Location: Oregon, United States

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Countryside, The Critter, The Kid,

The Countryside. For Thanksgiving, I wanted a good wine to go with the meal. Being a wine-dork, I had to look up what would pair nicely with turkey. Fortunately, Epicurious has a great site with recipes, wine pairing suggestions, and a guide to which vineyards produce consistently decent wine. So Pinot Noir sounded like the way to go, and Lo and Behold, Oregon is one of the top quality producers, since the climate is very similar to the region in France that also makes this variety. In fact, there is a vineyard on my way to work, about seven miles away, that was recommended. Now how cool is that? So I high-tailed it out there. Up a curvy, mountain road, past huge homes that are being built into the mountainside, and into the wine-tasting room where there were a few people standing around tasting wine. At this point, I am completely out of my element. It is apparent that there is a "right" way to do this tasting thing, and I certainly don't know it. So I pretend that I am a very busy person that knows exactly what I want, grab my bottle of wine, and get the heck out of there. I pull out of the parking area, and begin to head down the hill, when there is a sun-break throughout the entire valley. (This was a very big deal, because we had record amounts of rain this November and we could seldom see anything further than the car in front of us.) The clouds lift, and I can see the entire valley and all the way to the coastal mountains. There is still fall color all around, and the clouds that are left scudding across the mountains add a hint of dark blue. It is absolutely breathtaking. I suddenly realize that people get all wistful about wine country because of the scenery. Funny. I always thought it was about the wine...

The Critter. For some time now, when I bring the dog out before bed, she has been sniffing and sniffing as though there were something under the deck. Cats roam free around here, and I figured that's what it was, since it is fairly dry under the deck and it has been raining, raining, raining. Then I started to put things together. Lately, we've had strange piles of barkdust with poop in the middle cropping up around the house. Not very cat-like. So the other night when the dog indicated there was something there, I got the flashlight and checked it out. Little round ears. Little masked eyes. Little raccoon under my deck. Actually, medium raccoon from what I could see. Terrific. So I came inside and checked the internet for solutions. I'm happy to coexist with the critter as long as it doesn't wreak havoc. But my sources say they carry ringworm and all sorts of other nasty diseases that could get passes on to the dog, then us, so we need to kick it out.

The county we live in offers a list of about 20 things to do, all very humane, and discourages live trapping and removal because the stress can kill the animal. I still had questions, so I called them and I got a recording says they will not accept calls regarding raccoons, opposums or skunks and gave me another number to call - Critter Gitter. So I call Critter Gitter (all I can picture is some guy in a trailer cleaning his shotgun with his trusty coonhound and a pick-up out back) and they offer to live trap it and remove it. Hello? Does the county know this? What is the message here? When I told the woman that answered the phone (not the shotgun-wielding redneck I expected), that I planned to try to get rid of it myself first, she recommended I put a sprinkler on the deck so the water would run underneath and make it less cozy. There was no way for her to know that the deck is already slick from all the rain. The other suggestion they had is to be as active as possible outside as this will discourage wildlife from wanting to live with you. What do they want me to do, have a weekly neighborhood picnic in the dark, in the rain? Maybe I'll put the sprinkler under the deck, then hope it doesn't decide to move into the chimney. Aargh.

The Kid. Last week, I breezed over Stephen as there was not much to say. This week I have an update. Before we left Minnesota, we'd had Stephen tested for dyslexia and whatever else we might find. Long story which I won't get into here, but we'll just say he'd reached a crisis point and the testing was well warranted. I'd suspected something was up for at least a year but he wasn't far enough behind in his work for the school to agree to testing. When we moved here, I approached the school with the results of the testing in my hand and was told that we should "wait and see how he does", then go from there. I set my jaw and waited. He did relatively well for the remaining two months of school. Then this year began and within two weeks he was overwhelmed with homework so I set a meeting with the teachers. One of them said, "He is a little off-task, and I think he could do better", which nearly caused me to transform into a she-bear and create havoc, but I refrained (proven fact that wreaking havoc doesn't get you very far) and left her with the report we'd gotten following the testing. She said it was "interesting". Again, at conference time, I raised my concerns and my feeling that he could reach his potential if he had accomodations in place. She said she would look into it, and I said I would write a letter requesting an evaluation. I never heard from her or anyone at the school after that. So last week I finally wrote the letter.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from the special ed director at Stephen's school. She is sure we met last year when we moved here (Really? I have NO recollection of that, but it's possible) and that she recommended we have him evaluated by a physician for ADHD in order to qualify him for an IEP. I remember being told to look into medication for ADHD. Evidently, since I already knew he had been diagnosed with ADHD, her request was translated in my brain as "try the meds and then we'll see how he does". Major communication breakdown on both of our parts. She said that she remembers reading his test results, but never read the whole report, thinking the test results told the whole story. She sincerely apologized, said, "This child needs to be on an IEP. I have my own children and I'm telling you I get it." and agreed to do whatever was necessary to make it happen as soon as possible. I cannot tell you what a relief this is. Stephen is a gifted, wonderful child and school is so hard on him. I am thrilled to watch the transformation as he gets the help he needs to succeed.


Blogger ~kelemira of gondor said...

ah! i didn't put anything here either. not even a one word reaction or smiley face. i must have been slacking in december.

4:18 PM  

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