So, Uh. That Election, Eh?

Yeah, so that happened.

I voted Clinton. I have an autistic child. I absolutely cannot abide by a lunatic that mocks the disabled. I have a vagina. I cannot abide by a lunatic who brags about pussy-grabbing.

I hate that I had to even write that sentence. I hate that mocking the disabled and pussy-grabbing were even a part of this disaster of an election season.

And now that he’s won, he looks terrified.

He probably should be.

I wrote earlier this summer about my general belief that democracy as we knew it is more-or-less over already.   And I was fairly certain the “progressive” brand peaked out with the executive order concerning transsexual bathrooms and the… whatever the hell is happening on campus reaching the loyalty oath zone.

I don’t even know what is going to happen. I won’t pretend.

Things I know:

I know that we’re post Cold War. I am edging up on 40, and my grandpa was too young to have fought in World War 2. There are a lot of adults out there who have grandpas that fought in Vietnam. Or dodged the draft during Vietnam.  There’s no one left alive with enough credibility to tell the Gamer Gaters that “Fash” ain’t cute.

The alt-right, and this never seemed to make it to the news, because everyone was freaking out about a cartoon frog, seems to think that Putin has the balls to go after “Radical Islamic Terrorism.” (And if Obama had just uttered those 3 words, maybe we’d be looking at President Elect Clinton. Not that I am ever going to be super, duper happy with the idea of Ma & Pa Ferguson 2.0. It’s a shame, too. She’s smarter than him.) There is some notion that “the West” will not go after Islam, but Putin will, because he wants sea routes and pipeline access. That is why, all of a sudden, Republicans are okay with Russia–so that Russia will take out Muslims.

Don’t say they didn’t learn anything from the war in Iraq.

I know that odds are pretty good that the “missing” people in the polls are Millennials. They were either so entirely brainwashed they really think they’ll be stuck in FEMA camps for not “virtue signalling,” or they don’t have a phone because they don’t actually have a job, and therefore they don’t need one.  And there’s really nothing worse for a country than idle youth.

I know that Trump has been compared to Hitler and Mussolini, and the BBC is terrified that Europe is headed for a new round of pan nationalist insanity. I also know that I personally think he’s something more like that guy that really over-identified with Tony Soprano. He’s that uncle in New Jersey who is always mentioning that he knows a guy who is connected to the mob, but he never really gives the details on that connection.

What I am saying is that he doesn’t have the comprehensive worldview to be a Hitler, and he doesn’t have the attention span to be a Mussolini.

He looks, in nearly every photo, including  the one from the viewing room where he found out he won, like he’s about five minutes from throwing up.

He’s supposed to be starting a TV network. Now he’s actually got to do the work of being President, when all he wanted to do was grab some pussies.

Much as people keep saying Mussolini… he may be Harding. He may be looking at impeachment, launched by the GOP, so they can attempt 10 years of Mike Pence.

But, hey. Maybe he is Mussolini. Weirder things have happened.

Alternately? Maybe the population-at-large doesn’t want to be a bunch of peasants in the global economy. Maybe, in this obvious post Cold War state of affairs, “globalism” isn’t just a dog whistle term for anti-Semites. Maybe it was about Trump’s odd (and remarkably consistent) commitment to protectionism.

I sort of doubt it, but, hey. Maybe.

The Face of Triumph?

The Face of Triumph?

Five Things I Learned Doing a Home Renovation

We are all moved in!


It was a long haul. A really long haul.

And so, here are my 10 tips for surviving a reno as a relative noob.

1.) Don’t be afraid of the power tools.

No, really. This is absolutely the first thing. My sister-in-law asked if we had to do a lot of research, and while there was some of that (Thank you YouTube and Pinterest), the real learning curve was in learning that the tools will do so much of the work for you, if you just figure out which one is the right one for the job you are doing, and you use it without freaking out. Don’t fear the power tools. Don’t try to do things by hand because you are nervous. Own the tools.

2.) Accept all the help you are offered.

Childcare offers? Take them. Painting? Let someone paint. If someone wants to help? Let them. Know someone who has tools you can borrow? Expertise? Hit them up. Use all the connections you can come up with.

In my opinion, this includes putting your children to work. Or your dog, if at all possible.

You are going to need a team.

3.) Save some energy for moving day and take it easy a few days after move-in.

Look, moving is horrible and taxing under the best of circumstances. After spending weeks and weeks doing hard physical labor, and running 15 and 18 hour days?

It’s worse.

You’re going to need some rest after the marathon. Overdoing it can lead to injury. Possibly permanent damage.


4.) You’re going to generate more trash than you ever imagined.

We produced 4 tons of trash. I don’t mean that metaphorically.

Four tons.

Carpet, for the record? Really heavy. So are cabinets. If you are doing more than one room? Get the big dumpster.


5. It’s worth it!

It’s really bizarre bringing a house back to life. I had a lot of moments where I was totally exhausted: aching, calloused, overheated. But the end result has been amazing.

We have a house! We have a house that isn’t just someone else’s “vision.”

It’s our giant mess!


We really aren’t even close to being “done,” yet, but we are here, living here, in a bit of a construction zone. We still have a list longer than my arm of stuff that needs to be done.

But hey, we’re in!


Every Day is a Marathon

We’ve made a lot of progress on the house.

It’s exhausting.

Even the baby is tired.

Even the baby is tired.

So, it’s been such an around-the-clock project, that this is really the first chance I have had to documents things.

The bathroom has gone from this:


To this:


To this:


It’s almost looking like half a bathroom. Still not toilet, no vanity, no tile, no shower door. But it’s still come a long way.

The hall:


The tile nightmare went on for days. We scraped them off, then we had to sand down to the paper on the sheet rock, which took forever.

We ripped the carpet, installed new lights, and the drywall is started.


It almost looks like a normal hall. Almost.

There’s been some painting where we can do it around the drywall.


The master bedroom is looking alright.

The kid’s room officially went from one long room to two separate rooms.


And, the living room has been totally re-ceiling-ed.


It’s coming along. Moving day is in a few weeks. It feels like we’re very close, while also feeling completely impossible to accomplish.

“Easy Babies”

The baby is 18 months old.  That’s when we started the autism evaluation process with my son.

He wasn’t walking yet. He wasn’t talking.

He was an easy baby.

I mean that. In retrospect, the first time I remember getting the “your kid is a weirdo” look was at a Le Leche League meeting, where I mentioned that he woke up and just played with his hands, instead of crying. He was a super easy baby. Compared to his sister, he was a really easy baby.

He just stayed baby-ish for a really, really long time.

6 years ago.

6 years ago.

I still think of him that easy baby. He’s relatively quiet. He generally follows the rules. He’s a sweetheart.

He’s easy to live with.

He tries. I remember, when he was about five, thinking that he just tries so hard. It was a revelation, in a way–the idea that a parent might actually think a kid tries hard. I feel like I spent my whole life having parents imply I was lazy. But with my son, everything is such a struggle; everything is hard-won. He’s a trooper.  “Try again” was one of his first scripted phrases. The endless, endless “trying again.”

He attempts to get out of cleaning and chores; he avoids homework.

He is absolutely not lazy.

Easy-going as he is, everything is just so difficult for him. It’s difficult on me, because I just don’t know what to expect. There isn’t a milestone chart for this kid. We don’t know what he will be able to do. We have no idea what 12 or 16 or 20 or 35 will look like for him.

Absolutely no idea.

But he was an easy baby.

The baby learned to say “no” today. She says mama and daddy, kitty and doggie, ew, cheese, hi and bye, and juice. She says “wow” at everything that impresses her, and that’s really quite a bit, because pretty much everything is bigger than she is.

No. Very much a no.

A video posted by Veronica Nichols (@vnnichols) on

She walks, she talks. She insists on feeding herself, thank you very much. Her 18 months is not quite the same thing. There isn’t any “will she ever talk?” There isn’t the waiting. The hoping. The worry. It’s just… the normal, milestone things. She up and does them. It’s not a victory that she pretends to read–it’s wonderful to watch a little person learn things, don’t get me wrong. Every little smile is it’s own victory. It just didn’t require a team and state funding. It’s not like climbing a mountain. That hold-your-breath-and-see just isn’t there. I framed the first humanoid stick figure that my son drew, because we didn’t know if he’d ever do it.

I still watch her like a hawk. I watch for deficits, because I have them all memorized.

I worry, but it’s not the same quality of worry.

And, oddly, I feel like I’m missing something. Like, how is it she’s just talking? What is this bizarre sorcery?

How is it that the “hard” baby is doing this all so easily?


Renovation Continues into Week 2

Yesterday morning, my husband said, “We’re running out of stuff to demolish. It’s time to start building.”

And he was right.

We’d pulled off about a mile in baseboards and weird rounded epoxy fake baseboards.


About half the house has this epoxy stuff, sprayed onto 3/4 inch particle board. They only put epoxy coatings in garages these days, so it took a while for us to figure out what the heck this stuff was. There’s glittery epoxy in the kid’s bathroom.


50 year old cork floors.

I took out a doorway, as we’re intending to drywall over it.


Then it was kitchen cabinet removal time.


This was actually super fun to do. Unlike removing ancient 1960’s drapery rods.


It really did make such a difference.

And then?

It was time to actually build something!


This is actually a rebuilding. With the twin doors there, it’s pretty obvious they removed the wall at some point. Maybe. It’s hard to tell. Why remove the wall, but not the door? So confusing.


Wall frame in an afternoon!

And our contractor is building a new deck.

The old deck was so old and decayed that “demo” for it basically just meant taking it apart with your hands. It just came apart.


New deck is not yet done, but my son is super excited for the final results.


We still have to remove the 1966 carpets.

I am a little afraid.