Saturday, June 24, 2006

Yeah, I know it's been a while. You all know I feel massive guilt whenever I've been lame about updating, right? Not that that really helps anything, but I do want you to know I at least think about it.

Anyway, I do have a few little items to report here. First -- the kids are out of school. Hallelujah -- Enthusio is done with his school year from hell and hopefully he will never have to endure another one like that again. I am cautiously optimistic that next year will be better. Unfortunately, our principal is leaving, which means that if we have any issues next year, we will be starting from scratch with someone who doesn't know the history and that could really suck -- but you know, this is not our first time at the rodeo and I think we have a pretty good track record re: dealing with the school and advocating for our child, so we will deal with whatever comes up. I think Enthusio is in a better place this coming year too -- he still has his moments, but he's definitely made progress and I still think having him stay back a year will really help.

Both he and Mermaid brought home good report cards. Mermaid got all B's except for her A in spelling, which is no surprise since she has taken to studying the dictionary in the last few weeks. Maybe we will be seeing her at the national spelling bee one of these years!

So far we are having a pretty lazy summer experience. Both kids started their only activity thus far, swim practice, this past week, and they both like it a lot. With Mermaid that is no surprise, since she loved it last year, but this is Enthusio's first time and it's great to see him feeling good in a group of kids at his same skill level.

In other news, I turned 36 this past Monday. The number just bothers me. Maybe because it's a downhill slide toward 40 now? I can definitely tell you that I don't feel 36 years old. In my mind, I'm still about 17...

CONSUMER ALERT! Costco has changed their ridiculously liberal returns policy, with regard to computers only. Now you can only bring them back for a refund for 6 months. I found this out on my birthday, after fighting with my laptop all weekend. It developed some kind of driver meltdown after I installed the software that came with our video camera about a month ago. This the laptop I just bought this past October, so you can imagine how thrilled I was about this turn of events. Anyway, let me just recap the situation for you:
1. The only reason I bought this particular video camera was so we could upload video to our computer and create our own DVDs. We've now had the camera over a year and have yet to do this a single time.
2. The only reason I finally installed the video camera software was to upload Mermaid's performance of "When I'm 64" at the school talent show to the computer. It turned out that her performance was got taped over about 3 days after it happened, which is a subject dead and buried between Reasonable Man and myself, but nonetheless -- I wasn't able to perform the operation that was my sole reason for installing the software in the first place. This installation proceeded to cause problems with my computer that made it impossible to shut down properly and also caused it to spontaneously restart whenever I left it sitting there for any length of time, on or off.
3. The only reason I bought this particular computer was that it was the cheapest one at Costco, where I believed I would be able to return it for a full refund if anything went wrong with it. Their new six-month policy evidently went into effect over a year ago, and if I'd looked into it at all, I would have known that. Also, I can't blame them for changing it -- the old policy was just an invitation for abuse, after all. Nevertheless, it totally sucks for me, because if I had known I couldn't return the computer like I thought I could, I never would have bought this computer. I don't know what brand I would have gone with, but I can assure you that a Compaq/HP would not have been it.
4. Not only did I buy a computer I wouldn't have bought, but because of how much I spent on it, the Costco people talked me into upgrading my membership so I can get cash back at the end of the year or something like that. I'm still not clear on what the benefits of that are.
In short -- I tried to work the system but didn't do my homework, and ended up getting kind of screwed. Don't let this happen to you.

My final item is that, on the brink of remodelling the crap out of the Green House, we have decided to move instead. It started with me going to look at a house a couple of neighborhoods over from here on a whim several weekends ago and just snowballed from there. So now I am studying the real estate section every week and going to open houses, as well as doing work on the Green House with a mind to selling the place at some point in the near future, and hopefully some time in the next year, we will be living in a one-story house that is bigger, has at least 4 bedrooms, and has a pool. Pretty exciting stuff!

I'm sure there is more detritus to report, but that's all that is coming to mind at the moment, and I need to start doing some stuff around here, so that's all for now!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Essential Self

This awesome post beautifully sums up an unexpected benefit of having a developmentally delayed child. As Mermaid heads into that great battlefield we call adolescence, she does so with her sense of self fully intact, not caring how she looks or what anyone else thinks of her. It's a quality we could all use.

Enthusio's therapist talks a lot about helping him get in touch with his "essential self" -- those qualities of goodness and wholeness we all have that are the real us, not the constructs of our personalities that keep us protected from the outside world. I admit kind of thought she was full of crap for a while -- you know, "come on, lady -- we just want him to be able to go to school without crying everyday" -- but the more I heard about it, the more I realized that getting in touch with the essential self is a real and positive thing, and we are fortunate enough to have a living, breathing example of it right here in our family.

We focus on all the downsides of autism, and there are many. I wouldn't wish it on any family. But the other side of the coin is what autism doesn't do -- it doesn't allow the child to separate from that essential self that will serve her well when puberty comes knocking on the door in a few years.