Monday, August 28, 2006

Negative Drug Test Result

Monday morning begins with trekking to City Plasma to learn the results of my blood work, and hopefully allow me to donate. I could really do with $25.00 today as well as being able to donate locally instead of spending five hours traveling to Suburb Plasma.

The dreary drizzle sets the tone for today’s news. Instead of cycling, I choose to walk it the half-hour in light rain. It gives me time to prepare myself for the bad news, which could be either they won’t let me donate because I’ve donated in less than a week at another plasma bank, or my blood work results indicate low protein levels. Needing the money, I can’t help but feel depressed. I haven’t heard from The Discount Store yet; I was hoping I’d hear good news by now.

Bertha W. called me for her eviction reminder. Oddly enough, she’d stopped calling daily since she learned of my recent job offers. It may be that that old witch as a conscience after all. However, after speaking with her, she’s convinced me that she will not sway when it comes to me leaving at the end of the month, just a few days away. My neighbor said he’d talk to her and try to convince her to change her mind, but she’s accepted money from the new tenet. I don’t think she’ll go back on her word. Frankly, I’m not ready to move out and live on the streets again.

Arriving at City Plasma, I sign in as normal, hoping that everything will go as normal. An hour later, I’m told that my protein levels are still slightly below normal. I’ve been sober for three weeks, so I take another test. This time, they say to come back in one week instead of two. This is very bad news.

I return home, get the mail, and I’ve got a letter from The Discount Store. Fearing bad news, I get settled in the apartment before opening the letter. The interviewer said that the store would not contact me directly if I was turned down, but rather the corporate office would do so, probably by letter. If I were accepted, the store would call me. So, I’ve been waiting for a positive local phone call, but fearing a Minneapolis letter or phone call.

Opening the letter, it reads:

RE: Negative Drug Test Result

That’s it, I’m buying a bottle and just get plastered. I read on...

The Discount Store has received information confirming that your recent drug test is negative.

That’s it, negative. Everything is showing up negative today. I might as well get drunk and call in sick to The Deli! I read on.

You have passed the drug test.

Oh, that’s right. Negative test results in medicine are positive news. Taking a deep breath, I go to fix lunch and prepare for work this afternoon.

Without Wax,

Without Dripping Wax

In celebration of the third week of sobriety, I've launched a new Weblog, Without Dripping Wax. It's an outlet for my more eccentric mind drippings, which has little or nothing to do with staying sober. Please check it out!

Thy will be done, not mine.

Without Wax,

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Darla’s Disappearance

Neon signs plugging beers and better times illuminate the only visible signs of life through the windows of the Hunan Garden, across the street from the 6th & Cedar bus stop in downtown Saint Paul. As the current transit station for our fair capitol city, I imagine a temptation for many a recovering alcoholic is inherent, since you can’t go anywhere in Saint Paul without traveling through this junction. FYI, it’s soon to be replace by the Smith Ave. Transit Station.

One evening, what seems like years ago, yet only months, I felt strong enough to venture into The Garden before heading back home to the halfway house. Armed with only a black trench coat, my copy of Angels & Demons (which I just learned, and expected, will become a movie in 2008 featuring Robert Langdon, our fearless symbologist from The Da Vinci Code.

Really craving the company of the bar atmosphere, I felt strong enough in my sobriety that I could sit with my book, reading glasses parked on my nose, studying the exotic lexicon Dan Brown is known for, sipping club soda. A fine young lady across the bar kept eyeing me while text messaging someone. Noticing her noticing me, I played with my eyes behind the glasses, always keeping attention on both her and the book. Something told me she’d come over, and she did, to sit next to me, but with two other men. I think it was an excuse to get closer.

We ended up talking, sharing text messages under the table as she smoozed the older gentleman buying her drinks. I bought her one strong drink as well, and wanted to buy more, but I was short on funds. The old guy (relatively) kept buying, so I just let it happen. At one point, I knew she was leaving with me; where to, I had no idea, since I lived in a halfway house, populated with men, where woman are tolerated, but not allowed to spend the evening.

Her passion shown through when at one point I was messaging her feet at the bar while she winced. It felt good to know that a beautiful young woman, such as Darla V., could be aroused by a man twice her age. It wasn’t until she got up to leave that I knew the wrong I’d promoted.

Darla stumbled. She had grabbed my hand when the other gentleman had left for the bathroom, looked at me and said, “Let’s get out of here.” Nodding my head, batting my blue eyes, I responded with a resounding, ‘Yes!’ But when she stumbled, I felt pangs of guilt for contributing to her intoxication. Being of sober mind and body, I switched to protector mode.

At this point, I knew enough about her that she admires strong older men. Being as sober as I’d ever been in my life, I knew I had to act quickly, yet subtly. I had to get her car keys. How does one meet a total stranger at a bar and convincer her in the short distance to her vehicle to relinquish her car keys so as to drive them home. Please remember that at this point, Darla has no idea that I’m sober. The bartender has been my ally all this time, serving me club sodas at first, then switching to cola when Darla drank rum & Cokes with me. Bartenders know and respect when a man wants not to drink at all, and will serve them for free most times.

My mind, being clearly present, went into overdrive. How do I get these keys away from her? I knew how: Use your charm. I simply explained that I didn’t want her to find any trouble this evening simply trying to get home. All I wanted was for us to leave downtown for a friendlier environment. I pulled out all the stops, things I normally would use to seduce a woman, but now I knew I was doing God’s work. The only agenda was for her not to drive home. I felt guilty, since I’d contributed to her intoxication, and even encouraged it. Now it was my turn to step up to the plate and make sure this fine young lady made it home safely tonight.

I got the keys! “Take care of my baby,” she begged. Since she lived in Hudson, WI, across the border, she didn’t want to go home. She gave me directions to a friend’s house not to far from downtown. Her directions, as I’ve learned from drunker days, have often led to a cop stop. Sure enough, it almost came to that. We were driving down Summit Ave. when she realized she didn’t know where she was and asked me to make a U-turn. I smelled, ‘drunk friend directions’, getting me pulled over. Just as this happened, a cop appears coming the opposite direction towards me just before I make an illegal U-turn. I stop in time to make it into a left turn, and the cop passes. Hiding my fear of being arrested for driving without a license, I turn to her and explain, “I know where you want to go. Let me take you there.”

We arrive at Robin’s house. There are many young people doing all kinds of recreational things. Actually, it was very tame, but I noticed that Darla was having a problem with pot smoke. Long story, short, she confessed to me later that she’d been through a six-month religious-based recovery program (probably Teen Challenge) for marijuana addiction.

It didn’t stick. She started lighting up trees faster than a forest fire. When she started rolling them in the apartment, I put my foot down! I told her, “This is my sober house! Can you imagine what would happen if a sober friend came over, found a pot seed, then relapsed? You never asked, and I never gave permission. Don’t bring that it in here.” Oh, my God, she was pissed. It was like she was told she can’t smoke weed in her own home.

Then I drank. It wasn’t long after this incident that I’d decided that I could have a drink and be normal, just like Darla said. Oh, God, I was buying into her belief: that she’s cured and so am I. All this time, my boss at the Pizza Joint is not calling me back for hours. Since he wanted me for morning openings, and Darla was working late night hours at bars, and crashing at my place, I started pushing the limits of sleep. Waking with a hangover was all so familiar, but being sober for seven months, I’ve learned that the body and mind play a cruel game of cat and mouse in the waking hours. It begs the question every morning, ‘Are you really sober?’

This feeling, like many others of my brothers can attest to, basically sucks! I mean, it’s bad enough to have using dreams, but to wake completely sober and feel hung over is just a cruel way of saying, “You’re never going to be normal again, ever.” I get it. I also get that my friends, family, and former lovers, will also never accept me as normal ever again.

So, why not got to a bar where nobody knows you?

Okay, I laid down the ground rules, then broke them. .
Then I lost my job, not for drinking, just hours dropped off.

She started spending more time here, sleeping mostly. The pot took all of her energy out of her. She just slept off of the time. My so-called sober house ended up being a flop-house for her. I catered to her, made her breakfast, lunch, wonderful dinners. But there was always this one thing that was more important to her than anything else: weed. If she couldn’t find it, she’d get pissed. When she was high, she was never fully present. It ended up where she simply slept here, that’s all.

This screwed up my schedule, since I opened at the Pizza Joint. She’d get in at 3:00am, then snore all night long. She ended up so high that she couldn’t function in bed. Then, she’d get pissed that I wouldn’t let her roll her joints in my apartment.

It ended with a text message: “I’m being evicted.” She never replied. I always thought she was a taker, not a giver. My only regret is that I never taught her that it was so obvious.

As far as June W. is concerned, she will always be the ideal woman for me. However, it’s clear that she either doesn’t realize that, or feels so strong that she can get past her the love of her life. I don’t know what she wants in life. All I know, is that I’d love to spend the rest of my life with her.

There is one other issue: My ability to pass on the Wax family name to a male offspring. I can’t do that with June, since she’s had a hysterectomy. I didn’t mind when I married her, and I don’t mind now. But, one has to ask, “Am I supposed to pass on the Wax family name?” Three sisters, one boy. Two brothers, two girls. No Wax men to pass on the family name.

Am I supposed to find a young woman, and finally father a child? Is that what I’m supposed to do? I love children, and I’d love the opportunity; but, I don’t see his mother in my minds eye.

Some commenter asked me about asking my friend to be my sponsor. I have to say, I’m burnt out on sponsors; either that, or their burnt out on me. I’ll get back to you on that. The bottom line is that he as better is a sponsee brother than a sponsor.

How did she disappear? I simply told her, in a text message, that I was going to be evicted. She never called back. She’s a taker, not a giver. This was a life lesson.

Without Wax,

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's My Blog And I'll Play What I Want To

I have no idea why I like this video. Oh, that's right, I'm a read blooded American male.

I was in the midst of journaling a very depressing thought that occurred to me, until I came across this video and felt like sharing. It shook me out of my depression. Although the job prospects have been pouring in lately, I’m less than optimistic about my future.

I really won’t feel comfortable until I’m hired full-time at The Discount Store. The Service Station career path is tenuous at best. The Deli is going to be another Pizza Joint as far as fighting for hours every week. I need a predictable schedule. I don’t mind working extra shifts; I’m more worried about not depending on hours.

For example, I have three days until I work again at The Deli. I’ve got money in my pocket. The readers that comment on this blog know what’s next. If you do your algebra, money + free time = booze - lost time, the common denominator is a degraded morale. This is how it happened the first time when I was working at The Pizza Joint. I lost hours, had money, and decided to buy a bottle, my first. I thought, I’ll just sober up when they give me some hours. I liked wallowing in my self-pity so much that I never picked up the phone and asked for hours. Now I know you have to fight for hours at these food service jobs and be ready to work at the drop of a hat. You don’t have the luxury of a day or two to sober up.

Running on three hours sleep, I came home from Suburb Plasma, ate a big meal, and fell asleep. When I woke, I’d turned on the TV to discover Northfield’s being pelted by baseball-sized hail. The clock reads 8:14pm, past closing time for liquor stores. I felt sad instead of relieved. Remember last time you tried to drink between plasma donations? Yah, shut up. My protein levels dropped and I had to find another plasma donation facility.

Wednesday I had an interview with The Service Station way out in the suburbs. Although the store I applied at is walking distance from home, I have to trek all the way out to the ‘burbs for an interview. It took five hours of travel for a one-hour interview, but these are the things unemployed men do, especially when they don’t have a car. The bus route that takes me to the interview in the morning does not take me back until 4:00pm. So, I mapped out a return route that would involve some cycling until I got to a bus route that would take me back home.

I was asked the all too common question for a man of my age: “Are you looking for a manager position?” I am, after all old enough to know Doris Day before she was a virgin. Instead of shying away from these questions, I entertain them, as I did in this interview.

All went well during the interview. I’d parked my bicycle far enough away from the office so that my interviewer would have no idea I don’t have a car. There’s a service station adjacent to the office the interview is held in. When it was over, I jumped on my bike, pedaled off, then when I was far enough away I looked at my map. There was something wrong. From the bus map, it appears that the bus should’ve dropped me right in front of the office, but it turned the other direction. This threw off my sense of direction. Since I had to pee, I thought I’d return to the service station, get directions, and relieve myself. I got directions and found a line for the restroom. I thought of leaving my bike helmet on the bike so I don’t look geeky, but thought I wouldn’t have to wait long. Out of the restroom comes the gentleman I’d just interviewed with. He said, “Hi,” but then hung his head as he returned to his office. I could tell I’d just blown it. Corporate people like that don’t hire assistant managers who can’t manager their own lives enough to own a car. I don’t think he’ll be calling back.

Oddly enough, another manager from the same company called about the other Service Station I applied at. It turns out, although both these service stations with the same name are just a few blocks away, they’re not managed by the same company. If the other guy doesn’t call back, I might call this one. Again, the interview is out in the suburbs, only I have a feeling the bus route will be kinder. Another advantage is that this other service station is closer and in a nicer neighborhood.

The problem with The Discount Store’s background check is that it could take too long. If I’m hired by them before the end of the month, I might be able to convince my landlord not to evict me. It’s what I’m most worried about.

Well, it’s time to sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll call the Deli for hours on Friday and Saturday, big tipping days. I’ll also do some chores, like dishes and laundry.

Good night,

Without Wax,

Minneapolis Central Library

Minneapolis Central Library has got to be the most restrictive library in the entire Minnesota library system. I only have an hour before my bus transfer expires, so I thought I'd check out Dan Brown's
Deception Point, then update this blog. Well, they don't have that book. And I can only use the Internet for 30 minutes, as opposed to 60 minutes in Saint Paul. Since I'm short on time, I really didn't want to get into it with the clerk about why someone who lives in 'The Other' Twin City couldn't obtain a Minneapolis library card, nor use their existing one.

I have a Ramsey county library card, which I understand is the problem. I explained that Saint Paul is in Ramsey county, but he thinks for some reason I should have a Saint Paul library card. Whatever bureaucratic bullshit floats your boat. It's a shame that such a beautiful library should be wrapped in red tape.

60 minutes is not enough time to explore this facility. I'll have to come back another day and spend the entire day here.

Every exterior wall is glass. Most of it clear, but some are etched with snow and tree scenes. I just hope no one gets the idea to throw rocks.

Job hunting update info: A large service station franchise interviewed be yesterday. They asked if I'd like to be assistant manager full-time with benefits. They're going to call me back after a background check and make an offer. Then I'd go for training. There's a lot more about this company and the interview that I'll expand on when I return home.

Right now, I'm running on three hours sleep after working ten hours last night until 3:00am. Unfortunately, I only earned $9 in tips since a lot of co-workers were clocked in, even though most weren't really working. Therefore, our tips got split pretty poorly. It sucked, because when I called for work, the guy making the schedule said that a new hire called to cancel last night, so I took his shift. Then he comes in anyway for a bit and he gets a full share of the tips.

I'm in between transfers right now, coming back from donating plasma. I have money again, and the urge to drink is stronger once again. If I don't bug The Deli today, I won't work until Sunday. That's three days of drinking...YAH! No! I have to donate Saturday morning, else I won't get paid $30. Just a sip, I'm thinking. Stinking thinking is what it is. I'm tired and should just go home, put in some laundry, a good movie (maybe rented from the library), make soup, and crash.

Sounds like a plan.

Signing off!

Without Wax,

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two Jobs, One Week

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re just wanted? My simple interview turned into a four-person meeting. I spent so much time interviewing that I barely made it back home before my transfer expired. Arriving back at my apartment, I witness landlord Bertha W. arriving. Normally, I’d avoid her, but I’m on a mission.

I enter the apartment building right after her and surprisingly I don’t run into her. Tossing leftovers in the microwave, I jump on my computer and map out my next destination: drug screening. I’m not even there for more than a minute before she’s knocking on my door. “Hi. Come on in,” I respond.

“I’m not coming in there,” she insists.

Suit yourself, I think. Leaving the door open, I return to my computer, concentrating on choosing which of these drug-screening labs would be the quickest route. She predictably walks right in as if she owns the place...oh, that’s right, she does.

“I see you’ve made headway in packing up,” she says. Astonishingly civil today, I attribute it to the dress shirt and tie.

“You’ll have to excuse me. I just got a job offer from The Discount store and I now have to take a drug test,” I say.

“Well, I hope you’ll pass.”

“You know I will,” I persist.

“I don’t know. You still have to be out by the end of the month. I’ve given you enough chances.”

“I know,” I reply, not looking up from my screen. Thankfully, she leaves on that note, allowing me to concentrate on my trip planning. She seems much more courteous than in the recent past. It makes me think there may be a way to convince her to allow me to stay and pay back the back rent. But having to plan for all contingencies, I know better.

The Discount store offered me a full-time position, two days in the photo department, and three days on register. They want to give me more time in the photo department, but it’s not currently available. There’s also the matter that I have no actual photo department experience, but I convinced him that my experience building my own darkroom, high school and college darkroom experience, and my professional wedding photography experience convinced the interviewer that I was competent to do the job. I also expressed that I believe I could service the company well in the electronics department selling digital cameras. He was very receptive of these ideas. He asked me my rate of pay at The Deli and Pizza Joint, and he responded, “Oh, I think we can to better than that.” Far out, my smile expresses. He did show concern about my current employment at The Deli, but I assured him that this is the place I intended to work full-time and that The Deli hired me on the spot, meaning I worked the same day I was hired. I will gladly adjust my schedule to accommodate The Discount Store.

I have to wait a week for the background check before I can start working. The drug screening comes back in a few days. The interviewer asked me about the DWI I disclosed on the application. “What consequences became of your DWI? What have you learned from that mistake?” he asks.

“I learned that I’m through with drinking and I’ve been sober for nine months,” I fib. No need to discuss my latest relapse and its consequences. With corporate don’t-ask-don’t-tell attitude, he doesn’t dig deeper. Most people would ask if you’re in A.A., attending meetings, maybe even ask if you have a sponsor, but I’m glad he didn’t expand. I want to keep this interview positive.

After reviewing the possible schedule I’ve been asked to accommodate, I may have to drop most, if not all, of my hours at The Deli. No need to alert them until I’m officially hired. Working a normal first and second shift at The Discount instead of the third shift at The Deli solves another problem: where to sleep. By working only first and second shift, I can either sleep and eat at The Mission, or find shelter at a halfway house. Working third shift leaves me no bed.

My plan this morning was to sleep in, go to the interview, and visit The Pizza Joint to see if I can get my morning job back. Having spent most of the day dealing with this new job offer at The Discount, and running on only three hours sleep, I decide to buy something to treat myself, go home, and relax. I passed so many liquor stores, and with money in my pocket, I was tempted. However, I decide on Kung Pao Chicken. It wasn’t until arriving home that I discover my choice was poor. I don’t recommend the Tia restaurant at the corner of Selby and Dale. I ate this over-priced meal, the entire thing, and then fell fast asleep thinking of the one-liner; “Jeffrey Dahmer once ate an entire Chinese family and was hungry an hour later.”

Without Wax,

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Are These Men Sober?

Just for fun! Thank you MS FIT!

My feet hurt from working on them for over ten hours at the new Deli job (no pun intented). So, I'm going to let these guys do the foot work. But, I don't feel too bad. I earned nearly $30 in tips and brought home two sandwiches.

But I must sleep fast, since I've got six hours to sleep before having to prepare for my interview at the Discount store in the morning.

Good night.

Without Wax,

Two Weeks Sober

Deli Sandwich
Originally uploaded by ew4n.
Heading out this morning, into the chilly wind, the short bike ride to the bus stop did not prepare me for the day’s accomplishments. Starting the morning with a large meal and packing a large lunch, I examined my wallet to verify I had both bus fare and enough money, combined with today’s Suburb Plasma donation, to buy 500 minutes of pre-paid cell phone time, now down to only three.

Looking into my wallet, I can’t help but calculate how many 1.75 liter bottles of whiskey I could buy, and amazed that I’d lasted two days without buying at least one. Many A.A. people speak of the subconscious planning the next relapse. I remember not too long ago when I we never nervous about thinking of a drink; it just would never happen. Now, it’s on my mind constantly. It’s Saturday and the liquor stores are open, which later will play a role in the day’s events.

I’ve gotten so used to this bus route, that near the end, I looked up from my novel, examined the surroundings, then my watch, and feet we had gone astray. We’re not in the right place for this time. Placing the bookmark, I move to the front of the bus where I discover the on-going conversation with the driver and a rider iss actually a training session. “How late are we?” I ask the driver.

“We’re not late”, replies the student.

I explain my reason why we are, stating that we’re not even at the next checkpoint, and we’re ten minutes behind. Both driver and student are dumbfounded. Okay, whatever; I just have to book to my appointment. I arrive just on time.

Donation goes off without a hitch. Again, I look into my wallet: I’ve got $60.00, three bottles of whiskey. I’ve been waiting two weeks to recharge my cell phone. Without that phone, I can’t get a job, call A.A. for help, nor communicate effectively. Right now, all I’ve got is e-mail. When I’m homeless in a little over a week, I’ll have little opportunity for e-mail access. Scarfing down my lunch on the bus, I think of how to best to spend the rest of the day.

Back in Saint Paul, the first stop is Wal-Mart to purchase 500 minutes of cell phone time. They charge $48.67 for a $50 phone card, which comes to $52.08 after tax; the best deal in town. What’s left is just enough bus fare for Thursday’s donation. Come Saturday, I’ll be able to pay the gym bill, so I’ll have some place to shower and change. The Monday after that, I’m going to try to donate locally at City Plasma. If they suspect I’ve donated someplace else, they’ll defer me for a week. But, I have to try.

The rest of the day is devoted to job searching. I apply at a nation-wide discount store on location at their kiosk, since I’ve tried online and they don’t have Internet job applications. There’s even a Website devoted to complaining about this national discount chain’s lack of online job applications. It’s a good thing I was dress fairly well, because as soon as I completed their job application, I had an interview with the hiring staff. They are looking to hire immediately, and I’ve found that there’s an opening in a few weeks in the photo department; something I might be able to move into.

Sprinting home for a pit stop, I change shirts, and plan to hit the small local retail outlets for job applications. Rushing to avoid running into my landlord, since she called and left her daily mentally degrading voice mail, I know she’s on her way over. I quickly change shirts, and prepare to walk out whatever door she doesn’t knock on. This apartment, unlike most efficiency apartments, has a back door. She usually parks near the front, but today, she didn’t. I hear her rapping on the back door and I silently squeak out the front. I don’t want to deal with her crap today. I’m on a roll. I want to look for work with a good attitude.

Finding four small retail stores that are hiring within walking distance is a good sign that school’s back in session. An ice cream parlor is hiring. My old pizza job is looking for a morning cook, so I’ll stop by there tomorrow and speak with the manager again. The Deli next door is also hiring for 3rd shift; I’m told to fill out the application and come back at night to speak with the manager. And finally, the local liquor store is hiring. Okay, not the best choice, but I’d rather be selling it that drinking it. I’m told the hiring manager will be in early Monday morning.

Evening comes and I’m back at The Deli. It’s late at night and, to my surprise, they’re still open and full of activity. The late evening crowd is a little too jovial; I witness one man bitch-slap another, and you’d think a fight would break out. But it didn’t, so I guess he really is his bitch. Speaking with manager Ryan B., who’s a hard-working man, I discover that he’s looking to fill out his employee roster. He asks if I’m willing to work 40 hours, and I agree. It’s a little busy, but he takes the time to go over the schedule and finds several openings for me. “Can you work tomorrow night?” he asks.

“Sure can,” I reply. I’m given a W-4, the menu to study, and a firm handshake.

“I’ll give you an extra $20 just for memorizing the menu. See you tomorrow night.” I’m employed! With a mental check of my wallet, I’m tempted to purchase a sandwich to go, but that would deplete my bus fare. Not wanting to beg for one, I think of the tuna sandwich I can make at home. I’ll probably go home tomorrow night with a meal.

Closing my thoughts, I’ve staved off a liquor purchase, recharged my cell phone, started The Deli job at night, and possibly will be working at a large discount store next week. Now, if I can only convince my landlord to keep me on. Because there’s a conflict with my new job: I can’t sleep at The Mission at night if I’m to work at night.

I'm looking forward to my next A.A. meeting.

Update: The discount store called for an interview Monday morning!

Without Wax,

Friday, August 18, 2006

Suburb Plasma

When all else fails, punt. City Plasma doesn’t want to allow me to donate for over two weeks while they send out my blood to an outside lab for testing, fine. I found another plasma bank in the suburbs on the Internet. I researched their Website; found out everything I thought I needed to know to attempt donating at this plasma bank outside the capitol city limits. Only having 10 minutes left on my cell phone, I decided not to call for answers, since all they’d have to do is put me on hold and my phone would be useless. A pre-paid phone with no minutes disables voice mail. There were some unanswered questions, but then, aren’t there always?

Suburb Plasma is open Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sunday. My plan was to map the closest bus route at three one-hour intervals, leaving approximately at, 8:30am, 9:30am, and 10:30am. No matter how you slice it, it’s a three-bus, approximately 90-minute ride with a five to ten minute bike ride kicker.

University of Minnesota Alumni Building

The second bus leads me from the darkest parts of Saint Paul to the structurally blissful downtown Minneapolis. I’m dropped off on Nicollet Mall with a long wait for my last bus. I’m in awe of the way people are dressed, some stylish, others in business attire, still others in wild summer outfits. Everyone’s busy, talking, and happy. Yes, there are black people here, not as many as downtown Saint Paul, but they’re all wearing ties.

I hear dinging to my left. It’s the light rail, just yards away! This is the first time I’ve seen it in daytime. I rode it one night, but you really have to see it in the daytime. I have thirty minutes until my next bus; maybe I should ride it for a few minutes, then back. Well, maybe next time.

Originally uploaded by Peter Lemon.
To my right, I see the Federal Building with its parabolic inverse arch of windows. This building housed the Minneapolis Central Library between the time the original was torn down and the new one erected in its place, which is just down the street.
All of these changes in architecture were just starting when I used to work downtown as a Software Engineer. I’m really missing my digital camera now.

Halfway there, I realize I forgot to bring a postmarked utility bill for proof of address. Oh well, I’ll just use the ID I have from The House. Although it’s not my real address, who cares? In retrospect, I’m thinking: Are you stoned or stupid? Being sober, I don’t even want to entertain the alternative.

My bus arrives. After a short ten-minute bike ride, I arrive at Suburb Plasma. My first impression is, so plasma banks do actually look clinical. Suburb Plasma looks just like a regular doctors office you’d find at a clinic. City Plasma, on the other hand, looks more like a fast-food joint (i.e. White Castles). There were young healthy Caucasian looking donors in the waiting room instead of poorly dressed, malnutrition blacks or white-trash smoking outside waiting to be screened. The staff members treat you with respect and are very professional. At City Plasma, if you’re not being hit on by staff, it usually means their simply having a bad day. It’s very relaxed there. If there’s not a non-politically correct comment being floated every few minutes, it’s usually because they’re actually dealing with an emergency. I mean, you can say things in there that would get you fired or sued for sexual harassment in the corporate world. It’s really like a singles bar, only drawing plasma instead of pouring alcohol.

The only differences that really matter is that they don’t appear to have any qualms about accepting people living in treatment facilities. This is good, since my latest ID has the address of The House, which is a halfway house. That and they pay less: $20 + $30 for two donations per week compared to $25 + $35 at City Plasma. That’s $50 instead of $60 per week. Beggars can’t be choosers.

In the process of my initial mini-physical, it comes to mind that there’s going to be questions about the injection sites in my arms. I just won’t tell them about the low protein levels. They ask me how I got the injection sites and I tell them about City Plasma. They contact them and discover I’ve donated six days ago. I cannot donate until after seven days from donating at another facility. I go home empty handed.

After checking in, having passed the customary verbal and blood screening, I continue onto the initial mini-physical. No more than five minutes in the nurses office and I’ve misspoke. The nurse was asking why am I traveling all the way out to the suburbs to donate instead of donating at City Plasma. Not wanting to reveal that my quarterly blood screening came up low on protein, and eventually having to lie about having just recovered from binging, I said I was looking to move to the Minneapolis area and that “I spent the night there last night.” Why I lied about that, I do not know.

Well, this opened up a huge can of worms. “Where did you spend the night?”

After actually spending the night at home, I found myself recovering from this lie pretty poorly. Fumbling for another lie, thinking of Mark J.’s place, a recovery center that could easily pass for on office building or apartment, I gave the street name. Well, it turns out that although that street is named after an adjacent suburb, when it passes through Minneapolis, there’s nothing but recovery centers dotted along its path.

Why did I lie, why did I lie in the first place? I thought. She was about to permanently defer me when I convinced her to have her manager talk with me. After a lot of non-eye contact ass covering, we agreed that I would simply come back with proof of residence in the form of a utility bill postmarked less than 30 days ago.

Seeing that I’d traveled so far twice to donate, the manager paid me $20 for the effort, what I would normally be paid had I donated. That was very kind of him; something City Plasma would never do. They asked when I’d like to schedule the next visit, maybe Wednesday, but I opted for Thursday since I had job interviews that day. I’d planned on donating Tuesday and Thursday, the usual 48 hours apart.

On the ride home, I thought why this happened, why I lied in the first place, why I didn’t trust good people anymore. All I could come up with was that I was in such an untrusting mood after being hounded by my landlord, Bertha W., everyday. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but her constant daily borage of complaints, letting herself into the apartment without being welcomed, while I showering or sleeping, pounding on the door everyday asking for rent; it’s just got me in a paranoid mood.

Having thought long hard about making up bogus mail for a previous address, I came to the conclusion that this would be simply digging a bigger hole for myself. Suburb Plasma keeps calling to confirm the appointment and I simply let it go into voice mail since I’m now down to eight minutes on my cell phone. Answering their calls and actually talking to someone in a vain attempt to cover up with another lie was just as horrific as facing the truth. The manager said that if I lied about my address, than not only will I be permanently deferred, but that City Plasma will also be notified.

City Plasma does not have my current address either; they have June W.’s address. It was the only picture ID I had at the time. I still have it and considered using it, but Suburb Plasma states on their Website only a valid drivers license will be accepted. Since mine is clipped, I’m afraid that will lead to my DWI, alcoholism, and eventually deferment. That’s why I used the ID I had for The House. On their Website, they don’t disclose that if you’ve ever been to a treatment facility, you’d be exempt. Had they recognized the street address of The House on my ID, they would’ve deferred me.

Seriously tempted to simply take that $20 Suburb Plasma gave me, buy a huge bottle of whiskey, cancel my appointment and crawl into that bottle, I instead resolutely decided to purchase a $10 cell phone card and some grocery staples (milk, butter, bread, mayo, mac & cheese, etc.). I put off the $10 cell phone card a day. I went home, made some mac & cheese, sealed the windows and turned on the gas...well, made mac & cheese, my comfort food.

Heading out for my Suburb Plasma appointment with proof of my current address, decide to buy the $10 cell phone card, but the usual stores don’t have that denomination. With time running out, I head for the bus stop for my second bus (it take three buses to get there, but the second bus stop is not too far away). It happens that there’s a cell phone store at this bus stop that has a $10 cell phone card. I’m early and can catch the next bus, so I’ve got time. Should I buy the phone card, call Suburb Plasma, explain my situation, plead pure stupidity and mistrust, and ask if I would simply come clean, give my actual current address, may I donate. I take the chance of never donating anywhere ever again.

That can’t be. Coming clean, telling the truth, being honest; these are things that will get me in trouble? How can that be? All I’m trying to do is donate plasma, something most people would never consider doing because of the implied risk.. Something is telling me this is not right. The clerk at the cell phone store is jerking off his computer for some customer. The first bus is arriving. I can buy the card, make the call, and catch the next if they say all if fine.

Or, I can give it up. I think, Thy will be done, not mine. I get on the bus. Whatever happens is meant to be. Diving into my Angels and Demons novel, I put the consequences out of my mind.

I get off the bus, jump on my bike, and the chain derails. I just roll my eyes. Is this a sign? I quickly put the chain back on and make it there just in time. I find some new people working the front desk. I take a deep breath, take out my bills with current postmarks, and approach the counter. “Excuse me, I’d like to update your records for my current address.”

“Certainly,” the clerk responds. As he asks for verification, I catch an error: he forgot to include my apartment number. He apologizes.

Okay, so that wasn’t so hard.

The rest of the mini-physical goes completely normally, mostly because I didn’t have to deal with the same nurse. We even joked about AIDS being discovered in 1977, when both of us were going through puberty and wishing the bar scene wasn’t so dangerous when we grew up. I have two much older brothers who frequented bars, brought home women, and enjoyed good clean fun sex. I looked forward to this pleasure, only to find that by the time I was of legal drinking age, the stakes of the game were raised, mostly due to the AIDS scare. I answered all questions truthfully, except for the fact that I’m an alcoholic.

There’s a very important reason why plasma donation centers are not willing to take alcoholics. An alcoholic can become positive for Hepatitis B from liver damage alone. I learned this in treatment, where they tested me for the disease, and which it came back negative. So, when asked if I’d ever tested positive for Hepatitis B, I honestly answered, “No.” My urine test passed with flying colors. They’re looking for common recreational drugs, alcohol, and unusually high or low levels protein and/or insulin. This means that my liver and kidney are functioning well enough to donate plasma.

So, this last relapse was not as much damaging physically as it was financially. Actually, I think it was more of an emotional and spiritual hit than anything else. I lost my way.

Donating plasma in the suburbs is more like you’d expect a clinic to look like. There were no movies playing, so I read my book mostly. But I couldn’t keep my eyes off the actual machine that extracts the plasma. It’s a vertical machine with all its parts exposed. The process extracts your blood, separates out the plasma, then returns your blood cells, then repeats. It did this a dozen times, which is twice as often as City Plasma’s machines. You can watch how your blood mixes with the anticoagulant. Then it spins in a centrifuge in order to separate blood cells from plasma. They have a different twist in that the centrifuge has a filter was well. I could tell it made a difference because my plasma, as well as others around the room, was much clearer. The staff was also much more knowledgeable. At the end, you can watch the 500 ml of less-than-body-temperature saline (0.9% sodium chloride) drains back into your body to replace the 880 ml of plasma extracted.

I check the bus schedule, and I’ve got just enough time to check voice mail using the center’s phone. Afterwards, I signed out, made my next appointment for Saturday, and as I was unlocking my bike, the cash register clerk ran me down and gave me the $20 I’d earned, but forgot to take. After all that, I’d forgotten the money.

I bike to the bus stop just in time for this hourly bus. Feeling light headed, I eat a tuna fish sandwich I’d prepared before hand and slices of a cantaloupe that June W. gave me the last time we saw each other. You know, cantaloupe doesn’t taste as bad as I’d thought it would.

On Saturday, I will donate a second time this week and earn another $30. Overall, they will have paid me $70 for the week. Subtract from that the $13 in bus fair, that’s still $57 for the week. I’ll wait until Saturday to buy a $50 cell phone card worth 500 minutes, the best deal available.

With the rest of the time left on my bus transfer, I head to The House to eat a free dinner. I talk to my old advocate there and he informs me that starting September 1st, alumni are no longer allowed to eat meals. That coincides with the time I’ll be living on the streets again. I guess I’ll be eating at Salvation Army.

I’m in the neighborhood, so I stop in at the gym to check my account. I’m a few weeks late on my quarterly payment of $27 and am not allowed to use the facility until I’m paid up. I ask if I can make that payment a week from now and they agreed; this will have me pay up through October. This is important, not only for the physical exercise that really helped me stay sober, but also to be able to shower and dress for work at any time of the day. If I can afford it, I could also rent a gym locker.

With a full stomach, money in my pocket, and a little more hope for the future, I head home. I do not stop at a liquor store, nor do I feel the need to. I slept hard for the first time in a long time.

Without Wax,

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Eviction Decision

I was prepared to move out tonight, but something happened that made me change my mind. When I went to donate plasma yesterday, I was deferred. The reason is that one of my blood samples tested low for protein levels. I know why: a donation I had given after a dry-out day when I didn’t eat. The test results won’t return from the lab for two weeks. That’s about $150.00 I won’t earn from plasma donation over that time; money I desperately need right now.

If I’d had that money coming in, I could live on the street, shower at the gym, look for a job, sleep and eat at The Mission. But, now that’s not possible. I have $8.00 in my pocket. I need a job before I can leave this place. If I had the plasma money, I’d feel like I could survive on the street. So, I’ve decided instead to use this time to stay sober, find a job, and take the financial hit incurred by a court eviction. That gives me 18 days to improve my situation before the sheriff evicts me.

I spoke with several people at the plasma bank about low protein levels. The nurse said, this might be due to malnutrition. But, it’s what Dave W. said that most concerned me. Dave is an employee at the plasma bank that I’ve known since I started donating. We are movie buffs and talk about them all the time. Whenever I discuss certain movies; old flicks, party films, complex plots, etc; he occasionally has memory problems due to too many drinks. He used to donate, until he started working at the plasma bank. That’s just policy. But I found out today, that’s not why he started working there. It’s because he couldn’t donate anymore. He had several consecutive low protein tests due to heavy drinking and not eating. When you drink heavily, you can’t eat food for days.

Dave W. was a binge drinker, but I do not see him being an A. A. He talks about having a beer after work from time to time, but I don’t think he’s binge drinking any more. If he was an active A. A. member – a friend of Bill W. – I think I’d be able to tell.

I made this decision sober. I did not buy whiskey. Even though I had enough for a small vodka bottle, I did not buy any on Saturday.

I came to this decision after packing up the storage unit. I’m not ready to be homeless yet. I hope I made the right choice.

Without Wax,

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Apartment Last Days

I’m seven days sober, haven’t been to a meeting in weeks, lost my sponsor, haven’t looked for another for fear of rejection, am unemployed, have nine cell phone minutes remaining, and although I have an eviction notice for the 31st of this month, my landlord, Bertha W., wants me out today, Saturday. She claims, yesterday, not to have filed for a court eviction. Up until know, I was under the impression she had already filed, since whenever I’d ask Bertha if she’d filed eviction, she’d reply, “I’m not telling you.” The only reason I believe that she hasn’t filed a court eviction is that she said yesterday that she didn’t want to spend the $250.00 necessary. That’s money I will eventually have to pay back. I’ve never had a court eviction, and if I can avoid one, it would make life much easier once things start going my way. She has a renter that wants to move in before the end of the month. My inability to make rent has added to her financial woes because she has a 3BR that hasn’t rented in two months. She evicted them also.

Bertha is retired and rent probably makes up most of her income.

I’m leaving to donate plasma this morning so I can earn $35.00. Trudging commented, “If you are anything like me, the self pity thing can really get you drunk.” I’ve been thinking about it. With that money in hand, there’s a liquor store down the street from the plasma bank that has a 20% off sale ending today on Black Velvet. I could buy two - 1.75 liter bottles after donating. I’ve been thinking about it. I used to think about it until recently. It sucks that I now think of drinking after getting money in my pocket.

June W. is coming over this evening to pick up some property that I think she should have. I will not drink around June, but that doesn’t mean I can’t save it until after she leaves. Right now, I don’t want a drink, but that could change.

Bertha is offering me two storage closets in the basement to store my stuff, but know her, there’s a catch. Like paying back rent until I can have access to it. Who knows, she may even charge to storage. I may never see anything I store in there. She’s really flaky and sneaky that way. She took the mattress back just so she could store it in the garage. I’ve been sleeping on the floor. She let herself in while I was out of the apartment without my permission. I caught her while she was leaving, but didn’t have the will to do anything about it, like call the police. It’s not her mattress either, it’s property from some other former tenet (probably evicted). Her garage is filled with former tenets’ property.

What I want to do with this money is save it to add to the Tuesday’s $25.00 plasma donation, and then purchase a $50.00 pre-paid phone card, giving me 500 minutes. The $25.00 card only gives you 160 minutes and isn’t worth it, so I’d rather wait.

I also have to consider a $27.00 payment to the gym to cover the next three months. If I’m going to be homeless, having a place to shower and dress while homeless can be critical to sustaining unemployment.

So, I have choices to make. Most important of which is whether to clear out of the apartment this weekend, or wait until the end of the month and risk court eviction. If I stay, I could more easily obtain a job before loosing the apartment. If I leave now, I can eat and sleep at The Mission, while looking for a job.

I may be able to apply for Rule 25 again and move back into The House for three months while looking for work. I wouldn’t be on the street, tempted to drink.

It would be wonderful if I felt my Higher Power looking over me, but I don’t and haven’t throughout these last few months. Probably because I haven’t been making meetings. The pink cloud’s way gone.

Well, it’s time to motor. I’ll most likely post again tonight.

Without Wax,

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Letter to June

Amazing what a mind can do when sober, eh? I learned a lot about myself in the process, and a lot more about June W. She is a fine lady, and I only wish I'd learned that sooner, because I missed out on such a wonderful life with her.

The most painful thing about becoming sober was remembering all the terrible things I did to her. I embarrassed her at family functions while she attempted to cover up for me. I hid alcohol from her. I even slept with my mouth away from her so she wouldn't have to smell my breath constantly as we slept.

We used to be so close. I know I'll never be as close with someone ever again. She knew everything about me once we married, I figured it was time she knew about Without Wax. Now you know all of me.

I broke my anonymity and showed June W. this web site. She read the whole thing in one day. My mind spilled out in so many words as I recovered from this terrible addiction. My words were not meant for her ears. These words, all of them, were not meant for anyone’s ears. I just had to let it out.

People encourage me to forget June and move on. I’m 42. You don’t just forget the one lady in your life that has taught you that the most decent effect you can have for a person is to remember them for what they are worth. If you walk away from a person like that, it still has a lasting effect.

June has this problem that she always complains about: Why do people always come to me for answers? There is one simple answer: Because you give people direction. Your answer may not always be the right one, but it’s not the answer that was needed; it was the direction. Given all the information, she could probably give the correct answer every time, but then, who ever gets all the information.

I gave June all the information about me that I could at the time that I moved my life from California to Minnesota to live with her. The only thing I did not give her was the only thing I did not know about myself: that I am an alcoholic. She does not know the true meaning of this statement. But the statement, in itself, is only taken in context. To walk the path is different from knowing the path.

I’ve met many people, in person and online, that have walked the path, but I’ve never met anyone that truly knew the path. I don’t think it’s possible. But I do believe that once a person takes God into his heart, and understands that the world does not revolve around himself, and that there is no clear path in life, and that the only way out of alcoholism is to simply do the right thing, and teach this, and speak of these words out loud so others can feel our strength, that there is a way out of this terrible existence that we used to call a life.

I know it sounds like Bible thumping, but it’s not. I found that God exists, even though I was an atheist. I am now a former atheist. God does exist. He has a plan, but it’s not yours; Thy will be done, not yours. If you want to know his plan, apply for the job, otherwise, take his heed. But I do believe that God exists inside us all, not in the heavens. You need only look inside yourself to find him. He is there. I can prove this, I know:

Take the worst thing that has ever happened to you. If you stop, look inside yourself, and ask yourself, “What is the right thing to do?” You will find that when you calm yourself down, you will find the answer. The answer may not be what you want, or what you’re willing to do, but, there is not doubt, it is the right thing to do and it is the will of God. He will guide you, because his will is of honor. The honorable thing to do is a clear path. Never stray from it. Because, when you are honorable, and your word is good, it strikes an emotion in men to follow in your footsteps. Believe me, if you walk the walk, and talk the talk, you will become a leader of men that believe in saving the others. I’m not talking about sinners, I’m talking about addicts. No alcoholic can be saved by anyone else but another alcoholic. The alcoholic must see into the friend’s eyes and see that they have actually been there; sometimes embellishing stories. But when an alcoholic talks to another, they know...they know they’ve been there.

SincerelySober was born out of necessity. When one becomes sober and discovers that alcohol is not what he's meant for, his mind sharpens; sometimes too fast. I took too many things for granted while sobering up.

I thought the world would simply open up for me. I mean, ‘hey, I’m sober. I can do any work.’ But work didn’t come. In fact, it turned out that I had less skills than someone that had drank their way through high school.

The true fact is this: Technology and alcohol do not mix. I made my way through jobs even though I was an alcoholic. Want to know another true fact: Employers want consistency. There are people that are hard workers, people that get the job done, workers that spend unpaid overtime to complete the job, then there are alcoholic; and I’m one of those.

Try getting a job after someone discovers that fact. It doesn’t matter what your belief in God is after that, most corporate companies will not hire you after they learn of your weakness. You see, corporations know that if they ‘fire’ someone for alcoholism, that they really need to put them through a program first. So, no one in the corporate world will ever let someone go for addiction. Why would they? They’d have to put up with recovery, and they don’t want to do that.

No. Better loose the non-starter than fix the problem.

I had this one meeting with an executive at a company that I worked for in Minneapolis. It scared the hell out of me. He openly said he was an alcoholic at a company party out in front of everyone. And he looked at me: I could see, in his eyes, the fear. The fear that I would succumb to this disease. I knew I was history. Two days later, I was fired. It was the best job I ever had in the Twin Cities. I got married, we had wonderful vacations, June was happy. But I lost focus.

The truth is I can’t believe I made it this far. I fucked up. I dropped the ball. It’s good thing I didn’t have children, because I would’ve fucked them up too. Or maybe not; children tend to right you. I always wanted to give my father a child that could take on our family name, but I don’t see that in the future. The Wax family name will end in cyberspace.

God does have a plan for us, I just don’t think I’m in it.

June, I don’t know why I could not be honest about my addiction, but I know that most people reading this understand. I know you know I’m smart, but I wish I was smart enough to overcome this addiction before I lost you. You were the best thing that ever happened to me, June. You really were.

People reading this blog say I should move on, get past June. Well, I have one answer for them: How do you get past loosing the most wonderful woman you have ever had a chance to meet, live with, marry, dream with, lay with, dream with, spoon with, laugh with, bitch with, complain with, live through 9/11 with, worry about, comfort, understand, take care of cats, and totally feel comfortable with?

I fucked up and dropped the ball. It’s in my nature. My mother failed, I guess I should too.

My oldest brother, Hank W., said he’s living with a young woman. Maybe he’ll marry; pass on the family name. But, that’s not for me. I have failed. I have no family, not father, no mother, no in-laws. I will disappear without any notice.

Without Wax,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


June W. has been in three twisters.

Before I moved from Southern California to Minnesota, I watched that movie over and over. I thought about what it would be like for someone to experience this type of trauma. Although she never experienced the fictional loss, she felt the utter fear.

I watched it recently and felt the love for her again, strongly; and the pain of failure. I messed up. I didn’t know how I messed up at that time, because I was under the influence, but know now.

We had a connection, like no other. She is a fine woman, a lady, and my best friend. If it wasn’t alcohol that destroyed our relationship, then it must’ve been a lower power. My higher power, my father, is my guide. But, if there’s a strong force, there must be a weaker force. Everyone talks of the higher power. No one ever talks of the evil force, the lower power.

I was sober for more than eight months, and it struck me. It waited, until I was weak. It didn’t take over my body, which is still in tack, but it took over my will. No, not my will. It was much more sneaky. It took over my desire not to fight off the first drink. Well, after that, it was all over. The first drink had me.

Back to June, she is the finest lady I’ve ever met. She is a thoughtful, pleasant, organized, shapely, eyes to die for, smile that will sell snow cones to Eskimos, and a personality that just draws you in.

If you ever loose a woman like that, you just know you’ve screwed up. She is well liked by all who know her. She has good contacts with her family. She is strikingly beautiful. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

And I screwed it up by drinking. I will never find a finer lady than June.

After what I’ve done to her, I can never expect her to ever say the words, “I love you”, again. She hasn’t, and I know why. Guys, if you ever find a fine lady like the one I’ve described, you better take a look at what you’re doing wrong, because don’t ever loose her. She is fine.

Without Wax,

First Relapse

It was so weird when it happened.

The woman is gone. She left when all failed. No big deal. She smoked pot and I didn’t want it in my new place. She was a taker, not a giver.

My attempt to improve my situation was an all-bets-are-off attempt to save my property, my sobriety, and employment all at the same time. It was too much. If God had a plan for me, he never let me in on it.

It hit me all too fast. I can't expect that any of my property will be saved. I'm in a worse situation than I ever was when I was on the street.

It was so weird when it happened. I was so happy and proud of my own sobriety. Then, all of the sodden, I thought, ‘How fine would it be to have a shot of bourbon?’ This thought haunted me for a while. But, it was the combination of not being employed, not making rent, and not making meetings that drove me to, ‘the experiment’. Mother Puss Bucket!

It was last Saturday, when I donated. I intentionally rode to a liquor store and bought bourbon. I spent most of the week with it. She was my lady, my relaxation, my diversion. Then the withdrawals set in, and the terrible memories of how my body reacted. And how I reacted to how others reacted to me when I was in withdrawal. And how I should hide it...then the fear set in.

This is not a fear of anything real. It is a fear that manifested in the mind. It’s really hard to explain, but here I go:
It’s the fear that anyone and maybe everyone knows that you’re high. When you never really know when the high ends, you never know if you’re completely straight, and you never know if you’re speaking the truth about a certain situation in time and space. Even if you want to tell the truth, you never are sure if you are telling the truth in this time and space. You can never know if you are being clad forth honest. And without this certainty, how can you convince someone of your true intentions?

It sucks.

And now I second-guess my own. Well, not most. But, the ones I cherish the most, I will not disclose. A man must fight for what he knows, or die.

Honor is not what no man can give you, or none can give away. Honor, is a man’s gift to himself. Never worry of the giving of it. It lives and grows in you. You know when you’ve done the right thing. It may hurt at first, but if thy will be done, your path may be laid.

Women are the heart of honor. You should never hurt a woman, or malign a man, or stand by and watch them do so. Once a man’s word is given, it is so. Honor is a man’s gift to himself.

People think, in these situations, that you're in a fight-or-flight mode. But, it's different for us: It's fight-or-flight-or-inebriate. No one knows how this solves our problems, but it does, at times. But, If you've never found a solution in alcohol, you'd never fall back on it.

The details are a health hazard. I relapsed last Saturday. I drank a 1.75 liter bottle of bourbon and lost most my memory. I didn’t eat much after that. I tried to bounce back, but didn’t really do much of a good job. I dried out, but not very well. I didn’t eat much.

I went to the plasma bank to get more money in order to buy more bourbon. I was suffering from mal-nutrition. I donated, went to the local liquor store, bought whiskey on sale, and then rode home.

I took a swig on the ride home...big mistake. I pulled over, took some pulls off it, and then continued to ride. On the ride home, I derailed my chain. It took a while, but I got it back on.

When I arrived back home, I almost lost conscience. I took a hit on the road and after the donation; it was too much for me. By the time I had arrived home, I was feeling light headed. I really felt like I would go into alcohol deprivation. It’s happened to me before. I felt it coming on.

I drank water immediately. I ordered food. I still felt light headed. I knew I’d pushed it further than my new body had ever experienced.

I ordered a sandwich from Jimmy Johns. After eating it, I simply fell asleep. It’s a sign. I have pushed my old body past the point of a young man’s recovery.

I still have a body that can work. I can donate. I can work out; but my mind still wants that bitch.

I have failed.

Without Wax,

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It seems to have dropped off. I lost my landline, my cell phone is low on minutes, and no one is responding to e-mail.

I'm tired.

Without Wax,

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Body Heat

Tick-tock, the lightning strikes. There’s no procrastinating, and no reason. When riding a bicycle, the same amount of rain hits you while moving forward as if standing still; or so that’s the theory. As a child, I’ve always ask my friends, “Do you get hit by more rain drops moving forward into the rain than you do avoiding the rain?” They always thought I was nuts. They may be right.

When lightning strikes, plans fail: more on that later.

The rain falls mainly on the plain, which is where the tire cycles, which is where the mud flaps up onto the back of your shirt. You know, I don’t mind rain, it’s the laundry that upsets me. Okay, it’s hot, and sweaty, and smelly, and sticky, and water runs down my hair like the Amazon, but the mud sucks. You can’t avoid it on a bicycle. Even when you do, and you cover your rear tire, it still flicks up onto your back. I ware two shirts; I took one off; it’s a good shirt that doesn’t deserve the mud I need to ride through.

I must’ve timed my plasma bank arrive instinctively well, because they had a catastrophic power failure just before I arrived. I must explain: I’m out of work and donating plasma is the only income I have. I spend my days looking for work. It pays for some food, but it doesn’t pay rent. I never thought it would, and never wished it to. I want to keep a job. But for one reason or another, I keep loosing them. I’m smart; I analyze why, but I can’t figure out why I keep switching jobs. I don’t know; I just don’t know.

A power fail is what I had the evening before, but I never felt it. Designer Girl thinks I’m smart, and that may be true, but you can only protect yourself from nature so much. She thinks that if I simply stay at home, I won’t be able to avoid the natural disasters that would normally come to us all if we were out and about. Actually, I wouldn’t mind being caught out in the rain with Designer Girl: she’s my kind of messed up. And I’m sure that statistics say that more alcoholics die of gun shot wounds than line workers of lightning strikes.

In all honesty, I admire Designer Girl. When I read her blog, I feel I’m ready to spill my guts; then I think about drinking; then I balance the two and feel like saying what is truly in my sole. Case in point:

My Father: I think I failed him. I should’ve given him a son to pass on the Wax family name. However, my older brother, Candle, didn’t either. I asked him about that recently. He has a 23-year-old girlfriend who lives with him. I’m like, “Dude! Knock her up! What’s the problem? Dad would approve! Give her our family name!” Didn’t work. Father would approve; hell he knocked my mom up thirteen times. As it stands, there are no offspring to pass on the Wax family name.

My Father is my higher power. As his youngest son, I could pass on the family name. And, yet again, I feel I’ve failed him. At eight and a half months sober, I could teach my son so much about life; if I had a son. Or I could fail. The truth is that you cannot raise a child without a family. I have none; at least I don’t think?

So, I arrive at the plasma bank late, luckily enough to avoid a catastrophic power failure. Power is Saint Paul has been waning. I’ve monitored it from my computer system. I have a UPS (Un-Interrupted Power Supply) with an AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator). I bought this product, namely: CPS1250AVR with no clue as to what the ‘AVR’ in it’s name stands for. Well, I bought a fine product. AVR stands for Automatic Voltage Regulator. As it was blinking, I was looking up in it’s manual what the friggin’ blinking light is all about. It turns out that if I launch PowerPanelPlus, it’s monitoring control panel, it shows me that we, in Saint Paul, are not really getting 110v, but more like 98v at times. My UPS only let me know that we had problems through its little control panel: “Oh, by the way, power outage is imminent, but I’ll supply the right voltage until it fails.”

How fucking cool?

Okay, back to the real problem. I drink. I love to drink. I thought I...

Okay, I love bars. I like the atmosphere. I like the banter. I even like the fights. But, I like fine bars.

I love the way that a fine woman crosses the line from time-to-time in a bar. It slashes the politically correctness that you see at the workplace in half. Men and women want to play; it’s their nature. Warning signs like: “I have a boyfriend”, are there as road signs; Veer away. Stop signs should be obvious before the word, “No”, is ever given, but when it is, it’s law. When a woman says, ‘no’, it’s for a reason, her reason, not yours. It translates to, ‘stop’. It does. I’m sure this battle will last for ages.

I’m at the plasma bank and I’m told of a horrible experience. Just one hour before I had arrived, they had a power outage. The power went out and 19 donors had to be disconnected without a replenish of their blood cells; they can’t come back to donate for eight weeks. And these were good people; people I like to lay with when I donate. They wont me back for two months. If I’d come early, I’d be one of them.

See, when you donate plasma, you’re really donating the food that you eat, not so much your blood. If you eat well, then yes, you’re donating your food. But you can tell...when someone doesn’t want to eat well, their plasma turns colors: clear piss yellow means healthy water drinker; dark brown means, drink more fluids; green means you’re on the pill, or you have some other imbalance. I’m always clean.

If I’d arrived one hour earlier, I would’ve experienced their power outage. That means that I would’ve lost my blood cells needed to donate for eight weeks. That’s $240.00 that I desperately need. So, I’m praying all the time I’m donating. All 19 donors lost all their cells: They cannot come back to donate for eight weeks! I cannot afford that. If I’d come, just one hour earlier, I’d have no income.

I spoke with June N., she’s not so mad at me any more. But I don’t blame her for her mistrust and anger. I mean, really, when a drunken husband does everything to destroy a life (and by life, I mean with him and her) in order to gain access to the finest vodka, there is definitely something wrong.

AVR light is flashing. That means...I have to look it up. AVR is Automatic Voltage Regulator. It means that the voltage coming into the house is lower or higher than normal. AVR in the UPS sets it right. This is cool. So, I launch the PowerPanelPlus utility and sit here all night long watching how the power grid is failing and how my little UPS is correcting it.

I wish I had such a simple task.

If lightning strikes, my UPS will be the first worrier to bare the brunt. But I doubt it’ll survive a direct hit.

Their will I.

If you hit me once more, I’ll go into battle mode.

Time to defend. Back off, sell all, go lean, get your backpack set...and give up all that you feel comfortable about.

It’s either live lean or die...and I’m not ready to die, just yet.

Without Wax,