Friday, March 25, 2011

Ali Baba and the Forty Beers?


The lights go out and I can't be saved,
Tides that I tried to swim against,
Have brought me down upon my knees,
Oh I beg, I beg and plead singing....
("Clocks", Coldplay)

I wish I was as relaxed and unconcerned as Little Baby evidently is above.
Sigh... I'm not going to lie to you. I totally screwed up. And I admit it. You don't need to chastise me because believe me---I've already done it for you.

It happened recently during a couple of days that Blaine and I had had an argument about something stupid. Blaine and I don't fight often but when we do it can get pretty intense. But the problem is that when the fight is over, Blaine goes back to normal as if nothing happened. But I'm not like that. After a fight is over, I get melancholy and sad, a condition which can last for days.

During those times that I'm sad, Blaine tries to cajole me out of it, buying me presents and being extra nice. But I feel traumatized and it takes me a few days to snap out of it. And this particular argument led me to do something quite unhelpful.

Here's how it went down:

The other night, after we had finished with the argument, Blaine had to participate in a conference call for his company. And the call went on for so long that he didn't have time to drink 2 beers he had brought home to drink after work. So he simply left them in the refrigerator and went to bed. Blaine doesn't normally leave beers in the refrigerator but this time he did....

The next day I was still very melancholy and moping around the house feeling sorry for myself. It was Thursday, my long day at the psych center. I was so totally out of sorts that I called in sick. Then I moped around the house some more, knitting here and crocheting there, watching TV but not really listening to it, and continuing to pout as if I were some sort of martyr. Finally, I got hungry and went to the refrigerator to get a couple of Laughing Cow cheese wedges and some grapes for a snack.

And then I saw them...... the two beers.....

A million thoughts went through my brain. And none of them good. I am supposed to be a recovering alcoholic and I should have done what my therapist, Jack, has told me to do a bazillion times when faced with trouble (and alcoholic temptation is DEFINITELY considered "trouble"). I should have put in a request for a "coaching call". Jack or one of my other therapists always return requests for coaching calls to see if they can help you either feel better or avoid negative behaviors---like drinking alcohol.

But did I call for Jack? No I didn't. I could have called the mobile therapist or my case manager. But I didn't call them either. The three of my therapists are always nagging us patients to call them when we get into trouble but instead I just forged ahead in my self-pity and martyrdom.

I didn't call any of them.

I didn't call any of them because I was busy thinking thoughts I shouldn't have been thinking. "Nobody will know", I thought to myself. Because it was the one Friday that my case manager wasn't coming. Nobody was coming. And I didn't have to go anywhere.....

One thought kept sneaking into my head: "You're supposed to be a a recovering alcoholic---clean and sober..." but I ignored it.

And then another thought sneaked into my head. "Blaine was mean to me in that fight we had...."

I'm sure you know what happened next.

I grabbed those two beers and put them by the couch. And I began drinking them while I sat there watching TV. I was hoping the beers would relax me and get me over my melancholy mood.

So I sat there, bundled up in an afghan, sipping the beers. I wasn't getting drunk. My tolerance for alcohol is so high that it would take an entire keg to get me drunk. But I drank them anyway. And I was feeling some sort of vindication about the fight with Blaine. I felt that I "deserved" to drink the beers.

Because, you see, that's why they call the disease of alcoholism "cunning, baffling and powerful". It will get you as soon as you let your guard down. And I had definitely allowed my melancholy mood to let my guard down.

But I didn't feel that way while I was drinking the 2 beers. I was sniffling about the fight and blaming it all on Blaine in my head. Pouting. And pouting is another one of those emotions which can cause an alcoholic to let their guard down. And I'm champion pouter. If pouting were an Olympic sport I would always get the Gold Medal.

And then it happened.

Someone knocked on the door loudly.

What the hell? I thought to myself. And then I went and asked through the door "Who is it?" And to my utter mortification I heard a familiar voice answer me saying: "It's your case manager."

Oh. My. God. A thousand F-words were swirling around in my brain....

Stupidly, I said to the voice on the other side of the door: "Are you sure?" And the same voice answered back "It's not a mistake. It's your case manager, Bo. I was wondering why you called in sick today. Let me in."

I answered: "Dammit, you're not supposed to be here today!"

But he answered back "And yet here I stand, right Bo?"

And you know, for just a moment I thought of running and hiding the beers but who was I kidding? He'd know the minute he walked in from the smell of beer. So, I screwed up some courage.....and I let him in.

He walked in, holding his ever present clipboard, surveyed the situation, gazed at the 2 beers on the floor by the couch---and then turned and looked at me standing there looking like a fool with a baleful look on my face.

"What is going on, Bo?" he asked, eyeballing the two beers on the floor by the couch.

"Um.....I drank two beers," I answered. And then, feeling like "in for a penny, in for a pound", I told him the whole stupid story.

He didn't get mad. But he did sit with me a long time to discuss things I could have done instead of drinking the two stupid beers. The most frightening thing he said was: "You know, Bo, you're lucky you didn't get the inclination to drive down to the corner liquor store to get a big bottle of vodka, which was always your booze of choice."

"It never even occurred to me," I said. And it was true, thank goodness.

Anyway, it ended up that all three of my therapists continued to talk with me about this event in following appointments during the next week and now the incident is in the past and we've moved on. But one thing for sure is that I know that I need to be very wary of my negative moods. They can do damage. And I don't want there to be another alcohol incident.

* * * * * * * * * *

At group that week, Jack asked me what I had learned. And I replied: "It's kind of like what happened in the stories of Aladdin's magic lamp--- I found that if I rubbed a bottle of booze my case manager will magically appear on my doorstep".......



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dream.....


I'm thinking about, when Blaine comes home one day, to be in my sloppiest sweatpants, a stained sweatshirt, hair that looked like I'd been through a hurricane, no makeup, the house a complete mess, the cats meowing loudly for food, 3 cat puke areas (on carpet), the dishes dirty, the kitchen floor un-mopped and the living & dining room un-vacuumed, and his newspapers and Popular Science magazines lying around all over the place.

As his jaw dropped, I would say: "Thought I'd show you what I do all day by not doing it."




Monday, March 14, 2011

A Knitting Conundrum Day....

Woke up to this new snow today. And it seems so odd because we just had about a week of beautiful, spring-ish weather. But for now, this alien snow has cancelled my planned trip to Walmart because I never can de-snow the truck like Blaine does.

But I'm not without things to do on a day when I'm snowed in. For instance, I can look at the back of my uncle's sweater and think "Good-- I got that part down." But now the conundrum is what to do with the front of the pullover. I want to put a decorative, masculine, yet easy, panel up the front. But I've looked at all my cabling books and can't choose what I want. So I just sit here looking at the danged sweater, hoping that something in the knitted cables book choices will speak to me.

One thing about snow days is that I appreciate the fire more. We have an "adjustable" fire in that when the room gets cold, the fire clicks on. And if the room gets warm, the fire clicks off. And today it's pretty much on all day. But that's fine with me because between the weather and the fire, my brain concentrates on my knitting projects more....

Um....except I just took up a crochet project that I told myself I could work on for short breaks when I get tired of knitting the sweater. (But the truth is that I simply wanted to design something out of granny squares.)

Okay, the below granny squares are made from Malabrigo bulky in the colorway called "Brilliante". And I'm going to design a cardigan with them. It will be a spring sweater because of the large holes between the blocks of double crochet. And I'm going to design it with knitted areas as well as crocheted areas. I'll put the progress of both garments on the blog as I go.

Wish me luck!

Anyhoo, I guess I better get started as the hours are rolling by. But first I'm going to make myself some hot tea that Blaine bought for me. It's one of my favorites (next to Constant Comment), Twinings Earl Grey.



Tuesday, March 08, 2011

It May Not Be The Most Effective Grocery Shopping Method, But We're Used To It...

It's a rainy day.....and here I sit in my knitting chair, knitting. And I'm also pondering something else...


Now there's an interesting creature if I've ever seen one. There's a lot of eccentric qualities he has, but I'm only going to talk about the one that drives me the most bonkers.

And that is the fact that he is a champion grocery shopper. If there's ever made an Olympic sport for grocery shopping, he will win the Gold Medal hands down. (And I swear that the next paragraphs are the God's honest truth about how the two of us go about getting most of our groceries--it's Blaine's preferred method, not mine.)

Here's a typical day:

Blaine calls after work, from his cell phone---he's calling from the grocery store: "Bo, do we need anything?"

Me, from my knitting chair: "Let me look...." at which time I search the refrigerator and cabinet. Then I come back: "Yes, we need crackers, onions, 2 bottles of Vlasic Zesty dill pickles, lemons, a bag of frozen shrimp, and a red bell pepper."

We hang up. Of course, he doesn't write down the list.

Next, the phone rings again. It's Blaine. He says something like: " I'm on the pickle aisle. Do you HAVE to have these stupid Vlasic Zesty dill pickles? They are so expensive you wouldn't believe it, especially since you want not one but TWO jars. But there is a huge jar of pickles in another brand than Vlasic, and it is very inexpensive."

Me: "Yuk, I hate those other stupid dill pickles. They're crap. I love my Vlasic Zesty pickles and I go through one jar very quickly. That's why I want two jars of them."

I can hear him sighing into the phone. We hang up.

Sure enough, he calls back a little later. Blaine: "DAMMIT. I was so busy getting some interesting looking salad dressing and some ketchup that I went on for a few more aisles--- and I realized I had forgotten the pickles! Now I have to go all the way back to that aisle to get your damn pickles!" And he hangs up on me.

A little while later, he calls again, from the coffee aisle: "Hey, how low on coffee are we?"

Me: "Low. And the way we go through coffee you'd best get some more."

Blaine: "What do you think about Costa Rican coffee this time?"

Me: "I don't care what kind of coffee we have. Whatever you pick is always good." We hang up.

Then Blaine calls YET AGAIN.

Blaine issues an edict: "I'm taking a stand. Stop making me go back & forth in here!!! From now on, organize the grocery list so that it follows the flow of the grocery store's aisles. For example, put all the produce first, because I go through that section first. Then tell me anything needed on the ketchup, salad dressings, chow chow, and pickles aisle. Then comes the canned goods aisle, like for soups, beans, etc. Then comes the rice/pasta/dried beans aisle. Then I cruise the meat section. Next comes the dairy section and then comes the bread aisle. If, per chance, you want frozen goods they are right after the rice aisle. So-- tell me---you ARE going to do that way of organizing the groceries list in the future, right?"

Me: "You have got to be kidding me." This time I hang up. But he calls back.

Blaine: "No, I'm not kidding! Because while I was in the dairy section you told me about needing lemons!!! Goddang, Bo! Now I have to go all the way back to the damn produce section to get your damn lemons!"

Me: (Not having a good comeback so trying to think up a rather weak one.) "Hey, why can't you write the list down when I first tell you what stuff we need instead of calling me on every aisle? And by the way, you complained about the cost of my Vlasic Zest dill pickles. And yet I know you've probably spent about $14.00 on less than a pound of imported coffee. "

And then we get into a war of who wants the most expensive grocery items. I'm always curious about the thoughts of other shoppers who are hearing him bark into his cell phone things like: "Your stupid red bell pepper is way more expensive than the green ones! And how much have you spent on yarn this month young lady?"

But a little later (after we both tire of the "you spend more than me" game) he redeems himself. I always tell him to hit the magazine aisle to tell me which new knitting magazines are there. (And the magazine aisle is the other side of the pickle aisle so he doesn't mind stopping there.) One time, after he told me of a particular magazine, I said: "OH, I want it!" And then he actually had a second thought and said: "Wait---go look at your magazines---I think I bought this one for you already."

I ran to check---and sure enough, he was telling the truth! He HAD bought me that particular knitting magazine. The fact that he remembers little things like which knitting magazine he bought me causes me to realize that he is surely my knight in shining armor. How can I complain about the little things when he is such a sweetheart? (I call him Sugar Bear, which he puts up with, which is another one of his good qualities.....)

And the rain goes on......and I know that around 3:30 pm he'll call me from the grocery store.....and I need a couple things.....