Monday, July 11, 2011

TWINKIE (and Home Intruder) WATCH: Day 28.

Actually Day 29, but who's counting?*

*The Trilateral Commission.
I was going to post this yesterday, when the actual photos and videos of SCIENCE were taken, but I forgot to do that largely for pizza-related reasons, the pizza-related reasons being "Sweetie made my favorite pizza for dinner and I was pretty fully after eating as much of it as I could."

Then, I was going to post the update this morning, but my plans to do anything this morning were interrupted by this ACTUAL SET OF TEXT MESSAGES I RECEIVED FROM SWEETIE:

7:43 a.m. Call. Me!!!!!!!!!!!

7:43 a.m. There is a bat flying in our house I got boys out I can't get it please come help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7:43 a.m. I

That was it. On that last one, I wondered if the bat had gotten her, and what sort of carnage I'd be walking into when I got home.

Based on those texts, I had to the biweekly meeting of all my firm's lawyers, which I did via this cleverly-worded explanation:

"I have to be excused. There's a bat in my house and people are trapped."

That is really an excuse you can only use one time to get out of a meeting.

Upon arriving home, I found Sweetie and Mr F and Mr Bunches waiting in the car with the front door propped open, something I had told Sweetie to do as I called her on the way home, conversations that went like this:

Me: How are things going? Where's the bat?

Sweetie: [unintelligible talking at a rate of speed that is, technically, both higher-pitched and faster than human beings can achieve.]

Me: I didn't quite get that.

I armed myself with a tennis racket and blanket from the garage, got a high-five from each of the Babies!, and headed in.

"What are you doing with that?" Sweetie asked, eying the tennis racket.

"It's to bat it down if it comes at me," I said. "Pun intended."

I then went on to inspect the entire house, with the help of the local animal control guy, who Sweetie had also called at my suggestion, and who, I noted with satisfaction, came in with his own tennis racket, so I was using what the pros use. Together we went through our entire house, and if you ever want to drive yourself nuts, walk through your whole house trying to find every nook and cranny a 3" long rodent might crawl into.

A 3" long rodent that can fly.

And which probably has rabies.

We didn't find it -- even when we opened up the piano, and Sweetie came up to meet us at the door.

"Is it here?" she asked, nervously.

"It's not in here," I said, conscious that Sweetie was going to have to spend the entire day in the house with the boys and their teachers and that we could not afford to rent a hotel room instead, so I had to put her at ease.

"Unless it's just hiding pretty well and won't come out until later," the animal control guy helpfully said.

So I checked the house over again after he left, and then headed back to work, where I had used up all the free time I had allotted myself and consequently am left posting

TWINKIE WATCH DAY 28 here at almost the end of DAY 29!

As you can see from the accompanying pictures, I had help on this Twinkie examination; Mr F and Mr Bunches came with me to the office yesterday and together we looked over the Twinkie.

Well, not Mr F. He looked at the Twinkie, shuddered, and then walked away to watch "Happy Feet," leaving me and Mr Bunches to do all the important SCIENCE, which first consisted of Mr Bunches poking and dropping the Twinkie scientifically:

That was actually his second go-round with it. After I'd put it back, he wanted to do more SCIENCE, so I let him.

Then he wanted to do even MORE SCIENCE:

It's been a while since I made any SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATIONS, so I'll do that here:

1. You can hear in the background that Mr F was kind of grossed out by Mr Bunches picking up the Twinkie of Science.

2. I'm pretty sure that tapping the Twinkie with the Control Group violated Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

3. You can't argue with me about #3 because nobody knows what that principle is.

4. That's why he called it the Uncertainty principle, after all.

5. I'm not entirely sure the bat is gone, and it's kind of creeping me out now, sitting here alone at my computer desk in our living room, the exact place Sweetie was sitting when the bat first came out this morning.

6. I have all the lights in our house on.**

**I have to do that, because Mr Bunches is playing with the anti-bat flashlight that we went to buy tonight. We didn't own a flashlight before this because I never needed to look into every nook and cranny in our house prior to today, and frankly, I liked it better that way. But right now, I'm supposed to be looking around for the bat again, and I can't, because Mr Bunches has the flashlight in bed with him.

7. That Twinkie is not rotting at all, is it? Only a few days ago (twelve days ago) I pointed out that the Twinkie, a true Hero of Science, was dying. Now, I'm pretty sure it's not dying. It may be immortal.

8. Immortal Twinkie.

9. I like saying that.

Day 25 here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Autism Works: Help others who have autism or other special needs.

Page down for links of interest: businesses, games, websites, opportunities... and more.

It was only a little while ago that I began openly writing about what it's like to raise twins with autism -- for a long time, we didn't know they had autism and then for a longer time I didn't feel it was the kind of thing that should be shared publicly.

That all changed, as you probably know, on a trip to the library a while back, when I decided that it was my obligation -- and Mr F's and Mr Bunches' obligation -- to help teach people what it's like to live with autism, and so I began my series of posts "Life With Unicorns."

As the Babies! have gotten older, I've begun more and more to worry about their fitting into society, and Sweetie and I have also had to spend more and more time looking for places they can go for help, or social opportunities, and the like. For example, both boys have (traditionally) hated to get hair cuts -- screaming and crying through the whole process. But we've found a place that welcomes them and makes sure that they're comfortable, and that's helped so much that the last time we went there, neither boy had any problems. (That place, by the way, is the Supercuts in Middleton Hills, a great business with a great bunch of stylists who work there.)

We have to try to find a dentist for the boys, who will need their first checkup soon -- but they don't like doctors and probably will need to be sedated. When we go to parks, we have to find a park that isn't too near traffic and has a variety of different things to do all close by, because we can't leave one kid playing on the slide while the other goes on the swings, like other parents might be able to do.

But despite constantly looking, and subscribing to several email alerts and being members of various organizations, I've yet to find a single, comprehensive source anywhere that will tell people whose children have special needs (or who may themselves have special needs) -- autism or otherwise -- which businesses, playgrounds, employers, or other people are especially friendly (or unfriendly) to them and their family.

So I'm starting a series of posts I call Autism Works -- as you may have guessed, by the title -- which will help spread the word about those places that people with special needs and their families can feel welcome, or can get some help, or which they otherwise should know about.

Think of it as an Angie's List for special needs families. And if you hear of something that you think should be on the list, let me know.

Reviews of businesses I've taken my kids to:

Supercuts in Middleton Hills (see above): great business for autistic people & kids.

Sears Photo Studio, West Towne Mall: semi-autism-friendly.


My Autism A website to help share information about providers and businesses.

A website to help find apps for autism.


My world of mismatched socks: A blog by a woman with autism, about her and her also-autistic brother. Well-written, interesting, with some helpful tips.

Lou's Land: A father blogs about his oldest child, who has autism.


Hack Autism: Have an idea for an app to help autistic people? Are you a programmer or autism expert? This project wants to create new programs for touch-enabled computers.

College-bound? Autism Speaks has a post and links to information about the Rehabilitation Act, which can help with accommodations.

Games & Toys: