Monday, February 29, 2016

Day Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty Seven . . . Leaps and bounds.

"I wish there were more hours in the day."

"I wish there were more days in the week."

"I wish there were more months in the year."

"I wish there were more days in the month."

Yep. Got that last one today. February twenty-ninth, baby. Only happens on a year whose last two digit's are divisible by four. That's what I remember my mom telling me.

This feeling inside me, though, keeps nagging and nagging. It's telling me to get this stuff out there. It's knocking on the door like a Bernie Sanders canvasser. It knows I'm already on board, it's just so easy to keep under the covers or stay at the gym a little longer, or down in the basement rehearsing, and stay away from opening that door.

But I have to keep writing and telling my story. And if there was ever a better reason to not put it off anymore it would have to be today. Because today is a freebie. Garbage time.

Leap Day.

I'm a bit of a mess these days. It's not anything to worry too much about. I haven't raided the liquor cabinet. I've put too much work into this here sobriety thing to let it slip away like that. And I haven't gone to get a weed card, as much as I want to. Though I always maintained a relatively healthy relationship with marijuana I don't think I'm ready to try and "be responsible" with it. That could only end messily.

But my head has been in a fog for the last month since Jodi and I returned from our trip to Costa Rica.

This would be the trip where we spent ten amazing day on the beach.

This would be the trip where we ate ceviche and plantains and hung in hammocks and read for hours.

This would be the trip where I asked her to marry me and she said "yes."

Well, actually the first word out of her mouth was "what?" and then she said yes.

Yep. My mom would be so unbelievably happy for me, as would my aunt. Everybody, in fact, would be or is thrilled for me because I really did find the right person for me. And believe me I realize I'm a bit of a handful. Let's not get into that. It's been pretty much documented over the past few hundred posts or so. I've tried to be as honest as I could. I think I've succeeded so far.

But yes, Jodi and I are engaged and plan to marry next fall. It seemed like the right thing to do and a natural progression in our relationship. She is simply the love of my life and I can't imagine a world without her in it.

But I have to say that when left the jeweler with my grandfather's gold and diamond ring that would be transformed into Jodi's I felt markedly different. Not sure exactly why, but something tangibly changed and I felt like I had made an even bigger decision than I originally thought. It was as if some new medication I had been prescribed just started to work. It was a great feeling, for sure. I just wasn't expecting it. But I took this ring (which I wrote about eight years ago) to our local jeweler and he turned it into something simply gorgeous and unique. And now it's residing snugly on the ring finger of the left hand of somebody equally gorgeous and unique.

But Jodi is on a work-related trip right now and I've been home by myself for a few days. It's a strange feeling because we are almost never apart for this long. And as she is out of the country and away from wifi I haven't heard from her in a good day or so.

I'm not worried, per se. I just feel so strangely disconnected. I can find out an unlimited amount of information on my computer and be in touch with almost anyone I can think of. But the one person who means the most to me is just out of reach. And I'm willing to be she's feeling it too.

But I keep my head about me and make sure that I remember that all that I see around me--my house, my clothes, the food in my kitchen, my car, my guitars--that these things are all here and safe because I have remained sober for eight years and counting. That this life I lead is all contingent on the idea that I cannot and will not pick up again. There is no "just a little taste" or a "cheat day." No, this is almost literally etched in stone.

We had an incident the other night at our house where the sump pump that keeps the ground water at bay was overwhelmed. It was the same night we had to get up at 4am to get Jodi to the airport to put her on a plane for this trip. And thank goodness the thunder woke us up and we heard the emergency siren going off or there would have been even more than three inches of water covering every inch of our 1,400 square foot cellar floor.

I have to admit I did something stupid in walking straight into the water, but not 100% stupid. To my credit I did make sure the shoes I was wearing had rubber soles. Then I plunged straight into the mess. First thing that caught my eye was the glowing orange light of the power strip on the floor. I carefully but quickly unplugged it from the wall.

Yep, I'm kinda stupid sometimes.

But I didn't kill myself, thank God. And I didn't short out the whole basement worth of lights. Because I can only imagine if there's anything worse than trudging through three inches of water in your basement it's doing it in the dark.

Jodi had the peace of mind to call the fire department. God bless those guys to come over at 2am and lend me their extra sump pump. They successfully drained the basement and even helped me move the drum kit out of harms way. They stuck around to make sure everything was okay with us and said to just return the stuff the next day. I asked them if we got charged for this and the captain said, "You already paid us for this trip . . . with your taxes."

So, to my new neighbors I apologize for the idling fire truck outside your house in the wee hours of Thursday but everything seems to be under control for now.

For the last three days and evenings instead of writing new songs in my basement studio, instead of having band rehearsal, instead of writing my blog I've been trying to make sense of a mid-level disaster. We lost some stuff for sure, but thankfully my insurance looks like it will pay for that. A whole box of Jodi's ticket stubs and Polaroids and personal mementos had to be carefully dried and laid out. I talked to her while I was going through it all and broke down and started to cry it was just so overwhelming. It was such a strange feeling to be going through her personal stuff but it was either that or it was going to be lost forever.

But I did what I had to to repair the damage that was done by our overwhelmed sump pump. In fact, I had the basement company come and install an even more powerful pump so this will hopefully never happen again, fingers crossed.

In the end, nobody got hurt, the city came to my rescue, and I was even able to get Jodi safely and securely to the airport on time for her flight.

And now, due to the heavy rains, our newly upgraded sump pump is working around the clock. It runs every forty seconds or so. The sound gets to me a bit when I'm in the bedroom but I can't really hear it through the rest of the house. We need to invest in a generator next to make sure we never lose power for an extended period of time during a storm or this thing will just happen all over again.

It's a bit unnerving to have the safety and security of my studio and storage area left up to a couple of water pumps and one wall outlet, but this is just the way it is here in our new abode at the bottom of the hill.

It reminds me a lot of my sobriety.

My abstinence is quite similar to this small bucket of cast iron machinery, plastic cords and vinyl pipes.

It keeps a low profile most of the time. In fact, when the weather is good you barely know it's there.

As life just hums along it's easy to forget how essential this often overlooked facet is to keep order and sanity.

But when the rains come, as they always do, you better well and be prepared for it.

When life's climate shifts and changes on a dime you need to have everything up and running and connected to a steady source of power.

Because if this one piece of the puzzle fails for any of the myriad reasons life presents us with there's a possiblity it's going to wreak havoc on everything in its way. It's not going to wait for you to figure out how to staunch the flood. It's not going to cut you any slack. It's going to just keep filling up and up until it reaches the electricity and then the lights go out and you may lose it all.

Then comes the time spent cleaning up the mess you've made, peeling apart photos and wringing out rugs, working against the clock and trying to fend of the impending mold that will set in if everything isn't aired out.

So I tell you this so I can tell it to myself. I feel out of sorts due to a lot of reasons right now. I've been on and off of caffeine for the past three weeks. I can't seem to figure out if I need to give it up or not. I'd really hate that to be the case because I do love it so. But I know that it's a drug and a ritual and just like all the others that I've danced with there is opportunity for abuse.

I miss my fiancé dearly. And how nice is that to write down in public? For she is my one true love and she and I have practically become one person with all of our seven years of shared experiences be they bad, good or even unbelievable. And we have forged a new family together with all of her clan in New York State coupled with mine in Virginia, Washington State as well as southeastern Mass and beyond.

No part of what we have feels out of place or errant.

No part of who we are feels fake or forced.

No part of where we are going scares me or gives me pause.

No part of why I love her so makes me wary.

She will return tomorrow night and my world will make a little more sense. I'll have somebody to bounce ideas off of and someone to laugh at my good jokes and shudder at my bad ones. I'll have a woman who brings me more happiness than I ever thought I was capable of experiencing in this world--someone who never judges and who never holds back how she feels.

She is light and love and she wants to be with me as long as life keeps us both buoyed aloft on earth's endless and unpredictable waves.

And I know that all I need to do is to keep my personal sump pump running in order to enjoy all of this. I just need to keep the maintenance up-to-date and think ahead for what potential trouble may be just out of view.

And that's why I wrote today of all days--this Leap Day, 2016.

Because every day is a gift, this is true. But today is extra special.

Thank you for sharing these few minutes with me, reading how life goes sometimes.

And on we go . . .