Monday, January 30, 2012

A Tick Bit My Ass - I Think Its A Metaphor For My Life

Yes, you read that right. Yesterday, hubs, kiddo and I bundled up and went out to a local nature preserve to take pictures. Got some great photos of moss, leaves and other naturish things. I also got a tick on my ass.

Yes, a little deer tick apparently found its way inside my pants and attached itself to the underside of my right butt cheek. I guess I should be grateful it  didn't decide to burrow a little more to the left, but damn. I didn't know tick bite hurt so much!

I found it late last night (or actually early this morning) as I got ready for bed and proceeded to wake up the entire household shrieking about the tick on my ass. At least I didn't run around bare assed. Anyway, hubs got the tweezer and I bent over and grabbed my ankles while he tweezed it free. Then we splashed a little alcohol on it, I took an allergy tab and went to bed.

Only, I couldn't sleep.

See, the freaking thing hurts. Its raised and red about the size of a quarter and I'm having shooting pains up and down my leg. My ass is pulsing. I think the tick hit a nerve. Is that even possible?

If this wasn't a metaphor for how my life is going at the moment, it would be a whole lot funnier.

So, that leads me to why a tick on the ass is like my life.... today, kiddo decided college is not for him. He's not going anymore. Short of dragging him kicking and screaming to each and every class, there's no way he's going back. Yes, he has a 3.75 GPA and 2 semesters under his belt. Yes, he's damned smart. But the social stuff is killing him. So, we've endured a huge emotional upheaval over the last few days which culminated in today's decision. Now I have to call the college, tell them he's had some sort of anxiety driven breakdown and see if I can get this semester's tuition back. Fun fun.

I'm not saying my son is a pain in the ass by the way. I'm saying that trying to work around Aspergers and all the struggles and problems it presents is a pain in the ass. Life is a pain in the ass - well, my life anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do the Right Thing and Live with the Consequences

Recently, a friend of my son approached us and asked for my help. The kid had only applied to one college and because our lovely local high school hadn't done the right thing, they were rejected. They desperately wanted to go to the same college as kiddo for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, the family doesn't have a lot of money and the parents didn't understand any of the paperwork - never mind they didn't want to do it. So with their permission, I agreed to help. It was the right thing to do. This kid deserves a chance.

This kid (forgive me for not using a gender, I just feel like it's important not to give out too much info) also asked for my help figuring out financial aid. I was more than happy to do it. I helped them plug in all the information to find out what money was available to them & helped them get all of their paperwork (other than HS transcript which must come from the HS) together to apply to the college. I went with them to drop it off and make sure the college didn't need anything else to make their decision.

Beyond that it was out of my control. I couldn't follow up because I'm not their parent. So I encouraged the kid to call the college. I don't know if they did that. I do know they didn't get into the college for this semester. And now, the kid is avoiding my son. And he doesn't know what to do.

Kiddo is good good friends with this kid - best friends. In fact, this kid is his ONLY friend. And now things between them are strained. The kid doesn't want to talk to him. I know its because they're probably discouraged. I hope that they don't blame him for not getting in, but I worry that they might. He's crushed. We knew this was a possibility if I helped, but how could I not help? If I'd said no, we'd still be in this boat. It was a no win.

I don't regret doing the right thing. But living with the consequences sucks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Roller Coaster Called Aspergers...

I'm just going to go ahead and say it - Aspergers is both incredibly amazing and downright sucktastic.

We go from thrilling moments where everything seems perfect and kiddo is doing fantastic to low lows where the world feels like it's ending. Why? Change. Change is bad. Change is evil. Change bites!

After a semester being a computer programming major, kiddo realized he's never going to be able to work for someone else in an office setting. He also realized that he has no desire to run a company (thanks to the douches in his computer club - but that's another story). So he decided computer programming was not where he saw his life going. The problem is, computer programming has been his life for 6 years.

But he also loves art. So he made the decision to change his major to Arts with a concentration in Crafts. This is probably a much better career path for him, even tho he won't make the kind of salary that will keep him drowning in computers. However (as stated above) Change is BAD. He's overwhelmed. He feels unprepared.

And worse, he struggles with making friends.

Those few kids he started to make a connection with are either in the computer club (he won't have anything to do with them now) or in his computer classes (which he dropped). So he's thrown into a situation with all new kids who he has to try to connect with.

Today, in art class, he was given a project that requires fine motor skills that he doesn't have. Aspergers prevents him from ever truly mastering many things. He struggled horribly with the project because as much as he tried, he was unable to do it. And his frustration, anxiety and loneliness got the better of him. He cried in class. He's devastated because he works so hard to "fake normal" and he blew it - the second day of class. In his mind, he's a freak already - now he's a freak who cries.

He wants to drop out. He says it's not worth it. He's never going to make friends. People pick on him. They make fun of him. They laugh at him and call him names. (He even had a teacher tell him he was a worthless useless waste of space - which is why he dropped out of high school, got his GED and went to college when he ought to be in tenth grade). And the kids that don't tease and torture him? They pretend he doesn't exist. They literally ignore him when he tries to talk to them. That's just as bad.

If he drops out and gives up, I don't know what will happen to him. Sitting at home with me isn't going to give him the socialization he so desperately craves. And where is he going to find a job in this economy? I feel like someone's jammed a knife in my heart and is grinding it back and forth. Life shouldn't be this hard. He's such an amazing person - smart, funny, kind and interesting. He deserves happiness, not this constant stress-filled and lonely existence. Life isn't fair. It doesn't even come close.

And as for people who treat people with disabilities like they're freaks or less than human - shame on you. Different isn't less. A human being is a human being and they're worth knowing for the very fact that they do have such a different view of the world. A world, by the way, that either ignores them, shuns them or tortures them.

I hate today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Its All In The Perspective...

*taking a deep breath*

I'm fallible. I'm human. I'm a person.

My aspie son - at the age of 17 - has suddenly realized that I'm not God. I'm not his conscience. I'm not perfect. My opinions aren't always right (but they're mine). I can be hurt by words. I don't know all the answers.

He's been getting angry, annoyed and at points hostile toward me lately. He questions my judgement. He questions my ideas. He questions my opinions. That's all wonderful. I WANT him to do that. I want him to ask why. I want him to challenge me. Its part of growing up and it should have started happening when he was 10 or so. The problem is - he truly can't understand why my opinion isn't coinciding with his, and he wants me to have his point of view.

Last night, he completely flipped because I refused to agree with him about piracy being okay in certain circumstances (like if you don't have the money to buy an actual copy of something - it's okay to get it online if a site has it available - never mind that the site is illegally posting it). I explained that it was theft. He felt it was a gray area because he's not breaking the law if its there for the taking. Yeah. Wrong. This led to a major fight where he completely lost it because I refused to agree with his opinion. *sigh*

On the one hand, I'm overjoyed that he's developing the ability to determine things for himself. I've spent years telling him that he should form his own opinion of things. I've tried to explain to him that he should do what he wants to do, not what I want him to do. I've told him not to put so much weight on what I say. I'm not God. I've actually used that phrase - maybe a billion times. (Well, okay, not that much but you get it, right?) I want this for him because he needs this skill set to be an adult.

But...I've suddenly become the bad guy. He yells at me. He calls me names. He accuses me of being difficult. He tells me he hates me. And that's killing me. Because I'm not disagreeing with him just to disagree. I have my own feelings and opinions. I can't change them to make him happy, just like I don't expect him to change his feelings and opinions to make me happy.

Today, we had another fight before the day even started. I'm feeling ... depressed ... discouraged .... and hurt. He made me cry. I tried not to, but I did. His perspective of me has shifted and he told me he didn't like the person I am. He said he couldn't wait to get away from me. It broke my heart a little. I love who he is - I love that he's discovering more and more about himself. He's a phenomenal person. And to hear him say that he thinks I'm not someone he would want to know - that he doesn't feel the same about me ...

Aspergers is a challenge. Life is a challenge. Depression is my challenge. Today, the weight of all of it is too much.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Online Piracy, SOPA, Censorship and Me

Anyone who spends time on the internet knows that today websites everywhere are making a stand against SOPA, the current bill to stop online privacy. I think we can all agree that piracy of any kind isn't a good thing. Ask musicians. Ask authors. Ask artists. They pour their souls into creating something uniquely their own - be it a song, a book, an idea, or a piece of art. Just because they're giving it to the rest of us to enjoy does NOT mean they don't deserve the credit or the profit from their work of art. Theft of an idea or creation is still theft.

So, you would think that I would be in favor of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. You would be horribly wrong. SOPA, as it reads right now, is nothing more than a cleverly disguised attempt by government to have the authoritarian right to rob us all of our rights on the internet. I don't know if they planned it that way - I suspect that someone in Washington understands the implications of it as it reads now. But I would like to believe that the majority of our congress has no idea of the consequences if SOPA actually passes.

Can anyone say government censorship? How about police state?

And who will actually be monitoring sites? Who gets to determine what is acceptable content and what is not?

Look at your own blog. Do you have links to other sites? Do you quote anything? Do you have any images you've uploaded? Do you have background music? Sprites? Artwork? Do you discuss things that require you to reference ideas, books, works of art, music? Well, if the people behind SOPA have their way, they could shut your site down for any one of those things. At will - without explanation or ramifications!

SOPA is a good premise made into a bad document. Yes, we need some way to stop online piracy. Punishments should exist for people who steal other people's ideas to profit from them. No one has the right to strip an artist of their work. But if we, as a free nation, allow this document to pass, we're saying its okay for the government to spy on us, to shut us down if they don't like our opinions, to suppress our right to free speech. We're opening the door for Big Brother to not only get in but to take over. And that cannot be allowed to happen.

Speak up against SOPA. Tell your congress person that the way it reads is not only unacceptable, its reprehensible. Demand a real Act to stop piracy - one written by the very people it's meant to protect. They should be working with authors, musicians, artists, publishing houses, studios, etc. to create a bill that makes sense - not this scam of an Act that we'll all live to regret if it goes through.

SOPA needs to go along with online piracy.

(cross-posted from my other blog - is that an act of piracy? hmmmm...)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Post Just to Post

I promised myself this blog would get a post a day. I've already blown that promise. But that doesn't mean I'm going to skip it today just because I'm tired and can't think of anything interesting to talk about. Nobody but me is reading it anyway, so who gives a shit?

Today I bought a new couch. We've been living with this old couch long past its life expectancy. Why? Because money is an issue. By that I mean that given the choice between buying something that would make me happy and something that would make kiddo happy, I choose kiddo every time. So, we've been sitting on a couch that's disintegrating before my very eyes. There's rips in the fabric, the springs are gone (I'm stuck sitting on a spring that protrudes up into my left ass cheek in a most unpleasant way) and it smells like wet dog funk.

Shopping for anything is an adventure for us. How long can kiddo endure it? How difficult is it going to be to even get him to go with us? Can we leave him home? Will he be okay? You would think with a teenager this wouldn't be an issue, but it is. It's becoming less of an issue as he gets older, but its still an issue.

The couch needs to go.

Today, I decided it was time to spend money on something that we both could appreciate. So, I got him and hubs in the car (together, no less) and we went to the furniture store where we spent 2 hours sitting on couch after couch until we all could agree on one. It's a very nice Broyhill couch in a chocolate brown fabric with gold and red undertones, and it comes with 2 pillows in a swirly-fleur-de-lis pattern in emerald, red and gold. Yes, I have to wait 5-8 weeks for it, but I can wait. After all, this one was supposed to be replaced after the Great House Flood of 2002 (don't ask) because it was sitting in water 4 inches deep.

I guess, if you consider it, I've made kiddo happy as well with my purchase since we've both taken to sitting on the floor. It's way more comfortable than the present couch...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Winds of Change...

The Winds of Change are blowing in my house and I have to say I'm kind of liking it.

Kiddo had an epiphany. Long story short to bring you to where our lives are now, a year ago on his 16th birthday, kiddo dropped out of high school. He'd stopped attending 2 mos. into 10th grade because he was being bullied. When a teacher decided to call him a "useless waste of space", he was done & we spent another 2 mos. fighting the system. By January, we were all tired of the fight. The school didn't care.

This is BTW the Reader's Digest version of the story - which is horrific beyond words. Talking about it tends to spiral me into depression, so I'm just not going to go there right now.

Aaanyway.... Kiddo immediately enrolled in the local community college & got his GED. Then, he applied as a late enrolling freshman in Sept. at a state university. He was accepted into the computer science program. His first semester he came away with a 3.7 GPA. Woo! But he didn't seem happy.

Over the last few weeks, he's been very quiet. And then it happened. He announced that he doesn't want to do computer programming for a living. He wants to study Art. Yes, my aspie kid, wants to be an artist. And you know what? I think he'll be a good one. He's very creative (and that's not me the mom saying so - its me, the artist.)

I'm going to share a bit of wisdom here, because I come from a family of artists. Don't let anyone tell you that your aspie kid isn't creative. Put a pencil or a marker or a camera or some clay in their hands and let them loose. If they don't like glue, give them double sided tape. If they don't like playdoh, give them Sculpey modeling clay. If they don't like getting their hands dirty, give them thin rubber gloves (they sell packs of non-latex ones in craft stores), put them in an apron or let them do it naked. Who cares what anyone else thinks! Don't make them color in coloring books if they hate them - give them blank paper and let them do whatever they want. Staying within the lines is for unimaginative people anyway. Set them up with computer drawing programs. Buy them Legos. Teach them how to make paper snowflakes. Let them design the yearly pumpkin face on paper. Any and every way you can help them to be creative - do it. You might be amazed by what you discover.

My son has an eye for photography. He's also talented with clay. He wants to learn to weld and work with ceramics. He wants to learn how to draw with shading and perspective. He wants to create. And it makes him happy. From wanting to have his own computer company to wanting to sell art at shows....the winds of change are amazing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mama Didn't Raise No Hoarders

January 7, 2012 10:25pm

Um...either that statement is completely false or its a double negative, in which case it's true.

See, my mother never throws out anything. I don't know why. And I always promised myself I wouldn't be like that. For a long time I wasn't - I moved every 6 months or so and chucked everything I didn't need. But 22 years ago my then boyfriend/now husband and I bought a house. It's not a big house. (Can I interject that I hate raised ranches. They're small, they have no attic and no closet space.)

At first things were okay. I chucked stuff regularly. And then my son came along. And life got in the way. And things got shoved up into the crawl space that is sort of like an attic if you're willing to crawl on your hands and knees down the center and watch your head.

Then I took over the spare bedroom, which is really no more than a glorified closet since it only measures 9 ft by 10 ft., and turned it into a craft room/attic. It's now more attic than craft room since it's unusable and I do my craft projects at the breakfast bar.

Then we turned half of the cellar into a family room with a second bathroom, and another quarter of it into a home office for my husband. The remaining quarter is the laundry machines, the furnace and some haphazard shelving. All the stuff stored there either made its way into the non-attic (yeah, I think it might be a fire hazard) or the craft room.

And the breakfast bar has become a craft table/catch all. And my craft room has moved into the dining room.

Then there's my son's electronics and manga and anime and stuff....

I've run out of room. There are stacks of things in my house. Seriously. It's freaking me out. I'm throwing shit out but I'm making no headway. I'm drowning in the detritus of my life. It's gotta go!

I think I'm my mother.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dorm Dilemma

January 6, 2012 10:38pm


I decided to create this blog to talk about Asperger's Syndrome. I have a 17 year old son who was diagnosed 10 years ago. If you're a parent desperate for information or a friendly ear, feel free to email me. If you're a person with Asperger's, I might have questions for you. Yes, my email address is a little odd, but I promise I'm perfectly normal - just a fan of urban fantasy. I also run an Urban Fantasy blog and I created the email to go along with it.

I'm not setting out to make this an educational site, though it may end up educating those of you who decide to follow it. Mostly, I'm going to talk about whatever strikes me as important on a day-by-day basis. I may share funny stories or I may vent about difficult moments. I might talk about things I've done that have made a difference in helping my son. I don't know. I just know I need an outlet these days and this is going to be my self-imposed daily therapy.

Today, my son was obsessing about independence. I hate using that word - 'obsessing'. But it's really the only word that fits. You see, he's in college but living at home. (That's a long story I'll save for another day for those of you who don't already know it.) But tonight he got it into his head that he needs to be more independent and live on campus in September. Now, for most people that would be the end of the conversation, but I just spent 3 hours trying to tell him I agreed with him, but didn't feel like discussing something that isn't going to happen for 9 months and can't even be approached for another 5 months. Nothing I said stopped him.

He understood that there was nothing could be done now, but that didn't stop him from discussing it non-stop for hours. Three hours. Three very long hours.

I agree he needs to learn to live on his own. I think that's important. But...He has never stayed a day away from home. He has not learned to drive. He can't get himself up in the morning. He relies on me to organize him - from getting him up to choosing his clothes to making his meals to putting out his meds to reminding him to shower & brush his teeth. He relies on me to be his 'shuttle bus' everywhere. Do I think he can learn to do these things for himself? Yes, if he's motivated. I'm not sure he really is.

Do I think he can manage living with a stranger? No. And there in lies the problem. He has no clue what its like to share a bathroom or cleaning duties. He has no experience dealing with a roommate. He doesn't have any clue how to compromise (I was begging him to just let me watch tv tonight practically in tears - because I'm exhausted mentally & physically - to no avail.) What will he do if his roommate tells him to shut up? What will he do if his roommate eats his food? Uses his shampoo? What will he do if he has to fake sleeping while his roommate gets it on with a girl six feet away? (Hey, been there, done that - it happens.) He has so much to learn.

But I'll strap on my big girl boots and try to teach him everything he'll need to know. And I'll fail miserably. Guaranteed. *sigh*