Tuesday, October 11, 2011

20/20 hindsight

A quick departure from farm chat.

Our son, who possesses a unique and engaging intellect and sometimes surprising empathy but has been fiercely frustrated in school, was recently diagnosed with a vision disorder called Convergence Insufficiency. The condition is just what it sounds like - the two eyes do not work together well enough.

Convergence Insufficiency can have dramatic repercussions. Headaches, dizziness, blurred vision. In Dylan's case, believe it or not, he has seen pretty much everything closer than 4 feet in double-vision his whole life. Reading, writing, computing, conversation - if he relaxes, everything within arm's length and a bit beyond all goes double.

He thought everyone saw this way.

The good news is, it's treatable and curable. He started eye therapy with an opthamologist yesterday and with daily exercises, he should be able to train his eyes within a year. But when I think back to the myriad "talks" about his distractability, his disengagement, his daydreaming, to the frustration his teachers expressed at his "lack of interest"...tears inevitably well up.

But, I'm looking forward, not back.

Convergence insufficiency is a largely undiagnosed phenomenon. School screenings and sometimes even regular eye exams don't catch it. As much as 20% of the population is suffering from it to some degree and most of them don't know it.

If you experience any of the symptoms, ask for a test. Most importantly, have your children tested when they're in elementary school. School's hard enough, they shouldn't have to spend all their energy just to see.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And now for something completely different.

It wasn't that long ago that I last posted (now, seriously, in dinosaur years). Just a few weeks, but oh what a difference a few weeks can make sometimes.

Actually, the Grace-Wells family has watched our life somersault in just about 6 weeks. We're still a little breathless and playing more than a little catch-up.

We all know Life happens in threes, so here's ours, and they're wing-dingers.

Dylan, through some divine intervention, was accepted out-
of-cycle and a year early, into a science and math high school that is literally at the other end of the ferry dock. He's off the island and in an entirely new, and wonderfully diverse and interesting, gene pool and loving it. BTW, funny what happens when you treat a kid like a success instead of a failure. Just saying.

I started working. From home. Contract. We'll see.

We wrestled our retirement funds out of the hands of hedge-fund managers, happily (happily? hmm. willingly) paid Uncle Sam, and are now the proud owners of a Belltown condo, (where yours truly is currently balcony sitting while attending to her blog).

Just like that, our life has been transformed. We haven't even quite caught up with our own decisions yet.

But, for the first time, in a long time, we are all very, very happy. We live on the island, but our lives have expanded. And that, I think, just might be the Key to Happiness.

Tonight we enjoyed our traditional Friday night Pizza/popcorn/movie night "in the city" - the first time we have all been together overnight in the apartment - and it was ridiculous fun. Between a school that recognizes and celebrates unique intellect and quirkiness and a city get-away that feels like vacation is just a key turn away, Dylan is approaching the most joyous person I know. Mark gets to work long hours and discard the commute.

I get to sit on a wrought-iron half-moon balcony, wishing
it weren't too late for the monorail to zoom by and watching ALL MANNER of drama unfold beneath me. I have to insert that it really is fascinating, even now, how unbelievably rarely people look up - even when the glow of a laptop is involved.

A firetruck has come and gone. I think someone might have expired essentially right in front of me but I hadn't understood what was happening. Police cars have driven off. Couples have quarreled and wheels have squealed. Many have trod below.

Would I live here every day? No way. But what an escape hatch/laboratory/retreat. Ever so much better than reacting to a statement in the mail every 3 months.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have 2 pigs now and Tiffany has managed, after several disheartening tries, to build a pen that will hold them. So, that's good.

Living on a bucolic, verdant island, raising meat and produce, with a tiny escape hatch in the one of greatest cities on the planet? Yup, we are the lucky people.