Archive for category Daily Life

Crumbly Dreams

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 »

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In Search Of …

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 »

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Two Weeks

Every other Thursday, the cleaning service arrives.

We cleaned the house ourselves for a lot of years, but gradually came to realize that wasn’t working for anyone. Trying to clean when Clay is at home is like trying to rake leaves during a hurricane. In the end, the hurricane is going to win and you are going to feel silly for even trying.

If you can’t clean when Clay is home, that means you have to clean during the precious quiet hours when he is at school or camp. Not an option. Those hours are gold. As untouchable as the Crown Jewels under armed guard in the Tower of London.

So, the cleaning service comes. An investment in sanity. There are four, sometimes five, chattering ladies, and they sweep through the house in a little over an hour, while the dog and I huddle in my upstairs office. Read the rest of this entry »

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So Peaceful

While Clay’s Mom and older brother went to visit Clay’s grandpa on Labor Day, he and I decided to take a walk in a nearby nature center before the rain hit.

We went straight to a spot where you can look out on the reservoir, and sat for awhile, each lost in his own thoughts as another summer comes to an end. Read the rest of this entry »

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Grange Rover

A pygmy goat welcomes us to the fair

Last year, when we took Clay to the local Grange fair, we planned the trip a little better. Fresh batteries in the camera? Check. Notebook and pen? Check. Out the door by 10 a.m. to avoid the heat and, more importantly, the crowds? Check.

This year, not so much.

It was past noon by the time we hit the fair this past Saturday. Those few hours combined with the heavy rains the day before, made for crowded walkways and long lines for food. It was hot and muddy and the batteries in our camera ran out as soon as I tried to take the first picture. (Fortunately, my cell phone served as a backup.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy to Be With You

Clay and Emily

It has been a bit of a funky summer for the little guy. He spent five weeks at his school and three weeks at camp (plus, he went to camp every Friday). Hard to tell how he felt about that schedule, or the summer in general.

One clue came last Friday, when Clay and his fellow campers were putting on a play at a local elementary school for the parents, something the camp does at the end of every summer. I was running late, and  immediately bumped into Clay and his counselor, Emily, in the lobby as they walked laps around the school, waiting for Clay’s turn in the spotlight.

Last summer, on a day when Clay was not feeling well, Emily sent us an email about how the little guy had cemented her career choice in special education. So, it was great to find out Emily was working with him again this summer, and she was clearly happy to be assigned to Clay. Read the rest of this entry »

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Musical Sofas

The Spoils of Victory

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 »

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Looking Deeper

We didn’t know quite what to make of it when vultures took up residence in the loft in our garage this past spring. We’ve had bats, mice, birds, squirrels, racoons, groundhogs and assorted relatives living in and around our house over the past 19 years. (Note: the relatives eat a lot more.)

This morning, a deer decided to take a leisurely breakfast near our two apple trees.

Vultures caught us by surprise, though.  Read the rest of this entry »

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On the Town

Saturday night, we were getting ready to head out for what constitutes our big night on the town, when the sitter realized that Clay had managed to unlock the backyard gate and was standing in the driveway. Excited to go somewhere with somebody.

Thanks to a local nonprofit, we enjoy a couple of nights a month of respite care, so my wife and I can go out as a couple—be something besides the parents of a child with autism for an evening. Sometimes we get together with family. Sometimes with other couples. Mostly, it’s the two of us for dinner and a movie. We fantasize about just going somewhere and taking a nap, but haven’t figured out how to pull that off, yet. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Woods

The temperature approached 100 degrees Monday afternoon. I could smell the softening tar in the street when I brought in the mail. Feel the heat waves rising off the driveway, as I waited for Clay’s bus to bring him home from summer school. (Our sitter had the afternoon off.)  The dog had the right idea. It was a day to lay on the sofa in the air conditioned living room, little legs pumping, dreaming of chasing rabbits across the dewy grass on a cool fall morning.

So, of course, I decided to take the little guy to a nearby state park. He is as bored as I am hanging around the house in the late afternoon. Boredom leads to compulsive behaviors, and that isn’t good for anybody. No skin-searing, eyeball-melting, hair-on-fire heat was going to keep us cooped inside. Read the rest of this entry »

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