Friday, March 16, 2018

Knowing No - A Response

Coyote has an interesting post here:

What is "knowing" no?

It got me thinking about something that happened recently. Dad asked me to do a chore that I really wasn't feeling up to doing, and I hesitated. Mom chimed in with "you can always say no." I immediately said no.

And then I decided to explain to Mom how the phrase "you can always say no" did not feel like an accurate phrase when Dad is asking me for chores. How, very often, I feel like saying no to doing a chore is not a safe option for me.

Housework not being done seems to trigger my Dad's depression a lot. He has relatively high standards for cleanliness - I don't know how he compares to the average, but his standards are definitely higher than mine or my brother's, and maybe higher than my Mom. And the idea that he is helpless to get and keep our household at his standard of cleanliness triggers feelings of despair and resentment in him that I really don't understand.

He also frequently expresses the feeling that he's not getting enough/any help keeping the house. Even when my parents were living together, and Mom probably did about an equal amount of cleaning to him, he would complain about not getting help cleaning. I remember arguments about it, because Mom would get offended that he was discounting the work she'd done.

So, when he asks me for help with a chore, I never know if a refusal will be fine or if it'll set him off. When I help, I don't know if my efforts will be recognized, or if he won't notice, or if he'll start complaining about something else. He also seems to vacillate between remembering that I'm autistic and having realistic expectations, or randomly assuming that my lack of cleaning is because I'm deliberately trying to force him to live in a pigsty. And periodically, he'll just start ranting about it, with no real warning.

Meanwhile, when I stay at Mom's place, my efforts get more consistent results. If she asks me to do something, I can give an honest assessment of my likelihood of being able to do it. If I forget to do it, she accepts that without much emotion. If I do it, she might not notice, but if she does, she'll definitely be happy about it. And she basically never gets into random tirades about how the house is a pigsty and she feels like just giving up.

So there's an example of what 'not knowing I can say no' feels like.

Friday, March 09, 2018

An Autistic Takes On Thirty Days of Cleaning - Part 2

When I did the 30 Days of Cleaning, my plan was to write notes about each task as I did it, and post them once a week.

That didn't last long.

I did finish the challenge, but I didn't write up most of the tasks. I only wrote until day 7.

So, along with that explanation, here's the rest of the notes:

Day 4: Scrub down fridge.
Day 5: Organize and toss expired foods.

Firstly, these two are in the wrong order for me. I was very confused thinking about how to scrub down the fridge before organizing and throwing out food, since the rotten food was in the way of where I'd be scrubbing. So when I finally made myself open up the fridge, I started tossing out rotten food instead of scrubbing.

Unfortunately, I didn't finish. I started with the bottom shelf, the worst one, and got halfway through before I had to stop. The smell was horrible, and the last straw was getting something sticky on my fingers.

Challenges: This is probably the hardest one for me so far, simply because it's so disgusting. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to finish this one today. If not, I'll try some more tomorrow, and then move on to the next task. I like working close to the ground, it's easy on my joints, but the constant up and down while tossing things out was a bit uncomfortable.

Day 5:

I got back to this job while making myself breakfast. I was surprised how much easier it was - I guess I got the worst done yesterday. I finished up tossing the rotten food from the bottom shelf, and scrubbed it with a soapy washcloth until it looked nice. There's also a drawer thingy with rotten vegetables underneath, but I'm not touching that.

Challenges: A bit of grossness, but far less than yesterday. I didn't like the up and down, but once I got to scrubbing, that was pretty good. A bit of a workout for the arms, but not painfully so.

Day 7: Wipe down walls, and wash garbage can.

For this, I washed the front door. I used a washcloth and dishwashing detergent. I did it late at night and I'm really tired, because Dad left to drop Mom off at her place and we had to make our own way home. And I'm still sleep deprived from the trip back yesterday. (I slept most of yesterday, though I still got that day's challenge done.)

Challenges: The angle was a bit uncomfortable, and I had to scrub really hard to get any noticeable result. The worst part, though, was how the water started running down my arm as I was scrubbing. Really unpleasant sensation.