Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Magic of Seattle

Shortly after Ryan's first birthday we took a family vacation to Seattle to coincide with a friend's wedding. That week, we noticed Ryan spontaneously doing age-appropriate things he had never done before: clapping, waving, giving high-fives, actually putting food in his own mouth. This was all pre-diagnosis, when we were blissfully ignorant about developmental delays and whatnot. We just thought, "Neat! A change of environment can do a person good."

Like many folks on the spectrum, Ryan tends to form rigid behavioral patterns, but the behaviors tend to be associated with physical spaces, so taking him out of his usual environment sometimes jolts him out of those routines. So as much as I feared moving would stir up all sorts of problematic behavior, the move has actually shaken up Ryan's routine in a good way.

The last year we lived in our apartment, Ryan's favorite pastime was hiding his toys, then forgetting where everything was hidden - an activity Stu and I called Stupid Ball™. Since moving three weeks ago, we haven't played Stupid Ball™ at all.

For the last several months we lived in our apartment, Ryan's favorite toys to play Stupid Ball™ with were the plastic fish from one of those Let's Go Fishing games. Sometimes he would hide all 21 fish, but more often he would select one of each of five colors and camouflage them - blue fish in Blue Blanket etc. Since the move, only three of the fish have come into play, and nobody has been hidden.

Of course, with the new house he is developing some new routines. Our first week in the house, the balls on the pool table had to be arranged numerically at all times. Last week was all about hurling household objects into the pool and arranging Christmas decorations in the basement by the light of a flashlight. The major players this week have been six tiny rubber monsters.

Force Ryan out of his usual environment and he can really surprise you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Just Checking; and a Scathing Review

"Can we go back home to the old house?"

Ryan asks this every few days.

But not like he's actually asking to go back to our apartment.

It's more like when he asks if he can watch Dragon Tales, when I know that he knows it's been off the air for three years. He's just checking in to make sure he's right - to confirm nothing has changed.

His voice stays very calm while he's asking, he actually waits for me to answer him (that in itself is a big deal), and when I reply that the apartment is empty and all our stuff is at the new house, he goes about his business.

I'm beyond impressed by how maturely he has been processing this move. He still refers to where we live now as "the new house" and not "home," but hey, so do I.

On the subject of moving, I feel the need to warn any readers in the greater New York area about the horrible moving company we had the misfortune of using. Travel Van Lines, which also does business as Certified Van Lines, comes off as really professional and experienced over the phone, but on the job, they're incompetent at best, criminal at worst.

We chose them based on their low estimate and the customer service rep's statement that all their movers had been working for them for years. The job wound up costing DOUBLE the estimate, and one of the three workers was in his first week on the job.

The woman we spoke with estimated this would be a four-hour job. After the guys had been loading the truck for a solid six hours, we asked them to stop packing the truck and start driving; it took 4 packed carloads and a borrowed pickup truck to haul what they didn't get around to.

The movers managed to break three pieces of furniture, including a nightstand made of solid oak.
Seriously, our bedroom set is our only set of non-Ikea furniture, and they managed to break off the whole corner.

The real pain in the ass, however, is that they somehow forgot to unload one box. A really big box - like, over three feet high. A box that contains all of Stu's work clothes, the charger for his electric razor, and the spare key for his car. A box worth about $1,000 to us.

I called them as soon as we realized we didn't have the box. I left messages for days. Someone eventually confirmed our box was at their warehouse in New Jersey. I was assured they would deliver it right away, tomorrow, as soon as we have a truck in the area, Saturday morning. It's been two weeks, and Stu still has no clothes. The guy we yelled at today insists they will put the box on a truck that's headed up to Rhode Island in the morning, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I have already submitted a complaint to the BBB, filed a report with the local police, and written some nasty online reviews, but until Stu has a second pair of pants in his closet, I'm going to continue to spread the word about these jerks.
UPDATE: It's Monday morning, and a truck just delivered the box. At least, I think it's a box.
Poor thing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Welcome to Suburbia

"You seem very well. Things look peaceful.
I'm not quite as well, I thought you should know."
- Alannis Morrisette, "You Oughta Know"

Our new house is beautiful, like out of a decorator's magazine. It's the epitome of suburbia, complete with a white picket fence.

Ryan has handled his first week in the new house remarkably well. He loves splashing in the pool and rolling balls around the pool table and spraying the hose at the driveway. He sleeps perfectly, and has only asked to go to the old house a handful of times.

It probably helps him that he hasn't seen another child since we moved in.

But this does not help me.

At all.

I have been spiraling down into a depression the likes of which I haven't seen in a couple of years. I've spent much of the last week crying. I don't know anyone, and it's been so hot out that none of the neighbors are spending any time outside, so I've barely even seen anyone.

Intellectually I know that eventually things will improve - when Ryan starts school tomorrow I'll start to have basic human interaction; when the local derby league figures out when I can start with them I'll meet like-minded girls, maybe even make a friend; whenever I find a job to pay the expenses that go along with the apartment we still haven't been able to sell, I might have co-workers.

But for now, I just feel trapped in someone else's dream home, someone else's dream.