When I first married I mentioned to my husband that one of my favorite things to do with my mother was to go to Costco, have samples, then have a polish sausage with a Pepsi. I remember fondly when they were sold outside from a small hot dog stand reminiscent of New York City corner hot dog stands with a cooler full of cans of Pepsi. Costco then made an indoor sit down space for them and added pizza.
Trying to be romantic, my husband took me to Costco on date night, and we had hot dogs. For two years it remained a seldom treat, as we lived at least two hours away from the nearest Costco. It made my heart sing each time we went.
About 6 years ago we moved within a twenty minute drive of Costco, and I got another look into my husbands need for routine and structure. At first first I thought it was part of the routine of picking up my stepson.
Scott: “Hey Dee, do you want Costco hot dogs or McDonald’s?”
Dee: “Is there a play area at the McDonald’s?”
Dee: “Costco hot dogs” said in a down trodden voice.
Add Chase into the mix and we began to leave McDonald’s out of the equation. Chase liked the structure of go get his brother, drive to Costco, taste the samples, look at stuff, buy a slice of pizza. He is not a fan of their hot dogs. Emma, won’t eat pizza (strange girl) and the rest of us get the polish sausages. I never realized how much my husband also needed that routine and structure – until I realized, maybe it wasn’t only Chase, it was my husband too!
My husband is a creature of habit. EXTREME habit. After Chase received his ASD diagnosis and we began research my husband would say to himself, “Huh!” He would get this funny look on his face, but he wouldn’t tell me anything. Finally I went to a workshop and a picture of who my husband was became clearer to me. A year later I had the opportunity of listening to Aaron Liken, author of Finding Kansas: Living and Decoding Asperger’s Syndrome at an autism fair. Scott went camping with the boys, so I had Emma with me. I remember listening to Aaron talk about his life and just wishing my husband were there to listen. Scott and Aaron had so many similar attributes it was kind of scare. All of a sudden I hear a bit of a commotion at the entrance of where we were having the seminar. In walked my husband, and two boys. I was giddy with gladness. Scott listened intently, and at one point got really emotional. I asked him why, and he couldn’t tell me. Afterward we marched up to Aaron and bought a signed copy of his book. My husband didn’t even discuss it with me, he just did it. A few months later he finally received the diagnosis that we pretty much knew was coming – my dear husband is also on the spectrum. We now know that part of the reason Chase has Autism is that it is genetic. What does this have to do with Costco Hot Dogs?
Yesterday we didn’t go and get our son Dee. Chase has been home for two LONG weeks of Winter Break (longer because of snow), and didn’t know that it was Saturday. We woke up and Scott announced we were going to go run errands, and go to Costco. I looked at him funny. He looked back at me, shrugged and said, “It’s Saturday!” I laughed and got the kids ready, off we went.
Usually Costco is relatively easy to maneuver. Today, not so much. I walked around dazed as we barely had shoulder room to squeeze by. I’ve never seen the sample workers move more quickly. Usually they are as slow as molasses.
We decided to put the kids in the cart, and although Chase wasn’t too happy, you could see him become visibly less antsy. My husband on the other hand, started to walk a bit hunched over and I could see the stress emanate from him almost as if he blinked different colors panic. I rubbed his back, out of habit. He paused and over his shoulder asked, “Is it that obvious?” He doesn’t like crowds, they make him nervous.
I looked around amazed at the amount of people and asked an employee, “Is there a special going on at Costco that is driving everyone out today?” She laughed and said, “No, I’m thinking it is for the weather forecast.” Last I had heard it was supposed to drop to -5 degrees, I didn’t think that this would drive people out to the store in droves.
I looked at Scott quizzically. He is so often up on the weather and hadn’t said anything. He looked at me sheepishly. “Oh yeah, they are calling for snow. About 8 inches by tomorrow morning.” I rolled my eyes, no wonder Costco was so busy. Thank goodness we wouldn’t need to go to Walmart. It would be an even bigger madhouse. We headed for our hot dogs, and scarfed the food down in record time. As we left Chase said, “Mommy, I’m ready to go home.” Scott looked at our son and said, “ME TOO!”
Less than 24 hours this is the view of our front porch: