A Pandemic and Halloween

As you may or may not know, DC LOVES Halloween. He looks forward to Halloween just as much as he looks forward to Christmas.

We really don’t know what Halloween will look like this year but I better think of something because DC is READY! I don’t know if he can face another cancelled activity or disappointment this year.

The thought of Halloween did not kick in as early as it usually does with him, but once it did, it was all I heard about.

It was hard not being able to give him any answers. I could tell him that there probably wouldn’t be the many parties that he is used to attending, but other than that – I could not say what would happen on Halloween night.

I did try to prepare him for not being able to trick or treat – just in case.

But we also needed to find some other Halloween themed activities because IT was October and October is all about Halloween from beginning to end.

As it turned out, we were able to find a few Halloween activities that were outdoors and/or drive through.

(Warning: We have come to the potion of the program where you are forced to look at my Halloween photos… You knew it was coming.)

We made our pumpkin purchases. DC loved the pumpkins with the warts. I did too.

Pumpkin Town: This was a drive through and it was really cute. Perfect set-up for a pandemic, but I think it is something we will do even after all of this is over (whenever that may be). DC especially loved the big pumpkin in the middle of “town”, which of course reminded him of Halloween Town. (Disney).

DBD Day: DC, Doug, BB and Doug’s friend went out for “Boys Day Out” (which has been renamed Doug, BB and DC’s <DBD> Day, but since there was another attendee, we stuck with the old name this time) at the corm maze. Masks were worn and dining was outdoors.

Camp Party:

So what can I say about Camp that has not already been said? Just as they did with on-line summer camp (you can read about that here), they went above and beyond for this on-line party.

Normally the camp parties begin with a pumpkin hunt and the painting of the found pumpkins. I wondered what they would do to replace the biggest part of the Halloween party.

Around 8pm the night before the party, I received a call from the camp director asking if I was home.

“We’re in your driveway”

The director and assistant director came to deliver a pumpkin, paint and other goodies for the party the next day! DC was totally excited to see them at our door! These people drove around delivering supplies to all of the campers that RSVP’d! Amazing!

Now… maybe I should have known this, but I “attended” the last board meeting via phone (I have not been to a board meeting any other way since the pandemic began, because I don’t want to bring DC to an indoor meeting).

I was listening to the meeting via Doug’s phone and all of a sudden, I could not hear anything. I kept yelling “Hello” but there was nothing. Thinking he had lost the connection, I called back.

I could hear for awhile and then nothing again.

More yelling and nothing.

I called back a third time and Doug said “Why don’t you just forget it. I’ll let you know what happens.” So I thought he was just having a hard time with his phone out at camp.

Later, he told me that he could hear DC making noise in the background so he muted his phone (apparently he does not understand that when he mutes HIS phone, he is muting things on his end, not mine and he would not believe me when I tried to explain this to him).

So he is muting his phone and because I can’t hear anything – I am yelling “Hello, Hello”. He can’t figure out why his mute isn’t working so he kept hanging up on me! If he had told me that he could hear DC, I would have muted MY phone and that would have worked out perfectly. I honestly did not think DC was being loud at all.

Someone other then me needs to explain this to him.

Please and thank you.

DC only chose two costumes this year because we knew most of the other parties he normally attends would probably be cancelled.

He chose the Genie from the new Aladdin.

So when we bought the costume, he did not want a blue face. Today, an hour before the online party, he decides he wants a blue face. I always buy powder eyeshadow for Halloween face colors (I don’t wear eyeshadow so it’s not like I have any hanging around – just what’s in the Halloween makeup box) and I was only able to find a container with just a little bit left. It’s hardly a blue face but it will have to do.

There was pumpkin painting and movie watching and music. DC broke into dance at one point. They had a fantastic time.

Salem: We haven’t been to Salem in years. Fortunately we have been so many times that we did not miss going to the regular museums or stores. It was nice just to be there – to eat outdoors, visit a few outdoor places and visit DC’s once favorite bookstore (due to the pandemic, we had to make an appointment and only so many people could go in at one time – that was fine with me).

Note: The crowds you see in two of these photos were people waiting to get into stores. We did not have to walk through them. There was plenty of space for distancing on the right of these sections.

ARC Drive-Up: The ARC that DC attends many activities with during a regular year, scheduled a drive-up hot chocolate and goodie bag event,

Just something quick for all of these people who have not been to an activity since March.

Happy Haunted Hollow: Another drive-through event (which I believe is an annual thing, but usually a walk through).

Mrs. H stopped by today to drop of Halloween treats for DC. He was so happy to be able to see her today (he hasn’t seen her since March, when the world closed down). He was also happy for the treats. Last week his Aunt Lisa dropped off a Halloween bag of treats, including a new package of fake mustaches. Then we have the multiple band-aide packages that came in for him from my friend Amy in GA. (You know how Amazon takes one order and ships it in many boxes on many different days? – Well that shipping technique worked out just fine with DC). I am thankful for the people who understand just how important Halloween is to this boy and helped to make it a little more special for him this year. ❤️ 10-30-2020

Best Buddies Virtual Friendship Walk:

Doug stepped in to replace his buddy/friends since walking with me is boring. #BestBuddies #Virtual #Friendshipwalk #SPN

We did not have a new costume for this, so I ventured into my costume closet and was able to put together “Castiel” and “Bobby” (Supernatural) out of other costumes and regular clothes.

The trench coat was from his “Twin Peaks – Agent Dale Cooper” costume from a few years ago. We had the wings because he was going to be the “Teen Angel” to my “Beauty School Drop Out” for a party in the Cape that was cancelled due to the pandemic back in April.

I think the only thing I had to buy was Bobby’s beard. I suppose I could have asked Doug not to shave for a few days but, you know me…

My niece commented that Doug’s “Bobby” was spot-on. While I take full credit for all costumes (he really doesn’t know who he is dressed as. I guess all of those Supernatural conventions did not stick) I thought he also looked like the creepy lumberjack version of Dexter.

Halloween Night:

On Halloween morning, we still did not know what we were doing Halloween night. Much of the town had announced earlier in the month that they would be giving out candy, but then the pandemic numbers began to rise and people were beginning to rethink the situation.

I knew I HAD to bring him somewhere in costume. We planned to visit his Grandmother early, before it got dark because I did not want her to have to put her porch light on, since she was not intending on giving out candy this year.

By mid-morning I received a call from Tonya, Salli’s mother, who had called around their neighborhood to see if anyone would be out giving candy. She got enough affirmatives to make it worthwhile. Trust me, DC would have been happy with one or two houses, as long as he was able to do it in costume.

Grandma’s House:

Knowing that she would not be giving out candy and not wanting her to have to go out and get anything, I told her that I would bring something for her to put in his bag.

Grandma: Oh no! I’ll pick up something. I want to.

(My mother would spend all day, every day in Stop and Shop if she was able.)

Me: Okay, but don’t get carried away. Really, just a piece of candy to put in his bag.

Grandma: Oh, don’t worry.

(Please note the size of the “gift” bags. This is not getting carried away.)

Salli’s House:

As we were driving home from my mother’s at 4:30 – in broad daylight, I noticed a whole lot of people out in their yards with their candy tables and firepits already set up and kids already walking around in costume.

Panicked, I called Tonya because I thought I had missed something. Did they announce that Halloween would begin earlier? Did I miss this announcement? I asked my neighbor who was out with her candy, but she just said she was getting anxious and came out early. I told her that she was not the only one out early.

Fortunately Doug had already arrived to give out candy at my house while we were out. So he got himself set up in the yard with his candy grabber in time for a bunch of kids to come by.

My other neighbor was confused and asked “Don’t they usually trick-or-treat when it gets dark?”. I didn’t have an answer for him, but they got ready to give out candy early as well.

By the time we left for Salli’s, we had already gotten more kids than we have had in years (there is no rhyme or reason for the amount of kids or the absence of kids in any given year). Doug did tell me later, that no one else came the rest of the evening.

DC and Salli made the rounds and went enough places for both of them to be happy. We were missing Candi this year because they were dog-sitting out of town, so Halloween was almost normal, but they missed their friend.

I have to say that I liked the earlier hour and the fact that most people were outside giving out their candy.

The Candy: I had already talked to DC about the trick-or-treat candy. I bought candy for him to have when he got home. There was enough in number and of an assortment to keep him happy on Halloween night.

I told him that we would put his trick-or-treat candy away for about a week (because of “the sickness”). I was not wiping down all those pieces of candy.

He was fine with that.

We came home.

He had some pizza.

He had some candy.

He was fine.

Not a bad Halloween after all.

My Annual Halloween Reminder – Please Be Kind

DC always enjoyed the costume and candy part of Halloween, but it took years before he really understood the waking around to get said candy and years after that before he understood that he could not walk into people’s houses.

He could not understand why we were ringing the doorbell and not going in.

Halloween, now is his absolute favorite.

He has a costume for every party and another for the big day.

I don’t feel that I should have to take that all away from him because some people see him as “too old” to trick-or-treat.

Like many children and adults with autism, his interests are limited and when he really shows an interest or enjoys something out of what would normally be thought of his “comfort zone” – you better believe that we are going for it; all the way. 

Please be kind if an adult in costume, or a child without a costume due to sensory issues comes to your door.

Their parents will handle it if they try to walk into your home or don’t understand “take one piece”.

The blue pumpkins??

My opinion (and my opinion only) is that they are just another attempt to make our children conform to the way society believes everything should be done. Do I believe they will help to raise awareness? No. I imagine that the folks who need to be educated will not even be aware of the existence of the blue pumpkin. How about we just do not force kids to say Trick or Treat in order to participate in Halloween?

Not having the ability to say “Trick-Or-Treat” is okay… really. 

Don’t try to force it. 

It IS everyone’s Halloween. #Autism#Halloween

***

(Originally posted October 2018)

Quarantine Diaries: Part 18 – The Anxiety

After DC got over the initial anxiety of “the sickness” and staying home, I mentioned that I was seeing so much growth in him during the time we have been home.

He would see dishes in the drainer and put them away – without me asking.

He then moved on to just doing the dishes when he saw them; again, without me asking.

Sweeping the floor.

Folding the laundry.

Adding things to his grocery list that we actually need – like his toothpaste or his mouth wash, when he’s running low.

But somewhere around the end of May, things began to shift a bit.

He started by showing me the first Monday in June on the calendar and insisting that “the sickness will be over”.  When I told him that I did not think so, he moved on to the following Monday. This went on and on. I don’t know why June or why Mondays but he was very insistent.

Some of this new-found growth started to shift and some began to morph into obsessive behavior.

He became obsessed with emptying the bathroom garbage pail. Because of the pandemic, we have been using paper towels in the bathroom (and kitchen) for hand drying.

Paper towels were not something I ever purchased because DC would just shred them and they would end up all over the place.

From 2014:

Paper Towels: Paper Towels are for shredding and only for shredding. On the rare occasion that I do buy them, they have to be hidden on top of the refrigerator. Hiding the paper towels makes them not very convenient for me to use and forgettable, so there really isn’t any point  in buying them at all.

I have to say, he is much better about paper towels at this point.

But, back to the bathroom trash can…

He took to emptying it a few times a day; whether it needed it or not. He would use 3 small garbage bags for the contents of the one small can.

I had to hide the bags finally and ask him to just bring the pail downstairs to empty it in the kitchen garbage can.

Where he was once washing the dishes without being asked; he was now only washing HIS dishes. But not ALL of his dishes – just the one particular small white bowl that he uses for his snacks and a small glass that he received as a gift from the theater where he volunteers.

Both of them are washed, dried and put away many times during the day.

He will still wash the dishes IF I ask him to but he no longer washes or dries on his own.

The Grocery List: 

DC will still make the list and he is still good about adding things other than his paper, markers, bananas, garlic and band-aids. A few times, when he thought he had forgotten to add something, he called Doug (who was doing our shopping for us so I would not have to bring DC into the grocery store) to make sure he added whatever it was to the list.

This morphed into calling Doug at times, 2 or three times a day to remind him of things before he even picked up the list. The list was still hanging on the refrigerator at home, but he still felt the need to call Doug numerous times to remind him.

As soon as one list leaves the house, he begins the next week’s list.

Reminding me:

As you know, when DC knows he is going to do something – anything, he has the tendency to “remind me” of whatever he is looking forward to 796 times per day. This is not anything new.

The difference now is that he follows me around angrily yelling at me “I want to go swimming! I want to go swimming!”, as if I hadn’t already told him that, yes he IS going swimming.  This can go on for days. Nothing I can say of do will stop him.

The “angry all of the time” really did not begin until on-line camp ended in August (I will talk about camp eventually) – his last remnant of normalcy, I guess.

I get it, I really do.

He’s has enough. Truth be told, so have I.

  • Being home for 6 months.
  • Trying to keep busy.
  • Not being able to see his friends on any sort of a regular basis (or at all).
  • The storm and power outage (5 days) in August.
  • No WIFI for 3 more days after the power came back.
  • Missing the last week of on-line camp due to the power and WIFI
  • He misses going to his “job”.
  • He misses going to his volunteer job at the theater.
  • He misses Mrs. H.
  • He’s done with all of this.

And… Halloween is coming. He is very anxious about Halloween being cancelled.

I do try to explain to him that it may not be the same this year but we will figure out something.

So… what did all of the anxiety over all of this lead to?

Shingles.

He has shingles.

This was certainly not on my 2020 bingo card.

*****

Quarantine Diaries – all

Quarantine Diaries – Part 17: Stormy Weather

I usually use my other blog (Take Another Step – Life With DC) for posts that use my Facebook/Twitter page posts, but I decided to use them here since most of it has already been written and truth be told, it is easier.

On Tuesday, August 4th we were hit with tropical storm Isaias.

Day 1:
Wow! The wind is really picking up! DC is now just following me around staring at me (between yelling “I am brave”) – lost power 4 times – fortunately came back. Not a fun day in DC-Land
***
DC is so wound up about the storm, that he doesn’t even care that I am watching the weather (normally not allowed 2 watch the news or weather because that will bring on a storm in DC’s mind) – he’s more concerned about the power that keeps going out. 
***

After teasing us for a couple of hours with the power going out and coming back and going out again… it went for good.

Originally the power company estimated that we would have the power back by 6:00 PM that day.

6:00 PM came and went and the estimation was upgraded (or downgraded) to 3:00 AM.

“I’m waiting. I’m waiting for the power back on. I’m waiting. I’m waiting. I’m waiting for the storm is passed. I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting”
Repeat 786 times.

I really do not have to go into detail about how “well” DC was taking all of this, but I figured if I could just get him to go to sleep, there would be power in the morning – and everything would be fine.

DC is sleeping. Glad I had some battery left on my tablet. Hoping there’s power by morning.
#LALaw Reunion (Stars In The House – LA Law Reunion)

NOT!

Day 2:

4:51 AM – Still No Power:

I’m still awake …
it’s bad enough not sleeping on a regular night when I can at least have the TV on, but this is excruciating.
(Fortunately, Dale is sleeping) 

DC sleeping did not last very long. Since the pandemic began, DC has been sleeping later and later everyday, but this did not carry over on this day. He was up at 5:30 AM, just as I was finally falling asleep.

Did I mention the heatwave? No?

We were also in the midst of a heatwave.

Doug, convinced that the power would be back the next day brought up going to a hotel because by lunchtime not only did we not have power (or water because we have a well – but we did have some water for some reason and I have not been able to determine why. So let’s adjust that to we had water for the moment, but had no idea how long it would last), no phone, no internet but we also lost cell service. What would I do if something happened and I couldn’t call the police, fire or an ambulance?

Also 95% of the town and surrounding area was out, so there was really no place to go to get anything, close by.

DC was not all that thrilled about going to a hotel. Normally he loves nothing better, but just the thought of the power being off at home made everything different for him.

Now, the last thing I wanted to do was to go to a hotel. I mean besides a few trips to a restaurant with outdoor seating and walking on the trails, we have not been anywhere throughout this pandemic. Doug hasn’t been inside of our house since this started. But… Heatwave, No Power, No Water, No Phone or Cell Service – it was a no brain-er.

Still no power at home, but he got himself some chocolate cake with Oreos and he’s smiling – (cake AFTER wings and fries, of course)

We tried to treat it as a “Driving Around Vacation”. We found a room in Mystic, one of his favorite places.

We bailed. Probably for nothing. Hoping to come home to power tomorrow, but I’m hearing it may be much longer. He’s happy for now.

DC, in his spot. Doug had to move half the room around as the desk didn’t have a chair?!?!
I wiped down and sprayed everything before I let DC and Doug in. I got a little carried away with the Lysol and am now choking to death (windows did not open as wide as I assumed they would).
I’m sure everyone on this floor is reporting the “infected” person in room 200.
I’m sure they will be throwing me out shortly.
#CoughingAndSneezingAreFrownedUpon.

 

When we left home earlier we were assuming that we’d have power back tomorrow. Now some estimate it at 5 days to a week! Hope we can find places to go for that long! Hotels are filling up fast!

 

Day 2: 

Because Doug had a dental appointment, we had to move to a hotel in Niantic, a little bit closer to home  (really not all that much closer).

But we spent the day in Mystic Village before moving on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As happy as he was to be “on vacation”, he was far from “all in”. He could not relax knowing there was no power at home. That was all he thought (and talked) about.

Nice day yesterday – still no power at home. Finding things to do but DC is still obsessing about the power outage at home. He doesn’t necessarily want to go home, but wants to know there is power there.

On to the next hotel:

I learned my lesson from the first hotel and opened the window – WIDE before spraying everything. When I say “everything”, I mean everything. Pillows, blankets, sheets, bedspreads, chairs, shower, the air and anything else that could not be wiped down.

Then, again I wiped down everything.

After that was complete, we made sure that no one would enter the room for any reason while we were staying there.

Still ‘vacation-ey’ but DC was still not all in. I believe he thinks that if he is not home, the power will not come back or he wants to be there to witness it come back. He just wants to know it’s there.

We were coming up on the weekend, meaning Doug had to work on Saturday and Sunday, so we had to switch hotels once again so we would be closer to home and I would not be stuck out in Niantic with no car and nothing to do within walking distance.

Switching Hotels: There have been plenty of vacations where we did not stay in the same hotel for the entire vacation. Last year we took a week and a half long “driving around vacation” and moved around a lot – more than we ever have. We were having a very rough time with DC and finally realized that moving around to too many different hotels did not go over that well with him. So this was a concern, but something that had to be done.

Not only were we moving to a different hotel, but this hotel was only about 7 minutes from our house, so no more beach scenes or eating out by the water in an interesting place.

This would just be boring.

On Sunday afternoon, DC and I drove home to empty the refrigerator and freezer to have it all ready for garbage day on Monday. A neighbor approached us with new information on the power outage:

We have just been informed that the only reason we still don’t have power now is that Eversource and Frontier are arguing about who owns the pole!
Seriously?!?!?
We could probably have had power yesterday or even Friday evening!

After the neighbors got together and called our town councilors, power company finally showed up, cut down the tree, but left again.

Narrator: After being without power and moving from hotel to hotel for 5 days, the power went out in the hotel. The “boy” having coped better than expected until then… was DONE – loudly.

It was only out for about 20 minutes but it was enough to send him into a tailspin, as you might imagine.

By Monday, we had been staying in one hotel or another for 5 days.

DC and I were in the car last night. I was telling him that I was proud of him. First: the pandemic and now 5 days without power during a pandemic (not that it hasn’t been “trying”- trust me, it has been). He’s handled it better than I would have expected.
We were talking about how everyone is crabby because of the power (us included) and that it is okay to be crabby sometimes.
DC (adding his two cents)”Waiting, waiting, waiting for the powers to come back. He waited and waited and Then He Went Nuts
**
I have never heard him say anything like that before and I tried not to, but yes – I laughed.

My neighbor texted me Tuesday morning. The power was back!

Doug stayed with DC in the room while I went grocery shopping and home to put away any remaining evidence of the power outage. This was the first time I have gone anywhere by myself, other than that 10 minute ride to the convenience store back in May, since March 19th.

And on the sixth day… we have power!
No internet, phone or cable – but we have power.
Now DC does not want to come home

Now that the power was back, DC no longer was in any hurry to come home. He called me to tell me this. Doug kept him for the day and they “did lunch” and dinner.

DC arrived home around 7pm.

Home! DC is nervous. He follows me into every room. I’m sure he’d feel better if we had WiFi – everything isn’t back to normal enough for him yet.
When he gets like this, he tries to keep his mind off things by being overly excited about whatever he thinks he needs to be excited about:
“I am DC, and this is my story…
Our ‘powers’ are back. We are watching DVD’s. We stayed in the
‘O-tel’. We are home”
**
‘This is my story’ 😃 You know this guy watches far too many movies.

On Tuesday night (actually Wednesday morning) the power went out again! Of course we were both awake because nobody sleeps around here any more. It only lasted a few minutes, but HE WAS DONE!

Just how preoccupied was DC with the power? Bookstores are always on DC’s agenda whenever we go away. He normally does not stop asking until he gets to go to a bookstore. Because we are in Mystic and Niantic quite often, DC knows where the bookstores are.

He never asked once! Not Once!

We waited another 3 days for phone, cable and internet (see: Quarantine Diaries Part 15)

It will be a long time before he gets over this one.

A long, long time.

****

Update to Quarantine Diaries Part 14: Pandemic Buying :

A generator and rechargeable light bulbs have been added to the boxes sitting in my living room. Now I will have to figure out how to use it … and where to put it.

****

Quarantine Diaries – all 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarantine Diaries Part 15 – High School Musical 2

 

We had a storm and lost power (more about that later in Part 16).

The power was restored but the WiFi was not.

DC, already on edge about the power going out, could not cope with the WiFi being out after everything was supposed to be back to “normal”.

My friend Peg mentioned that all they have been doing was watching DVDs and it occurred to me that – yes, DC could watch his DVDs in the living room.

It has been so long that he used the TV to watch his DVDs that I had forgotten that we did have a DVD player.

DC was not very excited about the prospect of watching his movies in the living room.

Not excited at all.

He begrudgingly got some of his DVDs out and started watching them, but I could see that he wasn’t comfortable.

Believe me, I have done my time watching his movies over and over again, complete with the rewinding of specific scenes and even specific words also over and over again.

I’ve gone to work humming or singing the Winnie the Pooh or other DC favorite movie songs because they had been drilled into my head for so long.

I have done my time.

About 7 or 8 years ago, DC got his first lap top. He actually won it in a raffle. Since then he uses only a laptop to watch his movies, which saves me from having to watch and listen to them.

(Again, I did my 22 years. I did my time.)

Seeing how uncomfortable he was watching in the living room, I told him that he could still watch his DVDs on his lap top, there just wouldn’t be any internet.

He tried but abandoned that quickly.

He has to be able to pull up YouTube clips or IMDB pages for the DVD he is watching. He couldn’t do that, which took the pleasure out of DVD watching on the laptop for him.

He finally resigned himself to the living room and after a while he did get used to it.

I, on the other hand had forgotten how unbearable it was to watch a movie with him rewinding and playing scenes in slow motion. But he was calm so it was a sacrifice worth making.

He started out just watching and rewinding.

He moved on to watching half, rewinding to the beginning, going to the kitchen to his spot to “Do the Writing” while listening to the half he just watched. Apparently the coffee table just doesn’t work for his “Princess Papers”.

Day Two of no internet:

DC: (yelling at random intervals) Oh! I wish I had the ‘inter-let’!
(Me too buddy. If I have to watch “Air Bud” one more time I WILL lose my mind.)

Every once in a while, he would switch from “Air Bud” to something else.

Today he chose High School Musical 2.

While he was watching, I was folding laundry, scrolling, reading and not really aware of how much I was paying attention to the movie.

When he went to switch movies before the end (something he does all of the time), I yelled louder than I meant to:

Hey! I wanted to see how it ends! Put it back!

Sigh…

This is what I’ve come to.

It’s been a LONG week.

*****

Quarantine Diaries – All

 

 

 

Quarantine Diaries Part 14: Pandemic Buying

Did I really need a planter that resembles a log?

Or rainbow hanging planters?

No.

I won’t list them all but looking back, I do have to question just what I was thinking when I ordered some of the items I have ordered over the last 4 months.

Not that there is anything wrong with the items themselves; they are just…

I don’t know …

useless.

I mean if someone were to go back and look at my order history 5 or 10 years from now, they would have to wonder what exactly was going on here.

There were also the pandemic related purchases like:

One box of rice because for a time there we couldn’t find rice in the grocery store. (Purchase limits)

One bucket of garlic powder because again, it could not be found in the grocery store and DC decided he could not live without it (See: Masks, Garlic and Jellybeans) (Purchase limits)

Not to mention the 3 orders of color remover so I could remove my color and dye my hair grey; and of course… the grey dye, when most people are trying to hide the grey. (See: Bald and Toothless).

My hair is finally grey and I have to say that I do like it, but who would have thought it would be harder and take more time to have grey hair than any other color. I probably could have just let it grow out in the time it took to do this.

Each time I ordered the color remover, the confirmation came with a note that said something like: Due to the ingredients, this order will take longer to ship (I wish I kept the original emails). So one of these days I will have to really check out the ingredients to see just what it is that will probably put me on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Then there are the things that I make up in my head and try to see if they actually exist in life, because I decided that I need one.

I want a garden sprinkler with it’s own water source.

I am tired or watering by filling up a watering can and going back and forth.

I want a rain bucket that collects water and attaches to a sprinkler that I can put in the garden. I don’t have access to an outdoor water source so I have nothing to attach a hose to. Does something like that exist? Would it need to be battery operated to pump the water through the sprinkler?

Moving on…

Lawn Mowing: When I moved here 20 years ago, my neighbor at the time’s only complaint was that the people in this neighborhood were “obsessive” about mowing their lawns. No one should have to mow a lawn as much as these people did.  She pointed to the house next door and said “This guy even has headlights on his mower so he can mow when it’s dark!”.

So lets take a bunch of people who were already over-the top mowers and put them in a pandemic with little else to do and see what we get.

Our lawn: My landlord (you have already read about him and his consideration – or lack there of for me, my son and the people who live around us in my “complaining” post – Bald and Toothless).

He got rid of the lawn service that would come once a week and mow the entire yard within a half hour (it is a BIG lawn).

He decided that his son would take care of the lawn.

His son shows up at all times of the day and evening, driving one of those trucks that can be heard 3 miles away. What is the purpose of that?

He parks said truck in the driveway and lets it run while he gets the “lawnmower” ready. Why? I don’t know.

He finally shuts it off when the “lawnmower” gets running. Getting the lawnmower running always seems to take quite a while and I don’t actually believe that this contraption began it’s life as a lawnmower. I think it was converted from something else because I have never heard anything so loud in my life.

Anyway… this lawnmower is not only loud, but it never fails to break down. When this happens, the kid sits there, with it running in front of my windows as he attempts to repair whatever is wrong. After this happens three or 4 times and I am sure that my windows will fall right off of the house – he leaves.

But… the lawn is not done, which brings him back a good 2 to 3 times (repeating the scenario above each time) to finish the lawn.

Then all of a sudden, it stopped. No lawn mowing at all, for I think close to a month. We had a lot of rain back then so the lawn was really looking awful and getting out of hand.

DC LOVES to mow the lawn at his day program. They use one of those old fashioned rotary mowers – no engine. So, I decided that maybe I could find a cheap manual mower for him to use on our front yard (just ours and just the front). He would probably enjoy being able to mow again.

I did.

It arrived that day after the kid came back and began mowing again.

Rats!

So there is sits; unopened in my living room.

Pampered Chef: 

Let’s all take a minute to laugh.

I don’t cook, really and I certainly don’t bake.  Fortunately due to the virus, that shipment is delayed so that box is not yet sitting in my living room, unopened, but I am sure it will take it’s place there shortly.

Sneeze Guard:

Back in May, DC’s dad told me that he was making the trip up here from Florida the week after the 4th of July. I explained that DC would not be getting into his car or going anywhere with him. He could bring him lunch or dinner and sit with him on the back porch.

He understood.

As it got closer and the numbers in Florida began to spike, I got a little bit more nervous about the whole thing. When it got to the point where the 4th had come and gone, I contacted his sister to find out if she knew if he was still coming and if so, when.

He was still coming.

I thought I had time so I bought a spit guard to put in between them on the table outside. I did not mention it because Amazon’s guaranteed delivery dates haven’t been that at all lately and I wasn’t sure when it would arrive.

As it turned out, the guard did not arrive until the day he was leaving and he opted to not bring dinner anyway.

He visited DC from the street while DC stood on the front porch.

Box is sitting unopened in the living room.

Goals:

I have always said that I would never become one of those “old” women sitting at home with their box of assorted greeting cards.

Guess what?

I’ll admit that this purchase was really more so I would not have to take DC out to the store to purchase the cards that I have had to send lately – but the damage is done.

I own 2 boxes of assorted greeting cards.

I have the grey hair.

All that is left is a bowl of hard candy – which can easily ordered…

and cats.

Do you think Amazon carries cats?

***

Edited before publishing to add: Doug took pity on me and put the lawn mower together. Maybe I can get DC out there to do the front yard before they show up again. At least I won’t have to hear them “fixing” their mower directly in front of our windows.

One box down.

A rain bucket with a hose is on it’s way. Not exactly the gadget I had envisioned (or made up in my head), but at least I will not have to run in and out for water –  except that we now can almost guarantee  that we will get no more rain – ever.

One box to be added.

Pampered Chef arrived.

Another box added

 

Quarantine Diaries – all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarantine Diaries – Part 11: Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Last week I saw a post about a Sabrina The Teenage Witch Virtual cast reunion. I went back and forth with myself for a day or two between –

  1. Will DC sit through a panel? Historically with the exception of the recent Star Trek Cruise panels, (which I am beginning to second guess myself about – I’m thinking that he just he may have fallen asleep during one) he falls asleep. It doesn’t matter who it is or what the panel is about.   AND…
  2. How could I pass this up? He LOVES Sabrina!

I finally decided to go for it. What was the worst that could happen? He could fall asleep and I would just watch it by myself.

After I bought the tickets, I noticed that he could also have a one-on-one conversation with one of the cast members, so I went back and bought the upgraded ticket for the one on one. Due to my impressive capacity to over-think all things, what I actually did was purchase tickets for the panel and then tickets for the panel again with the one-on-one, but that was fine – it was for a good cause.

For the one on one we chose Alimi Ballard.

Now, I have been a fan of his since Dark Angel and NUMB3RS with NUMB3RS being one of my favorite go-to, re-watch series, but it was only a short while ago that I discovered that he was also a regular on Sabrina.

How did I discover that, you ask? Well DC told me of course. He saw him on the screen one day in NUMB3RS.  As you know, DC knows everyone who has ever played a Disney role or has had a part in any of his favorite TV shows or non-Disney movies.

DC was excited.

It could go three ways when DC gets excited about something, especially when the event is days, weeks or months away (this was probably a week from the time I bought the tickets)

  1. He can get himself so excited for so long that at the time of the event, he just shuts down.
  2. He can get himself so excited that he screeches and laughs loudly during the whole thing and misses what is going on. OR…
  3. He is just the right amount of excited that he enjoys the event fully.

Seeing that we would be first in line for the one on one on the app, I decided to tweet Mr. Ballard to give him a heads up about DC’s reaction (or worse case, non-reaction). He follows me on twitter and to this day, I have no idea why (not that I am complaining, mind you) so I knew he was very responsive to tweets. I would not have even bothered if we were further down in line, but since we were first, I thought there was a possibility that he would remember the tweet at the time of the call.

I understand that your one on one volume is probably pretty high, but because the loop app says we are first in line, I wanted to give you a head’s up. My son is 29 and autistic. He is excited about talking to the “Quizmaster” but you will probably have to do most of the talking and the answers you get back might be a lot of “GREAT” – just go with it. I wouldn’t bother to tweet this to you if we were farther down in line, but since it says we are first, I am hoping that you will remember when the time comes. Thank you!

So you all know that now DC was even more excited to have been called a “Prince”.

Once again, I have to remind you that I write in terms of his autism, so there are no complaints here at all; he came away from this event a very happy guy, but there were some issues (not the fault of the company putting on the event or any of the participants. They were all extremely helpful. I want to make that perfectly clear).

When we signed into the app, we could see the count down; 5 minutes until the event, 4 minutes and so on.

When it came time for the event to begin, there was just a black screen that read “The event hasn’t started yet”.

After 20 minutes, I saw that I was going to lose DC. Once lost, I’d never get him back. DC has really made great strides at waiting in lines over the years, but not waiting while staring at a screen. Once I saw that look in his eyes (and yes, I can see it and know where it’s going), I started making jokes to pull him back.

“Oh No! They are Late! Late, Late, Late!”

He started to laugh (Phew!)

Then he made a joke that I was pretty impressed with:

“Oh no! They are going to be late for the Smashing Pumpkins Concert!”

He laughed hysterically for a good long time. (for an explanation – please read from our “Everything is Related” series – Camp Special Days which includes Sabrina and the Smashing Pumpkins Concert). Phew! Again!

When the event finally started at 2:30 (apparently Vimeo crashed world-wide and was the cause of the delay), I still had him with me. Phew! A third time!

DC watched the entire event and loved it. No, he did not even doze off for a few minutes.

Once again I am going to say as I have in most of my “Quarantine Diaries” – He has shown so much growth throughout this “sickness”, as DC calls it. Two months ago, he would never had made it to the panel after having to wait (even with the jokes).

When the event was over, DC being DC announced “Mom, I would like to go to the restroom”.

Knowing our call was coming up…..

“Noooooooo! You will miss your call and they are not able to call back.”

So he waited (if you know DC, you know that waiting IS a big deal!) – Growth! I’m telling you! Growth!

His call came.

They had a nice talk.

DC was in category #3… Just excited enough to enjoy the call.

The call cut out before we had a chance to take the selfie (the camera icon disappeared) and DC was a “little bit” disappointed about that BUT Mr. Ballard DM’d me a photo just for DC and the Looped people were very responsive and said they would try to get a screen shot of his footage.

(Photo’s have been edited as not to reveal DC’s real name)

 

Unlike his mother who can’t take a compliment at all, DC will always agree with every compliment that comes his way.

During their phone conversation, Mr. Ballard told him that he thought he was awesome. DC agreed (because he always does and in mu opinion, he is). Mr, Ballard got a kick out of that. So when he got his message after the conversation, I had to reiterate that, yes he still agrees.


 

 

Originally we were supposed to receive a recording of the conversation within two weeks of the event, but we received ours the very next day! I was able to grab a screen shot which looked exactly as the selfie would have.

DC was excited to have the selfie and to listen/watch the recording again.

As much as I would LOVE to post the recording here, I can’t because his real name was used. I didn’t want to have Mr. Ballard call him DC instead of his real name just for the purposes of posting it here. I wanted the call and the recording to be for him and about him.

I did post it on my personal Facebook page and I believe that Mr. Ballard has garnered a whole new crop of fans.

Thank you for putting on this event. It has been one of the brightest spots for DC throughout this quarantine.

We would definitely do it again!

*******

In other news: I am now the proud owner of FOUR (yes I said FOUR) cans of (fake) Lysol!

It was a great day all around!

Quarantine Diaries – Part 9: Story-time With DC

In an effort of trying to keep this guy busy, we have been recording stories (and some songs) to post on our Facebook Page (Take Another Step). DC is having fun with it.

If you follow our Facebook page, you may have seen some of these before, but maybe not all.

I was looking around for a short book for DC because I thought it would be fun to have him read a story for the Take Another Step page. Instead I found this book that I wrote as a joke for Christmas 2008. The original intent was for me to write this story and DC to draw the pictures, but that proved to be too much for him (he did draw some, though). It IS A TRUE family story about an event in the mid-seventies when I was a kid and we had a squirrel trapped in our basement for about a week. We did call it the killer squirrel at the time and all the events written about in the book actually did take place. All of the names mentioned in the book are some sort of variation of the actual person’s name so they we all able to recognize themselves in the story (even if they were too young at the time to remember it)

DC had a hard time with some of the words so he opted for me to read and he, the page turner.
This was an impromptu story-reading, so please excuse the camera work and me stumbling over the pages I could not see from over DC’s shoulder.
THE TALE OF THE SQUIRREL

 

 

Our Next Story, DC was able to read himself. We only practiced once before recording. I may have posted this one in another Quarantine Diaries post, but in an effort to keep them all in one place, here it is again.

So first…there are supposed to be subtitles. I spent a long time putting them in, but I don’t think that it worked. I can see them but others reported that they could not. If you opt to turn on closed closed captioning, I cannot be held responsible for the way YouTube interprets his words!

Anyway, DC wanted to read one of his new (believe it or not) favorite stories… Chicken Little
We had fun making this. (Yes, I am aware the he keeps touching his face. He washes his hands before and after every activity he does because I can’t make him stop) 

 

 

Doug is a “Job Coach” at a SPED Transition program. Due to all of the schools closing, he was placed in charge and created a virtual music program. One of the things he does twice a week is make up songs for his students. Most are about the virus, how to help at home, etc.

(I did find a subtitle program, but it takes a very long time and as you will see; I am not very good at it yet. One of these days I will go back to add proper subtitles to Chicken Little)

DC helped Doug out by singing a Doug “original” (part of it anyway) for Doug’s students – some of the words were difficult, so he only sang two verses – you will have to sing on your own for the Disinfectant and Covid-19 verses  and then make up your own verse using Vitamin C – we have supplied the words and music!

 

 

This last video has not been posted anywhere yet. We will post it to our page on Monday. You are seeing it first right here.

The Tale of the Lion and the Mouse.

 

He is looking forward to telling some more stories and singing more songs for Doug’s students. We are hoping to get DC’s best friend, BB to help him sing a song, tell a story or both – so stay tuned!

***

Updated: Just one more (this was posted on another installment but I decided to add it here so they are all in one place)

DC had a hard time with this one. He thought it was hilarious and wanted to do it, but he got so serious trying to get the words right that I asked him more than once if he was having fun. If he wasn’t, we did not have to tape it. He insisted.
These Are Ways To Help At Home (another of Doug’s songs for his students)

****

Click for More Quarantine Diaries

#TravelingWithDC – Star Trek Cruise

Mint in Box

Taking a break from the virus, lock-down, Quarantine Diaries and everything involving it to write about our last vacation.

At this point, our trip seems as if  it happened centuries ago, but it has really only been a couple of months. Please forgive any typos, run-on sentences or just utter incoherence as I seem to have lost all ability to concentrate on any one thing for any length of time during this quarantine.

Those of you that have been here a while, already know that this post is partially a ploy to make you look at my vacation photos. 😉

For those of you new here; this is partially a ploy to have you look at our vacation photos but also it is written with a dash of autism and DC’s perspective (or my perspective of DC’s perspective) of the trip. Do not panic, it looks like a very long post, due to all of the photos – it really is not that long at all.

 

Onward…..

DC was very excited all month to be going on the Star Trek cruise, but in true DC fashion he was already starting to get anxious about when we were coming home before we had even left home.
He remembered the schedule I put on his phone during one trip a few years ago (which helped during that trip but not so much during the next) and asked for a “phone list”-
So that is what I did on he way to the airport.

DC’s Phone List

This time, the list worked perfectly. I did not have to repeat the schedule over and over again (we did have to listen to him recite it to us a few times). He took it out and read it whenever he felt the need to.  What a difference this list made!

In the airport.
DC (yells): I’m getting very nervous about this plane!
This plane does not look very safe to me!
(Line from: Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves)

Because he randomly blurts out movie lines, I always have ask him (when it could be a problematic line for the circumstances) – rather loudly so everyone in earshot can hear…..

“What movie is that from?”, so he can answer just as loudly, “Honey We Shrunk Ourselves” (or whatever movie the line happens to come from).

Bag Tag

 

 

 

We arrived in Miami the day before the cruise. We always try to arrive a day early, just in case. I remember a cruise about 15 years ago that was leaving from San Juan . We arrived a day early because I love Puerto Rico and we wanted to spend some time there. There just happened to be a storm after we left home all up and down the east coast (it was January). Flights were delayed and many passengers did not make the boat. Many had to fly into some of the ports where were were scheduled to stop to get on the ship – missing days of their cruise. Since then, we always arrive a day early, no matter what.

Boarding was quick and easy.

We looked around the ship a bit waiting for the drill and the opening ceremonies.

We were able to get into our room beforehand and DC set up “His Spot”. The spot where we had to climb over him all week, but he did not care.

 

After the safety drill we went to the pool for the opening ceremonies. DC was pretty excited. I don’t know if it was because everyone else was excited or because he spotted Nana Visitor and Brent Spiner, but he was cheering right along with everyone else.

 

 

I had just read the headline that morning in the airport about Kenneth Mitchell’s ALS diagnosis. I did not have the chance to read the article because we were boarding the plane. I assumed he was newly diagnosed. I was shocked and saddened to see that he was already in a wheel chair.  I have been a fan of his since Jericho and was happy to see him cast in Discovery in the first season and as I predicted in our Discovery podcast, there was no way they would hire Kenneth Mitchell for one season and just a few episodes. I was correct and they had him back playing a different character in season two.

As I said, DC was really looking forward to seeing Nana Visitor again. You might remember his reaction to her from Star Trek Missions NY (and a Little Bit of Reading Rainbow), but our first photo op was Jeffrey Combs (a favorite of mine). We happened to be in that area of the ship at our scheduled time, so we were there early enough so the line was not bad at all.

We had not gotten our bags yet, so DC was still sporting his “Eureka” shirt (shameless plug: Yeah, That Can’t Be Good: A Eureka Rewatch Podcast)

DC and Jeffrey Combs

 

Nana Visitor was the first of the many long lines he had to wait in that week. He got used to the waiting eventually, but because it was the first line, by the time he made it to her, he was over it and not his excitable self. He was excited, but not AS excited as he would have been. He would get a second chance when it was autograph time later in the week.

 

DC and Nana Visitor

My surprises of the week were how much DC enjoyed meeting Ethan Peck and Wilson Cruz. He started his week excited about Nana Visitor and Brent Spiner but ended it by adding two new favorites to his “list”.

There were signs all around the ship, especially in the photo/autograph lines that read – “No handshaking, Vulcan Salutes and elbow bumps only” – DC took that to mean, at the beginning anyway that he needed to do a salute for each photo. That came in handy when Ethan Peck noticed him trying to do one and asked the photographer to take a second picture.

DC and Ethan Peck (Photo edited to disguise DC’s name)

DC was able to talk with him a few more times during the week; once outside of one of the shows (I let him say hello. I did not want him to bother people when they were out and about, or eating, but I did let him say hello.) He did not seem to mind and did try to get some conversation out of DC, even though it was apparent that DC has a difficult time with conversation (he is on my nice guy list now as well). The next – at his autograph table, where he again went out of his way and took the time to try to get some conversation out of DC.

DC and Wilson Cruz

Wilson Cruz was very personable and high energy, which DC loved both times he met him (once for the photo and again for his autograph). DC was wearing a multi-colored, very bright, paint-splash kind of shirt for the autograph session. Mr. Cruz told him how much he liked his shirt and if you know how much DC loves compliments about his clothing, then you know that “The Doctor” now has a fan for life.

DC and Anson Mount

He wore his Captain’s shirt for his photo with Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and I actually got to attend, on my own (which never happens), a recording of Anson Mount’s podcast, The Well. I have been listening since the beginning and it was nice to be able to watch it live. I missed the first scheduled date due to DC’s photo op schedule so I do not know who the guest was, but I was able to make this one with his guest Kenneth Mitchell.

Anson Mount – The Well

 

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

 

DC announced to all in the elevator “I cut my toenails all by myself!”
Failing to acknowledge the torture that his cheering section had to endure while he was doing this earlier in the room.

 

There were plenty of other things to do besides standing in line for photos or autographs.

There was music and dancing. We all know how much DC loves to dance!

 

Panels:

Voyager Panel – DC was pretty good at sitting though the panels. Historically he falls asleep on my arm but he stayed awake for all of the panels we attended.

Voyager Panel

 

Discovery Panel

Discovery Panel

A pajama party with Chase Masterson.

As you might imagine, going out in one’s pajamas confused DC a bit but I was really surprised at how quickly he adapted..

He got a kick out of the “Rat Pack” show.


He did some swimming: DC has not been swimming since he had his first seizure back in 2015. Me, being me and a stickler for “the rules”, after his second seizure, when he had to be put on medication, was told by the ER doctor that I should not let him swim or even take a bath. I kind of “get” this. He is a big guy (he was much heavier/bigger then) and if he were to go under, we not only had to worry about the seizure going on at the moment but “dry drowning” later. DC who always loved swimming seemed to be moving away from it and refusing to go in the water at camp or anywhere else over the previous couple of years anyway, did not seem to mind this at all…

he did not mid at all until he knew we were going on a cruise, that is. He wanted to go swimming. I sucked it up and made Doug promise that he would go into the water with him and stay with him (I haven’t owned a bathing suit since 2005, so I was OUT for the pool). He did and DC was thrilled to go swimming just about every day. I was worried about how I was going to handle camp this year with his renewed love of swimming but as it stands with the virus, there will probably not be camp this year, so I am safe for now.

If you happened to be passing by the
Windjammer buffet at lunch-time yesterday, I was the one screaming “no, no, no!” as DC jumped up out of his seat to take off his shirt and switch it right there when he realized his shirt was inside out.

We watched Star Trek Squares:

I know that DC doesn’t get all of the jokes (and at times that was a good thing) but he seemed to enjoy watching all of these shows and games.

Max Tonight:

Watching the Make-Up artists (they were pretty impressive!)

Oz, Star Trek Style: You all know how DC feels about the Wizard of OZ!

Garrett Wang Stand Up Show.

I think DC’s favorite show of the entire trip was the script reading of “The Devil in the Dark”. He laughed and laughed. Ethan Philips played the “rock monster” and DC got such a kick out of some of the sounds he was making. Of course the cast included his beloved Nana and his new favorite, Ethan Peck so we really couldn’t go wrong, there.

 

 

Me: DC, what was your favorite part of the show?

DC: The Fart! hahahahahahaha

(The noises The Rock Monster made)

We made a nightly visit to Qapla”where DC had his fill of Shirley Temples (they gave him extra cherries there) and I could have a Kahless’s Martini. We went there after the show and DC saw Nana Visitor come in and sit down at a table. No, he wasn’t allowed to bother her and I didn’t want him to yell across the place, but he was happy just to see her there (I mention this for a reason).

 

The following day was his scheduled autograph session with her. He was more excited than the day of the photo op because he was now used to waiting in these lines. Doug prompted him to tell her that he liked her in the show the night before. She thanked him and told him that she had seen him (I imagine in Qapla”) right after the show. He was a thrilled about that.

Brent Spiner:

Unlike some of the others who were too busy to even say hello (we’ll get to that later), I was impressed with Brent Spiner.

First, some backstory from the “Everything is Related Series”Everything is Related: Star Trek and Geppetto – October 2019

Last night we happened to be watching an episode of TNG.

The beginning credits were running. I was not really paying attention when DC said:

“Brent Spiner. Not Stromboli in “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” (we must always recite the entire title of any movie, book or television series)

When DC tells me that someone is NOT a character, what he is actually telling me is that the actor IS the character; in this case “Stromboli” in the movie he just mentioned but he is not playing that character in this movie or television series we are watching at the time.

DC has been watching his Geppetto DVD … um, excuse me: “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” for many years. I had never seen it, but I looked it up and he was correct!

Apparently, DC had not ever recognized him as Data, but he did recognize his name in the credits, because he does know the name of every person who has ever played or lent their voice to any Disney character.

Of course I was going to get a ticket for a photo op and autograph for Brent Spiner! How could I not?

As you might imagine, Brent Spiner had one of the longer lines of the cruise. But still, he took the time to talk to DC a bit during the photo op and when DC called him Stromboli, he looked confused for a moment and then broke out into a Stromboli song! I have no idea if it was an actual song from the movie or if he made it up right there, but needless to say, DC was thrilled!

A few days later we when we went for his scheduled autograph session with Mr. Spiner, the line was just as long as it was for the photo op, so I did not expect much.

But once again, I was impressed.

We had an old Disney promo photo/description for – say it with me – “The Wonderful World of Disney’s Geppetto” for him to sign. He read it, we talked about it, he wondered why Disney Plus does not carry these older musicals, he showed it to Gates McFadden who was at the table with him and pointed out (something that I hadn’t noticed before because now that DC watches his DVD’s on his laptop, I no longer have to watch these things over and over and over again), that Rene Auberjonois was also a cast member.

(Photo edited to disguise DC’s real name)

The cruise was fun and I really had no complaints about the way it was run. There were a few issues, though.

The way that the tickets were sold really needs to be modified for the next time around.

We purchased our photo-op and autograph tickets months before the cruise date. We bought our tickets for specific people.

When we received our tickets on board, they were not for specific people, but for specific “levels”.

We bought a ticket for a photo-op with Kate Mulgrew only because it was a Voyager anniversary cruse, so how could I not?

Kate Mulgrew was a “Gold Level Ticket”.

If memory serves, the celebrities who fell under the Gold level were:

  1. Kate Mulgrew
  2.  Jeri Ryan
  3.  Rom and Leeta in full costume.
  4.  The Captain who shall not be named***

I ran though the crowd to get this pic!

 

The problem with this Gold, Silver and Bronze system is that the tickets are interchangeable. I fully understand the intent; there is a lot going on and one may find themselves with a conflict of some sort at the time of your scheduled op.  BUT… it also creates a false expectation of the line size for the organizers.

This is in no way a complaint about the length of the line, it is a complaint about how the celebrity was treated by the venue and the interchangeable tickets and in turn the way DC was treated by the celebrity.

While we were in line but still out in the lobby I heard a group of disabled individuals complaining to their support person/group leader about their experience with Kate Mulgrew (I am a people watcher so I pay attention to everything especially if I think there is a problem that will effect DC). I could not hear their complaints but I did hear the group leader talking to one of the event organizer crew.  The event organizer apologized for whatever happened  and went on to explain that “Ms. Mulgrew is a very smart and savvy woman who knows exactly what her contract states and exactly the hours she is required to take photos and sign autographs”. I don’t know what she did. Maybe she left and took a break, maybe she was not very pleasant. I don’t know, but I knew there was a problem.

That made me nervous. I started having anxiety that we would be standing in this line forever only to have her leave. That would not have gone over well with DC. We hadn’t had all that many melt-downs during the trip and the ones we had were minor, I did not want him to be disappointed or have a meltdown if something like that happened.

Most of the photo-ops were scheduled around dinner hours meaning that the people with the later dinner time could go to the 6:30 op and those with early dinner times could attend the 8:30. I believe there probably should have been a break for the celebrity in-between ops, but there were so many people in line that I am sure that one op lead right into the other. There were so many people in line, that I am sure her photo op went far beyond the time allotted as well. I understand. That is a long time to expect someone to sit there and take photo after photo.

We have been to many events like this in the past and we know that a photo-op was not the place for conversation and as I said earlier, I was impressed at the number of celebs that did take a little bit of time to converse.

When it was DC’s turn for a photo, she did not even look at him. DC, being DC knows he should be polite and say hello. He tried and tried, but she would not even look at him. He tapped her on the shoulder, just to say hello and still she would not even look at him.

Yes, he smiled for the photo, because any time there is a camera in sight, he will stop whatever he is doing and smile (which is why I cannot ever get a candid shot of him)

He tried to say good bye after the photo but she still would not even turn her head. After we left,  DC would not stop insisting that he had to go back and ‘a-polo-gize’ to her because he was convinced that he had done something wrong. It took us a while to make him understand that he had not. DC is not always one to notice when someone is ignoring him (usually because I try to cover it up for him), but he noticed and it made him feel bad.

I never ask for or expect special treatment for him due to his autism, but I do expect him to be treated with common courtesy and he was not.

The next “issue” had nothing to do with the interchangeable tickets, it was just rudeness.

We were in “line” for Jeffrey Combs (there were two people in front of us and NO ONE behind us). We watched him sign and converse with both people in front of us. When DC got to the table and he started signing his photo, his assistant/wife or whoever she was, come up to the table and said “Excuse me one moment”. He turned around and they had a conversation as he pushed the signed photo towards us with out ever turning around again.

Again, THERE WAS NO ONE BEHIND US! This could have waited. Understanding that we were being dismissed and he was not going to turn around again even to say good-bye or thank you, I, rather loudly said good-bye, in a not so friendly fashion. He turned around quickly and said “Oh! Goodbye”.

Casey Biggs, who was at the table with him, noticed this and was nice enough to jump in to thank us for him (even though we were not at his station).

When we left the table – There was still NO ONE behind us.

Doug, who never notices anything (he will tell you that himself), asked me if Jeffrey Combs has been added to my “turn your head and spit” list.

The jury is still out on that one.

Moving On:

I was kicking myself for not bringing DC’s “Lizard Spock” costume with us, when we saw “Gorn’s Galactic Gala”. Me, thinking myself very clever found a Lizard costume years back and because DC absolutely knows Mr. Spock AND loves the Big Bang Theory; especially Rock, Paper Scissors, Lizard, Spock, I thought it would be hilarious for him to dress as “Lizard Spock” for Halloween. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in cracking myself up because no one got it. People who knew Star Trek thought he was Gorn and everyone else just didn’t know at all. DC and I knew, so that was all that mattered.

 

 

He would have fit right in…..

 

 

 

 

As you would find on every cruise – there was the standard towel animal on the bed every day when we came back to the room. DC cannot leave these alone. He just can’t stand that the towels are not in the right place and has to take it apart THE MOMENT he walks into the room.

It was entertaining to see how long it would take for him to notice it and take it apart. It was usually immediate.

More Dancing:

I believe this was the last night on the ship. I don’t recall the name or the theme.

 

 

 

DC wanted to see Brent Spiner again, so we went to his show… Inside the Actor’s Studio. We did not know who the guest would be and unfortunately as it turned out, it was The Captain who shall not be named***. Brent Spiner talked for a good long while before announcing who his guest would be and before bringing him out, so DC got his last “Spiner Fix” and we left when the guest came out.

We had a really nice time and I would LOVE to do this again! I don’t know if I will ever be able to talk Doug into it again – he’s not a Star Trek fan, although he did have a good time too. Don’t let the face fool you.

 

Oh! We did stop in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. John too!

It seems so long ago now. Two weeks after we returned home the whole country shut down. It gives me pause to look at these photos and the crowds.

Do you find yourself having anxiety when watching characters on television shows opening mail, willy nilly (where did THAT word come from?) hugging or shaking hands or is it just me?

I fear nothing will ever be he same again. I hope I am wrong.

****

*** The Captain who shall not be named

I did not write this but I have shared it many times over the last few years as the best explanation I can find…

How William Shatner Betrayed Autistic People’s Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers for “Vicki”(e)

DC woke up this morning with a “Happy Mother’s Day” for me. He then moved right in to asking what we are going to eat later.

I made the mistake of telling him that we would try to get Chili’s takeout (HIS favorite place) for dinner so that is all he is interested in.

He gave asking about dinner a break when we went for a porch visit with Grandma. He was excited to bring “Grandmother” a card and a gift for Mother’s Day and we spent a little time there.

All week he had been promising me a card for Mother’s Day. I was sure that since Doug always takes care of that for him while DC takes full credit, he was expecting a card to miraculously appear for him to present to me.

He has and still does draw flowers for me at random, but never for a holiday – on the holiday (well, there was that ONE time) unless someone tells him to do it. He does make things for me during some of his activities even though they are not supposed to be for me (see: Even when he gets the assignment wrong; he gets it right) , so I am not complaining at all.

When we arrived home, he started talking about “Chills” (DC-speak). Again, I told him that we would try. I didn’t know if it was even open for take out.

I mentioned the card he promised me.

DC: Grandmother

Me: Yes, you brought a card to Grandma, but where is the card you promised me?

DC: (pointing all over the house) Card.

Me: You said you would make me a card. Where is it?

DC: (gives me the blank stare; the only thing he inherited from his father) 

Me: Mom would like a card for Mother’s Day.

DC: (Still staring, but I could see it begin to click in his head finally) Paper! 

He moved his laptop back to make room for the paper.

I went in the other room, so it would be a surprise when he presented his card to me.

I could hear him talking to himself and reciting:

Violets are blue

Violets are blue

Roses are red

Flowers are yellow

He came in and presented me with the card above.

Flowers for Vickie (I added the “e” because no one, no one – ever spells my name correctly)

Apparently all the the reciting he was doing was just him prompting himself to get all of the colors right.

Yes of course I made a big deal of it all and yes, he was very proud of the card. We promptly hung it on the cabinet so we can see it all day.

I got my card.

I had to ask for it, but he understood without me directly saying “Please make a card”. He figured it out.

Now it is entirely possible when Doug comes to drop off the take-out later that he will have gotten a card for me from DC.

DC will take full credit for that one too.

He’s the best!!!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

*****

Quarantine Diaries – all