Emmett, the Milkshake and the flat Nutria

We planned a little time away for the whole family on the river this weekend at Kaety’s dad’s Alsea fishing house.

Less than 2 hours into the weekend our party train was a flaming wreck laying sideways in a ditch.

We struggle with Emmett. He’s a wonderful kid that spends a lot of time in some sort of hysterical crisis state. We have therapy, medication and management supports in place for him and most days we feel like we aren’t winning.

Some perceived injustice around a milk shake tipped Emmett over. He couldn’t recover himself and had to be dragged screaming out of the Waldport Big Wheel. Body activity is usually the key for getting him back to reality so he and I left Kaety and the rest of the kids to finish their meal and we walked.

6 blocks later I was still dragging a screaming child. 13 blocks…half a mile…on we marched – and on he screamed.

I nodded and waved to people on their porches, who smiled and waved back as I drug a rail thin Gollum-like character locked to my side screaming and writhing for his precious – aka a milkshake.

The walk was good for me as well. My seething rage was calming as I marched through Waldport and I began to wonder why no one was calling the police.

Just past the half mile mark I figured he’d wind down.

He didn’t.

We left Waldport proper and headed up the Alsea. The screaming child spooked up a couple of cranes – which were pretty. We screamed past two fishermen who nodded to me. Again, I was surprised that they didn’t reach for their cell phones to dial 911 as the screaming dialog next to me included, “You aren’t my real dad, I can’t walk any more, why won’t you give me any water, I’m going to say the F word and hurt you!”

We screamed past a creepy guy sitting in a black suburban. Emmett paused in his scream-a-thon Lon enough to ask if the guy in the black suburban was the Guatemalan Drug Lord that Grammy kept talking about. Once we got our drug lord myths cleared that he resumed his psychotic fit.

We had an additional momentarily promising pause in the epic Alsea fit when we found a flattened and dedicated nutria. Unfortunately the milk shake injustice was stronger than a compelling dead thing and he resumed his screaming march up river.

The plan was that Kaety would pick us up when she and the other kids had finished their meal at the Big Wheel. Emmett and I done about 3 miles of 911 worthy screaming when I started to formulate the idea that to be a successful kidnapper you just have to adopt a demeanor of long suffering. We made it all the way to Thompson’s nursery, still screaming and carrying on when I finally saw Kaety pass us and park in a turn-out ahead.

With the truck in his eyesight, but out of hailing distance, I bent down and negotiated his reentry into society.

We agreed that he’d enter the truck without whining, screaming or crying and that he’d make no mention of the inciting milkshake. He had calmed down, and with the respite of the truck so close, he agree to my terms. The consequences for breaking any part of the agreement would be more walking.

As I opened the door to the truck to get him in he screamed, “No fair! I wanted a drink of the milkshake!!”.

I pulled him back out of the truck And said to Kaety, “Find another pull out about a mile up the road”

The next day was going to be a full of things much more complicated than milkshakes. We decided we’d call Grammy and see if she wanted to spend the day with Emmett.

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Goodbye Sydney

Our plane left Osaka at 5:30 pm and we spent the night flying back against the sun to arrive earlier that day at 3 pm. When we landed I got a series of texts and calls from Miles. Sydney, his life-long cat companion had crawled up onto his chest and taken her last breath. I stayed on the phone with him while we drove to Corvallis to be with him. He was devastated and grieving deeply. It was the first time death had really been a real part of his life, and he’d experienced it up close and in detail.

Diane got the news shortly after we did and made her way home as well. We all converged on a terribly sad boy laying next to his dead kitty.

Sydney had adopted us as a stray when Miles was about four years old. He had bonded up to her almost immediately and of course we kept her. Her first few months with us were spent outside, but she slowly worked her way into our home and into our hearts. She had been my first real pet, and a rare miracle of an animal that I hadn’t been allergic to. She had been fiercely protective of the yard and over the top hostile to any dog that braved coming into her territory. She had been a sweet and talkative and very sensitive to any upset in her boy. When he cried she’d lay on his chest and pat his face with her paw.

She had been with him for 16 years, and worked into every nook and cranny of his heart. She found her way into all our hearts. I think animals are god’s Seal Team 6 of love. When we put up every defense against love finding a way into our lives, our animals find all the holes in our parameters and can scale the highest walls of protection and set up camp in our hearts. I think it’s why it hurts so much when we lose them – we have no defense against that kind of love.

See you across the rainbow bridge Sydney – I fear for the dogs that pass by your sunny place in the grass.

I love this woman…

I am completely in love with this woman. Not just ‘on vacation’ in love, but all the time in love. Being our best selves for each other is the way we live our love. Which means stopping and taking ‘a fearless inventory’ and being emotional honest with each other all the time.

Accepting my love with Kaety has been the biggest awakening of my life. Everything I asked for, everything I always wanted from love I got….but even bigger than I had imagined.

Dance party

We’d finished a spiritual dinner of razor clams – the music was on and the dancing began. Every time we’d do a spin the boys would try to jet through in their overly burdened cozy coop. It was a beautiful evening. Everyone was happy and soon the adult dancing turned into a crazy dance party lead by the kids. Racing the cozy coop around the deck became the thing to do during the dance interludes.

How to Use a toilet

Everyday we walk past the boy’s bathroom and recoil from either the sight the smells, or both. We clean it everyday and within 12 hours it returns to the state of a campground pit toilet after a long summer weekend. It’s horrific and today I decided something must be done.

I announced that everyone using the bathroom would have to watch a mandatory educational video on proper toilet use – once the mandatory video had been watched a short knowledge test will be administered. I’m also implementing a new multi-step bathroom policy: 1) Everyone must sign up to use the bathroom. 2) Before anyone uses the bathroom it would be inspected, and 3) a deposit will be required. 4) Once an admin conducts an after-action inspection of the bathroom, the deposit will be released.

I think this is all reasonable and straightforward. I’m starting to film the video now….here is my initial clip.

Mothers day at the Thyme Garden

Despite the 12.97 year-old being deep down the teen funk well we headed out to the Thyme Garden in Alsea for an early Mother’s Day celebration. It was a gorgeous day! Kaety picked out plants for tomorrow’s gardening extravaganza. We’ve been there many times and have never spotted the moss covered truck in the woods. Noble found all the stinging nettles that were growing nearby while I photographed the truck.

A well-fed snail

Kaety found a snail in her weeding frenzy. We were all outside working in the yard to celebrate mothers day. Some serious yard kicking butt was planned but she paused to place the snail on the fence rail for the boys to examine. They were totally fascinated and a bit intimidated as the antenna came out and the snail started moving. “Go get some lettuce out of the fridge and let’s feed it” she suggested. They were all over it. Both boxes of ‘premium spring organic salad mix’ were ripped open and big handfuls of salad mix were piled in front of the completely terrified snail.

The snail ate, and to the great appreciation of the audience, the snail pooped.

I watched my beautiful amazing wife spend time shepherding the boys, and the snail, and thought about what kind of parent I’ve been able to be with her. She and I talk about this – the love and regard we have for each other contributes directly into our ability to be better parents.

The snail was reallocated to a flower bed to wreak future havoc on our plants – set up with a giant pile of organic greens to ensure its survival.

Later in the evening after a dinner of ‘summer’ we made a fire and sat in the backyard in the slowly cooling evening drinking wine and watching the kids run around the yard gathering sticks to throw in the fire. I felt Kaety grab my hand and slip over to sit in my lap. She looked into my eyes – a look that stoped time. She smiled at me and said, “This is a good life”

“Yes darling it is…”

Happy Mother’s Day!