Thursday, February 24, 2011

Carratera Viaje (Road Trip)

We are heading off to Campeche this morning with our friends Barbara and Jack and I'm a little anxious about it. I've found another reason why I drink. It's not always because I want to drink. It's not always because others want me to drink. Sometimes it's because I can't tolerate others when they are drinking. And sometimes I can't tolerate myself when I'm not drinking. Last night we had Jack and Barbara over for pizza so we could plan our trip. We didn't get much planning done but they got some beer drinking done and the cap'n got some rum drinking done and then we fed the workers that were still there at 9:00 pm some pizza and then we fed our contractor and his girlfriend who showed up at 9:30 pm some pizza. Everybody was having a great time. Except me. I just wanted everyone to go home so I could take a shower and have some peace and quiet. I'm no fun anymore and I hate that.

So today I'm out there doing my best to tickle my fun bone or do my best at faking it and thanking God for new journeys.

I'll write from Campeche.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Wicked Dame



I lost another drinking biddy yesterday (I've got to start hanging around with a younger crowd). Miss Penelope Turtle was one of a kind.
As Penny told it, she was thrown out of every English boarding school she attended and was expelled from England by her father after an affair with a married man. Poor girl, he sent her to the Bahamas. The Bahamas have never recovered!
Penny managed to leave quite a wake as she sailed through life, actually powerboating was more her style. Powerboating as in grand motor yachts. She rubbed elbows and other things with the rich and famous. She called Sir Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck "Larry" and "Greg". And she loved to tell the story of when she was an assistant on the set of James Bond's Thunderball and the script girl refused to deliver the daily script to Sean Connery so Penny had to do it. When Sir Sean answered the door she admonished him, "For God's sake, put some clothes on, Sean." She later lived with or married (I was never sure) Rick Van Nutter, who played Felix Leiter in Thunderball. Penny would proudly admit that she'd f*#&'d a lot of men and, very well if she had to say so herself. All of this relayed in her very proper upper crust British accent. She loved men, all men, but barely tolerated women, including me, she was quick to inform. She only tolerated me because she loved the cap'n and she was forced to bear me because I didn't trust her alone with him. LOL
She also loved her scotch but she never lost her dignity. You never saw her unless she was meticulously, sometimes outrageously dressed. A large hat adorned with feathers or a turban was standard luncheon outfit accessories. And, of course, always the dramatic round black glasses that dominated her face.
I spent four days during a hurricane with her and several other people in a grand house owned by another good friend. It was one hell of a hurricane party but believe me you don't want to be stranded with a bunch of drunks during a hurricane when the alcohol runs out. We finally formed a brigade and broke into the house next door and raided their liquor cabinet. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
We went to visit Penny a year ago and spent the afternoon having sundowners on her deck overlooking the Sea of Abaco, way before and way after the sun went down. She was getting worried about what would become of her, she had no family to speak of. We called her a couple of months ago and she didn't seem to recall who we were but then she might have just come back from an evening at the Jib Room, her favorite drinking establishment just a few steps from her door.
She died yesterday in Nassau, Bahamas.
We're going to miss you, Pen-a-lope. Heaven has got to be a lot livelier place with you in it. If you made it there, you wicked old dame.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moanday, Moanday



Day 17 of abstinence and I am so tired. Physically tired down to my bones. I've been sleeping well and getting my 8 hours but I am really dragging ass today. I think my body forgot what it is like to be physically active all day for several days in a row. It was used to a day or two or even a week where I just laid on the couch and tried to survive the next 24 hours. So I'm not complaining about this tiredness, well, not much.
It's not like I'm doing anything strenuous. I even gave myself yesterday off. I still stayed active all day planting plants and just putzing (putzing is my favorite thing to do). I just didn't let myself think there was anything I "had" to do. I did my Sunday phone call to the kids. How effortless that is these days. No more trying to act like I remember past conversations that I don't remember or trying to cover up the fact that I don't remember. "That's right. Now I remember. And then you…..?" No more pathetic attempts to hide my slurring or tipsy state. I think I can hear the relief in their voices when they realize they are not going to have to waste precious cell phone minutes trying to have a coherent conversation with an incoherent drunk.
So life is good here in Soberville. Exhausting, but good.
So I'm just out there today doing my best to build my endurance and thanking God for fresh squoze OJ at 13 pesos per liter.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturdays Spent With Daisy


I just got back from walking Miss Daisy, the timeshare dog. I decided my foot felt well enough to try the beach for the first time in over a week so we took that route home. I've only been fostering Daisy for three weeks and I've been keeping her on a pretty short leash but this morning I decided to trust her and see what she would do if I let her off the leash. She loved it. She ran around in circles and raced up and down the beach like a prisoner just released from shackles. When she got a little too far I would call her back. I could tell that she was tempted not to come back . I could tell that she really wanted to run off and find a pack of her own kind, have some fun without any rules, maybe get laid but then she realized that she was better off coming home with me where she is guaranteed three squares and a soft bed. It might not be as exciting but she knows it is better for her and her life will be easier and longer in the long run. She gave one last longing look behind her and followed me through the gate of our casa.
I figure moderation is a lot like that. At first I have to keep myself on a short lease, for me it's abstinence, so I can reacquaint myself with a life lived without alcohol and the comforts it provides. Eventually I'll have to trust myself to give myself a little more rope and hope I don't hang myself. Finally I'll have to leave the leash at home and venture out. I know at first I will be tempted to run with my old pack and go wild but I'll have to remind myself of the deathtraps waiting for me down that path. And like Daisy I'll have to make myself turn away. But also like Daisy, the longer I keep myself on that leash the easier it will be and eventually that life will have lost its siren call for me. Instead of looking back and longing for, I'll be looking forward and hoping for.
Today I'm out there doing my best to not buy any more plants that I have to plant and thanking God for Neosporin. Vaya con Dios, amigos!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yo Vivo Aqui!



"It's a beautiful mornin' I think I'll go outside for awhile, an' jus' smile"…Little Miss Sunshine here reporting on Day 14 of my 100 day abstinence. My condolences if you are suffering the after effects of the evil rum or your poison of choice this morning but you too can wake up feeling good if you just follow my one easy step. Don't drink! Lo siento (I'm sorry) but I just feel so good this morning I have to rub it in a little bit. Don't worry if you feel like killing me, the cap'n will probably beat you to it.
As I said the other day, I was waiting for a day when I was in a good mood to write about my Sunday with friends in Merida and the day is here but you know what? There's just not that much to write about. It was just five couples enjoying a beautiful spring Sunday (it is spring down here). Every Sunday they close off the streets in the main plaza in Merida Centro so the locals and the expats can meet and greet. There is music and dancing and street vendors. It is Merida's way of preserving I the Mexican tradition of Sunday being the day to spend with family and friends. Isn't that a great idea?
"Back again?" asked the ice cream vendor in his heavy accent.
"Shhh!" I said as I raised my finger to my lips and darted my eyes at the cap'n who hadn't accompanied me for my first purchase of helado de coco (coconut ice cream). The crowd gathered around the ice cream stand laughed and the cap'n turned to me with raised eyebrows. My secret was out.
Helado de coco has replaced alcohol as my favorite addiction. It causes me to stumble and fall down just like mi amigo, Senor Jack Daniels. It was what I was daydreaming about when I missed a step in the Progreso square the other day and ended up flat on my ass. Such familiar territory for me. My so-called friends keep telling me I need to start drinking again as they watch me hobble about. I guess all those years of drinking caused me to overcompensate for my drunken swagger and now I have to relearn how to walk sober. As a matter of fact, I was counting up all of the afflictions (must be my word of the week) I have suffered since the New Year in which I have been sober the greater percentage of the time. Let me tick them off. In six short weeks I have suffered bilateral ear infections, armpit boils the size of golfballs x 2, (you asked), an injured foot which is still very painful and, the newest affliction, some kind of bite on my inner thigh that is rapidly swelling to the size of a grapefruit, as if my thighs aren't big enough. What next? A plaque of locusts? This sober life isn't cracking up to be all that healthy for me. But I shall persevere.
Anyway, Sunday was just a normal old regular day with friends in the park. Our "meet up" place was a corner bar. There really is a bar on every corner in Mexico. Colonel Montejo and the other founding fathers must have had the foresight way back in the 1500's to foresee a future with cars and DUI's so they put a bar on every corner so you could walk to your favorite watering hole. Once again, I didn't partake and nobody took notice. Maybe they are starting to expect it of me. That's a scary thought. We strolled the plaza and side streets and were assailed by the hammock and fan (Mexican air conditioning) vendors. We've decided we're all going to have shirts made that say, "No Gracias! Yo Vivo Aqui." No thank you! I live here. We finally headed home at about 6:00 pm and would you know it there was a DUI checkpoint on the road headed out of Merida. They actually had a gizmo to blow into this time. In Mexico we've had them have us blow into their cupped hands and then smell or else they have you blow directly into their face. They really don't pay cops enough down here for the job they have to do. Gary, our designated driver, blew into the gizmo and was waved on through. It was a comforting thought that I would have passed, too, for a change.
Just an ordinary miraculous day for me.
So today I'm just out there doing my best to avoid further injury and afflictions and thanking God for coconut ice cream.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Walking Miss Daisy



Day 12: Toot! Toot
I sat down last night to try and write this blog and decided that I was too cranky and tired and from there on out I would write my blogs in the morning when I had a little bit rosier view of my world. Well, guess what? It's morning and I'm still cranky. Probably because I jumped out of bed at 5:30 am after only 6.5 hours of sleep because I was surfing this powerful urge (moderation talk for resisting the urge to drink) and I finally gave in and headed downstairs. No, I didn't pour me a red-eye glass of wine, my powerful urge was to watch the sunrise over the Golfo. I guess I missed too many sunrises due to hangovers and now I'm trying to play catch up. I'm sorry I keep dwelling on how great life is without hangovers but when they have been the bane of your existence, your affliction, for 20+ years it's feels almost as if you've found the miracle cure for the common cold when you discover there is a way to actually live hangover free.
But anyway…I was going to write about what a wonderful alcohol free weekend I had but I'm too grumpy and I want to be in a happy mood when I write about that. So I've decided to write about another affliction I've acquired. Daisy. Daisy is my foster/time-share/fractional ownership dog. Stray dogs are a phenomenal problem down here SOB (South of the Border). It is heartbreaking to see these dogs with their ribs showing, covered with mange and usually surrounded by puppies everywhere so about a month ago when a plea went out on facebook to rescue this dog whose caretaker was going back NOB and was going to have to surrender the dog to a shelter (I shudder when I imagine what dog shelters are like down here), I cratered. I've always been able to resist adopting one of these dogs before because I'm only down here for 6 months and the cap'n and I have vowed that once Stanley, the killer blind bichon, goes to that big butt sniffing doggy park in the sky we are traveling pet free. But then…one of the crazies (our fellow Texan expats) volunteered to keep Daisy part of the time when we weren't down here so now we are looking for a third party to timeshare or fractionally own, or whatever the hell they are calling timesharing these days, Daisy. I was immediately very impressed with how smart Daisy was. She was potty trained, that scores big doggy IQ points with me. At first she would only go to the bathroom in our flowerbeds, which is the only place in our "compound" that has vegetation. After a couple of days she had learned that for us, her new human beans, our flowerbeds were not a viable option so out came the leash and she gladly did her business outside our gates. I bragged to everybody about how well trained she was. Since she was just a temporary guest and I didn't want her to get too attached to us (actually it was the other way around, I didn't want to get too attached to her) she was relegated to our enclosed back porch because the main house is Stanley's domain. I kinda hoped that maybe she could act as Stanley's seeing-eye dog but after a few snarling snaps at each other to establish territorial boundaries they co-exist in a state of respectful animosity. Kind of like the cap'n and I. LOL! Well, sometimes.
Eventually, she wormed her way into our hearts and into the house where she promptly "shat" on the floor. Yet another event handled better without a hangover. Her house privileges were immediately suspended so this morning I was out at 5:30 a.m. herding her back and forth down the calle (street) where she refused to do her "business" until the third trip which caused me to miss my sunrise over the water. Which made me even crankier!
Anybody interested in ½ fractional ownership in dog of, I'm sure, very noble heritage and meticulous personal habits. ;) ?
So today I'm out there doing my best to find the cure for common crankiness and still thanking God for ibuprofen for my aching foot.

Walking Miss Daisy

Day 12: Toot! Toot

I sat down last night to try and write this blog and decided that I was too cranky and tired and from there on out I would write my blogs in the morning when I had a little bit rosier view of my world. Well, guess what? It's morning and I'm still cranky. Probably because I jumped out of bed at 5:30 am after only 6.5 hours of sleep because I was surfing this powerful urge (moderation talk for resisting the urge to drink) and I finally gave in and headed downstairs. No, I didn't pour me a red-eye glass of wine, my powerful urge was to watch the sunrise over the Golfo. I guess I missed too many sunrises due to hangovers and now I'm trying to play catch up. I'm sorry I keep dwelling on how great life is without hangovers but when they have been the bane of your existence, your affliction, for 20+ years it's feels almost as if you've found the miracle cure for the common cold when you discover there is a way to actually live hangover free.

But anyway…I was going to write about what a wonderful alcohol free weekend I had but I'm too grumpy and I want to be in a happy mood when I write about that. So I've decided to write about another affliction I've acquired. Daisy. Daisy is my foster/time-share/fractional ownership dog. Stray dogs are a phenomenal problem down here SOB (South of the Border). It is heartbreaking to see these dogs with their ribs showing, covered with mange and usually surrounded by puppies everywhere so about a month ago when a plea went out on facebook to rescue this dog whose caretaker was going back NOB and was going to have to surrender the dog to a shelter (I shudder when I imagine what dog shelters are like down here), I cratered. I've always been able to resist adopting one of these dogs before because I'm only down here for 6 months and the cap'n and I have vowed that once Stanley, the killer blind bichon, goes to that big butt sniffing doggy park in the sky we are traveling pet free. But then…one of the crazies (our fellow Texan expats) volunteered to keep Daisy part of the time when we weren't down here so now we are looking for a third party to timeshare or fractionally own, or whatever the hell they are calling timesharing these days, Daisy. I was immediately very impressed with how smart Daisy was. She was potty trained, that scores big doggy IQ points with me. At first she would only go to the bathroom in our flowerbeds, which is the only place in our "compound" that has vegetation. After a couple of days she had learned that for us, her new human beans, our flowerbeds were not a viable option so out came the leash and she gladly did her business outside our gates. Since she was just a temporary guest and I didn't want her to get too attached to us (actually it was the other way around, I didn't want to get too attached to her) she was relegated to our enclosed back porch because the main house is Stanley's domain. I kinda hoped that maybe she could act as Stanley's seeing-eye dog but after a few snarling snaps at each other to establish territorial boundaries they co-exist in a state of respectful animosity. Kind of like the cap'n and I. LOL! Well, sometimes.

Eventually, she wormed her way into our hearts and into the house where she promptly "shat" on the floor. Yet another event handled better without a hangover. Her house privileges were immediately suspended so this morning I was out at 5:30 am herding her back and forth down the calle (street) where she refused to do her "business" until the third trip which caused me to miss my sunrise over the water. Which made me even crankier!

Anybody interested in ½ fractional ownership in dog of, I'm sure, very noble heritage and meticulous personal habits. ;) ?

So today I'm out there doing my best to find the cure for common crankiness and still thanking God for ibuprofen for my aching foot.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ouch! But At Least I Remember What Happened



I woke up to a beautiful, hangover free morning this morning and after two walks with the foster dog, Daisy, the cap'n and I headed into Progreso to pick up some more bougainvilla to put somewhere. I was walking across the town square contemplating the coco heladio (coconut ice cream) I was going to get on my return across the square when I found myself sprawled on the sidewalk. Who put that step there? The old Mexican ladies sitting on the bench in their pure white huipils hid their toothless grins behind their hands and tried to look concerned. One of them said something in Spanish that I'm sure, loosely translated, meant, "The taller the Gringos are, the harder they fall." At 5'5'' I'm considered a giant among the tiny Mayan women. I immediately laid blame where it was due. On the cap'n, who hadn't warned me about the step, and the Mexican government, who hadn't posted a sign, warning me about the step. I hobbled to the curb and the cap'n went back to get the car to come pick me up. On top of all that, I didn't get my damn ice cream cone either. Wah!
But you know what was great about it? I wasn't drunk. Big deal, you say, it was only 11:00 am. "So what?" says me, "I've been drunk at 11:00 am before. Lots of times. As a matter of fact, I've probably been drunk at every hour on the clock at one time or another." Just one week ago today, I had an appointment to renew my visa at 9:00 am and I had a Mountain Dew with a "tooter" sitting in the drink holder of the car. I had just spent two days weaning off of a 10 day binge, plus two more days without a drop, but I was still shaky and I thought a little anti-shake elixir might make my multiple signatures on multiple documents a little more legible. And maybe keep the official's eyebrows in their normal official position instead of in an elevated state of alert when she noticed my tremor. I didn't drink it, but I thought about it and yes, my hand did shake a little, but I was the only one that noticed.
So today I'm kind of proud that I fell on my ass and I wasn't drunk and I actually remember why my ankle hurts and my knee is skinned. When I limp around for the next few days, all my so-called friends will assume I was drunk on my ass when I fell on my ass and no matter how much I deny it, they won't believe me. But I know I wasn't. It ain't much to be proud of but it's all I've got. Actually, it is much.
Day 5 down the tube and I'm just out there doing my best to stay upright and not swell up…with pride.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Gift To Myself

Today I posted on one of the message boards that I am going to do a 100 day abs and a member responded, "What a nice gift you are giving to yourself." That's how I'm going to think of this. As a wonderful gift.

I know you're thinking, " Wait a minute! You haven't even managed to pull a 30 day abs. Why in the world do you think you can handle a 100?" And my answer would be, " I don't know. It just feels right." I feel like I've been practicing up for this. The way I figure it I've abs'd about 50% of the time in the last 6 months so what the hell…and I'm not making this decision in the midst of a full-blown hangover either, actually I'm finishing up Day 5 of abstaining and I'm of sound mind and body. Well, as much as I can be.

Actually, I was inspired by somebody on one of the message boards who is doing a long term abs. Like her, I figure I'll probably end up abstaining permanently at some point, but right now I get too depressed thinking I'll never have another chilled glass of wine with a beautiful sunset or a glass of champagne to toast a joyous occasion. I figure that within 100 days I should have quite a few sunsets to practice with and I hope I have at least one, hopefully more, joyous occasions to discern if adding alcohol to the mix would have enhanced the occasion. I have to remember to remind myself that there have been many times in the past that a splash or two or three or…of alcohol have turned what should have been happy occasions into the exact opposite. What about those not so happy or downright unhappy occasions when alcohol dull the sharp edge of pain and stress? It's a given those days will be there in number, but I'll just have to tough it out. Like normal people do.

I'm not being na├»ve. Read back through my blog. There's every reason to be cynical that I will succeed. But…..I feel ready. And I feel like I've readied the people around me, especially the cap'n. I'm sure he's thinking, "Yeah, right, I'll believe it when I see it." But he's not saying it and he's not rolling his eyes. A year ago he wouldn't have believed I could go a week without drinking but now he does. I've been making lots of babysteps and now it's time for a Momma step.

I have a plan. I have lots of plans. I'll fill you in tomorrow. Chelsea's on. Gotta go!

Tonight I'm out there doing my best to take real good care of my gift so it lasts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

BOO!

I have a ghost in my casa here in Mexico. I call her Julia because she steals my jewelry. She especially covets my wedding ring. Forgive me if I have already told you this story but, hey, I'm a drunk and you know how we like to repeat ourselves. Julia will take my wedding ring and hide it in the damnedest places and I won't be able to find it for weeks. One time I found it behind the toilet paper under the bathroom sink. But this last time she was really tricky. I had left my ring on the bathroom counter right out in the wide open, if you could call any place on my bathroom counter "wide open" with its jumble of beauty, pain relieving and digestive paraphernalia. She swiped it. I came home later that night after a night out at some bar and it was gone. I surreptitiously moved bottles and appliances around so not to alert the cap'n that once again my ring had gone missing. I went through all of the drawers. I looked behind the toilet paper. Nada. After days of telling the cap'n that I was cleaning, he knew better so I confessed to him that Julia had struck once again. Being the doubting Thomas that he is, he looked himself. He moved and shuffled everything that I had moved and shuffled five times by now and he finally admitted that I was right, the ring was gone. It will show up, he reassured me. As I said, this has happened before. Later on that night I was sitting on the toilet and decided to say one last prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, and when I finished my novena I looked over on the counter there was my ring, shining in the dark. Of course, Julia only comes around when I'm drunk. She doesn't scare me. It's the other ghosts in the house that scares me. Me. I am petrified of the ghost I become. The hag that haunts the house with her uncombed hair and empty eyes after a binge. I don't particularly care for the garish, shrieking poltergeist I become when I'm drunk either. Maybe I need to say a novena for myself.

Dear St. Anthony,

Please come around,

Something is lost and can't be found.