Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School, Back to Square One

This week was back to school for Hamslice. We had all hoped against hope that our new school, located in suburban utopia, would be some sort of smiling bubble zone that would embrace Hamslice whole heartedly that this friendliness would erase all of his [former] issues.

So, it was a bit of a wake up call when he was already punching kids by 1:30 pm on Day One. I suppose that the big move to the county was a way of Hambone and I drifting off into blissful denial that we still have a little guy with a very different brain.

To be fair to all involved, I did mention Hamslice's sensory issues on "meet your teacher" day, which was the day before school started. I talked to the teacher three separate times in the hopes she wouldn't forget. I also spoke to the music teacher and anyone else I could find.

Interestingly, they all did seem to forget my conversations (it was a pretty busy day, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt) and that led to a pretty bad set-up for Hamslice right off the bat. For instance, his classroom teacher forgot to let Hamslice bring "soft bunny" into class to provide a sensory break as needed. Instead she sat him in front of the window, where there were contractors jackhammering all day. It was so loud in the classroom that the teacher had to use a microphone to be heard over the noise.

Hamslice went right from that environment to music, to the cafeteria, and then to recess. Three humungously loud situations in a row. By the end of recess he was swinging fists.

So the teacher notified me by email, and I responded with a very professional, clinical sounding email that basically said, what did you expect after all that noise and tactile deprivation? I told her that Soft Bunny was coming again the next for Hamslice, and she would need to start using it. She wrote back and said the principal and vice principal disallowed Soft Bunny (nobody had even looked at it) and that he would receive a stress ball instead.  At this point I let it go. They will get to enjoy whatever consequences they create there.

After school, the vice principal pulled me aside and said we would need to have a conference about Hamslice and his special conditions. On Tuesday afternoon I get to face another gang up of Teacher, Vice Principal, Principal, Social Worker, Student Liaison and I would not at all be surprised to see the goddamn Janitor there. We will have been in school less than a week on Tuesday.

So now I am rereading all those vicious documents from the therapists from two years ago trying to develop a plan for my school negotiations. I am not entirely sure what I will ask for yet, but I will go in unafraid. And I will advocate for my son like the best lawyer in town. And he will thrive, if I have to have meetings with everyone in order for that to happen.

On a positive note, perhaps getting in early with the powers that be is a good thing. Maybe we can get out in front of it this year before everyone jumps to their own conclusions about him. The school's reputation is for responsiveness and accommodation, so maybe this is just that reputation playing out. Maybe my shell-shock is showing through.

More next week...

Friday, August 15, 2014

The House -- Before & After

I have seen that a lot of web sites are following the house progress, so I am posting some before/after photos. Please feel free to use the photos but do not share the URL of this blog. We are still moving in, so there is clutter here and there in the pictures. I'll update this later on when we are all set for prime time.
Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

3rd floor bedroom Before

3rd fl. bedroom After
House side After

House side Before

Foyer stairs Before

Foyer stairs After
Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

House front Before


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Big Move. Holy Moley

So the big news is that we now live in the country, and have divested ourselves of the city entirely. The last of our stuff arrived today, and we settle on the sale of the Federal Hill house on Friday or Monday.

Are we happy? Yes, we are thrilled. Did we have an organized and stress free move? Not on your life.

Here's how it went down:  I had carefully started boxing items in the house as I had time and was able to locate boxes. Therefore my Christmas decorations, old X-Box games and family photo albums were well labeled and organized for the move.

As the date of the move grew closer, it because increasingly unclear which date EXACTLY we would move, so we had a lot of trouble trying to figure out when to hire the movers.

One Friday night, Hambone said, "Let's try sleeping over night just to see how it is once." So we each packed a polite little bag with one pair of underpants, PJs and clothes for the next day.

On that Saturday, Hamslice woke up and declared that he was NOT GOING BACK TO FEDERAL HILL EVER AGAIN. And he was serious. When we went back to the city that evening he wouldn't get out of the truck. The city was dead to him.

Hambone looked at me, and I at him, as we slowly started unrolling big black trash bags. We then commenced feverishly packing everything we could put our hands on. We must have looked like we were running from the law we were packing so fast. Randomized bags of stuff started appearing in the kitchen. For example take these bags:
  • Pens and extension cords as well as three board games and a tea kettle
  • 5 blazers, a bag of dogfood and three frying pans
  • Shoe shine kit, all of our spatulas, a book on child birth and three pillows
The house had these random bags leaning against the walls throughout the house. There are nearly 50 of them. Our glamorous moving company idea was reduced to Hambone sending "the guys" who are general laborers. Because they are not professional movers, even more chaos was added into the mix. No labels on any containers, giant piles of mismatched items heaped on the floor, lawn furniture in the living room, aie yie yie.

At one point, Hambone even enlisted our maid to pack stuff.

So that was the move. The other news is that the house is not quite done. For example, the light switches are all set to work from a computerized lighting control. However that computer system doesn't work yet, so no  light switches work. We also have intermittent HVAC on the second floor, where the HVAC guy says it's all set, but then the next day the thing is shut off at the safety valve.

Meanwhile we are trying to keep the Fed Hill house in "like new" condition, but one of "the guys" unplugged the storage freezer in the garage with 4 pounds of meat in it. Now the garage smells like the bowels of hell.

And now that the house is "done" Hambone is starting work on a massive patio and 5 car garage. So this has been a lot of hammering and concrete pouring and stuff.

But we are on the way out, back to a semblance of normalcy that we can see "just over the horizon" which I will say is a far cry better than "out there somewhere."