Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I did it! I’ve successfully survived five days in the cold-from-hell-land. I still have a nasty cough that will keep me separated from my favorite friends and activities for a bit longer, but I actually arose from the depths of the couch today to make coffee and lunches for my guys.
Who manned the stations & kept the house rolling during my near-demise? If you guessed my hubby, you are dead wrong. If you guessed Kidlet, then you are dead on.
Baseball practices, school science fair, and normal school activities went on with me barely able to drag myself in and out of the car. Yes, hubby did take Kidlet to one practice because I was literally laying on the floor hacking up a lung (which I thoughtfully donated to the local organ bank as I am not a smoker).
Oh yes, the Hubster stopped twice at the deli for us. Otherwise, no cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, bill paying, meal preparations, or other normal household routines were completed by my spouse.
He didn’t even commend me for sleeping in the livingroom in order to minimize his exposure to my cold germs.
Kidlet was just two days ahead of me on this particular bug, so several of the days he was as miserable as I was, and then tried to help the best he could. But still not a lick of sympathy or help from the Hubster.
Cold hearted? Uncaring? Self-absorbed and self-centered? Perhaps, but definitely an Aspie who seems to lack empathy. At least for those who are close to him.
If Steve hears a sad story about a family in Indonesia who loses their flimsy shack of a home in a hurricane and is reduced to living on the streets, he will sob uncontrollably and spend days in depression because of their plight. When one of the kids or I suffer the loss of a close friend or family member, or have some horrific thing happen to us, Steve becomes annoyed if we even ‘bother’ him with it.
“What’s wrong with you!” grumbles our Aspie. “Death is a natural part of life! Get over it!”
“Lost their job? So what? There are lots of jobs around! What did they do wrong? I bet their boss just used the current economy to get rid of them!” bellows the Head of our home. Granted, he has been able to stay employed at the same company for 25 years, but he typically stays in one area for only a few years. He is constantly changing positions.
As for empathy among those with Aspergers Syndrome, there is much debate. Can an Aspie feel empathy, or is it a response that is dulled or missing in their makeup?
I found an interesting bit in Julie Fischer’s blog on Autism and Empathy http://www.autismandempathy.com/?p=1476
Ms. Fischer refers to a study done in Switzerland that suggests “not only do individuals on the autism spectrum have empathy, but they actually feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”
As sick as I was, as incapable of doing for myself or Kidlet, I asked Steve why he didn’t try to help during the worse of my illness.
His response? “I didn’t want to bother you in case you wanted to sleep or something.”
For five full days?
*Sigh* At least I survived.  L  [cough cough]  O  [cough]  L  [cougggggh cough coooough] ……

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wife of Pi

I’m a 4. I’m 4ever. Steve is a Pi. He goes on and on. Since both forever and pi go on and on, I guess we are really just the same in the end.
Except we are both endless.
So often I think I become irritated with Steve not seeming ‘normal’ when he really IS normal – for him. His viewpoints are rigid and defined, whereas mine have more of a creative bent to them and are typically situational and more easily changable.
Yet we co-exist in this universe with the same exact goal.
Perhaps that is why, over all, we are a couple. We each are a different strand that when braided together makes up one complete cable that goes on and on forever.
We are soul mates.
Looking back on our last twenty years together, I can see how my hubby and I have grown to be more alike as the years pass.
If I evaluate myself honestly, I can see that perhaps some of Steve’s idiosyncrasies are the very things that set him apart from the crowd for me, and the very reasons why I grew to love him.
Some of my own oddities are probably frustrating to him also, though off hand I am hard pressed to think of any. (Just joking! My list of foibles is almost endless.)
Life is mostly about learning. Those that seem to do the best in life are people who are open minded to learning, and willing to admit how much they have left to learn.
My husband loves to learn, except from me. Not sure why he often jumps into a combatant position when I try to teach him about housekeeping, cooking, proper diet, et cetera. Something left over from childhood? I honestly don’t know. Since Steve earned his master’s degree while we’ve been married as well as teach college classes and  attend countless seminars, conferences, and continuing education classes, it seems apparent that he enjoys learning.
Yet if I try to teach, show, or instruct he wigs out.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” is his battle cry.
“Leave me alone!” reverberates throughout the house.
“Let me do it MY way!” demands the Hubster.
For the sake of harmony, I guess I have to not tell/leave alone/let him.
Is it fair that I have to do all the housework, bookkeeping, child care, social planning? No, probably not. Is it fun to have my hubby next to me listening to great music, hiking and camping, and going to car shows or traveling? You bet your boots it is!
My husband is alive and mobile. He is gainfully employed. He has many similar interests. And darn, he’s cute!
So are 4 and Pi compatible? Yep, in this home they are! lol

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spring Training

Tomorrow, which is Valentine’s Day, this blog will turn one year old. I distinctly remember the date as I was frustrated that I couldn’t get my hubby to ride along with me to Kidlet’s baseball practice.

My plan was to drop the Kid off, then my Hubby and I could go somewhere close by to grab a bite to eat, or coffee, or just something to do together. After all, it was the national day of 'romance'.

Well, the Hubster didn’t see it that way. All he knew is that he doesn’t like baseball and  he had projects in his shop. Spring training, whether by professionals or his own offspring, is ‘boring’, ‘irrelevant’, and an activity for me to do without him, which I’m all too happy to oblige.
I mentioned this milestone to Steve a couple of days ago, along with the fact that my blog has had over 60,000 hits from 120 different countries in just one year.
Total silence. He just looked at me.
“Sweetie, did you hear me?” I asked.
Still no answer from the Hubster, so I went off to do some other chores, figuring that his mind was engaged elsewhere. I have learned that it is pointless to try to ‘interrupt’ his thinking. I’d talk to him later about it.
As I stood sorting and folding towels on our bed, I heard someone walking up behind me. Since Kidlet is only an inch or so shy of his father’s height, I figured it was him.
“Whatcha need, Sweetie?” I said without turning around.
“It was really Valentine’s Day?” quizzed my hubby.
At the sound of his voice I turned and saw by Steve’s puzzled face that he seemed truly dismayed. He asked again if I had really started my blog on Valentine’s Day last year while sitting at a coffee shop by myself. I assured him that yes, I did.
He was incredulous.
I was stupefied.
He sheepishly started talking. Truth of the matter is that he forgot. Since he hates ‘wasting’ his time on sports, and he resents ‘having’ to observe a 'manmade holiday' invented by a card company, I figured those were the reasons why he wouldn’t go out with me last year, or get me anything. But it turns out that he simply forgot that it was V-day.
In the scheme of things, I suppose it really doesn’t matter, and I took the opportunity to hint for something appropriate like a nice red Audi R8 as he now has two Valentine's Days to make up for. (Though at close to 200K I seriously doubt I’ll find that Audi in my garage tomorrow morning.)
The greatest thing about writing these posts is realizing how much I have learned about myself, my husband, and marriage. I appreciate all of you readers, and am grateful for your sharing. Please know that many of your responses make me laugh too.
After all, humor is the oil in life that keeps the machinery from squeaking. And boy oh boy, do things get oiled well around here!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


“Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you.”
Rot! Malarky!! WORLD’S BIGGEST LIE!!!
Once said, words can never be erased or undone. Even seemingly innocuous things like, “What were you thinking?” can sow seeds of doubt and self-defamation in someone’s heart.
Thus, I have to guard my tongue constantly, as my mouth often works faster than my brain. Or my ‘filter’ needs updating or replacement, just like the water jug filter or furnace filter.
I love the game of Scrabble. I play a tablet version every day during my lunch time. I love words that are uplifting and edifying. I hate words that destructive or degrading.
Words spoken to me as a child can still roll around in my mind today, along with the tone of voice that my parents used to ‘brand’ me with them, even though I can’t remember what we had for dinner two nights ago.
In my teens, those words had a huge influence on my behavior. After all, if they already thought I was worthless or no good, why should I care about ‘being good’?
Today those thoughts rarely pop up. I have learned to love myself, and have used those experiences to strongly color my life with my husband and children. I know that it’s been relatively successful as every time we speak on the phone, we end the conversation with ‘love you’! It’s so automatic that I find myself uttering that phrase to a service rep or acquaintance on the phone. Perhaps it might make their day a bit brighter. Or perhaps they will remember me as just some crazy lady who called. Whatever. I love my hubby & kids.
Just this morning I was reading:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Looking at these words reminds me of why I keep on ‘keeping on’ with Aspergers Syndrome in my life. I promised to love my husband until death do us part. I plan on keeping that promise, no matter what.
Do I ever get angry, frustrated, irritable, exasperated or discouraged? Of course, but I am doing better at focusing on the positives and overriding the negatives. I try to pick out a word in the verses above to lead me each day.
Today it is ‘hope’. As in, I hope I can be a better person, and I hope I can be patient and kind today, no matter what the circumstance.
I have that hope because of love. What if I’m not feeling the love? Then I can choose to act as if I do, until I feel the way I am acting.
Easy? Nope, not all the time. But practice makes perfect, and boy do I have a lot of situations each day with which to practice!!! lol
a post script to those who struggle with abuse in their lives - do NOT put up with abuse to yourself or your children for ONE second - find a safe place to stay & someone for counsel - love yourself enough to take good care of yourself & your kids - we only have to live one day at a time - "for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare & not for evil, to give you a future & a hope." jeremiah 29.11

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It Sort of Looks Like…

It’s big. It has a massive body on four legs, an utter, and gives milk. It makes a distinctive mooing sound while flopping it’s ears and tail around in an attempt to eradicate flies.
It looks like a cow, but something is off. It is pink and black. That can’t be a cow.
Say what?
That’s how it is with an Asperger partner. They look like a regular person, often in a ‘Sheldon’ sort of way, but when they open their mouth to speak their Aspie logic, or launch into a fourteen hour discussion regarding their single focus interest, we realize that something is off.
I love my hubby dearly. There are days, however, that I have to respond to him as if he were a surely teenager, best ignored.
In one of our therapy meetings (and yes, I find it very helpful to have a trained professional work with us on various issues), Steve complained that I sometimes treat him like a child. Tis true, when he is acting like a child. I can’t help it. I’m a mom.
For those around me who don’t know us well, I am sure that my attitudes can be confusing if they don’t understand that many times I have to be the sole grownup in our relationship. I am 24/7 mom to our kids, running the entire household and social calendar for us all.
Granted, Steve has a great job that he has maintained for over twenty-five years now. I am grateful for that. He attends local AS meetings and says that there is a recurring theme of unemployment for many of the participants as well as singleness and lack of personal relationships. He is about the only married person who regularly attends. (And no, he does not name names, just tells me generalizations about what he hears.)
Is AS truly on the autism spectrum? I don’t know. I starting to think that AS is something separate. Can Aspies ‘outgrow’ AS? That I don’t know either. Steve’s family all deny that he has Aspergers. But they haven’t been in close contact with him on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis since he was a kid. For me,  the Hubster was just a very awkward, shy man when we met. I quickly recognized his genius, and chalked his lack of social skills up to his engineering mind.
Steve’s AS traits, at least for me, have become more pronounced as he ages. Perhaps they are more prominent because I’ve lived with him daily for longer than anyone else he knows. I’m not sure which it is.
John Elder Robison had a great post last month 'Can We Outgrow Autism?' (please keep in mind that this is Mr. Robison’s viewpoint and that I personally am not convinced that AS is ‘high functioning autism’)
One comment was particularly revealing to me. It said,
"As we use coping mechanisms meant to make us appear NT, the internal stress grows, the exhaustion builds up and the meltdowns can be spectacular (albeit out of public sight.) The behaviors/skills we learn to "pass" changes others perceptions of us but do not change us. Public life may go better (somewhat) and the NTs feel less threatened but, at the end of the day, we are the same."
I’ve often wondered if Steve really feels so safe in our home that he is able to ‘let his hair down’ and be ‘himself’. Perhaps the meltdowns are just something that he bottles up at work and in public because he realizes that he couldn’t act that way anywhere but ‘home’. Our home is his castle, his sanctuary. With that in mind, I wonder if I ask too much of him to be social towards us when he comes home. Or, for that matter, whenever he is at home. His brain must be tired.
Whichever bandwagon you choose to ride, within the autism spectrum or not, I do believe that we can all agree that AS is absolutely a ‘cow of a different color’, lol.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Attitude?

I will begin this post by laughing out loud.
Do I know my spouse, or what?
Exactly two days after his proclamation of disinterest in me, along with his professed disdain that I should have had the audacity to change after twenty years, I headed off to dinner and live music last night and he asked to join me. I acquiesced. The food was delicious, the music fantastic, many friends had shown up also and we had a fabulous night out. Kidlet went off to a friend’s for an overnight, so when we returned home we had the house to ourselves, and we’ve made the most of it.
So there!
I’m not sure what it is about Steve’s Aspergers Syndrome that causes him to slip into blue ‘funks’, or if his bouts of discontent are an animal of their own, but among the ‘sea of blue’ it is so nice to see a sunny spot.
In the blog “Life with Aspergers”, the author discusses  Aspergers and Depression.
Although he starts off labeling Aspergers as a ‘mental condition’, which I don’t happen to believe, he has some interesting points. Reading through the comments was also enlightening.
One thing that popped out at me was his mention of Aspies having very good long term memory. That started me thinking about this week and the Hubster’s disturbing declarations to me.
Could it be that Steve vividly pictures me as a newlywed, then suddenly ‘wakes up’ to see me now? Has he perhaps missed all the aging steps and child birthing years between that point and now? Or was he just morose that day and focusing on the ocean of blue around himself?
I am so, so glad that I kept my mouth shut and waited him out.
Didn’t I say he might do this? After twenty years of marriage, I think that I’ve figured him out.
Well…. we shall see the next time something like this comes up.
And I guarantee you that it will happen again, laugh out loud. Such is the life with Aspergers Syndrome.