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Unplug to Recharge
2007-08-08, 11:12 a.m.

Day 1081

What a concept. Weíre all used to plugging in our cell phones, cameras, flashlights, spare batteries, whatever, to recharge them. This past weekend, I tripped across a really great way to recharge humans. Unfortunately, itís not a new idea, so I canít make millions from patenting it, but I can share the wealth the idea provides.

Unplug yourself. No TV, no internet, no electricity, no cell phone signal. Cooking outdoors, sleeping in a tent, living almost every waking moment out doors (except for doing the prep work for the appetizers for Saturdayís dinner), swimming in ponds and marathon volleyball games. Couple of decent beers didnít hurt either.

Hereís a shot of the most fun Iíve had in a while (put your sunglasses on):

The scene? Our cousinís pond. That contraption on the shore? The business end of a home made rope swing. That poor guy on the shore behind me? Destined to take a trip on the swing that will crack the left support. About a whole minute after I hit the water.

The need for sunglasses? Obviously due to my screaming white upper body. Legs, arms, face & back tan fine, but that chest? Hoo boy!! Need to spend some time lying face up on a beach somewhere Ė soon!.

So yes, the rope swing did break. But you know what? Went and got some new, larger trees, re-dug the holes, re-strung the cable supports and re-lashed all the swinging hardware. Had a new and improved swing in place in 3 hours. The kids (big and small) were all very pleased. The new swing? Fantastic. Solid as a rock. Even works at night, although that little gap in time between when you let go of the rope and actually hit the water? Lasts about an eternity. Not seeing the water is half the fun though.

So the family reunion was a smashing success. Played volleyball ALL DAY Saturday (except for the occasional dip in the pond) and wore a hole in my foot. Not being used to going barefoot, I raised a blister from the wear & tear. Luckily, it popped while we were playing a little football with the kids. (must have been that fake to the right) A little work with some scissors to trim the loose flap oískin and I was good as new. Except that new skin underneath was a wee bit sensitive after losing all that nice, tough callous that was protecting it.

Ok Ė new day here. Just got caught up in life and couldnít finish it yesterday.

Now that vacations are over and weíre into a new month, Iím trying to behave better with the workouts. Had a new instructor at Mondayís spin class. Dude named Phil. Love his taste in music. Heís obviously an experienced instructor, weíll just have to get used to his style. He gave us a pretty good work out Monday and Iím sure that as he gets used to this groups abilities, heíll turn it up a notch. We all live for that burning pain in our thighs & lungs. How else do you know youíre alive at 6:15am, huh?

Tuesday was another uninspired run Ė but slugged it out for 4 miles. Absolute torture. Condition of my foot wasnít an issue, but it seems like the up & down paces of cycling are hurting the grind it out style of running. Never expected that. Maybe Iím just wussing out on the running.

This morningís spin class was another pedaling with Patty classic. You know when she tells the class at the outset that ďtoday, itís all about the paceĒ and ďwe have nothing but fast tunes todayĒ youíre in for a special treat. Talk about screaming thighs!! Completely soaked a t-shirt Ė collar to hem. I know. Yuch. I was sitting just off to the side of a ceiling fan too Ė I could feel the breeze quite nicely. Time to think about those technical fabrics and see if they donít move moisture better. I have two, but theyíre sleeveless, and I kinda donít like to wear them indoors. May have to get over that little technicality.

What else . . . I could whine about the state of my favorite alcoholic Ė how she swears she didnít have anything to drink all weekend. Including Saturday night when we ALL saw her bellying up to the liquor table pouring generous dollops of Canadian Club into her cup. Add to that her marble- like eyes and an inability to use English like it was her native language and well? Par for the course. Maybe by not falling down (with witnesses) she considers the evening a success. Guess you have to set the bar to where you can reach it.

Monday I think she went to another AA meeting. Maybe. Departure time was correct, but length of stay was too short. Plus, she was drunk. Not that AA folks would be shocked by that, but isnít that not quite the point? I know Iím supposed to leave her to her own program, ďkeep MY side of the street cleanĒ, so I havenít said anything (kind, mean or in between), but I have to think itís going to be hard to make progress in a system thatís supposed to help you stay sober when you consistently show up drunk. Itís like showing up to a Weight Watchers meeting with a bucket of KFC complete with taters & gravy.

Now Iím hungry. Sorry if that set you all off too. Must be close to lunchtime.

Recent history would also lead me to believe sheíll be going to a meeting tonight (Wednesday). Iíll try and be nice and have dinner ready early enough that she can eat and still get out the door by 7. Which is better than what she did for me last night. For over a year, I try to be out of the house by 7:30 on Tuesdays. Gives me time to get to my meeting without driving like a maniac.

Had yesterdayís dinner all decided. Cindy even had a short shopping list of things needed to complete dinner. 4 whole items. She got out of work at 3pm. I called home at 4:30 and got no answer. Eric was off yesterday, so I called his cell. Yes, mom is home. No, we didnít stop at the store on the way home (he had her car for the day and played chauffeur). Yes, weíd still like that chicken dish. No, mom doesnít want to go to the store. Fine.

I went and took care of an issue at Bobís on my way home. Waited 20 extra minutes in a construction related delay to get across the city, stopped at the store & got the dinner fixings, and finally got home at 6:30. The kids were just leaving for the gym (they knew dinner was going to be late) and Cindy was already there. Super. Prepped dinner, threw it in the oven and set the timer. It would be ready at 8:10 Ė 10 minutes into my meeting.

As I was leaving, Cindy got home. I updated her on dinner status (foil off the chicken in 20 minutes, start the carrots then) and dinner would be ready in 40. Kids are at the gym, Iím off to my meeting, Iíll eat later. Her response? 2 letters. O. K.

But. Tonight I will turn the other cheek (probably get kicked in the ass for it) and have dinner ready around 6. Because Iím sure she wonít bother. Besides the drinking, this is the stuff that really gets to me. The lack of respect, lack of participation in family life (unless thereís an audience of non-nuclear family watching), lack of communication, lack of everything except apathy. Iím trying to play by the Al Anon guidelines. Maintain a positive attitude, clamp down on the sarcasm, resist the temptation to rise to her bait (in all itís forms), even let her get started in her own program with out meddling or pestering her about it. All that, and I feel like Iím getting shit on. Over and over again.

I know sheís only been attending AA for a couple of (a few maybe?) weeks. She doesnít really knowthe program yet. Took me months to even start to get the idea. I have a feeling Cindy will be longer, because I think she has a much harder thing to accept. Cindy has an addiction to deal with, I have only some behaviors to modify. I know I can do that Ė I already have. Iíve also cracked an addiction (1081 days of no smoking) and I know it was hard, but itís possible. I guess itís up to her to really want it. Not just pay the words lip service, which sheís done, but truly embrace the idea of getting and staying sober. Sheís not there yet. Like Iíve said many times in the past Ė Iím reaching the end of my rope. Iím seriously closer to the end now. Seriously. Closer. I already have the questions I really want to ask her semi-composed. It boils down to this: ďIf and when you get your drinking under control, how motivated, how committed are you to trying to fix whatís broke between us? Understanding that we both have things to fix Ė are you willing, or are you through?Ē

Anything less than ďI think I want to tryĒ could be trouble.

Our 26th anniversary is a week from today.

I donít know what to do.


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