xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I dream of spiders

The other day, I was taking a nap. (Ahhhhh. Naps. Just thinking about a nap makes me happy) It was between the hours of 10:00am and 1:00pm on Monday, so it was while the kids were at school; and I was really tired. I was still recovering from my Thanksgiving weekend adventures, and I was extra "sleepy." But since it was during the day on a school day, I had in my mind that little worry that I really needed to make sure I was awake in time to go pick up the kids. Sure, I had set an alarm, but still... I'm compulsively punctual and even the vaguest idea that I might be late for something causes that little nagging feeling in my big, dumb brain. Unfortunately, when that little nagging thingy happens, it will inevitably manage to work its way into my dreams somehow. So... I had that going on, plus I was really tired and I was crashed hard. The combination of the two things created some interesting anxiety dreams that I thought you guys might find amusing.

Okay, so... you know how when you're asleep, and you've got that nagging thing in your head that I just mentioned, you will dream that you actually get up, and get dressed, and get moving, etc? This was kind of like that, and in my dream I was lying in bed and I forced myself to open my eyes (it was REALLY hard) so that I would get up. Except that was the dream, I don't actually know if my eyes opened in reality or not, but regardless... once my eyes opened, I looked in front of me, and I saw this....

A spider, hanging from a web which was attached to the ceiling 8 or so feet away... with way too many legs. Right in my fucking face. And I thought "wow, my contacts must be really blurry, look at all those extra legs that guy's got!" For some reason I wasn't scared or freaked out at the idea of this mutant spider hanging out in my face, and my first thought was that this would make a funny rage comic (evidence of my dangerous reddit addiction). I closed my eyes and then opened them again, and instead of the original mutant spider, a new mutant spider had taken its place.

And I thought.... what happened to the other spider? Did I blink him away? Are my contacts clearer now and therefore some of his legs have been removed? And he changed colors? And got smaller? How is that even possible? I'm confused by this, I should just close my eyes again.

And then when I woke up (for real) a few hours later, I inspected the wall to see if either of the spiders were still there. Did they just disappear? Did they crawl back up their web and up to the ceiling? And then I was like..... OOOOHHHHHHHH...... those were dream spiders! Neither of them existed at all! Well, shit! I can't make a rage comic about this! I'd better just blog about it.

The brain is weird.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stop Internet Censorship

If information and knowledge is something that is important to you, consider taking a moment today to contact your representatives and tell them to vote no on SOPA and PIPA (more info below). Please pick up the phone and make a call, rather than send an email, as phone calls have a much greater impact. American Censorship has declared today to be a "massive call-in day" and wants Senate phones in particular to be flooded with calls today.

"The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) would ruin so much of what's best about the Internet: They will give the government and corporations new powers to block Americans' access to sites that are accused of copyright infringement, force sites like YouTube to go to new lengths to police users' contributions, and put people in prison for streaming certain content online." - StopCensorship.org

In the House, the bill is called HR 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): "This bill would establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringment. The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have "only limited purpose or use other than infringement," and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. It would also make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty up to five years in prison."

Find your Representative in the House

In the Senate, the bill is called S 968: Protect IP Act (PIPA): "Establishes a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be "dedicated to infringing activities." The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against the alleged infringer and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. In some cases, action could be taken to block sites without first allowing the alleged infringer to defend themselves in court."

Find your Senator

More information & reading:

Stop Censorship
American Censorship, Round 2
Washington Post article, 11/19/11
SOPA Wikipedia article
PIPA Wikipedia article

I'm turning off commenting for this post. Sorry for censoring you guys, but if you have a comment to make, please call your Senator and tell them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Autism bloggers can change the world

First, notice that I didn't say "autism parent bloggers" or "autistic bloggers." This is because, in my opinion, the term "autism bloggers" includes both groups. We're in this together, and regardless of our differences in opinion about so many things, what is at the heart of what we write about is that we all want the best for any person with autism; be it my child or an autistic adult. The huge divide between us needs to be healed, because if we're always arguing with each other, we are not working towards our mutual goal.

Before I started blogging, I didn't really talk that much about autism, other than to say that my son has it, and to tell some anecdotal stories mostly meant to be amusing. And I started blogging, not with the intention to be educational, but simply to have an outlet for what was in my head. It turned out that the things I was saying about autism was not only something other autism parents could relate to, but was also informing the non autism parents about what autism actually is. I was educating people, even if I wasn't aware of it....  and even if I didn't mean to.

So, here's what I want you all to know: You may think that what you're doing is just venting, but really what you're doing is educating. Even if you're only reaching one person (who isn't in your family) you're teaching people who have no personal experience with autism what autism actually is. It's not Rainman. It's not a bratty kid whose parents can't keep control. It's so much more than that. And what you do, by posting your words and your thoughts, is teaching the world these things. People who never would have had any idea, otherwise, are reading what you say, and they're learning; they're learning what autism is, and they're passing that on to the people around them.

All of that said, I will now get to my point: I want to share with you an email I received over the weekend. It's from a friend of mine, who I call Cactus Pants. I've talked about him here before: my friend, whom I've never met in person, who lives thousands of miles away from me, who has never even met my child, whose children do not have autism; here's how autism blogging has impacted him. Here's how my venting, here on my blog, has changed things thousands of miles away from me. (I'm posting this with permission, and I've changed any identifying information):

So I'm at church, sitting behind the Smith family, Sharon is really nice, Bill is not a guy I am usually friendly with but he works for the same company I do, so we talk casually at church functions about it. Sharon homeschooled and is a very loving mom.

Ok, so then my friend Emily and her kids come in but sit in the back. Emily's autistic little boy has a meltdown pretty much immediately, so she has to take him outside. I felt like helping, but she had it. Eventually I guess she moved to the baby crying room, because at the end of Mass she came in to socialize. That's what we do, we all chit chat in church after Mass. So Bill leans in to me and says "oh great we get to watch this kid act like an idiot"....

Ok, first of all, he is 4... who the hell calls a 4 yr old an idiot in any circumstance? Ok, whatever, so I say "well, he's autistic". Then Bill says "yeah well that didn't stop him from stealing the baby Jesus from the play last year and running down the isle, it was a terrible embarrassment... and the parents just let him do it". This made me want to punch that asshole right in the fucking face, but I said "well, it's hard sometimes with autism," and he says "Yeah right, they just need to put a stop to it is all." Yes, that's right, there is a guy in Arkansas with the cure for autism that he is not sharing with anyone, but is judging parents as incompetent for not knowing it!!!!

So, I said "No tolerance forthcoming from you, Bill. We all can't be as good as you Bill! Come along kids before Mr. Smith finds fault with you and deems me unworthy to parent!" At this he muttered something, as if what I said was a joke that he was in on....

At home later, my wife says "man, you gave him every opportunity to not be an asshole, but he was not having it. Nope, he was determined to just ass it up." And I'm all, "This is a guy I rarely talk to, and THIS is something he thinks we can share a bond with, the inherent disdain for children with special needs?!!! What the FUCK!"

UGH! I am so pissed. I really didn't know what kind of absolute bigotry really existed out there for autistic kids and their parents, what an eye opener.

Thank you for giving me this outlet to vent.

Thank you for informing me about autism.

Thank you for the blessing that is you and your kids.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How my Thanksgiving weekend was

Disclaimer: I am not trying to pass Allie Brosh's awesome work off as my own. These pictures are memes now and therefore internet law says I'm allowed to do this.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving memories

Thanksgiving always makes me think of my brother. For obvious reasons, of course, because on days like this you think of family, especially family that is no longer with you, but I think of him especially on this day (he died almost 9 years ago).

He loved stuffing. Fucking LOVED it. Growing up, my mom always had to make a shit ton extra because he would scarf so much of it down. At his request, at some point during my childhood, she added sausage to her patented recipe, and that's the recipe I still use today. It's good stuff, man. Good fucking stuff.

His last Thanksgiving was at my house, with his wife, a baby Child 1, my parents and Hubs' sister and her husband. In the last year or so of his life he had been seeing some kind of Chinese doctor (apparently he was also the Dalai Lama's doctor?) who put him on this crazy diet of restriction, because such and such food causes a such and such in the body and such and such whateverthefuck.

I remember that he wasn't allowed to eat mustard, or poppy seeds? But the most important restriction, in this context. was that he couldn't eat any birds. BIRDS. He couldn't eat fucking birds on Thanksgiving!! So I made a separate bunch of stuffing, not cooked in the turkey, with pork sausage and a mushroom gravy. Not as good. I mean, it was good (because I'm a good cook, if I do say so myself), but it wasn't how it was supposed to be. He gave it his best shot and I distinctly remember him saying at one point  "fuck it" and going for a handful of the "good" stuffing. Because, really? Not eating any birds or bird products is really going to stop a stage 4 melanoma that had already spread to his brain at that point? I don't think so.

I hope he liked the stuffing. I'm sure he did but I don't remember specifically.

I miss him; on most days I miss him, but on Thanksgiving I miss him the most. I wish he could have some of my gravy, I know he would love it.

Happy Thanksgiving, nutjobs!!!

YES, I'm talking to you. YOU. You're the nutjob. Happy Thanksgiving, crazy people!

We had a last minute change of plans and I AM doing Thanksgiving at my house this year. That makes me VERY happy, and as I write this, on Wednesday afternoon, my fucking kick-ass gravy is on Day #1, happy bubbling away on the stove. KICK ASS.

I'm not going to spend too much time on this post, because probably nobody will read it, since everybody is spending the day either cooking or getting drunk or avoiding having to sit next to that one relative you hate, or all of the above, so I'll just say... I'm thankful for all the people I have met in the last year and a half, since I started blogging, who for some reason keep coming back to this lame ass blog day after day and humor me enough to tell me I'm funny, even though we all know you're full of shit (you must want something).

Here are some gifts I got you; straight from the internet! Except the last one. That last one is a picture of me holding a gravy bowl.

Gobble gobble, motherfuckers!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordlessish Wednesday: Dinnertime, with sensory issues

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm a Scrooge and I'm cool with that

This is a repost. I originally wrote this last year and I'm just posting it again because I like it :)

I hate Christmas.

Yep. I just said that. Take a minute to process.

Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you. First, the obvious: it's not because I'm Jewish. Okay, it's not just because I'm Jewish. We actually celebrated Christmas when I was a kid, I'm not really sure why. Probably because my parents wanted presents, too, and if you only do Hanukkah the adults don't get anything. But we actually had a little plastic tree that my mom would put on the dining room table, and for a few years there we had stockings actually hanging from the mantle (with care). So, you can't blame my Jeweyness on this. It would be more accurate to blame my atheism on it, but I'll get to that later after I explain some more.

No, what I hate about Christmas is that it is the king of what I call "Forced Gift Giving Days." Gifts are not optional on Forced Gift Giving Days, especially if you spend the day with people who actually do like Christmas, they're going to expect that you give them something. I hate this idea; actually the whole thing seriously pisses me off. You have these days where you're required to give gifts to people, and sometimes they're people you never speak to any other day of the year and actually don't really like very much. WTF?? What is the point of that?

My point is that you shouldn't need a holiday to be nice to the people that you care about. If you want to give somebody a gift to show your appreciation, you should do that on any day of the year that you like. And I do, actually, about 10 years ago I instituted my "For no particular reason" gift giving policy, and if I ever want to help somebody out or tell them I like them, I do that, even if it's March 15th and not December 25th. (actually I'm pretty sure March 15th is the Ides of March so that may be a bad example, but that was the first date I pulled out of my ass head.) I give gifts to my kids' teachers on May 10th (another ass/head date), I give gifts to my friends on September 22 (that's actually my birthday: make a note!!).  My kids get showered with fucking toys all year long (grandparents) they certainly don't need another haul of crap on this one day out of the year.

Now, maybe you're thinking that Christmas is a beautiful family tradition and I shouldn't be depriving my kids of the experience, but, you know, there are other days out of the year that are beautiful family traditions where gifts aren't required, and my kids are going to be taught to appreciate those days, instead. It is my intention to raise them with this attitude that I have, that if you love somebody, you tell them that on any day of the year, and not just the one day that has been assigned to telling people you love them (February 14th. EWW!)

Now, maybe if Christmas were an actual holiday worth celebrating, like if I believed in Jesus and wanted to celebrate his birthday and appreciate HIM, I could see how Christmas would be something I would be in to, but I am an atheist (actually more of an agnostic, but that's not the point right now) and even if the holiday were still about its actual purpose, which it isn't, that's just not a day that interests me. But, of course, we know that Christmas is about rampant materialism and supporting our capitalist society and showing off to other people all the shit you can or can't afford and has nothing to do with good will toward man or love thy neighbor or any of that shit. What's important about Christmas is that retail businesses can have large 4th quarter profits to show their shareholders that they're doing well and still a safe investment.

Why the fuck would I want to celebrate THAT?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest Drawer: Heather

Please welcome Heather, who blogs at Expect This. She can also be found on Twitter at RogueToddler. Heather has a series on her blog that she calls "Story Time," which is her renditions of familiar nursery rhymes made much more awesome with her impressive artwork.

Here we have The Tortoise and the Hare....

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Mombrella

This is how we walked home from school yesterday. The whole way.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My recipe for the best f-bomb gravy you've ever had

I posted this last year around 3:00pm on Thanksgiving day, which is totally the wrong time to post this, since the process must be started no later than the day BEFORE Thanksgiving, in the morning. So, this year I'm posting it an entire week in advance. Because you know you wanted to know.

The Best Fucking Gravy You've Ever Had!!

1.  Buy your turkey from a butcher or a place with a meat counter, and when you do, ask them for random, discarded turkey parts (backs & necks); they will always have some and you can buy them for very very cheap, like 70 cents/pound. Get about 3-4 pounds of that shit.

2.  Take the turkey bones and put them in the biggest fucking pot you have; also, since you're probably going to be doing something with onions and celery, maybe carrots and some herbs, the next day, take the stems and the tops (clean them) of those things and throw them in, too. Make sure you get some onion skins in there, they will make everything a nice dark color. Fill the big ass pot up with water and put in a bunch of salt. I don't know, maybe a handful. Salt is important at this point because the heat and the salt and the protein from the turkey bones will make a natural MSG (or Umami; the 5th sense!)

3.  Put it on the stove and cook, covered, on low, for no less than 8 hours. I'm serious. Don't cut corners here, even if Alton Brown says you don't have to cook stock for that long, fuck that guy, what does he know? You want the bones and the cartilage to break down enough, and I say cook it for 8 hours, dammit! If you have doubts about this part, read the title of the recipe again.

4.  During cooking process, lift the lid and check things out every hour or so; pieces of turkey will float to the top and stick out of the water and you want to make sure everything stays wet the whole time (that's what she said). After 8 hours, strain it twice. Once to get all the big bones out and the next time to get the small pieces of crap that have fallen off in the cooking process; you don't want to eat that shit later. Use a fine strainer for part #2. Put the liquid in the pot that you plan to cook it in the next day and stick it in the fridge overnight.

5.  Go to bed.

6.  Happy Thanksgiving! In the morning, the liquid will be the consistency of Jello. This is what you want, it means that you cooked the shit out of the turkey bones and have created a fucking flavorfest in that pot. Go about your business and make your turkey and all the sides, you don't need to do anything with this for a little while. If you have some herbs you like, put the pot on the stove on very very low and throw the herbs in, if you want, it doesn't matter, but get it onto the stove, on low and boiling, at least an hour before your turkey comes out of the oven.

7.  Cook your turkey on a rack so that the juices will drip down into the pan and you can collect them later. This is an important step because those turkey drippings and little crispy turkey pieces are really fucking delicious and you're going to want them later. When the turkey comes out of the oven, put it aside and collect all of this awesome shit at the bottom of the roasting pan and put them into your boiling stock. Let that do its thing while you bustle around and try to get your fucking family to leave your kitchen so you can cook in peace. I DON'T NEED ANY HELP THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

8.  Make a roux, which is equal amounts of butter and flour; it depends on how much liquid you have, but probably 1/4 cup each (half a stick of butter. it's just easier that way). Melt the butter, throw in the flour and then cook it, on low/medium. Alton Brown says that the lighter the roux, the better it will thicken the stock; the darker the roux, the more flavor it will have. Do whatever you want, I haven't ever found much of a difference. One thing I did learn, though, is that you can make your roux at any time during the day on Thursday, which may be a good thing if you're like me and by the time you get to the serving part of Thanksgiving and you're drunk off your ass, making a roux is quite challenging. One year I had to make it three times because I kept fucking it up and burning it.

9.  Anyway, make a roux, and then throw it in the pot. At this point, if you have anything chunky like herb stems or whatever, take those out. Let it cook on medium high, uncovered, for at least another 10 minutes so that the flour and butter can fully incorporate into the liquid and reduce a bunch. You will notice that it will also thicken considerably so stir often (if you remember; if not, whatever).

10.  That's it. Serve the shit and then listen as everybody at your table says "Holy crap, this is the best fucking gravy I've ever had." You have officially won Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

F-bomb potty mouth

Child 2 has recently developed a potty mouth.

(I think I'll skip over the obvious jokes and just get to the point....)

It started with him yelling at the characters on Mario Kart, such as "WHAT THE FUCK, LUIGI???" and "FUCK YOU, YOSHI!!"

We had a little talk about the appropriateness of him using "grownup words;" threats of privilege loss were made, and then he started saying "freakin," instead.

Still not okay with me, although better than the alternative. On the other hand, it's really not that great when you hear "Where's my freakin' dinner, Mama?"

So, we had another talk, more threats were made... blah blah blah....

It has now changed to "F-bomb." Seriously. He says the letter "F" followed by the word "bomb." It's actually kind of funny. "I didn't get any F-bomb sleep last night!" and "I'm going to brush my F-bomb teeth!"

I guess it's an acceptable compromise, but I'm still not okay with it. Hubs and I tell him never ever ever ever to say these things at school, but we all know damn well that he's saying all the fucking curse words at school and has taught all of his little friends to do the same, because curse words are fun when you're 6!!

My point is as follows: Am I a hypocrite? I mean... I try.... really hard... to watch my language in front of the kids, but obviously I don't succeed all the time and I am clearly setting a bad example. Is it really fair of me to use this language around them and then demand that they don't? Even if we do have in depth discussions about the difference between "grownup words" and "kid words," remember that he's 6 and cursing is fun. I feel like a hypocrite.

On the other hand, is it really that much of a crime? Well, it's kind of creepy hearing the word "fucking" come out of the mouth of a 6 year old, but is it really that much of a problem? I guess it is, otherwise I wouldn't be talking about it right now.

Anyway, do you see what I'm saying here? What do you guys think?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear Target: Boys wear shoes, too.

Oh, Target. You know I love you, right? You're my Happy Place. You're where I go when I'm feeling down and I need some caffeine and really cheap melamine cups for the kids, which are so awesome because you can drop them all day long and they'll never break. You've never let me down, Target.... until now.

I don't understand this, how stores stock 400 times more clothing for girls than for boys. Remember Mervyn's? I was seeing Mervyn's before they all went out of business, and before you came to the town where I lived. Mervyn's did the same thing; aisles and aisles of clothes for girls, and maybe a shelf or two for the boys. I don't understand this. I know that girls care more about fashion than boys do, but it's like you guys have taken it to a whole new level of neglect.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, I needed to buy rain boots for Child 1. Why? Because it rains here. That may seem obvious but I think you need to know that it does, in fact, rain where I live and that my boys need to have something on their feet when they leave the house. Naturally, you were my first thought, because I always love to have an *actual* reason to go to you, so I hopped in my car and went looking for rainboots!

I was shocked by what I found there, Target. Shocked. And a little gassy, unfortunately, but mostly shocked. It's okay, though, because nobody else was around at the time.

There were 2 aisles dedicated to shoes for kids, Target. Here. Let me show you:

Those are slippers on the back wall.

Two aisles of shoes for kids and only one half of one side of one aisle had shoes for boys larger than toddler sizes. That's 12.5% (oh shit I hope I did that math right) of all the shoes you stock that both of my kids could wear. It's also 25% toddler shoes and 62.5% girls shoes.

Does that breakdown seem okay to you, Target?? Do you think your shoe supplies are representative of the actual population that you're serving?? Does that seem fair??

No it does not, Target. No it does not.

So. Did I find the rain boots that I had come there for? I found a pair of boots for boys to wear in the rain, yes. 

There was one pair. One. Fucking. Pair. In the entire store. Naturally it was in the wrong size, and I was forced to leave the store rainbootless. 

This is not okay, Target. This kind of sexual discrimination simply will not stand. Boys wear shoes, too, Target. Boys need shoes, and clothes, and underpants and all that good stuff, because despite what you seem to think, they do not leave the house naked and shivering every day, while fully clothed girls prance happily around them. I'm not sure where you're getting your research numbers from, Target, but I think it might be time to hire a new firm or something.

I'm putting you on notice, Target. Don't make me change your name from my happy place to The Fucked Up Hates Boys Place. Because I'll do it, you know, Target.

I'll do it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: Dawn from This Side of Typical

YAY Dawn!! Dawn (This Side of Typical) and i are sisters, possibly separated at birth. We're not entirely sure, I mean not all of the evidence is in yet... and possibly never will be, so, um..... yeah, but we're pretty sure of this.

So...I like nature documentaries.

I am not admitting this in shame or anything--its just a little pretext. When I was a child, there was only so much Smurfiness my mother could take, so she often would turn on something else like an Errol Flynn movie or some sort of nature documentary for TV noise--Like Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom--you know, the ONLY nature documentary show at the time. And there was no arguing in our house--what she wanted to watch, we watched. Because she was the adult. (By the way...um...what happened to that? Since when did kids get to dictate what is on the TV? I had to watch damn near every episode of Murder She Wrote--and I'll be damned if I'm gonna be forced to learn Chinese or look in some kid's backpack all damn day! Not to mention that a majority of kids' programming is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Yeah, I'm talkin to you Caillou! Paste-eatin motherfucker.)

So, anyholes, the Old Man and I were layin in the bed, watchin god-knows-what, when what must have been the most memorable show ended and the man of the house got up to do what men do when shows end and he's been drinking beer... And I'm flippin around live TV because it isn't enough that we have 2 DVRs full of preferred television, I MUST look at live television to find something meaningless to watch on a Friday night. (#whitegirlproblems) So I scroll down to animal planet or some such and I come across this:

Ok. Let me just state here, I can handle bugs. I ain't sayin' I want a collection or some such--or that some of them don't make me jump and squeak and do the dance of fearful shame, but I've also been known to have spiders crawl DIRECTLY ON ME and not flip out. Had one crawl right out of my work book once at the sprout farm, and I didn't even flinch. And it was a big fucker too. But, like most city girls, I prefer them on television, and have been known to call in the old man to kill anything that wiggles too much, jumps or stings or in any way resembles a vampire. For the most part I have a healthy respect for the creepy crawlies of the world (have I mentioned our back patio is Club Med for Spiders? They've kind of forced my hand here). My only standing rules: if you look like a black widow or brown recluse, you die, and if you are in the bedroom, you die. Anywhere else, and we simply usher them outside to keep the fly population down. Look--I happen to be a smorgasbord of delicious blood where spiders are concerned--and my husband has witnessed it. I have woken up with a gajillion bites on my legs or stomach looking like there was a spider frat party the night before. Oh, and the Old Man? They don't bite him. He says its because they respect his "authoritah", but really he is just coated with a thick layer of fur that seem to deter 99% of them.

Anywhores, I turn on this show to instantly see a spider/praying mantis throw-down. Now that in itself was fairly interesting (I kinda like the major predator battles--it's like the age old question, what if batman and superman had a fight? who would win?) So there's this web-net throwing spider (I shit you not) and the mantis. But that isn't what had me gobsmacked. No. They added sound effects.

Now most of these shows do that--and I hope you realize that many of the sounds you hear--especially with the small animals/insects are not always the actual sounds these little creatures make. Usually they do a good and realistic sounding job, so we don't really mind that we are being bamboozled. Lord knows I've never heard a grasshopper eat that loudly. But these sounds were definitely not real. No. For this battle, they paired the sound of a wild hog and a lion.

Yes, you read that right. A wild hog and a lion.

(which is a fight that might be worth watching)

The spider was the hog--and the only reason I know this is because (SPOILER ALERT) the spider loses and it turns into the sound of a slaughtered pig. At least they stayed true to their effects.

I should mention that my husband walks into this in the middle of the fight, me sitting there with my mouth open in shock and awe, and the sounds of animal armaggeddon on the TV.

He just turned around and walked the fuck OUT.

And to make the show even better, they interview their "experts": two scientists that get so ramped up about bugs that you kinda question how sexually charged they get about bugs. I mean, one lady got VERY excitable over some spider's "giant sexy mandibles"--her words, not mine. Just sayin'.

It used to be some white haired dude would sit at a desk and discuss the mating rituals of warthogs, and they would cut to footage of gnus grazing on the Serengeti. And sometimes it would be a little more exciting with a lion or some such. And I was happy to watch it. But now its gotta be sexy whiz-bang! Check out this nightmare! It's gonna crawl in your ear and eat your brains. And nothing is cooler. NOTHING. Got it?

I realize that my child, being a boy and having Autism, could very well become bug obsessed. I'm kinda hoping for a star wars/astronomy obsession, but I'm not gonna dictate what he is passionate about. If it's hissing cockroaches and praying mantii--so be it. I just hope shows like this don't make him try to stage his own version of cage fights. Unless, of course, I get a cut of the winnings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Anthem of Snarkiness. For Autism.

I didn't write this one! I know. With that title? Really? But, no. This was written by Ashley, who blogs at Stinker Babies, and is being re-posted here, with permission because I love, love, love LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it!!!!

Make sure you watch the video at the end because it's the best part!!!!!! I don't know about you guys but I think this anthem? Is officially "adopted."

For the past few days, it seems like I am hearing/reading story after story after story of those moments. If you're an autism mom, you know those moments. Probably more than you care to count.

You're dealing with a sensory meltdown in the cereal aisle and someone helpfully suggests a good spankin' to help with your spoiled brat.

You're trying to wrangle your double stroller while your child is screaming because riding the elevator eight times just wasn't enough and the snotty sorority girl tells her sister that this is why she's never having kids.

You get a lecture on parenting from a hippy who's taken exception to your child (who otherwise would be playing in traffic) being in a safety harness.

I read a post over at Laughing Through Tears that described the top five reasons you shouldn't tick off an autism mom. While I don't agree with every single thing (I'm definitely not a "walking bundle of resentment." Not anymore anyways...) and the language requires a strong warning to the sensitive, it is worth a read. You can find it here. (Don't forget the language warning!)

But even among the few hundred comments on a post describing the mindboggling encounters that we've all dealt with, there are still some trolls who will come right out and call our children horrific names. Seriously??? Ahhh. The age-old question: WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! Whatever happened to manners? When did tact become overrated?

Only a few of these moments have actually happened to me personally, but the stories just keep coming. I've always wished I could give an appropriate response that would educate Judgy McJudgerson, with just a hint of snarkiness, to keep another mom from any emotional damage.

Most of us already feel like we're "living on the fringe of polite society." (Lisa at Laughing Through Tears) When I get out of my sweatpants, my kids excitedly ask, "Ooh! Where are we going?" Because obviously that is a special occasion. The last time I decided not to go with my usual ponytail, my kids seemed surprised that I actually still had hair.

So when we have encounters like the ones described by so many parents, we feel even more of a divide between "us" and "them."

So I think to makes us feel better, maybe we need to adopt an anthem of sorts. I humbly present you with a possibility! Please be kind to my first attempts at Microsoft Paint...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Today marks the beginning of a four day weekend. Four whole days off. Four. In a motherfucking row.

Now, you might think that when I say "days off," I'm referring to not having to work, or not having to go to school, or doing homework or something lame like that, but no. In fact, I still have to work and the boys still have homework, there's just no school.

So what, exactly, is "off" in my world? "Off," to me, means any day I don't have to bug children to get up and get dressed. They can sleep as long as they want, for all I care. They can stay in the same pair of pajamas all fucking weekend if they want... I don't care! As long as I don't have to holler 8 billion times in a 5 minute period "DO YOU HAVE YOUR SOCKS ON?" I still have to deal with trying to get them to eat food throughout the day, but you can't be late when you're eating dinner.

I thought I might illustrate (such as it is) for you guys what a typical morning looks like in our house. A typical school day morning, that is, because a typical weekend morning looks like this:
First, you need to understand the general layout of our bedrooms. Here's a simple, top view diagram. Because I don't know how to draw 3-D shit. Or 2-D shit, even:

When I'm sitting on the edge of the bed like that, I can just barely see the hallway between their bedrooms out of the corner of my eye. This fact will become important soon. YOU'LL SEE.

So, here is a typical morning in our house. (I know, I know, we're very lucky we don't have to be anywhere until 9:08am and get to sleep until 8:00, I know!)

8:00 Child 1 wakes up, gets dressed, gets something to eat, all by himself, and then wakes me up. The kid is a goddamned angel.

8:01 I go into Child 2's room to try to wake him up. I tickle, I push, I shove, I cajole, I poke, I nudge... I wait

8:10 Child 2 somehow makes it from his room to the master bedroom, where he is given food.

8:10-8:30 I let him sit and watch TV and eat because he needs the time to wake up.

8:30 The getting dressed process begins. We have to leave the house at 9:00 so you would think that 30 minutes would be enough to get dressed and get shoes on and all that. Yeah. You would think.

Since Child 1, the angel, is already dressed and ready to go, he sits at the desk in his room and watches YouTube videos until it's time to go. Child 2 is magnetically attracted to this activity and spends as much of the 30 minutes as he possibly can standing behind Child 1 and watching the videos with him. In the meantime, I'm sitting on the edge of my bed with my computer, and I'm hollering orders and inquiries to Child 2, (he is perfectly capable of doing this all by himself, you know... he just chooses not to.....) and every time I yell something, I will see him, out of the corner of my eye, fucking BOLT across the hallway from his brother's room to his own.

Seriously. This shit goes on for the entire half hour.


By 9:00 I'm practically begging him to get his socks on and out the door. On most days, one or both of us is in tears by the time we actually leave the house.

Four days. Four fucking days in a row that I don't have to deal with this.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleeping with the enemy

We have this ginormous and awesomely comfy California King bed. And some days hubs works until really stupid hours, because he has a sucky job that sucks, and when he gets home he goes downstairs to watch TV so that I can go to sleep; and when he does he always passes out on the couch. So on those nights, I get the ginormous and awesomely comfy bed all to my fucking self. It's a beautiful thing, it really is, I gotta say.

You would think that a ginormous California King size bed would be plenty of room for me to sleep with a couple of cats, but.... yeah, no. If you have cats, or dogs, probably, or kids, even..... you know what I'm talking about. Observe......

Monday, November 7, 2011

My child was late because....

At our school, when you get your kids there late, you're required to stop by the office to sign them in while they pick up a "tardy slip" and bring it to their teacher. The Sign In Sheet of Shame, otherwise known as the Late Arrival Sign-In Sheet, asks you to put their name, the time you got there, and the reason you were late.

So, we were late one day last week, and we did what we were supposed to, and I look at the sheet and most people have written benign things like "overslept" or "doctor's appointment" or whatever, and I was thinking.... nobody ever writes the truth on this thing, do they? Because the truth really isn't necessary, when you think about it. The school doesn't really need to know why your kid was late, they just want you to admit that it happened so that you can accept responsibility for it. ($$$)

I think I just wrote the word "late" or something equally awesome, and then I walked away thinking.... if I were to actually tell the truth on that sheet, what are some things that I could say?

Here are some options:

  • Little asshole wouldn't put his shoes on (related)
  • While walking to school, both of my children suddenly and mysteriously developed Cerebral Palsy and became unable to move their legs. Somehow they managed to drag themselves here despite their newfound conditions and the palsy was miraculously cured the moment we arrived
  • I woke up on time but then I blinked and it was 45 minutes later
  • Wanderlust
  • My autistic student had a major anxiety attack about having to go to school (where he is being teased and made fun of) and was physically unable to leave the house
  • It's cold and my bed was really warm
  • Because school is stupid and boring and we hate stupid, boring school that's stupid.
  • While walking onto school grounds, student lightly brushed his arm against the gate and subsequently fell to the ground in theatrical hysterics while Mom stood by, helplessly yelling "YOU'RE FINE! GET UP! WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE!"
  • There was a disagreement about the appropriateness of wearing pajamas with no underpants to school. While reason eventually won, the battle was well fought.
  • Some days it's just not worth the effort.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: PUYBGP

Today's patron has asked to be identified only as PUYBGP, which stands for the title of her post. I won't say anything about her except that she does not live in America, which may be kind of important to the understanding of parts of this.

Pulling up Your Big Girl Panties.

That's what all us Autie Moms have to do daily. Multiple times a day. Because sometimes? Life really sucks. Sure, there can be bright and sparkly moments filled with progress, reduced noise, chaos and insanity, but let's face it, on most days I'm ready for a stiff drink by 730am. (I usually wake up at 4 because of my baby girl. She co sleeps with us, so it's not a big deal to settle her back to sleep, but once that's done, I lie in bed for while trying to ignore the fact I need to pee. I usually give up and brave the cold to come downstairs after a while so I can have some quiet time before the crazy begins).

Today was no different. I was downstairs by 430, checked my emails and got on with the legal challenges I'm facing within my local and national government, the ridiculous fucking lack of policy they have towards people on the Spectrum and the pitiful care these sorry assed motherfuckers offer our children. Not only that, but I have to deal with the fact that my husband, oh light of my life, apple of my eye, will come down soon with the children and possibly bitch at me for spending too much time on the computer. For being "obsessive" about this whole legal challenge. For not pulling my weight.

Honestly? I wasn't going to make a big thing about the services at first, I just wanted the services my son was entitled to given back, that was all. But through fighting for that I have found out things that would and do shock anyone I tell. Like for example, (just one tiny example from the 17 page letter I wrote for my MP to forward onto all relevant Ministers), that when the Local Authority little bitches came to OUR house to "help" OUR son, they neglected to tell us that by accepting their services, we would in fact lose out on QUALIFIED SLT services. Not only that, but the Early Autism Services' therapists in our area have NO teaching or SLT qualifications/training or background at all. They are not trained in Makaton (beginner, special needs sign language which my son started learning from when he was 9 months old because I'm a (goddamned) hippy and just wanted to do baby signing with him). The only thing those cock-sucking, good-for-nothing, motherfucking, pieces of shit INEPT PARASITES are trained in is PECS the little fucking sons of bitches that they are!!

PECS? But surely that's helpful, you say... Why, I'm certain you'd be right if only these "therapists" were trained past a BASIC level.

They're not even CERTIFIED (meaning able to teach school staff and parents). They actually convinced my husband and I to CHANGE my son's communication system, at a time when he already had emerging language, to PECS. Not because it was the right thing to do for my son, but because that's all the ignorant, neglectful, downright fucking CRIMINAL little bitches were capable of. Wasting mine and my son's time. Not teaching him a goddamn thing, no. Not that. KARMA BABY. That's all I have to say. (And yes, I did call a Special Educational Needs solicitor about this Apparently NONE of this is illegal because informed consent only applies to medicine and I was dealing with the EDUCATION department. Right, because in special needs children the two are REAL easy to separate.)

But let's forget my stories, those from my local Autie Mamas and the Autie Mamas all across my current country of residence (random birthplace, actually, though I have no family ties here whatsoever other than the one I married into). Let's forget that legal fight or the ridiculous Statement of Special Educational Needs (SSEN) they've sent me which I have to challenge due to lack of hours specified, lack of one-to-one care and lack of any kind of behavioural (ABA) provision. (And I COULD FUCKING CARE LESS ABOUT WHATEVER MOTHERFUCKING "EVIDENCE" THEY MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE, it has helped MY son more in two months than they did in EIGHTEEN months. Eighteen months of his life, possibility for treatment and advancement wasted.

How could I not fight it? They're not just doing it to me, to MY son, they're doing it to every! single! autism! family! out! there!! THIS STOPS NOW. I don't know how I'll hold it together in the event that my belated fight (gov. policy changes in 2012, I was not aware of that till recently) fails. But how can he say that I'm obsessed? That it's just another one of my "OCD/ASD" 'traits'? (Yeah, okay, let's just forget for the moment that I always have to eat stuff in a certain order. That's personal preference. Sheesh!) How could I not do everything in my power to do right by my son?

Getting the services back is not the way. They are untrained and unqualified. The ONLY way to help my son is through this fight to change government policy.

And okay, cue the whining:

We both woke up in a bad mood this morning, neither got enough sleep, both are tired, worn out and stressed. We had a huge ABA training session today so I was in a panic trying to get the house looking reasonably habitable and not all out call-social-services-NOW looking as it usually is. Bubs has things he has to do to get ready, he helps me with certain parts of getting the kids ready, the pets sorted, and today that made him late for work. He forgot documents (relating to the SSEN) I had asked him to scan. He came back from walking to the train station having already missed one train screaming at me that he didn't take the stupid fucking papers and where the hell did I leave them? I'm no wilting flower, but I guess it just started my day off on a really bad foot as my Hubs is usually my rock, a star, totally laid back. Nothing ruffles him. I'm usually the crazy in the family.

Then I get an email from my brother's best friend. And we're talking real best friend here. They met as children and kept being "best friends" until the day my brother died suddenly from Brugada Syndrome on Oct 27th 2002 (the day I am writing this). The message was simple, addressing both my mother and myself (my parents started going through an ugly, messy divorce in 1993 that got finalized in 1996 when I was 16)

"Dear [both of you], just to let you know we are thinking of you and [My Brother] today and miss him everyday still"

So I wrote back

"Thank you [My Brother's Best Friend]. Same here. :( Thank you for your message.

Love to all the family. May our kids get to grow up to old age with their siblings!!"

And at some point after writing that, something inside me just snapped. My mother would always tell us when we [siblings] were near killing each other as children: "you'd better learn to count on each other as you're all the other will have to count on when we [parents] are gone". We were the only ones who had grown up with our experiences, the only ones who spoke our particular brand of Spanglish. The only one who could really understand me for me. Because he had lived through pretty much the same. Having to grow up from an early age with both parents frequently traveling for business, boarding schools etc. Okay, he didn't lose his virginity by getting raped when he was 14 years old, but we'd both had tough life experiences.

You know they tell you when you're a kid, "don't worry. It's just now. Things WILL get better. As you grow up, things will get easier." Could any of you good internet people please find the asshats who told me this? Because I'd like to kick the living crap out those lying little fucking bastards. My experience is things only get worse. No matter what happens, no matter how bad things are: they can and will get worse. That was proven when a trusted friend tried to rape me at 18. Really? What's that saying? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on you. (Is it any wonder I'm so passionate about martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in particular?) It wasn't the same person, it wasn't even on the same continent, but let's just say I've run into more than my fair share of shady people (don't get me started on the Mexican Police who you used to have to be more careful with than the criminals! That particular corruption problem has lessened in recent years, fortunately).

The whole with my brother was in pretty bad taste too. I mean, it's not even a condition that was present in our family!! Unheard of! The autopsy and inquest didn't even turn up anything. They said he died of SADS (sudden adult death syndrome). I got checked out after getting pregnant with my son, worried that what happened to my brother could be genetic and therefore happen to him. Turns out it was and it might. I have it, am a carrier and though I am slightly symptomatic, I'm not an "at risk" case. That didn't stop the university hospital from slicing open my chest, inserting a Reveal implant (badly, so that no data was picked up and my wound didn't heal for months, became horribly infected and never stopped hurting until I demanded that they take it out almost a year later).

Don't even get me started on my 85 year old great aunt who got strangled in the apartment she lived in on her own in Mexico City. They never found who did it or why, since nothing was stolen from her apartment. I have more, worse stories I could tell, but even with the anonymity of this fine blog, I don't want to bring them up because of how painful it would be to my family.

Anyway, I was listening to this one song over and over, the kids were bouncing off the walls and I was just letting them destroy the house. I mean, really? In the grand scheme of things, who gives a fuck? Right?

And then they came... Deep, asphyxiating sobs I couldn't control or stop.

My son gets freaked out by all things water. When he cries, he jumps up and down hysterically screaming "Mami! Mami clean!! Wipe, Mami, clean!!" while clawing at his eyes (it's a wonder he hasn't gouged them out by now!)

Apparently that happens when other people cry too. Or at least, when i do, since I've never seen him get like this at nursery when other kids cry. My daughter was also sobbing, tugging at my pants while I was desperately trying to discreetly back away into a special invisibility corner that failed to function (kind of like our local/national autism services).

So I had to pull up my big girl panties, wipes the tears away and smile brightly for them, just long enough to cram them into their sweaters and galoshes and throw them the fuck outside into the garden.

God Bless Booze O'Clock. **tic toc, people are waiting**

Friday, November 4, 2011

20 things that are more important than Kim Kardashian's divorce

  1. The oil stain in my driveway
  1. The pair of poopy underpants that have been hidden by someone in the back of my bathroom
  1. 1 in 110 children in America are living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, with a 10 to 17 percent annual growth rate (source)
  1. America's Funniest Home videos is supposed to be on right now but it isn't
  1. I really need to clean those cobwebs off the ceiling in the corner there
  1. Approximately 6.1 million children (8.2%) living in the United States don't have health insurance (source)
  1. I've never been to an Olive Garden
  1. The time changes this weekend
  1. 12 million people living in Somalia are currently in need of humanitarian assistance and 750,000 will likely die in the next 4 months (source)
  1. I haven't slept through the night for more than 2 consecutive nights for about 7 years now
  1. One of my cats keeps shitting on the rug in the bathroom
  1. The current unemployment rate is 9.1% nation-wide and 11.9% in California (source)
  1. Spam is really annoying
  1. Sea turtles can swim up to 35 miles per hour
  1. The 17 million dollars that Kimmie and Hubby made from their wedding could pay for approximately 515 people to attend a public college for 4 years (source)
  1. I think that one of Child 2's friend's moms doesn't like me, but I don't know why. I assume it was something I said.
  1. There's been nothing but crap available for download from the Rock Band store for the last 2 weeks
  1. About 46.2 million people in the United States live below the poverty line, with 20.5 million (1 out of every 15) living at 50% or less of the official poverty line (source)
  1. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to make for dinner tonight
  1. Fucking anything

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: Tina, Not Just Another Mother Blogger

Today we have my very good friend Tina, who blogs at Not Just Another Mother Blogger. Tina is an online friend of mine that I have known since Child 1 was just a baby. Seriously!

Once upon a time, before I met Mr. Right (aka my soulmate, my husband), I would go out to clubs with my friends. I would be given phone numbers. The gentlemen who gave me their phone numbers wanted me to call them, and occasionally I did just that. But since I absolutely HATE talking on the phone, most of the phone numbers ended up in the bottom of whatever black hole was my purse at the time, where they were completely forgotten. Don't judge! I was a busy woman at that time, living my single life and acquiring cats. Plus, I just hate talking on the phone. Did I mention that I hate talking on the phone?
When I purchase a new purse, the old one goes on a shelf until I decide to clean out stuff to take to Goodwill. Before I do that, I go through the purses again, just in case I left beer money in one of them. This particular purse has been sitting in my closet for over ten years; I didn't notice it until I was standing on a step stool. I need to clean out my closets more. As I was going through this purse, I found two interesting names scribbled on pieces of paper with torn edges.

The first paper that I found was a local number, but the name written on there, in block letters, was "Christ". I stared at it for a good long time. Why would Christ give me his phone number? As the Son of God, He probably has more effective means of communicating, wouldn't you think? I would remember seeing Christ if I actually met Him on this earthly plane, considering I see pictures of Him all over the place. It's not likely that the Redeemer would be able to walk into the Sac'n'Pac without getting recognized, you know. Not even Elvis can do that. Did Christ buy me a beer when I was downtown?. If so, did He make it Himself? That would have been an awesome beer.

The second number that I found was an Austin number. The name attached to that number was 'Buddha'. Buddha? Where on earth would I meet Buddha? Isn't he a vegetarian--what would he be doing in this state? San Antonio is a hardcore Catholic town. I could see the Buddha living in Austin, however. Did I get this number when I was in my two-stepping phase, or the headbanger phase? The Buddha does not frequent country-western dance halls, so it must have been during my headbanger phase. I am trying to picture the Buddha in a mosh pit, and surprisingly, it fits. The Buddha would totally dominate a mosh pit!

As long as he didn't try to body surf.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

jillsmo and 60 first graders go on a field trip

I accompanied Child 2 and his class on a field trip yesterday to the local children's science museum that we've been to 8 billion times before. I was put in charge of 4 kids: Child 2 and 3 others, and as we made our way through the very familiar (to me) museum, it was my responsibility to make sure that none of the children in my charge (I called them "my charges") vanished in a puff of smoke, which children tend to do in places like that. (I did head counts every 20 minutes or so, and I would yell out "GIRL, GIRL, GIRL, CHILD 2. OKAY. GOOD.")

It always makes me laugh (on the inside. I mean... I don't want to embarrass myself... moreso....) when somebody puts me in charge of kids. It's like they don't even realize that I'm just a large child, myself, and actually a rather bad influence; and while I do take my job of "make sure they don't disappear into thin air" seriously, as for the rest of it, yeah... not very much.

For example, I tend to get in trouble right along with them. We'll all be yelling and running around and then another adult will come charging in yelling "STOP YELLING AND RUNNING AROUND" and I'm like.... oh. Right. THAT. *cough* "Yes, kids! Stop yelling and running around, um.... just like I told you, uh... before...." (One time I was in the classroom, it was a Friday, and the teacher was sending homework home, and I said in a whiny little voice "Homework on the weekend??" and she said "Stop whining! You're not one of my kids!" Whatever. You're not my real mom.) I gave Child 2 a bottle of water for the bus because he gets really carsick and his teacher confiscated it. He knew that was going to happen, but I told him to take a chance. I should have taught him to hide it better.

So at one point, we're all in this classroom type place and they're doing these experiments, mixing different liquids and solids to see what happens. I'm at the table with Child 2 and a bunch of others (because I'm not only never ever ever ever allowed to leave his immediate line of vision I must be within grasping range at all times) and they all have these little mixing trays, and I'm watching and helping them to not spill and I'm saying things like "see what happens when you put more vinegar on the baking soda" and then I realize... HEY! I want to mix liquids and solids, too! So I ask the sciencey chick for a mixing tray and she's like "seriously? you want a mixing tray?" and I say "YES!" and I could see she was thinking "Jesus, what's with this one? All the other parents are just sitting around chatting like they're supposed to....." but come ON!! Did you know that when you mix lemon juice and chalk dust it totally fizzles and bubbles up just like baking soda and vinegar does?? Why does it do that? Why am I the only one who didn't know that?? THAT IS SO FUCKING COOL!! (I did manage to watch my language in front of the kids, though, and I only said "DUDE! Check this out! That is SO COOL!!!")

And then when the sciencey chick said "okay, put down your sticks, your experiments are over!" I said "AWWWWWWWWWW. I wanted to do another one! Okay, fine...." POUT.


Those kids fucking love me.

Child 1 update:

I'd sent an email to the Principal, saying I wasn't happy with the way things were being handled and I didn't like being in the dark. She called back twice and emailed three times within a 3 hour period, saying she didn't realize I hadn't been informed (could it be because she told Child 1's teacher not to talk to parents about it? hmmmm). She has essentially gotten the whole story, which was that kids were asking him to say weird things and then they would laugh at him. She seems to be taking this very seriously and is talking about school-wide autism education and teasing/bullying discussions, etc., which I will be a part of.

But what's most important is that Child 1 is okay. No more crying and insisting that he's sick so he doesn't have to go to school. He still doesn't like school, but who the hell likes school? The point is that he's happy again, and that's really all I care about!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jen from Living Life with a Side of Autism

Welcome Jen! I'm sorry I wasn't able to draw anything for this, what with Halloween and all that....

When Katie was in Kindergarten, we thought it would be a great idea to take a family trip to Disney World. I mean, what kid doesn't love Disney World? We also decided to invite my mother and drive, instead of fly. I am pretty sure I must have been high when making both decisions.

We left early on a Saturday and things were going swimmingly. And then we hit Baltimore. And when I say we *hit* Baltimore, I mean it in the literal sense. Or at least we hit a tire that had fallen in the middle of the road, off a farm truck not legally allowed to grace 95. Did I think my dear husband should have seen said tire before slamming into it? Well, we don't go down that road. But we did hit it, exploding both passenger side tires. Really, I am lucky I lived to share this story with you all.

So, we pull over to the breakdown lane and call 911. Calling 911 is such an awesome experience. They are never like the dispatchers you remember from Rescue 911. I told them we had a hit a tire, the tire was still in the middle of the road, and we needed help. You know, since it was an accident. And since Mr. Farmer was also on the side of the road, and we weren't paying for this shit ourselves. The operator huffed a bit and told us someone would eventually be there. Eventually a policeman did come, you know, while my 5yo kid with Autism did her best to freak out and think imminent death was upon us. The policeman took down the farm guy's info, gave us the number to a tow truck, and was like SEE YA!

We were like, I don't think so.

You see, we couldn't all fit into a tow truck, and even though he apparently thought some of us staying on 95 was fine, we disagreed. So, he said someone else would be by soon, but he had to go. So we called the tow truck guy, and sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the new cop showed up, and by new I mean they apparently went to the local high school, slapped a uniform on some kid, and sent him our way.

But, whatever, he had a car and we needed a ride. This would prove to be the highlight of Katie's trip. (Literally. When they had to write about what they did over April vacation, she wrote about this) Why? Because the COP let her ride on the FRONT SEAT of his cruiser. Whatever, she was 5, only 7 years shy of safely being able to ride shotgun. So, as I sat in the back with my 2yo, and prayed to Jebus we made it to the tire place on one piece, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed her front seat time. She also enjoyed it when we finally pulled up to the tire place and the policeman pulled up the Disney website and started asking me questions about booking his own trip. Right.

But, alas, our fun times had to end once the tow truck pulled up. We bid adieu to our 14yo escort, and realized we weren't in the best part of the city. I mean, we were at a 24hr, new-to-you, tire place, so what did we expect? Did you ever see the movie Barbershop? Imagine that. But at a tire garage. In the middle of the night. In probably the least safe part of the city (not a movie lot, with highly paid actors).

Of course, my first born had to use the bathroom, so we walked to the back and carefully positioned the curtain they had half hanging in front of the (out in the open) toilet, so she could do her business. We then sat outside, feeling totally safe, and waited for our "used, but they'll totally get you to Florida and back", tires to be ready.

You would think this would be the worst part of the trip. You would be wrong. There was the fact Katie hated Disney (yeah, should have called that one). Then both kids were highly allergic to the Disney bedding and broke out all over their faces. Then Ben got Scarlett Fever, sending us to the ER for 6 hrs, and then out at 1am to find a 24hr pharmacy. Then there was Ben projective vomiting at Red Lobster, and later all over my mother, while she waited for Kai and I go to on Space Mountain (after which I had to hold back my own projectile vomit. I am way too old for this shit). Then there was us having to go a Toyota dealership to get new tires, since, whaddya know, the tires we got in Baltimore were not, in fact, going to make it back home (thank you, Disney security guard, for pointing that out). Then there was me almost passing out in the lobby while waiting to check into a hotel on our way back, and having to go lie on the bathroom floor because, damn it, I was not passing out in public (they might have to call 911, and we all know how that goes). Passing out was just a precursor to the stomach bug/fever I came down with, which Katie also came down with the next day. In the car. Yeah.

Top that.

P.S. we got AAA after that. I advise you to do the same.