I don’t mean South and North Poles.  I mean the sweating heat of the tropical forest versus  the cool air of Alaska.  Or something like that.

Tropical Forest

Our house required major, emergency repairs.  Contractors came to remove two basement walls and replace them with  new ones.  For Robert that was a major disaster and he expressed clearly his position on  all the stages of the project. Although we, the parents, had predicted Robert’s reactions and tried to plan accordingly to avoid confrontations or disruptions, not everything went according to plan.

We told Robert about the need for a work in the basement.  He said, “OK, OK”.  Nonetheless, knowing better than to rely on Robert’s accepting attitudes, we decided that Robert would leave for Sunapee Mountain before the contractors arrive.  Unfortunately, we were a little late and the contractor was 5 minutes earlier. When Robert was pulling on his ski pants, the first contractor came.

No, Robert could not leave the house knowing that a stranger with tools would stay in Robert’s home doing some unimaginable things without being closely monitored by Robert. At first, Robert approached the situation tactfully.  He said, “Bye, bye.” giving a clear hint that the man should leave. But the man did not get it. Robert handled the man the jacket and his tools.  That did not work either.  So Robert opened the door wide and repeated, “Bye, bye “.  The contractor still did not leave.

I tried to persuade Robert to wait in the car for his dad to finish packing the ski gear.  But I knew I would not be able to do that.  Moreover, even if I did convince Robert to stay in the car, his whole trip  to the Sunapee would be negatively affected.

I knew that Robert was getting more and more upset and impatient.  He wanted to go skiing, but he could not leave knowing that a stranger was left in our house. I suspected he would try to push, contractor out.  As soon as Robert put his hands on a contractor’s jacket, not pushing him yet, but intending to, I knew that it was the time to give up.

Still, you cannot just give up after witnessing such escalating behavior.  So, I pretended that I finally understood Robert.  “Oh, Robert, you want Mr.  Contractor to go, don’t you?”

“Yes, yes, yes”, Robert repeated quickly and eagerly.

“Why didn’t you say so?.  OK, we will ask Mr. Contractor to leave.”  “Leave, leave, leave”,  Repeated Robert happy that he found another mode of persuasion. After all, for Robert, proper words are hard to come by and thus he appreciated my help in  retrieving  them for him.

I made an arrangement  with Chris, the contractor, to leave and come back a few minutes later.  Robert calmed down as soon as he saw the truck leaving the driveway.  He rushed to the car, and off he went.


At the Sunapee Mountain, Robert skied with his dad, the instructors, and the volunteers from NEHSA, New England Handicapped Sports Association.

“He is smiling all the way from the top (of the North Peak) to the bottom,” marveled Sandy, his instructor, after the whole day lesson.

“Yes, he is rather pleased”, confirmed, usually reserved, Robert’s dad.

At NEHSA you can sign up for a half a day lesson (two hours) or the whole day lesson (four hours with an hour-long lunch break between two halves.  The $60 pay for the lesson, ski equipment, and lift. After the lesson, the instructor writes a report so the next instructor would have a better understanding of Robert’s skills and issues that might arise.  I could go on about NEHSA for ever, as this organization helped Robert and me survive three years  when Robert’s dad worked in California and thus couldn’t take him skiing.  It is a wonderful, non-profit organization  you can learn more about at