Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Halfway to Vegas:

      There have been many upheavals in the Dudeverse in recent months, I'll probably recount specific stories later, but this is kind of an overview of the whole deal, now that I've finally  used a crowbar on my wallet and gotten internet again.
    For reasons that have nothing to do with Dude, Raine and I decided (several months before the move) that our relationship had come to an end. It was amicable enough that when Jill Mosura (Henceforth called the Evil One) plucked at the sappy, nougatty center of my conscience, and told me I just had to let Dave sing at the opening of the graduation ceremony (unknowingly delaying my departure by at least a month), things were cool enough that I could, in fact, delay my departure.
     But depart, we did, two Dudes and a Psycho Biscuit (Dexter), we temporarily stayed with my oldest son, Tim, his wife Abby, and 3 dogs, Yuki (a Siberian Husky), Skylar (a Malamute), and Sweetness (some sort of 3-legged Terrier), and the Cat.... uh.... Psycho-cookie.   (okay, I'm the only one that called her that) Her real name is Mila. They were very nice about our staying. It gave me time to get to know Abby, and it gave Dave and Tim time to get to know one another as they've mostly lived in different parts of the country for Dude's entire life. It also gave Dude time to get acquainted with Abby's iPad.  Abby, if your iPad is ever missing, I swear I would never take Dude to your house without your knowing about it. And even then, never without a thorough pat-down before we left.
     Dave and I spent several weeks driving into Kansas City to find someplace to live with more bedrooms and fewer dogs (sorry guys), so we would jump on the bike and head the 40+ miles to the far side of KC. Dave used to love riding the bike. We'd jump on it and tool around town, or around the lake and take in the sights, and everything was cool.  It seems Dude's butt is a bit more sensitive than he previously imagined, because every time a ride lasted for longer than 20 minutes I started hearing about it. Do you know that Bikers call the pillion (passenger) seat on a motorcycle the 'bitch seat'? They have their own reasons, which I won't go into here, but I did start hearing a lot of 'bitching' from the backseat after the first 20 minutes of every ride. Also every time thereafter when we had to get back on the bike to continue our day, or even to go back to Tim's house. (and Abby's iPad) It got to the point that whenever we'd leave Tim's house he'd call out, 'Time to get in the Tim's truck!' Even though neither Tim, nor his truck, where anywhere within 10 miles of the house. Somehow his butt remembered the bike. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Smart-Ass'
     I've stated before (endlessly) how much David likes new houses, new doors, and new elevators. But, since most rental homes do not come equipped with elevators, and I have a strict aversion to apartment buildings, the very best he was going to do was 2 out of 3. This didn't deter his enthusiasm for the search one bit (once butt and bike had parted ways). Every house we looked at, and not a few we merely passed by were 'My new house!'. I kept trying to tell him 'We're just looking' and 'Maybe', but he was having none of it. 'We got to get the new house, for the systems!' As a matter of fact, somehow in his mind it became that our new house would come complete with systems and  wifi and it would just be a matter of time before the elevators were installed. I'm not sure how that all came about but more than a few of the nice people who were showing us the properties would be accosted with, 'Does it have the systems?' and 'We get the new house with the Wii and the Playstation 4!!' and 'It's just the Wifi in the new house.' Which only embarrassed me a tiny bit, but confused the hell out of them.
     Every house was 'The New House', and I think he was starting to wonder why his stuff wasn't already there. Even though we were looking at 3-4 houses a day at one point. We were finally looking at a duplex in Southern KCMO (That's Kansas City Missouri, for the non-Midwestern), we had gone through the place, and it wasn't too bad, although the bathroom arrangement was a little odd, when the woman off-handedly mentioned that the 'unit' next door had just recently become available, but hadn't been listed yet. My instincts, honed by years of garage sales, twitched a bit at this, and when she asked if we'd like to see it my response of 'Well, hell yeah.' might have taken her back a bit. But hey, I'd spent the last several weeks roaming hither and yon, and the prospect of seeing another property, A: Without having to scour the interwebs. and 2: Being able to walk to it in under 32 seconds, appealed to me mightily.
    We toured the house, which had slightly larger bedrooms, a huge basement, and a slightly more beneficial arrangement of toilet facilities. I liked it pretty well, and we were talking about rent and deposits and possible move-in dates when I looked around and said, 'Where's David?' Yes, the Least Stealthy Being in the Universe had giving me the slip... again. (that could get embarrassing) Since we were standing by one door and the other was locked, I was reasonably sure that he hadn't taken to wandering the neighborhood to 'board someone else's vessel' like a system stealing game-pirate. After a quick search of the place netted us no Dude, I even checked to make sure all the windows were locked. I wandered the 3 rooms upstairs because that's where I'd seen him heading last,  when I heard scuffling sounds in one of the closets.
My score in the new house debate.
    The closets in this place seemed to come equipped with vague mumbles. Either that, or impatient ghosts that just couldn't wait for us to sign the contract and move in. I tried to open the doors, but Dave had nearly barricaded himself into the closet, he had pushed himself up against the bifold doors so I couldn't open them and he was refusing to come out. I tried calling him out a couple of times but all I got back was, 'It's his new house' and 'Gotta get the systems in the new bedroom'. I guess I was supposed to just get our stuff and he'd wait right there. This put me in a bad position, bargaining-wise. I mean, it's hard to pretend indifference to whether or not you get a house if your youngest offspring won't leave it. The agent is bound to know something is working in her favor if someone is yelling 'It's the new bedroom, with the systems!' from one of the closets upstairs... or anywhere for that matter. As I walked back downstairs toward the, now slightly smug-looking, Rental Agent, I muttered, 'Found him.' and continued our interrupted 'negotiations'. At least he didn't yell, 'Attica! Attica!'. That would have been awkward.
     I finally negotiated the release of the Hostage in the Closet for a minimal fee (steakburgers and fries) and tried to explain to him that you need to have supplies with you before you Occupy in protest. Unless, of course you happen to be in Oregon. I also have to state, for the record, that David did not get the bedroom he so ardently desired. Mostly because that room is now our office and computer room. His bedroom is on the other side of the stairs, next to the bathroom. I do not accede to the demands of terrorists. ... Much
   So, two months after our Interstate Adventure began we had a place to keep our stuff. The problem was that our stuff was in a storage facility 50+ miles away in Topeka. Luckily by this time Tim and Abby wanted us out of the house bad enough to actually help us move. My nephew Brendan's motivations are somewhat more obscure, although it may be cynical to point out that I was in possession of his mother's SUV at the time. There may have been urgent messages flying from the Lone Star State to regain possession of the vehicle, although I have no direct knowledge of them. It is possible, however, that he was just being kind to his only Maternal uncle, which would just be... weird. At any rate, we were deeply grateful for all the help on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. Although, once his games were loaded into the truck, Dude lost all interest in the whole middle part of the moving process, and sat in the cab of the truck with his 3DS until we were ready to actually go to the house. And once there, lost all interest in it again, once his systems and games were in his new room. Naturally.
     Along with his new digs, Dude has a new co-conspirator in the endless struggle against All That is Dad. Her name is Suzi.  Suzi and I were friends in High School. That doesn't quite cover it (duh), Suzi and I were instantly friends in HS. We never dated each other, we were best friends.  Although the nuns did warn her about the evils of 'corrupting' someone soooo much younger. (She was a Senior, I was a Freshman) They didn't understand. Nothing like that was going on, we were just the only two 'green monkeys' in a world full of brown monkeys. Then, after a short stint at the local college, she had to move on... to Chicago.  We had no further contact until many, many moons later, but during the interregnum between the break-up and the new digs she decided that living with 2 Dudes might not be such a bad idea. (I still have no idea why anyone would volunteer for that).
The Evil Organist Effect on Dexter
     Now they're thick as thieves, sharing 'iPad time' while I'm at work, when Dave's not practicing for the Las Vegas Talent Show on his new keyboard.(I didn't even know there was a Las Vegas Talent Show) He's really good with it. He'll listen to songs and then play the chords on the keyboard until he has it right, then he'll shut off the song and replay the chords and sing it himself. It's really kind of amazing. Of course, sometimes he just plays the scary sounding chords he's learned from some of the classical music he has recorded... and laughs like a villain in a Black and White movie. When this happens, Suzi and I just chuckle nervously and keep doing our thing downstairs... in the living room... away from the mad keyboardist, as the cats head for our bedroom to hide.
The Union Station 'Waiting Hall'
Dave's already found his favorite place to go in KC. It's the Union Station Depot. Which was restored about the time I first moved to Florida, and let me tell you, they did an absolutely wonderful job of it. The ceilings were lovingly repaired and restored and the whole thing shines of old wood, granite floors, mellow brass and early 19th century lighting and hardware. Dave couldn't care less. He's completely indifferent to it all. It doesn't matter to him that the building is over 100 years old (102 this year). He doesn't care about the 95 foot tall Main Hall with its three 3500 pound chandeliers. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference to him that it was the 2nd largest train station in the world when it was built. What matters to most civilized people (him) is that, by my count it has 6 elevators that we've found so far. All completely open to the public (him) to use whenever they damn well please. And that doesn't even count the Link. An elevated, climate-controlled walkway, connected to the side of the station that crosses a busy street, goes down the block, around the corner and crosses yet another street between Union Station and Crown Center that sits catty-corner to it . Not only does it do all this action a serene 15, or so, feet above the sidewalk, it has 4 or 5 access points and all but one of these have elevators. Add to this the 3 story elevator that lifts people from the old Freight House up to an open walkway that connects to the rear of the Station and you have a positive Dude-fest of elevator happiness. Not to mention that the walkway crosses over about 10 tracks, so there's a good chance for a bit of train-spotting while you're up there.
Watching the trains
       So if you ever hear Dude volunteer to go 'take pictures in the city' with the Dude-Dad, let me translate that for you. It actually means, 'Dad needs to take me to Union Station so that we can ride up and down all the elevators in the building, take another elevator to the Link level, walk along the Link, down the first elevator, walk down to the end of the block, take another one back up to the Link walk back to the first elevator, down to street level, across a bridge to the Freight House area, up another elevator, across the open walkway back into Union Station to try to start the entire process over again.' Dude-speak is sometimes a rather compact language.
     So, Midwest America, the Dude-versian Aliens have landed. We've already begun recruiting Dude Robot Slaves (pat. pend) and encouraging your citizens to immigrate (at least temporarily, and at their own expense) to Las Vegas Nevada. Your elevators will be slowly, but irrevocably conquered for the Greater Dude Empire. And your cheese is, of course, immediately forfeit to his greater Mac and Cheese glory. We want you to understand that we come in Peace (but not quiet) and mean you no harm. This is but a stop on the way to the eventual conquering of Las Vegas to be used as the new Capitol in the Greater Dude Empire, but does not reflect negatively on our regard for your lovely, if somewhat parochial, Homeland. After all, you're only halfway to Vegas, it's not your fault.

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