"Now Why Don't He Write..."

You probably remember the scene from Dances With Wolves - Lieutenant John J Dunbar is out on the prairie with his companion, Timmons, a disgustingly-foul-bodily-functioning-crude-mule-team-driver. The golden grass of the plains seems to roll on eternally across the landscape. The light blue sky stretches equally as far as the prairie itself, never obstructed by a single hill or mountain. Taking in this panoramic vista, Dunbar is captivated at the newness and undefiled opportunity that awaits him. On one occasion the wagon stops and Dunbar gets out on foot to examine the landscape up close when he comes across a human skeleton. Dunbar squats down to examine the remains. Pulling an arrow from amid the bones he recognizes the prospect that beauty and danger all too often reside as intimate companions. Enter Timmons, leaning over Dunbar's shoulder, his decades-old-morning-breath acridly mingled with his snarky words and says, "I'll bet someone back East is saying, 'Now why don't he write...' "

Well, to be honest I haven't written because

1) I haven't had much time. I am in school, and have had my hands full juggling Venn Diagrams, exponential decay, half-life, compounding rates, amortization, natural log, relative frequency histograms, causality, and the like...

2) Lastly, over the past few months, we have been knee-deep in the realization that in the special needs world of puberty and hormones innocence (beauty) and execrable behavior (danger) are appendages. 

If I could draw a picture of what it has been like it would look something like this:



Life would be rolling along smoothly when suddenly, wham, holy (%@?, then just as suddenly smooth only to be shaken by a sudden lurch, whiplash, and blown cookies.

Let me try to explain in pictures...

In May this arrived in the mail from the middle of nowhere China. He had waited for nearly a month for it to show up. When it did it looked like this!


He was not a happy boy and went to bed crying, but clutching his mask. 


After several emails in broken English, we got things straightened out and a new one arrive in the mail about a month later.

We were back to being a happy boy again. Until we went to California to a wedding and, you guessed it! He dropped it and it broke.

Mask 2 : Ethan 0

As summer continued two of Ethan's favorite people returned home. MoKo got home from school for a quick break, and Michael was back from the Philippines.

This...
 Became this...

and this...


became this...


With everybody home we went to California for a wedding. While there we went to Newport Beach for a little time on the sand and a chance to see the ocean. I found it a tender mercy that... 
The more things change the more they stay the same
Consider these two sets of pictures taken several years apart.


You just have to love the the knee-length
shorts he is wearing in each picture!

Wait for it... Click "Like" when you see it...
So we got home, and ordered our third mask. It took another month to arrive from China.

In addition to these little pleasures we also got new glasses and braces...


...but before the braces could go on, the wisdom teeth needed to come out!



Eventually, even the pain couldn't stop him from his
favorite thing: cutting and pasting pictures from the Internet
It was about here that the real fun began!

These daily staples of "nutrition" disappeared from the freezer section of every store in the valley!!!

 Why!?! Because they were replaced by these!


Guess what? We don't do buttery or garlic!

For Nestle, that means...



Being inventive we came across these!


Microwaved for a few seconds less and smothered with more Ketchup and we were...

Wait for it...

And then school became what it has been for the past thirteen years for him - HELL!

It seemed that most days at school eventually turned into evenings like this at home





This note probably summarizes how things at school go on a regular basis


Those words, and other unacceptable behavior have resulted in two suspensions. And since we cannot leave him home he had to come with us on our errands, and as the only other thing he eats besides Hot Pockets are McDonald's and Pizza you guessed it we had to get him lunch.

If you look closely you can see how verklempt he is about the suspensions!



Hidden amid the hormonal teenage angst he has with school we occasionally get rare glimpses into his mind...


My wife walked in on him sobbing at the computer.


He was watching The Land Before Time, and had just got to the part where Little Foot's mom had died and Duckie was trying to cheer up his broken heart.

Or we find him asleep like this in the loft...


Or we run into an old friend at Sport's Chalet who treats him to a little show and tell with the scuba gear!

Jim Karch is my hero!
He is always willing to just be there for whoever needs him!!
When our tender moments of innocence are past, and we are straight away heading into the eye of the meltdown we occasionally end up with bloody noses. No, no blows are thrown - though that has caused two suspensions this year - we occasionally end up with bloody noses. The worst one we had lasted for nearly an hour and required improvisation to put an end to it.
Graphic picture warning!

The meltdowns take their toll on him, and us, but as you can see we somehow find something to smile about.

That brings us to Halloween and the Trunk or Treat.

Ethan decided to make his own costume this year. He decided to go as The Mask. He made his own mask out of Duck Tape, which incidentally he originally made by applying the green tape directly to his face and hair. Gentle surgery, and a few pulled hairs later we were able to extricate him from his creation sufficiently to save both him and the mask.

As for the rest of the costume he made it out of a red jacket that used to be mine. Our conversation went something like this...

Dad, I'm sorry I cut your jacket?

My what? What jacket?

Your red jacket, I cut it.

Why?

I cut it. I cut the zipper out for a coat?

Did you ask?

Yes.

Who did you ask?

I asked myself.




After the Trunk or Treat he decided he was done with the green Duck Tape mask and would wear his other mask.

You guessed it...

Mask 3 : Ethan 0


So to conclude...

We have found this year a little bit more difficult. So far we have been able to balance the ups with the downs, the good with the bad - though the bad does wear on us. To put it in perspective, life this year has been like balancing on the bathroom counter while brushing our teeth, while reading a book!



Piece of cake!

I anticipate that we will continue to have our moments of this...



But they will be quickly replaced by moments of this...


and that will make all the difference!

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