Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The White Tornado

I can still see Mr. Clean, the "White Tornado" spinning around the house through the screen on my black and white television. There was something special about that man, and of all my childhood memories, he remains. Not quite sure why, but in a heartbeat, I can drum him up in my mind, that cross-armed man with the mermaid like body, only his tail was a tornado. Maybe through osmosis, or positive ""vibs", as I really did like Mr. Clean, Peter somehow managed to inherit some of his tornadic like cleaning skills. Maybe somewhere in that intricate set of DNA, he got the White Tornado gene, because Peter has certainly learned the fine art of white tornadoing.
Take the dishwasher for instance. The cleaning that goes on there is simply mind-blowing. If there in any indication that the dishwasher needs to be run, and that indication could be a lonely cereal dish, Peter starts with the dishwasher experience. He begins with the rinsing, and rinsing, did I say rinsing which makes one wonder do these dishes really need to be washed? Once the rinsing is done, which usually comes with a reminder that "Peter, those dishes are rinsed, than those dishes located closest to the sink are loaded. However, he has only just began. For really, Peter wants to include everything and anything in sight. He moves on to those items that are placed on the counter possibly for decor or some utilitarian kind of experience. Now Peter being a fair minded soul, does not discriminate between good china and bad, new or antique, Waterford or Kmart, no, he is really an equal opportunity kind of guy. If it is on the counter, it belongs in the dishwasher. And so, in go those items, loaded next to, close to, and on top of the cleanly rinsed dishes that really do not need to be in the dishwasher. Then, when one would think the dishwasher is near, no that would be way overloaded to capacity, he makes one last sweep and collects any remaining items within the vicinity and adds them to his menagerie of dishes. As in normal Peter fashion, with his keen sense of no one is watching, he starts that machine which will run at way over the limits capacity. Rocking and rolling, clinging and clattering, a sound one could assimilate to a finger running down a chalkboard. And so, the collectibles, the crystal, the cookie jar, the dog dish, the pots, the pans, are now best friends as they are getting a bath, hoping to survive the wash as they rub, crash, and clang hoping to make it through the experience without a dent. And Peter, stands, contemplating, what needs to be cleaned next. Why, I Mr. Clean Peter have just begun. I am only in the kitchen. His legs start moving, taking on a new whitish cone shaped look and off he goes to another room. I contemplating, do I stop the work of art created by this young man, do I unload before it is too late, as I am wondering what piece of glass I will need to replace following the washing experience, I think I best grab my sneakers and follow the storm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


"You never know when you need a good pair of handcuffs"...yes, those words slipped from my mouth and into the ears of an innocent young staff member of the Therapeutic Recreational program that Peter attended when he was in high school. This young man, most likely about the same age of Peter was hired to help with the special needs children who attended the after school program. And fortunately or unfortunately, he was given the task of asking me, the mom ,why her son was carrying around a pair of handcuffs in his book bag. I still remember his approach, he quietly pulled me aside, and ask if he could speak to me, Mrs. Mom, about a concern we have about your son, Peter. I reeling in from a long day at work and ready to adventure into the evening with Peter, agreed, thinking in the back of my mind...okay now what...I hope he makes it short....I am really, really hungry, at bit on the crabby side, and now, you want to talk. Okay, I am thinking, spill the beans, let me know what hurdle I need to handle, and let's get on with it.
So there he stood in all his innocence, standing up to the call, quietly, almost in a whisper, he informed me that my son Peter was carrying around a pair of handcuffs in his book bag and do I think that really is a good idea?, he asked. I, the mother, the responsible adult, the caretaker, had no idea where or when these handcuffs showed up in his bag. I did not know who gave Peter these handcuffs, when he was the recipient of this gift, but I know this particular item had some meaning to Peter. I, the mother of this child, also knew that Peter had absolutely no small motor movement dexterity that would enable him ever to place this cuffs on anyone or even use them. So there, out of my mouth, with a smile on my face, I said to this innocent young teen, who is only trying to do his job..."You never know when you need a good pair of handcuffs!!" and I smiled, retrieved my son, and moved on for the day. And yes, the young staffer just stood there with a look of shock and amazement, eyes wide open, jaw dropping, never in his wildest dreams did he expect that answer coming from any mature adult who had a child with special needs.
Did I remove the cuffs..nope! Reflecting, it was probably a small stand in saying "Get a grip, he is not holding some S and M type event, he just likes these silver things that seem to have made a home in his book bag." And so, the handcuffs remained in his book bag for years, carrying them through graduation and into his work world, until this weekend when Peter told me he needed to leave the handcuffs home.."Ann said..." And so they lay, lonely in his kitchen drawer.
The curious thing about these cuffs is that Peter never lost them. Now we are talking about a person who loses everything! The black stocking hat, the one I paid the extra 20 dollars because it said "JUMP AROUND"..gone, in a day. The number of hats and mittens that have been lost and been replaced. The hundreds of dollars I have spent on buying the coveted Cd's that seem to disappear overnight. Just recently, I hunted down the last of "High School Musical Three" because Peter has lost the previous 4 or 5 or was that 6 copies of that particular movie. If Peter likes it, he loses it. But not these handcuffs! These items have remained his constant companion for years, until today. He told me he had to leave them home.."Ann said". So, there they lay, lonely in his kitchen drawer.
I must admit, I have grown accustomed to their presence, and no, I will not be throwing them out. They will stay in the drawer, a reminder of Peter, the part of Peter I do not understand, the part I can't explain. What attracted him to these things in the first place, and why, he never managed to lose them for years. I will never understand. However,....I am now thinking..... shadow box...hang them in his room...it just seems fitting after all!!