Tuesday, January 14, 2014

RMFIH '14 - "Daddy's" girl

I'm not a huge fan of the Huffington Post, but this little gem needs to be shared. The next time a small child is asking for your attention, maybe you should stop and play turtle with them. (I especially need this reminder!)
Dear "Daddy,"
I don't know your name, but Kate called you "daddy" for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her. In fact, you didn't even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own "daddy," but instead making a judgment regarding your level of "safety" for her. If she calls you "daddy" then you better believe she thinks you are alright.
I sat Kate, my 3-year-old who has autism, in the middle seat knowing full well that there would be a stranger sitting next to her for the duration of this flight. I had to make a quick decision and based on her obsession with opening and closing the window shade, I figured she might be less of a distraction if she sat in the middle. I watched the entire Temple basketball team board the plane, and wondered if one of these giants might sit by Kate. They all moved toward the back. She would have liked that, she would have made some observations that I would have had to deal with, but she would have liked those players. I watched many Grandmotherly women board and hoped for one to take the seat but they walked on by. For a fleeting moment I thought we might have a free seat beside us, and then you walked up and sat down with your briefcase and your important documents and I had a vision of Kate pouring her water all over your multi-million dollar contracts, or house deeds, or whatever it was you held. The moment you sat down, Kate started to rub your arm. Your jacket was soft and she liked the feel of it. You smiled at her and she said: "Hi, Daddy, that's my mom." Then she had you.
You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that "smile" that I despise because it means; "manage your child please." You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. She could never really answer your questions but she was so enamored with you that she kept eye contact and joint attention on the items you were asking her about. I watched and smiled. I made a few polite offers to distract her, but you would have none of it.
Kate: (Upon noticing you had an iPad) Is dis Daddy's puduter?
You: This is my iPad. Would you like to see it?
Kate: To me?????? (I know she thought you were offering it to her to keep)
Me: Look with your eyes, Kate. That is not yours.
Kate: Dat's nice!
You: (Upon noticing that Kate had an iPad) I like your computer, too. It has a nice purple case.
Kate: Daddy wanna be a bad guy? (She offered shredder to you and that, my friend, is high praise)
You: Cool.
The interaction went on and on and you never once seemed annoyed. She gave you some moments of peace while she played with her Anna and Elsa dolls. Kind of her to save you from playing Barbies, but I bet you wouldn't have minded a bit. I bet you have little girls, too.
Not long before we landed Kate had reached her limit. She screamed to have her seatbelt off, she screamed for me to open the plane door and she cried repeating, "Plane is cwosed (closed)" over and over. You tried to redirect her attention to her toys. She was already too far gone at this point, but the fact that you tried to help your new little friend made me emotional.
In case you are wondering, she was fine the moment we stepped off the plane. Thank you for letting us go ahead of you. She was feeling overwhelmed and escaping the plane and a big, long hug was all she needed.
So, thank you. Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet. And, thank you for putting your papers away and playing turtles with our girl.

Monday, January 13, 2014

RMFIH '14 - Raise the Roof

We're going to bring today's RMFIH '14 even closer to home. In fact, we're going to bring it right next door.

Jim and Dot have needed a new roof on their house for, well,  for years, but they didn't tell anyone. They just didn't know how they would pay for it, or how they would get it done. Over the last year, it has become impossible to hide the fact that every time it rains, the house leaks like a sieve. Granted, we live in a desert, and we don't get a lot of rain, but when it comes, it comes with a vengeance.

For the last four months, the roof has been covered by a big blue tarp held down with old tires and bricks. If there was ever any doubt that we're a bunch of red-necks, we pretty much dispelled it forever.

After spending months, worrying about it, and talking about it and thinking about it, Friday Brian and Jim got up on the roof and started lifting shingles to see just how bad it was.... It was really, really bad. So Brian calls me at work to ask if I could get anyone from the office to help. We knew it was last minute, and all these guys have young families, with obligations of their own, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

I hadn't heard back from anyone by the time I left for home, so we assumed we were on our own.

Around six o'clock, JD Called to let me know he and two other guys would be there at eight a.m. to help out, and maybe a few more would be able to come. They could only stay until noon, but they would be there.


At eight o'clock sharp, JD's truck rolled in and six guys came piling out. They got right down to business and climbed up on the old rotted roof. It was like we had set six little whirlwinds loose up there. They managed to accomplish in three and half hours what it would have taken us all weekend to do. The roof was completely striped, the old rotted sheeting was torn off, trusses that needed shoring up were repaired and most of the sheeting had been replaced.

As they drove away at noon, Brian and I looked at each other with the same thought in our heads: Thank God they could only stay until noon, we were exhausted!

The roof isn't quite done yet, but we never would have gotten nearly this far without help.

Thanks JD, Josh, Kyle, Matt, Manny and Rich!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Restore My Faith In Humanity 2014

So it's a new year. 2013 ended with a whimper, leaving a slightly bad taste in my mouth. In an effort to not dwell on the negative, I'm starting a new project: Restore My Faith In Humanity.

As part of my effort to remind myself to be positive, no matter what, to see the silver lining, even when I would rather just wallow in self-pity, I am scoring the internet, talking to strangers and keeping my eyes open for examples, big and small of people doing good deeds for others.

We're starting out with this: a yahoo story about a guy in PA taking time to help out the elderly in his town during the recent cold snap, by delivering anything they need so they don't have to venture out into the cold.

Stay tuned for more stories of inspiration, or add one yourself.

Smile! It will really piss off a grumpy person.