Week One of The World Shutting Down

Please understand that I am in no way complaining about or making light of the situation, but his blog is about autism; my son’s autism and the way his mind works and deals with things and that is just what I am going to write about.

The first hurdle was my birthday (Friday the 13th). Restaurants, stores and just about everything else were still open but I did not feel comfortable taking him “out to eat”.

As you know, my birthday is only important as a stepping stone to his birthday and as an opportunity to go out to a restaurant. He was very upset by this so we got his favorite foods and cake and celebrated at home. He was eventually all right with this – there was cake…

Overall, DC had a happy “Mom’s Birthday”. My day, on the other hand…

Friday the 13th sure lived up to it’s end of the deal …..
(sucky day… that is all)

The two boxes of Girl Scout cookies that came home with me after work yesterday…. gone.
#WhatCanIEatNext

Not going anywhere on my birthday lead to “a bit of” anxiety over his upcoming birthday. His birthday this year, was supposed to be spent in Pennsylvania for one of his Winter Guard shows. We were going to spend the weekend and do “DC stuff” (he always loves a hotel).

 

2019

DC was really looking forward to this show this year. We were going to stay over (nothing is better than a hotel and his “spot” at the desk for his computer and everything else) and make it his Birthday Weekend (the show was scheduled right on his birthday). Of all the things I had to tell him were cancelled, I think this was the toughest for him.

The small bright spot (for me, anyway) was that other people were cancelling all of these events and it wasn’t me keeping him from attending.

It is not my fault…..

DC is good about washing his hands before he eats and after using the restroom but he does not really understand why. It’s a rule. He does not understand germs (because he can’t see them) and keeping his hands away from his face.

He has gotten pretty good with all of the additional hand washing and fortunately I am here to remind him to keep his hands away from his face.

Because I don’t know what to call this so DC understands, I find myself calling what’s going on “The Sickness” so he understands that it’s more serious than a cold or the flu (and so he doesn’t blame me that everything is closed or cancelled). But every time I say it I feel as if I’m in some apocalyptic TV show…
The Phage?
The Pulse?

We have been going out for walks quite a bit.

Boredom Buster: This is how we walk with friends. Meet there. No handshaking, fist bumping or hugging and keeping a few feet of personal space between. We walked 3.1 CharityMiles for Special Olympics.

 

It was not until Tuesday when I had to go into the office, that he fell apart. He is having a hard time keeping track of things and the schedule keeps changing.

You know he was having a hard time when he completely missed St. Patrick’s Day!

He hasn’t mentioned St. Patrick’s Day at all this year; possibly due to our calendar having so many things crossed out that he didn’t notice? #HappyStPatricksDay

I began writing his schedule for the next day down for him the night before so he could relax and stop obsessing about it, but of course, things change and to him it was like I lied.

I was supposed to go into work again on Friday, but it was changed to Thursday – that threw him into another tailspin. (Also, I was supposed to have a Dr’s appointment and get my taxes done, both of which had to be cancelled due to the schedule change). The “writing things down” stopped working at this point.

His program finally closed officially yesterday – he hadn’t been going, but now I could tell him that THEY closed.

Not my fault.

The highlights of his week have been walking and grocery shopping. Explaining the shortage situation to him has not been easy but seeing the shelves empty did help him to understand it a little bit more – some of the time….

 

Some substitutions had to be made when grocery shopping…. Doug insisted that fake Cheerios are just as good as real Cheerios (we ALL know that is not true)
DC, this morning after trying them (he did try them, so I’ll give him that)
“Different Cheerios” and went to the kitchen to dump the bowl.
“Gross-nest” (DC-Speak – grossness?)
#StopHoardingCheerios

While we are on the subject, if any of you ever happen to meet or run into Doug, please let him know that Tootsie Rolls are not anyone’s idea as a substitute for chocolate. NOT EVER!

We were able to find the real Cheerios the following day. Phew!

We had to buy “rainbow carrots”. Let’s see how this goes..

Surprisingly, “Rainbow Carrots” went over just fine.  It was one of those “trying new foods” situations when you put whatever it is in front of him and don’t make eye contact – You all know what I mean. NO EYE CONTACT!

 

 

The “Social Distancing” police was out in full force today. With umbrella in hand to point at offenders, I was drunk with power. We walked 3.0 Charity Miles for Special Olympics.

 

A good indication of just how bored DC is just being home every day is his willingness to walk in the rain. No complaining. No screeching “I’m getting all wet”. He was just happy to be out and also able to see his friend, BB – at a distance, of course.

DC heading out the door for a hike with Mrs. H.
Me: No hugging. Don’t touch benches or anything…
DC: And don’t get lost.
#ThatGoesWithOutSaying

Still, every once in a while the entire situation gets the better of him and it takes him a while to calm down again, but HE is coping much better that expected. I am really proud of him and I tell him so daily.

#ConversationsYouNeverThoughtYouWouldHave
Firstly: I don’t have a lot of room here, so I don’t buy things to have “just in case” – which put us at a disadvantage when the hoarding began. Secondly: I don’t buy alcohol unless I know we are having company or something, but this was a sucky week at home and ever suckier at work so I asked Doug to pick up some wine on his way over….
Doug started to open the wine for me..
Me: Wait! Wash your hands!
Doug: I was going to open the wine and then wash my hands.
Me: But I already sanitized the wine bottle and now I have to do it again!

 

Tomorrow is DC’s 29th Birthday (Twenty-Nineteen in DC speak). He has resigned himself to an at-home celebration and the promise of a birthday dinner out in one of his favorite restaurants after “the sickness” is over. I hope that is good enough for him. It makes me sad that he can’t have the birthday he wants. There is no one who loves their birthday as much as this guy.

Unfortunately this lead to the constant inquiry as to when the “Sickness will be all done.”. He wants a specific date to put on the calendar and I can’t give him that.

I wish I could.

Everything is Related – It’s a Celebration

 

As you may or may not know, over and above his regular day job/program, DC also volunteers at a local theater. He has been there for four and a half years now. His best friend, BB just recently started volunteering there as well. 

If DC could choose his dream job, it would be one (or all) of three things; Working in a Bookstore, Working at Disney (or anything having to do with Disney), Working at a Theater (plays and musicals) – 4 Years ago today, DC and his Job Coach headed off to his first day of volunteer work at the theater. My Broadway Baby got his wish…. ~ From “His Dream Job” March 2017

 As one might guess, DC is more interested in working the Broadway Productions, but the volunteers are required to mix it up and work a few of each type of production held there. 

Some of these are difficult (or boring) for DC so I always try to come up with something to relate whatever show he is working to something he enjoys – which is usually something that begins with Disney, but not always.

A while back he was scheduled to work “The Phantom of the Opera”. Now don’t get me wrong, DC is the ultimate fan of musicals, but this is more opera than musical. To try to pump up the enthusiasm and interest, I told him that I saw the Phantom of the Opera many years ago in New York City (his favorite place) on Broadway (his second favorite place) when it first opened. 

Me: Do you know who played the Phantom when I saw it? It was the same person who played Cornelius in a movie that you really love.

DC: Walter Matthau (not pronounced quite that way but I knew who he meant)

Me: No, Michael Crawford. He played Cornelius and Walter Matthau was his boss in the store (Hello Dolly).

(Seriously, you have to give DC props for knowing Walter Matthau and knowing which musical just from the name Cornelius)

That was the best I could come up with…

When all of the attendees are seated and the show gets going (pending a 10-minute hold on the door, of course) the volunteers are allowed to go in and watch a good portion of the show. For this particular show, DC and Mrs. H stayed out in the lobby due to the production’s use of strobe lights.

There are screens in the lobby though. Mrs. H reported that as soon as the operatic singing began, DC in his not so “indoor voice” announced – This is ‘ted-a-bull’!

I suppose it was a very good thing that they were not inside the theater at the time.

Moving on to the “celebration”…..

Many years ago, when I got married, I gave the DJ a list of three songs that he was not allowed to play, even if a guest requested them. They were banned – BANNED!

The first was Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”.

There was not any sort of affair that one could attend without ”Celebration” being the first song that was played, as if it was an original idea and no one had ever thought of it before. 

“A Party? A Celebration? Oh, we should play Kool and the Gang! We are so clever!”

Nothing against Kool and the Gang, I do like many of their other songs, but I am not a fan of this particular song.

Then, like clockwork, the very next musical offering 99.99% of the time would be, Sister Sledge, “We are family”.

No, no no no, just no.

The third was the chicken dance, because…….

Chicken Dance.

(Little did I know that one of DC’s early intervention teachers, Mrs. T (you know who you are) would teach him the chicken dance and he’d be doing it ever since)

Flash Forward to 2012 when DC’s Winter Guard Team chose – you guessed it – “Celebration” as their performance song for that season.

I mentioned my banned wedding song list to TonyaSalli’s mother one night at Winter Guard practice after listening to Celebration in parts and in its entirety all practice long. She laughed so loudly that it got the attention of the director who also had a good chuckle over the torture I was experiencing. 🙂

DC loves Winter Guard but he never really gets attached to any of the songs they have used over the years. If they used something like “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Seventy-Six Trombones”, or “The Trolley Song” – that would be a different story. Being a Disney/Broadway/Musical type of a guy, he is not always interested in the popular/top 40 music they use. He does like the songs and knows them when he hears them later, but that’s about it. I thought this would work in my favor with “Celebration”, but noooooooo….

He will randomly search for it on you-tube and listen to it over and over, still. to. this. day which I begrudgingly admit might actually come in handy as the next show that DC is scheduled to work at the theater is none other than – Kool and the Gang…

No prep necessary. I simply reminded him of his beloved “Celebration” and he is ready and seems to be looking forward to this show.

So, I guess you can say that Kool and the Gang came through for me in the end because, Everything is Related.