Altering Habits

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Like a Camel
2007-07-25, 3:54 p.m.

Day 1066

Must have been the supposed ďlower sodium, lightĒ soy sauce I used on my lunch concoction yesterday, but geeze louise, could we cut some water loose so I could pee? What with my prior history of pesky high blood pressure, Iíve been pretty good about avoiding the salt Ė even in cooking. But that soy sauce yesterday Ė holy cow. I think any water molecule that came within spitting distance of my body was absorbed and held for ransom. I counted. Between yesterday afternoon and now Ė Iíve hit the rest room exactly twice Ė and one of those was the usual first thing in the morning stop Ė which not so oddly yielded less than the normal output. Freakin soy sauce!

This morning in Patty the Pedal Pushers spin class, I blew through 40+ ounces of water and didnít create my usual mini-lake under the bike. That may have been because we spent nearly the whole class out of the saddle sprinting and the stream running off my eyebrows & chin was caught by my towel. Maybe. Could also have been that Iím still suffering from that sodium spike and am retaining water like Iíve got PMS. Too bad Iím a guy, eh? (Yeah, my estrogen is all out of whack, thatís it!)

Had a different sort of meeting last night. After the usual chaotic escape from home, I flew into the meeting all of 5 minutes early. Even being that early, the only seat open was next to the group secretary. She always gets there early and usually sets things up. In setting things up, she also has control of ďthe clipboardĒ which is like the ceremonial staff that the meeting chairperson gets to use. As Iím settling into my seat, the secretary asked me if Iíd like to chair the meeting in her ever so sweet & kind voice. Dang it. Now youíd think that after what, 15 months of this, Iíd know the routine well enough to do it with my eyes closed, and I do Ė until I have the clipboard. Itís also kin of funny how the room immediately felt about 5 degrees warmer once I was in possession of the nicely laminates opening & closing statements the chair gets to read from. Compund this be the fact that I was also probably the youngest person in the room (maybe one exception, but sheís a bit of an enigma to me and I canít quite pin her down age-wise) and definitely the only male. We also had one newcomer in the mix, and one prior regular who hadnít attended for a bit and decided to re-join. Then someone cracks a joke about me (the guy) keeping all the ladies in line. Hah!

Once you get into the flow of things, chairing a meeting isnít horrible or difficult or terrifying. (Good to remember that) The only little catch is to be able to keep things moving, sliding in new discussion topics when the chatter wanes. Those are a scary 30 seconds or so, that utter silence while youíre desperately fishing the depths of your mind, scrambling for the nugget to toss out to keep the discussion moving. Itís probably only a 10 or 15 second pause, it just feels like forever while youíre trying to get your brain to cough up an idea.

All in all though, the meeting went along pretty well. The new gal was worried about her mom, who is a terminally ill alcoholic. Her biggest concern was along the lines of atonement. Not so much that she wanted her mother to apologize for being an alcoholic and causing all the associated difficulties, but that she wanted to be able to tell her mother that she understood why things were the way they were Ė and that it was OK, she accepted things for what they were and understood that her mother did the best she could with what she had. Thatís such an important sentiment to remember.

Ms. Uncongeniality is still in contest winning form. My mission Ė should I choose to accept it Ė is to maintain my faÁade of serenity and not rise to the bait dangling in front of me. Itís starting to resemble a game of chicken, driving cars towards each other at 80mph, waiting to see who is going to veer off first. If I deviate, she keeps going on like she is. If she changes course, she could start recovery or dive deeper. Question is, whereís the bottom and how deep can I go before thereís no coming up? Wish it were as simple as holding my breath.

Picking up some odds & ends to do here at the zoo. Fun stuff mostly, well, if you like playing with lasers, schematic capture programs and isolation transformers. Thankfully, I do, so it keeps the days interesting. Most fun thing Iíve done to date? Mount lasers inside a Jacuzzi jet fitting. Need the gymbal type mount and the orifice size was just perfect to fit the laser body. If I tell you what itís for, Iíd have to kill you. Turns out there may be a patent in it. Owned by the company, sure, but Iíd still get some credit and my name on it. Too bad the monetary reward program for patent filings went away. Used to get $500 just for filing or $1K for actually being awarded a patent. But cost cutting measures killed that program. Bummer.

Have more running through my head, but Iím unsure about just how to record it. Think Iíll just ruminate on it for a while.

In my field, we have things called Ďforcing functionsí. In essence, they are stimulus signals Ė meant to elicit an expected, controlled response Ė turn on a motor, fire up a laser, or initiate a data transmission. One of the battles we fight is to insure that our controlled forcing functions dominate forcing functions created by nature, namely noise and external disturbances. Sometimes they are simple on/off decisions, other times we must accurately choose between 65536 (not a random number) shades of gray.

Well, I feel like Iím about to run into one of those forcing functions. Sort of the irresistible force meets the immoveable object. The immoveable object being that sullen, uncongenial person that lately would prefer to never have to talk to me again, and the irresistible force being a decision. Iíve been considering the idea of an intervention for a while now. Started to do some research on it, then remembered Ė I have this counseling session coming up next week. Why donít I start there? This therapist probably has contacts and resources way beyond what I can find. She may also think that an intervention is not called for. Personally, Iím anti-intervention. I think that unless the person under treatment owns the recovery process, that is they initiated it and they want it, way deep down inside (sounds like a Zeppelin lyric), itís doomed to fail. If theyíre forced in, theyíll pay enough lip service to get out of treatment, then relapse the first or second time temptation crosses their path. Just my opinion.

Looking forward to Wednesdays therapy session, can you tell? Better start getting prepared. Have a 1 on 1 with my supervisor tomorrow too. Think itís time I fessed up there, at least a little. Maybe not mention spouse or even family member, just issues with a problem drinker.

I gotta go re-read that preparation list. Edited to add - I think I screwed up and said "sure, I'd love to run in the Father Murphy 5K next Friday" and agreed to do the "5K Run for Lupus" in my home town the week after. That could screw with my bicycling man!!

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