Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lorne, Spike and Angel - Facebook Memories

7 years ago today - DC as Lorne.

First: No glasses!

The only time he'll remove his glasses other than for sleeping and showering is to have his picture taken on Halloween.

It is always amazing to me just how many other things, clothes, tags, textures, etc. bother him but he will sit though all of this! When he wants to be a character, he wants to go all the way. Loving Halloween as much as I do, I'm perfectly willing to oblige.

No, I did not notice that I put one horn on upside down until I looked at the pictures later.... #MyBad

Lorne was a continuation of our "Angel" theme.

Other notable characters include:

2009 - Spike, but specifically Spike from the "Smile Time Episode" where Angel is turned into a puppet,

This was the very first year that DC was able to participate in the Halloween Parade at his High School. He was so excited to march that he jumped the gun and was marching half a field ahead of the rest of the students proudly waving his Angel puppet.
This photo was taken as we where trying to get his attention to tell him he had to wait for his class.

"You're a bloody puppet! You're a wee little puppet man!"

and in 2010, of course...... Angel himself for a Best Buddies party....

"We help the helpless"

From Face Book Page Statuses at Take Another Step


This blog is used to copy my posts (as back-up) from my official site and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Not so "Good Vibrations

There is a space between the kitchen counter and the stove where, this morning DC dropped his toothbrush.

He uses one of those 3 sided brushes but he also uses a vibrating brush (he was used to using that before I introduced the 3 sided so now he uses both - and yes, he brushes his teeth in the kitchen; that's what works for him - don't judge).

So this thing is stuck there and because it vibrates, is making an awful noise. I was trying to get ready for work and could not move the stove - although I did try. So I told him we would have to leave it there and ask Doug to come over later to get it.

Even though neither of us would be home to listen to it - leaving it there and knowing that we were leaving it there was making DC very anxious all morning. He was still anxious when he left for work. I am hoping it does not ruin his whole day because I know that it certainly could.

Although DC "works from a script" when he calls me after work to tell me he is in the car and "Going home nooowwww" - I can almost guarantee that he will go off script and this toothbrush incident will be the very first thing he asks about. (Hopefully the batteries will die before we get home).

From Facebook Page Statuses on Take Another Step

Update: I was shocked that he did not mention the toothbrush during his phone call to me after work. He did mention it as soon as he got home - thankfully it had stopped vibrating by then.

I told him we would have to wait about an hour for Doug to come over. By the time Doug had arrived, I was almost convinced that DC had forgotten all about it and was considering just leaving it there until the next time we had to move the stove (I don't know what the official rule is for cleaning under the stove and refrigerator but I do try to do it at least once a year - which I am sure is not nearly enough). But then I started to think about all of the times I thought he had forgotten about something only to be woken up in the middle of the night to hear about it when he suddenly remembered and was just about to ask Doug to move the stove when DC came out with

"Doug! We have to get the toothbrush in the stove! We have to get the toothbrush!"

  • Stove moved
  • Toothbrush retrieved 
  • Explained that he could not use it anymore and I would get a new one
  • Toothbrush thrown away
  • Missing muffin pan located
  • Cleaned floor while the stove was pulled out

Mission accomplished.....


This blog is used to copy my posts (as back-up) from my official site and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Be careful what you wish for...

3 years ago today DC was so excited to find a princess at a dance he attended. 

She was shy at first, especially with Robin Hood stimming wildly 3 inches from her face. 

When I got him to calm down and act like a 'Jet-tle-man' (DC speak) she decided that he was going to spend every moment of this dance with her. 

They danced a bit but she was happiest marching around the perimeter of the gym and dragging him with her. 

The princess holding on to his arm got old with DC very quickly, but he would not say anything to her - he never says anything to anyone who is doing something that bothers him, he always looks to me to do it. 

With each lap, he would look to me to save him. I wanted him to try to handle it himself so I told him that he should just tell her that he didn't want her to hold his arm for awhile - he wouldn't... 

As they were coming around to where I was sitting once again - he looked over at me and yelled:

"Mom! My arm is bothering you!!!"

and at that point I had to intervene (as did her mother) - 

DC went on to dance with his friends and never even looked in the direction of the princess he'd been so excited about earlier. I guess this is a case of being careful what you wish for.....

From Facebook Page Statuses at Take Another Step


This blog is used for shorter posts and longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Sunday, October 23, 2016

40 degrees and cold cuts

DC had an activity scheduled today with his ARC friends. A picnic at the beach. He went with Doug so I could stay home and put his room back together to make room for all of the things I had to buy for him (that I would have bought eventually , just not all at the same time - see latest blog post if you missed that saga).
The only problem I have with these activities is when there is food involved, they don't tell you what is being served ahead of time.
Looking at him, you would probably not guess that he is an extremely picky eater, but he is.
The first message and picture I received was <Insert sarcasm font> "DC is having a great time at the beach - 40 degrees and windy" - but he was steeping up and not complaining too much.

The next was about the food - sandwiches, cold cuts and the dreaded pickle... which he was refusing to eat.
The next pic was of DC holding the sandwich and looking at it - so there was hope!

The next message was that HE ATE IT! ALL OF IT! Ham and cheese! Yay!

He did not eat the dreaded pickle, however but that is no problem at all...

From FaceBook Page Statuses at Take Another Step


This blog is used to copy my posts (as back-up) from my official site and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Just when I think he's "got it".......

DC attended his camp's Halloween party yesterday. 

The first activity every year is a pumpkin hunt. The campers pick a number out of a bin and then go out to find the pumpkin with the matching number on it (later they paint the pumpkins) - For some reason, DC was never able to fully understand this. He knew what number he had but never seemed to understand that he had to look at the bottoms of the pumpkins to find the same number. 

He'd either look at a few and grab one and announce "I found it", even though it wasn't his number, leaving some other camper to search for a pumpkin that was no longer out there or he'd be the last one out there searching because he'd already found his pumpkin with the matching number but completely did not get that it matched his number and left it where it was. 

So, I make sure I hunt with him now. 

This was the first year he seemed to actually get it. He had #21. 

Well, one of his friends had 12 and the pumpkin she found was clearly 21 but upside down was 12. I tried to explain that to her, but not wanting to upset her, I let her have it and told DC that we would look for the #12 instead.

"NO!" (He had #21 and that was all there was to it)
"NO!" (And the noises began)

The first time he really understood this pumpkin hunt thing and I had to change the number on him.... sigh....

We found #12 and since the pumpkin was much bigger than #21, his friend was very willing to trade with him so he could have his correct number... 


Hopefully this little mix up won't confuse him all over again next year!!

From Facebook Page Statuses at Take Another Step


This blog is used to copy my posts (as back-up) from my official site and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Social Security - A Public Service Announcement

Social Security, Adult Children, Lessons Learned and a Heads Up

If you follow my Facebook page at all, you may have seen the status below. I wrote it out of aggravation but mostly because it was something that I unknowingly did (or didn’t do) that I wanted to share it in the hopes of keeping someone from making the same mistake.
If you did read the status earlier, do not stop here. There is more to the story and it only gets worse, so please read on…
Before I get to that I want to say that I always did everything for DC ahead of time. I never waited until the last minute for anything. I wanted everything in place for the time when I was no longer around to look after him. When you are a single parent of a child with no siblings and you begin to get older, this moves to the forefront of your mind. If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that this something that completely occupies my mind.
Here is the beginning of the story. The account in question as it turns out, had a cash out value of $2600.00. Owning the  account in question was technically my fault, not for lack of doing my due diligence but more for the lack of not receiving the correct information from people who were supposed to know. But really, even if this was something that I had not checked into or something that I had forgotten about, this was a mistake – a plain and simple mistake.
We had our annual Social Security assessment the other day.
 I may be the most unorganized person in the world, but not when it comes to my child. I go out of my way to make sure everything is done on time and properly. 12 years ago we had the paperwork drawn up for his “Special Needs” Trust – that will be funded with a “second to die” policy. I made sure NOTHING was in his name. I made sure that everyone knew not to buy him savings bonds or leave money to him in their will. When DC turned 18, we had to apply for SS in order to apply for Title 19, in order to keep our DDS (Department of Developmental Services) caseworker and DDS funding for his work program and for future placement when I (and his Dad) am gone as he will most likely be living in a group home because there is no one else.
Years ago through my job, I purchased a life insurance policy for myself. It was one of those policies that they offer at a very low premium that never increases even if you leave the employer that you purchased it through. DC was an infant at the time.
They also talked me into a policy for DC. When they first brought it up,  I though it was odd. Why would anyone buy a policy on their child?
 It was explained to me that the benefit of buying it then and at an even smaller premium than my own was that when he turned 18, I could turn it over to him. It would be his policy to do with what he wished. He could cash it out for the cash value or he could keep it as his own life insurance at the same premium. He was an infant at the time so of course I did not know that when he was 18 he would not be able to understand money, hold a regular job, tell time or even understand what a life insurance policy is.
Because he does not understand any of this I never transferred it over to him. The premiums were paid electronically all of these years from my checking account and the premiums were combined with mine and so small that I really just didn’t pay attention any more – I really just forgot about it. I would get a statement once a year, but other than that, it was not anything that was on my mind.  I had at one time planned on closing it since, not having transferred it over to him made it of no benefit to him, but since it was not his account and there was no urgency to close it, I just let it go. I was involved with so much other paperwork at the time, this was the last thing on my mind.
I DID mention this account to anyone and everyone that asked, the attorney who did our trust, and SS when we had our re-determinations. The only reasons I would not have mentioned it every single time were, 1. it didn’t happen to be a question they asked at that particular time or 2. because I had been told that since I did not turn it over to him, he had absolutely no rights to the account. I was the owner, it was not his account.
For some reason during our last re-determination this policy became an issue. Again, as I never turned it over to him, I am the account owner. If he were capable of understanding what a policy is and said “Oh let me cash this out.” he would not be able to do so because I am the owner of the account. No one could do anything with this policy but me. But, because it exists, and he is the insured even though he does not own or will ever benefit from the account and could not access the cash out value or even be given any information about the account due to privacy laws  – I was told that his benefits would be suspended until I could get the account closed, spend the money and prove I had spent it on him. Which is fine, I could do that, but these things are what my nightmares are made of. I am glad this happened while I am alive to fix it, but what if it happened later when it accumulated even more money?

I did just that. I closed the account, spent the money on things that he would be needing anyway. I sent all of the information to the Social Security office and I hoped that because I got the account closed and the money spent before the deadline his benefits would not be interrupted.
Well, I received a letter yesterday with the the results of the review. The good news is that his benefits will not be suspended because I was able to close the account and spend the money.
The bad news?
Because he had over 2000.00 in resources (that could not be withdrawn or accessed by him <I am going to keep saying that>, in an account that was not his and he was not the owner of) we have to pay back 12,000.00 – I’ll spell that out for you – Twelve Thousand Dollars – in benefits that he received between his last re-determination (May 2015) and this current re-determination in September 2016. Because he had 600.00 too much during that time period, he should not have been able to collect Social Security benefits and it has to be paid back.
My choices are – Write a check for 12,000.00 (they want it all in one lump sum, not in payments) or they will deduct 73.00 from his monthly checks. He will be paying this back for 13 years!
Listen, I am one for following the rules – always and for everything – I admit that I can be a little bit obsessive about it at times and I fully admit that this was my fault, an honest mistake. I was not keeping it a secret – if I had, they would not have known about it. I was sure there would be some sort of penalty to pay and being that this was my mistake, I was perfectly willing to pay it to keep his benefits in place so I do not have to worry about him later.
It is unfortunate that this system we have for people with disabilities is set up so these people (our children) are required to live in poverty. It is designed that way.  I understand that in order to maintain this level of poverty recipients  can not have over $2000.00 at any given time. People make mistakes, honest mistakes. We as parents should not have to live in fear that we may have over-looked something or that a family member might leave our children money against our wishes and without our knowledge, make them a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or in this case, have an account that was supposed to be fine because HE WAS NOT THE OWNER and had no rights to the account – and so many other scenarios that I can’t even come up with now that are out of our control (Give me a few days to obsess about what else can happen and I am sure I can add to that list of “what if’s”). I agree that there should be consequences and penalties for errors. I don’t believe that my child who was not responsible for any of this should be made to pay back 12K in Social Security benefits for the next 13 years. I would have been perfectly willing to transfer that $2600.00 from the account (that he had no rights to and could not access) directly to Social Security.
Although I do believe in following the rules and owning up to my mistakes, twelve thousand dollars for a 600.00 dollar mistake seems a bit extreme.
So the moral to this story is:
If you believe you are being careful and following every rule, you may find out otherwise.
If you’ve done your due diligence and looked into anything that may be a problem, you probably need to look further.
If you have a question about anything you or your child have and even if you are told that it is fine – it may not be fine after all.
I am sure that this will not be the end of the story but I just wanted to share it to possibly save someone else from making the same mistake.

My apologies if this is littered with typos or half sentences – anger does not enhance my already poor proofreading skills in the least…   

Originally posted at Taking It A Step At A Time

Saturday, October 15, 2016

You are now entering #Haven - A place to leave your 'troubles' behind

Recently we took a trip to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I have already highlighted DC's favorite parts of the trip but now, here are my favorite places and sights -

To satisfy the Geek in me, we go "In Search Of" ................................

HAVEN, MAINE (Chester, Halifax and Lunenburg, Canada)

The Peggy's Cove Lighthouse - not the only lighthouse used in Haven - The Lunenburg lighthouse was also used, but we never did find that one.

 Our first find was the Gazebo - Home of the Haven Farmer's Market - next to the Chester Yacht Club

The Lido pool was right in the same area..

Up the street from there were the main roads where many of the store fronts were used on location.

DC skipping down Queen Street (heading to lunch)

Here was have The Haven Herald

 Not the Grey Gull but it will have to do. We looked for it on the way from Peggy's Cove but never found Tilley's Cove where the building is located.
 Dave and Vince's  Boat House???

After leaving Chester we drove to Lunenburg.

Lunenburg was a very cute little town.

Now, I'm sure the people that took the opening shot of Haven's coast had access to a helicopter or an exceptionally good camera - that is not the case here. But trust me - this is it.

The Town Hall Gazebo used in many episodes 

(Fun Fact: This Park and Gazebo was also used in the Christmas Movie - A Town without Christmas)

Haven Police Department - Haven PD - The Town Hall side was used for the Haven PD.
The back side (which I didn't get a photo of because DC was being affected by the "crabby-trouble" - Where is Audrey when you need her?), which is the Court House was used as the Haven Court House.
More info about Haven - 

#TravelingWithDC - New Brunswick & Nova Scotia

Instead of our usual October "Halloween Trip", we decided to venture back into Canada - to visit New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.......

If you were to ask DC about his trip, any trip for that matter; you would probably hear about what he ate and the bookstores he visited. Unless he met a Disney Character, saw a show, or visited an amusement park,  food and books are all you are going to be told about.
Below is a collection of Facebook statuses and photos from our recent trip from DC's perspective - or maybe from my perspective of DC's perspective - either way, I know that these were the highlights for him.

Long drive so far, but we found this diner and they had Buffalo "tenders", which was close enough for him at this point. It was a cute place - an old fashioned 50's style diner. I kept thinking that DC's friend, BB would like it there. Service was a bit of a 'de-aster' in DC speak, but he eventually got what he ordered.....eventually.

The following day in Saint John, New Brunswick - DC discovered Fried Pepperoni - He somehow got it into his head that "Fried" sounds just like "Fright", so thinking himself hilarious stopped the waitress every time she went by (fortunately it was not busy) and said "Excuse me! I am frightened!" - and then laughed hysterically. She played along with him as soon as she understood just what he thought was so funny. He had a good time there.

Jelly beans AND Band Aids - all we needed were books....

We did not find books that night but there were  a few other sights to see.

We were tired so we opted to have dinner next to our hotel. This little, very odd place was located in the Ramp Garage (seriously).  All I could think of was the movie "Streets of Fire". 

There was a "musician" playing what I believe to be the same song all night, but he did stop at one point to ask who had their Halloween costumes ready. DC, of course raised his hand and told him that he was going to be the Goblin King.  After he debated with himself out loud about just what a Goblin King costume would look like, we had to tell him..... David Bowie? Labyrinth?? - He was not aware...  and he called himself a musician...

Continuing on the next day to Halifax - Tim Horton's, of course. While there we discovered that somewhere very close by was a Giant Blueberry. What was it about? No Idea, but who could pass up a giant blueberry, especially with a Willy Wonka fan on board?

The books were found in Halifax....

 After books - Dinner, of course.

(Doug cringing at the amount of ice cream DC can shove in his mouth without getting brain freeze - EVER)

I was a little surprised that DC knew who this is. He has not seen that show in quite some time, and even then he was not what I'd call a big fan...

Next stop: Chester, Nova Scotia - DC skipping into Chester (Haven <we'll talk about that another time> )for lunch.

                                          (Video version of skipping into Haven)

On the way to Lunenburg from Chester, a Book Sale sign stopped us in our tracks.


After much searching, he did find two High School Musical paperbacks. Now we could be on our way.

and more books.......................

Oh! We did visit some other sights too...


Saint John - Reversing Waterfall (we did not call it a waterfall for DC's benefit, due to the exasperated expression on his face when he had to keep seeing the falls in Niagara Falls. It was as if he were saying to himself "Why do these people keep making me look at this waterfall over and over again?")

I get the whole "water flowing both ways" phenomenon, but I didn't find it all that impressive.

The Titanic Graveyard - Halifax

Of course, Peggy's Cove...

And a few shots from Lunenburg

From: Facebook Statuses - Take Another Step