October 13, 2019

Retail Therapy

I think that shopping must be an inherited gene on the maternal side, as my Mom was often known to say, “The prices were so low, I just couldn’t resist.” My husband can spend hours in an outlet mall in the men’s stores and my daughter also enjoys snagging a good bargain on the latest fashion.

But for Danny, our 17 year old with significant developmental disabilities, shopping holds limited appeal. He likes the children’s book section or the DVD movie section for a few minutes but then is more interested in getting a “mall cookie” (what we called Mrs. Fields) or taking a walk. He’s never been able to communicate with us any type of “wish list” as I remember making as child, going through the entire Sears catalog and earmarking my heart’s desires.

We’ve been paying a private speech therapist to come over to our house once a week since the speech therapy provided in public school is only given in groups and the therapists aren’t permitted to touch the children’s lips or mouth, which is of course precisely the type of therapy Danny needs at this time. Plus the fact that Danny sometimes acts up during therapy sessions at school, one time even shoving the table down to let the therapist know he was done.

At any rate, Danny is finally talking more. And part of that communication has taken a new turn regarding shopping. One of his favorite DVDs of all time is the first of a series of Israeli children’s song compilations, called “Shirim K’tanim” sung by Uzi Chitman, a well-known Israeli singer. Unfortunately, the beloved DVD disk broke during a trip to Israel in spring of 2009, and we couldn’t replace it because the DVD is now only available in an Israeli-DVD format and we have an American DVD player.  Not compatible.

A multi-region DVD player can solve this problem, but when we first checked into buying one, the cost was several hundred dollars, and we forgot about it. But Danny didn’t. He kept asking us for “Uzi Plane” as he called the first disk, after a song about flying in an airplane. A few months ago, Danny came up with a solution. “Uzi plane, money” he said. We tried to explain that the DVD itself didn’t cost that much, but that different formats were the problem (who in the hell came up with different DVD formats for different regions anyway??). Finally, we found a multi-function player on the Internet for less than $50 and ordered one. Then, we took a trip to the Steimatzky’s store in the valley for the DVDs.

As it turned out, the only DVD in the series that the store did not have was “Uzi Plane”, but they did have all the others, including one that had also bitten the dust several years ago which we purchased as a poor substitute. The new multi-function DVD player was installed, and the substitute DVD popped in. Big smiles all around. Then we played the Hebrew version of Aladdin we’ve had around for years but never have been able to play because it is also in the Israeli-DVD format. Danny was delighted to hear Jasmine speak in Hebrew. Everyone was happy.

Two days later, the new multi-region DVD malfunctioned, and refused to read any DVD’s (American or Israeli-formatted). “Can’t read disk” it said, over and over again.

Back to the drawing board…