I was really struggling with what to write for this month’s #PepperDay post. I wrote a post in a group on Facebook a couple of days ago that has gotten far more attention than I ever expected it to get. It’s part of my autistic advocacy work, so luckily the vast majority of responses has been positive, but it has me completely out of my comfort zone.
I did not fully think through how much reach it would have when I wrote it, and since it was approved I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to keep on top of notifications about reactions to the post and reading and responding to comments.
So, for today’s #PepperDay post I thought I’d do something a little fun.
First, though, some housekeeping from last month’s post. My garden gnome arrived and I absolutely love him. Here are some pictures of him and what our walkway looks like with all our solar powered decorations all lit up.
Okay, now to explain the title of this post and have some fun. Lately FB has well and truly figured out my personality and has demonstrated that by the shirts that it is suggesting that I buy. (And to be clear, I am in no way being sarcastic, these suggestions are absolutely directly in line with my personality.)
Here’s what Facebook has suggested, so far I have only been able to purchase the first suggestion.
Earlier this month my Dad alerted me to a desk that he had seen on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on it. Curtis still works in the area that my parents live in, so he went and checked it out during a break in his work day. He decided it was in good enough condition, though the desktop was in rough shape, and it fit in our SUV so he brought it home.
There was some question once he got it through the door as to whether it would fit in the space we were hoping to turn into an office, but once we moved some things around, it did end up fitting. So we purchased some desk mats to cover the desktop and an office chair, and that weird little room now has a purpose.
We also got outside and did some spring cleanup for our garden area out in front of our condo on the first day of Spring. There are stones on the steps leading up to our door that get shoveled into the garden and grass area during the winter, so we gathered those up and put them back where they belong. We also moved a couple of butterfly decorations left behind by the previous owners out of hiding and moved our flower pinwheel to a more prominent location.
The several feet of snow that we have is being slowly melted away.
A few days ago was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandma’s death.
My maternal uncle’s mother died yesterday.
February is now a very bad month for my cousins.
I went to bed earlier than I have been lately hoping to get up earlier… it didn’t work.
As I was willing myself to get out of bed I received a group text.
At first I thought that my abusive sister somehow got ahold of my new number and somehow got around the fact that I have her blocked because the names are listed in alphabetical order, but it was from my Dad.
My Dad sent a group text to me, my sister, my mom’s sister, and his mother.
He was letting us know that my Mom was currently in the ER with a suspected gall bladder infection.
She is alone because of Covid restrictions.
I cannot go and be with my Dad and brother because I am isolating as much as possible while I wait my turn for my vaccine.
I yelled the F word several times after reading the text, texted my Dad privately to be certain it wasn’t visible to my sister and then forced myself to get out of bed.
It was time for my afternoon meds. I grabbed two wrong medication organizers before finally grabbing the correct one and getting my meds in me.
I got my teeth brushed, pulled on a hoodie, got my glasses on and called my husband at work to inform him of the death in the family and that my Mom was in the ER.
I worried over the phone to my husband about the fact that my sister might now have my new number because she was part of the group text.
I needed breakfast.
I opened the wrong cabinet and tried to put my juice glass on my Keurig instead of my mug.
I eventually managed to get my juice in my juice glass, my coffee and creamer in my mug, and my milk and cereal in my bowl.
I ate breakfast and took care of some of my normal daily routines on my phone while eating.
I posted to Facebook about what is going on with my family.
I got another group text from my Dad letting us know that a cat scan ruled out a gall bladder infection. Mom has really bad reflux, still unsure why, but she should be coming home from the ER soon. He’ll update us when he knows more.
I texted my husband with the updated information. I told him that I am still worried about why her reflux is so bad all the time, but that right now the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is only a few days ago and the fact that there was just another death in the family might have something to do with it.
I wrote a comment on my Facebook post giving everyone updated information. (Minus my hypothesis as to what’s causing her current reflux issues.)
Now I’m sitting here writing this post because it’s #PepperDay and I didn’t know what else to write about.
I’m sitting here trying to find the motivation to get up and take the shower that I still need to take today.
I’m sorry that my posts have been such downers two months in a row now.
Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.
And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.
And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.
Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).
4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.
4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.
4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.
4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.
4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.
4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.
4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.
4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.
4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.
4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.
3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.
3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.
3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.
3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.
3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.
3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.
3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.
2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.
2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.
2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.
2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.
1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.
1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…
10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.
4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.
4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.
2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.
1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.
So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.
I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.
This gorgeous tile work is part of the backsplash above my bathroom sink. It is one of things that I fell in love with when we were first looking at our condo. I hope that you’ll bear with me as I use this photo as a backdrop for a little bit more serious of a post than what I’ve been doing for most of this month.
Ra Avis over at Rarasaur blog did a post a couple of days ago that got me thinking. She chronicled a few of the things that she deals with after having suffered a series of mini strokes about a year and a half ago.
I have not suffered any mini strokes, what I deal with is minor compared to what she deals with. But I was able relate on some extremely small level.
I am Autistic. I made this discovery (that I’ve always known on some level) a little more than a year ago. I am also on several medications for extreme anxiety. The medications help to keep the anxiety at bay (for the most part) but they also do not so great things to my memory, which in itself is anxiety inducing…
Anyway, to the point of this post.
I am a creature of habit.
I figure out a routine for how to do something, and that’s how I do it forever and ever from then on… (Seriously, people will make fun of me for my routines and how precise they are) Until something forces me to change that routine.
Change throws me into chaos. I don’t know how to deal with it. Until I am able to establish a new routine I am the furthest thing from a happy camper.
If I am in the middle of a routine and someone decides to help me and things end up getting done “out of order” I become lost and angry with the person who helped me, even though I know that my anger is unfair.
If I am in the middle of a routine and I get interrupted, I can quite literally have no idea how to proceed.
Here’s a real life example that has happened to me more than once. I am in the process of getting ready to brush my teeth (that’s where the photo above ties in) and something distracts/interrupts me. I turn my attention back to trying to get the toothpaste from the tube to the toothbrush and I have no idea how to make it happen.
I brush my teeth twice a day, everyday. I know how to brush my teeth.
Except when I suddenly don’t anymore because I stopped in the middle of my routine and I don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know which hand does what, how to hold things.
I am lost, scared and confused.
I sometimes have to start over from the beginning so that muscle memory can kick in and I can proceed.
Most people don’t know that I’m Autistic. Some people would catagorize my Autism as “mild”. I hate those sort of labels. I have learned how to appear neurotypical by masking and routines, but how my Autism effects me is anything but mild.
My routines are how I pretend to be a fully functioning adult.
Without them, I am left holding a tube of toothpaste with no idea what to do next.
This is our dining room portion of our Bliving Room. Right behind the chair to the right in this photo is where you’ll find the coffee clock and breakfast artwork that I shared in yesterday’s post. (There is also a tree living in that corner that we didn’t know was going to become a tree… But that’s a post for a different day…)
Today is a day that I wish I had some actual cupcakes in the condo. My day started out with my toilet running, then stopping, then running again, then stopping. I knew that most likely something was wrong with the flapper, (the part inside your toilet tank that lifts up to let water through when you flush) so before I was even able to brush my teeth I was lifting the top off of my toilet tank to assess the problem. I was correct, there was a bit of toilet cleaner tablet that had somehow gotten lodged in the flapper and that was causing the toilet to slowly continuously flush. I pushed down on the toilet handle a bit to get the toilet cleaner tablet loose and it flushed itself down into the toilet.
So now the toilet is no longer continuously slowly running, but I also no longer have any cleaning tablet in the tank. So I have to replace that. I have to get into the laundry/utility closet that is also located in the bathroom, pull the box down from the shelf without dropping it and then leave the bathroom in search of scissors to separate 2 packages and open one package.
I successfully get the toilet cleaner tablet into the toilet tank, put the top back on the tank and move on with my morning.
A bit later on after getting a load of laundry started, I get my small glass of apple juice, mug of coffee and cereal out to the table. I go to pick up my glass of apple juice and it slips out of my hand and spills all over the dining room table.
I immediately grab my phone and rush to dry whatever juice got onto it off. The glass has fallen onto it’s side on the fabric placemat that you see in the picture above.
So, the good news is, the placemat is soaking up most of the juice.
Also, the bad news is, the placemat is soaking up most of the juice. All of the napkins in the napkin holder on top of the placemat are also soaking up most of the juice. So all the napkins have now got to be thrown away.
All of my breakfast gets moved back to the kitchen where I dry it off. I dry off the napkin holder. I wring apple juice out of the placemat and rinse it out. By this time the load of laundry I started earlier is ready to be moved to the dryer, so I do that and get the placemat started washing in a small load instead of the next load of clothes that I had planned.
I wipe down the table with a damp paper towel to get whatever juice may still be lingering and move my breakfast back to the table. This time I manage not to spill my refilled juice glass as I eat my now soggy Cheerios.
Today would be really great day for some cupcakes…
It’s already been a full month since last Pepper Day and I don’t know where all that time went to. Although there was certainty a lot that happened since I last wrote on here.
I’ll start with the good news, we are fully moved into our new condo now! It is feeling more and more like home everyday and it is so wonderful to have all of our decorative items out again.
But then shortly after we finally got ourselves fully moved into the condo our car’s transmission FAILED while my husband was on the highway driving into work a couple of Fridays ago. He used our AAA membership and got it towed to the nearest garage. One of my dear friends gifted us the money for rental car while ours was in the shop.
Then last Sunday, the day before our car was supposed to be ready to picked up, my husband found out that one of his coworkers that he works in close quarters with tested positive for coronavirus, and we both had to quarantine while we waited for the results of his Covid test which he wasn’t able to get until Tuesday. (A week from his last likely exposure.)
So, he couldn’t go into work, but there were still a whole bunch of virtual meetings for him to attend throughout the week because he is on the committee that was planning this year’s virtual Staff Retreat.
The Staff Retreat happened today and it all went well and they all had a good time.
We also got his test results back today, even though we were told to expect it to take much longer. He tested negative. So he now gets to go back to working in person tomorrow. This week should have resulted in a lot of overtime, but since he had to quarantine, we’re just lucky he’s getting paid for 40 hours.
The missing overtime is going to hurt because fixing the car was ridiculously expensive and our first mortgage payment is due in a few days.
And speaking of our mortgage, we’re unsure who exactly we’re supposed to be paying it to.
When we signed all the paperwork we were informed that another mortgage company was going to be handling our mortgage than the one we initially worked with to get the loan. We’ve been in constant contact with that company and they don’t see us in their system, or they only partially see us.
Then today we got something in the mail from our original mortgage company telling us how much to pay them and when it was due.
From what we can tell, the second mortgage company will eventually be handling our mortgage and all our payments will go to them, but apparently the wheels of mortgage grind slowly and we should pay the original company until we get notified that the second company officially has our file.
This would have been really nice information to have during the closing…
So, to recap: we’ve moved in, our car has been fixed and my husband doesn’t have coronavirus.
Overall, I guess it hasn’t been all that horrible of a month.
Despite many issues and people not communicating and doing their jobs, we managed to buy our condo the beginning of this month only one day later than originally planned.
We are still living amongst lots and lots of boxes.
Most of those boxes have been in storage for over 2 and half years, so we don’t even know what’s in them.
We had to give our full size washer and dryer that we’d been storing to someone else and buy new tiny ones to fit in our laundry closet. There has been a bit of an adjustment period.
Speaking of laundry, there is a large pile waiting to be dealt with right now because we had to wash everything is that came from storage. So this will probably be the extent of my post for Pepper Day this month. Hopefully we’ll be more settled in by next month!