Thursday, July 25, 2013


I grew up in an era when people wore air dried clothes, went to bed with fresh smelling sheets and finished their baths with scratchy towels. Some of my earliest memories are of handing wooden clothespins and wet garments to mom, aunts and grandmas  in housedresses and aprons as they hung their wash out on variously strung lines.
One friend’s mother had separate lines for the sun and for shade or rain. I always thought that was a cool idea as the Seattle area I was raised in more often than not had rain. In my childhood home, we had lines strung across our tiny basement for rainy days. Playing in there was hazardous as wet sheets can entangle small children in an instant!
As an adult I have chosen to continue that tradition. Well, at least I tried. At our old house I had a lovely ‘umbrella’ style clothesline that used a single post hole. When we built our current house shortly after Steve and I married, I decided to put up a retractable ‘pull out’ style line. It had a nice weather proof box that the lines rolled up into so that it was all put away with a simple unhooking from one T-post and walking the lines across to a second T-post, the spring loaded bar in the stationary box winding the lines as I walked.
That was years ago.
What happened? The yard swallowed the post holes.
How does one ‘lose’ post holes? Simple. One simply let’s one’s Aspergian husband mow the lawn. The Hubster insists that he has to have the grass clippings spew back onto the lawn in order to re-fertilize. He doesn’t like to mow so he puts it off for weeks. By the time he gets around to it, the grass is so long that our lawn resembles a freshly mown hayfield when he gets done. Viola! No more postholes anywhere to be found.
I had wanted to put plastic caps on the top of my pipe-lined post holes so that we could easily find them again after removing the T-posts. But no, husband didn’t want ‘the expense’, or ‘the hassle’ of figuring out where to store the caps when the T-posts were in the ground. So the grass clippings covered the holes. I've searched and searched. I know that they have to be there somewhere, but darned if I can find them.
Steve has organizational issues. And yes, it’s an Aspie thing.
I found an interesting article online that mentions Tony Atwood’s AS characterizations:
 “Attwood noted that Asperger’s may also be characterized by a strong desire for perfection, a special interest or talent, a fondness for routine, poor coordination, high cognitive skills, low organizational skills, and uneven processing of sensory input – being more or less sensitive than most.”
For whatever reason, my husband can’t or won’t put things back in the same spot twice. He will ‘organize’ the same type items in various ways in the same area. Maybe by color, size, first letter of word, day of use. All totally incomprehensible to me.
Camping gear, for instance. After we moved into our current home, we put up shelving at the back of our garage to store things. I put all of our coolers and sleeping bags on top shelves, bags to left and coolers to right. The rest of our camping supplies went down the shelves on the left according to weight. I don’t like to pull heavy things off of a shelf above my head.
My fishing gear and life vests went towards the middle of the shelves. Paint cans and painting supplies were below that. Sports gear went to the right. My household tools were (key word “were”) on the middle shelf on the far right as it was next to the door into our house, thus easy for me to reach.
And now? There are car parts and tools strewn everywhere (which are supposed to only be out in Steve’s separate three car shop, but aren’t because it’s so crammed with junk that he can’t find anything so he puts them in our attached garage, so now I can’t find anything). He puts a sleeping bag on the floor next to a paint can, a bicycle helmet and a camp stove because they are all green. My tools go back into whatever closet, drawer or cupboard in the house that was closest to where he was using them because he says he can’t remember where he got them from. Sports equipment is spread far and near. He built some new shelving in the opposite corner to put most of our ski boots and a bit of our gardening supplies, some old cookware, books, a few canning jars, and more overflow junk from his shop.
I now hang my sheets to dry on our deck railings.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Survival of the Fittest

Survival: “Remaining alive or in existence when faced with a life-threatening danger; a custom, idea or belief that remains when other similar things have been lost or forgotten.”
In this photo I see two individual animals with their antlers interlocked in battle. Experience tells me that one will survive, and one probably won’t. Yet with those horns intertwined the two are now actually one. They could defy nature and try to work together. Or, they can follow their urges or emotions to destroy each other.
This is often how I feel in my marriage. My natural urge is to ‘fight it out’ with my hubby; to be the ‘victor’ in our relationship. After all, he always is doing things wrong. Right?
Nope. That’s not right. Differently. He does things in a way that is not the same as mine. Does that make my ways correct?
No to that concept also.
Often we hear the saying “there are two sides to every story”. While that may be true in some cases, reality is that most of our ‘stories’ are multifaceted. Depending on our individual upbringings, cultures, learning abilities, experiences, intellects, habits, and acceptance or resistance to change, our actions and reactions can vary beyond comprehension.
On days that I find myself running around the house screaming “Why me, God?”, I know that deep down inside I want my marriage to succeed. I want to be calm and compassionate with my mate. I want my kids to think back on their childhood with fond memories of a united, intertwined family.
Not a battleground. Antlers locked together in strength, not anger.
Today's society in the States says to walk away if the going gets tough. Instead we should say, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going - to work it out!"
Each and every day I can choose how I want my day to go. The washer breaks down? Great! I don’t have to do laundry today. (Actually, that sounds really good right now!)
The paycheck didn’t come in the mail? Well, I’m up to date on my bills so nothing is going to be turned off tomorrow. I won’t be evicted. I might not be able to put gas in the car, so we will stay home and ‘play’. There are tons of things we can do right here at home.
So what if my Aspergian husband is being antisocial today? I have a great book I can read. If he follows me around, itching for a fight I can go for a walk. If he ignores me I can give myself a pedicure or go soak in the tub. My actions and reactions are totally under my own control.
If life around me sucks, I can sing a happy song to myself. Or tell myself a funny joke. Life feels so much better when I am laughing out loud. That makes me fit to survive!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

SHUT UP!!!!!

I’ve always tried to use the term “hush” instead of “shut up”. It just seems more polite. The term ‘hush’ is softer, quieter – even when you scream it.
My husband, however, doesn’t agree. He often comes home from work or meetings and is near meltdown stage from the moment the door swings open and his feet smash through the door.
Bryan, on his Facebook page, reminded me this morning that it isn’t personal. It’s Aspergian.
There's only so much socialization a person with Asperger Syndrome can handle in one day.

We all need that one place where we can just 'shut down' - for me, it's at home.
When you speak to your child/adult at home and they appear rude to you in comparison to outside, you are actually interrupting their shut-down. 
There's only so much socialization we can take. 
Learn the individuals shut-down spot(s) and work from there.

Bryan :)

In parts of Asia and Europe, I’ve been told, it’s polite to belch after a good meal. It is also considered impolite to ‘clean’ your plate. You are supposed to leave a small amount of food so that the host or hostess doesn’t think you are still hungry.
I was raised to consider belching, as well as flatulence, to be extremely rude in public, at the dinner table, in the presence of others. As for leaving food on my plate? No way, Jose! That plate had better be cleaned of every morsel. There are starving children in (fill in the blank).
The Hubster loves to lick his plate clean and let out a gigantic belch of contentment at every meal. It drives me nuts. In my childhood home, we were to sit at the table until everyone was done. Now, we try to finish up and escape before Steve can finish.
I sometimes wonder why I am ‘putting up’ with all of the Aspergers ‘crap’. But then I realize that different habits are just that – different. I try to be patient with Steve because he puts up with me. Believe me, I am no saint.
None of us know what tomorrow will bring. I am just trying to do the best I can today. There are groups around that use the slogan “One day at a time”. We all should keep that in mind no matter what our circumstances.
Meanwhile, it’s almost breakfast time. Excuse me while I prepare to dine and DASH! lol

Friday, July 5, 2013

Oh So Quiet

The Fourth of July celebrations are over and we sailed through relatively unscathed this year.
This is not always the case when my hubby is included in social events. Since arriving at friends get-togethers with Steve’s mouth duct taped shut isn’t an option (for that causes far more discussion than his awkward blurting and/or embarrassing questions and prevents him from eating which is a good way to keep him quiet) I usually don’t enjoy myself very much as I am constantly listening to him to prevent meltdowns. Both his and others.
Too bad I can’t get Steve to keep his thoughts to himself sometimes. He is of the belief that if something is true, it must be spoken. Ugh.
A recent email from a reader reminded me of the basics in living with Aspergers Syndrome. I really like the info from WebMD:
The symptoms of Asperger's syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
·         Problems with social skills: [people] with Asperger's syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation.
·         Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: [people] with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
·         Unusual preoccupations or rituals: [people] with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order. [hand washing, mandatory placement of objects, or checking & rechecking locked doors, windows, etc.]
·         Communication difficulties: People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language.
·         Limited range of interests: [people] with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
·         Coordination problems: The movements of [people] with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
·         Skilled or talented: Many [people] with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.
I do learn a lot about The Hubster by watching strangers interact with him for the first time. They will try to discuss something with him other than his single interest of cars, and typically will begin to look puzzled after a few minutes when he keeps changing subjects back to cars. Some will try to follow for a bit; others with just walk away.
Occasionally Steve will be fortunate enough to find another gearhead and spend the evening in total bliss. Then I am off duty and can also enjoy the party.
Let the fireworks begin!

Monday, July 1, 2013

No Exceptions

I walked into our bathroom to see Steve holding his hand over his sink to allow blood to flow down the drain.
Yes, flow.
“Sweetie! What did you do?” I leaped across the room to assess the damage.
“I think I cut my finger on an oil filter,” says The Hubster, who seemed a bit unsteady on his feet. Since he is half a foot taller and outweighs me by fifty pounds, I wonder if I can catch him if he passes out.
Seeing the enormous gash on his index finger, I asked if he was sure he hadn’t cut it off entirely. He hesitated, looked more closely, and then assured me that he hadn’t.
Oh dear. He didn’t recognize my sarcasm.
Wrapping his injured digit as tightly as possible, I gathered up various Kidlets and we all piled into the car to head, once again, to the clinic for stitches. Steve has had a lot.
Later, after he explained that the oil filter had been on so tight that he couldn’t unscrew it so he ‘had to’ twist it in half, leaving a jagged edge on the remaining half which he then tried to remove with a pocket knife, I asked why he didn’t called out for me. I had been working in my upstairs office which had a window overlooking his shop.
He responded, “You told me that you would be working, so I couldn’t disturb you.”
I silently ran through my mental list of Asperger traits. Lack of common sense. Inability to understand or accept exceptions to rules. Inflexibility.
I ran across a blog that illustrated this from an Aspie viewpoint:
I had no automatic sense of priorities – I’ve had to work those out by logic over the years. I had no idea that exceptions to rules could happen.
“Sweetie,” I said to my spouse, “It’s okay to interrupt me if there is 'big blood'.”
“But it was just a cut finger,” says Spouse. “A femoral artery would constitute big blood and I didn’t cut that.” He then launched into a monologue on arterial bleeding.
I sighed again.
I suppose it’s good to be needed.