Archive for category Silly Behaviors
Clay turned 18 this summer, a pretty big milestone for any kid – and any parent. This one got me thinking about life with Clay over those years – the gradual road to a diagnosis, an emergency trip to Children’s Hospital in the middle of the night for a scary infection, surgery for swollen adenoids, the continuing search for therapists, the search for the right school situation, his connection with horses and other animals, the discovery of his inner world through typing. It has been quite a journey.
To celebrate the little guy’s birthday, I collected three lessons he has taught me in an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which appears this weekend. Click here to see it along with a couple of pictures of the wise one around town. Read the rest of this entry »
For the past 10 days or so we have been playing a game called, “Guess what it is that is bothering Clay.” It is quite a stressful game. A little bit like Clue, except there is no Colonel Mustard and the stakes are real. I suppose it is not really a game at all – for Clay or us. Especially for Clay. But I find that it helps to look at it as a mystery to be solved rather than a glimpse into Dante’s 10th level of Hell – the one his publisher asked him to leave out to protect the squeamish.
Now, you can play along at home. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the question: Where do you hang a swing that is big enough to hold six kids at the same time?
I wrote earlier about the demise of Clay’s beloved swing set this past spring. Clay can be tough to buy presents for, but when his birthday came along in early July, it was a no brainer to find a replacement swing. My wife did some online research and found a tree swing that looked like it would do the job (for a lot less than the professional ones that most therapists use.) The large size seemed about right. His Grandpop Tony offered to buy it. All was set. Read the rest of this entry »
When I heard my wife’s panicked voice calling me from the vicinity of our aging swing set Saturday afternoon, I had a pretty good idea what had happened.
I just didn’t know how serious it really was.
It all started earlier in the week. On Thursday I saw Clay by the swing set, talking quietly to himself, as I walked to the backdoor on my way home from work. He usually is at the gate—if he is in the backyard—when I pull in the driveway, but I didn’t think much of it. After getting changed, I headed out to fire up the barbecue for dinner. Clay was still over by the swings. It was unlike him to not be in and out of the kitchen when dinner was being prepared, making us a little suspicious. When I started cooking, and he was still over there, I got worried. He follows me like a lost puppy when I am barbecuing, closely monitoring the progress of his dinner, so something didn’t seem right. I jogged across the lawn to investigate. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday night, we decorated our tree for Christmas and found a place of honor for the Grinch and his dog/reindeer, a gift from a very thoughtful friend last year after we lost ours to Mr. Busy Hands.
The two of them seem quite happy in their new home, nestled between the cowardly lion and a strawberry. Yes, the little guy went to work on the ornaments quickly, as he does every year. A fragile Charlie Brown’s Christmas globe hit the floor just minutes after we plugged in the decorative lights. My fault for putting it out. Fortunately, most of his attention has been on the ceramic Santas, which, as usual, have found themselves relocated to numerous nooks and crannies throughout the house. I found one staring at me from the top of the toilet tank last night. Got me questioning whether I was naughty or nice this year. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in my days as a journalist, it always nagged at me that there was so little follow-up, so little closure. I would cover an event or write a feature article about an interesting person and his or her work, but that would be the end of it. I rarely got the chance to see how things played out. With that in mind, I present the following list of updates to previous posts on this blog:
Visiting predators. The two black vultures that took up residence in our garage this past summer have flown the coop. I needed to store some tomato cages in the garage loft a few weeks back (yes, we keep our tomatoes behind bars; otherwise they might run away). I was pretty sure the vultures had gone (we hadn’t seen them for a couple of weeks), but I banged loudly on the steps a few times on my way up. Some things you just know instinctively. You don’t want to get in-between a mother grizzly and her cubs, you don’t want to eat the creamed corn at the Old Country Buffet and you don’t want to surprise vultures in an enclosed space. No need to push the envelope on that stuff. They weren’t up there. As we suspected, they had been nesting in the hay bin, a cozy spot that is now filled with vulture feathers. We will most likely board up the broken windows they used to enter the garage this past spring, but that is a decision that has not yet been made. Read the rest of this entry »
When Clay was just a wee lad—kindergarten age—he developed an unlikely obsession with a local line of snackfoods.
Could have been because his gluten-free/dairy-free diet prohibited these tempting munchies. Or maybe it was his fascination with brand names at the time. Whatever the reason, he couldn’t get enough of the world of Tastykake.
When coming home from visiting my family we had to detour to a lot behind a car dealership where a row of old Tastykake trucks stood waiting to be sold. “The Tastykake graveyard,” we called it, and Clay never failed to get a kick out of spying those beat-up relics in need of a home. Read the rest of this entry »
A Sunday afternoon near the end of summer, and we set off once again in search of the elusive petting zoo.
Clay’s love of farm animals—horses, goats, sheep—cropped up a few summers back and has led to us checking out the local Grange Fair, a nearby farm, horseback riding lessons. We are always on the look out for a chance for the little guy to interact with animals. Rumor had it they operate a petting zoo at one of the local nurseries, so we hopped into the bat mobile to investigate.
The big barn and extensive grounds seemed promising as we drove to the parking lot in the rear. While Clay and I went searching, my silly wife went inside to ask. Women. So, it turns out the petting zoo is more of a rental. The animals are shipped from a farm for special events at the nursery. No special events today. Read the rest of this entry »
The excessive heat this summer has led to an unexpected armageddon at our house. A battle royale between man and beast. An epic drama rivaling the Cuban missile crisis and the standoff in the Middle East combined.
Am I overstating the situation? Decide for yourself.
I have to begin by explaining that we don’t have central air conditioning. One searing August after we first moved in and it seemed you could see the heat shimmer off our kitchen floor, we decided to get an estimate. When it arrived we fought off the nausea, politely said, “We’ll have to think about it” and bought three window units, instead. When my father-in-law’s aunt passed away several years back we inherited a fourth, an ancient monstrosity that sounds like a truck struggling up a steep incline and may have been built in Thomas Edison’s lab. I’m not sure who wired the electricity in our house but I don’t believe he had all of his vision or the use of both arms because it is a tad, how shall I say, unbalanced. I blew out an outlet in the upstairs bathroom once and found that the outside lights, the garbage disposal and a closet in the attic are on the same Rubik’s cube of a circuit. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, not completely. Just during those times when we can’t be there to keep an eye on him. I’ve mentioned before that one of his favorite pastimes is to slam his body onto our bed. He already has broken the frame. (I’ve got it rigged with duct tape and basset hound saliva to hold together for now.) I may not have mentioned that he also strips off the bed covers, pulls clothes and shoes out of our closets, scatters night-stand books, yanks the not-so-precious gems out of my wife’s jewelry box and generally makes quite a mess.
There are times—a lot of times—when the room looks like a burglar came through the window followed maybe an hour later by a tornado. Then a swarm of rabid, underwear chewing wolverines stopped by. So, we said, “Enough. Wreak your havoc elsewhere, oh Lord of Chaos, oh King of Collateral Damage. The Dark Knight of the Achy Lower Back Shall Abide Thou Foul Knavery No More.”
Here’s the problem. Read the rest of this entry »