Saturday, November 1, 2014

.Scary...

~"What I do is between me and the Lord, to examine and possibly alter the state of grace in which I live, and thereby the state of grace of anybody who listens." Townes Van Zandt


 We were driving to the Halloween/party store the other night..all six of us squeezed  together in one van. This has slowly been happening less and less.  As the kids get older,(and can stay home alone) this type of adventure becomes rarer..So I was enjoying all of us just being together..the boys and their long legs squished into the back (because that is where they have ALWAYS sat) and the girls in the roomier second row seats. Omar and I up front- listening to them talk to each other..having random bits of conversation..("Does Ebola have something to do with your elbows getting sick?")  mostly they were focused on Halloween..my favorite holiday.."When did Halloween start anyway?"..."I think it was in the year seven.." "That doesn't make sense!  Everyone would have been seven years old!  Seven years old people don't make up holidays..because they don't have anyone taking care of them and feeding them and they were mostly probably eaten." 

I just adore they way my youngest thinks.She has an opinion on EVERYTHING...usually delivered with great disdain..She is so very passionate, so full of ideas..opinions...AND, she saves them all for home as she is not comfortable speaking at school. Which sometimes works against her..

  She came home the other day just beside herself. A group had come to the school to bring disability awareness and sensitivity training. Only...they didn't seem to be very aware or sensitive.  At least not to my girl..I know of this group as they have come to our school every year we have lived in town..I'm not a huge fan. They talk about changing attitudes and bringing respect towards people with disabilities..but how do they do that? By having non disabled people discuss what disability is. That makes no sense. You can not talk about inclusion when you do not include the people you are talking about in the conversation.(reading aloud a story or stories about a disabled person is NOT inclusion) It sends the wrong message. Unfortunately, it was one my daughter heard loud and clear.
   
 Imagine hearing an adult-an advocate-a sensitivity trainer-discussing a part of you..that  very real part that impacts everything that you do,..just imagine hearing this advocate discuss with another child that they hoped that a cure would be found for this part of you,....that your kind of brain didn't grow right..imagine hearing that at eight years old....As my daughter later wrote "It was shocking. I thought it was true.I got teary eyed...it made me feel different..but not in a good way."

  We are so weird about discussing disability. We talk around it..Pretend that there really isn't much of a difference between abled and disabled. Pat ourselves on the back for being so open minded and inclusive.  But really-are we?  Inclusion isn't declaring the "popular "can get a date with anyone" boy or girl"- a hero for asking a disabled kid to the dance, inclusion isn't cheering extra loud when an autistic boy makes a basket in a regular basketball game, inclusion isn't purposely sitting next to a person at lunch because they are disabled. No, these gestures, as well intended as they may be, are isolating.  They are a direct reflection of how disability and disabled people are viewed. Less then, incapable, one size fits all.
No amount of advocacy, or sensitivity training is going to change that until we include the disabled community in the conversation. That is the perspective we should be listening to. 

  My youngest had a bumpy week...luckily it ended on Halloween. My little town does an amazing job of it..closing off streets so kids can trick or treat safely, homeowners going all out with decorations and costumes, local businesses giving away hot drinks and treats..the senior center has a haunted house (and it is scary!)..all of this kind of restores your faith in the world..keeps you hoping that maybe things CAN change...My kids are quickly growing older,,they are moving forward...I need to believe that the world will move along with them..

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sleepless, Sleeping, and Sleepy in Maine..

~"If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious."~ Douglas Adams






     
 I am very thankful for Friday this week.  I was talking with a friend this morning, and I remarked that being thankful for Friday now is so different from being thankful twenty years ago..funny how kids change everything. Twenty years ago, the weekend meant the end of the work week-now, it simply means that my schedule has changed. 

Monday through Friday mornings all start out the same.  My alarm goes off, I shuffle in a zombiesque fashion  to the coffee maker (hoping that I remembered to set the timer on it -and actually filled it, so that it is brewed and ready for me.) Coffee in hand, I feed the dog, check the weather, check to see if there are any school delays or closings, and then park myself in a chair and stare at nothing for the next thirty or so minutes. By the time I have had at least two cups..I am ready to start our morning schedule. Schedules are big at chez herd-especially in the morning. For if something is not done exactly to standard-if the routine is even slightly altered-there will be some form of hell to pay later. This actually applies more to the girls than the boys.

Sam and Oscar are easy to wake up. I go in to their room, I say "Boys, it's time to get up."..and they do.  Sure, they may groan a little-Oscar has lately started growling a bit..But, I take this all in stride.Both of them are growing like weeds-and they don't seem to be stopping any time soon..so, sleep is important to them. Which is funny considering that neither of them were able to sleep for much of their first four years or so of life. Oscar especially. Back then I didn't have the luxury of waking up and drinking coffee alone. I was always awake..or at least mostly awake. My coffee maker(s) (I went through many) was always on. Omar and I used to try and sleep in shifts-hardly ever at the same time.  He worked late afternoon until early morning..So, I would sleep when he came home-from about four until six..unless of course the boys were both awake...and then, we would..I guess, just deal with it together..Honestly, the memory has become kind of hazy over time.  I do however, remember thinking that I would sell my soul or an organ..or really, anything just for eight consecutive hours of deep uninterrupted sleep..I also remember thinking that my boys were never ever going to be able to...that this was our life-forever. (We did this for six and a half years.)  I think that it was the closest that I ever came to breaking-fully and completely. My boys needed so much back then-and I was doing my best..but-(as I think most parents feel at one time or another)my best could have been better. Would have, should have, could have..sometimes that's the mantra drumming away in my head. Some days it is louder than others..I wonder if I could have done more for them if I had been getting a full nights sleep-instead of just doing the best that I could with my very limited...everything. Yes, I believe that I am a good mother-but the reality of that time will always sting. That is my truth.

  Now, getting the boys up in the morning is joyful and easy-even with the groans and growls.  The girls however, are another story. With them-I start with an alarm clock.  I learned very early on that simply walking in and nicely suggesting they wake up, was perilous to my health.  They are mean.  The alarm clock serves as an initial wake up..they actually have to move to turn it off...which in turn wakes them just enough as to not bite my head off when I come in. This is important because the next step in the wake up process requires powerful oratory skill...and patience.  "Lil..it's time to wake up" I say quite cheerfully-yet calmly.."WHY?!" she replies in a demonic voice.."Because it's a school day.".."SO." .."Well honey, you have to get up so you won't miss your bus.".."I DON'T CARE." "But I do!" I chirp.."I have lots of things to do today..and you wouldn't want to come with me..and I can't leave you by yourself.." After a few more "why's" and "So's" on her part, she eventually comes around..turning into the cheerful girl that I know... Then, it is Zoe's turn.. Thankfully, by this time, I am fully awake and performing at peak capacity. Before I can even say her name.."I AM NOT GOING." "Come on Zo..you have to get up."
                                                               "NO."
"I have a lot of things to do today, and I know you don't want to come with me." Same line I use with Lily..except Zoe has figured it out. She KNOWS that there is a good chance that I am lying stretching the truth-AND with the sharpness of a C.I.A. interrogator she will ask "What things do you have to do?".. I have to think fast..because she requires an actual list-one that she will question-AND if it my answers are not to her satisfaction-she will call me on it.   Some days I just let her stay home. I admit-I don't always have the energy to fight her-especially when we go through this day after day. Most of the time though-she really needs the break. My quiet (at school) girl is easily overwhelmed by everything..only, she has a poker face at school. It is very rare if she lets anyone know that she's having a hard time.  Until she gets home-when, everything she has dealt with comes roaring out..  She has support at school! She has many things in place for when she feels like it is all too much.  Getting her to always utilize these services is our biggest hurdle.  We are working on it. For now though-letting her take these personal days is a tiny concession.  She deals with so much- that letting her have control over this one thing is something I have no problem giving her.

This whole waking up routine seems to be getting harder as the year progresses.  So much so that I am actually considering getting a nanny for myself.  You know, someone to make me coffee, make sure my hair is brushed before I go out..all the things a regular nanny does-only for an adult woman. I'll have to look in to it. I'm just glad that it is finally Friday..and that I can sleep in tomorrow.  As difficult as things can seem right now, they are so much better than they were ten years ago..It makes me hopeful for what another ten years can bring.   

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Service..


~"Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing."~ Oscar Wilde








   Last night was parent teacher conference night for three of the herd. These things make me so anxious! It isn't that I don't want to meet with teachers..I mean, they spend more time with my kids then I do..So, you would think that I would be just raring to go. Which I am-kind of..but on the other hand-there is still a part of me that feels just ridiculous..Like I am some kind of impostor. As if any minute I am going to be called out "Who is this person pretending to be an adult?"  *sigh* Sometimes... I have a hard time taking my "self" seriously. Unless of course, we are "discussing" my kids..

 This past month we have had all of the herd re-evaluated (privately) for occupational therapy and physical therapy. I try and have this testing done by non school professionals-because I think that it can prevent bias.  I mean that in a positive way.  They don't know my kids-so their knowledge of them won't color their observations..or at least it shouldn't. Oh me of stupid faith!  The girls worked with one occupational therapist-who evaluated them, and wrote up the results in a professional non biased way.  The boys?  They worked with someone else. Someone who I believe-thinks they are..perhaps the autism whisperer? Lord save me from the "experts."  Sure, we got the results of the testing-but we also got little nuggets of speculation..pearls of wisdom that she felt confident in giving-because, she had spent at most an entire forty-five minutes with my sons-with absolutely no input other than what was needed to provide an occupational therapy evaluation.

 Yes, she felt comfortable suggesting a social group for one boy because he apparently had "no feelings of self worth."  and that he had "difficulty with humor"-although he was "tolerant" of the examiners attempts to make him laugh." It couldn't possibly be that she just wasn't funny..or maybe he wasn't comfortable in  talking about personal things with a stranger could it?  Of course not!  My other son has"difficulty sitting still and on occasion reverts to physical aggression when overwhelmed." What?!  How did she come to that conclusion?! No one said anything about aggression!  As if I'd leave a 5'7" 167 pound young man alone with her if he were "aggressive!" .AND after the testing while he was waiting to be picked up-he paced "Who knows what would have happened if the parent didn't return when they did."(he would have continued pacing) I was also informed that he had "a difficult time understanding the difference between reality and fiction"..But not to worry! They had "a discussion about safety and the difference between an idea and reality"  Holy crap!  How he ever got to be thirteen years old without jumping off of a building or trying to blow up a roadrunner-without her guidance-I'll never know!  Oh Thank you! Thank you occupational therapist/psychology wannabe! I think I feel another "Chicken Soup for the Soul story coming on..perhaps for "know it alls Angels among us."? 

  Of course, I called to ask her exactly when she had begun smoking crack. 

  Well, no..I simply asked her "Whose evaluation reports are these? As I have absolutely no idea who these people are." She was not pleased with my query. Could not understand why I thought her input was inappropriate. "Was my son aggressive towards you?" "No." "Did my son say that he did not like himself?" "No."  I asked her what EXACTLY she had based her speculations on-as it was obvious that she had absolutely no idea of the reality of my two boys. That what she had written was a fictional account based on absolutely no input from either my boys or their parents. She really couldn't answer. I informed her that I would be unable to use her evaluations as they presented both of my sons as being other than who they are-and her that her "observations" based on god only knows what- had no place in a professional evaluation. I strongly suggested  that perhaps she might consider rewriting them and omitting the extraneous psychobabble. For some reason she seemed put out.  Maybe she struggles with "self worth"?  If so, I do know a number of social groups she could join. 

  Sometimes it just feels like you simply can not win when it comes to getting services for your kids. It appears as if you are either asking for too much,or you are delusional and unable to see the "reality" of your child's diagnosis. I can't tell you how many nights that I have tossed and turned-questioning myself.   "Am I not seeing something?""Am I imagining too much?? "Am I blinded by hope?"..and the worst-"Am I too emotional." Because unfortunately, passion, intensity and the absolutely all encompassing love that you have for your kids-can be interpreted as irrational..it's a catch-22, a double edged sword..and it wears you down and wears you out. Sometimes, I just want to stay home-where everyone and everything is our wonderful normal..But I can't.  The outside world calls. Like it or not-I have to go.  Last night it was for parent/teacher conferences..so I went..  

 I didn't get to touch base with everyone that I wanted to-three kids, too many teachers..But, I saw enough of them to mostly get a handle on how they are all doing. It was a pleasant evening..everything went smoothly...and THANKFULLY, I didn't walk around with coffee stains-in horrible places (that I didn't notice until later) on my shirt..or toilet paper on my shoe...or even worse..underwear coming out of the bottom of my pants.  (Yes, this did happen once. It was clean underwear. That is all I will say about that.) But the nicest most glorious part of the evening were the random comments..the casual stories "Hey, Sam is so funny..the other day he..." and the "I love your (Oscar) boy..you know what he did..." and "Lily is such a good girl..she really cares about doing well." They absolutely made my night. Definitely made wearing my "adult" disguise a bit more comfortable..   

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In defense of mothers...(and fathers)

~"But I know sometimes I must get out in the light
Better leave her behind with the kids, they're alright
The kids are alright"~ Pete Townsend







I ran out to run some errands today and I left the kids home. I left them home. Do you understand?  I went out-ALONE. I said "I'm going to the store!"..and with a chorus of "Bye Mama"  and "We need cheezits! and Oreos! and lemonade!"..and.. I slid into the seat of my stylish mini van..put the keys into the ignition..turned on the radio..and escaped left.  It was that easy. Oh what joy!  What wonder! What freedom at being able to turn the radio to my choice of music..and AND play it as loud as I liked!  Go figure..I had always thought that I would be a "cool mom"..you know, the kind that let their kids actually listen to music in the car.  My mother had always refused. "It distracts the driver!" she would say..and In my teen angst rebellion I'd reply.."When I have kids-I will always let them listen to the radio-as loud as they want!" Oh yeah-I told her!..Now, here I am..the coolest of the cool moms-and my kids prefer the radio off..they prefer the sound of their own arguing over the dulcimer tones of Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones...Although..there have been a couple of times when Sam has joined me-singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of our lungs as we tool down the road. . So I can't complain too much..

  Anyway..there I was, in my stylish mini van..singing along with Van Morrison..off to the the great adventure of supermarket shopping. Any stay at home parent knows this joy. That heady feeling of perusing produce..I didn't have to pick up just any bunch of banana's! No! In my childless state..I fondled those banana's..picking the best of the best..I even partook of a free sample! Of what?  I don't know!..it was free!  AND I didn't have to ask anyone if they wanted to try it..even though I knew that they wouldn't eat it..but they would insist..and then invariably one adventurous kid would put it in their mouth, chew it up, and  immediately spit it out (into a napkin) and hand it to me..because  being the"holder of the soggy napkin" ( and any other wet soggy thing)  somehow became my job. But not today! No, I was free to roam the aisles as I pleased..pushing the cart without "help"..I think I might have even been skipping..until I heard it. That noise that even today-stops me in my tracks-flee or fight? 


 It was the sound of a child freaking out..losing it...melting down. It was coming from the next aisle. So I went there. There was a woman-mother? Grandmother? Caretaker?  I don't know..but there she was on the floor..next to a little one who was absolutely losing it..there was nothing she could do but wait it out....I made eye contact with her..a kind of a "are you o.k.? do you need any help?" kind of unspoken gesture..She shook her head, and I left her..Of course I could hear the muttering of other people..I could see the eye rolling..sense the thoughts  "What a spoiled brat!"..or "My kids would never.."  You know, the general smugness of the self righteous.

Over the past couple of weeks, two stories have appeared on my feed on Facebook. This and this. .  Both describe the story tellers as wonderful-gods even!  Of course we only get the perspective of the storytellers.  One man went into a Burger King and bought out all of their apple pies to "teach a "bratty" child and his "inattentive" mother a lesson...In the other story, a drunk guy thinks it is a RIOT to fart in the face of another "bratty" boy. And all over the internet-and in the comments, they are hailed as heroes..champions,,.and just oh so funny. They certainly put "those" mothers in their place-oh boy they told "them" Didn't they? The kudos-the glee..It made me sick.  Because the reality...the truth of the matter is.  These men behaved like vile assholes...disgusting mean bullies..Had this happened to me..happened to one of my kids..I would have been broken-smashed, crumbled- because it would have hurt my child even worse..

                                    and the world would have applauded.

It wasn't too long ago when I was that mother..sitting in a store aisle with a kid who couldn't be consoled...Little Bear toothpaste.  Oh how I loathe it.  even today..just the name causes me to shudder a little. I was in the store with a little one..and he wanted that toothpaste..I don't know why he wanted it..don't know where he saw it..until that moment, I didn't even know it existed..There we were..me and my boy. My screaming boy..and all I that could do was sit there-wait it out-keep him safe..I'm sure that we got looks..glares even.. And really-I probably looked unfazed..maybe uncaring..distracted..when in truth I was numb. This was not the first time this had happened-and it wouldn't be the last. Believe me-if the store had carried Little Bear toothpaste-I would have handed it to him gladly..I would have given him a carton-a cornucopia-a plethora-a truckload! if only to get him to stop. Please-stop. .But it wasn't about the toothpaste-not really.  It was about the lights and the noise and the smells-the everything..and he was holding on as hard as he could-and if it meant screaming "Little Bear Toothpaste" over and over..so be it..because I was holding on too..Because we had not slept more than two hours consecutively in the past four years..(I would have sold my soul for one full nights sleep at the time) and he couldn't really talk..and every sight and sound and smell HURT HIM..screaming was all that he could do... and I had to get milk. 

At the time, I really didn't care what anyone thought...or really-notice. But now, years later, standing alone in the grocery store-one aisle away from someone who could have been me- I do. I don't know what any of those women"s stories are-including the woman I saw today.  What I do know is that it doesn't matter.It is not my place to judge.  The only thing that I can do is have compassion. Oh If only that were applauded, The world in which I will soon be watching my children venture out in, would be a better place. 

I am slowly building up the length of time that I can leave the kids alone at home-so, I didn't spend as much time at the grocery store that I wanted to. I'm still getting used to the idea of leaving them at all. It is a wonderful thing.  I came home today with some beautiful bananas..the house was still standing and the kids were alright..
    

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Whelmed

 ~"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."~ W. Somerset Maugham












 It has been one of  those weeks..I am simply whelmed..neither over or under-I just am. Standing in a place where nothing more or less could happen that could possibly phase me.
I don't know what happened-only that everything happened at once..well, maybe that's too broad a statement. I should try that again...It was one of those weeks..where things were topsy-turvey..but, as I look back..maybe I shouldn't be surprised by the weird chain of events that has caused my general feeling of being whelmed..it all started..

  Last Friday, I was in the kitchen (where I seem to spend most of my time) getting ready to make dinner for the kids. In walks Oscar. So far-so good... All of my kids are constantly in and out of the kitchen-mostly asking the same two questions "What's for dinner?" and "Can I have a snack?" Now, I am used to being asked these same two questions at least thirty times a day-sometimes by only one child in the span of ten minutes.I think that on those days in particular, their repetitive asking of the same question is based on the concept of "refrigerator magic".  We all know what that is..You open the fridge looking for something good-only you can't seem to find it-five minutes (or less) later, you find yourself in the same exact spot-staring into the fridge  just to check and see if that "something good" has magically appeared...wash, rinse, repeat repeat, repeat..    Like I said-I am used to these interruptions.  but nothing could have prepared me for what happened last Friday...I was preparing dinner when Oscar walked in...he walked in carrying a binder and a folder...a binder and a folder with school work in it. School work. Oscar. Together. 
                      "I need someplace quiet."
                      "Huh?"
                      "I need it quiet so I can study."
                      "You...what?"
                      "I have a Spanish test next week and I have to study."
                      "Who are you and where have you taken my son?"
                       "I'm Oscar!!!"
                       "But...???"
  
It was a magical seven minutes. Seven minutes where I just...stood there-rooted in place..I'm not even sure if I was even breathing. Had I somehow fallen into a different reality? Are unicorns prancing in my yard? Have elves magically cleaned my bathrooms? Never-not once-ever has Oscar chosen to study-much less do homework..nor has he suggested doing either..Not without prompting..FIRM prompting..firm prompting and perhaps dire threats of lost desserts and maybe even computer privileges. In other words-this has never happened. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that the rest of my world followed suit...

 Monday started with an early morning meeting for one of my children. It was a productive meeting! We were all on the same page! We all agreed on the various supports needed. It was almost....*gasp*..EASY. But then...I went home and found out that we had run out of oil. (no oil-no hot water) The oil company I have used for nine years-decided that even though I had a thirty dollar credit with their company..I had been late with one payment a few months past-so, they were not going to deliver oil anymore..unless we paid cash up front. In the midst of my rather strong telephone discussion with my former oil company-my husband was texting me-asking for info to give to the new and much friendlier and nicer oil company we are now patrons of. At the same time,I had a friend texting me information about services for one of my kids..then the school beeped in.  One of my children had not one but two mini freak-outs at school.  which on one hand I felt awful for her-but on the other I thought "FINALLY! She's letting them know how she is feeling instead of saving it all up for home!" I had to go and pick her up. BUT-my new oil company was sending a truck over to fill my tank and start my boiler. What to do what to do! So I ran out the door...and as I pulled into the road, the oil truck arrived. Of course it did.   I told the gentleman that I HAD to go get my girl...and he was happy to wait for me! In the five minutes I was gone..my oil tank was filled, and I received a phone message from school about a different kid...So, while the gentleman was making sure my boiler would start, I called back the school while holding the   girl that I had just picked up and was now hanging on to me like Velcro.. I could not get a hold of the person who had called me-so I left a message.-and put down the phone...somewhere..And then- the oil man finished..and the phone rang..but I couldn't answer it because I couldn't find it...of course, then my cell phone rings....but I could not get to it in time because I was carrying my daughter-and letting the oil man out...Just in time for the school bus-The kids rushed in and of course the phone that I couldn't find started ringing again..AND
                             It was only three o'clock and it was only Monday. 

 I could go on about the frantic search for the phone..(I did eventually find it-and lose it again). I could tell you about my cell phone dying..and about losing a pair of pants.(not the ones I was wearing) How does a person lose a pair of pants that they were just folding? I could rant about the dinner I burned while trying to fix the computer..and about the other thirty phone calls I received-some of which I was actually able to answer! I really could go on..Instead..I'd rather wallow in the fact that as chaotic as things were this week-everything turned out the way it was supposed to. How rare and wonderful is that? 

It has been a week since Oscar performed the miraculous in my kitchen. A week that was filled with all kinds of obstacles that seemingly-almost like magic-worked themselves out.As hectic as things were, I really have nothing to complain about.  Although today, when Oscar came home from school, I asked him if he had any studying to do.He just looked at me with..scorn? "It's Friday. I don't do school work on Friday."  Crap...it looks as though things are back to normal...   I was kind of hoping that the elves would stop by and clean my bathroom...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My new pal Yogibo...

 I get a lot of interesting requests as a blogger...especially when it comes to autism.  Mostly- they are reasonable..i.e. someone asks me to read a book, take part in a survey..asks my opinion on something.  I don't mind doing these things-if I have the time.  Sometimes I will help out even if I don't.  It just takes me longer to get around to them. I do have the best of intentions when I agree to do something.  Life however has a habit of getting in the way. I have at least five different books just waiting to be reviewed, a piece on parents and IEP's that I committed myself to writing as part of a state funded project..plus four kids, three cats, a dog, two chickens and a sexy husband that like having my attention. I am trying not to spread myself to thin.So, I decided that I was going to stop doing the extra bits..take a little down time..step away from the extracurricular...but then I got a request....

Last week, I received an email from a nice man named Michael. He was writing from the marketing dept. of Yogibo.  He asked if I had ever used Yogibo beanbags to help anyone on the spectrum. Furthermore, he would be happy to select one for me to review.
So, I visited the site...and there went my conviction of not doing anything extra! These aren't ordinary run of the mill bean bags. They are pretty-inviting...honestly?  They looked to good to be true. I mean, my kids have always loved bean bags. loved them so much that *sigh* we would always wind up with deflated sacks and beans EVERYWHERE.  So..as he was offering to send me one for free (convictions can be bought) I thought "Why not"..and "Wow-the kids will love this." and...FREE!"  The thing of it is though-I will be honest. I am not going to write a glowing review just because I'm getting something for free. That wouldn't be right. So, I put him to the test.  I said "Surprise me." I said that "parents will contact you asking for your input-wanting to know what might be the best product they should choose.I want to go through this from ordering to delivery and beyond." He agreed.  I described my kids, gave him my address...and here is what happened..


Two days later-this was at my door. My dog wasn't impressed



Sam pulled it out of the box


It was very easy to unpack

Oscar immediately fell on top of it

And started rolling around

Everyone else joined in.  They LOVED how it felt.

Lily liked how it hugged her body

Sam said it was a great place to take a nap


Zoe loved jumping on it


She also loved leaning into it


AND it is big enough for both girls to share

For the past three days, it has been dragged, pulled, jumped on, rolled on, twisted, bent, piled on...you name it-my kids have done it. My children have destroyed couches in less time than that.  But this?  It has held up.  it remains a cozy soft place for them to land when they need it. I highly recommend it.  especially if you have kids like mine. 

Now for the nitty gritty-We got the Yogi Max  which retails for 229.00.  I know that this is expensive to many people. I look at it this way.  I have bought many bean bags for thirty to forty dollars-only to have them fall apart within hours.  The yogi max is durable and incredibly comfortable.  If you or your kids are sensory seekers-or over loaded, this is a really wonderful option.  Check out their site.  there are other options/ sizes available. This is a lovely bean bag-and my kids are really happy to have it.  As an added bonus-if you add "Herd" to the coupon code-you will get a discount!  How cool is that?



I should mention-it also comes with a big box.  Which to some of my kids is almost as good as the bean bag..almost-but not quite.







Saturday, September 13, 2014

Same garbage (truck) different day...


~"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due."~William Ralph Inge







       
  Now and then I worry...well probably more than that.. Alright-I obsessively worry-about my kids futures.and my chickens and cats..the mortgage..insurance..my..*sigh* garbage company-I am not kidding!  I admit that I am a champion worrier-the queen of fretting-the empress of uncertainty!..if only there were awards or monetary compensation for it-I'd be buried under piles of trophies and money..But, as that isn't the case..  

 We have had the same garbage removal company for nine years. Very slowly-but surely-their price for garbage removal has gone up.  So much so that I was either going to have to sell a body part to pay for it-or move into our dumpster as a way of consolidating living costs. So, I did the responsible adult thing and researched other trash removal companies.  That's smart-right?  I even found one that offered twice the removal for half of what I was paying now. Two for less than the cost of one! You would think it would be a no brainer..that of course I would cancel my current service and hire the other company. I thought so too...until I spoke to my account manager..I spoke to him-exchanged words..and more...Which brings me to my other problem.  Sometimes...I talk too much.  It's not that I want to!  No, it's more like I am compelled-driven! You have to understand, I have worked in customer service.  I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of a complaint.

 More than once I have endured the wrath of someone who felt wronged, persecuted even!- because they were served the wrong salad dressing
("I asked for FAT FREE ranch and this has fat in it!" "I am so sorry..I'll fix that for you right away!" " I can't believe you did that!" "I promise it was an honest mistake."  "Uh huh.")
Or their unlimited fries had *GASP* run out!  Oh the humanity!. "The menu clearly states that the fries are bottomless!" "Yes they are." "Well..why did we run out?" "I'm sorry, it has been a busy night-I will refill your basket now." "Well, I can not believe that I had to sit and WAIT-WAIT for them to be filled up! "I will have a mass said in your name." "What?!" "I'll be right back.."


 So I feel this strange sort of solidarity with wait staff, cashiers and faceless telephone clerks. I need them to know that I am on their side!  That I understand that whatever problem that I have is not personally their fault...But then, it gets personal anyway...

"Hi Ms. Leopold, I understand you are thinking of leaving us."

"Hi Mr. Smith..yes, I'm sorry but you are just too expensive."

"Let me look at your account..oh..wow-your rate has gone up."

"I know! I found another company that will do twice the pickups for half your cost- for one!"

"Really?..Wow..that's stiff competition...let me see what I can do here..we really hate to lose long term customers like you"

"You guys are great-really!  I love our pick up driver-he's always so nice about avoiding my chickens..and waiting for me to move the cars and the kids stuff before he pulls in.."

"Oh I know about moving your kids stuff (chuckle)"

"Really?  How many kids do you have?"

  And we're off!.. and before you know it, we are on a first name basis...and a conversation that should have taken ten minutes has stretched out to over two hours. We have shared our thoughts on politics, religion, kids. I know that he needs a new roof (I of course gave him suggestions) that he's on his second marriage, what his kids do, where he eats lunch and what he plans on doing next weekend.  We even exchanged recipes! (His cheeseburger meatloaf dish was a hit with two of the kids-and Omar)  It's madness!  It happens far too much. We have had contractors in and out (mostly in) our house for nine years! It isn't because of the amount of work-No!  It's because we start talking...The other morning, Omar asked where our current one was.."Well," I said.."He had a busy weekend..he had to take his daughter up to school..I think that he has an appointment this morning...did you know that...blah blah blah.." Omar just laughs..""Of course you know that-of course you do."  He doesn't mind-he finds it humorous."Only you" he says as he kisses me and leaves for work..I choose to take that as the compliment that I am sure that he meant it as.

I do not know how to fix it-this customer service worry.  I do know that I have met some very interesting people along the way. I've even gotten some good recipes!  I just can't see myself doing things any other way.  The problem is..well, that nothing really ever gets resolved-not fully..  Sure, I have made a new friend in my garbage company- but it's the same garbage company that I have had for nine years.  Yes, my cost has gone down...but it is still five dollars higher than the other company's price.   What the hell?  

I am going to "try" and switch my cable service this week. I am really hoping for an automated system. Otherwise-who knows what I'll end up with-besides perhaps some new recipes...