Looky what entered the local star system yesterday:
Can’t you almost imaging that you’re looking at it actually flying through space? Well, on that counter top, I can. Here’s some perspective:
Yes, it’s a pizza cutter built to resemble one of the more famous star ships of all time. It may never get used for it’s intended purpose. Who knows what pepperoni grease and cheese will do to it? Truth be told – I ran across an ad for it when looking up information on the solar eclipse that happened on the 20th. You can get one too – check out the store at Space.com
In other news, I am so far behind at work I may need to use some time travel magic to catch back up. So I’m headed beck to the kind of typing that pays the bills. Then I’m leaving work ON TIME to go play in my golf league.
If Cindy is incapacitated again when I get home, I will have to break one of my cardinal rules – never start an argument with a person that’s under the influence. But man oh man, this one needs to be nipped in the bud.
Secretly, I think that’s why she was so keen to book the next trip to NOLA – it’s a defuser (IS TOO a word! – my spell checker disagrees, for now). Why would I raise a stink when there is that fun trip hanging in the balance? Time to tip the scales
Wow. My Syracuse boys narrowly averted disaster again last night. But that’s what they do – just enough to win. Those Wisconsin kids shot the lights out! 14 three-pointers in one game – are you kidding? Next up is Ohio St. I think. Good thing the Syracuse crowd travels well, they’re gonna need all the help they can muster for that one. For the record it’s about a 5 hour drive from Syracuse to downtown Boston. (If I’m driving. If you’re driving? Probably about 6 hours)
After yesterdays whiny little rant, I went and bowled terrible. I blame triple atomic chicken wings. Well, ok, not really. They had no effect. I missed a shot or two early, made an adjustment based on that then spent the rest of the night trying to convince myself that the move was right. Last half of the last game I moved back to my original line and promptly pronounced myself an idiot. Done it before, will do it again. At least I don’t have to throw a bowling ball again till golf season is over.
Oh, and after bowling, what did I come home to? S.O.S. She’d gotten an update from the contractor that’s going to do our roof & siding and tried to tell me the same thing 3 times. I don’t know if she couldn’t remember that she just told me, didn’t hear my comments acknowledging her statements, didn’t hear my questions for clarification (which she answered) or what – but after she told me the third time I had to rather firmly tell her that I’d gotten it all and she was just repeating herself – again.
That, more than anything, is what drives me to working on those math problems in my head. Can’t have a conversation because she’s drunk & kinda slurring her speech. She’s too drunk to connect thoughts remember what was said and process the information. She’ll complain that we never go out with other couples, but everytime I ask her out with friends, she “needs to stay home to do her sub calls”. (i.e. stay home, get drunk and obsessively check her work voicemail) Not every night, but 3 of 4 so far this week. Not falling down drunk (like a few years ago), but drunk enough that it’s painfully obvious to me and I psychologically disconnect. Hence the math games – what would my budget be? Can I swing the house alone? Would I have to find a roomie? Do I just let her buy me out & leave? Sell it and split the equity? (Even though the mortgage payments always came out of my paycheck)
I know what my two best options are, and both of them involve me getting a new address. They both kinda piss me off, so I’m not fed up enough to actually do anything. Yet. But if there is a next time – I will get legally separated before wading into the dating pool. It’s just a mess doing it in the opposite order. Although it worked out well for the guy across the street. Maybe I need to go chat him up this weekend, hmm?
This is too funny to have been made up. The neighboring city to my west (Buffalo) has a very strong Polish community. This article very nicely summarizes a little problem they’re having with our recent run of 70+ degree days. Keep in mind the daily average high temp for March around here is a whopping 45 deg F.
I thought Dyngus had a whole separate meaning.
My headspace of late? Work is keeping me comfortably busy. Maybe a little too busy. Even so, I’m finding myself playing little math games in my head. Easy ones like, what would my monthly budget look like without spousal income? Could I afford the house alone? How terrible would it be to sell the house, split the proceeds and walk away? I know it would cut me off from Cindy’s inheritance – but does that really matter?
Then there’s the social exercises – Would splitting up ruin my relationship with the kids? Would it make it better? What are the odds I would meet up with another compatible soul?
Then I wonder why I’m thinking these things when Cindy is clearly making plans for 10, 12, 15 years out – what to do, where to go when we retire – that kind of stuff.
In my sessions with Annette it always comes down to my reluctance to share how I feel in an immediate sense – both positive and negative trends. For instance – “I really like it when I come home and you haven’t been drinking -makes it easier for me to stay connected with you” or in the negative sense – “It bothers me when I come home and you’re already drunk. I can feel myself disconnect and lose all interest in trying to talk with you”.
Things like that. Just thinking of sharing that makes my mind leap to all that other crap I’ve been spinning my wheels about. Thinking that one of these times, she’ll get tired of me complaining about the same old shit. Of course, if she gets tired of me complaining about it, shouldn’t I be tired of it too? Where’s the line? When does one cross it?
Any how. On a hotter note (even hotter than our recent weather), I had occasion to visit a Quaker Steak & Lube for lunch today. It was “All you can eat boneless wings for $10″. I’d heard about them asking you to sign a waiver if you wanted to try their hottest sauces, and the guys in the office were practically daring me to try them. So off we went.
First batch? I had the “Atomnics” which come in at 150,000 on the Scoville scale, which puts them on th elow end of the Habanero range (think Scotch Bonnet or White Habanero).
After downing 6 of those, I switched over to a half dozen “Arizona Ranch” wings as sort of a palate cleanser. The waitress came by and asked if I wanted to try the “Triple Atomic” (500,000 Scoville units) too. I asked her if she had tried them and much to my surprise she had! Then I asked her if that constituted her daring me to try them. Well, of course it did and of course, I asked for a batch.
They were AWESOME! The guy sitting next to me was sweating just thinking about me eating them. Me? Got through the whole batch without so much as breaking a sweat. Hot? Oh yeah. Unbearable? Not even close.
Our waitress (cute little thing – but she’s probably younger than my own kids) was impressed enough that she mentioned in passing that the record was 30 Triple Atomics in one sitting. I’m sitting here this afternoon, trying desperately to finish up this gargantuan 165 page report, thinking that 30 Triple wings is an attainable goal. I’m more worried about the “30″ than I am the Triple Atomic. The first 6 didn’t even make me sweat (but I now have sparkly clean sinuses!!), but the sheer mass of the 30 wings might be a tougher test.
I’ll keep you posted. I think it’s do-able.
TUV interview went well – I was just chatting with their national recruiter. She’s only been with them for 6 months, so it was pretty easy to sound like I knew a bunch of stuff about safety specs. Next interview (hopefully Thursday of Friday) will be with their Northeast Region Tech specialist (or some such title – at least I know his name). He’s the guy I need to impress. If that interview goes well, he’ll come out here (he’s in Foxboro, Mass – I’m in Rottenchester) and we’ll do a face to face.
Wonder if I can use any of the guys in the local office as references? If it gets that far I’ll have to ask. It certainly couldn’t hurt – I’ve known one of them for 10+ years and have worked with 2 or 3 others in the past.
For the uninitiated, TUV is actually TUV Rheinland of North America. It’s a German outfit that performs safety testing if new products. The job is for the local office which is about 4 miles from my house and literally across the road from the YMCA I go to. Talking to the recruiter, it sounded like they weren’t getting many applications from local folks. Just have to wait & see. The best news is that the salary range for this job will keep my in the life style to which I have become accustomed. It’s literally within a couple thousand a year of what I’m getting today.
The job could be fun. We get paid to blow shit up. Well, on the good days. On the so-so days, we get paid to investigate a products safety, stress it a little bit and offer feedback to the client on how to make their product safer for the end user. Not all bad. No relocation, no pay cut, I already know some of the guys in the office AND they have free coffee in the office!! That fancy (but not always so great) Keurig single cup stuff. (Jitters is right across the road too – next to the Y)
Golf last night was decent. I didn’t shoot great, but I must have displaced a really horrible score from my handicap calculations. Team wise we’re doing really well. June 30th we were in 11th place (out of 12) with a combined handicap of 33. After last night we’re in 6th place with a combined handicap of 24 (that’s MUCH better) 182.5 points (in 15 weeks), and only 4 points out of 2nd. First place is out of reach I think. Plus, we’re in a playoff format that has us playing the middle 4 teams for the next couple of weeks – kind of hard to move up that way.
In news relating to the reasons why I started this blog thing, I am steadily approaching 7 years free of smoking. When that day comes, I’ll have a nice summary of stats. The numbers are a little mind boggling.
In other news related to the origins of this blog thingy – I am watching a slow but steady increase in someone’s recreational drinking. This past weekend at the family reunion I think she had a of two glasses of wine – performing well in public. At home? Not so much.
Last week during golf I got a text about picking up bray’s on my way home. Since we had mentioned bratwurst for dinner earlier in the week, I assumed “bray’s” was a typo for “brat’s”. I stopped at the grocery store and got brats & rolls on my way home. Oops. Turn out “bray’s” was a worserer typo for “Arby’s”, so when I rolled in with brats I got the big “WTF?” look. Dinner was still delicious.
Last night, I got another text inquiring as to my dinner desires. That meant Cindy wasn’t fit to cook anything on the stove, if you know what I mean. I suggested Applebees or Arby’s. I got back a correctly spelled “Arby’s”. In jest, I responded that since she spelled it correctly, she’d be rewarded. When she asked what the reward was, I responded “dinner from Arby’s” which didn’t really impress her. So I then suggested a little nooky in the hot tub when I got home. Her response to that was surprisingly positive. So then I was thinking that dinner may be delayed a bit while we spend some quality time in the hot tub before we dive into our Arby’s sammiches.
But. (You knew it was coming right?) A certain someone’s sobriety level, or lack there of, kind of put the salt in the peter and any anticipation that built up was drowned in a puddle of ethanol. Sadly, this is happening more frequently lately. Feeling that I’m in a bit of a precarious position, I’m keeping my mouth shut until the job situation is resolved. Once I have those feet firmly on the ground again, I’ll offer my opinion on the drinking situation again and re-establish some boundaries. Ought to be a blast.
Yeah, I know. Long time no see. Work and home projects are kicking my ass. Making progress on most fronts. Here’s a meme I saw & stole:
1. The smallest bone in the human body is about the size of a grain of rice. What is it?
For reals, it’s a bone in the ear, but I can not recall it’s actual name. I’d google it, but that ain’t the point here now, is it?
There’s a joke to be made here about boners of wives/girlfriends ex-lovers but far be it from me to stoop to such a crass level.
2. How fast is a sneeze?
Never as fast as you want. Don’t some of them take forever to actually happen? Others just do the stealth blitz attack and you’re wiping ‘fluids’ off your desk before you even knew what hit you.
3. What percentage of the human body is water?
Before Happy hour, isn’t it about 75% ? Thursday night, Cindy was 74% water, 1% alcohol, 25% drunker than I wanted to deal with. Friday night, well – not one of my better nights.
4. True or False: A human’s thumb is as long as his or her nose.
Might be close. Don’t have a mirror handy and I don’t dare try an internal measurement.
5. What should you do if you are bitten by a snake?
If it’s a garter snake, catch it, skin it, cook it & eat it like a sausage. If it’s a rattler or copperhead there’s only one thing to do. Bend over as far as you can and keep bending over far enough until you can kiss your ass good-bye.
6. It is a fact that humans get an entirely new skeleton every 12 years. What do we get every six years?
Eight years older? Free colonoscopy from the IRS? New skin?
7. Happiness is directly related to the size of your _________________.
Heart. Enough said.
8. If there are 9,000 taste buds on your tongue, how many hairs are on your head right now?
Not enough. There are fewer hairs than there were yesterday. That is a sad thing.
I’m also wondering how hairy Cindy’s tongue was feeling after Thursday night.
9. I believe that the size of the needle is directly related to the mood of the nurse. However, sometimes it’s necessary to get shots. If you could be vaccinated against anything in the world, what would it be?
Hard not to be bitter here, but I think I’d like to be vaccinated against doing anything I might regret later. Coming in a close second would be protection against resentment.
Over-indulged Friday evening, paid for it Saturday. All the women folk of the clan (& extended clan) were over in Syracuse for Eric & Kelly’s wedding shower. Theoretically that left me home alone for the day to work on the bathroom project. I was making fine progress right up until Zach showed up with his dog, Ollie, and his FIL, Greg.
Ollie did the absolute cutest little peeking into the bathroom deal. He’s pretty comfortable in our house, so when Zach arrived he opened the door and turned Ollie loose. I’m thinking Zach sent him upstairs where he must have come into the bedroom. Hearing me putzing around in the bathroom, he had to come over and check things out. All I saw was Ollie poking his nose around the bathroom door with his big puppydog eyes asking the question “You’re happy to see me, right?”
Once I called him he came bounding over practically knocking me over in his exuberance. He is NOT the cute little puppy he was 9 months ago. He’s up to around 60 or 70 pounds of playful, happy, people loving chocolate lab.
Anyhow. Greg brought over some cable I needed, we ran a little bit of wiring and discussed options for further wiring. Greg does house electric jobs on the side so he’s a great resource for where to get materials and strategies for getting the most wiring out of the least materials.
After that initial burst, we all ran out of gas, so we sat out on the back porch and shot the breeze for the rest of the day. I got in a few more shorts bursts of activity, but for the most part, Saturday was a rest day.
Sunday being Fathers Day kinda forced me to make some deals. Zach called earlier in the week asking where we were going to get tee times. Knowing I needed to spend some quality time in the bathroom (not doing THAT!) I took a rain check, planning an outing for the next time Eric was in town too. That should be 3 weeks or so.
With the rain check in place, I spent the day wrapping up the wiring and actually started drywall in the bathroom. Ought to be mudding this weekend, then it’ll be time to start wrapping up the shower. I DO have pictures of the (snails pace) progress and will put together a little album before too long.
I haven’t touched my bike since the Tour de Cure. One of the reasons is that my left quad had been really sore – the result of cramps that crept in the last 10 miles or so. By Friday though the old quad was feeling pretty good – so I gave it a couple of extra days. Plus, my more tender areas have been suffering through some odd tingling sensations not unlike what one feels when an arm or leg falls asleep. I’m sure it was the result of a pinched nerve because now it’s back to normal. It felt pretty odd, but no where near as odd as that time I had an epidural. (Whole ‘nother story, maybe for another day.)
Anyhow. I’m thinking of sneaking out of work in like 5.3 minutes, driving home and riding the old ass buster to the Y and taking in a spin class. It’s Monday, Lori is the instructor and I really can’t stand her music or exercise technique, but I need to ride and the seats on the Y’s spin bikes are the most comfortable things around. I’m willing to suffer through some Lady Gagger some of the other shit Lori plays just to get in a bona fide sweat – unless I can find someone willing to try out some highly aerobic horizontal gymnastics for an hour or so. That ain’t bloody likely.
(Either sense of the word ‘tense’ works)
The story with a little background:
About 4 years ago Cindy’s drinking and our relationship got bad enough that I used my employers assistance program and made an appointment with a therapist. That’s when I started working with Annette. (That’s also when I was hot & heavy with Ms. CL, but that’s another story)
I went to Annette for a while to get some better/different ideas to handle the worsening situation I found myself in. Step 1 was to curtail the relationship with Ms. CL, Then we worked our way up to the point where the boys & I did a little mini-intervention with Cindy. After that we tried some couples counseling. Turns out that Annette’s no nonsense approach alienated Cindy and we stopped after 3 or 4 sessions.
About a year later we got a referral to a new therapist – Janine. We started doing couples work with her, then added some 1/1 time too. For about a year I also saw Annette for 1/1 work along with seeing Janine for 1/1 & couples. I eventually stopped seeing Annette at Cindy’s request. Curious to note that I think any progress we were making ceased once Annette was out of the loop.
Anyhow. With Janine we started at one building. The practice she was with got muscled out of their building & had to move. Followed her to the other side of the village. Janine got tired of the politics & mother hen mentality of the practice she was with, so she struck out on her own. She started a nice little wellness clinic in the village, brought in a massage therapist, nutritionist, got some yoga & pilates classes going – all this in a former manse owned by a church in the village.
Then the church decided they wanted their building back and wouldn’t extend the lease Janine had signed. Rather than find a new building for her practice (#4 in about 3 years) Janine took the opportunity to explore and start a new practice – in Virginia. We had about 6 weeks warning before the end of the practice in the village.
Or so we thought. Last week we had a couples session scheduled – probably our last. I had already gotten a couple of referrals from Janine because I was sure we were no where near done with counseling or working on our relationship. At our “last” session I was going to share that opinion with Cindy and Janine and try and get Cindy’s buy in to pick things up with a new therapist.
Turns out that last Tuesday was the last day of May. The church wanted Janine and her business out by the end of the month. We found that out when we showed up for our regularly scheduled appointment and the building was empty & locked. Just like that, we’re done with counseling.
Cindy thinks we’re fine with no more counseling. Know why? No one is bitching at her about her drinking. She’s stopped going to AA. If I’m not home (like I’m out bike riding or at golf) she’ll pound the mixed drinks, but when I am home she feels comfortable enough to drink beer.
So. I still have my referral for another counselor. I always have the option of going back to see Annette for my own damn self. There is a whole spectrum of possible outcomes and I won’t be spinning my wheels wondering which one will come true. All I can do is make the next right move and keep moving forward.
And we’re getting the hot flashes & night sweats!
One of the down sides to living in the Northeast, besides the endless snowfall all winter long, is the fact that so few of us have air conditioning. Normally we’d only need it for a day or two in May, June – August, and the odd day or two in September. Barely a quarter of the year! Man of us eschew the central (or even window) AC.
But much like a southerner complaining about an inch or two of snow shutting everything down until it melts, I’m gonna bitch about the temps here edging close to 90 in May. WTF!?!?! Just 6 days ago I was glad I didn’t wear shorts golfing because it was barely into the 60’s. Sunday morning I was golfing with the boys and we were melting fro the heat & humidity by 11am! Granted, the course was a swamp thanks to all the rain we’ve had in April & May (lost a ball in the fairway because it plugged itself into the ground and I couldn’t locate the tunnel!) but geeze – upper 50’s on Wednesday then lwer 90’s on Sunday? Not fair.
But. Yesterday I paid my dues. I spent an hour in my attic crawlspace running a cable from a wall switch to an electric box I was installing right over our bed. Had to cut the hole in the ceiling, measure & cut the support beam and install said beam all in the comfort of the crawl space. Mind you, it’s a belly crawl, not a ‘on your hands & knees crawl’. And there’s no floor – only the ceiling joists and insulation. I took some small hunks of plywood up with me that I could kind of ‘ski’ on just so I didn’t end up crashing through the ceiling. The worst part was the temperature. Had to be 120 up there. Sweat was dripping off me so fast it looked like I had a hose installed on my head supplying the fountain of sweat that was sprouting from my eyebrows, nose, hair and anything else that would support a drip.
Then I got to come down into the 80-something degree not-yet finished bathroom and think it was cool. Of course, as I started mounting the ceiling fan to the newly installed electric box, I discovered that in my haste to get out of the oven I installed the box support a wee bit tilted. More tilted than I could correct for with the fan mounts. So? Up I went for round 2. At least I had the fan mounting bracket screwed onto the electric box to act as a guide. The re-install went fine. Still hot as a mofo, but at least this was a quick trip.
The upside to this whole mess? I gave up a day of working on the bathroom to get a ceiling fan installed in our bedroom. So even with no AC and the house heated up into the 80’s yesterday, sleeping last night was nearly blissful. If it weren’t for the little fiberglass shards from the insulation making my forearms itch like nobody’s business it would have been pure heaven.
So. Bathroom progress. All the supply plumbing is done & pressure tested. All the drain plumbing is done. Now I get to build the third wall of the shower stall and get ranking on the wiring for the new ceiling lights. Since it’s wiring & wall building – nah – who am I kidding? I’m not going to do a thing on it during the week. It’ll have to wait for the weekend like everything else.
Oh – that story about Cindy’s day off. Here goes.
Many years ago, one fine weekend afternoon Cindy was headed from the garage into the house. There are three steps to negotiate. Well, in her typically drunken state at the time, she had a little trouble navigating step #1, tripped and but managed to get her left leg under her and catch herself. In the process she managed to do some damage to her knee. ACL, MCL, one of them. A month or so after the incident she had her knee looked at, doc said it was a minor tear, not really bad enough to force an operation to repair, it would be Cindy’s choice. She chose to let it heal on its own.
Fast forward a couple years. Summer time. Cindy’s left leg (calk mostly) swells up for no apparent reason. We get her in to the doc, she says “get thee to the ultrasound clinic now and have the call me with the results”. So we went to the clinic. On the way I stopped by the surgical supply store and got her a pair of crutches. At the ultrasound clinic we earned that Cindy had blood clots behind her left knee and they were gumming up the circulation causing the knee swelling. That got her an invite to the hospital for some intensive heparin therapy to try and dissolve the clot. She was in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and missed a family reunion (on her side, that we were a part of planning). She got out of the hospital and was put on a prescription of injection type blood thinners for a week (another place to use my Army training!!), then went on tablet form of Coumadin.
Know what you’re not supposed to do while taking Coumadin? Drink alcohol. It messes with how the Coumadin works. The poor doctor was going nuts trying to find a dosage level that would keep Cindy’s blood thin enough to avoid clotting but no so thin as to be a danger for minor nicks & scrapes. We had the same GP at the time and that’s when I confessed to the Do that I was in Al Anon because of Cindy’s drinking and that that same drinking is what was causing her to have so much trouble dialing in the Coumadin levels.
That was about 5 years ago. Fast forward to last week. Cindy has this little teeny mole in her armpit. Had it for years, never caused any trouble. Thursday morning, while shaving her armpit, she took a hunk out of the mole. A nice, blood vessel rich mole. It bled like a stuck pig. She didn’t even know it until she noticed the shower water was kind of pink. She managed to get the bleeding to stop after 10 – 15 minutes with direct pressure and went on with her day.
Until she got to work. Some how, Some way and for some reason, she looked at her underarm. Apparently there was a HUGE bruise that spread from halfway down to her elbow up through her armpit and down her rib cage a ways. It freaked her right out, so she went home and sprawled out on the couch. It was about 4:45 when she called me and bailed out of spin class. That’s when I called the audible and went for that bike ride instead, because by the time I got home that bruise was gone. Not even a hint of it remained. I saw nothing to fret about. So I went for a ride.
I got my wheel back from the bike shop too. They replaced the busted spoke, re-trued my rim & cleaned the gear cassette. Now I can’t ride again till Thursday. Thinking of riding in to work but taking the really, really long way home, try to make a 50 miler of it. Probably head out west along the lakeshore for 20 miles or so then cut back south and head for home. Need to figure out the logistics of clothes as I don’t want to tackle that long of a ride wearing a backpack with the days laundry in it. Maybe bring in 2 sets of clothes Thursday and bike everything home Friday. Hmmmm – that’s got potential.
Wish something would shake loose in the job search. Put out 15 resume in the last 3 days and haven’t heard word one from any of the respective HR departments. I plan on doing 5 a day from here on out. Might have to get all CSI on them and track down phone numbers to call too. I understand that the HR departments are busy, but the lack of feedback is unsettling.
My chief complaint is really that my soon to be non-job has me so busy that I have no time to conduct any real job search business during the day. If I was so freakin unnecessary, how do I get to be so busy?
Cindy got herself all self medicated Sunday afternoon/evening. Yesterday she was sulky all day because I really, really cut back on how I interact with her when she’s been drinking. I’ve told this to her face (when she’s sober), I behave consistently when it happens, so she KNOWS that if she drinks I withdraw.
Nevertheless, she drinks, I withdraw, next day she’s all pouty like I did something wrong and she’s punishing me.
There’s a topic for discussion – without a therapist in the room. Hmmm, what am I doing tonight (besides finishing this report I really need to get back to . . .)
I’m a day late and several dollars short, but I have to get this week Microfiction Muse in. Heck, Diane is even using one of my pictures! So, without further ado, I give you:
“Kid, we gotta get out of here. You see that wall of water coming down the river? Grab your dog and let’s go!”
It helps knowing that picture was taken on either Royal St. or Bourbon St. in the French Quarter of New Orleans. We’re trying to plan a trip back down there this October with one of my brothers, but it depend heavily on how things go down there with the current flooding situation and with how my whole job situation turns out.
Speaking of the job situation, I had a phone interview again last week. It turned out to be more of a coaching session with a recruiter looking to fill a position in a town 35-ish miles east of here. The position is for a job very similar to what I am doing now, just with different end products. The potential salary should be no worse than a lateral transfer and might include a little bump that would offset the additional commute costs. The 35 mile trip eliminates the possibility of biking to work though and it would also screw with bowling and golf. While those are priorities, I’d have to bite the bullet and make some changes.
I also applied for a biomed position at a hospital 4 miles east of where I work now. Don’t know the salary for that one, but I might be willing to take a little hit in pay to stay local. That application went in yesterday and I haven’t heard any feedback yet. Soon, I hope.
Lets see – biked to work Monday & got in a spin class. Biked in today and plan to do a spin class again tonight. If I count spin class as 20 miles, that’ll give me 2 40 mile days this week, plus what ever I can sneak in Saturday morning. Judging by the weather forecast, it might be spin class only. Maybe I’ll take Friday off again, bike in the morning and work on the bathroom in the afternoon. Hmmmm, I’m suddenly feeling a little sickly . . . .
I got a bit of an unsettling revelation last night, and it’s something I’ve suspected for a while. Cindy is hoping that I find a job in another city and we are forced to move. Seems that she’s looking at the potential move as a chance to start over in a place where we (she) has no history. Personally, it seems to me that she’s hoping to apply a geographic solution to a problem that is more internal in nature. A geographic solution won’t work if you take your problems, faults and/or issues with you. I don’t think moving for the sake of moving will solve anything. As a matter of fact, I think it will only serve to isolate us and force us to deal with the issues between us. Or not. Time will tell.
Oh, the simple things in life can leave quite a hole when we don’t have them.
All day Monday I made do without my glasses. I looked (almost) EVERYWHERE, twice, Monday morning trying to find them. After making myself 20 minutes late for work (what are they going to do, fire me? Oh wait, they did!) I decided to suck it up and deal with it.
Day time driving is fine. I have a little trouble reading street signs, but after al these years, I know the way to work. True, we’ve only been in this particular building for 7 or 8 years, but we used to have an apartment on the side street at the traffic light the next block up the street from where I turn off for work. That was nearly 30 years ago, but they don’t shift the roads around too much in these parts.
Anyhow. I can drive. I can keep my computer screen at a good focal distance. If I have to read something, I probably have a soft copy available (data sheets for *&%* USB hubs, CB reports, etc.) I have trouble reading fine print hard copy and working with circuit boards. Check this out (Letting my inner geek out):
This is one of my boards. That’s the end of a Bic pen in there for reference. The hole in the end of the pen? One eigth of an inch. 0.125 inches. That part that’s circled? It’s an 0603 sized part. 1/16 of an inch long and I might have to get a test lead on a contact on either end – without contacting a neighboring part. Oh – and the camera focus? That’s slightly better than I can see at a reasonable distance.
For a better perspective, I’ll give the board the finger:
But I DO have a nice 10x lens to use for personal zooming in. It only costs me the use of a hand to see. But with those parts? I need it glasses or not.
Oh yeah – what was my point? Glasses. Didn’t have them yesterday. Had myself convinced that Cindy picked them up in the morning, so I soldiered on without them. Got home last night after spin (another subject in and of itself) and went through the whole (almost) house again and still found nothing. Its amazing how what you’re looking for doesn’t magically appear someplace after the third or fourth time you’ve looked there.
Cindy got back from her meeting. No glasses. I even asked nice, blaming myself first. Still, no luck. Tried reading a book I’ve been working on (“Against All Things Ending” book 3 in “The Third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever”, overall book 9 of the 10 book series) (sorry, you have to read the first 8 to make ANY sense of the ninth, but I do recommend the series if you like Lord of the Ring style fantasy). Without my glasses or longer arms, I only got through 3 or 4 pages before the struggle got annoying.
Miraculously, around 11pm I had an inspiration. Sunday afternoon I got on the desktop PC downstairs so I could print out some stuff. I ALWAYS take off my glasses when working at the PC (like now even). Checked the basement and sure enough, there were my glasses, sitting right on the desk next to the monitor. At least I can see today.
Spin last night. Lori’s class. Horrible music (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, a whole bunch of other shit I don’t even know) with a couple tunes thrown in for the over 45 white crowd (75% of the class). But thi particular CD had an abomination of a Janis Joplin tune ( Piece of My Heart – remixed for an aerobics class. Just a travesty!) and some old Kinks tune that might have been the best thing on the CD. And then there’s Lori’s whole teaching method. She cheats. She has no idea what really loading up the resistance is. Make me wonder if she’s ever ridden a bike outside up a real hill. The rate she pedals when she’s telling us to increase our resistance to simulate a “large hill”? No freaking way anybody pedals up hill like that. She also has some sort of fear of sitting in the saddle.
I go only for the workout. I listen to the horrible music, set the resistance where I like and ad lib where I need to. Standing sprint? Nope. I’ll sit & sprint. Back & forth, back & forth between hi & lo resistance 4 times a song? Nope. I’ll crank it up & leave it there.
Last night was tough though. For all the folks doing the Y-athalon we simulated the biking portion of the event. 15 solid minutes of seated grinding at a moderately high resistance about 15 minutes into the class. That worked up a good solid sweat and was more like real live outdoor riding than anything Lori has done in class. With a whole lot of climbing type riding afterwards, my glutes were feeling it Tuesday. I should probably do a better job of stretching them afterwards. Getting old is not for the weak.
It’s late Tuesday night now. Cindy’s streak of being into her cups when I get home from my Al Anon meeting is intact. It’s scary how reliably she takes advantage of a couple hours of “her” time. It’s a classic example of alcoholism. But she has it “under control”. Right. I have only one course of action. Every time she wants to have any interaction and I’m aware that she’s been drinking, I MUST reply with something like “I would rather not do that with someone that’s been drinking”. If I keep up with stating my decision & reason, maybe it’ll get through. It’s all I have – my decision to associate with people of my choosing – in this case, the sober ones. If Cindy can’t get herself in that large, non-exclusive group, it’s her loss.
Someone remind me of that Saturday afternoon, mmkay? Odds are I’ll spend the day working on the bathroom project. By 6 I’ll be ready to knock off for the day, but she’ll be 3 hours or more into her medication. Maybe I should just lose my cool and go off on her. Hmmmm.
Please excuse the gruesome title. I’m only referring to a brief description of the Pittsburgh job interview after-party.
I thought the interview went well. I had prepared a few notes for myself on things to avoid (sarcasm, one-liners, filers like ‘uh’, ‘ah’, ‘umm’), questions I wanted to ask and answers to questions I thought the interviewer might ask. I am happy to say I was surprised by nothing, thught I built up a good rapport with the interviewer (but that may be in HIS skill set too).
The job is to repair and maintain radiation oncology equipment at 19 different sites in and around Pittsburgh (henceforth and forever more known as Pbrg). Initially the job would start out on day shift while the newbie goes through OJT and formal training in the manufacturer’s class room. (A week in Vegas to learn all about Varian detectors!! I just have to avoid showing up on an episode of CSI!! Training on FUJI generators? A week in California? Such a shame!)
One good thing was that UPMC realizes that they’d have to train anyone they hired – this is a VERY specialized job. The better part is that I already have a pretty thorough understanding of a lot of the equipment. I don’t know it to the point where I could repair it, yet, but I have a leg up on much of the competition.
The interviewer left me with the impression that I was a strong contender to be invited down to Pbrg for a secondary interview and some site visits.
The job title is Radiology Engineer, but the minimum education requirements were only an AAS degree. It just so happens that my AAS is in Biomedical Engineering and I have 20+ years experience with X-ray film processors (Lotsa A/C power to deal with) medical laser printers and film-less scanners & detectors. While UPMC does not use much, if any, gear from my present employer (I silently did NOT shed a tear over that) I’m hoping that my background is extensive enough to sway the decision my way.
And? They offer relocation assistance. Even if they just paid for the movers, that would be a huge help.
I’m a little regretful that this Pbrg job was the first to show any real potential. I kind of wish that some spots here in Rottenchester would have popped up first so I’d at least have a basis for comparison. Because frankly? Besides being extremely excited by the possibility of starting a new career in a new city, I’m also scared shitless. I know NOBODY in Pbrg. Well, except the interviewer and good ol’ Mom-on-Roof (who is over due for a “WTF you doing girl?” email) and she’s not even “in” Pbrg.
That’s all the awfulizing (tm – Roxie) I’m going to do on that subject. Interview went well, prospects look good, moving is a scary thought.
What didn’t go well yesterday? Rode the ol’ bike in to work. Felt slow & sluggish. Rode to the 5:15 spin class at the Y. Took a new route that carved nearly a half mile off the ride and it use much more scenic roads. Spin class went well enough. Ended up sitting next to a guy that, well, we’re sort of nodding acquaintances, having seen each other in spin many times. It was good to sit next to a guy that was at a similar fitness level. We seemed to be fairly well matched and managed to push each other a bit. I think. Maybe he was just being nice and let me think I could keep up with him. Then there was the ride home. Funny how you never notice a tail wind but you’re ALWAYS aware of a head wind.
The last thing in the not going well department would be Cindy’s condition during and after the interview. She kept quiet and out of the way during the interview itself, (in the hot tub), but had been drinking before, during and after. She was asking questions, trying to ascertain how the interview went. Unfortunately, she was (more than) drunk enough that she really only asked the same 3 questions over and over, maybe hoping that I’d change my answer. When I started responding “asked & answered, next question” she finally gave up.
After getting in 20+ miles of biking and another hour of spinning, my legs are appropriately whipped today. What’s on tap for tomorrow? My niece is moving in to her new-to-her house. We have to be at her place outside of Buffalo at 9am for the moving festivities. There’s a 90% chance of an all day soaker in the rain category. I can’t wait. I need to find all the clean tarps & plastic sheeting I can tonight.
Oh – “we” would be the moving crew. It includes her dad (lefty) and both NY based uncles (basically our bowling team), our spouses and hopefully what ever young, strong beefy male friends Lizzie can dig up. This is the ONE TIME I hope she has tons of male friends. Any other time, I might have to kick their collective asses.
Time to go rest up!
Day 2425 The Best Planned Lays . . .
But first, Micro-fiction Muse #2, hosted & carried on by Diane (Trouble maker!!)
No body treated his friends that way and got away with it. There was hell to be paid and the scum that hurt her was about to settle up.
Now go read this guys REAL story here. I’ll wait.
Amazing story, wasn’t it? What? You didn’t go read it? Do it. Now. It’s brief. Go. I’ll wait.
Now. Abut that title. That’s “best laid plans” you say? Ever hear of the Reverend Spooner? He was an actual preacher that had the unfortunate habit of randomly swapping the first syllables of words. Perhaps it was an early undiagnosed form of dyslexia. Anyhow, these little mixed up phrases came to be called “Spoonerisms. So you see, the ‘planned lays’ and ‘laid plans’ swap is an old literary tool used since at least the 1800’s. Even Grandpa on the old Hee Haw show used to use them. (Boy, is that dating me or what? Call BR-549)
I had planned to ride my bike in to work today (Wednesday). Yesterday morning those plans got changed. I need to be in beautiful downtown Rochester this afternoon at 4pm to wrap up the paperwork for Bob’s estate. A whole year & 2 months after he passed away, we finally get his estate settled. I dragged my feet on some of it, the lawyers were tied up on other matters for some of it, but it all gets wrapped up this week.
And? Considering my pending job status, the question of whether or not I should take my commission has been answered. After taxes, this commission will buy me several things. A few months buffer on unemployment, moving expenses, or a new roof if I land a job here in town and we end up not moving. And that’s just my commission.
I have to admit, the prospect of moving anywhere, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas – where ever – is both exciting and dreadful. What upsets me most is the thought of having to give up the house & property I’ve put so much of myself into the past 18 years. It really makes me wonder about why we put so much time & effort and money into changing a place, knowing that it’s all temporary. Is it really that important?
Gotta get back on track here. So. Riding plans derailed by a lawyer’s appointment. Missing out on the riding sucks. Missing out on riding in the rain sucks a whole lot less. While I would have been pedaling this morning it poured. 48 degrees and pouring down rain is NOT conducive to good health for the rider or his bike. So I ought to thank the lawyer for talking me in off my bike today. But tomorrow? Fair game baby – time to ride.
I’m trying to get that phone interview for the Pittsburgh job set up for tonight or tomorrow night. Still haven’t heard back from the interviewer yet. I hesitate to call him lest he try to start the interview on the spot. I could wriggle out of it, but how would that look? I can easily see that EVERYTHING is a test in this situation. Hmmm. Maybe I SHOULD call anyhow? Tonight, after work, but before my declared ‘free time’. When I’m on the road maybe – I can even call legally by New York standards and show how well I wedge things into my schedule.
I need to steer my 1 on 1 sessions with Janine in a different direction. We’ve been focused on the job search lately. That’s been a worthwhile endeavor, but it isn’t servicing our primary aim – fixing the relationship. That is becoming increasingly complicated. There are at least 3 possible outcomes and an unlimited number of paths with which to get to these places. I’ve made the conscious decision to only act on what I know right now. There are soooo many ‘what if’s’ hanging out there that I could awfulize on them forever. But I am choosing to behave according to what I know to be true. I AM keeping an eye toward the future and what may be, but I’m not going to stop doing something now ‘in case we have to move’ 6 months from now. That will lead to paralysis.
How is it I can’t stay on track today? Need to steer counseling sessions back to relationship repair. Case in point – last nights continuation of the Tuesday night drunk. It’s up to 5 or 6 weeks running now. We do counseling Tuesday night. Cindy is done at 6 regardless and heads home. Depending on if we are in a doubles or singles session, at 6 I am either just arriving for my 1 on 1, or I might be leaving after a double, but in either case I have Al Anon in the next town over at 8pm. I look at that as my one night to have Chinese for dinner, so I go and enjoy myself.
Oops – gotta go run off to the lawyers and get this estate settled.
There was a meme that ran a while back called Microfiction Monday. The originator of the meme has apparently been beamed out of cyberspace. <a href=http://dianeestrella.com/> Diane</a> is one of three people to pick it up and run with it. Here’s my swing at her first prompt:
The picture worth 1000 words, but limited to 140 characters:
My piece of micro (or pico) fiction:
Angie bought a new hat to wear for the races at Upson Downs. She hopes the Queen approves.
Yeah. Femto-fiction. (that’s 0.00000000000001) Only because I like the alliteration. Isn’t the gal in the picture just striking? That looked to me like a hat Queen Elizabeth might wear.
Know what kills me? Well, ok – it annoys the beejeebers out of me, but kills my laptop. There I was, sitting at work. I have a Linear Technology circuit simulator running some sims on an annoying little bug in one of my boards that may soon become a ‘feature’. I also have a corporate mail client/database/document archive up (Lotus Notes. Anyone else hate it?) I have a web browser up, kinda surfing some of the returns I’m getting back on job posting searhes. Probably have an instance of Word up, a calculator window (scientific mode please) and quite possible a file compare tool for one of my little tangent side jobs.
The simulator, which has been running fine most of the morning, apparently hits a little teensy snag and sends both processors into over drive. I can hear the laptops cooling fans come on. The calculations ease up, the fans turns off and disaster is averted. That time. Two more trips through simulation hell and my laptop shuts down. No warning, no nothing, just a black screen. Simulator worked so hard the laptop had a melt down.
I rebooted and dove right back in. Flipping simulator ran just fine.
Tempus fugit. It’s later now.
Had counseling tonight. Can’t seem to bust through this plateau. My own part in it is fostering poor communication. Rather than address it this weekend, we made it worse. Of course, one of the things contributing to making it worse is my unwillingness to initiate or continue a conversation with a person that is showing signs of having too much to drink three or more nights a week. Three of the other 4 nights she’s at an AA meeting. The dichotomy is confusing. Don’t want to end it, don’t want to keep living this way. Something’s gotta give.
I am frazzled. I have more going on in my head, but this is what’s at the surface today:
Eric & Kel are here for the weekend and we have all the kiddos coming over for diner tonight. Can’t decide if I should make Jambalaya or Chicken Chipotle Chowder. Cindy is a greeter at her Friday evening AA meetings (for the month I think) so she’ll be tied up there till 9pm-ish.
Also have a little flap to smooth over about wedding invites, number of people being invited and where to draw the line. It all stems from poor communication, compounded by some poor judgment made by a certain individual after a cocktail or three. Trying to convince her that Facebook is NOT the place to address the extended family and inform the they’re not being invited because the kids are having a small wedding. At least THAT happy message was only posted for an hour before we convinced her to pull it down.
This weekend we’ll have all the players in one room and we can try to unruffle some feathers. I intend to open up the subject then pull back and let the two sides hash it out. I am DONE being the mediator.
Jambalaya or Chicken Chipotle Chowder? Decisions, decisions . . .
Maybe 6 months. That’s how long I have to find a new job.
This is such a foreign concept to me. I have been continually employed, in the service (I guess that’s employed, right?) in school or some combination of the three since something like 1972. Well, from ’72 to ’77 I worked at a mom-n-pop grocery store stocking shelves, cleaning windows, running the cash register and loading beer barrels into cars.
But in all my adult life I have never been without a job. The last time I even had to apply for a job was back in 1985 when the division I was with was facing some significant lay offs. I managed to hook up with a different division and I’ve been here (there?) ever since. Matter of fact, May 22 will be my 29th anniversary with the original company, 26th anniversary in this division (which, since 2006 or so is a wholly owned subsidiary of a Canadian conglomerate. Eh?)
I found out Monday. I’ve tweaked a resume, last done in 1998 as I was wrapping up my night school activities and was just fishing around to see what was out there. I’m also on Monster now (who isn’t lately?) and a couple of local sites. Six months. WTF am I going to do?
I was dreading telling Cindy last night. Then the kids (Zach & Jill) called and asked if we were home. I’d just gotten back from the gym, Cindy was at an AA meeting for the first time in weeks. I ‘splained the situation to them, but they wanted to time their arrival for when both of us were home – so we waited till 8:45ish.
I smelled a rat just based on my text conversation with Zach. His excuse was that he wanted to drop off a CD for a program that he’d borrowed. Hmmm. Need both mom & I home to do that? No need – drop it off later – I just wanted to create a back-up for the disc anyhow. But they insisted on stopping by. When I pushed a little more for a reason I got no response.
Know why? That rat I smelled, well it wasn’t exactly a rat. It was more like a zygote. More like good ol’ Jilly won’t be seeing her Aunt Flo for, ohh, say 9 months or so. Now, you’ll all have to keep this hush hush and make sure to not tell any of my real life friends & relatives. (Tough request, eh? How many do YOU know?) The kids want to keep news of the kidlet quiet till the end of the first trimester so they’re doing a limited announcement at this point. So far Jill’s parents, Cindy & I, Eric and maybe Jill’s younger brother are in on the news. Jill doesn’t want to tell her older brother yet because he can’t keep a secret to save his life.
All things considered, I didn’t end up breaking the news of my pending job change to Cindy. No one in their right mind follows up a “we’re pregnant” announcement with a “Oh by the way, I’m out of a job come August” (unless my attitude goes so far south they kick my ass out sooner – which remains a possibility.)
The saddest thing is that it’s my own damn fault. This isn’t a layoff, it’s a rank & file sorting. I am currently the juniorest (new word) engineer in the division. (I was a late bloomer – night school & all) My performance apparently hasn’t been on a par with my peers. New company policy is that the bottom 20% get flushed every year and new blood will be brought in.
I’ll have to break the news to Cindy tonight. Bet that’ll bring her down off her expectant Gramma high in a flash. Only thing I worry about is one thing she threatened one drunken night several years ago. When our division was being sold she said something to the effect of “If you ever lose your job I’m divorcing you”. I only say “to the effect of” because I can’t quite remember it word for word. But I know those 9 words were involved, and they were placed in that order. There are only a few adjectives missing.
So. To say I’m a little anxious about having to share my just fucking super news is a bit of an understatement. As luck would have it, the next time I see Cindy will be in session with Janine in about 4.5 hours. The subject won’t be what Janine & I originally had in mind last week, you can be sure of that.
(Our intended topic? How do we move this relationship off the plateau we’re on? What has to happen to increase intimacy? That was going to segue into the latest slips on the drinking front – separate from vacation. That wasn’t going to be a fun session either,)
Anyone want to trade persona for a week or so?
This is getting ridiculous.
I had a nice little thumb drive that I used all the time. For a couple years anyhow. It was neat in that I could swap out microSD cards. I have an adapter that lets me use the microSD’s in cameras or other standard SD slots. Atually, I have three of the little buggers, but I favored one in particular. Then the mating shell to it cracked, allowed the alignment of the pins to get all kerfluggen and it basically wiped the chip. I still have the chip and every now & then I plug it back in and I can pull off a file or three before it remembers it’s broken.
I broke down and got me a new, one piece thumb drive. 8GB. small, had a little micro lanyard on it. Been using that for the last couple of months. I keep work stuff on it, like this:
I kept journal.diary/blog entries on it, I kept track of my bowling scores and even had a database for my bill payment records. Until yesterday morning.
At home, I noticed it wasn’t on the top of my dresser. Figured I left it in the oscilloscope at work. Got to work and it wasn’t in the scope. Wasn’t in my laptop (had that at home all weekend), wasn’t in my desktop machine, wasn’t in my desk drawers, worktable drawer or on the floor.
Figured I must have left it in my pants when I changed Friday evening. Those pants were washed over the weekend. (No, I didn’t do the laundry – haven’t been properly motivated). I checked the pockets on those pants – negative. I’m even wearing them today. There definitely wasn’t anything in the pockets when I ut them on this morning. I checked the washing machine & dryer too. Nada. I need to go back and check the gasket around the front door.
But! It occurred to me that the most likely resting place for this wayward thumb drive (pinkie drive? it’s tiny!) might be the seam of the cushion in my recliner. It’s entirely possible that it managed to slide out of my pocket while I was basking in the glow of the TV as I took in that Alaska Gold Rush show on the discovery channel Friday night. So I gotta check that tonight when I get home.
Right now I’m sitting in the church where we do our Al Anon meeting. This was the week where our counseling session finishes early and I have a ton of time to kill before the meeting actually starts. So I’ll sit here and type. Already did some work work, but that just seems wrong in a church.
Counseling almost backfired on me tonight. Somehow we got led down the path of being stuck on a plateau, things not changing, some behaviors still the same after all these years. Janine was picking up on what I was saying and tried to coax me into cutting loose with what I already decided to sit on till we get back. I ended up wriggling out of it by turning the conversation back to what we were talking about at our last couples session, but I think Janine still smells a rat. I may text her this week to tune her in.
People starting to show up. Think I’ll post & ditch.
ps – above freezing here yesterday for what seems like the first time since early December. Yay.
In this, Cindy and I agree wholeheartedly. Neither of us buys in to the Valentines Day hype. No chocolates, no flowers, no cards, dinner won’t be anything more than a quick Chicken Piccata (I had to add that to the dictionary? Really?) easily thrown together using pantry staples.
So Valentines Day – Bah Humbug! We refuse to buy overpriced crap just to use it as some measure of how much we love each other. Real love demonstrates itself every day – taking the time to scrape ice off a car, holding doors open, sharing a meal, suffering through yet another made for TV movie on LMN, or hanging on to catch the end of the hockey game. Love can’t be found in a dozen overpriced, medium stemmed roses that are on their last legs the minute you open the box.
Besides, the cabinets are full of vases kept from previous displays of fiscal buffoonery. We’ve agreed that after 30-some years of knowing each other, (We actually started hanging out together in 1975 fer cripes sakes!), Valentines Day tokens were unnecessary. For younger relationships, or YOUR relationship, you just gotta do what ever works for you. Lord knows you don’t need relationship advice from me. Unless you’re looking for a way to torpedo your current situation.
I keep promising to myself that I won’t notice, that I won’t keep track. After all, doing that is really only a futile attempt to control the situation, right? Bah – noticing or being aware of your surroundings isn’t an attempt at control – it’s more like a self preservation tactic.
Lately, I’ve been miserable at not keeping track. It was easier to not notice when the unassisted drinking was happening once a week or less. Lately, that hasn’t been the case. As a matter of fact, these are the dates in the last two weeks when Cindy has gotten to the mush mouth, googly-eyed, waving in the breeze while standing still state – 2/1, 2/5, 2/8, 2/10, 2/11 & 2/13.
2/1 & 2/8 were after a counseling session, while I was at an Al Anon meeting. It’s amazing how much damage can accumulate from 6:30 to 9:30.
2/5 was the Saturday I had the flu. I had one beer & decided that I was too feverish to have another.
2/10 was my last bowling night. I love coming home to find her already drinking/drunk.
2/11 She’d had one of her quart high-balls before I got home. We went out to dinner (a microbrewery no less), each had two beers (one while waiting, one with dinner). Back at home, she downed a couple more. She ‘fell asleep’ on the couch. I let her stay there when I went upstairs to bed.
When she finally came upstairs, she tried to negotiate for room on the bed by elbowing me in the head. After she grabbed her pillows and went stomping off to one of the other rooms, I checked out how much room she had. Not sure what she was complaining about, I was taking up less than half the bed. And yes, I’m a wee bit bigger than she is.
2/13 was last night. She didn’t start up drinking till after Zach & Jill went home. She made up for lost time and was marble eyed before dinner.
What’s that, 6 out of the last 14 days? I’ve had 4 beers in that time.
A week from tomorrow we’re leaving on vacation. We’re going someplace warm to kill off Cindy’s February break week (some vestige of the 70’s energy crisis when schools were shut down for a week to save energy costs during the winter. Now we can’t get rid of the damn thing.) I don’t want to run the risk of ruining vacation by bringing up the miserable control over drinking that Cindy is displaying right now. Instead, I think I’ll wait till after vacation and have a little come to jesus meeting on my own – preferably the day before the first counseling session after vacation. It would be better to really piss her off when we got back, and then let her go running to Janine (the counselor) to vent. Borderline diabolical I say.
Think that’s what’s flavoring my anti-Valentines Day mood lately?
Nah. I’m just a curmudgeon is all.
Boy, that flu stuff can really suck the energy out of a guy. Dragged my butt (and the rest of me) back to spin class Wednessday night for the first time in a week. I was really hoping to just avoid horking my spleen out on the floor once we got going. I was really afraid that my first full, deep breath was going to trigger a coughing fit. As it turns out, it didn’t. But I did notice that the ol’ lung capacity wasn’t quite up to snuff yet. It’ll come, just have to keep beating on them till they shape up.
The instructor did have a really good idea Wednesday night though. Partway through the class we do a heart rate heck. Everybody slows down, we kind of pedal at “park riding speed” and do a pulse count for 10 seconds. There’s a chart on the wall where we can look up our age & determine where we are work out wise – 50% max heart rate, 60%, 85% – what ever. For the record, I’m typically pegged at 80% or more. I just don’t know how to go slow I guess.
Anyhow. Cheri suggested that maybe we could lie a bit and say our 10 second pulse count was our age. Anybody over 30 was more than willing to play along. Problem was we never figured out a way to make it stick.
Couple of week ago, at this same point in class, another instructor (Maria) made the mistake of saying “If you’re over 30 you might want to think about easing up on the resistance a bit.” I sort of blurted out “Hey, I’m over 50! I ought to REALLY cut back, huh?” and the gal on the bike next to me, yet ANOTHER instructor, just taking the class for the work, had a good laugh (and hopefully learned something about good spinning music. Hers is, well, not exactly to my liking. Black Eyed Peas? Yuck. For spin? Yuckerer.) (Tangent much?).
Spending to much time fretting abut Cindy’s drinking, or not drinking, trying to decide if the non-social aspects of it are bad enough to call her on it. Rather than spin my wheels and get no where, I think I’ll just let it be. I’ll know when it’s bad – been there, remember the feel of the place. No fretting involved, just need to react when the threshold is hit.
Speaking of hit – I hit a few pins last night. Well more than a few actually. For the second week in a row, I was the high roller on our team. That’s a first. It’s a bit unfortunate too. The net leg of that “In-League” tournament I’m in is next week – that’s when I need to bowl out of my mind. Last night was a tad early. For the record I ended up with 246, 230, 195 for a 671. In the tournament that would be a +81 – probably enough to make it to the next round. Hope last night was just a warmer upper for next week!
Thinking of doing back to back spin classes tomorrow. The Tour de Cure ride is coming up in June, now isn’t too early to start ramping up the training. Probably ought to toss in some running for cross training too. It’s great for adding base endurance –just what you need for grinding out a 100 mile ride.
Speaking of grind – I’d better get to it.
I need to ensure that people understand that I’m not an innocent little lamb here. There are a couple of long time readers that may be tempted to call BS on parts of that letter because they know more of the whole story. (Nothing I wrote was untrue, but without the back story, it may not have the right flavor) So here’s the Readers Digest version.
Circumstances 6 or 7 years ago were much different, my mother-in-law had just succumbed to cancer and there was just a ton of other stuff going on. Looking back on things, there were signs of problems long before that.
Those signs? Always wanting one more drink before leaving a bar, problems with passing out at home, being inappropriately drunk in public, so many examples of coordination issues – falling down stairs (at restaurants no less than three times), tripping down bleachers in hockey rinks, falling UP the stairs in the garage, falling down the stairs into the basement (again, no less than 3 times). Another thing that became apparent while reflecting on things was an oddball form of control I tried to employ. One method of keeping Cindy from drinking I used was to try and make sure there was less around for her to drink. Pouring the stuff out was too obvious, so I would drink it instead. Genius plan, no?
I made a conscious decision to quit smoking, August 22, 2004, and then about 4 – 5 months after that I made a serious commitment to lose weight. From my post-Army ‘fighting weight’ of about 175 (at a whopping 6 feet tall), over the years I had ballooned up to 265, my blood pressure was borderline high, my cholesterol was beyond borderline high and I was approaching pre-diabetics status.
Built my own diet, joined the Y, started working out like a mad fool. Took a little break late summer/early fall of 2005 after having shed nearly 50 lbs. Cindy had a DVT in her right leg and the ensuing hospital visits & sorta helping her through what she needed derailed my weight loss for a bit.
Got it back on track over winter and by summer of 2006 I was down to a svelte 185, could run a 5K (3.1 mile) road race in about 23 minutes and was preparing for the first of several 100 mile bike rides.
In the process of losing weight, I had to make a choice about where my calories came from. Since I preferred eating to drinking, I severely cut back on my own alcohol consumption. This did two things. First, it saved me several thousand calories a week. Second, it made it apparent to me just how much Cindy was drinking. It seemed that the more weight I lost, the more she drank. It got to the point where she was drinking 5 or 6 nights a week and was usually nodding off on the couch around 8pm. The more she drank, the less we communicated. In efforts to reach out to someone, anyone, she would start drunk dialing her friends and her mothers friends, all to talk about how bad she’d been feeling ever since her mom died. Well, people don’t feel bad about hanging up on a drunk and with caller ID they’ll eventually stop picking up when they see your number calling in. Cindy got isolated and drank herself deeper into her pit of depression.
Here’s where I really fucked up. I met a person. Emails at first, then phone calls, then meeting at a coffee shop. That turned into visits to watch movies that eventually turned into visits to go hide in her bedroom and take out our frustrations on her mattress for a couple hours at a whack.
I had long since joined Al Anon in an effort to understand where I was and what I could do. I’d been in long enough to know the ropes and got myself picked to be a group rep. Group reps attend a big 2 day shindig every fall where 8 hours a day are dedicated to the inner workings of Al Anon. The other 16 hours a day I dedicated to the inner workings of my new playmate that joined me on the trip.
I eventually got busted. Not in flagrante delicto, but I’m sure enough signs & symptoms were there. That led to Cindy & I seeing a marriage counselor and starting to work things out. We had to establish conditions under which we’d each be willing to work towards reconciling things. The biggies were that I would terminate my affair and Cindy would get help & quit drinking. After that, we’d have to re-learn how to communicate again.
The first counselor didn’t pan out, (too ‘in your face” for Cindy – called her on her crap and wouldn’t budge) so we switched to the counselor we’re still seeing today. Things are obviously not ALL peaches & cream; there are trust issues on both sides and other character defects that need to be addressed. But we’re working on many of them with the counselor.
So here we are two years or so into the counseling work I’ve broken off all contact with my ‘friend with benefits’. One of my diversions & a means of escaping the problems of the day were gone. The part about Cindy quitting her drinking had somehow been modified into her not drinking to excess or ‘controlling’ her drinking. In case you were wondering, this it totally counter to the teachings of AA. Incase you were wondering, Cindy still attends meetings 3 times a week. I’ve pointed out this dichotomy a couple times in the past. I’ve asked for some clarification, a dedication to one camp or another. It seems that Cindy prefers to hang on to the belief that she is one of the 5% or less of problem drinkers that an somehow retrain themselves to be a successful social drinker. I won’t deny the possibility, but recent events have me believing that she is NOT in the minority and she will eventually slip.
All of that, and more, is what lead to that letter from the “Product of Silence”.
Oh – the day counts at the head of each post? That’s how long since my last smoke. As of 2/7/2011 it’s nearly 6.5 years.
This post inspired by Kristine over at Wait in the Van and is a
This versions prompt is “a letter you never intend send”
Heh. Off the top of my head I could do
two three of them no sweat. Theoretically, one of them I’d never have to send because it’d be to me. Also theoretically, that might be the more interesting letter to post. Maybe I’ll do all three. Or not.
Here goes one of them.
Dear _ _ _ _,
You are fooled by your job. Your job allows you to appear to be grown up and mature. In reality you just tick items off a list, keeping up with the day to day requirements of the institution by which you are employed. You are fortunate there is a cycle to your job, anticipating things is so much simpler when you know what’s coming.
I find you to be emotionally immature. For now, you are placating a therapist and your friends at your meetings. They don’t understand the true nature of your immaturity, your failure to respond to situations in a mature, adult manner. You don’t see it because you think your reactions are perfectly acceptable.
I have trouble confiding in you because of these reactions. I tried testing the waters with a few innocuous observations. Your reactions, as expected, were overboard.
You’ve managed to fool people about your other little problem too – especially the therapist. She almost had ME convinced – but I resisted. Instead, I decided to sit back and wait. I work hard at not noticing every little detail when I get home like I had to do for so long. But it’s a learned habit, one that is harder to unlearn and may yet pay dividends in the future.
In the mean time I sit back and relax, waiting for the hammer to fall, because I am sure that one day you will slip too far and not be able to reel yourself back in. When that happens, you need to know two things:
A – I told you so.
B – This is why I took my commission for the estate settlement.
I will not tolerate another binge and I will not leave the house I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into. I wish you luck at either growing up, getting sober or finding a place to live.
I don’t think Kristine was expecting anything quite so dark. Maybe next time around I can be a little (or a LOT) lighter.
Weird Christmas here this year. Eric was stuck working Christmas Day. Seems the county doesn’t want the inmates running the jail even on Christmas. No presents for them. (Well, if you’re in jail, you’re at least suspected of being bad, right?)
Because of this scheduling (and behavioral) anomaly, our family physically relocated Christmas to Thursday, Dec. 30. Technically, there are still 3 shopping days left till Christmas!!
Cindy & I still managed to open ONE present apiece the 25th. Well, ok, 2. Cindy got a briefcase thermos to replace her current piece of crap. I swiped it to go hunting one day last month and was rewarded with ice cold coffee after only 3 hours afield. If I’m going to steal a thermos it’s got to be a good one, so I replaced her dinged & dented old war horse with a new one. Pretty friggin romantic, no?
I also let her open one more present – a towel warmer. Big enough to hold two bath towels. True – I benefit from this too in that I might have a nice warm towel waiting for me on the porch after hopping out of the hot tub. But Cindy could decide to put in a towel and robe for herself and leave me (literally) out in the cold. (In practice – we filled it with a towel for each of us)
Later this week, Cindy will also get a nice new watch, a 4 oz bottle of Opium (the perfume people, not the poppy extract) and a gift certificate for a couple of massages. Other than the watch, she really only wanted to re-do the master bath. That’s a little difficult to wrap and put under the tree. I also feel it’s an inappropriate Christmas gift, hence the massages and perfume (a known favorite).
What did I get? A 6 gallon carboy with a bubbler, hygrometer and bottling rack. I’ll throw in the fermentation bucket as an additional hint.
What I have now is a more serious beer brewing set-up. I tend to favor having a few well crafted beers versus swilling down case after case of inexpensive mass produced flavorless beers. The set up I have now will let me brew about 2 cases of fine, artisan style ales every couple of months. That’s about a 6-pack a week which is more than I currently consume, so there will have to be some gifting going on. I have to admit, I’m also a little leery of getting a gift like that from Cindy. Considering our recent past (say the last 6 – 8 years), I wouldn’t have expected anything alcohol related. I accepted it graciously and enthusiastically (at least I think so), and will move forward with equal parts excitement and caution.
At the very least I can crank out an unending supply of Vanilla Porter so I’ll always have my Friday nite pint for the hot tub. But the first batch to be brewed? Irish Stout. (Think Guinness). Hard to go wrong with that.
Ironically, I learned that a guy I went to high school with (I dated his sister even) passed away last Sunday. He was all of 53 years old. From what I understand, he died from complications of diabetes, brought on by his inability to put down a beer in his younger days. Harsh lesson.
That gets me to thinking about my theme for 2011. It’s simple really and can be summed up in one word:
Moderation in all things; dieting, exercising, work (where I can). I would like to try moderation in an effort to find a balance. I think I will know when I get there. Might even know when I get close. Don’t expect to get there next year, but I’d like to start the journey. For now, that is enough.
Plus, I got a LOVELY head & hest cold over the weekend and I am miserable with a capital grouch right now. I was supposed to work tomorrow, then be off the rest of the week to enjoy the kids, but I just emailed myself in dead for Tuesday and adjusted my time sheet accordingly. Maybe I can rest up enough tomorrow to feel at least partially alive by Wednesday & Thursday. Especially Thursday – since that’s Christmas in these parts. (It’s bowling day too, but that shouldn’t count)
Speaking of bowling, the next round of that “In League” tournament I entered starts Feb. 14. That’s the bowling center finals. The top 6 from each bracket in each center move on to the regionals in March. What ever hot streak I have going right now, I hope to ride it out to at LEAST February. The focus now is to identify what-ever-the-hell-it-is that’s going right and clone it, bottle it, get a friggin picture of it, SOMETHING, but just be able to get it back. The fact that my average is up 12 pins from lat year might be an indication that what-ever-the-hell-it-is has been integrated into my muscle memory. I hope.
I gotta go snort some Afrin or something, my head feels like it weighs either 48 tons of 48 grams – depending on how I tilt it or if I’m moving (wheeeee – free head rush!!)
I clearly need to go lie down.
Had a sluggish bike ride home Wednesday night. Not sure why. Maybe the wind played a part, maybe I need more or better sleep. I also have to wonder what the heck my speedo is doing. Seems like every time I look at it I’m doing 18 – 21 mph. There are a few serious uphill sections where I drop down below 15, and there’s the slow downs & accelerations at stop lights. But I have to wonder how my average gets under 18 when it seems like I spend the vast majority of the time going faster than that.
I’ll figure it out sooner or later.
Shoulda grabbed this on my 6 year anniversary in August. From the Quitnet site
Your Quit Date is: 8/22/2004 7:00:00 PM
Time Smoke-Free: 2229 days, 19 hours, 49 minutes and 36 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 44597
Lifetime Saved: 11 months, 10 days, 16 hours
Money Saved: $9,098.40
That money saved bit is using a cost of $4.08 a pack – which is what butts cost when I quit. Since then, the great state of New York has cranked up the state tax. Now I believe the same brand of smokes costs just over $8 a pack. That money saved is WAY over $9,000. Tell me again why I tolerated ANY grief from Cindy when I bought my new bike. Heck – I should have bought one with a carbon frame. (I should have bought one with a motor & stationary pedals)
So here we are at Friday. It’s been a weird week in relationship land. Not bad, just weird. Tuesday with Janine, Cindy was all “things are going fine, nothing bad to report at all” and we wasted nearly 30 minutes. I finally got tired of her not offering anything useful and brought up her trying to micromanage my time on Sunday. Then things changed a wee bit and everything wasn’t all butterflies & unicorns. That was interesting. She’s willing to do very little actual work on the relationship or herself but say everything is just peachy. But when I start to share how I feel about the real lack of progress in the relationship in spite of the efforts I feel I’m making, she’ll come up with some tripe about how I am falling short of her expectations and she’s just given up trying anymore.
If I had only 5 or 10 years invested in the relationship I’d feel a lot less compunction to stay. But after having invested 30+ years into building a relationship, family & household, I am VERY reluctant to just give it all up.
Maybe I need to make a new list. Not a gratitude list or a to do list, but an inventory. An inventory of what it would really take to allow me to live a satisfying life. Just off the top of my head, this list would have a few categories. Material, spiritual, emotional, interpersonal – something along those lines.
That list might make my ‘to do’ list for this weekend.
Rode in to work this morning. Again, it felt sluggish. I kept looking down to see if my rear tire was going flat. Turns out it was a 10mph north-northwest breeze that was supplying the sluggishness. That made it a head wind for about 5.5 of my 8.2 mile ride. And as luck (or the weather gods) would have it, the winds will be shifting to the west-northwest by drive time this afternoon. That will make for head winds only 2.7ish miles of the ride home, but the breeze will be stiffer. I’ll have to avoid riding with Perry. He’s smaller & (way) faster than I am on the flats. Add in the 300 foot elevation gain and the head winds and I really struggle to keep up with him. Can’t draft him either. He’s small enough that he really doesn’t break up the wind for a guy my size. (I have 7 inches and about 60 pounds on him – he’s like 5’5” and maybe 140. You can do the math for my size)
Office move coming next week. I have 10 tons of crap to clear out. Maybe that will help with the mindset for my new “make me happy list”. What do I need? What do I want? What have I been hanging on to that I haven’t touched in years? (Hmmm – does that include people?)
Time to get busy.
Oh yeah – door replacement this weekend. I’ll photo-document the proceedings
Miles done – 903.
Target – 1,000
Riding time left – End of October?
1. What is your favorite all time movie?
Not fair. Too many to pick from. One of my Top Ten is “Midnight Express”
2. How often do you go over the speed limit?
I tend to view speed limits as a “Suggested Lower Limit”. If I am doing the speed limit or less, it is because I am following someone and can’t get around them or I’m driving in snow. Which ought to make an appearance here any week now . . .
3. What really gives you the creeps?
Peering over the edge of a high precipice.
Walking through dense woods late at night with only a flashlight.
(I think it’s more that these get my adrenalin cranking . . .)
4. What is your favorite snack?
Mid afternoon – Payday candy bar
Evening – peanut butter & honey on rye. With a glass of skim milk.
5. Would you rather be a dog named Killer or a cat named Fluffy?
In my next life? A 3lb Chihuahua named Killer.
Interesting weekend. Did a work golf tournament Friday, scramble format. Always have a lot of fun, usually contend for the top spot in the second flight. (We have 36 foursomes. Flights are just evenly divided top 12, middle 12, bottom 12) Winning the second flight just means we’re on the high side of average hacks really.
This year? Ugh. I personally couldn’t hit anything off the tee. Well, nothing predictable or favorable. Haven’t played enough this year to gain any sort of consistency. Luckily for our group though, I was still hitting my irons pretty well and my putting was good enough to at least show my partners the line if I didn’t sink the putt. Still – I felt I struggled all day.
Saturday consisted of a trip to the gym, a whole lot of lawn mowing, trimming the perennials, played in the pond (the big filter was in dire need of cleaning) and got materials to make frames to mount plastic sheeting over the porch screens. Then the kidlets showed up just as I was getting ready to wash the truck. Finally got to see Kelly’s ring up close & personal. Spent the rest of the day chatting with the kids and talking about their wedding plans. They’ve really made a lot of progress with the plans. Church & reception halls are set, menu is selected. Kelly has even picked out her dress and the main accent color of the wedding party already (cobalt blue!! Me likey!). What’s left? Oh – tons. Invitations, photographer, cake, favors, flowers, rehearsal dinner location . . . trivial little things, right?
Sunday. Eric & I met one of my work buddies (and golfing partner from Friday) at a new to us course. It’s way up in the northwest corner of our county. Took a 45 minute drive to get up close to the lakeshore (Ontario that is). The course is short but challenging. Small greens, tight fairways, short but dense rough, fair penalties for errant shots.
Good thing I didn’t golf like I did Friday. I decided to stick with my old persimmon 3 wood off the tees (not that Burner Bubble) and was consistently hitting the ball 225 – 240 yards and keeping it in play. Shot a 40 on the front, ballooned to a 47 on the back, but overall was pretty pleased with the round. Bonus was that there were remnants of an old orchard on the property and we loaded up on Bartlett pears and Cortland apples. There is nothing like munching an apple 3 seconds after you pick it from the tree. Soooooo good! Good thing too because we forgot to bring any water along to hydrate with. Couple three apples did the trick quite nicely.
The bet thing about this course? It’s so far off the beaten path it isn’t crowded at all. We never had to wait to hit a shot, never had anyone waiting on us. Played 18 holes in 3:40. There are days when that’s normal for 9 holes on some of the more popular courses nearer the city. Makes me wonder why they’re popular.
Cindy appears to be over her ‘mad’ about what I shared feelings wise Tuesday. Unfortunately, she seems to have realized that I never said “you can’t drink again, ever”, but instead only said that “should you drink to excess, my reactions will be these . . .”. While she didn’t get plowed over the weekend, she did partake. Heck, the kids were home. We all enjoy a beer or two while we’re shooting the breeze. Cindy just uses that as her license to drink too. She even stocked up on Ginger Ale to go with the hooch she has left.
I offered that I’d quit drinking too if that would help her battle her own demons. But until she asks, I will maintain my own one or two beers a weekend as a treat while soaking in the hot tub.
Tuesday’s session with Janine will be another fun one, because I think Janine is going to start pounding on Cindy about her drinking. She used to accept the idea that maybe Cindy’s drinking was a period of undisciplined alcohol abuse that was NOT driven by addiction. But after the last year or so and the obvious increases in both frequency & (strength, depth, amount??) of Cindy’s drinking, Janine has come to the opinion that it IS an addiction based abuse and not college freshman style drinking.
Qualifier for the newer readers – Cindy is a very highly functioning person. Rarely misses a day of work, is the more organized of the two of us, has done a great job raising our kids. After her mom passed away her drinking got really out of control. (It was out of control before that, but only 2 days a week, not 5). There were several tumbles down the stairs (full flights, not just a couple steps), too many nights when she passed out rather than fell asleep, embarrassing moments in restaurants when she fell, friends slowly disappearing as her drinking got worse. Heck, her aunts wouldn’t even answer their phones if they saw our number on Caller ID. They knew they were in for a drunk dialing episode.
From the outside looking in it was easy for me to finger booze as the culprit. Because of the diet I was on and my trying to quit smoking (2220 days!!), I decided to eliminate much of my own drinking because of the empty calories and drinking being a trigger for smoking. When I did that that Cindy’s drinking became more apparent to me. It also occurred to me that much of my own prior drinking was sympathetic in nature. One I was able to honestly ask the question “Do I really want this drink?” and answer it “No”, I understood that Cindy had a problem.
The down side to all that? I DID quit smoking. I DID drop 30% of my body weight. I DO drink responsibly. Because of that, I know it’s possible. It all only fuels my frustration with Cindy’s lack of change.
Which brings me to a decision making point. This hasn’t been said out loud yet, so it isn’t fact. But. My boundary is this – if & when Cindy’s drinking is objectionable to me, I will remove myself from her immediate vicinity. If necessary, I will go for a bike ride, a long walk, snow shoeing – what ever – but I will remove myself and give her time to pass out, leave, sober up or realize what she’s done. I will tell her “You’ve crossed the line. I’m heading out for a bit to collect my thoughts. I’ll be back in a while.” If she can accept that, fine. If she can’t accept that, she will need to correct her own behavior, because I am doing nothing wrong. Nothing I do is forcing her to pour booze down her throat. If she can’t accept my boundary and she won’t correct her behavior, she’ll need to be calling the moving company. I will not be leaving the house, but I am not going to waste the remainder of my life tolerating the bad behavior of another person. Realistically, I have 20 – 30 years to go. I’ rather enjoy them, not just get through them.
Wonder what this will do to our trip to Charleston next month?
That leaf picture from last week or so? Has morphed into this: