I s there such a thing as a four hour work week? Timothy Ferriss has built an entire industry around that concept and, quite frankly, I scoff at such ideas as being more “pie in the sky” nonsense. But there may be such a thing as a four hour work day. An intelligent ADHDer could be very productive with just four hours of work. The problem, of course, is that the four hours are often spread across a twelve hour day so that the ADHDer may never benefit from concentrated, consistent, consecutive work time. This is worsened by the numerous distractions of life: email; Facebook; Twitter; blogging; cellphone. We often mistake these distractions for productive work and, before we know it, the entire day is gone. All this makes me miss Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve been using white noise as the aural equivalent of being wrapped tightly in a warm blanket. Since there is no beat, no rhythm, no lyrics but simply a steady, soft slightly undulating sound, it creates an external calmness — I’m not tapping my foot to the music — while reducing internal mental distractions. My preference is to load up the tracks on my Sansa Sandisk and use a set of headphones that encase my ears. Unlike ear buds, this older style headphone reduces external noises.

Funny story. I once tried a pair of noise cancelling headphones. They generate a noise which cancels out external noises. Within twenty seconds of putting them on my head, I started to turn green. It was as if I was on an airplane that was doing a nose-dive. It turns out that some people (Ooooh! Ooooh! That’s me! That’s me!) can feel queasy from noise cancelling headphones. The noise-cancelling noise can confuse your inner ear and make you feel nauseous.

I purchased the white noise tracks featured below. If you’ve got a set of headphones nearby, plug them into your computer/laptop/iPad thing you’ve got there (if you’re reading this post…you’re using a device that probably has a headphone jack) and give a listen.

A recent issue of Scientific American had the following articles. It’s bad news piled on top of bad news.

  1. The Other Oil Problem: The world’s growing appetite for cheap palm oil is destroying rain forests and amplifying climate change
  2. The Arctic “Death Spiral”: Geoengineering may be our best chance to save what sea ice is left
  3. Digital Danger: Security experts are working to thwart a potentially devastating cyberattack
  4. The Winters of Our Discontent: Loss of Arctic sea ice is stacking the deck in favor of harsh winter weather in the U.S. and Europe

One of our Founding Fathers said, “Give me ignorance or give me death.” I choose ignorance. I’m cancelling my subscription to Scientific American.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed homes, businesses and, unfortunately, killed about 200 people. My only hardship was the loss of electricity for ten days but, from that small loss, I gained an entire world, an undistracted world. It’s not that my ADHD went away when we lost the electricity. It’s that the distractions that make it worse, courtesy of our digital world, were gone. My wife even noticed that I liked being without electricity. Part of it was, no doubt, the elimination of most distractions. But certainly another part of it was that my inner crazy inventor, the one who likes to tinker in the garage and build things, was in full swing. I had my little generator (eventually replaced with a larger generator) from my amateur radio (“ham radio”) tinkering and the knowledge from that hobby combined with all the things I had purchased (extension cords; copper grounding rods; water proof wrapping for connections; voltage line conditioners, etc.) made it possible for us to have a modicum of electricity shortly after the storm had left the area. The combination of intelligence, curiosity and ADHD had become, yes, an advantage. It also had the effect of creating laser-like focus on the particular tasks at hand: keeping the generator running (and figuring out how to get gasoline when all the gas stations were closed), charging up various devices, cooking on the propane grill, and conversing with neighbors. The entire experience has made me seriously rethink how I want to live my remaining quarter-life here on earth.

So, how did NaNoWriMo Go?

WTF?

NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. November.

Ah yes. Funny thing. I was all psyched about spending an entire month working on a novel but then something happened. The first week when I should have written, oh, say, twelve thousand words, we got hit with Hurricane Sandy. So I had no f**kin’ electricity.

So you didn’t write anything?

Oh. I wouldn’t say that. Just didn’t write fifty-thousand words. But I started two short stories. Now I have a total of twelve unfinished short stories.

I was kidding. ………………. I didn’t cancel my subscription to Scientific American.

 

Speaking of tinkering….. We had a butcher block knife holder that was taking up too much counter space. I created a new knife holder from an oak door that I salvaged from an old roll-around kitchen cart. I purchased 1/2″ Neodymium Magnets and a 1/2″ Forstner bit and used two-part epoxy to hold the magnets in place.

Knife holder in place on side of oven.

Another view of knife holder in place on side of oven.

Spacers used so knifes can slide in/out easily.

The “good” side of the knife holder. There are two carriage bolts that help to keep the two pieces of wood together. That’s in addition to gluing the wood.

Now…the secret. Magnets. Those little magnets are pretty darned strong.

Metaphorically speaking, I’m at the end of my rope. I’m so f**kin’ done with ADHD. I understand why my father went bat-sh*t crazy at the age of fifty-five (and I’m approaching that age real fast!). You reach a point where you can’t contain the internal insanity. You can’t keep it all together. In Dr. Parker’s new book, he describes ADHD as a kind of desynchronization problem. You’re out of sync with reality. You are listening to the beat of your own drummer and sometimes your drummer is a f**kin’ a**hole and nothing you do seems to wake up your drummer because that a**hole has his own drummer, so you can never quite predict when you’re drummer will wake up and smell the coffee because you never quite know when his drummer will wake up. This is infuriating and the battle is all in your head and the only way to get it out of your head is to lash out at those around you, and if they don’t get it, if they don’t understand it, well, then your anger goes through the roof.

Last night I went out for a brisk walk. My squawking parrots were getting on my nerves. I was inside all day — the downside of working from home — and I needed to get out before I killed someone. Earlier that day a recipe for making a “faux” Pad Thai sauce found me on Facebook. It uses non-Thai ingredients to create a taste that’s similar to more traditional Pad Thai. That was the excuse I needed for an afternoon walk. Twenty minutes later I returned with fresh shrimp, a small bottle of Sriracha Rooster sauce, and a box of Pad Thai noodles. After a few hours of work followed by dinner — cooked my moi — I needed to get the hell out. Like I said earlier. If I didn’t get out I was going to kill someone. While the exercise is good, I really do it for the energy release and dopamine squirt. Problem, though, is I’m finding that I need that movement every three hours. It’s as if the “H” in ADHD has finally hit me. I wasn’t hyperactive as a child but I’m hyperactive now, and BIG TIME, and it’s getting on my f**kin’ nerves. My body is fighting with my brain. Part of my brain wants me to sit and write and write and write but my body says –or is it my brain saying it??!!– “No! Get up! Move! Now!” and sometimes my body — my brain??!! — wins and sometimes my brain — or is it my body?? — wins and so I sit but that’s always short lived and…round and round and round it goes until it’s 9:00 PM and then I remember there’s something I must do before I go to bed so I take care of the oh-so-important task and when I hit the sack I get hit right back with a brilliant idea — all my ideas are brilliant…aren’t yours? — that I must write down, so I reach for the notebook on the side of my bed and write it down and try to remember the next morning to take the idea and do something meaningful with it but I’m so groggy from the previous day’s mental wrestling match that I forget that “brilliant” idea I wrote down then I get an idea for a blog post — or a piece of blog post…like this one — and then the reminder pops up — Go to gym @3pm — but I really need to get more work done but I need to get up and move because I feel so much better after the physical activity and I’m getting exhausted trying to type this fast enough to keep up with my f**kin’ brain that’s going at 200 miles per second but it generates more ideas and I type faster and make more mistakes and, god damn it, it doesn’t stop and then then then then then then then then….oh f**k it.

There.

I feel better.

I got it out.

I’m hoping that the a**holes who believe that ADHD is a gift will find the f**kin’ receipt for my ADHD so I can return this piece of crap for something better. Perhaps I can get some melancholy with a side order of genius.

Yeah. I know you’re curious, so here it is.

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Rooster sauce, aka Srirachi Sauce.
  • Sprinkle in garlic powder and ground ginger to taste.

Mix thoroughly. Pour over cooked Pad Thai noodles and shrimp (chicken, whatever). Heat and stir to coat evenly.

That’s the original recipe. I modified it.

I used two tablespoons of peanut butter. It increased the peanuty flavor a wee bit (though next time I may go for three tablespoons). I wasn’t quite sure how much garlic powder and ground ginger to put in so I’d mix up the concoction, taste it, then sprinkle some more. Probably could have used more ginger.

I decided to cook the shrimp the way I always do, which is in olive oil with a few cloves of minced garlic. For a slight variation I put a heaping teaspoon of Rooster sauce in a cup and added some water. When the shrimp were about half-way cooked, that is, about half the shrimp were pink, I poured this into my saute pan and, of course, mixed it all up. When the shrimp were done, I dumped the noodles into the same pan and then poured the sauce into the pan. I cranked up the heat a bit and the sauce started to thicken up. I can tell you that the dish was a hit. There were no leftovers.

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  • Lisa Dilley

    YES! I love a good power outage, and I get really irritated when my convenience-loving, non-ADHD family members ruin it for me. Camping is the same – all I have to worry about is meals, latrine, sleep. No other distractions. :)

    This post totally triggered a catastrophic cascade failure in my head.

    Oh, I know. White noise. That’s how I started to suspect ADHD. I put on a set of headphones with a rainstorm going and suddenly, magically, could accomplish the task of cleaning up dinner without collapsing from mental exhaustion.

    • http://jeffsaddmind.com Jeffs ADD Mind

      I didn’t know how much I’d love a power outage until I had to live through this. And to be quite frank, I’d never really thought about camping as a way to experience the bliss. Is going to a motel that’s located in a wooded area just as good as camping? Because, you know, I kinda hate the thought of all those frickin’ bugs when you’re out in the wild.

      • Lisa Dilley

        I personally don’t count the motel in a rural setting quite as high as camping because there is usually a TV and electric lights. No power means to bed and up with the sun. But, different strokes… And I know some pretty good camping spots on a volcano where the bugs are at a minimum. :)

        • http://jeffsaddmind.com Jeffs ADD Mind

          I should have said, “I prefer ‘Jewish style’ camping, which involves an air conditioner, color TV, three meals and a Borscht Belt comedian.” ;)

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