When my 80-something Mom says, “I was thinking we need…”, I know there’s a better than 50% chance I’m, her 60-something daughter, is not gonna like it. Her “thinking” likely means labor on my part. Just how much labor depends on what task popped up in my Mom’s head.
Such as when she was thinking about the section of fence that had been leaning against the fence since one side of our fence was replaced. Since we were getting a new fence in the back next to the alley, she wondered if we could unscrew the screws in each fence post and carry the pieces out to the front curb.
A common autistic trait I have is to take words in conversation literally which puts me in danger of missing the point of what someone is saying. My Mom confuses me all the time and I reckon I confuse her at times too. After I retired and moved back in with my Mom, it took me a while to understand that when my Mom says “WE”, nine times out of ten she means ME”.
After moving back, I discovered I like yard work since I never had a yard in all the apartments I had lived in over the years. Edging is one of my favorite outdoor chores since I enjoy working with any tool that is attached to a power cord or has a battery compartment. I do mean “obsessed”. After edging, I went over to the section of the fence and saw the screws might come out using one of my other gadgets, a battery-charged screwdriver. I tried it out and it worked! There were like 15 posts, each having 6 screws to unscrew. That’s 90 or so screws at least.
It wasn’t a cool time of the day that I picked to tackle this thing that kept my Mom up the night before. I could have asked for help, but I didn’t. I could have taken a break, but I didn’t. I could have stretched it out, a little each day since the new fence was more than a week away from being installed, but I didn’t. Why? It’s my autistic brain! Once I start a task, the pressure is in my mind to finish and to do it by MYSELF if at all possible! It is no exaggeration that I’ll be tormented until I finish whatever.
I thought about leaving it to my brother to carry out the posts to the front yard, but since they weren’t too heavy for me, I did that by myself too. Once the section of the fence was out of the backyard and piled on the curb, I raised my arms and cheered over my VICTORY! You’d think I climbed a mountain. It’s the kind of moment that my autism brain immensely relishes!
This was not the end of my yard work. After the heat loosened its grip, I cleaned out the roof gutter in the backyard using my handy blower. This meant getting on the roof. I’m more fascinated with operating my battery-operated blower than my fear of heights. My Mom supervised from the front porch while my brother held the ladder for me. I won’t brag on my gutter cleaning ability, but I will say that my Mom is really good at supervising.