Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I missed that, or was I just not paying attention?

As I’ve reported on this blog/facebook/twitter, Nonni and Grandpa were in for the weekend. Always a good time, and let me tell you, Maya’s got the tour guide bug.  She showed Nonni and Grandpa everything important in Lexington – Magee’s (out of longjohns though), our medicine cabinet (our old house didn’t have these!) and the scary rooms in the basement with the heater, etc….
Demetrius wanted to take them to Target. There are two here in Lexington, you know.

We also went to Movie Tavern, which Maya and Demetrius love.  Now, Movie Tavern was started by two dudes in Fort Worth, and there is one about 1.5 miles from my folks house in Arlington, but Maya doesn’t need to know that my folks know this place… because it is all new to her.  The movie we saw may have been the singularly worst kids movie I’ve ever seen (even worse that Night at the Smithsonian), Shorts.

But, after the movie, and seeing what Demetrius’ high school years will be like (he ate a burger {no bun}, fries, and pretty much a bucket of popcorn and asked for more) when he’ll have a hollow leg – Maya asked the question that was the theme of this very bad movie, what would you wish for with a wishing rock?  Nonni and Grandpa played along, but Mommy answered with, “Oh, I’m pretty sure that all of us would wish for the same thing, Maya.  But right now I wish that it won’t rain tonight.”  Even though I was driving, I saw Nonni and Grandpa shake their heads.  But me? I was confused. Or maybe I’m just slow. Or just half-ass paying attention.  So it took me a few minutes to ‘get it’.

It is a really weird place to be when you realize you can’t really picture what your kid would be like if he weren’t autistic.  And you catch a statement by your wife about it, and wishing it weren’t the case.  I mean, it was completely said with good nature, but still… this is really all we know.  Demetrius wouldn’t be Demetrius if he wasn’t autisic.  He’d be someone else.  Would I want that? I’ve probably at some point pined for it on some posting, or two, or three, on this blog.  But today, I don’t know.  This is my boy, right or wrong, good or bad, autie or neuro-typical.  I guess, at almost a decade, I can’t imagine him any other way.  Or I was just half-ass paying attention – which is often the case, I’m afraid…

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Photos For S&#(s and Giggles

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Saturday Change Of Plans

We decided this weekend that we’d turn Mommy loose for that antiquing day (you know, the one she didn’t get due to the fish) and the kids and I made big plans: breakfast out, walk around the the arboretum with Buddy, Chuck-E-Cheese…you know, big plans. Well, one down and two to go…maybe.

Once we got back from Magees Kim pointed out that the Volvo has a flat tire.

Great.  So I’m banging away at the keyboard while the kids moan about maybe not going to Chuck-E-Cheese as we wait for Triple A, and I tell them – its not you that suffers, it is Buddy not getting to go to the arboretum.  He’ll just have to do a regular around the neighborhood walk/bike ride.  Riding bikes? Not bad, but really, lets get down to it. We are still going to Chuck-E-Cheese, right?

Drive on that spare Dad, priorities. :-)

Posted by Jerry in 15:12:43 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Maybe I’m starting to get it?

I spent the past few days in Seattle; I attended a social media conference that a few years ago was fantastic.   This year, not so much.  I think the ‘what’s next’ for social media is unclear, and it is ill defined how to talk about the future.
It seemed most of the discussions were around the individual contributor and how he/she is impacting the Web in some sort of  ‘hyper’ format, and that impact was a wide ranging discussion from raising awareness of causes, to philanthropy, to trying to duplicate what I’ll call ‘virality’ of a the small Web site or personality.  I was hoping to hear and find best practices about what’s working to grow that awareness from a business point-of-view.  One of the viral discussion dived into a talk, literally, about how the numbers for a site jumped off the page when you record yourself farting naked on video.

Yea, this isn’t a strategy that we’ll be undertaking at the office.

So I think this proved a theory I’ve been swilling in my brain that we are at an inflection point that is moving beyond the emergence of social media. There really isn’t the fundamental need to listen to the self-made social media experts, regardless of genre anymore and how they are innovating – this is all now too well known and understood.  What’s now needed for the business community is a best practices on using these tools and applications to move all these small niche audiences.  The ‘how to’ is known but the measurement of moving the needle is less so, and can it be done holistically to improve aspects of a company’s brand or customer satisfaction?  A conference like that is where I now need to go to learn. The take away is I think, still, is I was lucky to be at this show to have this epiphany. You have to be in the moment to see the shift, don’t you? Of course, the shift is pretty clear when one of the presenters is discussing growing your passion about knitting online.

She has a huge following in a very small niche, and presenting in genres of knitting makes sense, but again, can she be juxtaposed with someone from a Fortune 1000 company using her strategy on a mass scale, and can that presenter match the knitter’s success? That’s what I was hoping to hear and discuss.

Ah well.  We have another show upcoming other employees are attending, maybe they’ll find a bit of what I’m seeking and report back on it.

While I was disappointed professionally, I was fulfilled personally, as I reconnected with a number of good friends from our years out in the Pacific Northwest.  I’ve seen these friends on and off over the past few years (as getting to Seattle is not an easy trip to regularly make) and I’ve met their kids, but most have not met mine (not since Demetrius was literally ‘months’ old), and none have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Maya.  Last night I had dinner and I watched their kids run and play, and I watched my friends’ ‘parent’.  What a hoot.  It was a dramatic shift for me as I have been around them a lot since their pride-and-joys have entered the world.  That said, you see which child works which parent, and the tone of voice that is subtly used with the apple of one’s eye.  It’s fun to see that I’m not the only one wrapped by their child.

Even though we stay in touch, it is hard for me not to fall to the frame of mind that we are all still 29 years old, taking on the world, enthused about what’s next, and drinking wine until 1am.  That’s when we left, just after we turned 30 and Kim was expecting Super D.  So when I see these friends, this is often where they are in my mind’s eye.  And I know better, but is still a juxtaposition when the 40 year old discussions take place, talking about job security and fulfillment, time management between work and family, concerns about public versus private education, etc…  These little worries do hide behind the smiles, chuckles and gentle barbs in the catching up conversations.

I wouldn’t say anyone isn’t happy or disillusioned.  It is just so obvious that the definition of happy is different.  Mostly, a job is a job, the literal and figurative big trips in life have been taken at some level, and the next ones for each of us, lets face it, involve the little voices and their discoveries – but right now that big discovery probably needs to get to bed or he/she’ll be really grumpy tomorrow.  So we need to wrap up by 9:30 because we’ll be up at 6am.  So much for discussions over claret and pinot noir at 1am, eh? Another inflection point, no?
So I laid in bed in my hotel room, feeling the red wine that I drank a sip or two too many of, lining up a week of inflection points, I’m perplexed about the maturation of social media professionally and soaking in the maturation of my life and my friends lives personally – all in the course of a week.

Heavy stuff, then I said, “What the hell Jerry, you have a 6am flight, be deep some other time.” So I turned off and thought about what a great friggin’ movie Inglorious Basterds was.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Re-Soccering

Over the past few years I hadn’t noticed how filled my weekends were with kid events until I lived without the fam for that extended period with the relo.  It kicked up again this weekend when Demetrius had his first ‘soccer get together’ (Maya’s starts on Tuesday night).  The soccer league D is playing in is a lot like the Miracle League he played baseball in a few years ago.  How this will play out remains to be seen as soccer is very different from the base paths, but we are giving it a go.
As is always the case with Super D, he is giving it the gallant effort we are asking of him, but he isn’t enthused.  Soccer was not something he enjoyed, he felt the pressure of both his teammates and the parents, and as Kim says so aptly, “Demetrius does not want any attention at all on him, if possible.”  His shy nature works against him here.

What we didn’t do with soccer in the past, that worked brilliantly with Miracle League, was to make each game a complete outing. We’d go to Miracle League, and then go to different ‘Demetrius friendly’ restaurants that he really liked afterwards.  Combining the experiences.  With 8am games for soccer on Saturday mornings (no cartoons, wake up and immediately insert him into a stressful situation) and then not be able to enjoy an experience afterward (either Maya has a game or the line to wait for breakfast at IHOP is :45 long at 9:15/9:30am) didn’t play well with him.  We’ll (Kim and I) will have to be better this time around. What this means is, post-game:
•    Take him to eat a tasty treat, post-game, at a location he enjoys with video games and food he likes/can eat
•    Celebrate practices with a trip to Sonic for a grape slushy afterwards
•    If waiting for a ‘Maya game’, let him watch a movie in the van (portable DVD player/min-van DVD player) and play some Nintendo DS
•    Maybe after a great game where he plays hard and pays attention…make a post-game trip to Target (this may be too much and become the ‘expected’)

Soccer is much more than just a game, a snack, and a juicebox for Demetrius.  The game is what he does to ‘earn’ the quarters for video games and the French fries.  He likes to know that he’s getting something he enjoys for doing something that’s stressful.  It is a total experience for him, and once he gets used to the games (his buddy, the cheering, etc…) he’ll have fun.

I hope. ☺

Posted by Jerry in 17:20:25 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, July 27, 2009

Outsmarted Again

Lets see – password set to keep D from endlessly watching movies on the DVD player, check.

Password set to lock the inputs, so Demetrius cannot change the TV to DVD player input, check.

Password set to lock the children’s stations he likes to watch (Cartoon Network, Nick, Disney, ABC Family), check.

Password set to keep from turning on the cable box on his own (just in case there is a movie on another station he would want to watch…), check.

Password set to keep Demetrius from ordering Insight On Demand movies….

Crap.

Saturday Demetrius ordered $37 worth of movies to watch. Ice Age, Ice Age 2, a number of SpongeBob and MightyB episodes….

He’s always one step ahead of me, isn’t he?

He’s gamed the password protection system, founds a small hole and drove a $37 truck through it.

Best Buy/Geeks Squad – if you want a password system cracker on your payroll. Hire my son.

Posted by Jerry in 21:40:26 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something I’ve Noticed

Lots of different benefits with Demetrius’ new diet – more engaged, more willing to start a conversation, more willing to tell you how he feels and what he likes and dislikes (there may be positives and negatives with that!).

One other thing I’ve noticed is how his palate has expanded.  Food he would not otherwise have tried is now willing to be eaten, simply because the overall choices are so limited.  He can only have french fries periodically – so he will now eat rice and baked potatoes, he’s eating more and different types of veggies beyond peas and broccoli, and he’s had braised ribs and hamburgers (on a tapioca bun – gluten free at Disney!) which he would have never had touched before if he could have gotten his hands on chicken fingers.

He’s also turned into that lean, mean fighting machine he once was, and his energy is up.

Now, to chase him all over Universal Studios today…..

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Three Bites

Demetrius and I stopped at Starbucks after the Lexington Children’s Theatre, and he ate this, in three bites.

Daddy: You really liked this!

Demetrius (cheeks full of cake): Yes I do, can we go now so I can play on the computer!?!

Absolutely, can I get my coffee first, though! :-)

Posted by Jerry in 21:57:12 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Things

Lexington is only six hours (approximately) from Atlanta, but I can tell you for a fact the weather pattern is completely different.  Today I chatted with Kim while at a friend’s house (realtors at ours) and she’s out on a deck, drinking frozen concoctions with Buddy at her feet.

It is about 60 degrees and rainy here.  It would be a better 60 and rainy if they were here of course – and I actually prefer 60 degrees and rainy to an Atlanta 80 and sunny.  But without Frick, Frack, Buddy and the Big Guy, well, it is not nearly as fun as it should be.

I saw the Soloist yesterday, and forgot about the Kentucky Derby.  My first year and I forget, even though I watched some of the ‘pre-TV’. Of course, this is the year a 50-to-1 wins. Go figure.

Reading the local paper I got the distinct feeling I was reading that the experience is very similar to that of Mardi Gras, intensely decorated hats instead of colored beads. 

Next weekend we couldn’t get more lucky for interesting things to go do in Lexington when the kiddos are up. Kim and Maya are going to head to the Kentucky Ballet to see Cinderella.  While Super D and me will be heading over to the Lexington Children’s Theatre to see little ol’ Jeremy Jacobs become a pirate!

We’ll then go out to PF Changs for dinner (Gluten-Free menu) and that is not a typical weekend for us.  So we’ll have to dress up (again) for a weekend get together. It might not be Keeneland, but it might be more enjoyable for the little ones.

Buddy will have the apt. to himself.  I’ll have to take him for a long run in the morning…..

Wolverine was okay (a two movie weekend), and Hugh Jackman is as close to a living character as one could get…till this kid played Gambit. He nailed it.

Posted by Jerry in 22:17:24 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keeneland

Well, it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be – not crowded, well behaved folks and the horses are beautiful, and man, ginormous.  We were a pretty family too, all dressed up to the nines…

Maya really liked watching the horses…and that was the problem. They only run once every 20 minutes, for one-and-a-half minutes, blazing past you…and then you wait. Not too cool for a kid.  So you have to play didj and the Nintendo DS in between, and the payoff, for one-and-a-half minutes, watch the horses speed by.

Would I go back?  Absolutely with Kim: sit around with some friends, people watch and maybe bet on a horse (I don’t like throwing my money away, so betting is probably not going to take with me).  But not bring my kids – it just isn’t the right place for a kid, and not for carnies or deadbeats, it just isn’t fun for them. 

So you better win at the track if you bet, because as long as it takes to race, you’ll pay the sitter through the nose.

Posted by Jerry in 02:25:17 | Permalink | Comments (1) »