More Fun With Plumbing

Sunday, April 30, 2006 | 0 Comments

Today I finished up the soft water campaign. First I replaced the hot water cartridge in the kitchen sink. It had been destroyed by our hard water and the company was good enough to send us a new one for FREE! How often does that happen?

Our sink had been dripping since about Thanksgiving and we got the cartridge around the end of February, but I didn't want to change it out until we had fixed the hard water problem.

The damn cartridge would not come out of the assembly! I cranked on it. SSB cranked on it. We soaked it in WD-40 then cranked on it some more. I had to take the whole assembly off the sink and unhook all the water lines just to get enough leverage on it. We tried four different kinds of wrenches on it. Finally, after about 30 minutes I got it off. SSB says, "Damn! I should have taken over for you about three seconds ago!"

After I got the whole thing reassembled I cleaned all the deposits off all our fixtures. Ah! It is so nice to see them so sparkling clean! That water softener will be so worth it!

And now I would like to introduce you to what kept me going all weekend:



Shannon said...

Homemade mochas!!!

DrMax said...

There's always one friggin' thing you can't unscrew in any DIY project. Hope no damage was done to nails or knuckles.

sideshow bob said...

I loosened it up for you!

Sylvana said...

Shannon, mmmmm... MOCHAS!!

DrMax, that is very true. We usually soak it in WD-40, whack it into a few things, try heating it up, swearing at it... but the easiest way to get something unscrewed is to tell someone else that it just won't budge.

SSB, right.

"AG" said...


Wendy A said...

Herseys chocolate!! I love the stuff. We don't get it in Tasmania or rarely in Canada. The Mochas look Fab!

Sylvana said...

AG, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! People can usually tell when I have been drinking mochas.

Wendy A, everyone always raves about European chocolate, but when I was overseas and had some Euro chocolate I kept thinking to myself that Hersheys kicked their ass. Hersheys has a nice layering of flavors that Euro chocolate just doesn't have.
Mmmmmmm! CHOCOLATE!!!

Derek Knight said...

well, I can at least learn from your misfortune. If I get a water softener, I'll hire someone to install it. I'm having enough trouble rebuilding my sprinkler system valve assembly right now...

sands of time said...

Those would definately keep you going.they sound lovely.

The Doc said...

That sounds like quite a lot of work, so I'm glad you had delicious chocolate and coffee to keep you going. Your D.I.Y. attitude is an inspiration to me, a man who didn't even know how to replace a fuse in his stove until a few days ago.

Shannon said...

The blogosphere misses you. Come back!

Sylvana said...

Derek, ah! Home improvement! I still have to finish roofing the garage/shed, painting the house trim, ripping down wallpaper and painting, replastering my stairwell, building shelves in the kitchen...
I don't think that it ever ends.

PinkLady, mmmmmmm....MOCHAS! I really fell in love with them while I was over in Scotland.

The Doc, it is never too late to learn how to D.I.Y!

Shannon, I feel so guilty! I hadn't even realized how long I've been away!

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Sylvana

What a splendid effort, your home and that Scottish brews fit for a Queen.

That reminds me her majesty is similarly talented, as when the plumbing went astray in the Palace; she remarked …“If that’s a toilet I will fix it, I am an expert in plumbing”, which she promptly did!!

During the 2nd Worlds War she enlisted as a mechanic, repairing and servicing Land rovers.

Rest assured the Queen, like yourself, is not afraid to get her hands dirty so I guess you must being feel like the Queen of England at the moment.

Apart from the fact you dont also attend 750 functions a year. Oops I forget, shes turned 80 and is cutting back to 450.

best wishes

X 3

Sunday, April 30, 2006 | 0 Comments

I tend to underestimate the time that it will take me to do something - especially if it is a home improvement project. SSB says that he takes the time that I say that I think it will take and he multiplies that by three and it comes out about right. I said that I thought that the water softener would take us about four hours...

...and here it is, 2am, almost twelve hours after we started, and we are DONE!!

In my defense, most of the time that we spent in the hours since 2pm have not been spent actually installing the appliance.

About half an hour we spent spreading fertilizer on the lawn, in the rain.

Then we ran to the hardware store for fifteen minutes to get some pipe and fittings.

The first one didn't have everything that we needed, so we ran to another.

Then we gave up and went to Menards instead; then Home Depot, then...

What the hell! TACO BELL!!!

Back home to eat. Then down to business, for about five minutes. That's when we realized that we would have issues with the set up and needed flexible piping instead.

SO, back to the local hardware store...

Which was closed. And the other local one was closed too. So we ran back to Menards, which didn't have it by the foot, over to Home Depot, which also didn't have it, then over to Fleet Farm which did.

We got back with our prize. Finally, we can get this done!

Not so fast. We don't have a 3/4" pipe bender. DAMN IT!! DAMN IT!!

BACK.TO.MENARDS. Which doesn't have one; and neither does Home Depot. So I get some pipe coupling in case I have to patch it up until morning. As we are in line waiting to pay for it, I tell SSB that we WILL get it finished tonight and the guy ahead of us chuckles knowingly.

We got back, deciding that we would just try to bend the pipe by hand. And it does bend fairly well by hand. Yay. Then I realize that the original plan of using rigid pipe and elbows actually would work, AND it will actually work better.

Argh!! Oh, well. Three times to Menards on a project is about right.

And we really did get to start on the installation - FINALLY! It was 9pm.

I got all the pipe cut, sanded and fluxed. Soldered a couple just fine, had a little problem with a couple of others and just could NOT get one of them to take the damn solder!! Then we couldn't get the fitting apart to clean it and try again. I think it took us a half hour to finally pry and hammer the damn thing off - all while I was holding a torch on it, of course.

The easy install fittings that came with the unit were not aptly named. The instructions were crap and so was the video that came with it.

BUT, it is DONE!! Yay!

No more crispy clothes. No more dry skin and hair. No more mineral build-up on our fixtures. I can't wait!!

Oh, and that orange hammer on the ground was essential to the installation on more than one occasion and was to be our default plan in the event that we just could not get the damn thing hooked up.


Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

I love soldering. It's a fun mix of fire and chemestry.

Nice job, guys. I like the 3X rule too.

Shannon said...

The 3 x rule is very, very true!!
I always remind myself of it when my eyes get too big for my time and ability at Home Depot.

sideshow bob said...

Our water is so soft now it feels like your bathing in hamsters!

DrMax said...

"You Save Big Money, You Save Big Money, When You Shop Menards" I think the reason their prices are so low is because they haven't spent the money to change their banjo theme song since the early 70's.

sideshow bob said...

Dr max- I once filled out a survey about what I liked best about Menards, and I said it was the Menards guy...remember him? He looked vaugely like Phil Hartman doing an impression of Admiral Stockdale (Perot's running mate in '92). This was shortly after the Menards Guy retired, and I like othink my opinion made an impact, because shortly after I fileed out that survey, Menards offered him a boatload of money to come out of retirement to be their shill.

Eventually, he died, and they tried to replace him, but couldn't. They tried an amish-hot woman who wore glasses that were similar to his, but she didn't last too long. Then they tried a guy who looked a little bit like Menards Guy, but he didn't last long either...I guess the public felt it was a little like a parent trying to surrepetitiously replace a dog that died while you were away at camp.

oh, and in my previous comment, I meant "you're", not "your". Sorry!

sideshow bob said...

oh, and in my previous comment, I meant "to think" , not "othink" and "filled", not "fileed". Sorry again!

Sylvana said...

Shamus, I love soldering too. I do almost all the soldering in our plumbing projects.

Shannon, if I really knew how long a project was oing to take, we probably would never start a project that actually needed to be done. As it was, thinking that it would take around four hours kept us from doing the project for weeks.

SSB, I think about hamsters every time I wash my hands now.

DrMax, I love the banjo theme song.

SSB, you gotta lay off the jug.

Elizabeth said...

Bathing in hamsters. Eehhh. But hopefully, without the rodent smell? Congratulations on your project.

"AG" said...

I'm not handy that way. I grew up in a NYC apartment where everything was done by the management.

Sylvana said...

Elizabeth, rodent bathing never looks like much fun when they do it on Fear Factor, but really our showers are truly lovely now.

AG, I wanted to learn that stuff from my dad, but he would never teach me. I watched A LOT of home improvement shows in my twenties. That's where I picked up most of what I know on the subject, and what I didn't get from there I picked up reading home improvement books and just jumping in and doing it.


Sunday, April 23, 2006 | 0 Comments

I have suddenly gotten very busy. It just sort of snuck up on me. I probably won't get another post up or be able to catch up on blogs for at least another week.

I have a garden to get ready for the season, the middle school to deal with, a water softener to install, a faucet to fix, my dad's web page to work on, some very important governmental paperwork to complete, as well as getting my rental properties in order, learn Dreamweaver, and apply for a (sort of) new, absolutely fantastic job!

And maybe out of all of that, I will actually have something to blog about.


evilsciencechick said...

did I have a stroke, or did you delete a post?

take pictures of the garden, and let us know about the job prospects!!!

Sylvana said...

ESC, naw, you're not having a stroke. I wasn't happy with it, so it went away.
Eh, I'm like that.

"AG" said...

Wow! Can't wait to hear more soon!

OldRoses said...

Thanks for checking in. I was getting worried. Hope everything goes smoothly and you'll be posting all about it soon.

DrMax said...

Life. It's a bloggers worst enemy.

Shannon said...

Power through, don't let real life get in the way of cyberreality.

Just kidding, hope you get back to blogging soon.

Lindsay Lobe said...

So your setting a blog for Dad? uummmm---like daugther like dad? Free webs I found good for categories.

best wishes

Wendy A said...

I know the feeling. I had been gone for almost a month. Take your time but we will miss you when your gone.

sideshow bob said...

Let's do lunch.

Peep Protest

Thursday, April 13, 2006 | 0 Comments

Peeps gather to protest the continuing education cuts. Police Peeps arrive to control the increasingly agitated crowd, but many of the woefully under-armed police begin to contemplate joining the crowd to protest their own budget cuts.


Lindsay Lobe said...

I hope your looking after theses Peeps,who have some real social issues on those placards !!,and more mature police are neded.


What will you do with your new Peeps start?
Create a few more with your warm heart?
Will these Peeps do,just give out advice?
About education and to how live the good life?

What will you do when Peeps are not feeling well?
You could post pretty pictures and moan bloody hell
What will you do for your Peeps coaching school?
Post a new post and try and stay cool?

What will you do if the Peeps have no thoughts?
Call on the force to be their new voice?
What will you do if their sick when you start?
Call on 1000 Peeps to rev up their hearts

Best wishes

Great Peeps

Wendy A said...

Too Funny I think they are adorable.

Heather said...

That is too cute! I'll never look at a Peep the same way again!

Derek Knight said...




DrMax said...

What really burns me though is when they only fly the Peeps flag at their protests!

Shannon said...

This is simply fabulous.How did you get the helmets for the police peeps? did you take the heads off of the purple ones?

Rachael Byrnes said...

I was so confused. I had never heard of a peep before so I looked it up on the web and discovered that they are American Snadpipers!! These peeps you have pictures of seem to be a more "nylon" variety. Very rare indeed.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Sylvana,

You will be pleased to know that your peeps now have "mates" on my site. These mates formed a cooperative under the Australian workplace enterprise agreement and send their very best wishes to your peeps. They hope to promote a better understanding between the respective countries without the need to beat around the BUSH. I expect a good will visit from you to say hello to these supporters and any of your fellow bloggers who care to visit will receive an Aussie welcome! Oi Oi Oi

"AG" said...

RIP peeps. Today is Easter.

OldRoses said...

Even the New York Times is obssessed with Peeps!

cookie christine said...

power to the peeps!

The Doc said...

I love Peeps jokes. I don't think we have them up here (or if we do, I've never seen them), but they seem like excellent sugar-delivery systems.

pastamasta said...

Had never heard of Peeps, nor indeed of snadpipers (which seem to be a dyslexic kind of avian fauna, rather than marshmallow-based lifeforms) until now. I love those little guys. I hope their quest for social justice is successful.

Otto Man said...

Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers?

Shannon said...

Because of your posts, I had to run to the store on Easter and buy three boxes of peeps. I realized I was afraid I wouldn't get any this year.

They were the police variety.

Sylvana said...

Lindsay, thanks for the shout out on your blog. Peeps are colorful, sugar-coated, bird-shaped marshmallows. They do have some other animal shapes, but the birds are the real deal.

Wendy A, and mouthy!

Heather, I haven't been able to look at Peeps without laughing for years.

Derek, um... thanks.

DrMax, Peep Pride.

Shannon, I made the hats from construction paper and used sewing pins to attach them to the Peeps.

Rachael, welcome to my blog! Peeps are a part of American pop culture.

AG, yummy, nummy Peeps!

OldRoses, thanks for that article. I wasn't aware that so many wouldn't know what Peeps were and I think that knowing what they are is important to the humor.

Cookie Christine, oh yeah!

The Doc, I hadn't thought to explain what Peeps were, so i was really glad that OldRoses added that article. They are good in moderation. I have thought of adding them to hot chocolate. That might be an interesting scene - watching them melt away.

Pastamasta, get a marshmallow, lick it and roll it in granulated sugar. That's pretty much what a Peep is.

Otto Man, I was fairly surprised as to how many different colors they have. The red ones were my most prized find.

Elizabeth said...

I am with Otto Man, I had no IDEA they had so many colors of peeps. When I was little, it was yellow or nothing. I never liked eating them, though- too sweet. Anyway- that is a brilliant, uh, scene? I'M VEWY ANGWY! I think that will be my next protest poster, for real.

Lyvvie said...

I miss peeps.

Very Calvin and Hobbs.

I'm nicking this picture for my desktop...

I'm also going to share this with my diet pals on the other you may get a few more hits for that stat counter - Congrats on the 12K!! what a smart way to avoid eating excess Easter candy. Clever Woman, I salute you!


Thursday, April 13, 2006 | 0 Comments

12,000 visits to my blog!

I've done so much celebrating lately for other things, I think I'm covered.

Thanks everyone!!


Wendy A said...

Way to Go. How time flies. It seems like just the other day you hit 10 K

sands of time said...

Congrats on so many visitors thats great.

DrMax said...

Congrats Syl, a blog worth every hit. (Am loving those Peeps by the way)

The Doc said...

Excellent news! Good work.

The peeps gather at the top of a cliff high above the prairie. It is rare to see a peep in this environment, as peeps tend to stick to lower ground; so a group of peeps this high in the rocks is quite a treat. What are they doing? Feeding? Gathering for mating? They seem to be quite excited.

Oh, my! This is horrible! One of the peeps has fallen over the edge in the commotion! What a horrible tragedy. The other peeps are now huddling to the edge, peering at the demise of one of their own. Peeps are quite social animals and there have been observations of possible mourning of the de--

Oh, dear lord! Another has fallen to it's death! And another! And another! The peeps in a sudden turn of events have begun hurling themselves off the top of the cliff! This behavior has never before been documented in peeps!

One by one, the peeps leapt off the cliff to end up in a bloody pile on the rocks at the bottom. We can only guess what could cause behavior such as this in otherwise seemingly healthy peeps. Perhaps they became confused. Perhaps there was an illness in the herd whose symptoms are not yet visible. Perhaps they share a common ancestor with the lemmings. Whatever the reason, it is a shocking and difficult thing for anyone to witness.


evilsciencechick said...

you are a freak and a half!

get help.


Flubberwinkle said...

I hope no prairie peeps were hurt during the photoshoot.

Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Funny, yet educational. You should teach young children.

Shannon said...

Briliant! Must be read with a faux-British accent!

cookie christine said...

why is it that they all look suspiciously like flacid phalluses?

it's a shame so many of them jumped off the cliff, as i'm sure they all had great potential.

Sylvana said...

ESC, I'm touched. That is such a compliment!

Flubberwinkle, er.... We'll at least be sure to give them a proper burial.

Shamus, I actually have taught young children. Kids love me. Parents are a different matter.

Shannon, I actually had Jeff Corwin in mind when I was writing it, but that British guy would work just as well!

Cookie Christine, I was trying to figure out what they reminded me of. I think that might have been it!

"AG" said...

OMG...Peep Blizzards!!

Lindsay Lobe said...

Thats the sort of thing my grandchild or any children would love to see . What fantastic peeps !! I run around our back yard and make up all sorts of stories about strange monsters etc, Putting someting like that up in the trees ......uuuum You have given me some ideas !! gum nut peeps
Best wishes

DrMax said...

Hee hee, good One Syl!

I personally prefer the white meat on Peeps.

OldRoses said...

That was hysterical! What did you use for "blood"?

Sylvana said...

AG, yes, then at least they would not have died in vain.

Lindsay, SSB and I did another one that I will post Wednesday.

DrMax, me too.

OldRoses, those are real, honest to goodness red peeps. They were the inspiration.

Elizabeth said...

Well, that was creepy. Another one! Another one!!!

Lyvvie said...

On a massive sugar rush aren't you. You are so.

So much silliness, I wish I'd been there.

Lemons Aren't So Sweet

Friday, April 07, 2006 | 0 Comments

I have the worst luck with cars. The best car I have ever had was a ten year old Dodge Aspen that I bought from my dad. Since then I have bought one lemon after another.

The first was a Honda. I was told that Hondas were supposed to be good, so I bought one. Several months later SSB slammed into a deer while delivering pizzas. He called me from a nearby house to ask me what he should do. I told him that when the cops got there, he should get a tag for the deer so that we could get it butchered. He called me back twenty minutes later to tell me that the cops had found "part" of the deer. "Never mind" I said.

The car was officially totalled, and we got about half what we paid for it from our insurance company. BUT the car was still drivable and the repairs only cost 2/3 what they gave us, so that was OK.

Except several months later we were replacing the alternator. While on a road trip. You know that is the best time to do major car repair. We were just lucky there was a place in the town that had the part. Then less than two years later replacing it again. And the engine. And the brakes. And the CV joint (or some nonsense) and when SSB was driving it back from the repair shop the axle nearly fell off the car because they had put on the wrong part. And not too long after that it started blowing dark exhaust. So it was time to get a different car.

We were laughed out of a couple of dealerships, but we soon found one that was interested in our trade-in. The mechanics looked it over and the salesman came in to give us their "best" offer. SSB and I looked at each other, prepared for another ridiculous amount. He told us, "$1,600. I'm sorry. That is the best that we can do." I told him that we would need to talk it over. He left the office. I sat there calmly and whispered to SSB, "Holy shit. We're taking that." That was the same amount that the insurance company had given us less than two years before.

And we ended up with a Dodge Spirit. I LOVED the seats in that car. But over the 5 years that we owned that car we had to have the engine replaced at least twice and rebuilt once. We had the air conditioner replaced a couple of times. The windshield and back window both had to be replaced. We had to have the power booster for the brakes replaced three times. And twice the car got into an accident because it refused to brake. For about 6 months we struglled with a mysterious problem where the car seemed to have a mind of its own on the road. It would speed up and slow down on its own. I'm talking from 65 to 25 or vice versa, abruptly! It was a death trap, but no one could figure it out. When we brought it in, it would never do it for the mechanic. OF COURSE. Finally, $3000 of engine repairs later, they figured out that it was a $100 computer part that was causing the problem.

I vowed after that fiasco that our next car would be a brand new one so we wouldn't have to worry about second hand crap. If those cars are so great, why didn't the people keep them? Right? So 4 years ago we bought a Dodge Caravan. It was downhill from there. Within the week we were bringing it back for repairs. And we have had to bring it in for repairs more often than should be necessary for such a new car. It wasn't so bad when it was still under the bumper to bumper, but now we are on our own. For the last 6 months or so the only way that the fan would work is if we would put it on full blast. And the other day when SSB was going to bring me to work, it just wouldn't start. All the electronics worked, but the engine just would not turn over. And it took our mechanics (these guys are GOOD, not like heads-up-butts that we used to bring our car to!) several days to figure it out. It was a tiny wire buried under the engine. It had a hole coroded in it. The guy was saying how it was frustrating because when he tried to start it, it wouldn't start, but his coworker got it started no problem. SSB and I giggled, "Yeah. That's how you know it's our car." You also know it's our car when the mechanic can't figure out how to fix it or says, "Well, yeah, it could happen, but it is REALLY RARE", and then it happens, twice.

Our saving grace is that this shop does such a great job, they get our car in FAST, and they don't charge much - this repair for both the wire and the fan was $300. I can assure you that we have paid 5 times that for 5 times less work when we dealt with other repair shops - AND those other shops wouldn't really repair it! Those shops would just get it running long enough to call it fixed.

I am thinking about getting a different car, but I really don't know what to do. We can only afford a used car, and I really can't take any more emotional and fiscal damage from another lemon.

To be fair, we put over 100,000 miles on the Honda, over 250,000 miles on the Dodge Spirit, and we have put over 80,000 miles on the van that we own now.


"AG" said...

I love my Honda!

Heather said...

My first car was a Honda and it was cuter than hell but ran like crap! If I had to start out from a green light on a hill, it would go no faster than 20. And on cold days I HAD to warm it up for at least 30min or it would die in the middle of the road!

I have a Saturn now and it's wonderful!! My whole family has a Saturn...maybe a Saturn would be good for you? :-)

sands of time said...

Ive been looking at new cars myself.I don't mine has much more juice left in its legs.

DrMax said...

I thought we were all suppose to have flying cars by now, every book I read as a kid in the 60's said we'd be jetting back and forth to work in the next century. Yet here we are still having to go to fricking used car lots to buy crappy cars with wheels. I blame Bush.

Shannon said...

I'm all about the Japanese. I had a used Toyota with 132,000 miles and everything I replaced (alternator, power steering pump) was the original part that came with the car. I bought a new corolla a little over a year ago. Toyotas are peppier than Hondas and have great gas mileage too!

Also, although I was very, very doubtful, I've heard excellent things from Hyundai owners. Plus, there's a 10 year warantee...

If you're going to buy a car, though, do research at before going to the dealership.

Sylvana said...

AG, my brother is a mechanic and he recommended a Honda. But the one that he recommended was out of my price range.

Heather, we test drove a Saturn, but there was something about it that we didn't like and right now I can't remember what it was. Not a lot of pick up is what I'm thinking. We really need that around here for when we get on the county highways that are just two lanes and we need to pass farm vehicles quickly.

PinkLady, well, if you get a new car, let me know what it is and what you think of it.

DrMax, yeah, Shamus was talking about the flying car. We have enough trouble trying to figure out a flat plane, I can't even imagine the retarded driving we would see with a multi-dimensional driving plane.

Shannon, I don't mind buying a used car and replacing parts as long as I know that they had a good life. It's when I am suspicious due to an untimely demise that gets me all pissed off.

Our neighbor has a Toyota truck that has to be AT LEAST 15 years old and it drives beautifully and never needs repairs, so I am leaning toward Toyotas.

OldRoses said...

Yeah! Toyota! I had a Corolla and now a Camry. Both great, great cars.

One of Us! One of Us!

Monday, April 03, 2006 | 0 Comments

Last week the school demon reared its ugly head again. SSB and I were brought in for what I like to call an "Intervention Meeting". It really does feel like that since there is just about every teacher in the school there along with often times the principal, a psychologist or two, and a couple special ed teachers.

And then there is me and him. Two people who don't seem to hold a lot of clout since we don't have their degrees.

The reason that we were brought in was because JD yelled at a kid in study hall for teasing him. JD was trying to study, there was a dripping faucet. He told the substitute teacher that it was dripping and this boy started teasing him. "You did it! You broke it!" and he wouldn't shut up, so JD yelled at him. That shut the boy up! So where was the teacher in all this? It's not like JD punched him or stabbed him or even threatened to kill him, he just yelled "SHUT UP!" And really, who hasn't yelled that at some annoying prick at some point in their life? The teachers at the meeting said that the boy was just joking. I said, "Well, he'll be more careful about that in the future, won't he?"

This particular drippy-faucet event spurred the school to look into his record and they found the IEP (the thing that got him into the useless special ed program in elementary school). And they said this like we were trying to hide it from them. THEY HAVE THE RECORDS!!! Plus, when we went to the school before we decided to enroll him, we talked to the counselor and told her about the problems that we had had while JD was in elementary school, including the deal about the IEP. We told her that we would like to know if there was a way that JD could quietly deal with any frustrations that he might have in school. She said that he could come down to her room whenever he needed to talk and that she would give him an open hall pass to do so. Well, he forgot that he was supposed to go talk to her instead of blowing up at people, but she also seemed to have forgotten that we even had that conversation.

They were trying to tell us that he needs to fit in more; that he's not acting like a normal teenager. Oh, really?


I remindded them that he's NOT a normal teenager; and no one should be trying to make him into one. It will just end up in frustration on both ends. What they need to be doing is find ways to help JD excel using the gifts and quirks that he has, not trying to make him into a round peg.

They point out that he seems anti-social or at the very least seems to be struggling with social situations. They are worried because he was a homeschooler and feel that maybe he needs help learning how to socialize. Then they ask if he has any friends in or outside of school.

Are ya kidding me? They ask me this shit all the time, and I tell them the same thing EVERYTIME!! YES! He has plenty of friends! In fact, they are over EVERY DAY! And he has friends that he goes and spends the day with. Their parents LOVE him and the kids are calling the house begging to set up times that they can get together. He has friends in school too. I think we answered that with that spectacular birthday party that he had. He comes home all the time happily telling us how popular he is. How many fucking friends does he need to make them happy?

Well, he quite often will not go outside for lunch break. He instead will sit inside and draw, read, write stories, or do his homework. Yeah, so what's the problem? I was going to tell them that I did the same thing when I was a kid, but I don't think that they would take much comfort in that.

They also said that he has trouble finding a place to sit at lunch. He seems to wander around not knowing where to sit. I explained that the he is usually one of the last kids to go through the line and by time he gets to the lunch room all the kids that he wants to sit with are already at full tables. And he doesn't want to sit somewhere where a person may be saving a seat. I warned them that it is very easy to misinterpret JDs motivations and that they should maybe ask him what's going on instead of just assuming that they know why.

Later that day, I asked him, and he told me that the reason that he has trouble finding a place to sit at lunch is because when he gets to lunch the only tables that are left have a bunch of kids at them that talk about gross stuff. I asked, like what. He said, "boogers, puke, guts, the usual boy gross-outs, and …S-E-..X". And he squirms just spelling it out. "Oh, yeah", I say, "like what?" And he told me that they get really graphic talking about sperm, sexual body parts, who they want to do it with, etc. And he said they do this out at break too, so he doesn't want to be around them. That's why he sits inside.

He's 13. If he doesn't want to hear the hormonal ranting of his classmates all day and has found a way to get around that, well, I say the more power to him! And I was so totally right that the teachers were jumping to conclusions. They thought it was because he was anti social- no. It's because he doesn't want to be involved in their nonsense. And I don't blame him! HE'S 13!!!

Are they are suggesting that I encourage him to be as crass as those kids, maybe push him into sexual activity, just so that he can "fit in"? Well, they can shove it!

I was talking about this to a good friend who also has kids in the local school system. He said that they may think that they have your kid's best interest at heart, but they really don't know your kid better than you do. He told me about some problems that he had had with the school getting too pushy and trying to take control of one of his kids' parenting. My friend is a fairly mainstream guy who respects authority - not a foilhat wearer or anything - and even HE distrusts the schools!! He told me not to agree to any testing. And I think he is right. If they want to get him into a program, I certainly am NOT going to help them get him there.

Why can't they just let JD be JD?


sideshow bob said...

Gooble, gobble! Gooble, gobble!

OldRoses said...

You're lucky you have SSB. I had to attend all those meetings alone. And there were a lot of them. Thank god she's done with school and I don't have to do that anymore. What really killed me about those stupid meetings was that they were ostensibly about her problems but when I told them what worked at home to control/modify her behavior, they just ignored, or worse, dismissed my advice. And yet, they continued to complain and complain and complain and complain . . .

"AG" said...

Sounds very difficult. :( I hated high school.

Sylvana said...

SSB, yeah!

OldRoses, they say that they want to work with us, but that's what the last bunch of do-gooders at the school said too. I just don't trust them. They seem like a nice bunch of people, and I give them props for not getting overly defensive when I started my tirade about how much I distrust the school.

AG, I remember school well. That's why I know better than to take their word for it!

sands of time said...

I have three kids who have all been 13 at some time.Its a difficult age where they are just trying to find there place in the world combined with a huge surge of hormones.Im sure my kids said far worse things than shut up and they've all turned out alright.It sounds like the school are just picking faults.why would you want a kid to act like a robot,they have personalties and its nice to see them shine through sometimes.even if its not what the teachers want.

Shannon said...

Having met JD in person, he's a fine kid and lucky to have parents that are so willing to stand up and fight on his behalf. How many kids are there like JD whose parents try to force them to fit in?

From the school's perspective, too, they're trying to "cover their asses" just in case something happens. They want to document that they've spoken with you, etc etc, which is them admitting they don't know JD well at all...

Astoria said...

Okay this is horse shit (sorry horses)! Isn't just like society to want everyone to conform to the social "norm's"! Do they not realize that those "norm's" are kids having unprotected sex, or any kind of sex for that matter, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, being bogged down with peer pressure!! I say fuck the school system! Why can't they let kids thrive in there differences and embrace them as special and unique instead of expecting them to be conforming bunch of sheep!!! How many times are you guys going to have to got through this crap!? Re-cock-ulous!!

Sylvana said...

Oops! I forgot to finish my thought on the comment back to OldRoses! They seem like a nice bunch of people, and I give them props for not getting overly defensive when I started my tirade about how much I distrust the school. (and I meant to say) - "but I just don't trust them to really know what is best for JD."

Pink Lady, I think that this is because he was homeschooled- red flag - and he doesn't act like other kids because of his high IQ - red flag - and he doesn't act like other kids because of his upbringing - red flag - and we look so young what could we possibly know about raising children at our ages - red flag - and because we don't act like other parents - red flag - and he has a record of "problems" from when he tried out public school before - RED FLAG!! They are way too busy worrying about how we don't fit the mold as people and a family to actually get to know us and JD to find out exactly what he needs.

Shannon, did you fear for your life in his presence? ;)
I know what you are saying about covering their asses *cough*Columbine*cough*. And I don't blame them, but it is not like he is running around telling people that he wants to blow up the school, so they should chill out. Seriously, they didn't even ask him WHY he prefered to stay in at recess, or WHY he seemed to be having trouble finding a seat at lunch. GEEZ!
Thanks for the compliment BTW. I think we are damn fine parents!

Astoria, they say that if he doesn't learn how to conform, he will have problems later in life. I told them that he's not the problem, it is other people's prejudices that are the problem. I think that if they took half the effort they currently spend teaching the kids that conformity is the answer and spent it on teaching the kids to embrace uniqueness instead, we'd all be better off.

DrMax said...

You know, raising your own kid is hard enough, I don't think the schools need to become parents too. Aren't they are just suppose to to teach him?

(P.S. Syl, Happy Belated Birthday, sorry I missed it, had to be off line for a while)

Astoria said...

I agree completely! It a sad world when your kids can't be who they truely are and be embraced for being individuals, but rather be shunned and scolded! I say STOP TREATING ARE KIDS LIKE A BUNCH OF BRAINLESS SHEEP!! I am not looking forward to when my son goes to school, I fear he may experience the same problems, or maybe after dealing with you they will have learned their lessons!! HA, let's hope! ;)

Shannon said...

And another thing (chuckle), My cousin is a teacher herself, working with low income special education students...and she certainly though JD was a great kid. It's the school.

JD keep strong. But learn the rules and how to break them effectively and when to do so.

Sylvana said...

Shannon, they say that they know he is a good kid, but they are worried about him being an "outcast". Well, neither his father or I were the height of popularity, but we are good people who live good lives. Even if he does become an "outcast", as long as he stays true to himself and has at least a few people that understand him and stand behind him, he'll be fine.

What's really bad is sometimes they catch me off guard and I almost start believing their crap! I felt like an idiot later, like after I talked to my friend. It was so obvious then that the school was full of shit. But there in the meeting, there were a few times I caught myself saying to myself, "Oh, they have a very good point. Maybe they know what is best. I'd sure like to do what I can to help him have an easier time in school." But I promised myself no matter how good of an argument they had, I wasn't signing anything during that meeting. And I didn't! And I'm not going to either.

I wish your cousin worked in our district! She's way cool! I don't think JD would have a problem talking to her either.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Sylvana

I expect JD will be fine with yours and SSB’s support.
Strangely enough I can remember 13 year olds when I was that age obsessed with sex and to conform to pressure to be part of the “In Crowd”.
Many of our most succesful people have past legacies of difficulty in their school days, particually if they were different or gifted.

Technology has leapt ahead changing every facet our lives yet human nature remains much the same!!

Best wishes

Sylvana said...

DrMax, if they just stuck to teaching him, they'd have their work cut out for them - he's a straight A student.
Thanks for the B-day wishes.

Lindsay, I wonder if a lot of kids don't really want to be dealing with sex so early, but do it to seem like they fit in. That's sad. But what is more sad is when the school is actually trying to push this "fitting in" on a kid. Bastards!

Elizabeth said...

Thank God we didn't have teachers like that when I was a kid. Nearly diagnosed with autism, ADD, mental retardation, and actually diagnosed with being a total freak never seemed to get my mom called in. I stayed inside EVERY DAY to read, and used to sit at the lunch table to read, too. I wasn't even a straight-A student, or even a good student: when I was 13, I nearly failed three classes before I transferred to another school (we moved). Your kid looks totally cool compared to the freak I was. And anyway, with society what it is today, who would want to be considered "normal"? Thank God he's not. More power to you for defending him. They're just stupid people who want to justify their fear of someone who obviously doesn't need their crap.