Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do You Have Gas?

This morning after I dropped my son off at school I, along with about 100 other people, stopped to get gas. Seems that here in The South we are still suffering the after effects from recent hurricanes and other excuses and fuel is hard to come by these days. On Saturday I had to go to three different places before I found pumps that were not covered by plastic bags. Today I got in line with everyone else.

So I sat. Tried to make sure the ass-end of my car didn't sit too far out of the gas station parking lot and tried to make room for the people trying to exit. We are all in this together, right? When I was third in line I watched a man trying to pump gas into his truck and hoped upon hope when he started shaking his head that maybe his credit card had been declined or that he was just thinking something to himself. No such luck. He pulled away, and the woman in front of me got out to pay and tried to begin fueling. She mashed buttons and squeezed the nozzle and mashed more buttons. She walked away again and came back and told me that the pump I was waiting for was no longer working. Shit. A few moments later, the woman working in the booth the size of a small closet emerged with an orange cone and told me she'd wait for me to pull away but that the pump was out of order. I glanced behind me when I heard someone yell something. It was the man in the car behind me, demanding to know what was going on. I told him the pump was out of order. Somehow, in his mind, this was the fault of the woman with the cone in her hand. Ugh. Why do people do that?

So I moved on to another pump and waited again. Finally it was my turn (again). By this time, the man that had been behind me was just sure that this was all some kind of conspiracy against him personally because he kept demanding to know what was going on, honked at someone and waved his arms around (like somehow that would make more gas appear or make the line move faster). Another woman in her vehicle was likewise flailing her arms and mouthing something to the gas pumps. More honking... I put my debit card in the slot, pushed the fourteen buttons you have to push to say that yes I want a receipt and no I don't want the extra additive stuff and no I would not like to get my horoscope today. Finally, I thought, I'll be out of here in a few minutes. Ha! Nothing... I walked back up to the booth to tell the woman inside that number seven wasn't working. She looked like she wanted to cry and apologized. She told me she would reset the pump and I could try again and come back to pay when I was done.

So I go back to number seven, pushed the fourteen buttons again and still nothing. Then, miraculously, the pump beeped at me and a string of zeroes appeared on the display. Whoopie! When I was done I went back to the booth and paid for my gas. As I left I thanked the woman inside for her help and she again apologized to me. I told her it wasn't her fault and to have a good day. I felt like hugging her, really, because I can't imagine having to sit in there and get bitched at all day long by people for something over which I have no control. Patience, people! Sometimes it's hard, I know, but in the long run it helps all of us.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One Chip, No Dip

You may have noticed (or not) that I've added a "beer ticker" over there to the right, and that today marks my 31st day without a drink. This afternoon I went to an AA meeting and got my first chip marking one month's sobriety. The other members of the group were so genuinely proud and supportive and showed it with their applause and with their kind words as I left. Actually, I went today just because something told me I needed to, not because I wanted to drink or because I was really thinking about taking the chip with me. But I'm glad I did. So I just wanted to share since so many of you have asked for updates, and because today is a good day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Desperately Funny

I hate Desperate Housewives almost as much as I hate Sex And The City. Almost...

...And I love MadTV.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

That Day

I don't know how to post something today without reflecting on this day seven years ago. Like all of you, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the terrible news began to flood through. Like most of you, I suppose, I was at work. So it was not until I was able to get home and see on television the sheer terror of it all that it began to sink in. Thousands upon thousands of times the screen would show the towers falling. The faces of stunned New Yorkers, frightened newscasters and the unimaginable bravery of those trying to save the few survivors will never go away. I remember seeing the images, too, of other countries around the world who immediatley began to lay flowers and American flags at our embassies. It seemed so strange. We Americans are the ones who are supposed to be there in their time of need. We are the ones that usually come to the rescue and offer relief. We are the ones who are supposed to be stronger than the rest. We are supposed to be the ones who escape the vulnerability when other countries do not... But how could anyone, anywhere ever imagine what this would be? Our strength, instead, comes from each other and from our resolve to never forget.

God bless America. My home sweet home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chapter Two

On May, 17, 2008, I turned 40. At that time, I heard from so many people that goofy saying, “life begins at 40.” On more than one occasion my not-so-sincere response was, “I hope you’re right.” Turns out they were right, only there were no fireworks, there was no Prince Charming and no magic Forty Fairy that showed up to make it all happen. My actual birthday and the months that surrounded it were not especially happy for me, really. The beginning for me came not on May 17th, but rather three weeks ago. For my beginning to happen, something had to end.

A few months ago I made an appointment with a counselor because I knew that there was something going on with me that needed fixing but I wasn’t ready to admit what. In my mind, everything that was wrong with me was because of someone else, some other thing that happened, and I just knew that I had been wronged in so many ways. I wanted the counselor to tell me that my husband’s death, my job or my ex-boyfriend were the reasons that I was now this unhappy, angry and sad person. Surely this trained professional would see that I had plenty of reasons to feel sorry for myself, right? Not only no but hell no. By the end of our first session it was suggested to me that I check myself into rehab. In that session was the first time that I was able to admit that I have a problem. I had no intention or desire to go to rehab, but I agreed to go from the counselor’s office to the rehab center for a consultation, but not because I thought I needed help. I was looking for a second—hopefully opposing—opinion. I just knew they would see something different! Not only did that person recommend that I go to rehab, but they were ready to check me in that night, right then and there, and it scared the ever-loving shit out of me because that meant I was no longer (in my mind) in control. The idea of being away from my life and my son for three weeks with total strangers just was not acceptable to me at all. I’m not one of those people, am I?

Yes. I am. I am an alcoholic.

The first thing I did when I left the rehab center’s office was go home and drink a beer. Two, actually. (It would have been more right away but that was all I had in the house). Later there would be more. The next night there would be even more, still. I wasn’t ready to give up what had become my one true love and my only interest in life.

The more that I replayed the events and conversations of that Friday in my head, the more my problem slapped me in the face. It was time for me to grow a pair, face the facts and answer the tough questions: Yes, I drank every day. Yes, drinking had affected all of my personal relationships. Yes, it had affected my job. Yes, I drank alone. Yes, I had suffered financially because of it. Yes, I had isolated myself from my friends and loved ones.

With all that said, though, it was not until a friend of mine urged me to go to AA that I could see clearly for the first time that this is what I had become. “Just go and listen,” they said. “Please,” they said. So I did. That was three weeks ago. The moment I walked in the door to that first meeting I knew why I was there: To get better. I also knew that my friend had saved my life.

In the last twenty one days I have felt better, slept better, laughed more, had more money in my pocket and more honest conversations with the people that I love than I have in years and years and good god almighty it feels wonderful and I am so thankful: For my family, for my friends and for my life. I have so much and so many and I was about to piss it all away because I was too busy having a love affair with alcohol to see how good I really have it. No one or no thing can fix me but me. No other person and no amount of stuff is going to make me happy, because I have to be happy and at peace with myself. No one or no thing is to blame for my alcoholism.

I realize, too, that this is just the beginning of a very long and challenging process. Each and every day will mean something new and different. Some days will be fine. Some days will be terrible. But that’s life, isn’t it? One day at a time.

So this is where I begin, my friends, at 40--just like you said. I love you all. Thank you for loving me back.

Jamie Says...

And now a message from Jamie, who asked if I would post this for him.... Please note that content has not been edited... He calls it "My Family."





meat my family now

my frends




and my dogs






they are inportint to ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mugsy Junior

Last night my son and I sat across from each other at the dining room table. He was working on his homework and I was sitting here reading promises of increased size and performance when he asks me a question:

Yeah, Baby?
Do policemen get paid a lot of money?
No, actually they don’t.
Why not?
I don’t know. That’s a very good question.
Well they should. I mean, they risk their lives.
Yes, they do.
Yes, Honey?
You know what?
If I ever opened a clink I’d pay them a lot.
If you ever opened a what?
A clink. You know, a jail?

(At this point I’m just about to fall out of my chair because I realize Mugsy Junior is sitting across from me)

Where did you hear that word?
What word? Why are you laughing?

(Now he’s laughing)

On The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. So if I opened a clink I’d pay the cops $30 an hour.
I think that would be great. Good for you.
Why are you still laughing?
I don’t know.

(Yes, I do. I’m waiting for you to say “pokey” or “big house” any minute and tell me stories about the time Fishface Freddy went to “spring” Uncle Junior but there was too much “heat” for it to “go down.”)

Yeah? I’m sorry…
That’s OK. I’d still pay them $30 an hour.
That’s great, Honey.