Apparently You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!!!!


Alright.  For those of who how have the pleasure of knowing me personally, this will not be much of a surprise.  I am stubborn.  Immovable even sometimes.  Obstinate.  Maybe even difficult to live with (only 1% of the time, but true nonetheless).  I am opinionated AND I very clearly am not a huge fan of giving up things I enjoy.  Like a toddler who’s favourite toy has been taken, fits of tearfullness (dare I say a tantrum) would insue if forced to give up something I truly wanted.  That is why today I am doing what us nursing professionals call “self reflection.”  I’m not sure if this is a good or bad idea today.  Why?  Well, you see, yesterday was a bad day.  No. it wasn’t just a bad day.  It was a BAD day.  Horrendous actually.  Worst day I’ve had in quite a long time.  Let’s just say I wasn’t alone in this bad day scenario either, because let’s just face it….. I like to “share the wealth!”  For those of you wishing to determine if you want to read any further, let me lay it out for you.  The following post will be a few things…….

  1. 1.  a story of CRA induced stress
  2. 2.  a recounting of domestic friction.
  3. 3.  a public apology to my wonderful (if at times frustrating) husband-to-be
  4. 4.  an indication of just how effectively a habit can be changed
  5. 5.  the latest chapter in the journey to the “new me”

So, let’s start at the begining.  Yesterday I made a visit to my accountant, with Todd in tow.  This is not surprising, since this is tax season afterall, but…..  The visit was for a complicated matter, which has been outstanding for a significant amount of time.  This is not the arena in which to air this “dirty laundry” of mine, but let’s just say that the situation is significant enough to cause me some stress.  I mean, I am not currently having to worry about joining the cast of “Orange is the New Black” as the latest transgendered inmate by any stretch, but yes.  There.  Is.  Some.  Stress.  (Mostly due to a “perfect storm” of uncontrollable events, with a dash of disorganization on my part heightening the mess).  Now we’ve covered point 1……..

Following the meeting with the accountant there was a conversation that started in the parking lot….. before we even got in the vehicle for that drive home.  (You know that drive… the one where you are TRAPPED and have no way of avoiding the conversations which you REALLY aren’t ready or capable to deal with).  Yes, that’s where this “friction” started.  Let’s just shorten this part of the story to say that there was an episode, which became protracted due to traffic congestion and ended badly.  VERY BADLY, necessitating my very hasty exit from the vehicle the moment we arrived home, and a 2 km solo “walk.”  End of point 2.

This whole experience left me quite honestly, shaken, vulnerable, enraged and quite frankly on the very precipice of what could only be called “a major break.”  In the end there was some very direct conversation.  A few tears, and the need for some wine (which I could NOT have as we were about to drive into the city for dinner with friends).  That being said, I gathered my best game face, pulled on some very bright clothing (to distract from the look that I’m sure was on my face…. seems that it worked too.  I don’t think anyone was the wiser about the previous stresses……), and jumped into the car with Todd.  The top got dropped and we then headed to Toronto, enjoying the sun, the wind and the exhaust fumes as you can only do in a convertible in Toronto’s rush hour traffic!!!  (what the hell was I thinking?).  Ok, I have just realized that the point of this paragraph was SUPPOSEDLY to apologize.  So here goes…..  Todd (I know I have already done this in person) but I need you to know.  I am sorry that I can be so difficult to live with.  Thank you for deciding that you want to be my husband.  Thank you for NOT changing that decision yesterday.  Through earlier blog posts we have already determioned that I am an “ass hat.”  Yes sometimes I’m even an ass hat to you.  I cannot promise that it will never happen again.  But I will promise to always apologize the very first moment that I realize how stupid I’ve been.  Deal?  Point 3, covered.

Ok, now where were we?  Oh yes.  Changing habits……  Here I am.  Completely unhinged, taking this FRANTIC (and admittedly stupid) “speed walk” through the neighbourhood.  Trying to simultaneously put distance between myself and the perceived source of my soul crushing stress, which at the time was very difficult to determine….. I mean was it TODD that was the problem?  Was it the CRA?  Hell, was it ME?  And just how can you put distance between the three of us….me, myself and I?  It was a conundrum, a puzzle, and I was quite obviously FAILING to solve it.  I was angry and confused and hurt and not in control of ANYTHING.  I needed a DRINK.  I needed it RIGHT THEN.  But of course there was no outlet in my neighbourhood where I could buy alcohol at that precise moment.  What then was the next most comforting thing?  Was was my usual go to?  What would my pattern indicate I should reach for?  Well let’s be honest, when problems can’t be solved with alcohol CAFFEINE is always my next tool (yeah, I’ve never been a smoker, never will be…).  So COKE  I needed COKE STAT!!!  This is where I surprised myself.  In this completely unbalanced moment I walked into a gas station, went to a cooler, and grabbed a bottle, paid for it and left.  I put it to my lips and took the biggest mouthful I’ve ever taken, and suffered the most intense pain as I discovered that I was soooooooooo uptight that even my esophagus was in spasm and I could not effectively swallow the damn liquid!!!!  My chest felt like it was going to explode, my sinuses were burning intensely due to the reflux of acidic coke that would not follow the path to my stomach, I was practically frothing at the mouth.  Hunched over like a fool on the side of Kennedy road, looking like I had recently escaped from a “facility,” I had THE moment.  In my hand was NOT a regular Coca Cola.  It was a COKE ZERO!!!!!  I know that to many of you that’s not a big deal, it’s still a carbonated, caffeineated chemical laden beverage.  But, just wait a second…..  In a moment when I couldn’t even see staright or make sense of what was happening around me…..I AVOIDED CALORIES.  Somehow that very simple thought started the walk back to center for me, and I began to calm.  I had “controlled” something, I was going to be ok.  Hope was not lost.  With that I began to get control over the rest of the stuff that was bothering me.  Yeah  we still had to have a talk and get things out in the open, but it was that silly BLACK label on the bottle in my hand that gave me the initial reason to think that I COULD be in control.  I guess for once a coke zero saved the day!!!  (market THAT Coca Cola!).

So that is the story of the latest chapter in this  journey to a better me.  Dramatic, silly in many ways.  Funny (in retrospect only), but also brutally honest.

Thanks for being my therapist and listening…..

Duane

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