For the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege of watching Daniel absolutely flourish as a tutor (to college students). Despite his interests in computer programming and game development, it has becoming ever-increasingly clear that his true passion lies in teaching. I even told him on several occasions: “don’t be surprised if you end up teaching.”
Today, Daniel had his first day as a professional on-campus tutor to high school students in a residential setting. This isn’t just a job – it’s a career. To say we’re very, very excited for the positive changes this will bring to our lives is probably the understatement of the year.
Congratulations, Daniel! We’re all so proud of you.
We’re without our Equinox for the week, but for once that’s a good thing, because we’re sans a car because she’s in the shop! Her new engine arrives Wednesday, and the mechanic should be finished installing it and getting everything in her playing nicely by end of day Friday. I can’t wait!
Our SUV, our only vehicle, is currently at a local mechanic for diagnosis and repair. The vehicle, a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox LT, is overheating, with cabin area that intermittently blows cold air even when set to hot, and gives off an odor of hot/burnt antifreeze.
My brother, A, is a certified automotive service technician, and he has graciously done the following in an attempt to fix the problem:
multiple coolant system bleeds
multiple coolant system flushes
replaced water pump
Additionally, Dan used a heater core bypass kit to completely bypass the vehicle’s heater core, in case it was the culprit.
Unfortunately, the problem persists. The only temporary “fix” was to revv the engine to 2500-3000 RPMs, which seemed to get the water pump moving and coolant system “activated” enough to cool the engine down.
The vehicle was already at another mechanic, who promptly ignored us telling him bleeds and flushes had been done, bled the coolant system yet again, lied about driving the vehicle around town (because if he had, it would have promptly overheated on him), then charged us $130 for the “work” and assuring us the problem had been fixed. Yeah. I’m not happy about that.
At this point we’re looking at a head gasket, or god forbid a cracked engine block. Thoughts, thots, and prayers and good vibes and all of it that it’s a head gasket, because that is something my brother can replace on his own.
I’m dealing with a lot of stressful situations at the moment, and in the midst of keeping all of these balls in the air, it can be all too easy to succumb to the desire to whine and bitch about the unfairness and shittiness of it all.
So, I’m going to take a minute to pause, take a breath, and redirect my thoughts into coming up with three things I am grateful for today:
The very kind woman on a local Buy Nothing, Sell Nothing Facebook group – she saw my request for a fan for Ryan, and upsized the gifting with an air conditioner! Ryan is so happy.
My brother, A, for driving me to and from work this morning, and for all the repairs he has executed on our Equinox
My job, and all of the lovely employees who always greet me, ask how my day/week/weekend is going, and wish me a good day – everyone is so radiant with kindness.
Last Friday Alyssa, Ryan, and I went to Hersheypark with our very good friend and brother-from-another, Zimire, and his girlfriend, E. To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to the trip. I’m I-Don’t-Want-To-Go-To-A-Damn-Amusement-Park years old. But I knew that in order for Ryan to go and have a chance at enjoying himself without overwhelming anxiety, and for Alyssa to be able to go and have a good time with her boyfriend (who met her at the park; they then planned on going off to do their own thing), I’d have to go.
So I went.
I had a great time with the rides we went on, even though we only went on…let’s see… . Gone are the days of getting to the park the moment they open, staying until the moment they close, and riding everything I deem “rideable” at least twice each. Instead, because all of us except for Alyssa overslept, we didn’t even get to the park until nearly an hour after they opened (Hersheypark’s summer Friday hours are 10:00am to 9:00pm). Then it took us a good 15 minutes to get situated with sunscreen, bathroom stops, and tickets.
Finally, we’re in. Our first stop actually wasn’t a ride at all, but a trip to Hersheypark’s Guest Services to apply for a pass via the Hersheypark Ride Accessibility Program. While the wording of the program strongly implies it is intended for those with physical disabilities, individuals with qualifying emotional/mental/neurological disabilities also qualify for a pass. The pass entitles the rider and up to three co-riders to access rides through the Fast Track / handicapped / exit lane, thereby bypassing having to wait in long lines or traverse them. Ryan’s autism and anxiety are our reasons for applying a pass, which we’ve done ever since we started taking the kids to Hersheypark, circa 2010ish. The program process is painless, by the way. You simply scan a QR code to access an online form (or get a printed copy), fill it out, and then answer a few questions about how long the affected individual could stand in line for, what happens when it gets to be too much for them, what their concerns are, etc. From start to finish, from filling out the form to walking out the door with the printed pass (which you also have your picture taken for), the whole process takes about 10 minutes. We waited in line for the next available staff member longer than the time it took us to scan the QR code, fill out the form, answer the questions, and be on our way.
That day we rode:
Skyrush (least favorite ride of the day – more below)
Wildcat’s Revenge (amazing, my favorite of all the coasters I rode that day)
So, I rode the infamous Skyrush, aka Thighcrush. I hated it, but not for the reason you think – despite being nearly 160 lbs. and bottom heavy, my thighs were just fine and escaped the ride completely unscathed. No, I hated Skyrush due to the lack of head and neck restraint. The ride rides rough and whips you through several zero-G hills, yet there is no further support for one’s head and neck beyond a high-backed seat. I spent the majority of the ride not enjoying it because I was trying so hard to keep my head and neck still (I have previously sustained a concussion on Great Bear due to my head and neck whipping about, so you could say I have PTSD from that experience!). The rest of it I spent cursing the relative roughness when you consider it’s an all-steel coaster, and usually those ride relatively smoothly.
All in all, most of us had a good day. Zimire and I finished the day with a ride on Tidal Force followed by a thorough soaking on the bridge, which was our lone water ride for the day – we skipped the water park entirely (we plan on going back in August for that).
Ryan, unfortunately, did not have a good day. Autism and anxiety and amusement parks do not play well together, and I’ll leave it at that. It breaks my heart to see him struggle so, but I’m glad he got a little enjoyment out of the day, and proud of him for making a valiant attempt.