Two wasted weeks

I posted earlier about the “progress” I made sorting and binding up some of my dad’s old charts. The photos aren’t all that impressive because they aren’t – they are ONE wall of boxes. As you saw in the photos from earlier this week, the other three are jam packed.

Given the condition of the files I was bundling (so rotten the pages were not only unreadable, but impossible to separate from the folder they were in), I’d say we could easily just toss most of this stuff in with the normal recycling and no-one would be the wiser, but that’s not how the law works.

But that’s not why the 10-day sojourn was a failure. No, this boring, busy work (something Autistics like me are supposed to excel at) was just an unpleasant symptom of a much larger and far less pleasant problem.

I was tasked with that job since no-one else wanted it. Though it was supposed to a GROUP effort with my mom and both brothers setting a weekend aside to get this task done with as little hassle as possible… for them – they’re already in Pennsylvania. I’m in FLORIDA without a car or license so getting there is a LOT harder for me than it is them.

That weekend came and went without anything happening. Yes, I get it. Kids get sick, the car breaks down, a family member dies unexpectedly, but, just in case, I got a long, condescending lecture anyway when I asked my older brother if there was any other discussion for rescheduling the weekend.

“I am married with four kids and a full-time job… You on the other hand have none of these things. In fact, there is nothing stopping you from coming up here for three or four weeks and doing this on your own. You don’t need my ‘permission.’ Just do it. If you were a good son, you would volunteer to do this for mom’s sake. But you aren’t.”

I love that he used the word “IF,” but I told him it wasn’t a command performance – it was a question. JUST a question as “I understand that both of you have other things to do, but in order to make plans I have to know what they are first.”

“King of regurgitation”

What does that even mean? Seriously, I have no clue. So, I did what anyone else would do when they don’t understand something. I asked.

“Nice try, but your argument isn’t working on me. Oh, and pro-tip, capitalizing words in messages does not mean emphasis the way you think it does.”

There comes a point in all of my posts where I become the villain not the victim – and I suspect that’s exactly the kind of action he was hoping for when he sent it. Well, he got it, and I hated myself for losing my temper with him like that – that’s probably also what he wanted (that makes him the victim of MY abuse, see?)

“I had honestly forgotten about your little tiff. But I forgive you,” he replied. It’s noble, maybe this marks a thaw in relations. He then demands I both apologize to him and “take responsibility” for all the wrong deeds I did by asking simple questions and following up for clarification (yes, I told that to him in my reply).

In case you were wondering, he does not owe me an apology because his insults – both stated and implied – were figments of some sick “fantasy world” created by his lunatic brother, but my non-existent insults against him were real. Wait, what? Also, as you can imagine, it doesn’t get better from here – despite my asking him to STOP at least three times.

Clearly, he didn’t listen as he went off on a series of massively long texts that I honestly didn’t scroll up two or three screens to read in their entirety (the last one I didn’t even open, but the “preview” line in messenger was him telling me to “not message me again” which solved my problem, but I BLOCKED him anyway just to be safe). The last one that I did read said that to get back in his good graces and prove that I wasn’t “selfish, immature, and lazy” was to “prove me wrong. Go to Shamokin for three weeks and help mom with the files and anything else she wants you to do. Do that, and I’ll be forced to admit I was wrong.”

That’s how I ended up in Shamokin for two weeks, and I knew the second I picked up the rotting, mold covered box in the entry of the old office that he would say “you didn’t ‘prove me wrong.’ You proved me right as having to ‘prove me wrong’ is the very embodiment of ‘immaturity’ which is what I said you were. Nice try though.”

It’s also what I thought of with every folder I emptied and every stack I tied. Even looking at the two boxes of loosely bound files and the two crates of folders mom drove up to recycling, I didn’t feel pride. I felt shamed – ashamed of myself for falling for his trick and even more so for letting his bullying messages effect my work… which is the very definition of wasted time – especially since I knew darned well that what I did wouldn’t meet his standards anyway.

I came away from the week with one positive though, I cannot live my life to meet my brother’s approval – which I know he probably wouldn’t have given me anyway – but solely for my own. Trying to make HIM happy didn’t work, so I must focus on making ME happy…

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Not-so-happy returns

(Sorry, I really don’t feel like doing a write up now. Hopefully, these notes will do)

 

10:15am – leave house

12:07pm – arrive in Harrisburg

12:35pm – locate the Sheet z across from the airport. Sandwiches is awful, fountain drink is okay… okay, the 2nd one was (as I dumped the first one out).

12:48pm – arrive at MDT, agent for American Airlines cannot find my tickets tells me it is MY responsibility to call Travel agent or booking site to find it.

12:59 pm – shouting my name and phone number into the phone just to get: “Sir, I can not hear you. I am hanging up.” *click*

1:07pm – try to call Expedia. Get nowhere. Go inside. “Try the other airlines.”

1:28pm – none of the other airlines can find my flight on AA either.

1:35pm – I have no choice. I MUST get a new ticket for an extra $100 plus taxes and fees. It is too late because the flight I was trying to get onto is already making its “final boarding call.”

1:48pm – have tickets in hand, go through security to have power happy TSA agent rip my bag open and lecture me about the toiletries in my clear mesh bag. She then informs me that if I continue “arguing with a federal agent” (apparently we are seeing two different things here) the officers surrounding me would “be more than happy to discuss it with you in our holding cell.”

1:54pm – Get to the other side of the “hey, that’s my fat, ugly, hairy stomach hanging out when I lift my arms, this isn’t awkward or embarrassing at all” machine and one of the intimidation agents from a few moments ago stops me and asks if there is “any medical condition that would impede me doing a full pat down of your persons?”

“Actually, yes, it’s called Autism Spectrum disorder and it means I have severe, um, dislike of strang…,” and of course he does it anyway. Thanks for making me to talk to myself.  It almost distracted me from the patdown. No, it didn’t.
“You can go now. Have a nice day.”

2:15pm – board flight as usual. It is probably the smallest plane I have ever been on. I can literally barely fit down the aisle, but my bag fit in the overhead… once I was able to figure out how to get it up there without hitting the passengers in the surrounding seats.

2:22pm – take off.

3pm – arrive at PHL for my 2hr, 15 minutes layover.

4:15pm – get early dinner at airport. Chicken was all right, but fries were cold.

4:23pm – return to terminal. Flight boards in an hour and twenty minutes.

4:47pm – Passengers from plane I’m going out on are disembarking.

5:11pm – “Once again, this is a completely full flight. ALL passengers in groups 7 or higher MUST check their carry on baggage.”

5:13 PM – cool. I’m in… group 8. Yah.

5:27 pm – boarding begins. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere for the next 10-15 minutes.

5:47pm – finally board – it is another 10 minutes before we finished boarding and pushed back from the terminal. Just to find out we are “number 20 for take-off…”

6:44pm – Airborne. Things are starting to look up…

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Progress at home

This is a picture of the corner my dad’s old office that mom and I grabbed last Friday…

 

Here is what that same pile of boxes looked like bound up. The two empty blue crates on the right which held the folders had just been emptied at CT
Recycling this morning.

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Some Shamokin memes

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Autism with a second side of… something

I was having a rather dull dinner with my mom and her friends in a restaurant I’d never been to before. As we sit down, my mom points out that they have “mozzarella sticks” here (because I apparently can’t read menus on my own) and how terrible the ones we had the night before were.

As I’m looking over the underwhelming menu, a harried waitress comes up from one side of the table and a woman I’d never seen before comes up the other: “Oh, hi, Liz.” “Linda, hi, wonder seeing you here, how are…”

JONATHAN,” my mom’s friend Barb shouted to get my attention and successfully scaring the living crap out of me. “YOUR turn to order!”

“JONATHAN,” my mom snapped at me for dropping my phone on the table. “That is completely unnecessary! Just tell her what you want to drink and be done with it.”

So, now, I’ve got my mom, her friends, the waitress and half the restaurant staring at me. No pressure.

“We’s got Coke, Diet Coke, Ginga-hale…”

“Water,” I replied only hearing the first three.

“All this shit,” my mom said exasperatedly, “and you’re ordering WATER? Jesus-fucking-God. Anyway, Linda, did you hear about…”

“What ’bout you, ma’am?”

“Um, water with lemon… Wait, Jonathan, you said wanted the mozzarella sticks.”

“Um, no, you asked me about them.”

“So, he wan’s the mozza sticks,” the waitress asked from three tables away.

“No”

“JONATHAN, do you want the mozzarella sticks or not?”

“NO”

“Yes, he does. Thank you.”

Wait, WHAT? I literally just said “no” three times.

“Okay, I’ll put d’em in with ya order.”

A few minutes later, she returns with Barb’s soda, my water and my mom’s water with lemon, and immediately proceeds to take our orders. It’s now, 45 seconds before I’m expected to make my order, that Barb points out that there is a “special board” behind me that I missed before I sat down. Mom is still talking to that lady so, congratulations, it’s bumped up to about 35 seconds.

“Honey dipt [sic] chicken with fries”

“Fries, coleslaw, side salad, apple sauce, corn, lima beans…”

“I said ‘fries.’”

“I know d’at, but ya need a SECOND side.”

“Why? I don’t need a ‘second side.’”

“Ya meal comes wit a second side.”

“And I’m telling you, I don’t want a ‘second side.’”

Why is this so hard to understand?

“So, ya want TWO plates of fries?”

“No, I want one plate of fries. I’m telling you I don’t wa-”

“Give him apple sauce and be done with it.”

“And you ma’am?”

“Um, yeah… I’ll have… um, I’ll have… whatever he’s having, but with lima beans instead of apple sauce.”

Then Barb starts on some meandering story about a feud she was having with one of her neighbors who had allegedly called cops the on her “out of spite – TWICE.” The kind of story that was extremely hard to follow unless you knew what was going on (who they were, what happened and how did it escalate so far). She gets about 2/3 of the way through her story when the waitress unceremoniously plops a plate of bland looking mozzarella sticks in front of me.

“Here ya go, buddy. Enjoy.”

What the fuck is this? When I order it? What am I supposed to do with them, and, more importantly, who the fuck is “buddy?”

“Jonathan,” my mom asked. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why aren’t you eating the mozzarella sticks you ordered?”

“I didn’t order them.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t want them, and I still don’t.”

“Then why the hell did you order them?”

“I DIDN’T. YOU did because YOU wanted to know if they were ‘any better than the ones we had last night.’”

“Oh, for God’s sake, just eat the damned things.”

So, basically, I’m now forced to eat bland mozzarella sticks I don’t want and didn’t order because I did order them and do want to eat them solely to satiate my mother’s mild curiosity. Neuro-typical logic at it’s finest, folks.

After a long tangent about how much money she’s make “inventing a phone [cord] that don’t get all tangled like the ones we got at work” (man, she’ll be disappointed to find out cordless phones have been around since at least 2001 – if not earlier), she finally gets back to repeating the second half of her story for us. I still have no idea what’s going on other than this neighbor lady is (allegedly) “psycho” or something, and worse, nothing was going on on Facebook or Messenger and I had zero new e-mails.

An excruciatingly long time later, the waitress returns and once again plops our food down with the enthusiasm of an abnormally excited rock. Barb got the fish with corn. My mom got fried chicken with fries and lima beans, and I got fried chicken with fries…and a humongous bowl of apple sauce.

Once again, I have no clue who’s eating it, but, my god, that’s a LOT of apple sauce. Meanwhile, the lukewarm fries were undercooked, but the chicken was actually pretty good.

By the time we were ready to leave, it was already 7pm. Mom wanted to get some ice cream t Mauer’s a few blocks away on Market Street, but one of the ladies loitering on the porch of the building next door rather curtly informed me was “closed” (no details, just “closed”). In the car, I made the mistake of asking what Barb’s rambling neighbor story was about.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” my mom replied.

“What was Barb’s problem with her neighbor and the police coming to her house?”

“Who’s house? What neighbor? Who’s calling the police for what? I have no clue what you’re asking.”

“Augh, that’s what I just asked YOU. Essentially, you want me to know the answers to the questions I just asked you so you can repeat the answers back to me in which case I wouldn’t need to ask them to you in the first place”

“Jesus-fucking-Christ, Jonathan, what the fuck are you talking about? God, ‘houses,’ ‘neighbors,’ ‘police?’ I have no clue what the hell you’re even talking about?”

“What the hell was Barb talking about in her long rambling story about having her neighbor call the police on her twice in the past week?”

“Thank you, Jesus, THAT I understood. It wasn’t a ‘neighbor,’ she was renting a property she owned out as apartments, and the current tenant was three months behind in her rent so Barb was forced to evict her, but she refused to leave so…”

Bo ring. See? I knew asking was a mistake.

Now that I’ve “stressed [her] out,” she decides to go to Weis to pick up a gallon box of ice cream leaving me in the car as she shops. It’s not much, but it’s a break…

Categories: adventures, Autism, coal region, family, Pennsylvania, sensory processing disorder | Leave a comment

Photos: Entrance to dad’s old office

As the headline states, this is the entrance to my dad’s old medical offices in Tharptown which is currently for sale.

The boxes and filing cabinets were brought up from the basement the previous weekend, and their contents must be gone through and destroyed before the building can be cleaned for sale.

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Fourth of Jul-EYE

5:01pm – The pouring rain we’ve had for most of the day is finally gone. I check the radar on TWC and it’s clear through midnight, so I showered, got dressed, unplugged my phone (100% charged) and got ready to do some photographing.

5:35pm – As soon as I open the door to my condo, I heard thunder…or was it fireworks (it’s hard to tell on July 4th). The sky is half blue, half charcoal so it could go either way.

5:48pm – Trolley arrives. Unfortunately, it’s also “FULL.” It’s also raining out, and my rain gear is back in the unit (because TWC said it wasn’t supposed to rain for the rest of the evening). Now the entire state is red/green/yellow again.

5:56pm – Trolley #2 arrives. It is not completely full like the last one, but it was two stops later. Ugh, I hate super crowded buses.

6:08pm – arrive at Coca-Cola Orlando Eye complex, and stop at the Outback near the trolley drop-off. Hopefully, eating will ease my suddenly sour stomach.

6:15pm – as expected, it was crowded (mostly by people waiting out the rain). I was fortunate enough to be seated immediately at the bar.

7:28pm – Leave restaurant, and the rain IS gone. The sky is clear, but it isn’t dark enough for fireworks yet so I decide to take some pictures around the immediate area to kill time. Yes, my stomach feels better.

7:36pm – Decide to get some ice cream and make my way toward the courtyard. It is surprisingly crowded considering the rain ended less than 20 minutes ago (sidewalk and artificial turf are dry too)

8:13pm – post a bunch of photos to the FB page. I probably should have posted them here…. I still can, hold on. Done, I love WP’s “backdating” feature.

8:27pm – Sunset, however my phone is at about 33% so the planned “Live” video of the fireworks show is called off.

8:43pm – The trolley back to my condo arrives… with exactly four other passengers on it.

8:59pm – arrive back at the condo where there is a near constant booming from fireworks that I know aren’t part of some official show. It will probably keep up like this all night.

9:13pm – I log back into FB on my laptop as my phone charges. I feel horrible about going back on the promise to my followers to “go live” with the fireworks.

9:37pm – a loud rumble of thunder puts the noise outside to an immediate stop. I’m hoping for a huge storm so I can get some sleep, but, no, the auxiliary show continued less than 10 seconds later.

9:47pm – Stomach is acting up again. I may end up spending the entirety of SeaWorld’s Fourth show in the bathroom. I never liked fireworks anyway…

Categories: adventures, florida, holidays, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, Orlando Eye, photography, transportation | Leave a comment

Photos: Fourth of Jul-EYE

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Photo: Happy Father’s Day

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Norfolk: Day 4 – Portsmouth and other disappointments

It’s just after 10am, and I am standing on the dock outside the newly renovated Waterside Marketplace waiting for the ferry to cross the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth. The weather app on my phone says its 65 degrees and cloudy, but the chilly ocean wind makes it feel colder than that.

The small paddleboat arrived around 10 past the hour, it dropped off about a half dozen people and let the three of us who were waiting on dock onboard. The inside had a rusted floor with benches along the sides. Apparently, there were more benches in the center of the boat at one point, but they were removed, possibly to make room for the three beaten up fare boxes. The bench wasn’t all that comfortable, but it didn’t matter since it was only a 10 minute ride across the river to High Street landing.

Portsmouth is a charming, quiet town that kind of reminded me of a cross between Federal Hill and Fells Point. Unfortunately for me, I was visiting on a Thursday morning so nearly everything was closed: The Naval Shipbuilding Museum (for refurbishment until “early 2017”), The Lightship Portsmouth (open weekends only), Virginia Sports Museum (permanently closed) and a half dozen “historic homes” (also open weekends only).

That left the Arts & Culture Center (which was “between exhibitions”), the Virginia Children’s Museum, the TCC (Tidewater Community College) Gallery and the exteriors of various buildings. Oh, and I could purchase cheap looking, neon colored t-shirts at the visitor’s center which is coincidentally where I had to go anyway to get the ferry back to Norfolk – and it was only 12:30 (it would have been noon if I hadn’t stopped for lunch at Jimmy Johns on High Street).

I arrived back at downtown Norfolk around 1:25 where it was a balmy 69 degrees with partly cloudy skies, and I was nowhere near ready to pack it in for the day so I walked over to Nauticus (though most of the parks were closed off due to construction of the various tents for next week’s Harborfest). I walked up the ticket counter and the somewhat disinterested cashier sold me a normal base ticket for $15 (included a movie and a limited tour of the attached battleship). I couldn’t decide if I wanted a snack or to just upstairs to see the exhibits on the 3rd floor first so I chose the latter.

The museum itself is hard to quantify. It has some exhibits that are geared towards kids (like the entry on port Norfolk, the touch a shark tank or the small “aquarium” area – which makes the former National Aquarium in DC look HUGE by comparison), but the majority of the labyrinthine museum space is ship life, Naval history, Naval recruiting and the nearby Naval base – not many of which would be of interest to the 3-12 set.

The exhibits are small, superficial and dated with broken or worn out “interactives” and little to no flow between the tightly packed exhibits – which you can’t really skip as there is only ONE path through the exhibit area (as I found out when one of the barely crowded rooms was too noisy for my tastes). The only place in the gallery that wasn’t claustrophobically small was the end where the theater, the NOAA exhibit and the stairway to the actual Hampton Roads Naval Museum\walkway to the USS Wisconsin (which were both on the second level). Though I didn’t partake in either this time as I fell asleep in the 3d movie and took that as a cue to head back to the hotel… at 3pm in the afternoon.

Not yet, first I stopped into their gift shop (my favorite part of their museum), and then I went into their café next door… but they were closed so I looked around thinking I might be able to take some snacks back to the room with me. Then a black man in black shirt hauling a large trash can behind him comes up behind me:

“Ya know,” he said. “We got a full menu.”

“Yeah, thanks, but it’s closed. There’s no-one back there.”

“What was that? I said look up there. We got a full menu up there,” he said pointing up to the large black and white sign hanging from the ceiling that I’d have to be blind to miss (I couldn’t read it with my crappy vision, but I couldn’t miss it when I came in).

“And it doesn’t do me any good if it’s CLOSED because there is NO-ONE back there.”

“’No-one back there?’ I work the café. I’D be the one ringing you up. Now, if you want to order something. Order it.”

With that said, I immediately turned around and decided to get dinner in the hotel and then get a start on my packing. It’s going to be another long day of traveling tomorrow – and my toes aren’t even remotely healed yet…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, entertainment, ferry, museums, Norfolk, sensory processing disorder, transportation, Virginia | Leave a comment

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