Holy cold. The moment I announce my intent to go all winter without light or heat, I’m ready to drag out the space heater; it occurs to me I should ask a plumber just how low I can let my temperature get before I’m in danger of my pipes freezing. The fact that this is all self-imposed hardly occurs to me.
It’s 50 degrees in my house right now and not even freezing temperatures outside yet. My thermostat is still at 45 but I’m not sure that’s high enough. I researched a little on the ‘Net but mostly there’s advice for people leaving their homes for the winter. The fact that I run hot water to hand wash my dishes and take showers should count for something, right? (That’s not a rhetorical question. If you know, please tell me!)
I’m reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter over and over, reminding myself of what she and her family survived through conditions far worse than my own. I re-watch Alone in the Wilderness, a documentary about Dick Proenneke living alone for 30+ years in Twin Lakes Alaska, and hear his words echoing in my mind: “It’s a toasty 40 degrees in the cabin today.”
I think to myself I can do this, I can manage. I can “come out” of the cold to my car, or a friend’s house, or even the dreaded mall. But it’s really hard to get out of my toasty bed in the mornings. Manzo-kitty even has his own comfy blanket and snuggles next to me on the bed.
Yesterday my mom and I drove down to visit Boo. On the way we listened to her new Barry Manilow “Dream Duets” CD, in which he has inserted himself into various deceased singers’ tunes – everyone from John Denver to Marilyn Monroe. It’s kind of cool, in a slightly creepy way. At least it wasn’t Sing Along With Mitch.
Oh, and it turns out they did find a train conductor costume for Boo to wear on Halloween, and he loved it.
One more reason to appreciate the folk at the Anderson Center for Autism.
I also found out they think his aggressions have increased in school due to some classroom staff changes; his aggressions at Birch House (where he lives) have stayed steady, which is to say mostly mitigated.
At least there is a reason, an antecedent. It’s a huge thing for us…to be able to know why Jonah is upset.
At Andy’s apartment Jonah was overwhelmed, I think, by the variety & choices of items to eat. Both my mother and I brought special items from Halloween with which to spoil Boo. Usually he enjoys taking items we bring and putting them away – in the cabinet, refrigerator, or wherever else he deems they belong. This day, though, he began to open up mini potato chip bags and chocolate cookie boxes and the silver-foil wrapped tuna fish sandwich, all before we could interfere and take most of the excess away.
Then he started scrolling through requests for things he didn’t have before him: pot pie? pepperoni? strawberry milk? apple cider?
He was getting “squirrely,” as Andy and I call it, and so when I tried to calm him or help, Andy stopped me. “Let me handle him,” he said firmly, as he often does. Tears always spring to my eyes; while I know Andy is trying to protect me from a possible aggression, it is frustrating to have Jonah largely uninterested in me and at the same time be prevented from interacting with him – even if it is for my own safety.
On our car ride to get apple cider, I snapped one picture of him smiling and one of him imitating a strange skill I possess (of touching my tongue to the tip of my nose):
He’s not as skilled as his mama, but he tried…
And then a video of Jonah’s requested song: Live for Love, by Prince…you can see his daddy handing him some lip balm for optimal comfort during Boo’s listening, rocking joy:
He’s got a new method and skill for selecting desired music. He’ll say to daddy Wan take a picture? which actually means May I please have the case of CDs?
Then he announces the name (actual or self-invented) CD he wants, and selects it from the sleeves within the case. Once he hands it up to daddy, he announces the number of the track he wishes to hear. Sometimes it’s one simple request: number seven? and other times Andy has to start at the CD’s beginning and Jonah will say number one? number two? etc. until he’s found (and will eventually memorize) the track number he really wants.
Although this new skill is impressive, it gets old when he wants one song from each CD, after having zipped up and handed the case back to Andy, requiring Andy to take it out and hand it over again – and eventually, inevitably, Andy simply suggests radio. Usually this is cool with Jonah but once in a while he’ll confuse us with his rapid-fire requests: Diamonds and Pearls? – followed by No Diamonds and Pearls?
And so once Andy suggests radio Jonah is usually resigned to his pop tunes by whomever-the-hell is cranking them out these days. I’m a geezer with Top 40 and know barely any of the artists. My tastes tend toward alternative (ex. The Pixies or The Elizabeth Kill), or classic (ex. The Beatles or Pink Floyd), or classical (ex. Mozart et al). And of course, Guster, best of them all.
Suddenly I’m in a writing zone again. Maybe November will be blog-heavy. Who knows? It keeps me warm, oddly enough – or at least is a distraction from the cold!
I did not end up going to see Boo today. I am sneezing and stuffy, and yesterday I took my very first Boniva pill to stave off my osteoporosis. I think I’m suffering a nasty-ass side effect of it with which I won’t gross you out. At least I only have to take it once a month!
Hopefully the side effect goes away before the Jethro Tull show tonight my cousin B is treating me to experience.
Time to drink a hot beverage, do some jumping jacks, put in a movie and run in place, hold my hands over a candle, bake some cinnamon rolls (and open that beautiful oven door all the way afterward to release the heat), take a short drive with the heat blasted. Anything besides sit still and f-f-f-f-freeze.