Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, October 14, 2013

Moving Day (Week, Month):

Moving 'Day'... Yeah, right. Remember your last move. Now think about it again. Now dredge up those repressed nightmares and think about it one more time. Did it take one day? No, it fucking well didn't. 4 months of looking at listings. 3 months of viewing houses. 6 weeks of scrambling for stuff and waiting on the title company. 4 days of packing and 2, count 'em, 2 days of shuttling all your stuff from one house to another, then 3 more days going back for the crap you forgot or couldn't fit in any of the other trips. And then months getting everything 'just the way you want it'. Ben Franklin once said, 'Two removes equal one fire.' I can relate. I know he was talking about all the stuff you got rid of because you either; A: Decided you didn't need anymore. B: Found that secret stash of broken crap that you thought you might one day fix, but now have decided to throw away. Or C: Didn't know what the hell you were doing with, or couldn't remember buying in the first place. Or D: Couldn't figure out how you got all this stuff into one house and started flinging crap out the windows for the buzzards to pick over. (Okay, Ben may not have meant 'D') What I'm talking about is the bare fact that I was more than ready to spray lighter fluid over the house, flick a match at it, and then start all over in the new place, and not tell any of my old stuff the new address in case there were any survivors.
    The main problem with that is that you always think of an exception. 'Oh, we can't live without...' whatever it is. Motorcycle, cat, car, TV,... youngest child, it doesn't matter. As soon as you allow one exception to the flames it just opens the door for something else, and then something else, until the only things that seem to actually get throw away end up being your own stuff.
     Dude has been excited about the move, and since we've started making exceptions to the bonfire plan I suppose he's coming with us. Of course he's been telling everyone at school and on the bus that we're going to the 'New house in Chicago'. A clever attempt to save the ruins of his 'Trip to Chicago' plan that he's been trying to gain support for all summer. I've been to Chicago, and it's a wonderful place. I have relatives that have lived there all their lives, and they love it. They seem to like me too, but I'm pretty sure they don't like me well enough to invite us to come live with them. They couldn't afford the GameStop bill.
    So we were doing it the oooooold fashioned way. Planning on years of debt just so we could decide whether or not we could poke holes in the walls to put up our Penguins pictures. (The NHL team, not the bird). David was very excited. It's sometimes difficult to tell why exactly he gets excited, or what he's excited about, being as the new house wasn't coming with a GameFly membership, or a lifetime supply of Mac&Cheese. He seemed to be especially interested in us filling boxes and what we were putting in them. When we explained that we were packing all our stuff so that we could take it to the new house, he made some noises of approval and went about his business. We went back to asking each other, 'Where the hell did this come from?' and diligently writing a description on each box. Even though we knew there was no way we'd ever figure out what was in them without ripping them open anyway. After thinking it over for a time David came to the startling (to us) conclusion that when we said that we were boxing up 'our' stuff, and since we didn't immediately start in his room (where all the really important stuff was) that we weren't intending on taking any of his stuff with us.
   He began hovering around the edges of where ever Raine or I were packing. Which was sometimes difficult because we were rarely in the same room. This seriously cut into his game-time, but he persevered and continued to hover at the edges of our packing.
     After we had packed up enough stuff to start cursing at boxes, but still too early to get a truck, I decided to shuttle everything out to the garage one afternoon right after David came home. So he and I started
carrying boxes out to the garage. He was a really big help, and seemed to be all about getting stuff out of the house and pre-staging it in our outbuilding. He didn't seem at all concerned with the fact that Raine soon wouldn't have any room to park. In fact, the more room we used up the more he seemed to like it. Although for the next couple of days he kept heading for the garage to get into the car instead of heading the curb where it was actually parked.
    After about an hour there were no more filled boxes, so I told Dave that was it and headed for the front room to check... important TV stuff. Dude followed me into the living room and as I started to sit down he said, 'He needs to pack the system and the TV!' I tried to tell him that we weren't actually moving anything yet, just getting ready. He really didn't seem satisfied with the answer, but Dad's butt had already made contact with couch and he knew that was the end, so he grumbled his way back upstairs and that was that.  Or so I thought.
   Dude was very enthusiastic about the move for the next couple of days. Very. Enthusiastic. He had his nose in nearly every box that was packed and he'd cruise periodically through the house to make sure he hadn't missed any. It was almost like a kind of reverse-Christmas. By that I mean, we weren't shopping for new stuff, we were taking stuff we already owned and putting them in boxes, taping them up and took them out of the house, instead of the reverse. But that didn't curb Dude's enthusiasm one bit. I was extolling his excitement to Raine one evening when David was walking through the room, so I said, "Dude! You all ready to move?" Dude doesn't do facetious. He immediately grabbed a DVD rack and started heading for the door.
'Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!' I quickly said, holding out a hand to stop him.'It's not time to load yet.' He got his stubborn look on his face, and took another step with the rack. 'The truck's not even going to be here for 2 more days.'
    'He has to get the System and the Games, and the movies on the truck!' He said, not backing down one bit. Sometimes there's no arguing with a Dude (big or little), so I let him take the racks out to the garage and then back to his room and games he went, with a smile on his face. Just one step closer to 'his' new house and room.
    I've moved several times in my career and one thing has always amazed me. How many 'helpful' people suddenly have 'things' come up when the day actually comes to be helpful. If all the people I've helped move suddenly showed up to one of mine the whole thing would take 15 minutes and I wouldn't have to pick up so much as a toothpick. As it stands it was Yours Truly and Raine's son ended up doing all of the heavy lifting on Sunday, (except for the 4 hour 'lunch' his father took him to) and 'Layne's boyfriend helped me on Tuesday (Monday was paper signing day) and we very nearly stuffed a 24 foot truck. Alexis (my niece) was golden. Not only did she take several loads over to the house with her pickup, but she kept Dude interested and busy once he came home.
   FINALLY it was time for Dude to pack up all the stuff in his room and nothing else mattered but getting that stuff out of the house at once. So he and Alexis immediately brought his boxes out into the garage staging area once they were done packing. Dave doesn't do 'staging areas'. He brought the box with some of his games in it (they wouldn't all fit in one box he could carry. I'm not sure they'd all fit in a box I could carry) and immediately walked out into the alley and started up the ramp into the truck.
     Alexis and Robert stopped him before he could make it all the way up the ramp, telling him it wasn't time for that box to go into the truck yet. He stopped on the ramp, looking stubborn (I think I've seen that face before... in the mirror) and said, 'He has to get the games and the systems into the truck. So they can go to the new house... in Vegas!' (He's been pushing a move to Vegas for a couple of months) (Ain't happening) The two 'meanies' told David to bring the box back into the garage until it was time for them to be loaded. He somehow managed to look both stubborn and dejected as he brought the box back down the ramp and into the garage. I was draining a bottle of water and didn't say anything. Dude put the box down in the middle of the floor and hovered over it, hands fluttering, facing the truck, looking pitiful. It was obvious to me that he was going nowhere until that particular box was safely in the truck.
   'Dude.' I said, once I'd finished my water. 'Why don't you put that box in the truck?' My two other 'minions' (Okay, so I've seen Despicable Me too many times) stared at me with betrayed dumbfounded looks on their faces. I shrugged. 'It was time to put the box in the truck.' Dave didn't wait for any explanation, he lifted the box so quickly I thought it was going to end up in the attic, and the garage doesn't even have an attic. He clomped quickly up the ramp and disappeared into the truck. Some soft banging ensued and the truck, all 12,000 pounds of it, rocked gently for a few moments while he put the box, just so... 3 or 4 times by the sound of it. He emerged with a huge grin on his face and bolted back down the ramp so quickly his knees buckled when he got to the bottom. He then sped back into the house, without waiting for Alexis, to go and get more boxes... his boxes. Then we got back to loading the less important stuff in the truck.
   Then came the moment we all (Dude) were waiting for. The ride in the truck. Robert, Dude, and I all climbed up into the cab, Dude babbling the entire time 'He has to get into the truck to go to the new house, in Vegas!' So off to the new house (still not in Vegas) and as the sky darkened we unloaded several decades worth of 'valuables' into the house. This was to take several hours and much back-bending labor. Since David won't have anything to do with any sentence that starts with or contains the word 'labor' in it and since I'm no rookie with moving or Dudes I immediately sent him to his new, if empty room with his 3DS xl and a carry-case full of games. Soon though, he had bed, dresser, clothes, shelves, systems and games delivered to his room (as any potentate in his new castle would) and all was (basically) right with the (his) world.
   I know there are people somewhere that actually buckle down and organize everything just the way it goes almost before the last box is off the truck. I'm not one of those people,  I don't know any of these people, and I really think they're in need of an exorcism or at least some intense therapy... Thorazine therapy. We got the basics all sorted out, clothes and furniture mostly in the proper rooms, crap we weren't so worried about jammed in the basement and the backyard shed.
    Perhaps not so strangely, the kitchen was mostly sorted out and the couch, the big TV and BluRay were set up in the front room in time for the all important Pizza Delivery. But even several weeks later we're still leaving huge mounds of boxes every Thursday for the garbage men, and still haven't put anything up on the walls yet. So it was a couple of weeks in before I could take advantage of the built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace to actually retire a couple of DVD racks into Dude's room.
    'Dude,' I stopped him as he was whipping through the front room, 'do you want some shelves for your games?' (Silly dad, any question with 'games', the answer is yes) 'Yes!' he exclaimed (see? I told you) 'He needs some shelves for the games!' He immediately grabbed the small tower shelf out of my hands and started lugging it up the steps. This from the kid who treats lugging the cat litter like being sentenced to the Chain Gang even though they weigh about the same. He made his grunting way up the stairs and then we heard things being slid and transferred around upstairs. I waited a few moments for him to come back down, and when he didn't immediately reappear I yelled up the steps, 'Dude!' 'Who is it?' Came the reply. I rolled my eyes, 'Do you want the shelves that go with that, or what?' I don't know who his Special Effects people are, but they're good. Dude magically appeared in front of me, saying excitedly, 'Yes! He needs the shelves for the games and DVD's!' I tried not to show how impressed I was with his FX people, 'I think you need 4 shelves with that, right?'  'YES! He needs the 4 shelves to hold the games for the system!' I reached into the appropriate box (it was still on the floor in the front room) gave him the shelves and, poof! he disappeared again. I've got to hire those people for my next party.
    I sat back down on the couch while Raine looked at me suspiciously. She quirked an eyebrow at me. 'You know, with those shelves,' she pointed at the wall, 'we really don't need those 4 towers.'
   'I know.' I said blandly.
   'Dude could use those shelves for his games and actually put books on his bookshelves.'
   'Probably could.' I said in the same tone.
   She looked at me with a certain amount of amused disgust, 'You're terrible, you know that?'
   'I know.' I said, using the same bland tone.
   I waited a certain arbitrary amount of time before 'DUDE!' thundered through the house again. (We did have the house structurally inspected before we moved in)
   Whenever anyone interrupts David by calling him out of his room he acts just like one of those grumpy Lab Guys in the movies. You know, the ones that act as if even the end of the world isn't important enough to interrupt their vital research. He grumps and scowls, and complains then opens his door and asks something
like 'What is it?' in a grumpy voice.
    'You want more shelves for your Games?' 'YES!!' The grumpy-ness magically disappeared. 'He needs more shelves for the Games and the Movies!!' Once again he materialized in front of me. 'Now he'll have more room for more movies and games!' He snatched the tower out of my hands and grunted his way up the stairs again, giving himself advice the whole time. 'Be Careful.' 'Don't scrape the walls.' and 'Don't drop the shelves taking them up to your room.' All spoken with barely suppressed excitement, and an almost exact recital of the advice I'd given him on the first trip. I think he set an Olympic Record in the Snatch and Carry in the DVD rack Division. It wasn't very long before he was back down the stairs saying 'He needs the FOUR shelves for the rack so he can hold the movies and games!' He found me at the bottom of the stairs, holding said shelves out for his retrieval. He then, once again, whisked himself up to the second floor, not to be seen until the next morning.
    One new thing with the new house: We're trying a new policy. It's called the Let Dude Organize his own Room Policy. I put a couple of the big things where I want them, but I never touched those towers once I'd handed them to David. This may have been something of a mistake. So far I've seen them in 4 different places in a 10x12 room with a bed, dresser, long low bookshelf and a 3x3x4 foot oak storage box in it. At least he hasn't asked me to move his dresser out into the hallway... yet.

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