Part 127: Arrival

Hello, and welcome back to The Autistic Writer. What a week! Holy smoke, it’s been a million miles an hour! Yes, it finally happened, dear reader: I got myself a new place to live! As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to carry on renting for the foreseeable future, but now I finally have a flat I feel comfortable in. Let me bring you up to speed through an autistic lens…

First off, some background. In October of 2021, my wife and I sold our house. Our marriage had broken down in April, and we were going our separate ways. The sale of that house almost didn’t go through, due to some complications with the buyer. But we had agreed a date of completion, assuming the deal didn’t fall apart. Conformation of the sale came at the last minute. I had held off from finding a new place to live, because I didn’t want to tie myself into a rental contract or a purchase, only to find the sale of my existing property didn’t go through. So, this meant that when the sale was confirmed, I had almost no time at all to find somewhere to live. Like many autistic people, I don’t like changes or complications in my life. I’m sure you can imagine how stressed I was with the triple-whammy my marriage ending, trying to sell my home, and then having just a few days to find a new home. I was this close to ending up homeless, which would have been intolerable for me. It felt like I had lost any control over my life, and was simply reacting to one crisis after another. That feeling of losing control does not suit my autistic mindset at all.

A meme image showing a close up of the face of a cute puppy with its front paws held very close together.  The text reads: I was this close to sleeping woof.

I did eventually find a clean, nice rental flat, but it was far from perfect. I soon found out it was almost impossible to keep it warm, which was a problem as domestic fuel prices soared. Furthermore, the flat was in a tricky location: On the one hand, it was quiet and close to my favourite park. On the other hand, it was in the back of beyond, leaving me with a terrible commute to and from work. On work days, I would get up every morning at 05:30, and get home again at around 18:00-18:30. My commute to work consisted of a drive and two bus rides. The return journey was a walk, one bus ride, and a drive. I despise bus journeys for both the sensory and hygiene turmoil they cause me. After work, if I made a meal, then did my washing up (no room for a dishwasher in the flat), and had a shower, the night would be over. I’d go to bed, sleep, and then the grind would start again. If I needed to buy groceries after work and/or do some laundry, it was a very long day indeed. At weekends, I was too exhausted and demotivated to do much. I was existing rather than living. My life was being controlled by my circumstances, rather than me taking charge of my circumstances. It was an autistic nightmare. All through my time in that flat, I was looking for a new home to buy. I had so many disappointments, being outbid in an over-excited property market, being gazumped, and umpteen other problems. So, I made the decision to find a better rental flat in a more suitable location. After all my disappointments so far, I feared the worst. But my luck changed.

My son spotted a flat that had become available in his apartment block. I viewed it on Saturday 18th February, and immediately loved it. My application was accepted, and after referencing checks etc, I landed it.. Exactly nine days after the viewing, I signed a contract. Two days later, on 1st March, I moved in. Boom!

Moving in day was just awful. The stress, the mess, strange men handling all my stuff, my daily routine a million miles away. I was so exhausted, so stressed, but I knew it would be worth it. By Friday afternoon I was fully unpacked, and more or less set up the way I wanted to be. Would you like to see some photos of how things looked moving in and setting up? Here you go…

Living here is going to have a dramatically positive effect on my life. Let me explain: The flat is walking distance from my place of work. This means no more smelly, dirty, crowded bus commutes. Also, no need to buy a monthly bus pass, so some much-needed money saved. The journey to and from work will save me a minimum of 1 hour and 45 minutes every working day. I’ll be able to set my morning alarm one hour later, meaning more sleep and a more cheerful Darren. The new flat is also walking distance from two supermarkets, various restaurants, and a 24/7 gym.

Having so much on my proverbial doorstep means that my car would be spending 99% of its time doing nothing. That makes no sense, so on Saturday 4th March, I drove into Lookers Ford, and asked them what they would offer me for it. They offered me 17% more than I had hoped for. Ten minutes later, I was carless. The service at Lookers is always quick and simple. That means no more car insurance, service plan, or petrol costs, saving me a bit more money, which was sorely needed.

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What about the flat itself? Well, being 30 seconds from my son’s place is a big bonus. He and his girlfriend have been so supportive, I cannot thank them enough. My son, David, as regular readers will know, is also autistic. We have a great relationship. The new flat also has a dishwasher, which again will save me lots of time. Also, I have to mention the bathroom sink. I have a thing about sinks and taps being badly designed; it absolutely infuriates me. I’m not going down that rabbit hole today, but the sink in my bathroom is lovely and big, with an arched mixer tap, so I can actually get my hands under it properly to wash them. On the subject of the bathroom, the water pressure in the shower is amazing – getting a hot, hard shower is one of my autistic sensory joys. The flat is also much, much warmer than the old place. Basically, this ticks so many boxes, I could not be more pleased. I feel like I have regained some control over my life, and as any autistic person will tell you, it’s vital.

The next step in getting my life on track will be looking at my job situation. Actually, there’s something interesting to report on that front. I’ve mentioned previously that I used to get a lot of phone calls and emails from recruiters, but that all stopped when I made it clear some time ago on my online CV that I’m autistic. Well, recently, I changed my online CV again, loading up a previous version that does not mention autism. Sure enough, the emails and calls have started coming again. What a horrible situation. But nothing can take the shine off this week. Getting this flat is the most positive thing to happen in my life for a long time. It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt this optimistic. And I’m not even going to spoil it with any caveats. Next week, back to more directly focused autism content.

That’s all for this week. Until next time, take care.


You can find The Autistic Writer on all your favourite social media channels

Why Do I Write This Blog?

When I first found out I was autistic, I was a middle-aged adult and I knew nothing about autism.  I quickly learned that there was a serious shortage of information and resources for adults in my situation.  With this blog, I aim to inform about autism and autism-related issues as I learn, hopefully helping people who are on a similar journey of discovery.  Like anyone who writes a blog, I want to reach as many readers as possible; if you like what I’m doing, please share it with your friends and followers.  I will never hide this blog behind a paywall, but running the website does incur costs. If you would like to support, feel free to make a small contribution at BuyMeACoffee.Com.

You might also be interested in David Scothern’s blog, Mortgage Advisor on FIRE, which covers a range of topics including mental health issues and financial independence.

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