Notes about life here…

The love affair with Raleigh continues.  Whether it loves us back, or not, is up for debate.  We continue to be comfortable (although the humidity level does wreak havoc on my aches and pains), and happy in spite of the everyday challenges being new to a place poses.

We still get lost driving around (not as much as we used to), and have figured out that a lot of the places that seemed oh-so-far-away are really down the street and we’ve been putting off going there for no good reason.

A few days ago J and I were at Michael’s (again…), and we ran into a group of developmentally-disabled adults on an outing.  We see these often, but we’ve yet to figure out a good placement for J.  I’m sure this will take time because, with J, these things take time.  Anyway…as we were walking towards the register a young man from the group turned around and said, rather loudly and enthusiastically, “HI!!!!!!”  The rest of the group turned around to look at us (with varying degrees of interest and comfort), and J -much to my surprise- stopped and looked at his interlocutor before responding with a spontaneous, if not as enthusiastic, HELLO.  It gave me hope that we will soon find a group of peers where he will feel comfortable…

We have also made progress with the whole “let’s go outside and feed the fish, shall we?” request.  Initially J was fascinated but scared, and now he’s fascinated, hesitant, and vigilant of any flying creatures (this includes, regrettably, leaves that fall in a spin from the trees in our backyard), but he does go out there and throw food at the fish.  Once he’s done I have to go out and brush the flakes and sticks into the water, and the fish give me weird looks, but we have made tiny strides in this department.

If Dada is grilling, J now likes to sit on his rocking chair in the patio.  This has made us very happy.  He doesn’t want to walk into the landscaped areas yet (and we really don’t mind because he needs heavy boots in this area where copperheads might appear out of nowhere…don’t go on Google to look for this information…you might freak out like we have), but he is happier with our slice of the great outdoors than we had seen him in previous weeks.

J’s TV room is coming along.  His Lego and train track village is up and running, but we’ve only unpacked about sixty-percent of the Legos he brought assembled from WV.  The trick is to try to keep them in one piece, and that is almost like an archaeological dig…we take one out, go back to the assembly manual, and clean it as we go along making repairs.

We painted the garage for J to have a friendlier space for his treadmill and other exercise.  The ceiling is taking a little longer because we are not Michelangelo.  By this I don’t mean it’s a complex paint job, but rather that we don’t have the ability to do this comfortably.  Next summer, with the benefit of less rain and longer days, we will paint the garage floor.  The handyman will come when he’s available to mount the TV on the wall so J doesn’t have to strain to watch his movies while he “walks.”

As we watch the leaves turn and we complete all the little detail work involved in being fully comfortable in our home (the crafts closet is done, thank goodness!), we continue to figure out what works best for us.  Whereas J used to like his TV room door closed in the townhouse, here he keeps it open and we can go in and out to check on him, or work with him, or just hang out with him.  He is not as territorial of that space in this house as he was in WV.  His bedroom is a lot more comfortable.  He likes the walk-in closet and the windows that give him a view of the backyard.  He likes that there is a small separation between the door and his actual sleeping area…

Yesterday we finally went to the library, and J loved it in spite of their not having videos for borrowing.  We thought for sure that would turn him off, but he liked the way the light streamed in through the tall windows.  Everything was on the same level, and you could look out and see the parking lot surrounded by trees.  A lady was giving a painting demonstration, and while J didn’t want to sit down for it, he was observing from a distance and smiling.  We then walked to a wall where some of her works were being displayed and he identified everything she had painted.  He especially liked a painting that depicted some piglets, and another with a chimp.

We have encountered several dogs in the neighborhood, and J has managed to keep his cool.  The presence of leashes is always encouraging to him, and there has only been one instance of someone’s dog running out as we drive by that unnerved him.  We handled it well, though.  He goes for short walks with me, and when we see someone walking a dog, he feels comfortable just crossing the street to avoid them.

In the last piece of news: J has been on .75 mg of Risperdal for a week.  He has been mildly anxious, a little more persistent about certain things, but we think this med reduction will work for now.  Of course, we have to make sure that we continue to engage him frequently and proactively, and that we address any concerns he might have during the course of the day, but we feel confident that this was the right time to drop that .25 mg from his dosage.

So…there you go…

We are holding up just fine.

 

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There’s paperwork involved…

Life goes on, and we either follow the stream or the stream drags us.  We are, once more, filing a petition for guardianship of J, and spent the morning signing our names, answering questions, going through metal detectors.  Not in that order, of course…

J was game for the whole outing.  Today being Wednesday, it is PIZZA DAY…and that is enough motivation for him.  Not much fuss is made by the guards once we explain he is wearing a wrist brace, and J has no issue relinquishing Slinky to the x-ray machine.  He will even stand there, a modified version of the Vitruvian Man, letting the detector wand sweep around him in search of something that will “whoop!” and require more thorough searching.

People in North Carolina are helpful, and kind.  We’ve also noticed they are more cheerful and welcoming than in other places.  We suspect it’s partly the Southern Charm thing, but we think they are just generally happy.  The very few not-quite beaming faces are easily forgotten in the face of all the kindness and understanding that J has encountered here.  At this particular point we are wondering why we ever considered moving anywhere else…fate pointed us to Raleigh, and in Raleigh we are.

Of course, we are vigilant of the copperheads we’ve been told can be found in the backyard.  We have always been leery of black widow spiders, and brown recluses.  We are familiar with the mosquitoes (not through any desire to be closely acquainted with them…but they DO love Dada, and it seems they’ve discovered ME, too), and with the weather alerts that might send us scrambling to the closet under the stairs.  Every place has a not-so-bright side, and we are pleased to report that the not-so-bright side here is vigorously outshone by the good stuff…

J, our resident weatherman, likes his new digs.  He likes the grocery stores, the farmers’ market.  He loves his new psych.  He is absolutely enamored with the idea that he can freely walk to the mailbox without encountering dogs, and he has grown accustomed to the many birds that visit our backyard.

J is happy.  J is home.

All this makes us happy.  All this gives us peace.

And then we watch the news reports from back home and we wonder how people are going to make it to tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.  Aid is flowing in…but in a very measured way.  Things are not improving as much as some would have us believe.  We hear many reports of people standing in hours-long lines to get gas for their cars.  We hear of store shelves completely stripped of anything that people could eat.  We hear of the difficulties involved in navigating life without power, water, or any degree of comfort.  I’ve been there with J, but it was so long ago (and there wasn’t the pervasive presence of the cell phone, Instagram, Facebook to remind us of the misery) that it has actually made me feel like it was all a dream.

Back on the island there is a crisis.  I know that many mothers with kids who face the same challenges J faces are struggling right now.  I think of the elderly and their challenges.  I think of those who have chronic illnesses and cannot get the regular medical attention they require.  I argued with an idiot online who kept rationalizing why the debt PR has matters more than the current situation.  I decided to just drop it…it’s not worth it…

But the people back home ARE worth it.  And the mail is running in very limited areas, but that will -hopefully- spread to the rest of the island little by little.  It has to get better…

In the meantime, our happiness and peace feel a little uncomfortable, and so we fill boxes, make lists, and get ready to go to the P.O.  It’s all we can do…for now.

We emerge on the other side of the move…sort of unscathed…

In case I haven’t said this fervently, convincingly, emphatically enough before: NEVER MOVING AGAIN.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.  Regardless of how much money I’m offered.  We have the very firm intention (so firm it’s actually inflexible) of being like Mr. Fredericksen in Up.  Build around us…we’re not moving.

First: it would kill us.  We’re too old for this crap.  Seriously.  We are tired, sore, achy, fatigued, exhausted, exasperated, irritated…happy to have bought this house…madly in love with it…but NEVER MOVING AGAIN.

I would relate to you the saga that has been moving from Morgantown, WV to Raleigh, NC, but I feel you would think I’m hyperbolizing for dramatic effect.  Suffice it to say that we closed on the house on a Tuesday, and our belongings didn’t arrive until the following Monday.  This, sadly, after we’d been told they’d be here on the Saturday at the latest…and then on the Sunday…and, finally, on the Monday.  That our moving boxes were sitting in a warehouse in Pennsylvania since the second of August is beside the point (no, it’s not), or that they were apparently transferred (without much attempt at delicacy) from one truck to another is also beside the point (to quote Brick Heck from The Middle…”I’m lying”).  What is very much to the point is that our move salesman and our move coordinator had said (and they deny it with such vehemence that it’s breathtaking to think neither has ever been nominated for a major acting award) that our things would be here between the 9th and the 12th, and that it was likely that we would see them in the early portion of the delivery window.  Since this was a verbal estimate we can’t prove it was said (if an estimate is made in the forest, and there’s no one there but the person who needs their stuff delivered…was it estimated at all????).  So after calling us, basically, liars and having no reasonable explanation for why our move was not scheduled on the Friday after it was picked up (this didn’t get scheduled until the Friday AFTER it was picked up) we were pretty much ready to be done…

We are done.  We have unpacked everything.  We have disposed of the broken items (which, by the way, we would have had to KEEP until they sent an adjuster to verify that our claims -“we regret that you have broken items YOU associate with your move”- were legit), removed the boxes to the recycling center, and the fat lady is ready to sing her swan song by hanging pictures on walls, and calling this last (and most monumental) of moves DONE…officially and unequivocally.

Because we didn’t get our stuff when promised (did you know that you basically get a $100 discount for each day the move is late?  That’s it…$100!), we had to go out and buy air mattresses (our backs will never be the same), towels, sheets, some pots and pans (because we were -and this will sound totally crazy- SICK of eating out…never mind how costly it was), and other items that ensured our sanity in light of being in an empty house with good ol’ J.

J.  Darling, patient, adaptable J.  J who loves Target and yet was utterly sick of going there to get yet another thing we needed to “rough it” in the empty house.  J who met his new psych with a big smile on his face, and hasn’t asked for Five Guys yet.  J who has the two most comfortable, set-up in style, “this room is done” rooms in the entire house.  Bless his sweet heart, and his willingness to put up with all this madness.

Now that the garage has ceased to look like a cardboard jungle, J can go back to his exercise routine.  He has a new treadmill.  He is waiting for his Wii and his TV to be set up so he can “run”…he has seen more dragonflies in the garden than he’s comfortable with, but every day he tries a little harder to sit out there and experience the glory that is his new, fenced, landscaped backyard.  J has been a champ.  J has smiled a little more widely and a little more brightly with each passing day as the boxes start revealing his things emerging from their storage.  J has helped load the recyclables in the truck we rented, and giggled with joy as he sees the garage becoming a garage once more.

We put his new peel-and-stick tree in his new bathroom.  We put glow-in-the-dark stars on his bedroom walls, and his bevy of pin-up girls is present and in full force.  He has his lava lamp, his fairy lights, his butterflies, and a view of the garden that is pleasant and relaxing.  J is very much at home…

We sit around the dinner table and look out the window at the birds that visit the feeders; we go outside to feed the fish in the pond; we take the trash out to the curb, and J is in charge of checking the mail.  A short walk, but a happy one…just a few yards down the driveway and I can see him smiling all the way there and back.  He has also learned that he puts the flag up if we are sending mail out…

Our expeditions to learn about town have been fun.  We’ve found a grocery store we love, a shopping center where they have all the stores J likes to frequent, and a donut shop that is a huge treat because their donuts are simple and ridiculously delicious.

Tomorrow we will sally forth to the DMV to get our IDs, licenses, car registration.  On Saturday we hope to work in the yard.

We are settling in…

We are hanging pictures…

We are NEVER MOVING AGAIN…EVER…

It’s almost like that last scene in Raiders here…

We are pretty sure that the boxes are humming at us.  Not just ONE box…all of them.  Either that, or we have this ringing in our ears that is interfering with everything.  It comes from the house slowly being disassembled, packed, and lined up for the movers to take away.

We are currently at the stage where we pack, and discover we’ve left a mess in our wake.  From that we gather those things that are still viable for packing, and then we are left with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam that is, basically, of the “what IS this?  Why do we HAVE this?  Oh, this was from THIS, and we don’t have that anymore!” variety.

The one good thing about moving is that you discover that there are things you no longer need, want, care about, have a use for, and you send them along to a more productive life elsewhere, or you discard those things that cannot possibly be of any use because they are broken, spent, outdated…

The moving company we decided to go with came today for the estimate.  (Long story short, the other company dithered to the degree where the dates got really murky, and we cannot do murky.)  The bulk of our move is books, and J’s stuff.  He has calmly and happily allowed me to cull some of his belongings to pass on to his nephews and nieces, and that is lightening the load somewhat, but there remains the question (not a trivial one either) of how to pack up all the train tracks, the Legos that go in his village, and all the “vegetation” that grows in the wilderness bordering the village.  The balls from the ball pit have been taken care of, and his craft closet is almost entirely packed.  There remain the boxes of extra Lego pieces sorted by color, and -because Wednesdays are Lego Days – those will remain as they are until the day before the movers come.

J’s room will be the last thing packed and loaded on the truck, and he is seeing the house slowly being disassembled but feels safe in his cocoon because we remind him every single day that he will “lose” his stuff last, and “get it back” first.

All the administrative layers of complexity involved in this relocation are being addressed in stages.  The utilities will be last, of course, because the house is still being occupied by the seller.  The first appointment with a new psychiatrist has been scheduled, and I’ve had a conversation with the court regarding transferring guardianship from one state to another.

And therein is the sticking point, my friends…

I have read the laws regarding guardianship in our state, and I’ve contacted the court.  I’ve contacted the court in our new location, and they’ve told me how the process works.  The problem is that our current state doesn’t have provisions for transferring the guardianship even though there is reciprocity between this state and the one we’re moving to…you read right: the law say nothing about transferring guardianship between states.  There are no forms, no lists, no contacts, no FAQ, nothing.  Tomorrow I am calling the court in our soon-to-be new state and asking them about the viability of starting the process all over again from scratch over there.

SO…word to the wise, if you’re planning on relocating across state lines, don’t just take “reciprocity” at face value.  Dig a little deeper, and try to figure out how the issue works in one state and another.  For all intents and purposes, our current state seems to operate under the premise that a family who has guardianship of a disabled adult will never want to leave here…

Yeah…

That’s the scoop for this evening.  Now I’m off to make tomorrow’s to-do list, fill out some paper for the new psych, and ponder the alternatives we have for dealing with this guardianship transfer issue…

 

Notes from a house not-yet-full-to-the-brim with boxes…

We went on our trip, and we bought a house.  Yes.  You read right.  We found a house we love, we saw there was competition (and we can’t blame the worthy opponents because it’s a WONDERFUL house), and we threw all caution to the wind and our hat into the ring.  J is ecstatic.  Dada is ecstatic.  I am packing…ecstatically.

Things are moving rather fast.  We close on the second week of August, and the movers are supposed to come on the first week of August.  While dealing with all the transactions pertaining to purchasing a home (which we’d never done and, let’s face it, it strikes us as a Tolstoy-based process), we’ve also been trying to figure out how to pack our lives in an efficient and organized manner.  I will now give you a moment to laugh at our naïveté…

……….

Done?  Good.

So our books are boxed up…all 2000-plus of them.  I’ve decided, in my infinite wisdom (naïveté), to color-code the move.  That is: each area of the house has been assigned a color, and the boxes, packages, furniture, etc. are being labeled with said colors…  I will now give you another moment to laugh…

………

Done?  Good.

I have high hopes (no laughing while I’m telling you stuff…save it for the breaks) that this will make matters easier, but I am leaving plenty of room for error.  I have pasted samples of each color (in each of the materials being used) to small poster boards we’re going to put in the doorway leading to each area in the house.  I have made a quick reference list for the movers, for us, and for any person that comes into the house and accidentally stands next to a box and a roll of tape with a “helpful” look on their face.

Things are going more slowly than I had anticipated.  Well, no…that’s not exactly true.  Things are going as slowly as they go when you’re past the age of fifty, your joints hurt, you have galloping anemia, and you own over 2000 books.  That I somehow managed to create for myself, in the midst of a very romantic viewing of a house we fell in love with (I swear to you, I could hear Bach’s cello concertos playing in my mind, and I could smell fresh brewed coffee and fresh home-made bread), that I was the animated equivalent of Bewitched’s Samantha Stephens in that crossover episode where she and Darrin move next door to The Flintstones…  Or that I was like Merlin in The Sword in the Stone, and by singing “Higitus Figitus” our stuff would be reduced in size and packed away neatly in ONE CONTAINER.

Obviously, none of that is happening.  We have to do this ourselves, and it is backbreaking work.  It is worth it.  The house is worth it.  J’s joy at knowing he can choose a bedroom, and there is a bonus room for him (that is, pardon my French, totally KICKASS!!!!) is a sight to behold.  The boxes are not causing anxiety, and he stops to look at the pictures we put on a USB (for motivation, people…this is why we’re moving…this is why we’ve made a mess in my otherwise usually neat home) when they are on the TV screen upstairs.  The backyard is gorgeous, and big, and there is a perfect spot where we will be putting J’s new swing chair when we get there.  And there is a koi pond…which we’re sure will be a foot bath for J until he realizes that the koi will approach his feet…

So…there you go…

Naïve?  Yes.  Excited?  Yes.  Exhausted?  Indubitably.  Overworked?  Uh-huh!  With a load of things still to get done before the movers come????  YOU BETCHA!

But it’s all good.  J will be happy in his new house.  J will have space, and a fenced backyard with NO DOGS TO TAUNT HIM!!!  How awesome is that????

 

 

 

 

A lot is said about bringing “sexy” back, but maybe that’s not the problem…

I think I’ve seen just about every female celebrity twerking, or flashing her toned ass online.  I’ve seen, regrettably, Heidi Klum boasting about her love for nudity.  I have seen Emily Ratawhatever in every degree of nakedness known to mankind.  I’ve run into Kim Kardashian’s sizable rump, Khloe Kardashian’s nipples peering through a sheer blouse, and Kourtney Kardashian embracing her son with her nearly naked derriere pointing towards the camera.  Mothers cannot seem to embrace their toddlers without showing their cleavage (even breastfeeding has been elevated to “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman…” in a way that, quite frankly, I don’t get.  I breastfed for FOUR YEARS, and no one ever really noticed when I did it in a public place…because no one likes being stared at while they eat.  That was my logic anyway.  I don’t think it deflated my powers as a breastfeeding woman to be discrete, but what do I -a currently middle-aged prude- know about that, right?) There is also the long list of young girls with pierced nipples, pouting lips, toned tummies.  It’s all empowering, supposedly.  It’s everywhere.  The little girl from Modern Family posed on the beach with her bikini bottom so low-slung that it looked like we’d be able to confirm how well she waxes her nether regions.  No one seems to own a bathing suit that covers anything more than the crack of their butt.  I suppose that fixes the issue with sand in your pants, but it really is getting tiresome seeing women of all ages trying to prove that their bodies are worth a view.

If that is sexy, we have more of it than we really need.  I say let’s call a moratorium on it, and let’s bring something else back…being actually nice to each other.

I am about to say some really trite things, and I hope you will bear with me…  I don’t want you to think that I’ve become some sort of spineless creature, but I am really sick and tired of the meanness that I see (yes, see…and hear) everywhere.

I don’t really know where it started.  We can go back to shock comedians who spoke their mind; we can take it to Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Don Rickles…and we can say “that’s where it stared.”  The thing is this: those guys were smart, and they were direct, but they were not mean.  Maybe I’m wrong about this, but none of them (or their humor) inspired me to be crass and inconsiderate.  Blunt?  Maybe.  Mean?  No, not really.

Why am I saying this?  Yesterday was rough.  Many websites (supposed “news” websites) kept flashing pictures and videos of Kathy Griffin’s and Tyler Shields’ stunt with a supposed Donald Trump “severed head.”  It was unpleasant.  It was unnecessary.  It was shocking and, quite honestly, it made me feel bad.

Furthermore, I had to actually turn off the computer because if I tried to check the news, there it was, and I didn’t want J to see it.  I didn’t want to see it either, but between the stunt, the apology, and the backlash it was (until I said “no more”) hard to escape.

We see, more often than we should, videos of people beating each other up, attacking each other, bullying each other, throwing public tantrums.  Then we witness the comments: people insult each other with either “libtard” or “Trumpster”, and that’s just the kinder sliver of invective.  It gets worse.  The anonymity of the internet allows for all sorts of shameless abuse that feels liberating to those issuing it.

There was a time when our society was angry and proactive.  There was a purpose to the anger.  Now we’re just angry, and we take it out on each other.  We feel outraged by anyone who doesn’t agree with us, and the response is usually potent, concentrated, vicious.  The same reckless abandon that is displayed in exposing bodies left and right and calling it “empowerment” is applied to expressing opinions with no filter or consideration and calling “freedom of speech.”

I am all for both, but I am also for taking a step back and asking “is this the way to do it?”

Dada’s job search has taught us a lot about the way the world is now as opposed to the way it was six years ago.  Yes, a lot has changed.  We didn’t realize how much, but it has.  There are job boards all over the internet, and it is “easy” to apply for jobs there.  You basically upload your resume and then you re-enter all the information into the forms that each employer uses.  Your information then disappears into some sort of limbo where, if you don’t strictly represent very specific parameters, it will never be looked at by another human pair of eyes.

I don’t say this out of bitterness.  Dada has had a fairly good response from people (actual humans) who reviewed his qualifications.  But all the electronic layers of filters and sieves will overlook the human behind the verbiage.  And this is, sadly, everywhere…

Have you noticed that more stores have self-checkouts now?  You don’t have to interact with a cashier if you don’t want to.  Have you seen how many flavors of pre-packaged chips there are?  We counted six or seven when we were growing up, and now the chip aisle is as long as our kitchen, and multilayered. You can also have your own Keurig or Nespresso machine at home so you can have your latte, but never encounter a barista ever again.  Never mind that it doesn’t taste the same, or that actual coffee bean bags are being replaced by those little cups at the store…you can have that at home, and not interact with humans.

I am not a fan of people.  That is: I am introverted and have trouble behaving in a way that isn’t awkward when in social situations, but I still have manners, and I hope others will have manners, too.  My idea of social interaction is not the one that I see out there: you either agree or disagree, and react accordingly, or you “present” like a baboon in heat and expect people to hit “like.”

It seems we have forgotten that we are, essentially, dealing with other people, human beings like us, and that they have fears, concerns, frailties, senses of humor, feelings just like we do.  We seem to have forgotten that we used to live outside of shock value, outside of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  We used to all populate an actual plane of reality where our feet touched ground and we had to look each other in the eyes after saying or doing the mean thing.

Can we please bring that back?  Can we stop worrying about freeing the nipple, and start worrying about whether we just scared a kid who is not as sophisticated as we think all kids are?  (Barron Trump, it has been reported, was scared by the image of what appeared to be his father’s severed head.  People doubt this.  People assume being eleven is tantamount to being a world-weary fan of Tarantino who has seen it all and feels nothing.  This, I think, needs to stop…eleven year-olds should be allowed to be as naive as eleven year-olds are.  Otherwise, let’s just start handing condoms, Hustler, Jim Beam and unfiltered Camels to all nine year-olds so they are ready when “being eleven” rolls around.)

So that’s today’s rant.  I apologize if you disagree, but that’s the way I’m feeling today…after skulking back online trying to dodge video of the latest “graphic video” that has replaced the last “graphic photoshoot” that made me cringe.

No,  I know I don’t “HAVE” to look, but…does that mean that you have to hide if you want to live in a kinder world?

 

 

The way we live now…inside and outside of the shell

This is Dada’s last week at his job here in WV, and J is trying to adjust to the new face of our everyday routine.  We worked on that this past Monday (Memorial Day) when Dada was at home.  Instead of treating it like a holiday, we inserted some of J’s regular Monday routine into the mix as well as some fun activities he doesn’t expect to be doing on a weekday.

It sort of worked.  I’m sure that next week will be “interesting” because it’s one thing to pull off a “Dada’s here from work” one day, and it’s harder when it’s a few days in a row without a trip planned.

I have grown used to the horse pills I have to take every night.  I don’t enjoy them, but they have yet to upset my stomach so I’m grateful for that.  Taking that much iron in one fell swoop is something I’d never had to do before, and I’m slowly starting to feel better, but the prospect of attracting the refrigerator magnets is daunting.  It’s nice to not look like death warmed over, but it’s also a revelation to see that not all my physical limitations are the result of galloping anemia.  I am, and this cannot be denied or reversed, definitely getting older, and it shows.  I am, however, also looking forward to having more energy (something the doctor tells me I will work up to as my body restores its iron reserves to a decent level).

J is doing well.  The Risperdal, of course, wreaks havoc on his weight, but that doesn’t stop him from exercising and trying to control the urge to eat us out of house and home.  In recent weeks we have accepted that we need to exchange certain menu items…pasta and pizza on the same day are a no-no, and J now put his pizza on the schedule, put away his pasta (he gets fourteen noodles for a lunch, people, it’s not like he gets an immense amount anyway) and has his yogurt and banana chips for breakfast.  I make him a salad…he eats it with what can be described as resignation, but he eats it.  Today (Pizza Day) is also Fish Day…  Very little impact on his waistline so far, but at least he’s learned to accept that he can’t have it all on the same day.

Now that the weather has improved (although we get rain most days) he is also going for walks.  Once Dada is home until his next job happens we have planned an after-breakfast walk, our mid-morning workout, trips to the pool, and -when weather allows- walks on the track at school.  Lunch will be the biggest meal of the day.  We will do more outside, and we will all get ready for the next stage of our life as a family.

We still don’t know for sure where we’re hanging our hats.  It looked like Atlanta, GA for a while, but the employment market there is extremely tricky.  Lots of jobs, but not a lot of feedback from potential employers.  The state of North Carolina, on the other hand, has surprised us…immediate replies to applications, unexpected calls regarding jobs we didn’t know were out there.  We are actually quite enthused about this prospect; Raleigh is where I lived with the kids (in my sister’s home) after I separated from the children’s father, and that is where Dada came to visit and proposed to me…eighteen years ago.  We’d be coming full circle, and it’s an area that we both find appealing.

With just a few days left for Dada at work, and the prospect of an out-of-state move within the next few weeks we are all getting a little antsy.  I look at the house and see things to pack, throw away, donate.  Dada looks at the house and sees a messy process.  J probably thinks “all my stuff is coming with us, right?”  He has realized that there is a great deal of change in the near future, and it has made his anxiety ebb and flow erratically, but we are working with him to help him cope.

One thing that has thrown him off completely…unexpected, unannounced visitors over the past weekend.  On Friday, as I opened the garage door to air out the space before J got on his elliptical, a truck pulled up and former aides from his school showed up for an impromptu visit.  To be honest, it took me a moment to recognize them…they were so out of context that I had to take a second look.  As they cleaned the classroom (one year later) J’s ceramics assignments and some CDs he had left behind turned up.  Of course, I had to tell J they were here…I couldn’t not let them say hi…it would have probably seemed suspicious to them…  J was thrown by the visitors, and he wanted them (although not in an aggressive or insistent manner) to leave.  I think he worried briefly that he would have to resume his old schedule, and -while it has taken him time and effort to become a man of leisure) to leave.

After they went he was relieved, but he kept going to the door to make sure no one else was showing up.

On Sunday, just as we were getting the last details of dinner ready to go, the doorbell rang.  This time it was a visitor for Dada.  We had run into this person the day before at the bookstore, and he was recognizable to J, but he was also inexplicably here…close to dinnertime.  J was, I must confess, very good about the whole thing.  His main thing was to go back to his schedule board and reiterate that the events, tasks, activities and ideas he had for Monday remained unchanged.  He did this about sixty times…in fifteen minutes.

We eventually found our center.  We eventually sat down to dinner.  And Monday happened in a pleasant way…

We’re getting the hang of it…again.  Another hang of another it…