Be careful what you ask a customer…

I’m telling you.  Today has been a whirlwind of a day that I would rather not revisit.  However, when confronted with my caring, friendly and adorable neighborhood Starbucks barista’s observations of the following, I couldn’t fucking help myself.

I made my way to Target this evening in hopes of filling a prescription for my cat.  Yes, I said, CAT.  (You’ll understand as this blog continues.)  I walk in at nine minutes after seven.  Apparently, the pharmacy at Target closes at 7pm, on the dot.  Okay.

I make my way to the front of the store and stop by the Starbucks for some liquid gold and the adorable barista notices that I, “look stressed and like you’ve had a hard day”.  Well, if that was your less than subtle way of saying that I look like SHIT, you might want to rethink your career in customer service.  But, she is so sincere that I play along.  

“Oh, you have no idea.  My cat cut his tail off today.”  This warrants a look of wonderment but, at the same time, fear in continuing this conversation.  But, apparently her sick sense of curiosity got the best of her.

“Oh my GOD! How in the world did that happen?”  I proceed to see the humor in this so, I proceed to go into great detail about the vase falling and crashing… blood everywhere… tail hanging on by a single thread of kitten skin… (at this point, she is literally GREEN) 

“Hey, you asked.”  She just nods.  All the while, the line of other customers have stopped to listen to my tale of amputated cat tails and how the vet’s staff offered to let me have the remaining piece of tail to bring home.  I mean, if I wanted it, that is.  (I really pushed the envelope and told her how one of the girls even said that it was kind of “cute”, kind of like a “lucky rabbit’s foot keychain”)  

I have to admit, at this point, I am barely able to contain my excitement over completely rendering this poor child speechless.  So, for good measure… I quickly add, “It’s okay though.  I always wanted one of those tailless, Manx cats.  Have good night!”

And with that, I chose to not even point out that she neglected to add my quad shot into my drink.  The look on her face and the utter silence more than made up for that extra 75¢.




How in the hell did I manage to do this?

Years… 4

Months… 48

Weeks… 208

Days… 1,460

Hours… 35,040

Minutes… 2,102,400

Seconds… 126,144,000

(Yes, all those are approximate and yes, I had to use a calculator.)

Four years it’s been since I stepped through the doors of the emergency room at Balboa Hospital.  Four years since I was hooked up to IV’s that started a path to saving my life.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t easy.  Tears and pain.  Physical and mental.  Self hatred and hatred from family and friends.  Guilt and remorse, agony and a sense of defeat that I’m not sure that I can ever explain.

A husband and two little boys, lost and alone.  Not knowing what to do or where to go.  A wife and a mother, completely checked out and ready to let the depression and the alcohol take whatever breath might be left in her.  

Seven days in a hospital bed.  Then, twenty-two in Sharp Mesa Vista.  I remember trying to bargain with the doctor at Balboa.  Just let me get my husband and my boys settled into our new house and then, I PROMISE, I will check myself into the facility.  That would have never happened.  So, off I went.  

One week passed.  Getting stronger.  Hands not shaking as badly but, my stomach still churning and taking meds to sleep and combat my depression.  I had ballooned back up to over 300 pounds from not eating solid foods and drinking my calories.  But, this wasn’t all fat.  Oh no.  Water.  I was swollen.  Like a water balloon.  They have meds for that.  In one night, I lost 17 pounds of fluids.  

Two weeks down.  Opening up a little more in group sessions.  Realizing that there are people that have it so much worse than I did.  Models and grandmothers.  Lawyers and doctors.  Shaking has all but stopped and I can finally stomach solid foods.

Three weeks down.  I don’t look or feel like the same person.  Maybe I CAN do this.  I remember standing in front of the soda machines, thinking about when Watson would pick me up to go home how we could stop at TGI Friday’s and have a drink.  STOP.  

Home.  This is harder than I thought.  I want to drink.  I want to be normal.  Normal people can drink.  Can’t they?  

One month.  No drink.  You go, girl!

Two months. No drink.  Getting there.

Six months.  Almost drank.  Not throwing this away.

Year two.  Look what I have accomplished!  And to those that said I couldn’t do it??? I survived sitting on a beach in Hawaii and didn’t touch one fruity tropical drink!  I got this!

Year three.  Here comes another little man!  Still sober!

Year FOUR!  I can’t believe it.  How in the hell did I do this?  Why am I the lucky one that has been able to put down that bottle and to not look back?  

Has this been hard?  At time, the hardest thing that I ever have done.  Has it been worth it?  Every time I look at my boys and make a new memory or laugh at something that my husband says and know that he was there and stayed.  Stayed when he could have just walked away so easily.  Has it been worth it?

How could it not be?