Wednesday, May 5, 2010

T-Minus 4 Days and Success!

It worked. Two of DD's teachers pitched the idea of staying at his regular high school for another year, and he bought it. Wow. I am such a wizard. It really wasn't as hard as we thought it would be. His teachers added a couple of incentives--one of his jobs next year will be as an office monitor, the kids who run notes around the building and stuff, and he's now "training" to be a gym assistant next year. And according to him, he'll get to drive the golf cart around as part of his gym job! What!!!!!! omg. If they think he can do it, more power to him. So DH and I are really pleased that the system is finally working for him.

I took a busman's holiday today and drove out to Magee Marsh to check out the warbler action. I had more fun watching the warbler-watchers than anything else. I did get glimpses of 2 birds, and took some pics. I put my contacts in before I left, but they must be really dirty because I had to take them out when I got there. Taking pictures with glasses on is a pain and I'll have to re-learn how to do it. And our long lens is hard to focus. The auto focus is really weird, so I keep it turned off. But I also haven't come close to mastering it with or without glasses. Something to work on this summer.

Mystery bird pics-- since everyone else was taking pictures of them and going, "oohh" and "ahhh" and "great bird" and today's most uttered phrase, "That's a lifer for me" I decided to post these crumby pictures. Feel free to post id's for me! More (and better pictures) later.

Kudos to Kim Kaufmann for pulling off the "Biggest Week in American Birding." I have long maintained that if you want to promote something just print up glossy, full-color, tri-fold flyers and it becomes true. Kim went waaaaay beyond that to promote this. I have also long maintained that something like this should happen. My hat is off to Kim, and Julie Shieldcastle (founder) and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. For those of you who don't know Kim, picture me, but on heavy duty steroids! Way to go, ladies!

Monday, May 3, 2010

T-Minus 6 Days and Life Interupts

The good news: We'll have plenty of room in the cargo trailer. The bad news, a really tough school decision looms again.

For a couple of years, DD has said that he wants to go to Penta Career Center, the local vocational high school. As an added bonus, they've moved into a beautiful, amazing new building with all the coolest new stuff. DH and I thought we knew that the programs were all about. Last week we met with reps there and started being able to read, or listen, between the lines.

Kids in with disabilities are usually entered into the "Skills Center" where they learn "job skills." What we didn't pick up in our other conversations is that the kids in these programs aren't exposed to much in academics, or in particular careers. It's more a matter of finding a task that the child is capable of doing, not really picking up career skills.

First, remember my posts about parents of kids with special needs being in a constant state of grieving. Here we go again. We understand and recognize that our kids will probably never be rocket surgeons. Or brain scientists, either. But we still hold out hope that they will be able to find jobs with a higher level of skills. All parents want that for their kids. But now that we're nearing the cusp of adulthood, we're becoming painfully aware that even if we push and shove our kids to do more, they will never be 'fully employed.' Ever. So why do we worry about it? Why don't we just let them relax and enjoy the pleasures they do find in life? Why do we think our kids will be able to find jobs when there are plenty of able bodied and able minded folks out there? But even knowing that, we now hope that DD can stay at AW another year, so he can have another shot at picking up some academic skills.

Selling this idea to him will be tricky. Really, really tricky. I think--I hope--that if the teachers he loves at school pitch the idea to him, he might go for it. They'll have to be completely sincere and fully believe that it's the right thing for him. I've only been mulling this idea over for about 24 hours, but the more I think about it, the more comfortable I am with it. If only. . . .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

T-Minus 7 Days and Counting!

Okay, so I really don't have time to blog. But I need a break from clothes packing hell! The good news is that the kitchen/linen/uniform stuff is done and ready to go into the trailer. The food stuff is close to done and easy to finish. My civies won't take too long, and most of them are still packed from last summer anyway. That leaves. . . . teenager clothing. Arg.

If we were all four going out at the same time this year, or if two of us go out now and 2 follow later, and if we were all coming back at the same time, it would be a snap to pack. Unfortunately, since we've got an utterly wacky schedule this year, packing is going to be a real trip.

First, DD and I need traveling clothes. No problem. We throw the stuff the 2 of us need for traveling in a big ol' suitcase and call it done. But! I have to be sure he has clothes to wear when we come home for FTD's graduation in June. Okay, so I leave some of his least favorite clothes in the closet. But wait! Then he and DH have to drive back out, so he needs traveling clothes. Okay, pack a separate suitcase for that. Done. But wait! Tommy needs clothes out west, so I'll have to take those now. But he also needs clothes for 3 more weeks of school. Why do you ask, do I need to pack the suitcases for the boys now? Because DH is totally clueless as to what the boys wear, what they like, what they need, what fits, etc., etc.. God only knows what they'd show up with if I let DH pack.

I'm worried enough about letting him pack his own clothes. He keeps saying things like, "Well, I'll be 10 pounds lighter when I get out there, so I'll bring the 'skinny' clothes that I kept/purchased all these years." Take a deep breath, Mama. Think happy, serene thoughts. As kindly as I could, I says, "You know, Love of My Life, that we have no extra storage space out west for clothes. . ." "Oh. Yeah. Well," says he. Says I, "If you loose some weight while you're out there, we'll go buy you new stuff." "Hmmm," says he, "but I've been collecting this stuff for so long, and never got to wear it." "Hmmmmm," says I, as kindly as I can again muster. And so it goes. I've no idea what he'll bring out, but I did set limits on how many boxes he can bring.

The other fly in the packing ointment is that all three of them will drive home in mid August for school. They'll wear uniforms at Penta, so I don't have to worry about getting all their clothes home in August. I'll send traveling clothes, and pack the rest away to bring home with me in the trailer. Three grown size male humans in the butt-ugly Aztec with traveling gear is all the car will hold. (What an odd sentence.)

DH just surfaced to say he's got some of the fishing gear ready. Translation, "I might have it done by Thursday or so."

Back to the pack I go. I'm stalling on getting the office supplies done, I don't know why, but I can't seem to take enough stuff. I don't really need all that much stuff, but what if . . . We all have our Achilles tendon, and mine is office supplies. Oh. And books. Did I mention books. . . .

Madison, Hayden, and Lamar just sit back and laugh at me. Rotten little scoundrels.