Monday, August 31, 2009

Scenes From the First Day of School

Morning prep for school went smoothly. Everyone was up on time, ate breakfast, and brushed their teeth by 8 a.m. This is a far cry from our up-until-yesterday lounge-around-in-bed-until-nine-or-so routine.

Alex even took the time to comb Jack's hair.

"Be good, okay, Jack?"
"Okay, Dad."

******
We took the cheesy first day of school, stand awkwardly on the porch photo that everyone does. And then my munchkins gave me some love.


******
I dropped Sam and Jack off at school with my fingers crossed that they would make it to their lines to go to class. I began my six hour vigil of waiting for the phone to ring with news of disaster by heading to the local coffee shop with Quinn and some friends from my moms' club.


It occurred to me that you if you have a small child with an obvious black eye, it's probably not a good idea to yell at him in front of strangers or jokingly raise a threatening fist if he misbehaves. I kissed Quinn and called him "sweetie" in public a lot today. (His face and Jack's head ran into each other yesterday.)

******
Quinn and I played, baked cookies, played, irritated each other, and played more until it was time to head off on our first walk to the bus stop to pick up Sam and Jack. Only 179 walks to go.



Both kids were tired, but both reported having good days. Jack had great reports in his communication notebook and both guys looked happy. Well, not in these photos, but in real life.

******
Alex had also been worried that after drop off Jack was going to wander off school property and we wouldn't know until only one of our children got off the bus after school. He called after we got home and asked, "Do you have three kids?"

"No, I have five," I answered.

Shortly after we got home, the doorbell rang. It was Jack's friend E (and her little brother). Sadly, E is not in Jack's class this year. Clearly she still has love for him though.


I tried to take a photo where E wasn't kissing Jack, and couldn't get one.


I did, however, get a couple of photos of Jack wiping off her kisses.

*******
After E and her brother left, we did some more work on our summer packets, which are due Friday. Sam had already finished and turned his in, so while Jack did his math, Sam and I played a game of Rat-a-Tat Cat.


******
My kids have been wanting to go to Burger King, where they have an indoor playground. So I took them there to celebrate a successful first day of school.




*******
I'm happy and relieved. After last year's first day of school, I'd been so worried about how this day was going to go. I was prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.

I got the best.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not to Imply That My Friends and I Are 6-Year-Old Children, But, Yeah, We Kinda Are

Last Friday I went to the movies with my friend ALW. She suggested that we go see Adam, which is a love story about a young man with Asperger's. It was a phenomenal movie and I'm tremendously happy that we went to see it.

In some places, the movie was difficult for me to watch. In fact, I was stifling big, ugly sobs right from the beginning. But the ending was so honest, so perfect, so wonderful and inspiring that it made all of the tears worthwhile.

Unfortunately, that ending was slightly overshadowed by an incident in the theater in which ALW and I were sitting. Like I said, it was Friday night and the small theater was packed. There were very few empty seats. ALW and I were about halfway back on the left.

Here is our view of the screen:


It was maybe 20 minutes before the end of the movie, when this guy stood up:


Evidently this guy needed to get out of the theater. And in what I can only assume was an effort to not disturb the people on his left and right, he decided to go over the empty seats in front of him instead of sidling down his row to the aisle.

So the guy threw his leg over the seat in front of him. And everyone in the theater could see him doing it. Although his actions were not obtrusive. Yet.


We continued to watch the movie, while the guy continued to crawl over the seat.

Almost there!


And then, when he was aaaaalllllllmost there, he'd practically gone all the way over the chair, it happened. There he was...ass up in the air...silhouetted in front of the screen...right down there in the second row...in a practically silent theater...


...and he farted.

Loud.

And the entire theater heard it. And we all tried to act like it didn't happen.

With the possible exception of ALW who was trying so hard to not audibly laugh that she was shaking uncontrollably. And I am not normally the type of person who is like, "Ha, ha, someone farted! Ha, ha!" (Evidently ALW is.) But I have never seen such an obvious fart set up quite so perfectly in front of such a large group of people.

It is, quite possibly, one of the top five funniest things that has ever happened near me.

The movie ended. I cried a little more. I accused ALW of acting like an infant. And we're on the escalator headed out of the theater and ALW and I and the couples both ahead and behind us all started laughing about the fart.

It was, most definitely, the most distracting fart I have ever been witness to.

Photo from the movie Adam was borrowed from Fox Searchlight. (Go see Adam. It was a great movie, and well worth your time. Take tissues. And do not—DO NOT—climb over theater seats if you are feeling gastrointestinally challenged.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School Prep

Friday was Team Stimey's "Get Ready for School Day!" And in case you're thinking I waited until the last second to get ready for school, you're right. School starts Monday. (For Sam and Jack. Quinn has to wait until next Tuesday. Sigh.)

Our first stop on Friday was Target. School supply lists in hand, we waded through the by now depleted and disorganized school supplies. (Sorry, Jack's teacher. There were no more 1-inch red folders. Maroon will have to do. It's kinda red.)

Both years prior to this one, I've complained about the school supplies list and all the stuff we have to buy. Well, something happened this year, and the schools are no longer allowed to ask for as much stuff. Consequently, there were two lists: the much-shorter-than-last-year recommended list and then the very short "donation" list.

After doing all the complaining in the past about the lists, it was odd that my first response to the shortened list was remorse. Because now the teachers are going to have to buy those things that didn't make the list. After seeing Sam and Jack's teachers last year run out of soap and paper, I made sure to buy everything on the donation list that was still in stock at Target. (Sorry about the lack of hand sanitizer. It was all gone from the shelves. Hope swine flu doesn't hit our school.)

We made it home from Target with about an hour to spare before our school's open house, which is when the kids get to go in and see their classrooms and meet their teachers. About ten minutes before we left for the school, the sky opened up and it started to pour rain. I had to use an umbrella to get from our house to the car in the driveway. It was really bad. Quinn disappeared for a couple minutes and reappeared holding his parka that he had dug out of the winter coat box.

Then we were off. Of course because there were eleventy billion families at the school, we had to park down the street and around the corner. Then I had to wrestle my three kids, my purse, my four bags of school supplies, and my camera under two umbrellas and slosh my way down to the school.

Once we were there, things went well. Jack liked his classroom and gave his teacher, Mrs. P, several big hugs. His desk is right by hers and right across from his friend T.

See? Parka.

Sam nerded it up right away by retreating to the reading corner and finding a book while Quinn and Jack partook of the snacks Mrs. P had set out.

Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrdddd!

Then we went to Sam's class, which is on the second floor of the school. Who knew there was a second floor of the school?

Sam barely noticed his desk or his teacher or the room. He went immediately to the reading corner and found a book. This time he had a friend.

Neeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrddddsss!

I love having readers.

Well, Sam finally met his teacher and looked at his desk.

Oh. Right.

Then we wandered around the school and said hi to the specials teachers. I was on such a high from my Thursday conference and how well things had gone in the new classrooms that I almost forgot to be nervous about school.

Then, while we were in the music room, Jack climbed onto a chair and jumped down, grabbing the flag on the way, nearly resulting in mass breakage and chaos. And I remembered why I'm worried about school.

Plus, whereas last year he just had to walk from the car straight over to the kindergarten playground (about 30 feet) at morning drop-off, this year he has to walk all the way down the length of the school and then find his class line among the many, many classes lined up on the basketball court. We did a dry run at open house, but it will be really different on Monday.

I'm really worried about morning line up. Sam will be with him, but I don't want to put too much responsibility on him. That's not fair. But I don't want Jack to meander away from school because no one is watching him either. I'm not quite sure what to do. I'm almost considering putting him on the bus in the morning, because someone will be in charge of the kids on the special ed bus.

But then again, he has a great team. And they're going to help him. And they're going to help me. And we're going to help them. And I was totally stressed about summer school and it went great. So I don't really know what's going to happen. I'm just going to cross my fingers, keep my faith in my amazing kids, and wait to see what the future brings.

Friday, August 28, 2009

DCMM: Tattoo You?

The other day I reminded my husband that I wanted another tattoo and that I was saving up my earnings from my videography business to pay for it.

"I know," he sighed. Because even though he's not a tattoo lover, he accepts my love of them. (I have three.)

I clicked my wrists together. "I'm getting bracelets," I told him cheerfully.

And then his face dropped, he looked like I'd shot him, and he said, "You're what? No you're not."

I was completely surprised. I mean, it's not like my tattoos are all hidden away and demure. I have two black lizards tattooed on my left arm that even the tattoo artist made fun of because, "You'll be able to see this from across the street." But for some reason the thought of tattoos on my wrists made him cringe. It has something to do with the fact that they would be difficult to cover even in a long-sleeved shirt.

I'm not sure what it is about tattoos that are so off-putting to people. The way I see them, they are meaningful art that just happens to be on your body. Yes, there are a lot of bad tattoos out there and I could better understand my husband's reaction if I had plans to tattoo, say, a naked lady on my hand.

But that's not what I'm doing. I'm going to put some words on my left wrist (which is often covered by my watch and silver bangles anyway) and some words and small icons on my right wrist. I even promised to purchase conservative cuff bracelets that I could wear to cover them if he ever saw fit to invite his tattooed-lady wife to a work function ever again.

Ever since I was 18 and got my first tattoo at about the same time that I got my eyebrow pierced, people have been asking me two things: (1) Did that hurt? and (2) How are you going to get a job?

Here are my answers: (1) yes, but not too badly, and (2) I have never had an employer ask about or even mention any of my body art. 

Times have changed. We no longer live in a society where having a tattoo means that you're either a marine or a biker. I don't think that tattooing is a radical act anymore. Sometimes it seems like every mom at library story time is sporting art on her body. 

I do understand about regret and permanence. My rule for myself is that I have to want a specific tattoo for at least a year before I get it inked on my skin. I've held fast to that rule and it has saved me from a couple of ill-advised ideas that fortunately never came to fruition. I currently have three tattoos: the lizards I got when I was in graduate school, a dove based on a Picasso sketch I got when I was in college, and my first tattoo, a yin-yang encased in a sun that I got my first year at college. For me, all of them have stood the test of time. 

I'm curious as to what other "respectable" members of society think about tattoos. Do they have them? Do they worry about covering them? If they are in charge of hiring people for jobs (or, say, promoting their husbands), do tattoos play a part in that decision? 

I still believe that tattoos are beautiful if done tastefully and well and I still want to get my tattooed bracelets. I think one of the wonderful things about tattoos is putting them places that are meaningful, which is what I am trying to do by inking over my pulse points. 

I do have to put some thought into my husband's feelings. He has acknowledged that it is my body and I can do what I want with it. But he has also said that he would be disappointed if I did it. I'm torn. But I do know that I shouldn't ask my mother for advice because she would probably drop into a dead faint. And then side with my husband.

Original post to DC Metro Moms.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's Like I Won the Awesome-School Lottery

I would like to tell you two things:

1. I am terrified about how Jack is going to do in first grade. I watched Sam last year in first grade and I cannot imagine Jack doing the work that he did. Not that I care about him doing it on the same level (he's capable of that, but...) but I cannot imagine him agreeing to do it. I cannot imagine the homework struggles we are going to have this year. I cannot imagine the behavioral struggles that are going to happen in school.

2. I am beyond happy to know that he has such a great team to help him.

Our school's Open House is tomorrow, so we will go in and meet the teachers and see the classrooms, but the principal set up meetings today with parents of "kids who need a little extra help" to make sure that the teachers and the support staff all know the parents and so we could discuss anything we wanted to ahead of time. He said we could do it as an IEP meeting or as a casual parenting meeting.

Guess which I chose?

So we had a half hour meeting where I got to meet Jack's aide and the rest of the support staff (most of whom I already know), and the principal went over Jack's schedule, and I passed out my "Who is Jack?" document to everyone at the meeting.

I also have sections on general things about Jack, his struggles,
his strengths, our hopes for this year, and my contact info.


The meeting was wonderful. When the principal came in to fetch me, I went to shake his hand and he insisted on a hug. He also started the meeting by saying that the whole team loves Jack and is happy to have him at the school.

"He has a special place in my heart," he said, putting his hand on his chest.

Everyone introduced themselves. They all said the right things. They asked my opinion on things that worked and things that didn't. Jack's teacher assured me that burping won't bother her. Also, because Jack's summer school teacher is a teacher at our school, they had all discussed what she was successful with over the summer.

Plus, they wanted to know what sort of things I did for him over the summer, so I was able to brag about Camp Stimey (without calling it that) and the structure I gave him over the summer.

Jack's first grade teacher was Sam's first grade teacher last year, so I'm familiar with her and she likes my family. (Hooray for Sam paving the way. He's kind of a rock star at that school.) She gave me her cell phone number (and a hug). She's excited that I'll be volunteering in class. She has plans to get him a container of moon sand to keep nearby in case Jack needs to take some time to satisfy his sensory seeking ways.

Also, Jack's buddy T is in the same class.

This school and this staff have gone out of their way to help Jack and to make things as easy and as positive for him as possible. I am so grateful. And so extremely lucky. I am still terrified about school, but it is lovely to know that there is such a wonderful group of people at the ready to help him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sigh

I can't be a good parent today. I don't know what it is, but I'm a nightmare. And so are the little horrors.

And I'm tired and my neck hurts.

I have to drag all three kids to Jack's OT soon.

I'm annoyed.

I don't know what to make for dinner.

I have a headache.

If I hear any more whining or crying I am not sure I can be responsible for my actions.

Ted Kennedy is dead.

Something in the trash smells really bad.

This is, like, the worst day ever.

(Did I miss anything?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CSSS (Camp Stimey Summer Summary)

Well, Camp Stimey has closed up shop for the year.

I had planned to fill last week with Animal and Nature Week. But my vacation hangover lasted longer than I thought it was going to. Plus Sam and Jack's school had sent home a bunch of activities to be done over the summer. I didn't feel like it was super necessary to do all of the activities, but the reward for doing them is to be on the Wall of Fame in September and I know that really matters to Sam. Evidently it really matters to Jack too, because once I asked him if he wanted to do the activities and be on the Wall of Fame, he buckled down and started doing the activities without a lot of coercing.


Dammit.

It seemed harsh to make them endure an arduous Animal and Nature Week (Go see butterflies at the nature center! Go on hikes!) while also doing a summer's worth of work at the same time. Plus it would have required me to do some planning. So, no more Camp.

I'm pretty proud of myself for the summer I gave my kids though. We didn't do as much journaling or workbook completing as I thought we would, but I managed to get through the summer making my kids happy and excited to do things. We didn't just sit around the house wanting to kill each other, which I think is a good thing.

In case you're taking notes for next year, or maybe just to make myself feel good about what I did this summer, I now present to you my Camp Stimey Summer Summary! (Hey, I wasn't APISS Woman of the Week for nothing.)

Week 1: Transportation Week! This was one of my favorite weeks because it was so easy to come up with activities. Camp Stimey 2010 will definitely have a Transportation Week. Maybe we'll go skydiving. (They let 5-year-olds skydive, right?)


Week 2: Government & History Week! This week was also a great success, with museum trips, a tour of Alex's office, a day out with Joeymom, and fireworks. This was also one of the most tiring of all the weeks. You try dragging three kids around the American History Museum two days before the Fourth of July when everybody else within a 50-mile radius of DC had the same idea. This was also the week of the most ill-advised outing we embarked on: a tour of the US Capitol. Oy.


Week 3: "Ology" Week! Remember this week? It was my excuse for dragging the family to Luray Caverns, a.k.a. The Most Awesome Place Known to Human- and Gollum-kind? We did manage to fit in some fun all-things-science activities, even though Jack's summer school completely intruded on Camp Stimey's time slot.


Week 4: Sports Week! Also a good week. Poor Jack didn't get to participate much in Sports Week, aside from the WNBA game I dragged everyone to. (Funny how I'm always dragging everyone everywhere, huh? In my defense, they always almost always have fun once we're there.) We covered a good number of sports that week though: golf, field hockey, vomiting, soccer, football, baseball, and basketball. You may disagree with me that vomiting is a sport, but in Stimeyland, it definitely counts. In fact, it is one of our more popular sports.


Week 5: Boot Camp Week! Also known as Stimey Half-Asses Camp Stimey and Gives Her Kids Some Squirt Guns Week! This might have been the munchkins' favorite week.


Week 6: Geography Week! This is when it all started to fall apart. Okay, it all started to fall apart last week, but this is when it really started to fall apart. Here's a tip: don't do the week with all on-paper activities a month and a half into summer. Your kids will be bored to tears. We still have our half-finished map taped to the wall.


And there you have it. Let's try not to focus on the fact that summer is far longer than six weeks. Remember that we were on vacation for two of those weeks, which I'm counting as The Most Awesome Camp Stimey Field Trip Ever! (With a side dish of disaster.)


We had guest campers and guest counselors and meet-ups and lots of ice cream. I think you can call that a success.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I May Have to Trademark My Name

My blog name that is.

I've been going by StimeyTM since the mid to late 90s. I've been blogging as StimeyTM since early 2007. I've been tweeting as StimeyTM since early 2008.

So imagine my chagrin when my Google Alerts and TweetBeeps (I learned at BlogHer that these are called your "ego feeds"*) started showing up with other Stimeys.

I know. You are as shocked as I. OTHER Stimeys? And if you are like me, your first thought upon hearing that was, "This is COMPLETELY unacceptable." Of course, you may not be as invested in the name as I am.

There is, of course, Stimey.com, and I still can't for the love of me figure out what that website is about. I think they post funny photos. But honestly, that site is so weirdly laid out that I can't stay there for more than three or four seconds.

But you know who I'm really upset about? DJ Stimey. There's been a lot of twitter chatter lately about this dude. He seems to be some sort of rapper. And all I can think is, dear lord, don't let this guy hit it big and end up featured in US Weekly every issue or I am going to look like an ASSHOLE for going by the same name.

It's bad enough that the Urban Dictionary lists one of the definitions of Stimey as "stupid" and uses the sentence "You look stimey," to illustrate the usage.

But I just can't take the possibility of someone else taking my super awesome, practically trademarked name.

A few months ago there were only a few tweets here and there about this Stimey fellow, and many of them were semi-threatening and insulting, similar to, "you think ur so bad stimey we're all talking bout you hind ur back" and things of that ilk.

I'm saddened to tell you that now the posts are getting more frequent (and often retweeted verbatim over and over by the same couple of people) with links to videos and whatnot. Although maybe the best one I saw was the one that said, "Stimey birthday sex video," which was followed by a link. That one freaked me out for a minute.

Turns out there's a song called "Birthday Sex."

The thing that almost all of these tweets have in common is that they are composed of terrible grammar and text speak. As someone who has used "LOL" exactly once in her life—and who has earned a living as a copy editor—these tweets make my skin crawl almost as much as the specter of someone else stealing my nom de plume.

So let's all point our collective death rays at this dude's career. Or maybe just start sending suggestions of other names for him: DJ Stupid (thank you, Urban Dictionary), DJ Obstacle (thank you, Free Dictionary), or maybe just DJ Let's Not Get Too Upset or Retaliative at the Real StimeyTM.

* Ego? What ego? Ahem.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nothing to See Here

There is not a whole lot going on in Stimeyland these days. There is mostly a lot of hanging out at the house and playing. Camp Stimey has gone back on hiatus. We're busy finishing up the math and reading packets Sam and Jack's school sent home over the summer.

We're also starting a new "Be Polite, Asshole" initiative. Although when I told my kids about it, I called it something else. We're cracking down on the munchkins in respect to manners and whining and tantrums. This is mainly in response to Sam's almost-eight-year-old attitude. It's not super fun.

We're also starting a "Stop Constantly Burping Before I Have to Puncture My Own Eardrums" campaign with Jack. He is experimenting with burping all the time. We were giving him time outs and telling him to stop and it didn't really work. So now, with the advice of his OT, we're ignoring it and when we catch him not burping, we're praising him. In her words, "It's going to get worse before it gets better." Awesome. And just so you know, the burping rubs up against every auditory sensory issue I have. My skin tries to crawl off every time I hear him burp and can't acknowledge it.

We don't really have a campaign with Quinn. Mostly we're just trying to break him of crying if we don't serve him a peanut butter and honey sandwich three times a day.

And there you have it. Whoo!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Loon Day

It seemed like a great idea.

We had a beautiful, sunny day ahead of us. We were on vacation with Alex's mom, also known as "Grandma." Someone suggested we go to "Loon Day." I didn't know what Loon Day entailed, but I figured it would be an arts and crafts fair with food booths and kids' activities.

I was right. But what I didn't know was that Loon Day would forever live on in my memory as quite possibly the worst day of my life thus far. Or at least the worst 15 minutes.

But let's start with this:


I know. Awesome. I don't know who those people are, but if we'd been on foot, you'd better believe that would've been my family standing there in front of the giant loon.

We had some fun. We ate lunch. We browsed. Alex's mom went to watch the Loon Call Competition.


I originally took this photo because of the woman I circled I up there. She was dressed up in Full Loon Regalia (FLR) to judge the Loon Call Contest. Now I show it to you to let you see how many people had flocked (ha, ha, ha) to Loon Day. And this was just one small area of Loon Day. Loon Day encompassed many, many blocks.

I'm going to show you another photo.


Jack in jail. Funny, huh? He really liked the little old-timey jail next to the historical museum.

*FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING* *FORESHADOWING*

I think he really liked that the cell had a bed. Perhaps Loon Day was too overwhelming and the jail cell was quiet and comfy and small.


We had to drag him out of there.

Shortly thereafter we walked over to the little outdoor spot where people were selling drinks and beer brats. I don't know what the fuck a beer brat is, but I know they were selling them because there was a dude with a bullhorn and he kept yelling, "Beer brats! Beer brats! Beer brats!"

Alex bought a water for our guys to share and then Quinn decided he wanted his own. Then there was a little scuffle whilst Quinn tried to steal a water from the cooler and I tried to keep him away from it. Alex and his mom were similarly wrangling the other two. During this time we got all turned around and suddenly I saw Alex's mom ask Alex something and then Alex said, "Where's Jack?"

And then we ran around in confused circles for three or four minutes while our panic mounted. I'd been dragging Quinn around, but at some point I shoved him at Alex, who in turn shoved both him and Sam at his mom. Then we ran around in wider confused circles for a couple minutes.

I don't know if you've ever lost a child. (And if you haven't, dear lord, I hope you never do.) Like LOST lost a child, but there comes a moment when you make the decision that it is no longer necessary to keep proper decorum. There is a strong drive in many people, me included, to NOT MAKE A SCENE. And up to this point, we hadn't done so.

But after our aimless wandering didn't produce Jack (hmmm...imagine that), I made the executive decision: It was time to MAKE A MOTHERFUCKING SCENE.

"Alex, I think we have to find security," I said the next time our paths crossed. The only problem is that there didn't seem to be any security at all of Loon Day.

I ran into the nearest building, which was the Historical Museum, and scared the crap out of the eleventy-billion year old volunteer that was behind the desk.

"Istheresecurityanywhere? IlostmysixyearoldsonandIcan'tfindhimandIneedsecurity!!!"

She said she didn't know of any security but that the DNR booth was right over there and maybe they could help me. And all I could think was, "How will the Do Not Resusitate" people help me?"

And then I realized that she was talking about the Department of Natural Resources, and although they were not security, they did have on matching shirts, which was a uniform of sorts, so I figured I'd go with her suggestion.

I headed over to them and scared the crap out of them as well.

"Ilostmyautisticsixyearoldson. Canyouhelpmefindhim? Istheresecurity? WhatshouldIdo?!?!"

To give them credit, they only stared at me blankly for a couple of seconds and then the woman in the blue DNR shirt told me to call 911. And she reminded me about the Beer Brat Guy.

So I dialed 911 and ran over to the Beer Brat Guy. Meanwhile, the 911 operator was trying to get me to give her my home address. "I live in Maryland," I said.

"I need your home address," she said.

And I didn't say, "How the hell is that GERMANE to the fucking situation?" but I wanted to. And then I gave her my home address.

Meanwhile, I was imploring the Beer Brat Guy to broadcast Jack's loss and description over his bullhorn. Which he did. Evidently Alex was down the street and when he heard, "We have a lost six-year-old wearing a blue shirt..." he thought the Beer Brat Guy had found Jack. However, it soon became evident from the continued bullhorn broadcasting that he had not. I don't know if he heard my sobbing in the background, but that would have let him know that Jack was still lost as well.

And while all this was going on—me sobbing and trying to tell the Beer Brat Guy what to say and giving a description of Jack and what he was wearing—I was still on the phone with the 911 lady, who was not being helpful at all.

At some point a kind, well-meaning woman came up and suggested that Beer Brat Guy say, "Jack Lastname, come to the Beer Brat station."

"He's autistic," I blubbered. "He won't...He won't just come."

This went on for I have no idea how long until I heard someone shouting, "They found him! They found him!" I shook off the 911 lady and ran off to where the DNR woman in the blue shirt was walking toward me with Jack. She had gone searching for him. And with the bullhorn description was able to figure out who he was.

I ran up to them and gave the woman a hug and a thank you first, because I knew I would not be coherent enough after bending down to Jack to do so. And then I gave Jack the biggest hug I could and kissed his nose and smiled at him through my tears. He was totally unfazed. He'd been in the jail cell. He'd been happy. He didn't realize he was lost.

"I told you afterwards that I was going," he told us later, when we were talking to him about not wandering off.

I put his wrist in a vise grip with my hand and we walked over to Beer Brat Guy to thank him. Beer Brat Guy put the bullhorn up to Jack's mouth and coached him on what to say:

"I'm Jack...and I love my mom."

And that's about it, except for the residual shaking, adrenaline, and Alex and my refusal to let go of Jack's wrist for the rest of the day. Also, our pledge to each other that we would never go to a zone defense again with our kids. Because that Jack, he is a sneaky one. He'll slip away if he's not subject to man-to-man defense.

Or we could just put him in one of these for the rest of his life to keep him safe.


Wow. Okay. That was pretty intense to go through again. Look at that little face up there. Can you imagine if something had happened to him?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Where I Am: The Far Lamer Edition

Not quite as scenic as the last place I was.


We got home from vacation yesterday at about three. Of course we were thrilled to see that all of our pets were alive (and almost pathetically happy to see us) and that our house hadn't been burglarized, but I am deep into post-vacation-I-don't-know-what-to-do-first-syndrome.

So naturally I sat down at my desk, started reading blogs, watched some trashy TV, and joined Facebook. The laundry will be there tomorrow, right? Alex went to a Phish show, so I didn't even have him to motivate me ("Jean, I've set a timer. When it goes off, I need you to move the laundry to the dryer." It's like I'm 10 and he's my dad.)

...

Okay, I'm back. The timer went off and I had to move the laundry.

Speaking of Facebook, I have always sworn that I wouldn't ever sign up. I'm completely annoyed that I did. I don't plan on spending a whole lot of time over there because I just don't have time to. But moments after requesting that one of my best buddies from high school friend me, I was chatting with him. And it was great and warm and fuzzy.

Plus he reminded me of something I'd forgotten, something I discovered when I worked at a restaurant that served deli meats—The Pastrami Beast.
What? Where did you think pastrami came from?

Also, thanks for this, Facebook:


But that's okay, Facebook, because I have my own little trio of friends. I now present some moments from a vacation, featuring Team Stimey Jr.

(And, yes, I promise to write a short post sometime. I'm sorry I'm so damn verbose.)

Ah, hotels are awesome and fun.
Especially if the TV is showing The Incredibles.


They really enjoyed throwing rocks into the lake at our cabin.


Look! They built a playground JUST FOR MY KIDS!


We do a lot of mini golfing on vacation.
Here Sam is pretending to be like the wooden badger on the course.
I love that my kid will do things like pantomime being a badger when I ask him to.


Again with the camoflauge. When will I learn?
At least this time he was on an island, so he can't get away.
Probably.


Happy.


What is a cabin without smores?


Driving from our cabin to Alex's aunt and uncle's cottage.
Rock on!


Lake Michigan! Awesome. But freezing.


And who doesn't love a campfire? That's Quinn's Harry Potter-style broom.
We brought it home with us.


Well, it's not a three-pronged slide, but it'll do.


We also eat a lot of ice cream on vacation.


This is a good way to be ON Lake Michigan without being IN Lake Michigan.


They're in thier clothes, not their swimsuits.
Do you think that stopped them from jumping in the freezing water?
I think you know the answer to that.

I'm sure I'll bore you more with more talk of our vacation. (Don't forget Jack's adventures.) But now I have to go check Facebook and clean off my desk.