Slay The Dragons!

keep-calm-and-slay-dragons-23I’ve been asked at least a half dozen times in the last few days, “Where have you been?”

“Slaying dragons, and you?” has been my easy answer.

And in a way, it’s sorta true. The longer answer is that there were some issues with my Little Man’s school and therapist’s office. After banging my head against the wall for over six weeks, getting more and more frustrated with trying to get answers, I finally reached my breaking point and said, “Fuck it, I’m over this shit.” Yes, I have a potty mouth.

The last time I posted here (May 19th), we were headed to Casper, WY for the summer. Well, that only lasted about a month before hubby was laid off thanks to the down turn in oil prices (yeah, yeah, spare me the ‘but gas is so much cheaper now!’ blah blah). He had a job less than 30 minutes later and moved back to Watford City, North Dakota (that’s another story – oy). We spent the rest of the summer in a lovely studio room in a mancamp about five miles outside of town. I was able to secure him a very nice (I was so jealous and HATED to leave it), brand new apartment in town two weeks before we had to head back to Arizona.

Here’s the part that starts to anger me. Because the Little Man and I had so much time together, we worked on the large packet of summer school work I got from his teacher. We also worked on trying to say words. [For those of you new to my world, my almost 9 year old is non-verbal and on the autism spectrum]. After a couple of days of trying, I was able to get him to say “up!” Ok, I was sitting on him, tickling him and told him if he wanted me to stop, he had to say “up.” He enthusiastically said, “UP!” through the giggles. I let him up and he instantly gave me the ASL sign for tickle. This became an all afternoon game. I was thrilled he was actually using a word and understood it’s meaning.

The next day, we practiced ‘up’ and added the word ‘hug.’ He got it after a few tries. I can’t even begin to express my joy. The last six years, I can count on one hand, the number of times he’s said a word. They were so random and irrelevant in the past. It felt like we were finally getting a breakthrough.

By the time we headed back to Arizona, he could say, on request, four words: hug, up, cup, wa-wa [water]. I emailed his teacher and speech therapist asking if they could start planning on incorporating these words into their lesson plans as well as figuring out a way to encourage him to learn and say new words. I also requested a meeting with the team at the school so we could fine tune what I’d been doing so they could pick up where I left off.

This is where everything fell apart…I got encouraging emails back from both the speech therapist and his teacher. BUT, when we started school I heard nothing from the school. I waited a week and emailed everyone again. Nothing. The third week of school, my emails were still going unanswered. I continued to work with Little Man at home with speaking but felt like I was not getting the support from his team at the school. It was starting to become very frustrating. Hubby and I both called the school and got the same story. The director did not want parents disturbing the teachers for the first six weeks of school while students adjusted to their new schedules. I have some thoughts on the director and her bullshit policies but I’ll keep those to myself. And, while all this was going on, I was communicating with his independent speech therapist but neither of us could get scheduling to return my phone calls to get Little Man back on the schedule. I adore Mandy the therapist and hated having to leave her. But she assured me that I was the best thing for him right now and not let all the infuriating things take away our progress or my enthusiasm.

After six long weeks, I finally heard from his teacher and the school speech department. We scheduled a meeting only to have them cancel it the day before we were supposed to meet. Week seven, I was pissed. I vented to Hubby and asked him to meet with the school in Watford City to see if North Dakota had made progress in the area of special needs education. He happily obliged and within days, he met with the special education teacher to discuss our son and his needs.

It turns out that the state had indeed make an avalanche of progress and we both decided in a nanosecond to withdraw our little monster from the school in Arizona and transfer to North Dakota.

From the moment we decided to transfer to the moment we started loading boxes into the UHaul was less than three weeks. Yeah, we’re crazy. But when I make up my mind, stand back.

So, see? I have been slaying dragons in a sense.

We left Arizona at 5pm on October 7th.

Highlights of our move to North Dakota:

  1. As we were loading the U-haul, the coroner was loading up a suicide in our apartment complex. According to the assistant property manager, the unfortunate guy had recently paid off his mortgage. The day his house was paid off, his wife of 30 years served him with divorce papers. A week later, he was laid off from his job of 10 years. His ex-wife called the police after not hearing from him for three days and they were doing a welfare check on him when they found him. I felt very bad for him and understood after going through something not unlike that 12 years ago. Thankfully, I had friends and family by my side to help me get through it. I have to wonder if he had a support system or if he’d tried to reach out to someone.
  2. After everything was loaded, I opened the hatch of my car and my backpack with my laptop in it fell a good three feet to the ground. Apparently, the husband still doesn’t understand that you don’t throw laptops on the top haphazardly or pile really heavy suitcases on it. I waited two days before I could muster the will to try to boot up my beloved laptop. The first time, it took an hour to boot. The second time, it took 30 minutes. I ran disk frag and optimization as well as malware and virus checks. We’re almost back up to prior boot speeds. Poor thing.
  3. 10pm the next night, as we were traveling I-76 towards Fort Collins, someone threw a bottle or a rock and shattered the sunroof on my car. Scared the holy CRAP out of me. Thankfully the shade was closed or Little Man would have been covered in shattered glass. I was able to get off the freeway and call Hubby to turn around and come back. I was shaking so bad he had to call the police and the insurance. I have an appointment on Wednesday to get an estimate. *ugh* [The estimate came to a little under $1000 because they have to order directly from BMW. We have to cover the deductible of $450 but I’d rather pay that than the whole she-bang!]

    My sad sunroof.

    My sad sunroof.

  4. Little Man started a part-time day at school Monday, Oct. 12th to see how he’ll handle it. When I left his classroom, he looked partly sad but mostly interested in working. He was getting lots of attention from the teacher, a couple of paras and the district’s psychologist (she was on hand to make sure he has a smooth transition). He’s been assigned a wonderful paraprofessional named Hannah that knows ASL and is firm yet fair with him. It doesn’t hurt that she’s adorable and it looks like Little Man might have a little crush on her.
  5. Hubby also went back to work on Monday, Oct. 12 – he’s on a 3 week straight hitch but he’ll come home on Friday and Saturday nights so we’ll at least get to see him a little bit.
  6. It’s windy. Really, really windy. Like every day there’s wind. I thought it was a Wyoming thing.

In some ways, I think poking a fire spewing dragon with a sharp stick would have been easier. At least it would be warmer.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park just 15 miles from our new home.

20 thoughts on “Slay The Dragons!

    • Thank you, Sarah! I think working with him was more important than writing. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to encourage him to learn and progress. The writing will always be there, sitting on the shelf, waiting. 🙂


    • Thank you, Phil. So far, things are looking good. He has a para that seems to click with him and he’s settling into his new routine with only minor issues. 😀 I’m hoping this means I’ll be able to get back to writing full time again. 😀


  1. There is nothing but respect in my heart for the huge amount of effort and change you have put forth to get your Little Man in the right educational environment. I certainly do not have to tell you how important this is, but just wanted to give you a few words of recognition and respect for your efforts!


    • I can’t tell you how much that means to me. 😀 Hubby and I decided several years ago, that we were going to make Little Man our top priority, no matter the sacrifice. Even if that means shelving my writing dreams from time to time.

      I have the greatest admiration for wonderful folks like you that drop by and leave me words of encouragement during my short spurts of writing. It makes the long dry spells bearable. 😀 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good moves–all of them! I felt the frustrations as you described at those ignorant thugs at the Arizona school–who do they think they are!?! Every bit of progress in situations like this needs to be instantly capitalized on, not set aside for an arbitrary 6 weeks! How wonderful that you had the option to move to a place where they could address Little Man’s issues. And even better that you both grasped the necessity of it.

    As for writing having been put aside, a writer is ALWAYS writing. It might be just a scribbled list of ideas one day. A clipping of a quote or picture that inspires from a magazine another day. It might be only in your head one week. Often it is etched in your heart in feelings that defy words. All these life’s experiences seep into our words when we DO put pen to paper (okay, fingers to keyboard). So breathe, breathe. You’ve done good! And the words will come when you–and they–are ready.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sandra. I was dumbstruck by these “professionals” willing to but such incredible progress on hold for their stupid rules. I feel badly for all the kids that don’t have options.

      As for the writing, are so right on that. I have notebooks and sticky notes with scribbles for story ideas as well as future chapters for my WIP.

      I’ve been itching to get back to work…and make you work. 😉


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