Homeless

Pets have really worked with our son. They provide so much fun and relaxation to him. Since he lost his mum they brought noise and life into the house again. That’s before we even consider the help they have provided with his Aspergers. Best parenting decision ever to bring them into our house. Not such a great financial decision but fiddle sticks to that.

One day we will get a sensible pet. It certainly isn’t the walking dinner plate which is our boy cat. It most certainly isn’t the mad pup currently outside trying to play hide and seek with the butterflies. The hope was that the three gerbils would bring some much needed sanity to the house. Team Gerbils maybe a super hero team ready to assemble but they are also a unrivalled demolition team.

The first house they had was plastic and lasted minutes. The second house was compacted straw and met a similar fate. We upped the anti for the third house with a construction of wood and wire. It has lasted longer however last night Team Gerbils got to work.

To be fair to them they did stack what was left of the house neatly to one side.

Dad we need to get them a new house don’t want them to get angry. You wouldn’t like them when they are angry.

So it’s wooden house version 2.

Notice that in the time it took me to get my mobile to take a photo Team Gerbils have got stuck into the roof.

If this house fails then it’s a phone call to Tony Stark and it’s time for Ironman Armour.

Progress

If you think that pesky dog is getting his bed back then he can think again….

Today is a bit of a milestone. After encouraging him for months son has today joined in a Minecraft multiplayer game with some of the other kids at his school. Thankfully it’s some of the really nice kids. He is currently sat wearing his game headset talking some strange language about mods and Ender Dragon Portals. Worryingly it’s a language I understand just about. That’s real progress.

Now I just need to make progress on the dog and cat sharing front. Not going to happen.

Shopping

I ventured into a Supermarket today. What was I thinking about. Son wisely stayed in the car and watched Red Dwarf episodes. When I went shopping with my partner it seemed to insulate me from the madness occurring around us. Now as a single shopper I seem to absorb everything. It’s a truly bizarre experience.

First of all why do some supermarkets insist that they will only permit you to use one of the trolleys only if you first feed it a one pound coin. Could I find a one pound coin. Could I buggery. After 10 fruitless minutes ransacking the car I had to go into the supermarket to see if they would change a £10 note. “I’m sorry we are not allowed to give change”. So I bought the cheapest packet of sweets I could find. I fed the trolley it’s coin and off we went – in circles. Why is it of the 100 trolleys available I picked the one with the jammed wheel. So I tried again. This time the trolley went in a reasonably straight line but as I entered the shop the little blighter started squeaking. When I say squeaking I mean SQUEAKING. We are talking a 10000 opera singing mice squeaking through the Motorhead sound system. Too late to change as my first items are loaded.

I was going to get a melon but I watched as a chap proceeded to pick up every melon, squeeze them and then appear to smell them. Eventually he found one which he could love. Unfortunately I suddenly did not fancy a previously sniffed melon.

A little kid picking his nose ferociously within inches of the deli counter rather changed my view on lunch options.

Unbelievably I then watched as a woman started checking out every single cucumber. She was seriously squeezing each one. Some even got tapped on the counter. Strangely I crossed off Cucumber from the shopping list as I have a strict no purchase policy for all previously violated vegetables.

As I was trying to find just one tin of soup which was dairy free I heard a chap ask a Shop Assistant where the teabags could be found. The helpful advice the chap got was – well it’s not in this aisle it will be next to the coffee. When the chap asked where the coffee was he was told. It used to be in aisle 3 but they moved it. I’m sure you will find it if you keep going round the shop.

Then an old lady asked if I could pass her a tin of peaches down. I’m one 1/2 inch above average height. Why in God’s name do shops insist on having shelves where even an average height person has to go on tip toes to reach the stuff we are trying to buy. The poor woman who can’t be 5ft has got no chance shopping. Maybe the shop could hire stilts along with the trolley.

The aisle with the tomato ketchup and other sauces was cordoned off. Clearly a jar of something red had been dropped. However it must have been dropped with some force as most of the aisle resembled a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That’s going to take some cleaning.

I then went past the discounted section. Not sure what produce was discounted as what appeared to be a team bus of local holligans where at least 3 deep around the area. That is going to be stripped bare.

The pet section had a deal on cat food. Everything seemed to be buy one get one free. Yet nothing for the dogs. Isn’t that discrimination. Plus how can gerbil bedding be so bloody expensive. It would be cheaper to buy them a proper duvet with matching cover. Or maybe just buy them a tree and let the Gerbils do the rest.

You make it through the pet section then you find the way blocked at the cereal aisle. An impromptu meeting of what appeared to be the bridge club had helpfully completely filled the walkway. Oh for a Battering Ram.

Special mention to the poor mum who had successfully navigated the supermarket carefully packing her trolley with the weekly essentials. Only to find out her toddler had been having a great game of putting any item in his reach back onto the shelves – definitely not in the correct position.

Then we come to the dress sense. Ok on the sartorial scale I’m near the bottom. But come on. One chap in a fine pinstripe suit with bright yellow training shoes. The lady in what can be best described as a ballerina costume. The young kid (maybe 8) with the f**k you T-shirt. Or maybe the chap walking around in what appeared to be a string vest which was probably last washed 10 years ago. Or perhaps the big chap walking around in Tour de France Lycra which was clearly on the point of exploding under the extreme pressure it was subject to. Wow what an old fart I’m becoming. To balance things out I was looking spectacular in my luminous green running shoes set against a blue and green relaxed fit T-shirt. My exploding lycra issue was tastefully hidden under matching black and white running shorts. I think the term your trying to think of is numpty.

The freezer section lives up to its name. The freezers are working that well that the surrounding air has been chilled to somewhere close to East Antarctic Plateau temperatures. You could see the colour literally being sucked out of the shoppers trying to reach the ice lolly section. To my cost I discovered how little insulation running shorts and Lycra provide. I will never look at frozen Brussels Sprouts in the same way again.

Then it’s time to pay. When I say time I mean that in the loosest sense. A long queue at every open till. Then they start to open another till. The start to the Monaco Grand Prix has nothing on the ensuing trolley carnage. I was expecting Kirk Douglas and Chariot to make an appearance. And then when we do get to a cash till. Of the 16 available why do I always pick the one where the poor cashier has the plague. 5 minutes of coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose. Deep Joy.

That’s why I am hermit….

Don’t look

If I don’t look will it go away…

Today in the post we got a Car Tax Reminder. Also the final notice for the House Insurance. That adds to the pile of bills on the desk. If I don’t look at the bills will they go away…

The side panel on the car is coming loose. If I drive over 30mph it starts to knock. The car is covered in a layer of mud – it should have a beautiful complexion when it’s cleaned. The inside of the car resembles a skip. If I don’t look at the car…

Son badly needs a haircut. It’s a combination of Shaggy and Cousin It. His school clothes are a little small for him now. Its the great end of school year parent dilemma – pay for new ones or battle on with the old. If I don’t look at his hair and his school uniform…

The chimney pot has a plant growing out of the top of it. When I say plant it’s big enough to be a sapling. No idea how I will get onto the roof to deal with it. If I don’t look at the roof…

On the desk I have another report to complete for our son. 32 pages. 52 different questions. Health and Education evidence required. If I don’t look at the report…

The garden looks like a jungle. A really unkempt one. The grass is that long the dog now disappears when he goes out for his morning constitutional. At least it hides the fresh mole hills. Nettles have taken over the borders. The weeds under the trampoline are now touching the mat. Could make the next bouncing session interesting. If I don’t look at the garden…

The washing is piling up. I always wanted to climb Everest. Well at this rate I might get the opportunity. Ok I probably imagined a slightly less wiffy Everest and one with not so many sock avalanches. If I don’t look at the washing…

The house is a battleground. Most of the curtains have been shredded by the cat(s). When I say curtains I could say sofa, beds, chairs, wallpaper, carpets, cushions. Most of the wood in the house has been chewed by the dog. Given the amount of wood in the house it kinda makes a dog heaven and a house which is becoming increasingly structurally unsound. Thats before we factor in the agents of doom – the Gerbils. If I don’t look at the house…

If I don’t look will that mad dog stop looking at me…

Best buddies

Three things from this photo

  • OMG the garden needs some attention (only a little bit in view but it’s a fair representation of the rest)
  • I must take down last years Catherine Wheel Firework
  • Captain Chaos with a couple of his best buddies.

The dog has many buddies. Our fat cat (he particularly likes him when he is covered in food and he becomes a mobile dinner plate). The Frog and the Toad who he desperately tries to lick when they hop across the garden. The Pigeon who he follows round the garden. The Sheep who he likes sniffing. The Squirrel who buries his nuts in our lawn and the dog who goes round digging them up. AND TWO COWS.

The farmer has a herd of cows in the field which backs onto our garden. Something like 30 cows and he will bark at 28 of them. Especially if they come anywhere near our (sorry his) fence. So they tend to keep their distance. But two cows are different. Two are clearly special. He doesn’t bark at them, just wags his tail furiously. When the cows see the dog they immediately head towards the fence and meet the crazy mutt. Then the meeting of species gets a tad personal. Nose to nose, looking into eyes and much licking. I’m not sure who has got the worse of this arrangement. Not sure I fancy being licked by a cow but I’m not sure a crazed Captain Chaos lick attack is much fun either. This lasts for about 5 minutes then they slowly walk along the fence munching on grass. This can go on for hours – it’s the only time the dog does anything slowly. Yes our dog pretends to be a cow.

Have any of your pets had strange buddies?

Tell me why

In my voice – Tell me why

  • My partner was taken from us when she was so young.
  • The system continually fails our son.
  • The Government can find billions to bribe other parties to keep it in power but can’t find the money to fund education support for the kids who need it.
  • I don’t sleep anymore.
  • They say the world is getting smaller yet I feel so isolated.
  • Chocolate has so many blooming calories.
  • Hair doesn’t like growing on my head yet it sprouts like an Amazonian Forest on the back of the my hands.
  • The cat continually finds a way into the wardrobe.
  • I can’t find any socks in this house.
  • They never made a Captain Scarlet movie.

In our son’s voice – Tell me why

  • My mum had to die.
  • Both my grannies had to die.
  • My hamster had to die.
  • My girl cat who was like a sister to me had to die.
  • I can’t read.
  • Some people think I am stupid just because I am autistic and dyslexic.
  • Shops have to be so busy.
  • Hazard is leaving Chelsea.
  • Do people have to kiss in films.
  • Marvel Movies are way better than DC Movies.
  • Most kids don’t like rock music.
  • Broccoli wasn’t deemed an inedible plant.
  • My Dad can’t cook.
  • In our dogs voice – Tell me why
    • I get shouted at for pinching socks.
      I get shouted at for digging holes.
      I get shouted at for eating garden tools.
      I get shouted at for eating garden furniture,
      I get shouted at for digging up plants.
      I get shouted at for burying stuff like socks.
      I get shouted at for pulling bits of the apple tree off.
      I get shouted at for escaping.
      I get shouted at for climbing in the hedge.
      I get shouted at for eating cat poo, cow poo, sheep poo.
      I get shouted at for pinching food.
      My best friend isn’t with us anymore. I know I am a dog but she was a really cool cat.

    In our boy cats voice – Tell me why

    • My sister isn’t with us anymore.

    • My best friend, the really lovely woman has gone. I miss siting on her lap.
    • I get shouted at for missing the cat litter by several feet.
    • I get really shouted at for missing the litter by so many feet I hit the wall.
    • I get shouted at for sitting in front of the TV when a movie is on.
    • I get shouted at for sneaking into the wardrobe and getting white hairs on all the black clothes.
    • I get shouted at for falling in hot plates of food.
    • I get shouted at for always tripping people up.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the laptop.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the toaster.

    In our gerbils voice – Tell me why

    • We don’t live in a toilet roll factory.

    We need more silly days

    National Clear Your Clutter Day. What other useful or strange days exist in our wacky races type of world. Today is apparently Hamburger Day. Tomorrow is Learn about Composting Day – I defer to Rory for all things to do with composting. Before I start getting a bit Monty Python some national days are truly great ideas.

    Zero Discrimination Day – 1st March

    World Wildlife Day – 3rd March

    World Autism Awareness Day – 2nd April

    World Red Cross Day – 8th May

    World Environment Day – 5th June

    World Refugee Day – 20th June

    Then you get some other days…. Some other notable days include

    National Hug Your Cat Day – 4th June …. that’s for the brave amongst us

    National Donald Duck Day – 9th June

    National Take Your Cat to Work Day – 19th June ….. that’s a good idea

    National Kissing Day – 22nd June

    National Fried Chicken Day – 6th July

    World Emoji Day – 17th July

    National Hammock Day – 22nd July

    National Avocado Day – 31st July

    Spider-Man Day – 1st August

    National Sponge Cake Day – 23rd August

    You get the picture.

    So it got the two of us thinking about what days we would introduce. Some of these might already exist but that would confirm many things in my mind. The really astute of you might be able to work out who came up with some of these ideas.

    21st June Trim my beard day – as it’s National Kissing Day on the 22nd

    23rd June What was the point of a trimming my beard day – as it’s the day after National Kissing Day

    National bring your Pokemon to Work Day

    National let Newcastle United win a Trophy Day

    Go to the Supermarket dressed as Ironman Day.

    International Hug a Nettle Day

    International Captain Scarlet Day

    National Let a Pet run your country day

    International Sing Like Alvin the Chipmunks Day

    Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Purge Day

    National only eat Tomato Ketchup Day

    International Loki Day

    National Take your Gerbils to a Toilet Roll Factory Day

    International Burn Your Socks Day

    The International don’t cut your grass YEAR

    International Act like a Superhero or Galactic Villain Day.

    National Don’t Get Lost Day

    International Smurf Day

    National Take photos of pretty yellow flowers while accidentally standing in dog poo Day

    National Take Ozzy Osbourne for a Pizza Day

    National Take Ozzy Osbourne to the Alamo Day … you might get arrested with this one

    International Your Dog doesn’t dig your garden up Day

    National Dress up like Inspector Gadget Day

    National Pamper a Mole Day so he doesn’t dig up your garden day

    Admit you don’t like rhubarb and you live in Yorkshire Day

    That Monday morning feeling

    That Monday morning feeling.

    Is it Monday already. What happened to the weekend.? That’s what the cat was thinking.

    You know it’s going to be one of those weeks when the door bell rings at 7am. A food delivery to the wrong house. Wonderful. Sod’s law states that this happens only on a bank holiday and on the only morning when we are both asleep past 6am.

    I open the door and a delivery man smiles and hands me a cucumber.

    ****************

    Morning Mr Peters. Can I just hand you this first. For some reason they are handing out free cucumbers today as a free promotional offer.”

    Erm I’m not Mr Peters.

    Your food delivery sir”

    It’s not ours I’m afraid.

    Its very grey today, hope you are well.”

    Sorry wrong address.

    It is ok if I deliver now. I know the order time was 7.45 and I’m a few minutes early. Hope I didn’t wake you”

    Sorry yes you did wake me…. hang on why am I apologising.

    I will just go and get the frozen items”

    You have the wrong address.

    The directions on the order were difficult to find. Next time maybe mention looking out for the church on the right”

    Clearly there is only one person here who is asleep and sadly it’s not me.

    No substitutes today but we only have one pack of apples, so you are one short. You won’t be charged for it”

    I bloody well won’t be charged for it as it’s not mine. YOU HAVE THE WRONG ADDRESS.

    Oh. Are you sure?”

    YES

    “Really”

    Yes really.

    “But the Sat Nav directed me here”

    It’s the wrong house.

    Oh I will just go and phone base to check”

    Trust me you don’t need to. I can confirm I did not order this. What’s the address on the order.

    I’m sorry I can’t tell you that due to Data Protection rules sir”

    Now desperately trying not to attack this person with the cucumber. Looking at the delivery note on top of the fresh fruit you are in the wrong village. You need to be 2 miles further down the road.

    ***************

    He quickly grabbed the delivery note so he didn’t breach any further privacy rules. Looked blankly at it for a few moments. He then mumbled an apology and left. As I watch him drive away I realise I still have the cucumber in hand. Too late. Well at least I’ve got a piece of fresh food as compensation.

    I kid you not – 5 minutes later the delivery man returned for his cucumber. They only had one for each delivery house…

    Unbelievably the rest of Monday was uneventful. After a brief visit to his food the cat has basically not moved. Same expression. It’s the expression the delivery driver had. It must be the Monday look.

    Storm Bunker

    We had a large thunder storm pass over this afternoon. The cat was taking no chances. After the first bang he made his way to his storm bunker.

    Unbelievably the early morning cinema screening was very full. The cinema was mobbed. Not seen crowds like that since the ‘Everything for a Pound’ Store had a sale. It’s not a statistical significant sample population but from the early morning hordes I guess that The Avengers movie is going to pull in some astronomical numbers.

    And yes it is an astonishing movie.

    Yes the crowds unsettled our son but we took our customary place on the front row so no one could be in front of him or to the left of him. It’s so close to the big screen that I come away feeling like I’ve been chewing on magic mushrooms but it works for him.

    For 3 hours we both lost ourselves in the Marvel Universe. All our problems and anxieties forgotten. Heroic deeds fill your heart. With even a bit of free grief counselling thrown in by Captain America. But sadly it doesn’t last. You eventually find yourself back in the same place with the same issues.

    In fact it feels like we have regressed. Fifteen months ago we eventually secured some anxiety counselling for our son. I say ‘we’ as the fight to get some help started while my partner was still very much with us. It seemed to really benefit him. Progress was starting to be made. But now due to cutbacks that support has dried up. The anxieties are building and it feels like the system has cast him adrift again. We have been lucky really – far too many families get zero help – all they get is patronising comments from politicians who have no interest beyond their off shore bank accounts and rich friends.

    So as the thunder rumbles on we try to fight demons. Health anxieties, fear of death, school anxieties, friend anxieties, social anxieties, reading anxieties, fear of being left alone anxieties…..

    I’m no psychologist. I’m no health professional. I’m no education specialist. I’m not a grief counsellor. I’m just a parent trying to figure out this increasingly bizarre world with no one to help guide me. Doing the best I can. Deep down this scares me as what chance do I have when I can’t even come close to fixing myself. Queue worried face. 😱

    Pleased to report the immediate threat to life and property must have passed as the cat has made his way back to his favourite chair again. That’s one less worry to deal with.

    Get on your back..

    It’s been a ‘on your back’ sort of day.

    Not just for the pets.

    First we played football in the garden. Son wasn’t keen on using his boots so I dug out mine as well. As a I put my boots on I warned son that they would be hard to walk with on the pavement. He was fine but I perfectly demonstrated the point by going ‘arse over tit’.

    About an hour later I was again on my back. This time I made the mistake of trying to walk on our bathroom floor with just socks on. Sheet ice is easier to walk on.

    While I was on my back I spotted a sheet of paper under a sideboard. It was a photocopy of a checklist school had given us years ago. A checklist about Aspergers. Son was keen to see how he compared to the bullet points.

    Social interaction
    Children with Asperger’s disorder might:

    • start interactions with others but have difficulty keeping a conversation going – rarely now
    • interact with people if they need something or want to talk about something that interests them, but not because they’re genuinely interested in other people – never
    • interact in an awkward and stilted way – for example, they might avoid eye contact while speaking or interpret things literally – sometimes
    • interact more easily with adults than with children – rarely now
    • not show emotion or empathy. – rarely

    Communication and language
    Children with Asperger’s disorder might:

    • be very verbal – for example, they might label everything in a room – sometimes
    • join words together at the usual developmental stage (around two years) – sometimes
    • communicate with others about their own interests –sometimes
    • use a flat or monotone voice – rarely now
    • answer questions, but not ask questions if the topic doesn’t interest them. – sometimes

    Repetitive or persistent behaviours
    Children with Asperger’s disorder might:

    • have restricted or obsessive interests that make them seem like ‘walking encyclopaedias’ about particular topics – definitely BUT his range of interests is much wider than mine.
    • prefer routines and rules – 100% Definitely
    • not respond well to change. – 100% Definitely

    As you can see the checklist was a bit mixed in comparison to our son. All kids (and adults) are different with their own specific traits. And these traits change over time. Also it is common that Aspergers will not just be the only diagnosis – frequently it interacts with other medical and psychological conditions. I’ve not seen a checklist yet which completely ties in with our son. Probably never will.

    Maybe one day we will have a go at a specific one for our son. One that takes account of Aspergers, Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia. But not today – back and buttocks are too bruised for that. But off the top of my head (or from the centre of my bruised posterior) maybe the above checklist could have added:

    • Clumsy
    • Takes language literally
    • Likes lining items up in straight lines
    • Struggles socially when ‘new faces’ are in the room
    • Can be socially anxious
    • Flapping hands
    • Poor fine motor skills
    • Difficulty understanding the concept of time
    • Can become distressed in locations with excessive sensory levels. Noise, bright colours, wall patterns
    • When sensory overload is encountered can go into meltdown

    I will leave it at that. Let’s not assume all people with Autism and Aspergers are the same with identical traits. It’s not just stereotyping round Rainman. Equally it’s not just about stereotyping around being geniuses like Einstein. Everyone is unique.

    Now it’s time to lie down on my front and rest my battered back…