Friday, November 2, 2012

Wherein I post about my weight... again...

I've noticed that Facebook is good for pithy comments and quick observations. But blogs are good for historical documentation. Over the years, when I've needed to look back at results, numbers, and other important touchstones, it's been either LJ or other blogs where I've been able to find the most accurate information. This time, it's about my weight. Like every other American woman, my weight is a pressing concern for me. I've made peace with the fact that I will never be Hollywood Thin. My body just won't have any of that. Much like my hair won't tolerate being dyed blonde. I will always have big hips, and I'm fine with that. I've accepted the fact that my Normal is in the 170-180 range. In 2004, I hit my low point of 168. I think I got back down there again for a couple of days in 2009. Trouble is, over the last couple of years, my weight has been slowly creeping upward. When I started the HealthKwest back in February, I was up to 195 pounds. I lost 10 pounds over those 2 months, but then I pretty much rebelled and gained all of it back, plus some. Yesterday, I went to the doctor, and the scale said 211. Yeah, no bueno. And in looking over my history, there's one pivotal thing that brought my weight up, and drove it down again during the low periods: Alcohol. When I got the gastric bypass in 2003, the surgeon told me that alcohol was off-limits for the first year after the surgery. And for that year, the pounds dropped off and stayed off. I started drinking again in October 2004, and the pounds started coming back on. In 2008, I realized that my intake was becoming a bit excessive, and I started going to AA meetings. I set a sobriety date, collected the colorful chips, and enjoyed 18 months of sobriety. I also went on Weight Watchers. Hence the second low point. And then, I relapsed. The good excuse I had was the death of Bert Pfeiffer. It's just an excuse, nothing really noble about it. But it was the start. On October 30, 2011, I realized that the relapse was becoming a problem. I even made a note of it on my phone - I had 628 days on the wagon prior to my relapse, and on that date, I'd had 636 days off the wagon. I decided to try sobriety again. That effort lasted exactly 8 days. For the next year, my sobriety came in sporadic 1-2 day stretches, which got further and further apart. The biggest stretch I had was 2 weeks - which was this past August, while I was in the hospital with a broken wrist. To my credit, I was stone sober when I fell and broke my arm. But I will admit that I spent those four days in the hospital wishing I could drown my boredom and pain in beer. By the time I got out of the hospital, the nurses had taught me how to get to sleep on my own again, and I made some good starts toward living sober. But then I went to a party over Labor Day weekend, and I sampled someone's drink. It was their own recipe, and they were very proud of it, so I had a sip. That was supposed to be all. But it wasn't. By the end of the night, I was drinking beers. Which brings us to today. Or, more accurately, the last three days. October 30, 2012, I had finished five consecutive days of Lots Of Drinking - all at home, by myself. Lots of beer, lots of wine. All during non-working hours. And I kept telling myself, "I'll get back on the wagon. I'll do it. Just not today." And I looked at that note on my phone. Same date, one year later. Yesterday, I went to my primary care doctor. Who also noticed the number on the scale. He mentioned it, and offered to let me use my broken arm as an excuse for not working out. Except I said, "Yeah, and I've also been drinking." "Is it a problem?" he said. "It's becoming one." I replied. And that was the first time I'd said it out loud to anyone. And it sparked a flood of emotion. Most people, when they hit bottom, have some sort of traumatic event. They get arrested for DWI, or they hurt their kids, or they lose a job. My bottom was stepping on a scale. I suppose that makes me the most shallow alcoholic in the world. But whatever gets me back on the wagon, huh?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Slumber Party

it's 2am on saturday night/sunday morning, and i find myself in the unenviable position of being the only one awake at a slumber party. ok, that's a bit of a misstatement for two reasons: first, as I can tell from the sounds of annoyed yowling, the cats are still awake. Second, this isn't so much a slumber party as a sleepover. It's not unusual for The Captain to sleep over - he's done so at least once per week for the last three years. What makes tonight different is that his daughter is asleep in the living room. At least, I hope she's asleep. I've been out into the main living space a few times, and she might be a light sleeper. I am hoping I didn't disturb her. Trouble is, her dad is a bit of a noisy sleeper, and with the Giant Arm. Cast of Doom to contend with, staying asleep is hard for me. Normally I'd go into the living room and watch tv and play Facebook games until I feel sleepy again. However, the addition of another person using the living room as a bedroom complicates that. Here's hoping that the combination of pain pills, otc sleep aids and beer kicks in soon. Otherwise, tomorrow at work will be less than fun,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Open Letter - to my Father, now over 2 years deceased

Dear Dad,

It's hard to believe that two years have passed since I got the phone call that changed my perspective on everything.  I was sitting in Mom's condo, just over a year since my own divorce was finalized, waiting for the final details on the purchase of my own place, when a strange number popped up on my caller ID, and I answered it.  It was a cousin I barely knew, who had found me on Facebook just a couple of months earlier, calling me because mine was the only number she *could* call, as mine was the only U.S. number.  And her news was that you had, suddenly, passed away.  Of a heart attack.  Which could have been prevented had the maintenance been kept up on your pacemaker.

My head was a flood of thoughts - how many years could you have lived if you'd bothered to keep up with the recommended maintenance?  How many years could you have lived without needing a pacemaker if you'd decided to take care of yourself instead of self-medicating through alcohol all through your younger years?  How many years did you live as a Dry Drunk - blocking out the conflict you had previously numbed with beer, without addressing the issues underneath?

And probably the hardest question for me... were any of these questions worth the relief I felt at knowing that, from that day on, I would never have to face receiving THAT phone call.  Not the phone call that says, "I'm sorry, your father has passed on," - no, the phone call that says, "I'm your father, and I want to be part of your life."

I don't know, even now, how I would handle that call.  And you've been in the grave over 2 years now.  I know, I was the only one of your biological children at the grave site - which is not to detract from my sisters in any way, but all three of them lived overseas, and the funeral was scheduled within hours of your passing, which meant that I - as the only one of us who still lived not only in the U.S., but within reasonable driving distance of his funeral - was obligated to make an appearance.  Especially since my employer was more than reasonable in allowing me time off to make the trip... But I'm still conflicted.  To this day, my sisters hold you in higher regard than I do.  Their picture of you is different than mine.

The twins remember you as this charismatic Other Daddy - the man who was there for them during their years of teenage rebellion, who allowed them to be Who They Were without judgement.  You weren't there for the long hard awkward years that they were rebelling against - you got the benefit of being The Escape Pod from their mum and dad.  With your younger wife and even younger family, you were the picture of liberal living in the early 80's.

Cat, your eldest, my sister, managed to mend her fences with you in the years after her first round of children were grown.  There were many areas of philosophy in which you disagreed, but she was able to bond with you as an adult.

Me... well, I carried decades of resentment with me to that gravesite.  My memories of Daddy are largely beer-stained, and tainted with years of self-medication for bipolar disorder, OCD, and hoarding.  None of which were treated when the Fit Hit The Shan, after my mother filed for divorce and told you to leave.  From what I can discern, you decided that alcohol was the root of your problems, both with me and Mom.  Which is admirable in its own right.  But it fails to address the issues of OCD, rage, and hoarding that existed long after sobriety was established.  From what I understand, you were sober until the day you died - or at least working The Program.  And you handled your sobriety almost as obsessively as your desire to gather and own Things.  To this day, I am convinced that your alcoholism was just a coping mechanism for other, deeper-seeded problems that you never even acknowledged existed, let alone sought treatment for.

But hey... I might be projecting.  What do I know?

I remember a Dad who spent most of his days drunk.  Who was so proud of the fact that he had functioned so long before the wheels finally fell off the bus, that he thought he was due accolades for holding it together that long.

I remember a Dad who resented being called out on his B.S.  And who called my mother a User for finding a way to make sure that his court-ordered child support payments came out of his retirement funds automatically.  Those payments kept me and my mother alive and off welfare through my high school graduation.

And I remember a Dad who talked a good game about helping me pay for college, but who contributed a grand total of $250 toward the cause, despite being court-ordered to help with that as well.  I left my first year of college further in debt than I wanted to consider, thinking Dad would help me foot the bill.  And it didn't happen.

So... yeah... when I got to my third year of college, having paid off the debt from my first year and spending a year in community college mending the damage to my GPA... It only made sense that I would decide that all I wanted for my 21st birthday was a divorce from my Dad... And that was the year that my name changed legally to that of my mother.

And somewhere in there, I decided that - no matter what - I would not repeat your mistakes.  I may not be able to commit that the person that I love when I'm 18 will be the same person I love when I'm 38 -- and really, WHO CAN?? -- but I would make damned sure that neither of us would be putting children through the pains of divorce.  I promised myself that I would never inflict on a child the burden of single motherhood.  And I would never do that to myself.

As a result, I'm almost 40 years old.  I live alone, save for two cats.  I've had one husband, but no children.  And I don't plan on having children of my own, even though my sisters have all had babies - and some of their children have had children.  I have become the crazy cat-lady aunt.  I'm not proud of it... but I'm glad that I haven't inflicted my crazy on another child.  In that regard, I have done my children a favor you could never do for yours.  OK, you gave me the gift of life.  But really - what is that life worth?  I'm alone.  I'm only useful to my friends as long as I am entertaining.  So far, that hasn't run out.  But who know how long that will hold?  In 30 years, I won't be nearly as bouncy and flexible as I am now.  And I won't have kids to begrudgingly memorialize my existence.

So... here's to you, Dad.  Despite all your faults, you saw the rules of The Game, and you played them well.  There will be people who are bound to you by blood who will never forget you.  And there are generations that will remember you fondly.  Me, I stood my ground.  I decided not to inflict your pain on anyone else.  So yeah - when my great-nieces and great-nephews are singing praise to your memory, I will be that random Facebook friend that they wonder why they added...

Fair?  No.  But that's the way it is.  I don't have to like the game to realize that it's rigged, and the only way to walk away with dignity is not to play.