January 2014

party3My failure to post last week was not because I was “nama-staying” at Quiet Whispers, Kind Thoughts Resort, a swearing rehabilitation facility in Mexico. Nor did I give up on Dry January and head to Cabo on a bender.

I was simply taking care of a few things on the home front; reorganizing the pantry to eradicate science projects, registering kids for sports, and cleaning my son’s room. I found him under mountains of debris, happily building Legos, his vital signs were normal.

I also attempted a world record for the longest service call to “Comcastic”. Two hours and seven helpful representatives later, I think I may have a spot in the Guinness Book.  I was trying to figure out why our cable bill each month is a king’s ransom.  The recording assured me, we are VIP customers.  I believe that means “Very Ignorant”,downton for continually paying insane bills without question or complaint.  It certainly didn’t advance me in the queue, or improve the quality of my customer service. It took a great deal of digging, sleuthing, and transferring to a variety of representatives, but I discovered that we are paying monthly fees on not one, but four decommissioned cable boxes, and an extra IP address.  A final transfer to the promotions department yielded a much better rate on our package of on-demand and cable channels. I was so excited that I invited the whole jing-bang lot of them over for tea and a Downton Abbey marathon.

For the record, Dry January is going great.  I have been a paragon of the temperance movement, and time is flying. Only 58 hours, 24 minutes, and 34 seconds to go.

french whiteI’m not talking about the weather or a dry martini. I’m talking booze-free, “detoxicating”, high-on-life January.  Believe it or not, this is my third year of dry January, and honestly, once I get through the D.T.s, I feel great.  Almost too great; no hangovers, high energy, less grumpy, skin glows, lose the spare tire, and maybe I’m even slightly smarter.

The first year I decided to try such a radical program was January of 2012.  I was coming off another Bacchanalian holiday season and was partied out.  I knew some of my pals were going off the sauce for January, and in spite of my January birthday, it really is the best time.  January is a time for new beginnings and resolve.  Let’s face it, there is always a party, or an excuse to party, so you just have to commit.  And by commit, I mean publicly state you are on the wagon. You have to be held accountable.  Most people are very supportive; some are dumbstruck with disbelief.  A few of my pals want nothing to do with me, but that’s okay. I get it. The thing is, I’m not one to count people’s drinks. Lord knows, I would hate it if people counted mine (not that most people could keep track, or even count that high).

The first year was definitely the hardest.  Particularly when the cocktail hour rolled around between 5 and 6 pm every night.  Wouldn’t a glass of wine be nice?  Read the next two sentences with a strong Pepe’ Le Pew accent: Maybe the rich and inviting texture of a Sancerre, with its lingering minerality and grapefruit flavors. Or perhaps a white Bordeaux with its complex richness, and refreshing herbaceousness.  Oh Hell, I’m thirsty! “Does anyone have some Blue Nun?”

This is the deal.  You just have to get through the first 4 or 5 days. My friend Em was on the same program, so we acted as one another’s sponsors.The texts began flying at cocktail hour every night:

Me: “I’m only half way through step one of twelve. I really need a refreshing beverage!”party 1

Em: “Be strong, you can do it! Grab a piece of chocolate and stuff it in your face”.

Me: “Technically, does wine count as an alcoholic beverage? Don’t the health benefits outweigh any adverse effects?”

Em: “Have a diet Coke and pop a Sudafed.”

Me: “Won’t I be hurting an already suffering economy by eliminating wine, the mainstay of my diet?”

Em: “You drink French whites; you’re not helping the GDP.”

Me: “Have you apologized to all the people you’ve offended over the years with your alcohol-fueled tirades?”

Em: “Have you made amends for all the embarrassing drunk dancing?” (This was before the wonderful term “Twerking” had entered our lexicon.)

Me: “No, but I think my drunk dancing is highly artistic. Quite frankly I’m surprised I haven’t been asked to be on Dancing with the Stars”

Fortunately, our support group of two helped me stay strong. By day five, I was totally over it.  I barely thought about wine, but I resolved to stay away from Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, my Mad Men addiction, and all imagery that glamorizes alcohol.

This year, I dare say, it wasn’t a big deal starting the program January 1. In the interest of full disclosure, I gave myself a dispensation for my birthday. No sense in being a darn fool about it…

xmas tree 002I was taking this photo of the skeletal remains of our once beautiful, 15 foot Christmas tree, when I realized I had not taken photos during the four weeks it was up, in full-branched, light-filled regalia. I made the mistake of making a joke about it, as I watched my daughter’s face fall. “You didn’t get a photo of the most beautiful tree we’ve ever had, but you’re taking one now?” Once again I found myself calculating the time and money for future psychiatrist’s visits for my children. “My mom was so psychotic; she preferred photos of the decimated, branchless Christmas tree to any family photos while it was decorated”.

Even more remarkable, this nap-taking, Elf-On-Shelf-despising, Grinch-of-a-mom, goes all out on the Christmas tree every year.  Our main room has very high ceilings. For reasons that I do not entirely understand, I am compelled to put up a very tall tree. Maybe it’s my own sense of Descartes Enlightenment, “I think therefore I am”.  “Tall ceiling, therefore, tall tree”. Okay, a bit of a stretch. It just is. All underachievers have some realm of achievement or we would never get out of bed. For lack of a photo in its full glory, you will just have to trust this truly was the tree of all trees. The Christmas tree that required delivery on a flat-bed truck, three trips to Five Corners Hardware for more and more LED lights to wrap painstakingly around every branch, and several extension cords. Not to mention risking life and limb on the top rung of a twelve-foot ladder for hours on end. So why no photos?  I just never got around to it.  But with lack of photographic evidence, memories have a way of making all things wonderful, sublime. This venerable Noble fir will grow, and grow, to twenty, thirty, perhaps fifty feet in our hearts, and idealized memories.  Sacrebleu! I just talked myself out of doing the giant Christmas tree next year. The indelible memory of Christmas past has already been planted.

© 2017 Napadaisical
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