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[personal profile] phetish
If it were not for Amazon, there would be no such thing as Christmas in the Coals household.

It may have been a mistake to torment my UPS delivery driver by repeatedly ordering 240 lbs. of cat litter. He finds his revenge by hiding my packages like the Easter Bunny. I suppose I deserve that, and maybe more.
Or, he could be mistaking one of my very warm animal onesies for a bunny suit.
Maybe he thinks this is the way of our fuzzy people.

I am grateful the presents are arriving, and not a moment too soon.
Christmas is this weekend and all I have under the tree are cookies for the aides in Max's life.

His big present arrived, today.
It's not a toy; he has dozens of those. Toys, games, tablets, entertainment galore.
I bought him a pressure vest from Abilitations, designed to help children with sensory overload to focus. It's the same concept as Temple Grandin's invention to calm cattle.
He wears a vest in school and accomplishes tasks I have never seen while wearing it.

Six months ago, he could not say his own name. Now, when he walks up behind me and says, "Today is Tuesday," a chill goes up my spine because I fear that there is suddenly a (talking) stranger or, worse, a ghost in the house. He is developing so quickly that I can barely keep up.

My parents, I am upgrading their houses to "smart homes," to streamline simple tasks and provide additional (if not satellite ("me") support). Technology is one of the few areas where my skill surpasses theirs and I can be of great assistance.

Everyone else is so easy. Wants are always easy to sate. Fulfilling needs is the art.

Date: 2016-12-21 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I feel like that old man, sitting on the battered rocking chair on their porch, yelling at the kids playing near his yard, but I can't wrap my head around the smart home. Not technically, I mean, I get that. I have a router and two wifi extenders in my faraday cage of a house to ensure that I can, whilst sitting on the toilet in our water closet, surf the Internet without any delay. (You have no idea how important my German language lessons are in the five minutes of quiet time I get every day.) No, the technical aspects I get, just fine. But, what purpose do they actually serve? That's my question. I feel like it's easy enough to tap a request into my smartphone.

Of course, having said that, and thinking about the "hell" to come (another baby in a month), maybe having some hands-free ways to do things might actually be nice. Can Amazon quickly deliver chloroform and a fifth of coconut rum so at least one of us can be knocked out?

Date: 2016-12-21 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, they can. :)

I did not see the merit myself until I became responsible for the technology in my parents' homes.

I worry about them. They are old. I worry especially about my mother, because she lives alone and could fall. I worry that my dad might forget to do something important. But I find it endlessly useful for simple tasks.

"Alexa, find my phone."
"Alexa, what is the weather?"
"Alexa, play Leonard Cohen."
"Alexa, play Baby Einstein."
"Alexa, add 'Shampoo' to the shopping list."
"Alexa, raise the temperature to 70."
"Alexa, turn on the Christmas lights."
"Alexa, where is my camera order?"

It is a digital personal assistant. I COULD do all these tasks manually or on my phone, but it saves 30 minutes out of my day and potentially forgetting them ("What was I going to add to the shopping list?") To be able to call it out.

Date: 2016-12-21 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Those vests are amazing. Has he ever had a chance to try out a squeeze machine? That's probably not the right name.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, not yet. I did not know that sensory processing disorder existed until his new school suggested it, and now it seems so obvious in retrospect (as wisdom often does) that it is almost painful.

Date: 2016-12-21 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a friend whose kid is severely disabled. Now, at 15 years old, he's finally gotten some adaptive technology that's allowing him to communicate. She's delighted to read that he has snotty teenaged things to say, albeit still in a limited way. Such an interesting transition. I'd like to hear more about Max's transformation.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You mean that tablet program that allows them to communicate needs via cards? I was thinking about trying that with Max in the next few days. I have heard a lot of good things.

Date: 2016-12-22 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure of the details, but if you'd like me to ask my friend, I could. Probably something along those lines. Her son has extremely limited physical movement, can't eat, and can't talk. They have an extra bedroom in their apartment just for all his specialized mobility stuff. She's a ferocious disability and affordable housing rights activist.

Date: 2016-12-21 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Amazon is fantastic! I pay for Prime because of Christmas, basically.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I try to shop there almost exclusively, now, for the customer service alone.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's true, they're incredible. As it turns out I do most of my year round shopping there both for the convenience and customer service and to justify the cost of Prime, lol

Date: 2016-12-21 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Christmas in the Coals household.

This needs to be a Christmas special.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hahaha. I would need an Xhamster account.

Date: 2016-12-22 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You don't already? I'd at least expect you to have one from your old gig.

Date: 2016-12-21 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The vest sounds awesome! I'm guessing Max has autism? How old is he?

Date: 2016-12-21 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, Max is six (as of October). Not only is he my first and only child, but I'm playing a lot of "catch up" because he was only diagnosed just before his fifth birthday.

I sought early intervention when he was not speaking by two years old, but he exhibited strong receptive language, so they called it a "speech delay."

I moved back to New Jersey just before he turned five, because I had grown up here and knew the special needs programs to be excellent (my brother had more advanced autism).

Even with that history, such strides have been made in the last twenty years. I had no idea that "sensory processing disorder" was a thing until a few months ago.

Date: 2016-12-22 09:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sounds like a rocky road!! My friend's son has autism and they said they wouldn't start looking at his case until he was seven because until then "everything is normal" :-o I'm sure I don't have to tell you how smelly that bullshit is! I'm glad your little boy is getting the help and support he needs. It sounds like he's reaponded really well so far :)

Date: 2016-12-22 09:03 pm (UTC)


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