The GREAT BOOK PURGE of 2014!

20140505-220210.jpg

Finally our Town scheduled a “Big Trash” pickup. These pickups used to be an annual event – when I say “event”, I mean an “event”. It was as if a newsletter went out to all of the surrounding towns and as soon as one piece of “big trash” hit the curb, the caravans of cars and pickup trucks descended. DC and I moved to this town 20 years ago, for the school system. At the time this town had the best special education  program in the state. We moved here from a relatively big city, where to be honest, I thought I’d seen everything, until “Big Trash Day” came around, that is…….. I had never seen anything like this… but I digress.

Due to budget cuts, “Big Trash” pickup went from every year to every other, then finally there was no pick up at all.  This year, the town decided to schedule a “Big Trash” event in April. It has been about 5 years since the last one.

As many of you know, DC loves books. His favorite activity is going to the bookstore. I’m sure he averages 3 or 4 visits per month. This means we have hundreds of books squashed in our little house. He has so many, that I really can’t keep track of what he has. If he’s picking out a book at the store, I don’t really remember if he already has it at home and he really doesn’t care if he already has it. Obviously if it is a Disney book, I know he has at least 4 or 5 versions of the particular story but I really can’t remember if he has the version he wants to buy…..or……… I know he HAD it at one time, but we may have gotten rid of it during the last “Big Trash” event. Needless to say, we end up with many duplicates.

His books and his DVDs are two things I will never be able to keep track of.

Because DC “edits” all of his books, they really can not be donated. They are just unreadable to anyone else but DC.

Book Editing

Book Editing

editbook

I have taken some flack over the years for letting DC write in his books because they can not be donated later. This is true, we can not donate them and I am left with a large amount of books that I have to get rid of without breaking the recycling and/or garbage man’s back.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always purchase items based on if or where I can donate them later. If an item can be donated later, it will be.

DC is allowed to write in his own books, he does not write in library books, he does not write in books that do not belong to him.

He is allowed to write in his books because it is beneficial to his language/conversation skills, his vocabulary and his comprehension.

Yes, some of his editing is obsessive. One of the many versions of the “Wizard of OZ” that he owns was an older version where the “Tin Man” was referred to as “The Tin Woodsman”. He went through every single page of the 200-plus page chapter book and colored out (crossing out is not good enough) the word “Woods” on every page, so that it read “Tin Man”.

He also likes his chapter numbers to be written out. Chapter 1 has to be edited to read “Chapter One” and so on. Every other day he will ask, “Mom, would you spell twelve”. I do not know why after all this time he can spell every other number, but not twelve, but for some reason, he can’t. There are many other words he will me to spell but “twelve” is a constant.

Recently ~and I really think this is great because he figured it out by himself ~he has become interested in Roman Numerals.
He figured out that the V means ‘five’, so along with spelling out the chapter numbers, he is also assigning them his version of a Roman Numeral. I say his version because he knows V is 5, so Chapter 13 is edited to read “VIIIIIIII” or sometimes “IIIIIIIIV”. In any case, he is adding 5 (V) + 8 (I’s) to get to 13. He was never big on numbers, so if his own version of Roman Numerals moves his mind into “math mode”, all the better.

The obsessive editing aside, he changes sentences into new sentences that make sense. He changes words into words that mean the same thing. He will ask me from time to time what a word means and then comes up with an edit for that word that means the same thing. He is learning, he is writing full sentences, he is learning what words mean and there’s a little bit of math happening, so YES, I let him write in his books.

The problem has always been just what to do with these books when they begin to take over the house.

It has been suggested, that I should just do a little bit at a time, this way I can throw them in the recycling bin without being the cause of a Workers Comp injury for the trash hauling company.

I can not do just a little bit at a time because:

– DC gets nervous.
– We would be going through the same shelf every week, because as soon as there is a space a book or books gets shoved in it.
– If I went through all of it at one time and just got rid of them a little bit at a time I would still end up with a huge pile of books somewhere in the house and he would slowly begin to add them back into his collection.

I made the mistake of throwing away 9 or 10 books about 15 years ago. They were books I was sure he hadn’t looked at or touched in years, but he knew! For years, until just recently, whenever he left the house to get on the bus for school and then work, his last words to me were “Books are staying here”, every single day.

When I heard there was a “Big Trash Day” scheduled in April, I began getting DC ready. I talked to him about his books everyday until the week of. I explained that we were going to go through all of his books and he would tell me which ones we were going to “keep” or “throw away”. I explained that we would not throw away anything unless it was all right with him. I also explained that we would go through all of his books together and I would not do any of this without him.

We couldn’t start too early, because having the books he opted to throw away hanging around for any length of time would really bother him and he would slowly move them back to the books shelves. We had to have everything out on the curb by Sunday evening, so DC and I started sorting on Thursday night.

We started with his living room book-case. We went through each and every book. I was surprised at the amount of books he decided to throw away. I’m sure he was already planning to replace them a little bit at a time during his many future trips to the book store.

On Friday, I had a medical appointment and I was not allowed to lift anything heavy for the day, so we lost a “sorting day” right out of the gate. On Saturday we started in his room. We were attending a  fundraiser that evening so between the sorting of books I was getting phone calls and texts to look for this and that and people wanting to drop items off for the fundraiser. I started getting anxious about all of these books. This book purge had to be completed today, before 4pm when we left of the fundraiser because DC was spending the night and the next day at his Dad’s – he was going to take DC directly from the fundraiser and I had promised DC that I would not sort or throw away anything with out his approval.

His room took almost all day and in the process, I threw out my back, carrying said books downstairs. Now I thought I would not be going anywhere at all that evening, never mind  getting through all of his books, but DC was a great help.  Going through his room made me feel like I was in an episode of “Hoarders” –  it always does.  It is just amazing how many books he can fit in his little room!

You probably can't see it but there are more stuffed under the coffee table

You probably can’t see it but there are more stuffed under the coffee table

We did it! I told DC over and over again how proud I was of him, so he wouldn’t start getting anxious about all of the books that were going away and because I WAS very proud of him for agreeing to get rid of so many! The following day, Doug came over and hauled them all outside. When DC came home from his Dad’s on Monday morning in time for his transportation to work, they were all gone, so he never gave it another thought.

No worries, though. He has plenty of books left to edit and I assume he is already plotting the replacement all of the books that went away with nice, new clean versions to edit all over again.  These shelves will be over flowing again in a few months time.

DC's room

DC’s room

Livingroom

Living Room

And…… we did find 40 or 50 books that were not
edited and we were able to donate.

“Please allow me to introduce…..”

 (This post probably qualifies as more of a facebook status, but it made me laugh, so a blog it is!)

Pleased to meet you

Pleased to meet you

DC loves to make introductions. I don’t believe he really understands the point of introducing people. He notices people making  introductions in the movies he watches and in the books that he reads. It doesn’t matter if the people he is introducing already know each other. It doesn’t matter if he knows they already know each other, when he gets to urge to make introductions, he does. He is usually very formal about it as well –

“I would like to introduce my mother, Vickie Lastname”

or

“It is my pleasure to introduce to you, my mother, Vickie Lastname

or (my favorite)

“Please allow me to introduce my ‘lov-er-ly’ mother, Vickie Lastname

Recently we attended a pasta dinner fundraiser to benefit the summer camp DC has attended since he was 5 years old. We purchased enough tickets for DC, Doug, my mother and myself and we sold a few more to friends and family members.

Seated with DC and I were,

– My mother (DC’s grandmother)

– Doug (who was also pulling DJ duty)

– DC’s grandparents on his Dad’s side

– DC’s Dad – Tracy

– DC’s stepmother (I generally do not use the stepmother title to describe her because DC is so very much into Disney that there is no explaining to him that all stepmothers are not evil) Karr-ee-anna – in DC-speak

-DC’s Aunt K

-Her husband R

– My friend Tonya

– and DC’s friend, Salli

Due to the crowd, Doug’s father and sister had  moved over to the next table.

DC was very excited that everyone was there at the same time. He sat at the table as if he were “holding court”. He then decided that introductions were in order.

Turning his attention to his father, Tracy:

“Tracy, this is my mother Vickie Lastname”

and

“Vickie, I would like to introduce you to my father, Tracy (same) Lastname”

~ Insert Dramatic Pause ~

.

“Um…….”

.

 

“we’ve met”……………………..

 

Photo: Credit "Tonya"

Dc and Friends Dancing the night away! Photo Credit: “Tonya”

 

Baltimore, Over the Rainbow and Back – Part 2

Baltimore Over the Rainbow 2

After the fun-filled experience boarding the ship (Baltimore, Over the Rainbow and Back – Pt 1) things were looking up. DC had his cheese burger, I had my wine, everything was calm.
The remainder of the day (Friday) was spent exploring the ship. DC as usual, loved the cabin, as small as a ship cabin is, in his mind it is a “hotel room” and a hotel room is way up there on his list of favorite things.
The “Travel Gods” were on my side too; there was NO Disney Channel in the room!!!! (Happy dance!!!) – so DC moved on to his “default channel” (at home he calls it “Two – Five”) TNT, which is perfect with me.
The lifeboat drill, as usual was difficult for him; not because it frightens him, I don’t think he pays enough attention for it to frighten him, it is just the standing in line in a crowd, for that length of time for reasons that he really doesn’t understand and has no interest in. Thankfully wearing a life vest is no longer a requirement, but it is still torture for him and for me as I held my breath and hoped he would make it without incident. He did make it; he got a little loud at times but he made it. He was not happy, no matter how many times I told him how proud I was of him, it took him a good long while afterwards to get himself out of his “anxiety mode”. I’m hoping the lifeboat drill is one of the items taken into consideration (if it hasn’t been considered already) by Royal Caribbean regarding their new“Autism Friendly” cruise status. I understand that attendance is important for safety reasons, but there has to be another solution – even if the solution is as simple as a designated area away from the crowd.

Saturday was our first scheduled stop in Cape Canaveral; the stop where we scheduled the surprise bus trip to Disney World. DC knew there was a surprise trip coming. He knew the ship was going to Florida, so I was sure he’d figure it out. I asked him where he thought we were going to go when we got off of the ship. He answered “Bookstore”. I told him that I was sure there would be somewhere to buy books on the surprise trip. I asked him again as we were waiting to get off of the ship “What else are you hoping to do on your surprise trip?” – He thought about it and said “Toys R Us!”. I realized that even though he knew the ship was going to Florida, that really didn’t mean anything to him, he didn’t make the connection. He thought he was going to New York City, his other favorite place! Seriously, if you gave him the choice between Disney and New York City, he just might have to think about it!
I was a little worried for a minute that he had his heart set on New York, so I decided I would tell him that no, we were not going to New York City, but I was sure he would love this trip just as much. We were hoping that we would be able to keep it a secret until we were on the bus, or better yet, until the bus drove up to Disney World, but the “Follow your Lollypop” (sign) announcements started and we were sure he would pick up on the “Follow the Disney World Lollypop” announcement eventually; we decided that we would not be able to keep it a secret any longer. Doug gave him a card. He opened it and inside were a couple of Disney World gift cards. It took a minute, but he put it all together in his head and yelled “Disney World!!”
We only had 7 hours including the bus ride, which sounds like a good long time, but at Disney World, it is not a long time at all. We had to plan every move to be sure we made it to all of his favorite places and we weren’t going to worry about the rest.

The first stop as always was the Castle Show. The last 3 or 4 times we were there, the show had been “Like A Dream” – DC knows it by heart; he’d seen it every time we were there (and a few times, more than once in a single visit) and he has also found many clips on YouTube so he has it memorized. Today the show was……… drum roll please; you guessed it…… “Like a Dream” (I don’t really know  if this is the actual name of the show, but it is one of the songs that I have embedded in my brain), but……  it is still 100 times more tolerable than having to watch “Story Time with Belle” once, twice or three times per visit. Story Time is gone now, and I for one am very happy.

We headed next, to Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure and on to Ariel’s Grotto to meet Ariel. I am again, thankful that the Grotto is now located in another area of the park.  It is a whole new Grotto, redone, so now much of the time spent in line is  in the shade (and I suspect that there may be more than one Ariel in there; which makes the line go much quicker than it used to, but I can’t be sure)

Next stop, the Princess room…….

I reminded DC of the rule; “Do not pick up the Princesses” before we got in line. I asked him again while waiting in line about the rule, and he remembered, and one more time just before we went inside….. “Do not pick up the Princesses” he answered,  so into the Princess Room we went….. THE MOST exciting part of his day! He was a charmer, as usual.

 

And then, of course……..

 

I did wonder…. if he had been told ahead of time that he was going to Disney World and the Princess Room……would he have remembered to pack his comb?

We had lunch, rode the Winnie the Pooh ride, It’s a Small World, the train and on the way out, visited the gift store for books. That was really all we had time for. He saw his Princesses and bought some books so the day was a complete success.

Back on the ship, DC single-handedly won Disney Trivia. The most difficult part of the game was getting DC to actually whisper the answers in my ear so I could write them down. DC’s whisper, is not a whisper at all. What he thinks is a whisper is talking in a louder than normal volume in a whisper-like voice. He does not really understand that whispering is supposed to be quiet. After the first few answers, he did finally get it and our team won the game. He knew every single song and the movie it came from, in only a few notes! If they were to ask him the name of  “the voice of” (the voice actor), he could definitely supply that answer as well.

After his big win, he went through his entire script:

“I did it!”

“I am so Proud of You” (DC reverses his I’s, me’s, you’s, ect. – he is telling me how proud I am of him)

“I am so impressed” (again, he is telling me how impressed I am with him)

“Gasp! Put hand to chest” (at which point I have to act surprised, gasp and put my hands on my chest)

Afterwards in our travels around the ship, a few passengers recognized him as the Trivia winner. being the ham that he is, DC was in his glory with all of the recognition.

Next Stop…… Bahamas (oops, shhhh).

DC is not a fan of the Bahamas. We didn’t mention this stop to him. We did tell him that we were going to visit Atlantis and just for that added boost that he always needs when he isn’t really interested in the activity, I added that we are going to search for Atlantis, the Lost Empire . No, Michael J. Fox would not be there, we are just going to look around at the old city (We were actually taking a trip to the aquarium, but the tour was touted as “Search for the Lost Continent”). Making a Disney or favorite movie connection always helps to peak his interest. I always make sure that he does not expect too much, though. I wouldn’t want him to be disappointed.

Two years earlier on a Royal Caribbean cruise, we opted not to take a tour in the Bahamas and decided instead to just go into town and walk and look around. It was hot and it was crowded. To say DC hated it, is an understatement! Anytime the Bahamas was mentioned after that particular trip he would sign “all done” and emphatically shout “No I didn’t! No I didn’t!”

‘No I didn’t’ in DC-speak means “No I don’t want to (go there, do something, etc.)”

He really enjoyed the aquarium. He loved looking at all of the “artifacts” from the “Lost Empire” and he was much more interested in looking at the fish than he usually is. He generally does like to see the fish no matter where we go but, like me, after a few tanks, he’s done. I think the artifacts kept him interested a little bit longer.

Aquarium…..success!

On the way back to the ship, we stopped off at the drum “stage” that I was sure he would remember. At this point he realized he was in the Bahamas.

Bahamas

As you can see, he was not happy “No I didn’t! No Ba-ha-ma-mas!”
As soon as he understood that we were going back to the ship; not going walking or shopping, the Bahamas were just fine with him. He even took a minute to play the drums.

It is now permissible to speak of what was formerly known as the “Island that must not be named”.

To be continued…………..

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

new_rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Snow White

Meeting Snow White

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

The Hug

The Hug

Then……

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

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

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

“Oh MY! How strong you are!”

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

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

“YOU CAN NOT PICK UP THE PRINCESSES!”

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

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

“Hey, I remember you!”

I said that I was sure that he did.

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

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

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

DC walked up to Snow White and said,

“I have to “Apolo  – gize” .

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

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

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

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

“What’s the rule?”

DC answers “Don’t pick up the people”

I think that should cover it.

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