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Beauty Day

T – Minus 6 Days … From Flash and Bang, to Calm and Sober

tumblr_m9goegijlk1qkbo6bo1_500 freshieCourtesy: Freshie

Don’t you love it when your day, when you look back at it, was one BIG BLUR ???

Today, kind of started in the middle of the night last night.

The first day Christmas cards went on sale at the mall, I spent $40.00 on two boxes. I put them on the dining room table, and there they sat for more than a couple of weeks. I had even went so far as to gather all my little slips of paper, addresses, envelopes from last year, and my choice for who would make “The Cut” this year.

Now, if you know that reference, you are really good.

Time has been moving at light speed, as we are six days from Christmas and things have been ramping up for a while now. It seems that every day there is something specific that must be done, People to see, meetings to go to, coffee to be drank, conversations to be had, yadda, yadda …

Tuesday night I still had not written a single card, and to that end, I posted that fact on my timeline, everybody I send card to is on the “Book.” so why bother ??

Wednesday night, in the middle of the night I was sitting here and thought that there were certain people I really wanted to card. So it was 3 a.m. I was sitting right where I always sit, and I wrote out a very select group of people to card. And those cards went out this morning.

Most of those folks are in Canada, and Canada Post is really good at holiday mail, so chances are they they will get to where they need to be before next Thursday.

Sadly, only two Americans made the cut this year. I just wasn’t up to writing all those cards, when the return rate is so low.

I was ready to go early today because I had a beauty appointment at lunchtime, and so I was a bit early, and I’ve never seen the salon in such a frenetic state. Chairs were full, people were waiting, there was hair all over the floor. It looked like a marathon cut was taking place.

Oh, but this … Prior to going to the mall, I sorted my cards and got them in the mail, and went grocery shopping in the space between then and where I was going. Now I know every check person at the grocery store, well!  We are all on first name basis, because we shop there every day.

Ok, so I am standing in the express lane, and a friend is checking out. The express person has to contend with returns, refunds, lottery tickets, flat screen tv’s (yes, they sell flat screen tv’s at the grocery store), bottles, cigarettes, and the one phone connected to the store, the office downstairs, and THEN check out customers. All at the same time, well, you know what I mean.

In one moment, a guy wanted to exchange a flat screen tv, another wanted a lottery ticket, people were standing at the bottle return, AND the phone rang, and there was a customer in front of me.

What do you do first?

I just stood there wand waited for the fall out to happen. And it didn’t take long.

The guy in front of me was buying one item. LUNCH …

My checker lady had her hands and ears full. Imagine just for a moment, that you are that checker lady with everything going on, all at the same time …

She is taking the call, a bag boy is taking care of the tv, the others can wait.

She swipes the lunch box, amid a conversation and pauses for a brief second what happened next shocked both of us, but it is not uncommon …

The guy looks at her and says … “Can’t you fucking speed up?”

I held my breath.

My friend is not one who is short on words, nor colorful expletives.

She hung up the phone and completed the sale.

The guy did not say thank you, have a nice day, Nothing !

He walked out of the store.

I stepped up to the cash and she exploded with a number of colorful expletives.

We both laughed …

I go home, unload groceries and go to the salon, where the story is already in motion …

I walk into the salon, with the scene I set above. In the first chair, well, there was not first chair there at that moment, but a wheel chair. The cutters there are very familiar with random acts of kindness.

And at that moment, a random act of kindness was taking place.

It swelled my heart.

I waited for a bit and watched the frenetic scene until they were ready for me. The books were cooking with appointments, and from what I was told, it had been like this all week, with the run up to the holiday.

Holidays, a little nasty, a little humbug, and in the end you get a random act of kindness.

I did some Christmas shopping. The mezzanine is rather innocuous, so I passed through “The Tire” without even a hiccup. I hit some Micky D’s for lunch and came home. Thank God for online shopping, it has saved my sanity. Packages are winging themselves here as we speak, all I have to do is wrap them when they get here. BOO YAH !!!

Our little neighborhood has been BUZZING with activity for months now. The park is shut down, and they are rebuilding it. The children’s hospital is slated for closure in five months, a building on the main is being demolished to make way for a brand sparkling new condo block, with is going to KILL my view of Westmount Square when it goes up, The Forum approach has been blocked off for forever, traffic was shunted to two lanes instead of three, concrete barricades went down the block, and a makeshift path was created by fencing to get you through the madness.

From my balcony I get to watch everything from above.

Last night, a miracle occurred.

They pulled up the plastic on the newly poured sidewalks. They fenced in the tree boxes (where they will plant trees next spring), The concrete barricades are gone, the fencing is gone, they added light poles and stop lights, it looks clean, bright and ready for traffic.

Now, how many months does it take to strip a city block strip of sidewalk, 25 feet deep from street to building?

Answer: 8 months

On the demolition site the building is tucked in between a stretch of other buildings in the middle of a very long city block. So you can’t maneuver cranes, lifts, or any BIG Tonka truck rigs. There is no room to set them up.

They are using a one man “mini” bulldozer, lifted to the roof, where it is covered in snow. There are five guys to demolish the building using hammers, a mini dozer, and a Blow Torch.

Behind that building stands an apartment building on our block, we are kind of set up between the block behind this scene looking down on it.

The entry way for cars to park in that buildings parking garage is accessed by an alley that runs behind said building being demolished. They are knocking down a building at the same time that a working alley for another building is still useable. They can’t block the approach.

They knocked in the first floor walls (facing the car park entrance) from behind. They knocked down everything on the roof. They had to dig through the snow to get to hatches to the roof.

Now, they need to knock down brick from the second floor from above, because they can’t get to it from the ground. No truck access …

What do they do?

A man rigs a line, connected to one wall on the roof. The line is then tied to the man. The man hangs over the edge of the building, with his hammer, (literally!!!) knocking bricks out, immediately below him, on the same stretch of wall he is hanging over by a rope.

Do you see the logic here ?

No, I didn’t think so.

So that is a thing …

When all my travels were said and done, I had an hour to kill before I had to leave for the far end of Westmount to meet my sponsor at his condo. We sat in a McDonald’s and had our chat. I had another hour to kill from when we finished, until I needed to leave for my second trip into this end of Westmount.

I rode the train home for 45 minutes, and departed with friends for the meeting.

Our speaker was a few years sober, on the 27th he will have four years.

To open: Our chair, a woman I know very well, called this young man at 5 o’clock this evening. He was in his car, he was bringing his kids home. Both of them were fussing and crying, and it was a little insane, when the phone rung and she asked him to speak tonight.

Obviously, you never say no to another member when it comes to service.

We remarked after the meeting that

“when we were using and drinking, we are a tornado wrecking the lives of everyone around us, and we don’t even see it happening.”

When you are standing in the middle of the cone, you don’t necessarily see the winds whipping around you.

Hence, our man was a tornado.

His story was a type four alcoholic. (Meaning: A blackout, not knowing what he had done, said or drank or used the night before). Singleness of purpose be damned.

In the end, his last drunk, he had a wife, whom he thought he loved, a child that was 2 months old, and ended up in jail, after two days of binge drinking (over Christmas that year) inside a hale of drugs.

Obviously, he wasn’t thinking about his wife, nor his child, his only thought was

“Where can I get MORE?”

It was then, looking in a mirror, in JAIL, he had his moment of clarity.

He gave it up. All of it. And made his way in.

He had ruined his son’s first Christmas, not to mention hurting his wife.

In the end, with tears in our eyes he said this:

“This Christmas, my wife and children (he now has two), will know that daddy loves them very much.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

He has stopped the tornado. He cleaned up his life. He has a job, a life, a wife, two children, a brand new home, he is an upstanding man in our community.

The Twelve Step rep got up there at the end and said that:

“Tonight, would be a really great night to start your journey. A LOT better than starting it next week or the week after.” Any takers … there were two, in fact.

Like myself, many of my friends today, got sober over Christmas, I am early December. So they will be celebrating anniversaries this coming week.

When we got to the meeting, favorite newbie was sitting in the seat I always sit in, well, the seat I started sitting in a few weeks ago. You KNOW we like to sit in the same seat at every different meeting, I KNOW you do !!!

I walked up behind him and said … Hey, You newbie, get out of my seat !!!

We just laughed.

Tonight we even had a serious conversation, I asked him if he has detected “The Force” between the women at the Tuesday night Beginners Meeting, where I used to be a member for for a long time.

He laughed …

Yes, he said, He’s got a few months now. We heard him three weeks ago speak.

At first, the happy peppy women scared him, he wasn’t sure how to react, being so new and raw.

Today, he watches and listens, and he is beginning to “get” the happys…

I have encouraged him to stick and stay at that meeting.

He is doing all the right things. And I am very proud of him.

And that folks, is the end of tonight’s tale of Flash and Bang to Calm and Sober.

More to come, stay tuned …

“The Christmas Card Cut” – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil…