Weather Builds Character

It Was Another Perfectly Imperfect, Imperfectly Perfect Year

Antonio the barber did a swell job for a swellelegant boy!

2012; Charlie turned 15 and it was a very good year though given the two ER visits for stitches in the back of his head; instances of head-banging-inflicted property damage (same neighbor's tan car twice, same spot on the trunk; two different cars belonging to the same family); three tree trunks and the pole at school that were sites of similar; a call to the police; a new gallery of holes in the walls; the thumbnail Jim lost and the long sleeves and pants I taught in through the hottest fall days rather than field questions such as 'what happened to your leg, Dr. Chew?" -- given all this, it was the usual epic tale we have been honored and lucky to live with our boy.

4,000 - 5,000 miles were biked by Jim and Charlie and some couple/several hundred walked, sprinted, dashed and run by Charlie and me and/or Jim.

There were not a lot of hours slept in spring, summer and the start of the fall (so we were both 'night owls' and 'larks' for quite awhile).

Charlie's neurologist opened an office in north Jersey, I had a long consultation with him and another neurologist and a nurse just before Hurricane Sandy and the possibility of Charlie having long-term gastrointestinal distress was revisited, acted upon with a reworking of Charlie's diet (sushi begone! Fuji apples by the bushel!) and a bevy of over-the-counter medicaments, and is currently being investigated. No, we are not going DAN-ish -- this is the same neurologist who prescribes the four medications Charlie takes plus the fifth for emergencies.

We have been getting a fairly routine amount of sleep though not tonight, this last day and hour of 2012. Charlie has had a great winter break with a quite high amount of bike riding in cold weather every day; he has one more day off before returning to school so it is anticipation-anxiety time and there's the sound of noisemakers, rockets, better not be rifles, in our neighborhood, not to mention a longer than usual full moon. It's a recipe for no, or at best fitful, sleep.

It's all right.

No incident reports were sent home from school till three came in the space of one week, after Hurricane Sandy and a pack of Swedish fish.

It's been a full year of extremes and elemental experiences.

45 mph wind.

Sunday, December 30, we made a second trip to the ocean and encountered far less snowy roads but 45 mph wind that meant for a very short bike ride prior to which the white car was splattered with salt water spray.

Yeh, we bike on anything.

Monday, New Year's Eve day, we went to the place Charlie has asked most to go on this break, the Jersey horse country trail.

Once again, loving the yellow jackets.

He and Jim did not ride much on the trail because it is snowy, icy and inviting to cross country skiers.

Pretty much ready.

They headed for the street instead.

No ice over there.

Clear though with icy patches and minimal traffic (the horses were on the trail).

Pre-ride moment.

They did a solid nine miles uphill in just above 0 degrees Celsius temperatures.

Jim likes to test the conditions.

Needless to say, Jim teaching Charlie to ride ranks as one of the Best Things Ever, in any year, decade, century, era, millennium, etc..


Afterwards, Charlie said no to his customary post-bike burrito and very much enjoyed some shrimp chow fun (he had the fortune cookie first) and a drive by the house he knew as 'Grandpa Grandma's.'

Through to be honest, Charlie called it 'Gramma Gramma house' because when he was younger he couldn't quite work in the "p" sound and the pronunciation stuck.

Always a perfect picture.

Just glad that we're all still together; that we stick together,

Wishing everyone some excellent adventures in the new year and thank you, thank you, for sticking with us and reading Charlie's story. Knowing you are all out there -- it means a lot.



Yes, we are out here! Happy New Year to you and your team! Thank you for your generosity in sharing your journey with Charlie.


Yes, thank YOU for sharing and trusting your readers' support.
Happy 2013.

Judy T

Happy new year to all of you!


Yes,we're always out here, eager to know how your day was and wishing that all was ok.Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with Charlie!
Happy New Year!

Kristina Chew

a very good new year to us all!

Sandra Wells

I have spent many hours reading your site. It seems your son and mine are SO MUCH alike! My son has an obsession with our neighbors trucks. 2 trucks from the same house, he will run down our street to pull up the door handles, open the tailgates and try to rip off the license plates, This is one of many things they have in common. My son is 18 yrs old. He's had severe behaviors since puberty began 6 yrs ago. I know what you are going through. Thank you for taking the time to chronicle your lives so eloquently. :-)

Kristina Chew

@Sandra, What is it about cars! I hope he hasn't been able to actually pull off the license plates.... Charlie's thing is for 'old model' tannish cars ('butterscotch car,' as my husband has dubbed them), and the trunk, and generally owned by retirees.. Another friend's son apparently has an obsession with Cadillacs and we know a family whose son could not be kept from sniffing gas tanks.

Puberty has been 'challenging,' I have to say! Charlie's started at 11 and it's been 'interesting' ever since. Hope this is a more peaceful (!) year for all of us and thank you for reading; great to 'meet' you!

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