Not sure if I ever mentioned on this blog that my youngest son is deaf with a cochlear implant?  He decided to get one his junior year of high school, starting out his first week of his senior year recovering from it.  He always qualified, it was a decision I didn’t want to make for him and waited until it was something he wanted.  He actually did all the research on it himself, when he went in he fully intended to have both sides done.  After the one, that was good enough for all of us.

It helped him a lot the first year, although it’s a different sound than actual hearing.  It’s an electronic sound he had to learn how to decipher the sounds.  He wore it for years when he first went off to Northridge for their deaf program in college.  He had somewhat been in the deaf community his first few years of school, he was in a total communication classroom from K-3 grade and mainstreamed in 4th grade.  The program was in Mt. Diablo School District (highly recommend BTW).   We brought him back to Walnut Creek for middle school and high school, much to the financial dismay of the school districts.  That’s for another blog, I will say this, by middle school most parents are forced to go private or continue the uphill battle with the school districts.  We were lucky, he had been in the system since he was 18 months old.  That, and he’s really smart and a good student.

He stuck out Cal State Northridge for a year and a half, it’s my alma mater.  He lived in the deaf dorms which were sign language only, he then started getting some slack from his peers about his implant.  There was a time we were told we were the worst parents ever for letting him get the implant, that the whole family didn’t learn how to sign for him, he was ready to write us all off – almost cultish.  I took him back to his grade school one day on a break and they confirmed that HE was the one who didn’t want to sign.  I should mention with hearing aides he can speak, his hearing loss is at 90 decibels so with the aides plus lip reading he was able to communicate around 6 years old.  I did take some sign language classes for a few years.

I loved Northridge for him, it was convenient for us along with being close to my mom in case of emergency.  He moved into an apartment with some roommates he didn’t like and called it quits.  We brought him home to go to the local junior college for a semester, he realized everyone was gone off to college.  Someone he met at the local JC mentioned New Mexico State’s PGM (Pro golf management) program.  He looked into it, then transferred the next semester.

That seemed ideal, he’s been a golfer since he was 5 or 6 years old.  I worked at a golf course their whole childhood, they grew up with that course as their playground.  He played on the golf teams since middle school, they both had jobs at golf courses when they were in high school.

He’s not in school at this time, he wanted to play competitively with a break from school. This is a tough one for me, how do you support your kid’s dreams yet make sure you’re getting them started into a life where they can one day be self supportive?  Especially for when you’re not on this earth anymore?  Having a kid with a disability adds a new twist to it too, we had a guy working for the golf course from a PGM program who basically had the same job as me – my son can’t answer a phone.

Back to the implant though, he’s home to get it adjusted to use it again.  That’s a start, a few months ago he wanted another surgery to get it removed and I just cried the whole time he was saying that.  That surgery was hectic, the LAST thing I wanted him to do was to got through that again!!  I begged him to just keep it so that some day he would want to wear it again (did I say he’s stubborn?).  He came around, it was his choice to get it adjusted.

One of the side affects of the surgery is tinnitus, when he’s wearing the implant the tinnitus seems to subdue.  Another thing that helps him is tincture drops from medicinal MJ.  I discovered the tincture when I’d go with my mom’s best friend to pick it up when she was dying of cancer.  She would put it in her tea, it would help her appetite and help her sleep.  Before we got her a card she had eaten cookies and had no feeling in her legs!!  The drops are a lot milder than the edibles (I guess, I haven’t had either).

They seem to help his tinnitus without the stoney affect.  Being the good mom, after I picked him up from the airport we stopped by Berkeley to get him some drops.  One thing I’m not is an enabler, I wouldn’t be stopping by a liquor store for him if he needed a drink.  It’s a tough call, what’s the difference between something mild or say a Tylenol PM??  Now that I’ve had, it gives me vivid dreams as well as leaving me medicine like tired the next day.

Not that I’m recommending any of this, parenting is always a balance of stumbling through what the best thing could possibly be for your child hoping something will give them a lifetime of health & happiness – oh, and a well paying job!

The goal is to get him to qualify for the world deaf championships at this point.  He’s picking a new major to get back to school after he gives this a go.  Go Aggies!!

Jump start my smokey brain

Been a rough week indoors with all the smoke, still not as rough as the people in Paradise.  I keep thinking it’s OK to go outside, then park to walk to lunch and can feel it in my throat.  My heart actually hurts?  Don’t know how to explain that besides it’s tight.

Overall, I’m pretty healthy and not too worried about the smoke besides not feeling well all week.  Rain is in the forecast, this should be over in a few days when my only worry will be cold and dark at 4pm.

Usually this time of year I go for a running start into the cold, dark days.  Kind of like riding your bike fast downhill to make it up the next hill with little effort.  I try to stay busy and outside because I know I’m going to be inside for months, I’m not a very productive indoors person.  This smoke is like putting the brakes on for that uphill climb through Winter and having to walk your bike up the hill with flat tires instead.

Yes, I try to gear myself up to avoid seasonal depression (SAD).  Not to be Debbie Downer, just that Christmas coincidentally is a few days after the shortest day of the year.  Sometimes I wonder if bright lights and gift giving isn’t a way to just get us out of the house to look forward to something?  A big party on New Years to get us out of the house with friends.

The short little ebooks (on drones & golf)  I wrote in Tahoe when I was stuck indoors, just to give me a project.  My drone work was weather permitting, that got me through a few Winters just because there used to be so much trouble shooting involved.  I’ve passed that all on to my husbands engineering firm, there are 2 drone pilots there now.

This is the first year I haven’t actually had a job, my time is my own.

I can do one of those cheesy “5 things to get you through seasonal depression.”

  1.  Stay outside as much as possible while the weather is still decent (I’ve already blown that one).
  2. Stock up on home projects, like cleaning the closet or drawers for 15 min a day.  Then write a to-do list to replace items like light bulbs, moth balls, stuff that forces you to get out and go to a store.  We’ve lived here for 20 years, it’s a Winter project.
  3. Organize all your photos for Christmas gifts – another huge project.  When was the last time you had prints made?  I have digital photos all over the place, on several computers/CD/USB/Cards.  Nothing is in one place, there’s no more room on this particular laptop I’m writing on.  Yesterday I made an attempt and uploaded my film cards to Shutterfly, which BTW has unlimited storage.  They also automatically suggest photo gifts.
  4. Plan a trip to look forward to, like surfing in Mexico in Jan.
  5. Get outside no matter once at least once a day, even if it’s pouring.  The gym, a coffee shop, anywhere!

This list is mostly for me, I’m excluding holiday shopping only because the parking and people out for the holidays makes me lose faith in humanity & doesn’t help the cause.  I’m just not a shopper.

Other things on my personal list is writing, either another mini ebook just to practice writing or continuing this blog.  Sometimes I get how Stephen King thought of the idea of “Misery.”  Maybe it takes being totally stuck doing nothing else but writing while you lay around getting limbs cut off?  Kidding, certainly being house bound is WAY too much free time!!  Free time is not my friend.


Hard Trip

This was supposed to be a trip to see if I could stay here and possibly enroll in their music program, our house is a few blocks from campus.  Instead, my son wants me to leave early because he’s so defiant.  I tip toe around him, can’t bring up work or school or I’m not being supportive of his golf.  He’s taken a year, he’s really good but in that year he hasn’t signed up for one tournament.

His problem isn’t his game, it’s his thinking.  This really isn’t much different from other millenials thinking there’s a gazillion dollars at the end of the rainbow for their minimal effort.  The latest is his game won’t be ready unless he lives in Europe, where he’ll be on the European tour.  Not going to try here, it’s just not going to happen until we somehow support him there??

When I golfed, I practiced every single day.  I’d drop the kids off at school, then hit the driving range.  If I could get in 9 holes, I would.  Once they got into 1st grade I could finally play 18 and join some groups.  Besides club champ, which for some reason I would miss by one stroke, it was hard for me to travel to a tournament.  One round the school called to say my oldest was sick, I put the phone down to get out of the sand trap, then finished the call and left by 9 holes to pick him up.  I could drive as far as the women on tour and coached for 2 years at the high school.

In that respect, it’s not a pipe dream for my son to want to play professionally.  He grew up at a golf course surrounded by pro’s.  He also did well in high school, we just didn’t focus on it that much.  I wanted it to be his, I never pressured him to the point of burn out.

This transition though is super frustrating.  Both boys did club volleyball with tournaments every weekend, it’s not like we’re unfamiliar with traveling and tournaments.  The way they grew up was learn to swim, OK, now compete.  My oldest played college volleyball on top teams.  We focused on my youngest getting a cochlear implant his senior year (his choice) and not golf.  It blew his chances of playing in college, along with the head of the league focused on being a prick not wanting any of the kids to succeed.  The coach that makes you want to quit the game is how this guy was, luckily not their team coach.

My son is just difficult, it’s his way or the highway.  He needs help to play in tournaments, we just lives so far from him now.  Most guys on tour have their own coach, sponsors, and at least a good friend to caddy for them.  I’ll say one thing about him, he’d be an awesome caddy.  He knows more about golf than anyone, he studies it non-stop.  He wants to play though and being stuck out here to figure it out on his own isn’t working.

That’s one of the reasons I thought I could come out and possibly just enroll in the music program.  Stay out here, take him to tournaments.  We’re like oil & water right now, he only wants help supporting him to tell him it’s OK not to go to school or work.

I have one son that’s making the transition to adulthood, working, graduated.  He has a grip on reality and money.  I don’t know how siblings can be so different?  I feel like a failure as a parent, I’m certainly not like that.  We’re both really self driven, I get as good as I can get at something with some pretty real expectations.

I did get a good come uppance yesterday about my piano playing.  I found a practice room at a music store where the woman in the room next to me blew me away.  Even writing, I’m reading a book written by a woman I know and her writing is amazing.  Another friend is writing a blog about her sailing adventure – I’m not worthy!!  Who knows?  Maybe my son does get it from me and I’m the one with the pipe dreams?