Reflections of and on a probably Asperger's parent parenting an Asperger's kid (or 2)!

dragon pups

dragon pups

Monday, September 16, 2013

a weeked with my husband...

So the truth is that my husband and I do not really have "domestic" bliss... in fact we are both wretched house keepers. We actually come from long lines of hoarders (mine are even more honorable than his) and tasks tend to get left until someone looks at them and thinks "ACK! well I guess no one else is gonna do this"

Our relationship is built on shared experiences, not really shared space...

So when my 1st weekend OFF in 4 months arrived, we started discussing what to do with our day.  Naturally, there is LOTS to do around the house, and we just need to do it... but instead we decided to "adventurate" (this is the verb we have invented for our family "adventure therapy" excursions).

Let's just drive, sweetheart...
OK. I have not been to Western Maryland, like Cumberland. Let's go there.
OK, sounds good.  So should we take stuff? I mean the worst case scenario is that we drive so far we decide to stay...
No, the worst that can happen is that we die in a fiery car crash.
(!!! what? - this from the man who has berated me for YEARS for being overly negative)
Um, well, I wasn't gonna go that far, hon.  I was just thinking we should pack sleeping bags and clothes in case we decide to camp or something...
Oh, yeah, that's a good idea.

So we found a change of clothes, and our sleeping bags, even remembered dog food, and got in the truck to go...

First we got a car wash, then we stopped by the Chocolate Bar, but it wasn't open yet (10:30 am), so we went across the shopping center to the organic store and got chips made from hummus and pinto beans.  We went up to I-70, and headed West.  Then this sign said "take I-68 to Ohio and points west", so we took I-68.   I sang along to the radio at the top of my lungs.  My husband tried to find a map, eventually found one on his phone that said I-68 doesn't really go to Ohio.  We tried to decided if we had ever been on this road before, worked through some old memories, decided that we must have been here once, but we had no memory of it.  

And then we got hungry.  As approached Cumberland, MD, we saw a sign for "The Crabby Pig" - BBQ and crabs - we are IN!  So we got off the interstate - and proceeded to be totally lost.  It was apparently the wrong exit.  We found the hospital, and then we found "town", and we saw a walking mall type area, and we crossed lots of RR tracks, and finally my husband's GPS put us back on the freeway on a one way entrance, and then took us off at the next exit in this convoluted tangle of ramps. And the restaurant was at the end of the ramp - but parking was not.  For those of you who live in Autism households, you can imagine the level of anxiety and snappiness that is building in our vehicle...  My husband is on the edge of flipping out...  I found an empty gravel lot pretty quick and parked there (even though it was totally unmarked and under an overpass), and we went to eat.

Turns out the Q was AWESOME, and hubby enjoyed his fish.  Dog enjoyed our bones and shells. And every waitress in the place keeps stepping outside and staring at something beyond the building... Finally our waitress tells us there is a concert tonight on the waterfront.  Apparently the guy is good, has even worked with Martina McBride.  And the concert is free.  We decided that our joints would enjoy being out of the car, so we will see...

We walked a tad along the canal (C&O) walk, found the Western Maryland Railroad Station (a part of a national park there - that is also the start of the a biking/ hiking trail that goes from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry). There is TONS of cool stuff to do there, and we talked about bringing the kids back, or bringing the scout groups there.  We found some lollygag spots, and appreciated them.  After a bit, we finally negotiated to go to that walking mall we had seen.

With no directions except the signs on the road to guide us (and the zillion flyers he picked up at the national park), we walked downtown Cumberland.  Turns out the town is very interesting.  We found the walking area, and the buildings are incredible.  Clearly old RR money, lots of desperately intricate 19th century efforts of Conspicuous Consumption mixed with some early 20th century attempts at modernity.  They are trying to revive and use these spaces for thriving art community.  All the little empty spaces between building and on corners are "parklets", with fountains and benches and greenery.  So cute!  We found one of the top ten yarn shops in the nation! It was COOL.  I need to go back and take classes (already plotting how I can do that).  Found a woodworker who makes wooden mushrooms with secret compartments - each one one-of-a-kind and named.  When you purchase one, you get to choose a name for the next one.  We got Iris for our daughter, and named Leilani for someone else's treasure.  We finally decided to stay in town and try that concert, so we walked to a hotel that the brochure said would take dogs, and got their last room.  I've never had a dog on the 6th floor before.

We moved the truck to the hotel, and then played on our computers a little (free WiFi!), and then decided to go get food.  We found a "grill" on that walking mall, and their drink special: hurricanes!!  So we had a few.  This is the first outing in which neither of us have needed to drive since college.  The dinner was delicious.  Hurricanes make my husband happy, and we laughed a lot, just got giggly.  I was even able to accept his admonishment that I was getting loud gracefully (because I have finally accepted that I AM loud, and that not everyone is OK with it).  We finally got to the concert.  The guy was good, and they had chairs out, enough for everyone.  And after the first set (that we saw) my husband fell asleep on me.  SO we went back to the hotel, where I tried to initiate a conversation while he watched football - but apparently I started snoring between sentences.

The next morning we had no headaches (yeah!) and found Roy Rogers.  I absolutely love the Chorizo Burrito - it was Perfect! and then we drove around the city for 30 minutes trying to find the on ramp.  We finally found the interstate, and went 2 exits.  The waitress had also suggested that we check out Rocky Gap State Park (and casino).  The park is absolutely fabulous, again we plotted coming back with the kids or a scout group.  We walked thru the casino and ate on their veranda.

I was seriously considering renting a canoe or a paddle board.  My husband looked at me and said, "You are so beautiful here, around the water.  It is truly your element."  

After some soup, we decided to explore the rest of the lake.  We drove every road we could find, followed signs to lookouts and pavilions and amphitheaters.  We finally found the camp ground, and it has an aviary!  we left no nook undiscovered!  We looked inside the yurt and the cabins, drove by every campsite (all 200), checked out the beach, found a fresh water oyster shell, saw skunk and bird tracks, watched minnows, saw a water bird hunting the shoreline, watched the dog drink from the clear lake, heard the wedding across the lake, checked out the nature center (got lots of good ideas!), met other dogs...

And then we decided to turn the other way in the road out, not towards the interstate.  Within 2 minutes we were in PA.  Hmmm... so we kept driving, knowing that eventually we'd hit something... but it seemed it might be a long time... and then a man on a bicycle was approaching, so we slowed down and ... spoke to a stranger (I'm sure you are aghast... I talk to strangers all the time, but Lord forbid my Aspie husband ask for directions!)  After all, the guy was in Sunday Khakis and a button down shirt (oohhhhh, dangerous)... 

Sir, we are lost.  Could you tell us where this road goes?
Well it eventually hits E______.  Where are you headed?
We live in Virginia, but we are up for some adventure...
Well, down in the middle of the cove you will see a white church.  If you turn right there it will take you Flintstone and the interstate.
Thank you so much, have a great day!

My husband then checked his GPS to be sure the complete stranger did not mislead us... we joked about roving bands of mountain men, and his ridiculous lack of faith in good country people... and we found the interstate.  And even adventured on the Historic National Road, until it merged with the interstate.

We stopped at Sideling Hill to see a geological wonder (old rocks when they dynomighted out the interstate)  It looks like the hill is glowering on the freeway.

We then went to West Virginia and checked out Capapon State Park.

We drove every inch of road in that park (well, except for the section to the golf club house), and checked out the cabins and shelters, and playgrounds, and... well, everything.  It was started by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in he late 30's, but WWII started before it was finished.  So we found a road that went to the summit of the park - 4 states are visible on clear days.  It a rather rough gravel road, so kinda slow going.  So slow that a squirrel tried to stop us.  He just sat in the middle of the road, staring us down... the truck passed right over him and he darted out between the tires!   Goob!

We then came home and washed some dishes, started some laundry, and did made a token effort towards domestic bliss...

We really are excellent procrastinators!

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