How to Survive Year 1…or the seemingly never ending morass of bullshit you must endure now that your spouse is gone


So, dear reader, we did it! We survived the first year! Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back, because obviously, no one else is around to do that for you! So…..now what?

You thought that things would be a lot different, didn’t you? Ha! Nope. You only survived because you don’t know how to not survive. You put your head down and put one foot in front of the other. Every. Fucking. Day. Because you had to. If you’re like me, you didn’t inherit a metric fuck-ton of money when your spouse died. You inherited an entirely new set of headaches that no amount of fuckitall is going to take away.

I thought that I would have my house paid off and I would be living somewhere else by now. Nope. My lawyer assures me he is working on it, but since he’s never in his office, and certainly doesn’t answer phone messages, I have no idea whether or not this is truthful or not. How hard can this be? The only thing in the estate was the house. But this has brought a completely new set of headaches. For one thing, I now owe more on the house than I did when Andrew died. Totally fair, right? No.

Also I can not change the name on my insurance account until the house is settled. Because God forbid what would happen if the whole thing burned down around my ears? Well, I know the answer to that. The insurance agency would issue a check that I could not cash in Andrew’s name to cover the contents of said house. Which brings us squarely into this week’s drama.

So, apparently the insurance company has been overcharging us for years. Thank you, Farmers. Not applying the correct discounts. So when I added the new car, apparently this brought this little black seed out into the light and they have been fixing it. One small refund check at a time. The bank said to sign his name and then mine and add “representative payee/personal representative”. Which I have dutifully done on every single check I have received. Until this week. Suddenly, the bank has decided that this is not their policy and that I have to get the check reissued. In my name. Sounds simple, right? Nope.  I call Farmers and talk to an agent who gives me a phone number to call. I call the number and get “virtual voting has ended”. Click. I call Farmers back. They give me 2 new numbers to call, one of which calls some black hole in outer space and never connects and the other, interestingly enough to Bank of America. Or at least, a class action lawsuit for them. Because apparently, they’ve  been overcharging people for years. So, I call Farmers back and get a girl who tells me that they just have to change the name on the billing account to me. This change should take 24-48 hours and I will get an email notifying me of this change before Friday. Email never appears. I call Farmers again. Different lady tells me that is not the case at all and that they can only issue the check to Andrew or to Andrew’s estate. Which does me no good. I call the bank and they tell me that they can’t cash the check because Andrew was never on my account. Grrr.

So this morning I went to the downtown branch of the back and cried. Playing the widow card with as much enthusiasm as having a whole hand of Aces at the Poker table. I have all the paperwork. I cry. I talk. I cry. The guy I’m talking to looks at paperwork. Looks at ID. Looks at paperwork. Goes and talks to someone. Comes back. Looks at paperwork. Says “follow me” and leads me to a teller who he tells to deposit this check. Sigh. WTAF. It never should have taken all of this effort a week after Andrew’s one year anniversary to do all of this. It’s insane. They should all be ashamed.

I know you thought I’d be living some kind of charmed carefree life by now. I’m not. Nothing has changed. I’m still barely making ends meets. Still working. Still trying to get Autiezombiegirl off the ground. Still barely surviving. Interestingly enough, I discovered the bottom of the depression barrel this week. Yeah….I’m in the basement of that, right now. But who wouldn’t be? Fuck. I can’t move on. Hell, I can’t even move until all of this crap is settled. So, I just sit. Spinning my wheels.

Bank of America sends me a little Asian guy every other day to hand me a yellow envelope that says “Please call immediately” and take my picture.

These are just a few of the things that I am still dealing with. A. Year. Later. In other news, I have also discovered that my heart is still absolutely broken. My tolerance for frustration is at zero. And I honestly think that I am heading straight to Applebee’s after  work and ordering drinks by color. Because I can. And because that’s how I adult. I feel like I have just put up with WAY too much this week. So, if you happen to be around…..

I’m disappointed. I really thought that things would be different in some small way outside of my husband being dead. It just all feels so….depressing. Sigh. You know me dear reader. I’ll get up and do it all over again tomorrow. But it is still overwhelming. And heartbreaking. And I hope that you don’t have to deal with this kind of bullshit if your spouse dies. Because it sucks. It really does. There are days that I just go home and go to bed because I cannot deal with even one more thing. I don’t know how to end this blog, today. So I will just end it with a period.

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Anniversaries from the brink of the edge of nowhere


.facebook_1471892102149Oh dear readers, we are racing at light speed toward the one year mark. It sits on me, the weight as vast as the entire universe. I won’t lie, this year has been jam packed with all of the dips and highs of this insane roller coaster ride. It has been nothing that I either expected or wanted to happen this year. Most of the time I have just floated, keeping my head down on the difficult days and breathing, taking one moment by impossible moment. If someone had told me a year ago that this would be my life, I would not have believed it. How do you even predict this? Or cope with it?

This week feels heartbreaking. Full of moments of afraid to breathe because if I start crying now, I will never stop. Will I?  I have many people that tell me that I will. But I am not so sure. So I thought that I would share some of my favourite pictures with you.

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This is him in his Sears uniform. Way back 16 years ago when we first met. This is how I will always remember him. Those startling blue eyes and those boyish good looks. He never really changed. Of course, now I can let the secret out that I dyed his hair for 16 years. Laugh. He wouldn’t let me stop!

He was goofy beyond belief.

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This was the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame trip that I gave him for his 40th birthday. He had a blast. These guitars were all over Cleveland and I think we took pictures of most of them.

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This was after we won our first title of Crab Race champions. 2015.

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He never missed a chance to take pictures of us together. This is our first year together, he was still living in Van Buren and I was spending my time between Muncie and his trailer.

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This was our vacation in Cancun. I wanted to spend all our time on the beach and he actually only got to microplan a couple of days from the whole thing. For those of you who don’t know, he could microplan the fuck out of a vacation. I often came home needing a vacation from our vacation. This one, he only got 2 days. But he was a water baby and he would be lying if he said that he didn’t love the beach time.

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This is the picture we used for the obituary. He is playing my cousin’s 1952 Gibson and he never looked happier or more in awe of anything in his life. He loved playing music and his guitars were his favourite and most prized possessions. I have way too many guitars for a girl that doesn’t play, but he loved them and now so do I. Our lives were full of music. He dragged me to many a festival, concert, bar and outdoor performance. I didn’t like all of them, but I went because I was his built in concert buddy. We had a concert budget and went to anywhere from 50-200 shows a year. We planned vacations around them every now and again. I have gone to some shows this summer. It’s a hell of a lot harder to find someone to go with, but I also go to more things that I like and less things that I don’t, now. LOL.

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This was the last concert that we went to (the last show was the 1964 Beatles tribute). It was the Rolling Stones at Speedway. He was ticking off his bucket list the last ten years and I didn’t even realize it. But here we are at one of those last few shows. This was 10 days before his mom died. About 8 weeks before he did. It seems like now that there isn’t anything music that doesn’t bring him back to me. Because our entire lives were indeed music.

I miss him immensely. Those of you who are FaceBook friends are often entertained by the “Conversations with my husband” series that show his more blonde, silly, and just plain not thinking things out moments.

I will forever curse Timehop and FaceBook for having apps that bring me the joy and the tears of all of these photos that I forgot about or haven’t looked at. I will forever cry when a text message comes up on one of those apps with some inane thing like “what’s for dinner, baby?” or “what do you want to do this weekend?”. Wishing that it was some profound profession of our love. But being with someone for 16 years isn’t about profound professions of love. It’s about profound love that is SO there that you don’t have to say it every day. You just know that it’s there. You trust that it is there and you hold it in your heart above all the other things. Because you know it’s safe and it’s yours.

This year has made me step so far out of my comfort box that I am not even sure where that damn thing is anymore. This year has made me take stock of what is truly important. This year has made me count up all the good things, discard the poison ones, and push other things that are just not worth bothering with away. This is good and bad. Above all, this year has made me appreciate the person that I become with this wonderful guy and I treasure the fact that he weaseled his little blond haired, blue eyed self into my heart. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I am grateful that he did. Look at the things that I have done in the last 16 years. This barely scratches the surface of all of the amazing trips that we took and all of those things that we experienced because he planned them so amazingly well. It barely touches all of the shows we experienced and the joy those shows brought to either of us. It can never come close to making you experience the love that he so obviously had for me.

I hope that you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Here is one last thought. A pendant that a friend made and his ring.

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Closing in on a year and other tales of survival (or who let me adult? WTF?!)


Yesterday was Andrew’s birthday. He would have been 54. I was bombarded all day with memories from various social websites reminding me of this fact and of all the birthdays in years past and how we celebrated. Mostly it was concerts. Because our whole lives were concerts. But mostly I woke up feeling lost because for the first time in 16 years I did not wake up to snuggle his  crazy blonde curls that I affectionately called Rooster head and tell him “You’re 8 years older than me”. July was very special for us. Our first date was July 15th and for years (including that first date) went to Muncie for Shakespeare at Minnetrista and later on BSU’s campus until they did away with it altogether. His birthday came on July 19th and 7 years 7 days and 7 hours later on July 26th came my birthday. It seemed our whole world revolved around 7s. Now I have had to add the anniversary of his mom to July on the 14th. In the past, our little group of 3 couples celebrated four of our six birthdays in this week. Starting with Drew’s birthday and ending with mine. It seems a little weird to start on a different birthday this year.

It also seemed weird to sit quietly at home and go to bed fairly early last night.

We plan to celebrate a little with a lantern release tonight. Just the few of us getting together and remembering a man who made so much impact on all of us and left such a giant gap behind. It’s important to go through these rituals of remembering and feeling all of the feelings that come with it. It makes us…..(swallow) human.

If I had known a year ago that my life was going to be so drastically changed and forever altered, I don’t know if I would have acted/behaved/done anything differently. But I do know that I would have still put my head down and moved forward with everything that is inside of me because I am too stubborn/dumb/pathetic to do anything less than that.

So this year has been filled with all of the firsts. Which suck. Every. One. But still I move forward. This year has also been filled with lots of changes. I changed jobs, hairstyles, focuses, relationships, coworkers and cars. I didn’t get stuck but am often debilitated by the thing that brought all of these changes. I am not happier in these changes, per se, but I am feeling a hell of a lot less stressed about life in general. I have found support in places that I did not know existed. I have learned that we take life way too seriously and that we worry about far too many things that…..Just. Don’t. Matter. And we also let life get on top of us in ways that…..May. Just. Kill. Us.

Think about those things for a moment. Meditate on them. Use them for a mantra. Life is way too short to fuck around with people who make us miserable and far too precious to waste time doing things that don’t make us happy or lead to a way to make us happy.

Afterall, I decided that after 2 years of being stuck in a job that I hated and that had become some sort of demented antagonist in my life, that I was moving on. With or without a replacement job. Luckily a replacement job came along.  I have learned to appreciate little things in life. I consider nothing wasted time anymore. Roger wants to take a car ride?  Let’s go! Chance to take a day off work and take my kid to see our lads <bows head in reverence> Liverpool play on US soil? Fuck yes! Take my friends and kid to concerts? Hell yes! (Side note: you have not lived until you realise that you prolly played WAY too much Violent Femmes while your kid was growing up because you are standing next to him at that concert and you both are screaming the lyrics “why can’t I get just one fuck” at top volume.)

Have a written a word outside of a few blogs since Andrew died? No, I have not. But let me tell you why. I sit in front of the screen writing a blog and I cry my eyes out. I am not ready to write anything else right now. Writing is intensely personal and intensely emotional. I am just not ready to share that much with anyone right now. I haven’t stopped being creative. I have been working on the Autie Zombie Girl shop and things are starting to come together in a way. I have a working website: Weird gifts for Weird people. For now, this is satisfying my creativity. I will go back to writing. But right now, there is so much to do!

I challenged myself this year. It would be very easy for me to go inside, shut the door, lock the latch with that satisfying CLICK and….Never. Come. Out. Again. But because that is the easy answer, I did not do that. Instead I put myself out there. I go to the market every Saturday. Good or bad weather. Good or bad sales. I signed up to do some local shows. That is definitely not in my comfort zone. But without Drew to buffer the world for me, I have had to learn to do it for myself. I do occasionally still hide. I still have Asperger’s for fuck’s sake. But I had to get strong enough to do things on my own. I always have. I have always had this pool of getupandgoness that makes me move forward in a generally lucid manner.

I am now also LITERALLY my husband’s brother’s keeper. Not many of you know that Drew has a brother with an extremely awful mental illness. He is paranoid schizophrenic. When their mom died, Drew and I promised we would look after Mark. When Drew died, I thought that it was my job to fulfill that promise. He was arrested a few months ago in Family Dollar arguing with his voices and destroying merchandise. We got him a placement in first our local mental health agency and then our state mental health hospital. The guardianship hearing was a hoot. Drew’s real father showed up to contest it. He’d succeeded in putting off the hearing for a month. He attempted to make it a three ring circus, but did not succeed. He told the judge that I was crazy and that I was famous on the internet because “her people call her auntie zombie girl”. He also tried to turn being weird into a bad thing. He told the judge that I was proud of being different. So the judge told him that he could see I was different from where he was sitting and he was going to give me guardianship anyways. Bam!

I have been tempted often in the last couple of months to send him a letter and tell him that this is  not how good Christians and Believers behave. That he should be happy that someone has stepped up to take care of Mark. Afterall, he’s just as crazy if not crazier than Mark. He does not see it that way. Thankfully, I have people on my side in that family. Drew’s cousin told the rest of the family that I was obviously the best person for the job. Afterall, his own mother trusted me to take care of him in her absence. I also made sure to dispel the myth that Drew’s mom died atop a giant pile of money that was earmarked for Mark’s care. This is not the case at all. It’s hard to make people who only use money and their own rewards/benefits as a basis for helping others understand that sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

I continue to clean the house and to put his items away that will eventually go to an auction and be used to pay for his headstone. I continue to find memories of what our life together was and what it meant to him. I believe he was truly happy. Not just with me and our marriage, but with his life. He loved his little part time job and he loved fixing things. He was starting to put together a little network of people that needed things fixed. He enjoyed the freedom of doing what he wanted when he wanted and taking as long as he wanted to so that the job was done right. He was truly in a very good place in life.

So ahead of us are the last few firsts. My first birthday (in 16 years) without him. My first year without him. It’s a struggle that I feel immensely under equipped to take on. But here we are. How would I have done this all without the love and support that I have? I have no idea. Prolly not very well.

I miss his smile. I miss waking up every day and told how pretty I am. I miss his gentle kindness. I miss his confidence. I miss the confidence that he gave me in myself. I miss having a built in concert/movie buddy. I miss everything about him deep into my soul. Life is not as happy without him. Music is not as good without him. My house is so quiet and empty without him. He was my best friend.

The Other Side of the Worst Year EVER….and other tales of survival


I know that I have been terribly negligent of you this year, dear reader. I’m sure that you understand. It hasn’t been an easy year. I wouldn’t even describe this last year as awful, because in reality there have been moments that were much worse than that.  There have been days where I cried with broken-hearted sobs that would rival the depth of the Grand Canyon. My sorrow has been indescribable. I have tried to find the words, but they are lacking.

I am sitting on the eve of the one year anniversary of my beautiful mother-in-law’s death. I don’t know how things would have changed if I had known that moment was only the gateway that would change my life irreparably and forever. On that night when about this time in the evening I sent my husband and my father-in-law to have a lie down because upon my arrival at the in-law’s house, I knew it was the end, I had no crystal ball to tell me that it was only the beginning of the end. Of a lot of things. There was no way to know that on that night, though. Instead I sat gently beside this woman that had given birth to the man I loved with all my heart. I read to her. I read to myself. I whispered with her. I told her it was okay for her to go whenever she felt it was time. I listened as her breathing became shallow and almost non-existent. Many times I held my own breath, waiting to see if she was done. I gave her drops of morphine upon request because there was no other comfort that anyone could offer her. I was sure she’d made whatever amends she felt necessary. I cried for all of the indignities that this wonderful woman had felt that she had put us all through. I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt as if it was the very least I could do for this woman who had given me her eldest son and the chance at a happy life.

In the last year, life has changed so much. I had no way of knowing that this simple natural event would change everyone’s life so fundamentally. None of us did. It seems like an innocent moment. We buried her in a beautiful British ceremony that was exactly what she wanted and what she had planned. So many people came to say goodbye to her. She had touched everyone she ever met with her gentle kindness. Those of us who were lucky enough to be close to her had no idea how truly blessed we were to have her hands on us every day. No one has ever had an unkind word to say about her. This is how one woman made an indelible mark on this sad and sorry world. She truly left it a better place than she found it.

In the last year, little things have popped up in our efforts to put our lives back together. Sometimes it is a photo. Sometimes it is a little thing that was left behind. Untouched in these last 12 months. With my mother-in- law it has been photos and these amazing letters that we keep finding. She wrote these amazing Christmas letters to people over the years. In the words of my father-in-law “Today is the one year anniversary of Caroline Hart Krumel’s passing. In the 54 years that she spent away from England, she must have written hundreds of letters and notes to family and friends. She so enjoyed that. She wrote with a simple, perfect eloquence I admired. There was a quiet optimism you could sense. Her Christmas letter of 2009 was is a wonderful example of her writing. Take a second to read if you will. There was no complaining in her writing. Reading this letter brings Carol back to life, for this day.”

Follows is the letter of that year: “Dear Family and Friends, We wish you peace and prosperity and hope you have had less worries and more happiness this year than you had last year. I feel more like an old person than in previous years. I take naps…in fact I fall asleep everywhere I go. In the car, int the bathtub, you name it. I stare into space more and it takes me until lunch to find my way to work. Roger and I are still making awnings and renting tents (marquees) but right now we wish we were walking on the beaches of North Carolina and Florida. This year of 2009 has been very unusual. Family came to visit. Actually it is the first time in 46 years that family has ever came to visit. My cousin Michael and wife Pauline appeared bearing an artfully restored family heirloom in the form of an antique mirror. Carefully packed in a wooden box and transported from 3,999 miles away…amazing! Roger found a brother he didn’t know existed. Carter McNamara an extraordinary man tall, handsome, and funny and he came to visit with his beautiful wife Teri from Minnesota. This visit was a time of sharing and catching up on the lost years and preparations for a reunion in 2010 of family they have yet to meet in North Dakota. My brother Richard made his way to England to meet his son Alex. A visit that was long overdue, thirty-five years in fact. I have heard that everything went well. For those of you who didn’t hear from me this year, I apologize. I will try and do better next year. No particular tragedies occurred this year, they all occurred the year before. My granddaughters, Cassie and Chelsea are actually making money and supporting themselves much to the delight of their father who thought their university days would never end before he retired. Daughter Judy at age 46 is still looking for a break into the acting world but is undiscovered and disappointed as we speak. When advised by her parents to seek a part in local theatre productions as a beginning, we are told they don’t pay. Meanwhile she is house and pet sitting around the country. My only grandson, Jeremy, who we see very little of when asked why he doesn’t visit, says he has too much homework and could we send him petrol money. A girlfriend, Bree, is prominent in his life. Our house in Warren, Indiana, for sale now for 2 1/2 years finally sold to the neighbors when an aunt and uncle gave them the money. Some things are looking up. Business is down 65% but Roger still goes to work every day. When I arrive at noon, I find him on the phone looking for buyers or on the computer and the work is waiting for me. My son Andrew has been researching his Boller ancestry and finding many skeletons in the closet. As yet, he hasn’t touched on the Harts, Robertsons and Aylings. My son Mark at age 44 has yet to find his way to a job. My daughter-in-law, Katey Jayne has two jobs now. She is persecuted endlessly by her ex-husband who imagines she owes him money. She has spent more time in court this year than church. I am thankful for many things, a warm house, sunny days, shade, great bird watching in the garden and a husband I can laugh with who takes me to all my favourite movies. We hope your lives are as good.”

And that, dear readers, is that beautiful understated eloquence that only the British culture can instill in one. I hope that you enjoyed this. My heart is still broken, but somehow lighter. We are on the edge of the first year. This bizarre and worst year of my life. Those of you who know me, know that is no small feat. I have had a very strange life. Keep posted, dear readers as I work my way through the six weeks. We will see what the end of the time brings.

A Mother’s Humour and Other Ways to Delve Into Madness


It’s literally been a very odd week. It started with Mother’s Day. I, of course, wanted Wee Geek to go and pick up my mom and drive to Muncie and meet us at Outback for lunch. Which after all the court broo-haha on Friday prior to that would have been nice. However, my mom was in one of her moods that are so aspy, and yet, so completely odd to me. She decided that she didn’t want to go. I guess it was fine. Wee Geek told me to let it go and I did. So The Fix it Guy and I spent Mother’s Day eating lunch at Outback and then going to an auction which turned out to be completely great. I picked up a ton of nice vintage jewelry that I’m ever so much in love with.

I don’t pretend to understand why my mom has these moments, but when I look at it, I guess that occasionally, I do as well. So I shouldn’t be too hard on her. After all, we all need time to do our own thing and I would want her to accept that about me.

Another odd thing about Mother’s Day was that a dear friend’s mother died that day. I didn’t know this friend’s mother very well, I’ve only met her a few times, but I’m told that the irony in her dying this particular day is simply delicious. I’m glad that my friend is able to deal with the loss of his only surviving parent with this kind of humour. He, does, in general, try to face most trials in his life in this way and I suppose that this is prolly why we are friends. Because we both approach life’s tragedies and trials as if it is in reality some gargantuan joke that we just don’t know the punch line to. And we laugh anyway. If you can’t beat them, by god, join them.

I’ve been very interested in watching the dynamics of this family as they go through this difficult time, because as always, I am a keen observer of humans in general. (I may have to report back to the Big Giant Head at any moment…see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115082/?ref_=sr_1 if you have no idea what that refers to.) I hope that my friends don’t mind my observations. My friend is trying very hard to be the zen hippy dippy California guy and stay in the middle because his sister is a wreck and his brother is the guy who always orchestrates the duck line and makes sure that it is doing the right thing. So the only thing left for him to be is the guy in the middle who is even.

This process has been difficult to watch because it brings to mind the idea that our parents are getting older and their health is going to decline and they are going to need help. I am very aware that my mom doesn’t have anyone else to rely on that’s close except for me. This is hard and I often wish she would move closer to us so that I don’t have to worry so damn much.

So going through this week, trying to be considerate of my friend’s feelings, I have just been trying to anticipate what he might need and I’ve been trying to make sure that he knows that he has support or someone who accepts him and loves him for who he is. It is hard to know what to do in these situations, but especially hard when you live on the spectrum because you just never are quite sure what the protocol for social behavior is. Grieving times compound this because people do not react in uniform ways to grief. Very distressing for those of us who need some sort of species conformity in order to form rules for ourselves so that we don’t inadvertently perform some ritual that is going to cause Karma to visit us 4 times daily with extra healthy heapings of bad luck.  So, if all of you neurotypical people could just get together and figure out a uniform way to grieve, that would be very helpful, thank you.

I never know what to say. Thankfully, The Fix it Guy knows that you are supposed to say silly things like “I’m sorry for your loss”. I don’t even know how that is remotely comforting. I much prefer, “I am here for you to use however you need to so that you can get through this truly horrific moment in your life”. I would never even have guessed “I’m sorry for your loss” not even with cue cards.

So, I am still teaching blogging at this conference tomorrow and so have to miss the funeral. I always feel as if funerals should really truly be for people who were close to the dead person or family. I’m just sort of a random passerby who happens to know three of her four kids. I will be thinking of my friends tomorrow as they go down this path of their lives. It is with a truly heavy heart that I think of them.

In other news….I think I’ve figured out what the next phase in my life is. So now I have to hurry up and do all of the stuff that I said I would do while I was not working. Craft room will be completely moved this upcoming week as well as one zombie book edited. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of my craftiness.

The first three doctors

The first three doctors

The Fourth Doctor

The Fourth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

The Fifth Doctor

 

Inertia…..or not


I am speaking at a writing conference next weekend. On blogging. We’ll see how that goes. I have a lovely little PowerPoint and some lovely examples of great blogs that I love, so we’ll see if it’s a hit or a miss. I like blogging. I just need to do it more often. I have a friend that tries to blog every day. I don’t think I have that much to say. Or maybe I do. I guess I wouldn’t have these mile long verbal vomit postings if I did post more often. I always think that I need to book mark this in my brain to blog about. And then I tease my Facebook friends with “I feel a blog rant coming on”. The rest of the time, I just get involved in my life or my current project or whatever you want to call it.

Wee Geek was caught up in inertia this week. Someone posted a great article on inertia and Asperger’s. Here is the link: http://archive.autistics.org/library/inertia.html. I emailed it to Wee Geek because the last month has been a true test of something in our life. It’s actually been a true test of a lot of things in life. At first, I thought it was just an IRL (in real life for you non internet savvy people in the audience) test. To see if he could handle this grown up situation and fix it. The answer to that, at least initially is no. However, after you lie to your mom about it and then realize that the paperwork is more than you can handle and that it’s the day before your court date and at least 2 of the 3 offices that you need to visit are closed or getting ready to close, you call Mom and come clean and then you work together to fix it.

The background is this. Most of you know (at least the faithful sheep in my flock do) that he got busted for paraphernalia and had his license suspended and then had to work around that for 6 months. At the end of the 6 months, the DMV required a checking account direct pay to reinstate his license. Which we did for him. He doesn’t have a checking account. Which we are going to very quickly remedy in the next few days. Among other things. So in November, I aid this and said “It’s all fixed, now go get your license. There is no problem to just go get a Kentucky license over an Ohio one.” I checked on all this for him because inertia drags him down and he gets frustrated over these little steps. I thought that after all of this, he would go do it and it was already taken care of. Then I get the panicked phone call. “Mom I got pulled over because I don’t have a license and my plates are expired and I don’t have proof of insurance.”

Wow…was I wrong. He forgot. Again, that inertia thing. So in Ohio you renew your plates on your birthdate evidently. In Indiana it’s according to a random previously established month based on the first letter of your last name. Wee Geek moved and did not forward his mail from his old address because he didn’t want his dad tracking him down. He’s managed to cut most of the ties to his life with his dad and he wants to keep it that way. Unfortunately, the DMV in their wisdom, mails your update notice to your last address (that you are supposed to keep updated with them) to give you that visual prompt that it’s time to register your car and update your plates. This is a great service for the DMV to provide. Unbeknownst to them they are superbly accommodating autistic people. So as you can see, the inertia got to him again. I only know a few people who actually put those silly insurance things in their cars. My husband being one of them. I always forget. I should be better about it, but sometimes inertia gets to me, too. The registration card is still sitting on my table from February. He had current insurance, mom is just negligent about sending that paperwork in a timely manner.

So after a couple of weeks, he calls me and tells me it’s all done. I take him at his word. I’m trying to let him be a grown up and get things taken care of without mom being mom. Big mistake apparently. So the day before his court date, he calls to tell me not to yell at him. Now this was a moment of  blinking yellow arrow signs, alarms blaring, red lights whirring…..you know that moment, don’t you? Or do only autistic people get those moments? Maybe it’s just me. I am very good at getting things accomplished when I need to. He knows this. Good for Wee Geek that he picked the mom who is efficient at fixing things. So because he was so upset and couldn’t find his only copy of his social security card. I called the office to find out what other information and type of identification would suffice. I find out that all he has to do is go to the social security office and get a printout that has his name and soc on it. I send him to the office and it’s closed. Yay. Later I find out that all social security offices close at noon on Wednesdays. Hint federal offices put this information on your freaking websites! No where is this written until you go to the office and check the hours on the door. As if this is random. And a surprise for everyone. It’s not. I call the office again and explain to the nice lady what the issue is.

It culminates in me explaining that he has Asperger’s  and Bipolar and this is just a little too overwhelming for him. Thankfully, she has a schizophrenic kid and understood a little bit about inertia. She went over to the DMV lady which is apparently just across the room and talked to her for a short period of forever. When she comes back she tells me that she’s explained that Wee Geek is “special” and that they will extend his court date for us.

A short side note. I don’t like to pull the Asperger’s card. However, there are times when it’s merited. This is one of those times. I’m the mom, I get to make those decisions when you aren’t getting the job done. Wee Geek wasn’t happy, but at that point, I think that he was just grateful for whatever reprieve he could get for his colossal fuck up.

So the next morning he got his printout from the social security office and went to take his test to get his new license. Which I made him send me a picture of. I know, silly, but you lied to me so now I need proof. A new paperwork obstacle reared its ugly head and so the plates took another couple of days. Just getting the registration was a huge feat. Apparently there was some insurance problem and he actually had to get his very own insurance and not continue to be on mine. Which neither of us knew and apparently we forgot to tell the agent that he wasn’t in school. So error and foul on everyone there. I spent half a day on line and deep in research and found him a policy that we thought he could afford. He got that taken care of and two days later, finally finished the process and got everything done. Sigh. Inertia.

I then had to be the mom and talk to him about lying to me. He’s a grown up now and there isn’t any reason to lie to me about anything. We’ve proven time and again that we are going to help him regardless of what happens. I might get upset with him, but I always help him. I might yell, but usually because I am frustrated for him and trying to get things done. I know that only moms will understand being frustrated for your child. It’s very frustrating to see your child struggling over things. I try to let him figure stuff out. He is a grown up. I yelled at him because it’s not necessary to lie to me about not doing something. Just say, “Mom, I can’t do this by myself, I need help.” There isn’t anything wrong with that.

I admire Wee Geek, because he’s trying to do things on his own without asking for help and he truly feels bad when he has to ask us for help, money, or anything. Now, Wee Geek is the kid that we were terrified might be living with us until he was 40. So we are thrilled that he is on his own and trying to the best of his ability to get it all done. We don’t mind helping him because we have always known that he was the one that was going to need the most support and the most help with getting things done as he transitions into this scary land of adult hood. We really are okay with giving him the extra support. Even the Fix It Guy (like the new title for him?) is okay with giving him this extra support. A lot has changed in ten years.

So we are going down to go to court with him so that he knows he is supported and that we are willing to be his parents and do that for him. I think that he might need help in talking to the judge because I know that I always did. The rules of court are so different than the rest of the universe and they completely defy all of the social rules that I have already memorized. I don’t expect him to know any of them. Court feels like some kind of alternate world that has it’s own built in set of rules that have nothing to do with our every day world at all.

In other news, I am still bumbling along trying to figure out what to do next. I guess inertia has caught up to me as well. I am enjoying being crafty and I’ve been working on all sorts of things. Yesterday I made fabric covered storage boxes for use on a book shelf that I bought at an auction last week. Craft storage. I’ve been trying to consolidate two rooms of craft crap into one. This has been a monumental and overwhelming task at some points. I am one of those people that has to have the exact right storage stuff lined up before I can start organizing. The Fix It Guy is extremely accommodating of this even though it’s impacting him working in his own little office. Bless his little mechanical heart. We are more on our way to that road than we have been. I’ll get to it. It’s the project of the next week.

In the meantime of all of this, we took a little trip u to the Poconos which was lovely. I like vacations. Even though right now, it wasn’t any different than our regular life, just in a different place and a hotel room. We made a day trip to Philadelphia and a day trip to New York City. In the aftermath, I am glad because the Fix It Guy is a superb planner and he can just trek us right along. My health definitely impacted this trip, though. I couldn’t just go and go without my arthritis kicking in and it required a cane for most of the trip which in the past has never happened to me in the warmer months. So I am resigning to my health impacting my life in the form of a cane. With the cane, we just have to pick and choose some of our activities better, but I try and not let it make a huge impact. I think this keeps me going. Most of the time. Sometimes I have to give up and say no.

I only had a short list of things that I wanted to do, but these things always get slid off in favor of what The Fix It Guy wants to do because he likes to wear me down into the land of don’t-give-a-fuck and I then don’t care if we do the few things I wanted to do. We did go to the Hard Rock and eat and get my shirt, hurricane glass, and charm. That’s the big thing for me. I like those little souvenir things. Baubles.

The next week, my father in law (the step one not the farmer one) bought a tent in Boston and we went to pick it up. So we made a day trip to Boston. We have decided that all of these cities deserve at least one more trip to explore further. We pack a lot into these little trips, but it’s never enough time. Especially now that I have to slow down a little.

I am still applying for jobs like a mad woman, but as I said, I have been concentrating on doing crafty things. This is the first time in 10 years that I have not had at least 2 jobs and I am enjoying it. I kept saying that if I could get a couple of weeks off, I would get editing done and get these books out the door. Guess what? Inertia happened and I’m doing all these other little things that I don’t usually have time for. So my newest project is to do these really cute Doctor Who dolls. The first two are done and number three is almost finished.

I am really enjoying doing these. I’m thinking that I will doing felty ones and putting them on Etsy. I’ve been working on cross stitch stuff, too.

I’ve been busy as you can see. I have all these creative ideas. Now that the computer is completely updated with Windows 8, new office software, the latest versions of both Scrivener and PCStitch, I am ready to roll on this creative stuff. I have been writing. Don’t worry, it’s just not as much as the creative crafty stuff.

I have made a resolution to get on the writing stuff, though. I need to do that as much as everything else. Don’t worry dear readers.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive And the Apocalypse


So unless you live on Mars or under some sort of rock and you have no access to a television at all, you have heard about the Sandy Hook tragedy. I honestly believe that there is some asshole in the media who does nothing but wait for horrible things to happen so that he can jump up and say, “Ha! That guy’s autistic because he’s weird/different/introverted/unable to communicate with others…etc.” I hate this guy. I can’t tell you how much loathing I have for this idiot. I get so tired of the media promoting the idea that antisocial=autism=potential for violence. Seriously? Although there are several people on my list and I shuffle that list around fairly frequently, I have yet to kill anyone this week. This month. This year. This decade. The last 43 years. Yes, you are welcome for this.

I have seen lots of good advocacy roll across my FB page. I have seen lots of good ideas about sticking up for ourselves and how we can help to make people not afraid of people on the spectrum. I have been thinking about this a lot. How do we advocate for ourselves as people on the spectrum in light of this unwanted challenge from the media? How do we continue to advocate for ourselves and make it meaningful to others?

It’s important for me to note that I speak as one autistic person in a sea of people neurotypical and autistic alike. I speak on my own opinions and experience not only as an autistic person, but as the mother of an autistic person as well. I am also the mother of a child with a mental illness. I am completely irate over the news reports that the boy and others that have committed these crimes are Asperger’s. Especially coupled in the phrase “suffering from Asperger’s. I want to get something very clear. I don’t suffer from Asperger’s. I do suffer from the stupidity of others who do not understand Asperger’s. I suffer from people making stupid assumptions based on my diagnosis without getting to know me. I really become offended when people think they know something about me or how I feel after finding out my diagnosis.

I always try to think about ways to advocate for people on the spectrum. I try to present myself in a way that makes people comfortable with me as a human being and then as a person on the spectrum. It takes all sorts of people to make the world function and we have to be cognizant of this. I reaad a great blurb written by a mother of a mentally ill child. And a follow up written by a mental health professional. These are important pieces in this debate. We have to look at these sides of the puzzle to determine how to relate to the rest of the puzzle. I especially liked when the mental health professional gave suggestions for possibly avoiding these sorts of incidences in the future. One suggestion was for high school students to make the popular kids stop picking on the weird and different kids. Even in my own live, it would have made a huge difference to have more self confidence and a hell of a lot less self loathing. Kids who don’t fit into the norm are hard, but they need to be encouraged, by someone. I would love to know who this person was for Tim Burton or Amanda Palmer. Who did this for Andy Warhol, Stan Lee, or countless other creative people who have succeeded?

I have lots of support in my life now for all of my endeavors, but I lacked the self confidence to pursue these things earlier in my life. It made me a target. My own doubt over my differences made me a target. My own inability to interpret social signals and norms made me a target. I would have given a lot for a mentor or at least just someone else out there saying that it would be okay and I would get through it and become a fantastic person. When you are different, it’s very important to know that one day, it will all be worthwhile.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few months soul searching and trying to figure out what my next step is. The last 3 months have sped by and I only have 2 months left on this temporary assignment. I have no idea what I’m going to do next. I do know that I am absolutely dreading going back to the process of finding a new job. If my luck actually carriies through, maybe the unemployed guy will find a job and let me take some time off to write. I do have 3 novels that need a little polishing and maybe I can get them out the door and into the land of being published. I have also been thinking very hard about writing my own story. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. It feels very painful still, but with Wee Geek now doing well and starting to get along on his own, I feel like I have somme strength to get through it. There are lots of things that need to be said. There are even more things that I think that I might be able to resolve within myself about the entire thing.

I am reminded of that old Depeche Mode song, “Walking in my shoes”.
“I would tell you about the things they put me through
The pain I’ve been subjected to….
Now, I’m not looking for absolution,
Forgiveness for the things I do.
But before you come to any conclusions,
Try wwalking in my shoes…
You’ll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I’ve kept
If you try walking in my shoes.
Morality would frown upon
Decency look down upon
The scapegoat fate’s made of me,
But I promise now, my judge and jurors,
My intentions couldn’t have been purer.
My case is easy to see.
I’m not looking for a clearer conscience,
Peace of mind after what I’ve been through.
And before we talk of any repetance,
Try walking in my shoes…”

I love this song. It’s my ringback tone because I feel like it really epitomizes what I’ve been through in the last few years. I also hate critics who think they mighht have done it differently or better.

A few notes on the Apocalypse that is impending. While I’m trying to plan a future, I’m planning for the death of humanity in general. I know, who makes up this stuff? We speculate on the giant boom that will occur exactly at midnight, we plan to go to an end of the world party….what will really happen? I’m sure it will be like so many other times in the past when the ulimate end has been predicted. In the meantime, I’ve traded cars with Wee Geek to figure out what the problem with his car is. It’s an old car. It was top of the line for its time. It has this great digital readout that greets me whenever I get in and start it. The other day it said “Greetings. Good morning. Saturday December 24th.” I laughed when I realised that Wee Geek’s car has become a Tardis. It also has survived the Apocalypse in the future. Or it’s really late for something. Sigh. No clues there.

So, dear readers, I hope that you survive the Apocalypse. I have a Tardis that’s already survived. So good luck to you.

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