Friday, March 27, 2009

Car Stuff Mostly

I slept with Wolfboy again last night. He elbowed me in the eye as he turned over, but he's not that big. It didn't hurt much.


We bought a car. I take some pride in being able to negotiate, given proper time and circumstances. Several things worked in our favor this time. For starters, we managed to turn our '98 Buick LeSabre into a $3000 down payment, and that helped. That thing was worth $500 maybe, and every time it went 100 yards I was thankful.

I'll spare you the whole story. We got an '07 Nissan Versa.

I don't have buyer's remorse, though I'm not particularly excited either. It's MOBB's car anyway. I'm happy for her.


Reading Whit's blog, I'm mighty doggone thankful, again, that the wreck wasn't worse. The suddenness of it all is what's really frightening. No time to react, no choice, nothing to do but stomp the brakes and hold on.


Ringo is currently chewing on a plastic hanger.

At least he's cute.


It's been another busy crazy, crazy busy week. I think about half of my friends are convinced I'm ignoring them, and the other half are just convinced I'm a jackass. I email them and get responses like "THERE you are!"

Driving to pick up THEGIRL last night, ostensibly to head up to Corinthe to buy a car, I got about a dozen texts from MOBB about the awful better biz bureau ranking the dealer we were about to see had. That was when texts from Whit about the wreck came in. Mix in a handful of random "What's up" stuff from friends and man, I just got overwhelmed.

We had a deal worked out to buy a used Civic for a great price from a Porsche dealership, but it fell through over a $500 fee.


Grubbs Nissan here in Bedford did right by us.


Baseball season starts a week from Monday.


Time to crash. Good night.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's What I Can Tell You

We thought, THOUGHT we knew where to look for a car, but discovered at the last minute that this place had an F rating with the Better Biz Bureau.

So we came home and had tilapia.


I worked the dealers against each other tonight, finally getting a deal from a place in Plano that made the place one city over shake their heads and surrender.


The place in Plano has no grade at all, but at least no F.


"Can I ask you a personal question?" asked my aunt.

Of course...


Friends ask me to counsel them, and I have to tell them no. "But I trust you!" they say.

I refer them out.

I refer out couples too.


I want to see a counselor. I want to talk about a few things.

I may just be the very worst type of client.


Being a counselor, by the way, is like having to be sober twice.


I'm in my comfortable pajama pants.


Wolfboy begs me to sleep with him, night after night. I often do. Tonight I will.


We have this big bag of oranges. Oranges? Tangerines? Clementines? Something. Small little orange fruits. Two of every three are sour, but that third one... wow.


I remember Brendon in the elevator, eating oranges out of a grocery bag before he even got back to his desk, big grin on his face: "Try one! They're SO sweet!"

He's in Uganda now.


"I am everywhere."


I genuinely like having Ringo around. We play. He gives me big belly laughs every day.


Whit wrecked his car. No... I gather some schmo darted out in front of him and wrecked it FOR him.

I'm glad the family is okay.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Decades ago I worked with this guy named Stephen. Tall, decent looking, ponytail, guitarist... He once told me that he thinks he feels the same way sober that most people feel while high.

I tried to get him to sell me some mushrooms, but we never got around to it.


I've got a whole lot of "friends" on here, though some aren't friends at all. Some are gyms or fighters or musicians or whomever.

One of those folks is a bigtime marijuana proponent, in spite of his accomplishments. Drives me nuts when he says stuff in his status like "I'm gonna smoke a bowl." I think I'm going to un-friend him.


Not that I never smoked grass. Last time: New Year's Eve, 1986.


But I've got a few "last" dates in my sordid history.

My last "last" date was in February of '04.

That's when THEGIRL was born. She's my little sobriety baby.


One of my friends has photos up right now, new ones, where she looks like she's doing shots.

Other friends have all of these drinking pictures.

I envy normal folks.


Your job, if you know someone in recovery, is to always keep a little disbelief in you. It's the best thing you can do for yourself and the addict you love.

Always, ALWAYS leave room for the possibility that they are not clean. Addicts are terrific liars. It's just part of it. It's self-disclosure. No I couldn't have told you the truth, and I'm hesitant to now even though you caught me red-handed... I couldn't admit how awful this is even to myself, so how could you expect me to admit it to you?

I've begun to realize lately that the longer I'm clean, the harder it is for me to lie. I guess I should be proud of that.


Once in a great while I get the question. A sleepy BB bears some resemblance to a stoned BB. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were on something."

Good. I mean... BAD. Bad to be the person who by all rights deserves this. But it's good to be questioned, because it means you care. And it's good that I'm telling the truth. Clean time becomes this precious thing after a while. The idea of blowing it becomes overwhelming.


My last drink was August 17, 1995. I stuck to the medicine cabinet for almost 9 years after that to get my thrills.

No one told me that I'd have drinking dreams after I gave up alcohol. No one told me about the dreams in which you casually toss a few back, then wake up with this horrible feeling: Dear God--I've wrecked it all, I've... wait... it was only a dream.

Ever had a dream in which you have some overpowering emotion, and it sticks with you the whole next day? This is also that type of dream.


I had that dream Saturday night. In the dream, I had a beer. It was no big deal.

I didn't wake up feeling bad about it. This is not foreshadowing, this is not drama. I just... knew it was a dream. I consider this to be an improvement.

No one can ever say they have this thing licked, okay, but I think I'm about as close as one can get. I just really don't think I could ever do it again.


At a Lutheran church many years ago, during communion I grabbed the wine instead of the juice. It was like having a siren go off in my head as soon as I tasted it. I calmly walked straight to the restroom, spat it in the sink, and washed out my mouth.


I'm going to be okay.

Happy Good Day

Okay, my dates were off... not sure what I called that last post "BELATED..."



Had a fine breakfast taco from the Fiesta this morning. Have I mentioned that I love it when Mexicans speak to me in Spanish first? It’s one of the perks of being just a little bit dark I guess. The server and I were on about equal footing language-wise. As I left, she said with a smile, “Happy good day!”


Ever watch batters getting ready to step into the batter’s box, as they take some practice swings? They often have this little weight called a “donut” on their bat. It gives resistance, prepares them for swinging hard. I guess the idea is that once the weight is off, the bat will feel lighter when they’re facing live pitching.

That’s what playing the Les Paul is like. It fights me. It resists me. I have to muscle it into sounding good, into giving me something. And if I go straight from the Les Paul to the Strat, the notes just fly out of my fingers.

I still want to put new pickups in the LP though.


We’re car shopping. From the back seat during a test drive the other day, Wolfboy asked, “Dad, what are these levers on the doors?”

“Son, this car doesn’t have power windows. Those are for rolling the windows up and down.”


My shoulder is very slowly getting better. But I walked out of session the other day and suddenly had bad pain in my knee. It lasted a few hours. As of yesterday afternoon, it felt great, like it had been miraculously cured.


Speaking of sessions, let me tell you that it’s absolutely great when clients start to get better. Do you realize that one of the main goals of counseling is to get fired? It’s a funny way of saying it I suppose, but yeah, we want clients to come in at some point and tell us that they’re done, because they don’t need us anymore.

And the client I saw last night is improving. This is an especially difficult case. There’s a lot of work to do yet, but it means the world to me that what we’ve been doing is helping.


The kids are in Corsicana this week, hanging with their grandparents. Do grandparents “hang”? I’ll pick them up Friday morning, and we’ll head to Willis, TX for our pseudo-camping trip. That is, we’ll be in a rent house by a lake. They consider this camping. Eh, who am I to burst their bubble?


So the house is mighty doggone quiet these days


The beard is coming back.


BB’s current therapy: “Poles Together” by Pugwash


My job requires a lot of travel, and I like that just fine. I’m headed to Glen Rose, Texas in a little while.


Happy good day, y’all.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Living, Dying, Surviving

Some concerned folks called my father today to ask him to check on his neighbor. The fact that the neighbor hadn’t put out his trash or let the dogs out was unusual.

Dad looked through the window and saw that the neighbor had died.

His passing was not unexpected, though Dad is sad nevertheless.

He was clear that this was not like the passing of his friend Mike a few years ago. That one devastated Dad. But Dad had always enjoyed his time with the neighbor, and will miss him.


Wolfboy was looking at a CD of mine tonight as we drove to the daycare to pick up THEGIRL. It’s the new Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.

He told me he wanted to hear the song “Survival Machine.”

I cued it up, then took a moment to explain to him that the song, as far as I can tell, is about forgiving Robert Oppenheimer. I went on to tell him what I could about the atomic bomb, and its terrible toll in Japan.

I explained that it’s the most powerful weapon ever used, and that the events of August, 1945 were so catastrophic that even though we have more powerful weapons today, we don’t use them.

The tears streamed down his face as he asked if the bombs had only killed soldiers, or if they’d killed families. He kept asking why we’d do something like that. I said that the USA felt like Japan did not intend to surrender, and that a demonstration of this nation’s ability to devastate them was the only way to force them to do so. He asked me why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and I told him what I could.

I also explained that, just like when he and his sister fight, there are two sides to every story, and that the Japanese certainly have their perspective on these events. I told him that one of my favorite people in the world is half-Japanese, and that those events had affected her family profoundly.

And as my boy sat there in the car, not caring in the least about the quarrels between nations, we hugged and cried about the people caught in the middle.


The lyrics:

“Survival Machine”

Oppenheimer’s refugees
The greatest minds that science could convene
Welcome home, hail to the chief
He swears his ends will justify your means

Now all you men of great renown
I need your smarts so gather ‘round
Right or wrong it’s our destiny

All I ask is that you try
You’d be saving so many lives
Go forth now invent our vaccine

Survival machine

Trinity in ‘45
The sum of all our fears now quite alive
So in the east a fireworks show
Just to prove at last that God does in fact take sides

A voice cheers through the telephone,
“Now I can bring our boys back home”
You just might have stopped World War Three

But this intellect can’t reconcile
How could our gifts become so vile
Come home lads you’ve set us all free

Bless survival machine

Late one lonely night my soul was given up to flight
A chance to see what happens when love gives way to self defense

Now don’t you worry
You are forgiven now

Come child take my hand
I’ll walk you through our ravaged land
You’ll breathe that fire into your lungs
And feel the heat of a thousand suns

Now don’t be sorry
You are forgiven now

Brothers, sisters pity me
I lost all sense of family
Was blinded by the victory signs
A hero’s welcome in my mind

We know you’re sorry
You are forgiven now