03 May 2008

It's About Time...And A No-Nonsense Celebrity Endoresement...

...for a quick update!

Spring is in full bloom here on the coast - and I couldn't be happier. We are gently sliding into my favorite of all seasons - hot, humid, bright, shiny SUMMER! Yeah, baby!

Next week will be a busy one.


Check out this video: Beware: Celebrity Endorsement

OK, so I love Tom Hanks. I thought this was a very respectable, no frills, well-done endorsement that nearly slid beneath the radar. North Carolina's Primary is this Tuesday, 6 May, and it will be interesting, to say the least, to see how the two democratic candidates fare in this southern state that I call home. I have my own preferences on how I would like to see things shake out and I am cautiously optimistic, but in this primary season that has proven to have more twists and turns than a mountain road in West Virginia, nothing is a sure thing. I'll be glued to MSNBC this Tuesday Evening and will probably be engaged in swapping text-messages with my daughter as she watches from her home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I'm sure we'll have more than our usual lunch-hour catch up call. I even have dinner decided for that night - I'm going to stop on my way home from work and order a mansion salad with blackened mahi-mahi and two servings of blue-cheese vinaigrette dressing to go. Of course, there will be coffee and probably a quart of jasmine iced tea to go along with it. Tuesday is already shaping up to be a real nail-biter.

But back to news closer to home...

On Wednesday, my son moves into his first apartment. I already miss him but, let's be realistic, it's only two miles away so hopefully it won't be TOO traumatic for me. As for Justin, he's way past excited.

We had a nice lunch today at Henry's and during the course of our meal, I acquiesced the love seat which currently sits in my office (at home) in exchange for his agreeing to take Sylvester and Princess with him to live in his new apartment. So not only will I be out of kids, but my cat population will be cut in half. I'll still have Magellan and Felix and, of course, my big, blond dog Cassie. And of course, with five aquariums, I'll have PLENTY of fish, however, Justin casually mentioned that an aquarium would make a nice housewarming gift. I think there was a hint in there somewhere.

On Friday, 9 May, I will drive to Fayetteville and collect my Manhattan-based daughter, KATIE! She's riding the rail (Amtrack) for a week-long visit. I have been put on notice not to arrive unless there is a LARGE, fresh sweet southern iced tea in the car. Since I don't like to live dangerously, the tea will be ready for her when she arrives. I just can't wait to see her! We're all excited!

How Katie can stand to be on a train for eight hours is beyond my comprehension. She loves "train people". She tells me they're a great group - all of them members of her "I hate flying" club. Nevermind that she could be in Wilmington, on a direct flight from La Guardia, in about an hour and thirty minutes and actually be sitting in our kitchen drinking FRESH iced tea in the time it takes that silly train to get from Penn Station to Philadelphia. I no longer even make a case for how the trip from the airport here in Wilmington is about fifteen minutes (even in Wilmington traffic!), and that the dull trip from Fayetteville to Wilmington is a whopping two hours of some of the dullest scenery I've ever been witness to. Factor in that Amtrack is rarely on time - she herself coined it quite colorfully, "A railroad of lies", due to it's inability to stay on schedule. That matters nothing to Miss Katie. As a card-carrying member of the "Infrequent Flyers Club", she only goes "wheels up" when there is no other alternative, as she will do later this summer when she and John fly to Paris for a week's vacation. But I guarantee you, if it were possible to ride a train through a tunnel beneath the Atlantic, Katie would be first in line for a ticket.

Of course, it doesn't really matter how she gets here or where I have to drive to collect her because, in the end, it's all about seeing Katie and having her in our midst for a glorious week. As I drive to Fayetteville Friday Afternoon, I will remind myself that the trip back to Wilmington will be far more interesting with her delightful and ascerbic company and I'm sure we'll sing to her iTunes, gossip, exchange news and views and, well, it doesn't get much better than that, so of course, I'll be right there in unlovely Fayetteville to meet her as she steps off that silly train and into my hug. Even with gas currently topping out at $3.60/gallon, she's more than worth a tank of liquid gold. You can bet everything you own that I'll be more than thrilled to be her chauffeur.

On Sunday, 11 May, Tim will be coming down and he will be able to see both kids at the same time in the same place! I guess it will be a family reunion of sorts. He will be staying at Justin's new apartment and Justin's excited to host his first house guest. I know both kids will enjoy catching up with their dad.

As for me, I have been working, working and WORKING and loving it. Sherry and I have been moving furniture, rearranging desks, hanging art and making the office feel more casual and down right beachy! Yes, it's still a drug and alcohol assessment office, but it feels more "fun" and while most of our clients are never happy to find themselves forced to consent to a clinical evaluation of their substance abuse, we really do try and make it as painless as possible. I'm lobbying for the addition of an aquarium to the waiting room. I think I'm wearing Sherry down (and plying her with chocolate) so it could happen.

I am happy to announce that I have health insurance! Thanks to Vicki, who patiently steered me toward the best choice, I can now afford to get sick and/or injured, but she advised against it. Even with health insurance, she felt it's still best never to have to make use of it and, quite frankly, I have to agree with her. But I do have to tell you, it's one less thing to worry about at night right before I fall asleep - wondering how I'm going to afford some looming catastrophic illness without health insurance. I'm so blessed that David C. steered me to Vicki. She's been so fun and wonderful to visit with during our many conversations, and several sets of phone tag, that not only did I find a trustworthy broker, but I made a new friend in the process. Not a bad deal at all!

In other medical news, my mother is still in the midst of testing, evaluations and attending various appointments to determine the best course of action for her degenerating spine but, in between all of that, she still has managed to keep fresh iced tea at the ready and there's always wonderful food in the kitchen. I guess it's true that you just can't keep a good woman down. My mother is not only a good woman, but a dynamo. I hope it's genetic.

My father has been busy working on the lawn and the yard looks like velvet. He replaced a couple of sprinkler heads, with the assist from our wonderful neighbor Tom, and so now the sprinklers are back in action and spraying in the right direction, at the right time. I also have a pool specialist trying to find the source of the leak in our pool so hopefully it won't be too long before that problem is taken care of and I'm so ready for a nice long swim.

No luck yet on finding a nice sailboat that comes equipped with a knowledgeable, handsome captain, but hey, it's early in the season. I'm keeping my eyes open and you never know when the right boat might come along. I remain optimistic.

So that's what's been going on in our neck of the woods. I wish I could tell you that I had found the perfect man and been on a string of dazzling dates, but the truth is, my life has consisted of working and tinkering with my aquariums. I haven't even managed to do any real writing in the past few weeks. I have, however, found time to enjoy some fun lunches with friends, make some great AA meetings recently, and I always love meeting our clients.

Actually, I feel so blessed. For the first time in something like FOREVER, even at the end of a long day, I come out feeling so amazed I get to work with a wonderful woman who teaches me something new every single day, and there is this deep sense of peace because I truly do believe that the work we do means something. It's a sense of satisfaction I've never really known before, but for as painful as it often is to have to confront diseases of addiction, miracles can, and do, happen. Seeds are planted.

The clients I see after attending 20 or 40 hours of treatment are often vastly changed from the downcast folks who arrive in our office for their substance abuse assessment and prepare to attend, generally with much trepidation, their first class. Smiles appear and people share during our group sessions of positive changes and they report to us some of the early gifts that living sober can and does deliver. For many of these people, it is essentially a life or death proposition. No one is hopeless. Miracles are possible and probable if we stay the course. Love is a powerful force and in some form or fashion, this is illustrated to me every single day. What a gift. What an abundant, priceless gift.