Thursday, August 27, 2009


It's the first week of school, which means I can get back to my pre-summer routine. After I take Amanda to school, I go to the gym more days than not. This winter and spring I was able to get back into my pre GI illness shape. I dropped 20 pounds and bulked my arms and chest back up. This summer I maintained my strength, but I only got to the gym a half dozen times. In my defense, I did play a lot of golf and worked in the yard. I also mad a point to float in the pool as often as possible.

I've made it the last three days, the first two emphasizing cardio. I didn't want to to shock my body by hitting the weights the first day. It might not take it well and rebel. Today I was able to do both. The Offspring on my I-pod nano were made for weight lifting.

But what I thought was cool was this. There were two young guys working out hard and heavy. Both were about 24 years old, lean, a few tatoos and Marine Corp Reserve. Halfway through their workout they went outside to smoke. Then they came back in and did decline push ups until their arms gave out. I doubt either one of these guys had more than 10% body fat. Put them on t he Nicotine Patch and they could fight all day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small class and a small victory

Amanda is back in school and loving it. She is in a much smaller class this year and Ms. Debbie has returned as an aide. Her class has emphasis on life skills and is set up like a house, complete with kitchen and laundry room. When I describe this class to most people their response is usually, "I wish my kid could take that class." Well, home economics is offered in high school, but then again it is harder to teach normal teenagers the basics of life than it is younger students with developmental delays.

Amanda is very proud that she earns a smiley face for her behavior for the day. She is making a point to show it to me. She prides herself on cooperation and has learned to stay much calmer when things go a rye.

Amanda's big accomplishment has come in the past two weeks. She now goes to sleep by herself. For many years she was terrified to fall asleep in her bed by herself. Either Tina or I would have to lay in bed with her until she was asleep. If we tried to leave before she would succumb to sleep she would follow us out of the room, call out, scream, cry, or worse. Those of you with a special needs child like Amanda know what I'm talking about when I say, "or worse."

But now, after I read her a story or tell her about my day, she simply says, "Bye, close the door." Within fifteen minutes she is asleep.

I think this came on do to a flight delay two weeks ago. My brother and I flew into DFW after a quick trip to LA. We were scheduled to get in at DFW around 8 pm, instead it was closer to 11 because of a late arrival at LAX and then a broken toilet. Amanda had decided to stay up until I got home. Had it been the original 11 pm arrival at home she would have made. But there was no way she was going to make it until 2 AM. She pitched a pretty serious fit, but Tina held her ground and told her she could just lay down on the movie sack until I got home. Tina said Amanda talked to herself for about half an hour about how mad she was and then fell asleep. About 1 AM Tina her call out, "Hey Tina! My back hurts, want my bed." Tina walked her to her room and said Amanda was asleep as soon as her hed hit the pillow. Ever since then she has been going to sleep by herself.

She told me, she thinks about stuff before she falls asleep now. This has become a serious victory in our house. School wears her out and she is asleep by 8:30, or at least kicking me out of her room, and now Tina and I have an extra hour and half together in the evening.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A new day, a new chair

I'm getting used to my new office chair. My last chair was a great chair until the bolts that held the seat to the frame stripped out and left me to face gravity by myself. Now, if you think about it, the only reason for the bolts to strip and fall out is because I was leaning back in my chair, which I was. This was bad enough, but I was on the phone at the time, wearing a headset instead of using the handset, so yes, the person I was talking to at the time heard everything. Gravity is one of the few things I really fear, other things are: tornadoes, giant sharks, spicy food, an NFL players lock out, cancer, and a coffee blight.

So, when I was surprisingly confronted by one of my great fears, I naturally tried to save myself with a four letter word which really didn't cushion my fall. The person on the phone was a bit concerned that I was mad at him, but I explained the situation quickly, omitting my fear of giant sharks. I assume most everyone is afraid of giant sharks and didn't want to waste my breath on the subject.

All that being said, I now have a new chair that is every bit as comfortable as the last one, now that I know how to adjust the arms, and the bottom bolts are tight. So I'm good to go.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let the school day begin

In the summer of 1989 I heard a song by The Call, titled "Let the Day Begin"

I bought this album on cassette, yes cassette and listened to it daily.

I took the album with me to college my junior year. It was 1989 and I had a monster Kenwood stereo system and added my roommates speakers to it to add to the output. I could shake the north end of Nacogdoches with this system. I would play this song most every morning to wake me up and get me going because I wasn't a coffee drinker yet. This song is one of the first contacts that Tina had with me, as her apartment was next store to mine she could hear every word through the wall. The song became my anthem. Now 20 years later, Amanda loves the song and requested it for her first day of school wake up. She calls it, the morning song.

Here are the lyrics:

Here's to the babies in a brand new world
Here's to the beauty of the stars
Here's to the travellers on the open road
Here's to the dreamers in the bars

Here's to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here's to the workers in the fields
Here's to the preachers of the sacred words
Here's to the drivers at the wheel

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin

Here's to the winners of the human race
Here's to the losers in the game
Here's to the soldiers of the bitter war
Here's to the wall that bears their names

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Here's to the doctors and their healing work
Here's to the loved ones in their care
Here's to the strangers on the streets tonight
Here's to the lonely everywhere

Here's to the wisdom from the mouths of babes
Here's to the lions in the cage
Here's to the struggles of the silent war
Here's to the closing of the age.

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Friday, August 21, 2009

Elementary my dear

I'm talking with Tina this morning, and this proves how she thinks differently than I do. I was telling her how Wednesday morning while I was running errands all over town, every time I got out of my car I could smell some sort of chicken soup. So naturally I thought I had run over a chicken and it got stuck under the car and heated up. Tina pointed out, "We had Chinese food on Tuesday, you went and picked it up." So you see, she completes me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thus ends another summer

One more weekday before Amanda goes back to school. It was the best summer yet. Amanda has matured in many ways which has taken a lot of the stress out of the day to day. There were a few bad days where her routine was broken and unfortunately that was because I was out of town. She is not only used to both Tina and I, she is dependent on us both as we are on one another. I can't imagine the difficulty of being Amanda's only parent. It is the only real fear that I have.

Of course it is two fold fear, losing Amanda's mother would also mean I would have lost my wife, and that would in itself be my definition of hell on earth. Tina and I are a team. We have overlapping and complimentary skills that really allow us to accomplish our goals. But more importantly, we truly want the other to enjoy success. And that is what has made this summer possible.

We didn't do anything grand. I repaired the shed and kept the pool clear and clean. Tina kept the house running like a well oiled machine. She says her house keeping was a little slack during the summer and has suspended the 5 second rule. If something hits the floor, DON'T eat it. While I may be domesticated, I'm still a dog, I won't give up a single Lays potato chip.

It's been a good summer, but we are looking forward to the fall, which we define as the beginning of school.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Funky love

Well Funky Winkerbean made quick work of the Wally story for now. Becky told Wally that she buried him and her life was with John. As Wally walked off carrying his trombone case, Becky reflected on how Wally was her first everything, but she had to live with her present. That is how it should be. Love can be painful, and the first can really be the worst. But as I've said myself, I'm not concerned with my first love but my last.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wabbit Season

So I'm swimming in the pool Saturday afternoon with Tina and Amanda and my older sister. We're relaxing and enjoying the cool water when Sis says, "There is a rabbit in Mom's computer room."

Now, this statement might strike you as odd, but like almost every weird thing I hear from my sister regarding either my mother's house or animals my typical response is, "But of course."

Sis said that her own daughter, a beautiful young woman of 18 who is a rodeo queen and redneck tough, wrestled the small rabbit away from her bulldog. She is tough that way. And has plans on giving it to her boyfriend's grandmother who rescues wild animals. Now this rodeo queen is up in the Arkansas mountains at a rodeo so my mother has the door closed to the room that the rabbit is occupying. Sis said that Mom offered her a small butterfly net on a long pool to catch the rabbit. Sis said it was the wrong tool for the job and they would have to wait a day until the queen returned.

Now, in my day I have caught both dogs and cats, both of which are equally capable of catching a rabbit. Plus, just this past May I read WATERSHIP DOWN. So, I know I can handle this.

After swimming I go to my ancestral home with a pair of leather gloves and am prepared to catch the loose rabbit. I move the furniture which Mom says the rabbit was under, it isn't there. Then I look under another chair and see this terrified little creature, grab the butterfly net and make a capture on the second attempt. Mission accomplished. I deposit the rabbit back in the bucket which it escaped, per my mother's instructions , and grabbed my reward from the wine closet.

I heard today the rabbit finally stroked out before getting delivered to the rescue. I kind of figured that would happen. But at least it was in the bucket and not hiding under a chair when it happened.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A change of title

I changed the name of my blog today. I have a bench in my front yard under a beautiful oak tree. Amanda and I sit on this bench almost daily and visit. It is where she and I have grown together and personally I believe if I were not her father I would not be me.

We painted the bench today, and my sister pointed out to me that I really do love that bench. It is a place where I think about everything that is important to me while Amanda sits and talks about everything that is important to her. So, I have decided to move things along. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A day at Hogwarts

I saw the new Harry Potter movie yesterday with my brother and nephew. Amanda doesn't watch movies, which I find to be the only real hang up with her condition.

This movie was well done, it was just too long since I saw The Order of The Phoenix or read the book, The Half Blood Prince. I do like the way the relationship with Jenny and Harry is progressing. She is a very brave girl and more suited for Harry than Hermione. She compliments Harry's style while Hermione balances Ron. The last thing Ron needs is someone like himself.

Anyway, not to add to a thousand other critiques of this film and movie, I just have to say I liked it and was very entertained.

One thing I will do is buy the entire series on Blu-Ray when it is available.