Sunday, August 28, 2011

A New Tradition

Vacations are made for memories. On our most recent vacation we began what I think will become a tradition. Here is what I had to say last month. “Today it was a two-hour bike ride on the paved trail along the ocean which started out on a sour note. I failed to keep track of Philip and, as a result, we spent a considerable amount of time and energy looking for him. What’s new? We often lose him. You would think we would just expect it and increase our vigilance but we forget how slithery he is. Since he can never explain where he was when he wasn’t with us Paul and I try to put together a scenario that satisfies our curiosity. Usually a threat works after that—no ice cream tonight (a nightly treat while we are on vacation) if you do not stay with us until we return the bikes. He stayed with us until the bikes were returned but in his hurry to get back to our unit so he could watch TV he missed out on huge snow cones (shaved ice at Ono’s) with ice cream in the middle which delighted the tongue while cooling us off.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I was gone all last week—three days to the MIND Institute and then a day in San Diego for a board meeting. So, Monday meant a trip to Sam’s Club to replenish cupboards and get new glasses for Clark. He has been without them for weeks ever since the frame broke. I thought we would get the same type as his old—wire frame. The thought came to me that I should get his opinion. “Clark, which glasses would you like?” A large smile spread across his face. “Just like Daddy’s.” he said without hesitation. So that’s what we picked out.
The young woman who was helping us smiled and commented on how sweet his comment was. I could tell she was enjoying him. Because he was feeling happy I got a hug, kiss and an “I love you.” Some change is good.

On the other hand, we are remodeling the “boys’ bathroom.” This change brings a high degree of anxiety for Clark as tile, linoleum, the toilet, the counter are removed. The foreman told me that Clark has talked to him about reporting this to someone in authority. Fortunately, John, who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome, is very understanding and patient and even took Clark into the bathroom to explain what he is doing and how he will fix all the holes. Even though this is a good change, it brings with it anxiety and internal turmoil for one member of our family.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Next???

When Phil was 18 and in the high school transition program he volunteered (actually he was in training) at the headquarters for Safeco Insurance which was about five miles from our house. The dress code was shirts and ties for the men and that included him. He looked so handsome and professional. His main responsibilities were in the cafeteria cleaning tables and filling salt and pepper shakers. One morning he came down for breakfast before going to catch his bus. His left eyebrow was gone.

After the shock drained I finally sputtered out “What happened???”

“I don’t know.” He gave his usual response.

We put together the scenario. Phil had an electric shaver. As he shaved and watched himself in the mirror he shaved higher and higher. “Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I….?”

We penciled in his eyebrow for weeks until a new one grew back.

Then when he was in his early 20s and working at a thrift store he wanted to see the effect that same razor would have on his head. Taken from my journal on May 20, 2000—
“Phil mentioned this week that ‘Adam cuts his own hair.’ I did not recognize the comment as a foreshadowing but it was. Pip and Jessica found him (in the bathroom) and had to clean up what he did. He is not completely bald but almost. ‘I like it!’ Phil told me.”

Phil and a good friend of the family

Last Friday I cut his hair. When I finished and was just about ready to do the trim work my attention was diverted while I visited with my daughter. Phil took the trimmer out of my hand and faster than my reflex he made a fashion statement.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Apology

When our doorbell sounded a few days ago I opened the door to a neighbor who stood there with tears in her eyes. She wanted to talk to Clark. She told me she had been unkind to him and wanted to apologize. She admitted that all his talking drives her crazy. I was surprised at her honesty but went on to agree that there are times when it drives me crazy. It’s like a scratched vinyl record. The needle tries to move on but keeps falling back into the scratch and repeating over and over until you lift the needle. Clark and I had stopped to talk to her a few days ago. She was complaining about an acquaintance who she was very annoyed with and ended up calling him a swear word. Clark cannot tolerate swear words. He started to lecture her and I had an obligation I had to get to so I left. That’s when she must have been unkind. I called Clark to come downstairs to talk to her. He asked me to leave. I did. Soon she was gone and Clark was telling what a nice person she was and that he gave her a hug. He has always been quick to forgive.