My initiation this morning as a victim of credit card fraud: Yah, yah

Yah Yah

For the second day in a row, I awoke this morning at 4 a.m. after eight solid hours of sleep, happy and rested.

Then I turned the phone on.

“URGENT: Suspicious Activity Detected on Your Account,” read the email from my bank’s “Fraud Service Center.”

When I clicked to see the suspicious transactions, I learned that apparently, I was headed for a tour of Sweden!

Yes, a Swedish tour company in Helsingborg called Stena Line Travel Group had charged my card $346. Two minutes later, a “charitable organization/non-profit” in Roanoke, Va. called Minute Clinic 71109 sent through a charge of 76 cents, no doubt as a test that would be followed by a much higher charge. That information I received from my bank’s Fraud Center.

The bank sent me an email one hour after the transactions occurred, at 5:30 and 5:32. It instructed me to dial a number, which was a horrifically aggravating experience and I won’t get into all of that. I do have a very, very difficult time understanding people who speak limited English, and I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in the Quad-Cities or what. But when I don’t understand what they’re saying, or see myself getting overly frustrated with customer service reps, I just hang up.

And that’s what I did. Twice.

I handled it about an hour ago with my lovely bank manager, Ann. While I might be tight on the cash for the rest of the trip, this is far from a catastrophe and could have been much, much worse.

I’ll tell you this – I was grateful to have my “Hell’s Angel” cannabis strain for breakthrough PTSD symptoms. Made the morning much easier. And dealing with this on vacation in Colorado is a lot better than being at home and having it happen, even if not financially so.

The charges still were pending and were denied. The only down side to all of this is that they had to cancel my card, so I don’t have access to the money left in that account and will be more reliant on my credit card now while I’m here.

The Sweden thing makes me laugh because Sweden has a “zero tolerance” drug policy. Maybe the queen was trying to fine me for coming to Colorado for a cannabis tour.

A disgraced graduate of the royal family’s beloved Augustana College, lol.

My only other issue today is that the hotel wi fi is not working, nor is my tablet hot spot working. And I really do continue to work when I’m on these vacations, so thank God for Village Inn!

Many things to be grateful for this Monday. Have a blessed day.

Snowy (almost) May morning as I prepare for Colorado Cannabis Tour

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I woke up to a snowy morning! A “winter storm” has arrived, two days before May. This is the view standing in the carport of the hotel.

The hotel was a bit noisy overnight, but it was a Friday, and as you can imagine, there are all kinds of people staying here. I fell asleep very peacefully and woke feeling very, very refreshed. So nice.

Next, I am taking a four-and-a-half-hour cannabis tour, where a tour bus takes you to all aspects of the marijuana industry, from where the cannabis is grown to world famous dispensaries. I have an hour to kill before the hotel shuttle takes me to the restaurant where we meet for that.

I’m wearing a brand-new Jerry Garcia tie I bought last month to premier on the cannabis tour. I also was delighted to see I packed my dad’s old Chicago Bears jacket, just in case it got chilly. So, I’m going to wear that too.

Now, to prepare for “What’s Quad-City?” all day long, lol.

Have a blessed day, I sure am!

Village Inn corporate HQ, famed pot hotel next-door neighbors

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“Would you like some pie with that?” beams the wide-eyed waitress, expressing joy simply in asking the question.

They know their audience.

I noted earlier that when I saw a Village Inn located next door to my hotel I knew that was J.C. letting me know that that is where I can go to occupy myself and write my blogs instead of the hotel bar/restaurant.

I also had mentioned that I heard it was a “training center.”

In fact, it’s the corporate by God office.

Certainly, not the prettiest corporate office in the world, pictured here, nor is it in a swanky area of Denver, but it does have a restaurant attached to it. I’m sure it’s a microscope. I remember many years ago when I lived in Phoenix that the very impressive Circle K headquarters had a store in it, sort of jutting out the side of a cool but non-descript building. I remember thinking, wow, the pressure to work in the “microscope store” of a massive company.

Village Inn was founded in 1958 right here in Denver in a store located a few miles away. It’s still up and running. Today, there are more than 200 restaurants nationwide.

I got to chatting with the restaurant manager, Paula, and as small worlds would have it, she was born in Moline. She moved to Colorado many years ago as a child.

I told her that Village Inn in Moline, 1st Street, holds a very special place in my heart as every person who works there has treated me like family for many, many years. They went through the entire journey of my dad’s dementia death with me.

I explained to Paula that the Village Inn was located next to the bus stop, and how I would take the bus to dad’s memory care facility. I told her how they used to send my dad a free piece of pie now and then.

I told her how my dad’s final meal was two bites of a Village Inn coconut cream pie.

I told her how all the waitresses chipped in and bought my lunch the day my cat died.

Then tears!

Paula said that in fact, Village Inn 1st Street Moline is the top performing store in the nation. I am not surprised. Tim Masterson and his staff are all amazing. Absolutely every person who works there has gone out of their way to be kind to me and has seen me in all sorts of situations.

And of course, dad’s former neighbor who he adored, his dear Lisa, worked there for years. What a blessing that dad got to see Lisa literally just four or five days before he passed away. She said she was walking past St. Anthony’s and had heard he was in there and thought she would stop in. Dad already had gone mute by then but the nurses said he indeed got a kick out of her.

Of course, my Village Inn love affair goes back even further than that. We would go to Village Inn with my Aunts Enid and Mary and my mom, cousins Amber, Lisa, Cindy and Monica, sometimes more aunts, uncles and cousins, every Saturday back in the olden days of the 1970s, fun with cousins while our moms talked up a storm.

I asked Paula if the president and CEO comes into the restaurant.

“All the time,” she said.

Well, I would like to tip my hat to him or her and thank him for keeping Village Inn one of country’s best diners, hands down. It’s a pleasure to be your next door neighbor this week. I’ll be in for free pie Wednesday!

“Free day” in San Diego offers surprise around every corner, giggly Mich. doctor

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I declared today “free day.”

What a great day.

How could anyone who lives here ever want to work?

I have walked around San Diego, popped into restaurants and pubs, talked to strangers, talked A LOT with the people in the service industry (that’s how you find out everything) but also had fun with…. the doctors!

One extremely giggly doctor riding up in the elevator with me just now declared that she’s a “cheapskate internal medicine doctor from Grand Rapids, Mich.” I chuckled. I told her the head of the chamber of commerce in Grand Rapids, Rick Baker, came from the Quad-Cities (to which she said: “What’s Quad-Cities?” I’ve heard that at least seven times already today)

After she proclaimed her cheapskated-ness, I admitted I’m not a doctor, I just play one online. But seriously, I said I am from the (WHERE’S THAT!) and am just a lowly reporter. I could not ever bring myself to pay $2,200 to stay one week in the official convention hotel on a work trip.

“I’d never pay it because I’m a cheap Midwesterner!” the giggly doctor proclaimed.

New friends on every corner

I met this very nice man and his lovely poodle.

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I met a girl from Texas whose company I enjoyed all afternoon. She told me all about downtown San Diego.

Every who lives here loves it 100 percent. It’s stunning. It’s over the top. It’s beautiful. It’s clean. It’s safe. It’s fun. It’s happy.

It’s awesome.

Well, gotta be up by 5 and to the convention center by 7 a.m. for my first workshop of the day: “What’s Hot in STDs?”

You won’t want to miss it.

Hotels.com deal on my San Diego digs for doctors conference this week a sizzler

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It’s hardly a secret that San Diego is one of the most beautiful, safest, and cleanest cities in our entire nation. But apparently, I forgot about that!

The second I landed at midnight last night (I am three for three for landing at midnight on all my flights this year, part of the so-called “Rainbow Tour” as I’ve dubbed it), I was impressed. Even from the air, San Diego has a special twinkle. Once inside the airport, I could not believe how far and above it ranks over the many other U.S. airports I have been to recently. Clean, user-friendly, the whole nine yards.

When I walked out the front doors after getting my bag, I had a most awesome chuckle. About 20 Prius Taxis (Prii?), all about the same year as mine, were lined up. But, I was waiting for the free shuttle to the Ramada Gaslamp District (former historic St. James Hotel).

OK, now. Listen up, bargain travelers! I got 7 nights at this hotel for UNDER $800 tax included. The rate on the room door? More than $300 per night.

The rooms are very small. The even have window air conditioner units. The hotel is more than 100 years old.

But the location is second to none. It is right in the middle of everything. I’m only a five-block walk to the convention center, where the American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine Meeting is being held (that’s what I’m here for).

Plus, the room has a coffee pot. An ironing board. An iron. A safe. I have a pretty nice view out my window (once you stand on your tip toes and look over the window air conditioner).

The hotel has one of those old, old elevators with doors and gates. I want to say McCabe’s in downtown Rock Island had one of those long, long ago? Someplace in downtown Rock Island did. I remember. And it has been that long since I have been in an elevator like that (at least since the 1970s).

Rooftop access is from the 10th floor of my hotel. The rooftop is a lovely patio that overlooks all downtown San Diego. It is stunning.

And the hotel is attached to a diner with all kinds of great food and drink. Super-duper convenient and not too pricey. The lobby looks into the restaurant through beveled glass. It’s kind of cool.

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Well, as always, I forgot to pack two things: A razor, and a belt. So, I’ll be walking to the mall as soon as it opens at 10, and then headed to the convention center to pick up my press pass and decide “what next.”

Thank you for following my blog! I am sure to have all kinds of interesting stories coming out of San Diego, both in terms of breaking medical research being presented at the conference and my own personal tales. Stay tuned! And…”Let’s hear it for the Rain-bow Tour! It seems to be a wonderful success! We weren’t quite sure…we had a few doubts….”

Second stop on “Rainbow Tour” proves to be another ‘B’-eautiful hotel

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They are two for two with me.

My stay this week at B Historic Hotel in Savannah is my second stop on what I have begun to refer to as “The Rainbow Tour” of B Hotels and Resorts. I hear New Orleans is opening next month. If enough money is left after Uncle Sam gets paid, maybe I’ll visit there, too.

You will recall I stayed at B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale in January and just felt very comfortable, relaxed, and secure while I was there — just what the doctor ordered (quite literally; she says I need a trip a month for a year)

B Historic is the same thing in every way. It’s an amazing, beautiful hotel.

The beds at B Hotels and Resorts are like sleeping on a cloud. It’s one to thing to brand yourself as a place with beds that will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, but they actually deliver on that promise here.

So. Restful.

This morning I had steak and eggs. Last night I had salmon. The food is wonderful. When you eat good food, have you ever noticed it almost gives you a buzz?

I love being pampered.

Multi-million-dollar renovation just completed

B Historic just underwent a multi-million renovation (as did B Ocean, formerly the Sheraton Yankee Clipper).

“Throughout the design and remodel phase, our goal was to create a one-of-a-kind stay, from the moment you walk in until your last second with us,” General Manager Cherelle Davis explained during the grand opening in September. “We want our guests to leave with a lasting impression by showing them true southern hospitality.”

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And they do. There are “the Andres.” Shannon. Chris. Theresa. I could go on and on but I’m sure to forget a name and get in trouble, so I’ll stop there. The staff is amazing. The food and beverage manager looks like Dr. Drew.

The pool is saltwater. B Ocean had a saltwater pool too, but I assumed that was just for the mermaids (although guests swam in it too…you’ll have to ask the guys at The Wreck Bar for those stories, I never would repeat such filth!) And of course there’s a fitness center, spa suite, the whole nine yards.

Just like B Ocean, I would describe this place as “class without attitude.” It’s contemporary and gorgeous, just like B Ocean, but in a way that’s also unique to itself. That is, both hotels have a décor that’s open, airy and exquisite, yet they aren’t cookie cutter. Makes me want to visit them all.

It’s hard for me to loosen up. My vacations at both of these awesome hotels have been worth every penny.

Rumor spreading that my dad owns the hotel

Last night the lounge area was packed again, mostly with super trendy (and friendly!) twenty-somethings. Earlier in the evening there was an older couple who were very “old Savannah.” Honestly, I thought the woman was going to pull one of those old fans right out of her purse and start fanning herself. She asked me if it was true that my dad owned the hotel.

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“Oh, you should have just went with that,” the concierge, Theresa, said this morning. Theresa will make sure you enjoy your stay here. She’s trying to track down a guy I met the first night but lost track of. I asked him to a movie and he said yes. He’s a caregiver for his mother with dementia and he’s exactly my exact age. Very nice guy. He was telling me that he and his sister take shifts in caring for his mom.

B Ocean and B Historic both are places where you truly know that the staff wants you to enjoy yourself. There is a lot to be said for quality service. I have been completely satisfied with everything during both of these stays.

Just like B Ocean, B Historic has a “signature scent” that is pumped through the ventilation system.

Inhaling pleasant scents is delicious.

This hotel is delicious.

Much needed dose of fun and R & R is lightening my load at long last

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I am having great fun in Savannah. For sure, this is an interesting town!

In fact, I’d say this trip to Savannah is proving to be a lesson on how to live, love and laugh again.

You find that people very much are the same wherever you go, but as I suspected, the vibe here is much like the Quad-Cities.

For sure, people here like to let their hair down. And they like to talk.

Perfect.

I met one guy who is caring for his elderly mother with dementia. Ironically, when I saw him sitting alone, I just sort of sensed he might be a caregiver. And I went up and introduced myself, and I was right. Such a nice fellow!

I met these lovely ladies last night and had wonderful time with them, too. I even sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” for karaoke!

Earlier in the day, I took a long trolley tour of the city. There is so much history here I would not even know where to begin. Along the tour, actors boarded the bus at various stops and played out certain characters from Savannah’s past – a woman whose husband went off to sea, for example. She waited 44 years for him to return. He never did. She would stand and wave at the ships that would pass, letting him know she was waiting for him just in case he was aboard. But he never was, and she died after four long decades.

At another site, a pirate boards the trolley (there appears to be a pirate thread in every vacation I take). He climbs on and tells us the story of the famous Pirate’s House restaurant. I hope to get there today or tonight.

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There are so many things to see and do, it’s a bit overwhelming. Wonderful places for coffee, food, and drink. Each place with a unique vibe and a wonderful story. Where to start? John Berendt did it beautifully in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

I am in such vacation mode that I don’t much feel like writing. I just want to relax, absorb, recharge. I told my therapist that I thought I worked a little too hard on the Florida trip. This trip isn’t going be like that (and hasn’t). It’s me time.

There’s nothing wrong with that. This is a good place to come for a “change of scenery,” as they say, and it’s unlike any place I ever have been. It’s a diverse population in terms of generations, from extraordinarily proper-looking elderly women to the 14,000 super hip college students who attend the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design.

It’s awesome that a city with such a rich history is home to aspiring artists. I like how that goes together.

That college has grown from about 700 students in 1986 to more than 14,000 today. It’s pretty amazing. The college takes the old hotels in the area and converts them into dormitories. The city has a very distinct “college town” atmosphere of a non-stop street fest.  The trolley driver told us it’s not unusual for one of the students to grab onto the trolley while on a skateboard. I’m not sure if he was kidding or not! But I can’t get the Bart Simpson image out of my head every time I tell that story.

Certainly, this city is a symbol of restoration and renaissance that probably isn’t duplicated elsewhere to the extent it is here.

And the weather? Highs in the 70s. All sun so far!

Time to head out and see what adventures today brings. Somehow, I suspect it won’t take long to find one.

My first taste of Grits. At the restaurant where Forrest Gump was filmed, no less

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“What are grits?” I asked the waitress, a young, pretty girl with long legs.

“You don’t know what grits are?” she asked with grave concern.

I said I didn’t. She explained they are kind of like Cream of Wheat, but with salt and pepper and cheese they are pretty good.

I ask her some more questions about this restaurant, Debi’s, and its connection to the movie Forrest Gump. She starts to answer my questions.

But the owner of this restaurant, Debi, keeps on her. “He will need to entertain himself, get to the tables now. Sir, did you get on the Internet OK?”

“Yes ma’am,” I’m replied. They all are calling Debi ma’am in here.

The conversations are rather hilarious. I mean, this place really is like the South is depicted in the movies. Yet, this entire place reminds me of the Quad-Cities on many levels, too.

I already have been told – in whispers, by people who seem to care, especially when I share my story – that this place “Isn’t as safe as the tourists think. Be careful at night.”

‘Proper’ Catholic girls, knee-high stockings and lots of history

So, I chose this place because of the “Forrest Gump” writing on the window. A scene was filmed here, where the waitress is pouring Forrest’s coffee and sees him on TV. Here’s a clip of a Forrest Gump Savannah scene. The “box of chocolates” quote was filmed in Chippewa Square. It’s kind of funny that I filmed that selfie scene in Wright Square, because it just immediately made me think of the movie. I did not even realize it was filmed here.

Every two or three blocks, there is a town square here. They all are beautifully landscaped and surrounded by stunning historical buildings, including many churches.

On my walk here, there were several young girls in long plaid skirts, with knee high stockings. Of course, they all entered a school across from a  grand Catholic church. Or maybe it’s a cathedral. I should go back there today.

The weather is beautiful. Sunny with a high of 65 today, but it should be in the mid-70s to near 80 the rest of my visit.

Well, time to dig into my grits, biscuits and gravy and ham and cheese omelet. I’m going to “walk the squares” after this, and maybe go see Mercer House – where the well-to-do older gentlemen murdered the live-in hustler, was convicted three times, but then got off when a Georgia Superior Court overturned. James Williams died eight months after that.

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Oh, I’m learning everything. The hotel concierge knows EVERYTHING. I sat in her office about an hour this morning. I plan to start each day in her office.

As for the Williams case, I have been instructed, “Now you don’t bring that up when you’re there. We pretend that didn’t happen.”

More on my hotel later.

I’m leavin’, LEAVIN’! On that midnight plane to Georgia! Will it be good or evil?

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On that midnight plane to Geor-gia…leavin’ on the mid-night plaaaannne to Geor-gia…WOO WOO!

Well, actually, I landed, at midnight 08, to be exact, at Savannah Hilton Head. What is Savannah, Ga. famous for?

A book called “Midnight in the Garden and Good and Evil.”

Yes, I know. It’s spooky already, isn’t it.

The book, in the first chapter, is a journalist’s tale of the quintessential capitol of the South. Well, there is some argument about what the true capitol of the South is. But there is no argument that all the characters — and the best stories — are in Savannah.

The book, by John Berendt, begins with Chapter One (of course). It’s about his conversation with a man he meets who lives in an historic home who appears to be overly brimming with confidence. It’s a bit odd, yet a bit familiar, at least to me.

The man boasts to the journalist about how he became one of the most famous men in Savannah. Halfway through the chapter, a young man who turns out to be a hustler (and who ends up murdered by the end of the book) bursts into the scene as if he owns this fancy man’s house. He’s rough and tumble and has a foul mouth. The journalist finds it curious.

The chapter ends with Mr. Fancy Pants proclaiming, “I have two Christmas parties, not just one. Both are black-tie. The first party is the famous one. It’s the one that gets written up in the newspapers, the one the high and mighty of Savannah come to. The second party is the next night. It’s the one the papers never write about. It’s…for gentlemen only,” James Williams tells Berendt. “Which party would you like to be invited to?”

Berendt’s answer: “The one least likely to involve gunfire.”

Oh, but there’s so much more.

Already, a trip both enchanting and terrifying

I know. The chill went down my spine when I read it, too. And then I booked a trip to Savannah.

And here I am. The flight from the Quad-Cities to Atlanta was lovely. I never had flown Delta before. Very nice, comfortable aircraft, and extraordinarily friendly southern belle flight attendants. “In the event that our captain decides to turn our flight into a cruise, a flotation device is located underneath your seat.”

That made me chuckle. But when I got to TGI Fridays in the Atlanta airport, terminal E, things got a bit odd. A young man who did not look old enough to be drinking the beer in front of him, and who was, um, well, a little “turned up,” I guess you would call it (I know because I’ve been there, and would never want to go back there), struck up a conversation with me.

It didn’t take me long to understand his situation and very gently explain it to him, and get him to confirm it with me. I then offered him some advice that he seemed to appreciate.

Next, I asked him where he was from. I swear he said, “Davenport.” I said, “Davenport????” He said, “Um, no, Orlando. I’m going there for a family thing, I guess you could call it.”

Well, we had a heart to heart. I hope the kid is safe and gets out of the life he is in.

When I left, the waitress said, “See you again!” And a very scary looking man with greasy hair, probably 30 but looked to be pushing 50, said, “No, you won’t see him ever again.”

Yes. I know. That chill down the spine again.

Then I almost missed the midnight plane to Georgia

I then realized that I had not set the clock forward (an S7 Edge doesn’t do that by itself?) and was an hour late to board my flight.

I ran to the gate.

And I heard, “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the hour-long delay, but a member of our flight crew had a delay from another flight, and we cannot operate the aircraft without three flight attendants. We hope to board within 20 minutes.”

Twenty minutes later, we were in the air. That plane must have flown 1,000 mph because we were only two minutes late.

Now I’m here.

Um, well, honestly, the place feels a bit…odd. In many ways. I will get into all of that tomorrow. I’m tired and I need to say my prayers and go to bed.

NOTHING can stop Lois Lane. She keeps going, and going…

There’s so much more to come. Stay tuned!

I fell off the wagon during my vacation. Then I got right up and hopped back on.

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I fell off the wagon during my Florida vacation after almost three years of sobriety.

At a place called “The Wreck Bar,” no less. During a mermaid show.

And then I was interviewed by a pirate. With a news crew.

But nothing tragic happened. In fact, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit I had a darned good time.

I was never “a wreck” during vacation. But I’m climbing right back on the wagon anyway.

Nothing terrible happened, but drinks Friday turned into drinks Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I had fun all three nights, but as it goes with us alcoholics, I progressively drank more each night. By Tuesday morning, it was obvious what was happening, as I had a hangover for the first time in almost three years.

My therapist had suggested I attend meetings while here. I’m not a huge fan of AA. They are a PTSD trigger for me (long story), so, in fact, I avoid them completely while at home. I did reach out to another person in recovery as soon as I got here, and had hoped to set up a time to attend an AA meeting with her, but I never heard back.

The morning after landing, I got up to go to breakfast downstairs in the hotel. The main restaurant is not open yet (the hotel has just been remodeled) and the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team had the smaller restaurant, in the lobby, exclusively to themselves the whole week.

So, that left the rest of us in the “Wreck Bar” for every meal unless we ate outside at the beach grill, and that closed every night at sundown, and did not open until 11 a.m. each day.

I knew I would have an urge for a beer, especially on vacation, in an oceanfront resort in Fort Lauderdale. I figured if the urge just got to be too much, I would have an O’Doul’s, although even those do contain tiny amounts of alcohol, despite the belief that they do not.

No O’Doul’s at the Wreck Bar.

Interviewed by a pirate – with a television crew — during the mermaid show

While live-broadcasting the world-famous mermaid show at the Wreck Bar on my Facebook page, I was having a grand time with the other guests. What the hell I thought, I’ll have a beer.

I mean, it’s a mermaid show. At the world-famous Wreck Bar.

But it gets better. Suddenly, a “news crew” approached me after the show ended. The next thing I knew I was being interviewed – by a man dressed as a pirate – about my opinion of the mermaids.

Oh dear.

It probably was obvious that I had had a few. So, I’m not even going to mention what “news” organization it was.

I could have just not told anyone I fell off the wagon after almost three years. But why would I conceal it? It’s a big part of the recovery experience. It happens. A lot. It’s rather incredible I went almost three years.

Writing about these issues is my livelihood (which is why some suggested I not say anything about it).

But that’s not how I roll. I believe in honesty and authenticity. If anything, maybe some people will find me easier to relate to now that I had a “relapse.”

I once had a colleague who had a gambling problem. So much so she trespassed herself from all the local casinos.

When she relapsed, she wrote about it. It was one of the best columns she ever has written, in my opinion.

I don’t always see eye to eye with this person. So, in a way, falling off the wagon, for me, was sort of a reminder that all of us have shared experiences in life.  It’s important to be authentic and to own your sh*t.

And to be kind. For it sounds cliché, but everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Life really is just too short. The world is not going to end because I “relapsed” on my Florida vacation, and it does not make me weak or a bad person. I’m not “going to die,” as some like to tell people who relapse, particularly if their form of recovery doesn’t jive with theirs.

Recovery is a personal journey. There is no one way for staying sober.

I wish I had not drank. Especially four nights in a row, even on vacation.

But I’m owning it. I know I’m an alcoholic. And I love myself way too much to slide back down that slope.

Uber snafu takes me to Laundromat instead of SMART Recovery meeting

Tonight, I tried to go to a SMART Recovery meeting. I had my first experience with Uber. It was a cluster, and I didn’t make the meeting. I ended up at a coin laundry instead. You can read all about that by clicking here.

The second Uber driver took me back to my hotel after the first driver took me to the right address, but in the wrong city. I was visibly upset about the snafu, though not necessarily with Uber. The driver explained how getting frustrated and upset over something I could not control would only upset me some more and cause me to drink even more.

That’s exactly right. Smart man.

So, when I got back to the hotel, I spoiled myself with snapper, went upstairs and gave thanks for this beautiful vacation, and went to bed. Sober. At 8 p.m. Much as I have done every night in the Quad-Cities beginning two and a half years ago.

Many people have not been able to relate to how I’ve maintained sobriety with what appeared to be relative ease.

Now I know it’s not as easy as it looks, and just how slippery the slope can be.

With that said, I’m even grateful for my “relapse” (hate, hate, hate that word). There’s nothing wrong with a wake-up call that could have ended up much, much worse than a hangover after four fun nights. But if I don’t stop now, my luck could run out.

I’m SMART enough to know that.