Friday, May 30, 2014

Brutally Honest

"That looks stupid!" proclaims The Hubster. "Why would you make it look like that?"

Manlet's face fell. He had spent many hours on his science project and the tri-fold display board looked exceptionally good to me. I turned in fury to my insensitive mate while telling my dear, hardworking son in the calmest voice I could muster that I really liked his display board.

"Can I speak to you in the other room?" I said through clenched teeth, barely able to control my rage. Momma Bears are just that way.

Once in our bedroom with the door firmly shut, I asked Steve why he would say such a hurtful thing.

"But I am just being honest!" replied my hubby. "Why would he put all those colored paper letters on there? That's goofy! He should just have used a black sharpie. Printing should be in black ink!"

"Sweetheart, you have helped judge projects at the high school's science fair for years now!.You have seen how colorful and exciting the kids try to make their displays!" I responded, perplexed now. "Don't you remember?"

"Of course I remember!" said my mate. "I've always graded those types of displays down! It detracts from the project information."

I stared at Steve dumbfounded.

"You marked down projects that were artistically displayed?" I was incredulous.

"Why do you always put me down?" demanded The Hubster. "I will never, ever, ever help at school again as long as I live!" He turned and stomped out of the room.

I quickly went back to Manlet's desk where he seemed intent on dismantling his display to start over. I stopped him in order to take photos which I then sent to a couple of teacher-friends of mine. Their opinions of the display were positive and complimentary.

After I convinced my son to submit his project as it was, I went to look for Steve. He, of course, was in his shop slamming things around.

"Sweetie, we've had this talk before. Being honest needs to be tempered with compassion and consideration. I never ask you what you think of my scrapbooking projects because you don't see any purpose in the art of the book. I don't ask your opinion of my outfits because you have no fashion sense. You need to be kind to Manlet. He is very sensitive about his creative endeavors. You literally see things in black and white where he sees technicolor. You need to be supportive."

I waited a few minutes. I could see that Steve was ruminating on my words. When there was no response I returned to the house. Perhaps in a day or two he would talk to me about it.

Or not.

We have a lot of 'or nots' lately, lol.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Just a Little Smoke...

Memorial Day was winding down to a conclusion. Manlet's baseball game had been rained out, so his team had a quick batting practice in the early afternoon in which the sun came out the entire time. After that we made a quick stop at a local sports store to pick up supplies, then headed home to dine on leftovers from our rained out picnic dinner from the night before.

It was nice to kick back at home to read and relax. The sun was out in full glory as all of the weekend campers would now be in their cars heading home. Of course.

Manlet and I were on our sectional couch in the the livingroom with the windows behind us opened wide. There was a refreshing breeze stirring the drapes, a chorus of birds in full voice, and our dogs were happily sleeping in the middle of the yard in the sunshine.

Suddenly a deafening roar filled the air. A car engine was being torqued out at four or five thousand RPMs. Six thousand RPMs would toast the engine.

I jumped up from the couch and looked out towards The Hubster's shop where billows of smoke were beginning to fill the air. I grabbed my cellphone and called him.

"Steve! Stop revving the engine up so high!" I yelled the moment he answered.

"I'm just moving the fluids around!" he yelled back.

"Didn't you burn up the engine on your truck by revving it too high?" I questioned. 

"Ummmm......" was the mumbled answer.

I heard the engine revving even higher. Smoke was pouring out from the entire undercarriage and from the front edge of the hood. This SUV that has been his 'project' for the last five or six months.

"Grab the fire extinquisher!" I yelled over my shoulder to Manlet as I charged out of the front door. I ran as fast as I could in flipflops across to the shop, waving my arms at my non-compliant hubby. 

"STOP STOP STOP!" I screamed as I got within arms reach of the rig. 

When we bought this vehicle last fall we knew it needed the tranny replaced. I begged my husband to take the transmission out and have a professional rebuild it for us. Husband insisted on buying a used, very cheap replacement. Then began the process of replacing dozens of different parts "while he was at it". Many had been broken during the removal of the original tranny as Steve fails to recognize his own strength (breaking off bolts and screws), nor his dyslexia that causes him to do things backwards or out of sequence.

Steve finally switched off the engine and jumped out as I reached the car. He lifted the hood and had to jump back as thick smoke slapped him in the face.

"What in the world are you doing?" I was still very agitated. "Did you put enough tranny fluid in? Where is the car manual?"

"I don't know, and I returned it to the library," grumbled my Spouse. "Can't you just leave me alone? Why do you always have to interfere?"

By then Manlet was at the shop with the extinquisher. The Hubster had finished checking fluid (which actually looked over full to me), so I climbed in and started the car. I stepped gently on the accelerator, trying to rock the vehicle back and forth to finish pulling it back into the shop. Steve had shut it down half way in. Try as I might, there was absolutely no response from the transmission no matter what gear I put it in.

"Help me push," demanded Hubby to Manlet. They pushed and pushed and pushed.

"Are the brakes locked up?" I asked. "I have the car in neutral. It seems like the brakes are holding it. Or maybe the tranny has ceased up."

Steve and Manlet turned their backs to the tauilgate and pushed with all their might. The rig finally slid across the smooth concrete floor the last fourteen inches required to close the shop door. I turned off the ignition and got out of the car.

"Who did you buy that tranny from?" I quizzed, a bit calmer now.

Through gritted teeth The Hubster said he couldn't remember.

"Do you still have the tranny that came in the rig?" I continued to ask.

"Yes!" came the terse response.

"Let's take it in to be rebuilt," I suggested, definitely more peace-filled now that the smoke was beginning to dissipate.

"It will cost too much money!" roared Steve, now growing increasingly angry. "You SAID not to spend too much money!"

I started to explain that I had meant to do the project correctly from the beginning and not take shortcuts or cheap ways, but I shut my mouth. He already knows my thoughts on his projects. He has a brilliant mind, but over the last twenty some years every single project that he has attempted has ended up much worse than when he started. His mechanical abilities suck. He won't admit it. He thinks he is a brilliant mechanic. He isn't. He's a brilliant engineer. His ideas are awesome. His implementation isn't.

In the end, it's his money that he earns that pays for his projects. It's his time and effort that he spends on those projects. It seems to make him happy to think, putter and 'produce'. It's his single focus hobby that keeps him at home, and out of my hair.

I will keep my mouth shut. And yes, it can be done, lol.

Friday, May 23, 2014


My husband has disappeared.


I sigh and try to quash my irritation. One of the distinct advantages of having a mate is being able to share our burdens and chores. One of the hardest things for my Aspergian hubby to do is deviate from the cemented mindsets his brain in focused on.

On weekends we don't always have a preset wake time. I typically am up at dawn, but Steve will get up to use the restroom, then bed back down for another hour or four of snoozing. 

I don't exactly 'get it', as once my eye pop open in the morning I am wide awake and must get up. Other than near death illnesses I simply can't turn over and drift back to sleep. Doesn't happen for me.

Our Last-Child-At-Home can, and often does, sleep in depending upon the time he retired the night before and/or what his activities were for the previous day.

On weekends during baseball season we might have early baseball games. Due to our rural location in relation to the urban Seattle area, it can require an hour or more of driving to get to the ball field, which in turn requires an early leave time which dictates an even earlier wake up time.

All to say that tired, dragging feet on our son's behalf can lead to a frantic departure. I gather up and load up gear, coolers, spare clothing (nothing can ruin a good game faster than sliding into home base and having your trousers rip out), umbrellas, sunscreen (our weather is truly bipolar here), high protein snacks, and a multitude of other miscellaneous 'baseball mom' items.

Occasionally I will ask The Hubster to help me load my car.

You'd think he would welcome the chance to do something for his wonderful son as Steve doesn't usually go to the games with us. But no, Hubby moans, drags his feet, refuses to listen, before wandering off to who knows where. I then find my things set down in the oddest places.

Granted, I am most likely rapid-firing instructions at a rate that my Aspie Spouse is incapable of absorbing. After all this time, I should remember that. I am amazed at how he can totally tune out the commotion around him, or how he can turn into the Invisible Man at the drop of a hat.

Manlet's baseball hat, of course. Laying directly dead center in our front sidewalk on the way to my car that is only six more steps away with the rear hatch fully open.

Huh. Sensory overload, I guess. At least Steve didn't carry the hat off with him wherever he disappeared to. 

Thank you Lord for small wonders, lol. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Puzzling

"Wow, Steve! Look at this!" I walked over to my hubby to show him a photo of an incredible puzzle-stack of pencils. I tried counting them several times and was coming up with a different number every time. I called our youngest son over to see if he could quickly conjure up a sum of said writing implements.

"That's really cool, Mom!" said our Manlet enthusiastically. For many years I've called him 'Kidlet'. Recently I realized that at 6'3", and weighing as much as my husband, he has earned the same designation as our eldest son who is more than twice our youngest son's age. 

Hubby turned to look at the screen on my phone in my hand. He squinted, tilted his head, blinked rapidly, and nearly shouted into my ear, "WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS PUTTING ME DOWN?"

Startled, I jumped back from him, nearly dropping my phone. I have recently sent it flying a number of times now, resulting in several cracks across the top of the screen and one long crack down the side. I am diligently trying to preventing further damage as I need to make it to the anniversary of my phone plan this fall in order to get a new phone for little or no additional fee. 

I hesitantly gazed at The Hubster whose face was screwed up in pure anger.

"Why do you think that I am putting you down? I only asked Manlet to double check my counting as you greatly dislike being 'put on the spot' to 'perform'." (i.e. quickly do/think/say anything at all)

"You just said that I always make mistakes!" blurts my enraged Spouse.

"What? No, I did not! I was showing you a photo of... OH!" It suddenly dawned on me as I once again look at the photo on my phone screen. 

I was showing him a pile of pencils! 

Why would that be putting him down? In Steve's mind, pencils have erasers. Erasers are for mistakes. He equates using a  pencil to being unable to write something down correctly, and the need  to erase the writing. So my dear husband will only write in ink. Black ink, at that.

"I'm sorry, dear. I was thinking that Manlet would like pencils. I was only showing you something that HE would like!" I cheerfully chirped, smiling my most winning grin at my hubby. "Don't you think that this would look great on Manlet's desk?"

I winked up at Manlet who then copied my grin. He patted his dad on the shoulder.

"I do like pencils," said my nearly grown son. He then turned and loped off to the fridge to make sure the light bulb hadn't burned out. And grab a couple handfuls of food while he was in there, I am sure.

I cautiously looked at The Hubster. He now stood staring out a window. I gave him a few minutes in case he had something else to mention on the matter of Pencils. Capitalized.

With Manlet munching and Hubby staring, I grew bored and headed out the sliding glass door onto our deck to deadhead my flower boxes and hanging baskets. The sun poured down, the bees and hummingbirds darted back and forth, and I laughed out loud, happy that I sidetracked a blowup.

Life can be written in ink. There's no mistake about that! 

Monday, May 12, 2014


Yesterday was Mother's Day here in the US. It is a national holiday that can be joyfilled, horrid, or just plain blah, depending upon each individual's personal experiences and expectations (or lack there of).

Mother's Day has been an interesting holiday for me over the years. About two weeks ago, Steve came in the front door from work, walked up to me face to face in the kitchen and asked, "Do I have to buy you a card?"

Startled, I assured him that he never has to do 'anything' for me. If he would like to do 'something' for me, that was always appreciated, but I'd rather he do nothing if he doesn't want to do 'something'. Voluntary giving would be preferred.

Off went my Hubby to deal with his endless list of 'just came home from work chores'. I went back to making dinner.

After thinking about the odd question, odd for me because it was totally out of context from my meal preparation, I had an epiphany. 

Running into our bedroom where Steve was changing out of work clothes to put on work clothes (and yes, he becomes thoroughly confused between the two, so we should really designate his clothes as 'employment clothes' and 'chore clothes' or 'working on car clothes'), I quickly asked him if his question to me involved Mother's Day.

"Well," he responded hesitantly, "Of course."

Ah ha! I nailed it! I mentally patted myself on the back.

"You don't need to buy me a card as I am not your mother," I explained. I waited for any other questions. When there were none I went back to my culinary duties.

I should have known it was too simple.

A couple of days after this conversation my daughter called to see if she and my two sons could take me to a Mariners baseball game on Saturday, the day before the great holiday. I am a die-hard fan and quickly agreed to be taken out to the ball game. It has been many years since just the four of us have had an outing together. I was excited.

I steeled myself to an inevitable home team loss, as I don't think I have ever attended a game in person that my beloved M's have won. Hundreds of games across the nation. When I go, they lose. It's enough to give me a complex.

Still, I was excited to go. After all, I'm an eternal optimist. You never know.

Saturday finally came. While texting my daughter on particulars of meeting up later for the game, she asked me what time Steve would like to meet her and her fiance on Sunday for a Beatles theme music concert in Seattle.

"Say what? He made plans with you?" I texted.

"Yep," she replied, "Last night. We had an extra ticket and I know you hate Beatles music."

Too true, but he had never said a word to me. At that very moment The Hubster popped his face around the corner and told me 'goodbye' as he was heading out for errands.

"What is going on?" I demanded. I bet anything my voice was shrill. "Did you make plans without me for Mother's Day tomorrow?" I was incredulous.

"You TOLD me to!" Steve answered, perplexed. "I asked you if I had to buy a card! Don't you remember?"

"Of course I remember! I never said that I didn't want to celebrate at all! When were you going to tell me?"

"I thought Daughterlet would," barked He-of-belated-thinking. "How did you find out?"

"Well she did," I admitted. "But she was astounded that I didn't know. Why didn't you tell her that you would check with me and call her back?"

"So you want me to cancel going?" questioned my spouse.

"No, not at all!" I protested. "I just think you should have checked with me before you decided to go!"

"But you said that you weren't my mother! Why should I have to check with you?" demanded Steve.

*Sigh* We were going around in circles again. 

"Never mind," I muttered as I walked away to check for my Mariners jersey. I think I remember where I put it from last year.

The kids and I did go to the game that night. Low-n-behold, the M's won! Not only did they win, but they hit two homeruns that landed just to the right of us in the section where we were sitting! My youngest son took a photo of me screaming my lungs out. I think that I am still excited.

Steve did go to the concert Sunday afternoon, leaving Manlet and I to enjoy a sunny day at home while listening to the Mariners lose another game. 

A game that I wasn't at, lol. What a great day to NOT be taken out!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Funny Face

"What's wrong, Sweetie?" I asked my hubby the other evening.

"Nothing," growled He.

"No, really?" I persisted. "Your face is all screwed up and you are growling."

"There is NOTHING wrong!" insisted The Hubster, his face growing more contorted.

"Do you feel alright? Do you have a headache? Is your stomach bothering you? Are you thinking about a problem?" I continue to quiz.

I got up and went to grab a hand mirror. When I came back to the livingroom, I held it in front of his twisted expression.

"Well what's wrong with THAT?" roared Steve. "Why can't I have my face be any way I want it to be?"

Oh dear. And it had been such a lovely evening to that point.

"You can look any old way you want," I agreed. "I was just concerned about you, that's all." I headed out of the room to go put my mirror away. "You are my husband and your well being is of importance to me," I said over my shoulder.

"WHY WOULD YOU BE CONCERNED WHEN THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG?" came the reverberating shout from the once peace filled front room. "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!"


How I hate to be tempted this time of night, lol.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Road Rage

Yesterday we had an afternoon of a torrential down pouring type. Manlet's baseball game was rained out so there was a practice called for later after school. I received a text from him letting me know about the cancellation, and that he needed to be picked up from school. I grabbed my keys, our one dog Finn (who loves rides), bid farewell to Sadie (who hates rides), and dashed out the door to jump in my Jeep that was parked nose first in front of our garage.

Since 9-11 baseball bats are now considered dangerous weapons by the U.S. TSA. Consequently baseball gear bags that contain bats are not allowed on our local school buses. 

Manlet is a healthy 6'3" and 205 pounds soaking wet. He is big, he is strong, but he is also very quiet, extremely shy and ultra polite. The idea that our gentle giant would use said bat on another person is preposterous. The chance that anyone else could take a bat out of Manlet's gear bag to use upon others is equally absurd. The fact remains, however, that I must drive Manlet, along with his baseball gear, to and from school each day. At least until his sixteen birthday/licensing day this coming summer at which time he will gleefully drive himself. 

After snapping on my seat belt and starting my vehicle, I turned on the headlights, front and rear wipers, my seat warmer, and the defrost as Finn was so excited that his breath was quickly fogging up the windows. I rolled down the back seat windows enough for him to stick his nose out but not enough to allow an inflow of rain. 

Putting my foot firmly on the brake, I then put the transmission in reverse and let off the parking brake. Turning half way around with my left hand on my steering wheel and my right hand resting on top of the passenger seat, I moved my foot to the accelerator and began backing to my left in order to head up our U-shaped driveway to the right.

I suddenly heard a thunderous roar of an engine to my right. Whipping my head to look straight out my front passenger window, I could see my dear Aspergian Spouse's truck come flying down the driveway, his hot-rodding tires flinging gravel everywhere.

I immediately slammed on my brakes and hit my horn. The silver devil-truck continued to bear down on me. I continued to honk but my Spouse never wavered. I was able to stuff the tranny into drive, pulling forward just in time to avoid a collision. 

Steve missed me by inches.

As he backed up to his normal parking spot to my left, I rolled down my window. As he hopped out of his cab, I yelled, "Why didn't you stop?"

Yep, once again I blew my cool.

"What? Why should I stop? You aren't going anywhere. You aren't even moving!" answers He of little discernment.

"Why would you say that?" I demanded, huffy and pissed off. "I have to go get Manlet from school! I was in the process of backing up!"

"Why would you do that now?" respondeth The Hubster, lunchbox and computer bag in hand, and dashing towards the front door. "You never go anywhere when I'm pulling in!" he tossed back at me over his shoulder.

I then pulled forward to explain, but he was already closing the door.

I sighed and set off to get our kid. I mean manchild. I realized that I'd have to wait a day or two to explain it to Steve. 

And to find something to laugh about the entire forty-six second event. After all, I could tell that my Hubby was on a mission. 

His regular afternoon 'Get Home' mission. Heaven help anyone in his way.