Taking the Scenic Route

The job hunt, Last day of Reading Explorers, upcoming plans

10th May 2008

The job hunt, Last day of Reading Explorers, upcoming plans

Two interviews this week

He had the first half of his interview for the same job he has done over the last couple of years.  The fact he even has to interview for it is really annoying, and part of the reason we are looking elsewhere.  The other part is that it is for just a one year contract, again.  We are tired of only having a year at a time because it feels like our lives are constantly on hold.  That, and the pay sort of stinks.  It went fine, as expected.

The more exciting news is the new job downtown.  He went in thinking it was one thing, and came out feeling like it was bigger than he was expecting.  It seems really exciting, but we are really having to do research to see what to ask for as far as salary.  The job itself sounds interesting and he is excited at the possiblity of the new challenges.  This could be a very good thing.

He is starting to get some emails about the federal job down south, but nothing firm yet.  Something about batch processing the applications and him being on the recommended lists or something…I was really confused as to what that was exactly.


Zane’s last week of Reading Explorers

His last meeting for the group took place during Zach’s interview, so I had Zora with me too.  She joined right in.  She is little enough that her feet barely touched the floor, even on the diminutive benches. 

We had parent teacher conferences with Zane and all is going well.  (I knew most of what she said since I observe all of the sessions, but she has to practice giving the conferences anyway)  Looking towards the summer plans and we are probably going to have the same student therapist.  That is a good thing.  She started out a bit rough, but really improved as the semester went on.  She is pretty good now, and I am glad to have her carry over in the summer.  I think we are going to start using some RDI methodology, which makes me happy.  One of the early things we worked on with him is joint attention and social referencing, but at the most basic levels.  He did better, but as everything else has improved language wise, that never really grew with it, so it is rather glaring now.  So, we are going back to address some of those issues.

He also made me a Mother’s Day gift. (picture below) Made my heart happy. 

Because the last day took place at the same time as the interview, Zach dropped the kids and me off at the clinic, expecting to be back in plenty of time.  Well, the interview went over an hour longer than planned.  As I was gathering up Zora, Zane got mixed in with the crowd of people heading out the door of the classroom and, with all of the confusion, I couldn’t get his attention to wait for me.  This has happened before, and there are students out in the hall that help manage the chaos, so although I was a little upset, I wasn’t really alarmed until I got out in the hallway and he wasn’t there.  I picked up Zora and sprinted down the hall to the lobby and outside to see if he was in the parking lot.  He wasn’t, I ran back inside and within about 30 seconds there were a good 20 people looking for him.  We found him.  He went into either the bathroom or the storage closet next to the classroom (basically took a left instead of a right out into the hallway…he was within 3-5 feet of the classroom door the whole time, so he might have heard me and done the best he could under the circumstances).   By the time he was found (which was really just a few minutes or so) I was drenched in sweat, and my heart was racing. 

Apparently, as I ran looking for him (I went outside to the vast parking lots because that was what worried me the most…he was fairly safe inside the building, where ever he was) I ran through some adhesive glue they had down on the floor to replace some tiles or something.  My Crocs were sticking to the floor once the adreneline wasn’t giving me super strength.  lol   I gathered the kids, with a death grip on their hands, with the goody bag, my purse, my flower, a giant piece of poster paper, and my shoes sticking to the ground with every step, and started walking home.  By the time dh got out of his interview and made it to us, we had walked about a mile (halfway home), Zora had tripped once and had a skinned knee and I was carrying her, the bag of “last day goodies”, and still making Zane hold my hand.  I was so tired and stressed I about started crying when I pulled the seatbelt around myself.  I was glad Zach’s news was happy, but I needed a nap when we got home. 


Upcoming plans

Sunday we are having Zora dedicated at church.  (for those unfamiliar with anabaptist traditions, we only do a believer’s baptism, so you have to be older to be baptised.  Instead, we have a dedication, where the parents commit to raising the child as a Christian.  Pretty much everything an infant baptism is except the water.) 

My folks are coming up to see the dedication, and I assume we are going out for lunch for mother’s day.  (or I will make a roast or something…I need to talk to mom and make some decisions I guess.) 

Zach graduates next weekend.  We still aren’t sure if his parents will make it, although it is looking like neither will make it at this point.  If his mom and grandma don’t come, it will simply be because they don’t have the money.  If we had the money, we would send it to them, but we don’t either.  We aren’t sure if his dad is coming yet either.  Not sure what is going on there, although his wife is a teacher so maybe there is something going on with her.  My best friend can’t come that weekend because she doesn’t have the kids that weekend and they can’t afford to come out twice, and the kids want to come too.  The whole family is coming out the following weekend though, and I am really looking forward to that.  Dh’s best friend, Robert, and his wife are coming (they live in town) and they are trying to find childcare so they aren’t wrangling 3 kids at the same time.  (they are welcome, but it is a long boring ceremony, especially for kids, so I totally understand).  I think my plans for a party have gone away.  Maybe we will just go out to eat someplace.  lol.

A few photos

It has been a wet week this week

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Last day of reading explorers

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My Mother’s Day gift  (included some blingy jewel hearts on the back too…I know it is supposed to be repotted, but I can’t bear to do anything to it because I just enjoy seeing his artwork on it, and remember his face as he gave it to me.  So sweet it would break your heart.)

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“I *heart* U”

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posted in Autistic Life, Mother's Day, ST, The Kids | Comments Off

9th May 2008

Around the Net

Beautiful, but no, NEVER, really…you could not pay me enough.  *shudder*

You know those foot pads that are supposed to rid your body of toxins?  Interesting discussion of it.

For the frugal:  The Grocery Game  I had been hearing about it but never went to the site.  Looks interesting. 

For those interested in vaccine issues, a huge scandal at Merck, one of the main manufacturers:  http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/s6756c.pdf

A company I really like (and several of my therapists rely on) is being attacked by Mattel:  Small Special Education Company Battles Mattel Over Right to Use the Words “AND SAY” on Its Products

I thought this was interesting…charts that show what people are spending on groceries, updated monthly.



I am going to add one more rather than starting a new post:  3-Year-Old Has Never Fallen Asleep.  Wow.  Zane never slept more than 3-4 hours in any given 24-48 hour period until he was between 3 and 4, and I thought that was bad.  I can’t even imagine how sleep deprived those parents are.  I really think that the sleep deprivation affected my ability to really understand what was going on in those early years.  I just felt like I was a terrible parent and stopped sharing how bad it was with people.  I know now that lack of ability to sleep is fairly common in autism, but I didn’t know it then and blamed myself.

posted in Autism, Clicky, Shopping | 2 Comments

4th May 2008

A Full Sunday


Zane was totally on his own today (meaning, I dropped him off at the class with his buddy/para, and didn’t return until the end of class) and he did really well.  Zora also enjoyed her Sunday School and came out of the room with evidence of studying Jonah and the Whale. 

With Zane independent at Sunday School, we went to the Worship Service that takes place during the Sunday School time period.  Although the service itself was a little more traditional, I think we have come to the conclusion that nothing is going to make the sermon any better.  He wasn’t as offensive this time around, but it still isn’t really working for me.  I did give him the Biblical Parenting book after the service today and told him I would love to hear his opinion on it and discuss it with him.  I hope he takes me up on it.  If it doesn’t start changing, we are going to see if the timing works out to go to the Children’s church there, and then go to another church for the adult Worship Service, especially now that we know we can get Zane to mostly sit during a service.  (and I know that there is a nursery available for at least two of the three possible churches we might go to for Zora, and I suspect there is one at the third).  We are now closer to the regular Mennonite church, but I will have to check times.  Sort of weird to talk about going to two churches, but hey, unconventional solutions are what makes life interesting.

After Church

We stopped by a restaurant for lunch and everybody got to eat except me.  They brought me my food, but unlike the other times I have ordered it, this time they put chives on the dish and mixed them in.  It was obvious they were added post cooking, so it was doubly annoying.  It was too busy to send back and Zora was losing her cool at the table so we couldn’t wait for a redo, so I just didn’t get to eat.  That sort of stunk.

We had plans of meeting Carrie, Zane’s first ST, at the Zoo.  She and her husband were going to take Zane around the Zoo while we either went there with Zora or went shopping.  We drove up to the zoo to meet them and it was more packed than I thought possible.  There weren’t any parking spaces and the line was all the way out into the parking lot.  It had to be an hour wait just to go through the doors, and more cars were circling the parking lot.  We decided that we should go to Sports World instead.  We assumed Zane would like the go carts and golf, but apparently when he saw the video arcade, he made a bee line.  They had a ball with him.  Zach, Zora and I headed to a kid’s consignment store and browsed for a long time.  I found one dress (she is wearing in the picture), a book, a game for Zane, and a building set for Zora all for under $20.  By the time we returned to Sports World, they were having a drink and ready to head to the counter to redeem the 200+ tickets they had gatherered.  Zane didn’t want to go home.  (big surprise).

An evening with Grandma and Grandpa

Once we got home, we called my folks because they were planning on being in town tonight.  They were just checking out at Sam’s Club and headed over right away.  In the course of the evening Dad fixed our BBQ grill & our living room light (a bulb had exploded and was smoking and we didn’t know how to get it out so we hadn’t used the light for a week), we grilled some burgers, watched a program on tv that was highlighting antique farm implements, and read books and played with the kids.  A lot of fun, but I am so tired now I can hardly think.  I think I will just post a picture and go crawl in bed.

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posted in Autistic Life, Church, ST, Shopping, The 2 Opas (J's Parents) | Comments Off

1st May 2008

Job Search, Food Snob

Zach and Employment

In the past, when we called the temp agencies, we usually had to wait a week to call them back, and then maybe a week later they might call us to see if a particular job matched up.  Yesterday afternoon at 2:30ish Zach called one of the temp places he has worked with before and left a message, called up another one, left a message, and got in touch with of a third one.  By the time he got off the phone with the third one, he had emails from the first two, hadn’t even answered them, and he got a call back.  And then another one.  He ended up spending an hour talking to people and emailing things to people and had to wait to go out (he was planning on running to the store with Zora right after leaving messages) because it was almost time to go to Zane’s speech therapy.  That was a surprise. 

The two more solid leads sound like there is a job in Hutch, but the pay isn’t spectacular, although my folks would be beyond thrilled if we moved back there, so there is that benefit.  (it is about an hour from here, so we could commute for a bit, but gas prices might make that a little dicey if the pay isn’t enough).  There is another solid lead for a job downtown that sounds really promising.  A good company, pretty good pay (not jaw dropping, but better than teaching), and it sounds like it would be a good match.   (who would have guessed that C++, of all of his vast computer skills, would be the one that might get him a job)  The sadly ironic part is that one of the things they would really like, that Zach doesn’t have, is the ability to speak German.  German, of all things.  lol.  I am the only person in my family that doesn’t speak German, and I grew up in a community where the only language class available was German (no Spanish or anything else).  I think I took Home-Ec, a totally useless waste of time for me (my skills were so much higher than what they taught it was beyond laughable), instead of German and I have been kicking myself for years.  So, if we get that job, it will be motivation to finally learn German beyond food and hymns.  lol.

Late last night Zach took some benchmark tests in C and C++ and got the results back today.  He did very well.  He is very proficent in C++, and considered a “Master” in C.  He did better than 93% of the people that have ever taken the test and is considered to be somebody who can mentor others in C language.  Not a surprise, but it feels good.  The company downtown was quite pleased with the results and is fast tracking the application (according to the temp person), so it is looking hopeful.

So, even though the job we really want isn’t calling back, I am SO relieved to finally hear something back that sounds good.   Neither of us want to move.  We are rooted here and don’t want to go away from my folks because they are such good grandparents to our kids (and it is really nice to have family around…I would really miss that).  The only job that would be worth moving for is the federal one, but if we can find a place here that fulfills our needs, then even that wouldn’t be as attractive.


Me, in which I realize I am a food snob

In the last few weeks, the budget has gotten so tight we are having to go back to shopping at Aldi’s and only shopping sales for meat.  I hate having to go back to that.  It is petty, but when I was going to the store, it really made me feel good to be able to buy what I was hungry for when I wanted it.  It made me feel more normal, like we weren’t so dang poor any more.  Well, even though I wasn’t going out and just being crazy about it, it was still killing our budget, especially when gas prices went up so much.  So, I realized that I have to reign it back in and go back to my old skill set.  I didn’t realize how important it had become to me to have the freedom to eat whatever fresh veggies, ect, appealed to me.  I never wanted to step foot in Aldis again because it represents a time in my life when food was scarce and I lived in fear of not having enough (because sometimes there wasn’t enough). 

However, we did it.  As depressing as it is, it is really nice to be able to do it smoothly.  Being able to cook at a really frugal level is a skill that I guess I haven’t lost.  The nice thing is that we aren’t having to have meal after meal of beans and rice or white noodles or ramen noodles with no meat, not because we are vegetarian, but because we can’t afford it.  This time, I am able to get some meat, just maybe not exactly what (or as much) I want, but it I am still able to make really good meals because I know how to cook from absolute scratch.  (pretty much anything in a box or can is out for us anyway because I am allergic to onions).  We cut out almost all of the snack foods, except a few select things for the kids (some cereal and pretzels) and it looks like I was able to stretch the budget enough that I only spent $100 in the last two weeks to feed my family, including at least one meal with meat every day, and I still have a few leftovers in the fridge for when the next paycheck starts tomorrow.  I am proud of myself for sucking it up and pulling myself out of the shallow little pity party I was having for myself.  It was stupid.  Just because we have to be on a tight budget doesn’t mean we will suddenly have nothing.  I know that is silly, but I felt like if we started living like that again, we would shoot back into being super poor again becuase it brought up so many old feelings.  Not reasonable, but once I realized what was getting in the way, I was able to work through it and our lives are better for it. 


posted in Food, Money, Shopping | 8 Comments

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