Monday, January 30, 2012

Experience, Strength, and Hope - Part Deux

Tomorrow night is my 2nd speaking engagement.  Sharing my experience, strength, and hope with a bunch of fellow misfits by telling them how it was, what happened and what I'm like now.

I don't usually get nervous about things like this.  When I was a kid, I was used to preforming in piano recitals and church plays.  When I got older, there were school plays and choral groups and solos and such.  Again, no nerves.  When I was old enough, I earned a living singing in the bars.  My best friend at the time owned a karaoke business and I worked with her and I filled in for a couple of bands when they needed a lead singer.  I loved it.  I was never nervous on stage.  I knew I could sing, I seemed to be able to hold the audience's attention and be entertaining, and I didn't feel I had anything to prove to anyone.

I get nervous when I have to go new places.  Will I get there on time?  Will the map be sufficient?  Why do I listen to my GPS? What if I go to the wrong place and look like an idiot?  What if I ask a question and I sound stupid?  What if the person behind the desk can't conceal their dislike and I want to crawl out of my skin?  What if someone's internal dialogue switch is broken and all the horrible things I'm pretty sure they're thinking about me come spilling out?  What if they figure out that my humor and air of confidence is really a ruse to hide the truth? That's how the mind of this alcoholic works.  I think I can read people's minds...and they're never thinking anything good about me.  In reality, I know that I'm not THAT interesting that people are wasting their time thinking about ME.  Besides, I'm not who THEY think I am, and I'm not who I think I am.  Therefore, we can all spend a lot less time thinking about me.  That will be easier for them THAN me, but we'll all reach the same point eventually, and it won't be about me.

I guess I don't have much of a point other than the fact that while I have more than enough experience to go around, and the strength meter is above 50%, the hope is lacking.  It's not that I feel hopeLESS right now, I just don't feel hopeFUL.  Perhaps if you're reading this, and you have some extra hope laying around, you could send it my way before 6 pm tomorrow night.

Is it something in the water?

Today has been one of those days where I have a puzzled look stuck on my face and am wondering "what the hell?".


Puzzling situation 1:  A man called the store and said, "Hi, this is Brian.  My wife just called.  She's stuck in your car wash.  Bye." Click.  Umm...ok.  I called down to one of the cashiers and had her find the VP to go handle the situation.

Note to car wash users - if there are painted yellow lines on the floor big enough to drive between, please drive BETWEEN them.  If you have your wheels over either one, not only are you REALLY close to the wall, but the automatic car wash will not start up because it knows you are in the wrong spot and it would hit you, therefore causing it to stay right where it is.  Just like on the road, keep it between the lines.

Puzzling situation 2: A woman called the store saying she wrote us a bad check.  I told her that we use a check service that guarantees our checks and therefore she will have to contact them to straighten it out.  She proceeds to tell me she talked to Becky (there's no Becky that works here), and that Becky said if she just brought $13 cash by tomorrow, everything would be taken care of.  I ask the lady if she's sure she's calling the right place because there is no Becky and that our check policy is blah blah blah and if she holds on just a second, I will get her the number for Telecheck.  She proceeds to get pissy with me because she has to PAY for long distance calls (although I've already told her it was a toll-free number), and that she only gets $50/week.  I again politely explain to her that she will have to call Telecheck on their toll-free line because even if she brought me cash, I wouldn't be able to take it or help her in anyway.  After I give her the number she says, "This is dumb." click.

I know the situation is annoying if you're the one IN it, but here's a few hints:
a) don't write bad checks
b) don't lie to the bookkeeper about talking to employees that don't exist
c) said bookkeeper has been hearing stories like this since the late 1990s and has little sympathy for it
d) DON'T WRITE BAD CHECKS and you can avoid the whole situation.


Oh yeah...in case you are still in a lurch wondering what happened to the lady stranded in the car wash, the VP reset it, had her drive around to the entrance again, had her slide over to the passenger seat, and then got in and drove her into the car wash so she could experience and learn the correct way to handle the stress of driving in and sitting there for 5 minutes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Defending my Sanity

My 3rd grader is learning to write in cursive.  Yes, some schools still teach that.  I was in 3rd grade in 1984-85 in a small catholic school in Wisconsin.  The cursive we learned there looked similar, but not the same as the cursive my sister learned 6 years later in public school.  It all came down to capital T and capital Q.  Today (thanks to Zaner-Bloser™), capital T and Q look like this: . When the nuns were making us practice our penmanship with those weird-ass shaped pens, holding them JUST SO, and sitting JUST SO in our chairs, with our papers at the appropriate angle in relation to our bodies, we were taught to write them like this:  .  The Palmer™ method was very fond of loops.  If you are passionate like I am about this topic, you will most definetly want to investigate further.  I suggest looking HERE. Once you have satiated your curiosity, you should probably look for a therapist.  After all, it IS only cursive handwriting and most of us write in some sort of hybrid font that we're most comfortable with if we're not able to type it out.

So...back to the title and defending my sanity.  My parents and other siblings tend to think I'm crazy and remember things that didn't actually happen when I was a child.  Unfortunately, my memory is BIZARRELY accurate for weird details.  I'm kind of a Cliff Claven of sorts.  That being said, I cannot tell you what I had for lunch yesterday or where I set down my cellphone.  So, your honor, in my defense, I was RIGHT when I told people I learned to write differently than the kids do today (just one more way I have been scarred by catholic school), and now I have the proof (if you've forgotten already, reexamine the link above).

For the record, I was ALSO right when I insisted on the existence of Purple Spoon Kitty and Wicked Knife and Fork (although, to be fair, my sister-in-law did back me up on this one).  Skip ahead to 12:50 in Spoon Mountain to revel in the splendor of it all.   Ok, ok, ok, so I called her Purple Spoon Kitty instead of Purple Twirling Kitty.  Close enough.  She WAS twirling a spoon, so my memory was not wrong, just a tiny bit jumbled.  You can't believe how giddy I am to find this!  In fact, I think the entire scene should be reenacted by two of my favorite bloggers.  I see the Dumpster Diving Diva playing the purple kitty and this Mustashe-clad squirrel fighting ninja starring in the roll of Wicked Knife and Fork.  When they start raking in the dough from this performance, I better get front-row tickets and a backstage pass.  And popcorn...unless it's a live performance in a swanky establishment...then I want seats in the VIP box on the side where the old heckling men from the muppets sat...and I want those little opera binoculars.  Those famous bitches better spring for dinner too.  Of course it won't cost much since the Kitty is a vegan and the Mustache Ninja most likely doesn't sit still long enough to eat.  Maybe going out for drinks would be better.  Kitty and I can giggle while the ninja gets liquored up. Good times, good times.  And then I'll love them and hug them and squeeze them and I will call them George.  Yes, 2 people, 1 name.  It's easier that way.  They're both blonde, skinny, beautiful, and funny as hell.  It'll be fine.  Fine until the now drunken ninja sporks me and the Kitty throws me in the dumpster to look for babies.

See...I'm not crazy at all.

Have you ever watched the movie Jumanji?  Now THAT movie pissed me off.  Grownup bastards that don't believe children!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Part 2 (finally)

Recap from part one:  I got divorced, met an amazing man, had an amazing relationship, got kicked to the curb and then...


Yep, I drank.  After more than 6 years clean & sober I drank.  I DESERVED it.  I was going to have FUN.  I was going to go out and party like I used to and finally enjoy being single again!  It was going to be the night of my life!  At least that's how my alcoholic mind pictured the evening.  In reality, is was much more pathetic.  In fact, I was pretty pitiful.  Drinking, alone, in bed at 9 pm on a Friday night, bawling, popping old Vicodin, snot running down my face, alternating between silently sobbing and wailing, "Why me?  What did I do that was so wrong?  Why doesn't anyone love me?  Why do I even try?  What's the effin' point anyway?"   If I had to sit next to someone acting that way, even if it was a dear friend, I would seriously be contemplating whether the prison sentence I'd receive for smothering her with her own pillow would be better or worse than having to continue to listen to that self-pity parade.  Yes...it was that bad, and it stayed that bad until Sunday morning when I drug myself to an AA meeting and told on myself.

On a happy note, I celebrated 7 month's sobriety on Jan 12th. :-)  It's been a very hard road back, but I'm getting there.


Next blog:  Things I've learned in the last 7 months.