Nov 19, 2019
Shopping has largely been simplified thanks to our access to the internet. What once took you an entire day of commuting from mall to mall, store to store, now can take moments from the creature comforts of your home. This modern feature has my praise, as I can spend less time putting miles on my car and more time with my family and friends.
As with anything remotely tech related, there are a few cons.
I was at work when an email hit my personal inbox. I check it to see that my purchase via the Xbox Live account was successful. I, of course, didn't purchase anything through my Xbox, so I trembled with fear. Had someone hacked my account and is downloading content against my wishes? Was there an issue on Microsoft's end where they incorrectly attributed a purchase to my account? How long would this take to fix?
After giving it a little thought, I decided to call the wife.
Me: Is Kenadie on the Xbox?
Kelly: Yes, she's playing the Disneyland game.
Me: Are you sure? I just got an email telling me I purchased a digital copy of Trolls for $16?
Kelly: KENADIE FAE!
Kenadie: Trolls. Trolls. Trolls. Trolls. Trolls....
Kelly: I'm sorry Erik.
Me: It's cool. I just got radically confused for a moment. I'll password protect Xbox Live so she can't purchase anything anymore.
We later had to password protect Kelly's phone when Kenadie ordered chocolate milk from McDonald's on Uber Eats.
"I used to have an online-shopping problem." - Hannah Bronfman
Nov 12, 2019
I was nervous about taking the children, as Keaton has a habit of darting off. Open spaces are an excuse to show off his jogging skills, and I end up hot on his heels as he bolts to wherever he pleases. My son reminds me a lot of my sister, as she was notorious for doing the same.
I have short legs, and when I run I end up looking like Fred Flintstone, much to the amusement of anyone seeing me chase after my sprinter. I figured if nothing else, the family would get a good laugh watching me keep my kid within arms before he decided to go all Forrest Gump and head up to Oklahoma.
We exited the car after arriving at the camp site. I stood next to him, and watched him soak up the scenery. I had no hold on him, as I just waited to see how he would react to being outside of our usual suburban environment. He looked around, smiled, and reached for my hand.
As he led the way, we tracked through the grass and walked to the lake. Keaton was grinning from ear to ear, looking at the water and enjoying the quiet of nature. He looked at peace, happy, and content with his surroundings. There was no meltdowns, no desire to escape my hand's grip and wander into god know where, just a little boy who was enjoying himself in the serenity of the habitat.
I walked him to a playground, where he enjoyed climbing the rock wall and giving Kelly an ulcer. Keaton made the most of his play time, sliding down the slide and climbing back up again.
We need to do more of this, I thought. See, having your kid walk calmly beside you seems like a normal activity for most, but for a parent raising a child with autism, it feels miraculous.
"Sometimes people say that kids with autism aren't capable of love. That's ridiculous. My son loves deeply. He just doesn't communicate well."
Aug 9, 2018
Recently the youngest sister had an upcoming wedding, and the older one had a baby on the way. My bio-mom decided to spill the beans about the fact they have a middle aged brother. I can't imagine their shock to learn a decades long secret about a secret sibling, but as I understand it they took it well.
With my father's memorial service, which was highly delayed, my bio-mom set up a dinner meeting so I could meet her daughters for the first time. My mother and I were invited to have a home cooked meal, and enjoy some drinks and laughs. We were both nervous, and I was curious if they were going to even like the person I am, or if I would like them.
After dishing up a meal consisting of organic, gluten free, non-GMO (allegedly), and taste free food, we sat to eat. Conversation immediately sparked, and it was shocking to me that the three of us just met. We spoke as if we've known each other for years. No awkward pauses, no cringe worthy topics, and no need of putting on a happy front was apparent. While the three of us are in no way similar in personality or looks, it was congenial and I was very happy to finally call them family. While they'll never come close to having the relationship I have with Tonya, I find myself caring about their happiness and future as I do what I consider my own sister.
Given the happy moments shared with my bio-family, that week took a somber turn I had to swallow my emotions and give a eulogy for my father. It was rough, but I'm glad I did it, and was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love towards him. The memorial went well, and I made a slideshow with some of my favorite photos of Dad for all to see.
Oct 19, 2017
My mother called me that Saturday morning, telling me she tried to wake up my dad, who was cold and not breathing. She stated paramedics were on their way. Ten seconds later, they arrived and started to do what they do. I stayed on the phone with mom trying in vain to calm her while knowing the worst had happened. My father would not be alive anymore. I would know a life without him.
Kelly texted me saying she was on her way home from Kenadie's dance practice and asked what I wanted for lunch. I could only respond with the horrific news. The paramedics confirmed what I had already knew, and a grief counselor started to talk to my mother. I hung up the phone to spread the word that my dad is no longer with us. Phone call after phone call, I talked with numerous people who were shocked and dismayed by what I had to tell them. My sister dropped everything to head up to be with my mother, and Kelly arrived home and booked a flight and car.
I arrived late that night, to my mom who was already asleep. She had a long, tough day, and I envied her ability to snooze. I stayed up for a bit with my sister and her boyfriend, who kept me updated on how mom was holding up, and I thanked them for taking the time to make the long drive north. I told Facebook what had happened, and immediately was taken aback by all the well wishes and offers of condolences. Stories were shared about him, and fond memories were had. I sat on the couch, looked around the room, and wondered how I'm going to take care of all of this. This is what I posted:
"My father dreamed a life of adventure. In his youth he buried his head in Kipling stories and the comic book tales of Uncle Scrooge, fantasizing about a life of voyages, treasure hunting, and engaging with cultures foreign to him. People of my generation may recall the Disney comics as being the basis for the 80s cartoon "Duck Tales."
After college, he decided he wanted to live out the life he wanted, touring the world having quests in places far and exotic. He decided the honorable thing would be to stop dating my mother, and join up as a merchant marine. As he stood there about to board ship, something ate at him. He turned away from his passion, followed his heart, and never got on that boat. He came back to my mother, proposed, and made her and his family his first priority.
Years later when my parents spent a decade trying to have a child, he told my mother he was taking a day trip, and found himself in Portland, to what is now Catholic Community Services, and requested to adopt a child. He surprised my mother with the news, and a year later they called my folks announcing that they need to come pick up their son. That’s how I became a Wilson.
My dad wasn’t a saint nor a scholar, but he lived a good life, always putting his family’s needs and wants above his own. That was the father that raised and loved me. He used to tell me that he hoped heaven was something out of a Normal Rockwell painting, a world he always wanted to see. Today I say goodbye to the man I call Dad, who was the kind of father I’ll always aspire to be."
The next day I called an old friend to tell him, who arrived at our front door two hours later and he jumped into work mode, packing up boxes and throwing out garbage. We ran errands everywhere, taking care to make sure mom was eating and getting enough rest, and I'd come back to the house to feel as if I hardly made a dent in all the nonsense my dad had collected over the years. It got so frustrating I wanted to light the place on fire and call it done, but rational thought got the better of me. It was hard work, loading box after box of nonsense into his truck, firing it up after not having been turned over in five years, and making runs to the dump, Goodwill, etc, but it was worth it as it helped put my mom's mind at ease. Every evening I would eat with my mom and would try to connect with her in a manner that seemed surreal. Dad was no longer there to join us, and we had to talk about her future, which would mostly end in sobs.
I don't know that I've ever been so exhausted, physically and emotionally. The outpouring of help I received from my sister, friends, and family was overwhelming and was instrumental in making the trip more bearable, but the pain of mourning my father while simultaneously taking care of my mother and his estate was almost too much. That being said, I am so grateful to all who assisted, and I don't know that I can ever repay them for the generosity they displayed.
I couldn't help but feel all kinds of guilt as I left my mother to her own devices while she was mourning her husband, but she's more capable than I give her credit for, and I have good people who are checking in on her daily. That helped make the flight back home so much easier.
I finally landed and got to see my beautiful wife and kids. Knowing they were well and love me is partially how I still manage to get through this.
Jan 20, 2017
Apr 15, 2016
1. I'm mostly Irish, which would explain my fascination for stout beer.
2. I have two half sisters, both of whom are, as my friends have put it, hot. I really got screwed in the looks department.
3. My birth father's wife had no idea of my existence, until I reached out to him. He then told her about me, and she thankfully was excited.
4. On my birth father's side, only him and his wife know I exist.
5. On my birth mother's side, only her and her husband know I exist.
I've been keeping this from my family to not hurt anyone's feelings. They've been good parents and I don't want them to ever think I would refer to anyone else as mom or dad, but I feel a tremendous amount of guilt because of it for reasons to numerous to detail.
Feb 12, 2016
I have a friend who is now on the conspiracy theory bandwagon. He is posting on FB more frequently with videos of the same old topics of some secret society controlling all world events. Sometimes he crafts his own words, such as the below:
Dont believe the polls... Hillary is part of the illuminati...! Pay attention to whats happening in our country. Oregon has uranium.... Who own all the mines? How bout the media? Who own that? There are 3 countries without rothschild banks. Wanna know who the next 3 wars are with. ? Make sure trump wins he finances himself the illuminti wont be able buy him out.
Those who oppose trump wanting to make america great again......... Enjoy the fema camps!!!!
I feel for my friend as he had it rough growing up, and it appears life hasn't been kind since we've virtually reconnected. Now from afar, I see his descent into madness. He needs help, and I have no confidence that there's anything I can do to help.
My mother recently told me her best friend believes the Earth is flat. Seriously.
Has the whole world gone nuts? Are people still denying mental health care is a real issue we need to address?