Of Aspie Daughter, the Job Centre and a Dead Car (and one Spider photo)

Life is so interesting isn’t it?  Since my rather dark post and poem of yesterday I’ve been enjoying some very in-depth conversations with some of you, particularly about my dad and his alcoholism.   I’ve been blown away by your responses, particularly to my poem, thank you so much, and I’m so happy now that I did go ahead and post it and that I don’t have to be cross with Hubby for making me do it.

Always a good thing, however,  to have a disclaimer, or two…

I hope you don’t think I’m trying to cram more, more, more of my writing down your throats, but if any of you would like to read more about my dad and his rather unusual lifestyle, you can find a few more of my stories under the category ‘My Dad’s Alcoholic Prison’.

Right, well enough of that.  It’s Friday, and I thought I would leave you with a lighter post for the weekend, and also I wanted to tell you about an incident that happened earlier today.

It begins with me taking my Aspie Daughter to the Job Centre .  Oh joy of joys.  This is always so incredibly stressful for her.  I end up doing all the talking because she gets completely overloaded with the lights, noise and having to sit in a chair being asked questions about how she is doing, so much so that she becomes mentally exhausted. Thankfully, her advisor is very nice and understanding so that helps.

These sessions are mandatory but of course my daughter is nowhere near ready to even think about work.   The last two years have been an absolute nightmare quite tough trying to get her the proper help and support  but once I fired we asked nicely for a different care coordinator (social worker) and completed her occupational therapy assessments, we were then able to have her referred to the Asperger psychologist.

He talks to her and treats her like an adult who has a brain and isn’t an imbecile or thick so this helps too.

So, back to the Job Centre.  To park in the car park opposite means driving up a very steep hill.  The car I drive has a strange habit of ‘chugging’ when the petrol gauge is just below a quarter of a tank.  This was the case today and as I drove up this hill the engine almost cut out.  It graciously waited until I was just turning into a parking bay instead, at a very awkward angle, before doing so.

So there we were, Aspie Daughter and I.  Stuck in a dead car, 5 minutes away from her appointment and rain pouring down outside.  We get fined here if we don’t park within the lines and I couldn’t just leave the car like that.  What to do?

I called Hubby. He was not happy as he was in an important meeting.   He was a bit annoyed because I didn’t have enough fuel.  I said it wasn’t my fault.  He said he would be right there but would have to go home first to get the petrol can, then fill it up then bring it to me.

Meanwhile, I decided I may as well pay for our ticket at the pay and display machine except when I tried my money wouldn’t go in the slot because the machine was broken.  Great. This meant I would have to walk way over to the other side of the car park (it’s a big one!) in the pouring rain (I had forgotten my umbrella).

That is where my guardian angel arrived.  As I marched across the car park,  a man poked his head out of the window of his car just as he was about to leave and said “Here love, do you need a ticket?” There was well over an hour and a half on it. You bet I needed his ticket!  He made my day.  Thank you lovely man/angel!

Such hope was restored that I came up with a great idea.  We could push the car into the parking bay.  That is, Aspie Daughter pushed while I steered (she can’t drive, no way no how, it’s a coordination thing) and let me tell you, she is one strong young girl/woman.  She thought it was rather fun actually. So at least we had parked the car,  had a free parking ticket and we just made it to the Job Centre with a couple of minutes to spare.  Phew!

Hubby arrived and thought that he better not walk into the Job Centre looking rather annoyed while holding a petrol can so he waited outside until we came out.  All was forgiven, the car started and the rest of the day went as well as can be expected.  Aspie Daughter promptly went to bed when we got home, such is the way of things in our household.

I will end it there, except for one last thing, which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what I’ve just written.   My lovely friend Lesley over at Confab put up a delightful post recently about a spider in her greenhouse and she shared a beautiful photo of spider babies.  Do take a look. It caught my imagination and reminded me of the book/film Charlotte’s Web when all her babies hatched!

It also reminded me of a photo I took last year in our back garden of a spider wrapping up a wasp of all things….eeeeowww… in its web which I thought I would share.  Not that this is my kind of thing really but I was amazed at how the photo turned out as normally my close-ups like this are very blurry.

Spider wrapping up a wasp (c) Sherri Matthews 2012

Spider wrapping up a wasp
(c) Sherri Matthews 2012

Hope you all have a great weekend and keep ‘wrapped up’ nice and warm 🙂

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
This entry was posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Family Life, Humour, Musings, Nature & Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Of Aspie Daughter, the Job Centre and a Dead Car (and one Spider photo)

  1. Steve Rebus says:

    Wow, Sherri, what a day!! Your daughter sounds amazing and i’m pleased your day got sorted out in the end. Thanks so much for sharing, i love your posts! God bless you and your family! 🙂


    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha! Thanks Steve, so glad you enjoy reading them, although it’s been a bit all over the place lately, lol!! My daughter is an amazing person, I admire her greatly 🙂
      Blessings to you too and your beautiful Sarah… 🙂


  2. Steven says:

    Interesting day! The fun never stops, does it! Oh, how I used to hate the Job Centre. Mercifully I only made a couple of visits and thankfully shouldn’t have to again. What a nice chap! It’s always refreshing to know there are some decent folk around. Community spirit still exists in some people [/grandpa] 🙂

    That photo came out really well! Lots of my close-ups come out really blurry too. Photography is far from my strong point, cameras are far too technical for me these days :P. Hmm, I don’t mind spiders (to an extent) but I normally don’t like watching creatures being eaten, however insignificant. I’m given looks of ‘really?’ when I try and rescue a bee if I see one caught in a web. I have a bit of a soft spot for bees. 😛 Wasps however, are evil (one stung my poor dog once!), so I shall allow this.


    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! No, never a dull minute and all that…!! Thankfully my daughter only has to go every 6 months be we have been trying to get her in the support group so that she doesn’t have to go at all but it is proving difficult. It’s all part of the new regime dictated by DWP to make sure the she jumps through all their hoops so as to continue receiving her benefits. The fact that she can’t even walk out of the house without me because of her severe social anxiety seems lost on them…I will leave it there otherwise I will go off on another rant…or another post could be brewing on this subject, me thinks 😉

      What a mercy you won’t have to go to the Job Centre again. It really is so demoralising. It always reminds of when I was made redundant and had to go there, the same place. D-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-n-g…

      Ahh Steven, you are a lovely, kind soul. I don’t normally like this kind of thing either, but as you say, in this case it was a wasp so allowable 🙂 Actually, I thought it was a fly until I cropped the photo and enlarged it!!!


  3. Oh, Sherri, what a day. Glad you’re back home. Perhaps you should join daughter and take a nap! Love the photo of the spider, and quite agree with Steven that wasps are evil. Glad to see it all wrapped up nicely like a little gift. Oh, and thank you so much for sharing Lesley’s photo of Esmeralda’s babies. Absolutely delightful. I was awestruck when I saw it. God’s precious creatures. Made my Friday!


    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I did feel like that a bit! Thanks Susan, and yes, I detest wasps too. It was wrapped up like a little gift wasn’t it?

      So glad you enjoyed seeing Esmeralda and her babies, I was so taken with Lesley’s story and her photos that I just had to let everyone know about it 🙂


  4. Oh Sherri, I felt your frustrations while reading this post. Why is it that things tend to go wrong when it’s raining? I’m so happy your guardian angel made an appearance. I did laugh at the thought of your husband showing up annoyed and toting a petro can. 🙂 Thanks for the link to Lesley’s post. Those pictures were incredible. Have a great weekend!


    • Sherri says:

      I know, why is that so often the case?? As far as the ‘petrol can’ incident, the mind boggles as to what could have happened… lol 😉
      So glad you enjoyed reading Lesley’s post, her photo of Esmeralda’s babies were incredible, the sweetest thing ever!
      You have a great weekend too Jill 🙂


  5. I could feel the rain dripping off my own face as I read your account, Sherri, but when the kind stranger said, “Here love, do you need a ticket?” I had to laugh and wish American men spoke like that. We have charming, helpful men, but they don’t speak like that.
    A story in the rain, with an Aspie daughter and an Angel stranger, and hubbie waiting, holding the gas can. Beautiful!


    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha! Thanks Marylin, yes, it all worked out in the end I know what you mean! This is a very ‘British’ post so far as that goes 😉
      There is so much PC stuff these days about men calling women ‘love’ etc. etc. but here women as well as men will call someone ‘love’ or, here in the West Country, you often hear them saying ‘my lovely’ or my darlin”. Not all are this friendly though, trust me!!


  6. Rachel says:

    How old is your Aspie daughter? I’m surprised you have to take her to the job centre. Seems a bit rough.

    Great story in the carpark, but only because it ended well.


    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Rachel, yes, it all got sorted out in the end!

      My daughter is 21 now and was diagnosed when she was 18. Since she entered the ‘system’ as an adult she had to go through all the hoops that the DWP provide in order for her to receive her relevant benefits since she has been unable to work. We are undgoing the long and arduous process of trying to get her into the support group so that she won’t have to keep going until such time as she is ready to work again, and who knows when that will be. Thank goodness we only have to go through this twice a year, but it is so stressful every time.


  7. jennypellett says:

    The image of your husband in the job centre with a petrol can is one that just wont go away. It could have proved useful in shaking some of them up in there. (Not the jobseekers, I add hastily, I mean the job’s-worth’s on the other side of the glass).
    I was gifted a ticket yesterday too, by a lovely rain drenched lady and her bedraggled little dog – she was my angel as I had no change for the extortionate amount my local council expect me to pay for helping to keep some of our high street shops going. Hmm… think there’s a rant brewing… 🙂


    • Sherri says:

      Lol!! Jenny, can you just imagine the looks Hubby would have been given by all those jobs’-worth’s?? They do seem to have an awful lot of security men there these days, hmmm, perhaps my husband isn’t the only one who has turned up with a petrol can…

      I hate going there myself as it brings back horrible memories of when I had to go in there every 2 weeks to sign on when I was made redundant. Just horrible for my daughter but atleast she goes upstairs away from the fray…

      How great that you had a parking ticket angel too, the same day as me! Ahh, what a sweet lady! It really did chuck it down yesterday didn’t it? Yes, extortionate rates say it all and Jenny, rant away…in fact, why don’t you do a post about it? I would love to read that one …;-)


  8. Lee J Dawson says:

    Aww Sherri, poor daughter and you … what a day! As Jenny said, the image of your husband barging into the jobcentre with a petrol can is a powerful one. I got visions of him being overpowered and carted off as a terrorist suspect. Thank goodness he waited for you outside. That was nice of the man to offer you his parking ticket (cue for romantic plot :D) … we’ve had that happen too. There are lots of nice people really.

    The photograph is incredible. It shows just what a good job the spider makes of wrapping up its prey. I’m like Steven and rescue beasties from webs if I’m on the scene. Maybe we shouldn’t ‘play God’ like that, but it’s hard to ignore. I even like wasps – they eat a lot of bacteria. 😀 Your picture has planted the seeds of a horror story in my mind ….can you imagine being shrink-wrapped?!

    Thank you for linking to my post, Sherri, and I look forward to reading lots more about your dad. 🙂


    • Sherri says:

      Well Lee, you have a great imagination and always have such wonderful ideas for great stories..the romantic plot, the horror story (yes, how awful to be shrink wrapped like that, kept aside to be eaten later on, scary!!)

      You are most welcome, so glad that I was able to share your beautiful Esmeralda with others! I hope she is in your attic 🙂 Perhaps she will return to your greenhouse and produce some more of those delightful babies…

      As for my hubby, yes, these days with everyone so jumpy you can just imagine this very scenario…now that would have just about finished off the crazy day just beautifully… not 😉


  9. xbox2121 says:

    Sounds like you had a rather unpleasant day Sherri, but your guardian angle and hubby ended up helping out the day. I thought all you Brits carried umbrellas in your car all of the time 🙂


    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Yes Bob, you would have thought, right? Funnily enough, we usually have at least one in the car and I also carry one in my bag, but where were they yesterday when I needed them???? It was just one of those crazy days… 😉


  10. What a day! Why is it when one thing goes wrong, there’s a pile up: rain, broken ticket machine and so on. Glad everything turned out in the end. The less one of those days comes along the better. Sounds like you kept your cool.


  11. Glynis Jolly says:

    Professionals within the mental health field have some strange notions. My husband is a caregiver (actual title: Direct Support Tech.) for a young man who is autistic and retarded. The powers that be insist that this man tries to do various things despite the fact he just doesn’t have the patience or the IQ to do them. It’s time ill spent but because ‘they’ determined, it must be done.

    I can imagine that these job centre visits are stressful for both your daughter and you. I wish there was something that could be done to elevate all of it.


    • Sherri says:

      Yes, they certainly do have some strange notions indeed. I’ve been planning to write more about my daughter’s experiences with these so-called ‘professionals’ and the damage that’s been done. My daughter has higher-functioning Asperger’s in that she has an above-normal IQ and can come across as articulate at times when she feels safe talking to someone (that is, close family and all her friends are online) but the way some of these professionals have talked to her they make her feel like a complete idiot. Also, they don’t understand that what with all her sensory issues, social anxiety and inability to communicate her needs when stressed prevent her from doing the things that these people try and dictate that she should do.
      You are right, it is time ill spent, it must be hard for your husband to have to stand by and watch as these dictates are presumed to be carried out. So frustrating for both him as the carer and the young man he is caring for.
      Thank you Glynis for your concern for my daughter.


  12. mumblypeg says:

    Brilliant post but what a pain! So where was the lovely new umbrella you got for your birthday??? mmm Seriously though, glad it all turned out ok in the end. I can just picture annoyed Husband with the petrol can. Whoops! Wise move to stay outside the Job Centre. But I bet he was tempted!
    Your photo is very good. Well done. Lol xxx


    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks MP. Yes, a bit of a day! I changed my bags and of course forgot to grab my lovely umbrella! Also, the one that is always in the car…gone!!! Still, I will not make that mistake again, you can be sure of that 🙂

      Ha Ha! Yes, it was a very strange scenario and he was completely innocent but it did cross his mind that he would get some very odd looks if he walked inside and wouldn’t be considered so innocent then!!

      Glad you liked the photo, my close ups never usually come out that well! 🙂


  13. Amazing photo and a great post, glad your day ended well!


  14. Denise says:

    This was such an eye catching image. Talk about darkness – but that’s nature isn’t it?

    It’s sad that you remark upon a psychologist treating your daughter like an intelligent person. It should happen automatically 😦

    Sounds like a stressful day. Everything is so much worse in the heavy rain. What great teamwork to get your car parked up though!


    • Sherri says:

      Ha! Yes, it is quite a dark photo isn’t it??!! What a way to end up, yikes!!
      Sad but true. The lack of understanding about Asperger’s Syndrome within social services has, in my daughter’s case, done more harm which we are now in process of undoing. This is why I fought so hard for her to be seen by an Asperger psycologist who knows what he is doing. This didn’t happen 2 years ago when my daugther was first diagnosed for 2 reasons:
      1. The Asperger team for Somerset didn’t have a psycologist until January of this year; and
      2. Apparantley my daughter had to go through the channels of what was on offer, all of which was woefully inadequate, via social services, and only then, when it could be shown that nothing was helpful, would she even be considered for further intervention.

      This, despite her first care coordinator recognising that she needed psycological intervention from the very start! It has been a catalogue of errors resulting in my daughter losing trust and hope. It was left to me, her family, to help her as much as we were/are able.

      Ultimately, of course, it is family support which is above all else the most valuable but we have to access the proper channels so that she can receive the financial support and also so that she isn’t forced into paid employment by the Job Centre (or threatened with benefit sanctions) which would be absolutely detrimental to her mental health at this point.

      The fact that my daughter can’t leave the house without me due to her severe social anxiety seems to be lost on them, but maybe at last they are getting the message.


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