aspified

a blog by an autistic adult

Category: Living Independently

Adjusting After Moving to a New Home

aspergers perspective on moving

I moved to a new apartment one year ago. I still wake up at night not remembering where the kitchen is. The shower still feels wrong, there is still too much light coming from the living room window, and I still haven’t figured out how to use my gas oven. I love my new apartment, but it’s taking me a while to adjust.

Change can be difficult for autistic adults, just as it is for children on the spectrum. I think sometimes people don’t know that, or they forget. Home is the place where we find comfort. If we’re lucky enough to be able to live independently, we have a lot more control over our homes than we did as kids. We can put things where we want to keep them. If we live alone, we have a better chance of knowing where to find our stuff. One of my favorite things about being home is knowing that I feel safe, because my home is my own little world where I can be who I am and have things how I want them.

I lived in my last apartment for several years. I was used to the way the carpet felt underneath my bare feet. I was used to the electric stove. The can opener fit on the counter next to the toaster, and I still had plenty of counter space to make a sandwich. I could adjust the electric heat from room to room in the winter. I knew that the landscapers would be by to cut the grass every Wednesday morning in summer. If I needed something, I knew I could knock on the door of two of my neighbors who I had been friendly with. I was comfortable in my last apartment, until the landlord decided to make some changes.

I ended up not renewing my lease last July. The landlord had decided to do some remodeling and wanted me to relocate to an empty unit while he repainted several rooms and tore up the bathroom to put in new tile, a new shower, etc. He also rented the unit across the hall from me to a family with a toddler that screamed and cried most of the day. Since I work from home and attend college from home, I wasn’t able to concentrate. I decided that if I would have to pack up my things to move temporarily during remodeling, that I might as well look for a new apartment in a quieter area.

It only took me a week to find a new apartment. I was extremely excited. The new apartment would have an extra bedroom. I would be on the top floor, which would mean not having to listen to upstairs neighbors walking the floors all night and arguing as I had been doing for years in the old place. The new apartment was in a quieter part of town; I would no longer live near the train tracks and have a 3 a.m. freight train rattle my walls and wake me up. The new landlord was much friendlier, and the new building was much nicer. I was looking forward to moving.

I spent the next few weeks packing everything and looking online for new furniture, since I never had much in the old apartment. I ordered several pieces of no assembly required furniture like bookshelves and a coffee table to be shipped to the new place. I ordered new curtains. I threw away a bunch of old junk I had been hanging onto for years. I hired a moving company and was more than ready to go when the big day came.

It wasn’t until the first night in the new apartment that I realized how difficult it was going to be for me to adjust to the change. Moving to a new home isn’t the same as getting a new job or going to a new school. Those things have always been hard for me, but at the end of the day I could always go home. Home was where I was comfortable, where things were always the same, where I could control my own environment as much as humanly possible.

There were so many things that were different in the new place. Although I was only three miles from my old apartment, the new area I lived in seemed like a foreign country in many ways. There were different birds outside the windows. The spiders were bigger. Since there’s an old tree outside my bedroom window, the new place gets carpenter ants. I had never had ants in my old apartment. They creep me out. The new apartment has a window in the bathroom, and the old apartment didn’t. I still can’t get used to having light shining in when I’m taking a shower. Small things that other people might adjust to right away or not even notice were a big deal for me.

I don’t drive, and I can no longer easily walk to the places that used to be only a block from my home. A several mile walk to and from the grocery store is not practical for me. I used to walk to McDonalds to have coffee a few times a week, just to get out of the house. There is nowhere to walk to here without it being a long hike. Due to some medical problems, I just can’t easily do it now.

It took me several months of getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom to remember that the bathroom isn’t down the hall and to the left anymore. I get up to go to the bathroom several times each night, but it still took me more than three months to get used to where the bathroom was. I only go to the kitchen during the night once in a while, which I guess is why I still can’t get used to remembering where the kitchen is. My brain doesn’t function well when I’m half asleep. I wonder how many other autistic people have this problem.

While I love the new apartment in many ways, I still miss the familiarity of the old one. I know that a lot of autistic people have trouble with change. It wasn’t until this weekend that I realized how many other autistic people have a long-term struggle to adjust after a move. Someone in one of the aspergers facebook groups I’m in brought up the topic of having trouble adjusting more than a year after after moving to a new home, and through the many comments I learned that I’m not alone. One poster’s suggestion was to make one room exactly the same as it was in the old place. She meant arranging the furniture and decorating the same, as obviously the windows etc might be in a different place. That’s a very good idea that I wish I had thought of and might have made my adjustment easier.

If you’ve ever moved, how well did you adjust? Were there any particular things you did to make the transition into the new place easier?

Having Roommates

having apergers roomates

Yesterday, I read an article called My Asperger’s makes living with other students a struggle, which is an article about college students with aspergers who have various problems living with roommates. This article made me grateful that I’m attending a university with an online program, because I don’t have to live in a dorm room. This article also reminded me of the year I ventured out to live on my own and decided to share a house with three roommates.

I didn’t have roommates because I wanted to live with other people or because I was forced to by a college. I had roommates in 2004 because it was the first year I was living out of state from my mom, and I couldn’t find an apartment that I could afford on my own. The job I took in California paid less than I thought it would, the affordable apartment I had planned to move into didn’t work out, and I was running out of money. Sometimes you have to decide between living with roommates or moving back to your parents’ houses. I was determined to try to make it out in California and chose living with roommates over having to move back home with my mom. I had no idea what living with roommates would be like.

A friend told me he knew of a room for rent in a house with some of his friends. I moved in and I lived with three people, none of whom I knew before I moved in with them. One was a single man, and the other were a couple (one man and one woman). Between the three of them, they had a dog and two cats. I had my own room, but closing the door did not keep out their noise or smoke smells. My bedroom door didn’t lock or always close all the way, so sometimes a cat or dog would push its way inside. I quickly found out that nobody in this house liked to do dishes; they piled their dishes in the sink until they ran out of dishes, and this disgusted me to the point where I would barely go into the kitchen. They liked to drink and invite people over until late at night, and I couldn’t sleep through their noise.

They were nice people, but they annoyed me. I also annoyed them. They didn’t understand why I didn’t want to sit around in the kitchen playing card games with them, or why I wore headphones most of the time, or why I didn’t want to chip in to order fast food. They thought I was anti-social and rude. It wasn’t a compatible living situation, and after a year I decided that I would rather move back with my mom than to live with these people anymore. I was lucky at that time to have the choice of being able to go back to live with my mom.

I learned some things from having roommates. Having aspergers made it difficult for me to compromise my routines or expectations, and roommates are not like family members in the sense that they don’t really care. I wasn’t used to having to wait for hours to be able to use the bathroom, or to not have any control over when I could sleep (because of their noise). Basically, I learned that I should not have roommates. However, if I were ever in the same situation I would work harder to ask questions about the people I would be living with before moving in. I would want to find maybe only one other roommate, someone who keeps to themselves and does not drink or smoke, etc.

Have you ever had roommates? Did you enjoy the experience, or was it difficult for you?

Odorless Cleaning Products

odorless cleaning products

Having to clean is an inevitable part of being an adult, but due to sensory differences, asthma and allergies, I can’t tolerate strong chemical smells. I have a hard time with bleach and similar strong-smelling chemicals and always seek out odorless cleaning products whenever possible. The problem is, some items advertised as being odorless cleaning products are not actually odorless. The following are products I use all the time, so I know they are actually odorless.

(Disclosure: Some links on this post are affiliate links to products I have previously purchased and liked well enough to recommend. If I’m going to link to a product on Amazon anyway, I will sometimes remember to use an affiliate link that allows me to earn a small percentage of certain sales. You will NOT be charged extra. If you are going to purchase something anyway, I appreciate when you purchase through my Amazon links as even a small amount can help cover the costs of this website’s hosting fees.)

Baking Soda (available at any grocery store)
Baking soda is good for scrubbing the sinks, bathtub, etc. I also use this to scrub coffee cups or other dishes to get stains out.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear All Purpose Cleaner (available at Amazon.com or grocery stores)
I use this to clean countertops, shower tiles, bathtub, toilet, etc. No smell and works well.

Seventh Generation, Free and Clear Glass and Surface Cleaner (available at Amazon.com or grocery stores)
I use this only for windows.

Seventh Generation Dish Liquid, Free and Clear (available at Amazon.com or grocery stores)
I use this for washing dishes. There is also a lavender version of this that is very strong smelling, so be sure to buy the odorless one. I don’t own a dishwasher, but if you do they also make a dishwasher soap; I have not tried it so I can’t be completely sure it is odorless.

Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Free & Clear (available at Amazon.com or grocery stores)
This is my favorite laundry soap out of the several I have tried. It doesn’t smell and also is good for sensitive skin (I tend to get rashes easily from many laundry soaps).

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, Unscented Baby Mild (available at Amazon.com)
This is the only odorless soap I use in the bath. It can be diluted with water and lasts a long time. I always buy this through Amazon as I have trouble finding this one in the grocery stores, but you might have better luck.

Which cleaning products do you prefer?

No Assembly Required Furniture

no assembly required furniture

Furniture is one of those things I never thought much about when I lived at home. My mom bought the furniture and all I did was use it. Once I moved out I had no idea how difficult it would be to find furniture I could afford, especially since I don’t drive and had no way to just go pick something up from somewhere. I had to rely on Amazon and similar websites to purchase furniture.

I also found that even if furniture says it is easy to assemble, I had some problems. I am not good with tools beyond a hammer and screwdriver. I had no idea how to use a drill. I was very bad at following assembly instructions, because some of the instructions skipped parts or made little sense to me. I became so frustrated while attempting to assemble a supposedly “easy to assemble” dresser that I threw it away. I didn’t have anyone to call and ask them to help me. If you are in the same situation, then this post is for you.

Some things come assembled, like couches and certain chairs. Other things were very difficult to find. I’m posting the exact list of no assembly required furniture that I have in my apartment; this way I can be sure that this furniture does not require assembly, since I own it. (Some ads for furniture say no assembly required, but it’s a lie. The ones on this list really do not require assembly.)

(Disclosure: Some links on this post are affiliate links to products I have previously purchased and liked well enough to recommend. If I’m going to link to a product on Amazon anyway, I will sometimes remember to use an affiliate link that allows me to earn a small percentage of certain sales. You will NOT be charged extra. If you are going to purchase something anyway, I appreciate when you purchase through my Amazon links as even a small amount can help cover the costs of this website’s hosting fees.)

No assembly required bookcase or bookshelf (from Amazon)

no assembly required bookshelf bookcase

This bookshelf holds a LOT of books or dvds etc. It comes already assembled. There are several colors to choose from. You just have to unfold it. You unfold the sides toward you and push the shelves down into place. No drilling, screwing anything in, etc. There is an option to stack them; the stacking requires tools. I have not tried it. I own 3 of these and they sit independently around my living room and bedroom.

No assembly required dresser with drawers (from Amazon)

no assembly required dresser drawers nightstand

I use one in my bedroom as a nightstand and one in the bathroom to hold towels etc. It’s light and easy to move from room to room. They are not very stable, as in I would not put a lamp on top of one of these. However, I stack books on top of mine and have not had a problem.

No assembly required side tables or TV tables (from Amazon)

no assembly required tables tv trays

This comes as a set. I use one as a portable desk and another to eat off of. I also use this for puzzles or to play solitaire etc.

No assembly required bedside table or side table (small table) (from Amazon)

no assembly required side table small table bedside table

This is a more expensive option than using tv trays or the wicker drawers. I purchased this to keep next to my couch but eventually decided to use it to put my tv on top of since I don’t own an entertainment center. It cost $250 when I purchased it last year but is currently $199 on Amazon (as of the time I wrote this). It’s small but sturdy.

No assembly required coffee table (from EQ3.com)

no assembly required coffee table

I had a hard time finding a coffee table, and this one was a bit on the expensive side ($400 when I purchased it). However, it is very nice and most importantly it came fully assembled.

No assembly required desk (from Anthropologie.com)

no assembly required desk

I loved this desk the moment I saw it, and I was thrilled that it came already assembled. The only disadvantage was that there was a delivery fee of $75. The good news was that I got this desk on sale and saved more than $250 off the original price.

Edit: It appears that this desk that I purchased on Anthropologie.com is no longer available, unfortunately; however, they have other no assembly required  furniture plus other furniture that you can pay for someone to deliver and assemble for you.

I was not able to find a no assembly required kitchen table, but I was given one from a relative already assembled. If I hadn’t gotten this table I had planned to use a folding card table (you can buy them on amazon.com). I was also not able to find a bed frame that came assembled, so I just leave my box spring and mattress on the floor.

If you have any recommendations for no assembly required furniture, please leave a comment so that others who might need furniture ideas can see your suggestion.

10 Cheap, Easy Meals to Cook in a Microwave

aspergers cooking

For me, cooking is a challenge. I have trouble doing too many things at once, such as trying to keep track of various pots and pans on the stove, in the oven, etc. The smells and the heat can be overwhelming. I also struggle with following recipes. If you are also on a budget while living independently, it can be hard to figure out what to eat. Here are some affordable, simple ideas based on things I cook for myself on a regular basis. These are things that can be cooked in the microwave (I love my microwave) but could also be cooked on the stove. I use the taller microwave safe storage containers (with lids) to avoid water boiling over.

1) Ramen noodles or rice with canned vegetables. I like canned carrots, peas, corn, or mushroom with my ramen. You can also use fresh vegetables, although they are sometimes more expensive. This makes one or two meals for me, unless I add more than one pack of ramen or use rice.

2) Rice and beans. I buy minute rice, even though it’s slightly more expensive than a traditional bag of rice. Minute rice cooks faster. I add canned beans like kidney beans or black beans. Sometimes I will add diced tomatoes or cheese. One container of beans and rice will be enough for me for lunch all week.

3) Vegetarian burritos or tacos. I buy the soft shell tortillas, which come in 8 or 10 per pack for about $1.50. You could use hard taco shells if you prefer. I use black beans, canned corn, a can of black olives, and half a cup of jarred salsa. I put it all in a bowl and microwave it, and then add it into the shells. Then I add shredded lettuce (you can buy bagged shredded lettuce) and cut up tomato. You could adjust this to include meat or whatever else you like in your tacos. You would probably need to cook the meat on the stove though. My mixture is enough to last for between three and five dinners.

4) Canned soup and a sandwich. I like melted cheese sandwiches with microwave bacon; I toast the bread first, microwave the bacon separately, add the bacon and cheese to the bread and then microwave it. But you could make any kind of sandwich with lunch meat or whatever your preference. With a can of soup, this makes one or two meals for me.

5) English muffin pizzas. I toast the muffin first, but you don’t have to. Then spread pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Microwave until the cheese melts. These taste better in the oven, but I make them in the microwave a lot because the oven gives me anxiety.

6) Hot dogs. You can put a few hot dogs in the microwave for 30 seconds or less, then put them in buns and add your favorite condiments. One pack of hot dogs and buns makes dinner for me for a week. I like potato chips with mine, but I sometimes make a baked potato instead. Just poke holes in the potato with a fork or knife. A potato in my microwave takes five minutes.

7) Scrambled eggs. Yes, you can cook scrambled eggs in the microwave. I do it all the time. Just take them out to stir every 30 seconds or so. I add cheese to mine.

8) Pasta. I cook spaghetti and other shapes of pasta in the microwave every few weeks. Just buy a jar of sauce to go with it. You can heat the sauce in the microwave too. This makes a week’s worth of dinners for me. You can also take a slice of bread, butter it, and sprinkle it with garlic salt, then microwave for 15 seconds or so for an easy side of garlic bread.

9) Oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. You can buy the instant kind or the kind that takes longer, depending on your level of patience. I prefer the instant kind that has apple or some other fruit. If I make the plain kind, I will usually add raisins or fruit cocktail from a can to give it some taste.

10) Sausage biscuits and hashbrowns. Many frozen hash browns can be microwaved or put in the toaster. I like the microwave ones on the side of a sausage biscuit with cheese. I can usually find a box of frozen sausage biscuits for $3 or so, and they come with 8 per box. These come out really good in the microwave and save me a trip to McDonalds when I have a craving.

There are plenty more things you could make, such as frozen dinners and many other recipes. But these are my favorites. What are your favorite things to cook?

© 2017 aspified

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑