Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#104 - Road Trip

Recently, we packed everyone (except the dog) into the more fuel-efficient of our two vehicles and took a little road trip. We traveled about an hour south of Boise to an area known as Swan Falls.

One sample of the promotional
material on display.
Swan Falls is the site of one of Idaho Power's many dams along the Snake River. The original dam was built in 1901 and is the oldest dam on the river. In 1994, a new power plant was built alongside the old plant, which was converted into a museum, open just a few times a month for tours.

The museum features much of the original equipment used in the first power plant, along with some samples of promotional materials used by Idaho Power during the first half of the twentieth century.

The day we visited there was an open house being conducted by Idaho Power, so we took the opportunity to get a closer look and take some pictures and video. This short video combines both still shots and motion to try to give a sense of the facility from both inside and out.

The dam is located in the heart of the Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. There are places upstream and downstream from the dam that are suitable for primitive camping if you have a tent, camper, or small trailer, although we did see a motorhome as well. Trees are nowhere to be found, making shade almost non-existent. As a result, summertime is not the best time to visit if you have issues with the heat.

One thing I discover the longer I live in Idaho is that much of what is worth seeing is found a little off the beaten path. Swan Falls certainly falls (pardon the pun) into that category.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

#103 - Another Year Older

"Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store." - Tennessee Ernie Ford, "Sixteen Tons"

I'm not deeper in debt, not yet, although I have yet to see the latest repair bill on our truck. And while I am another day older, I'm actually thinking about another member of our family.

Our son's cake - red velvet with chocolate
chips, sprinkles, and Peepsters on it.
Our son celebrated his 15th birthday Friday. Or, as I like to sometimes put it, he's 15, going on five, going on 40.

As an example: Friday, we went out to dinner to celebrate our son's birthday. Then we went to Toys 'R Us to let him use a gift card he had received. He gravitated immediately to the Pokemon section. While older kids may play with Pokemon, all of the children pictured on the packages looked to be seven or eight, which made me think perhaps our son had outgrown them. (He ended up buying something else.) This could be considered to be part of the five-year old phase (give or take a couple of years).

A few days ago, our son was sitting in our family room, looking at a catalog. He was gazing intently at a page filled with women in bathing suits. A week or two earlier, he was apparently doing a Google search on nudist camps. (By the way, there is one within an hour's drive of Boise we can take him to if he's serious.) I would term these behaviors as relatively typical teenage actions in the age of the internet.

On other occasions, he's asked serious questions of us, such as whether we think he'll ever get married. It's a prospect that both scares me and gives me hope for his future. I haven't always handled being a husband that well, so I have no idea how someone who is autistic will do. But I am certainly not one to predict.

This wide range of behaviors and actions is, I think, fairly typical of someone considered to be a high-functioning autistic. One minute, our son is talking about becoming a film director one day; the next, he's making yet another creature out of a piece of paper.

We don't know what his future holds. We recently completely our estate planning process, so we have hopefully put things in place to help care for him when we are no longer around to do so. Perhaps before then we'll have a better idea of what he will be able to do for himself.

There are days when I think our son will fully be able to live independently. There are other days when I think he will need someone to do everything for him. Our son can be unpredictable at times. That unpredictability has taught us that, where he is concerned, anything is possible and perhaps probable.