Wrestling with the logistics

He misses out on so much, so much of the teenage life. You can only experience so much when you spend so much time isolated. What highlights the isolation is that since March 2020 he has spent some time with only ONE friend in that time – his only contact with someone his own age. Yes a really good friend but that’s a shed load of teenage socialising missed out on. It’s not the same but when a chance to do something special for him presents itself then you grab it, regardless of the difficulties.

The alarm went off before 5am.

300 miles of driving later, two traffic jams and we park up in Cardiff.

Trying frustratingly to find facilities that weren’t too busy and that could be used without causing too much stress.

Trying to take in a bit of the history of the Capital of Wales while avoiding the crowds.

Watching the anxiety levels rise as we join the long queues to get into a huge stadium.

But then the goal. The whole point of this. Getting the wrestling mad Hawklad into the UK’s first major Wrestling Televised Live Event in 30 years, along with 62000 other crazy fans. Was I so underdressed in a grey T-shirt and Jeans…. With much trying I had obtained 2 tickets at the back but crucially in an area with some space around us. Then for 4 hours Hawklad could be part of something, experiencing something different, something exciting. A brief breakout from the isolation

Then it was over, 300 mile night driving and almost 24 hours later we arrived back home. Wow I was tired. Yes it was difficult. Yes the trip highlighted many issues that create roadblocks to eventually easing the isolation and maybe returning him to a classroom. But Hawklad did some of that exciting living and that is all that mattered.

Where did that go

A weekend walk across the surrounding fields. No rain but the ground doesn’t need any more, it’s got enough to spare already.

The farmer has been busy.

Where did that weekend go. It was supposed to be a time to unwind. Much needed on Friday when homeschooling shut its doors but then in a blink of an eye it’s early Monday morning. In just a few hours the school week starts again. Why do I feel so tired. Not physically, just mentally. Probably the same reason Hawklad is starting to struggle so much with his schooling motivation. As he said yesterday – “I’m not learning anything interesting from school and I might not even get any qualifications out of it, what is all the effort for.”

So we plod on again this week. Plod feels like the perfect word for the schooling experience.

I remember a conversation we had a couple of years back. Talking about school. One throw away line from Hawklad sticks in my mind. It was something like…..

“Dad for a few thousand pounds I could go to wrestling school where they teach you how to wrestle. I might get more out of those few weeks than I end up getting out of all these years at school….”

Sadly he might have been right……

Wrestling with a decision

Still no word from school. A day of planning for a potential return lost….

Still no final decision on the return to the classroom. The case for school not helped by the Politician in charge of Education in my country. Remember him, the person with a horse whip on clear display on his desk. In his words schools are ‘safe and protected’. When asked how that was during a pandemic with up to 40000 new cases per day, he floundered and waffled. Then he said that because ‘The Government’ has installed CO2 monitors in schools. They would indicate where air quality was a problem. Windows could be opened, classes could go outside, they could consider other stuff…. He was then asked a simple question, had any schools received monitors for the start of Term and the answer was ‘NO, they will start to be issued later’. They have known about this for 18 months….. Why can’t they just invest in proper school ventilation and reduce the excessive class sizes in English schools….Why enforce masks on school buses but not in school. Finally just decide on what is happening with child vaccinations.

So what is Hawklad’s decision. Still no final word but here is a potential indication. He loves watching Wrestling. He loves going to see it when they tour. He can go to see a Wrestling Event in a few weeks. Normally he would have snapped my hand off for tickets. This time his answer was different.

“If I can’t manage school then I can’t manage going to see wrestling. No Dad don’t get tickets……”

Birds

Every single day we have two pigeons who plonk themselves on the back garden fence. It starts off all very civilised then after a few minutes, it all kicks off. Gets a little bit racy.

I like to think of it as two Pigeons practising for their WWE wrestling trials. Clearly what we are seeing is a spectacular flying elbow seamlessly transitioning into a deadly Coup de Grace finisher. Apparently son is not convinced. He is picking up the courage to explain the birds and the bees to me.

After an all too short wrestling match (or something else) the two move apart and refuse to talk to each other. So like life really……

So last week it was the last Terrible Poetry contest. To much celebrations it looked like I had hung up my poetry pants for good. Well….

This weeks sees Chelsea replace her old contest with The Weekly Hilarity Contest. This week the rules are

  • Write a short story, poem, song, or really long sentence about Birds.
  • Don’t make it too long. We’ve got real life to get back to.
  • The goal is to make me, the judge LAUGH ALOUD. Whoever tickles my funny bone the best will be crowned champion.
  • As a tip, I generally think and live in a G-rated world. I don’t find crude or profane things very humorous.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 8) to let Chelsea have your entry.

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

So my poetry retirement lasted 6 days. Sorry to disappoint everyone. Unusually this poem is not aimed at Boris Johnson. However as Boris is a massive BIRD brain, I did find a way to get a little abuse hurled at him – points will be awarded to the first person to find it in this hopefully truly appalling poem. See Terrible Poetry still lives………

Blimey what are those birds doing

Oh it’s such seedy x-rated viewing

Really, on our back garden fence as well

Is it not behaviour best saved for a seedy motel

Surely they are spoiling our gorgeous farmland view

Interrupting our peaceful world with something so taboo

Spending every day exchanging birdie pleasantries

Always trying to make so many more feathered babies

Fooling around as if there is no tomorrow

Oh having such fun and never showing any sorrow

One overriding thought about those feathered huggers

Lashings of rummy pumpy, those lucky little buggers

My excuse is that we don’t use a G rating in the UK. So I assume that G means Generally any word is Good to use.

Fit for radio

The walk across the local farm land always felt like top toeing across a minefield. Constantly looking down at my feet for the myriad little surprises. Cow piles, sheep droppings, mole hills, rabbit holes…. BUT NOW after weeks of walking exactly the same path it’s all changed. Suddenly my brain seems to have mapped out the various dangers. Now I can look up and take in the view. Luckily one view I don’t need to take in is my face. It’s definitely a face fit for radio.

It was Wrestlemania this weekend. It went ahead without a crowd. We now have a tradition in our house that we stay up and watch it live. Have a party and a bit of a challenge. See who is best at predicting the results. Last year my inevitable defeat cost me a painful forfeit. Eating the hottest chilli we could find in the supermarket. My eyes are still watering. This year the stakes were raised significantly…..

With his Aspergers, Son is often a creature of habit. Change is avoided. That includes things like clothes. As he grows out of stuff we need to find larger versions of his existing items. That also applies to me. He doesn’t like me to change. I have wanted to go for a really short hair cut for years. Unfortunately that has never been approved by his Lordship. Until now.

Ok Dad let’s stake your hair on Wrestlemania. If you win the prediction game then you can have your haircut. But if I win you can’t AND it will cost you your beard.”

Son found some old photos of us as a family of 3 featuring a beardless Dad. I think he secretly wanted me to go back to that look. So Wrestlemania came and went. I gave up counting after Son successfully predicted the first 10 matches and I DIDN’T. The end result – the beard went. I’m not sure I recognise that face in the mirror anymore. Son says I look younger. I’m not sure about that but we can both agree on one thing. It’s still definitely a face best suited to radio.

Stay safe everyone.

Ratings

It’s December. Its still sunny and its that time of year when you watch those movies you wouldn’t dream of watching during the rest of the year. It was like that before the world changed. It’s like that after the world changed.

But one teeny weeny request.

Please filmmakers and TV schedulers can we try not to do Christmas movies that at some stage involves death. Death of a parent, death of a lover, death of a pet, death of a main character. Last year we watched festive movies which without warning introduced the mum dying (3x), the dad dying (x1), grandparent dying (x1) and the family pet dying (x2). Really it’s CHRISTMAS. I know it’s hard to believe but many of us out here in viewing land will be going through grief. But it doesn’t stop there. I remember our son saying this during one particularly happy start to a film.

Why is it that so many films have a single dad whose either bad tempered, drinking and gambling. And the child who is behaving badly, has no friends and is being bullied. It’s never just a nice dad and child who are doing ok just a bit sad.

So what’s the answer apart from watch Guardians of the Galaxy on loop. Oh hang on that’s got a mum death. Ok apart from watching Big Hero 6 on loop. Oh hang on the robot dies. Ok part from watching Muppets Christmas Carol on loop.

Well the answer is a new movie classification system. One which actually tells you what the movie is really about. So for example if a PG movie contains a parent death you could label it PG-PD. Or if a pet dies it could be labelled PG-PED. Or if a loveable main character dies PG-LMCD. So as a parent I would be pre informed of the upcoming sadness. That way I can make an informed decision on if we should find another film.

So Big Hero 6 would be classified in the UK as PG-LMCD. Guardians of the Galaxy would be 12-PD.

But the new movie classification system could go further. Suddenly the movie watcher could be truly enlightened.

-JWTT all the best bits are in the movie trailer (Just Watch The Trailer)

-F movie contains super delicious looking Food (helpful for those trying to stick to a diet)

-A movie contains alcohol drinking (for those trying to give up)

-K movie contains Kissing (this ones for our Son, he doesn’t like kissing)

-ET movie contains Expensive Toys which kids may start wanting

-S movie contains Snakes and Spiders (useful for Ophidiophobia and Arachnophobia)

-L movie is Long so you had better go on the toilet before hand

-I movie is so boring that it’s a cure for Insomnia

-TD movie contains a Transport accident or Disaster (for those travelling tomorrow)

-AC movie contains Alvin and The Chipmunks

-NPCS this ones really important to stop wasting 10 minutes waiting for the Credits to finish at the end of the movie. It’s always a bit awkward being the only ones left in the cinema. No Post Credit Scene.

-W movie contains a Wrestler trying to act (think Hulk Hogan)

-WR movie contains The Rock acting (we like him)

-ANS movie has Action but No Story so you can safely fast forward between the action scenes

-HD movie claims to be true but is Historically Dodgie (think Braveheart)

-Q movie is very Quiet so probably not a good idea to get a mega sized popcorn tub

-U2 movie contains a grotesque playing of a Bono song.

Mind wrestling

Yorkshire weather. Good running weather. Why would I want to run in dry warm windless conditions. Well that’s what I tell myself. Maybe I’m like Count Dracula. I would turn to dust in direct sunlight. I wonder what I would do if someone offered me the chance though.

I’m mind wrestling with something at the moment. My partner was an epic traveller. She visited so many countries. It was her extravagance. From her late teens she would save up during the year for one great adventure. Family and her adventures was what she lived for. The adventures only stopped when we became a family. Her dream was that when our son became older we could have adventures together. The two places she always talked about was New Zealand (would have been her first time) and Chile. She always said that we would all love Chile.

Then life happened.

I really want to complete those journeys for her. Our Autism World may preclude that. Circumstances may preclude it. But we will see. I most admit a part of me doesn’t want to do those trips. It’s just not right that it would only be the two of us.

Sorry I digress. Back to my mind wrestling. So many adventures and so many photographs. All sat neatly and well organised in carefully stored albums. Here is the dilemma. Part of me wants to do a retrospective photo journal. Tell her travel story. Her trip to the Soviet Union (gives you an idea of the timeframe) maybe would be a great starting point. YET another part of me recoils at the idea. What if she hates that idea. What if I’m breaking some unwritten bond of trust. It’s like having two competing voices on either shoulder each shouting differing viewpoints on life.

She’s not here anymore. What’s the problem!

YOU KNOW SHE WOULD SAY NO. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOUR SERIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT THIS!

But this feeling is something I’ve grown used to over these three years. On virtually every major decision I have these doubts. ‘What do I want to do’ balanced against ‘what would she do’. I try to see the world through my eyes and at the same time through her eyes. Problem is that we were two completely different characters. We each had our own unique take on the world. We would frequently disagree on the right answer. Often we would compromise. I’m still trying to compromise now. Yet I can’t replicate her thought process. I never could and I never will. I’m probably getting her point of view completely wrong. But I still do it.

Maybe other people do this. Maybe it’s just me sinking further into cabin fever.

So am I going to publish this travel journal? I don’t know. WE still haven’t decided.

Odd day

It’s been an ODD day.

Work warned me that today was likely to be beyond busy. Yet I didn’t hear a thing. Finally I was stood down with nothing to do. Not good for the bank balance but at least I could go for a walk

On the walk bumped into a few people but clearly being pleasant was not high on their priorities today. An encounter with one dog walker summed it up perfectly. Her dog ran up to me and jumped up. I bent over and gave the happy little dog some attention. When the owner arrived she curtly told me not to stroke her dog and walked off. Most odd. Then.

I got to my favourite hay bale.

It’s gone… The other bales are still there and it’s not even been moved across to join them. I sadly counted them. I’m going to miss that bale. Got quite attached to it. I wonder if the farmer will think I’m odd if I ask him where it’s gone.

On the way back home I stopped off at the local village shop. Here I bumped into a dad whose boy was at our sons last school. Almost straight away he said

I didn’t realise your son was Autistic. I only found out yesterday when it was mentioned at school. Has he just recently gone down with it”

I tried to explain that you don’t really go down with it. It’s a life long condition.

Probably explains why he always appeared a bit odd to me”

Fighting the urge to relocate this mans head from his shoulders I did bite back just a tad. Pointing out to him that it was a bit rich coming from someone who liked to wear his designer shades even when it was raining in winter. Someone who was the only parent who objected to the school sending the kids on a educational trip to the local mosque. Someone who demanded a teacher be sacked after he told off his son for cheating repeatedly at sports day. And someone who was a monumental d*******.

Needless to say we didn’t part on great terms… an odd encounter

Son came home to tell me that his class ran late so he only got 10 minutes for lunch as a result he didn’t have any lunch. Odd how no food for 8 hours can be seen as creating a positive learning environment.

The day finished off with a viewing of the Fighting the Family movie. The story of Paige the WWE wrestling star. After it had finished our sons on the spot review was

Paige is great. It is so sad that she had to retire at 26. The film was really good but oddly remarkably awkward in places”

Yes it’s been a very odd day.

No more than four words

We tried a new game a few hours ago. We had no more than 4 words to describe someone. It initially started as purely a wrestling game but spread out into the wider world. It sounds easy but I found it extremely testing. Just shows how verbose I have become.

Anyway it started off with Wrestling.

AJ Styles – Son (Best Wrestler on Earth), Dad (He has lovely hair)

Becky – Son (The Man) *** that’s on all her T-shirts

Undertaker – Son (A bit creaky now) Dad (Older Than Me)

Edge – Son (Best Entrance Music Ever)

Kane – Son (Still my favourite)

Brock Lesnar – Son (Paid Too Much) Dad (Scary but very boring)

Vince McMahon – Son (Likes Pretty Women) or (Likes Big Sweaty Men)

Then we went outside the Wrestling world

President Trump – Son (Sneaky and not nice) Dad (Plays too much golf)

Stephen Hawkings – Son (Science GOAT) *** GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time, Dad (Appeared on The Simpson’s)

Einstein – Son (Science Second GOAT)

Homer Simpson – Son (Dad)

Hillary Clinton – Son (How did she lose)

Barack Obama – Son (Very Nice Clever Man) Dad (Can We Have Him)

Bill Clinton – Son (Cheeky and Naughty)

Bono – Son (Dad hates him) Dad (I hate him)

Gordon Ramsey – Son (Never heard of him) Dad (###@### f### off)

Bear Grylls – Son (Too mean to Bugs)

Squidward from Spongebob – Son (Dad)

PewDiePie – Son (YouTube Sensation) Dad (Who ???)

JK Rowling – Son (Made Money from Magic)

Patrick from Spongebob – Son (Dad)

Messi – Son (Footballs GOAT) Dad (Sign for Newcastle Please)

Arnold Schwarzenegger- Son (Terminator) Dad (Get Into the Chopper *** with an Austrian accent)

David Attenborough – Son (Mr Wildlife, Legend)

James Bond – Son (Drinks, Women, Guns) Dad (Sean Connery)

Prime Minister May – Son (Useless and Not Nice) Dad (Worst Ever PM)

Angela Merkel – Son (Proper Leader) Dad (Better than ours)

David Cameron – Son (Useless but almost nice) Dad (Caused this Brexit mess)

David Beckham – Son (Overrated) Dad (Never Liked Him)

Bill Gates – Son (Very Clever Very Rich) Dad (No More Updates Please)