Friday, December 8, 2006

A game and a plea for help

I saw this game at Janet's, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Comment and I'll give you a letter, and then you have to list 10 things you love beginning with that letter. That beeyotch Janet gave me "J" and I had to struggle to come up with J words!

  1. Jumping into a warm bed on a cold night
  2. Jam, seedless blackberry
  3. Jousting and other things from medieval history
  4. Japanese art
  5. Jovial people
  6. Junior Mints at a movie
  7. Jocularity
  8. Jaunts to bookstores
  9. Jewelry, silver
  10. Joining in the carnal sense (hey, I'm running out of J ideas!)

Oh, OK, I'll include Janet in that list, even though that makes 11 items. I promise I'll give you an easier letter if you comment.


I love the Internet. A couple of hours online Wednesday morning, and I'm two-thirds done with my Christmas shopping. Yes! I went to Amazon first, and can I say I'm a wee bit disillusioned with that site? On almost everything I checked, Amazon "couldn't guarantee" arrival by December 25 if I picked its much-vaunted free shipping. Oh, if I wanted to PAY for shipping, Amazon would get that package out to me on the double, no messing around. I have a B@rnes & Noble membership card, so I went there and found almost all the books, CDs, and DVDs I needed--and at a 15% discount with free shipping. Take that, Amazon! Who needs ya, baby?


This time of year always makes me grateful my job has nothing to do with customer service or dealing with the public. I don't know how Kevin stands it. Of course, the photo department at W@lgreens has been inundated with orders lately, and to make matters worse, several sales and promotions have been bringing in the crazies along with regular customers. A guy came in early the morning a cellphone sale started, demanding to get "one of them phones" he saw in the paper. The main office hadn't sent the stock of cellphones until late the day before, so they still hadn't been unpacked. Kevin dug around in boxes in the back and finally found the right phones and accessories. Phone Guy examined the phone suspiciously and eventually agreed to buy it. After Kevin rang up the purchase, he handed Phone Guy the activation card and explained how to dial the number on it to set up his account.

Phone Guy did a double-take and hollered "You mean this phone doesn't work?" Kevin patiently explained that yes, it would work just fine after he set up the account by calling the activation number.

Phone Guy glared at him and said "I need to make a call NOW. I'm not buying no damn phone that doesn't work!" Kevin wisely decided to let the egregious use of double negatives go and gave Phone Guy his money back. He even refrained from advising Phone Guy to use a payphone instead of buying a cellphone the next time he needs to make a call. Oy.


Last week, I bitched about the G@rmin commercial. Clearly, I wasn't paying attention to the content because I thought G@rmin was a department store. Uh, it's actually a GPS device. Whatever. Still an annoying commercial.


I need some advice. You might remember me talking about Kevin's son, Andrew, who has Asperger's Syndrome. He's 15 now, and his symptoms have improved a little over the past couple of years. He's still scatty as all hell and has trouble focusing on anything that isn't a cartoon or video game. For example, last weekend, Kevin asked him to empty the dishwasher but didn't stay in the kitchen while Andrew did it. A few nights later, I was baking with Daniel and went to grab the measuring spoons from the hook where I keep them. Not there. I checked the dishwasher. Nope. Daniel and I pulled out drawers and looked in cabinets and tried to think like Andrew. Finally, I pulled out the drawer holding tin foil and plastic wrap, and bingo. I know. Makes no sense, but moving along . . .

Anyway, last Saturday morning, when Kevin was leaving to pick up Andrew, he said "I'm going to take Andrew out for breakfast, so I won't be back for a while." He'd mentioned that he needs to watch expenses to make sure he had enough money for Christmas shopping, so I said "Well, it's 10:30. Andrew gets up early, so I'm sure he's eaten by now." Kevin said indignantly that Mary (his ex) never feeds Andrew before he picks him up Saturday mornings. "Uh, honey. Andrew's 15. Surely he can get himself a bowl of cereal without Mary's help?" I suggested.

Well, from there, the conversation devolved into an argument, with me claiming Kevin makes too many excuses for Andrew and has expectations for him more appropriate for a 6-year-old, and Kevin insisting he doesn't baby Andrew too much. I realize Kevin has typical noncustodial-parent guilt that he can't spend more time with Andrew, and I understand he might let some things slide with his son that he wouldn't if Andrew lived here full-time. He treats Andrew like a small child instead of a teenager in high school, though. He rarely asks him to help out around the house or pick up after himself; he seldom tries to teach Andrew things a young man should know (like how to shave, which Andrew definitely needs to do); he lets Andrew wallow in cartoons and video games the entire time he's here instead of trying to introduce more grown-up entertainment and conversation--maybe talking about the news, for instance?

My worry is that he's doing nothing to prepare Andrew for real life. What happens after Andrew graduates from high school? As he is now, there's no way he could hold down a job, and going to college is unlikely for both financial and academic reasons. Is he going to spend the rest of his life sitting on his mom's couch playing Nintendo and GameBoy? Andrew has no conception of real-world, practical things, such as how a bank account works, how to mail a letter, how to read a map, and on and on. Frankly, I don't think the kid could figure out how to change a light bulb. I know teaching him anything is a frustrating, slow process that requires lots of repetition, but someone has to do it. His mother can't be bothered, and I think Kevin's too scared he'll lose Andrew's love--and the boy does adore Kevin--if he's tougher on him. As a sort-of stepparent, what can I do? That's not rhetorical: I really want to know. I'd appreciate any suggestions.