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Return of the Wanderer
2007-01-18, 10:03 p.m.

Day 879 The Return of the Wanderer

Ericís home, safe & sound. 413 pictures, to be edited, cropped, scrutinized. We saw every one of them before we got to bed last night. He also passed out souvenirs to everybody: Nesting dolls for Cindy, Kelly & Eric (a 5 piece set of his beloved Detroit Red Wings Ė not a Ukrainian in the bunch). Zach has a very sharp shot glass, shaped rather like a pilsner glass, emblazoned with what I believe is the Ukrainian national emblem. Kelly also got a scarf with the Kiev Dynamo soccer team insignia and Eric of course got one of the traditional Ukrainian winter hats with the ear flaps. I got a shirt to add to my now swelling collection Ė a Hard Rock Cafť shirt from Kiev, to go with the one my niece brought back from Beijing last year.

The pictures were great. The views of Chernobyl & Pripyat (an abandoned town in the exclusion zone) were riveting. In Pripyat, nothing, absolutely nothing, has been touched in 20+ years. Everything has been left where it was dropped when the word to evacuate was given. An amusement park sits idle, a doll lays on the sidewalk, trees have grown where they obviously do not belong. Very eerie.

The architecture is fantastic. Gold domed Orthodox cathedrals, parliament buildings, old castles, monasteries Ė all very old European looking. Probably Ericís most lasting impression? Besides the fact that you can buy beer or liquor virtually anywhere, and it very inexpensive (by our standards), he will never take toilets, toilet seats or toilet paper for granted again. The poor kid can not get over the state of Ukrainian bathrooms. Seriously. He went on a 30 minute discourse, hitting the low lights of his experiences with water closets and showers. I think now he understands how much better we have it here in the states.

Plenty to gripe about on the whole Al Anon front. Not with Al Anon, but with the reason why Iím going. Fewer & fewer signs of intelligent life. I could let it get depressing. Really depressing. But I refuse to knuckle under. All I can do is strive to maintain my own inner peace and make sure the boys & Jill donít get all wacked out by things. Trying to relate some of the detachment ideas to them. Iíve brought up the idea of Al a teen or even Al Anon meetings for them, but they want none of that. They know I go, they support the idea. I guess for them, being able to just leave the house provides enough of an escape. Especially Eric, with another semester or more of college left. Easy to ignore a problem when itís 100 miles away I suppose. Doesnít leave him with a very positive image of his mother, but Iím not the one supplying the image, am I?

Bowling. Struggle, struggle, struggle. Very strange night. Only way I got strikes was to absolutely powder the pins. Anything not perfectly in the pocket left something. Only had 4 open frames for the night, 3 of them splits, but still didnít hit 600 for 3 games. Didnít even hit my average, but our team took 4 of 8 points. Dave was there, but may have aggravated his elbow again. Ken didnít make it, but heís going through an audit at work. If the auditors ask questions, heís got to supply answers. Sucks, but bowling is for fun, jobs are for keeps.

Took today off from work. What with picking up Eric late last night, figured there was no way Iíd want to be at work on only 4 hours sleep. Went to the gym at a nice leisurely hour (noon-ish) Got in a so-so work out. Spent the next hour on the phone with OKC. I cannot believe how fast the time flew by. I think we talked about everything. Well, everything except what she and Circe are going to do for cocktail hour after work Friday. Not sure how we missed that one. Iíd say just donít over think it, and be sensible. Most importantly, HAVE FUN.

I gotta go pay some of Bobís bills, then pretend to be ready for the gym in the morning. Not feeling very perky yet. Ugh. Do have to show off the Hard Rock Kiev shirt though.

Peace Folks.

ps - Found the spare charger. It will be on it's way tomorrow night.

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