Friday, 21 December 2018

Re-Entry...a Rough Ride

After 11 nights away, re-entry into Riley World has been a little ummm…rough the past couple of days.

We usually only go away for 4 nights; 7 nights top. Unless it’s away to visit family or the occasional 10-day trip for special occasions. When I first told Riley, that we would be away for 11 nights, he was not impressed. His immediate response was “THAT’S TOO MANY!”  He eventually came around but in hindsight…I guess it was too many. Especially at this time of year.

The “ready to go home” scripting started around day 6.

“I DO have to STAY on vacation! I am NOT going home on December 18th! I have x more nights to STAY on vacation.”

Oh...let me just add in here that on day 4, I had decided we would take an overnighter to Disneyland and Universal to break up our trip because Riley loves to see the Disney characters and his "girls" (from Despicable Me). Let's just say it was much more stressful than I had anticipated. And really...I'm not new here. I'll fill you in on the details in another post. 

So as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac…“It’s good to be home! Is it good to be home?  Yes it’s good to be home again!!”

He was so anxious to get home that he did NOT even want to stop at McDonald’s on the way home. As soon as we walked in the door…

FIRST…hat, jacket, shoes off THEN update visual schedule which
basically meant removing any and all PCS related to "vacation".

Next…unpack the suitcases. ALL the suitcases!

I remembered the last time he ummmm…helped me unpack so I was right behind him. Or so I thought. He had already emptied his suitcase and was just getting started looking for the rest of his things in the other suitcases when I walked in. I found the rest of his stuff and was ready to go about my business when I realized he was standing in the doorway just looking at me.

“Where’s my underwear?”

After a frantic couple of minutes, I realized he had already put all his clean underwear (which were in his suitcase) in the laundry. Trying to explain to him that we did not forget his underwear and the underwear he put in his laundry were, in fact, clean underwear and his dirty underwear were the ones in the plastic bags wasn’t going to fly with him. Nope. No way. Cue “mini”-meltdown. 

I say “mini” because as Riley has matured, so has his ability to cope with his stressors and express/communicate his feelings. Still…seeing him SO upset and trying so, SO hard to hold it together is hard. Really hard.

When Riley hits that point of no return…there is no reasoning that is going to happen. Talking “at” him (and that’s what it would be) is pointless. I have to let him try and “de-escalate” on his own as long as he is not causing harm to himself. So he yelled, he screamed, he slapped his hands against the walls, he pulled at his hair, he cried. But then…he let me hold him. After a short time, he calmed enough that he was ready to go occupy himself on his laptop. For a while, he was loud. Very loud. But in a way that we knew he was just releasing his emotions. 

Oh and just to clarify, it was NOT just the underwear that brought these behaviours on. That (the underwear) was, what is referred to as the "trigger" or in more user-friendly terms..."the last straw" of 11 days away from home. 

Thankfully by the next morning he was happy and excited to go on an outing with his group of friends.

And then……

The following day, there was a huge wind storm and our power was out for 7-1/2 hours!!! 

I’m going to stop here.

I’m starting to hyperventilate and it’s too early for a festive beverage.

The only saving grace…the power was on at the bowling alley for Riley’s Christmas Fun Night and his weeks and weeks and weeks of talking about..."On December 20th I'll see Santa at the bowling alley and what will he say to me? he'll say 'what's your name big fella?' and I'll say 'Riley Tucker' then he'll ask me what do I want for Christmas? and I'll say stuffies of Jenny and Charlie and Dory and Nemo, a new DVD player Sylvania with the new remote, Hotel Transylvania 1, 2 and 3 summer vacation 3 movie dvd collection, the Land Before Time 14 complete collection. That's what I want for." came true. Hallelujah. 

Reciting his list to Santa

The moral of this post…compromise on the number of nights we go away. Riley prefers 4-7 nights; this time it was 11.  Next time I’ll go with 10. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Travelling with Adult Autism

Most of our friends are slowly becoming empty-nesters.
Most of our friends are starting to travel extensively to far away places for long periods of time.
Most of our friends are travelling as a pair. 

We travel as a trio for the most part. I refer to Riley as our “third wheel” (spoken with love and affection of course). My friend’s term of endearment for their third is “ball and chain”. I’m stealing that from her because I love it and I think it sounds more ummm…endearing than third wheel. 

The last couple of trips we have taken as a trio, I have been more aware of things that typically a person would probably not notice or even have to think about unless you are travelling with an adult-child with special needs. Things that have just become our “normal” in Riley World.

Having to explain to airport personnel/security for the umpteenth time that “He has autism” when they comment that he should be carrying his own passport/boarding pass etc. In my inside voice I’m saying “Sure…I’ll let him carry his own passport and let’s see how smoothly THAT goes.”  Just to clarify, we have never had a bad experience…just gets tiring sometimes. But then there are the times when Riley will answer questions, ALL the questions repeating the person’s name (because he has noticed their name tag) EACH AND EVERY TIME and it brings a smile to that person’s face. 

Making sure there is enough “down time” throughout the day so Riley doesn’t become “unglued”. This means G and I take turns doing things because Riley can not be left alone. I will admit, this also works in my favour for those times when A/C is more desirable than walking around in +90F temps. 

Walking down the street (not crowded AT ALL) and noticing Riley is getting waaaaaay too close to the people in front of him and you know he’s not going to slow down or back off. Can you say “personal space”?!?!?  He won’t run into them, he’ll just keep “on their heels” (and probably in the same step if at all possible) with them. And no, it would not cross his mind to go around them because he’s much too “polite” to pass anybody.

Having a thick skin so when you’re in a crowded space and he starts getting agitated and talking loud and saying things like “SHUT UP YOU STUPID LADY!  I’M GOING TO RUN AWAY!!” you take it in stride.  Sure beats when he used to yell “DON’T HIT ME!” 

Still, we consider ourselves lucky to be able to travel at all. 

Our criteria is really quite simple. Familiar, routine and under 3 hrs air time is optimum. 
Our destinations may be the same most of the time but who can pass up a 4+ star hotel/accommodations for next to nothing. 
But most of all…our tour guide has the best smile EVER!  

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Sandwich Maker 101

Now I can’t remember exactly when Riley started eating grilled cheese sandwiches. It was at some point during our Operation IFO era. We started that back in September 2013. Five. Yes 5!  Looooong. Years. Ago! 

The only food to successfully come out of that hair-pullingpoke-my-eye-out-with-a-fork…ummm "trying" year was a grilled cheese sandwich.

Today was our second attempt at using the sandwich maker. I decided “Riley” needed a break after Monday so he wouldn’t get toooo stressed out thinking about it.

I have to say I was very surprised when I called him and he didn’t protest too much when he saw the setup. Some things do improve with age.

I wasn’t going to record his buttering technique again but how else will you be able to track his progress?!?  In case you did not know or do not notice in this clip, Riley has quite the aversion to getting his hands messy. 

If you can't see the here to watch.

I have an aversion to blobs of butter so will admit to smoothing out the butter before we proceeded. Not sure why this clip is blurry…perhaps I got some of that butter on the lens. 

If you can't see the here to watch.

Next…checking the status.  On Monday we set a timer but that didn’t work out all that well (it got a little overcooked) so decided we would just “sneak a peak” every so often. That is if he could get the lid open.  So many things that one takes for granted.

If you can't see the here to watch.


If you can't see the here to watch.

Oh, and just because he eats a food does not necessarily mean he enjoys the food……

If you can't see the here to watch.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Summer "Home" School...Day 1

So today was the first day of Riley World’s summer “home” school. 

As you can imagine he was thrilled.  As was I.

Not sure why I do this to myself.  Oh yea…don’t want to lose my Awesome Autism Mom certification. 

I got everything set up on the kitchen island.  I even cleared it all off so it looks like I have somewhat of a cleanish kitchen. Just don’t look in the background when you watch the video.  Yes.  There is video.  But only of the first part because I couldn’t manage the camera and “modelling” at the same time. I have limitations. 

For the last 12 weeks or so, Riley has been making grilled cheese sandwiches at his program once, sometimes twice, a week.  Transferring or generalizing skills (being able to do something he has learned in one place and being able to do it in a different place) doesn’t happen automatically in Riley World. Because of course it doesn’t. So, we have to try and replicate the skill at home.  Only sometimes with different equipment.  Hmmmmm…perhaps the sandwich maker wasn’t such a great idea?!?!? 

Anyways…I was told about Riley’s “buttering” skills when he first started.  Basically, he would glob some butter in the middle of the piece of bread and dab at it. So they had been working on his “spreading” skills. Be sure to take note. This is after a number of weeks.  I am hopeful we will get to the edges by the end of the summer. 

So without further ado…I give you “Grilled Cheese Sandwich Maker 101…Take 1.” 

If you don't see the here to watch.

Oh and as soon as I turned off the camera the “You STUPID lady! That grilled cheese is STUPID!  This is so STUPID!  Heeeey…that’s not nice to say stupid.” dialogue started up.

So. Much. Fun. 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Something to Smile About...

Since my last post, I have regrouped and gotten back on the roller coaster ride that is Riley World.

Like so many of you were quick to point out, Riley has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years in ways that can not be measured through an “assessment tool”. And that is what I have to remember on the days when I am being tossed back and forth on that roller coaster.

When G and I were recently away, J2 took some short video clips of Riley at Special Olympics Track that I wanted to share with you because they make me smile. And laugh. Ok…REALLY laugh at times but only because it is hard to imagine how two fairly competitive people can have an offspring without a single competitive bone in his body. Yet another lesson to be learned from Riley World. We should all be so sportsmanlike. 

Up first…the “javelin” throw. He winds up...winds up...loooook out...he's looking strong...aaaannd...

Next…the “shotput”.  Couldn't get that dirty shotput out of his hands fast enough to get back in line.

And last but certainly the most heartwarming…the 50M dash. As always, Riley will only go as fast as the fastest runner in a race. If it turns out he is ahead after rounding a corner, he will slow down and wait for the others to catch up. Don't forget to watch his cool down of a hop, skip and a slight "Mario" jump at the end.  

"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
~ Special Olympics Athlete Oath

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Sucker Punched

It’s not like I don’t know that Riley requires support.

It’s not like I don’t know that he will require services for the rest of his life.

And yet…

Today as I sat with our “Facilitator/Social Worker/…” (whatever they call them where you are) going over Riley’s needs, I was caught a little off guard. The last “assessment” tool we completed was in 2013. FIVE years ago. Wait...we did do one last year but if things remain the same, they may not update the report on file. 

To say that is was disheartening to hear that his “needs” have not changed in 5 years is an understatement. I mean, I have seen positive changes in Riley. Yet…the every day skills that he will need to cope are still not there.

They probably never will be. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not giving up.  I am not even surprised. It’s just another reality check.

She said that it is not unusual for this assessment tool not to change. It assesses the disability and the amount of support an individual requires.  Ok.  I get it.  That made me feel a little better.  As I said, I know Riley needs support.

It also made me realize that my job as a parent will/may never be done. I will forever be a caregiver. And that’s ok. I love my charge! Because…look at THIS FACE!!!

But quite frankly…it can also suck sometimes.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Why It Can Be Stressful Going on Vacation

We LOVE vacations!! Well 3 out of the 4 of us do. We haven’t let that stop us though. Majority rules...right?? 

We had always travelled as a family unit of 4. Two parents, two children.

As the boys got older, in addition to our family vacations, G and I started taking “self-care” trips. What that really means is we started travelling separately with other friends so one of us would be home with the boys while the other was out having a carefree holiday. G on golf trips, me on ladies trips because we all know ladies trips are THE BEST!  

Now that the boys are…well…young men and J2 has once again left the nest, for the most part we travel as a threesome. Two parents. One adult son.

I mentioned on FB, in the almost 24 years, I can count the number of times G & I have been away by ourselves on one hand, give or take a finger. Well this past Friday night, G and I returned home from 3 nights away with 2 other couples. It was glorious! 

I know what you’re thinking…now that you’ve done it, you can do it again no problem. 

Ummmmm….not so fast Sherlock.

Two words.  Riley World.

Riley can not be left by himself. Ever. For safety reasons. So, we need to have someone come and stay in our house for the entire time we are gone. Other than family, it is not easy to find someone who Riley is comfortable with and who is comfortable with Riley. His brother and cousin are first choices but that is not always possible. Regardless of who we do find, it takes a lot of planning. A LOT!

And then there’s Riley’s stress.

Let me back up.

When I first started taking my self-care trips, G would be left to listen to R’s running dialogue of “She’s gone. She’s not coming back.” Throw in the occasional “She’s dead.” and get the idea. Yes, these were all lines from videos he used to watch but still, not easy to listen to over and over and over again.

When I would return home, it was like a knife to the gut. Cue strong feelings of guilt.

Thanks goodness I am thick-skinned. I compare those feelings to giving birth…eventually you forget the pain and do it again. 

And...I was luckier than G as Riley never seemed to go on and on quite so much when G took his trips. Obviously, I'm Riley's favourite parent.

Now-a-days it’s the constant pre-vacation dialogue of “You are going away for 'X' nights. You DO need a vacation. Do YOU need a vacation? etc. etc.”

There are also the post-vacation reminders.  This message from J2 when we were on our way to pick him up.

If he’s awake and waiting at home, often times he will pace and wait by the window.

I messaged Riley and after some back and forth…basically got hung up on if that’s possible when texting.

The following day, every time Riley saw us "You two are back yesterday!" in his happy voice. 

The first day back to his program, I got this message…

So yes, we all managed just fine which bodes well for another trip down the road.

Oh…let’s not forget there was the one t-shirt that was ripped apart. But hey…only one.

That I could find that is. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Mini Melts

I wish this was about the ice cream. It’s not.

Just when you think it seems like forever since you’ve spread any autism awareness….BAM!!!! 

Serves me right for thinking it.

About a year and a half ago we took Riley to his first concert at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. Crazy right?? We had good reason… J1 was performing.

Prior to going, G had acquired some noise-cancelling headphones for ummm…himself. What better time to see if R would take to them. 

Well…he rocked the headphones!! So much so that he barely looked up from his iTouch unless I prompted him. 

This past week we took R to his second concert. Only this time to watch J2 perform. Even though it was a smaller venue, the sound seemed so, SO much louder!  Maybe it was the lower ceilings. Maybe it was because my ears are almost 2 years older. Whatever reason…it seemed really, REALLY LOUD!!!

Halfway through their set, R started to unravel. G tried to get him to put on his headphones. He refused. He started to scream. He started to flail his arms. He was NOT happy.

I was sitting across from Riley. G was beside him looking at me. I had to scream at G to trade seats. It became a scream fest. Only thing we had going at this point was the noise. It was so loud that nobody could hear Riley screaming at the top of his lungs. I didn’t try to stop him. That would have only made things worse.

The flailing arms?  Ummm…yea. People behind us may have noticed or else they thought he was doing some sort of crazy dance moves. Whatever.

In between screams I put the headphones on him. He screamed in my face. It crossed my mind to scream back at him. I refrained. Only because we were out in public.

He flailed some more.

I placed my hand on his back. I said nothing. I avoided eye contact.

He started to calm.  He stopped screaming.

I glanced over at him. He said “Phew. I’m all sweaty.” as he wiped his forehead.

He WAS sweating. I was sweating.

A few more minutes and “It’s too hot. I need to sleep downstairs.”  “Absolutely you can.” To be perfectly honest, I would’ve let him sleep on the roof if he wanted.   

A few more minutes and he was back doing his word search on his iPad. I don’t have any pics. I was ummm…a little preoccupied. 

I write about this because things aren't always sunshine and rainbows in Riley World. There are still times when autism rears its ugly head. It is not nearly as frequent or as severe as it once was but it is always there. In the background. Usually when I have become too complacent and least expect it. 

Yet there is still growth. What used to take hours and HOURS to recover from when he was young…at almost 24 years old, it took only minutes this time. Many minutes. Minutes that seemed like hours at times but minutes just the same. AND he was able to use his words when he was able to.

And here I thought we would get away with an autism awareness free month.  Silly me. 

Monday, 16 April 2018

It's TOO rainy to go to...

Riley does NOT do well in the rain any more. He especially does NOT do well if it means he has to do an activity outside in the rain. 

This morning it was pouring! The kind where you get soaked running from the house to the car kind of rain. 

Tonight is Riley's Special O soccer.

Before he left for his program, he was stressing about the rain...

"It's too rainy to go to soccer tonight. Is it too rainy? I can't go to soccer if it's too rainy. I'll just stay home. Can I stay home if it's too rainy?”

Over and over and over again. As soon as he left I sent a message to Lynden & Sarah (our support workers)......”Soccer tonight. I apologize now for the rain. That is all. 

I received this message at 11:25am…

After some back and forth and since the weather forecast is for rain until tomorrow, I decided it was best for everyone to let Riley off the hook. I messaged him 10 minutes later.

Within seconds…

And once again...all is right in Riley World. 

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Cruising 2018 is a Wrap!!

Hard to believe it’s already been 2 weeks since we got home from our cruise.

In that time, we’ve had snow at our house twice and I’ve experienced for the first time ever…winter in Winnipeg, Manitoba (aka Winterpeg) where the temp was -24C/-11F with a wind chill temp of -31C/-24F. Downright brisk. 

I thought I would wrap up this vacation diary with some pics for those of you who do not follow Riley World on Facebook.

Part I:  Orlando

Riley could not wait to go see Gru, Margo, Edith and Agnes (characters from Despicable Me) at Universal Florida. If you remember, Edith was not at Universal Hollywood when we were there a year ago. She was well…ummmm…“sick”. The promise of Edith at Universal Florida was the incentive we used to get him excited about this trip. I know what you’re thinking…what if one of them was not there???  Not to worry, G was prepared to don a costume if need be.


So excited that for the next 3 photos he looked like this...

Luckily we were able to see the characters twice that first day and have photo-ops with all them.

And of course, he had to hug each of the girls both times.  

If there was ever any doubt that the hundreds of dollars spent was worth it…just look at that face!!  


Day 2. 

We missed the first photo-op. They came out early and by the time we got there, they were leaving. To say Riley was disappointed would be an ummmm…understatement. I may have even pulled the “A” card to no avail. *sigh*  I get it. I really do. But just to make sure we would not miss them again, we went to Guest Services.

Guess what??  It was a Harry Potter special event weekend so gosh golly…there was going to be a special parade instead with NO PHOTO-OPS. I may have gasped. No…no…I’m pretty sure I gasped. I think I also broke out into an even bigger sweat. Not pretty. 

The young man did all he could to see if there was a chance of getting a photo-op but no luck. After trying to explain to Riley that it was not to be and “it sure was lucky we got to see them TWICE yesterday”…I did what any other parent would do in that situation. I told him we would go buy him the Land Before Time Complete Collection for the 14th time. Yup. I exaggerate. Only slightly. But that’s what I did. “Incentives” have not always worked in Riley World but now that they do…it’s a wonderful thing.   

Part II:  Cruising the Caribbean

Riley’s dream vacation would be to stay in a hotel room/stateroom for the entire trip. Come to think of it…it really is a wonder that we travel at all. Yet we continue to. I could say it is to expose Riley to different places and activities but let’s face it…it’s mainly because G and I like vacations.

There were DreamWorks Characters on board our ship.

Being an "Autism-Friendly" cruise line, they even brought in R's udon from the Japanese specialty restaurant that was next door to the dining room for his dinner every night.

We went kayaking in St. Maarten. Well...some of us kayaked and someone got to relax. 

Over the years we have learned to compromise. Some “activities” we do together, like meals (yes believe it or not meals are included as an activity) and others G and I will take turns so Riley can have his down time in the room. Not always the most relaxing vacation but it works for us. Just one of the reasons G and I also like to take our separate vacations.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Homeward Bound

Part I:  The Flight Home

In Riley World, when it’s time to go’s time to go home!  As in RIGHT. NOW!! 

From the moment he got up on our last day until the wheels hit the tarmac, whenever I glanced his way the “going home” dialogue was in full force.

R:  I AM on vacation. Am I on vacation? I need to STAY! I DO want to stay on vacation.
Me:  You do??  *of course I knew he didn’t but I throw in the occasional clarifying question*
R:  NO!  I CAN’T stay on vacation! *slight pause*  It’s not time to go home yet. Is it time to go home yet??
Me:  Yes. We’re going home t…
R:  What time? I DO need to go home.
Me:  We’ll go to the airport at 4 o’clock.
R:  What time is it? 
Me:  8 o’clock. 
R:  I DO need to stay!  I can’t go home yet. 

You get the gist, right???  Oi-vay.

My ears were nearly bleeding and my eyes were sore from having to avoid eye contact for the nearly 8 hours before we got on the plane.

Usually Riley likes to watch/play games on his iPad and can’t wait to get “puppy” out of his backpack as soon as we are seated. Not so this time. Pretty sure he was thinking ahead about getting the hell off the plane and didn’t want to worry about packing up his things so decided it was best to just keep everything packed. 

So instead he opted to look out the window. 

He just sat there and stared out the window. Into the darkness. Pitch black. Nothingness. Pining away for home.

There were a few bouts of almost tears with “I just wanna go home now. Can we go home?” which I will admit pulled at my ice cold heartstrings. Thankfully he managed to fall asleep about 2 hours in.

As soon as the wheels touched down, "Now we're back. It's good to be home again. Are we home? We're home." and at that moment, all was right once again in Riley World. 

Part II:  Home Sweet Home

I hadn’t planned on unpacking our bags that night. It had even crossed my mind to leave them in the entry hall because the thought of lugging them upstairs…

Riley thought otherwise because of course he would.

Two carry-ons and one suitcase were on the bed.

This bag weighed 47 POUNDS!!!

R had managed to wrestle the bags upstairs without so much as a bump, thump or grunt. And here I thought he didn’t have any muscle strength.

I know who’s going to be bringing in the groceries from now on. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The Neverending Flight...

We just got back from a 10 day vacation late Sunday night. Four days in Florida and a 1 week Caribbean cruise. Our airport has an Autism program so check-in, security and customs all went smoothly.

The plane was a 787 so very spacious and in-seat monitors with movies that R likes! BONUS!! 

We even managed to leave on time. Say what??? In 5-1/2 hours we would be in sunny Florida. We must be living right.


An announcement…

*dialogue is not verbatim and times are approximate*

About 30 minutes into our flight…

Captain:  I’m sure some of you are aware there is a problem with the lavatories. We are working on getting them fixed and will keep you updated. In the meantime, please refrain from using them.

15 minutes later…

Captain:  We are trying our best to get the lavatories up and running remotely and are in contact with our maintenance people. They are doing their best and we will keep you updated.

Another 15 minutes later…

Captain:  Well it looks like we are not able to fix the problem remotely so we are going to have to turn back as it is too far to continue without lavatories. In the meantime, if you need to use the lavatories you may do so but you will not be able to flush them.

Yup...that’s what he said. "NOT BE ABLE TO FLUSH THEM!" Or words to that effect. Pretty sure everybody on that plane was thinking about having to go to the bathroom at that point. So an hour+ into the flight we had to turn around and head back to where we started from.

Two plus hours later, we were back on the ground at home.

Captain:  Maintenance is here and we should hopefully be on our way in about 30 minutes.

We wait…

Riley:  *on repeat*   The plane went the wrong way!  Oh no.  But I DO want to go home.

And wait some more…

Riley:  *adds to the repertoire*   I’ll just go home. Can I go home now?
Me:  *begins avoiding all eye contact*

30 minutes later…

Captain:  Thank you for your patience! We have fixed the issue and are now waiting for a new flight plan. Shouldn’t be much longer before we are on our way.

10 minutes later…

Captain:  Folks, I’m afraid we are having some issues with US Customs allowing us to leave the gate. We are working on it and will keep you updated.

5 minutes later…

Captain:  Unfortunately, the US Customs Supervisor on duty will not allow us to leave as they consider the plane to be *compromised (can’t remember the exact word he used) as maintenance had to come on board. This usually isn’t a problem but I’m afraid everybody is going to have to get off the plane and proceed through Customs as if you have arrived from the US. Your bags will be taken off the plane and you can claim them once you have cleared Customs. Then head back to check-in, and proceed through security and Customs. The new departure time will be 3:45pm. We apologize for the inconvenience.

By this time, it was after 12pm. 

Riley was NOT a happy camper!

I wanted to figure out where to get something for R to eat. G wanted to figure out how to get us through check-in quickly. Guess who won? 

Finally we were up and on our way…again. At about the time we should have originally been arriving in Florida.

Riley:  Now we’re going the right way!  Oh bother. I’m sorry. We went the wrong way.

Now normally I do not drink when flying. Really. However, at that point I decided perhaps some alcohol was in order. To go with the complimentary sandwich. That was for dinner. Without chips. I like chips with my sandwich. They offered me a Kit Kat instead. A Kit Kat is not chips. 

What should have been a 5-1/2 hour flight took us over 12 hours or almost 15 hours door-to-door. But we made it. And you know how there’s always THAT vacation story. This will be ours.

Friday, 19 January 2018

A Leap of Faith

I’m hoping to blog more this year. Considering I only blogged 3 times last year, shouldn’t be all that difficult to beat that number.

In just over a week, G, Riley and I are going on a cruise with 3 other couples to celebrate some upcoming 60th birthdays. No…not mine. 😒

This will be Riley World’s third cruise. After our trip home from the last cruise...we did not want to relive the trauma and were able to book direct; non-stop flights both ways. 

A few things about cruising:
  • Did you know they do not like you to cook in your stateroom? 
  • Did you know that if you take any cooking apparatus (ie hot pots) on board they could get confiscated until the end of the trip?
  • Did you know that their screening for said pots is not 100% accurate?  How do I know this?? Two years ago, being the seasoned autism parent, I packed 2 hot pots in 2 separate suitcases. Long story but one made it through, the other did not. If only I could remember which one made it through.  

This time, we are cruising with Royal Caribbean: the first autism friendly cruise line. While we have had nothing but positive experiences in the past, I am curious to see what other types of accommodations there might be since previously, staff/crew have always gone above and beyond. Well…except for the cooking in the stateroom part. Trust me, I understand why you’re not supposed to. Really. I get it. But still…  😉

A couple of months ago as I was researching our ship, I noticed they had a Japanese restaurant on board that served udon. That's right...UDON!  Riley eats udon!!  Riley LOVES udon!!!  I may not be able to cook his noodles in our room but we could go eat his “udon with no seasoning” multiple times a day!!  

Here’s where the Leap of Faith comes in.

After many inquiries and reassurances that the crew will do their best to accommodate R’s ummmmm dietary needs…I have decided *gulp* not to pack a hot pot for the FIRST TIME EVER! *gasp* 

We are going to eat all our meals outside of our stateroom. *starts to feel short of breath* 

We can DO THIS right???  RIGHT????  *begins coping strategies* 

I…I…I’m okay with eating Japanese multiple times a day for 7 days.

Sure am glad we bought the “beverage package”.