The Engagement and other Life Events

I haven’t written in long while, I am just out here trying to live life on life’s terms ….. which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is a downright battle, but let us not go there right now.

Allie and Patrick finally got engaged. The official engagement date was 5/21, so it has definitely been a minute or two. With all her snooping, she was still surprised. It was sweet, They were at a park in Dallas with the dog – they were going to go on a picnic but forgot the blanket so they just walked around and he popped the question. He had a party with friends planned for after the proposal and even had her bestie fly in from Chicago to complete the surprise. We are truly excited to welcome Pat and his family into ours. We have no wedding plans as of yet. There is still the decision as to where the wedding will be …. Dallas or Dayton/Cincinnati. We have said our peace and given our thoughts, but it is their wedding and they must decide. We have an engagement party planned for a couple of weeks from now here as they will be in Ohio for a wedding. It is just family and very few special friends. I will update after their visit.

With it being summer and the 4th of July holiday there have been a lot of drinking events, but I am holding my own. There are moments when I wish I could drink ….. take part in the jello shots. It is such a drinking culture that sometimes it is difficult not to feel left out. I love my sober life and my sober friends – but ………..

Ok so the really big news, because we all knew that Allie and Pat were going to get engaged, that was just a matter of timing …… I finally got a breast reduction. it has been 8 weeks since the surgery and I am doing great. The wounds are almost healed and I am finally able to do things around the house and in life in general. It was a rough go not being able to carry, lift or push anything. There was pain, but it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I only took 2, well maybe 3 Percocet …… 2 that were desperately needed and 1 , well, not so much.. I just survived on Tylenol and Motrin for several weeks. The wounds were gross and took a lot of cream and gauze. The surgeon took out a total of 6.75 lbs of breast. I am getting used to my new size ….. now it is time to get rid of the love handles and old lady belly. I found it interesting and refreshing that the anesthesiologists asked if I wanted a different cocktail that wasn’t (addictive type) narcotics. My sober friends and I joke that anesthesia for a very few short seconds is the best, but anyway I did tell him to give me whatever would best and I could deal with it. I got 20 pain pills with this surgery. I still had my 18 from my kidney stone. Good news, I finally emptied my drawer of all the pain meds and handed them over to Steve to get rid of or hide, not sure which he did. I did say hide don’t pitch, but you never know. The pills after all this time were “talking” to me and I was really struggling. Taking that extra Percocet when I wasn’t sure if I really needed it scared me enough to take action, I have been seeing my surgeon every couple of weeks for post op. I am thinking only a few more visits and I will be good to go.

With the breast surgery my diet went to shit. I have been on a new program (that I paid a pretty penny for) it has a lot of accountability and pretty straight forward and kinda strict guidelines. I was all in before the surgery and losing weight but since surgery I have not been able to get in the right frame of mind to go all in. I am eating better, but half-assing the program. I am pretty discouraged with it right now and I hate going for my check ins because I am running out of excuses as to why my weight is staying constantly the same. It is rough. I want to eat and I want to drink like a normal person – ugh!

Well, that is the Life and Times of Me for the last couple of months. I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what my life is for and what I should be doing with it. Stay tuned, I may or may not ever figure it out.

Diabetes, Kidney Stone and a Crooked Finger

Happy Fall. The weather has definitely changed and Halloween is right around the corner. We have our annual Halloween party coming up at the recovery club. I have once again delegated a lot of the details and it is still hard to let go of the control of the event. Being on the board and in charge of social events I feel it is also my responsibility to let others get involved and be part of the process.

My mood has been all over the place as of late. Some depression, some happiness and a lot of whatever. I have had many needed conversations with my therapist. I have been too out of sorts to even write.

I found out at my physical in September that I am pretty close to being diabetic. I have started monitoring my sugar and it has been all over the place. I have been taking better care of diet and exercise and really working it, but it gets discouraging when it really doesn’t seem to change anything. My weight is also up and down but for the most part the scale is moving in the right direction. I am really being careful with my carbs and sugar intake. I have been working with my trainer and walking and working out at home in between. I have met with the diabetic nurse and have an appointment scheduled with the dietitian, which I hope can help me even out this sugar issue. My dr. has given me 6 months to get things under control. With the fluctuation in my sugar readings …… I don’t know.

At that same physical, blood was found in my urine. That lead to an appointment with the urologist, which lead to the discovery of a kidney stone. It was causing pressure, but no pain. Surgery was scheduled, but it thankfully passed before the scheduled surgery …. that was painful!

To top it all off, my pointer finger that I had surgery on in July is still slow to heal. The tendon was weak and healed and now my finger is crooked for good, unless I want another surgery ……. not!

It was a few weeks of so many dr. appointments and not great news and many ups and downs with my psyche.

Steve and I also had our annual babysitting stint with niece Caroline.during all that. She added a light to a dismal mood. She is now 5 and we thoroughly enjoy having her with us. We had her for 5 days and she kept us on our toes. She is a very busy, creative, sweet girl.

So I guess this is my new normal. I will just keep trying to live life on life’s terms.

Back At It!

I am back on the diet, exercise and life-style bandwagon. I was doing good with it, then we went to Dallas in April and all bets were off while on vacation and I slacked off for a few months after. Surprisingly, I was still down 4 lbs when I started back up several weeks ago. To date I am down 7 since starting back up so that makes ll lbs. I still have a super long way to go, but at least I am on the right track. 11 lbs is hardly noticeable when you are this fat, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

I am doing several things …. I am back on Noom and counting calories. I am working on Intermittent Fasting. I am working out with a trainer a couple times a week and I also just agreed to be a walking buddy with a friend. I know myself and I am either all or nothing. Right now I am in an “all phase” with something good. I hope to be able to keep the momentum going. I am getting older by the minute and I need to lose the weight and get healthy, not an easy task. That isn’t my only motivation, but that is a post for another time.

I still go out with friends and do fun things I just have to make better food choice and the calorie counting helps with that. I went to a birthday party over the weekend and had cake – and I felt totally disgusted with myself for eating it and it made feel headachy. So, may that be a reminder for next time!

I am working out with my Massage Therapist who is also a trainer, she is very holistic and I love that. She is taking on me as a whole person with many different needs and issues, which is a little different. I think I may be her little project, but I don’t care. It is what I need and I need the accountability.. She will definitely keep me on task.

I feel good. I am obsessed though with the morning weigh ins. Each day, I am excited to see the little changes and if the change is in the wrong direction, I definitely do better for the next day. I try not to have as many “Fuck-it” days, but I have had a few. I am working hard to change my mindset. If I could do it with alcohol and pills, I know I can do it with food and exercise. I just have to be willing to be willing, which is sometimes hard to conquer.

I hope by posting this and writing about it, it will give me another place to be accountable. This blog is about the Life and Times of Me and this is where I am at and what I am doing.

A Little Family History

Today is the 68th anniversary of the start of our family restaurant business. 68 years ago my grandfather started the business. In the early 90’s, my dad, and a partner bought the company and took over operations and ownership. That partnership did not last and so my dad became the sole owner/operator. Upon the unexpected passing of my dad in 2010, my two brothers did not miss a beat in taking over the company.

My dad was a smart guy, he started succession planning in the early 2000’s. It was my choice not to become an owner/operator (in-training) at that time. I was a mom with 2 young children and that is all I wanted to be. I did work in the company in several different capacities throughout the years. In a nutshell I pretty much handled coordinating marketing efforts and customer relations.

My brothers and I were the 3rd generation of the family to run the business. I retired 3 years ago …… I was unfulfilled and I felt I made a better sister than employee. As of now there are no great grandchildren of my grandfather that are interested in taking over the business – no 4th generation. There are 6 great granddaughters who range in age from 5-26. My girls are already grown and started in their “adult work” life. Who knows what my nieces will end up doing, but it doesn’t look like owning and operating the business. This makes me sad. We have come through so many trials and tribulations with this business and today it is quite successful once again.

My husband started working with the company a couple years ago as a consultant. Today he is full time at the business. He is helping my brothers navigate the future of the company and the day to day operations. Sales continue to be good despite the covid pandemic and expansions are taking place. I do feel a little left out, no longer being a part of the business, but still bearing the name the company as part of my name and heritage. It is a mixed up emotion.

I am proud of the work that is being done through the company and our family foundation. I am sure my dad is smiling down on us all …. and maybe my grandfather too (he is a whole different story) as we celebrate this milestone.

It is a good day to reflect on where we have been as a family, a business and important part of our community for the past 68 years …. the good, the bad and the ugly. I have been thinking of my dad a lot too as we just marked the 11th anniversary of his passing. I wish he was here to enjoy the fruit of his labor and the success of his children and grandchildren.

It will be interesting to see where the future takes this family and our restaurants.

January 1, 2021

Goodbye 2020 – what a crazy, difficult, unprecedented year you were. So many things we take for granted in life have had to change because of happenings of 2020. We have been forced to embrace the suck of this past year.

So far 2021 is starting out with some difficulty. I am sick – yuck. I had the COVID test this morning so it will be a couple of days before I know for sure if I have it. The symptoms of the last day are pointing to me having it. Head cold, aches, cough … and the tell tale sign of the loss of taste among other things. I am hoping I did not pass the virus on if I have it since I was out and about thinking I had a sinus infection for a couple days before the real symptoms hit. So needless to say I am now in quarantine.

So because of this I have had to miss all the NYE and Day meetings at the club, just like I had to miss all the Christmas meetings. I can’t help with the clean up of putting decorations away. I have been in contact with my “team” and it will all be taken care of. It is humbling to realize the world can the club can function just fine without me. I have to once again let go of that control.

So what do I want to do in this brand new year ….. a brand new chapter in the book of life. I definitely need to get healthy and get back to an exercise program. Since I quite last year with my depression and then covid – well, I have been a slug! I also want to take the writing more seriously even if it is just for me or a memoir for the family. I want to get back into the big book of AA and up my program. I feel I have been somewhat complacent as of late. I overall want to be a good person with gratitude, humility and hope. Those I think are my goals for 2021 …. I won’t call them New Year’s Resolutions, but I guess they kinda are.

Even with the “New Normal” of 2020 I have found much gratitude in the small stuff. So many things looked different last year than what we expected especially with Kirsten’s graduation from college, and all the virtual meetings and gatherings. But with pain and difficulty comes growth … I truly believe that. We have learned to deal with things we thought we would never have to deal with.

Life happens and we just have to accept it as it comes …. So here is to 2021 and all the adventures that await us. Now hopefully I don’t start out the year getting really sick with this stupid covid.

Insurance

Something in my medical or mental health records is coming back to haunt me. I am having some difficulty getting regular health insurance. We had COBRA for 18 mos when Steve went to self employed and in October it was time to move on. I keep getting denied for various reason. So I currently for the last couple of months have had sort half coverage. My family doctor and GI doctor both sent letters stating that the health issues they were originally concerned with are non issues. What does that leave – the mental and addiction issues.

I feel like my past is coming back to cause me trouble. Because I sought help for my addiction and mental health issues am I now considered a flawed person to risky to be insured ….. WTF. I got help, and proceeded to get better. I don’t understand the problem.

My insurance guy is looking in to what the underwriter is “afraid” of, in the meantime I wait. There is another insurance option, there is always a more expensive, not so great option. At this point that is what I a going to have to consider.

To say I am baffled is an understatement. I have worked hard to become healthy from addiction and better equipped to handle life. I guess this is my reward – Ugh!

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be honest with your doctors and have that past follow you into the future.

Stay tuned. It will be interesting to see what the actual problem with me is.

Crazy Days

Life is crazy and is getting crazier by the minute.

Moving is totally stressing me out. There just isn’t enough room or cabinet space for all our mountains of stuff. Sometimes I wonder why in the world we are doing this. I have to remember in the long run it will be good. I also wonder why do we have so much stuff still, when we got rid of so much. My whole body hurts, but we still have a lot to do before the movers come next week.

On a national level …. this election for President of the United States is a mess. So many different opinions and hatefulness for the other side. It is very disheartening. To have to board up your home and business because of the outcome of the election is so wrong. I really just don’t understand some people. I just hope that whoever ends up winning that there will be acceptance. You don’t have to agree, but we need to accept without going crazy mad. I have my opinion and a strong belief in that opinion and of course I hope my guy wins. Both of my girls are for the opposite and I have to let them have their own opinions. I am not going to hate or disown them as I have seen some do. I have heard it said if you vote for X, I don’t want anything to do with you …. what is that? I feel that this country is at a breaking point. Personally I hate confrontation, I just want everyone to be happy, joyous and free as we like to say in AA. All this violence and discord scares me.

Through all this my sobriety remains good. My sponsor just celebrated 30 years of being sober, which I can not fathom. A month from now I will have my 6 years. As far as my sponsees go, I am actively working with 3 women as of now. They all actually contact me and are working on the steps. So many have fallen by the wayside.

Well, I have to get back to the packing thing – the Tylenol has finally kicked in.

God Bless the USA!

Moving Along

My life is in disarray!

The house sold in 3 days. We had the condo we put money down on, but got freaked out that it might be too small for the duration. We looked at a house and put an offer in but we could not come to terms. Found another condo and its perfect for what we need … and that is where we will be resting out heads for the time being. It is a main level with a walk out lower level with a lot more space than the original condo. Only down side is we lost our money that we put down on the first condo – breach of contract. We are closing on the condo next Friday 10/30. It has been a whirlwind. Lots of anxiety and uncertainty.

My house is half packed up and half livable. We are doing a little bit every day – seems like we are always going for more boxes. We certainly have a lot of stuff and a lot to do! Movers are scheduled for 11/12 so we can get the condo ready and move some things ourselves.

In the midst of all we have going on, tonight we (Steve and I) are having dinner with my long lost friend. The one that I recently reconnected with over lunch and her husband. I am feeling a little anxious about this. We were a fun foursome and we loved to drink. They have no idea about my addiction problem and I don’t plan on telling them. The drinking situation could be tricky and I am not sure how I am going to react … I am sure there will be questions . A drink would help me relax in this situation – we all know though how that would end, so I am not even going there! I have been craving a drink lately, maybe it is all the anxiety, I am not sure. Better than a drink though, I think would be some Xanax. But that is not going to happen either. I still think I have that one Valium in my purse.

Best news is that Allie is coming home next week to see her childhood home one more time, to help us pack and just visit. I am really happy she is coming. It will be nice to have a full house for a few days.

And those who are wondering about the Whole30 Diet. I am totally off that bandwagon, but need to get back on some type of diet and exercise program – I have gone to the other extreme since the Whole30 thing. The key I know is moderation and food choices. With all the moving stress, I haven’t been doing it. But I gotta get my head in the game and just do it!

That is it ….. The Life and Times of Me.

Living Life on Life’s Terms

Life sure has gotten busy and interesting.

Most pressing in this thing called life is that I have to have a breast biopsy. I had a diagnostic mammogram that showed changes in a small area that they want a closer look at. It is so small I am amazed they detected it. Not looking forward to this procedure to say the least, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I go on Tuesday next week. What I am most concerned with is laying on my stomach for an hour + with my left breast hanging out. The nurse that scheduled this said I might need to talk to my Dr. about something for stress and anxiety for the procedure. My ears sure did perk up. Here is the possible chance for my favorite drug …. Xanax! You can be sure that I will call the Dr. tomorrow to see what they can do. As a side note I have taken Xanax as prescribed for procedures since my addiction issues. I am not going to lie, the idea of the possibility of getting to take Xanax excites me. I am a pill addict after all. Of course I will talk to my sponsor and do what I am supposed to do if the situation arises. My sponsor, Ann, has been through this and breast cancer so I know she is someone I can count on. She has already sweetly offered to go with me for the biopsy. I really don’t know what to think about this whole thing. I do think about the what ifs, but I also try to remember that it could be nothing. I also know that I can handle just about anything with my support system.

We have decided to put our current house on the market to sell. We have found some land nearby to build on, but it is going to be a long process. The development has not been started yet. We decided to strike while the housing market was hot and go ahead and list the house now. We have lived in this house for 19 years. Saying we have a lot of stuff is an understatement. Each day we have been busy getting this house in order. I think we have everything just about scheduled that needs to be done. We hope to be market ready in the next two weeks. Now if we could just get the painter to call us back we will be in good shape. It feels good to go through everything and purge. It has also been heartwarming to go down memory lane as we box things up. We have taken many trips to Goodwill and have ordered a dumpster to dispose of a lot of things. We are looking at buying a condo for the interim. It will be at least a year if not longer. I can’t believe we are actually doing this, we have been talking about it for a long while.

My writing course has started off well. I have gotten some great feedback. I feel like I am getting a little bit behind with all this house and health stuff. I really want to make sure I do this course right and get something out of it.

Last but not least the sponsees are keeping me busy. One went out on a drinking binge, but is now back at wanting to be sober. Thing is she doesn’t have “time” for meetings. Two of my girls are really working the program and I see them often. The other has been having some health issues so our step work was put on hold, but I think she is ready to get back to it. Then there is the lady who only reaches out every once in a blue moon, I have not idea how she is doing at the moment.

I definitely can’t say I am bored. Health, house, writing and recovery seems to be all I have time for. Sometimes I don’t know whether I am coming or going. All I can do is just take a deep breath and live the best life I can live ….. one day at a time.

Old Friend New

Way back in the 8th grade a new girl moved into my classroom and we became life long friends, until we weren’t.

Even though we went to different high schools we remained the best of friends. We went to the same college and joined the same sorority. We fought a lot like girls will do. Sometimes we would go weeks without speaking, but always made up, until we didn’t.

As young adults we hung out. We went on many vacations together before during and after kids. My husband and I are the godparents to all 3 of her girls, they are the godparents to mine. Our children are close in age and were the best of friends until things changed.

We worked in the same business for awhile and shared a lot of friends and activities.

We were always there for each other or as I look back, I was mostly there for her. I saw her through her postpartum depression. I was very close to her Mom and I was there when she was dying. I often kept my friends kids and cared for them as if they were my own. I really loved these people.

When I was really sick with my ulcerative colitis and surgery was looming, I was in dire straights. We had a big fight over something silly but supposedly all about me and that is when I had had enough. I needed a friend and she couldn’t be the person I needed. Our friendship became toxic and just like that we were no longer friends.

About 20 years went by.

We would occasionally run into each other around town, it was bound to happen when you have people, places and things in common. By a force greater than both of us we even ran into each other on the streets in Barcelona Spain. Talk about a strange coincidence. We would always be cordial, but there was nothing more. I kept holding on to that resentment.

As I look back, I am sad that I missed her kids, my godchildren, growing up. That we denied our girls their friendship. They are all young adults now.

This friend reached out to me years ago to get together for lunch to talk and catch up and at the time I was just not in a good place and could not handle it, so I did not do it. She reached out again last week and today we had lunch.

I was stressed a little about what may transpire, but it was actually a really nice 2 hour lunch. We talked about a lot of things; kids, families, common friends, sorority sisters old times and life in general. Of course we did not cover everything ….. as I am not sure where this reconnection is going. She has no idea what I have been through with my alcohol and pill addiction or my involvement in the recovery world. I don’t feel comfortable enough to share those secrets. But maybe they aren’t secrets. What about if there is a next time and we go out for drinks and dinner, then what? I know I am getting ahead of myself as we have made no plans for another get back together. It is the age old question on whether or not to disclose addiction issues.

She will never be my best friend again, but we don’t have to be enemies. Hopefully we can start anew and renew our friendship and move on from here. Her mom, I know is smiling from heaven she always was rooting for us.

Let’s just live and let live