Sunday, December 11, 2011

All Is Not Lost

And yet, I suppose you mourn the loss or the death of what you thought your life was, even if you find your life is better after.  You mourn the future that you thought you'd planned.
--Lynn Redgrave

Day 89

Hey gang!  A year ago having me MIA for a week from this blog would have fostered ominous foreboding but I am happy to report that all is well down SOB (South of the Border).  I feel like I hit the tarmac running and I just now have a chance to catch my breath.  I had planned to go to Merida this morning but the weather is not cooperating, there are very few days in the Yucatan when I wish I had a fireplace but today is one of those days. Blustery, and rainy and a chilly 71 degrees Fahrenheit.  Boy, I sure do acclimate quickly, I’m still sitting here in my shorts but I’m just about ready to go upstairs and pull on some sweats and socks just like everybody that lives down here full time has been wearing for a few days. 

This week has been a week of revelations and while I have all day to write about each and every one of them, I know you, my loyal readers, would take one look at the length of the blog and decide you had better things to do, like read War and Peace.  So for today, I’ll just tell you about yesterday.

I sent the cap’n off to the airport in Merida at 5:00 am yesterday morning.  I gave him a kiss, pushed him out the gate, waved him off and turned around and faced the coming day like a big birthday gift I had been waiting weeks to open.  You see, I can probably count on one hand the number of days, in my entire life, that I have had completely to myself.  To try and envision three whole weeks of such days is just too overwhelming, so, as I have become quite adept at doing, I’m taking it one day at a time.

First I piddled around the casa for a couple of hours, I spent some time contemplating the Christmas tree lights, I drank some tea, I visited the message boards, drank some more tea, looked at the lights some more and then I went outside to piddle around in the garden for a bit.  Saturday is the day that the “plant guy” comes to the square in our little village, and I decided I needed to replace some plants that hadn’t withstood my desertion of the last couple months, so around 9:30 am I drove down to the square to see what the “plant guy” had to offer.  He wasn’t there so I settled in at my favorite little cocina economica and had a couple of tacos arrecharra with salsa and crema.  Pretty soon I saw a battered old scraped up van chug around the corner.  The plant guy had arrived.  I waited as he unloaded and then he and I began our pantomime attempt at communication.  I ended up with 4 poinsettia’s, 1 eucalyptus, 1 bougainvillea, 1 oleander, 1 vine of some sort, 2 rose bushes, and 2 tiny cacti for 480 pesos (about $35 US).  My friend Shelli puttered up on her scooter and together we found the nerve to haggle the price and the plant guy knocked off another 10 pesos (73 cents). That should teach him to try and take advantage of this gringa.

I hurried home and unloaded the plants.  A new Italian restaurant in Progreso was donating the entire day’s profits to the toy drive and a couple of my elf buddies and I had volunteered to help them out.  I picked up my fellow elves and we headed over the bridge to Progreso but before we started our afternoon of chopping and peeling vegetables we stopped off at the Progreso Mercado and meandered among the produce and flower stalls.  Each of us bought a bunch of bright purple bachelor buttons with the intentions of harvesting their seeds to plant in our stingy flowerbeds, then we sniffed appreciatively at the romero (rosemary) plants and tried to figure out why none of us have been able to get one to survive down here in a climate in which it seems they should thrive.  With a “never say die” bravado I bought two more sacrificial offerings.

We spent the afternoon helping Progreso Pasta’s proprietors prepare for the special evening of Christmas music and the “impossible to find in the Yucatan” delicacy of filet mignon.  They had to ship the beef in from Monterrey, them Yucatecan cows ain’t got no meat on their bones.  Now if we could just get russet potatoes and good corn, we’d have all of the comfort food of home.  The rumor that Mayan corn is good is a myth, I don’t know what corn god they were praying to but it was the wrong one.  They must have been worshipping the god of corn not fit for human consumption.

And now for the most important part of the day.  I bet you thought I’d never get here.  This blog reminds of a story one of my guests’s was telling last night, he paused in the middle of it and said, “Now, to make a long story short.”  And I thought, “Too late for that.”

At 4:00 pm I said “Ciao!” and headed home with my containers of lasagna, ravioli, and alfredo and five pieces of Drunken Deutschman cake.  I had invited a couple of couples over to eat take out.  I iced down the beer and I swear I never even considered having one.  It didn’t even cross my mind.  As my friends drank their beer and wine throughout the evening, I sipped on my sparkling cider and sat back, happy to be a spectator and participant and not the one woman act I always felt driven to be when I was drinking.  None of my friends seemed to take notice of my not drinking, if they did, they didn’t comment on it and it sure didn’t seem to deter them from their drinking.  There did seem to be something missing (other than the cap’n) but I don’t know if anybody noticed it but me. There was the same jostling to be the first one to get a word in, there was the same amount of laughter and hilarity, but missing was that escalation into brash awkward drunkenness that seemed to permeate my parties of the past and when  my guests left to get in their cars or stroll down the calle to their casas they seemed to leave with a sense of comfortable well-being instead of the riotous, on edge, over the top, out of control (do I need to go on?)desperate hysteria I remember. I have full confidence that all awoke this morning with good memories of the evening.  Their heads might have ached a little but there was no pain of regret gnawing at their innards.  One more thing that I had mourned as lost when I gave up drinking, good times with good friends, is resurrected in a new and much improved form.

I cleaned up and went to bed with the same sense of well-being and it wasn’t until this morning that I realized that I didn’t even consider having a glass of wine to wind down, even though there was half of an open bottle left on the counter.

So to make a long story short, you don’t have to give up everything you love when you quit drinking, but you do have to give up the drinking.

So today I’m out there just doing my best to be more succinct and making the most of the 19 days, 8 hours, and 32 minutes of alone time I have left.

P.S.  A year ago, I would have allowed myself to have one or two celebratory glasses of wine when I arrived in Mexico and by this time a week later I would have been in the depths of withdrawal and a day like yesterday wouldn’t have been in the realm of possibility.


  1. I know what you mean, you don't have to give up anything but the drinking. And now that I'm not having to devote quite so much brain time to being sober, I just AM sober, everything is still just as fun! More fun!! You must be 90 days when you read this, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! xxx

  2. great post and oh so true! I went to a Christmas dinner party Saturday and was the only one at the table not drinking...and it was fine. I did notice the smell of the red wine sitting at the table next to me, but wasn't really tempted--it was more of just remembering how I used to enjoy that. Mrs. D is right, 90 days is awesome!! Great job!