We have been on the go all day, and everyone finally slept reasonably well last night. I actually got to stay up late reading a novel! Actually, Doireann and I stayed up late together parallel reading the same novel whilst warming ourselves by a gorgeous fire Doireann made–the seventh book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series Frost Burned which is a very guilty pleasure for me. I have made a point to keep Grace on her medication and sleep schedule ensuring that she will manage well so that she enjoys her holiday. The Wild Card on holidays isn’t Grace. It’s Milly. ASD kids don’t deal well with change or new situations, and Milly is no exception. She has been quite the fuss budget, and, let me tell you, she has exceeded her whining budget by quite a lot since our arrival. She tries very hard not to be frustrating, but she can’t really help it. It’s her nature. She struggles. Grace can’t sit still for long so the two of them are a bit like fire and gasoline. They are incessantly inflaming each other, and it’s enormously grating.
Currently, Grace is begging Milly to play a card game with her, and Milly is literally rolling around on the cabin floor. Why? I don’t know. She needed to roll around? This would be driving my husband crazy, but I’ve found that if you just quietly redirect the behavior, then it doesn’t escalate. Suddenly, they are playing cards. Just like that.
I’m taking a break to enjoy the view once again and remember the day. We had a rather extraordinary day up North. We, of course, had to head back to that independent coffee shop for more beautifully delectable coffee, and we weren’t disappointed. I ordered the White Chocolate Mocha this time.
We then headed to a beautiful but lesser known historic mansion which I felt rather proud to find since it was off the beaten path. Two guys were sitting in the gift shop. Jack was to be our tour guide, and Mikhail was manning the gift shop for the three hours that the old Victorian was open to the public. We had to wait for twenty minutes for our tour to start so the girls spent their time looking over the wares in the shop while I chatted with Mikhail and Joe. As it turns out, Jack was a native of the area, and he was in the “tour guide” business. A member of his family had worked for one of the notable local families years ago, and he was desperately trying to convince her to divulge her secrets. Mikhail was a very affable fellow who struggled terribly with boredom when forced to sit in the gift shop for hours on end. Apparently, on a dare, he once donned one of the Victorian hats for sale in the shop along with a scarf and some jewelry. Just as he was decked out in full Victorian regalia, some people came into the gift shop requesting a tour. Mikhail admitted that he wasn’t sure what to say paralyzed with embarrassment as he was, and his co-workers made no attempts to rescue him or explain the situation. They hung him out to dry, and enjoyed a good laugh at his expense. The girls and I laughed uproariously at his tale. Finally, I’ve met a kindred spirit–a person who manages to embarrass himself as easily as I do! Mikhail declared that the last tour that he ever gives at the mansion he will give dressed in a Victorian scarf, hat, and jewelry; he won’t give an explanation either. He’ll just do it and pretend that he’s dressed normally no matter how uncomfortable the patrons look. It’s important to note that Mikhail is a bearded dude who enjoys exploring shipwrecks in Lake Superior during the summer so imagining this masculine scuba diver wearing any kind of Victorian lady’s attire continually tickled my funny bone.
We were so amused by Mikhail’s stories that we almost regretted leaving the shop, but Jack led us to the mansion–only us–for what ended up being a private tour as no other people arrived. This particular mansion does have a ghost story or two associated with it, and we did have two odd experiences while in the mansion. I dismissed the first experience, but as we were about to leave Doireann suddenly went pale. She then turned to me and said, “Did you hear that?” I responded, “Hear what?” She looked around and said, “Someone just came up to me and said, ‘Hello’ in my ear, but when I looked there was no one there!” She was terrified.
Jack led us out to where we began our tour, and we thanked him profusely for his excellent efforts. We looked up as we were climbing into the Mystery Machine to see Mikhail dressed in a scarf, hat, and jewelry. He waved and said, “I had to do it for all of you! Have a good vacation!” We all clapped, laughed, and waved. He must have been terribly overcome with ennui or inspired to start cross-dressing again. I will always think of Mikhail, the scuba diving tour guide, dressed as a Victorian lady when I think of this mansion now.
We are once again back at the cabin, and Doireann is about to build a fire. Our final fire of the trip. We leave tomorrow. Grace has done remarkably well. She has had her ups and downs–moments of fear and sadness. At this point, I just tell her to “ride the wave”. It will pass. It always does. It’s a feeling that suddenly overcomes her, and just as quickly as it overwhelms her it’s gone. She says that she hates the waves, but I suspect that she just needs to accept them. They have a beginning, middle, and end, and they pass. Learning to understand that will help her. It will help all of us who live with her, too.
I shall now go make dinner. Yes, this cabin has a kitchen so I don’t get a vacation from cooking. That’s okay though. I get a vacation from cooking in my kitchen. That’s something, isn’t it?
Now if I could just get a vacation from the squirreliness that seems to be taking hold of my children…Oh, that would be something.