#TravelingWithDC – Star Trek Cruise

Mint in Box

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

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

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

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

 

Onward…..

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

DC’s Phone List

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

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

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

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

Bag Tag

 

 

 

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

Boarding was quick and easy.

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

DC and Jeffrey Combs

 

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

 

DC and Nana Visitor

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

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

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

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

DC and Wilson Cruz

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

DC and Anson Mount

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

Anson Mount – The Well

 

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

The Well with Kenneth Mitchell

 

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

 

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

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

 

Panels:

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

Voyager Panel

 

Discovery Panel

Discovery Panel

A pajama party with Chase Masterson.

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

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


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

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

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

We watched Star Trek Squares:

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

Max Tonight:

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

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

Garrett Wang Stand Up Show.

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

 

 

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

DC: The Fart! hahahahahahaha

(The noises The Rock Monster made)

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

 

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

Brent Spiner:

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

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

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

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

‚ÄúBrent Spiner.¬†Not Stromboli in ‚ÄúThe Wonderful World of Disney‚Äôs Geppetto‚Ä̬†(we must always recite the entire title of any movie, book or television series)

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

DC has been watching his Geppetto DVD ‚Ķ um, excuse me: ‚ÄúThe Wonderful World of Disney‚Äôs Geppetto‚ÄĚ for many years. I had never seen it, but I looked it up and he was correct!

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

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

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

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

But once again, I was impressed.

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

(Photo edited to disguise DC’s real name)

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

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

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

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

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

Kate Mulgrew was a “Gold Level Ticket”.

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

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

I ran though the crowd to get this pic!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The jury is still out on that one.

Moving On:

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

 

 

He would have fit right in…..

 

 

 

 

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

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

More Dancing:

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

****

*** The Captain who shall not be named

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

How William Shatner Betrayed Autistic People’s Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jekyll Island, First Flight and Barney Colorforms

I always loved this photo of DC. I love the floppy hat, the bench on the beach and other than my eyebrows, I love everything about this picture.

DC was a year old and his father and I, in all of our infinite wisdom decided to fly to Savannah GA and Jekyll Island. DC had never flown before. We figured that since it would be a relatively short flight (3? hours), he would be just fine.

It really was not all that bad on the way down until we had to change flights in Atlanta. When he realized that he was not done and was getting on another plane, he just screamed and screamed and screamed

and screamed.

All the way there. I was armed with everything I thought I would need to help keep him occupied (remember, we had no iPhones, iPads or any sort of technology back then); his favorite cheese nips, juice, books and I’m sure some other items but he was not having any of it. He just screamed and screamed and screamed

and screamed.

It was amazing how long and hard that little skinny child could scream.

It is amazing to me how much he loves to fly now. After this trip, I thought we would never get him on a plane again.

Flight behind us (until we had to get back home) – this trip is where DC developed his absolute and complete love of hotel rooms. These days, he packs all of his technology, DVD’s and books and takes “his spot” at the desk. There was none of that back then.

He did find the full length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door and not being one to ever pass up looking at himself in the mirror, plopped himself on the floor in front of it and applied and re-applied his Barney Colorforms to the mirror, over and over again, for hours. He could have done that forever.¬† I was VERY happy I decided to grab and pack those at the last minute – purely out of desperation in anticipation of his first flight! It’s funny because that he did not have much interest in Colorforms at home, but he came up with a different use for them in that room that made him happy.

I had totally forgotten about Colorforms in general until I began writing this.

Do they still make Colorforms?

In between the flights to and home (the flight home was just as, if not more horror filled than the flight there because the screaming began as soon as we stepped on to the first flight) we had a nice time. The area was beautiful. DC loved the beach, “swimming” in the pool and of course the hotel room.

It was his first official attempt at travel and although some of it did not go very well at all, the rest of it was just fine. The “just fine” outweighs the terror of that first flight.

I love this photo

I miss him at that age.

I miss that little face.

I wish I saved that little floppy hat.

1 dc jekyl island 1992

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This weeks prompt,¬† “Share a photo and the story behind it!”

Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee and Kenya at Sporadically Yours

 

 

Summer Reruns: Shore Leave

Four years ago this weekend, we made the ‘Trek’ to Baltimore to attend Shore Leave…… yes, everyone puts up with me and my Star Trek obsession.

The previous October, we made it to New York Comic-Con. I was nervous Рit 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 Comic-Con we decided ¬†Shore Leave¬†would be a breeze.

To Boldy Go....

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.

We left on Thursday afternoon as soon as DC came home from his work program. It took a full 8 hours to get there (traffic). It was late but at least we would be there to spend some time in Baltimore on Friday before Shore Leave opened on Friday night.

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 (DC) 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 to “his” desk and all of his “stuff”.

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….

 

*****

(This post was originally posted as “To Boldly Go” in August 2014)

Holiday Reruns – In Search of… the Christmas Spirit

 

From December 2016 – In an attempt to muster up some Christmas Spirit, we decided to try to find and visit a few “Christmassy” towns and/or events. What I was really looking for was one of those little towns that one sees over and over again while watching far too many Hallmark Christmas movies (they start running in October, you know).

I wanted to find one of those places where the hotel room is decorated for Christmas. Where you can walk out onto the overly decorated street to find carolers singing, a hot chocolate/cookie stand, Christmas parades and Santa out on the town green. I don’t really care all that much for hot chocolate, but that is what I want. Where can I find a place like that?

Although we did not find the “Hallmark Village”, we did visit a few interesting and yes, “Chrissmassy” places.

Our search will be continued this season… so look out Hallmark, here we come.

In the meantime, let’s revisit last year’s search.

 

#TravelingWithDC – Christmas Quick Trips

DC loves Christmas as much as he loves Halloween.

He loves getting to see Santa, but even more than Santa, he LOVES the rare occasions when he gets to see Mrs. Claus.

His Mrs. Claus cup runneth over this year…..

Me, not having the happiest year this year, needed a boost and set out looking for some Christmas Spirit. Although, I did not really find it – DC sure did.
It was enough for me just seeing him enjoying himself so much and all of the Mrs. Claus sightings certainly added to his excitement about Christmas coming.

Below are a few Facebook posts along with some photos of our journeys this Christmas season (and maybe a little bit before the season)

Our first Christmas-themed trip was accidental. We decided to visit the Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, MA. We did not know that we would find Christmas, but find it we did.

Trees, lights and snow.

There was singing in the snow……

And…. the first Mrs. Claus sighting of the year!
Thinking he was going to be disappointed that Santa was not there – she apologized and told him that Santa was busy at the factory. Little did she know that Mrs. Claus beats Santa anytime in DC’s book.

There was lots to see and still enough time to take in a show – a quick one.

Thanksgiving was spent in the Essex, CT area but Christmas was already all around..

No trip is ever complete without a book store visit.

December hit and even after a full month of sappy Hallmark Christmas movies under my belt, the spirit was eluding me. So we took a trip to Mystic, CT for the Christmas Fair.

DC’s first meeting with Santa of the season. Santa was unprepared for the big hug he received!

Then he spotted Mrs. Claus! She got an even bigger hug! The icing on the cake!

There were elves, carolers and llamas wandering about. There was music, magic

and an Alice In Wonderland Tea Shop and Store.

There was of course a visit to a book store but I forgot to take a photo.

Treats; we can not forget the treats with hot chocolate.

DC, of course was full of Christmas Spirit by now. I, on the other hand was not…. but it was still enjoyable watching him get so excited.

We planned a weekend in Sturbridge Village the weekend before Christmas, but there was a big storm. Luckily we were able to cancel and re-book for the following weekend. This would mean we would be away on Christmas Eve, Eve and Christmas Eve Day. We would have to rush home for Christmas Eve night at my mother’s house. It would be a little bit rushed, but we decided to book it.

I am glad we did. DC had the best time!

It was just beginning to get crowded when we arrived so one of the workers told us that we would have better luck if we followed the map backwards and went to see Santa first. Later the wait would be hours long. We took that advice and headed straight for Santa.

Santa spent quite a long time with DC -, so much time that I was beginning to get nervous that we were holding up the line. DC was thrilled.

Next, we visited the Talking Tree – he got a big kick out of that.

But he was a little preoccupied by a sign he noticed on the way up to see Santa so that HAD to be our next stop. He was not going to wait any longer.

His THIRD visit with Mrs. Claus this year!

One Happy Guy, right there.

The rest of the Village was “A Christmas Carole” inspired. We watched the lighting of the tree, Carolers were singing. DC met the Ghost of Christmas Present and actually asked him a question instead of his usual reciting of movie lines.

He was not willing to try a sampling of the Cratchit Family Christmas Dinner, though.

“No, No. No! I didn’t! No, I don’t like it!”






At the Bonfire¬†– “Mom, I am getting very nervous about this!”

Yes, of course. Didn’t you know? Couldn’t you guess? There were …….

BOOKS!

****

“For Sami, Love Daddy” – Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Still, one of my favorites…..

“For Sami, Love Daddy”

Chloe and Sami

In 1992, when Sami, who has Down Syndrome, was 18 months old, her father, Rich, was the Senior Producer for the Sony JumboTron in Times Square. He began producing a series of spots to raise awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome to run on the JumboTron during Down syndrome awareness month. He continued to produce these PSA’s on his own until 1994, when he contacted Emily Perl Kingsley.

Emily is an Emmy award-winning writer for Sesame Street, the author of a wonderful essay entitled ‚ÄúWelcome to Holland‚ÄĚ and a personal friend of Big Bird. She also has a son with Down Syndrome.

Emily Kingsley immediately saw the value in what Rich was producing and through her contacts involved NDSS. Together they produced spots which included children with Down Syndrome from all around the country.

The response was overwhelming! All of the featured children and their families from 25 different states came to New York City to view the spots on the JumboTron in Times Square.

As there was so much interest that year, NDSS held an event in Times Square the following year, where all the families could gather to watch the video. A wonderful reception followed at Sardi’s for all the families that made the trip.

In 1995, as a result of the success of this event, the NDSS Buddy Walk was born. Again families gathered in Times Square to watch the presentation and then headed up to Central Park for the Buddy Walk.

In 2013,  Sami, then 22 years old, returned to the Square for the event that was created because of her and the love of a father for his beautiful daughter.

‚ÄúIn my heart the event will always be ‚ÄúFor Sami Love Daddy‚ÄĚ

РWhich is how Rich tagged everything he produced…….

For Sami

Sami with her ‚ÄúBest Buddy‚ÄĚ, Chloe were featured in the Bright Lights of Times Square in New York City on September 21, 2013.

Sami and Chloe on the JumboTron

Sami and Chloe on the JumboTron

Hi-Five as Sami and Chloe see their photo on the Jumbo Tron

Hi-Five as Sami and Chloe see their photo on the Jumbo Tron

 

(originally posted in September 2013)

Flights, Ships, Fears…

As¬†I make preparations for our upcoming vacation I notice that I am more apprehensive than I usually am. I am worried about DC’s seizures. I am worried about being on a ship if he should have a seizure. His doctor¬†informed me¬†that DC¬†should not go swimming or even take baths any more. He seems to be fine with this now, but who knows how he will react once we are there.¬†On the plus side, ¬†DC does not have as much interest in swimming as he used to, so I am hoping it will still be¬†“fine” with him once we are in the warmer weather.

I am also reminded of an airport incident back October 2014. I was angry that the TSA Agents frightened and upset DC. I was more angry that they did not treat him as a human being. After writing the post below and thinking about the situation some more, my anger turned to fear about what COULD have happened.

DC is not aggressive, he never has been… but we never know what someone will do when frightened. DC is terrified of dogs. When a dog he does not know (even a¬†dog he does know) comes at him as dogs often do – his first instinct is to run or hide behind me. His next instinct is to kick. He is not being aggressive or trying to hurt the dog, he is just frightened and wants the dog to go away. It is¬†instinct. It is a reaction, plain and simple.

Having this agent grab him and search him as he did frightened him into the closest thing we’ve had to an actual meltdown in years. I really thought he was heading for one. It took awhile¬†but he was able to get himself together. What if DC, in his frightened state, kicked him or hit him? What if he tried to run away? ¬†What would have happened?

If these people saw fit to treat him this way, KNOWING he is autistic, I am terrified to think of what they would have done if he lashed out at them. I would like to say that I don’t want to think about it, and I really don’t want to think about it, but I have to – of course I have to……..

The more stories and news reports I hear and read, the more fearful I become.

From October 2014 is an excerpt of that post:

Off we go….. (almost)

Flying:

The flight is also making me anxious. I am not one who can ever sleep on a plane, ever. I can’t sit still in those seats. DC, on the other hand is very good on airplanes – now, not so much when he was young¬†– but he is really good now.

DC has flown quite a bit, but this will be¬†his longest flight so far. Security is always a bit overwhelming for him, but he gets through it. As many times¬†as he has flown before, he¬†never had to go through the body scan until our trip in October to North Carolina’s Mountain of OZ.

There were a few times over the years¬†when the security lines were not very busy and I wanted him to go through so¬†I could explain it to him without holding up the line, but as soon as I¬†mentioned “Autism”, they whisked him though the old walk-through before I had the chance to finish my sentence. That was fine, but I really wanted him to do it once in case there was ever a time that we weren’t given the choice. Of course I do explain it all¬†to him while we’re in line and make him watch what everyone else is doing, just in case but as you know, no amount of explaining can take the place of doing.

Heading home from the Charlotte airport – it happened. He had to go through the body scan. As always I explained and showed him what he had to do while waiting in the line. Doug went through first as always and waited on the other side. I was behind DC. The security people saw us giving him instructions and the woman let me get up close so I can show him exactly what to do. He put his feet on the foot prints and raised his arms and waited for them to tell him he was finished. He did a great job.

He turned to walk out of the body scan when the guard¬†on the other side near where Doug was waiting, grabbed DC with absolutely no notice and without saying a word and searched him! It happened too fast for¬†either of us¬†to react! DC was now screaming “Not all right! Not alright!” while I was trying to get through the scan to get to him. Both security guards saw us giving him directions. I told the woman he has Autism. I thought that they ‘got it’. There was no way they could not have seen that maybe they should approach with care or at least say something to him before he was grabbed and patted down.

I finally made it to the other side and DC was still yelling and really could not function – he couldn’t get his shoes and other items off of the conveyor belt – he just continued to yell, fists in the air “Not all right!”. Now all of the other security people in the area were watching as I tried to calm him down. I was praying that none of them¬†would say¬†anything or try to approach him¬†and make matters worse. He was really causing a “disturbance”¬†in the airport. This went on for a good long while. I had him sit down and tried to explain to him that he did everything correctly. The man should not have grabbed him without letting him know first. This was not his fault and he had every right to be upset. Eventually he did calm down and there were no aftershocks on the flight home.

People¬†do at times overlook¬†him completely and direct their¬†questions to me instead of talking to¬†him. I¬†do¬†always¬†ask him the question myself¬†and make sure he gives the person the answer himself. I¬†mentioned earlier in the post that I thought that there was no way on earth that the security guards did not understand even before I explained that DC has Autism.¬†¬†Now as I think about it, I wonder if they actually did understand and decided that due to his Autism, they did not¬†really need to talk to DC directly at all…… and THAT is a problem.

***

Versions of this post were also published:

On the Mighty: “My Son Did a Great Job at Airport Security. But This Guard Did Not.”

and at The Behavior Station

“Hello Sweetie”

Part 2 of our recent trip to the Rhode Island Comic-Con….

IMG_2792

 

(from Part 1 – “Don’t You Cry No More” #Supernatural)

(I have a lot to say about our visit to the Rhode Island Comic-Con. Some good; some not so much. Everyone we met was very nice. Now I understand that they are supposed to be, but we all know that it isn’t always the case. There were a few people who were just extraordinarily wonderful to DC, so I want to be sure I mention all of them. Because I have so much to say about the entire event; Autism-related and not,  I have decided to split the story up into a few parts, by category rather than in order by the day) 

I will say again that I am so glad we went on Friday night just to get the lay of the land for Saturday. It was not crowded at all. We saw and did more that I ever imagined we would get to do – of course this also means that I spent so much more money than I had intended. But how could¬†one pass up all of these people just standing around waiting for the crowds that didn’t come until Saturday?

After leaving the “Supernatural (or the “Don’t You Cry No More”) room, thinking we would not¬†be so¬†lucky as to happen upon another room¬†with people just¬†standing around¬†waiting – we happened upon Scott Wilson.

We had a photo op scheduled with him on Saturday, but I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity. Now, DC has no idea who he is but he was going to be my stand-in for the scheduled photo op as I am just too fat to have my picture taken, so he¬†was delegated as my stand-in here as well.

DC really took a shine to him even though he didn’t know who he was. He was a nice man with grey hair and a beard¬†and that was good enough for him.¬†I took his picture with DC and then he insisted that I get in a shot (a photo that will never see the light of day). ¬†Also in the Walking Dead room was Seth Gilliam – DC does not know him either, but he was happy to have his picture taken (still standing in for Mom) – he is always happy to have his picture taken.

IMG_2784IMG_2785

 

Technically we were there to figure out where everything was in anticipation of the crowds on Saturday and we could already see that there was no information¬†readily available.¬†It was very important to DC that we find one particular person before the weekend was done.¬†¬†We asked THE only Volunteer that would prove to be helpful during this entire weekend.¬† He gave us directions to another area that we never would have found on our own (more about his favorite person in another installment). While walking around this area we came upon Alex Kingston’s table. This was the one and only table where we found a line that entire night. We did have a photo op scheduled for the following day, but we got in line anyway. This was one of the¬†very few¬†times that our VIP tickets came in handy¬†and¬†they whisked us to the front. At this point DC was so excited he¬†began squealing and stimming. She¬†and most of the people in line seemed to be getting a kick out of just how excited he was.¬†Fortunately there was a table between her and him¬†because¬†if there hadn’t been, he would have¬†headed straight for all of that hair. She signed his photo with “Hello, Sweetie”, which just sent him further over-the-top with his squealing. We left the table with DC¬†yelling and waving “Good-bye” to her and then of course a big “Good-bye everybody” complete with a bow, to the rest of the¬†people in line.

We walked around a little bit more. DC stopped quite a few random people in costume and insisted on having his picture taken with them. Most of the people he stopped were dressed as princesses and they all obliged.

I decided that we should try to find the photo op area so we would not spend Saturday searching. We did eventually find it. They were holding the photo ops in the arena – it was large enough but it was also full of vendors. We looked around at some of the vendor tables and noticed that the schedule on the wall (the only information available about anything was the current photo op¬†schedule and the panel schedules) was showing that Alex Kingston was in one of the photo op rooms right then. We had a ticket for the following day, but due to the many conflicts on Saturday, I thought it would make my life so much easier to be able to get at least one out of the way on Friday. It never hurts to ask, right? There was NO ONE in line, no one – really – that was just how dead it was there on Friday night. While DC was checking out an Anna (Frozen) doll at one of the vendor booths, Doug went over to ask. He came back with a “yes”.

As we walked over to the “booth”, I reminded DC not to touch her hair.

DC: “No touch the hair”

Me: What is the other rule?

DC: “Don’t pick up the people”

They took the paper ticket with no problem.

When he got inside the curtained area, he immediately began squealing.

Alex: Well, Hello Again!” (who would not remember this boy squealing at your table earlier that evening?)

DC: “Hello There!” (another bow)

Since there was no one else in line, there was time for a little bit of small talk between them. She also commented on his shirt, which made him extremely happy!

He was able to control himself enough to give her a hug without breaking her back, grabbing her hair or (Phew) picking her up!

IMG_2786

Needless to say, he was quite the happy guy when we left the venue on Friday night! He had such a great night all around there on Friday. It could not have been more perfect for him.

No crowds, no lines and River Song twice in one night. What could be better?

*****

There was one person that could and did make his night even more awesome….. More about that in another installment….

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t you cry no more” #Supernatural

Autograph

Earlier this month we attended Rhode Island Comic-Con in Providence. It was an experience to say the least.

(I have a lot to say about our visit to the¬†Rhode Island Comic-Con. Some good; some not so much. Everyone we met was very nice. Now I understand that they are supposed to be, but we all know that it isn’t always the case. There were a few people who were just extraordinarily¬†wonderful to DC, so I want to be sure¬†I mention¬†all of them.¬†Because I¬†have so much to say about the entire event; Autism-related and not, ¬†I have¬†decided to split the story up into a few parts, by category rather than in order by the¬†day)¬†

Let me¬†first say that¬†I¬†am a huge¬†fan of ¬†Jim Beaver. I have been¬†since his time on Deadwood. ¬†Jim Beaver was one of the reasons I became a fan of Supernatural – yes, Sam was Dean on The Gilmore Girls so I may have been leaning in that direction anyway, but Jim Beaver gave me the push I needed.¬† DC is also very aware of the show, but other than Sam and Dean (who were not there), Jim Beaver (aka Bobby) is really the only other cast member that I knew for sure he would recognize. Why is DC familiar with Supernatural (or the “Don’t you cry no more” show) you ask?

Well DC loves music, but¬†his musical choices¬†do not usually come from what¬†he hears on¬†the radio unless it is a Disney song or a song from a movie he has¬†seen. There are only¬†a handful of¬†songs that I can think of that he knows¬†specifically from the radio – Carry On Wayward Son, just happens to be one of them. He¬†zoned right in¬†on the¬†“Don’t you cry no more” line and it has been a favorite of his since.

For those of you who may not be fans of the show, Carry On Wayward Son opens the last episode of almost every season. DC picked up on that right away and as everything is related, he began watching the show.

We didn’t have a lot pre-scheduled for Friday night at Comic-Con. One op I had scheduled¬†was¬†Brent Spiner who had cancelled his appearance a few weeks earlier¬†(“From this moment on, you are my mortal enemy!”) so I thought we would use Friday night to just go and get the lay of the land before Saturday when I was sure it would just be mobbed. We really did not expect to see many people or do very much that night, I just really wanted to figure out where everything and everybody was going to be. As it turned out, Friday was the best day of the event for us. It was not crowded at all and we got to do and see an awful lot.

As we were walking and looking around I noticed that there were no lines at many of the autograph tables. Then we came upon the “Don’t you cry no more” room. The first table belonged to none other than Jim Beaver (be still my heart) – he was not there but the tablecloth was not turned up covering the photos for sale as others were so I assumed that he would be right back. We did have a photo op scheduled with him on Saturday, but photo ops are usually very hurried, so I thought¬†this would be a good opportunity for DC to see him and not feel so overwhelmed and rushed. When we went over to stand at his table¬†and wait, a boy who looked to be about 12 came over to us and asked us¬†if we were in line. DC, who seldom¬†initiates a conversation or a greeting,¬†took one look at this boy, who looked just like a younger version of his friend *Ron from Camp and excitedly in his high-pitched squeaky DC voice¬†squealed ¬†“Hello there! My name is DC Last Name. How are you? It is nice to meet you!”.¬†He grabbed his hand and shook it so hard the boy’s entire body was shaking.¬† The boy was¬†so very¬†nice.¬†¬†He was not taken aback by DC’s squealing ¬†and excitement.¬†The smile never left his face.¬†He answered him, let him shake his hand again and told him his name (which unfortunately I do not remember). He¬†then went back to stand with his mother just outside the room.

While we were standing there, I noticed Samantha¬†Ferris¬†at the¬†next table. I asked DC if he wanted to go over there while we were waiting. He said No – he didn’t want to get out of line – even though¬†we were the only ones in said line; ¬†we were in line and in DC’s mind, that was all there was to it. I¬†told¬†him that we would not miss Jim if we went to the next table for a minute. Samantha is a pretty woman with long hair¬†so I knew he wanted to go over there if not for anything else but the long hair ¬†but…. he was in line. I finally convinced him that we could go and¬†come back to¬†Jim’s¬†line afterward. He finally agreed.

Once there, he¬†did get¬†very excited. He¬†told her his name and told her where he lived. Again, he was more conversational than usual. She was wonderful with him. She asked me questions but she also directed some questions to DC (which we know does not always happen). She asked how he became a fan and I explained the¬†song connection. She sang a few bars of ‘Carry On’ for him – which just thrilled him to death. She asked him if the show ever¬†frightened him. He said “No”. I began to explain to her¬†how¬†we talk about¬†the fact that the show is only…. – DC piped in with – “Make-believe”.¬†We talked about one of the loves of his life, Felicia Day (a recurring character) who he¬†had the opportunity¬†to meet a few years¬†ago at NY Comic-Con. Samantha certainly added a new fan to her list¬†that night!

 

DC and Samantha Ferris

DC and Samantha Ferris

 

As soon as we were finished there, DC immediately wanted to go “back to the line” (there was still no line) and Jim had not returned. Samantha told us he would be right back, so back to the “line” we went. DC started getting a little bit anxious while¬†waiting but¬†fortunately not too over the top. Someone ran by us and said “We’ll let him know someone is waiting” and before I had the chance to finish telling them that it was not necessary to rush him, they were gone.

Eventually when he did come out, he looked a bit out of sorts; not the “I don’t want to be here”¬† out of sorts – he looked¬†as if¬†something was wrong or something had happened. I felt bad and hoped that¬†the powers that be did not¬†make him come out just for us. He apologized and said there had been a slight emergency, which I absolutely believe due to the¬†almost shaken¬†look on his face. Now I felt even worse. Of course the first thing out of DC’s mouth was “I have been looking all everywhere for you”.¬† Then for some reason, probably because he¬†was zoning out a bit at this point¬†, he called him “Jake” instead of Jim or Bobby. He¬†got his “DC picture” as he called it, so he was happy.

We turned to leave and there was the boy from earlier. DC again very excitedly , shook his hand, gave him a hug and told him he loved him (the asking permission before hugging anyone rule went completely out the window that weekend) Рthe boy, as before, went along with all of it thankfully.  What an extraordinary child! I wish I could send him many gifts!

During the course of the weekend we ventured back in to the Supernatural room many times.

On Saturday he met Curtis Armstrong (Metatron – aka “The worst angel ever”), Mitch Pileggi (Samuel)

DC and Curtis Armstrong

DC and Curtis Armstrong

 

Mitch Pileggi and DC

DC and Mitch Pileggi

and Alona Tal (Jo).  There was no explanation of character necessary for DC here Рshe is a pretty blonde and that was all he needed to know!

Dc and Alona Tal

Dc and Alona Tal

 

Supernatural room = Success!

Saturday was even more crowded than I expected.

We had three photo ops scheduled on Saturday. I purchased Jim Beaver way back in July and the others at later dates. The only information listed when purchasing a photo op on-line was the day; Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  When they did finally post the scheduled times I discovered that Jim Beaver and another were listed at the same time. I have to imagine that this happened to many other people as well.

On our way to the most unorganized photo op room I have ever seen, DC¬†announced that he¬†needed to “Flap his Wings”. It was just¬†too crowded for him to flap where we were at the time¬†but¬†we did manage to find a corner almost under the bleachers for him to flap. I had him jump up and down a bit¬†too while we had the space, ¬†just to try to get it all out. Then we¬†headed to the area where the photos were to be taken. Jim Beaver was scheduled¬†for 12:45 – 1:15 and the other was scheduled for 12:45 – 1:30. We we decided to get Jim Beaver done¬†first. Explaining the conflict to a volunteer¬†in order to¬†find out how early we could get in line for Jim Beaver, I took out my printed ticket with bar code that clearly stated: You must present this ticket with the Bar Code and your e-mail address to double check the time I had written on the ticket. She looked at it and told us we could probably get in line at about 12:30. We walked around¬†a bit and revisited the “jump and flap” area for one final go. Then we¬†went¬†back to get in line at the time she had given us. I gave¬†the same volunteer¬†my ticket¬†and¬†she said¬†“Oh no, we can’t take those paper tickets. You have to get in that line over there and trade them in for¬†cards.”

What?!?

I followed¬†the direction of her pointing finger¬†to¬†the mob scene, she referred to as a line, and questioned the ticketing process. This was supposed to be our ticket. “I don’t know, I’m just a volunteer, but don’t worry; he’s not here yet”. Firstly, I can not tell you how many times I heard “I don’t know, I am just a volunteer” that day and secondly, the issue was not whether he was there or not, it was about trying to get closer to the front due to our¬†time conflict. We went over¬†and got at the end of¬†¬†the¬†“card” line. While waiting¬†and¬†out of the blue, DC decided to hug¬†the man dressed as Mr. Spock who was in front of us in the card line.¬†Fortunately again,¬†Spock had no problem with¬†this random hug from a stranger. He explained that he¬†has three children on the spectrum, so he was not fazed by it at all. We talked special needs programs for a bit until¬†it was our turn¬†to trade in our tickets. We finally made it out of that line with our “cards”¬†but by the time we got back to the photo line¬†the entire fenced in area was full and our place in line was outside of the roped in area. The volunteer saw us and yelled. “Don’t worry, he’s not in there yet” – again, not the point!

(I will revisit these paper tickets and photo op lines again in another post)

Doug, who unlike me¬†can usually put up with just about anything, went ahead¬†and spoke to a volunteer at the head of the line. Shortly thereafter a different volunteer came and moved us to the front of the line.¬†I have written before that I do not generally¬†look for accommodations for DC and I did not here. I always want him to try.¬†I did purchase VIP¬†tickets¬†because of DC¬†but this is not Comic-Con or the convention center making accommodations for my son, that is me paying more money to accommodate my child on my own.¬†We did what we were supposed to do. We discovered the scheduling conflict.¬†We planned ahead to get in line early, not earlier than anyone else would be allowed to, but as early as was allowed. We had the proper tickets, only to be told that we didn’t.¬† So¬†for anyone that might be wondering or is waiting to pounce; we were not moved to the front due to DC’s autism – we were moved to the front due to the total unorganized way that this event was run¬†(there is more, trust me).

After all of this, it was finally our turn to see Jim Beaver.¬†DC did attend¬†one photo op on Friday night (paper tickets were accepted then and there was no mention of a card ticket). Because of the Friday op, DC was expecting Jim Beaver to be standing on the same side of the room as the person was the night before. He wasn’t –¬†he was on the side of the room closest to the curtain where we entered. DC walked into the room, and headed¬†straight to the other side never noticing Jim¬†Beaver standing right¬†there.¬†DC was looking around very confused so ¬†I turned him around and brought him back to Jim,¬†who was looking rather confused himself and probably wondering what was going on.

The photographer took¬†one picture and asked if he would take off his glasses for another. DC, who does not like to part with his glasses immediately¬†said “No”, but he did give in and¬†give them to me. Now he was wearing his crabby face.¬†As soon as they pointed that camera at him, DC being DC, ¬†immediately put on¬†his big photo¬†smile. One of the assistants commented¬†about just¬†how quickly he¬†was able to¬†turn on that smile.¬†Yes, sir. That’s my boy –¬†always the ham.¬†One¬†can not point a camera at or around him¬†and not get that smile.¬†¬†As soon as the picture was taken DC’s only concern was getting his glasses back. He started walking out¬†without even saying¬†good-bye or thank you, he just wanted the glasses. He did remember his manners after being reminded. I do not¬†usually have to remind him but I know that all that¬†he was thinking at this point was getting¬†out of there before anyone tried to take his glasses¬†again.

DC and Jim Beaver

 

DC (always the actor – wiping his forehead) “Phew, I did it!”¬†

He had his picture, he had his autograph, both of which will be added to his wall of fame at home and he got his glasses back. Even with the all of the confusion and chaos (there was more), my boy really did a great job of it. We will put the Supernatural portion of our weekend in the win column!

****

Coming soon: The Walking Dead, Dr. Who and his most favorite experience of the Con…

(Our internet has been sporadic this entire week. This post was written partially on my phone and partially on my tablet –¬†typing is difficult enough for me on either of these devices but editing is¬†next to impossible ¬†– my apologies for any and everything I may have missed or made worse by trying to edit on my phone)

 

 

 

 

 

October reruns – “Scary Stuff”

scary stuff

This week’s installment of¬†my October/Halloween/Spooky/#TBT (or #FBF) theme – Not to worry, October will be over soon – is a story from 2 years ago about a vacation we took to Lake George quite a few years ago¬†when DC was little. There was a debacle every step of the way but it all worked out well in the end…..

I may be confused about the name of a park and the train may have been at an entirely different park – my memory is not all that it used to be, but it all happened…..

Cinderella, Santa, Haunted Houses and other ‚ÄúScary Stuff‚ÄĚ (or: Vacation debacles that worked out¬†somehow)

A¬†few years back‚Ķ. well, probably more than just a few, we took a trip to Lake George. I remember going there as a kid. I remember Story Town, which we discovered when we arrived was now just a small part of The Great Escape Amusement Park. I remembered the North Pole that was quite a drive from Lake George, but worth the trip. Specifically I remembered that in Story Town there was a Cinderella‚Äôs Pumpkin Carriage ride. My son was a Cinderella fanatic. He was obsessed, still is at 22. ‚ÄúCitronelle‚ÄĚ was one of his very first words.

We arrived at the Great Escape and at the entrance was a sign listing all of the rides that were not operating that day. You guessed it…. Cinderella’s Carriage was on the list! Well, he got to SEE the carriage anyway and since there was also a castle (sort of, it was just a Prop) he got over the carriage ride a little more easily that I thought he would.

carriage

We had a good time at the park anyway.  I think I was more disappointed than DC was. I was just so looking forward to him being able to ride in the carriage. He would have been thrilled.

The next day we were heading to the North Pole. This would definitely make up for the missed carriage ride! I checked the local paper the day before and found an ad that stated it was open daily and listed the hours of operation. ¬†It took quite a long time to get there ‚Äď about an hour and a half, if I remember correctly. When we arrived at the park we found it ‚ÄúClosed for Construction‚ÄĚ for the next few MONTHS! ¬†Now I had to explain to him that the park was closed and we would not be seeing Santa today. That went well‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ..(not!)

On the way back to Lake George, we happened upon another very small park called ‚ÄúThe Magic Forest‚ÄĚ. The park was small, cute but very run down and old.¬†DC didn‚Äôt care. ¬†He made me walk through a dusty, beat up ‚ÄúPrincess House (cave)‚ÄĚ 20 times or more. The Princess house cave was filled with dirty mannequins with peeling paint¬†with cobwebs everywhere, but he LOVED it!

20 trips through the Princess House

We took a ride on the train that got stuck on the way up a hill and the employees had to get out and push, but he still loved it.

There was also a SANTA!  So the second day of our trip was saved!

Santa Saves the Day!

The next day we decided to walk though the town. I remembered a pretty cool wax museum which, surprisingly was still there. We also came upon a Haunted House. DC loves all things Halloween and loves Haunted Houses; always did, even when he was very young.

He wanted to go in. After only two minutes inside, I began to realize that this was a mistake. He was terrified. He put both arms around my waist and I had to keep both of my arms around his neck/head; and this was the way we walked through the rest of the house, with DC walking sideways facing my side, with both arms around me and both my arms around his neck. All the way thorough, all I could think was ‚ÄúWhat have I done? This child is terrified! I‚Äôve scarred him for life‚ÄĚ. I felt so bad that he was so frightened. I kept telling him that he was okay and it was all make-believe. We finally made it out and he seemed all right, but I still felt awful. It WAS really, really scary.

We continued down the street. I continued to ask him if he was okay and told him to remember that it was all just make believe. He seemed fine.

As we were walking DC stopped, pointed and said ‚ÄúGo In‚ÄĚ. I looked over and he was pointing at another haunted house. I tried to explain to him that this was a ‚ÄúScary House‚ÄĚ just like the last one and I really didn‚Äôt think he wanted to go in. DC kept pointing and saying ‚ÄúGo in‚ÄĚ and was now dragging me toward the line. All the while I was trying to explain that this is scary just like the last one. He got me to the line that I had no intention of getting in, and he proceeded to wrap both arms around my waist and had me put my arms around his neck/head and got ‚Äúinto position‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄúGo in‚ÄĚ.

Apparently, he did understand that this was another haunted house and as much as I thought he was terrified, he wasn‚Äôt ‚Äď he loved it and he was ‚ÄúGoing in!‚ÄĚ

So, no…… Not scarred for life at all.

DC did get to ride in Cinderella’s Carriage a few years later at another park in New Hampshire.

He still loves Haunted Houses, but you would never know this as he’s going though them.

Everything is related – The Paris Edition

Back in May we went on a trip to Paris and London. There are so many things that DC can relate to¬†in London without me having to come up with them for him, that I wasn’t worried. Before London though,¬†there would be a 4 day stop in Paris.

Relating the things that DC loves to anything else just helps to make it more enjoyable for him. DC loves to travel, but if we are not traveling to Disney World I will always try to come up with something to make the trip more interesting and exciting for him.

We were going to be staying in Disneyland Paris for the four days, one of those days would be spent in¬†the city. I knew the day¬†in the city¬†would be very boring for him and I really could not come up with very much that he¬†could relate to in Paris other than Madeline, so I went with that. I was later very surprised at the ‘relations’ he was able to come up with on his own.

So here we have the¬†5th installment in the “Everything is related” series – The Paris Edition:

Yes, this could possibly all be a ploy to make you look at my vacation pictures (be thankful, not all :), but every picture you see here is relatable to something for DC.

Again, we begin with Disney. There would be no problem here. We arrived at our hotel – New York, what could be better! DC’s very favorite city! This was a “two birds-one stone” kind of¬†relation – Disney and New York City – together!

Paris London 424Paris London 425

There were of course; Princesses!

“Oh my God, it’s Cinderella!” – during this trip¬†he came out with a few lines I had never heard him say before – “Oh my God”, being one of them.

What¬†could be¬†better than¬†a princess? Four princesses, of course…..

….especially when they are willing to spin for you!

The Princess Room in Disneyland Paris is a little bit different from Disney World. In Disney World, you get in line to get into the room where you can meet 3 or 4 princesses one by one. In DLP, we had to make a reservation to see the princess. The reservation gets you in to see one princess (there are two inside, to keep the line moving). You are not told what princesses are in there and you do not know who you will see until it is your turn and you round the corner. The people managing the line are not allowed to tell you which princesses are inside¬†and they change them every half hour. The line manager saw how excited DC was to see a princess and pulled me aside to ask me which one he wanted to see. I told her he would be happy with any princess, but she insisted. We had the choice of “Brave” and “Ariel”. Of course, I chose Ariel. I have spent¬†too many¬†hours standing in line at “Ariel’s Grotto” over the years to let an opportunity to see Ariel pass us by. I wish I got a picture of his face when he turned the corner and saw her!

After he had¬†her dance with him and of course spin, he said: “Please say hello to Prince Eric for me” – another new¬†line; correct grammar, correct pronoun.

Needless to say, Disneyland Paris was a big hit.

Now onto Paris.

DC really loves all of the Madeline books. I am sure he has them all. He especially loves the Madeline movie that encompasses many of the stories from the books into the one movie.  This was really all I had to go on. Knowing full well that sightseeing in Paris was not going to be very exciting for him, I really tried to push the Madeline angle before we arrived. We talked about the Eiffel Tower and the time that Madeline and Pepito became trapped at the top all by themselves.

Paris London 033viewParis London 035

 

We went to the top. It took a while. It was so crowded. It was cold. There was a nice view. He was impressed, but only slightly.

Moving on……

Before we visited the tower, our first stop which happened to be right where the train in let us off was the Arc de Triomphe. Thinking that he would not be at all impressed with this because to him it was an arch, nothing more, I was surprised when he  recognized this arch Рfrom Anastasia. I had forgotten all about that movie. I was kicking myself for not remembering it and looking into more Anastasia references before we left on our trip.

Paris London 187Paris London 185

Thinking¬†I had reached¬†the end¬†of Paris ‘relatables’¬†for DC, we opted for a Seine River Cruise just to¬†get in¬†a few sights quickly without sending him completely over the edge of boredom. On our way down the river I realized that this was the same river that Madeline fell into and was rescued by a dog they later named “Genevieve”¬†(yes, I have seen this movie more times than I’d care to admit).

Paris London 050

He was impressed for a minute or so.

Continuing down the river, the tour guide announced that we were coming up on Notre-Dame Cathedral. DC chimed in with:

“Chris-mar-a-dull”

What???

“Chris-mar-a-dull”

“Es-mer-eye-da”

“DC, I don’t know what you mean. Can you spell it for me?”

“Mom! Chris-mar-a-dull! Es-mer-eye-da!”

He was getting exasperated with me.

“HUNCHBACK!!”

Another reference that I completely missed – Quasimodo and Esmeralda – The¬†Hunchback of Notre-Dame!¬†(I did have to write those pronunciations down right then and there so I didn’t forget).

Paris London 046Paris London 047

Our decision to take this tour instead of sightseeing on foot turned out to be a good one. It started to pour! This did not upset DC as much as one would think for some reason, but it would have been the END of the day in Paris had we been out walking around.

Boat = Saving the remainder of the day.
Paris London 053 It was still raining when we got off of the boat at the Louvre. I did remember that one part of the Madeline movie took place inside the Louvre. I mentioned it to DC as we headed in that direction. We had no plans to go inside but it was close to a few restaurants and the metro.

While running through in the rain, DC pointed out the Louvre Pyramid.

“From Madeline!” – I have seen that movie many times but I do not recall ever seeing the Louvre Pyramid at any time during the scenes at the Louvre. He recognized it – so I’ll take it!

 

Paris London 054

It was a long day and with the rain, the Pyramid was our last sight for the day. We stopped for dinner and headed back to Disneyland.

Paris London 074

I definitely dropped the ball relating Paris to DC’s world.¬†I am happy and a little bit impressed that he was able to pick it up¬†and run with it, this time around.