This is all too much.
There's a certain feeling of relief that I get after each blog post. I realize I'm somewhat small potatoes in the blogosphere, but there are people like you (yes, you) who enjoy hearing what my gray matter has strung together on a somewhat daily basis. And because of that, and because I realize it's all part of my recovery program--to write about what my life used to be like, what it's like now, what I hope to accomplish, and why--I become a bit anxious when I take a couple of days off like I just did.
But it's not due to laziness.
In fact, quite the opposite.
But enough of my explaining--let's get to the good stuff ...
On Monday, I met up with Kelly and Sarah as I had planned and we had a lovely dinner at my aunt's favorite restaurant, Bailey's.
We used two gift cards that I found lying around the house in Mattapoisett. On the back of the cards it says "No cash will be given for unused balance." Fair enough. But after our meal, which included Chicken and Shrimp Diane for me, with a side of broccoli and cheese sauce, and a water--no lemon--ordered special in honor of Lynda Jean, the waitress brought back a pile of cash as change. Seems like my aunt not only treated for her birthday meal, but I was able to include the 18.5% tip which was my aunt's happy medium. I read the girls my blog post for the day (which laid out the plans for the evening that was coming to a close) and we parted ways. It was a fantastic tribute to my aunt to be able to spend time together, enjoying good food on her tab, and reminiscing about her strange, sincere, and selfless ways with the two people who knew her--not better than I did, by any means--but better than a lot of people.
Happy birthday Aunty.
Tuesday was sort of uneventful, save for the weird feeling I had on one of my upper right ribs. Kind of like somebody punched me. I know with great certainty that this did not happen. My, how times change.
Wednesday had some interesting events.
We had gotten a few inches of snow overnight. When I stepped out my front door I was pleasantly surprised to find that my neighbor, Robert, had included my sidewalk and front walk in his morning snowplowing. How nice is that? This doesn't happen in real life, does it? I mean, are there actually helpful, generous, and kind people still left in this world?
Seems so. And, of course, that was a rhetorical question, as my life is full of people like this. I only hope to be able to do what I can to return the favors I have been given.
Thank you Robert.
More on Wednesday:
When you start your day going through a metal detector, it kind of frees up the rest of the afternoon from some unique worries. If I had to catch an emergency flight to Barbados I could hop in a cab and say "take me to the airport ... and step on it ... ", and run right up to the security checkpoint and not have to concern myself with the possibility that I had forgotten about the switchblade in my coat pocket.
But that's how I started my day yesterday--minus the flight to Barbados--when I went to see my probation officer for what I thought would be the second to last time.
It was nothing like the first time I went, back in February.
I remember how terrified I was when I was informed that I would have to report once a month to her office. I remember how I was sure that would not be my fate, as the little box on the sheet I had stared at a thousand times which said "supervised probation if box is checked" had not been checked. I also remember the sinking feeling that appeared in my gut when my probation officer said, "um ... they just forgot to check that box ... here ... let me do that ... ." And it was done.
I remember how I had a million worries in my head over what this meant for my band, and the Chorus, and how my aunt was sick (with a different cancer) and how I couldn't do anything to help her because I didn't have a license, and my legal fees were piling up, and I was putting on weight, and ...
Well, you get the picture.
If you've been along since the beginning, reading this, then you know how it's gone.
If you haven't, then suffice to say that my life is in as much of a proper order as it could be under the circumstances. All of the progress I have made; all of the people who have come to my aid; all of the surprisingly wonderful happenings I have been a part of; all of the covetable, tangible objects I have placed and have been placed in my possession; all of the life-changing decisions I was able to make; all of the trips to the emergency room, the hospital proper, and the final drive to the funeral home; all of this was accomplished correctly and expeditiously only due to the simple fact that I have remained alcohol free for nine days short of a year.
I explained this to my probation officer, as I have once a month, every month, for almost a year.
But first, I had to go through the metal detector, which entailed taking off my belt, my chain wallet, my ring, and emptying the change in my pockets. Then I got to cautiously walk through the big gray columns which either confirm or question my non-threatening status.
I made it up the stairs to my P.O.'s office.
We shook hands and sat down. I blew into the breathalyzer she assembled for me, as I have at each meeting.
She had me sign a document stating that the reading came back 0.00.
And then she said this was the last time I was obliged to meet with her.
And I felt a little pang of regret mixed in with elation.
Because this once-a-month detail--the metal detector, the paying the monthly fee, the breathalyzer, etc.--had become a big part of my sobriety program, and I am going to miss it.
I also thought I had one more to go, too.
One more time to walk past the courtroom with the muted tan and eggshell walls covered in black marks at the baseboards from one too many kicks by a disgruntled defendant. One more time to watch the lawyers coming through the big, heavy, wooden doors to shake the hands of their client--some shakes positive and congratulatory; some apologetic and resigned; some so filled to the brim with caveats that it comes with an extra card to keep in the pocket of the defendant's track suit ... for the very near future. One more time to hear the clink of chain against linoleum from the leg cuffs of a defendant brought up from the holding cell ... a sound I associate with freedom--my freedom--and one I never want to hear up close again.
And she told me that I wasn't off the hook. I still had to stay out of trouble until January 21st.
I told her I would.
I thanked her for working with me to allow my traveling around the country--quite a concession under the circumstances. And she told me that it was only because I made it easy for her, that she could make it easy for me.
I told her that she wasn't the only probation officer that I had. She looked confused. Then I explained that I feel a strong connection to the spirits of my departed family members, and how there are way too many coincidences to ignore and write off as chance.
I'm hardly a religious man, but I know that I have my angels, and as long as I take care of my end, they do the same from where they are.
She smiled and wished me well. We shook hands and she followed me out. There was a Hispanic man standing at the entranceway, waiting. She opened the gate to let me out of the probation office and then she turned her attention to him ...
"Come on in, Angel," she said.
And I just smiled.
Like I said: way too many coincidences to ignore and write off as chance.
Thanks for reading.
PS: last night I decided to take a better look at that pain my top right rib was still giving me.
It turned out to be a deer tick.
I didn't do a very good job of removing it and, just to be on the safe side, I went to the emergency room.
After about an hour the doctor took a look at me. He said it sounded like it was a deer tick and he gave me some doxycycline and did his best to remove the pincer embedded in my skin. He said not to worry too much about it but to keep an eye on it and see my doctor if it started to show signs of infection.
Then he looked at the shirt I was wearing--a shirt I had pulled out from my basement which I used to wear to work when I slaved over a fiery wok station at the iconic and much missed--and way ahead of its time--restaurant, Amber Waves.
"Did you used to work there?", he asked me.
I told him I did.
"Man. I miss that place."
"Yeah," I said. "I do too. Thanks doc."
"You're welcome. Now stay out of the weeds, okay."
"Sure thing, doc. Will do."
And I got in my car and drove home and went to sleep.
My rib doesn't hurt as much anymore, but I'm glad it did for a while.
If I don't get the occasional reminder that I'm not always going to be healthy I won't take any precautions; I won't examine myself more closely; I won't check for parasites.
All we need is a reminder to notice what's wrong in order to make it right.
The rest is easy.
Hmm ... we're supposed to get a ton of snow here. I wonder what the weather's going to be like in Barbados ... hmmm ... I wonder ...