Vegging Out

Another perfect day out, so I walked over, did some chores, and then got more done in the veg garden.  I planted more cilantro, broccoli, kohlrabi, red and green cabbages, and a mix of rocket, chicory, and mache.  I transplanted the okra from its pot to the garden.  I think I’ll call it a season.  Now there will be a whole variety of greens to choose from going into the cooler(??) weather–or second broiler, whatever they have here.

My old leg injury (from my wilder days) has been making it hard to walk, so I got an early ride home with Jess, who had been working at A’s.  I feel like a slacker!  I won’t even see the kids today.  But at least I got something done.


Almost One Year

It was another nice day out, so I walked over, did some chores, and got back to work on the garden.  I planted eight rows of fall/winter greens: cilantro, lettuces, kale, spinach, chard, pak choi, and carrots.  Avdi worked out on the patio.

Later we walked to S’s school with Joyce to pick up kids, and walked back.  I finally got to meet J’s friendly pit/lab mix, Petey.

The kids did HW, A and E went to the library and picked up K from a school club, and I played with S and made dinner.  Y was actually friendly to me today.  I started home on foot, but Joyce was just leaving and gave me a ride home.

It’s been different, not having to be there for the kids all day, just being there to help out while A has peace and quiet to get work done.  Issues still come up, but not continuously.  School is hard for the kids, but they seem to be hanging on.  I get to spend more nights at my apartment, where I can unwind and sleep better, which helps me rest up for each day at A’s.

It’s coming up on my one-year anniversary of moving to MO.  A lot has happened in one year.  It’s not a state I would have considered living in; politically speaking it can be a horror.  But I would not take back a minute of finally getting to catch up with my son and gkids, and their chosen family, wherever they live.


Falling into Place

I walked over to A’s again yesterday and worked on the veg garden while A and Jess (on her birthday) worked at the patio table.  I hoed everything that was not veggies and raked it out.  It was hard work, but I wanted to take advantage of decent weather.  Actually, it was around 90, but low humidity, so it seemed pleasant compared to the heat wave from hell.

Later, A and I walked over to S’s school to walk him home.  He’s having some usual issues, to be expected, but the teachers who work with him seem very capable.  At home, he did his reading HW without much prodding.  The other kids came home and did theirs.  I watched S build Lego things out on the patio, while A took Y on their errand.  I didn’t need to make dinner, so I brought some leftovers home with me to eat.

If you’re not snoring yet, here are some photos.  Less fraught drama means things are starting to level out and fall into a pattern, which is what we want.  I’m sure I’ll eat those words, but in general we’re all adjusting and adapting to living here, and learning how to cope with issues.

Only Vegetating in the Garden

Yesterday’s weather continued to be cool and pleasant, so I walked over to Avdi’s.  It was quiet with all the kids at school, and A just working.  He was actually able to take a break and take us grocery shopping.  Then back to work.  In addition to my usual routine chores, I was able to do some more garden cleanup.  I started hoeing and clearing the veg garden to prep it for next season.  I may sow it with some fall/winter cover greens.

When it was time for Avdi to walk over to S’s school to pick him up, I joined him.  I got to meet his teachers so they’d recognize me for future pickups.  Then we all walked home, S talking about his day the whole way.  He seems to be thriving there for the most part.  At home he immediately did his reading homework.

The other kids eventually arrived and proceeded to do their homework as well.  I was impressed with how they quietly got down to it.

I made dinner: baked cod and tilapia, red potatoes, and brussels sprouts.  Everyone (but S) seemed to like it.  Because of his sensory issues, he can’t handle most foods and other physical sensations.

Later, we all piled in the car and met up with Jess and R at Le Macaron for gelato, macarons, and beverages.  We half-filled the little place!  I tried violet gelato, very nice.  Then most of us returned home while Avdi and Y ran an errand (aborted, because closed).  Then he dropped me home.

I’m just touching on the outline of the day’s events, leaving out the various kid issues and meltdowns that invariably arise on a typical day.  “A typical day” (atypical) involves Avdi (and I) navigating around and dealing with all the crises that come up and getting through them.  Sometimes there are minor or major victories, such as E braving crowds and surviving, or Y not having all their demands met and sulking but cooperating.  (Y is “they/he” at the moment.  I’m learning to just use “they” for everyone, it’s easier!)  S continues to shut down and freeze or go berserk for certain routine tasks, but we’re trying out strategies and incentives that help him work through them.

Well, gotta get back to it!  I never know what each day has in store, but it beats vegetating.



Festival of Nations

This morning I walked over to Avdi’s, and I was almost cold, the weather had changed so fast.  I’m sure it’s a false teaser, but who’s complaining.  It stayed cool and cloudy, a perfect day for an outing.

All of us but S, who went to Jess’s to do gaming, piled in the car and went to the Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park.  There were food booths from all over the world, and not just the usual suspects.  They represented countries and cuisines on every continent.  And the visitors were obviously also from many of these places.

It just reinforced the fact that STL is an international crossroads, with populations from everywhere.  As you walked, the changing aromas were amazing and tantalizing.  It was also like a dog pageant of every conceivable breed and mix.  I definitely got my doggie fix.  The only downside was, the lines were ridiculously long, but mostly Avdi and E braved those, while Y and I relaxed among the trees.  K set off on his own to explore and meet up with us occasionally.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten out to a city event.  I almost forgot how!  It’s a little challenging with the kids being so needy and demanding sometimes, but not too bad.

When we picked up S on the way home, he started sobbing when he learned I was being dropped off at my apartment, and not staying.  He’s very attached to me, but this time of transition to school should help with that.  The other kids are like, whatever.


Hell to Back Burner; Reduce to Simmer

And just like that, the Hell Roast gave way to t-storms and normal temps.  What a contrast from this week.

It was almost freakishly quiet waking up at Avdi’s this morning.  Everyone went to bed early and slept in (other than S of course) after their exhausting week.  You could hear the thunder over the subdued kids!

S and I talked quietly for a while, brainstorming strategies for what might calm him down when one of his temper tantrums prevents him from proceeding.  Something seems to trigger him to freeze and go berserk for certain routine tasks.  No one, including himself, really understands what’s happening to him.  Apparently some neural circuits are not connecting properly.  It will take a while, hopefully not years, to get to the bottom of it and find solutions to help him function more typically.

The beginning is just understanding that it’s a neural development issue that requires extra work and support from us, not just a kid being “bad” or malicious on purpose, out of personal spite.  I wish my parents’ generation had understood that.  It stresses people out, but knowing how to respond appropriately, not blindly react in anger, is half the battle.

Avdi decided to get himself and the kids to neutral scenery, so they dropped me home and visited MOBOT’s Butterfly House, a tropical conservatory full of plants and butterflies you can interact with.  A perfect getaway on a pouring summer day.  As for me, more and more I’m torn between “fixturating” with the family and recovering at my apartment, but I chose the latter.  At least one of us gets to take timeouts.



Heat Index of HELL

THIS.  IS.  INSANE.  110 with heat index of 124!  If you don’t believe me, numbers don’t lie.

Our neighbor Joyce came over and just sat in the lukewarm pool to text on her phone.  Her daughter’s class lost AC and they could barely function.  After work and school, Avdi and S braved the broiler to just sit (not chilling) in the soup for a few minutes.  If you just stand out there you braise.  I tried it.  No way.  Next door, the construction crew had to work in this.  How do employers live with themselves?  No, there’s no climate change.

Indoors in the AC, I did my usual erev routine.  The kids made it home alive.  Joyce and I hung out with beers.  Avdi sank to the kitchen floor with a drink, after a long day of work.  Jess came over, and the whole family ate dinner together.  We celebrated the kids making it through their first week of school.  It’s a big achievement.  Things are mostly quieter here, since everyone’s exhausted.

Comatose and the Other Shoe

That could be a band name, do you think?

Once the kids were all situated and temporarily crisis-free, there was actually no need for me to skulk about at Avdi’s, so he dropped me at my apartment, and I immediately proceeded to drop into a coma for hours.  Then I woke up, did some stuff, and returned to the comatose state until later this morning.  I mean, I literally could not wake up, like I was drugged.  I think I may have been sleep-deprived!?

Unlike my privileged self, Avdi doesn’t get the luxury of sleep.  Inevitably, on the second day (today), the other shoe dropped.  I don’t have details, as I’m sure A is knee-deep in dealing with and resolving school bureaucracy and kid issues.  Eventually all will be sorted and decompressed, but it shouldn’t have to be so hard.

In lieu of flowers, here are some ducks in a row.  They’re significant ducks, in that Avdi gave me the skeleton, and S gave me one of his treasured plushies as a gesture of remorse after one of his violent meltdowns.



Into the Wild School Yonder

I returned for K’s birthday bash after all, because I needed to spend the night and “help” with the first day of school sendoff.

Needless to say it was a whirlwind of activity getting ready, accompanied by apprehension and anxiety, but everyone managed to get to their (3) respective schools by bus or on foot.  Avdi walked S to his.

Then we actually stepped out for coffee and croissants at the local hip café, just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  So far no urgent calls for rescue!  He dropped me home, where I’ll stay “on call” in case.  Maybe he can finally get some work done.

This is another big rite of passage for everyone, four neurodivergent kids starting three new-to-them schools in another state, after an eventful transitional summer.  Hopefully they’ll adjust, get the support they need, and make some friends.  And Avdi can work (or nap) undisturbed.  And I can go more part-time!


Marvin the Depressed Mushroom Robot and Other Tales of Mayhem

Sunday’s B&B in the extreme heat was a success, thanks to the pool!  Badminton was played almost as an afterthought, just to say they did.  I had a blast swimming and playing in the pool with all the kids and grownups all afternoon and evening.  Apparently, swimming, like biking, comes back!  I could swim laps like I used to.  Mostly I enjoyed riding around on the beer-holder floaty!  I almost didn’t recognize myself smiling and having a good time.  Very therapeutic.

Today I was back at Avdi’s to watch kids while Avdi took K to the movies (“Barbie”) and lunch for his birthday.  Meanwhile, we put up decorations for K’s party later this evening.  I wasn’t feeling that great, so I adjourned to the sofa.  Then S had the most violent meltdown yet, culminating in hitting me on the head, throwing objects at us, and trying to ruin the decorations.  All because I wouldn’t get up to look at something on the screen of one of his shows.  The “squirrels” helped me try to talk some sense into him, but it was useless.

When A came home, they and I briefed him on what had happened.  The consequence for S was me having to leave and go home, which was terrible for S, because he’s so attached to me.  He can’t tolerate not being the center of attention, and can’t handle his anger very well, but this consequence will hopefully stay with him.

All the kids are nervous or panicky about their first day of school tomorrow.  The logistics will be complicated, as well.  I’ll probably get to go back there overnight to help with keeping things moving along.  Then we hold our breath and hope the schools’ arrangements for assisting ND kids will make their adjustment period easier.

Here is Marvin the Depressed Mushroom Robot Sprinkler, who malfunctioned and gave up the ghost soon after making his B&B debut.  It was hilarious.  Also Y’s latest creature creation.