Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Island Paradise

It was Jim's birthday yesterday. He is now 46 years young. He had to work for about six hours yesterday but was home early enough in the afternoon that we were able to spend a nice and relaxing time together before having to go out for dinner. We were joining his parents at one of our city's nicer restaurants, Milestones, at half six to celebrate with them. This was our first time at this restaurant although his parents had been to the Toronto Milestones with his sister and her husband a few months ago. Surprisingly busy for a Monday evening - it was Lady's Night - we were none the less quite impressed with our whole experience. 

The decor was elegant and comfortable and our server was bloody fantastic. Definitely a bit on the pricey side but as Jim's Dad was looking after the bill, I didn't dwell too long. One of the Lady's Night specials was 4 Bellinis and 4 Appetizers for $40 so we started with this. Everything was divine though I was starting to feel rather full long before the main course even arrived. I ended up taking half my dinner home in a "doggy" bag after all as I ended up reaching a point where there was no way I could manage another bite.

We decided to take in a film after dinner but when we got to the theatres by our apartment, the next showing of The Dark Knight Rises wasn't for another 90 minutes which was too long to hang around waiting for it to start. By this time, we had all had too much to eat anyway and pretty much just wanted to get home to collapse on the sofa in front of the television! Jim and I told his folks that we would do this next week and would treat them for a change so I am pretty sure we'll be going to see it a week today, next Tuesday.

If all the excitement of celebrating Jim's birthday wasn't enough, we also just managed to put our deposit down with the travel agent to pay for a two week vacation that we'll be going on over Christmas with his folks and his sister and her husband. I am utterly over the moon with anticipation and honestly still have my head in the clouds. Except for two three day mini getaways last year, it has been an eternity since we have been on a proper vacation. Sad to say but it is coming up on near twenty years since our last one.

This one though will surely go a long way in making up for this I have to admit. We have booked a 10 day cruise of the Caribbean with Princess Cruises. We are taking what they call their Eastern Caribbean Voyager on the Emerald Princess which leaves roundtrip from Ft Lauderdale, Florida on December 27, 2012. I don't think I need to state the obvious when I say that this would not have been at all possible if we were both still using and in active addiction. Duh!

Following is the itinerary for our adventure:

                 Destination          Arrives     Departs

Day 1    Ft. Lauderdale       5:00 PM   
   Day 2    At Sea         
   Day 3    At Sea         
   Day 4    Antigua    8:00 AM    5:00 PM   
   Day 5    St. Lucia    8:00 AM    6:00 PM   
   Day 6    Barbados    7:00 AM    4:00 PM   
   Day 7    St. Kitts    10:00 AM    6:00 PM   
   Day 8    St. Thomas    7:00 AM    5:00 PM   
   Day 9    At Sea         
   Day 10    Princess Cays    9:00 AM    4:00 PM   
   Day 11    Ft. Lauderdale    7:00 AM      

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fool Me Once...


One of the problems of being an addict - one of the very many - is how vulnerable you can become when you are dope sick - that is, in the middle of withdrawal from opiates where your body starts attacking you in a multitude of horrible ways. Under any other circumstance, your thought and decision making process would act so very differently than it does during withdrawal. Being dope sick muddies and clouds your mind no matter how hard you try to overcome this. Things and circumstances that would normally shout out to you to go the other way or scream at you to ignore or whisper to you that if it looks to good to be true then...suddenly disappear from our arsenal of tools we use to get by in the world.

No matter how many times I berate myself over what just happened or scream at the top of my lungs or throw pillows til there are none to throw, nothing can change how much of an idiot I feel like for allowing myself to get taken advantage of by a near complete stranger for no other reason other than how much I've allowed myself to become because of how sick my addiction has made me. As loathsome as this addiction is, there is nothing worse than that feeling of desperation one often feels because of it all.

It was near dawn and I had spent most of the night in a restless sleep. Just before bed, I had made the mistake of recooking some old spoons because we were completely out of everything and wouldn't be able to change this situation until late the next morning at the earliest as we had to wait until approx 4am for Jim's pay to be direct deposited into our bank account. Usually you can manage to get just enough from the old spoons to help with the worst of withdrawal's side effects for a few hours and when you're feeling as bad as this any little bit of relief is more than welcome. I somehow managed to contaminate this shot and as a result within 45 mins I had managed to give myself cotton fever

Cotton fever can often feel worse than withdrawal from opiates though it lasts a relatively short time in comparison. Imagine the hottest and most humid day on record except you're not able to take advantage as your body feels like it has been immersed into a deep freeze it is that cold. More often than naught, there will be a bit of a fever but even if there isn't you won't be able to control your body from shivering nor from dripping sweat. Your head feels as if it has grown to be ten times its normal size with a headache to match and if this wasn't enough every single muscle and bone and in fact fiber in your body feels as if it is under attack. These are just a few of the most common side effects of cotton fever but I've found the few times I've gotten it that these are more than enough on their own!

This particular evening my cotton fever thankfully lasted just a bit more than two hours in total so I was greatly relieved. Problem is, it tends to leave your body in a much weakened state once it does disappear and the only way to get rid of it entirely is to sleep the remains of it off. I remember looking at the clock just before 1am and nothing else after this until Jim woke me up around quarter past five in the morning. Now, this time when I woke up I could feel no more side effects of the cotton fever though I definitely felt well and truly dope sick. Now as any junky will tell you, once an addict has managed to fall asleep, the last thing you should do is wake them up unless you've got a bloody amazing reason to do this!

I'd fallen asleep on the sofa and woke fairly quickly after hearing Jim's voice. He was not alone. He quickly explained that he had met this guy at the variety store where he had gone to grab smokes and money from the ATM a few minutes ago. Apparently this guy had lost his keys and was locked out of his apartment until 8 or 9am which was still a few hours away so Jim had invited him to wait at our apartment like the good Samaritan he is. This guy was barely in the door before he was bragging how much he could help me right now with whatever it was that I needed. Nothing at all was a problem and whatever it was that I wanted or needed would be here in no more than twenty minutes.

Right away, I should have been suspicious but any rational thought had quickly been lost to how dreadful my body was currently feeling. Every pore was screaming out for relief of any kind that I eagerly listened to his sales pitch. He certainly knew the various pain pills and their corresponding doses so was able to walk the talk with little effort. Once he had let me know what he could get, I told him what I wanted. I expected that I would give him the appropriate funds before him and Jim left to collect our order.

Now before they left him and Jim continued to carry on a conversation that they'd obviously started earlier though it didn't take me too long to follow along. This guy obviously did blow or crack and it didn't seem to matter how many times Jim attempted to tell him this was not something that we were interested in doing, he didn't seem to care. He kept saying the doing a hit would take the edge of my sickness etc until the pills showed up and wouldn't this be better. Well, yes, obviously this would take the edge off but normally it would never be one of my first, second or even third choices...

Surprise, surprise though. He had to go out to get this crack or blow as he didn't have it on him though he did make sure that he left us with the very distinct impression that he was only grabbing this crack at the same time he'd be grabbing those pills for me cause this guy he was going to see was some sort of one stop shopping kind of drug guy and two birds, one stone etc. Famous last words.

So off Jim and our new friend go jumping into a cab that I had just called for them. Honestly, they're gone no time at all, probably all of a half an hour. When they walk inside the apartment, I can tell by the look on Jim's face that I won't be happy. They're returning with no pills but $135 worth of crack that we have paid for though this guy is holding on to like its his and his alone. Colour me very confused. When I asked him about the pills, he dismissed me with a wave of his hands even after I persisted. I was quickly becoming pretty bitchy and argumentative and was fast losing my patience.

Sarcastically, I asked whether our money paid for this crack and the cab fares. Jim said that it was all of our money and none of his. He started to get self righteous with me saying that I was the one who had said that a hit or two would definitely help by taking the edge off of my dope sickness so why was I so bloody upset.  I also tried to remind him that we had also told him that we were not looking for crack or cocaine and had had no intention of actively going after this and that the only reason we gave him any money at all was that we were supposed to be getting pills at the same time he was getting this. He was very possessive of this bloody crack and no amount of me attempting to explain why I found this whole situation offensive seemed to have any affect. He kept insisting that as soon as I did a few hits I would feel better and that he would be on his way shortly to grab those pills  he had promised. As I could see the direction this was taking, I decided that there was little that we could do except ensure that we got our moneys worth out of this crack we had just paid for.

Shockingly once it was all gone, he was ready to book also and I guess I could not really blame him either. Just as suddenly, he could not find anyone that might have the pills that we needed. Excuse after excuse after excuse followed. I demanded money for the crack that he had smoked but had been bought with our dime as well as money back for the cost of the cabs but nothing. I was not prepared to back down. He said that there was one place he could go to grab pills and of course, he would be using his money to pay for them. Another cabbed called and another crack of dawn trip made with  the guys returning in short order. When they return he hands me a bunch of pills wrapped up in some clear plastic wrap. Once opened I see that they are all garbage and of absolute no use to us. It is as if someone had gone into their medicine cabinet and grabbed whatever over the counter meds were lying around in there.

When I tell him that I don't want them he says that he has to return them to his guy exactly as he got them in order to get the money back. What money, or more appropriately whose money,  did he need to get back? Of course, we had to spend an additional $60 plus the cost of the cab fares for all of this. When I demanded that he pay me the money that he owes us he starts to get all indignant and self righteous like he is the wronged party. I tell him to get out of my apartment and to stop saying that you're going to pay for this or that or whatever else cause I no longer cared. I called him a liar as well as a long list of other colourful not to mention pejorative names. He kept saying more of the same sort of crap that he'd bee spouting for the past hour now, but I did my best to ignore it. He said that I was lucky that he didn't trash my place for the names I was calling but he wouldn't do this as he wasn't going to disrespect me - whatever this means. He challenged me to call the police to charge him with stealing $200 from us as well. finally, he left.

Right now I am angry, upset and frustrated for a number of reasons though mostly I am mad at myself for not putting a stop to this whole fiasco before it even had a chance to start. The writing had been clearly on the wall but I choose to ignore it on the off chance that this one time this guy was actually on the level and could be trusted. When you are dope sick you want to  believe so very badly that this person will actually turn out to be better than advertised and is not simply taking advantage of a situation that has practically been handed to them on a silver platter. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Gitsi Goo | A Tribute

On Monday morning at 5:44am Eastern Time, I lost one of my dearest companions, my cat Goo. She was only five years and three months old which seems so very young to die. I had always imagined that I would have a decade plus or more with her so to be robbed of this so suddenly  has left me heartbroken and sadder than I ever could have imagined. I knew just how lucky I was and just how very special she was but I never imagined that this would be put to the test quite so soon. Until Goo, I never understood why or how people could become so attached to a pet. I had never before experienced it for myself so I was completely unable to relate. After the last three days of crying near non-stop, I can relate all to well. The hole she has left with her death seems so vast that it will never be able to be filled again.

This entry can never begin to really do her justice properly but I am hoping that it at least attempts to honour her the way she deserved to be honoured. Her death would be a tragedy regardless of when it occurred, but I think that because it happened so very unexpectedly and suddenly as well as while she was still so very young, that it has hit that much harder. If I hadn't had gotten up so uncharacteristically early Monday morning, I may also have missed it, but as my brother and his family were arriving from Nova Scotia I wanted to make sure everything was ready. 

Goo had just used her litter box when she followed me out into the living room. I had my back to her as I reached for a pile of clean laundry that I had planned on ironing and it was while I was doing this that I heard an unusually sounding thud from behind. When I turned around, I saw Goo lying on her side where I knew she had fallen. Something about the whole image just seemed so very wrong so I reached down quickly to touch and shake her, calling her name the entire time. No response so I rushed down the hall calling Jim to come quickly as there was something wrong with Goo. Even as I said these words and then answered his question of what I meant, deep down I knew that she was already gone. When I had touched her, even though her eyes were wide open, there had been nothing behind them.

I still let Jim try to rouse her as he kept calling her name and shaking her gently but I knew that nothing was going to happen. She was so completely gone and gone so bloody suddenly. In hindsight I suspect she was gone even before she touched the floor when I heard that thumping noise. I guess I can find some solace in the fact that she couldn't have really been aware of what was happening so hopefully her pain was minimal if any. Outwardly there were no signs of duress - no frothing at the mouth nor nothing leaking or bleeding from her eyes, ears, mouth etc. Nothing unusual on her little paddies or paws or anywhere on her body. Until I heard her fall over, she had been acting completely normal betraying nothing of what was about to come. Her death is an utter and complete mystery to both Jim and I and will remain so as we choose not to take her to the vet for a kitty autopsy or its equivalent.

I've now spent the past three days, crying near nonstop. I miss her every second that she's not here and have yet to really accept that I will no longer get to see her ever again. She'll never again snuggle on my chest, throwing her head back to rest on my chin while I watch television. She'll never again sit in front of me patiently waiting for me to break a bit of a Tim Horton's muffin off for her for her treat. She'll never again flounce unceremoniously into my lap stretching herself out on her back, waiting for her tummy to be rubbed. I'll never again hear her meow upon wakening for me after she has wandered into an open closet whose door suddenly  gets closed before anyone hast noticed how comfortable Goo has gotten and then gone and  fallen asleep somewhere in there. So many memories...


About six and a half years ago, my daughter's boyfriend at the time approached Jim and I to ask us permission about something. He wanted to give Sara a female cat about a year old that did not have the most ideal living situation. I don't think that this cat was overtly abused but she definitely needed a more loving and attentive home than her current one. Aside from the fact that we were impressed with  his overt politeness and obvious forethought, we also thought that this would be a good idea as Sara had recently lost her cat of eleven years and was really missing her company. This rather scrawny and somewhat skittish tabby was promptly named Christina Superstar after a character from one of Sara's favourite movies at the time, Party Monster.

From the start, this cat was a little peculiar but always friendly, and right from the start her and Sara bonded nicely. She didn't like loud noises of any kind and didn't particularly care for male voices nor did she react well to any sudden, unexpected movements - none of this has changed much other than tolerating familiar male voices now rather than none at all. About three months after Christina arriving, this same boyfriend shows up on our doorstep - literally - with this tiny, tiny black cat tucked under his coat. 

At the time, this kitten could just about fit into the palm of Jim's hand. It was the tiniest thing I'd ever seen. It certainly looked far too young to have been weened from its Mother, and in fact, Mike was pretty sure his Mother was gone as he had stumbled upon this little thing while he was cutting through the woods near his house on his way from school one wet and miserable day. This little ball of black fur was all by its lonesome in the box Mike found, obviously abandoned and left to die. He earned the name Boo Boo because his head seemed to big for his body and seemed to bauble all around whenever he moved.

I'm pretty sure we knew it was a male right from the start, and still we agreed to let the girls keep it as they promised that they would look after getting the cats fixed.  Our first mistake.

About a year later, Sara comes to us with her suspicions that Christina just might be pregnant, and, boy was she right! Somehow this scrawny, little thing that barely weighed 8 lbs soaking wet   managed to give birth to a litter of seven remarkably healthy offspring. Even more surprising was the sire who less than a year earlier barely looked as if he would even live. Ironically, he is now a majestic six year old tipping the scales at just over 16 lbs, so who knew...

From this litter, we were somehow conned into allowing the girls to keep two of the kittens. They choose the runt of the litter who just happened to be an all black male fairly resembling his Father. Their second choice was a tabby though a much lighter version of the Mother. The male was christened  Pootie Tang  after the 2001 movie of the same name though thankfully this was quickly shortened to Pootie. The female tabby was named after another character from Party Monster, Gitsi.

Gitsi became Gitsi Goo and finally just Goo. Goo was the most amazing cat in the world, at least to me. For whatever reason, pretty much right from the start she showed an affinity towards me. It wasn't long before everyone accepted that Goo was my cat, she had chosen me and I couldn't have felt any luckier or happier. She had quite the personality. When she was a kitten we used to call her Killer cause she was fearsome, afraid of nothing nor fearful of trying anything. She could jump the highest, the furthest, the fastest...Some of the places I'd find her would make me shake my head in wonder. How she'd ever even figure out the logistics was a mystery in itself.

She loved pastries of any kind, but most especially the muffins or cookies from Tim Horton's. I'd always break off a tiny piece for her to munch on whenever I had one. Heaven forbid if I ever forgot. She always knew whenever one of us walked in the door with Tim Horton's. One time, I had forgotten that I had put a paper-bag of their cookies into my purse where it had fallen to the bottom. When I walked in the door this time, I dropped my handbag in the middle of the living room floor and probably wandered off to use the bathroom. I was barely gone five minutes, but by the time I had returned she had managed to rummage through my purse in search of this long forgotten pastry delight and had dragged the paper bag out. She then proceeded to open said paper bag and grab one of the cookies inside. Before I had a chance to do anything, she had the whole thing in her mouth and was making a dash for it! Too late.  Caught and foiled. Drat! Even though she didn't get the entire cookie, I still made sure to share it with her. This was just one of the many things I loved about her.

Another thing that I am going to desperately miss will be how every morning if she wasn't on the bed with me already, the moment she heard my voice, she would race onto the bed to greet me for the day. Once I was up and about for the day, she would be my shadow every second that she wasn't sleeping. Wherever I went, she went. At night, if I lingered a little longer than normal in going to bed then she would patiently sit and wait for me all the while warming my side of the bed. Once I was in bed, she would settle down and snuggle beside me - always lying against my left side putting herself between me and the edge of the bed.

There are so many things that I could go on about this adorable little thing but the more I do, the more upset I am becoming. It is really hard right now. Jim used to say how her little face would come to life every time she heard my voice or how she would seem to listen to everything I said with rapt attention never seeming to notice anyone else in the room. I didn't think it possible to become so attached to a four legged furry little animal but I'm discovering that it is more than possible - it is devastatingly heartbreakingly possible. I am going to miss her so much. I still don't really believe that she is gone or at least I don't want to believe. 

MARCH 28, 2007 TO JULY 2, 2012