January 7, 2012


Moe, like so many kids on the autism spectrum, does not do well with unstructured time. When his time is not being actively managed, Moe tends to get into trouble. In our house, that includes things like splashing in the fish tank, climbing onto precarious spots, or taking off his pants.

Over winter break, Moe had a lot of unstructured time.

December 31. Two o'clock in the afternoon.

The house is a mess. We are having people over for New Year's Eve. They are planning to arrive around 5:30, and I am just starting to get the house ready when we hear an unfamiliar noise.

Jeff runs into Jelly's room to find Moe standing on top of her dresser. He is covered in something. What is it?

We notice the tube of lotion on the floor. Apparently he had gotten into that then thrown it on the floor when he had emptied it. But there was something else.

Shit. It's Vaseline.

I look up and things starts to come in to focus. Moe's new shirt is covered in Vaseline. I scan up. There is Vaseline on the wall.

My heart drops.

There is Vaseline all over the quilt hanging over the dresser. The quilt my mom made. I am devastated. I try not to panic.

Vaseline is a Petroleum based product. It is not something that you can just get out by throwing it in the washing machine.

We go into action mode. I go online, and find some ways to get vaseline out of fabric. The most promising one involves isopropyl alcohol. But I'm reluctant to just follow instructions from a random person on the web. Jeff thinks I should take the quilt to a professional cleaner, but there are a million dry cleaners and I don't trust them to do a good job. Yelp isn't helping.

I think of calling a local quilting shop, Eddie's Quilting Bee. Jeff makes the call. They tell him to call Sally and give him a number. We know nothing more. Jeff dubs her The Oracle.

We call Sally, who instructs us to find a product called Goop, then to wash the quilt in the washing machine with laundry soap (not detergent). Jeff tells me Goop is available at Walgreens. I leave the house.

I drive to Walgreens. No Goop. Then I drive to Rite Aid, CVS, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Pep Boys and OSH. Jeff calls Home Depot and Target. No Goop. And no soap. After an hour, I come home. Jeff tells me Goop is at Walmart - not Walgreens. I remarkably do not kill him. The closest Walmart is about 15 miles away. We throw the kids in the car, and head over.

The parking lot is a mess. I drop Jeff off and drive around with the kids. Jelly falls asleep. Moe and I share french fries from the McDonald's drive thru. At 4:00 I hear them ring in the new year in London. Eventually, Jeff texts me. He has Goop!

I pick him up. "Where's the laundry soap?" I ask. He forgot it. Again I do not kill him. I remind myself he is helping me.

He goes back in. I park the car and wait while Moe tries to wiggle out of his car set. The fries are gone. Jelly wakes up.

Eventually Jeff gets the soap, and we drive home. Jeff goes to work on the quilt. Goop smells a little like gasoline.

Our friends arrive and we have a lovely new year's eve with orange champagne cocktails and play Just Dance on the Wii.

We have no idea how to use a bar of laundry soap. Eventually we give up and use detergent.

I say goodbye to 2011.

The quilt is not perfect but it looks pretty good. But even after three washes, it still smells like Goop.


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