Archive for category Silly Behaviors
I stashed the 50 pound bags of organic topsoil in the side of the garage that Clay doesn’t typically visit. His swing is on the right side. I put the bags on the left and closed the door. It was a rainy Sunday morning. I wanted to keep them dry—and away from Mr. Busy Fingers—until I was ready to dump them in our vegetable garden.
Every couple of years we decide to plant a garden in our backyard, and this is one of those years. The thought of fresh tomatoes and peppers blocks out the memories of past painful experiences. Like the vision of holding a newborn in their arms helps women forget the pain of childbirth long enough for them to face it all over again. We are not as ambitious as we used to be—no more overripe corn, mammoth watermelons, pea-size strawberries, grape vines enveloped in a cloud of yellow jackets. We keep it simple. Tomatoes. Peppers. Maybe some herbs. With experience comes wisdom. Or exhaustion. Sometimes both. Read the rest of this entry »
My wife was all ears.
I should say before relating this story that Clay’s teacher is a great guy who has a real affection for the little fellow. I ran this entry past him to get the facts straight and make sure I wasn’t going to get him in any kind of trouble for sharing this. That is certainly not my intention.
So, here is the story: Read the rest of this entry »
It was the second day this week we wound up snowbound, so Clay shot toward the door Tuesday afternoon when I asked if he wanted to take a walk.
For me, it was a survival tactic. Boredom leads to compulsive behaviors. We already had barred entry to the upstairs bathroom and moved every paperback in the house out of reach. Preventive measures.
For the little guy, walking is what he was born to do. He puts endless miles on his shoes every day. But trudging through the snow has its challenges. The great walker doesn’t like things on or near his head (hence the monthly haircut wars), so a hat to keep his ears warm is out of the question. He’s not a big fan of gloves, either. Boots he’ll tolerate. He’s used to wearing them for horseback riding. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »