#TBT……. and they cancelled Halloween (part two)

I re-posted part one last week as a #Tbt when we were in jeopardy of a pretty big storm hitting. It is only fitting to post part two this week.

Here you have it – October re-runs

….and they cancelled Halloween – Part Two

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween and still no power. I regularly take Halloween off from work, so luckily we did not have anywhere to be. DC had his ‘un-toasted’ toast for breakfast. I realized in my fervor to find coffee the day before, I never had anything to eat (“The Storm Diet” was a ‘terrific’ diet while it lasted) – so I joined DC for some ‘untoasted toast’, went to work again on the ‘*RS Room’ and began mapping out a new coffee hunt.

Before we left on our coffee hunt, DC’s Dad showed up. He delivered a contraption that he made from a car battery. This was, in my opinion THE best thing ever! A place to charge phones, plugs for lights or whatever else I needed to plug in, although the coffee pot did not occur to me at the time, lights for DC, did.

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The downside…… he wanted to take DC with him to his house. Now of course I want DC to be somewhere warm, with power, water and without a RS Room, but on the other hand, I don’t ever want DC and I to be separated during any sort of emergency type of situation; I just want him with me, plain and simple.

Now feeling very cut off from the world, I began my ‘coffee quest’ alone. The Dunkin Donuts I found the day before was no longer open. I stopped at a nearby hotel – knowing full well that there were no hotel rooms available in the state, but I was there, so I may as well check it out. I felt silly even asking and of course there was nothing available.

Tonya, Coach and I tried to keep tabs on each other during this whole fiasco, but with my phone not really working, it was difficult. Fortunately, Tonya called while I was still out driving. She called to say that another friend, Pat, had just had her power restored. She had invited us all to come for dinner and trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. Our kids trick-or-treating together has become somewhat of a tradition. No matter how many Halloween parties DC attends and no matter how many different costumes he gets to wear before Halloween, he still wants to wear a costume ON Halloween. I, for one was tired of the stares and comments when out trick-or-treating with an 18, 19, 20-year-old alone. Going out in a group just seems to work out better.  I immediately called DC’s Dad and told him he could keep him there for the day, but he needed to be home at 5. He was not going to miss Halloween if I could help it and if Pat had her power back, it wouldn’t be long for us to have our power restored.

I kept myself occupied the rest of the afternoon alternating between working on the RS Room and searching for coffee. Finally DC came home. I got him into his costume while it was still light out. I have to say, we planned this costume well…… “Elf” complete with a snowy background.

DC was happy to see his friends, happy to be celebrating Halloween and happy to be somewhere with power. Pat and her neighbors were happy not to be stuck with all of the Halloween candy they had purchased ahead of time.

 

 

bam bam

 

Elf, “Gabriella Montez” (from High School Musical), Sly Stallone and Pebbles were ready to hit the road for trick-or-treat. Surprisingly, almost every house was ready for this last-minute Halloween. Trick- or- Treating with snow on the ground was an  experience they will not soon forget, I am sure. I will never forget it, for sure.

After covering the neighborhood, carrying full bags of candy, it was time to head home. I was still living under the delusion that this would be over by the time we arrived home that night – it was not. We piled on our “storm wardrobe”,  comforters, blankets, etc. and went to sleep. I had to be back at work on Tuesday and when Tuesday morning arrived I still wasn’t sure that there was power at the office, but off we went. Driving to work, I realized that I was preoccupied with hanging branches. This preoccupation lasted for many months after this storm. Even now, when it is windy or stormy, I find myself watching the trees as I am driving.

There was power at the office and DC was able to sit and watch some movies on his laptop. I was just considering bringing him back there that night to sleep in my office, when my mother called. Her power was back so we made plans to go there.

The next two days went pretty much the same as Tuesday. Work, home, check for power, work on RS Room, pack some things and go to Grandma’s before it got dark.

In the morning –  stop home, check for power, work on RS Room, go to work with DC. I really have to say that for a child so very afraid of storms, lightning, clouds, thunder and the power going out – he was a real trooper. I was proud of him. It was almost as if he was able to put his fears and the behavior that goes along with those fears on hold for the duration of this storm and aftermath.

On Thursday night at about 8pm, I called my landline – another thing I did regularly when we were out of the house, and the machine picked up! We had power!

My mother wanted us to wait until morning to leave but I could not think of anything else but getting the RS Room working and clean. DC was beside himself yelling, “My powers is back!” (DC-speak; his powers)

Home – RS Room fixed and clean – everything went quickly back to normal.

All but one party was rescheduled – our “cancelled Halloween” had become a weeklong event running into the second week of November.

Best Buddies held their party on the following weekend – Pebbles and Bam Bam attended – with “Gabriella Montez”, and Best Buddy, Steve of course.

 

Many of the surrounding towns officially cancelled Halloween and rescheduled it for the following week – our town did not. We did receive a flyer in our mailbox from a neighbor with young children asking that the neighborhood join in for an hour-long  trick-or-treat on Saturday night. DC and I participated and then headed out to the next town over – where Halloween was officially rescheduled – to visit a friend and celebrate “Fake Halloween”.

We just happened to have one more unused costume set on-hand that we could not let go to waste.

“Yes, Captain Hammer’s here, hair blowing in the breeze. The day needs my saving expertise”*

Because “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” * (and a Mom too)

 

I do understand that others had it much worse. My friend Steve had no power for 11 days. 11 Days!!!!! I would have had to just move away at that point. I hoped that because DC had gotten to the point during this whole ordeal where he seemed to be able to put his fears aside, that this new attitude would carry on through to the next storm – it did not.

School had been cancelled throughout this whole power outage. Between hurricane Irene in August and the Halloween nor’easter, all snow days had been used up for the school year and it was only early November.

On the UP side……….. I did loose 5 pounds on the Halloween nor’easter diet and I did get one of those store-bought contraptions from DC’s dad for Christmas that year.

It does have to be charged every few months and each time it comes out, DC gets nervous.

…….

 *RS Room – Raw Sewage Room

(*Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog – 2008)

 

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#TBT ….and they cancelled Halloween (Part One)

It is October 1st and there are storms approaching – Appropriate Post for ‪#‎ThrowbackThursday‬ .

….and they cancelled Halloween (Part One)

(In a recent post, Second Star to the right……. and hang a left, written about our ‘escape’ from hurricane Irene, I mentioned that we were not as lucky a few months later)

It was Friday, October 28, 2011 we were gearing up for a marathon Halloween weekend. Now,  I can be a lot of pressure on Halloween, I know this, but my friends seem to put up with it and fortunately DC loves Halloween as much as I do, so the “pressure” is not too much for him; he enjoys it.

On Friday night we met my friend Coach and her daughter, Candy at the haunted mansion. The ‘kids’ looked quite terrified, but they made it through. DC, although he looked like he was about to fall apart, wanted to go again, while Candy decided to sit out the second go-round.

Coach, Candy, DC and I met Doug at a local diner for dinner afterwards. Doug was leaving that night for another leg of his quest to golf in all 50 states. He would be away for more than a week.

After dinner we all went home to get prepared for the 3 party marathon we had scheduled for the following day, one more on Sunday and then of course, Monday was Halloween. Usually the parties are spaced out a little more, but this year they were all crammed into the same weekend. It took a lot of planning costume-wise. The parties were back to back, and DC has grown accustomed to having a different costume for each party and another for Halloween itself (I love this child!!!) so I had to plan the best way for him to make quick changes between each party.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. I took this photo at noon outside the house right before we left to meet Tonya and DC’s friend, Salli at their house to begin our marathon.

As soon as we arrived, Tonya told me that her husband, Rick mentioned that the weather people  were predicting snow; heavy snow. He warned that it could get really bad out on the roads and there still being  leaves on the trees, may make matters worse.

What????

It’s October!

How much snow could we possibly get in October?

(We totally missed the “leaves are still on the trees”, point – What could that possibly have to do with anything?)

We decided that he didn’t know what he was talking about and even if he did – the sun was still partially shining – this probably would not even begin until much later in the day. We were used to the weather people making a mountain out of a mole hill, so we decided to go full speed ahead with our party plans.

It took only 30 minutes to arrive at Camp for the party. The change in the weather in those 30 minutes was drastic!

The snow was really coming down!

Puck in the SnowSalli in the snow

Still in denial about all of this….How long could this possibly last – It is October! We went inside and joined the rest of the party-goers that were probably in much denial as we were. It seemed as though everyone that RSVP’d  attended and no one left early. It IS October, after all.

We met up with Coach, Candy, Katie and her daughter, Kate (who was dressed as Ariel; this made DC’s day). No one seemed overly concerned about the snow, the party went on as if nothing was going on and we really intended on moving on to the next two parties…..
until we had to get back on the road, that is….

roads

Okay, so maybe we should skip the other parties – they had already been cancelled at this point, we just did not know that.

Katie and Kate witnessed a terrible accident on their way home, but made it home safely. Coach and Candy got home safely as well. We arrived at Tonya’s house to find her son in the driveway, looking at the very large tree branch that had fallen on his car.  Okay – got it –  “leaves still on the trees” – it finally clicked. Their power was out. Tonya went into panic mode (panic mode is usually my role – Tonya is normally relatively calm about everything) – yelling at everyone to get out of the driveway and out from under the other low-hanging branches. Her son, on the other hand, looked relatively calm about the branch laying on his car. DC and I got into my car which was parked under another very large, now very low-hanging branch and started home.

Okay, allright, I’ll say it…….. Rick was right.

We live only one mile from Tonya’s house but it took us 45 minutes to get home. DC was stimming wildly and scripting loudly about the power – his worst fear – all the way.

We made it home and YES we had power, a little unbelievable as our neighborhood seems to lose power quite often, but we did have power and we were thrilled.

Home safely, WITH power, DC and I went about our normal routine assuming that all of this would be over by morning. Within 45 minutes of our arrival home, the power went out. DC was screaming from the bathroom, I told him to stay there, got a flashlight and went up to get him. I hunted about for more flashlights, got DC’s pillow and blankets and brought them down to the living room. THIS IS THE MOMENT, right here that the “sleeping on the couch” situation began. 3 years later, we are still sleeping on the couch most nights.

It was early but I tried to convince DC to try to go to sleep and the power would surely be back by time we woke up – I really believed that, I really did. Of course I had to stay right there on the other side of the couch, so I tried to get some sleep as well.

We woke up on Sunday morning and still no power. Still convinced it would be back soon, DC had breakfast, under protest. Even though losing power is one of the things he obsesses about, he just can not understand that I can not make toast. He can have bread with Peanut Butter (something he ate everyday for lunch), but it was morning and mornings are for toast, not bread. There was plenty of other non-refrigerated items that he could have, but no, he HAD to have toast. He finally gave in and had some “un-toasted” toast and we set out to find coffee.

My landline was down, my cell was only working sporadically. Most of the time, I had to drive to the center of town to get any reception at all. We kept taking short trips throughout the day in search of coffee. I didn’t want to drive too far as with no information to be had, I never knew what we’d be driving into, but on the other hand I needed coffee and DC needed something to do. He loves to and will read his books for hours, normally, but not during a power outage – he is just much too distracted and upset to do any of the things he normally would do.  I have driven him around for hours in the past when we had an outage, but this was different, there was really nowhere to go, trees and branches were still falling and I didn’t want to waste gas. I didn’t know where we would find an open gas station.

It was a very odd and unsettling feeling not really knowing what was going on out there. I felt cut off from the world. Between feeling cut off  and my “dropping dead and how long will DC be alone before anyone knows?” obsession – I was not having a good time.

The day was spent, dealing with what I affectionately named the “raw sewage room” -RS Room for short –  (Did I forget to mention that DC clogged the toilet the very second that the power went out? Did I forget that?) – and taking quick, not too long trips to find coffee. I did finally find a Dunkin Donuts (because apparently I always do) open at about 4pm. They did not have power and were just about out of everything but coffee was still available.  I’m not quite sure why or how they still had relatively hot coffee available with no power and I did not ask; I ordered the bucket size.

At this point, DC was no longer fixated on the power coming back, he was just defeated, very quiet, no emotion, just going through the motions. We got ready for the night to come, I made another attempt at fixing the “RS room’, we read for a while and went to bed. Worried about the cold, I had DC wearing thermal underwear, thermal socks, slippers and his very heavy robe. I began piling blankets and comforters on us and at the point when he had just about enough, he yelled, “Mom! I don’t want to be warm!” – of course he wanted to be warm, but it was his way of telling me that I was putting way too much stuff on him.

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween –  and still no power. Halloween was looking grim!

To be continued in “and they cancelled Halloween- Part 2”

 

The search is ON!

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Every once in a while Invisible Strings publishes a post listing the “search terms” that brought readers to his site. I do not know if this is a regular thing that he does, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more than one. His “search engine” posts are usually written to make a specific point (this post is not). I always find those posts interesting of course due to the point he is making but also because I love the fact that we are able to find these “search terms”.

I have often wondered how people found their way to my site. Of course there are the people who officially follow me and others I know read from twitter (and twitter) google+, tumblr, facebook and the many other places this blog is posted and shared. But how does one just happen upon it? After a little bit of searching through my ‘stats’ page, I finally found the list of search terms. Some were pretty close to what I expected, some were interesting and others a bit surprising.

This is one of those posts that I put together and save to post later when we are away or when I am really busy and really don’t have the time to write. Like the “Blog Title Series” (Series? Yes…. there’s more), they are very often off topic or “fluff”.

I like fluff, sometimes fluff is fun.

Search terms between January and June 2015:

There are hundreds of “hits’ that are categorized under “unknown search terms” (so…. I guess THAT would “officially be my top  category 🙂 ). I wish I could see what those terms were, but as they are unavailable to me, I’ll just go with what I CAN see.

I will begin with the list of individual, one-time searches that each brought one ‘hit’ to my page. In almost each case it is clear to me how my page came up in the results. But really, how many results would one have to scroll through to find my page by searching the word – “movie”? That is real determination……

“Autism Ravioli” was a puzzler for a minute but I am guessing the clicks went to “Progress with a side of Pasta” or “Please pass the garlic bread“.

(all searches listed have been copied and pasted exactly as they were entered into the search engine)

charity miles april fools contest
toy story transitions
those of us they never called,when choosing sides for basketball
movie
james taylor and autism
autism ravioli
one step at a time speech
taking it a step at a time – autism
peter pan live coloring sheets
book store blues
was buddy holly autistic
good costumes for the song we go together
thetardisphotobooth
autistic child pressing phone buttons in 22 months
top blogs autism blog ranking

***

Next we have two or more searches for the same or close to the same topic. I believe at this point if anyone were to search band-aids and autism it would be difficult NOT to find my page.

kaleb-moon robinson
kaleb moon-robinson

mad men a thing like that
mad men “a thing like that”

hershey park autism 2015
dollywood autism                                {amusement parks
dollywood autism adult

bandaid on kid
has a child with autism ever become obsessed with bandaids
child obsession with bandaids
were band aids based on stickers

***

Next we move on to weather. This is absolutely understandable. I am sure I write about DC’s storm issues as much if not more than his band-aid obsession……

2011 halloween nor’easter storm alfred
power outages autism upset
thunder and autism power outage change
upset by power outage autism
afraid of power outages autism
power outages autism

***

The biggest surprise for me here is that THE most popular search terms(s) that brought people to my blog had nothing to do with autism at all. The largest set of terms that brought people to me – were terms having something to do with Leonard Nimoy or Star Trek!

 

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logic is the first step to wisdom
logic is the beginning of wisdom
how wisdom related to light in logic
mr spock logic is the beginning of wisdom not the end
leonard nimoy autisim
logic is the beginning of wisdom not the end
spock quotes logic is the beginning of wisdom not the end
of my friend i can only say this: of all the souls that i met on my travels, his was the most… human.”
what is it like to meet william shatner photo op
wisdom is not end
logic is just the beginning of wisdom, not the end”.

***

I can not say that this does not make me very happy!!!!

~”That is a human emotion, Doctor, with which I am totally unfamiliar. How could I be “unhappy?”~ Mr. Spock – ep. I, Mudd

#LLAP

************

 

 

(Yes, I do understand that the results are a bit skewed due to the “unknown search terms” – so don’t rain on my parade)

 

Snow-cation

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Our preparation for the Blizzard of 2015 consisted of packing our bags and booking a hotel room. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wasn’t really concerned about this storm until I received a robo-call from our utility company warning of power outages. You might remember that back in October 2011 we lost power for 6 days.

The following year we had a few pretty big storms. One in particular dropped a couple of feet of snow on us. We did not lose power but we were trapped for 4 days.

We live on a cul-de-sac. Usually the town comes to plow the road, but only to the edge of the cul-de-sac. Later a smaller pickup truck comes to finish the job but it is usually somewhat of a wait.  When day 1 came and went, I didn’t think all that much of it. On day 2 the town announced that all of the roads would be cleared by the following day. Day 3 – nothing – I started calling Public Works to a “full voicemail” message and finally no answer at all. We were left trapped in waist-high snow with no one to contact as the rest of the town offices were closed. Finally on Monday (day 4) I called the police, only to find out that they had our street marked “complete”.

I reasoned that if the power did go out the hotel should have a generator so at the very least we would have heat. If they did not have a generator, at least we would be able to get out of the place and not be trapped in waist-high snow for days on end.

I explained this to DC, leaving out the “power-outage” piece of the story.
As you also may already know DC usually loves nothing better than a hotel room. I thought he’d be excited.
On Monday morning we packed up what we thought we would need for the next few days and headed out to my office. DC loves to come to work with me so he was thrilled.

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He was a tiny bit anxious about the snow but nothing really over the top. Doug came to meet us at work so that I could follow him to the hotel which was just over in the next town (someday we will talk about my sense of direction or lack thereof).

We arrived at the hotel and checked in. DC was getting himself set up at the desk as he always does, when he discovered he had forgotten the cord for his laptop at my office. I won’t go into detail about the chaos that followed, just believe me, it was a tragedy. Doug went back to get it before the roads got worse and DC, while continuing to perseverate about his cord, kept himself busy with you-tube on his phone. One would have thought Cinderella entered the room when Doug came back with that cord!

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A couple of hours later he really began to get anxious, asking over and over again when he could go home. I realized that although I explained all of this to him and that this was certainly not the first time we left and stayed in a hotel due to an upcoming storm, he was still very confused. I thought about how different this ‘trip’ was from the last storm trip.

  • Our previous trip to avoid a storm (although I was sure we’d be sitting in a hotel room for 3 days) turned out to be much more of a ‘real’ vacation than just an  escape from the storm.
  • We packed, went to work and left from there – he didn’t get to go home first.
  • There was a travel ban in effect so there would be no dinner at a restaurant.
  • He was very concerned about going to his friend BB’s on Friday. It was on the calendar, you know.

I told him that I understood why he was a little bit confused. I explained that we were on a “Snow-cation”. We had come to the hotel so we didn’t get stuck in our house. I also explained that the hotel was very close to our house so he did not have to worry about going to BB’s house. We would be home before Friday (I wasn’t ready to mention a specific day for him to obsess over). I did finally have to mention the threat of losing power as another good reason to be “Snow-cationing”. He liked the word “Snow-cation” and the threat of a power-outage seemed to do it for him.  “Confused” became the word of the day. He used it anytime he needed the explanation again. It was comforting for him to have a word to use to explain his feelings and he felt better about expressing his confusion because I had told him that I understood. So, even though I had to explain our “Snow-cation” a few more times, he wasn’t as anxious about it.

He was able to use his computer, he read and edited some books, he went to the gym and went swimming in the pool. It was like a vacation (of sorts) to him. He was much better and a little less confused about everything.

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I’m not sure that he really understood how close to home we were. Even though it was only a 20 minute drive from my job. I think that the mere fact that we were in a hotel, meant distance to him.
He was concerned about his work and going to BB’s house. I did point out a few other places in this town that we visit often as a point of reference as to just how close we were to home, but I’m not quite sure he understood.

When I was relatively sure that all was clear, our street was plowed and we had electricity at home, I told him what day we would be heading home.

“My ‘Powers’ is back” – apparently all of the explanation I had given him only led him to believe that the power was out at home –
“Yes, DC, your ‘powers’ is back”

When all was said and done, we did not get as much snow as they predicted, some parts of the state did, but we ended up with a little more than a foot. Still a foot is a foot, and I would opt for the “Snow-cation” again and now that DC worked through his anxiety, I think he would too.

The ice, the grass and other things…..

warning

(Warning: Crabby Post Ahead)

December, although only a week and a half in, is not looking like it is going to earn a spot on my favorite months of 2014 list.
At work we have an annual shutdown around the holidays. Unfortunately the shut-down week is not always the same every year, we have to wait for the announcement.
Doug, DC and I normally plan our vacations 9 months to a year ahead of time. This year we opted to go a few weeks earlier than we have in the past. Because our plans would fall around shut-down time, we chose the logical week for a holiday shut down; the week of school vacation.

– insert buzzer sound here –

Well we chose incorrectly.

This year our shutdown week is scheduled the week before school vacation. This means that I will now be out of the office for two weeks. So needless to say I am getting a bit panicky trying to get my day-to-day work done, while thinking ahead and trying to get all of the other things done that are due the week I will be away. Of course, being the end of the year there are additional, time-consuming items that need attention, and now a few extra meetings thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a day out of the office next week for a doctor’s appointment that they strategically scheduled right in the middle of the day so going in beforehand and/or going back afterwards is almost not worth it.

Not to say that panicked is not my normal state of being – My friend Bill (not a work friend; an autism Dad) would get a kick out of the fact that I could always admit to my – “panic first and think about it later” mindset. He, having worked with me on a few projects and in a few groups, knows this to be very true. He always thought it funny that I knew this about myself but still could not seem to control it. But this month just seems to be worse. There are a number of other things that I won’t get into, but the end result is that I am really not looking forward to our vacation right now, at all.

So yesterday, we had an ice storm. Why not? Now that DC is no longer in the school system, bad weather is just leads to very confusing mornings. When school was cancelled or delayed, it was cancelled or delayed, there was nothing to figure out. If cancelled, I could bring him to work with me. If delayed, I knew what time the bus would arrive and I could call work to let them know what time I’d be there.
It is not as easy now.
DC’s work program rarely closes and because his transportation and work are two separate entities, we really never know what to do. Will the car arrive at the regular time, will it be delayed? If so how long? If the roads are bad, do I really want the car to arrive at the regular time? If I choose to delay, will they even be able to come as it is a livery service on a schedule with other passengers to pick up and drop off throughout the day? I try to avoid calling the dispatcher, who doesn’t let me get a full sentence out before screaming at me as if I was insisting that they come in any sort of weather, I certainly am not, I just need to know all or some of the information above. During his rant, he never fails to “mention” that he was once “THE STATE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION” – I wonder if he can have that tattooed on his forehead, or if he introduces himself as such to random people he might meet. I usually end up having to call back once or twice to get all of my ‘sentences’ out (story of my life).

Then we have DC’s “storm anxiety” – I have to watch the weather, just in case his work program is cancelled or delayed. It is also helpful to see the school cancellations listed to give me some idea about the conditions in the town where he works as well as the town where I work.

DC spent the morning stimming, yelling out random words, running to the door to look outside and yelling:

“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”

After many, many years of watching “Angel” every weekday morning on TNT (channel 25), this is the channel we must watch each morning. Even though Angel was removed from their line-up a few years back (BOO! I say) and replaced with “Smallville” (aka “Somebody Save Me” in DC-speak) which does not seem to hold his attention the way Angel did, the TV still must be on Two-Five in the morning.

I tried to salt the sidewalk so he could make it to the car when it arrived, but I have issues with both of my arms, which happen to be acting up more than usual lately so I only made it part of the way down the sidewalk.  I decided he could walk that far and cut across the lawn to the car when it pulls into the driveway. This did not go over well with DC at all!

“No grass!”

The driver began pulling into our driveway about a year ago. Originally she would pull up right in front of the house. But DC would not walk across the 2 foot strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road. He would walk right up to where the car was parked, turn left to follow the sidewalk out to the driveway and then a right onto the road to walk back to the car. He did the same thing when it was the school bus sitting in front of the house.

So not only was I ruining his life by watching the weather, now he had to walk across the grass!

“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
“No ‘wea-ver’! Two Five”
No grass! No grass!

The driver called to say she wouldn’t be leaving the station for at least another half hour. She had already spoken with Tonya. DC and Salli (Tonya’s daughter) ride in together and Tonya, knowing I needed to get to work said I could drop DC off at their house to wait. As much as I didn’t want to be two hours late for work due to everything that was waiting for me there, and as much as DC would have loved to go there under normal circumstances,  I just couldn’t throw another wrench into his morning routine by bringing him to Tonya’s. The driver laughed,  as she’s seen him in “storm mode” before.

The wait was good for him, it gave him a chance to read, edit and calm down. He needed that. He was back to his old self by the time the car arrived and I walked across the lawn with him, so everything was just fine on that front.

Did I mention that just two nights before, I had finally convinced DC, after 2 years,  to sleep in his bed instead of on the couch? I could have predicted a storm as soon as he agreed. We’ll see what happens there. Storm=Couch. Just because the storm is over does not mean he won’t be “feeling very nervous about this”.

And just a side note- hasn’t it been said that stress could lead to weight loss? I mean, there should be some sort of silver-lining for me during this miserable month, right?

It looks like I’ll probably miss that boat as well.

Did somebody say “Christmas shopping, card mailing?” – No?

I didn’t think so…….

 

….and they cancelled Halloween – Part Two

~As you may have read in Part One – during the “Halloween Nor’easter of 2011, we lost power on Saturday night, October 29th~ Now it was Monday.

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween and still no power. I regularly take Halloween off from work, so luckily we did not have anywhere to be. DC had his ‘un-toasted’ toast for breakfast. I realized in my fervor to find coffee the day before, I never had anything to eat (“The Storm Diet” was a ‘terrific’ diet while it lasted) – so I joined DC for some ‘untoasted toast’, went to work again on the ‘*RS Room’ and began mapping out a new coffee hunt.

Before we left on our coffee hunt, DC’s Dad showed up. He delivered a contraption that he made from a car battery. This was, in my opinion THE best thing ever! A place to charge phones, plugs for lights or whatever else I needed to plug in, although the coffee pot did not occur to me at the time, lights for DC, did.

293835_3926409243267_1941068327_n

The downside…… he wanted to take DC with him to his house. Now of course I want DC to be somewhere warm, with power, water and without a RS Room, but on the other hand, I don’t ever want DC and I to be separated during any sort of emergency type of situation; I just want him with me, plain and simple.

Now feeling very cut off from the world, I began my ‘coffee quest’ alone. The Dunkin Donuts I found the day before was no longer open. I stopped at a nearby hotel – knowing full well that there were no hotel rooms available in the state, but I was there, so I may as well check it out. I felt silly even asking and of course there was nothing available.

Tonya, Coach and I tried to keep tabs on each other during this whole fiasco, but with my phone not really working, it was difficult. Fortunately, Tonya called while I was still out driving. She called to say that another friend, Pat, had just had her power restored. She had invited us all to come for dinner and trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. Our kids trick-or-treating together has become somewhat of a tradition. No matter how many Halloween parties DC attends and no matter how many different costumes he gets to wear before Halloween, he still wants to wear a costume ON Halloween. I, for one was tired of the stares and comments when out trick-or-treating with an 18, 19, 20-year-old alone. Going out in a group just seems to work out better.  I immediately called DC’s Dad and told him he could keep him there for the day, but he needed to be home at 5. He was not going to miss Halloween if I could help it and if Pat had her power back, it wouldn’t be long for us to have our power restored.

I kept myself occupied the rest of the afternoon alternating between working on the RS Room and searching for coffee. Finally DC came home. I got him into his costume while it was still light out. I have to say, we planned this costume well…… “Elf” complete with a snowy background.

DC was happy to see his friends, happy to be celebrating Halloween and happy to be somewhere with power. Pat and her neighbors were happy not to be stuck with all of the Halloween candy they had purchased ahead of time.

 

 

bam bam

 

Elf, “Gabriella Montez” (from High School Musical), Sly Stallone and Pebbles were ready to hit the road for trick-or-treat. Surprisingly, almost every house was ready for this last-minute Halloween. Trick- or- Treating with snow on the ground was an  experience they will not soon forget, I am sure. I will never forget it, for sure.

After covering the neighborhood, carrying full bags of candy, it was time to head home. I was still living under the delusion that this would be over by the time we arrived home that night – it was not. We piled on our “storm wardrobe”,  comforters, blankets, etc. and went to sleep. I had to be back at work on Tuesday and when Tuesday morning arrived I still wasn’t sure that there was power at the office, but off we went. Driving to work, I realized that I was preoccupied with hanging branches. This preoccupation lasted for many months after this storm. Even now, when it is windy or stormy, I find myself watching the trees as I am driving.

There was power at the office and DC was able to sit and watch some movies on his laptop. I was just considering bringing him back there that night to sleep in my office, when my mother called. Her power was back so we made plans to go there.

The next two days went pretty much the same as Tuesday. Work, home, check for power, work on RS Room, pack some things and go to Grandma’s before it got dark.

In the morning –  stop home, check for power, work on RS Room, go to work with DC. I really have to say that for a child so very afraid of storms, lightning, clouds, thunder and the power going out – he was a real trooper. I was proud of him. It was almost as if he was able to put his fears and the behavior that goes along with those fears on hold for the duration of this storm and aftermath.

On Thursday night at about 8pm, I called my landline – another thing I did regularly when we were out of the house, and the machine picked up! We had power!

My mother wanted us to wait until morning to leave but I could not think of anything else but getting the RS Room working and clean. DC was beside himself yelling, “My powers is back!” (DC-speak; his powers)

Home – RS Room fixed and clean – everything went quickly back to normal.

All but one party was rescheduled – our “cancelled Halloween” had become a weeklong event running into the second week of November.

Best Buddies held their party on the following weekend – Pebbles and Bam Bam attended – with “Gabriella Montez”, and Best Buddy, Steve of course.

 

Many of the surrounding towns officially cancelled Halloween and rescheduled it for the following week – our town did not. We did receive a flyer in our mailbox from a neighbor with young children asking that the neighborhood join in for an hour-long  trick-or-treat on Saturday night. DC and I participated and then headed out to the next town over – where Halloween was officially rescheduled – to visit a friend and celebrate “Fake Halloween”.

We just happened to have one more unused costume set on-hand that we could not let go to waste.

“Yes, Captain Hammer’s here, hair blowing in the breeze. The day needs my saving expertise”*

Because “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” * (and a Mom too)

 

I do understand that others had it much worse. My friend Steve had no power for 11 days. 11 Days!!!!! I would have had to just move away at that point. I hoped that because DC had gotten to the point during this whole ordeal where he seemed to be able to put his fears aside, that this new attitude would carry on through to the next storm – it did not.

School had been cancelled throughout this whole power outage. Between hurricane Irene in August and the Halloween nor’easter, all snow days had been used up for the school year and it was only early November.

On the UP side……….. I did loose 5 pounds on the Halloween nor’easter diet and I did get one of those store-bought contraptions from DC’s dad for Christmas that year.

It does have to be charged every few months and each time it comes out, DC gets nervous.

 *RS Room – Raw Sewage Room

(*Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog – 2008)

….and they cancelled Halloween (Part One)

(In a recent post, Second Star to the right……. and hang a left, written about our ‘escape’ from hurricane Irene, I mentioned that we were not as lucky a few months later)

It was Friday, October 28, 2011 we were gearing up for a marathon Halloween weekend. Now,  I can be a lot of pressure on Halloween, I know this, but my friends seem to put up with it and fortunately DC loves Halloween as much as I do, so the “pressure” is not too much for him; he enjoys it.

On Friday night we met my friend Coach and her daughter, Candy at the haunted mansion. The ‘kids’ looked quite terrified, but they made it through. DC, although he looked like he was about to fall apart, wanted to go again, while Candy decided to sit out the second go-round.

Mansion

Coach, Candy, DC and I met Doug at a local diner for dinner afterwards. Doug was leaving that night for another leg of his quest to golf in all 50 states. He would be away for more than a week.

After dinner we all went home to get prepared for the 3 party marathon we had scheduled for the following day, one more on Sunday and then of course, Monday was Halloween. Usually the parties are spaced out a little more, but this year they were all crammed into the same weekend. It took a lot of planning costume-wise. The parties were back to back, and DC has grown accustomed to having a different costume for each party and another for Halloween itself (I love this child!!!) so I had to plan the best way for him to make quick changes between each party.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. I took this photo at noon outside the house right before we left to meet Tonya and DC’s friend, Salli at their house to begin our marathon.

Puck before the storm

As soon as we arrived, Tonya told me that her husband, Rick mentioned that the weather people  were predicting snow; heavy snow. He warned that it could get really bad out on the roads and there still being  leaves on the trees, may make matters worse.

What????

It’s October!

How much snow could we possibly get in October?

(We totally missed the “leaves are still on the trees”, point – What could that possibly have to do with anything?)

We decided that he didn’t know what he was talking about and even if he did – the sun was still partially shining – this probably would not even begin until much later in the day. We were used to the weather people making a mountain out of a mole hill, so we decided to go full speed ahead with our party plans.

It took only 30 minutes to arrive at Camp for the party. The change in the weather in those 30 minutes was drastic!

The snow was really coming down!

Puck in the SnowSalli in the snow

Still in denial about all of this….How long could this possibly last – It is October! We went inside and joined the rest of the party-goers that were probably in much denial as we were. It seemed as though everyone that RSVP’d  attended and no one left early. It IS October, after all.

We met up with Coach, Candy, Katie and her daughter, Kate (who was dressed as Ariel; this made DC’s day). No one seemed overly concerned about the snow, the party went on as if nothing was going on and we really intended on moving on to the next two parties…..
until we had to get back on the road, that is….

roads

Okay, so maybe we should skip the other parties – they had already been cancelled at this point, we just did not know that.

Katie and Kate witnessed a terrible accident on their way home, but made it home safely. Coach and Candy got home safely as well. We arrived at Tonya’s house to find her son in the driveway, looking at the very large tree branch that had fallen on his car.  Okay – got it –  “leaves still on the trees” – it finally clicked. Their power was out. Tonya went into panic mode (panic mode is usually my role – Tonya is normally relatively calm about everything) – yelling at everyone to get out of the driveway and out from under the other low-hanging branches. Her son, on the other hand, looked relatively calm about the branch laying on his car. DC and I got into my car which was parked under another very large, now very low-hanging branch and started home.

Okay, allright, I’ll say it…….. Rick was right.

We live only one mile from Tonya’s house but it took us 45 minutes to get home. DC was stimming wildly and scripting loudly about the power – his worst fear – all the way.

We made it home and YES we had power, a little unbelievable as our neighborhood seems to lose power quite often, but we did have power and we were thrilled.

Home safely, WITH power, DC and I went about our normal routine assuming that all of this would be over by morning. Within 45 minutes of our arrival home, the power went out. DC was screaming from the bathroom, I told him to stay there, got a flashlight and went up to get him. I hunted about for more flashlights, got DC’s pillow and blankets and brought them down to the living room. THIS IS THE MOMENT, right here that the “sleeping on the couch” situation began. 3 years later, we are still sleeping on the couch most nights.

It was early but I tried to convince DC to try to go to sleep and the power would surely be back by time we woke up – I really believed that, I really did. Of course I had to stay right there on the other side of the couch, so I tried to get some sleep as well.

We woke up on Sunday morning and still no power. Still convinced it would be back soon, DC had breakfast, under protest. Even though losing power is one of the things he obsesses about, he just can not understand that I can not make toast. He can have bread with Peanut Butter (something he ate everyday for lunch), but it was morning and mornings are for toast, not bread. There was plenty of other non-refrigerated items that he could have, but no, he HAD to have toast. He finally gave in and had some “un-toasted” toast and we set out to find coffee.

My landline was down, my cell was only working sporadically. Most of the time, I had to drive to the center of town to get any reception at all. We kept taking short trips throughout the day in search of coffee. I didn’t want to drive too far as with no information to be had, I never knew what we’d be driving into, but on the other hand I needed coffee and DC needed something to do. He loves to and will read his books for hours, normally, but not during a power outage – he is just much too distracted and upset to do any of the things he normally would do.  I have driven him around for hours in the past when we had an outage, but this was different, there was really nowhere to go, trees and branches were still falling and I didn’t want to waste gas. I didn’t know where we would find an open gas station.

It was a very odd and unsettling feeling not really knowing what was going on out there. I felt cut off from the world. Between feeling cut off  and my “dropping dead and how long will DC be alone before anyone knows?” obsession – I was not having a good time.

The day was spent, dealing with what I affectionately named the “raw sewage room” -RS Room for short –  (Did I forget to mention that DC clogged the toilet the very second that the power went out? Did I forget that?) – and taking quick, not too long trips to find coffee. I did finally find a Dunkin Donuts (because apparently I always do) open at about 4pm. They did not have power and were just about out of everything but coffee was still available.  I’m not quite sure why or how they still had relatively hot coffee available with no power and I did not ask; I ordered the bucket size.

At this point, DC was no longer fixated on the power coming back, he was just defeated, very quiet, no emotion, just going through the motions. We got ready for the night to come, I made another attempt at fixing the “RS room’, we read for a while and went to bed. Worried about the cold, I had DC wearing thermal underwear, thermal socks, slippers and his very heavy robe. I began piling blankets and comforters on us and at the point when he had just about enough, he yelled, “Mom! I don’t want to be warm!” – of course he wanted to be warm, but it was his way of telling me that I was putting way too much stuff on him.

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween –  and still no power. Halloween was looking grim!

To be continued in “and they cancelled Halloween- Part 2”

(Happy Halloween to you all! Keeping our fingers crossed for No Storm today!)

No Storm Today?

No Storm today

“No Storm today?” – may always be put forth in question form, but let me assure you, it is not a question. There is no reply that DC will accept. If I know for certain that there will not be a storm coming, I will tell him that. If there is a storm in the forecast, I will tell him that as well. The latter definitely does not make my day easier, but I do not want to lie to him. Either way, whatever the response; when he has it in his head, due to a cloud or a noise, that a storm is on the way, he will ask the “question” over and over again. It’s worse when the answer is “yes”, but it doesn’t stop just because I’ve answered “no”.

There was a time, when a storm was not even a passing thought to DC. For a child that really didn’t like loud noises, thunder did not seem to bother him at all. Rain, lightning, wind – he didn’t even seem to notice.

Then, one night about 10 years ago (it could be more, it could be less – I seem to have no sense of time anymore) the power went out in the middle of the night during a storm. It went out for all of 1 minute, but that was all it took.

DC sleeps with the lights on, always. He does not like the dark. Now, I am told that at his Dad’s house he does  sleep in the dark with only a night-light. This really does not surprise me, he has his rituals and his way of doing things, but he seems to have different rituals according to where he is at the time.

He will not sleep with the lights off at home. When he was younger, he would get up in the middle of the night, come to my room, turn my lights on and go back to bed. Because of that, I now sleep with the lights on as well. It really doesn’t bother me, I’m not a fan of the dark either. Turning on every light is his first order of business as soon as he wakes up or walks in the door. Asleep or awake, he knows as soon as a light has been turned off, even when he is not in that room.

After the one minute power outage that night, he has been preoccupied and terrified of storms. It is not the storm that terrifies him, it is the threat of loosing power.

He has made a little bit of progress over the last few years and he has also changed his routine a bit. The constant “no storm today?”  has been replaced with running to the door every 5 minutes and telling me how brave he is being, over and over.

I am very brave

I am very brave

He will also immediately get his pajamas on (no matter what time it is), get his pillow, blankets, iPhone or laptop and get “into storm position” on the couch.  That is where he stays (which means I have to sleep on the other end of the couch, because of course he won’t be sleeping downstairs alone). Once he gets involved in whatever he is watching on his laptop, he tends to calm down a bit – the “calming down” part is new. So there is that little bit of progress.

As always, with progress comes new issues. I am no longer allowed to watch the weather. I am no longer allowed to watch the news, because part of the news is the weather.

“No WeaVer” (Dc-speak)

Last week, DC noticed that it is not as light out in the morning than it had been. I really didn’t notice until he began a morning ritual of running to the door, looking for clouds. I explained to him that it was because the sun hadn’t come up yet. It would be light soon. One morning, it was a little bit cloudy when the “sun” did come up. It really wasn’t very cloudy at all, just a little bit. He launched into his routine. I explained to him that I didn’t think it was going to rain, but I could check the weather to be sure.

“NO Wea-Ver!!”

It  really was not cloudy enough for it to be bothering him so much. His transportation arrived, he ran out to the driveway as he always does, while I watched from the door. He stopped at the car, turned and began running back and forth up and down the sidewalk. I went out, tried to calm him down. The driver told him he’d be safe in the car. After a few more outbursts, he finally got in to the car, but he was not happy about it.

– Did I say – “progress”? –

 Two steps forward, one back.

A week later, a week of beautiful weather, we decided on Friday night that we would take DC to New York City (his favorite place) on Saturday. The weather had been so wonderful the past few days that it did not occur to me to check the forecast before I told him. When it did finally occur to me to check, the forecast was for “showers in the am. and steady rain in the afternoon”. We told DC about the rain – it didn’t seem to faze him, but of course, he is just thinking about going to NY, not how miserable would be walking around in the rain. Finally after talking to him about it for quite awhile, he decided – with help – that we would go the following week. Even though he talked himself out of going he was very angry with me about the rain, because of course rain is always my fault. I really do not think he understands that I do not control the weather.

The problem with telling him that we would go the following week is that he needs to know when, he needs a specific date. He needs to write it on the calendar, to point at and remind me 5, 6, 7, 10 times every day. Choosing a date an entire week away would be putting ourselves in the same position – we won’t know what the weather would be like, but we chose the following Sunday. Once something is written on the calendar, there is no turning back.

The following day, just to take the “No NY trip” sting away, we took a more local day trip. It was cloudy (cloudier than the morning of his almost-meltdown last week at the car), but DC didn’t seem to mind.  We had “second breakfast”, went to a toy store, bookstore, had lunch and visited another bookstore, all in the same area so we would be close to the car if it started to rain. It didn’t. He had a great time.

With the “distraction day trip” over,  he immediately moved on to pointing at the calendar to remind me about New York City on Sunday.

“We going to New York City on Sunday. DC, and Mom and Doug” – (he must list the participants –  always)

“We going to the 10th Kingdom on Sunday – please!”

On Friday the forecast for Sunday in New York called for 80’s, windy and only a 12% chance of rain. DC spent Saturday night at his Dad’s.  I woke up on Sunday morning to rain! This does not necessarily mean is would be raining in NY, but the weather there is usually pretty close to ours. I thought he would come home in the morning all out of sorts about the rain, but his Dad said he was very excited and told him he was going to NY “at least 100 times”. The rain did not seem to faze him at all.

I have always said that if given the choice between Disney (his other obsession, we’ll talk about that one day) and New York City, he would surely have to think about it. It also seems that his fear of storms, rain, clouds, thunder and lightning is only a fear when New York City is not in the mix.


Second Star to the Right……… and hang a left.

Too Pay

DC and I were driving to the store this past weekend. He was listening to the Peter Pan CD that he had checked out of the library a few days earlier. Like many of the books he borrows each week, he already owns this CD, but still he must check it out from the library. The “library” CD’s are to be listened to in the car only – this is one of those “official DC rules” that he makes up in his head. I’m sure there are very good reasons for the rules he comes up with, but I really don’t know what these reasons are or where these rules come from, but he follows them to the letter – always.

DC has every version of Peter Pan imaginable. He has the old black and white Mary Martin version, the Cathy Rigby version, the Disney version, the non-animated version, Peter Pan that came out a few years ago (maybe more – I have no sense of time), Finding Neverland, the sequels to the Disney version and Hook. He has copies of the soundtracks to all of them as well. The only Peter Pan themed movie he would never watch was Hook. I do not know why but he refused to watch it. It happens to be my favorite version of Peter Pan so I really tried for years to get him to watch it.  I’ve had watch Peter Pan for more than 20 years,  and at times it would have been nice to watch the version I enjoy.

Obviously this was not one of “DC’s rules”.

Somewhere along the line DC discovered that Robin Williams – the voice of the Genie, was in Hook – that was all he needed to figure out and now it is also one of his favorites. Everything is related, and once he is able to relate a character to another he likes, he’s “hooked”.

(One day I will write a post about how everything is related. It probably won’t make a lot of sense to you, but it will sure be fun for me to write)

After listening to “Tender Shepard” six times, I told DC he had to move on to a different song. He did, but we soon moved back to “Tender Shepard”. This song is from the Mary Martin/Cathy Rigby version of Peter Pan. This version seems to be his all-time favorite. Zoning out while listening to this song….AGAIN, I started to think about Hurricane Irene back in 2011, because

……. it is all related.

It was Friday, August 26, 2011. I was on my way to my first appointment of the day to look at a few MORE day programs. This is the way every Friday that summer had been spent. I generally have Fridays off during the summer so it was a perfect opportunity to go and check out day/work programs for DC, as he would be finished with school and his transition program the following June (2012). On the way there, I received a phone call from Doug.

“Listen, we are supposed to be getting a big storm here over the weekend – do you want to just take off for Vegas for the weekend?”

“WHAT???”

Many of you know that DC is terrified of storms. I don’t think it is the actual storm, it is the fear of losing power, that scares him. This storm was  supposed to be a big one – a hurricane.

  • Okay….. it’s Friday morning.
  • I’m on my way to a meeting.
  • I can’t make this kind of decision that quickly- I just can’t think about this now.
  • But, I can’t wait too long because all of the flights will be booked.(This is me, not thinking about this now)
  • But, if we lose power I’m going to be sorry we didn’t go.
  • I have to concentrate on looking at programs, I can’t think about this now.
  • If we fly there, what if they close the airports later and we can’t get back on time for work and school? (Still not thinking about this now)
  • Maybe we can go somewhere closer?
  • What if we decide on somewhere closer and the storm shifts direction?

I called him back and suggested that he try to find somewhere closer and I would consider it.

After my first meeting, and failing miserably at  “I can’t think about this right now” – I called Doug back. He was checking the weather and the path of the storm and decided on Pennsylvania – it may be rainy there but it should not be as bad as they were reporting it could get here.

After my third meeting, I went home, packed quickly (I must say I did a much better job packing with no notice than when I plan for a scheduled vacation) and when DC came home Doug came over, picked us up and we were off. I didn’t have any great expectations about this weekend. I really thought the weather would be bad and we would be sitting in the hotel room most of the time, and I did explain this to DC. As long as he was going to a hotel (his favorite) and there would be power, television and food, he was all for it!

We did consider, although it was never mentioned to DC -Hershey Park – weather permitting. A scheduled trip to Hershey Park a few months earlier had been a bit of a disaster – something I will not be writing about – and a do-over would be fantastic. But as I said, I didn’t have any expectations at all.

Arriving in PA, DC was happy to be in a hotel room. He took his favorite spot at the desk and happily edited his books on Friday night.

Saturday was a little bit overcast but a very nice day. We decided to take our chances with the Hershey Park do-over.

We could not have planned for a better day or a better time! DC got to go on all of the rides he missed during the “de-aster” (DC-speak) trip.

Hershey Park

There was a total of 5 minutes of rain while we were at the park, even that didn’t really bother him as it normally would.  It cleared up quickly and we continued on exploring the rest of the park.

rain

Onward to the “Chocolate Factory” (Chocolate World). DC would happily skip the park and just go to Chocolate World. “Chocolate Factory” = Willy Wonka. There is not a single “Wonka” anything there, but it’s a Chocolate Factory and all Chocolate Factories belong to Willy Wonka, period…. DC’s rule.

We almost didn’t make it there on our first trip, and when we did, I held my breath the entire time. It was wonderful to be able to take him back there relaxed and breathing normally.

Chocolate Factory

On the way back to the hotel, I spotted a sign outside of the Hershey Theater for Peter Pan staring Cathy Rigby. We had taken DC to see Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan when he was much younger and he just loved it. I noticed that there was a performance scheduled for Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. The forecast was calling for rain on Sunday so we thought we’d check to see if there were tickets still available for Sunday afternoon. We decided to check on line when we got back to the hotel. I didn’t want to mention it to DC until we knew, so walking into the box office was not an option.

It turns out that there were tickets available!

On Sunday morning on the way to breakfast, making his trip the “best trip ever” – he found a bookstore.

B&N PA

The play was early enough so that we could still leave at a reasonable time to get home and sleep before work for me and the first day of school for DC on Monday.

Peter Pan

DC loved the show, loved it! They announced during the curtain call that Cathy Rigby would be available for photos and autographs in the lobby immediately after the show was over! Could this get any better for him?!

If I had planned this trip for months, it could not have worked out better than this last minute, impromptu, Hurricane trip worked out!

DC met Cathy Rigby, had his picture taken with her, got her autograph and sat on her lap – I did try to stop him from sitting on her lap because DC is a BIG boy, but I was too late and she didn’t seem to mind. Her signed poster still hangs in his room.

How much better could all of this have worked out? I am still amazed about how smoothly this weekend went.

After the play we headed home, from our “Escape from Irene” weekend.

We arrived to find that the first day of school had already been canceled due to the power outages. It turned out that our side of town never lost power at all.

Two months later, we wouldn’t be so lucky, but for now we had just returned  home from – in DC’s words – “The Best Trip Ever”.