Thursday, January 31, 2013


Aaaahhh, the negativity we spout as we focus on being wronged instead of trying to fix what is wrong. I’ve heard it said that it’s more offensive to take offense than give offense.
I’ve heard that accusing others of giving offense is the best way to put the ‘offender’ on the defense. So I stay silent.
I am deeply wounded at the ‘truth’ as seen and pronounced by my spouse.
For now I am processing, thinking, contemplating.
I am still reeling.
We are all emotional beings. Humans. Fallible. Able to be blinded by feelings. Some of us less than others of us, as witnessed by the behavior of many Aspies.
Does the Aspergers Syndrome partner in our life mean to be hurtful? I honestly don’t know. I can’t read minds. I can’t ‘feel’ his emotions (or lack thereof).

Will he even remember tomorrow the cutting things he said yesterday?
Then there is a component of self-responsibility. I am fully cognizant that I have faults, that I am far from perfect. I am twenty years older than when we married, and have changed in so many ways; mentally, physically, emotionally, experience-wise and knowledge-wise. I have to acknowledge that I have made choices along this path, obviously not to my spouse’s liking.
Yet I am hurt that I was expected to stay the same as I was eighteen or twenty years ago.
My Aspie has changed in so many ways I can barely count them all. I’ve accepted much of it, though some of the developed habits he has taken on could be eliminated as they are purposeful choices on his part.
But no one is perfect, right?
Wrong, according to my husband. And furthermore, my changes are to blame for his actions towards me. He has to have done or do what he is doing. ‘Any man would’.
The nice thing about hind-sight is that it becomes much easier to laugh about things.
For now, I need more coffee.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seems Out

Let’s face it. Not having thumbs that work sucks. It’s amazing how many things we do on a daily basis are reliant on working thumbs.
I have arthritis in mine. Freezing temperatures, of which we’ve now had for over two weeks straight, aggravate my condition. I try not to whine or complain, but doggone it, I hate dropping my coffee.  
We all have things in life that are challenging. I also have Hearfore disease (when one goes into another room just to stand there and wonder what one is ‘here for’), Dunnshrunk disease (my arms ‘done shrunk’ and I can’t read as well anymore), and Zumtymers (pre Alzheimer’s – zum tymes I remember and zum tymes I don’t).
Steve is challenged with Aspergers Syndrome. He faces obstacles in thought processing, social interaction and communication (or lack thereof) every day.
Because he and I process our thoughts differently, and our viewpoints on ‘logic’ can so vastly differ, household chores that my Sweetie helps me with during my ‘bad thumb weather’ can end up making me laugh or cry.
Take our bedding for instance.
Sheets, especially fitted ones, are too difficult for me to manage when I can’t grip well. So Steve has been making our bed lately. Last night I noticed that the seams were facing out on the corners of the fitted sheet. When I asked him why, he said that it is because he was trying to use it both ways so it would wear more evenly.
I asked if that was why he had the finished side of the flat sheet away from us and towards the blanket.
“No, it’s because it has a seam at the top and bottom. You just said that seams go in, so the seams are going into the bed.”
I try to explain that the finished side seam was in against the blanket. The non-finished seams were against us. Exactly, says he. It would be like wearing your clothes inside out to put them away from us.  
His logic seems conflicting to me and I could tell that the wheels were turning in his mind, though his face was blank. I quickly assured him that it really didn’t matter and that I was just happy that there were clean sheets on the bed. If it were up to my abilities that day, there wouldn’t have been.
It ‘seemed’ to be a good time to turn off the lights and go to sleep on clean sheets, ‘seamed’ in or ‘seamed’ out is totally unimportant when you are unconscious, lol.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Once again I am reminded of how blessed I am to be still married to my Aspie Hubby. Not all are equally so.
I try to regularly read a number of blogs and websites dedicated to Aspergers Syndrome. A few days ago there was a post on the GRASP website by a fellow who’s son has Aspergers, and who is wondering if his wife does also. He was contemplating marriage counseling as they are currently separated.
My heart goes out to them. I realize that one of the most important aspects in maintaining a healthy relationship is good communication. If one of the partners is ‘handicapped’ in communicating, it makes it much harder to do so.
Normally I don’t comment on blogs or posts (and yes, fb is a different matter). I did feel lead to commenting on this one.
not too sure you can find help in the marriage counseling area, anywhere - my husband has aspergers syndrome - i became extremely frustrated in both reading literature "for" neurotypicals married/in relationships with aspies & going to various marriage counselors - it/they all seemed so negative and discouraging…”
Over the years Steve and I have tried literally dozens of counselors and therapists. There's only been a couple that have had any helpful input at all.
Why? I’m sure it’s because the others have all expected us to look at our communication problems, recognize them as problems, and take appropriate steps to change how we communicate. Which, with me, is possible and most of the time, probable. Not so much with Steve. He either doesn't recognize a problem, consider it a problem, or think he needs to change anything.
I know that I am better now at stating in direct language my needs to my Hubby. I know that I can’t hint around as Steve doesn’t/can't pick up on nuances. There are many of my emotions that he flat out doesn’t get, regardless of how I explain them.
"That's just silly," says he.
And no, I don't always hold my temper when he states that. I'm getting better though.
The counselors that we actually have been able to work with were not specifically ‘marriage’ counselors. They were ‘Aspergers Syndrome’ counselors. Even so, they readily admit that they don’t have all the answers as they aren’t Aspies themselves. They are quick to point out that though they don’t fully understand Steve’s perspective on life, they have worked with enough Aspies that they recognize many of the common issues we deal with, and can suggest positive and helpful methods for adaptation or change.
Of course, those with Aspergers Syndrome just love change, now don’t they? lol

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Flat Effect

“Steve, Steve – look! We just received a tax refund of $800!” I was nearly out of breath as I sprinted into my Hubby’s sanctuary, our detached three car garage.
Steve had barely lifted his head from under the hood of his Buick. I waited for a response. Nothing. The Hubster’s face remained blank as it rotated back to the four barrel carb he was installing. I waited a bit longer, then shrugged to myself and went back to the house where I set the check next to his recliner with a sticky note requesting he ‘sign here’.
No more was said, no questions asked, though I found the signed check on the keybox of our coatrack later that evening.

A few days later I had to share the sad news that my uncle had passed away.

Granted, I met my Sweetie at the front door when he came home from work when I know full well that his mind was going ninety miles an hour with all of his ‘just got home from work to-do list’, so I wasn’t exactly shocked that he made no response. Later that evening I asked him if he’d be able to take time off work the following week to go to the funeral with me. Still no verbal response. Hmmm. I figured I’d just text him the particulars when I was notified of them.

A couple of weeks ago I was notified that Kidlet was bumped up to an older team for the coming year’s baseball team. This was great news as Kidlet really wants to earn a combo athletic/academic scholarship to college. I found Steve practicing his guitar in the bedroom. I did wait until he was done to share the exciting news.

I could see that he was struggling to control his excitement. Not.

Psychologist and Family Therapist Mark Hutten had an excellent article on 'Flat Affect and Reading Facial Expressions'. Though the article was geared towards kids with Aspergers, I found it spot-on for understanding my husband.
“Many…with Aspergers…have a flat affect. Their facial expressions are fixed or “artificial” in appearance instead of naturally animated. The [aspie] may not laugh or smile unless cued to do so in an appropriate situation, or he may appear to have a collection of rehearsed or “canned” reactions to match certain circumstances (which, by the way, is actually a real strength). The [aspie’s] way of talking may also seem “flat” and monotone. In other words, his words may sound robotic and carefully measured, or there may be a lilting tone to his voice (described by some as “sing-song”) in which his speech sounds as if it's bouncing up and down when he talks.

Many…with Aspergers have internal feelings that may or may not be reflected on their face. But it's important that they provide natural, spontaneous expressiveness – and recognize facial expressions in others – because facial expressions are a form of non-verbal communication essential to interpersonal relationships.

Reading facial expressions is important for social success. An inability to read facial and social cues makes “connecting” to others very difficult. Learning to translate and digest the meanings of different facial expressions can help determine other people's needs and foster true communication.”

One thing that I am thankful for is Steve’s calm expression in the middle of some sort of crisis. (Excluding those of his own creation.) While I am quick to react with my immediate feelings, my Hubby’s calm appearance will often be the gentle brake I need to control my emotions.

My list of emoticons is nearly limitless. Steve’s is simple.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

All Thumbs

I am soooooo happy! After a relaxing New Year’s Day that ending with us retrieving Kidlet from Manlet’s abode and having a wonderful dinner together at our favorite Italian restaurant, Steve and I tackled one of my many projects on our Honey-do list yesterday.
Several years ago we replaced our basement carpeting. A few days after it was installed I attempted to exit the basement through the side door that we don’t use much.
I couldn’t open the door! The carpet installers put the pad and new carpeting right up to the door’s threshold and it was high enough that the bottom of the door wouldn’t clear it. So the door was carpeted shut.
I called the carpet place who told me to call a carpenter to replace the threshold, or the door itself. Right. Of course the carpenter wanted almost as much to fix the door as we paid for all the new carpeting. We chose to stop using the door.
After studying the situation for the last several years, I was convinced that I could fix it myself. Meanwhile, my sweet Hubby had started using the hallway to that door for storage.
Yesterday morning I asked Steve if he would help me fix the door. After promising to quietly and politely be my helper, he helped me gathered up tools and we marched downstairs to reclaim our egress to the outside world.
Ignoring Steve’s fussing about where to put all the ‘stuff’ he had in the hallway, I emptied it quickly. I then had him remove the hinge pins from the door. Since the doorknob and deadbolt lock haven’t been used in such a long time, and due to the fact that they are now eighteen years old, we had to disassemble them and break them out. I will be off to the hardware store in just a bit to procure new ones. (Hubby wanted to keep all the old pieces “just in case”, but they are now safely in the bottom of the trash can by the road.)
Once the door was movable, I was able to see that simply peeling back the carpet and pad would make enough room for the door to swing freely again. I still had linoleum from our basement washroom and laundry remodel, so I had Steve cut the carpet/pad back and remove extra tack strip. I cut and glued the linoleum in place; we retacked the carpeting and finished the edge off with metal carpet trim.
It turned out fabulously! Steve also helped me fasten a miniblind over the door’s window, though he had already put the tools away. His irritation at having to get them out again was mild, as I kept praising him for his help. Once the blind was finished, and I had made sure that I communicated that I was completely finished with the tools, we cleaned up and had a lovely supper.
Considering that Steve always says that he is ‘all thumbs’ when it comes to fixit chores around the house, I was able to convince him that I am able to accomplish a lot when he lends me his thumbs. He definitely has dyslexia, though not severe.
I ran across a great forum thread on dyslexia, Aspergers and dyspraxia. I often forget how frustrating it must be for Steve to deal with all of these issues; mind scrambling and clumsiness do not mix well with dyi projects. Since I have fairly severe arthritis in both of my thumbs, I am very, very glad that he has more than two.
And that is no laughing matter, lol!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


New Year’s Day 2013. Time for reflection, renewal, and revision.
We had a glorious evening last night at a local café that featured a great band. The food was fantastic and there was a surprisingly good comic during one of the band breaks. Steve was the designated driver so I was able to enjoy a wonderful glass of wine with my salmon and a little bit of bubbly at midnight.
My Sweetie was polite, calm and pleasant, a drastic change from his persona of earlier yesterday.
Over the weekend we realized that both our thousand gallon septic tanks needed pumping out. It should be done every two to three years. For us it’s been seven, which is a really good sign that we have been doing things right. No garbage disposal, no bleach in the wash, no powdered detergents for dishes or laundry, or harmful cleaners down the drain.
Instead of being happy with me, my hubby was trying every which way to ‘blame’ me for the system needing pumping. He had a total screaming, swearing meltdown.
Uh huh. Yah, right. All my fault.
Yesterday morning was another meltdown go-around. Steve decided he needed a refill on a med that had no refills available. I needed him to sign a check for deposit but he was on the phone to his doctor’s office. They told him to call the pharmacy to have them call the doctor. He called the pharmacy who said that they couldn’t do that. They told him to call his doctor.
Hubby was furious.
Back again on the phone with the doctor’s office they reminded him that he had an appointment with the doc on Thursday. He rudely hung up the phone and slammed his pill bottle onto the counter. As the bottle hit, I heard rattling. A whole lot of rattling.
“Sweetheart, how many tablets do you have?” I questioned my much irked mate.
“NINE!” came the ferocious response.
“How many pills of it do you take per day?” I further quizzed.
“ONE!” barked Steve.
“Ummm, why do you need to renew the prescription today if you are going in to see the doctor in four days? Could you talk to him about it then? Perhaps he didn’t want to renew this specific med or wants to change the dosage.”
Total silence from my spouse for a few minutes as the wheels and gears in his head turned. He picked up the pill bottle and stared at it, then turned and walked off.
I sighed, then went off to not do laundry since the tanks still needed pumping.
May the good Lord bless the wonderful man who came out a few hours later to do the pumping on a New Year’s Eve. With his help, I was able to have a whole lot of crap hauled off and start the New Year with clean tanks.