Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Evil Wiper Blade Saga Continues

My brother Johnny is an automotive genius and a handy man to have around during a crisis. So of course, I give him a call after my evil wiper blade escapade of this morning.

"Why don't you bring it over and I'll take a look," he says to me reassuringly.

The rain has stopped temporarily and it seems to be getting brighter outside.

Should I risk it? I think to myself, keep in mind I still only have one functioning wiper blade on the passenger side of the vehicle.

I don't know if I want to risk it with Nicholas in the car. I continue talking to myself. I guess I'll try, I can always turn around.

I grab our rain coats, load Nicholas into the truck and head up to see my brother, the mechanic. I am driving downtown and headed west. The clouds look like they are starting to darken once again.

This doesn't look good, the voice inside my head starts to warn. I have now passed through the lights in the center of town when suddenly it starts to rain again.

This is crazy, I think to myself and decide at that moment to turn around and go back home. I find the nearest side street, turn in and pull a U-ee.

I head back through town with one wiper wiping, the other mangled and flayed over the left side of the truck. I have now become pretty good at driving with my head leaning over to the passenger side of the vehicle. When suddenly, the right wiper blade springs violently to life. Just like its evil twin, it flings its blade off and seems to literally break in two.

I am now driving home in the rain sans wipers. Thankfully, it is not raining hard and I can manage to still drive my truck safely back home.

I have decided that the universe is trying to tell me to just stay home today.

I am not going to argue.

I called my husband and asked him to pick up Weston.

Our Harrowing Drive to School

It's 6:45 am and time to take Weston to school.

It's raining.

No, check that, it's pouring!

The usual predawn light is masked by thick, dark, heavy clouds.

It is pitch black outside. The darkness is split only by the occasional white streaks of lightening, followed immediately by loud claps of thunder.

It has been pouring for hours. The Weather Channel explains that heavy downpours will continue for a few hours more. They caution to expect widespread flooding.

Weston is terrified of thunder storms but even more terrified of being late to school.

So, we head out into the early morning monsoon.

I am not particularly worried since I drive an SUV that looks like a tank.

As I pull out of the garage, my sturdy vehicle is pelted with rain. It sounds like hail as it hits the roof like a barrage of bullets. I click on the windshield wipers.

Click 1...still can't see.
Click 2....still can't see.
Click 3.......the same
Click 4, 5, 6 7!

The wipers are at full speed and finally, I can see. We head slowly down the driveway and onto the empty road. I am driving slowly and carefully, the term "white knuckle" driving starts to take on a whole new meaning for me.

"Mom, be careful." Weston warns.

We head downtown toward the middle school driving at a snails pace. There are huge puddles of water that look more like the Great Lakes. I drive slowly through them trying to ensure I don't take out the oncoming vehicle. I pray fervently there are no brave souls trying to walk to school in this tempest.

We finally get safely to the middle school. Weston hops out of the vehicle and is immediately soaked to the skin.

"Holy crap!" he shouts and runs into the school.

I now begin the perilous journey back home. Nicholas is sitting behind me. He is nervous. Our house is only a few miles away but in a blinding rain storm it will take us a while to get there safely.

"Oh Mom, are we going to make it?"

"Of course, we are," I try to reassure him, "Mummy's a good driver, remember?"

At this point, I am not sure I believe this myself. The puddles that look like the Great Lakes are seeming to multiply like rabbits. I must maneuver my truck slowly through these deep, black puddles. The rain is now like a wall of water. My wipers still on high speed are struggling to keep up. I can still see...but barely.

We are now about 1/4 mile from home. There is a lot of traffic in both directions on the busy street. The cars are all slowing to carefully negotiate the deep puddles, when suddenly my drivers-side wiper springs suddenly to life. It jumps, bends and flings itself suicidally off the left side of the windshield. It stops dead in its tracks. It is bent, broken and hanging off the windshield at a 45 degree angle.

It is still raining like there is no tomorrow. I am tire-deep in a puddle with heavy traffic alll around me. I cannot see a thing. I cannot pull over. I must continue forward. I pray that I don't hit anything.

"Oh shit! What the f*#@!!!!"

In desperation, I lean over to the passenger side where thankfully, that wiper still works. I am now driving with my head tilted to one side. It is very difficult to judge distance from this perspective and I narrowly miss hitting a car on the right who is trying to back out of his driveway. I am a hundred yards from our street but I must now take a left turn. Again, not so easy to judge through pouring rain and my head tilted to the right.

"Phew, I made it!" I exclaim.

"Mummy, are we going to be OK?" Nicholas asks.

"Yes, Honey we are." I reply but I am not sure I believe it myself.

I can finally stop the car. I roll down my window and immediately soak poor Nicholas sitting behind me. He starts to cry.


I grab the mangled wiper and try to return it to its correct position on the windshield. But it is still possessed and now starts to disrupt the functioning of the right wiper. I click off the wipers, grab the "evil" wiper and pull it back off the windshield. I click the wipers back on and miraculously the "good" right wiper still chugs along at full speed and I am able to see once again.

I drive home very slowly through the hurricane-like conditions with my head tilted over toward the passenger side of the vehicle.

As we enter the garage, I can finally breathe.

"Phew, thank you God!" I whisper to the Almighty.

"We made it!" Nicholas announces relieved that his harrowing adventure is now over.

"You are not going to school today!" I explain to my brave little passenger.

"Hurray!!!" Nicholas shouts as we both breathe a shy of relief.

I just hope it stops raining by the time we need to pick up Weston!