Thursday, August 20, 2009

In trouble cuz of the Fed Ex Lady

Yea, thought that headline might get your attention, for all the bad joke reasons. :-)

Kim tells me on the phone this morning that she was going to have a few hours of ‘Kim time today’ to explore Lexington before she’s got to go and get into car pool line to pick up the wee-ones.  As she pulls out, the FedEx lady pulls up.  Big box from Seattle. Perishable.  39 lbs of salmon. Kim tells her to leave it on the step. The lady tells her that this says its perishable, she can’t and Kim signs for it.

She opens it and finds the treausre.  Tens of lbs. of wild white king salmon.  Fileted in easily grillable filets? Of course not.  Large filets she must cut up and bag and freeze.

So long to the afternoon to yourself, Kim.  I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for universes to collide here, but irony in life can be funny.

At least Buddy is going to really, really, really love to be around you the next few hours.

Posted by Jerry in 18:54:41 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unaffected

As Grandpa so aptly put it on the phone yesterday, you could have cut the nervous energy in the house with a knife the past few days.
Why? Well, we started school this morning.  New school. New teachers. New kids.  New fears and concerns.

Maya, will any girls like me? Will I make friends? Will I be the lonliest child in the history of lonely children? (Yes, quite dramatic, but we are good at that.)

Kim, IEP, IEP, IEP…what do the teachers need to know that I haven’t told them? What if…fill in the blank.

Demetrius? Well nothing really from him.

Me? Shit, I just wanted to stay out of trouble with Kim and Maya, mostly. But I was nervous if it wasn’t going to go well, what the ‘spillage’ might look like with the Grassos and the school.

So I bought some special ice cream, cherry pie, and other comfort foods to help…but that’s enjoyed, and then the worrying sets back in.

This morning, after I ran the dog, Kim popped out of bed at 5:45, very determined and very worried.  Maya popped up not long thereafter, chatting non-stop. Nervous chatting.  Filling the quiet space, and quiet space allows concerns and worries to crop into it….

Demetrius came downstairs with a comic book, singing a song from Willy Wonka.
As we got ready to leave for school, Super D turned to me and said, “Daddy, you don’t need to come, I’m fine.”

Okay, to not ruffle feathers, I stayed home. Gave some kisses and hugs, and the van pulled out of the driveway.

Surprisingly, Kim was home soon after? They kicked her out already? ☺ No, in fact, when Demetrius got to his classroom he turned to his Mom and said, “Mom, you can go now. I am fine.” And waltzed right into 3rd grade.  Maya was a bit more complicated…a bit.

So that nervous energy has floated out of the house….

Hopefully not to return any time soon.

Hope your first days were as uneventful as ours.

BTW – had dinner at restaurant called AP Roots tonight, very tasty.  D had two plates of French fries, so clearly school did not affect his appetite….

Posted by Jerry in 02:10:11 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The High Dive

I took roughly a week off from blogging, tweeting (and during it a huge DDoS attack) and a smack of FBooking, but really man cannot live online. And if he does, well, he probably will live literally alone.

It is also the last few days of summer break for the kids, so we’ve gone for ice cream after work, wrestled some, took Buddy for walks…and I went to Boston for a few days for the job, which was warmer than Lexington (weird summer).  I enjoy that city.  There is nothing in particular about Boston I could tell you I love specifically, I just like the vibe from Copley Square, to Cambridge, to even out towards Framingham, etc…I just like it.  I’ll probably never live there (the only area of the country we have yet to live in is the Northeast), but I like to visit.  (Sorry Katherine Rooks!  Booked from sun up till sun down or I would have called and/or visited…)

One of the fun things I had not yet done in Lexington was go to the ‘Pirate Pool’ at Woodland Park.  We spent a few hours there on Sunday afternoon.  As we were wrapping up, Kim told the kids to go off the low diving board and do a dive.  But what fun is that? With Mom and Dad picking up towels and the like, why not head over to the high dive, which is much more fun!  And since one of us is literal, “Mom told me to do two more dives”…well, we walk to the edge of the board, put our hands together over our head, lean forward….

At this moment, Kim and I fall immediately into stereotypes.  Kim, covers her mouth and then yells, “Demetrius just jump!”  I stand up and say at the same time, like Rob Schneider in the Waterboy, “You can do it, D!”  Since our voices combine to make even more white noise at a public pool on a 90 degree day at a public pool, he dives in.  I kind of give the out of shape dad jump at him doing it, and Kim ages at least another year, immediately.  He swims over and gets a few high fives from Dad, and I shuffle him to his Momma Gorilla, cuz ain’t no way she’s going to let him jump again. Once was enough for her.

But not to be outdone is his always aware, always watching and listening little sister on the ladder behind him.  “Daddy, watch me!”

Now, one to thing to know about Maya.  Like many kids, rough and tumble about many things, and completely chicken about others.  Like her dad, Maya is completely scared of heights (and spiders).  She goes to the edge, hands over head…and she looks down.  That is a long way to go head first.  She looks up, gets a bit of a panicked look, and just jumps.  I meet her at the ladder on the side.

“Dad, I’m little, I got scared” (when we chicken out, sometimes the ‘I’m still little’ excuse card is played).  “Maya, how many other seven year olds are jumping off the high dive, do you think?” I ask.  “Some, but not many.”  “And how many are seven year old girls,” I follow up.  “A couple.”

She did the math, and became a bit more proud of herself…without taking another two years off the back end of her mother’s life.

—–

A few more humorous moments from the weekend.

We went to get Demetrius his soccer cleats for his US Soccer TOPS Soccer league.  I acutally didn’t get him cleats, we got him Puma indoor soccer shoes. This way he can run around and not eat it on the cement, etc…he didn’t like cleats when he wore them before, and I don’t see the need to actually get him a pair. But I did want to get him a ‘real pair’ of soccer shoes, so we went to the Soccer Center (store) here in Lexington.  We got a sweet pair of Pumas (see photo).   A couple of interesting exchanges.  I showed Maya a pair of Adidas Copa Mundials, which were my preferred cleat when I played growing up.  She looked at them compared to the models with different colors (in fact many aren’t even black and white anymore).

“Daddy, they are old fashioned, your old shoes.”

“Maya, I prefer to think of them as classics.”  This point of differentiation was lost on her.  Nor did she really care, as the ‘girl’ helping Demetrius was more interesting, as she plays soccer in college!  Wow!

Demetrius let her know she smelled like french fries. She was eating lunch when we came in and the store smelled like McDonalds.  I’m not sure she recognized it as the compliment it was meant to be.

And if that exchange wasn’t enough, as we drove away we called Nonni and Grandpa to talk about soccer shoes (Grandpa loves this, of course) and Daddy’s ‘old fashioneds’.  Just after we hung up, Demetrius wanted to know if I still had my old cleats ‘in my closet’.

“No Demetrius, I don’t.”

“So they don’t give you ouchies (blisters)?” (This is a big worry for Demetrius, the last pair did, big time.)

“No Demetrius I didn’t get ouchies because they fit right, you have to tell me if your new shoes hurt, okay?”

Maya: “D!  Daddy didn’t get ouchies when he was a boy. He played soccer alot. Anyway, he was skinny then so he ran faster.”

So after I almost hit the car in front of me….

About two hours later Demetrius and I are at Valvoline getting the oil changed in the min-van, and he’s watching Attack of the Clones on the DVD player.  When the technician cuts the power:

“Hey, what the hell are you doing!?!”

I think we need to cut back on the PG-13 movies…..

Folks, gotta go get ready for work.  Have a great Tuesday and see those new kicks we got Super D below….

Demetrius' Sweet New Kicks

Posted by Jerry in 11:58:34 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fun at Casa Grasso – 6:15am – 6:45am

So last night it stormed… loud clanging thunder, the kind that shakes the attic and makes you wait to see if the lights are gonna go out for a few seconds, or a few hours.

The kids have never really been through an extended thunderstorm like that. While Georgia can get intensely hot and rainy, it is not Texas, Kansas…or many other thunderclap prone state-like weather. And before Georgia, sunny-SoCal…so my kids are thunderstorm novices.

As Zeus roared, my kids…and Buddy…got nervous. First, Mommy is out in this (well, she was at the gym…and to little ones, we need to know where Mommy is during all crises) and the kids have….toys out in the mini-van, which may be struck by lightning!

So the kids race out to get their toys, we come back in, and settle into eating dinner, dessert, watching some TV, playing etc….but, something’s missing – where’s Buddy?

Oh no, is he out back? Nope

Oh no, did one of the children-z leave him in the basement?  Nope

Upstairs? Nope?

Well, he’s a scare-dy cat, so he wouldn’t wander off in a thunderstorm, nope, he’s not on the front step….where’s Buddy?

I again look for him, but he’s nowhere to be found, so as I go to shut the garage door, I see him in the minvan, panting, scared out of his coat.  When the kids got in the van to get their toys, he hopped in, when the kids got out, he didn’t. Poor guy.

So lets fast forward to 5am when I go to the gym.  Buddy is aching to go out, like every morning, but this morning, he’s got an upset tummy. Leaves me a present to clean up when I get back from the gym and taking him for a walk…right on Kim’s new rug. Lovely.

It’s 5:50am, so I take care of it, this isn’t my first pile of love I’ve cleaned up from a pet before. 

Afterwards, I chuckle to myself that Kim will never see it.  I did that good of a job….so I go and make coffee, putz around for another ten minutes or so, set the passwords on the television….and head up to get ready for the work day.

Kim sits up in bed, we chat, we talk about Buddy’s tummy and to be careful the rest of the day
(don’t leave him in the house for hours, etc…) and as I am getting in the shower I hear….
“Awwwwhhhhhh, Jerry!” I quickly am told that there was a second pile, and one that I didn’t see, that I stepped in…and that, well, I had been tracking through the house, you know, as I made coffee, went to the garage, into the family room, and ultimately, on to the new carpet we had laid down in the new house…exactly one week ago yesterday.

I played the get out of jail card that I had cleaned the other pile (and I had done it up to Kim’s exacting standards) and this pile was unseen in a dark room.  It worked, I wasn’t in…well….deep dog #*(!, but Kim was less than happy, if she got some coffee, I might just make it out of the house alive….

And I barely did, because was no longer focused just on me….

She was focused on the water dripping from our ceiling…yea, while she was cleaning the carpet of dog doo….she felt a splat of water from the ceiling underneath our bath tub….

Yea, good times.

Posted by Jerry in 20:09:50 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Fun Bus Ride

Kim was really chatty this afternoon, and I only had a few minutes to chat, but I could tell it was nervousness. I thought we might be getting an offer on the house, but that wasn’t it.

Demetrius rode a different bus to a friends house after school today, to play.  Now, I know for most of you, this isn’t a big deal, but Kim is a serious Momma Bear and she pretty much keeps an eye on Demetrius outside all the time.  Maya and Buddy may be running through the creek a block away.  But Demetrius is usually somewhere in Kim view (and when he is not, he climbs out on the roof through a window, so she has good reason to be this way).  It went fine.

But you know, you just know, that Kim was thinking about it constantly.   It is hard to watch them grow up, period, but with a special needs kid…the tug of being a helicopter parent is a bit stronger!

All that said, I can’t wait to talk to him about it tomorrow, because he’ll be here!  They are driving up tomorrow…I’m as excited right now as Kim was nervous earlier this afternoon! 

Posted by Jerry in 02:21:25 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost Somewhere In Georgia

When I started writing about this move up here in November, I never really thought – I mean, I knew there was a chance – that we’d see this thing go to the wire.  Seriously, with Kim’s unbelievable taste and design skills, I thought the house would be sold. 

That said, there is always positive in the negative, that being that the kids get to finish the year out at school with their teachers and friends, and no weird-feeling restart of just a month of school here in Lexington.  Of course, I don’t know how weird the summer will be without any friends in a new town in a new city…but still – they get to finish out the school year without any interruptions.

As I discussed a week or so ago, I wrote about how being with Super D is being with Super D.  He doesn’t talk on the phone.  And it has been a few weeks since I’ve seen him…so I feel like I’ve lost my muse. 

I try hard to engage him on the phone, and sometimes it comes, and sometimes it doesn’t.  I guess I’m understanding what it must be like to be a grandparent of Demetrius’ – you only see him so many times a year, and when you try to talk to him on the phone…you sometimes get rote comments from a little autistic boy wanting off the phone.

Good thing that Maya Marie will tell you all about her day, and her friend’s day, and what she thinks Mommy should be doing today….

Posted by Jerry in 01:59:17 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love and Marriage

Kim and I have nice conversations sometimes in odd places – like me on the couch sipping a cup of coffee here….she driving (with the Pink Bombshell) to get Demetrius from a sleepover in the drive through lane at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Kim: What’s that donut you love from Dunkin’ Donuts that you always get?

Jerry: The only donut I really like is the apple fritter, but only if they don’t stuff it with apple pie filling

Kim: No, the one you always get. Is it a coffee roll?

Jerry (irritated answer): That’s it, Kim. That’s the one. The one you have gotten me for the last five years when you go to Dunkin’ Donuts. You know, when you ask me, “What do you want?” and I answer, “An apple fritter.” And you come home with a coffee roll, for me. That’s the one that I clearly wanted. Just like in this case, the one that Maya wants is a coffee roll, which I always share, because I don’t like them that much, but she does. But I like an apple fritter, that you can’t seem to understand.

Kim (at the drive through window): Hi, can I get a coffee roll, toasted coconut and a coffee with soy milk….

Do you think she heard me at all?

And when will I actually learn that I like coffee rolls?

Posted by Jerry in 14:11:12 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Content Regarding IEPs And Such

This morning (Saturday), I drove to Danville, KY for a seminars on IEPs in the state of Kentucky. I would guess there were about thirty parents there, and a number of local educators.

I’ll be writing over the course of the weekend about it – while it is fresh in my mind. 

Now, as I’ve said before, I’m not the most compassionate guy in the world, and if I wasn’t new to the state, I’d have left with having listening to the whining and crying.  But eventually it died down and it turned to some good solid conversations.

However, I will start out on the personal side, and one of those things you realize while listening to stories and lectures that I often forget in my day-to-day life.

Kim and I are EXTREMELY LUCKY that we have a lifestyle that enables her to be so active and involved in Demetrius’ life. 

One woman at this meeting was talking about her husband who had to work today and couldn’t come to the seminar… and that she had to have the IEP for her kid scheduled at 7am in the morning, and it took about 3 IEPs to get through the content, because she’s carrying two jobs right now, and to be at work by 8:30 am.  One of the jobs she is carrying is giving her enough hours to qualify for health insurance, the other pays for therapies.  She just doesn’t have enough time to read everything she needs to read about autism, go online, and read everything the teachers send home.  She feels that she is letting her son down, not as in the loop as she needs to be, and she has to trust the school too much, etc…  Of course she cried.

Every time the discussion turned to ways to create templates for teachers, emails, special meetings or calling an IEP more than once a year to go over things, she would whimper and put her head down.

At one of the breaks I heard her say she came to the meeting to learn some things, but ultimately she’s learning she’s not doing enough, and she’s not involved enough.  The meeting probably was anything but helpful for her, rather, was fulfilling her worst fears.

So it got me thinking.

I guess, like anyone, I could view my life as being a bit unlucky – unlucky that I’ve got a special needs child that will grow to be a special needs adult – one I worry about in this economy and the future of being able to fully take care of in his life…create an environment that could lead to a comfortable and fulfilling life for him…that Maya’s life is at some level unlucky because she’ll probably have to take up the rope to an extent of caring for her brother after her mother and I are gone…

But instead, I should be viewing my life as lucky.  Lucky that Kim can stay home and go to the school if there is a problem, or not. That she can get to know the school faculty and administration… because she can spend a couple of hours running copies for them or working in the library, or help out in any other way they need.  Read everything, respond to everything, work with the teachers on…well, everything.  To help them and the boy have a better educational relationship and experience.

That ‘everything’ includes creating a template on his going to the library by himself to check out books, what steps he has to take to get a smiley face and continue with this activity that he takes such pride in.  In fact, I’ve heard, this actually has helped him curb his TV/movie talk – too much of it and he can’t go to the library. 

These things can be created and worked on when you have the time to focus and figure things out.  Great IEPs are written when you can interact with the teachers and feel like everyone has the same POV, or at least, everyone knows what everyone else’s POV is.  Individualized strategies and tactics can be tailored when you have the time that Kim has…and she throws herself into it.

We are lucky, because after this morning, I kind of feel like we have the whole enchilada, and is there anything in life where you can say that?  Especially when talking about an at risk autism child?

This mom I described above?  She’s probably dog tired every night, and does what she can before she drops into bed, to do it again the next morning – and she feels like it isn’t nearly enough.  Only she knows. I know Kim doesn’t feel she does enough, but I can’t imagine Kim’s guilt if she had to work two jobs and couldn’t be involved.

At 2:38 pm on a Saturday, she probably feels depressed after this morning’s session.

So today, on this Saturday afternoon as I type this, I’m feeling pretty lucky. I need to keep this perspective.

Posted by Jerry in 19:05:45 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When Things Change…

When you get booted out of a room so Maya and Mommy can watch 27 Dresses in a room together.

So here I am on blog.com, while Demetrius watches Willy Wonka in the next room…..

When did Maya start liking Katherine Heigl?

Posted by Jerry in 01:30:03 | Permalink | Comments Off

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time To Get Off The Phone

So I’m talking to Demetrius on the phone tonight, like usual, against his will.

He drops some comic books on the floor, and gives a TV talk statement:

What the hell just happened here?

I hear Kim say, “What did you just say?”

Demetrius again: What the hell just happened here?

Kim: “Where did you hear that Demetrius?”

Demetrius: “Hulk vs. Wolverine DVD.”

Kim: “Great. I better email your teachers….”

Daddy: “Uhhhh, I gotta go.”

Crap. That’s what I gave him for his birthday. From me.

I’m glad to be 398 miles from Atlanta at the moment……

Posted by Jerry in 02:01:27 | Permalink | Comments (1) »