We’re having a heatwave.

So, we’re having a bit of a heatwave at the minute. It’s consistently been over 20 C degrees for about a week now. And I have to admit I’ve a bit of a love/hate relationship with this. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling like this.

My ideal temperature range is between 17 and 23 degrees. Below this, which is much of the year here in Galway, and my bones ache, my muscles ache, I get all tense and miserable. Any warmer, and I get dizzy, overheated, and sometimes I faint.

And yet, I do think I prefer being too hot to too cold. As long as I get to retreat indoors after a while. Mainly because of the light, and the blue skies. It’s such a rare treat.

Of course, I’m still glad that we don’t get the scorching temperatures that some other places get. Though as a child I was used to temperatures over 40C on my summer holidays in Turkey, my heat tolerance has lessened with age. I do however have plenty of hacks to deal with such heat, such as water sprays and fans and how I dress. And lots of cold drinks and lying down.

But this heatwave will soon be over. Rain is forecast for the end of next week. Which is not at all unexpected. And I will go back to dreaming of living in a place where the temperature is consistently 17-23 degrees, with blue skies. It must exist somewhere, right?


Autism and Marriage

Today is our 12th wedding anniversary. This post is not about my marriage or our anniversary though, but the date did get me to thinking about autism and marriage in general.

So, I decided to Google “Autism and marriage”. The results were less than promising. Mostly I found articles about how being a parent to an autistic child effects marriages. I also found lots of articles written by people married to (or, more often, divorced from) autistic people.

But where were the articles written by autistic people themselves? I wanted to read more from this cohort, to see if they had similar experiences to me, to maybe get some insights from them.

So, this post is mostly links to the few articles I did find. (I found a few more when I changed the Google search to “autistic bloggers marriage) I will add more as I find them. (And if anyone knows of others, please add them in the comments and I’ll update this post accordingly)

This post by James Sinclair is insightful about having a relationship with a non-autistic person, especially the interview part, even though he is not technically married.

This post is written by an autistic person married to another autistic person, which presents its own unique challenges.

This interview with autistic advocate Sarah Hendrickx also mentions her marriage to another autistic person. Her book , which I reviewed as part of my Autistic Readathon also includes interviews with married autistic people. In fact, a lot of the books I reviewed, especially the memoirs, and of course this anthology, talk about marriage. They talk about the ups and downs, and how finding out they were autistic changed how they viewed their marriage, mostly for the better.

This is a good post by The Silent Wave, whose husband is NT. It’s part of a series and I do need to say that I haven’t (yet) read the other posts in the series.

Finding out that I’m autistic and that that comes with certain issues such as communication challenges and crossed wires, but that none of the issues are irresolvable, has certainly improved my married life. Another positive outcome of my journey of self-discovery.

It’s all my fault.

I am so stressed out right now, and I have nobody to blame but myself. I came down this morning to find the fridge had no power. The food was still cold so couldn’t have been out too long. I checked the kitchen lights and they turned on, so not a power cut.

I then noticed the toaster had no power either. The master fuse had tripped. We phoned an electrician and using his advice we found that the culprit was the fridge. Our beautiful and pretty new fridge. His advice was that it had been overloaded and water had condensed in it and that’s what was tripping the switch.

So, the advice was to unplug the fridge, empty it and put it at an angle so it can drain. My husband rushed out and bought a cool box and we packed it with as much as we could. And now we’re just waiting for the fridge to drain and dry out and fingers crossed that fixes it.

The worst part is it’s all my fault. I’m the one who does the food shopping. I’m the one who packs the fridge. And I’m the one who filled it too much, who doesn’t have a better handle of how much to get, and how to use up the food quickly. There’s stuff in the freezer, for example, that is completely forgotten about and that out of date even by frozen food standards.

I feel awful. I feel like a failure. Yet again, I can’t manage even the simplest of adulting tasks. God knows how I’ll feel if the fridge is beyond repair. Already I feel guilty about any food we don’t manage to save. And the cost of the cool box we never really needed. Though maybe it’ll come in handy if we take up fishing or camping or just going on picnics.

TL;DR I messed up, am very stressed and it’s all my fault. As usual.

[image shows a pristine kitchen (stock photo and not mine! Mine is too messy to show in public.) There is a large fridge in it that kinda looks similar to ours but it’s much larger.]

A Tale of Two Meetings

Last Wednesday, I attended a meeting at my kids school. About how to re-integrate them into the classroom. It consisted of me, the school principal, the kids’ class teachers, their learning support teachers, an educational psychologist, an Occupational Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapist. My husband couldn’t be there as my daughter has chicken pox at the moment and needed some TLC from him. But he had the genius idea of joining in via speaker phone. So, apart from him, I was in a room with eight non-autistic people talking about autism. They were all trying their best but it was quite a long meeting which achieved relatively little IMO and left me exhausted and frazzled.

Today, I attended an altogether different meeting. In a cafe in Galway city centre, I met up with five other autistic people. Some of whom had travelled from Sligo, Clare and Mayo to be there. Unlike the people at the meeting on Wednesday, I had never met any of these people before. And yet I was at my ease the whole time. We even discussed my kids and their issues at school. And though that wasn’t the focus of the meeting, I got good advice and am hopeful of more. One of the people there actually has a business where she advises on how to get autistic children back into school. And as she’s autistic herself, I have a feeling her advice will be invaluable. I left feeling quite energized really.

There was talk of making this meeting into a regular thing. An autistic adult meet-up, as it were. There is a Facebook group and all. I’m quite excited about that. Though my son did joke later “you actually went out and met people? What kind of alien are you and where’s my mom?” But actually, with this group of autistic people, I felt less like an alien than I ever felt before. Unfortunately I never thought of taking a photo of my new friends, so you’ll just have to imagine the scene! And fingers crossed I’ll be at many more meetings like the second one, and none like the first.

An Accident Waiting to Happen by Philip Howard

Another delightful EDS memoir by an Englishman. The fact that he was born in the same town in northern England as my mother (who probably also has EDS) and only two years before her, adds somewhat to my appreciation of this book. I wonder if my grandad was a surgeon at the local hospital that Philip mentions at the time that he often ended up there. They might have passed each other in the corridors.

But enough speculation. This book is a great read. It not only chronicles Philip’s life and his many many physical injuries, it also chronicles his mental journey, from the stoical yet misguided young child and man that he used to be, to the wisdom and maturity he gained as he aged and came to terms with his disability.

The one issue I had, and it’s something he admits is wrong and is trying to change, is his victim-blaming and fat-shaming attitude towards his mother and brother. You can see he is trying, but like so many others, he still thinks that weight gain is a choice. Hopefully one day it will become easier for him, along with society as a whole, to understand how they are very much mistaken on that point.

Besides that issue, I really enjoyed this book. A good insight on growing up in 1950s England with a disability such as EDS, and how society and attitudes have changed since then.

No matter the result of the Referendum to Repeal the 8th, the No voters will be losers.

A week from tomorrow, Irish citizens who are eligible to vote, will be voting on whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution. This Amendment basically makes it illegal to have an abortion in Ireland except under very limited circumstances.

As I have written before, I really want there to be less people who chose, for whatever reasons, to have abortions. But the Eighth Amendment does nothing to lower these numbers. The reality is that thousands of pregnant people either access abortion pills online, with no chance of medical oversight and risking jail sentences, or they travel abroad, mostly to the UK, to have abortions. Abortions in the rest of Europe have hit a 30 year low, mostly through initiatives involving contraception, reducing poverty, and many of the other points I made in my previous post on the subject. If the No campaign really wanted to reduce the number of abortions, they would follow the policies of the EU countries that have reduced abortions in these ways. Those countries also have abortion laws similar to those proposed if the Yes campaign wins. So, abortion at record lows, yet fairly “liberal” laws.

At the end of the day, either we will have the compassionate laws that we so desperately need, that will bring us in line with the rest of Europe, or we will have the status quo. What we will not have, no matter what the result next week, is a lowering in the number of abortions. Not without fundamental investment in things like disability services, contraception, sex education, poverty, and all those other things. So, the people who vote No, who are presumably under the impression that it limits the number of abortions, will fundamentally lose either way. The only question is, how many pregnant people will have to continue to suffer as a result of the Eighth Amendment.