Monday, April 7, 2008

Crazymaking

I'm experiencing what life would be like if we lived in a 600 square foot house.

It would NOT be good.

Our house was built in 1971 and has popcorn ceilings that tested positive for asbestos when we sent a sample off to a lab a few years ago. Recently, the seven-year-old, who has low-functioning autism, has started scraping it off the ceiling and eating it. We decided it was time to have it removed, at least in the rooms where he can get to the ceiling (he loves to be up high and climbs the furniture; his favorite spot to watch TV is sitting on top of the wardrobe in the living room).

It turns out that this is quite a project. Before the remediation company came we had to take everything out of the rooms where they are removing the popcorn ceiling, including the light fixtures. The living room and two bedrooms had to be totally emptied, and all the stuff that was in that 800 square feet of house has been stuffed into the remaining 600 square feet (plus the garage). All the rooms are now overflowing.

The seven-year-old, who hates change of any kind, is very distressed by this. He also wants all the lights in the house on all the time, and now the light fixtures are gone. I ended up getting my shop lights from the garage and setting them up in the emptied rooms so that we could have lights on. It was the only way to calm him down.

Last night, after waking up around 1 a.m. and realizing how different everything was, he spent about 30 minutes walking around the house carrying his laundry hamper. He kept putting it down and then picking it back up and moving it somewhere else. I think he was trying to find someplace to put it that would make everything seem normal. He had a very hard time sleeping and woke up twice more.

Tonight he and I are sleeping at my in-laws house (they are out of town this week). It took him about an hour longer than usual to calm down and go to sleep. One of the last things he did was walk around the house holding his shoes and socks in his hand. He kept dropping them in waste baskets and then picking them back up. After the second time, I realized what he was doing and led him to the laundry hamper. He put his shoes and socks in the hamper, and then he was able to lie down and go to sleep.

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