Colin’s first concert…

You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I had everything all planned. Colin was freshly showered and zir outfit was waiting on zir dresser, as far away from the cats as I could manage (while still keeping it in the apartment). My morning schedule was going to be hectic; involving shopping, getting cash-back for laundry money, hitting the gym while the laundry washed, then going upstairs for a shower. But it was doable and would leave us enough time to paint nails, put on makeup, etc before heading out for an early dinner.

My first sign of trouble was the odd sort of gurgle our toilet gave when I flushed. The slight trickle of water when I went to wash my hands was my second. I called the superintendent and was informed the water was off until 5pm. No shower… no laundry… and no gym either (unless I wanted to go to the concert smelling like a warthog in August).

I’ve lost just over ten pounds since January (and three inches around my waist) which leaves me with exactly one pair of pants that fit. They were at the bottom of my laundry basket. Kait lent me some clothes and was subsequently alarmed by the result; she kept saying it looked good but wasn’t a “Mom outfit”…

Michelle's outfitI figure the experience was good for her; I’m not just a Mom. Plus the outfit looked great with my sparkly shoes…

my sparkly shoes

Then Colin came out of zir room in stained track pants and an old grey t-shirt. The legs of zir good pants “felt funny” rubbing against zir leg hairs. Kait suggested skin cream and I suggested shaving (since Colin shaved zir legs consistently until last fall) but Colin insisted neither option would work. Colin’s autistic and it grew quickly apparent zie was heading straight for a meltdown. We live only a block away from Value Village and while we didn’t have time to shop, having Colin attend the concert naked wasn’t an option. We walked out the door less than an hour before we had to leave for the concert. My plans for the day were completely blown.

Like usual Colin headed straight for the men’s department, where zie did a quick visual scan of the area and found nothing. Not that anything can be found while speed walking and scowling. Then we headed over to the ladies department where we immediately found two pairs of pants and six purple shirts… and thankfully an assortment of shoppers who smiled at Colin as we wandered through the racks. The jeans were only a bit too big  and the shirt fit perfectly…

Jeremy found wifi

We were walking into the back door of our building as Kait’s boyfriend J pulled into the front parking lot. Colin quickly changed and we went running out, forgetting Kait’s cigarettes in our rush. My original plan was to be at The Old Spaghetti Factory by 4pm, instead we were stuck in traffic somewhere on our way to Mississauga, the correct turn off slowly fading in the distance. We were later than I planned but thankfully early enough to actually eat.

This was J’s first time at The Old Spaghetti Factory. He was surprised by the antique carousel we were seated beside…

Old Spaghetti Factory view from table

… then I took him to see the stained glass mural of the Toronto Blue Jays…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Colin hurried over to join us and I overheard one boy ask, “Is that a boy or a girl?” I don’t think Colin heard him though and we left right away so I have no idea what anyone said in response. Hopefully an adult said something positive. Hopefully. It wasn’t me this time. I wasn’t letting anything spoil Colin’s night out.

We all plowed through dinner. I even paid while we ate in the hopes of speeding things up a bit. Poor Colin was disappointed we were going to leave before our ice cream but I promised we’d stay for ice cream on zir birthday and we’d eat in the antique elevator (much to zir delight).

Kait and J dropped us off in the lineup before leaving to get a replacement package of cigarettes. Kait figured it would be fine because the line was long…

This doesn't show the back and forth line in front of the theatre.

This doesn’t show the zig-zagging line in front of the theatre.

…and the doors weren’t opening for another 20 minutes anyway. I texted her several times to say the line was moving and to hurry. The last time was to say we’d just gone through security. That was when they arrived. Kait was able to reach over the fence to get their tickets at least (with the help of a security guard). I watched them go to the back of the line and hoped they wouldn’t be too far from the stage.

This theatre was unlike any I’d ever been to. We walked into a huge open room which, judging by the wooden floor, was built for dances and not concerts. A stage had been set up at the far end and the room was already crowded, even though the line behind us was bigger than the one in the picture above. The room was as packed as a delayed bus at rush hour. I couldn’t pull my cellphone out of my pocket without pulling the hair of the girl in front of me (my apologies if that’s why she moved). It didn’t take long for Colin to realize the VIP space above us had actual seats.

“Wait,” he blurted. “You have to pay extra for seats now? What are they going to do next, charge us for oxygen?”

The lady beside us started laughing.

We waited for an hour and a half, listening to canned music and sweating. Colin at least had zir electronics to fiddle with, which kept zir quiet and calm…

Jeremy waiting for Pentatonix

And then the concert started. The group was amazing and we were close enough to the front for me to get some good shots…

Pentatonix3

In the interest of not loading each one separately.

A quick photo montage in the interest of not loading each one separately.

I love having optical zoom on my camera, especially since my usual view of the stage looked like this…

Cellphones... everywhere...

Cellphones… everywhere…

Once the long haired girl left, I ended up behind a young man who I figure might possibly be Mitch‘s biggest fan. He was so excited when the show started and yelled “I love you Mitch!” regularly while making heart shapes…

Mitch's biggest fan

… it was really sweet 🙂

Poor Colin found the outright screaming overwhelming but otherwise enjoyed the concert. I think what impressed zir the most was the bathroom attendant.

“Mom, they’re paying someone to sit inside the washroom and hand us paper towels. Can I give him a tip?”

Zie listened to Pentatonix the whole way home.

Our view as we left the theatre.

Our view as we left the theatre.

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Cloudy with a chance of cold…

Okay, so it’s not cloudy and it’s a lot closer to *holy crap freezing* than merely cold but the title stands (simply because I hate writing titles).

Jeremy stayed up until about 4am Sunday morning.  Zie knows zie’s been missing school every single Monday for weeks due to insomnia and hoped that staying up for 36 hours straight would allow zir to sleep Sunday night. Which didn’t happen and zie missed yet another Monday. I called on my way home from work to ask how zir chores went. I hadn’t left Jeremy with much, just tidying zir room and taking out the recycling.

“I didn’t get anything done Mom. It felt like someone was shooting daggers across the room into my eyes and I kept having to keep them closed.”

Jeremy can be more than a tad dramatic but that one left me speechless.

“Umm…” I finally stammered. “Uh, how are they feeling now?” Is there actual blood? Do I need to call 911?

“They feel okay now,” zie said. Phew.

“Can you go across the street and buy laundry soap?” I asked tentatively. Jeremy instantly panicked.

“No! I can’t do that, I really can’t.”

Laundry would have been nice. I’d spent a half hour plunging the urinal at work and really needed to wash my uniform. I have no idea what the urinal was clogged with. I have no interest in finding out. Thankfully I have an extra uniform so the laundry wasn’t a dire emergency. A shower was more important and I didn’t need laundry soap for that; just Jeremy’s “soap for hair”.

Then along came today. Jeremy called work in an absolute panic. Zie’d set the alarm for the wrong time (which zie hadn’t because I’d watched zir set it the night before) and was going to miss the appointment. I assured Jeremy that zie had plenty of time; everything would be fine. I got off the phone once zie stopped crying and went back on the floor only to hear the phone ring. I sighed and immediately turned around.

“Make it quick,” my manager snapped as she handed me the phone. “I need this for actual work today.”

I got on the phone to find Jeremy having a panic attack. Zie was hysterical and struggling to breath but I managed to get zir calmed down. The other manager was sympathetic and allowed me to call Jeremy back a short while later. I was relieved to find zir sleepy and a lot more relaxed.

The first manager sent me home less than an hour later, likely her idea of a punishment because I’d been off the floor too much, but it was a relief for me because I was worried about Jeremy. I didn’t like how panicked zie’d been and didn’t want zir home alone.

I called zir twice on my way home and both calls went to zir voice mail. I knew I’d go home and find zir fast asleep but couldn’t help worrying. Jeremy swears the EffexorXR’s helping and zie’s no longer suicidal but that doesn’t stop my fears. I left a second voice mail and wondered if my heart was pounding loud enough to be heard.

Jeremy was sleeping peacefully when I got home, which was a relief. Zie was still peacefully asleep four hours later, which was not.

“Come on Jeremy,” I sighed impatiently. I put my hand on zir shoulder. “Emma and Mark are going to be here in another hour or so and I’ve woken you three times already. You need to get out of be-”

My mouth snapped shut as zie opened zir eyes. Both whites were vivid scarlet, which explained zir dagger comment from yesterday.

“How’s your throat?” I asked. I felt Jeremy’s forehead then realized that was pointless with the mini electric fireplace blowing across zir bed.

“It’s sore,” zie whispered. Great.

“Go back to sleep,” I said quietly then turned out the light. Zir school will just have to deal with Jeremy missing yet another day of school. It’s not like they’re teaching zir anything at this point.

The school board official called while I was talking to Emma and I quickly called her back. Gatineau has not returned any of her multiple phone calls, despite them telling me they were eager to talk to her (and me signing a stack of release forms giving them permission). Plus she has no leads on other schools. Her only suggestion was to get Jeremy in to see the doctor about anxiety, which I’ve already done.

Thankfully my call with Emma was more fruitful. She picked up laundry soap while they were grocery shopping and she and Mark are going to take me to the drug store for eye ointment (which I’m beyond grateful for considering it’s -20C).

And for our good news… we’re going to see Pentatonix in two more months!!! This will be Jeremy’s very first concert. I can’t wait, not only to enjoy the music but to see Jeremy enjoying the music! For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, enjoy…