Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Go Ahead & Stare

It’s a lovely spring day. We have driven into the city to take our young son to the zoo. Though it is a warm afternoon, the crowd is sparse and there is an abundance of room on the footpaths between exhibits to skip, run and jump.
People are turning to stare.
Really? They’ve never seen a grownup enjoying the freedom to move about willy nilly, and perfect weather in which to do so?
Oh. Perhaps they are staring because Steve is doing this without the Kidlet and I, who are meandering behind him a few dozen feet.
The Hubster has been a wonderful playmate with our kids and their friends. His intensity tends to be contagious. However, he seems to lack the understanding of situational appropriateness. As the kids have gotten older, their ‘play’ has changed. What was fun at five and six is downright embarrassing at thirteen.
A good article in Hope Network explains thusly:
"It is important to remember that people with Asperger’s are as different from one another as any two people in the general population.  While it is true that people with Asperger’s syndrome tend to share general problems in socialization, communication, and behavior, the manner in which these problems are manifested leaves room for a tremendous variety of individual differences – as much variety as is found in any group of people.

A person with Asperger’s syndrome may appear to others as unmotivated or lazy; he may do very well in one-on-one interactions but very poorly in group settings, or very well in one classroom setting but horribly in another.  Children with Asperger’s syndrome may interact quite well with adults, but struggle with other children… While the day-to-day difficulties and the neurological differences that are characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome may be confusing and frustrating, they are not arbitrary and, despite possible appearances to the contrary, the person with Asperger’s syndrome does not choose to be “weird” or lazy.
For example, it is not unusual for people to (often accurately) perceive the person with Asperger’s syndrome as quite bright.  They then become frustrated with what appears to be purposefully provocative, disrespectful, or immature behavior.  Because the person with Asperger’s syndrome is less able to decipher nonverbal cues that others are becoming irritated or frustrated, these situations often end up in emotional “explosions.”  Consequently, the person with Asperger’s Syndrome is yet again reminded of the degree to which he is different from those around him, thus exacerbating a common sense of loneliness, estrangement, and sadness or anger. While the person with Asperger’s syndrome is as capable as anyone of being purposefully rude or disrespectful, the likelihood of misunderstanding is exponentially greater when Asperger’s syndrome is present and the potential emotional damage that can occur is greater."

I’m fairly use to it. The staring, that is. My hubby will often surprise me with his varied antics in public. From his absent-minded humming or flapping to his falling asleep-snoring at the movie theater, I’ve seen (and heard) a lot over the years. As I age, I like to pretend that they are really just awestruck at my beauty. lol

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Never Too Late

Hurray! We did it! The Hubster and I were married twenty years ago today, which is also the first day of spring.

New beginnings all the way around. The weather prediction for the Seattle area is for snow tonight. Not exactly spring weather. Our ‘big’ celebration was to have a lovely salmon dinner with Kidlet in front of a screwball comedy on the tube after baseball was over for the day.
Woo hoo! Just kidding. But it was comfy and warm and home, our home.
In all sincerity, I am very proud of our accomplishment. Steve stepped into a ready-made family that included a teenage boy and a preteen girl. Considering he had been chosen least likely to marry in high school, I think I chose, I mean, he chose well. Our kids adore him, and most of the time I do too.
Yesterday I had an interesting comment on Turn the Tables that really got me thinking. 'Anonymous' said in part: 

“He promises he will change- reading your post makes me worry that nothing will ever change- that I will always be alone and isolated if I stay with him. I do love him, but he can't seem to love me back. I suppose I just want to ask- is it worth it. Looking back over all those days and years- is loving someone that is distant and in their own head worth it? Have you been happy?”
My response was:
“*sigh* this is tough - aspergers in my experience is basically a lack of emotional growth and social skills - both necessary ingredients in a good marriage - there are days i'm so frustrated that i could scream & many other days i absolutely adore my hubby - after twenty years of marriage i guess i keep coming down to the fact that i said "i do" for best or worse... if steve had some sort of debilitating accident that rendered him incapable of speech or movement, i wouldn’t dream of leaving him – if you get right down to it, we all have to ‘make’ our own happiness & we all ‘speak’ our own love language – there is nothing wrong with saying “i don’t feel like you love me – can you give me more hugs/kisses/cuddles” – not all apsies can deal with close physical contact all the time so maybe an act of love could be him sending you texts or emails saying ‘i love you’ could make you feel more connected – there are tons of times my hubby prefers to be alone, which is fine with me as I have so many of my own interests to pursue (reading, writing, crafts, visiting my own friends & kids) – we have a lot of shared interests too (including his focal interest of cars) which usually makes him happy which makes me happy – i would never cast out one of my children because they were being teenagers, whoops, I mean not acting loving towards me – same with the hubster – sure, it’s been a lot of work, but hey, most things that are worthwhile to me are – I encourage you to read all you can about aspergers syndrome, sharing these doubts with your spouse, spend time regularly in meditation or prayer, and find a good friend or an nt/aspie group to ‘vent’ – it works wonders for your own peace of mind! who knows, he may feel as confused as you right now, lol...”
If I was sent back in time to the 19th of March 1993, with all of the knowledge I have now, I would still have to say “I do"!
Yes, I would do it again. There have been rough patches to be sure, but with Kidlet added to our family fourteen years ago, and my Hubby’s relationship to his ‘ready-made kids’, I can’t imagine my life turning out any other way than what it has.
So, Dear Readers, am I happy? YES! Is it because I choose to be? Of course. Is it because of faith? Definitely. Is it due in part to Steve’s idiosyncrasies? Very possibly. But all in all, I am happy, I am loved (hey, he remembered to get me an anniversary card this year and it says so!), and I have made a ton of new friends from around the world due to this blog.
Happy anniversary to us! I am thankful Steve has put up with me, lol...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pretending to be Normal

Every once in a while I see a glimmer of the man I married twenty years ago tomorrow. He was quiet, polite, introspective. Nothing like the raving maniac who bombarded our home yesterday afternoon while Kidlet was at baseball practice.
What set him off now?
It was Monday.
Okay, you ask, what is wrong with Monday?
Well, our garbage is picked up Tuesday mornings around 7 a.m. Steve has his routine fixed to set out the garbage on Monday night. Never mind that it could be done anytime on Sunday so that he doesn’t feel panicked on Monday night. Every other week our recycle bin is also collected. This week is recycle week.
So I get home from running errands yesterday afternoon shortly before 5 p.m. and nearly get run over by Hubby as he dashes out of the house, with bags full of garbage in each hand that hasn’t been taken out by Kidlet.
“Why are you doing Kidlet’s chore? He hasn’t been home from school yet. What is the rush?” I ask the raging man with the bright red face.
“Okay, I pick him up from practice around 6. Can he do it then? With daylight savings time now it won’t get dark until 7:30 or 8 p.m.”
Ei yi yi. I hear him dragging the garbage cans over and slamming them into the back of his truck. I go inside and start dinner. A couple of minutes later I hear the door open and then bang shut.
“I’M TAKING THE DOGS FOR A WALK,” declares Hubby.
Good, I think to myself. Maybe he will cool off a bit.
When I get back from picking Kidlet up, I see our pickup still parked in front of the house with the garbage cans loaded in the back. Upon entering our domicile, I determine that man and dogs are still gone. It is now 6:20.
Kidlet changes and I dish up dinner. We are quietly eating when the Hubster slams back into the house. Oh oh.
“Are you ready to eat Dear?” I ask.
“Grumble grrrrrr bark bark grumble” response my mate.
I indeed dish up his meal for him. He grabs it and starts eating. Kidlet and I are now finished and I pick up our plates and head to the kitchen. Sure enough, I hear a loud, angry voice from the other room. I head straight back and find Steve towering over a seated kid, yelling at him for not “getting chores done”. I stop him in mid-sentence.
“He would have had you not done them for him,” I stated. “See, it’s still daylight out, and you haven’t driven out to the road to put the cans out yet. There was plenty of time.”
Hubby downed his food and stomped out. When I asked Kidlet if he was okay, he just shrugged.
“Don’t worry, Mom,” he said. “Dad just likes getting things done when he thinks about them.”
*Sigh* Same old same old. Glad that Kidlet has a good heart in that 6’1” frame. I am also glad that it’s baseball season, lol.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Turn the Tables

“What the heck is this?” asked my puzzled mate.
“Periodic tables, I believe,” says I.
“No that’s not!” blurts spouse. “It’s not even in English!”
“Can’t the tables be in another language?” I quiz. “Or even in scientific symbols or something?” I am now a bit embarrassed at not knowing, but I have never, ever claimed to be a scientist. “After all, a number is still a number no matter what language you speak, correct?” I try to reason.
Now an incoherent babbling of sound/mumbling comes from the Hubster’s location, though I am realizing that his position is on the move, probably towards the front door in order to escape out to his shop.
Steve does not like anything to be different from his mind set. He seems to enjoy learning, however, which is hard for me to comprehend. How can you be cemented in place with certain ideas yet spend time, energy and money to take ongoing classes to learn new things?
Next week is our twentieth anniversary. That means we have endured/survived 7,300 days together, give or take a few extra leap year days. Just last night my beloved hubby was telling me that he needs to do some things differently in our relationship.
Ummm hmmm.
Trouble is he’s been saying that on and off for years, with no apparent changes. I ask him if he would believe his boss if he were to be told he was to receive a raise over and over and over again with no change in his paycheck. Steve conceded that he probably wouldn’t. I then ask him if I should believe him when he says he’s going to act better towards me or change some of his self-serving ways.
He says “Of course! I’m your husband!”
Oh. Sure. Okay.
When he gets into his self-absorbed world to the exclusion of our kids and me, I wonder how he’d feel if I turned the tables on him and began acting the same way.
With my luck, he probably wouldn’t notice.
And that, of course, would sort of defeat the purpose, don’t you thing? Lol…

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nothing Left

Ei yi yi yi! How frustrating my marriage can be sometimes. Granted, there is truth in the supposition that men are from one planet and women are from another. And also true is that each and every one of us humans are unique from one another. Coupled with our backgrounds and development as youngsters, even with similar ethic, cultural and spiritual upbringings, we all tend to view things differently.
Though I do tend to wonder about the state of my Aspie spouse’s brain.
Aspie Wife, Aspie Mom covers her view of an NT/Aspie relationship as comparable to roses and cacti:
Aspies do not understand that roses need rose food (emotional connection, tender loving care, appreciation, communication, time out for chatting complete with an emotional component, understanding, romance, etc.) Cactus food cannot nourish, or even sustain, a rose.
Aspies can only provide cactus food. When the rose begins to wilt and tries to explain that it needs rose food, the cactus will not understand and may call the rose "selfish" and "ungrateful". In the desert, with a prickly cactus, is a scary place for a rose to be. The rose will be deprived of intimate emotional connection, communication and love. Home-making will become a nightmare, because the cactus in his desert environment has no need for all the finishing touches that a rose would consider essential in her rose garden.
Aspie Wife, Aspie Mom goes on to list a number of things she suggests to help the NT ‘rose’ to thrive. Some are challenges for her, some I personally have no troubles with.
So often I am left with the feeling that my hubby is living his life as a single man with a live-in housekeeper. He’s not unfaithful as such – he just doesn’t consider anyone other than himself.
So often he comes home from work, and the minute he steps through the front door he begins looking around to see what chores Kidlet or I have neglected. Never mind that the Hubster himself forgot to change out the propane tanks and I had no hot water all day to bathe or wash clothes or dishes. We won’t mention how many weeks he’s forgotten to take out the recycle bin or neglected to check the vital fluids in my car and the oil is down a couple of quarts. He seems hell bent on raging at us for even the tiniest thing.
Granted, I am home all day. Except for running Kidlet’s baseball bag up to him after school as it is too big to lug around all day. Or run to the post office, bank, grocery store, library or pharmacy for hubby. And then pickup Kidlet after practice. And take the dogs to the vet, or to the groomers. And then dash back home to take Kidlet to private baseball lessons. And....
You get the gist of it.
I just have to tend to my own gardening. I suppose my goal is to try to become a thornless rose that blooms endlessly. Just as long as I don’t reach a point where there is nothing left, I should be good, lol!