Charlie and school

Having Charlie in daily preschool is going about as well as one might expect. He's less resistant to go every day, now that it has been several weeks, but he still finds it to be a miserable experience and doesn't understand why he has to spend three hours a day with this teacher who thinks he should do things like sit down, listen and share.

She has been incredibly patient and is trying hard to work with Charlie, but did say at our last talk that she could spend every moment of every day with just Charlie. He requires so much attention. He needs more than what one teacher in with a classroom full of kids can do.

We had started SpEd paperwork at the end of the second week of school, but it got kicked back because it apparently cannot be submitted until AFTER vision and hearing screening are completed. Yesterday, we redid the paperwork and they have 60 calendar days to evaluate him and then 30 days after that to have an ARD meeting to go over their findings and create his education plan.

The counselor at my campus has a child on the spectrum and has been quite useful in all of this. She sees Charlie's need and supports the idea of getting him into special ed.

It feels so good to have people around who see his needs and are willing to help. Now let's just hope this doesn't really take three months. December is a long time away and we're losing time.


My Kids, Watching Laundry Dry

new house

Well, let me back this story up. On Friday, we officially close on the house. But, for the last three weeks, we've been steadily moving things in. Each weekend, we head home to the old house to pack up more and bring a small trailer load each time. The plan is to have everything packed before we rent the big truck and do the major move about ten days from now.

We started doing comparison shopping on the things we'd need for the new house and came across a killer deal on a front loading, high-efficiency washer/dryer. $950 instead of $1400, but it was the last one. So we sprung for it and they delivered it today.

I have this philosophy that, when you move into a house, you pick the smallest room and get it done start-to-finish, right off the bat. That way you feel like you've accomplished something. When everything else is chaos, you can go into that guest bathroom or office closet and see proof that it will, eventually, all look like that.

Hence, the redoing of the laundry room before moving in. It didn't make sense to get the w/d installed, then take them out to do flooring. And, if you're going to do flooring, you might as well paint first, right?

This is the hall to the backdoor/pantry that is next to the little laundry room.

new house


new house

Did I mention the fantastic pantry? It is only two cans deep, so you can't lose anything, but so tall and wide that it holds a ton.

new house

Didn't get a good before on the laundry room itself:

new house

But this shows you the original green (on the door) and the new green. Ignore the green masking tape. It throws it all off:

new house

Same color, softer version. Fewer gouges out of it and no caked-on filth. Scrubbing took longer than painting.We have a rule in our family that kids get to help paint rooms when we are changing out flooring. So here's the first coat they put on one wall:

new house

See the hearts and stuff?

We've still got to move the deep freeze in by the washer/dryer, but here they are, in all their energy-efficient glory:

new house

So just add some clothes . . .

new house

And sit back to enjoy the show! It kind of helps you forget that the rest of the house doesn't look this good yet.

new house


Countdown to house . . . 5 days to go.


I can't get my brain organized enough to write much, but I do have a painted laundry room with some of the flooring installed. Dowlan has a job interview tomorrow. The house closing is October 1st at 4 pm.


An Up-And-Down Day

The local university here called my cell phone while I was at lunch today, looking for Dowlan. I didn't think much about it, other than to give them his local cell number and continue with my chewing.

Wait, why would they be calling him?

Because he has a preliminary phone interview on Friday for a tech support job. Suh-weet.

Then, this afternoon, I drive over to the stone house. (Since we currently somewhat live in three places we have had to name them. The new house is the stone house, the old one is called by the town's name and the place we're staying is Miss Mindy's.)

On the way, I return a call from someone whose name I didn't quite catch. We have this conversation:

Lady: Has your husband ever lived outside of the state?
Me: Uh, he grew up in Oklahoma, but hasn't lived there in, oh, fifteen years? I think I lived one or two summers in New Mexico at some point, but I'm not too sure about that.
Lady: Does he do much traveling outside the state?
Me: Not in the thirteen years I've known him. We've been to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Oregon. Oh, and he went to California with his buddies about 8 years ago.
Lady: Did you know about the warrant out for his arrest?
Me: WHAT? You're kidding.
Lady: There's a warrant out on him in Pittsburgh for making terroristic threats. Oh, I can't remember who they were against. John. John something. Hm, I can't find the last name . . . does he know anyone named John in Pittsburgh?
Me: Uh, no. I don't think he's ever been to Pennsylvania. The only person I even know who has ever lived in the state is my college roommate, but that was during grad school and I think she's still in Greece now. What year was this?
Lady: 2009.
Me: I can tell you with certainty that he was not in Pittsburgh in 2009. (I see Dowlan.) Dowlan, ever been to Pittsburgh?
Dowlan: Nah.
Lady: It didn't have to be in person. It could have been over the phone or by internet. And terroristic threats could mean a lot of things. It could be a simple threat of violence or death. So you're saying you deny knowledge of this?
Me: Yes. Could it have been a mistake? We have a pretty common last name.
Lady: How tall is your husband?
Me: 6'3"
Lady: Well, what we have is that a tall man with a Texas driver's license, born the same year, with the same middle initial and last name made a terroristic threat against a man named John in Pittsburgh last year. The record has the name spelled a little differently. It has Donal, not Dowlan.
Me: That is not him. Sounds like someone wrote Donald down wrong.
Lady: Excuse me?
Me: Well, it sounds like they were . . . you know what? Nevermind.
Lady: So I'll just put down that you deny knowledge of this.
Me: How about you put down that this is the wrong person entirely?
Lady: I can't do that. Thank you, goodbye.
Me: Bye.
Dowlan: Hey, honey? Let's hurry and go to the hardware store. I want to get back in time for Chuck.
Me: Sure, anything you say. Just don't threaten me, you terrorist.

Okay, onto the hardware store.
We're looking at several things: paint colors for 4 rooms, new vinyl peel-and-stick flooring for the laundry room, flooring options for two rooms and a washer/dryer. I have my handy dandy notebook to write prices and options into.

We get paint samples, start to look at tile, but get distracted by all the shiny new appliances, especially this one washer/dryer set that seems rather cheap, considering. It's front-loading, stackable, high-efficient, energy star, a good brand, large capacity, etc. So why is only $150 more than the absolute cheapest basic model on the floor?

Clearance is my favorite nine-letter word.

Oops. Because it is on clearance, they don't have a stacking kit that they can sell me, but the sweet and incredibly useful salesperson will call up the manufacturer on the spot so that I can order one straight from the company. I can handle that. Especially since stacking it means that I have room for the deep freeze in the utility room and do not have to find room for it in the dining room.

Ooh, and I get the extra 10% off any energy-star appliance, even though it is on clearance. Score!

We pick out new peel-and-stick to replace the 40-something year old vinyl tiles that are currently crumbling in the utility room, get the right cords and dryer vents and head back to the stone house to watch the season premiere of Chuck (a.k.a. The Super Spy Guy).

Alas, the viewing of the super spy is delayed by one more awkward conversation:

Gretchen: Is Charlie wearing panties?
Dowlan: Yes. I couldn't find any clean underwear for him this morning.
Gretchen: You know, right, that there will never BE any clean underwear until you do some laundry?
(Didn't a near-identical conversation take place between Hugh Grant and his creepy roommate in the movie Notting Hill?)



One of the first purchases we made when we learned about the move was a dolly. This has caused much controversy in our household.

First off, Dixie and Melody do not acknowledge that it is a dolly. It does not have a head. You cannot snuggle with it. It cannot be a dolly. It is a mover.

Charlie calls it a changer and uses it as Superman would use a phone booth. He stands on it, arms crossed, and you lean him all the way down and then back up. Voila! He's suddenly a different superhero.

It was not long before the girls realized that they could wheel Charlie about the house that way. Mommy did not approve.

Then, two weeks ago, we were at the old house to pack it up some more and I snuck away for an hour long full-body massage. I came home to find that I no longer had a son, but was now the proud owner of a dog named Cardutoo.

Cardutoo has gone many places with us in the past week. We were heading somewhere the other day, when the puppy would not put his shoes on. I told him they were special puppy shoes, so he put them on his hands, calling them handshoes. I only confused him by informing him that gloves, in German, are called Handschuh. He then asked for two more for his feet.

Today was a long, long day and I escaped for two hours to the new house to hide from my family. Dowlan called to tell me it was safe to come home, as the two children and Bad Kitty Named Chihuahua was asleep.

Not a bad chihuahua, no, but a Bad Kitty that was named Chihuahua. This was a very sticky point, apparently. He used this as an excuse to run through the house, but Mindy set him straight. "Bad Chihuahua can't run through the house, either."



The tooth fairy can't keep up!

Melody lost her first tooth yesterday! She woke up, sat up in bed, moved her tongue and it just plopped right out. I took a picture, but don't have a way to get it up in our current state of chaos.

Then, today, Dixie lost a tooth. It is the second one since school started. It is, what, the fourth week of school?

All the extra cash came in handy at the book fair, however, Dixie wishes to only use hers to help buy our house. Such a sweetie, that girl.

Tonight we got to go to meet the teacher night. We were over at the new house doing a few things, so we got to walk the two blocks right over and it was sweet to do it as a family. We talked to the teachers, saw the lovely work they had displayed for us and admired it accordingly before going to the hot, unairconditioned gym where they were shilling books.

The girls both picked books fairly well, but the line was long, the tummies were empty and that place was hot. Fortunately, Dowlan and I could trade off on the meltdowns.

Walking home, Dixie began to sing about her nipples, so she and I had this conversation:

Dixie: They look like eyes when I squeeze them hard.
Mommy: Why would you squeeze them hard?
Dixie: To see if they are producing milk yet.
Mommy: But they only produce milk when you are a grown up and have a baby.
Dixie: Mo-om, don't you remember anything? I think I'm pregnant.

Oh, that.


"Moving is a difficult process. It is hard on your mind, heavy on your heart and makes your outsides tired."



How was your day at school with Mrs. Clark, Charlie?
-It was really nice.
Oh, good.
-She still said things like sit down and be quiet.

but he did not say that she was bad to him, so maybe she is catching on.


Before i forget,

I have to tell you about charlie's new worry. . . Getting married.

See, he says that he has to get married so he can 'get big and go to kindergarten.'

Yeah, all the cool five-year-olds do it, mom.

He isn't yet convinced that he doesn't get to marry mommy or daddy, but seems to be finally moving away from that idea, as evidenced by last night's conversation.

'Mommy loves Charlie and daddy loves Charlie. Charlie needs to get big and find him a nice boy to get married to. Still mommy and daddy will love Charlie, though.

Yes, Charlie. Yes we will.


Charlie's Edumacation

Each morning, Charlie and I head to school while Dowlan and the girls head the other direction. We go into my classroom for a few minutes while he finishes breakfast or plays with some of the toys in my room. At 7:30, we walk into the lounge to put my lunch into the fridge. Charlie has named this The Eating Office. Then, we go up to the main office to sign in and check my box. This is The Paper Office.

Then, we begin the reluctant walk into his classroom.

Pre-K is going far better than any other classroom he's ever been in, but that does not necessarily mean much. Today, two weeks into school, we had the This-Isn't-Going-So-Well chat and I began Special Ed paperwork for him. His teacher is very patient and willing to do what she needs to help him out, but has done this long enough to know when to call in the troops.

Wednesday, we were wandering through a herd of thirty or so kids as we left the gym. Charlie, ever chivalrous, kept saying, "Excuse my butt! Excuse my butt!"

I told him, "That is not nice. Butt is not a nice word."

"But everyone has a butt," he said. "People has butts."

An excellent point.

"You have a butt, Mommy," he says as the children snicker.

"Yes. I have a butt."

"And she has a butt," he says, pointing randomly.

"Charlie, everyone does have a butt, but there are nicer words we can use to say 'excuse me'."

He thinks for a moment, then begins to say, loudly, "Excuse my boo-tah-day!"

I'll never hear the end of that one.