Thursday, April 24, 2014

The kitchen is finished!

Although we've been talking (seriously) about remodeling our kitchen for a couple of years now, there were times that I never thought I'd be able to make this statement.  The kitchen is finished!  It looks great and there are only a few minor things I would do differently if I were redoing things.  We are all still getting used to things, but it is so fun.

The biggest change came in ripping down these overhead cabinets.

The darn things just made it really hard to see people on the other side of the same room.

The other big structural change was removing the wall oven.

It really cut into our front hall.  This is the old view from the front hall.

And here is the new view from the front hall.

Pretty different, huh?

I also got this gorgeous garden window.

After all, with my notable brown thumb, I should be able to kill plants in style, now!

The old pantry was actually pretty nice.  It had all these lovely pull out organizing drawers inside.

But Alan never (and I mean never) left the doors closed. This picture had to have been taken when he was upstairs, outside or not home.

Here is what the pantry became ...

The phone table actually matches the new cabinets pretty darn well.  We won't even have to replace it!

The floor turned out to be the best thing since sliced bread.  It matches the hall, the countertops, the living room and dining room walls and carpet and of course the new kitchen walls and cabinets.  We never dreamed it would be so flexible.

One of the few minor drawbacks is that the table is smaller than our old table.  We can fit four chairs around it to eat, but we can't keep them all pushed in at the same time.  Since DH busted Diesel on top of the table one morning we've been putting one chair in the family room when we are not using it to keep the fuzzbutt off the table.

And finally, here is the old view from the garage door entrance ...

And here is the new view.

It is just so open and bright!  I love it.  I still need to figure out what (if anything) I am going to do in the way of window treatments, but the kitchen is finished.  (I love being able to say that! -- can you tell?)

Monday, April 21, 2014

The inflamation that won't end ...

I have an eye condition called episcleritis.  My eye sclera gets inflamed and turns various shades of red.  It is not contagious.  I have not scratched it.  But it does hurt.  A lot!

I tend to get these pesky things when I'm under stress.  I got my first one when I was pregnant with Alan.  I have since gotten 3-4 a year on average -- this is a bit of guess, but I don't think I'm exaggerating.  Some go away in a couple of days.  Most hang around for a couple of weeks.  I have one now that has pretty much been here since the start of April.  Ugh.

I'm tired of people in my house.  Although for the most part the workers have all been polite, unobtrusive and good at their respective jobs, the revolving door involved with a major home remodel is stressful.

Then there are the financial implications of the kitchen.  It wasn't cheap.  We both agreed that we were going to do it "right" because we didn't want to be redoing this in 10 years, but it was expensive.  Certainly more than I initially thought it would be.

Then I got a letter today telling me that Joe didn't make it into the college program.  Truthfully this probably stresses DH and I way more than Joe.  We want more for him than working a couple of weekends a month and volunteering three mornings a week.

Both boyz are having medication issues.  Joe is experiencing severe anxiety about weird things.  A med change should help with that.  Alan's OCD is flaring again.  We are going to the doctor later this week.  Hopefully he can work a few of his usual medication miracles.

Then there are some family issues which I don't want to go into on the blog.  Some are health related.  Others are conflicts.  Each issue is another straw upon this proverbial camel.

But on the bright side, I think I like the new kitchen color!  It's a cheerful yellow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Close enough to walk

Where do I start?  It has been forever since I've blogged. 

Mainly I have spent the last month babysitting contractors working in our kitchen.  No, I don't have to sit there and watch them, but being on site helps prevent all sorts of problems and hiccups.  That said, today is supposed to be our final inspection and then the great kitchen project should be complete.  As soon as it gets painted, I plan to devote an entire blog post to the kitchen, but right now it is only functional, not pretty -- and I want pretty pictures. 

I am also having a bit of a "creativity crisis".  I haven't worked on my minis in ages, I haven't done any scrapbooking, I sure haven't done any cooking and I obviously haven't done much in the way of blogging.  I've been reading and playing computer games.  Ugh.

Weekend before last Joe and I went to DC.  Again, I feel like I should do an entire post just to highlight our trip.  It was a lot of fun, and I want to do it justice.  But that isn't what is on my mind this morning either.

Today, I am stressing over people that don't get it.

DH and I were talking this morning about an unexpected offer to watch Alan.  I won't shame this person by identification, but I think it is safe to say that the qualifications are not there.

While it is true that we don't have frequent meltdowns, we do make a lot of daily accommodations -- many unconsciously.  When we were forced to write out specific directions recently for a babysitter, it was amazing the number of things we did differently from each other and yet consistently the same.  Those routines are incredibly important to Alan.  Yes, they have to change sometimes, but we just do it.  So many things that we've learned over the years we do without agonizing over it. 

When someone thinks that we've got it under control or they could do what we do without much training, it is sort of insulting.  Many days feel like we are engaged in guerrilla warfare.  I am emotionally exhausted most nights.

I just wish people would cut me some slack when I don't do what everyone else does.  It isn't just a matter of finding a babysitter -- it is a matter of finding a reliable, adaptable, comfortable, trustworthy, flexible person who has some autism training. 

They sure aren't around every corner!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Here are two faces ...

If you've met one person with autism, you've met ONE person with autism.

They are all so wonderfully different.  Many issues we had with Joe, were non-existent with Alan.  Then of course, Alan has vexed us in ways that were never a problem with Joe.  It is impossible to tell by looking at someone whether or not they have autism.  Here are two faces of autism ...

But there are so many more!

Today is Autism Awareness Day and for many the entire month of April is a time of reminder.  A reminder that many of these kiddos wander, many are non verbal, many have special skills and many don't.  Most have more "issues" than their neurotypical counterparts, but they aren't necessarily bothered by them.  Many of them are very happy, cheerful people to be around.  Some aren't.  There are very few "Rainman" autistics out there. 

The adults are as different as the kids.  There are those that just want to be accepted how they are and those that still wouldn't mind a cure.  There are those that get offended if you call them a "person with autism" and those that don't.

Likewise there are many parents out there and we are as different as the children we are raising.

There are the parents who embrace the autism and the ones that fight it.  There are the parents who push their children and the ones who coax.  There are those that never stop trying alternatives and those that just plug along.  There are those of us that blog about our adventures and many that are fighting silently, daily in the trenches.  There are some who are still in denial and some who shout it from the rooftops.  And unfortunately, there are those that aren't strong enough to do it anymore.

From Carly to Temple to Einstein -- autism is a spectrum.  While I personally would like a little more balance in my rainbows than I see in my daily life, that doesn't stop me from enjoying the little victories and the funny stories.

Be aware of autism in those around you.  Be accepting and accommodating of those on the spectrum and their caregivers. 

In short, "Be excellent to each other!" (and party on, dudes!)