“What’s the matter with Ren?” …. Not a thing!

Here we have the final installment of our visit to RI Comic-Con – I did say that I had a lot to say about it, didn’t I?

Again, we are going  back to Friday night – the best night of the Con, in my opinion….

We arrived in Providence on Friday afternoon. We had plans to meet with Wendy,  an old friend of mine from the old neighborhood and also of Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake fame. Although we are in contact via Facebook, I do not believe that I have laid eyes on her since high school.

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*Wendy Darling, as she has now come to be known, looked exactly the same and I was more than a bit jealous that she hadn’t aged a day. She brought us to The Duck and Bunny, which was only a few blocks away from her house. It was such an adorable place. The chocolate and peanut butter cupcake was exceptional and the fries served in a flower pot….. so cute! *Wendy Darling asked him a question at one point and he answered with a “yes”. He then continued to repeat the “yes” over and over again. He has done this quite often since and I am sure he has done it before this, but when you are used to someone repeating things over and over again, it doesn’t always click that it is different from the normal repeating of words or phrases. It was more obvious to me that he was stuck. Since then, I have noticed it more. He seems to get stuck on a word and can not make his way out of it.  I often wonder if it is the meds, but of course that is one of those questions that can not or will not ever be answered. It only took me saying “I think you are a little bit stuck on ‘yes’ there.”, to which he answered “yes” to get him unstuck.

The convention center was very close to *Wendy Darling’s house so we said our good-bye’s and headed out.

A month or so before, a RI Comic-Con status came up on my Facebook page announcing the addition of Christy Carlson Romano to the list of Comic-Con guests. Without thinking and because DC was right there, I told him about it. This was all I heard about for the following month. I was kicking myself for even mentioning it to him because other than the announcement and her photo on the site, I could not find her listed in the photo ops, the panels, or autograph sessions. There was just no indication of where she would be.

DC was and still is a huge fan of Even Stevens, particularly “Even Stevens Influenza – The Musical” which for some reason has never been released on Video, DVD or Blue Ray. Still, he knows every word to every song and has been able to find most of the clips on YouTube. Because of Christy, he is also a big fan of Cadet Kelly and Kim Possible.

Again, I will say that I am so happy we went on Friday night! I was on a mission to find her or at least where she would be when we came back on Saturday. I knew that we could not leave RI without finding her. I would never have heard the end of it – never!

While we were waiting in the Supernatural room on Friday night, we happened upon the only helpful volunteer that we came across over the entire weekend. We asked him (very quietly) where we could find Christy Carlson Romano. Luckily, he knew who she was and he directed us to the “Animation Room”. The Animation Room was over a bridge in a different building. We headed over there not expecting to see her,  but hoping to find her table so we would know right where to go on Saturday. Personally, I would have loved to have spent more time in that room – there were so many other people I would have liked to see, but we were on a mission.

We came around the corner and there she was at her table with only one person in line! I did not know whether DC would be able to control himself or not when he saw her. We got in line and DC jumped up and down and squealed while she was trying to talk to the people in front of us. Me? I was so relieved to have found her that I didn’t think to give DC my usual instructions – don’t touch her hair, don’t pick her up. The moment the people in front of us left the table, DC charged behind the table before I could stop him and gave her a back-crushing hug. I was worried that we were going to have another Snow White incident (see: Rules I thought I would never have to make), but he was able to restrain himself, or he remembered the rule without being reminded. In either case, he did not pick her up. But, “Don’t rush the table” is now officially added to THE LIST.

DC is a big boy man and I would not blame anyone for being frightened seeing him bounding towards them. I have to hand it to her, she was not and if she was she hid it well. She was so fabulous with him. She spoke to him in a happy excited voice, which just excited him more. She held his hands, possibly in self defense, but it didn’t matter – he loved it.  She asked him questions. She sang part of the Kim Possible song. She asked him his favorite song and he went right into a partial rendition of “We Went to the Moon in 1969”

He must have really wanted to talk to her because normally if he knows the words to a song, he will not stop singing midway – he has to sing it to the very end and he did not this time. He wasn’t going to waste his precious time with Christy singing.

Meeting her was the highlight of the weekend. Yes, he was over the moon when he met Alex Kingston (see: Hello Sweetie), but this was even better. This was right up there with meeting Cinderella for the first time.

Normally no matter how much he loves something or someone when we go to an event, he will always just give me the last thing he did as a reply to “what was your favorite part?”. Four months later when asked what his favorite part of Comic-Con was, he will still tell me that it was Christy Carlson Romano, which was not even close to the last thing he did at Comic-Con.

She must have really made an impression……

DC and Christy Carlson Romano

 

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*Wendy Darling – for those of you that do not live Disney 24/7 – Wendy Darling is from Peter Pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“To Boldly Go……”

To Boldy Go....

To Bodly Go….

I confess…

I admit it…

I am just a big old Sci-fi geek from way back. I watched the first episode of Star Trek back in 1966/1967 (?) and I was hooked – for life.

The first “sign” that DC learned when he was very young (for those of you that may not know, DC was non-verbal until he was 7 years old) was the “Live Long and Prosper” sign. If and when he saw a picture of Mr. Spock or heard him mentioned, he used that sign.

Today, he is verbal but will still, at times use his signs in conjunction with his speech – that “Mr. Spock” sign has come to represent Star Trek in general for him and he still uses it.

Coincidently, DC just happened to be born on William Shatner’s birthday (not planned – I swear)

Before the days when Star Trek costumes were available to purchase - DC's second Halloween.

Before the days when Star Trek costumes were available to purchase – DC’s second Halloween.

Last October, we finally made it to New York Comic-Con. I was nervous – it was so crowded, but the hope of meeting Felicia Day, kept DC pretty much on track. He also got to meet William Shatner and the Real Mike Tee Vee. All were very nice to him and he was very, very happy.

A few years back a friend of mine told me about “Shore Leave“,an event held in Baltimore every August. It is smaller than ComicCon and the original plan was to try this first, see how DC managed it and then move on to the bigger ‘Con’ in NY at a later date. Somehow we ended up doing it in reverse. But, since DC did so well at ComicCon we decided  Shore Leave would be a breeze.

We left on Thursday afternoon as soon as DC came home from his work program. Our 5 hour drive to Baltimore somehow turned into an 8 hour haul. We opted not to stay at the hotel where the event was being held as we were planning on doing a few other things in Baltimore while we were there and I really thought it would be just too much for DC. We had reservations at the Holiday Inn – Timonium. We finally arrived a little bit after 11pm.

The man at the desk checked us in to room 717. We headed up to the 7th floor in the slowest elevator known to man – reverse warp speed. We opened the door to room 717 and found that the door was bolted from the inside and soon a man’s face was looking at us through the 6 inch space in the door. He wanted to know what we were doing and why we had a key to his room. We explained that we had just checked in and this was the room we were given. He explained that HE had just checked into this room moments before. DC does not understand this, he wants to “go to the room”.

Fortunately a hotel employee was in the hallway and called down to the desk. He got the desk clerk to assign us a different room on the same floor, let us in with his master-key and went down to switch out the keys for us. We were now checked into room 725. At about 11:45, the room phone rang. It was the desk clerk. He has forgotten our name (??!!) – we had reservations so he should have all of that information, but I gave him our name again. At midnight, the phone rang. It was the desk clerk once again, this time calling to tell us he would have someone slip free breakfast coupons under our door for our inconvenience. We thanked him and hoped this would be the end of the phone calls for the evening.

We spent Friday at the Inner Harbor. DC of course spotted the Barnes and Noble and Hard Rock “Caf” (DC-speak) so, you bet we had to  visit both places. It was a nice day and we had a very nice time.

We got back to the room at about 4pm to discover that no one had come to clean. I thought that was odd, but given the debacle of the night before, I really didn’t think too much about it at the time. We would be heading back out in an hour so there wasn’t much point to calling anyone to clean at that time of day.

Reading the Shore Leave schedule, I noticed that there was a “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” tournament at 6pm. DC loves the Big Bang Theory and thinks “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” is the most hysterical thing he’s ever heard. He does not really know what it means, the words are  just so funny to him. I thought if we attended the tournament, he would see exactly what it is…. a game.  I didn’t think he would actually understand the game, but at the very least he might understand what they are talking about in the show.

When we first walked in, the moderator was explaining the rules, reading from a very confusing T-shirt, complete with diagrams and pictures of the signs. One of the participants piped up “That boy has the directions right on his shirt” – I don’t think the moderator appreciated this, he looked up, sighed and went right back to explaining with HIS T-shirt. DC got a kick out of the tournament and asked me more than once “to play“. I knew he really didn’t understand it and thought about asking the moderator if someone could play a quick game with him when they were finished, but during the practice rounds I did with him, I could see he really didn’t get it. He just threw whatever I threw. I told him he could play against me. We played at the table while the tournament was in progress. This seemed to make him happy enough.

After the tournament we were walking down one of the hallways and I noticed the TARDIS in the corner and pointed it out to DC. He recognized it immediately yelling,  “Dr Who” We went to check it out. It was a photo booth. I don’t know what sort of directions the man gave DC when he was in the booth, but I could see from the computer screen outside that every time “Look at the Camera” came up on the screen, DC did something with his hands and his face, when the prompt was not there he sat looking at the screen normally. I’m sure he was following his understanding of the directions the man gave him.

He also happened to find a pair of TARDIS slippers. There were only two pair on the table, but thankfully one pair was his size. He was pretty darn happy to get them. He has a “thing” about slippers lately, I don’t know why. He has a few pair of slippers at home but never wanted to wear them, all of a sudden he loves slippers and wears them all of the time. The Tardis slippers were a nice find for him.

Pictures taken, slippers purchased, now DC was beginning to get antsy. He had enough for one night and as you may or may not know, DC’s favorite thing when on vacation – besides bookstores and restaurants, that is – is the hotel room. He really just LOVES hotel rooms, so he was anxious to get back. We arrived back at the hotel at a little after 9. Jokingly, I said to Doug, “I hope they didn’t give our room to someone else”

 -I really have to stop joking like that, really!

We got to the door and the key would not work, none of our keys worked. There were 2 women just down the hall going into their room and I heard one  say  to the other, “Now look,  their keys won’t work” and they asked us if our keys worked. We told them that they didn’t. They proceeded to inform us that they had just checked in and they were assigned room number 725 (our room). They opened the door, went in and realized that this was clearly someone else’s room (especially as you know,  no one had come to clean it that day). They had just been down at the desk to have it corrected and in the process the people at the desk deactivated our keys.

DC just wanted to “go to the room” and again, we are left standing in the hallway. I was so worried about Shore Leave being too much for him, but as it turns out the hotel caused him (and me) more anxiety that anything else that weekend.

We went back down to the desk and informed them that once again, we were stuck in the hallway. Last night they had us walking into someone else’s room and tonight they sent strangers into our room. The women at the desk said that when the desk clerk switched our room the night before he didn’t mark it down – which explains why no one came to clean – they thought it was empty (but why did he call to ask our name?? – That will remain a mystery). One woman offered us free breakfast coupons for the rest of our stay (they must have to give out an awful lot of those) – I informed her that we had already been given coupons the night before for that error. They didn’t offer anything else. I could be wrong, but it did seem as though the women that walked into our room that night were upgraded to a suite – but, I could be wrong…………….

On Saturday morning, we decided to take in the “Fairy Tale Panel” back at Shore Leave. DC must have been much more exhausted from Friday than I realized as he fell asleep and slept (in the front row, mind you) throughout the entire hour. 200lbs of dead weight hanging on me the entire time – just what you want when you are running a panel, someone fast asleep in the front row!  He did also sleep through the Once Upon a Time panel at ComicCon, but at least it was a dark room and we were nowhere close to the front. I suppose it could have been worse, he could have been snoring.
Saturday was much more crowded than Friday night had been. We tried to stay away from the most crowded areas, but refreshed from his “nap”, DC made a bee-line to the Buffy doll that I knew he wanted but refused to buy the day before – I think he was just too overwhelmed on Friday night to know what he wanted until he found the Tardis slippers, that is..
We had purchased tickets for 3 photo ops the night before, but we still had a little time to kill, so we went to the autograph tables, which surprisingly, were not very crowded.

Our first stop was Robert Picardo. I explained to DC that he was once on a Star Trek (Voyager). His sign read “I’m the Doctor”. This confused DC, he knew it wasn’t David Tennant, the only Dr. he is aware of, but the sign did say “I am the Dr.” so he called him Dr. Who.

– just following directions, Doc…….

We moved on to Michael Welch. He was exceptionally nice to DC – really, they all were.

We then headed to THE most confusing Photo Op line ever. We had tickets for 3 Photo Ops which meant we had to get in line 3 times. The lines did move quickly, but it was all very confusing trying to figure out where we were supposed to be.

The woman at the entrance to the photo room just Ooo’d and Ahh’d over DC every time we arrived for a photo. “Oh! Look at him, he is so excited!” – he was, plus there is no one that loves to have their picture taken more than DC does.

His first photo was with Robert Picardo, “Dr. Who” from a half hour earlier. He didn’t call him Dr. Who this time even though he was wearing a Dr. Who shirt (he didn’t have his “I’m the Doctor” sign with him and it wasn’t David Tennant on his shirt).

Next up was Eve Myles. She was a few minutes late getting to the photo room and when I saw her coming down the hallway, I got a little bit anxious. Her hair was much longer than it is on TV and in photos. DC LOVES long hair, LOVES it! Before we were faced with another  ‘Snow White Incident’ I launched into “the rules”.
“DC, you can not touch her hair”
“Okay Mom”
“DC what is the rule? – Tell me”
“Don’t touch your hair” (the usual pronoun confusion,but I knew he understood)
and then….. just for good measure…
“DC, what is the other rule?”
“Don’t pick up the people”
and he didn’t……….

Next and thankfully, last as DC was tired of getting in and out of lines…. Silas Weir Mitchell. I love Grimm. DC has seen it a few times, but I don’t think he really knew who he was. It didn’t faze him because, someone was taking HIS picture and isn’t that really all that matters?

At this point, DC was starting to get edgy. Our last stop was the Eve Myles autograph table. We had a good 1/2 hour wait until she was finished with the Q&A she was leading. We slipped inside to listen and more importantly to move DC out of the hallway.

He didn’t want to sit down.

He didn’t want to stand where we were standing.

He didn’t want to stand in the next place we moved to.

We moved close to the door and he seemed okay with that.

But then a staff person came over and told us we couldn’t stand there so we moved back to the hallway.

We decided to just wait at the table.

There was a wonderful lady sitting at the table who just happened to be a Special Ed teacher (we seem to run into Special Ed teachers everywhere we go, she was the second on this trip), she let DC pick out the photo he wanted autographed early. He picked a photo of Ms. Myles from a Merlin episode. We chatted a bit, she chatted with DC a bit as well. She told him he was doing a good job waiting – he loves compliments, who doesn’t.

The Dalek from the Tardis photo booth was now roaming the hallway “EXTERMINATE!”,  so that helped to keep him occupied until Ms. Myles was finished with her Q&A. When she arrived at the table, the woman whispered something to her and then introduced her to DC. She told her that he was waiting a long time for her. He was first in line for her autograph, she was lovely to him. He was thrilled…..

but he was also “done”.

I didn’t try to push him to do any more. We arrived that morning at 9 and it was now after 3. That was a long stretch for him, even with the nap. He had a few sketchy moments throughout the day, but I really I think, overall he did a fantastic job!

In the words of DC, “We all had a wonderful time”

except for this guy…………..

this guy....

this guy….

and a big shout-out to the “trying to be helpful staff member” that asked Doug (aka “This Guy”) if he needed help finding something….

“I’m just looking for some place to hang myself”

(Thanks Guy, I’m sure, Doug was waiting all day for an opportunity to use that line, and there it was)

#LLAP

Don’t Forget to Call Mom

Don't forget to call Mom

Don’t forget to call Mom

There are many times, even at this point that I really do not know if DC really understands certain things or if he is just going through the motions; the motions that were taught to him. There are other times that I am surprised to find that he really does understand, even if he is using one of his scripts to communicate it. It is not always easy to tell the difference. I don’t think it will ever be easy, but I do not think that using the telephone will ever be one of those things he completely understands.

I have worked long and hard over the years but DC still has a hard time using the telephone. To begin with, he just doesn’t like it, he doesn’t. When he was younger, he couldn’t even bear to have the receiver on or near his ear. He has always had a very low tolerance for anything having to do with his ears, so using the telephone or just listening to someone that wanted to say hello to him was just unbearable for him.

Secondly, as I stated above,  I really do not think he understands it completely. If he dials incorrectly, he doesn’t understand that he should hang up and dial again, he just keeps dialing. I finally got him to the point where he could tolerate the phone on his ear. He has memorized our phone number, but as he doesn’t always understand the question “What is your phone number”, I don’t know if he would be able to give it to anyone if he needed to. He does know how to call me.

He is still not all that thrilled about using the telephone, though. If he does get a call, it has to be brief. When he’s had enough, he will say nothing and just hand me the phone. I have to tell the party on the other end (who is usually still talking to him, not knowing he’s passed off the call to me) that DC is done talking. Not very long ago when he was talking to his father, he handed me the phone when he decided he was finished, as usual. I handed it back to him and said “DC, you have to say good-bye to people on the phone when you are finished.”

He took the receiver back and said “Goodbye to the people”

He does have an iPhone now. He knows how to use it. He is very good at using iTunes and YouTube, but still the phone part of it is difficult. He is supposed to call me on my cell phone when his transportation arrives to pick him up from work; he does, but it is a script.

“Hello Mom”

“Hi, DC. What are you doing?”

“I am going home Nowwww”

He says this the same way in the same tone, with the same emphasis on the “Ow” in “now” – every day.

“Did you have a good day?”

“Great”

“Okay, call me when you get home”

“Okay”

When he gets home he is supposed to call me from the house phone because I want him to know how to DIAL my phone and memorize my cell number as well.

He does call just about everyday. There were and still are a few days that he forgets and I have to call him. Hearing the phone ring, must remind him he has forgotten to call me so instead of just answering the phone, he picks it up and dials my number while I am on the phone, and then goes though his “at home” script. If for some reason it is not me calling him, the person on the other end gets the script and then he hangs up.

“Hi, Mom I am home”
“Hi DC, is Mrs. H there?” (she has already texted me to let me know she is there)
“Yes”

“What are you going to do today?”
“Go to ____” (enter, Library, Track or whatever  activity depending on what day of the week it is)
“That sounds like fun. Okay, I will see you in a little while”
“Okay, Goodbye Mom.”

He does not understand voicemail or answering machines, even though I let him listen to mine and try to explain what it is, I just can’t seem to come up with an explanation that he can understand. If he does leave a message on my phone, I don’t think he realizes he is leaving a message, he just goes through his script and hangs up, thinking I must not have a lot to say that day???

He will not use the phone spontaneously. This is something I really want him to understand. I want him to think to call me if something is wrong or if he happens to get lost or for any reason at all. I want it to occur to him if something goes wrong, that he should use his phone. I really am not sure that it would occur to him. I’ve gone over this many times, but as many times as he says he understands, I don’t think he does. He has never called anybody spontaneously, he has just about never asked to call anyone. After all this time, he still only uses the telephone when he is told to, to call me from his transportation and to call me when he gets home.

We’ll keep working on it….

A few days ago, I had to leave work early for a dental appointment and then a doctor appointment. The appointments went quickly, so I was home before his aide arrived to meet him after work. He called me from the car as usual. When he arrived home both his aide and I were there. I was talking to Mrs. H in the kitchen. DC came in, he said hello to me and Mrs. H and gave me a hug.

Mrs. H and I were still talking in the kitchen, while DC went into the living room, I thought to have his snack “alone” (he likes to be alone when he has his snack).  My cell phone, which was charging right in front of the phone in the living room, started to ring and I said “I’ll bet he’s calling me”.

From the kitchen, I asked:

“DC, what are you doing?”

“Hi, Mom. I’m home” (from the living room talking into the phone, probably to my voicemail).

When he is doing what he was told to do, I try not to do anything to throw him off or make him forget to call me the next time, so I went with it.

“Is Mrs. H. there?”

“Yes”

“What are you going to do today?”

“Go to the Li-ber-ary”

“Okay, I’ll see you in a minute”

“Okay, Mom, see you later!” and he came back into the kitchen.

Yes, Rule – followed……

but there is still some work to do………………….

File under: “Rules I thought I would never have to make”

new_rules

As promised in “Looking Handsome in the Princess Room”, here is the story about the next time DC met Snow White.

Right around this time last year we decided to go on a Disney Cruise. DC as you can imagine, was very excited. He loved the cruise, the shows, the mountain of bacon he tried to sneak every morning and of course, the characters on board, specifically the Princesses.

This particular evening we had just met one princess and were about to get in line for “Alice” when the boy that was managing the line told us that Alice was almost finished and ready to leave (we seem to have that same problem with “Alice” every time we see her, but it always works out – another story for another time). We went and stood where DC could at least see her and explained that she was leaving soon so he would not be able to meet her. The “Line Manager” who must have been watching DC when he met the previous princess and also saw how excited he was just looking at Alice, came over to us and told us that Snow White was due out soon and he had arranged it so we would be second in line to see her. First in line would be the family of the woman who was playing Snow White (shhhh! I didn’t say that!).

After everyone cleared away, he put us and “the family” in line. DC was over the moon and she hadn’t even come out yet!

I think we have been to Disney every year – or close to every year since DC was 7 but he is always just as excited to see the princesses as he was the very first time. The “Line Manager”, between dancing up and down the line, stopped to talk to DC a few times. He was getting a kick about how excited DC was.

Finally she came out. We waited through the family visit and pictures and then it was DC’s turn. I took my regular position with the camera and Doug stood off to the side a little bit.

DC was having some sort of conversation with Snow White while I was taking pictures.

Meeting Snow White

Meeting Snow White

Next he gave her a huge hug, she seemed okay with that.

The Hug

The Hug

Then……

He got so excited, he picked her up and swung her around in a circle like a rag doll!

Did I get a photo? no… a video? no. We (the “Line Manager” included) were all too busy charging the little stage area because he was not letting her go!

I have to hand it to Snow White; she stayed in character the entire time!

“Oh MY! How strong you are!”

Obviously, he was not trying to hurt her, it was just a very exaggerated hug!

Snow White was fine – everyone was fine. We got our picture and left the area, but I  felt it was necessary to make a new rule;

“YOU CAN NOT PICK UP THE PRINCESSES!”

I didn’t realize that the same people play the same princess parts for the duration of the cruise until a few nights later when we went to the Princess Room to see 4 princesses. I realized that it was the same Snow White. Oh boy, I was sure she was going to call security for DC’s visit.

When we got to the front of the line, the “Line Manager” from the other day was also there.

“Hey, I remember you!”

I said that I was sure that he did.

He turned to Snow White and said “Snow, do you remember DC?”

Snow White said “Oh My yes! You are very strong!”

I told both of them not to worry, we have a new rule and DC will not pick her up and spin her around.

DC walked up to Snow White and said,

“I have to “Apolo  – gize” .

That was a complete surprise to me and  Snow White seemed to think it was cute. She told him everything was fine.

He proceeded to “Apolo – gize” to every other princess in the line. They all accepted his apology even though the rest of them had no idea what he was “Apolo – gizing” for.

I’m sure they were all informed later……..

The rule has been altered a bit since then. Now, anytime I know that we are going to meet anyone that he will be excited about,  I ask:

“What’s the rule?”

DC answers “Don’t pick up the people”

I think that should cover it.

There is another great story about this vacation and I will get to it one of these days.