Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Field Trip to The City

The Picetti clan, minus Fehmeen (who was teaching) and plus Julian (who is our caregiver and BoostMaster), took a field trip up to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco this morning.

Earlier this summer we saw a commercial advertising the lizards and snakes exhibit there and we knew immediately that it would be right up Emma’s alley. Fehmeen purchased tickets in June but I wasn’t feeling well at the time we originally planned to go. And then two months later the summer and the exhibit are almost over…


The first thing Emma saw as we rolled in was the Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils in the main entryway. “Dinosaur,” she kept saying as she pointed up to it from her stroller. It should be noted that we had just watched the T Rex scene in Jurassic Park not even three days ago.

Our first stop was on the second floor for the aforementioned lizards and snakes extravaganza. Thankfully we had arrived early enough in the day so we had a practically unobstructed view of each one of the reptiles behind the plexiglass. I think Emma enjoyed the iguana most of all, in part because she saw it yawning, and because it has a cool sounding name.

We then visited the rain forest. Seriously. It was amazing to experience that kind of tropical ecosystem in Golden Gate Park. There were giant blue parrots, more snakes and lizards, and even hundreds of butterflies fluttering around. Thank goodness we forgot my Giants wearable blanket in the van because it was hotter than heck in there.

The next port of call was the aquarium. Lots of Emma jawdrops in this room. Especially notable was the large sea turtle and the gigantic catfish that practically swam up to Emma in the tunnel tank. She also liked touching the starfish and seaweed.

We tried to stick around for the Snakes of the Bay Area presentation but were collectively underwhelmed by the educators excessive verbosity and adamant no touching the snakes policy. Basically, we were hungry for lunch.

Except for me. I had a Boost before they started the show.


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B & W

Many thanks to my cousin Nicole Hamilton for taking these amazing photographs. There are absolutely beautiful. Quit your day job now, kid*, because you’re going places.

*I am twenty days older than her.  🙂

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Emma has a serious case of Dance Fever!

Major props to Dan for converting my old tapes into mp3s.

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It has come to my attention that one very special and important member of our Adventures of ALS Boy blog-reading family is wondering how fiscally feasible it is for me to continually provide such lavish and extravagant prize packages to the winners of the caption contest week after week.

Well, NNN*, while I’m (legally) unable to divulge and discuss that topic on the blog, I am, however, quite willing to disclose to you the unbelievable pile of complimentary swag that you’d be taking home with you should you ever enter and win that aforementioned caption contest.

Are you ready for it?

This is your prize package:

Not only do you get a three-week supply of environmentally friendly hyena repellent, you have also won a dozen fill-in-your-own-amount gift certificates to the world famous Wah Jee Wah mobile restaurant, as well as a coveted backstage pass to meet Ranjit and Chad the next time their Tech & Talk show comes to town.

* NNN is a nicknani used to disguise the identity of the person about whom this entry is written.

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Hangin’ with the Fam

It was quite a scene in our living room last night.

Imagine me fully reclined in my Corinthian leather comfy chair, covered from neck to sandals with an exquisite orange Giants snuggie, Bi-PAP strapped to my head, pumping life-extending air into my mouth and nose.  To top it off, I am also listening to Steve Earle’s cd Washington Square Serenade rather loudly on my Bose headphones.  Is there anybody out there one two three on the satellite radio?

Now picture Emma standing quietly in front of our coffee table, just a few feet away from me, completely engaged in an activity that has engrossed her for the past twenty minutes.  She is methodically tearing pages out of her Curious George coloring book and carefully using her scissors to cut those same pages into long thin strips of various widths and lengths.  It is fascinating to observe the way she picks up the scissors before making the decision as to where she will begin her bottom to top ascent up the sheet of paper.

Emerging from the office comes Fehmeen who immediately begins to interact with Emma.  Five minutes into it, Fehmeen stands up and removes the headphones from my ears, telling me to watch and listen the two of them.  Emma has morphed into teacher mode and is showing her mother how to cut and color.  The pair of them play for a while with Fehmeen asking a lot of questions and Emma doing her best impressions of all the teachers in her life.

Even at this young age, you can definitely see the educator inside her itching to come out.

A young Jason chillin’ with the ‘rents.

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Tink in Pink Cowboy Boots

Her first year she was a Pea in a Pod. Last year she was an Elephant. This Halloween she is Tinkerbell.

Amidst a sea of various fairies and superheroes, there is only one Tink in Pink Cowboy Boots.

I believe that there is a special place in heaven for petting zoo animals.

The lovely and beautiful Picetti ladies.

Jumping in a bouncy house is way more fun than waiting in line with Mommy for a pony ride.

Please don't say you want a pony of your own, Emma -- thinks Daddy.

Careful with those sprinkles, young lady.

You can never have too many sprinkles!

Up your nose with some chocolate sprinkles.

There's no way that cookie is fitting in my tube.

Jason, Emma and Fehmeen Picetti: Halloween Twenty Ten.

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In a hectic day that included a house full of painters,  a Picetti shipping off for a hopefully not-so-extended hospital stay,  and a hallway landmine incident,  who da thunk that yours truly would have escaped the fray completely unscathed.

It started at about nine when the painters showed up.   The Italian-American Man-Servant was in full-on supervisory mode as he re-re-reiterated the plan of attack to anyone listening.   Even Emma got involved by breaking out her Handy Manny dancing toolbox in order to help out the guys by pounding her plastic hammer on all available flat surfaces.

It was shortly after ten-thirty when Fehmeen and Emma took my mom to see her doctor.   Upon their arrival it was decided to offer Gama the opportunity to spend the next couple of days in the hospital in order for her to get some much needed rest.   The long weekend of little to no sleep and limited caloric and liquid intake had left her feeling more than a little rundown.

It was exactly halfway through my one o’clock Ensure feeding when Fehmeen and I heard Emma calling for her from down the hall.   She had gone to the potty to go poo and at this point in time she needed a little help from mommy.   The only problem was that mommy was up to her elbows pouring vanilla flavored yumminess down my feeding tube.   As her cries for help grew more frantic,  it seemed as if the feeding was taking forever.   When it finally drained,  Fehmeen ran to Emma and surveyed the situation.   It was a good news bad news thing.   There was a deuce in the potty and there was one that wasn’t.   At least the stray turd missed the painters’ drop-cloth by less than an inch and was resting squarely on our hallway carpet.

Some families have all the luck.

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We could tell by the way he rang the doorbell that things weren’t going to go according to plan.   The moment he said,  “What exactly am I here to do today?”  I could actually feel Fehmeen’s blood beginning to bubble and froth from a room away even before I saw the are-you-kidding-me look in her eyes.

You see,  we had called up Comcast earlier in the week and ordered a couple more DVR receivers as well as an internet upgrade for our home.   Apparently,  as evidenced by Mr Notsohelpful’s presence in our foyer,  Comcast had decided to farm this particular job out to one of their sub-contracting partner firms.

While I must plead ignorant to company policy,  I feel quite confident that arriving at a customer’s home without so much as a work order detailing the particulars of the job — as well as no DVRs — is most likely a big fat no-no in the old corporate handbook.

So there we were,  father and daughter sitting side-by-side on the bench at the Picetti family kitchen table listening to our wife and mommy extract her pound of flesh from the xfinity call center.   As she deftly clawed her way up the chain-of-command, she quickly lost track of what Emma was doing with the baby spoon and half-eaten container of chocolate pudding.

Mr and Mrs Picetti’s little girl was oh-so quietly finishing the last remaining remnants of the sweet treat from the tiny plastic cube.   Which of course was fine with us except that when Fehmeen got her first look-see at our arms-and-face-covered-in-pudding darling daughter she nearly lost her tear-them-a-new-one game face.

Almost but not quite.

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When was the last time the Fourth of July meant something more than a convenient excuse to eat barbecue,  drink beer,  and watch the same old fireworks extravaganza?

When was the last time you lifted your hops-filled stein of amber tinted nectar and toasted to the grandiose concept of freedom?

When was the last time you celebrated the feeling of being unshackled from the proverbial chains that have held you back from achieving the great things you were destined to accomplish in this lifetime?

As ashamed as I am to admit this,  I would have to say that my answer to each of those questions would most certainly have been never.  Not once in my two score and one years of life on this planet have I ever celebrated freedom the way I celebrated freedom this past first Sunday of July.

On the fifth day of the seventh month of the year twenty ten,  my daughter,  Emma Zahra Picetti,  took that important and initial first step towards her eventful exit out of toddlerhood.

Let the history books read and the record state that it was on this day that my little girl went pee pee in the potty for the first time.

And let that very same record reflect that I am more than acutely aware that my beautiful and benevolent daughter will most likely pummel me into submission for writing this post the minute she learns how to read.

It was nice knowing ya!

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You know you’re driving down I-5 to Disneyland when:

You can smell the grazing cows of Harris Ranch about a mile before you see them.

You make a mental note to look into who exactly is responsible for all of those Congress Created Dust Bowl signs.

If there are any more cities beside Los Angeles that have razor wire wrapped around their green freeway signs.

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You know you’re on vacation with the Picettis when:

Although this trip was booked back in March,  apparently the person who did that booking neglected to make a note that we needed a fully accessible room despite a rather lengthy conversation detailing those needs.   The result of that single omission: No handicapped room for you!  We gave a regular room the proverbial community college try but we conceded defeat after a fifteen minute game of Let’s Get the Invalid on the Potty.   These accommodations were simply not going to cut it.

What happened next was unbelievable.   Even though this was the Disneyland Hotel,  I still couldn’t believe it when Fehmeen told me all the details.   It could have been Emma’s undeniable cuteness or perhaps it was my glowing aura of ALSness or maybe they could sense that Nani was about six hours overdue for another verbal spat but the management had decided to give us an upgrade to…

Wait for it

…   The Mickey Mouse Penthouse on the 11th floor of the hotel.   According to the bellman, this suite being occupied was such a rare occurrence that he himself had only ever seen it two other times.   The space was a sight to behold.   I felt like we had just landed in the suite in The Hangover minus the alcohol,  the tiger,  the duck,  and the baby in the closet named Carlos.   My meager words would not do it justice so I intend to post videos tomorrow.  Our stay in the MMP only lasted one night until we were able to move into our other (now available) accessible room,  which of course could only be described as a downgrade.

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You know you’re at Disneyland with the Picettis and Khans when:

The ride you go on the most is the Monorail (4x in 3 hrs).

Emma is still scared shitless of costumed characters like Goofy,  Pluto,  Chip, and Dale.

The highlight of our lunch on Tuesday was the seemingly never-ending quest for Stuffins with Nana and Mamoo.


You know you’re on vacation with Fehmeen and Jason because school is still in session and the opportunity to learn constantly seemed to present themselves like:

It is practically impossible to recreate that same feel and vibe of last years trip considering my abilities are no where near where they were eleven months ago.

In no way,  shape or form is my manual wheelchair considered a remotely comfortable option for a few minutes much less a few hours in the Magic Kingdom.

I think that I can unequivocally say that my days of road trips have drawn to a close.   Give me the comforts of home from now on.   And lots of shorter,  more manageable day trips.

It doesn’t matter that neither of us had a particularly good time,  as long as Emma enjoyed herself,  that is all that truly counts.

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You know you’re heading back to the Bay Area on I-5 when:

You dime out Nana for driving only 55 mph at certain times on the freeway when the speed limit was 70.

The cost of a $2 Meal Deal at the Taco Bell in Button Willow was actually $3.29.

The mind-boggling concept that San Francisco and Sacramento are only one mile apart from each other.   At least that’s what about two dozen green road signs led me to believe.

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