Friday, 12 October 2012

Changing Rooms 2

Decorating....again. I bet you’re sensing my state of ecstatic enthusiasm ?

This time it’s my Son’s bedroom. On the face of it this should be relatively straightforward, but with consideration of his autistic behaviours is a minefield because of the changes and upheaval.

Changes in his routine, changes in the colour of the walls and the carpet, changes in the furniture and to his room layout. Changes in his Dad’s normally mild mannered behaviour (well ok, scratch the last one).

Decorating = Expense + Hassle x Stress

Presenting your ASD child with a paint chart that has an inordinate amount of colours to pick from is putting them under increased pressure straight away. It overloads them with information and makes choice selection incredibly difficult.

There’s also a danger that they will home in on one colour that isn’t really suitable and no amount of persuasion will make them change their minds. I was dreading him choosing bright pink or battleship grey. As much as I want him to be happy, the thought of painting a ten year old boy’s room in “Fuchsia” just doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

Anyway, following some discussion. Well, ok, after about two weeks of tentative negotiations that Ban Ki-Moon would have been pleased with, he ‘chose’ a dark teal blue. Only he wanted the whole room painted in it. A further two weeks of persuasion.... and some begging, managed to convince him that one dark wall and three lighter would be better.

Repeat for Carpet, Furniture and Bedding and trying to ensure that the colours suited each other, I’m sure you can appreciate the difficulties. This is only compounded further by his tendency to change his mind at various points in the process.

So it was all agreed, and I must paint this weekend as the new carpet is scheduled for next Friday. (I’m not allowed to paint after the new carpet gets installed....let’s just say I have ‘previous’)

I was in the DIY store on Sunday and noted there was plenty paint and so didn’t bother picking any up. Instead I nipped in past work yesterday, and initially panicked as they didn’t seem to have any of the teal colour. 

A bit of further investigation and I noticed one single tin right at the back of the shelf.
I leaned in with one arm, stretched right to the back and as I removed this last solitary tin of paint with some relief and satisfaction...... I dropped the bloody thing and it burst all over the floor. I am now standing in Homebase with one teal blue shoe and half a paint splattered trouser leg.

As I stared at my beloved expensive Chelsea boots I only bought last month and a paint blob ran down my other trouser leg, my other overriding concern was that I really needed this paint.

I headed for the customer toilet, leaving a trail of footprints that even the apprentice CSI officer wouldn’t have any trouble spotting,  only to find there were no tissues or paper towel in the gents or the disabled toilet either.

Meanwhile, a helpful assistant confirmed there was no paint in stock and to try middle of next week.

I had to then drive another ten miles to the nearest B and Q in hope and desperation.

Luckily they had some. I did get some funny looks though; I must have seemed like the best dressed painter and decorator in town, what with my one blue shoe and splattered effect pinstripe trousers.

Maybe I should have opened up my shirt sleeves and pretended I was Laurence Llewelyn Bowen?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Time to Hibernate

Autumn is officially here. What’s that you ask? How can I be sure?

Well, apart from the darker nights and leaves blowing everywhere, I’ve started cooking comfort food again. In the same way some weather forecasters predict apocalyptic winters because the cows are sitting in the lower field or the red berries are appearing early, my craving for stews, roasts, red wine and cakes can only mean we are heading for the depths of a bleak, cold winter.

Not content with a hunk of roast beef and half a tray of Yorkshire puddings to myself last Sunday, I moved on to beef olives and mince and tatties this week too.

Once, the braised steak comes out – it’s officially time to put the patio furniture away.

As part of my own Autumn lent, I also decided to use up all the eggs and flour that were sitting around and made some rock cakes with my daughter at the weekend. Despite my best efforts – they didn’t look anything like rock cakes and splodged out on the baking tray, resulting in one kind of big joined up flat mess. Once prised apart, they were remarkably tasty however and as if to prove a point – I made a second batch, determined to show my daughter what went wrong. Result was a second tray of splodged out cake mix. At least I’m consistent.

My Son also arrived on scene and proceeded to complain that he didn’t like them because I had added coconut and then insisted he wanted a fairy cake. I explained we hadn’t made them, but once he gets it into his head there is no changing his mind. So a batch of fairy cakes was whipped up and came out okay. Even I can cope with equal quantity recipes.

Anyway, the appearance of Nigella on TV has further ignited my cooking passion. Her descriptions of creamy peaks, while standing with her chest sticking out is clearly the stuff of legend. If you can get past how perfect her life must be, she does have some quick and easy recipes – none such more as her latest coffee ice-cream which when served up in a brioche bun sounds like it could be my favourite sandwich of all time. (Excluding my head in her cleavage)

Further proof if any should be needed that Winter is coming is the appearance of the Next Christmas book....and what parents of primary school age children haven’t already ordered their cards from Studio?

Just to further reinforce how close we are to hearing Jingle Bells being sung at school carol concerts, the X-Factor run in has begun. Remember this programme exists primarily to make a vast amount of money for Simon Cowell et al to provide us with the Xmas number one.