Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh, He's just like that! and other platitudes

What is that supposed to mean exactly? I've heard it used often, most recently today, to excuse bad behavior.

He's Rude... Well he's like that, don't let it bother you.
She's unfriendly!.... Don't take it the wrong way, she's just like that.
He's grumpy. ... Oh it's not you, he doesn't mean anything, He's just like that.
He just shot my wife..... Yeah, well, he does that sometimes.

Just because he/she is "like" that doesn't make it right does it?

All of those platitudes really confuse me. They also annoy me.

Today, as I walked up the hall to the stairs outside the office, the door to the office suddenly closed. I've seen that happen for instance when there is a private conversation going on or someone is getting fired, but today that was not the case. Trust me. No today someone was playing a cruel joke.

It's common knowledge that I talk a lot; especially when I get excited. That's one of the side effects of my Aspergers. Some kids I know, my daughter in particular, will go on at length about their special interest. Katie's is Pokemon. She knows all their names and strengths, types, everything. I have to ask her to slow down because I can't absorb it all.

In addition to computers, mine is my thirst to know everything; every little bit of trivial and not so trivial information. If it interests me, I figure it might interest everybody else. Some times it does. Sometimes it doesn't. I can't tell which it at the time and I just can't stop. I've tried. I can't.

People I see more than a couple of times, are informed of this and I try to apologize. Sometimes that leads into a monologue about Aspergers, so it doesn't always work.

Today after the door closed , I looked in and saw that there was nothing private going on, just some of the same people who sit and talk with the assistant like I do. They all knew me well. I saw who had closed the door too. I waved hello and made a gesture trying to ask if the program I was coming to see was down stairs. They opened the door laughing and I was told yes it was downstairs.

Oh yeah This was some funny joke. Here comes Tiggerr, let's close the door quick.

Luckily I was early so I had about fifteen minutes to cry and then try to get my face looking lets like a swollen balloon. Someone did ask me if I had a cold though.

After the program I came upstairs and the assistant, called me in. She wanted to talk about a fundraiser that I had volunteered to help with. I told her that this man had hurt me. I told her that didn't they all know I'd shut up if I could.

Then I got all the same platitudes. He didn't mean anything by it, He's a good guy, He was just trying to be funny yada yada yada.

Well I responded that he did mean it and then asked
"If "K" was walking up, would he have done it."
To her "he probably would"
I answered: "No he wouldn't and you know it."
Then we changed the subject. Crying was not something I wanted to do right then.

Why do people excuse other jerks this way. Do they think it makes the victim feel better? To me it feels like I am being told, my feelings are somehow wrong. That I don't have the right to have them. Now I am the one in the wrong?

He didn't mean anything by it...

Then why did he do it, and why to this particular person (me in this case)? Was it just his turn to be a jerk that day? I have a button purchased from a store run by the father of an autistic son. It says. " I have Aspergers, what's your excuse." It never ceases to amaze me, why people think they can do things with an aspie or other similar condition that they wouldn't do to others.

If I stuttered would he get away with it. If I was blind would he put things in my path to fall over? When I tried to get some accommodations for my children, I had to remind the school administrator that she didn't make the boy with cerebral palsy run laps.

It's not that they don't know about Aspergers and the fact that we have it. Has it just become acceptable to make fun of some people but not others? I have read many articles from tall or underweight people who get comments on their height or weight. These same jerks wouldn't dream of coming up to an overweight person and saying. Gee I wish I was your size, or how much food do you eat? Were you always fat? Would they walk up to a little person and say, Are Are your parents short too? What about your kids? Of course not

He's a really a good person.... Gee I didn't know that torturing the disabled was a trait that good people have. Bet he tortures cats and squirrels too.

But you're not really disabled. Gee The government sure thinks I am, and I hear they are pretty picky.

But he does so much for the church. What, so if it's not Sunday, he can be a dolt?

Don't take it so personally. That's my favorite. How else can you take an assault on your person. He's not a jerk to everybody and if he is why are you defending him.

Somebody please explain these things to me. Why are some people so mean? and more to the point, why do other people let them get away with it, and make excuses for them? I just don't get it. It's so much easier to say. I'm sorry he hurt you. I wish he wouldn't have done that. More credible too.

Ok I'm done.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Theory of Mind

I have read about and heard about The theory of mind or mind blindness that people on the autism spectrum do not possess. I think I understand it, but have never been able to explain it in a way that makes sense to me, much less the person I am explaining it to. I found the following passages in an article at

Sally has a marble. She puts her marble into the box, and then she goes outside. Anne comes in, takes the marble out of the box, and puts it in her basket. When Sally comes back, where will she look for the marble?

By the age of 4 or so, most children who watch this scenario played out by puppets - including children with Down's syndrome and other developmental problems - know the answer. But some do not. They do not understand that what they know and what Sally knows are different, that Sally has a mind of her own. The children who expect Sally to look in the basket, because they know that's where the marble is and can't believe that she doesn't, are the ones likely to be diagnosed with autism or its relative, Asperger's syndrome.

The theory of Mind as the author writes is "an innate ability to understand other people as having feelings, intentions, and pictures of the world that are not the same as our own. A theory of mind is a basic requirement for empathy or, for that matter, deceit..... a theory of mind is what people disabled by autism and its related conditions lack.

I find this happens to me a lot. Just yesterday, I had to copy three files to a folder and put them on my husband's computer desktop. He had been complaining for some time that he couldn't get to them because they were on a shared drive and not where they were before. In other words, when he opened our recipe database, it no longer brought up the Schleicher family cookbook.

Now he knew the files were on an external hard drive, but that I had had to move all those files to my Mac. Long story. Now I am not sure if he didn't have permission to navigate to that file through our network or what, but he wanted access to those recipes and couldn't get there. So since I couldn't yet reconnect the external drive system, I got on our network and did a drag and drop of the files from the mac to his machine.

To me that was a rather first grade act. I said to him later. "you know you could have just gone to the Mac and transferred that file to a disk yourself instead of having to wait for me to do it. He looked at me as if I had asked him to hack into the government's nuclear launch codes. "Everybody can't do the things you find so easy." he said. I just don't understand that he doesn't know all the things I know. Heck I talk about it enough.

I guess that's why some people with Aspergers find it so hard to lie. If you think everyone knows what you know, of course they can see right through what ever lie you just told, or shall I say, tried to tell. Katie has such a hard time lying that when I ask her if she's finished her homework for example, she just doesn't answer. She can't say no (she didn't do it) because she doesn't want to get in trouble. However she can't say yes (a lie) because I must know she hasn't. I have to go through all sorts of maneuvers with things like this, explaining to her to just give me a yes or no, that she's not in trouble, I just need to know in order to decide what I need to do next. etc. Do I need to remind her to put her book bag away, Is she hungry, does she need help, did she get distracted etc. I think you get the point.

It also explains why Andy gets so frustrated with his classmates. Why don't they just be quiet? Don't they get how interesting ancient Egypt is? Certainly they can hear how loud their music is. They surely know he can't concentrate with anything but classical music on. Andy has supersonic hearing.

Well we may not know what you all are thinking, and according to this theory, it's not the same as what we are thinking; but at least at home with my kids, we understand each other. Of course as Katie would say, her poor dad is the "Clueless Dude" lol

Katie's Birthday

It's Katie's Birthday. My youngest daughter turns 11 today.

For most of her life Katie has talked like Sponge Bob. Seriously. She always sounded like a cartoon. Silly and very fast. Don't let anyone tell you that girl's voices don't change. She still talks fast, but the things she says are astounding. Sometimes they are just words. Other time complete sentences. But always out of character or totally new and unexpected.

We were having game night recently and she and her brother were clobbering us in Stars Wars Trivia. When Mike answered one correctly, she piped out, "The clueless dude gets one." Now Katie adores her father and we joke and kid around a lot here, but to hear Sponge Bob say this in a teenager's voice was totally unexpected.

Last week instead of answering with the word, "Right", she said "Precisely what I was thinking!" Whoa. Who is this kid. This is the kid who still has trouble writing in cursive. The kid who still names her stuffed animals and insists she knows what they are thinking. She will write a letter to Santa this year too.

Who is this kid and what has she done with my baby.?


I got a compliment the other day. Someone I admire, told me that she liked my hair this length. I normally keep my hair quite short, which I am sure makes some NTs (non Aspies) think, Why does she do that? My monster-in-law used to think that telling me I looked like a boy was an appropriate comment.

How do you tell someone that you like the way your hair LOOKS too, but you can't stand how it feels?

I don't mean you just don't like the way it feels, I mean you really can't stand it. Right now, the hair at the back of my neck is one inch long (I measured it). Last night as I struggled to get to sleep, I constantly tried to fold it up off my neck. Since it is too short for a pony tail, I don't even have that option. I tried growing it long enough for a pony tail, but not only does a pony tail look ridiculous for someone my age, but sleeping with a pony tail is quite impossible. Then of course there's those few tiny wisps of hair that come loose and fall back on the neck. It makes me shiver just to think about it

I keep my hair clean but it always feels like tiny livestock have taken up residence on my head. Trust me they haven't. My family and my doctor are getting tired of checking my head for these unwelcome guests.

Sometimes when the creepy crawlies aren't so bad, usually in the summer when I can keep my head in the pool, I am able to grow my hair just long enough for it to curl. Boy do the compliments come then. Back in high school, I had long hair. Everybody did, even the guys. That naturally curl once prompted my dad to tell me I looked like a Cocker Spaniel. He was drunk, I cried, but he was right. We called them dog ears then, when we pulled our hair to each side and tied it off with a rubber band. Mine curled just like a cocker's ears. (Don't think too badly of my dad, he joined AA and had been sober 23 years when he died earlier this year.)

You'd think the compliments would be enough for me to put up with the discomfort of long hair on my neck. After all women for years have made themselves uncomfortable in order to look good: Corsets, girdles, bras, pantyhose, pointy spike heels, fake nails (tried those a couple times. I swear those girls love to make my cuticles bleed)

Maybe I can put it in perspective: Warning: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
Have you ever heard the sound of fingernails on a blackboard. Yeah -- That sound. Now imagine it never stopping. You can't grab the kid doing it and tie his arms up with duck tape, You can't hit the mute button like I do when I watch "From the Hip". All you can do is stick your head in a bucket of water or cut your hair.
So I cut my hair----short. And I look silly. And I wear a hat.. And I don't ask my friend if she likes my hair because she promised not to lie to me, she just doesn't answer.

When my dad came out of the hospital after drying out, people would come up to him and tell him how great he looked. He would wonder how bad he looked before. I think I get my Aspergers from him. When someone who sees me all the time tells me that my hair looks great at this length, I can only conclude that it didn't look as good before. Of course NT's deny that, but what can you say......

Friday, November 14, 2008

Computer update

The new Dell came today. I will admit Vista is pretty. Hey wait, it looks a lot like my mac. hmmmm.
So that makes it one month to the day from my first contact with dell. But there is something to be said about all this:

The first time this happened I had a 40 gb hard drive and 512mg of sheep.... errr.. RAM
When they exchanged that one, the second one, (the one I just told you all about) had a 80 gb hard drive and 1 gb RAM

The New Vista one has 320 gb hard drive and 2 gb RAM Heck the new keyboard and mouse look better and I got a snazzy new mouse pad.
Well at least my son is enjoying it. I'm back on my Mac.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's a Girl

Well we sorta knew that.  But it's official.  My daughter had a girl last night.  Well actually early this morning.  The baby's name is Iris Michaela.   Isn't that a pretty name.  When she told grandpa the Michaela was after him, well Mr. Mike just couldn't contain himself.  Mom, baby and dad are doing fine.  Ivy spent the night with some friends, so all is well

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I really hate Windows

Microsoft Windows that is.

I swear somebody there hates me.  Just kidding.  But my most recent deallings with windows and Dell has driven that point home this month.
Go back to July 2008  Goofy computer didn't want to start up.  Actually Windows didn't want to load.  It would load if it was cool i.e. left off for an hour or so.  But if it needed a hard reboot or even just to be restarted, forget it.  During this time, it usually had to be shut down by holding the power button for 10 seconds or so.  It got to the point that it wouldn't even start in safe mode.  So I got out my trusty Lapple-apple as Katie calls my ibook, and went on Dell's chat support   ** Note to Dell users: If possible use chat instead of phoning them.  You get a print out as proof of what you went through and you don't have to deal with accents**  No one there could figure out what the problem was, so as usual the suggested fix was to re-install Windows.  I have done this so many times, I could do it in my sleep.  After the re-install, I only loaded the bare essentials (Windows programs that I absolutely needed) and then was forced to learn to use this trusty I-mac.
The system was never very stable but since I wasn't using it, my kids had to deal with it.  The Blue screens happens to Andy most but I figured it was because of his new game.  After a while, they couldn't take it any longer and started to copy down all those letters and numbers on the stop error screens.

Fast forward to Oct 14th Called Dell this time.  We did so many diagnostic programs, repeating ones I had already done and a few more that I didn't know were on the Dell resource disc.  They all passed.  It's not hardware, they said. Must be software.  I was told to remove as many programs as I could, clean up the disc, defrag, run ckdisk etc. and then run the tests again.  Nope didn't work 
To chat this time.  Ok It must be service pack 3.  From what I heard and read, this made sense.  Take it off.  Well that's easier to say than to do.  Lets just say, it's impossible.
Back to chat:  we'll try reinstalling windows.  That should take it off.    Did that. Reinstalled the drivers and updated them.  Still didn't work.
Back to chat.  This time reinstall windows but instead of updating the drivers, just put on the new ones.  Huh?  ok fine.   Nope.
Now with each "fix"  the problem is actually getting worse.  BSOD s are more frequent and the display is just wonky.
Back to chat with a real piece of work.  She was something this one.  She kept saying that this wasn't a hardware problem and to send a tech out wasn't going to help, and it was software related.  It didn't  matter how often  we told her that there was no software installed, she kept saying, it was software.  She finally said she could send out a hard drive if that is what we wanted.  Of course that means another reinstall of windows, which they call a OSR.  Nope didn't work.
Back to chat: now they decide to send out mother board  Nope
Back to chat  Lets try a new motherboard and some new memory sticks  Nope
Back to chat:  Ah! Now they decide that they should try all three at once because that of course will make all the difference and of course another OSR.
Poor Dwight. (the tech who had to come out for all these installs)  He even tried to get Dell to send out a new power supply, No they said, just try those last three parts.  If they didn't work, they'd consider a system exchange, which is what I asked for about mid-way into this nonsense
Today is November 11th. So a new computer is coming out, this one with that POS Vista.  Not for long.  the warranty ends in April  Linux  here we come.
Oh did I mention that this current unit was part of a system exchange for the original unit.  They put 3 motherboards in that one too, even though I kept suggesting that it might be the power supply (I'm not that smart, I researched it with my geek friends on line)