Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Little Red Corvette

I've been driving a 13-year-old Mazda with 140,000 miles. It's been a good car. Well, up until about 125,000 miles. That last 15,000 was a different story. During that time it burned oil. Drank oil. Consumed oil to the tune of a quart a week. And all that oil had to go somewhere. Some dripped out underneath. But a lot burned off. Every time I drove the car it looked like a rolling smoke screen. Mothers would move their children to the other side of the street when they saw me coming. Other drivers pointed and laughed. And I finally had to admit it was time for a new car.

Well, not a new car. But new to me. So we started the process of used car shopping. And we had our shtick down pretty good. I would tell the dealer what we wanted. My wife told him what we didn't want. I would ask questions if the potential car looked good. My wife would get us out the door if it was clear the salesman was wasting our time.

And some really did! The Toyota first unnamed dealer was clearly not interested in selling a used car. The first salesman asked us to wait while he got someone to help us. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally some guy came out and led us out to the lot. And he gave us the Lightning Round Tour of the lot, pointing quickly at cars, quoting a price, and moving on. He always walked about 10 feet in front of us. He never paused for us to look at any car. And we couldn't get out of there fast enough.

The Hyundai next dealer asked what we wanted and told us he had exactly the car for us. He pulled it around...and it did seem perfect. Used but not too much mileage. Nice condition. We hopped in and drove for a bit and it handled well. Great...let's talk cash. Now keep in mind, when we walked in, the first words out of my mouth were "I want a decent used car and I want to get out the door for under $12,000". But the non-negotiable price he whipped out was $14,999. Huh? Did he not hear us? Or did he just ignore us? Did he think we would kick in an extra $3000 just cause he was a nice guy? Not a chance. Bad salesman. No deal. We walked.

But there were a couple of guys who did try to meet our needs. The Mazda dealer showed us cars that met our needs...just a big high in mileage. The Kia dealer had a very nice car. We went home to think about it. Decided to go for it. Called back a couple of days later. Someone else had already put a deposit put on it.

And then we went to another Hyundai dealer. We told him what we wanted. He said he had three cars that met our requirements. We looked. We drove. And in fact, two of the three were perfect. The third was pretty good too...but a little higher in mileage. So the guy who actually listened and showed us what we wanted...made a sale!

Oh...not a little red corvette though. A little red Accent. We just call it "Little Red". Perfect for getting to work and back every day. Welcome to a smoke free ride!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Our Own Bumper Sticker (part three)

Many of you have patiently read the last couple of posts about our experiences as the parent of a child with special needs. And you guys have responded with some of the most affirming and supportive comments. I appreciate that very much.

In this last post, I want to give a "shout out" to Son17. Sure, we've struggled to figure out how to be good parents to a kid who came without an instruction manual. But Son17 is the one who really struggles.

He has many obstacles to overcome. One of the biggest, in my opinion, is that Asperger's Syndrome can impact the executive functions of the brain. I'm no neurology expert, but I know this it the part of the brain that helps a person organize. And Son17's lack of organization is apparent to everyone. The lost homework, the school papers in the wrong notebook, the deadlines missed because he thought they were at a different time, the clean laundry and the dirty laundry in the same pile. These are obvious and there are many coping strategies we use to help with those.

But the executive center of the brain also controls a person's ability to self-motivate. And you would not believe how many times teachers and family members have told us "if he would just try a little harder". But he can't. Not always. Trying harder requires self-motivation. And that just isn't always there for him. And I think that is one of the biggest challenges he faces.

But what I think of as barriers for him are not always what he thinks of as barriers. It is fascinating to learn how things seem from his point of view. I've shared a couple of those things in other posts. Easy Mac Breakdown pointed out just how hard it is for him to step outside the "rules" and estimate just a bit. And A Moment of Insight stopped me in my tracks as I realized he had a problem that I would have never even considered.

But he surprised me even more one day when he told me he wished he had Down's Syndrome. His one friend has Down's Syndrome and Son17 was wishing he had the same. Astonished, I asked why? His answer was that his friend looks like he has a disability. Because of that, people know that he does and so they don't tease him or nag him when he does something that seems different. But Son17 looks pretty regular, so people often forget or just don't understand the nature of his disability. As a result, he is sometimes teased or shunned as just being "weird" (his word, not mine). This brought to mind one of the most powerful DVD's I've ever seen as a professional and as a parent. Last One Picked...First One Picked On focuses on this struggle that Son17 has experienced over and over in his life. In an ideal world, that DVD would be required viewing for everyone working in the field of education.

We've all seen the bumper stickers that hang on the back of so many cars today..."Proud Parent Of An Anytown High School Honor Student". Son17 has made the honor roll a couple of times. But that isn't the bumper sticker I want. I want one that says..."Proud Parent Of A Kid Who Faced So Many Challenges And Still Was Successful A Lot Of The Time".

That might be a lot to put on a bumper sticker. So Son17, consider this your bumper sticker. We know how hard it is for you. And we admire every accomplishment you've made.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Continual "Letting Go" (part two)

One way to think about parenting is that it is a series of "letting go's". We let go of our kids' hand when they take those first teetering steps on their own. We let go of the bike when they make their first weaving solo trip on their two-wheeler. We let go when they walk into that big brick building on their first day of school and become part of the educational system. We let go when we hand them the car keys. We let go when they graduate and move away. And finally, we let go when they stand in front of their friends and family with their soul mate and begin their very own family.

With each letting go comes a mixed bag of feelings. Sometimes a bit of sadness, a tear, a lump in the throat, and a bit of worry. But that is often overshadowed by the feelings of pride and joy as we watch them grow and become the men and women they are capable of becoming.

Parenting a child with special needs has many of those same moments of letting go. But in many instances, there are other times to let go that can be very difficult.

Whether we realize it or not, many of us have an idea, an expectation, of what life will be like. When a child is first diagnosed with a disability, we are forced to start letting go of our expectations. We let go when, at a very young age, he stops getting any invitations to birthday parties. We let go when there are no friends to invite to his party. We let go when the preschool teacher calls for us to pick him up because she can't control his outbursts. There is a long series of "letting go's"... being placed on psychiatric and behavioral medications, adding new names to the long list of specialists involved in his care, starting family therapy to help siblings cope, needing more special education support in the classroom, setting up special funds and guardianship documents to provide for long term care, and most recently, extending his time in school so that he will not graduate with his class (see The PPT). Each "letting go" is a change in expectations about what our life will be like, and more importantly, what his life will be like. Each "letting go" is letting go of a dream.

Some experts who work with parents of kids with special needs compare this process to the well known stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And we've certainly experienced all of those stages as parents. But what makes it difficult is that parents of kids with special needs go through this process repeatedly. I may be in a very good place of acceptance when suddenly there is a new "letting go". Then I find myself back in anger or depression and working my way through the feelings once again.

Most parents who have a kid with special needs will, at one time or another, stumble across a copy of Welcome to Holland by Emily Kingsley. This short analogy does a pretty nice job of summarizing some of the feelings for parents of these kids. And when she talks about the pain of "letting go" of the dream, she says it will "never, ever, ever, ever go away". And she is right. There is a certain relentless quality to coping with the needs of a child with disabilities.

Please don't read this and jump to the conclusion that we spend our lives being sucked into a quicksand of depression and sadness. That is not the case at all. Son17 is a great kid and has made huge strides in growth, maturity, and the development of coping skills for many of his disabilities. The doctors we've worked with have done remarkable jobs in providing therapy and medications to help him be more successful. And we've been very fortunate to have the support and help of many very talented professionals and many gifted and understanding teachers.

I also realize that in many ways, we are the lucky ones. Many families struggle with disabilities that are much more complex. There are plenty of kids who are medically fragile, kids with more profound learning disabilities, kids who are neurologically compromised in ways that cause seizures or other neurological complications. I can only imagine the struggles of some of those families.

For all of us, parents of neurotypical kids and parents of kids with special needs, we let go. Over and over. Many times we let go of the same things.

But sometimes not.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Defining A Life (part one)

Several folks have asked me to write more about Son17 and his special needs. And I think it might be good for me to write about it. So please bear with me as I try to share my thoughts and some of our experiences in having a kid with special needs.

First of all, let me say that every kid and every family is unique. I'm not making any attempt to define a disability nor give advice on how families should deal with it. We all have our successes and failures in parenting and that is no different when dealing with a kid with special needs.

So let's begin with the obvious question - what is his special need?

Son17 was first diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). And trust me, he scored off the charts on the hyperactive part! But that was just the beginning. A few years later, as it was obvious there was more going on, his diagnosis was temporarily changed to PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified). In other words, there was a lot going on but no one knew what. Eventually, that label was dropped. We returned to ADHD and added the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. Eventually the doctors identified two more disorders - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. And that is where we stand today - four disabilities all mixed together.

If you think that adding a new diagnosis is just like adding 1+1, then you would be underestimating the combined impact. An additional disability is more of a multiplication problem than an addition problem. Just imagine for a moment, a person with an obsessive, compulsive need to do something. The inability to do whatever they are driven to do can be extremely upsetting. Now combine that with the anxiety disorder. The degree of anxiety about not completing the task skyrockets. When he was younger, we watched Son17 scream and tantrum for hours simply because he could not get his action figure to stand up on the uneven part of the carpet. No amount of soothing or redirection or intervention would help. He would immediately return to the source of the frustration and anxiety. And he would repeat that process over and over, sometimes for days or even weeks, until the compulsive need to stand that toy up suddenly went away and would be replaced by a different driving interest.

What else has this jumble of disabilities brought into your lives?

For almost two years the only thing in his room was a mattress and a pillow. His hyperactive bursts of climbing furniture without the ability to make any judgments about safety, combined with his destructive tantrums turned all furniture into either a safety hazard or a weapon of destruction. It was simply safer to leave the room bare.

As he grew older and stronger, there were the doors broken by repetitive opening and closing or simply by being slammed. Holes punched in walls during tantrums fueled by fits of frustration and anxiety.

It was impossible to get babysitters once Son17 was old enough to do damage. For seven years, my wife and I never went anywhere alone together. One or both of us was always with him when he wasn't in school.

And his drive to do things combined with the lack of social judgment created problems in school from the very first year. In kindergarten, a curriculum was used to teach the letters of the alphabet called The Letter People. Each week a different Letter Person was introduced - from Ms. A with the Achoo sneeze all the way to Mr. Z with the Zipping Zippers. There was a picture of the Letter Person to color on Monday. A song to learn on Tuesday. And other fun aspects of the curriculum that Son17 just adored. He could barely wait till each Monday rolled around to meet the next Letter Person. Eventually, the wait became intolerable and he pilfered the entire curriculum from the teacher's desk. This was a first year teacher and she was horrified that this cute little kid would just steal things from her desk! Of course, Son17 saw nothing wrong with what he had done. He just kept telling us - "I had to see who was coming next". While we sympathized with the teacher and tried to explain to Son17 why this was wrong, we also had a great laugh over the whole thing in private.

But these snapshots don't tell you who Son17 really is. Those are just a few glimpses into some of the struggles in his life. But he can also be extremely charming and funny. He is more inquisitive than either of our other kids. He was reading and comprehending at a tenth grade level before leaving the fourth grade. He can be extremely compassionate and is easily upset when he sees other kids being teased or bullied - especially if the victim is another kid with a disability. And last spring he stood in front of our entire church congregation and shared his thoughts on spirituality, the environment, and his struggle to figure out "how normal do I have to be?"

The current movement among special needs advocates is to always identify the person first and the disability second. For example, a person with autism, not an autistic person. This language is intended to change other's view of people with special needs. And I'm sure that is a good thing. But we already know he is more than just his disabilities. The diagnostic labels, the test scores, the psychiatric evaluations and these few anecdotes do not make a person.

And yet, these disabilities will no doubt have the greatest influence in his life. For much of his life, he has been and will be defined more by what he can't do, than what he can.

And our entire family has adjusted to compensate for his needs and his deficits in more ways than we even recognize. We never decide to spontaneously jump in the car and go for a burger. He needs advanced notice. We didn't take vacations or stay in hotels for over ten years because his volatile behavior made that impossible. And anyone visiting our home would certainly wonder about the Lego's carefully arranged in the middle of the table during mealtime, the piles of books in odd places, or the plethora of "bouncy balls" - hard rubber balls that Son17 keeps all over the house as a tool to manipulate when he feels particularly hyper. But we barely notice these things any more.

For those of you patient enough to read this far, you still don't know Son17 any better than you would know someone else if you only had a few brief anecdotes from which to learn. This feels much like the parable of the five men who were blindfolded and led to touch different parts of the elephant. Each described what he was touching but no one described an elephant. And I feel like I've blindfolded you and you only got to touch the trunk. Defining a life is not easy.

I gave a presentation to some special education teachers a couple of years ago about being the parent of a child with special needs. One person asked me to summarize the experience in one word. That word would be "more". More doctors appointments. More teacher meetings. More mess in our house. More limitations on what we can do as a family. More medications. More specialists. More time alone because even our families, while somewhat understanding and sympathic, do not understand the disabilities and find it difficult to offer much help. More challenges for long term planning and long term care.

Son17 is a terrific kid. But he is also more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Yesterday was our Son17's PPT for this year. He is wrapping up his sophomore year in high school and heading into his junior year. And we faced a very tough decision.

Son17 may be able to attend college when he graduates. We would like that to be an option for him if he is capable and if he so chooses. But he struggles so much with executive functions around organizing and managing materials and information. He is also still immature socially and emotionally. So how do you make school just a bit easier and also give a kid a chance to grow a bit?

We decided to extend his high school to five years rather than the traditional four. As some of you may know, kids with special needs are entitled to attend school till the age of 21. Well, he won't be there that long. That would be six years. But we hope the one extra year will spread two year's worth of credits out over three years and make it much easier for him to manage the work load.

But what a brutal decision! To alter the course of your kid's life in that way is not an easy choice. We spent a lot of time talking with different folks who know Son17 and/or who have a lot of experience in special education. We also spent a lot of time discussing it with him before the meeting, discussing options and making sure he was not so opposed to the idea that it would seem like a punishment of some type. But surprisingly, he was all in favor of the idea long before I became convinced. He really wants to make good grades and feels the lighter course load will make that much more likely for him.

We're keeping our fingers crossed for just such a result.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Five More Questions

I have returned from the black hole of periodontal recovery and I'm ready to write once again!

Last month I participated in the Five Question meme with Rebecca from Circle of the Muses. And I really enjoyed writing about topics chosen by someone else. So I decided to do this one more time.

This time the questions come from CS at another tangential thinker. CS's writings are always entertaining and thought-provoking and I knew she would offer up five more good questions. And I was right! CS really looked at some of my postings and challenged me with questions that made me look more deeply at some things I had written about. So here are her questions and my answers:

In your very first post, you talked about blogging out of a love of computers and the internet and said, "I'm not really writing to find or entertain a particular audience. I'm writing for my own pleasure. If someone comes along, that's cool. If not, that's okay, too." As you've gained an audience, has your thinking about blogging changed?

Yes, my thinking has changed. I still write primarily for my own enjoyment. I like having a few quiet moments to take a stab at turning some daily event into something a little entertaining. It pushes some creative button for me. But in the beginning, I really didn't think much about comments. Now I do. I don't write to get more comments. My choice of topics probably proves that cause I don't strive for earth-shattering topics. But when I get comments, I love it! It really makes my blog feel more like a bit of a conversation with people. That has allowed me to "get to know" a few bloggers a lot better. That's been a lot of fun. But knowing that some folks are reading really challenges me to at least try to write better. I try to be more creative. I check my spelling. And I really enjoy the conversation aspect of being a blogger.

You talked some about your mother's negativity and how she said, "the bible never told me I had to be nice to everyone." Are there good and bad things you've taken from how you were parented which have shaped your own way of being a father?

It would probably be untrue and unfair to say there are no good things from how I was parented that help me be a parent. We are all obviously influenced by so many things. But I could not list one. Perhaps it is because my mom is still alive and often still a conflicted relationship, so finding the good parts still gets a bit lost.

But I did take away a couple of negative things that I've tried hard not to use in my own parenting. Key among those would be a negative, pessimistic point of view about everything. My parents - particularly my mom - looked for the gray lining in every silver cloud. She was always suspicious of everyone. She believed the world was out to get her. People were generally bad. And she passed that along in every interaction that we had. I made all "A's" on my report card...she wanted to know why there weren't all "A+'s". I joined the youth choir at our church...she wanted to know why I didn't volunteer to sing a solo. When I think about growing up, this constant criticism and negative point of view is what I recall most. And what I've really had to struggle with as a parent. It is surprising how something like that can impact my parenting even when I usually have a pretty upbeat view of life. But it does. I can really quickly slip into criticism with my kids. And I battle against that every day.

On a related note, now that you are no longer eating exclusively from boxes or cans, what would be your ideal meal? (Because, after all, the mashed potato story in January was the first post I read of yours.)

LOL...well I'm still not the mashed potato expert in our house...but if I'm going to talk about my ideal meal, it would be meal that was cooked by someone else and served to me, so my cooking skills would not be an issue. So what would I eat? I would have to say that shrimp would be somehow involved. I love shrimp. Fried shrimp. Shrimp with pasta. Baked stuffed shrimp. Suddenly I sound like that guy in Forest Gump! But I really do love shrimp. So I would start there...probably shrimp and scallops, some sun dried tomatoes, a nice red sauce spiced up with the red pepper flakes over a bed of angel hair pasta. Steamed asparagus on the side with a bit of butter and salt. Fresh, warm bread on the side. And a glass of some really good white wine. And dessert would probably be a nice slice of cheesecake with a cup of Hawaiian Kona coffee.

Are there things you've not yet done that you'd like to accomplish in your lifetime

That's a tough one. I've never had a lot of specific aspirations about accomplishments. Just that word implies some type of achievement. And I've always focused more on just being happy, enjoying life, enjoying my family. I never had goals of being "teacher of the year" or getting lots of promotions or owning my own business. So in that sense, I've accomplished what I wanted because I'm happy and I have a great family. So the only real accomplishment I would like to put a check mark beside would be providing a bit more financial security for my family. Teacher salaries don't lend themselves to lots of savings and investing. So that might be the one real accomplishment I would still like to get to.

But what if the question had just said...things you've not yet done that you would like to do? That changes the tone of the question a bit. And yes, there are many things I would like to do. Probably my biggest wish would be to have the chance to travel more. I would love to go to Europe. London, Paris, Rome. The opportunity to travel to some of these wonderful places would be awesome. And I've just never had that chance. I've been lucky enough to travel through much of the states, but other than a couple of trips up into Canada (which I really enjoyed) and a trip to the Bahamas, I've never been outside the US. So I hope to do that some day.

5) You commented that you'd be turning the idea of friendship and respect over in your head for the rest of the day. What did you come to?

When CS answered a question about friendship, she said the most important thing in a friendship was respect. But she elaborated about her thought process and I left a comment that her writing had left me thinking about the idea of friendship. And what did I think about? Well, respect is crucial in a friendship. As is honesty and loyalty. There are many qualities that are necessary in the development of a true, deep friendship. And I'm not sure that the quality I settled on is so different from CS's. Perhaps at some level it is just semantic differences. But the key quality I think is essential in both the person I'm befriending and in the relationship itself is - integrity. To me, this implies a person who is honest. A person who can be trusted. A person that I can admire and respect because they stand up for their beliefs and principles. But the word doesn't just apply to the person...but also to the relationship. Being in a relationship that has integrity feels as if we both have made a certain commitment...a bond to be honest with each other, to share advice when asked, to support each other, to encourage each other, to share love and compassion toward each other. But I also like that the word integrity means solidarity, togetherness, unity. That is a part of a deep friendship that can't be achieved if the people involved don't have a personal quality of integrity. In this sense, the personal qualities come together to form the qualities of the relationship itself.

It was fun thinking about these five questions! And it was certainly a challenge. Thanks to CS for her great questions. If you've never checked out her blog, pay her a visit. She has some excellent writing and some awesome photos.

And in the spirit of the meme, I will gladly compose questions for others. Leave a comment that says you would like to be interviewed. Or send me an e-mail. Just make sure your e-mail is on your blog or somehow included in your comment so I can send along your questions.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Mouf Huts

I've shared once before about my lack of healthy adult teeth. Apparently I inherited the teeth and gums of a 90 year old. My gums recede, my teeth break, some are crooked, and it all just sucks.
After the episode of tooth cracking in the fall, the dentist sent me to the periodontist for some treatments. "Treatments" is just another word for pain. They did a more extensive cleaning - a "deep" cleaning - as they called it. And they were really clean after that. But sore.

And I was urged to buy a super duper electronic tooth brush that would help reduce the pockets around my teeth where the gums were receding. And in truth, that did help.

But not enough. It was determined a couple of weeks ago that two spots were just getting worse instead of better. So I would need to undergo two oral surgical procedures where they would cut the gum and go in and clean the tooth all the way down to the root. The first would be on the three rear teeth on the right upper side of my mouth. Osseous surgery, so it said on the orders. Along with guided tissue regeneration. And they will have me back in within a month or so to do the same procedure on the lower right side of my mouth.

But we're not done yet! Oh no, just as an added treat to the first surgery, the x-rays showed bone degeneration around the base of the roots. So a bone replacement graft would be performed while they were in there.

This whole first procedure took place yesterday. Injections, incisions, cleaning, scraping, acid treatment, and bone grafting. Took about an hour. And I was sent home with lots of pain meds, lots of antibiotics, a bunch of weird packing material all around those teeth, and instructions to soak my head in ice packs for the rest of the day.

Thank god for the pain meds! Once the injections wore off, I was really hurting. I managed to get down a bit of soft pasta last night, but mostly I sat with ice packs on my face in a codiene-induced stupor.

Today, a day off from work to recover a bit. Still some pain. Still some bloody drainage (sorry, hope you aren't having a snack!), and my cheek is puffed up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Gee, I just can't wait till the next time.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spoiler Alert!

Here is the last sentence of this post...
Of course, at that point, she would be justified in grabbing the book back, proceeding to pummel me with it, and then enjoying her book in leisure.
Now let's begin at the beginning...

My wife and I are big readers. We always have a book with us and several books piled up waiting to be read. We read some of the same we have some individual preferences. But we have very different approaches to reading books. My natural reaction is to say my way is right and her way is wrong. But we didn't make it through 22 years of marriage with that kind of thinking! So I'll say her way just flabbergasts me while my way makes her laugh at my rigid approach to life.

Here is my way. I open up the book and read page 1. Then page 2. In order...first page to last page. I don't skip ahead. I never look to see what is going to happen. I let the suspense build while the story unravels in an orderly fashion for my reading pleasure.

Her way? She reads the last page first. Every time! She'll go to the book store to buy books and she will have read the ending of all her new books before she even makes it through the line to buy the books. I'm trying to restrain myself here, but I want to say...that's just wrong! If that were me, there would be no reason to even buy the book at that point.

We've discussed this. I like to be surprised. I love not knowing what my gifts will be at Christmas. I don't want to know how a movie ends before I see it. And I don't want to read the last page first.

My wife is the opposite. She likes helping choose her gifts so she is assured of getting what she needs. She doesn't really want to know the ending of the movie first, but if she does know, it certainly doesn't diminish her enjoyment of the movie. And she always reads the last page first.


Not because she doesn't like a surprise now and then. And it's not because she has no patience. She has plenty of that. But she likes to see how the writer gets from Point A to Point B. If she knows how the book ends, she can enjoy the plot twists and turns while she reads because she can see how the author is moving her toward a particular ending. So rather than spoiling the book for her, it actually increases her enjoyment as she reads to know what is coming at the end. Plus it means she can enjoy reading a book more than once. Me? I can't read it again unless it has been so long that I no longer remember what happens.

I suppose this is just one of those "different strokes for different folks" things. But every time I see her pop open a new book and go right for the last page, I just want to leap to her rescue, grab the book from her hands, and yell "no, you're wrecking it!"

Of course, at that point, she would be justified in grabbing the book back, proceeding to pummel me with it, and then enjoying her book in leisure.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

To Turn or Not To Turn

I just got home from work. My commute includes driving along one section of interstate that takes about ten minutes. During that time I pass several exit ramps before reaching my exit. Today as I pulled onto the interstate, I fell in the line of traffic behind a guy with his right turn signal on. I assumed he was taking the exit that was coming up almost immediately.

Wrong. He did not exit.

We moved on to the next exit. His right turn signal was still blinking. But no exit.

Next exit. Same result.

And all this time he was driving in the right-hand lane so I knew he wasn't changing lanes.

How does this happen? When I turn on my signal it makes noise. It clicks right along with each blink. And yes, it blinks. Right in front of my face. Right there on the dash along with all those other little controls, that arrow is blinking on and off. Blink. Click. Blink. Click.

Hard to miss.

But this guy missed it. He missed it for almost ten minutes!

Finally, as I approached my exit, he pulled off the highway onto the same exit ramp. Finally! He turned right.

BUT...just as he started to make his move, almost simultaneously, he turned OFF this right turn signal!!!

For those of you keeping score, that's ten minutes of signaling with no turn, followed by one turn without a signal.

I'm guessing he did not graduate summa cum laude from his driver's ed. class.