My Strange Attachment (Pun Fully Intended)

I do have attachments to some of my personal belongings. I know, weird. I’m not what I’d call materialistic but some stuff is kind of sentimental to me, but none of those things have the bond I have with this guy.

Everyone, meet my longtime friend Kirby:

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Yes, my strange attachment is to my vacuum cleaner – a 1995 model year Kirby G4. My great-grandmother bought him new back in the day. I remember like yesterday the in-home demonstration the gentleman did using our old vacuum cleaner and then this beast showing how much off-the-shelf vacuum cleaners leave behind. It was very impressive. I remember being absolutely fascinated with it as a kid, even to the point I did the vacuuming around the house because I was just so enamored with Kirby. Even my parents found it weird how fascinated I was with a goddamned vacuum cleaner – but of course now we know why I had such an interest.

When my great-grandmother passed away, the vacuum kind of became mine. Mom and dad got other vacuums along the way (mostly bagless because they didn’t want to deal with changing bags), but when I vacuumed I always insisted on using Kirby. The others just weren’t the same, nor do they have anywhere close to as much suction. A Kirby will out-suck just about anything else out there.

When I moved out for college and grad school, I took Kirby with me as he wasn’t getting used by my parents at all by that point. I needed a vacuum cleaner for my place anyway, and if they let me have Kirby that was just icing on the cake. It cost me nothing to take and I wouldn’t have any other vacuum if given my choice.

He came back with me and into storage after grad school when I was living with mom and dad again. I took him with me to Dallas, where he got used in my apartment there, but then went back into storage again after returning to Abilene once again, where he would remain for a year and three quarters, until Laina and I went by the locker this past Sunday on our Abilene visit and recovered him to bring back with me to San Antonio.

Last night I fitted a new bag and fired him up for the first time since February of 2018. Like long-lost friends, we picked right back up where we left off. It was like yesterday. He sprung back to life the second I plugged him in and he’s running as great as ever, save for needing a new self-propelled transmission.

So here we are in November 2019, 24 years and change after it became part of my life. It’s been with me through ups and downs, and we grieved the passing of my beloved great-grandmother together, but he’s still never missed a beat and is reliable as ever.

Sure, I’ve replaced many drive belts along the way, along with a few brush rolls and even a fan impeller, always opting to do the work myself instead of paying for labor (the same will be true when I am in a spot to replace the transmission). Me being how I am (autistic) I’ve always loved to tinker with stuff (even before I knew why), and Kirby was no exception. To me it just feels more personal when I do it myself. Now there will come a point I can’t and I have to send it back to the manufacturer for a full rebuild, but that’s years and probably even decades in the future as these things are built to last.

Anyway, funny story about the fan impeller – I was vacuuming out my car and sucked a huge rock into the vacuum, and almost immediately heard a loud “crunch” and a bunch of pinging. I immediately shut the vacuum off and took the hose off to reveal that the impeller had shattered into about 4 pieces. Of course I wasn’t going to pay someone to replace it, so I just went to the parts store to get a new impeller and put in the sweat equity myself.

Little did I know the G4 was the last model that featured a metal fan impeller – the G5 on up have kevlar impellers which I imagine were developed for that reason. Needless to say Kirby is now retrofitted with the kevlar impeller and we have not had a repeat and I’ve sucked a lot of sizable shit up into him since.

Alas, that’s the story of my strange attachment, 24 years in the making. I almost feel like Rob McGroarty talking about my beloved Kirby vacuum (and kudos to whoever gets the reference), but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Kirby and I do share a special bond that just gets sweeter as time goes on, and you’re free to judge or ridicule if you wish because I know it’s real to me.

Month 1 in the Books (Almost)

So I’m almost all the way through my first month in San Antonio. I’ve settled into my new place (which is very nice, I might add – small and cozy but nice enough for one person) and gotten into somewhat of a routine that feels right; still making some adjustments but almost settled nonetheless. I should be over the moon, right?

Eh, not really. After the “newness” has worn off I’ve returned to what I will call a baseline. Don’t get me wrong, the baseline I’ve returned to is a bit higher than what it was in Abilene. Overall it has been a good change, an “upgrade” as it were – but not as big of one as I had initially anticipated.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very big improvements in my quality of life. Being closer to the one who means the most to me has been a godsend and no doubt I come to life when we hang out together. Alas, when we have to part for awhile (be it bedtime, work, etc.) it’s like I’m back to square one – we’re talking Abilene levels of misery (cue this timeless classic song)…

Don’t get me wrong, I realize we both have lives outside of each other. I’m under no illusion that has changed nor am I under any delusion that will ever change. I’m not a needy person at all – I’m more than capable of entertaining and taking care of myself. That said, there is a certain loneliness when we’re apart for a considerable amount of time, to the point it’s almost impossible for me to be happy in her absence.

So where does this leave me? Do I have bits of happiness in my life now? Absolutely. Is it an improvement? Yes, because I had absolutely no happiness in Abilene. It was constant misery. That said, I still don’t have true happiness or joy at my core.

This is leaving me wondering when, or if, that will ever happen for me. Was I meant to just be a miserable person for my entire life? Am I atoning for some major transgression in a past life (assuming past lives are a thing – something which we can only take on faith)? Or does it just come down to a true case of major depressive disorder? Do I need to go back on antidepressants? Is there some other root cause I’ve yet to uncover? No doubt I need a good detox – I probably have a very toxic load given the fact that my mother A) smoked while pregnant and B) worked in a dry cleaner while pregnant.

Let it be known the above rant is not to be construed as suicidal ideation. I have no intentions of taking my own life at this point in the game. Maybe once a few years have passed and I’m in a position to launch Leaf & Barrel things will really start looking up for me (of course, this is all a big “if” depending on what the FDA decides to do in regards to premium cigars and pipe tobacco).

In the meantime, I just have to fight through what appears to be an uphill battle. I mean, if I do bail out early, let’s consider the possible outcomes:

  1. Nothing. Oblivion. Man that would be nice, but am I really willing to gamble on a 33% chance? Right now I’m not inclined to.
  2. Reincarnation. Talk about even more misery next time around (shit, maybe I did commit suicide in my past life, assuming such a thing exists).
  3. Heaven/Hell. As I’m not an adherent to any of the 3 Abrahamic faiths (in fact I thoroughly despise all 3), and given the fact that all three pretty much teach that suicide is an automatic ticket to hell, well, that doesn’t bode well for me either does it?

Whatever the case, here I am questioning my place in this universe and what, if any, greater cause my pain and suffering could be going toward. I guess that will be revealed to me in the coming days, weeks, months or maybe years. I guess I’ll just ride the wave and see, but goddamn I just want a baseline of happiness.

Then again, I wonder how many people truly attain this. On a poll on debate.org about whether or not life was really worth living, 82% of respondents voted no!

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Now, I imagine the voters in this poll likely do not meet the statistical definition of a representative sample, but holy shit there sure seem to be a hell of a lot more miserable people than happy people in this world. One has to scratch one’s head at why this could be. I wouldn’t even venture a guess.

Well I guess I should shut up now. What should have been a brief status update turned into an almost 800 word diatribe. I guess I have a tendency to do that huh? Oh well. Until next time, folks!

Aspie/Autistic-Friendly LED Light Bulbs

First off, Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it. I hope you have a fun-filled day of costumes, candy and all that jazz!

Anyway, today’s topic is light bulbs. I know, boring right? In the days of being energy-conscious and “green” it seems we have a lot of choices for light bulbs. There are still those who insist on incandescent bulbs and are willing to pay the much larger electric bill associated with running those.

For those of us who are more energy conscious and on more of a shoestring budget that really isn’t an option, though. That said, for those of us on the autism spectrum, it seems many of the alternatives are just absolutely unpalatable – from the compact fluroescent lights (ugh!!!!), to piercing halogens and even a lot of the LED bulbs out there which have almost a bluish tint and are way too intense.

Well, when shopping for bulbs at the Lowe’s just up the road from our apartment complex, Laina and I stumbled across these in a display and decided they were just the ticket:

These GE Relax bulbs have a lovely soft white appearance – even softer than a soft white incandescent bulb! This A19 60W replacement bulb consumes just 8.5W and is a great option for anyone, but especially those on the autism spectrum. It will give you the light you need but without the irritating overstimulation.

I have outfitted my entire unit with these, from my living room lamps to the bathroom and closet light fixtures. My kitchen already has LED track lights but those aren’t horrid so I left those alone. The only thing they would not be an option for is totally enclosed fixtures as these are not rated for those. As with all of those types of fixtures, you’ll need to choose bulbs that are rated for them or remove the enclosure entirely (as I did with my closet fixture).

Anyway, I hope this helps somebody. Good luck!

On Open Relationships, Ace Relationships, and Dating a Fellow Aspie/Autist

I said in my previous post I had a big announcement to make. Well, I’m sure the title of this post kind of gives it away and for those of you who have been paying attention over the past few months I’m sure it comes as absolutely no surprise.

Alas, yes, it’s official – Laina and I are an item. It just kind of sprouted on its own over the past few months. As our bond continued to grow, so did a deeper-seated love for each other, to the point that well, we really couldn’t deny it anymore. Our dynamic had evolved from close friends/neuro-siblings to more of that of a couple.

For those of you who follow both of us, I’m sure this leaves you scratching your head as I’m sure you’ve heard her refer to a partner, or maybe more specifically, a “Mr. Kitty.” No, he and I are not one and the same. She is indeed married to someone else. I’m sure to many of you it sounds like I’m a total homewrecker, and I don’t know as though I’d fault anyone who actually thought that way, but I hope some of you will hear me out on this.

Laina and Mr. Kitty are polar opposites in the physical affection department. Laina is very cuddly but ace. Mr. Kitty is hands-off yet almost hypersexual. To say there’s a mismatch there would be an understatement. Poor Laina was starving for physical affection, so she turned to someplace she could get it – from me. Laina and I are identical in that way, we need physical affection but are totally asexual. We still have not, and will not ever have sexual intercourse with each other. Neither of us is fulfilled by such action.

Of course this has been going on for some time, and out of fear of losing the business Laina and Mr. Kitty operate together, as well as possessions, furkids, etc. – we have had to keep it on the hush-hush, until now. Luckily Mr. Kitty is understanding of the situation, but as I had suspected he knew long before Laina disclosed it to him. For now, it seems as though we are out of any immediate danger, which is a relief. It had been weighing heavily on me. Even as much as I love her, I didn’t want to see her lose everything, and from the time this started developing I kept telling her not to do anything stupid or rash.

None of this is a slam on Mr. Kitty, by the way. I like him well enough and get along great with him. We cut up with each other just as I would any other friend. He’s funny and witty and he has some interesting stories to tell about his past life as a police/fire dispatcher. Does it feel weird being in a relationship with Laina that’s extramarital for her? Maybe a bit, and to be fair I had to quash some slight guilty feelings inside me, but I’ve come to terms with it, and especially since they’ve given each other a yellow/green light to have an open marriage, which I should say I have never had anything against, nor have I had anything against polyamory ever so long as all parties are consenting adults.

Now, this is the first time I’ve dated someone A) older than me, and B) a fellow aspie/autist. I think both of these elements work in my favor. It does take someone older and more mature to handle me and there are markers in my natal chart that suggest I am attracted to older people. My last relationship was with someone 8.25 years younger than me and it was an absolute disaster. This time I’m with someone 9.5 years older and it’s so much smoother. Concerning the latter factor, I think it helps us to understand each other better, how we click, what makes us tick, and helps with communication and understanding.

Am I going to say the above are universal elements? No, but if you are on the autism spectrum and looking to date as it were, perhaps staying inside the community is the better bet. There are exceptions to every rule of course, and take my own experience with a grain of salt, but that’s how I personally see it.

So that’s that. Again, I’m sure it’s no surprise to most of you. Hell, it came as a surprise to me even. I was not expecting this to come out of all this, but what happens does. The heart wants what the heart wants, after all.

9/3/2019 – The Day I Found Out…

…that I have Celiac disease.

Yep, it’s official. Not only am I highly reactive to gluten, but it’s even worse than that. I have full-blown Celiac disease…

The last three markers in the panel are the autoantibodies. Yep, that’s permanent. Looks like my adoption of a gluten-free diet is permanent. I knew I felt better doing it, I had no idea why it was so instantaneous until then.

Also complicating things? I have all sorts of autoantibodies – the strongest of which are heart, joints and thyroid (having a family history of Graves’ disease I wasn’t surprised by the latter).

Ugh. What a pain. The good news is that we caught it early and can contain the fire. Of course, I have the best support system ever in doing so, and here we go with a much better and healthier, happier me.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Wish me luck.

Almost Two Weeks Straight Gluten-Free

Wow. Can you believe that? I’ve stayed gluten-free for almost two weeks now! I’ve still not gotten my Cyrex Array 3 back yet but it’s a matter of days now I would think.

Alas, I naturally ate gluten-free all during my vacation (having discovered many delicious options for both eating at home and eating out), including entrees, snacks and even desserts! As much as I was dreading it, I can honestly say the discovery has been a ton of fun! It’s a new way of eating but I don’t necessarily feel deprived.

As far as changes in how I feel? Holy shit! I no longer struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I’m up and revving straight away. I’m much less irritable. My clinical depression has lightened dramatically. I don’t feel like I’m about to crash come mid afternoon. I’ve also lost some weight without even trying. My “skinny” pair of DD’s? I can button them again! I don’t have them with me right now (as I loaned them out to someone else for the time being), but that was huge when I was able to.

Does the work day still suck? Oh yes. I still hate the shit out of my job (which yesterday marked four years in the crane and rigging industry for me). I’ll still leave that toxic industry behind sometime (trust me fellow Aspies/Autists – you do NOT want to work in the crane and rigging industry), but I’m not as edgy as I was before.

Further leading credence to the gluten reactivity theory is a physical exam of my tongue. I had a large, jagged fissure in my tongue prior to cutting gluten out. I always thought nothing of it, but apparently it’s a sign of food reaction (according to a certain Functional Medicine practitioner I know ;-)).

Right now my biggest challenge staying gluten-free is a family that does not practice the lifestyle. I’m having to do my own thing and for now actually hide it from them, because I don’t want them thinking I’m a hypochondriac as they have in times past (such as my own Asperger’s self-discovery and when started having heart problems about 10 years ago, which was later shown to be WPW). Rather, I will wait until I get the test results back to disclose so I have some scientific backing for my lifestyle change.

Anyway, just some random observations. I know with 99.9% confidence now that I am reactive to gluten. What form that takes will be seen soon (I’m hoping Non-Celiac as that’s easier to manage). All I know is I feel loads better following a gluten-free diet.

So that’s where I’m at now. I’m anxiously awaiting the test results, but noting the marked changes in how I feel, for now I’m sticking with being gluten-free.

On Being a Total Fireball

If it is one thing that’s so true of me, I’m a fireball. I have the temper of Satan incarnate. It takes me awhile to get to that point, but when I blow, run for fucking cover. That’s how I’ve always been, and as I now know, how I always will be.

For those curious, here is my True Sidereal Astrology (TSA) birth chart. Pay close attention to my 12th house (about the 9:30 position) to see what’s in there, and also follow the red dotted line to the other symbol it’s paired with:

mynatal

See that? The red male symbol is Mars, follow that along the red dotted line with the square (indicating a “square” aspect – a pi/2 [that’s 90 degrees for you non-mathy types] angle +/- a few) to the green female symbol, representing Venus.

Yep, that’s a total double whammy there. My fireball tendencies? There you have it. Mars in 12th by itself is a dangerous placement, and totally explains why I have the tendency toward intense, and often violent, anger. It can often happen abrputly and without warning, and depending on what else has been going on at that point in time, it can take very little to set me off. When I learned about that placement, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, made sense. How I have never been arrested in my life I have no fucking clue. Truth be told I probably should have been a time or two in my life.

It made even more sense when paired not only with the constellation placement (Aries) but also when squared with Venus. When I do blow up? It’s usually at those who mean the most to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blown up at close friends, parents, siblings. It also explains why what few of my romantic relationships I’ve had have been highly volatile and never lasted more than a few months.

If it *IS* one thing I can honestly say it’s I’ve never hit anyone or used a weapon against anyone in a fit of rage, even as violent as it gets. I sure have a lot of destroyed personal possessions and property in my wake though! I’ve punched holes through walls, broken various objects, even ones one wouldn’t think would be breakable. I will also say I’ve used pictures of exes for target practice, but who hasn’t?

Anyway, when you combine the astrological aspects with being on the autism spectrum, you can only imagine it’s led to some pretty epic meltdowns over the years. Yeah, I was dealt a bad hand for sure.

Luckily, all is not lost. It’s not like I’m predestined to become a serial killer or some shit like that. It’s one thing I’ll have to learn how to channel and harness, and one thing I knew for sure before I learned about this is that boredom is not my friend. I had always known that, but all this just confirms it. I need to be entertained and active, even as introverted as I am.

This is another thing that solidifies my decision to move. Abilene only has limited opportunities for me to “get out of my head” and do shit. A bigger city such as San Antonio is much more conducive to that, and though Dallas was a bigger city I still felt isolated and idle. That place was not a good fit for me. San Antonio is a better fit, especially when I’ve got my spiritual guide beside me to keep me on the straight and narrow and help me avoid these pitfalls.

So there’s that. If you’re just a casual acquaintance I woudln’t blame you if you ran for cover. If you’re a closer personal friend I only hope I’ve not left some of your shrapnel in my wake. If I have, I’m sorry. Really. I know I’ve not always been a very pleasant person to deal with. Please know if I ever do rip into you, it’s nothing personal. That doesn’t make it right but damn it’s hard sometimes.

Trust me, I wish I didn’t have this placement. If I could choose any other placement I would. My life would be so much easier, as well as the lives of those around me. Alas, we don’t get to choose our placements so I’m stuck. I guess I’ll just deal as best I can.

Foxtrot Mike Lima.