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Monday, 2 March 2015

Rekindling my Love for Vienna

It is no secret that I adore living in Vienna. Sure, there are times where I want to scream; times often include standing in line at the bakery when people cut in front of me or the fact that children are often seen as a nuisance or the fact that seeing people smile is very very rare or that time I was blamed for having a c-section. But after a total of 14 years, Vienna is truly my home and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Spring is just around the corner and then Vienna really turns into paradise. Ok, there is my hayfever that comes around this time and the sewer smell becomes a little bit more pronounced but on the plus side, sidewalk cafes start to open and restaurant courtyards pop up and suddenly you feel you are in a bustling city once again.

This past weekend was a lot of fun. We had friends over on Friday for dinner and that was a lot of fun. Early Saturday morning I went for a walk and decided to take a different route. I walked down to the center. I walked down Kärtner strasse, then down Rotenturmstrasse. Turned right near Schwedenplatz and walked down some random cobbled streets, then walked past the synagogue to Vienna's oldest church then back to the Graben to Michaelerplatz, checked out the Roman ruins and then walked through the Hofburg palace to Heldenplatz and then to the Ring and then through Burggarten and then to the Opera and then on to Schwarzenbergplatz, past the French embassy and then on to Wiedner Hauptstrasse and then back home. It was absolutely amazing and I was on such a high. There are moments like these that I am so incredibly grateful to be able to live here. I practically Maria Van Trapped it a few times. I took some crap pictures and here are some. Photographer, I am not.

After my incredible walk, I told the Husband I had to buy a pair of shoes for work. I headed out to my old hood with the intent to buy a simple pair of black pumps. Black pumps I did purchase but then I also found a red pair that I fell in love with and then for 15 euros I found a pair of tassled boots that are so outrageous but I adore them. A chubby, poor man's Cher, I am.

When I got home, the Husband was like "Three pairs?!? You said one pair!" and I acted all insulted and was like "It's like you don't even know me!" and when he spied the tassle boots he was like "For work?!" and I was like "For 15 euros they were practically free and I could wear those to work (no I can't)" I wisely chose not to show him the shirts I bought as well. And these are my newest babies. Say hello.

I spent the afternoon cleaning and playing with the Kid and then in the evening I headed out for some tapas with a friend and met a couple of new ladies. Again, a fun night. I got home around midnight and decided to download another Lauren Conrad book because I am 14.

Sunday was the one day in a week the Kid decided to not sleep in and I tried to teach him a game called "Mommy is very very tired and let's all whisper." After realizing I would get no rest, I headed to Bikram Yoga because, well, one of the owners wrote me the day before and I fold like a cheap fan. I am actually really really happy I went. It has been a couple of months and there is something incredibly therapeutic about it. Painful... but therapeutic.

The Kid was a bit of whiny mess yesterday. He was overtired, bored from being home all week and still reeling from the two hospital visits. He fell asleep in the afternoon mid-kvetch and then the Husband and I took advantage of this rare happening and also took naps. You thought I would say something dirty. You thought wrong. A couple of hours later we all woke up in foul moods and said things we all regret. In the evening we ordered Chinese food as we do every Sunday and then it was time to head back to bed. The Kid didn't fall asleep until past 10 and apparently today, he was a bit of "a handful" and I just hope that once we get back on schedule, he will stop yelling at everybody. Apparently, today, his ire was directed at a gardener and his leaf blower.

So that is it for now. It was a real I LOVE VIENNA weekend. Not much planned for this week besides a dinner on Thursday, my finally haircut and colour on Friday and then the ten year Vienna Expat anniversary at Golden Harp on Saturday. Hard to believe that so much time has gone by already. Sunrise, sunset. Time for bed!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Dis and Dat and Smart Friends

I'm trying to write this post but people are distracting me on Facebook with their punny brilliance. This morning I wrote that I was coming up with titles for the book I am writing and I came up with Melange a Trois or Mother Fiaker! If you live in Vienna, or have lived in Vienna, you will be tickled pink at my brilliance. Well, I amuse myself but friends have taken it to the next level. I don't have time to copy and paste right now but my word... most of these are going in my book as chapter titles (thanks to a suggestion from a friend) and yes... I will be taking full credit for the amazing brilliance happening on my wall.

In other news, the Kid is on the mend. He has been home all week and the Husband and the Nanny (and that is not a sentence I ever want to write again) have been able to coordinate and so I haven't had to miss any work. I have missed a lot of work due to the two hospital visits so it was great to get a full week of work in. Last night I had a meeting and then I stopped by Der Fuchs und Die Trauben for a quick late dinner on my own. The food is still out of this world. And they have been packed the past few weeks and that makes my heart happy.

I have been in a pretty good mood and I think it has to do with the fact that I am walking in the mornings again, the Kid is getting better and I am back on Vitamin B supplements. A friend suggested this a few years ago and when I remember to take the blasted things, they do make a huge difference to my mood. They also turn my pee neon so that's a bit of trip. Vienna in the winter is tough. It isn't that it is super cold but it is super grey. A lot of people go through SADS and don't even realize it. Central Europe is grim in the winter, yo. Be proactive and shake those winter blues before it is too late.

I have been productive this week as well. I finally found a super cute to go like mug to carry around. It is mint green and says "Be Happy" which is pretty much my life motto right now. Also, another kids article written by moi got printed on Vienna Würstelstand, so check it out. I also ordered new Operation Tubetop business cards because I am running out because everytime I meet someone new, I'm like "Hi, here you go. Take it! Look the site up!". Shameless self-promotion. Also? Taxi drivers; not so interested in hearing about self tanning disasters or sleep training. Fun fact.

I am back at French. Onto the second level. Oui oui. Tres bien. I told a friend that I would be watching French films every other week to inspire myself. She expressed interest in joining me and then I had to admit that by French films I meant films like Le Divorce, French Kiss and Moulin Rouge. I never was a top student. Obviously.

The weekend ahead looks chillaxed and that is just what I need. I have a lot of writing to do and I need to do a little shopping. I also have to moisturize my hair because I have my hair appointment next Friday. I went for the consultation and I was told I have an "oval" face. This kind of threw me for a loop because for the majority of my life I was led to believe I have a round face... because it is fat. But lo and behold... I have an oval shaped face and I suddenly feel like I have discovered that I have been misdiagnosed for years. How different would my life have been had I realized I had an oval shaped face?! I could have maybe gone to law school, or maybe I could have married rich?!? Oh the loss of possibilities! It was also suggested that I go red. Meh. Why not. Oval-shaped face Tova says "Go for it! The sky's the limit!"

And so, I apologize for the rushed post. I have to get ready for bed because I just downloaded a new book. It is written by a Facebook friend named Shane Lusher. It is called New Blood and it is a thriller and I love a good thriller and I can't wait to start reading it! Download it! That's an order! Nighty night!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Visit to the Autism Center

So for the first time ever, I didn't break down into sobs while talking to a specialist. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that we met a great therapist last Friday and I feel pretty confident about the future.

The Kid is sick again. This is getting a little too Munchausen by Proxy for me. Jeebus. Give us a break with the sicknesses. He has stayed home the last couple of days. This morning he woke up and promptly threw up on me.and he had a fever which led to me kicking the Husband awake and yelling "RED ALERT! RED ALERT!" I threw some Parkemed down his gullet and took his temperature after 30 minutes and finally felt safe enough to head to work.

He hasn't had a fever all day but his cough is a mess. He is currently asleep on the sofa beside me, grunting like a Gremlin. The poor little guy. Hopefully he will be back to his old self in a couple of days. Today we had another appointment at the Autism center. This is the same place that we had an appointment with in December. This is also the same place that called on the same day of the appointment and moved the time up by 3 hours. I couldn't leave work so I was ticked but the Husband went with his mother. When I got home, the Husband told me that it was a nice place. He then proceeded to tell me they sat in a room with a one way mirror and microphone and that they asked if people could watch from the other side and listen. This annoyed me and I had visions of a police station interrogation room.

We have been to a lot of therpists/specialists. Here is a bit of a timeline and list of who we have seen this past year and a half:

Summer of 2013 - Met with a child therapist that I talked to and then asked to visit the daycare because we were getting complaints. She didn't see a problem at the time and she is now my therapist. She's great!
Fall of 2013 - met an autism specialist and she didn't have time for a new client and based on the information I provided, the Kid didn't seem like he had a concrete problem.
Later Fall of 2013 - Speech therapist came to our apartment and declared the Kid to be severely autistic.
December of 2013 - March of 2014 - Signed up to a diagnosis center and saw the following specialists over 3 months:
Pediatrician - said he seemed fine
Speech therapist - said he seemd to be a bit of a lovable jerk
Child therapist .- four sessions and at the end there was no firm diagnosis but definitely some autism
April 2014 - Started ergotherapy for 20 sessions
May 2014 - met with district psychologist to apply for the integration kindergarten
October 2014 . ended ergotherapy and met with district psychologist again
December 2014 - Autism center.
February 2015 - hospital psychologist
February 2015 - new child therapist
February 2015 - Autism center

It has been a long journey. Last week we were back at the hospital for an EEG and an MRI and for an appointment with the hospital child pyschologist. When we were in the hospital a couple of weeks ago because of the seizures, the head doctor had suggested we meet with the psychologist on our next visit. Because we were literally brain dead after a week in the hospital, we said "Sure, why not?"

So last Wednesday we checked in and at 1 we had our meeting with the psychologist. She wore socks and Birkenstocks and seemed quite nice. And I braced myself for the same set of questions that we get every.single.time:
How was the pregnancy?
How was the birth?
Did you breastfeed?
Did you bond with your baby?
Did you notice anything wrong with him?

It's exhausting and invasive but it is what it is and I try hard not to be defensive.

After we chatted for a little while, she realized that we are doing everything that we can at this point. The Husband told her that we have another meeting coming up at the autism center and she gave us a bit of a look. She suggested the other autism center in Vienna that we had looked into as well.
"But if you go there, you can't mention you have been to the other one. They hate each other. There was a big schism in the 80s"
I responded with "Really? That's pretty ridiculous."
"If you even mention the other place, they won't see you." she warned and I chuckled. "But, I really think you should try the other place. The woman who runs it is amazing. Sure, there are rumours she is too strict with the kids and there are whispers about her locking them in closets." At this point she probably saw our faces.

"I'm pretty positive that isn't true but I will tell you one thing. She does get them to speak." All I could think was: I bet she does and I bet their first sentence is LET ME OUT! Yeah, no thanks. I think we will stick to the place we are at now. After that weirdness, we had our great appointment with our possible new therapist on Friday. And today I finally got to see the autism center for myself. I actually thought it was pretty good. There isn't much they can offer us at this point but they are a good resource and once we pay the whopping 50 euro annual membership, we will probably get faster access to an intern for the kindergarten (this was mentioned in a round about way). I scratch your back you scratch mine - so Viennese. And so, I feel a lot better in general and I cannot wait to get started! Nighty night!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Thoughts, Observations and Discoveries

This past month has been a little crazy so I haven't had too much time to get offended about things that happen at Billa or on the news... but don't you worry your pretty heads because I have been busy having thoughts, making observations and discovering discoveries so this is kind of a keyword post. Follow me!

The ongoing neverending diet: I have lost a teeny tiny bit of weight. Now let's not get too excited. I am down 7 pounds since New Years but I have probably put on and taken off the same freaking 7 pounds every other week. But hey, down is down and the good news is that I am feeling a lot more that's a plus. Just 30 pounds to go. Now I want a Twix.

The park stink: Ok, so about 6 months ago I started noticing that one part of our park had a stanky stink; almost like dog poop. I was pissed but confused because there really didn't seem to be a source and I also had to wonder about what kind of dog could produce such foulness.This took up a lot of my energy. In the stinky stanky area, I did notice one tree dropping tons of small berry like things and making a mess. I also noticed people spending time to collect these berry like things. These berry like things also caused me to slip often. It wasn't until about a month ago that while I walking by the stinky stanky area, that I overheard something. A grandmother turned to her granddaughter and said "That's a gingko biloba tree. They stink." And then the lightbulb went off. Ohhhh. So that makes sense. Stupid tree. At least it doesn't stink right now.

My autocorrect: I was texting a friend a few weeks ago and we were talking about Passover. I wrote something like "Have a great time in Jewland!" and my phone autocorrected "Jewland" to "Krakow". That's a little disconcerting. My phone is an anti-semite. Fantastic.

The night before the MRI: We were told that the Kid was not allowed to eat after 2 a.m. due to his MRI the next morning. This included milk which is practically his reason to live. We were in the hospital bed, getting ready to fall asleep when the nurse came in to ask if we needed anything while reminding me that he wasn't allowed to to have milk after 2 a.m. I informed her I had set the alarm for 1:30 so I could give him some milk to tide him over. Her eyes widened and she said "That is a great idea!" and she was genuinely impressed. For a moment I thought she was being sarcastic but then I realized that she wasn't. And then it dawned on me that she probably has only dealt with parents like the "unplug the baby" ones (please see my post So What Happened for the reference).

My book: I started it.

There are definitely more things to write about but I am zonked. The Kid is asleep, the kitchen is clean and now it is time for me to crawl into bed and read a little and dream of all the shoes I plan to buy soon for the Spring because it is that time again soon! Woot! Nighty night!

Sup Sup

Oh wow does it feel great to be done with all the hospital stuff. Thursday was incredibly traumatic for all of us and I think the Kid might have some trust issues. Oh, and there will be no sleep training for a while. I have regressed. He can do no wrong. It feels so good to be back home - I truly feel like I have been stuck in limbo for about a month now. Hospital post coming at a later date because I just can't right now.

In other news, we met with a therapist on Friday morning. She is an autism specialist and besides the fact that she looks incredibly young, she seems incredibly competent. She suggested we focus on his speech and I have to agree. I cannot wait to get started with her. Most likely it will be on Fridays at 8 a.m. Her office is on Mariahilferstrasse so taking a crowded bus there will be awesome.

Yesterday I took the Kid to a Kinder Disko. I was not looking forward to it but it turned out to be a lot fun - I'm writing an article about it soon and I will link it here. Also, if it is on next week, come and join us. It is a great place for kids who like to dance and there is a bar which is a great place for alcoholic parents like me who like to drink. Drop me a line if you want to come and I will send you the deets, yo.

After our disco visit, I dropped the Kid off at home and then headed to a friend's birthday party. It was great to meet some new people and see a couple of old friends and there was a cake from Demel that was amazing - strawberry shortcake. Calories - worth it!

After the party, I went to our local Chinese restaurant to get a take away for dinner. As I waited I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the conversation at the table next to me. First of all, they were the only other people in the place, second of all, they were loud and third of all, the conversation was incredible. It was a man and a woman and it kind of went like this (names changed because you never know who you will meet in this city - everybody knows somebody who knows somebody that knows everybody and somebody):

Woman (a little bit drunk): So tell me, what are we going to do about the employees?
Man: Nothing. Everything will be fine.
Woman: Oh that's right! YOU ARE SO SMART! SO SO SMART... (she was a little shouty and there was some sarcasm... I think)
Man: I am (he is very calm and at that point, orders more spring rolls)
Woman: OK, smartest man in the world (again, I detected a little sarcasm), figure this out. Claus wants to leave the company.
Man: When did he say that?
Woman: Yesterday. He didn't say it... it showed in his eyes. (She takes a big sip of wine) I know him. I know him well.
Man: (Nods and wipes his mouth) I don't agree.
Woman: Oh that's right. You are the smart one. The genius. The man who knooooows everything. (sarcasm, again?) We need Claus gone.
Man: We can't. He has investments in the company.
Woman: Too bad. He's made it back already in the two years. One thousand times 24 is 44,000 (she is slurring more now).
Man: Actually, one thousand times 24 is 24,000.
Woman: Oh that's right. You are soooo smart. Soooo smart. SOOO SMART!

At that point my kerblasted dumplings showed up and I was half tempted to crack open the plastic box and order a glass of wine because this conversation was gold. There was so much; anger, sarcasm, tipsiness and so on and so forth. But alas, I had to go. I wonder what will happen with Claus. I wish him all the best.

The Kid has a cold. He woke up whiny and coughing and of course, since we have gone through what we have gone through, I cracked open our box of medicine and powered up the thermometer because I am now scarred for life. There will be no more sweating out of fevers (I told you, Husband! Haven't I been telling you for 4 years that we fight the fevers?!?!) and no more holistic crap. Oh no, he will be everything a little Jewish boy should be; coddled. Tomorrow afternoon we have a meeting at the autism center. I missed the first one because they moved the time up by 3 hours with little warning so I am already a bit ticked. But I will go with an open mind and see what they have to offer.

Otherwise this will be a quiet week. I have a meeting on Wednesday evening and I might do a Bikram class on Thursday night (because I have not gone in FOREVER!) but otherwise, I have a date with my TV, some face masks and trashy books. So very much needed after this absolutely terrible chapter of fuckery. On to the next chapter!

So onwards and upwards! To infinity and beyond! Oh and p.s. I am writing Hearst Publications today about my missing February issue.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Off to the Hospital

We are off in the next couple of hours. The Kid is running around pretty happy that the Mommy is home with him. This afternoon we have an EEG and if I can go by the last time he did it a couple of weeks ago... it will no doubt be horrific. There will be spitting. But this time we are bringing new boxed sets of pacifiers because at this point, that's his currency. The EEG doesn't bother me. It is the putting under tomorrow for the MRI. We know that the seizures were caused by a terrible strain of flu but I think it is good for us to get it anyway based on his loss of language over the past year. It has been just a terrible time and makes me realize how important my family is and how support from others has been key in stopping me from jumping out the window.

I need to surround myself with positivity because my son needs me. We all imagine what our life is going to bring us. That our children will be "normal" and work will be rewarding and that we will be content but life throws us curve balls. Sometimes it is the equivalent of stepping on Lego and sometimes it like being kissed by a thousand puppies. Metaphors, I'm unoriginal.

All I want from life is to be a good person, a good mother, a good wife and most happy. I truly want the best for everybody.. well, not Kim Kardashian... she annoys me... and I want the best for myself. This past year has been a clusterfuck of insanity. My heart has been broken a million times. When your child no longer says Mommy, you want to stay in bed for months and cry and cry. When 60 words seemingly disappear overnight, you feel like you are going to die.

Everyone puts up a facade and tries to get on with life and I have been doing that. I refuse to go into hiding and I refuse to let the sadness get to me because there is a little person in my life that needs me to be strong. When people say I am strong, I don't really agree... I just have to do what I have to do and that is part of growing up. A big lesson I have learned this year is everybody has their own shit to deal with and I am not one in a million.

In no way am I someone to emulate - I have issues like everybody else. I try to be there for people but I sometimes fall short but part of me growing up is realizing that I can only be responsible for me and my son. And my husband when he tries to microwave a metal spoon.

So what is this long post about? Nothing really. But I am trying to make a vow to myself and to my son, that life is about finding happiness in yourself and with the little things. The big picture is to be able to look back on my life and know I did the best I could do. To quote Lisa Vanderpump "Life isn't always rose and diamonds" but the key is finding moments to have some rose (a lot) and find your own personal diamonds.

Every experience is a learning opportunity. I just wish the experiences would be a little less heart wrenching. No more ambulance rides please. So with this post, I wish you all a great day and I promise that this blog will not be so serious in the future. We all need to escape from reality once in a while and this blog has been it for me. I'm bringing silly back. Holla!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Kid's Birthday Party and Holding it Together the Best I Can

Tomorrow is the big day, the big show. The Kid is having his 4th birthday party. His actual birthday isn't until Tuesday but that day is the Fasching Party at the kindergarten. Fasching is the Austro/German carnival and it kind of sucks that Fasching sounds so like Fascist. Whooops. Adults and kids dress up on Fat Tuesday and eat jelly doughnuts in preparation for lent. Or, as I like to call it, sucks to be you. Us Jews just have to fast for a day. Holla! Winning! Sigh.

Anyway... tomorrow is a big day for me. Even though it really is a big day for the Kid... but the truth of the matter is, is that he could not care less about a party. Or, at least, we don't think he does. As most of you know, he has lost his language this past year and it is heart breaking but I keep hope eternal that it will come back. I think he did say "Mommy" today when a commercial for the Victoria's Secret fashion show was on but the camera was on Ed Sheeran... so... actually... he probably did mean me. Sigh. Again.

Tomorrow is a big day because it is our little pocket of normalcy, sandwiched between the insanity of the last couple of weeks and the upcoming MRI on Thursday. I am grateful that we will be surrounded by friends tomorrow because I feel like I am falling apart a little at the seams and doing my damndest to hold it together. We have a lot to be grateful for and tomorrow is the day that we can act like a normal family, toast our beautiful son and enjoy company.

Yesterday night the Husband was out. An old classmate who he hasn't seen in about 15 years was in town for the night and even though I had plans to originally go out, he trumped me. The Husband also deserved a night out. I don't think he will ever get that image of walking up the stairs and finding me on the ground, clutching the Kid and screaming, out of his head. Wow. I went to a dark place. I need to change tracks.

So here I sit, in our living room. It is decorated in greens, yellows and blues. And it looks awesome! I will post pictures tomorrow! I decided on a Rio Carnival theme and the menu does NOT reflect that because I did not have the time to look up Brazillian recipes. I will be making:

Hot dogs
Steak sandwiches
Stuffed cheese balls
Coconut rice
A motherloving ugly cake (more on that tomorrow)

Drinks will be:
Orange juice
Cocktail with vodka and pineapple juice... for the kids, of course

The party starts at 12 and I know that the Kid will have a good time.. even if he ignores the other kids. I can't believe that another year has gone by. Last year at this time, we had just gone through the re-birthing nightmare and with our tails between our legs, we headed back to the terrible kindergarten. It was a terrible time. But I do have so much to be grateful for and the most important thing is seeing how much happier the Kid is and that in itself, is everything (except today he has been a thing possessed and I am looking forward to my shot of Nyquil tonight). I apologize for all the sadness tonight. I will snap out of it soon. And I just cannot wait until we are done with next Thursday. We have a lot of therapy meetings coming up and I look forward to getting started on a new programme. So until tomorrow! Nighty night and thanks for reading and letting me be a little down.