Thursday, April 22, 2010

School is time consuming

So I've been going to school full time for about the last three weeks. It seems like I spend all my time either doing homework or chores and I always seem to have more homework. This is the first time I've gone to school full time since graduating almost 20 years ago, so I'm not in the habit of keeping track of more than one class, and I have three. To make things more fun one class has weeks that run Wednesday to Tuesday, another runs Thursday to Wednesday (with the quiz for the previous week's material available Thursday through Sunday) and my last class runs a normal Monday to Friday. Because of this, once I get everything done in one class, another one starts a new week and it seems like I'm never caught up.

Now if I could just get my kids to realize this and understand when I need to be left alone to do my homework. But maybe, just maybe they'll see me doing mine and think that maybe they should put theirs first too. Ha....who am I kidding, of course they won't.

At least I'm doing OK in the classes I can see scores for so far. But then seeing as how two of the classes are basic intro to computer type classes, if I don't get A's in both of them I'm going to kick myself. The only real challenge is each one has a research paper, on one I have to pick from a list and on the other I have to compare two operating systems. And in both I have to find sources. That will be fun. And of course I have no idea which two operating systems to choose, since I can choose any two, not just one of the big ones that everyone knows. Anyone got any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All I can say is wow

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything, but it's been a busy time since then and much has happened.

Let's start with the bad news first, last May I was laid off from my job at a major aerospace company here in Everett. I'd been with the company 11 years, but I'd just changed careers about a year before and ended up ranked low because of lack of experience in that job. In addition to this, my ex-wife continued to actively avoid paying child support and as of this time owes almost $2000 in unpaid support. She was paying occassionally over the last couple of months, but mainly because her paycheck was being garnished by the state. She's lost that job, and does not appear to be seriously looking for another one.

I've been looking for work without success for almost a year now. I filed for unemployment when my severance ran out and even signed up for ProjectHIRE, a partnership between Washington State DVR and WorkSource. I only got one interview in that entire time, and because I've been out of IT work for almost two years, didn't get the job in the end.

Now for the good news, my wife returned to work both as a substitute teacher at one school district and as a private tutor. This has been just enough to help us just scrape by and not loose the house (but we did get rid of cable and suspend Netflix.) More recently my employer petitioned for Trade Act coverage for their laid off employees, and because of this I'm going back to school. I start next month.

So in short, I lost my job, my wife got two part time jobs and I'm going back to school while my ex is still a dead beat parent. More exciting news to come I'm sure. I may write about ProjectHIRE, dealing with unemployment and the joy of filling out tons of paperwork for a federal program in the next couple of days.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Diagnosis Fail

So back in 2006 I went in and was put through a neuro-psych evaluation to "rule out" Asperger's. My test results came back and I was given a diagnosis of Asperger's. One thing that I made a point of sharing with the Neuro-psychologist was an email from my mom (she lived hunreds of miles away) that explained that I had stopped progressing in speech at three years old, and then suddenly one day when I was six I started talking like an adult. So for three years my speech was delayed.

Now just recently we went to a psychologist to see about turning my son's school evaluation into a real diagnosis, with testing to back it up. While talking about my history (which does apply to his since I'm his father,) I mentioned this and that I'd thought it was odd that I'd been diagnosised with Asperger's as a speech delay usually rules out Asperger's in favor of just plain old Autism. She was also surprised, as to her not progessing for three years was a significant speech delay. And a significant speech delay is clearly Autism. Now she did say that it is possible for a low-functioning autistic to become high functioning, but because of the requirement for no speech delay an autistic can not magically turn into someone with Asperger's.

The end result is, my diagnosis was most likely sugar coated. But since I've only used the term Asperger's to describe myself when I have to use my official diagnosis for something, this has not changed how I see myself. I am Autistic, and it has always been a part of who I am. And no piece of paper can change that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gotta love a double standard

So, from 1999 until both kids came to live with me in 2008 I paid my ex-wife a LOT of child support. When I was paying on both kids (which I did until 2007) it was over $700 a month, later when my son came to live with me I paid about $150, the difference between what I owed on my daughter and what my ex owed on my son. The one time that I was a couple of weeks late, is was a horrible moral tragedy and I was told that I was personally responsible for her inability to pay her rent on time (she'd been paying rent late for almost a year by then) and everything else that was wrong with her finances was all due to that one late payment (even though she'd had bad finances longer than we'd known each other.)

So now there is an order in place where she is required to pay me support. Now that it is her responsibility to pay, it's horribly unfair and her not paying is not responsible for our troubles with things like groceries (which wasn't a problem until after we weren't getting the money she owes my kids.) She always has an excuse and seems to have the view that I'm being unfair when I ask her when she's going to pay.

Back when I was paying, we'd set it up so that I paid her directly. This got the money to her faster, and avoided nasty paperwork and dealing with the state having to collect the money (which could have messed up my credit.) I tried to be fair and give her the same option. As of right now she's five, yes FIVE, months behind.

Now what makes this worse is not only does she not pay and complain that she and her husband are broke when we ask for the money, but then she goes out and spends lots of money taking the kids out to eat and buys them toys and comic books. But she can't be bothered to get them shoes or clothes.

Well, we've had enough. Recently we filed paperwork to open a case with the local office of the Department of Child Support to ask for help collecting child support. I'm now at the point where if I ever hear about "Deadbeat Dads" and the "Poor Moms" from someone I'll give them an earfull about "Deadbeat Moms" seeing as how it seems like no one wants to admit that failing to fulfill responsibility is not a uniquely male trait.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Father's Network

Last night I went to the monthly Father's Network meeting at the Snohomish County ARC in Everett for the first time. It was nice to get out of the house, but more importantly it was good to hear about the struggles of other fathers with special needs kids as well as get to share my own. There were about 8-10 of us there, and my wife was not there so I had to do all of my own talking.

And that was really the hard part, being social even with a small group can be challenging and tiring. Even more so when most of the people in the room I'd not met before. One thing I did come away with was even though we all had kids with very diffent needs, there were many parts of our lives that were similar. Saturday night is the Snohomish County Father's Network Poker Night. Here's to hoping I have just a good of a time with less of the crash at the end.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness month, and I am one autistic that boths dreads and anticipates it. It's nice that there is a push to raise awareness of the challenges that those of us who are autistic face in life. Yet at the same time, it's hard to keep calm when groups like "Autism Speaks" use it to further their agenda. Please do me a favor this year, if you are thinking about donating to "Autism Speaks" please don't.

"Autism Speaks" has spent large amounts of money on research, but not research aimed at helping autistics. In the past they have pushed the idea that autism is "caused" by mercury poisoning, mostly pointing to vacceines as the source of the "poisoning." They are currently working on a test for autism, with the goal of a pre-natal test. This goes along with their mission of ending autism forever. Say goodbye to any future Einstein, as if they have their way the next Einsteind will be aborted before they are born.

What autistics need are services and understanding. Not hate and a eugenics program designed to eliminate them. If you want to help, volunteer or donate to groups that actually have autistic adults on their board of directors, such as ASAN

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wow, time sure does fly

I just realized that it's been a long time since I posted here. So I thought I'd take some time and update the couple of people who once watched this (and have likely lost interest in the last several months.)

Over the summer, my wife and I finally had the stand up in front of everyone wedding, on our one year anniversary. All kinds of things went wrong, and others went right, but nothing went as planned. We didn't get any sleep that night, because we had to leave early that morning and it took all night to get packed and everything in order to be gone for two weeks as my in-laws sent us to Mexico for our honeymoon.

Mexico was a lot of fun, even though I picked up a nasty virus after the end of week one and was sick long after we returned. It was my first trip out of the county (visiting Vancouver BC when I was three doesn't count) and my first time flying in a plane. I thought that watching the wing flaps move was fun, my wife, the seasoned traveler had to use the little white bags they give you for motion sickness issues. She found it ironic. It was very hot and humid, but oddly bearable. The only issue I had was that Diet Coke tastes funny in Mexico (besides being sick that is.)

I tried to get through calculus last fall, and was out of sync all quarter. I was sick the first week, and I'd not taken any classes during summer because of the planned trip and planning the wedding, so I was out of the habit of doing homework. I didn't fail, but I didn't pass either (D is now my least favorite letter.) This quarter I'm getting my English 105 out of the way (and doing much better.) The calculus series that's offered in the evenings will not be available to me until next fall, so I'll fill in with other things until then. I may even take English 205 next quarter if I'm not sick of english already (and if I do then I'll be done with english classes!)

And I'll finish with the best news that has happened since my last post here. In January, after dragging her feet for months, my ex wife and I went into court and entered an agree on change in custody. I am now the custodial parent of my kids. The only sticking point was she didn't want to pay child support, she didn't get out of it, but has yet to make a payment. If she doesn't start soon then someone at the Office of Support Enforcement will end up making her life unpleasant.

Well, that's all for now. I'll try to update more often in the future.