Saturday, September 27, 2014


 ~"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."~ W. Somerset Maugham

 It has been one of  those weeks..I am simply whelmed..neither over or under-I just am. Standing in a place where nothing more or less could happen that could possibly phase me.
I don't know what happened-only that everything happened at once..well, maybe that's too broad a statement. I should try that again...It was one of those weeks..where things were topsy-turvey..but, as I look back..maybe I shouldn't be surprised by the weird chain of events that has caused my general feeling of being all started..

  Last Friday, I was in the kitchen (where I seem to spend most of my time) getting ready to make dinner for the kids. In walks Oscar. So far-so good... All of my kids are constantly in and out of the kitchen-mostly asking the same two questions "What's for dinner?" and "Can I have a snack?" Now, I am used to being asked these same two questions at least thirty times a day-sometimes by only one child in the span of ten minutes.I think that on those days in particular, their repetitive asking of the same question is based on the concept of "refrigerator magic".  We all know what that is..You open the fridge looking for something good-only you can't seem to find it-five minutes (or less) later, you find yourself in the same exact spot-staring into the fridge  just to check and see if that "something good" has magically appeared...wash, rinse, repeat repeat, repeat..    Like I said-I am used to these interruptions.  but nothing could have prepared me for what happened last Friday...I was preparing dinner when Oscar walked in...he walked in carrying a binder and a folder...a binder and a folder with school work in it. School work. Oscar. Together. 
                      "I need someplace quiet."
                      "I need it quiet so I can study."
                      "I have a Spanish test next week and I have to study."
                      "Who are you and where have you taken my son?"
                       "I'm Oscar!!!"
It was a magical seven minutes. Seven minutes where I just...stood there-rooted in place..I'm not even sure if I was even breathing. Had I somehow fallen into a different reality? Are unicorns prancing in my yard? Have elves magically cleaned my bathrooms? Never-not once-ever has Oscar chosen to study-much less do homework..nor has he suggested doing either..Not without prompting..FIRM prompting..firm prompting and perhaps dire threats of lost desserts and maybe even computer privileges. In other words-this has never happened. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that the rest of my world followed suit...

 Monday started with an early morning meeting for one of my children. It was a productive meeting! We were all on the same page! We all agreed on the various supports needed. It was almost....*gasp*..EASY. But then...I went home and found out that we had run out of oil. (no oil-no hot water) The oil company I have used for nine years-decided that even though I had a thirty dollar credit with their company..I had been late with one payment a few months past-so, they were not going to deliver oil anymore..unless we paid cash up front. In the midst of my rather strong telephone discussion with my former oil company-my husband was texting me-asking for info to give to the new and much friendlier and nicer oil company we are now patrons of. At the same time,I had a friend texting me information about services for one of my kids..then the school beeped in.  One of my children had not one but two mini freak-outs at school.  which on one hand I felt awful for her-but on the other I thought "FINALLY! She's letting them know how she is feeling instead of saving it all up for home!" I had to go and pick her up. BUT-my new oil company was sending a truck over to fill my tank and start my boiler. What to do what to do! So I ran out the door...and as I pulled into the road, the oil truck arrived. Of course it did.   I told the gentleman that I HAD to go get my girl...and he was happy to wait for me! In the five minutes I was oil tank was filled, and I received a phone message from school about a different kid...So, while the gentleman was making sure my boiler would start, I called back the school while holding the   girl that I had just picked up and was now hanging on to me like Velcro.. I could not get a hold of the person who had called me-so I left a message.-and put down the phone...somewhere..And then- the oil man finished..and the phone rang..but I couldn't answer it because I couldn't find it...of course, then my cell phone rings....but I could not get to it in time because I was carrying my daughter-and letting the oil man out...Just in time for the school bus-The kids rushed in and of course the phone that I couldn't find started ringing again..AND
                             It was only three o'clock and it was only Monday. 

 I could go on about the frantic search for the phone..(I did eventually find it-and lose it again). I could tell you about my cell phone dying..and about losing a pair of pants.(not the ones I was wearing) How does a person lose a pair of pants that they were just folding? I could rant about the dinner I burned while trying to fix the computer..and about the other thirty phone calls I received-some of which I was actually able to answer! I really could go on..Instead..I'd rather wallow in the fact that as chaotic as things were this week-everything turned out the way it was supposed to. How rare and wonderful is that? 

It has been a week since Oscar performed the miraculous in my kitchen. A week that was filled with all kinds of obstacles that seemingly-almost like magic-worked themselves out.As hectic as things were, I really have nothing to complain about.  Although today, when Oscar came home from school, I asked him if he had any studying to do.He just looked at me with..scorn? "It's Friday. I don't do school work on Friday." looks as though things are back to normal...   I was kind of hoping that the elves would stop by and clean my bathroom...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My new pal Yogibo...

 I get a lot of interesting requests as a blogger...especially when it comes to autism.  Mostly- they are reasonable..i.e. someone asks me to read a book, take part in a survey..asks my opinion on something.  I don't mind doing these things-if I have the time.  Sometimes I will help out even if I don't.  It just takes me longer to get around to them. I do have the best of intentions when I agree to do something.  Life however has a habit of getting in the way. I have at least five different books just waiting to be reviewed, a piece on parents and IEP's that I committed myself to writing as part of a state funded four kids, three cats, a dog, two chickens and a sexy husband that like having my attention. I am trying not to spread myself to thin.So, I decided that I was going to stop doing the extra bits..take a little down time..step away from the extracurricular...but then I got a request....

Last week, I received an email from a nice man named Michael. He was writing from the marketing dept. of Yogibo.  He asked if I had ever used Yogibo beanbags to help anyone on the spectrum. Furthermore, he would be happy to select one for me to review.
So, I visited the site...and there went my conviction of not doing anything extra! These aren't ordinary run of the mill bean bags. They are pretty-inviting...honestly?  They looked to good to be true. I mean, my kids have always loved bean bags. loved them so much that *sigh* we would always wind up with deflated sacks and beans EVERYWHERE. he was offering to send me one for free (convictions can be bought) I thought "Why not"..and "Wow-the kids will love this." and...FREE!"  The thing of it is though-I will be honest. I am not going to write a glowing review just because I'm getting something for free. That wouldn't be right. So, I put him to the test.  I said "Surprise me." I said that "parents will contact you asking for your input-wanting to know what might be the best product they should choose.I want to go through this from ordering to delivery and beyond." He agreed.  I described my kids, gave him my address...and here is what happened..

Two days later-this was at my door. My dog wasn't impressed

Sam pulled it out of the box

It was very easy to unpack

Oscar immediately fell on top of it

And started rolling around

Everyone else joined in.  They LOVED how it felt.

Lily liked how it hugged her body

Sam said it was a great place to take a nap

Zoe loved jumping on it

She also loved leaning into it

AND it is big enough for both girls to share

For the past three days, it has been dragged, pulled, jumped on, rolled on, twisted, bent, piled name it-my kids have done it. My children have destroyed couches in less time than that.  But this?  It has held up.  it remains a cozy soft place for them to land when they need it. I highly recommend it.  especially if you have kids like mine. 

Now for the nitty gritty-We got the Yogi Max  which retails for 229.00.  I know that this is expensive to many people. I look at it this way.  I have bought many bean bags for thirty to forty dollars-only to have them fall apart within hours.  The yogi max is durable and incredibly comfortable.  If you or your kids are sensory seekers-or over loaded, this is a really wonderful option.  Check out their site.  there are other options/ sizes available. This is a lovely bean bag-and my kids are really happy to have it.  As an added bonus-if you add "Herd" to the coupon code-you will get a discount!  How cool is that?

I should mention-it also comes with a big box.  Which to some of my kids is almost as good as the bean bag..almost-but not quite.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Same garbage (truck) different day...

~"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due."~William Ralph Inge

  Now and then I worry...well probably more than that.. Alright-I obsessively worry-about my kids futures.and my chickens and cats..the*sigh* garbage company-I am not kidding!  I admit that I am a champion worrier-the queen of fretting-the empress of uncertainty!..if only there were awards or monetary compensation for it-I'd be buried under piles of trophies and money..But, as that isn't the case..  

 We have had the same garbage removal company for nine years. Very slowly-but surely-their price for garbage removal has gone up.  So much so that I was either going to have to sell a body part to pay for it-or move into our dumpster as a way of consolidating living costs. So, I did the responsible adult thing and researched other trash removal companies.  That's smart-right?  I even found one that offered twice the removal for half of what I was paying now. Two for less than the cost of one! You would think it would be a no brainer..that of course I would cancel my current service and hire the other company. I thought so too...until I spoke to my account manager..I spoke to him-exchanged words..and more...Which brings me to my other problem.  Sometimes...I talk too much.  It's not that I want to!  No, it's more like I am compelled-driven! You have to understand, I have worked in customer service.  I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of a complaint.

 More than once I have endured the wrath of someone who felt wronged, persecuted even!- because they were served the wrong salad dressing
("I asked for FAT FREE ranch and this has fat in it!" "I am so sorry..I'll fix that for you right away!" " I can't believe you did that!" "I promise it was an honest mistake."  "Uh huh.")
Or their unlimited fries had *GASP* run out!  Oh the humanity!. "The menu clearly states that the fries are bottomless!" "Yes they are." "Well..why did we run out?" "I'm sorry, it has been a busy night-I will refill your basket now." "Well, I can not believe that I had to sit and WAIT-WAIT for them to be filled up! "I will have a mass said in your name." "What?!" "I'll be right back.."

 So I feel this strange sort of solidarity with wait staff, cashiers and faceless telephone clerks. I need them to know that I am on their side!  That I understand that whatever problem that I have is not personally their fault...But then, it gets personal anyway...

"Hi Ms. Leopold, I understand you are thinking of leaving us."

"Hi Mr. Smith..yes, I'm sorry but you are just too expensive."

"Let me look at your rate has gone up."

"I know! I found another company that will do twice the pickups for half your cost- for one!"

"Really?..Wow..that's stiff competition...let me see what I can do here..we really hate to lose long term customers like you"

"You guys are great-really!  I love our pick up driver-he's always so nice about avoiding my chickens..and waiting for me to move the cars and the kids stuff before he pulls in.."

"Oh I know about moving your kids stuff (chuckle)"

"Really?  How many kids do you have?"

  And we're off!.. and before you know it, we are on a first name basis...and a conversation that should have taken ten minutes has stretched out to over two hours. We have shared our thoughts on politics, religion, kids. I know that he needs a new roof (I of course gave him suggestions) that he's on his second marriage, what his kids do, where he eats lunch and what he plans on doing next weekend.  We even exchanged recipes! (His cheeseburger meatloaf dish was a hit with two of the kids-and Omar)  It's madness!  It happens far too much. We have had contractors in and out (mostly in) our house for nine years! It isn't because of the amount of work-No!  It's because we start talking...The other morning, Omar asked where our current one was.."Well," I said.."He had a busy weekend..he had to take his daughter up to school..I think that he has an appointment this morning...did you know that...blah blah blah.." Omar just laughs..""Of course you know that-of course you do."  He doesn't mind-he finds it humorous."Only you" he says as he kisses me and leaves for work..I choose to take that as the compliment that I am sure that he meant it as.

I do not know how to fix it-this customer service worry.  I do know that I have met some very interesting people along the way. I've even gotten some good recipes!  I just can't see myself doing things any other way.  The problem is..well, that nothing really ever gets resolved-not fully..  Sure, I have made a new friend in my garbage company- but it's the same garbage company that I have had for nine years.  Yes, my cost has gone down...but it is still five dollars higher than the other company's price.   What the hell?  

I am going to "try" and switch my cable service this week. I am really hoping for an automated system. Otherwise-who knows what I'll end up with-besides perhaps some new recipes...

Saturday, September 6, 2014


~“This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.”~ Dorothy Parker




    Hindsight is an interesting concept.  I guess that for many people, it gives them a chance to look back on certain events with perspective. Perhaps they could have handled a certain situation differently? Maybe they were spot on. I suppose it can give one clarity. For me, hindsight requires twisted sheets and sleepless nights spent tossing and turning muttering "What was I thinking?!!" "I can't believe that I said THAT! It wasn't what I meant!"..and then I wonder how I can "fix" it..smooth things over..make things right...Oh hindsight you are a harsh mistress!
    It wasn't always like this for me. I used to be different..quiet (sometimes). But I have come to realize something about myself as of late-something rather important. I have been a full time mother/laundress/housekeeper(sort of)/short order cook/appointment maker and accompanier(among other things) for close to sixteen years. Everything that I have done has revolved around my kids. I don't regret that in the least. However, because I have been so kid focused-kid centered-immersed in all things kid....I seem to have lost my social skills. I no longer know how to conduct myself with adults. Or maybe I just don't have time to do all the social niceties that are required in having a grown up conversation?  I don't know..I guess I'd rather just get to the point and move on. I swear that If I had a school file it would probably say "Does not play well with the other adults."  I'm kind of wondering if this is a good thing or not.

  I've learned a lot from having children. I have learned even more from having children on the spectrum. And we certainly have a spectrum at our house-especially now that we officially know that all four are on it. Someone recently told me that we would be perfect for a reality show...four kids on the spectrum, two loving parents, cats, a dog-chickens! "It would be so interesting!" they declared. Interesting?  I think that it would be rather boring..unless of course- you wanted to watch me ask the kids to "Please put away your laundry!" repetitively-and sometimes in different languages. I mean, if that's your thing-fine...But,we're pretty regular as families go. Or as Sam would say (especially at times when Oscar was doing something particularly embarrassing in public-like grabbing a mannequins butt while declaring his love for it) "Nothing to see here folks!" 

 My kids have taught me to be straight forward and honest-because they are. They go out everyday into a world that isn't always inviting to them-yet,they try to make their own place in it.
They are decent people who care very deeply about the people in their lives-even when those people aren't as considerate of them.I admire their confidence...Sometimes I admire their honesty.. But then again....

"Hey Mama! Look at this old picture of you! Your skin used to be so smooth! What happened?"
"You look really tired and old today Mama."
"Why do your eyebrows look like that?"
"Your elbows are really saggy..."
"You don't need makeup-no one is going to look at you anyway."
        ( My ego soars).

sometimes...I don't. But-living with such  honesty..(and really-it isn't ALL about my appearance-sometimes Omar's is included..)..I guess, has kind of rubbed off-especially as of late. I don't know what has happened-but my already thin social filter has simply gone-vanished-left the building. Which is not helping me win any popularity contests lately. It has gotten so-that If I still had a "permanent record"-mine would say "Does not play well with the other adults." It isn't as if  I'm afraid to speak my mind-to stand up for what I believe in-I'm not!...I just wish that I could do it I do in my head at night when I'm tossing and turning all twisted in my sheets.. 

  I find that I am leery of even Facebook!   All the status updates!  Should I "like" that you are at your grandmothers funeral? Or that you are prepping(in great detail) for a colonoscopy? Or letting your "ta ta's" free? Should I even know these things?  I mean, I am one of your six thousand friends...but still...

  So, I have come to a the real world (off line) I'm just going to keep quiet (it will be hard) and concentrate on the things that I need to do. i.e. getting the kids to school (thwarted two "personal day" attempts so far) finding gainful employment (I no longer work for free) and hanging out with the people and chickens that I love best..As for social media? I think its best that I don't least not right's best I get some perspective first....