The Green Study’s “Positively Happy Nice Story” Contest: 1st Place

canstockphoto142844611st Place goes to Kiri at The Dust Season for the “A Happily-Ever-After Story Involving Break-Ins and Police Action”. It takes a village to raise a child, but those villages often wait to show themselves. At just the right moment…

She was sent one Green Study Coffee Mug, a postcard from Minneapolis and $100 donation was made to the American Red Cross on her behalf.

“A Happily-Ever-After Story Involving Break-Ins and Police Action”

By Kiri at The Dust Season

My son is an escape artist. He revels in finding ways around the protective prison cocoon of his home life. This would be fine, if my son were normal. But he isn’t and this story isn’t. So, before everyone gets up in arms about my use of the word ‘normal’ in relation to my son, let me get one thing straight: something beyond ordinary happened—and that’s okay.

I am coming to terms with the fact my autistic son is getting older, bigger, faster—and let’s be honest—smarter than I am. He recognizes that, by the end of the week, mommy is flat out exhausted and lacking in due diligence. This has led to several problematic incidents involving the police.

Before my mother-in-law left to go back to sunny (drought ridden) California, we were enjoying a last Masterpiece Theater. We were snuggled on the couch waiting for Inspector Lewis to figure out who dunnit when there was a knock at the door.
Argh, fifteen minutes to the end….

canstockphoto17258172As I approach the door, I spy the red and blue lights flashing against the windows. This does not clue me in. I open the door to find an officer standing there.

“Ma’am, don’t you answer your phone?” The officer says.

“Uh, we don’t have a home phone, just a cell phone.” I say, nonplused.
(Note: No alarm bells are ringing yet. I haven’t had this pleasure before.)

His next question sets off alarm bells aplenty.
“Do you have a son?”

*DING! DING! DING!*

I scream my son’s name, whip around to go search the house despite the quite apparent evidence he—like Elvis—has left the building.

“Ma’am. Ma’am. I need you to calm down.”

I’m frantically grabbing shoes, my purse, my phone which has been in my bedroom recharging, but the officer won’t let me leave until I am no longer hyperventilating.

“Your son is fine. A neighbor called it in.”

Turns out my son was visiting a cul-de-sac two blocks east and north of our home. It’s a favorite route of his when we take walks. Someone at that address saw my son and realized how odd it was to see a boy scribbling on paper squatting in someone’s driveway at 10:30 p.m.

I follow the officer in my car, we get to the location where another officer is waiting with my son. He didn’t restrain him, just walked with the boy until mom arrived.

A conversation ensues in which I learn they figured out who my non-verbal child was because of a piece of paper he had in his hand which had his name scrawled on it. They called the local principal who helped to identify my son through process of elimination.

canstockphoto8143483This would be a feel good story, if it ended here. This alone, this interaction in which nothing bad happened despite the unlimited opportunity would be enough. But no, my son discovered his super power and he is now making the most of it.

Two more times, since this one, my son has escaped my hawk-like surveillance.* All of these times coincide with Sundays when I am tired, distracted, and just a little too grateful that he is being ‘quiet’ and ‘good’ when actually he is breaking into the local church and, then, two weeks ago, a neighbor’s home—a neighbor we don’t know.

This is where true serendipity comes in.

My twelve-year-old, who is big enough to no longer have the automatic cute appeal of a child, entered a stranger’s home. The stranger was alone at home with her small child and a dog.

I promise you, I have spent many nerve wracked hours imagining what could have happened. What might have happened. What didn’t happen.

Instead, the woman contacted the police. The police contacted me because they have my son’s information on file and now are getting to know him. The woman even took her dog outside because my son seemed upset. The woman was not mad, did not blame me and even tried to console me. I was never made to feel like I was a bad parent because I couldn’t keep track of my child.

In a world that is so very eager to tell you the worst case scenario, where autistic children die from wandering, where the police react before recognizing a special needs situation, it felt important to share that sometimes things turn out okay. And that’s simply extraordinary.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:
*If by hawk-like surveillance you mean geriatric, near-sighted-buzzard-distracted-by-carrion awareness.

Afterward
canstockphoto34208068The author has now installed a door alarm which shrieks like a demented banshee whenever the rear door is opened so much as a sliver. It is the most beautiful, heart-attack-inducing sound you will ever hear.

Congratulations Kiri (for winning and for your new door alarms)!

Here’s The Dust Season Sampler:

An Unnatural Brunette Gets Political

A Creep in the Nighttime

A Villain After My Own Heart…

The Green Study on Break: The Blog Days of Summer

canstockphoto13311430It’s a fortunate thing I’ve taken a break from writing full blog posts, which would likely be an unending string of complaints followed by an occasional whine and a dollop of self-pity. Transition to nursing home. Transition to middle school. Transition to my own personal hell of over-scheduled, chaotic days and lots of interaction with people I don’t particularly care for – I’m apparently legally related to a lot of them.

Stress brings out the best and worst in me. For sheer making-things-happen moxie, I’m the person you want. Details, information, follow up on meds, money and hygiene? I’m the bullet. I reserve gentleness, what I have of it, for those I care for and love. But I am also impatient, have little regard for sentimentality and am likely an eye roll away from punching someone out. As I’ve said repeatedly to no one in particular “shit does NOT always take care of itself”. For those who think that the universe will work everything out on its own, you’ve never dealt with the mind-boggling bureaucracy for aging humans.

And here’s a tip: If a waft of urine rolls over you when you open the front door of a nursing home (euphemistically now called a Care Center), this might not be the place for your loved one. Also, if the employees’ name tags are handwritten on pieces of paper taped to their uniforms, this might indicate also NOT A PLACE FOR YOUR LOVED ONE. I saw both during tours yesterday.

So, onward and upward, my friends. I continue my month of blog introductions with 4 more blogs – a blogging buffet, with a little something for everyone.

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Meet Alice at Coffee and a Blank Page:

Coffee and a Blank Page: I am a feminist memoirist and academic who writes about sex, bodies, minds, and violence. In that process, I also think I write about hope.

Most of my posts fall into one of three categories, so I’m linking to a sample of each:

ATTN: Men, This Is Not How Doors Work [feminist and ranty]

Portrait of the Statue as a Young Girl [memory project]

This Is Not a Poem [though yes, it actually is a poem]

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Meet Evan at The Urban Vertical Project:

I run a blog about urban vertical farming. Through vertical farming, I truly believe we have a way to save the world. Agriculture contributes a third of all greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the highest water polluters in the world. But, there are tons of awesome ideas bouncing around about how to save the planet through farming. I try and share those with people and give them some inside information about how they can get started themselves.

Check out:

The first vertical farm showdown: Why you need to know what’s happening in Singapore 

Fresh Water Greens: A Hydroponic Success Story

and, for a summary of the potential for vertical farming in general: How to convince your friends vertical farming is the next big thing 

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Meet Kirizar at The Dust Season:

IMG_7940My blog is a platform for all the voices in my head. I’m tired of listening to them and they need a new audience, so it’s a win-win, really.

You can listen to the inner nattering of my SciFi Geek Girl finding humor in embarrassing situations in: Captain’s Log: To Boldly Go…

Or, you can enjoy my whimsical (read: borderline bad taste) humor in Friday Fictioneers: Jolly Green Giant Dead at 55

Lastly, you may admire my honesty or scorn my openness in: On How To Shave Your Legs When You are Middle Aged.

Giving you a window into my soul will give you a greater appreciation for people who keep their drapes closed.

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Meet Carrie at Philosofishal:

My blog spans reviews and reflections on the arts; teachings and resources on writing; samples of my creative work; my thoughts on dogs, birds, and sea otters (all things that eat fish, oddly enough); and tributes to free speech, reason, and blogs I enjoy.

Three posts provide a good starting point:

Play-Write: A Reply to “On Treating Writing as a Form of Play” – A core theme of my artistic philosophy includes links to several posts on the topic.

Wild Verses: Bits of Nature Poetry, 6 of 10 – A poetic sample links to the first 5 showcased excerpts of my nature poetry. I’m currently featuring a similar series of famous poets’ work.

Scotland’s Burns and Outlander Rival Shakespeare’s Bawdy – A fun, racy resource, and a related post, decodes and glosses a slice of the TV show Outlander.

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I ran out of Wednesdays for all the blogs offering up intros, but I’ll post again on Monday, August 31st to introduce the rest and wrap up the month.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

The Green Study “What’s on the B Side of that 45?” Contest: 2nd Place

2nd place goes to Kiri at The Dust Season for “Personals vs. Real Estate, Financing Available”. This essay made me laugh, while thinking that I might need a contractor or ten as well.

She was sent one Green Study Coffee Mug, a postcard from Minneapolis and $75 donation was made to the American Red Cross on her behalf to her local Red Cross Chapter.

“Personals vs. Real Estate, Financing Available”

By Kiri at The Dust Season

canstockphoto22518543I have come to the conclusion that, in terms of real estate, I am what’s known as a fixer-upper. Or, rather, a handy-man’s special. Now, before you interrupt, saying, “No, no. You are what’s known as a woman who’s been ‘well-loved’ and ‘priced to sell’.” Let me just stop you there. This isn’t that kind of post.

House hunting has brought me to a new appreciation of the dating site I am on…which shall remain nameless, but bears a resemblance to being the K-mart of free online dating. Not quite as well-known as Thatch.com or Dis-Harmony (names changed so I won’t get sued) but just as great at getting me out there on the market.

Looking at houses and being critical of poorly vented furnaces, lousy window installations and shaky roof construction makes me wonder, is this why I haven’t found a buyer keeper on my dating site? Maybe it is a seller’s market there too! Hear me out.

If I took a look at myself as a prospective home buyer might, I’d like to say I see the same solid construction and weather-proofed body of my twenties and thirties. I’d point out all the selling features: Look she’s maintained the furnace and all the pipes work. She even comes with ample storage.* This gal has everything you are looking for when it comes to putting down roots. But the truth would come out in the inspection, so what’s the point? I’m all about the disclosure statement, which would probably look something like this:

canstockphoto2439049This structure hasn’t been updated in a while. Still has original fixtures! Some wear and tear and it will need a new support beam sooner rather than later. The paint has faded a bit, but just needs a splash of color makes it look shiny and new again. Comes with child already attached. Warning, house has some issues: intermittent gas may cause an odd odor to linger in the basement. Foundation has shifted over time and the balcony is in need of buttressing.** And, if you watch a lot of comedy, it is prone to leaks.

When you look at all the flaws, it is hard to see why someone might be willing to put down an earnest deposit. But, I remind myself, someone did once before. He was a special homeowner, that guy. He didn’t notice the flaws and always played up the character and love gleaming beneath the clutter. He even put up with the kitchen’s tendency to feed him vegetables for dinner. So that’s what I’m waiting for, a buyer who can see past the cosmetic and value the classic. In that light, here’s my offer:

New Listing:

This little family model is ready for the right buyer. Presently it is built for two, but has room for growth. The property has a huge entertainment center—both outdoor and indoor—and you’ll spend so much time in the kitchen you won’t notice the squirrels in the attic. Don’t pass up this opportunity, this gal’s got massive potential.

canstockphoto6630357I took my listing down for a while for a lack of a committed buyer, but I am contemplating putting myself back out there and all this house hunting has got me thinking…maybe it’s time to spruce up my curb appeal? So, stay tuned for Next Week’s Installment of This Old Broad, where a team of workmen pinpoint my flaws and try to refurbish me for a quick flip!

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Not sure this is a selling point, now I come to think of it.

**It was too perfect. How could I not say it?

Congratulations Kiri!

Check out her blog and see what This Old Broad is up to:

You Hate Me, You Really, Really Hate Me.

Long-Term Sleep Deprivation = Permanent Brain Damage, or….

Home Buying for Morons, Part III: The Good, The Bad and the So Very Ugly