Friday, April 26, 2013

Life With Charles: Volume 241

I checked the toilet seat like I usually do before I sit.  In a houseful of boys, it's a bad idea to sit without looking.  There was no pee this time, but when I looked; lots of it.  Sigh.  I must have missed the bald spot under the cap Charles chose today.  I will never understand his need to butcher his thick hair.  


Wednesday is my early day at work.  I need to get all my stuff done and get the boys out the door by 7:40.  I do all these silly things to save time, like line up all my toiletries on the sink.  I'm not sure it actually saves time, but it makes me feel less stressed getting out the door.  

The other day, I found myself with a few extra minutes, so I decided to save my shower for after I dropped the boys off.  I had about 20 minutes, which is plenty for me if I have all my stuff together.  

When I got into the bathroom, I noticed my deodorant missing.  Sigh... It took me all of half a second to realize that Charles had hidden it on me.  He loves to hide things:  my toothbrush, his brothers' electronics, cats...

Double sigh...

It took me ten of my short twenty minutes to locate the missing deodorant, which was not in any of the usual hiding places.  Cursing the entire time, I did manage to get out the door on time.  I had to laugh at myself in the end, wasting all that time lining things up only to spend ten minutes chasing down a stick of deodorant.

Last night I was trying to Skype with my cousin.  In between screaming for quiet (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) and trying to keep the camera from shooting me directly under my chins, we did manage to get a few words in.  I only fear that the last image burned in my poor cousin's brain is Chooch in his terrifying clown mask jumping off the chair into the camera.

Such is life with Charles.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I just got off the call hosted by the NDSC, the NDSS and FRIENDS regarding Ethan Saylor's death.  I was hoping, not really expecting, but hoping that I would come out of it feeling a little bit better, feeling like they really do get it, that I really am heard...but alas, I do not.  

Training?!?!  Really? We are still talking about training?  How much training does it take to be a decent human being?  How much training does it take to recognize Down syndrome?  Anyone with eyeballs that work can usually recognize the features of Down syndrome.  Do we really need police officers to be specifically trained to "deal" with people with differences?  

Ok, maybe to that last part, we do.  It would be very helpful if officers were taught to recognize a few simple signs in ASL.  It would be helpful if officers were trained that people with cognitive challenges may not respond as quickly as a "typical" individuals to their commands.  Yes, I believe that is true.

What I don't believe is true is that these three off duty officers needed more training.  Between them, they had 40+ years experience.  They knew that the face down restraint was dangerous.  They used it anyway.  They heard him cry for his mom.  They killed him anyway.  They didn't listen to his caregiver.  They didn't wait for his mom, who was on her way.  The left him to stop breathing face down on the disgusting movie theater floor.  

This is a homicide.  It has nothing to do with Down syndrome or obesity or whether or not Ethan broke the law at all (which is highly debatable).  It has everything to do with three human beings who have sworn to SERVE AND PROTECT killing an unarmed individual. 

I want to know why.  I want to know what they were thinking.  Why they thought Ethan posed such a threat as to deserve that face down restraint usually reserved for violent criminals.  I want to know why there isn't more outrage.  I want to know why our national groups haven't publicly denounced the officers actions.  I want to know why they haven't plastered every newspaper with a headline that says "Down syndrome is not a cause of death".

Our national groups should not be focused on training.  They should be focused on telling the world that it is UNACCEPTABLE for police officers to kill an unarmed person.  PERIOD!  The authorities want this to go away and blaming it on Down syndrome is one way to do it.  "Oh, if only they had been "trained" to recognize Down syndrome this never would have happened!"  they cry.  BULLSHIT, I say.  

What they aren't saying is that Ethan was an easy target.  What they aren't saying is that they really don't think Ethan deserved the same rights as you and I because he was different and he dared be out in public.  What they aren't saying is that when it comes to understanding and accepting people with disabilities as equals, we are as far away from that today as blacks were in the 50's and 60's.

This is a civil rights issue and until it is recognized and treated as such, we will get nowhere.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Let Go and Let...Me

I've spent the last few days doing a lot of deep breathing, reading a self help book that I love and think will eventually, you know, help and taking walks.  I've even started meditating, if you can call rolling on the floor and cracking my neck while mentally going over my tax returns meditating.

I'm doing all this because I am trying to become a better person.  I'd like to be a saner, happier, thinner beacon of light that people, animals, money and good ideas are drawn to.  

At the moment, I feel more like one of those bug zappers that electrocutes innocent moths and pesky mosquitoes without differentiating between the two.  I tend to snap at people I love and people I don't in equal measure.  I scream at poor drivers and comment loudly and sarcastically if you say, step between me and the thing I am looking at in the meat case at the grocery store.  "Am I invisible?"  "No, really, I wasn't trying to look at anything!"  "OBLIVIOUS!!!"...all phrases that I uttered in my last shopping excursion.  

I take everything personally.  I feel way too much; good and bad.  I have major anger issues.  I don't have much of a filter; if I think it, I will most likely say it, unless I am physically unable to speak at the moment.

None of this has made me very popular.  

I have no idea how to make small talk and really, no desire to do it.  I don't care about your kid/boss/car/spouse; I hardly know you.  Not that I don't try.  I smile and say hi to people that I know by face or name while waiting for our kids to finish basketball/wrestling/guitar lessons and then, they usually start talking to someone else.  Once that happens, I usually stick my face in a book and don't look up until it is absolutely necessary. It feels like that time in sixth grade when I gathered all my courage to go and hang out with the popular girls at recess and they acted like I was not even there.  I just stood there, not wanting to call more attention to myself by walking away, until the bell rang.  I never said a word about it to anyone, but to this day, that memory haunts me.

I felt totally rejected when I made a plan for drinks with a few friends and only one person showed up.  I get it. I happens.  I could chalk it up to that if it hadn't happened over and over and over again.  

Hence, the self help books and extra walking and meditating and primal screaming ( I am really good at the last one, but my cats and neighbors really hate it!).  I am trying to figure out how to be more attractive to the universe and all the good things in it.  I know that it is me that needs fixing.  I can't control what anyone else does.  And feeling bad and let down hasn't helped.  I'm working on me.  

Now, buzz off.