Thursday, January 15, 2009

They say it's your birthday...

Yeah, that's the Beatles.

I'm coming out of blogging semi-retirement to pay tribute to someone special. Today, TFYO became TSYO, at 6:03 EST this morning. Yes, I remember the moment she was born, because it happened when Ray would normally be doing the news, and I would be getting ready to go on after him for the recap. It seems only fitting that my first child would be born during the first newscast of the day, and that it snowed, even though we were in Charleston, SC.

Last year, I did a little retrospective of TSYO as she had aged over five years. This year, I'd like to come up with a list of her greatest quotes, because honestly, there are a ton of them. Anybody who used to read here regularly knows that TSYO was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder a little over a year ago, and the interesting wiring in her brain lets TSYO see the world a little differently. It also means she lacks an internal editor for her thoughts, which can sometimes be a lot of fun. It can also be dreadfully embarrassing.

When TSYO was not quite two, not yet really speaking in sentences, she had a terrible cold. This was back in the days before doctors decided all over-the-counter cold medicine was bad for little ones, and TSYO's pediatrician told us to give her some Infant Tylenol Cold to help clear her nose and her cough. Now, TSYO has a lot of phobias and anxieties that spring from her autism. Taking medicine is one that's been around from the beginning. Trying to get her to take anything, be it pill, syrup, melty things or other is like trying to medicate a cat. There's usually much howling and a lot of scratching, fleeing and hiding that goes on. Our brilliant pediatrician suggested putting the Tylenol in the sippy cup after I had been thrown to the floor on my last attempt at treating my child. Have you ever tasted Infant Tylenol? It's disgusting. My only guess is that the manufacturers thought that babies weren't smart enough to understand that it tastes terrible, and therefore gulp it down like so much pablum.

I furtively dropped the required dose into her cup, and mixed it with milk. I thought it didn't smell too bad, but the colour was definitely pink. TSYO looked at me skeptically when I handed her the cup. I told her to go ahead, that it was cherry flavoured milk, something new to try.

She sniffed it cautiously. She put the cup to her lips, and slowly took a slurp. Her lovely blue eyes grew wide. They filled with tears. She slammed the cup down on the table and yelled:


And that was that. For two years afterward, she sniffed every piece of food and drink offered to her, and pulled apart every sandwich to make sure we weren't trying to slip her something.

Around the time of her second birthday, we went to the bookstore to pick out some new board books for her. It was around this time that the first Harry Potter movie had come out, and with it a bunch of stuffed toys in stores. TSYO wanted a toy to go with her books, and I let her pick one out of the bin. She chose the three-headed dog called Fluffy. Then, in her exuberance, she took off running towards the cash register waving it's three floppy heads about, shouting "Doggie! Pretty doggie! I love my pretty doggie!" Other parents were aghast. I paid for my Sandra Boynton books, and my three-headed doggie and slunk from the store.

When she was three and a half, TSYO decided that she liked being held. If you know anything about kids with autism or Asperger's, they often aren't really into showing physical affection. Try as we did, couldn't teach her how to give a hug. We'd place her arms around our necks, but she'd only draw them back and wrap them around herself, while giving us what became known as "the pointy chin". Instead of a hug, she'd push herself up against us, and dig her chin into our shoulders. So, when TSYO finally decided she liked hugging, I held her anytime she wanted to be.

We were sitting on the living room floor, her in my lap, her head against my chest, her little arms wrapped around me. She suddenly sat up, and grabbed my shirt and hauled the front of it down and said "Goodness Mommy! What've you got down there?"

Ray fell to the floor and had to crawl out of the room, strangling his laughter as he went. I tried to explain, with a straight face, that grown women had breasts, and when she got older, she'd grow some, too. She pondered it for a moment then said:

"Well, I hope they aren't as big as yours. They're humongous!"

TSYO often says things that sometimes sound mean, even though she doesn't intend to be.

When she was in pre-K last year, I drove her and a little boy on the way to a field-trip. The little boy, like so many little boys, kept asking "How much longer?" I told him it would take about an hour to get to where we were going, and that it was 9 a.m. at that moment.

"Well, when are we going to get there then?" he asked.

I was about to answer when I heard TSYO:

"Um, well, Mommy said it was nine o'clock, so if it takes us an hour, it will be ten o'clock when we get there. That's one hour. Ten is one more than nine, you know? Or maybe you don't know. How could you not know that?" She didn't mean to insult him, I think she really didn't understand how he couldn't know that.

Recently, Ray took TSYO and Baby J to the playground. When they got there, TSYO wanted to go on the swings, but two very large moms were sitting in the only two swings watching their children play. Ray re-learned that anything he says, even quietly will likely be repeated. TSYO asked why the grown-ups were sitting on swings meant for kids. Ray said under his breath that they were too lazy to get their fat butts off the swings and move to a bench. At least, he thought he said it under his breath. Twenty minutes later, when one of the women had vacated a swing, TSYO shouted:

"Hey, look, Dad! One of the lazy people moved their fat butts off the swing! I can go swing now!" Thankfully, Ray was not beaten to death with a snack cake.

Just this past Christmas, TSYO demonstrated her lack of tact yet again at Build a Bear Workshop. Her Nana and PawPaw thought it would be nice for her to get a doll for her birthday, and they took her through the process. TSYO decided to build a boy monkey, named Aaron, who had a guitar (like Elvis Aaron Presley, yes). Part of the process involves stuffing the shell of the doll and putting a heart inside. The sales rep took the half-stuffed monkey from TSYO over her protestations, and handed her a heart. He told her to rub the heart over her heart and make a wish, so that her monkey would have a little piece of her inside. TSYO's response?

"Well, for starters, I wish you'd give me my monkey back."

She did get her wish.

Happy Birthday, my Little Wonder. May your next six years be as interesting as the last.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ardeo, ardere, adarsi, adarsus

Ardeo: Latin, to burn, conjugated. Three years of Latin, it's all I remember.

The other day I was having a conversation with my husband on the cell (which more often than not is how we have any conversation at all nowadays).

I forget exactly what we were discussing initially, but my husband made a comment that someone needed to "be whupped, and good", and I got to thinking, how exactly would you conjugate "to whup" within the Southern vernacular?

So, we started trying to conjugate "to whup", while I was driving.

You can "whup" someone, you can "whup up on" someone, the present tense is "whuppin'" and of course, the past tense would be "whupped". You can also "open a can of whoop-ass", but we quickly agreed that "whoop" is a noun and "whup" is a verb.

So, this is what we came up with:

To whup: to beat soundly, preferably with a switch, or some other object

I whup
You whup
We whups up on
Y'all whup up on
They whups up on

Used in a sentence:

"I was workin' on my truck, when my wife comes out all sudden-like and starts whuppin' me good because I done left the toilet seat up again."


"They matched you purty good in the first half, but by the second, y'all were whuppin' up on 'em."


"C'mere, boy. You sass your momma like that agin and I'm gonna whup you."

Or something like that.

And for those of you wondering where I've been, I'm back doing a regular shift again, weekdays 6 p.m. to midnight. You can listen online, live! They've even taken a much nicer picture of me for the website. Sorry for my absence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hanna, Ike and Josephine...oh, MY!

The last time I wrote, we were watching Tropical Storm Fay. Now I'm nervously watching Tropical Storm Hanna. They keep changing the forecast track for the storm. Originally it was going to make a direct hit on Savannah, then it shifted south, now it's shifted north to somewhere between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

Normally, I wouldn't fret too much, but it's supposed to become Hurricane Hanna before it lands, and I'd rather not be stuck at the house alone with two kids and two cats in the middle of a hurricane. Right now I'm just waiting to see if I flee up I-75 to my in-laws or if I chance it and park my butt here, with the possibility that I'll be eating canned food for the next few days. And then, of course, there are those two other storms hanging out there in the Atlantic.

So, in order to take my mind off of impending tropical weather (Hanna, Ike and Josephine??), I now present gratuitous baby and kid pictures...

I have more I need to get off my camera, but that should do for now. If Willowtree can post pictures of his pets incessantly, I can post pictures of my kids, right? Right??

UPDATE: The new track shows Hanna bound for South Carolina, and then skipping up the coast to Newfoundland and Labrador. I bought those extra D cell batteries for nothing. Ah, well. There's always Ike.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky...

...Stormy Weather. Sung by seemingly everyone, but my favourites are Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Etta James.

For the last few days we've been watching Tropical Storm Fay as it creeps closer and closer to our coast. Chatham County (the county right next door to us, and home to Savannah proper) is now under a Tropical Storm watch. Am I nervous? Maybe a little, although we are not under any watches in our county.

Truthfully, a tropical storm doesn't scare me as much as the idea of a hurricane. I've often told Ray that, while I know he has to stay and cover the storm for his listeners, the first evacuation order that comes will find me, the kids and the cats making a beeline up I-75 and to his parents house.

I actually did a live broadcast once as a tropical storm came ashore in Charleston a few years ago. The storm was quickly downgraded to a tropical depression, but it didn't make it any easier to stand outside of an oil change place and try to convince listeners they really needed to come on down and see me to win tickets to the Moody Blues. We did get some people to come by, but it may have been that they felt sorry for me. I was almost five months pregnant with TFYO at the time.

"Come on down folks! When was the last time you had your oil changed? Schools are closed and half the businesses in town have shut down, so now's your chance to be first in line to get an oil change for $19.95, and have a chance to win tickets to see the Moody Blues!"

There I was, just starting to show, holding an expensive piece of electrical equipment, while the rain just poured down all around us, and the wind tried to uproot the palm trees. At one point, I was underneath the awning that was over the front door. I walked inside, and moments later the thing collapsed from the amount of water that had pooled in it.

Thinking back on it, I suppose I should be nervous, but we're prepared. We've got all the batteries for our lanterns and radios and flashlights. We have our water supply (bottles, stored in the garage), plenty of canned foods, plus extra ice in the chest freezer. I've even taken in the patio furniture and moved the grill. The grill will be important, because if power goes out, I can use the side burners to cook things.

So blow, wind, blow!

Monday, August 18, 2008

When I was at home I was merry and frisky...

for those not in the know, that's the opening line to The Irish Washerwoman.

I just have to say... I F-ING ROCK!!!

Our Kenmore brand washing machine broke over the weekend, with a load of denim still in it, and believe me, the air was as blue as the fabric refusing to spin in that drum.

After much plugging, unplugging, pulling the timer thingy, pushing the timer thingy, and kicking the cabinet, I figured out that the lid latch was broken. It wasn't just broken, it had disintegrated, and if the lid doesn't latch, the washer won't drain or spin. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's the little plastic and metal thingy that the lid presses in to make the washer go. We have to have these apparently because people are too stupid to not know that they shouldn't put their hands (and other things) into a washer that's going through the spin cycle.

Ray and I thought about calling in a repairman from Sears, and then remembered the hell we went through trying to get our five year-old dryer repaired when it's door latch broke. Long story short, we ended up buying a new dryer because it was cheaper than paying some dude to fix the door. However, we are in no position to buy a new washing machine right now (much as I would like one!).

Half an hour and some serious Googling later ( do yourselves a favour, don't buy Kenmore appliances), I had myself convinced that I could fix this myself. All we needed to do was buy a new lid latch and plug it in. How hard could it be?

We called the local Sears appliance store and they said they had the part. Ray grabbed the girls and headed over, only to be told that they only had the part at the Savannah store, which closed at five p.m. As it was already four p.m., and they weren't open on Sunday, we decided we'd just have to make do until today.

Ray picked up the part and brought it home. It looked simple enough, even though it didn't come with instructions. All I had to due was unscrew the the bracket from the old latch, and put the new one in.

Not quite.

I also had to wrestle the front of the machine apart, which, funnily enough, has to be done from the back of the machine. The makers of said machine felt it necessary to point out my folly by placing this right behind the front panel.

Here are some more pictures for illustration.

Once I'd gotten the front panel wrestled apart, and the old lid latch unplugged, I noticed that the unit wasn't coming out, even though I'd unscrewed the bracket. The ground wire was bolted to the underside of the top of the machine, but I couldn't figure out how to unbolt the top of the machine, since it appeared to have been done from the underside, just like the ground wire. It took my husband (who is brilliant, but not great with tools) to figure out we had to remove the entire cabinet surrounding the wash drum.

I'd like to say that I managed to do all of this, and keep the washer in it's place in our laundry closet in our very narrow back hallway. I had to do it this way, since there wasn't room in the hallway for me and the washer at the same time.

After about an hour of wrangling, and tugging (and some cussing), I fixed our washing machine. I. Fixed. My. Washing. Machine.

This makes me almost as proud as when I made my first lattice top pie from scratch.

My washing machine is now humming merrily, spinning in contentment, as I type.

All of this has convinced me of two things:

1. I would have made a lousy pioneer.

2. I'm more mechanically inclined than maybe my Dad thought I was.

And that I f-ing rock!