My Lanai and It’s Dirty Secrets



So, I am upon another anniversary season. One year ago, my Leroy got sick and went to kitty heaven, but that is very sad. Two years ago, I relapsed over CM at 11 months sober, but I am so bored with that. Three years ago, I surrendered to the bitch and joined CK. I could have sworn I wrote about those final days of drinking but even with some determined digging in SK, I couldn’t find anything. Broadening the dig however, I found some misc. files that I hastily sent myself from work before I got canned, and found some clever Slushkitty drafts, and I found the blog I started! Woot woot!


They say the more things change the more they stay the same. I’m still coming to terms with a lot of the same stuff I was last year. The entry I started writing about that last fateful year began with me announcing that it was the first blog I was writing without a cigarette. Then I went off on some tangent about “Judging Amy” and guess I never finished writing it. Did you know that the little girl who plays Amy’s daughter Lauren did in fact age? BBFITW and I thought she had progeria, that premature aging disease, because after eight seasons she was still in first grade… or so thought this drunk and that pot-head. And come to think of it, if she actually had progeria, the opposite would have happened to her… right? She’d look like she should have been in Shady Pines (“Golden Girls” reference #1), and not in first grade. What was I talking about? Oh, yes. So I never finished the blog and I started smoking again in the meantime – good thing I never made the announcement that I quit smoking. And alas, here I am today, mumbling under my breath, rather than announcing, that this might be the last blog I write with a cigarette. But hopefully and with some help, the more things stay the same, the more they’ll change this time.


My parade route to destination CK was a long and très tragique one, and there were many red flags along the way that I pretended not to see. I described these red flags in an earlier post – and I’m repeating now because it’s funny – as ticker tape in my One Woman Parade of Crazy. In the same way that my hundreds of Mrs.-Jones-she’s-a-nut–she-snubbed-me seemingly inconsequential but wicked resentments snowballed into that monster that’s been in the way of my happiness and Love for the past 42 years, the seemingly relatively non-dramatic and inconsequential but humiliating pickles I found myself in during the last few months of my drinking most certainly snowballed me, a bloody pulp, into CK.


Snowballs! The winter of 2010-2011 yielded Boston 81” of snow, which is about double the average. (This year we’ve gotten 57.1” so I don’t know why everyone is complaining! This is kids’ stuff! Toughen up!). I lived, and still live, on the top floor of my house and have a lanai (“Golden Girls” reference #2) off the living room. Having the same recycling dilemma as every single CK I know, occasionally I’d sneak some bottles out on trash night and stick them in the neighbors’ recycling bin, but more often than not, I’d just put them on the lanai and hope they’d go away. Having 81” of snow that winter made that almost possible – the snow would just blanket the bottle cemetery. Out of sight, out of mind! …until April… when the snow melted.


My landlord “Dizzy” is straight out of Central Casting – an authentic middle-aged townie from the Charlestown projects. And his voice! That voice! Think of a really really really loud Harvey Fierstein with a potty-mouth, a Boston accent, and some boundary issues. Early that April 2011, Dizzy unannounced climbed up a ladder to my lanai to clear out the gutters, and to his – and my! – horror discovered all my bottles. “What the fuck is this?! I mean, I don’t care what you do, do whatever you fuckin’ want, but these are gunna staht to smell! You need some help getting’ rid of ‘em? I’ll help.. I’ll…..” NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Mor-ti-fied, The Prince of Hell and I bagged them up later that day or the next and took them to the recycling bottle return machine thingies at Liquor Land.. and naturally used the $10 towards an 18-pack of Miller Light cans. This is where my drinking took me: 18-packs of Miller Light cans. *Shudder*. Around that same time, Dizzy’s wife “Tishy” – also out of Central Casting – had to come up to my apartment because the stove was broken. Tishy, unlike Dizzy, gave me fair notice. At this point, the Prince of Hell was basically living with me because he wasn’t working (long, obnoxious story behind that) so his cable and Internet were turned off, and I was bringing him meatball subs every night and putting quarters in his meter. Yes, my drinking took me there, too. So, I was walking into my apartment at the same time Tishy and the repairman were leaving. I walked into my living room and there was the Prince of Hell, on my couch, waiting for his meatball sub, all gross in nothing but his boxers, watching TV, every surface of my house covered with our beer bottles and cans. Mor-ti-fied. I was speechless. If absolutely nothing else, he couldn’t have at least put on pants?? Apoplectic, I walked away, as he yelled after me, not entirely unlike Dizzy,  “What? What do you care? You’re paying rent. You can do whatever the fuck you want. They can’t say anything. What’s your problem…” I walked into my room, texted Bed, asked him to take me to a meeting, and the rest, as they say, is history.


Cut to: this winter and the 81” of snow. I don’t smoke in my apartment anymore. And having been snowed in and unable to open the back door, I stand at said back door, blow the smoke outside, and yes, throw my butts on the lanai. Give me a break – I am captain of this ship called Living Alone and have been for a very long time. I can do whatever the fuck I want – walk around naked, not pick up after myself, and generally just be gross – but I had every intention of picking up the butts, and I always do. One day about a month or so ago, I unfortunately did not pick them up fast enough. Dizzy called one morning when I was already out and about, and said he had to come over to fuckin’ shovel the fuckin’ snow. I panicked and asked him if he could wait an hour until I got home. He said sure, sure, no fuckin’ problem. I bolted home, and discovered to my horror, little gobs of slush and wet footprints up my stairs – there were strangers shoveling my lanai! All bitchy, I asked, “Did Dizzy not tell you that I asked if he could wait until I got home?” to which they replied, “No – Dizzy let us in – how the fuck else would we be able to get into your place?” to which I replied “Oh, I’m sorry I’m sorry – you’re right – I’m sorry – I just asked.. um.. yeah so.. I’m just worried about… the cats?”. Dizzy called me later and unapologetically said he had to get up there right away (liar!) because it was a hazard (liar! He slipped and said the guys were on the clock) and he doesn’t care what the fuck I do, and to do whatever I fuckin’ want, and was I mad because he saw the cigarette butts? Mor-ti-fied. I told him.. um.. that I was.. you know… just worried about… the cats?


I’m going to accept this mortification with the cigarette butts as the last, or at least one of the last, heave-hos to get me to quit smoking for good, like the beer bottles and cans did three years ago. My doctor has me on the nicotine lozenges (which are covered by Masshealth!) AND the patch (which is also covered by Masshealth!), but made the unfortunate admission that I can also smoke while on the patch. So I am of course. But unlike three years ago, now I am actually a little worried about my heart exploding and/or having a stroke. The Time has Come. I can do whatever the fuck I want, and what I want is to fuckin’ quit smoking! And I think that I have some family and friends in my life who actually do care what the fuck I do and want me to quit, too. And to you I say, thank you for being a friend. (“Golden Girls” reference #3).


P.S. If anyone else would like to quit, let me know. Maybe we can buddy up and quit together! And then get our teeth whitened together! And smell better together! And have more money together! And have more energy together! And live longer together! And etc, etc, etc…!


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