Thursday, May 28, 2009

The New Normal?

Good lord, I hope not.

Sorry to have dropped off the radar for the past week, but I figured a post was far past due.

Things with the teenager have been tense. We prepared for a major meltdown with the coming of Memorial Day weekend, as we have learned that holidays and anniversaries can be huge triggers with Tyler. We actually scored what I feel to be a minor victory in that we had a really nice weekend with much family bonding, and the outburst on Monday night was handled without police intervention.

One of the problems in having my stoic tendencies is that often stress becomes internalized and manifests in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. So it should be no surprise that I developed a pinched nerve in my shoulder, which resulted in burning pain, numbness and tingling down my entire left arm. It's not heart-related. Don't worry. But it's no fun either.

So this week has been split between Tyler's psych/counseling appointments and a host of physical therapy appointments for me. A trip to the doctor, three trips to the chiro, and two trips to the LMP for massage. I'm hitting this with everything I can, eastern and western. Ibuprofen, cyclobenzaprine, hydration and B-complex vitamins, Biofreeze, ice packs, chiropractic and massage (including craniosacral and reflexology). I might even go in for an acupuncture session (seeing as how I've had some good results with it in the past). I am very happy to have insurance, but the co-pays are nickel-and-diming me dry this month.

Anyway, numb fingers aside (and I can tell you that not being able to feel half your fingers makes typing a blog post quite an adventure), it seems to be getting gradually better and my overall mood has improved. I hope that by this time next week, I'll be back up to normal functioning.

As TFMD mentioned in her post, she got herself a nasty computer infection, which an old friend and IT guru has been working on. He is due back this morning to (hopefully) finish and get Rae Rae back online. Last night's production meeting was, for lack of a better term, productive. We're revising the Duo budget and made some more progress on the OA series.

And speaking of independent cinema, I have two recommendations:

Fanboys appears at first to be another point-and-laugh at socially-retarded fans engaging in goofy shenanigans, but surprised me quite a bit in its character depth and subtext. It's a really sweet story, well-written and acted, with some fun cameos and a charming (if somewhat hidden) love story. And the film was made by Kevin Spacey's production company, Trigger Street.

And speaking of Kevin Spacey (and space in general), Moon was just featured at SIFF, and has been getting rave reviews. It's a British production starring Sam Rockwell as the lone technician in an automated mining facility on the moon, supplying Helium-3 to Earth for clean energy. His three-year contract is just two weeks from being up when he begins to go a bit space-crazy. Kevin Spacey is the voice of the computer (and second lead character). Looks like a character fest for Rockwell, who I find is always surprising folks with his unflinching embrace of challenging roles. Should be getting general release this year.

Anyway, this weekend should hopefully be a little less stressful, with Kayleigh away at a school band trip and Tyler starting a new RPG campaign at Gavin's. Tyler has his sleep study tonight. Sunday is our May Birthdays celebration in Bellingham, and it'll be nice to hang out with the fam.

That's all I've got for now. Anon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Family Dynamics

Tyler turned 15 on Sunday.

Once again, I'm not going to go into detail on the situation, except to say that after three days in Respite Care, he has a new appreciation for his family. Once I was done walking on eggshells last weekend, I actually had a pretty good time. Doug & Ann brought lunch over, and we went out back and played some badminton (emphasis on the "bad"), followed by a trip to Kitty Harbor, a cat shelter/adoption service in West Seattle.

Tom came home with us...

Although he's altered and therefore not technically a tom, "Tom" was the name he came with. He was a rescue; he'd been kept in a chicken coop and the ammonia from the chicken feces had burned his pads and caused a lot of his hair to fall out. And yet, the moment I sat down, he was the first to come over and say hello. He was equally affectionate toward Raechelle and the kids.

The kids say his full name is Tom Shanks, but I call him The Colonel, because from the moment he arrived he was managing Elvis. He's about the same age and size as our other fuzzy boy, and they wrassle and play tag and get up to the usual kitty mischief.

Anyway, Raff came over for birthday dinner, and we had homemade lasagna and marionberry pie and watched The King of Kong (awesome).

Then my stomach cramped up, I got light-headed and lost every ounce of strength. Turns out I got a bit more sun playing badminton than I'd previously thought. It was mostly better by Monday morning.

Monday was spent running admin errands and talking to Tyler's school therapist, who helped us finally get the crisis care we needed with Tyler. Then counseling, then dinner, then trying to establish a new weeknight routine. So far, so good. Wednesday, Tyler begins seeing a child psychiatrist specializing in teens and trauma - we're hoping that will start him on a healing path.

This morning, I went in for my first dental check-up and cleaning in years. The ol' ivory is still good, considering the lack of professional maintenance. I didn't have a single cavity until I was in my mid 20s; I thank my grandparents for good dental genes (as they still have all their own teeth in their 90s). I'll have to get a filling cleaned up soon, and there's a suggestion to whiten a bit before the wedding (which I'm thinking about), but overall a big thumbs up from my new dentist. Who was Sam's old dentist. And they still had her in their system from back when she was on my insurance almost a decade ago. Now Raechelle's insurance lists me as "spouse" (which I guess is admin for "domestic partner" for the time being). I haven't had health or dental insurance since 2002, so it's nice to be covered again. We sometimes joke that I'm marrying Raechelle for her insurance and she's marrying me for my house. Whatever works, right?
I hope you all realize I'm joking...

So... the Duo shoot was cancelled last Sunday (Mother's Day), but Dan and I have been plotting our next move(s) when we can. I have the feeling that this is a crazy and stressful time for many of my friends and family members. Stupid Mercury Retrograde (or whatever scapegoat you'd care to blame).

I remain optimistic about Tyler's future treatment, now that we're no longer shackled to State mental health care. And I'm thoroughly impressed with TFMD. Apparently she must really love me (and the kids). She really earned her first Mother's Day stripes. And then some.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Boy

As TFMD mentioned in her update, we've been having behavior issues with Tyler, who turns 15 this Sunday. It would be inappropriate to go into detail here, but suffice to say they are issues that go far beyond your typical teenage rebellion. This should not be surprising. Tyler is far beyond your typical teenager in terms of intelligence, and has had far more than your typical amount of trauma in his short life.

The behavior has been escalating. He's definitely hurting, and we're doing everything we can to get him the help he needs. That's all I will say at this point. I love my son dearly, and am focused on his health and happiness, while also providing a stable environment for the other three people in the household. It's a tightrope walk.

So there ya go. Hopefully some happy posting in the near future.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What the --??

Wow, no birthday post? What the heck's going on there in Downingland?

Well, let's see...

Awoke on Wednesday to a prezzie from TFMD. Get your mind out of the gutter - it was the Fantastic Voyage DVD I'd had on my Amazon wish list for some time. And a wonderfully mushy card. I had a very busy day scheduled, and was all set to have a happy and productive birthday.

I started having stomach cramps and a migraine before I headed to Ballard for lunch at Ray's with my stepmom. Lunch was great, but on the way home I really started to hurt. Unfortunately I had two additional errands to run downtown, and by the time I got home, it was straight to the bathroom with a nice long book and plenty of matches.

TFMD got home and we discussed our options, since the plan to make fajitas was clearly not going to happen. We ended up ordering a pizza for her and the kids (I ended up having a couple pieces later - with some Sprite) and watching the new DVD. After the movie ended, it was time for me to go curl up in a ball and let sleep rescue me. Not at all what I'd hoped for my birthday, but at least the kids were fine, no major upsets, no tears, etc.

Thursday was kind of a catch-up day. Drove up to Lynnwood to pick up some items for Sunday's shoot, ended up getting taken to lunch by my good buddy Steve, who is going through a rough time after his dad's death. It was good to reconnect. Got home in time to catch up on some work before TFMD got home and had to take Kayleigh to tae kwon do. While they were gone, I made the fajitas that were on the menu Wednesday, and they met with approval from The Woman. I think my margaritas were a bit on the strong side, but I didn't get a big complaint there.

Things with Tyler got a bit tense last night, but we managed to diffuse the situation and everyone got a good, heavy, deep sleep. Tyler has a doctor's appointment today, and I have a bunch of graphics work to do in prep for Sunday. And then tonight, TFMD and I are going to the Collider CD release show downtown at the Showbox. I'm technically on the job, shooting Kyle's various performances as I have been doing recently, but it'll be good to have a date night with The Woman.

This weekend is packed. A trip to Costco for the shoot's craft services, birthday dinner at Duke's on Alki, and the shoot itself.

The fun just keeps rollin'...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RIP Dom Deluise (1933 - 2009)

Fair Winds and Following Seas, you big, hilarious man. Oddly enough, I will always remember your voice "appearance" on Robot Chicken.

"Headless Ponch!"

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Sound of Silence

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent days. There are many factors at work. Tyler has had some challenges in the past week, but we've also had some breakthroughs. And despite the family drama, TFMD and I are bonding through crisis and feel closer than ever. We actually had a really good, productive weekend.

And then my laptop went tits-up this morning.


Thanks, Monday. I love you too.