Friday, January 5, 2024


Woke up at four again this morning.  It has become the "new norm," I guess.  I went to bed feeling pretty good, though I cracked last night.  First off, and this is not the bad part, I bought some non-alcoholic beer.  I read an article that rated the best ones.  I bought two of them, an IPA called "Athletic," and a "Guiness 0%. " I couldn't wait to try them.  I'm sick of drinking water with dinner and tea afterwards.  So when I got home . . . oh, wait, I haven't told you about my day yet.  

I took my car in to the auto repair place early.  I told them to check the underside of the car as I live in a city with terrible brick streets and there was something rattling.  Then I Ubered to the gym.  The driver was a big, Black guy who talked non-stop.  We were immediately like old pals, talking shit, being irreverent.  He was giving his take on life, and I was reinforcing it.  It was the stuff of us common people, street wisdom, etc.  He was a hoot.  And when he dropped me off at the Y, he asked me, "Hey man, is this the one where they serve you food and shit?"

"Oh, yea.  They bring you towels and paper cups of water on silver trays.  It's the Club Y, man.  It's not like a real gym.  I'm old and broken so it suits me now.  I work out with the retirees."

"No, man. . . you doin' good." 

"Thanks, brother," I said as I painfully pulled myself from the car.  "See you sometime, alright?"

I limped up the steps to the gym for a vigorous workout, fat burning, as I've said.  Tennessee was there and some other people I usually see later.  I told them of my mission.  

"I can tell," said one of the retired nurses.  "You look like you've lost some.  And you seem to have more energy."

Tennessee chimed in.  Well, now. . . maybe it was working.  So, of course, I hit my workout hard.

When I finished and was ready to leave,I declined all offers for a ride home saying I needed to walk.  When I stepped outside, though, it was cold, humid, and windy, and I questioned the wisdom of my decision. 

I remembered to check my phone.  The repair guys had called.  I called them back.  Oh, yea--it was going to be expensive.  I needed shocks, struts, wheel something or other. . . .  I had anticipated this.  I have never put shocks on the car, and I knew it would need them.  

"Can you do it all today?"

"We can have it finished by tomorrow."

"Well. . . just do the tune up and oil change, then.  I am without a car, so I'll have to schedule another day for the other."

"Do you want us to do it if we can get it done today?"


"Hold on. . . let me check with the mechanic.  I'll call you right back."

He did.  If his mechanic just worked on my car, he could have it done by five.  Yea.  I knew there was a lot of profit in this job.  But what can you do other than do it yourself?  Not me.  

"O.K." I said.  

I stepped out from the shelter of the building and started the cold walk home.

I thought that the walk was something over three miles, but when I got home, my phone said 2.7.  I think it was wrong and cursed it for lying.  After the workout, the limp home seemed tough, so I decided on an Epsom Salts soak and a shower.  Then I made breakfast--two eggs with garlic, sliced avocado and tomatoes, and a half glass of milk. Good stuff. 

I was stuck at home without a car on a dreary day, so I napped.  It is a great luxury to be able to nap, but it also shortens the day quite a bit.  I get relatively little done.  When I got up, I answered some texts and futzed around online for a bit.  Then a text came in.  My car was ready.  It was 3:30.  I called an Uber.  The fellow who picked me up was not chatty.  He had some podcast on how to win at Fortnight playing, some video game, I assumed.  I was learning all about medallions versus buckets and which weapons were best.  Snipers, it appeared, but you needed the right scope.  I figured this was the game for insurrectionists and and would-be terrorists, so I kept quiet and let the driver have his way.  

At the shop, I closed my eyes and inserted my card into the little debit machine, was given my keys and a fond farewell.  Now. . . the test.  I half expected there to still be a rattle or something that didn't feel right.  I pulled out onto the highway.  It felt good.  It felt fine.  It was after four now, so I headed to my mother's.  I had to travel over some brutal brick roads.  The car didn't rattle.  It handled like a new car.  Yea, these guys were expensive, but they were good.  It didn't seem that they had screwed me over on the quality of the job, anyway.  I had just paid a premium price, that's all.  It's sort of like staying at a Four Seasons rather than at the Day's Inn.  They are basically the same thing, but one of them is much better.  

So I told myself, anyway.  That's just what you do. 

My mother has not been feeling very well lately, and it worries me.  She has a couple of doctors appointments coming up that I will take her to, but it is an awful feeling not being to help someone when they are running down.  We both know the inevitable end of things.  We talk about it.  And the more we do, the more I think about my own demise.  It is wearing me down and out, in truth.  It is a big part of what is making me feel low.  I feel guilty about having fun, so I entertain her neighbors now.  They like me and it carries over for my mom.  And that, by and large, is my social life now.  This and Covid isolation has been. . . whatever.  

Bitch, bitch, bitch.  I'm just saying, there are reasons.  

But now to the non-alcoholic beer part.  I went to the local Publix market to see if they had them, and sure enough, they did.  I grabbed two packs and headed home.  

The cat was waiting when I got there.  So was her boyfriend.  So I hustled into the house to put down my things and got the bag of cat food.  The little feral was dancing circles as I poured her food into the bowl.  Her boyfriend was giving me the low, whining purr.  I always put out a little handful for him just so he doesn't feel left out.  He doesn't really eat it, but he wants me to put it down for him all the same.  I was happy.  I couldn't wait to try the Guinness.  First, however, I put the rice and broccoli on and put the frozen cod in a bowl of water to thaw.  Then I lit a cheroot and cracked open the beer.  Oh, yea. . . 

The reviewer was not lying.  You can't taste the difference.  This was really good.  

I sent off a copy of the photo to the woman who barely asked me out.  She, too, is doing a Dry January, one of the few people I know who is.  She said that she had gone with the factory workers to the Factory City Brewery that day but had drunk only ice water.  I sent a pic to Tennessee who has also gone dry.  Then I sent one to my friend in the midwest.  A few days ago, I mailed her a Halloween card I hadn't sent, and she sent back a pic and told me I was funny.  Then she told me she was leaving that night for Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.  WTF?!!  

"I want to go!" I said.  

She is an adventurous gal.  She is also my Death Doula, so she says.  I have two.  I'm pretty sure I won't need them, though.  Still, you never know.  But oh how I wished I were on that trip with her.  

I went inside and started the cod.  Now, this sounds perfectly horrible, I know, but it is something I learned recently from my mother.  I simply boil it for three minutes.  Three minutes exactly.  If you go longer, it will become tough.  At three, it is flaky.  I put it over the rice and broccoli and then sprinkle on Teriyaki sauce.  It is amazing, and clean up is super simple.  It is the lazy man's way to getting skinny.  

I opened an Athletic to go with dinner.  The IPA tasted like an IPA.  It made dinner better.  Good god, I was happy with them both.  But. . . after dinner, I cracked.  I opened a bag of potato chips.  I didn't have many, but I had some.  And then. . . I opened some Christmas cookies.  I didn't have many, but. . . . 

This morning I feel fat and guilty, so I come to you, my confessors.  A cardio workout and a schvitz will be my penance.  I told Tennessee and the retired nurses that after my workout sometimes now, I take a schvitz, and they looked shocked.  Ha!  They had never heard the word before, so I had to explain that it was a yiddish word for going to the steam room or sauna.  I believe it means "sweat," really.  I think that people can schvitz, but I am not really certain.  I only seem Jewish.  

It is still dark.  Thanks for seeing me through the "morning."  Soon I will pack up my bag and pay my penance.  I've got to lose this "baby bump."  But it is Friday, and I have something akin to beer.  I think tonight I will party!

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