Hearing and Saying

I don’t know where this month has gone. My life right now feels like a whirlwind.

Between spending 6 hours a week at a hospital getting saline infusions, making trips out to campus to finalize my fall semester, planning our trip to Kansas City for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, preparing for my in-laws’ visit in May, and starting an intense physical therapy protocol, I haven’t had time to breathe.

And breathing is important, or so I’m told.

Writing, too, has taken a set on the back burner. And it’s not like I don’t have ideas, I just can’t get them down before they fly out of my head.

So this isn’t a carefully planned and researched post about a facet of Autism. It’s not even one of my typical lists, with discussions and comparisons. No, this is a collection of the one thing that’s been sticking in my head these days: funny and/or ridiculous things I’ve said or heard recently.

“He sounded disappointed that the cat didn’t fit down the toilet?”

“Are you prepared to make your evil laugh?”

“Just because she didn’t pet you doesn’t mean you can hiss at her.”

“The bush is buzzing again. Must be April.”

“This sign is old. Irish people people objected to being compared to potatoes.”

“I can’t tolerate it orally”

“Buttons makes everything a bit more formal.”

“I need you to come touch Einstein’s face. NOW.”

“What, have the hipsters ruined hats for everyone now?”

“But if we end up there, can I ride a camel?”

So here we are. It’s funny the things that come out of our mouths somethings. I’m not an eavesdropper, but I definitely feel like I hear more of other peoples’ conversations than your average neurotypical. I like to chalk that up to hyper-hearing and a natural curiosity.

I hope that your week is filled with amusing conversations!

5 Post-Surgery Necessities

I promise that I’ll lay off the medical stuff as soon as my steri-strips come off (which should be in the next few days!), but until I can go a whole day without screaming because a cat stepped on my incisions, you’re stuck with post-surgery me.

This list is less of a practical guide for after surgery needs and slightly more tongue in cheek, although if you find any of this useful, well great! What a happy surprise!

Two surgeries in two months has gotten me into a bit of a routine (which all you Neurodivergent folks know can be kind of dangerous), and without further ado, here are my post surgical necessities.

1. Pancakes: One of the suckiest things about surgery is that you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight the day of. Now, I can handle the no fluids things pretty well, but I get seriously crabby when I’m hungry. Especially on days when my surgery is scheduled for 11 am, and I have to spend the whole morning with my stomach doing hungry backflips. It was after this incident that my wife made a deal. I make it through surgery, and we go and get pancakes afterwards. I love pancakes enough that this is enough incentive for me to get through the hunger pains with only minor bitching. On top of being a good bribe, pancakes are carb-y and syrup-y, and if you add in some eggs, you could even call it a well balanced meal. All I care about is the deliciousness though.

2. Stuffed Animals: It is a tradition in my family that after surgery, I get a new stuffed animal. This started about 8 years a go when I had urinary tract surgery. My mother-in-law bought me a stuffed tiger that I named Hobbes. To this day, I sleep with him every night, and the rest I suppose, is history. A stuffed animal is necessary for me, because when I’m exhausted and in pain, all I want is something soft to snuggle. And I think that they’re a great visual representation of the surgery, instead of just remembering the pain and the scars. Luckily I don’t have surgery that often, or I’d have a zoo!

3. A Movie Marathon- Post surgery sucks. Everything hurts, and thanks to leftover anesthesia and pain meds, I don’t have the mental energy to do things like read or knit. But my brain still needs some stimulation, and this is where having a to-watch plan comes in. I use the word movie marathon, which totally works- Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings all work great for this. TV shows do too. X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are two of my favorites. For me, I just need to make sure I’ve got at least 72 hours with of stuff to watch, otherwise I’ll just watch Moana on repeat like last time (which isn’t bad, but it means I’ve got You’re Welcome stuck in my head for weeks.)

4. Ice. All the Ice: This is the most practical one. Not only does ice make things feel all icy and numb, but it confuses your nerves so at least if you’re in pain, it’s because your skin is freezing, not the giant gash on your leg. We’re in possession of several of these, that we rotate through the freezer, and are a thousand times better than the contraptions that they send you home from the hospital with. These thing require you to fill them with a ton of actual ice- which I don’t know about you, but my freezer doesn’t have enough room to make, and while they insist that they seal waterproof, that is a lie. And the last thing that you want when you’re taking a restorative nap is to have ice cascade down your chest. Believe me, I’ve suffered enough for all of us.

5. Pets: There is nothing better than a snuggly animal when you feel like crap. Both of my cats seem to be able to know when I’m under the weather. Spike in particular zeros in on any trace of blood, and seems to think that it’s his job to eradicate it. Which is not sanitary at all. But does he listen? No. Angel hovers. No matter where I am, he’s within about 4 feet of me. If given the opportunity, he’ll spend all of his time gently patting me with his paw, which he seems convinced is helpful. They both try, they really do. However, there is nothing like taking a nap with a warm cat on your chest, and the most healing thing post-surgery plenty of naps.

So here we are. Hopefully at the end of my surgery road, and moving on to topics unknown! If you’ve had surgery, and have any post-surgery must haves, let me know! (although I’m hoping that I’ll never need it).

8 Favorite Quotes About Autism

If you interact at all with social media, you’ll know that quotes are everywhere. They’re usually posted on top of images on mountains or sunsets, and are more often than not credited to ‘anonymous’. Not to say there aren’t some good quotes out there, especially ones that describe experiences, instead of forcing vague positivity on the reader. It can be hard to sort through Autism quotes, because a large percentage of them are made about Autistic children by Neurotypical adults. These often border on inspiration porn- and they infuriate me.

So, in order to combat these, I’d like to share some quotes about Autism that I enjoy.

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So here they are! If I had to pick one, I think that the square peg one is my favorite, but there’s so many quotes out there, that I’ve probably missed some great ones! So, dear readers, if you’ve got a quote you love, let me know (especially if they’re funny, what can I say, I’ve got a weakness)!

Stocking Traditions

It is Christmas Day, and my wife and I have just finished opening our stockings. We’ve use this method of gift exchanging for most of our relationship, and it’s something that I really cherish.

I’ve always found gifts problematic, because it’s a very social activities. There are so many rules around it, and I’ve always had trouble knowing what sort of gift to give, how to figure out what someone might want, and how much to spend.

My family puts a lot of pressure on things like finding the perfect gift and spending enough on someone, which honestly makes the holiday season really stressful. My wife’s family is nothing like this, and it took awhile to get used to. Even with their celebration was low-key, I still found it stressful. I’ve gotten more used to it, and I became more excited about celebrating with them, and my wife and I used their model for our own Christmas celebration, which I deeply enjoy.

On Christmas Eve, we exchange pajamas and books, and then in the morning, we eat cinnamon rolls and exchanges stockings.

The way we do stockings is that we agree on an amount of money we each get to spend, depending on how the budget is looking. This is helpful because I don’t have to guess how much I should spend. One we’ve got an amount, we have the attitude of ‘go and use x dollars to fill my stocking with things you think I’ll love!’. There are items that make it into the stockings every year, like candy and chocolate, fun socks, and themed coffee mugs. The rest is a mystery until Christmas morning, and that’s what makes it fun!

I never thought that I’d be here telling you how much I love Christmas, but I’m so glad my tiny family has traditions that make me so happy!

 

And a Meltdown in a Pear Tree

Merry Christmas Everyone! Or for anyone that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukah,  late Solstice, early Kwanza, and a Very Happy December 25th!

I think no matter what you celebrate, The 12 Days of Christmas carol is probably something that you’ve heard. The math has been done, and to purchase all 12 days of gifts would cost you almost $35,000!

I’ve replace the drummers, pipers, lords and ladies, the maids, the swans, and the geese, the gold rings, the calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and the partridge with things that are a little more relatable!

So I present to you-

The Twelve Days of Autism 

On the First day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, A meltdown in a pear tree

On the Second day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Third day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Fourth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Fifth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, five same-foods. four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Sixth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Seventh day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, seven special interests, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Eighth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, eight kinds of chewelry, seven special interests, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Ninth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, nine ear defenders, eight kinds of chewelry, seven special interests, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Tenth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, ten tag-less t-shirts, nine ear defenders, eight kinds of chewelry, seven special interests, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Eleventh day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, eleven hands a flapping, Ten tag-less t-shirts, nine ear defenders, eight kinds of chewelry, seven special interests, six different stim toys, five same-foods, four social rules, three routines, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Twelfth day of Christmas, Autism gave to me,  Twelve weighted blankets, Eleven hands a flapping, Ten tag-less t-shirts, Nine ear defenders, Eight kinds of chewelry, Seven special interests, Six different stim toys, Five same-foods, Four social rules, Three routines, Two info-dumps, And a meltdown in a pear tree.

Happy Winter Holidays everyone, I hope you’re relaxing, eating good food, and enjoying time with people that make you happy.

Now I Know 30 Things

I turn 30 today, and for the past few months I’ve been feeling really anxious about it. I get caught in this spiral of feeling like because of mental health reasons, chronic illness, and autism, I’ve wasted my twenties. Lately though, I’m more in the mindset that I’m just a late bloomer. I’ve got a lot of life left in me, and I plan to do great things with it! But the most important part of this whole thing is, because I’m 30, I now know 30 things. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to share them with you.

  1. Trapping bugs under a cup instead of killing them is good. But if you’re not going to take them outside right away, for the love of God, tape the cup down. They can escape.
  2. Doing the right thing sometimes doesn’t feel like the right thing. That doesn’t mean that you should stop.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide can get dried blood out of almost anything. Do with that what you may. Not murder.
  4. Whatever amount of garlic a recipe calls for, double it.
  5. Just because an emotion you’re feeling is negative, doesn’t mean that it’s bad.
  6. Always keep a snow shovel in the trunk of your car, in case there’s a freak storm and you need to dig yourself out.
  7. The key to never having to talk to telemarketers is googling any number that you don’t recognize, and if it’s not important, ignoring it.
  8. Don’t meow back at cats, it just encourages them.
  9. If you like something about someone, be it their hair or their shoes or their sense of humor, tell them. It’s good for both of your souls.
  10. Self care is whatever makes you feel calm and safe, so don’t let anyone tell you how to care for yourself.
  11. The key to not being embarrassed is realizing that 97% of the time, people are too busy thinking about themselves to notice you.
  12. Most DIY projects are expensive. If your goal is to have fun and get messy, awesome, go for it! But if you’re trying to save money, do the math first.
  13. You can write on mirrors with dry erase markers, which is way more convenient than writing notes on your hand. Also, there’s less risk of accidentally washing away important information.
  14. If you have weird medical symptoms, Google with care. The internet is almost definitely lying to you. You do not have cancer.
  15. Superglue is a necessary evil, and it is inevitable that at some point, you will glue your fingers together. Luckily acetone, which is found in most nail polish removers, will un-stick them quickly.
  16. Finding used books that are written in is like finding treasure. Seeing other peoples’ notes, the parts they loved, the parts that confused them, the parts they disagreed with- it’s like reading through someone else’s eyes.
  17. If someone criticizes you in a non-constructive way, meaning they aren’t giving you realistic advice on how to improve, that’s not criticism, it’s an attack. Feel free to fart in their general direction. Or just ignore them, I guess, that works too.
  18. If someone is tailgating you, as long as you’re going the speed limit, there’s no point in speeding up. It won’t help, and you’ll be the one pulled over for speeding, not them.
  19. Don’t talk down to kids, they’re smart little cookies, and they understand more than you think. Also they’ll rule over us all in about 40 years.
  20. If you’re looking for a masculine haircut, go to a barber instead of a hairdresser. They’ll get the lines right, plus it’s way cheaper.
  21. The snooze button is not your friend. It’s too easy to forget how many times you’ve hit it, plus, you’re not getting any quality sleep between alarms.
  22. Chopping chile peppers is a threat to your mucus membranes. Wash your hands immediately and always remember that, in an emergency, milk works better than water.
  23. You can get heatstroke without a sunburn, especially if you are 8 and at Disney World. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, headache, and vomiting, and if you suddenly stop sweating, it’s time to find some help.
  24. Because humanity is largely social, people generally want to help each other. This means you’ll have much better luck getting someone to do something if you phrase it as needing help, instead of as a demand.
  25. Most Dollar Stores sell the same candy you’d get at the movie theatre for a dollar. You’re welcome.
  26. There are other pronouns besides He and She. Gender non-conforming people also use pronouns like They, Ey, Zir. You’d think with all these options I’d have less trouble picking one…
  27. When you start a new medication, always check if it interacts with anything else you’re taking or eating or drinking, because doctors are notoriously bad about catching uncommon interactions.
  28. We all over-salt recipes sometimes, whether our hands slipped, or we got distracted by the dog outside our window and forgot that we’d already added it. Luckily, anything liquidy can be saved by sticking a raw potato in there for about 10 minutes.
  29. Turning your computer off and on again isn’t always the right answer. Sometimes getting another person close enough so your computer knows you’ll look incompetent if starts working again is just as good.
  30. You’re not wasting your life. You’re not wasting your life. You’re not wasting your life.