Someone in this planet came up with an item made of natural coco fibers that, when coated with “a special latex solution” will prevent you from slipping in the snow and ice??????????? They actually sell these! They are about 30 inches wide and ten feet long…if I buy FOUR of them I can make a walkway outside our back deck!!!!!
You may ask yourself WHY I am bringing this up? Yesterday, between J and I, we proved that Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation is fact. No, we had no doubts about it to start with, but since it was basically inevitable that asses, knees and hands would encounter the ground more than once, we figured we’d give a scientific spin to the whole situation. In fact, we actually went through a whole bunch of Newtonian laws between the home and the bus stop (twice for me, thank you) and between the bus stop and home (three for me, thank you.)
Today, on the way home, J eyed the slope (the Slippery Slope of legend, it seems) with suspicion. I persuaded him, not without a great deal of effort, to take a wider turn and use the kinder, gentler slope. I’m sure the construction workers, who know us by now, found some humor in my over-emoting as I demonstrated how un-slippery this part of the slope is. When we succeeded climbing the not-at-all-steep slope, we looked like Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay must’ve looked…and I know this is hyperbole at its best, but you have no idea how J took it yesterday when he fell (he was unharmed.)
While we made it up to the deck safely and J knows it can be done, a) there was no snow on the ground, b) there was no ice on the ground, c) the grass was wet, but not sopping, and d) the wooden stairs that sit between two buildings and don’t get sufficient sunlight in winter are not a practical way to get home either. In fact: we are doomed to slip, it’s just a question of where, and The Slippery Slope seems the gentlest of all options.
The lay of the land is this: our street is flanked by a long, steep street on the northwest side and by a short, even steeper street on the east. Parallel to us runs a flat street that lies below our street level (if you’re getting lost with this explanation, my apologies, I’m not very spatial…I’m more spastic.) From that parallel street to our back deck is The Slippery Slope…I’d say it is a ten-foot climb. The stairs between buildings have approximately 27 steps and 3 landings…this would not be a problem if, when it’s iced over, we didn’t risk falling on something harder than dirt covered with ice and snow.
If you have an autistic kid you know that ANY trip to a medical facility is ten times more traumatic than with a neuro-typical child. When you tell a neuro-typical child that “this will only hurt for a moment and I promise you’ll feel better after,” they will forevermore know you lie like a rug, but they will eventually understand that the alternative (copious bleeding, unset bones, etc., etc.) is far worse than the horrors of emergency medical care. An autistic kid will forevermore remember the awning of the building where the chamber of tortures is located and, on cue, will start screaming in horror when you mention the words “hospital,” “shot,” “stitches,” “X-ray,” and so forth ad nauseam. We know this (and learned it the hard way) because we once took J for some immunization shots and, for as long as we lived in that town, we could NOT, under any circumstances, drive down that street with J in the car. Time and maturity, thank goodness, have somewhat allayed his fears and we can now drive past the hospital as many times as we want to with nary an incident, but going IN requires thoughtful preparation and persuasion. Since this is the status quo when you have an autistic kid, the very idea of any sort of injury is abhorrent to us, and we avoid them like the plague.
My husband (that long-suffering man) barely uttered an uh-oh last night when I said “look what I found in this catalog!!!” He refers to these as my “most scathingly brilliant idea” (in honor of dear Hayley Mills’ character Mary Clancy in The Trouble With Angels) or “using mainly spoons” (in honor of Mike in Monsters, Inc.) moments. He has resorted to simply to making the sign of the cross and waiting for the other shoe to drop. “No, no! Look! It’s a coco fiber runner!!!!,” I said, enthusiastically. Once I convinced him (invoking the laws of physics and J’s difficulty in accepting things like crutches, casts, stitches, and invasive medical care in general) that I wasn’t trying to “upholster and carpet the neighborhood,” he grabbed the catalog and shrugged his approval. I was about to briskly remove myself from bed when he gently reminded me that, while my heart was in the right place, a cold, windy, rainy night when children don’t come out to trick-or-treat in spite of an abundance of candy available in every home with a porch light on was probably not the best moment to go out and measure how many mats I need.
I find it disturbing when he is right and can anticipate my intentions.
So…while I am still in the incipient-most-scathingly-brilliant-idea stage of this potential course of action, I will consider and research some more before committing to upholstering and carpeting any portion of The Slippery Slope. Yesterday, though, when J landed firmly on the ground and let out a horrified scream (more because his beloved flannel-lined green cargo pants got wet and grassy than because he was hurt,) I considered all the horrible implications of either one of us getting hurt. My hyperactive imagination doesn’t help…I can clearly visualize all sorts of accidents and injuries so vividly that it will make my blood curl.
On second thought, maybe I can go out there NOW and measure The Slippery Slope????