Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear pushy sales people

Their timing couldn't have been worse.  I was sporting my post hairwash wild woman of Wonga look, and Smiley was on the toilet. So I was doubly stressed to see two strange young women on my doorstep with laminated badges and clipboards.  Uh oh.

I always answer the door in hope.  After all, it could be a friend, the postman with a parcel, my lovely daughter who forgot her keys again, a local politician nervously anticipating a grilling.  But far too often it's people selling things.  What they don't understand is that the harder they push, the faster I want to get rid of them.  Without signing anything.  And if they start to come in - which has happened - the door will be shut in their faces faster than you can say "cheap electricity".

My first thought?  How quickly can I get rid of them.  But these two were well trained.  They had all the lines, but they didn't fool me...

What they said and what it really means

We're here to show you how you can save money by switching to Ripofftricity - no, you're here to get me to sign a contract with Ripofftricity before I can check out the competition, so you can earn your commission.

It'll only take 5 minutes of your time - yeah pull the other one, and multiply by 10.

We'll do everything for you to help you to switch - well of course you will, your company wants to ensure they tie me into a long term contract with cancellation charges so they make the maximum amount of money out of me.

The offer just expired online - because you can put more pressure on us poor householders on the doorstep?

You will have two weeks to change your mind - but we've made it difficult and we know how busy you are and how quickly two weeks flies by.

Oh yeah we get the back to school rush, we've seen a few children in uniform this afternoon - that's the empathy bit, slightly spoilt by the fact that none of the local schools are back yet*.

Can we come back later? - so we can try another set of lines on you.  *Screams inside "Nooooo!"*

"I have to go right now," I said.  And I went.  Without signing up to anything.  Even though it probably would be cheaper as switching energy suppliers is well down my "to-do" list.  Well behind blogging anyway!

It really wasn't a light bulb moment.

* I began writing this a couple of weeks ago

Friday, August 29, 2014

I do like to be beside the seaside

But it seems that my kids did not inherit the beach gene; either that or they had a surfeit of beach during those long lovely summers spent in Wexford when they were younger.   While I pine for sun, sand and sea during the sweaty summer months, they enjoy an indoor city life.  So I decided to have my very own summer holiday on the day that the two younger ones returned to school.   The very second that their buses vanished around the corner, I grabbed my beach gear, jumped in the car, and headed for the coast.  I didn't stop to check the diary.  Oh no!  Nor did I look at the "to do" list.   That was for later...   And before 9 o'clock I was looking at this:

The beach gear was pulled on:

And I was off.   Heading straight for the water.  It was cool, breezy and bright.  Just me, the rocks and the seaweed.  Plus a few Gulls and Oystercatchers who kept a safe distance from my camera.

As I paddled in the sea and clambered over the rocks I wondered why the health service doesn't prescribe a day at the beach instead of a bottle of pills?  I swear it would work better and the side effects are only positive too!

I could've stayed all day, the sandy lanes branched in all directions with glimpses of blue water beyond the fields and between the bungalows.  Yes, bungalows!  Lots and lots of lovely bungalows.  Well actually most of them are not really lovely at all, they wouldn't win any prizes for style, but they're just what the occupational therapist would order for a severely disabled young adult...   And I saw a couple of coffee shops.  And a proper supermarket.  This place is definitely a contender for retirement bliss for Smiley and I.

The dream of living beside the seaside is still alive, and that's this week's reason to be cheerful.

Ojos World

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I'm having a moment of blogging panic.  I published a post earlier today and I don't think anyone likes it.  That should be okay, except it's not, because this is no longer a little quiet corner of the inter webs. People read what I write, even when it's rubbish.  Even when it's badly written or melodramatic.  I feel their dislike and disapproval when the post sits there unloved and unshared.  I tell myself not to worry, because it's my blog and I should be able to publish whatever I like.  But it doesn't always work.

I want to run away and hide, but how do you do that on-line?

Then I feel tempted to delete this blog, perhaps to start again somewhere quiet.  It's become my youngest baby.  I love it, but I have to look after it too.  And it comes with responsibilities: because I waived my right to anonymity there are so many subjects that are closed to me, even though I badly want to write about them.  Perhaps without this blog I will be free?  It would be so easy to delete it, so tempting, all it takes is a few clicks.  I'm waiting for temptation to pass.  I hope it does.

Note: I'm turning off comments on this post, because I am just trying to explain how I feel today.

This week

'THIS WEEK' is a very melodramatic post that I wrote over the last few days.

This week I heard reports that a vulnerable young woman pregnant through rape was incarcerated and cut open to deliver a baby who was born far too soon to be ready for this world.  In Ireland.  In 2014.

This week I read about yet more women and children being killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs, and other women and children being buried alive in Iraq.

This week an American journalist was brutally decapitated in cold blood and filmed for social media to send a chilling message to the world.

This week I heard a Palestinian man say on the BBC News that alleged informers should be burned alive.

This week I read about fear and death stalking West Africa as more and more people die from the  ravages of Ebola.

This week eminent scientist Richard Dawkins suggested on Twitter that babies with Downs Syndrome should be aborted.

This week I heard about violent riots in the US after the shooting dead of an unarmed black teenager by police.

And I wondered if we have progressed at all as a species in the past 2000 years?

How is it that power is more addictive than kindness?

Money more seductive than love?

Control more desirable than cooperation?

And innocent babies grow up to be cruel sadistic killers?

This week I felt ashamed to be human.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful about Aspergers

After Monday's miseryfest my reasons to be cheerful this week are all about the progress made by my autistic/aspie 13 year old son (take your pick of descriptions, I've no idea what the PC one is at this stage).  It's been a much more peaceful summer this year, thanks to my decision to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he wants to please, and if he doesn't cooperate, it's because he can't, not because he won't.  There was a different focus too: I'm not parenting a boy any more, I have a young man hurtling towards adulthood and looking for the skills that will enable him to live independently and successfully when he reaches his destination.  He looks to me to teach him, and this summer we have had plenty of time to learn and practice and work on a few goals that he set himself.  And this is where we are now...

Taking Responsibility

Little things like suggesting a walk in the rain to make himself feel better.  He likes the rain.  It doesn't do a lot for my hair though..

He's taking care of his things too, folding his clothes carefully, making sure that dirty ones go in the laundry, and even drying his own hair - not in a metrosexual way but because he's worried that damp hair might damage his headphones.


Since the holidays began he has made his own breakfast and lunch with minimum mess and is trying some new foods too.

Back to school

He's planning ahead for this, including earlier bedtimes in the run up to the start of term.  Though I *may* have planted this idea earlier in the summer...   However, he was the one who decided to get up as soon as he wakes up.  Impressed?  You should be :)

Chores and errands

Every boring household task is more bearable with company so his help has been great, and he's learned lots of useful skills too, I even taught him to iron, though he hasn't practiced that one too much!  He's also happy to go on errands in the local area, posting letters or buying milk, though it's scary sending him out without a mobile phone - he refuses to have a cheap one and is holding out for an iPhone - and we haven't resolved that dilemma yet.

Hopefully this will be my last post about my son.  Because hopefully I won't feel the need to write about life with Aspergers, except in a general way.  And that is a reason to be cheerful too.

For more information about Aspergers, there's a new website AsIAm, which was established by teenager Adam Harris, and has a positive take on Aspergers, and lots of useful resources for parents, school students and teachers.

Ojos World

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Respite Day

6.30 Quick coffee, then up, washed and dressed to clear up the worst of the mess before..

7.30 Home help arrives to help me get Smiley up.  Run around cleaning while Smiley has breakfast.

8.30 Eat own breakfast and chat to my daughter.  Look at Tweetdeck together.  It moves, so it must be fun.  Sort out other children.  Read Respite social story.

9.15 Bring daughter to meeting with son's autism service providers.

10.45 Return home and do Mum things

11.15 Pack daughter’s bag for respite.  Toilet her.  Read respite social story again.

12.15 Frantically start making daughter’s lunch in case bus arrives at 1pm.  Hoist her.  Make coffee to quiet grumbling tummy.

1.30 Make dessert for daughter as she is looking a little sad.  Have toast for lunch as totally starving.  Plan to eat healthy food tomorrow.

1.45 Still no sign of respite bus.  Do more Mum things.  Read Respite social story again, just in case.

2.00  Bus arrives!  Waves goodbye to Smiley.

Looks at "To do" list.


Goes on Facebook instead...

Note: Am still finishing my Reasons to be Cheerful about Aspergers post...hopefully it will be done for tomorrow now

Monday, August 18, 2014

The boy I lost

I can see some of you spitting with rage already from the title of this post, but you don't HAVE to read any further.  It is going to be a bit of a 'poor me' post.  But it's not just about me, it's about my whole family and what we have all lost due to aspergers, now called autism.  I believe that my son has lost the most of all.

If you're new here, it might help you to understand why I've been such a misery guts here on the blog during this long long summer.

My son, Angel and a friend.  I was a working Mum then too!
Look at that photo, observe the happy and screen-free teenagers having fun with a small boy on a beach, while their delighted Mum takes lots and lots of wonderful photos.  Smiley is laughing just out of shot somewhere.  And the boy?  Well he's smiling at the camera, he's fit, healthy, happy, outdoors and loving life.  That's all gone.  And I never expected it to happen.  Even after his diagnosis with aspergers at the age of 8, I was hopeful that our family life could continue, with the help of a bit of therapy.  After all I was able to manage it with a severely disabled daughter.  But autism is different.  And so this summer was mostly spent sweating in a hot city kitchen.  Unpleasant at the best of times, worse when you have the menopause to deal with as well.  Secondary school students in Ireland get 3 months off during the summer, which is a long time even when you're 52.  Yet I guess I will have to endure this for another 5 years at least, and by the time it's all over I will be too old and tired to care.

I hate myself for feeling like this when I know how many autism parents are dealing with far worse: regular violent destructive meltdowns that go on and on and on, scary seizures, smearing, and children who barely sleep or who bolt towards the nearest road or river as soon as your back is turned.

So I've been putting on my happy face for my kids, who seems to be fairly contented, and for my friends when I meet them, because there's nothing worse than being around someone who is negative all the time.  Anyway, trying to be happy for others makes me feel better.  In the moment at least.

If the teenagers go back to school as planned next week, then I will hopefully have time to sort out my still undiagnosed lung problem, and once that is fixed I will be able to exercise again which will improve my mood, as will getting back to counselling, and of course the yoga classes that have become one of the highlights of the school week.

And THEN I hope to write some more cheerful and entertaining stuff on here!

If you managed to wade through all this, I recommend that you now head over to Jazzygal for an inspirational post about staying positive while stuck in a hospital bed in extreme pain.    And if you come back here on Thursday I promise another positive post in the reasons to be cheerful series, and this time it will be about autism achievements this summer.  Just to balance things out...