was dropping in the vehicle. So we call for a jump, the manager comes around with cables in her car…we pop the hood….and there is no battery. Kim looks, I look, the manager looks….no battery. How the hell does a 2001 Pontiac Bonneville not have a battery?

We call my father in-law and ask where the hell is the battery in the car? I can hear his tone of voice (city slickers, can’t friggin find the battery in the car!) and Kim is telling him, “Dad, I know what a battery looks like and I’m telling you there is no battery in this car!”

As they argue the kids are still sitting in the backseat, eating their cones. I open the door and I hear, “Daddy, close the door. I’m cold!”

As I read the owner’s manual I come to find out that the battery is actually under the passenger side rear seat. I have to take the seat out of the vehicle and then jump the car.

“Maya and Demetrius, you need to get out of the car, Daddy has to take the seat out.”

“No, I’m cold, I don’t want to get out. It’s cold outside!”

“Maya, I don’t want to argue, I need to take the seat out of the car to get to the battery, which starts the car. The battery is underneath your bum!”

“No, its cold, just start the car with the key!”

“Maya, I can’t. I know its cold. But it is only going to get colder if you don’t let me do this. AND, you should probably stop eating the ice cream, it is only making you colder.”

“I’m not getting out of the car and not eating my ice cream!”

So Maya yells at me as I’m trying to pull the seat out of the car about being cold, she’s freezing and that this is my fault for leaving the car running while we ate lunch (not the engine though).

The kids that work at Sonic are spooked because of the battery under the seat scenario….and come to find out, none of them have ever jumped a car before. So I’m coaching a number of 17 year olds (the manager had gone back inside) that this will be all okay….with the backseat of the car sitting next to some now frozen tater tots and Maya yelling about how cold she is…with vanilla ice cream all over her face.

It all works, we get the car going on the first jump and we climb back in the now warm car. Maya says to me, “Boy that sure was some good ice cream Daddy. I’m glad you got the car cozy warm for me!”

My hands are frozen, I’ve pulled out a seat of the car to find a battery in 18 degree weather, spooked a half dozen high school kids with this weird car design and taken it on the chin for it all from my six-year-old…which made me realize…..

Its official, I’m raising a princess. My fault the car wouldn’t start, my fault it is cold, and how dare I tell her to stop eating ice cream……and through all of it, she’s thankful that I got the car warm FOR HER….

Sigh. I’m in over my head with that one. I don’t think that’s the case with the boy (who, if we all remember, is autistic!), but I’m in over my head with Maya. Lord, give me more patience.


I mentioned my brother-in-laws two dogs? One’s a puppy. She’s adorable, but she’s got a bit of a stomach issue. So the whole brood is over and low and behold, my father in law lets out a belly roar….the dog pooped in his favorite pair of shoes.

I couldn’t stop laughing, but when I did he said to me, “That’s my favorite pair. I won’t wear those again.” All I kept thinking was, “No joke, and don’t they (dogs) tend to try to cover up an ‘interesting’ smell with their scent?”

How bad do those shoes smell now?  How bad did they smell to begin with? Foot odor and dog poop. Man, what a combination….

Maya said it best, “Poppy should get some shoes that Chloe (puppy) doesn’t like to poop in.”

I don’t think it is necessarily the shoes Maya…though when Demetrius found out about it all, he went and checked his shoes to make sure they were okay. You know, because he doesn’t like dog poop.

He doesn’t like dog poop in his shoes.

He doesn’t like dog poop in his shoes, like Poppy’s.

Chloe pooped in your shoes Poppy. Don’t wear them again. Okay?

Nothing like an autistic kid, speaking in Dr. Seuss-esque rhyme, to further piss you off about a ruined pair of shoes!

Good stuff.

Posted by Jerry in 00:17:24 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Southtown? No doubt, but we do get mid-40s sometimes…..

We have watched alot of Christmas shows over the past couple of weeks. Alot. My favorite is A Year Without Santa Claus, and funny, because of Heat Miser and Snow Miser….it has fast become one of Demetrius’ and Maya’s.

Down in Dixie, we just don’t get the snow the kids want….

That said, Demetrius was singing the ‘Heat Miser’ song yesterday and what did Maya said to me? Do we live in Southtown (fictional town in the show)? I said we lived in the south and she mentioned that she sure is glad that Santa decided to come to ‘Dixie’ again the year, because there were alot of toys she wanted and ‘needed’ to have.

Demetrius just wanted to make sure that Snow Miser might make it snow this year in Georgia.

No promises there kid that this guy will deliver for us in Atlanta….

Clearly, we are still full on in Christmas mode at Casa Grasso…

Posted by Jerry in 17:04:49 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Morn At The Grassos

Not Me….Not Anymore…..

I hear the heavy breathing and feet running down the hall.  Though I’m in that place between awake and sleep, I know exactly who it is, what it means, and what comes next:


“Go wake your sister up, don’t open any presents until everyone is downstairs, Demetrius.”

He runs into his sister’s room and repeats to her what he has said to me.  She literally doesn’t say anything.  She squeals loudly and I hear her feet hit the floor.

I stall for time for Kim and I to stumble out of bed and hit the bathrooms.


I know they will want to rip into the presents, and I also know that the last place they’ll look for their slippers will be in their closets (why would they be there?). This buys us enough time to find our glasses and empty our bladders.  We all go downstairs.  Let me re-state, Kim and I lumber downstairs….I’m pretty sure the wee-ones feet don’t actually touch the steps as they fly down.

Buddy meets me at the bottom of the stairs, I open the door and he goes out to explore his yard and take care of ‘his needs’.  

The stockings are off the mantle.  The two of them are sitting on the couch.  SpongeBob and Hello Kitty slippers bouncing up and down….legs are nowhere near long enough to reach the floor.

Kim grabs the camera, she looks at me and I smile.  She tells them, ”go ahead guys.”

Of course, the two of them turn their stockings upside down and dump everything out on the floor.  The easiest way to get to everything in them.  Candy comes tumbling out and bounces all over the carpet…shining in red and green aluminum foil.  

“WHHHHEEEEEGGGEEEAHHHHHHH” (This is a Demetrius autistic happy squeal).

His face is all balled up.  His number one requested gift, SpongeBob’s “Atlantis SquarePantis” DVD is being clutched and held closely to his chest.  Santa’s delivered!

Maya give a yelp as she sees her Hannah Montana CD for her ‘Hello Kitty Player’.  Of course, with Maya, she’s unwrapping chocolate and eating it. Why wait?  If you do, Mom and Dad might just limit the amount you can eat.  At this point, we are distracted by the Christmas moment.  So eat up!

We then hit the tree.  I think most everything they asked for is under the tree (or in the stockings).  We have to slow Demetrius down.  He’s not really paying attention to what he’s opening – he’s just looking for boxes with his name on them to tear open.  The damage is contained:  Demetrius didn’t open a single box with clothes inside.  What a fantastic morning for him.  Lucky kid.

Of course, Maya wanted every single gift she got, and is comparing her XXX to Emily’s YYY, etc…. for Maya, its as much about a story as the gift itself.  After awhile I just smile and nod.  She’s so excited she is just bursting with words….coming out of a mouth that is stained with chocolate.  She’s not really paying attention to what she’s saying and neither am I.

Kim’s getting a bit flummoxed.  No one is staying still long enough for her to get a good picture.  What does she expect?

Demetrius opens a gift from “Mommy and Daddy”.  It’s a ‘responsibility chart’, you know, to record chores and good deeds.  I don’t look at the love of my life because I know I’ll give away my thoughts with the look on my face, but in my head I’m thinking, “What the hell is this crap on Christmas?”  Demetrius just literally drops it once Kim tells him what it is.  Why let this ‘gift’ bring him down on such a wonderous morning? 

Maya, the ever competitive second child, looks at Kim and asks if she got one too.  Of course!  Did she really want one? Probably not. But she really wants to make sure she gets as much or about the same as her older brother.  I think to myself, “Guys, it said from Mom and Dad on it….but lets be clear, this is a Mommy gift, not a Daddy one.” 

Last thought on this subject that went through my head was that if I even knew about this gift, I would have gotten me, I mean, D, a Wii…on principle you know, to balance out the responsibility chart.

We move on and finish up.  Maya hits the chocolate again as we begin to unwrap the Mommy and Daddy gifts.  Who cares about those?  I got some sweaters. Booyah!  Kim made over her gifts.  She said she liked what I got her.  She didn’t ask for the gift receipts, that’s a good sign!  Wait! I proactively put them in her boxes.  I’ll just leave that one alone….


“Yes, Demetrius?”

“Can you help me….”

And so phase two began.  Every toy needed more batteries than we expected and took longer to put together than I thought.  I believe my parents give certain gifts to my children just to test my engineering acumen…knowing good and goddamn well that I was a history major in college.   From 7:45am – 10:00am I worked with the boy to change a Transformer toy from my parents from ‘robot state’ to ‘car state’. It has 36 unique movements to make this happen.  AND you have to look at instructions to do it.  As soon as I was done, and it actually drove as a car, he wanted me to change it back to the robot.

In my head I said, “Screw that boy!  From this point on it’s a car, and you’ll like it as a car, got it!”  What I actually said was, “Play with it as a car Demetrius, we’ll change it later.”

We began making and receiving the obligatory calls to/from family.  I don’t know why we do this on the 25th.  They try to talk to the kids and the kids have no want whatsoever to talk.  Talking is useless. They are hopped up on sugar and Santa.  They want to play, not talk.  

One poor family member actually wanted to talk to the boy, and I dutifully handed him the phone.  Demetrius looked at it.  He never spoke, he just put it down on the couch and walked over to the toys by the tree.  Family members understand.  They were kids once themselves.

Kim began sheperding the kids and toys down into the basement. Its 11:00.  How the hell did it get to be 11:00?  I shower and start cooking the bird.


“Yes Maya.”

“How come Santa didn’t bring you any presents.”

I panic for a second.  In my head I think, “Not yet Maya, not yet. You are only six…but way too smart sometimes.  Please don’t start to think too much.  Don’t think this through.  Daddy wants the magic for a few more years.” Then it just sort of comes to me in this nervous moment….

“Santa did Maya.”

“What did he bring you?”

“Maya, remember how I told you Daddy is kind of a Grinch about Christmas, and that he didn’t think it was a big deal before you and Demetrius were born?”


“Well, Santa brought me Christmas magic.  He brought me a happy heart.  There isn’t a present he could give me that would make me smile as much as watching you and your brother open your presents and being so happy to have new toys and a Hannah Montana guitar!  Santa was very good to Daddy this year because you kids were so excited and so good that you got what you wanted.  Seeing everyone smile so big is the best gift daddy could get.”

“Oh (I don’t know if she understands, I might need to dumb this down a bit).”

“So your heart grew three sizes too big?”


I can tell she’s processing and thinking of something very serious.  So I pick her up and sit her on my lap because, you know, we are having a moment.

“Next year you better write a list, Daddy.  So you can get something you want.  Like more bags for leaves.”

“What do you mean, Maya (I’m trying to read into this, but I’m a bit stumped.)?”

“Well, when you were mowing the lawn to pick up the leaves you ran out of bags and said, ‘Shit. I’m out of bags. I need bags.’ I was jumping on the trampoline, and thought you should ask Santa. Because you really like to mow the lawn.”

“Maya.  Remember next year and I’ll write a letter to Santa asking for leaf and grass bags, okay?”

“Okay Daddy.”

Christmas morning is for smiles, warm hearts, toys adults can’t figure out how to put together and tender moments….and curse words you shouldn’t be saying in front of your children being parroted back to you when you least expect them.

I hope you and yours had as good one as I had.

Posted by Jerry in 13:55:23 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays To All

If you haven’t seen this cool Santa tracker….well, you ain’t livin’!

I hope all of you have a happy holiday season.  I’m not going to be posting every day, but I’ll try to give updates on gifts and toothy smiles through family photos, etc….

This morning Demetrius was helping Mommy wrap gifts and Maya was talking about what a good girl she had been this year, so we’re getting good and stoked for tomorrow morning to see what Santa leaves under the tree for all of us.

Chat soon…

Merry Christmas from Jerry, Kim, Maya, Demetrius and Buddy

Buddy’s Had A Good Year In 2007

I have the greatest boy in the world

And these two keep my heart a-thumpin’…..

And no matter how hard the days are, the worries that keep us up at night…..I know that no matter what we do or how much we ham it up….

That I’m one lucky guy to have this crazy life

Posted by Jerry in 15:20:13 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Breakfast With Maya

It was a good effort, but not quite this FDA approved meal….

This morning when I got home from the gym, Maya had provided breakfast for me. On my plate was:

1- an unwrapped (still in plastic) piece of American Cheese
2 – Oatmeal in the Quaker Oats Cannister
3 – A cheese stick
4 – bowl of Apple Jacks (no milk)
5 – packet of hot chocolate mix (hint hint).

She had also gotten out the jar of vitamins.

Well, she had made a similar breakfast for Kim. We did eat around it (a bit). Minus the packet of cocoa and the oatmeal, Demetrius and Maya had yogurt with theirs..and there was nothing left to be seen on their plates (oh, and she gave both of them some grapes too).

But it was up to us to make her and Demetrius the hot cocoa, with marshmallows (which she had not gotten down), of course….

Earning those last minute points with Santa!

Of course, I went ahead and ate the oatmeal…

Posted by Jerry in 02:09:24 | Permalink | Comments (1) »