Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baaaahh Humbug

When I ask other Aspie spouses how their loved one deals with the holiday season, they usually burst out laughing.
Deal with the holidays? What holidays?” and off they go, riding on another gale of laughter.
I’ve found a new web site. 
Families of Adults Affected by Asperger's Syndrome

Right there on their home page it says:

"Individuals with this syndrome have difficulty with social aspects of intelligence, such as understanding what those around them think and feel. As a result, they often behave inappropriately in social situations or act in ways that appear unkind or callous. Many Asperger's individuals have difficulty planning and coping with change despite average or even exceptional intelligence in academic or intellectual areas. This can manifest as a notable lack of "common sense." Most importantly, this disability has profound effects on the family members and others in close contact with the Asperger's person. It is the spouses, parents, siblings, and children, of those with Asperger's Syndrome that experience the emotional pain, especially when the correct diagnosis has been delayed until relatively late in adulthood. Family members need validation and support. Feelings of rejection and loneliness play a major role in the lives of the family members of individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. Their feelings are not validated, acknowledged, or recognized by the person with this disability."
Wow. Whoever wrote this knows my hubby. And me!
What makes our life harder is the Hubster’s extended family who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge or accept his (now) eight diagnoses from eight completely different doctors. He has not seen one single doctor that has thought his symptoms were indicative of anything else. 
Steve's relatives' wanton  disregard for his condition, along with their stubborn and callous disregard for his struggle to accept himself and his syndrome, are hard for me to comprehend when they insist that they love him.
Say what? If Steve had diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or epilepsy would his family deny his condition? Would they insist on feeding him sugar, demand that he train for triathlons or ignore a seizure? I, as Steve’s cherished wife and helpmate of twenty years, struggle to cope with and understand Steve’s lack of social skills and common sense. Steve’s family says that they would welcome him for the holidays, but not me nor our children. They deny the existence of Steve’s very nature. Which hurts him to the core of his heart.
Holidays. Family. Validation. Rejection. All hard things to deal with, as are in-laws who choose to be ‘out’-laws. Out of touch, out of reach, out of bounds, out of our lives.
Thank you Lord that Steve and I have each other, as well as our kids, kid-in-law and  grandkid. Thank; you Lord that we can celebrate our holidays in a way to honor Him whom Christmas was named for. I am grateful for our own family traditions and love.
Thank you, dear Readers, for ‘listening’. I am truly thankful for you.
As for the holidays, well - I shall try to spend a lot of time "ho ho ho"-ing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Up To No Good

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Manlet and his family are coming from out of town today. Daughterlet and friend will be out tomorrow, as will more friends and family. We have been painting the exterior of our house since July. It’s big, and we are painting entirely by brush. But I am most definitely tired of the job.
We have been battling cool/cold weather and rain for the last month. It needs to be 50° out to paint; better yet 60°. It also has to be dry. We’ve had close to four inches of rain since Saturday. Gully washer torrents have been pour down from the heavens at regular intervals.
“Can I paint?” says the Hubster Saturday after lunch.  His tenacity in completing his task is admirable.
I grab my phone. It’s now 52° at one o’clock in the afternoon. Looking outside I see that there is a typical ‘Seattle-ish ‘drizzle’ at the moment, but the last bit of painting to be done is on both sides of our attached garage, including the area leading to the front door. I want this area in particular to look nice.
“Sure, Sweetie,” I respond. “You should be able to paint the under eaves and around the bay window. The overhang should have kept those dry.”
A couple of hours pass and I’m heading out the front door to run errands. Steve is on a ladder cleaning cobwebs and spider nests from the eaves near the door. I ask him to please pull the nails that I had up for my hanging baskets as I don’t want them to be painted. I may not even put my baskets up in that same place next year. I do change things up a lot. Like every five or ten years. Hard concept for an Aspie.
“Okay, (mumble mumble mumble),” comes from Hubby. I decide not to have him repeat himself as it can cause him anxiety and push him into frantic activity if he becomes annoyed that I asked when he was busy thinking about his task. When will I learn?
At 5:30 p.m. I come rolling down our long driveway. It is pitch black out. Since we’ve been working on the painting, the front-of-the-house light fixtures have been off the house. I see a slight glow from the far side of the porch. It’s a small camping lantern. As my headlights swing over the front door area, I see Steve jumping as high as he can to stab his paintbrush up into the highest corner under the eaves next to the door.
I slam on my brakes and jump out of the car. “STEVE! What are you doing?” My wipers are going a hundred miles an hour because of the current deluge of rain. I’m not sure if I could trust my eyes.
The Hubster jumps and slaps his brush a couple more times, then turns and runs into the garage. I follow him, asking why he is jumping up to paint instead of using a ladder. He keeps his back to me and ignores me. I go back to my car, which is still running with the headlights lighting up the front walkway. That’s when I notice the whole side of the garage glistening.
I walk over and see that none of the eaves were painted. Only the siding, which had been soaking wet with rain when I left. I couldn’t believe it! I parked my car and called Kidlet to come help carry things in. By now I am very, very wet. And angry.
When Steve finally came in he told me that he wants to paint his way. He has no clue how be a painter. I’ve had him watch DIY online vids but he refuses to follow the suggestions and procedures. He doesn’t want to be told what to do, says he. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper that night.
Sunday morning I head out the door with the dogs. One of them brushed up against the newly painted siding and was instantly covered in paint. It had been sixteen hours or more since Steve painted there. I looked closer. There were hundreds of long, wet drips and dozens of areas with wet sagging paint. Yes, I admit it. I screamed.
Steve insisted that the siding really wasn’t ‘too’ wet for paint because there were no puddles ‘standing on it’, and that he didn’t paint the eaves because he wanted to make the house ‘look nice’ for Thanksgiving by having the siding paint on.
He then spent about two hours trying to ‘paint out’ or blot off all of the mess. I have to admit it doesn’t look too bad right now. A second coat of paint, done in dry weather. will probably even things out. Yesterday he did paint under the eaves. But he also painted the window trim the wrong color. *Sigh.*
Does anyone know a good, cheap painter?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

But I Thought…

I’ve spent a lot of time sighing lately.
My Aspie hubby has been doing too much thinking. His mind is usually going a hundred million miles per hour and he tends to either over think things, complicate things, or just plain imagine things.
Take a ‘for instance’ instance. Though the exact facts have been altered for the purpose of this illustration, the basic scenario is true to form.
“Sweetie! I’m stuck!! I took kidlet to his buddy's and the car quit in the middle of the intersection on the way home!” I yelled into my phone. I am rather excitable.
Granted, I was panicked as I couldn’t get my car pushed completely off the road and Steve wasn’t answering his phone. I had texted and called a dozen times. Still no answer. I had tried to flag someone down to help with no luck.
Twiddling my thumbs, I sat back to contemplate my next move. Gazing sightlessly through the windshield, thoughts tumbling around in my mind, I suddenly came to the realization that my eyes had focused on a pair of bright backup lights. Then I recognized that they belong to my hubby’s rig. Hallelujah.
I jump out of the car to enthusiastically thank him for the rescue. I am very, very appreciative. As he opens his door and walks to the back of his vehicle, I try to hug and kiss him, but he is having none of it. At that point I realize he is stomping, which is his body language for “I’m mad”.
“Sweetie, really, truly, thank you!” I try to explain, but my words are falling on deaf ears.
Instead, Sweetie grabs a huge canvas tarp and starts tying it’s corners to the undercarriages of both our cars.
I am startled. “Steve! What in the world are you doing?”
No answer.
“Sweetheart, are you going to use a canvas sheet to tow with? Seriously?” I am astounded.
Still not a word from my irate, but esteemed, spouse.
He jumps back into his car and guns the engine. I take a flying leap into mine and am just able to slide the tranny into neutral as my Sweetie’s rig tugs at my rig. My door is still open so I quickly slam it shut.
A second later I hear a thundering “riiiiiip” and I, in my barely rolling vehicle, come to an absolute and complete halt. I watch Steve’s tail lights vanish in the distance.

At least I am out of the intersection.
I debate on calling him again. I fidget as I try to calculate how far he will drive before noticing that I’m no longer behind him. I try my darnedest to figure out where in the world he came up with the idea that a canvas sheet was a good substitute for a tow strap. I know from experience that he probably was in the middle of a TV show or some project and,  due to the urgency of my messages, was in such a hurry that he didn't give himself time to find an actual tow strap or chain. I give up on all of the mind boggling possibilities and tip my seat back to take a nap.
Granted, this exact event is fictitious, but it aptly illustrates the many odd ideas that Steve is convinced are real, and that would, could, or will work. Try as I might, I can’t convince him otherwise. His Aspie reasoning cements those ideas in his mind to the point that he can’t tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t. He seems to believe that if he has the ‘thought’ in his head, then it must be true. 

He does now have four approved, registered patents on composite layering materials and/or techniques that prove he can think outside the box.
Meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoy my naps. Laugh out loud.