Florida, Texas, and thoughts of New Trier

Florida, last year when I was working for ASC


As I am sitting here in my sixty-eight degree surroundings and see the snow capped piles in the distance through my living room window, I ponder what today might have been like had I been still working for the language lab company.  This week the conference was in Florida, next week in Texas.

Most assuredly I would have donned a suit and spoken to hundreds of people  as I worked the conference in Orlando.  As nice as Orlando is, it is not my favorite Florida venue, and Florida, in fact, is not my favorite warm weather place.  I would have been nice seeing my ASC colleagues, especially George Washington.  I would then have gone this week to Texas, probably Austin, to work that crowd.  I truly enjoy travelling and working with educators so that would have been fun.  That was not meant to be and I do believe that something is around the corner for me, so we shall see.

Pretirement has been an interesting part of my life.  I miss teaching, I miss the camaraderie with the great students and my wonderful colleagues, but I do not miss the hassles.  I do not miss grading papers, although I could easily get back into that, it wasn’t my biggest issue.  I do not miss the bureaucracy and the myriad of add on jobs that occurred during my thirty plus years’ career.  People have absolutely no idea how much school functionaries are put upon by the changes in philosophies and progress in educational thinking.  What I really don’t miss is the politics and the silliness that it brought into our daily lives.  To me these things are totally unnecessary and only made our jobs harder.

Recently, on Facebook, a former student, or should I explain, a former acquaintance student of mine contacted me about this blog.  She told me she was remiss in not having contacted me sooner to tell me that she enjoyed the blog.  She said that she enjoyed the poignancy of my feelings in the entries I have posted so far.

She also mentioned that she would love to have my reaction to the atmosphere within the Modern and Classical Languages department that had pretty much adopted her, during her time at New Trier.  She was truly the departmental mascot.  That is one of the reasons why I knew her.  In my stay at New Trier I have gotten to know far more than my own personal students.  Alison was the “advisee” of my good friend and colleague, Adrienne.  She was a student of Japanese, not French.  I knew her because of her association with my good friend.  Alison, like many of our students and advisees, was omnipresent in the office, searching us out to talk, to discuss, to confide, to connect.  That is what so many of us as teachers and advisers were all about.  We did it because, frankly, we were on a mission.  We were not always sure whether we were born with that mission or turned to it from New Trier, but I am convinced that it was both of those reasons.  Not only was it our mission and our calling, but we reveled in the wonderful communications and experiences we had.

Adrienne is the consummate French teacher and also the consummate teacher as well.  She is very interested in her subject area and teaches it with the highest professionalism possible.  I say teaches, because she is still teaching although “retired.” I would say that she is truly “pretired” as I am.  She was all about the kids, she is all about the career that she took on and espoused; lives, eats, and still breathes to this day.  She is a hard worker, a motivator, and the most caring person you could ever meet.  The day she retired was a tough one for me since I could no longer count on seeing her on a daily basis for the moral sustenance that we all crave as we do our daily jobs.  That made my subsequent years at New Trier harder. 

Adrienne and I not only worked together on the Winnetka campus, she even accompanied me on trips to France as we “shepherded” kids through a Homestay/Exchange program.  She and I became “Mom and Dad” to so many kids as we studied, worked, and traveled together.  I could always count on Adrienne to work with anyone and everyone because no matter what, she cared.   I can also say, with total objectivity, that although she was revered in the halls of the Winnetka campus,  she deserved to be on a much higher pedestal than she was, for all the good she did.

Adrienne and I had been through some very tough times while at the school.  We had lived through and dealt with a Caligula-like department chairman who attempted to make our lives very difficult at times.  The office that Alison speaks of so fondly was not a pleasant place to be.  We were stressed, we were under the gun, we knew that the proverbial shoe could drop at any moment and we would be subjected to moods and reactions that we never deserved.  We lived through it and we pride ourselves on the fact that despite the enormity of the bad situation we endured, our students were never aware that it was occurring.  In fact, they are the ones I credit with our having gotten through the stress and trauma.  Having them as our focus allowed us to deal with the extremely unpleasant man who was our supposed superior, inflicting his mean-spirited whims on those of us in the office that he had singled out unjustly.  I remember oh so fondly the days that he wasn’t present in the office, for some reason, and how the curtain of unpleasantness was lifted.  I also remember the joy when we heard of his impending retirement and how he pretty much disappeared almost completely from view unlike others who had retired.  We had obviously been justified in our dislike for him and our lack of appreciation and understanding for the job he was doing.

Alison showed up during a time period of healing.  I remember talking to the person who became the new department chairman and saying to her that she mustn’t mistake our anxiety in being called into the office as being due to something she had done, but instead realize it was an almost Pavlovian response to what we had been through with her predecessor.

Things were never really the same after Cecil’s departure, but they did, most assuredly get better.  Alison saw the real “us” as we were able to freely go about our jobs and welcome all into the office.  The office had always appeared as a “haven” of sorts even during Cecil’s tenure, we had always had wonderful food and snacks to share.  Those of us who were “persecuted” never really allowed anyone else to suffer (except for, in my case, my poor family!) and the students were,  as I said, never aware.  Once Cecil was gone, we set about to “recover” and be our normal selves.  I recall so many students who made daily visits to us.  I so remember the wonderful, brilliant, young student who was having parental issues and how she would visit me daily and we would discuss rationally what needed to be done.  I remember telling her to get a calendar and set up to countdown the days until her graduation.  She did so, she graduated, she is well on the way to achieving so much and she is going into education.  She is one of many that we were able to reach and help.

The office that Alison came into was not a huge space but it contained well over thirty people.  I am not saying, in this entry, that all of my colleagues were on the same page as Adrienne and I were, but for the most part, they were very good people.  There always were a certain number of people who, since having been placed on the good list during the bad years, never really could understand the pain we were undergoing.  They were so happy at their situations that they almost refused to see what was really going on.

It hurts so much when people try to denigrate the job that teachers are doing.  I know that teaching, like any profession, is going to have some people who are not performing as they should.  I know as well, that so many of them are performing so far above and beyond what they are paid to do and just don’t get the recognition.  I know this personally from so many discussions I have had during the years and these discussions have been with acquaintances and family alike.  I know that some say that the tenure process and unions for teachers are a problem.  I know as well that had I not had tenure that I would have been in some hot water for a short time during my career since I had a supervisor who decided that he was going to try to make my life difficult.

So, in the end, I am so thankful to people like Alison and Adrienne because they are so representative of my experience in the teaching world which is so rewarding and oh so memorable.  It is so nice to be touched by having worked with people like these and receiving oh so much from them.  That was one heck of a career.  And hey, I am pretired, so on it goes!


Happy New Year’s Eve!

It is about 5:15 in the late afternoon and I am sitting with the laptop, cleaning up my blog articles and freezing!  I guess my attempts to be economical are working, that thermostat is doing its job.

Just had word from Michael, new arrivals at the treatment center and they are having pizza for dinner.  In just several short days, these thoughts will be nothing but a memory, or should I say, “Nightmare?”

We are doing what we usually do on New Year’s Eve, celebrating in a low key way.  We are going out for an early dinner to Highwood, the local restaurant capital in the area to be followed by dessert at a friend’s house.  In total, three couples are going to this event, it should be nice, and as I stated, low key.

“Huffy Mommy,” as we call Mary Kay came to the rescue of my mom’s ongoing silly issues in the nursing home. The nursing home, per se, has been amazing in their treatment of my mom.  She has had some dental trauma which goes back to September 4th, a day which shall go down in infamy.  On that day a situation occurred which we had been trying to stave off since we brought my mom to the Chicago area.  The situation was due to a tooth which fell out, she finally had to have the upper teeth removed in preparation for dentures since there wasn’t anything left of strength for another and/or better partial. I had checked this out with our dentist, who had been working on my mother’s mouth since we got her to move here. He agreed that if that particular tooth was no longer in her mouth, that there would be no other choice.

So, on September 4th, my mom had her teeth removed. Honestly, it made us sick!  I had worked it out with the dentist and understood that my mom would have the dentures (upper) by Thanksgiving.  She stated that once the teeth were removed, about a month for healing, then an impression of her mouth, followed by a month to create the dental hardware.  To make a long story short, my mom, who complained little if at all, did not get her new “teeth” until yesterday.  I have called this dentist (who doesn’t always return calls) and the nursing home more than once.  Mary Kay got involved this week following up on my not getting a return phone call from the good dentist.  Despite Dr. Johansson being on “vacation,” she came in yesterday to try out the dentures. The good dentist, however, has a reputation for not writing notes and keeping the nursing staff informed as to what she is doing and they knew nothing about the dentist’s visit.  The dentist did return Mary Kay’s call and said that she had, in fact, put them in my mom’s mouth and left them there for some forty minutes to see how they were.  The nursing staff knew nothing and they finally checked for the missing teeth to find them in mom’s mouth (she had slept all night in them).  Thus ends a portion of my mom’s dental saga.  Dr. Johansson told me that my mom needed a new partial on the bottom and explained that it would cost about $1300 for it.  I told her to go ahead.  I can say this openly that she will be getting a lot of installments before that partial is paid for!  Poor Dr. Johansson, having to deal first with my phone wrath on a voicemail message, to be followed by one from MK, to be followed by MK’s verbal chastising for pretty much not doing her job…

Thus ends quite a crazy year…

Confessions of a “Photo Enforcement Intersection” criminal


Why are we not all “up in arms” at the current push for traffic enforcement cameras at intersections?  Here I speak as a major traffic criminal who has a very clean record for driving and yet, in my travels, I have managed to have three of these lovely infractions under my belt.  I am putting it out there that I am, in fact, not guilty of the three infractions that I currently own.  In each situation, I have erred, yes, but in each case there was a special factor that is not being considered by the “traffic camera.”  There is something inherently wrong in a situation that is totally judged by a technological moment.  I love technology but this is an inappropriate use of technology that actually could be good with a human touch. Even without the human touch, is there any excuse for a lack of response by the people receiving our monies when we contact them to point out our side in these situations?  They just take our money, it certainly is the scam of the current decade and despite the outcries, I have recently seen more and more of them.  My most current infraction, on Michael’s birthday was in an intersection where I had no idea that a right turn on red is wrong.  I have been using this intersection for years, to the point where I did not observe the signs saying that a right turn on red was illegal (honestly, it doesn’t make sense to me) and I didn’t see the sign about the cameras being present.  As I wrote the check yesterday, I saw that the Northfield, Illinois infraction’s payment was even being sent to Cleveland, Ohio.  Interesting!

I philosophically understand the frustration of the various municipalities regarding the reasons for installing these technological monsters.  I also, philosophically, have a major bone to pick with them because I think that they are opening Pandora’s box as they scam to fill their coffers with cash. Has anyone checked the statistics to see whether or not the good drivers or the criminals are getting the tickets?

My first infraction was on Cicero Avenue just north of Midway airport on a dark, icy, rainy night.  I was driving at normal speed in very icy conditions.  At that time, I wasn’t aware (as I found out later) that in the “Photo Enforcement Zones,” that the timing of the “yellow light” was different.  It was shorter than normal, yet within the legal timing allowed.  I learned that, for example,  in New York City the yellow light always has this “shorter” span of display, but not here.  Here, when we “photo enforce” it is shorter.  I saw the situation that icy night, and knew that if I stopped my car as they wanted that I would have slid through the intersection and collided with vehicles, so I went through the “shortened” yellow light…which apparently became red.  Since no human discussion of the situation occurs, $100 goes into the coffers, period.

My second was in St. Louis on a misty evening when I was just arriving and searching the area for my hotel, an area that was a spider web maze of roads and odd turns near the airport.  I saw what I needed to do and made my turn just as I saw the sign about “photo enforcement” and realized that I was too far in the intersection for my left hand turn, hence I needed to get myself out of there.  Another ticket, another $100 for a municipality.  I was infuriated!  I wrote a long detailed letter that I even thought of posting.  Obviously it was just thrown out, they don’t care, they just want their $100!

My third was, as mentioned before.  My middle son told me I should contest it, and I really should, but at my age I understand the reality of corruption and scamming and I realize that it is to no avail until we are all up in arms and do something about this. That is a sad statement but true.  I decided that perhaps my vehicle of complaint might be this blog.  Let’s all do something about this.  As my son reminds me, people are going to scam their way out of this one.  People might well be barreling faster through these intersections and/or cause more accidents.  That does not make me happy. The intersection, by the way, is where Waukegan and Willow Roads connect.

As we drove north to see Michael in his rehab clinic the other day, I noticed at least three more of these intersections.  When is this going to stop?

Day Six of rehab, fifty-nine years old and hopeful

wild grape vine: play toy of a border collie; Christmas tree lights reflected on the window


This picture shows exactly the status of things.  One can see the barbed wire of nature (wild grape vine) that mysteriously appeared on my front lawn just the other day, brought by our canine wonder, Ali.  It is sitting on top of the icy snow.  She had gotten frustrated at the fact that she couldn’t find the ball or Frisbee that she plays with.  She likes to hide toys in the yard and retrieve them for play.  She is ten and still plays like a puppy.  Her frustration led her to go up to the fence and rip down wild grapevine and pull it from the back to the front and play with it.  As I have said, there is always a reason for the things that happen.  I truly have some obsessive compulsive attributes, one of them being I don’t like a mess on my front lawn.  I haven’t removed the vine, though.  It is perhaps a subconscious reminder of what has been going on in our household.  It is something we have to deal with, the purity of the snow surrounding that annoying, clingy vine makes me feel that despite the evil web that surrounded our son, that we shall see spring and with it the hope of a new and better day.  So, for now, there it stays.

The night brought us at least six inches of snow.  I had quickly gone out when I sent Ali out last night before going to bed and started shoveling the two or so inches of fluffy snow on the drive.  I figured that I would be off the hook today, probably have nothing to do.  I paid no attention to the meteorologist’s reports as I have little faith in them.  It was a bit of a surprise to me this morning as I headed toward the front of the house to see that my son’s plow was attacking the six or so inches (more in some spots) that covered our drive and walkway. I was so thankful for that, especially knowing that he must be more than exhausted from a very early morning of plowing and that maybe he was headed home for some needed rest.  As I am proofing this now, I know that that supposition was wrong as I have seen his pickup truck go back and forth several times in my neighborhood, so much for rest!

Mary Kay is already sweetly haranguing me about the fact that it is my birthday, reminding me that my birthday dinner celebration should be put off until Mikey gets home.  My birthday is a family joke of sorts, always has been.  For some reason, I am a real holiday, birthday person.  I guess that since as a child I always felt overlooked by so many, that I clung to the idea that perhaps my birthday would be special.  Unfortunately, I chose poorly as it is on the day after Christmas.  Everyone knows of my sensitivity, but let’s be honest, who is interested in celebrating again the day after Christmas?  It doesn’t matter how we plan, it is always a strange sort of let down and invariably the plans are left to the wayside.   Mary Kay doesn’t really believe that I am finally resigned to its being the way it is, but I am.  I want it to be more special to me but realize it cannot be. 

My birthday feelings go way back to my youth.  My mom, despite the diminutive size of the house we lived in and the almost non-existent dining area, almost always had the Christmas celebration.  Her entire family came, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.  We usually had turkey, as I recall, and I was always working, even at a very young age, setting the table, etc.  I remember fondly having to go down to the basement and set out the heaters so that we wouldn’t freeze when we sat down to Christmas dinner.   My mom didn’t receive a whole lot of help; virtually everything was made in her tiny kitchen, so when my aunt offered to make my birthday cake, my mom always accepted.  My aunt always made a cake that appealed to my uncle with little thought of what I might like, so that only added to the feeling that I was just an oversight. 

It is around nine o’clock in the morning and it has already been a full day.  Despite having my drive plowed, I still had a lot to do as I had to clean off a car in order to shovel around it!  It is not in the garage, there being no room in it at the moment, so I shoveled around it, cleaned it off and shoveled some more.  The snow, in the backyard is mounded to about thirty-six inches or so, taller than Samantha.  It took some time to get that clean and the walkways as well.  Now I am cold as the result of the early morning workout is taking effect.

We decided early on that our family trauma was going to be a part of the blog.  Initially, I had thought to not include it since perhaps some privacy would be helpful.  I am not and never shall be one to play the hiding game with stuff like this, so our so-called “dirty wash” is being displayed for all.  I mentioned it to Mikey that part of his rehab is going to be to read my entries.  He needs to know what was going on in all of our minds.

Because of the blog and because of the communications we have had via other vehicles with those we know, we have received an outpouring of wishes that are so much appreciated.  Last night Mary Kay’s cousin called, we hadn’t even realized that he had been reading all along.  This is just one example of how we are able to get through this, a note here, a message there, a phone call, an e-mail, all hugs of understanding that we are not alone in dealing with this and that we shall see another bright day.  The messages we keep receiving are taking a horrible nightmare and allowing us to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I continue to even receive messages from my French friends, having found out that they too are reading my blog.

Yesterday, I even spoke to a university classmate of Mikey’s who has been busy getting on with his life and not as active in Mikey’s life as before.  He, like everyone else, has offered to do whatever he can.  He and Mikey share the love of the outdoors; they did climbing, hiking, all sorts of things together.  H e is even involved in his love of the outdoors in his actual profession and is now employed by the university they attended as an instructor for the contract year.  He has some ideas for some outings and even some therapeutic good times together in the near future.  Mikey’s one great desire, as he explained it to us, is to put on his hockey skates and go skating, something he had put aside and never should have.

We haven’t yet spoken to him today, but I know he is better.  I am going to have a wonderful birthday!

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Day Four, Detox/Rehab, one day at a time…addendum

As usual, my whirring mind was going non-stop as I baked the final batch of cookies.  Meditation was at work as I rolled the sticky balls of molasses cookies and coated them with red or green sugar before baking.

I have said before that things happen for a reason and I firmly believe that.  It is not possible to comprehend and/or understand why these things occur.  In September, I started blogging, for the first time in my life.  I had tried it a bit before, but it wasn’t right and I gave up after a few entries.  This time, for whatever reason, it was right.

Everyone mourns a unique, special way.  We need to be respectful of that and, as in most cases in life, non-judgmental, something most of us have an issue with.  I see in my family that we are all in mourning.  No one has died, thank goodness, but a part of our lives has.  We can no longer go on and expect that everything in certain areas is going to be all right.  There is a new paradigm here and we all need to acknowledge it.  In my family, I see that each individual has reacted differently, some pulling inward, some expressing visible anger, some taking charge and becoming energized with things to do to clear things up so we can move on.  It is hard when we all come together because we might, full well, knock heads.  We cannot afford that reaction as we have to be on the same page.

I was very upset during the family dinner (on the evening of the day when we learned of the addiction) when emotions pretty much got out of hand and we “lost it” for a moment.  I was distinctly upset because I actually had a handle on it and it seemed like I wasn’t being heard.  I was being heard, but it was a delayed reaction of sorts.  It was very hard to take.  Again, now in retrospect, I realize that we all have to deal with things as our minds dictate and that often it is beyond our control.

I feel that things are coming together in a good way.  We have a long voyage ahead.  If one were to see me silently sobbing here as I write this, tears falling down my face, it might be a total surprise as I seem to be ‘in control.’  It is a momentary lapse and it is okay.  This isn’t the last time I shall feel like this.

Digression seems to be my modus operandi and I have gotten away from my original thought about blogging.  I am convinced that somehow I was mentally preparing for all of this when I started writing in September.  Something told me that this would be something of solace and catharsis for me and hopefully for my family members as well, if they are not angry at me for attempting to point out how they were reacting to all of this as we passed through it.  It is interesting that the word “catharsis” is actually on my home page.  We are all scared as we muddle through this, hoping that we make good decisions and choices and that their ramifications are good.   I am truly hoping that my youngest will read this at some point in time and try to get a better handle on how we felt as we went on this journey with him and hoped and prayed that he would recover and go into remission.

Day Four, Detox/Rehab, One day at a time…


It was explained to us last night that Day Four of the clinic stay for our son is a transition from detox to rehab.  We saw him last night as we delivered a Ziploc bag of quarters for phone calls and a razor and shaving cream. 

He looked so good.  Looking good is so deceptive, however.  Drugs are so deceptive.  Yes, he looks really good, but it doesn’t truly give any insight into the workings of the mind and how it reacts to chemical additives.  It doesn’t tell us whether or not a return to the life of drugs is imminent. 

We ponder why anyone would take that first “pill” and set off on the road to addiction.  On our way out of the facility last night we spoke of this to one of the people who comes in to “give back” to the community by talking to the clinic inmates.  She reminded us that we would never understand it and could only understand it if we actually tried it.  Well, forget that.

We almost killed ourselves as we got out of our car in the icy parking lot.  Waukegan can be quite seedy.  Luckily, this part of it seems to be pretty safe.  It wa dark and cold and we almost didn’t get in, the aide/attendant was iffy about our getting through the second door as we were followed by a two hundred fifty pound man wanting to get in…once he was dissatisfied with her response to us, he hightailed it out.  Then she let us in.

She got him out of a meeting, probably the last in the evening. 

He was calmer than before, looking good, as I said.  We talked about all sorts of things.  He mentioned that we can see him on Christmas Day but we can bring cookies only if they are pre-packaged.  He therefore will not benefit from my final efforts to make cookies; he will just have to wait until his release.

We had known that he was devastated about his divorce.  We had seen him in the spring, the entire family together in a rented home in San Diego; shortly thereafter he announced that he was getting a divorce.  Divorce at twenty-six…at this point in time seems early to even get married.  He was so in love with her.  She was the reason for the California move.  Objectively, people are not always good for each other, I have seen good people connect only to cause sadness and catastrophe for one another, I don’t see this situation that way at all.  The entire family had spoken to him about our reservations, carefully, because he was an adult.  We also knew that coming on too strong could work against us all.  He was in love, case closed.  We did the best we could to support him.  I am really convinced that deep down he thought he could help her; she had a lot of issues.  As we all know, people can only help themselves, ironically, now this is what he has to do for himself.

I knew she was damaged beyond control, we all knew that deep down.  I have no problem relating to young people.  MK reminds me that they all love me, love to talk to me, maybe finding me a bit eccentric, but that is okay.  I could never relate to her, it didn’t matter what I did.  She is one of the few people who just wouldn’t talk to me or spend any time whatsoever with.  The irony is that my absolute best conversation with her was when I took her out for tea in California on my first visit there to help Mikey.  We spoke more than we had spoken in the entire time I had known her.  That is a very sad statement.

In our discussion last night it was clear that the biggest thing on his mind was his loneliness après divorce proceedings (the divorce still isn’t finalized).  We, as a family, had continued to have issue with him and his lack of what we deemed to be “connection” with us.  He was hard to get a hold of, might not answer calls, etc.  Apparently he was far lonelier than anyone realized and/or could deal with.  We know that our youngest child had seriously missed his family network of support and was somehow trying to replicate it, but not in a savory sort of way that would be acceptable to his Midwestern family.

He mentioned that he knows that his taking any sort of chemical additives to his body are out of the question.  It is good that he says this.  As he speaks, my mind wonders whether he is just spouting what he has been hearing or if he really believes this.  Due to the short time he had been taking serious drugs, flew home without any on a more than five hour trip (he didn’t have a non-stop flight), then tried to clear his body of them ‘cold turkey’ makes me want to believe him. 

One day at a time.

We keep saying this to him, know he hears this, and it is true.  We know that seeing the immensity of what needs to be dealt with is too much and can make relapse more possible.  This is why the family mobilization has occurred and duties have been farmed out so we can put it all into perspective and then deal with them. 

One day at a time.

Mike has never been good at “letting go” of an argument or of something once he has started.  Our iconic story of him is when, as a child, he was “wronged” by the neighbor boy down the street.  As I recall, Clark whacked him over the head with a toy guitar for some reason, as kids do.  Mike never let go, every so often, even into early adulthood, he would recall the supposed injustice of that situation.  It is part of a pit bull type attitude where once he gets something in his head, it is omnipresent.  I hope that the twelve steps will find their way into his headstrong brain as then we can all be assured that he will be on the road to recovery.

The dog got the paper and slid and crunched slightly on the snow that I see from the couch where I am sitting quietly as I write in the shadow of our beautiful Christmas tree.  What does this day hold for us?  Are we okay?  Is Mike on the road to recovery?  What other things does it hold?  Will the police call once again for MK’s mom?  Will she tell them to look for her deceased husband who is supposedly carousing at a bar or with some woman?  We go through crazy spurts of activity with her lively form of dementia ever y so often.  Hopefully it has settled down to allow us to deal with other things.  Meanwhile, my mom sits in her wheelchair in the nearby nursing home and deals with her unique form of dementia, at least she remembers pretty much everything, just has short term memory issues. 

We love Mike…

We always wondered why he was so disconnected from all of the trauma we have been going through with the grandmothers as we relocated them, moved furniture, attempted to take care of them to the best of our abilities and yet still feel we haven’t done enough.  We wondered why he didn’t seem to be totally aware of all of the ramifications of the recession and its effects on the family.  We had needed him, he is our “equalizer,” always has been, and he wasn’t there for us on any level the way we hoped he would be.  Now we know why.

We want him back…

One day at a time for the sandwich generation…

Swim Meditations, Day Three of Detox

I slept okay last night, as well as one could given the situation with which we are dealing.  Mixed up a batch of cookies for baking later, had breakfast, and went to the gym to swim and meditate.

While swimming my mind did what it is so good at, whirring incessantly with all sorts of thoughts about the current detox/rehab situation and things that will need to be done in order to extricate our son from the web of his California life. He made it very clear from the point that he admitted to his disease that he needed to stay in the Chicago area.  I keep thinking about his situation and have to keep reminding myself that this is just as if we had discovered that he had some chronic disease, one for which there is no hope of actually recovering.  Remission may occur, hopefully will, but there are no guarantees.  I know, that in terms of addiction, our society is less than understanding of this and that we are all programmed pretty much to look down on those who suffer from it.  I am not saying it is easy to comprehend the behaviors, but we are so quick to blame and not truly realize what is going on.  The biggest part of the illness is being able to discern when it is the person talking to you as opposed to the drugs doing the communication.

Today has been spent on familial discussion of the next plan of action.  We need to figure out what we are going to do in regards to his finances, his possessions in California, etc.

The detoxee said that he is in need of quarters (for phone calls), a razor (it seems he came to visit us without one), and other incendiary items.  We will be able to deliver them later this evening.

Nonetheless, this is all disconcerting since he will be a  clinic detainee for some time and unable to attend to his personal matters, whatever they are. 

Then we have to think about what types of rules we shall have to have and enforce once he is released and comes back to live on the homefront.  Standard procedure is that a Koerner son has the right to borrow a car to go wherever, obviously that cannot be the case.  What will the situation be with his friends?  My thought is that he has to break with anyone with whom he had a relationship based on anything illegal and/or addictive.  There are many questions we need to ask.

to be continued…