Friday, May 24, 2013

Milestone: 6 years old

Put the permanent marker down, Bubba.
We had a birthday party for Ben this past weekend.  It was different from most kids' parties - there weren't a lot of friends his age, for instance.  There were lots of people who care about him though, and he had a really good time.  There was cake (GFCF) and we sang "Happy Birthday" (shh, don't tell the copyright owners) and he liked his presents and there were no meltdowns.

After he went to bed, the grown-ups enjoyed a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity

Six feels like a big milestone.  Other milestones this week are that we got confirmation that he'll be in a classroom alongside NT kids in the fall (yikes!) and we finally threw out the stinky diaper disposal unit.  We're not ready to hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner, but things are looking up...

...except for when he's had a big slice of red velvet cake with raspberry filling - that @#*&! almost gave me a heart attack.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, y'all!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just kidding!

A few years ago, the events of the past week would have driven me up the wall.  Now...right now
at least, I feel like a superhero with a tough layer of armor and rose colored super-vision. 

I won't bore you with the details of the past week, but here are some of the things that were dealt with:
  • Flooded basement due to blocked sewer line (thanks, Plumbing Plus!)
  • Dishwasher not draining due to different blocked drain - self-repaired!
  • Dishwasher losing power due to faulty connection (overzealous self-repair?)
  • Corroded sink drain discovered during dishwasher repair (thanks for the help, bro-in-law)
  • Mysterious tea-like liquid seeping out of grout in basement bathroom (not going to tell you what that was, but it's fixed)
  • Potty training - not very fun when the washing machine is inaccessible
  • Allergies (yay spring!)
But you know what?  None of that got to me.  The good things far outweighed them.  Here are some of the good things:
secret training regimen
  • Bubba just finished his first season of cross-country running and by all accounts, the boy has a lot of heart.  He's fast.
  • Ben is about to turn 6 years old!  Time to celebrate!
  • My brother-in-law has moved back to town for a little post-graduate education.  Having an uncle around will be pretty awesome for both boys.
  • We had a great Mother's Day brunch with friends.  Hoorah for moms!  (you especially, Mom)

There's more good stuff - the other day, Lovely Wife walked the boys down to a local bistro for dessert while I cleaned up the kitchen. While there, Ben used the restroom - yay! On the way out, a big guy dressed for a date night was getting out of his car. Ben ran up to him and stopped, obviously excited. The guy put on a great smile and said, "How's it going?" Ben said with great enthusiasm, "I pooped in the potty!" The guy said, "That's great!" in a booming voice, gave him five, and walked into the restaurant with his lady. Thanks, Random Stranger, you were awesome!

And finally, I got a hint of Ben's burgeoning sense of humor. When Ben says, "I need to go potty!", I feel like a Secret Service agent responding to a threat to the President. I drop what I'm doing, spring into action and escort him to the panic room bathroom, issuing instructions and offering encouragement. The other day, we had a red alert. Just as we got to our destination and prepared to jettison his garments, Ben put his face close to mine and said, "Just kidding."* We laughed for a good while after that.

I was in this mindset when I came across a video on Facebook that reinforced my feelings.  It's from a commencement address by David Foster Wallace:

Have a most excellent day.

* He's never said anything remotely like that to me before.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wrong number

So, last week, I got a call while I was making dinner.  It was a market research firm, asking
how I felt about health insurance companies here in Utah.

Telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen are way, way down on the list of things I'm willing to spend attention on.

This time, however, I thought, "I have just completed itemizing my deductions, and having our advocacy efforts for insurance reform squashed for a second year in a row.  Yes, I will tell you how I feel about our insurance company."

To summarize, I gave the insurance company low marks.  I gave our care providers high marks.  Our doctors and teachers and therapists are awesome.  Our insurance plan, which does not cover autism is not.  Our insurance company which lobbies our state legislature to make sure they don't have to, is not.  It is the opposite of awesome.

The phone call lasted for what seemed like a really long time, even though my answers were quick.  I had to hang up on her when the meltdown started (Ben's not mine), but apparently there were a couple more bits to the survey that I missed.

A few days later, they called back.  This time, I didn't answer - potty training trumps all.  The second time, I was exiting a car on a busy street, about to go on a much-needed night out.  I wouldn't have answered, but I thought it might be the babysitter.  I fear I may have been abrupt with them.

The third time was tonight.  Dinner was on the table and Ben seemed relatively stable, so I answered (this is from memory, and may not be exact):

"Hi, I'm calling from this the person who responded to our survey the other day?"

"Oh yes. Ben, put that down."

"We just have a few more questions. Have you seen any advertising for SelectHealth recently?'

"I don't recall seeing any. Okay, I'll get you more your squash!"

"How about TV ads?"

"We watch TV over the internet and avoid all ads. Here're some trains."


"Public radio. Eat your squash."

"Okay, I'll get the BLUE train."

(I have to put the phone down for 2 minutes to go find the BLUE train)

"Sorry, billboards? Maybe...wait...I did see an ad on a bus."

"Great! How did it make you feel?"

"I remember thinking I really hate those guys!"

"What?! Why?" (the interviewer sounds amused)

"We were on our way to speech therapy.  SelectHealth doesn't have to cover any of his therapy because he's autistic.  I know that SelectHealth lobbied the state legislature to keep it that way. Use your fork to eat your food, please."

"Oh, ok. Well, that's all my questions. Thank you for your time."

"No, no, thank you. Bye. Do you need to go potty?"