Morgan’s Birthday Wish

Giant Robot!
This weekend Morgan was talking about his birthday. He’s been asking for a soccer ball for months, and we’re telling him he’ll get one if he’s good. (Translation: he’ll get one.) However, this time when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said “Giant Robot”.

What can you say to that?

1. Giant robots are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain.
2. Giant robots are big and tend to cause damage to buildings, like our house.
3. Giant robots are noisy. We still regret getting you that kazoo and that drum.

New Family Members

We got two additions to our family, and we’re working on a third. Last Sunday I was getting ready to mow the back lawn when I saw a small black and white kitten in the bushes next to our shed. I called Anne over to look at it, and heard another in the bushes while we were talking. Soon after, we saw their mother dart away. She’s a grey shorthair who’s been hanging around recently. Very cute, and doesn’t seem to be feral, just abandoned. We’ve been trying to get mom to come inside, but I think it will be a long time if it happens at all.

Meanwhile, the two kittens are in the house making Morgan and Gus and Juju go insane. We have to watch Morgan especially because he’s likely to hurt one of them accidentally.

Pictures coming soon.

Old memories of living in England

When I was in high school, my mother sent me to England to live with my aunt and grandmother. She wanted me to have a better education, she said. I’m not entirely sure if that was the true reason, but there it is.

I was on a website for D&D which had a map of people looking for players. It was set in England, so I tried zooming in to Cumbria, the place I used to live, and found it was thoroughly mapped by Google. So, I went on a little trip down memory lane of my year and a half in Cumbria.

View Cumbria in a larger map

What’s the story about shampoo?

Last week I was going shopping and on the list is: shampoo.

A quick look in the bathroom once again confirms that we have no less than five shampoo bottles already. Being the diligent husband that I am, I ask what about all this shampoo we already have?

That’s when the yelling starts.

I got some shampoo at the store later that day.

They’re cute when they’re groggy

So, last week Morgan was sick and I had to go get him from school and take him home. Luckily, I didn’t lose any time at work. He had a fever and was coughing up a storm. Just so everyone knows, he didn’t have any symptoms that morning. He was up and at ’em and ready for school.

We kept him out of school on Monday as well because of his coughing, and he’s been somewhat tired this week, lying down on the couch and just going out like a light around 5:00 p.m. or so. I get him up at 7:30 to take him to bed. He’s so cute when he’s groggy.

Elementary School Early Release — Why?

I have no idea. I only know that they’re releasing the elementary students early so I need to make sure I’m home at lunchtime to meet Morgan’s bus.

A lot of the time you can look at the school calendar and see why there’s no school, but this time there’s no reason given.

Also I need to really make sure I’m there. Once I didn’t know about it so nobody was home when the bus dropped him off, which they didn’t. They took him back to school and called me so I had to go meet him.


Choke on the future

Some days I just get so choked up about my son. I see how happy he is, running around and playing, making his noises that annoy us so damned much. He has no idea what his life is going to be like when he’s older. I can see it spread out like a movie. He starts to get teased at school, and as he gets older he becomes aware of it so it starts to hurt. He’s an easy target because he doesn’t understand, so the predators circle and make his life hell. I see myself helpless to stop it because I’m not there when it happens and the school dismisses it and minimizes it, so I’m left with impotent rage and a son who cries himself to sleep because he realizes now that he’s so different from everyone else and they punish him for it. Even worse, maybe he won’t notice. Or is that worse?

He stands there and looks at me with his happy face, he doesn’t see it, but I do, and I can’t help but weep.

Don’t mind me. I get this way sometimes. It will pass, like always. I’m weeping over things that haven’t even happened yet. How crazy is that? Anyway, men don’t cry. Cowboy up and STFU.

New stuff

Well, it’s been an interesting week or two, for me at least.

A tree in front of our house gave up the ghost in a recent thunder/wind storm. We had some really high winds with this storm, and when I came home for lunch, half of this tree was sitting in my driveway, having been blown off the main tree. The tree was ripped from one main branch down to the ground, exposing the insides of the tree. It was pretty bad, and the arborologist or whatever they’re called said it was a goner, so we had it cut down and the stump ground out. We were considering putting in another tree, but we’ve decided to let it be and do nothing for now.

Apparently Plano has an ordinance about old cars that don’t run. You can’t have them in your driveway out where everyone can see them. My old ’89 Toyota is a case in point, apparently. I admit it doesn’t run. I stopped driving it maybe five or six years ago when it needed brake work. Nothing else is really wrong with it, but it just hasn’t been driven. I’m not sure what it would take to get it running again. Well, probably just fixing the brakes, tune-up, oil change, fluid replacement, air in the tires and getting some gas into it or getting the gas that’s in it to work again. I need to get it fixed or towed and junked, so I have a decision to make. Need to discuss it with Anne.

Also, got my copies of 4th edition D&D, for a steal on They’re supposed to be around $110 for all three books ($35 each), but the set in a slipcover was on sale for $64 and I decided to get it. I’m going through them now to see what’s different from 3.5e. We’ll see.

That’s about it for now. Today is Thursday, so tomorrow is when we celebrate Independence Day here. We’re planning to go see the fireworks here in town if we can.

Bureaucracy Exposed!

This is something that bugged me the last time Morgan changed schools. You get a sheaf of forms from the new school, in which you need to enter all kinds of information. Name, who does the child live with, address (so far so good), phone numbers, emergency contacts, alternate people to contact if they can’t contact me or Ash (that would be nobody, btw, how pathetic are we! More on that further down, though).

“Why are you bugged by this?,” you ask. “It’s all good information for a school to have.”

You are correct, and thanks for asking!

It bugs me because every school he’s ever been to has exactly the same information. His kindergarden school has it. When we moved him to a new school, they asked the exact same question (sometimes on the exact same form! More on that later.) When he hit first grade, same questions. When they moved him this time, same questions.

Why not just have a group of standard school district forms and send them on to a new school? The information hasn’t changed. If it had, they could just ask before they forward the information. “Excuse me Mr. Shaffer, has any of the personal information we have on your family changed?”


“Right, then we’ll just forward copies of it to the new school.”

“Great! Thanks!”

Nope. Well, we know its the same information, but we just need you to fill it out all over again.


“If you could just fill it out.”


Hmm. What else? Oh yeah, we have no backup person in case the school can’t call me or Ash. Well, all our friends are in New Hampshire or Maine. All our family is in New Hampshire, Maine, Houston or San Antonio, so who are you going to call? Why don’t we have friends here? Because we can’t get out! We have a son with autism and we can’t get a babysitter for him to have a nice night out and meet people! Shut up!

Anyway, that was a concrete example of bureaucracy and why I hate it.



Today the most awesome thing happened. My son slept in until I woke him up.

In fact, he didn’t even get up until after I went into his room to wake him. Normally, now that he’s on his new medication he will get up early. I mean really unbelievably early. I’m already getting up earlier to get him off to his new school, since the bus comes at 6:45 a.m. instead of 7:35 a.m. This is the first time in a couple of weeks that he wasn’t already up and making noise at 4:00 to 4:30 in the morning.

Let me tell you something. I don’t want to get up that early. Hell, I don’t want to get up at 5:15 in the morning if my alarm is going off at 5:30. Those 15 minutes are like golden drops of honey to me. I want to sleep for those 15 minutes, dammit! But, my son has other plans. He’s up. He wants to get going and start his day!

So, I drag my ass out of bed and tell him that he can stay out in the living room if he’s quiet. But, if he makes too much noise, he’s going back to bed. That usually works, but depending on how soon it is before I have to get up, I will either stay awake or fall back to sleep.

But, like I said. Not today! I woke to the alarm and no sign of Morgan. These are the days I go in to check if he’s still alive. Yep, he was. Still breathing, and rolling around on his bed like he does sometimes. He eventually got up and we started his day. After I got him on the bus, I took out the garbage and went back upstairs for a cup of coffee.

I woke up in my chair at 9:00 a.m., two hours later, feeling somewhat refreshed but an hour late for work already.