Saturday, July 31, 2004

Chapter 43 1994-1995-1996

Nothing really exciting happened between these years. I worked at the Transit and it was extremely busy with the Paratransit and the overall growth of the Company. I attended AA loyally, I still was involved in the Fire Department and working every Sunday on the Ambulance. I cannot go into detail on the jobs, so I am fast forwarding.
In September of 1994 my dad fell and broke his hip. He lay on the floor for about 12 hours waiting to be able to call my sister to come get him and take him to the hospital. I happened to be working on the ambulance the night he fell. Do you think he’d call 911?? NO!! He was a stubborn old mule and didn’t want to make a fuss!!
They did a hip replacement and he went to Careage Nursing home for recovery. While he was laying in his hospital bed I felt the love I had for him fill my heart. He looked so old, and I was remembering the dad I knew growing up. He was everything a woman would want or need. He was handy in the house, loved to cook, loved gardening, great sense of humor, could make shelves or anything needed, hunted, fished, camped, loved his wife unconditionally, took his marriage vows very seriously. He was retired Navy, was a Deputy Sheriff, was a Firefighter on the base, and just all around loved by everyone good guy!! After I sat there and watched him I went home and wrote this letter to him:
Dear Daddy,
Tomorrow you are being taken to Careage of Whidbey because you have a broken hip. It will only be for two weeks. I know how frightened you are, but please be reassured that we are not putting you away in an old folks home!! I love you too much to do that.
All my life you have been my hero. Ever since I was a baby I had to sleep with your boon-dockers for re-assurance that you were near. Mom said you even had to come home to feed me.
I was so afraid that you would come home from the Ranger Cruise and divorce mom. I prayed that if that happened that I would go with you.
When I started dating I was so afraid that you wouldn’t like my boyfriends.
When I married Larry, I thought I found someone to fill your shoes. He seemed to be a lot like you, but not really. He didn’t do the handy things around the house that you were so good at. After 13 years of marriage I realized it was no good.
You were such a good husband for mom. You sat back and let her do her thing, and waited for her to settle down. I’ve never seen anyone take their marriage vows so seriously. You haven’t even taken off the wedding band. You must have really loved her. I hope she knew how gifted she was to have found you. I’m sure glad she did.
All three of us kids love you very much. Do you realize how lucky you are to have three kids love you? I wish I had at least one!!
When I was pregnant and in Virginia I was so lonesome for home, and when you called me and asked me to come home, my heart burst. You and mom were right by my side through the whole still-born thing. Dad, I’m so sorry I put you through all of that!! I started drinking really hard after that, and I was totally out of control. I know now I must have put you through Hell. I’m so sorry for all of that. Please forgive me. I’ve been sober for 7 years and three months now, and realize that my life was a mess before. I’m trying my best to live a normal life now. Thank you so much for being my dad. I don’t know what I would do without you here.
It breaks my heart to see you laid up with a broken hip. Dad; Mary Lou, Mike and I are right by you to get you through this. Things will work out. I want you to get better, so we can go to Alaska and explore. You have a lot more years ahead of you if you follow doctor’s orders.

Please know we are with you through all of this.

I love you dearly!! Phyllis

I placed the letter on his bedside and went home. He never mentioned the letter, so I thought maybe he thought it was corny! When he was back at home one day I was visiting with him and he had the letter in his hand and asked if I wrote that. I smiled and said yes, and we both got teary eyed!!
In the Spring of 1996 Dad had some serious trouble with his Diabetes, and had a big infection on his feet. He was sent to the hospital again and then sent to the mainland for an operation and maybe amputation if they had to. It ended up that they didn’t have to amputate but he was in serious shape. He had to go to Dialysis three times a week for the rest of his life.

I was working one day on Camano Island and saw a dog at their pound. He was a Siberian Husky very light blue eyes. He had his back to the rest of the yapping dogs and had his head up and howling his heart out! I was fascinated by him! I don’t like dogs, but I couldn’t get him off my mind. I tried to get people to go adopt him but nobody wanted to. I called the pound and they said there was a waiting list for him. I thought great, but left my phone number anyway. A week later they called me and said come get him. Uh-Oh!! What am I going to do with a dog?!! They told me he did not get along with cats at all, and was a hand full. I took him to the van and sat with him and told him the rules! No pooping or peeing in the house, no chewing on things, no barking at all, no humping my legs, no begging, you must love the cats, they rule, they are the boss in the house, in other words you are not to act like a dog!! He looked at me as if to say ok. I named him Tlingit, and took him home. I picked up Booboo my cat to introduce them and Tlingit’s eyes had that hunger look in them and Booboo ran like hell climbing over my head using my cheeks, nose and eye sockets as a leverage to get the hell away! I still have a small scar just below my left eye. I was really lucky I did not lose my eye!
More tomorrow….

Friday, July 30, 2004

Baby sitter

Well I babysat two adorable Chinese girls tonight!!
I went to their house at 4:00 and we watched "Finding Nemo" I loved that movie!! What a hoot!! I related to the blue fish what is her name? I forgot. Norma? Anyway, she is a forgetful fish!! HAHAHAHA Then the shark "Bruce" that has not had a fish for two weeks. (Like alcoholics anonymous, only "fish Anonymous"). When that movie was over I let the girls 4 & 5 years old make our dinner. we had grapes, grilled ham & cheese and rice crackers with peanut buttter. NUM!!
Then we watched "Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron". That was a great tear jerker!! (Yes, I cry at animated movies, wanna make somethin of it??!!) The girls were dancing around like horses and making horse whinnies the entire movie. I was sitting there like an old grandma crocheting a baby blanket for their new 16 month old sister that they are going to China on Thursday to get. Then they wanted to watch "Riverdance". Yep!! They danced the entire two hour tape!! Mai was dancing and seriously concentrating so hard she was nearly turning herself inside out, and Tai was jumping up and down throwing her head back and throwing her arms up in the air like she was ready for flight!! (Like Steve Martin when he found rhythm in "The Jerk") Then as the tape was ending, Daddy walked in!!! OOPS It was 11:00 already, and they hadn't brushed their teeth, and they should've been in bed!! But we were having so much fun!!!
I am exhausted!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Chapter 42 1994

Let me go back a couple of years.  I forgot to put in my camping adventures!!  That is a real important part of my sobriety life!!  In 1989 I heard about an AA Memorial Day campout at Mt Baker.  I had a small camper on the back of my small pickup so I headed up to the mountain all alone.  I drove through the campground and saw a few people I knew from the AA meetings at the Hall and they didn’t wave, so of course I felt like an intruder.  (That feeling of not belonging anywhere!) I drove around the edge of the campground and saw a group of people I knew from the Bluebox AA group.  I slowed down and no one waved so again I felt unwanted and was ready to head home when a gal (Joanne) came out yelling my name!!  I was thrilled that someone knew me so I stopped.  She showed me where to park and I joined the fun.  I had no idea what to take camping, but I learned real quick!! 
The next year on Memorial day weekend was another campout so I had bought a pup tent and took that.  It was pouring most of the time but we huddled under some tarps that were strung up around the campground.  I took note of what was needed for the next campout!!
The next year I bought a two room cabin tent and set up a nice camp with coffee cans for a toilet.  Again it was pouring rain!! 
The next year I had bought a used pop up tent trailer!!  Perfect!!  I got to the campground all alone.  Only one other camper in the entire area, and he was an old man three spaces away.  I made camp and tried to build a fire with no luck at all, so I got my flashlight and headed to bed to read.  The next morning the old man came by and told me I was sleeping on my head all night.  I didn’t know what he meant, so he went and got three hydraulic jacks and leveled my trailer for me.  He invited me to his camp and he had a great fire going in a nice fire pit!!  He told me to look for an old abandoned washing machine and pull out the inner basket.  They make great fire pits!!  They are ceramic and have tiny holes all around it and a post in the center for air to circulate.  PERFECT!!  My neighbor works at the recycle center at the Disposal place and got me one for free!!
I go camping every year now and everyone looks for my campsite because they know I have enough food to feed an army and anything that is needed for camping!!  I go the Monday before Memorial Day and camp alone for two days and friends start coming in slowly Wed-Fri.  By the weekend the entire campground is packed!!  Camping is a great way to show people there is life after drinking!!  You can have a lot of fun without the bottle!!
Ok, back to 1994.
Kevin called and asked if I wanted to vacation with him again in Early May.  I said I could take a week off and do it.  He came down and we went to Seattle and toured the Market there.  We had dinner at the local cafĂ© and he ordered a beer.  He drank it then we ate and went on home.  He asked if it bothered me that he drank a beer and I told him no, but don’t try to kiss me because I refuse to touch lips that have alcohol taste on them!!  The next day we took the Ferry from Anacortes up to Sidney on Vancouver Island.  We toured the Butchart Gardens which were absolutely beautiful.  We then went over to Victoria and spent a night in the city and shopped the old town there.  We then drove up towards Campbell River but camped in a spot halfway there.  It was hilarious!!  It advertised camping, and it was dark when we set up camp.  The next morning I woke up to the loudest rooster in the world right outside my tent!!  I about landed on the moon!!  When we got out of the tent we noticed we were camping in someone’s back yard!!!  I guess they let people set up camp there in the summer.  We made it to Campbell River and visited with friends of his.  They took us to their local bar and thought I was weird because I drank a coke.  I explained why I didn’t drink and they were amazed that I could sit there and watch them drink.  They had no clue!
The next day we traveled to Uclulet and set up camp then drove to Tofino and went through the whale museum.  Both towns are on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and have whaling expeditions.  They were out of season when we were there.  I noticed Kevin acted kinda grouchy, and I brushed it off.  The next day we drove through the Cathedral Forest with beautiful old growth Cedar trees!!
We were driving down the highway and the traffic was horrendous!  I was moving into the left lane and Kevin started yelling at me to look out!!  I slammed on my brakes and he started yelling at me asking me what I was doing, and I said I was trying to get into the left lane to take us to the ferry.  He looked sheepishly and said “oh”.  We had a horrid fight!!  He asked what the big deal was, and I told him I was married for 13 years to a grouch and I refuse to spend a vacation with one!!  I guess the Honeymoon was over!!
We got home and the next day he was gone when I woke up. 
He left an apology note to me and a roll of Canadian money that added up to a hundred dollars!  He said it was a souvenir for me.  I called him the next day to cuss him out for leaving without saying anything and about leaving me the money!  He said he would be insulted if I sent it back to him. I still have that money!
I went camping at Mount Baker the next week and enjoyed myself!!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Chapter 41....1993

In January I went to Doc Z’s office to pick up a letter of recommendation I asked him to write for me.  He saw me and asked why I was there, and I told him.  He said don’t leave your mother is on the way here.  I asked why, and he said she was at her doctor for a hurt back and he found a huge tumor on her breast!  I knew she had a lump because when I had my first lump removed a year ago she told me she had one too.  I told her to get to her doctor and thought nothing else of it!  Last month when I went back for the other lump removal she told me again about her lump, and I told her she better go have it checked!!  She has always been big breasted and she sits around the house in her chair wearing loose fitting muumuu’s, so I never really noticed anything different about her.  She had not been drinking for the past 10 months and I was very proud of her but on New Years she got drunk and fell in the kitchen.  It was because of that fall that she had so much pain in her back.  She finally went to the doctor around January 20th for the pain.
Doc Z asked me to stay in the office when mom & dad came in.  Mom saw me and started crying, (so did dad).  Her and I have always had this strange ESP going on.  Doc Z had mom lay down on the table and I was shocked!!  Her breast was sticking up like there was a football in it!!  It was a HUGE lump!!  Why she let it go that long was beyond me!!  Fear? Yes.  Suicide? Yes. Escape from a depressing existence? Yes.  My mother was such a depressed woman and I wish I could’ve helped her but I couldn’t!!  Any way, Doc Z admitted her in the hospital and operated right away!  He did a mastectomy and came in the waiting room to tell us that mom was ridden with cancer and probably, maybe have a year at the most, maybe 6 months.  My sister and I both got mad and said well she got what she wanted!!  Poor Doc was shocked at our response.  Mom was obsessed with Dr. Kevorkian and had his phone number in her book.  She was put in a room for a few days.  That night I was called and told to get to the hospital QUICK!  She was having a GI bleed!  (A bleeding ulcer).  Doc Z operated and she received about 43 units of blood.  Doc slept at the hospital that night to be there for her if she had another episode.  Mom was in a coma for a few days.  I cannot remember how long, maybe a week.  I would go hold her hand by the hours and then go to work, go back and hold her hand then go home to bed.  We were all there for her, my brother, my sister, & dad.  Our family sure grouped together and was there for her when she needed us! We would hold her hand and talk to her and cry over her, begging her to wake up.  I was there when my sister was crying and telling her she loved her.   Miraculously she came out of her coma.  I told her later that we were all there holding her hand and crying over her and I also told her what Mary Lou said!!  Mom smiled at that!!  She was put back on the floor in a room by herself.  I gave her the Prayer of Freedom.  I let go!

I free ___(you)____from my anxiety, from my personal idea of what constitutes happiness for you.  I trust the spirit of God in you, to guide you, to show you the way that is right for you, your highest good, the way that means happiness and success for you.

I place you lovingly in the hands of the Father.  I stand by in faith, I refrain from imposing my will on you.  You are God’s child.  You are here to fulfill your own purpose.  As close as I am to you, as much as I love you, I cannot live your life for you.  Your destiny, your place, your fulfillment is between you and God.

I know that we are one in God and that as I trust God in my life and trust Him in your life ALL WILL BE WELL!

I told her I loved her and I will not judge her for her choices, and I forgave her everything!!  We both cried together.
The next morning around 7 am (I cannot remember the exact time) I got a phone call telling me that mom died and to get to the hospital.  I got there and saw mom.  She looked about 10 years younger and there was no Stress at all on her face.  She really looked at peace. Now I know what they mean by they are “at Peace!!”
Now I know why she cried in October when I went on my trip!!

We did not have a service for her.  She didn’t want one.  She asked that her ashes be thrown at sea.  We told the funeral home that, and in May a Navy ship was leaving and they took her ashes and gave her a very nice burial at sea.  But they weren’t sprinkled, they were still in the plastic box with a flag draped over it.  They tipped the plank and the box plopped into the water.  They filmed the episode and gave us a copy of the tape.  I could just imagine mom inside that box screaming at all of us to come open that box!!  (She was claustrophobic!).  Why do I find humor in everything?  In May I was flown to Milwaukee for a Paratransit class that lasted a week.  It was a great class and perfect timing!!  We were just beginning Paratransit at Island Transit and I was to learn all I could about the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA).  We worked hard getting it all together and ready to go public.  We were the first Transit system in the State to be 100% ADA accessible.
In the Summer I got a letter from Kevin from Edmonton Alberta along with the Fire Department patch.  He called in September asking if he could come visit me while he was in the area.  I told him of course, and he could stay in my spare room.  He said I was invited to go to his area anytime and visit him too.  We decided to make it one big vacation.  He bought a new truck so I would be comfortable in it, and he drove down in 15 hours.  We toured Seattle and the area here for a week then we left and drove through Eastern Washington over to Glacier National Park in Montana, and up over the Highway to the Sun and into Canada and up through Alberta stopping at all the interesting spots and antique stores!!  Drumheller was fascinating!!  It was a canyon that dropped out of a flat terrain!  Much like the Grand Canyon.  It has dinosaur artifacts.  We also saw the HooDoos, funny little formations from clay.  We drove up to Cold Lake where he has a cabin, then back to Edmonton.  He lives about 4 blocks from the great West Edmonton Mall!!  I spent two entire days in there!!  Fantastic!!  He bought me a train ticket to Vancouver BC, and it went through Lake Louise and over the Rocky Mountains.  It was awesome!!  Wow!!  Two vacations in two years!!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Chapter 40...The rest of 1992

Chapter 40…the rest of 1992

I’m a baaad girl!! My neighbor and his 11 year old daughter stayed in my Tent trailer last night so I planted my Fart Machine in the closet in there.  When they were in bed I sat in my kitchen and pushed the remote control about every ½ hour!!  I was giggling all night just thinking of what they were thinking!!  I need a life!!  Saturday night, and I get my thrills by using my fart machine on my neighbor and his daughter!!  I saw them this morning and apologized.  They asked why, and I told them I used my Fart machine, and they looked at each other and laughed!  They said they wondered what that noise was!!  Okay….on with my story.

In September 1992 I decided I have been dreaming about Alaska too much and needed to go visit it!  Never in my life have I taken a paid vacation to anywhere for fun!!  Never!!
I have a friend that is a Captain on one of the Alaska State Ferries.  It goes from Bellingham WA, to Southeast Alaska.  I got instructions and all by myself I packed a pull along kit and headed for the ferry!!  My mom cried and said she worried about me.  On Friday September 19th I walked on board the Matanuska and headed for the Solarium.  It is on the upper deck and it has reclining lawn chairs to sleep on.  I positioned the chair under a heater above my head and placed it against the back wall to keep away from rain and wind.  It was really cozy!!  There were about twenty other people on the deck doing the same thing.  Some people choose to pay for a cabin below deck, but I wanted to do it the right way and rough it!!  I’m sure glad I did!  The first night I was sitting on the deck chair feeling lonely and wondering “what the Hell am I doing?”  I am 43 years old and traveling to a strange place ALONE!!!  I get the ALASKA magazine and in the advertisements were ads for motels, so I called ahead and made reservations at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.  There was a notice on the ferry schedule that there would be limited space because of the Alaska State Firefighters Conference in Skagway the same time I was to be there.  Soooo, being the curious person I am I called the Skagway fire Dept and asked if I could join in on the conference because I was a volunteer firefighter in Coupeville.  They welcomed me with open arms, and I paid $75.00 to join in the conference and that got me a free train ride to White Pass and back, and 50% off on my motel!!
Okay, back to the first night.  I was sitting on the deck feeling sorry for myself and I looked up to the night sky and saw the Big Dipper, the symbol for Alaska, and behind that, the Northern Lights!!  I got so excited I started telling everyone about it and we all were watching in amazement!!  That broke the ice, and I made friends with everyone on the deck.  In fact most of the people were doing exactly what I was doing.  Traveling alone to Alaska!  The next morning we were traveling slowly up through the east side of Vancouver Island.  It is beautiful there and we saw Whales.  I would get excited and point to them and everyone would come running.  The whales were too far away to get a picture of them.  That night it got really wild on the deck.  We were going through the Dixon Straights, just North of Vancouver Island and it was really rough!!  There was the remains of a typhoon from Japan that was hitting us then.  It was scary but exciting! 
The next morning we stopped at Ketchikan, but I stayed on board because I was going to stay there on the way back.  We traveled on to Juneau, and it was cold, windy and rainy.  Everyone got bored and headed down to the auditorium and I stayed on deck.  I was all alone up there reading and decided to get up and look over the railing, and I saw what seemed to be hundreds of dolphins jumping and playing in the wake of the ship!!  I got all excited, but no one was there to see it with me.  I took a lot of pictures and then grabbed the cameras that were left at the little camps and took pictures with each of the cameras!!  Then I ran downstairs to tell everyone.  Of course there was a stampede to get on deck, but by that time the dolphins were gone!  But I have proof, and they will know too when they have their pictures developed!!  HAHAHAHA
Next stop was Sitka, and there was a bus to take us to town and there was a few stores open to take our tourist money.  It was still stormy, buy I didn’t care.  I went to the Fire Department and traded patches with them then went to wait for the bus.  I was soaked and met a guy in the bus stop and he was amazed that I was in the Fire Dept.  He was a firefighter for Petro-Canada in Edmonton Alberta.  He asked for a patch, and I said I wanted one from his place, so we traded addresses.  That evening we got on a different ferry and was heading North again.  That ferry happened to be the one my friend Captained.  He came out on deck and invited me to dinner with him.  (That really dropped a few jaws, especially my new Canadian friend).  John is handsome especially in his uniform, and very married to my best friend, but they don’t need to know that!!  Hahahaha!  I was honored to be in the pilot house that night going through the Wrangell Narrows.  Now that is scary!!  Standing in the dark pilot house listening to the radio talk and seeing boats that are in our way with no radio, and we are also dodging under water boulders..  It stays real busy in the Pilot house, and we think we are casually sailing along! Whew!!  I have a lot of respect for people that pilot big ships now.  I went back on deck and Kevin (my new Canadian friend) was there waiting for me.  We chatted all night.  I asked where his deck chair was and he said he had a cabin.  So now you see that you actually waste your money getting a cabin because you spend most of your time up on deck anyway!!  Sissies!  We pulled into Haines which is actually about 5 miles away and then to Skagway.  I got off at Skagway and spent three nights there with the Alaska Firefighters!!  WoooHooo!!   The train trip was awesome!! The conference was awesome!!  The entertainment was awesome!! They put on a “Days of ’98” skit and took us to “tent city”.  It was all Hollywood like re-enacting the gold rush days.  They took us to the graveyard and gave us the history of Skagway!!  I was so fortunate to be part of that!!  On the return trip I got off and spent two days at Haines which I fell in love with.  The Chilkat River in October has thousands of Eagles feeding off the dead Salmon that go there to spawn and die.  So that is where all my salmon that I missed catching went!!
I then got off at Petersburg and went to the motel that I made reservations at, and it was closed down!!  I panicked!  The boat left and I was a mile from town all alone in the rain!!  So I trudged to a motel and was not met with any kind of friendliness at all!!  I looked like a bag lady with all my gear and looking like a drowned rat.  I then went to Juneau and spent a night, then on to Ketchikan.  There I found an AA meeting and was amazed at all the different people there!  I got home on Friday October 2,  at 8:00 am!!  What a trip!! It is something I will forever remember!!!
I went to the doctor in December and he found a lump in my breast that was at the same spot as the one I had removed the year before, only it was bigger now.  I forgot to say that in December 1991 I had a breast lump removed and it was benign.  Well this was the same breast, so I went to my friend and boss of the ambulance, Doc Z.  He was furious when he looked at the x-rays!! It was the same lump that was supposed to have been removed a year before!! The doctor did not remove the lump last year!!  So Doc Z removed this one and assured me he got it all and it was not cancerous !!!  I was a lucky gal!!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Chapter 39...1992

I would come home from work to an empty house and automatically check all the closets and rooms for anything lurking.  Sometimes I would retrace my steps, and look under the bed and in the shower.  When I would go to bed at night I would be shaking in fear at times worried about not waking up.  I was absolutely terrified of death!!  Little did I know that the 12 steps of AA would help me get over my fears.  I was about 5 years sober when I decided to get really serious about my steps.  I already worked the 12 steps but I decided to re-work step three.  I had put in for a management position at work and was worrying about it.  I didn’t know if I was ready for it or not, and worried about what would happen to me if I got it and it didn’t work out.  I was worried about too many things!!  I decided to turn it over to God!
Step Three:
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

I wrote down everything pertaining to the step.  If anyone wants to know what the workbook has, email me and I can send you the steps in written form.
I said the Third Step Prayer:
"God, I offer myself to Thee --
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them
may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life.
May I do Thy will always!"
I was finished working the third step and went on with my life.  It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized that when I came home from work and went to bed I actually fell asleep without fear.  I woke up the next morning and realized I wasn’t afraid any more.  I felt warm inside.  I didn’t feel lonely!  I actually felt loved and protected.  I felt Jesus in my life.  I have never been religious, but I have always believed in Jesus and God.  But during my drinking and carousing I had Him up on a shelf and out of my mind.  I was too busy being involved in fun stuff to bother thinking about God, and besides, He wouldn’t approve of my lifestyle!
I truly believe that things do not happen by accident.
I did not get that position at work, but 6 months later I was given the job!!  HUH?  The person that was hired did not work out.  I did not want to put in for the job again as I thought I had it great right where I was.  But it worked out!!  His will be done.

I got a call from an AA friend telling me he got a call from the Hospital and there was a gal in there that has been admitted with alcoholism.  She was about my age and needed help, and he wondered if I would go see her.  I have never been called for anything like that, but I thought what the heck, everyone in town by now knows me and what I have done with my life.  I grabbed my AA book and headed to the hospital.  I walked in and there were two gals in there.  I asked for the gal by name and she said “Phyllis?” I looked at her and then realized it was a friend of mine from 1981 that I drank with!!   She would come in my bar and was one of my favorite customers!!  We went to parties together.  She moved to Denver and got married in 1982 and that was the last I heard from her until that night at the hospital!!  I have been her sponsor ever since that night.  God works in mysterious ways!
Tomorrow…the rest of 1992 & 1993


I am taking a small break on my story right now.  Too hot to think!!
Well we are in the midst of a heat wave!!  It was 98 yesterday and supposed to be hotter today!!
My next major purchase will be a central air conditioner/heater. 
I have a neighbor that has a 11 year old daughter that visits him every weekend, so I offered her my tent trailer last night!  She was so cute in her excitement!!  She invited her 10 year old cousin over and they both stayed in the tent last night.  I told them they can stay there anytime they want to.  They brought their small television and giggled all night.  The tent is about 10 feet from my kitchen window in my front yard.  I heard the cell phone ringing all night too.  Right now they are out there eating their cereal.  I think I made some friends!!  I told them they can stay out there tonight too.   I told Todd that if they break something he fixes it.  It's good to see my tent being used and enjoyed!
The urge to go out there last night and scare them was really strong!  hehehehehehe I hope I can hold back tonight!!! hehehehehhehe

I am having as much fun as the girls are!!  They have their baby dolls out there and are playing house!!  I can remember playing in beach forts on the beaches. (We do not have white sandy beaches like the rest of the world, we have rocks and piles of driftwood!) great fun for kids!!
Every kid needs a fort or playhouse to play in!!  I feel 11 again just listening to them!!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Chapter 38 1989-1990-1991

I was looking and feeling good after the diet!!  I stayed active in the Fire Department, and walked every night after work.  I had a new family with the Department.  We had a Barbecue at the Station on the 4th of July so in case we got a call for a grass fire we would be right there to respond.  I had been seeing a guy in the dept, but kept it hidden from everyone.  I didn’t think it was anybody’s business, and besides I didn’t think it would last very long.  He is 16 years older than me and we are the most UNLIKELY two to date.  That is what made it fun.  Anyway, we were mad at each other and everyone was eating watermelon.  I had a mouth full of seeds and he walked by me and touched my arm.  It pissed me off so I spit all the seeds in his face!! The look of shock and awe on his face was scary, so I giggled (like I always do when I am frightened) and ran!!  Everyone was watching and it got really quiet.  Well he got some watermelon and spit the seeds at me, and the fight began!!  Everyone got in the game!!  Even big Stan got in the fun!!  Seeds were flying everywhere!  People were finding watermelon in the trash looking for seeds!!  It was fun!!  It was a mess too.  We had to hose down everything afterwards.  There are probably seeds still stuck up on the ceiling.
I was driving back from a call at Fort Casey and the Captain was in the passenger seat of the rescue squad car.  I saw three kids at the high school bus stop and pulled the squad car over to pick them up.  Ed looked at me and said “What are you doing?” I then realized I wasn’t driving the bus!!  DUH!!
Work was going great.  I loved driving the bus and meeting all the different people on the Island.  We had commuters, kids, homeless people, people that just don’t have cars, older people and disabled people.  I loved talking with them all and getting to know them.  I was chosen as Employee of the Year (We call it the Spirit Award) in 1990.  I got to go to the State Conference in Spokane for three days.  It was great!
I got a promotion to Service Coordinator in Aug 1991.  I was taken off the road and became a supervisor.  I loved the raise in pay but missed the people!  It was also hard stepping up in ranks with the people I started out with.  Some were not ready to accept the change.  The Company was growing fast and we were learning a lot!  I won’t go deep in the work department here because I still work there and I love my job now.  There are some things that are sacred.  There were ups and downs like all jobs, and I have made every down part a learning curve for me!  I was sent to classes for supervisors and became an Instructor.
Alcoholics Anonymous was becoming a very strong part of my life.  I got a sponsor that I admired.  She was an older lady and quite the lady.  I adored the way she presented herself and cannot imagine her ever drunk.  I chose to do my 5th step with her.  (Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs).  She lit candles and we sat there and she told me her story then asked me to tell mine.  I thought at first that she would be shocked at my story until I heard hers!!  Whew!  I had it good!!  There was a part of my life that I was uncomfortable with.  I still had some fears.  I had conquered the driving and other fears, but I would lay down at night to go to sleep and feel ice water go through my veins.  I would be afraid of not waking up in the morning.  I was afraid of being assaulted, I was afraid of death!!  I was spiritually bankrupt!!
Tomorrow, 1992-1993-1994

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Chapter 37….Now on with my life!!

Let’s see now, I sobered up in June, left my husband in July, changed careers in November, In December my cat died that I had for 11 years, my good friend died of lung cancer in January, I filed for divorce in February, I bought a new car in march, my divorce was final in May and I bought a new mobile home in June.  And they say do nothing different for the first year of sobriety!!   Like I said before, I never did anything right and I never felt like I belonged anywhere. 
I went to an AA meeting in June to collect a one year chip.  June 21st was the one year mark.  They celebrate once a month for years of sobriety.  I went to the meeting and they opened it up and started asking if anyone had a year to celebrate.  I raised my hand and the chair person asked me who my sponsor was so she could introduce me.  I was floored!!  I didn’t have a sponsor.  I got really embarrassed then sat back down.  There were about 50 people there, and they were all staring at me.  Geeze, I didn’t know the rules!!  Just then a guy jumped up from the crowd and said “My name is Gary, and I am an alcoholic and I’d like to congratulate Phyllis for her one year!!”  He was smiling ear to ear, and then I recognized him as a friend from my high school class!!  He left for Viet Nam in 1968 and got all messed up over there and took the road of drugs and alcohol then found his way to the AA program!!  Gary and I were friends at school and I was so happy to see a familiar face!!  We hugged and cried together, then we talked and he convinced me to find a sponsor.  It was hard to get to meetings because I worked from around noon to about 8:00pm. Tuesday –Saturday.  I had Monday night Fire Drill and Wed Night Rescue squad drill and worked 24 hours on Sundays.  Most AA meetings were at noon or 8:00pm lasting to 9:30pm.  It takes ½ hour to get to Oak Harbor where the meetings are, so I would get there for the last half of the meeting.  But at least I would show up and mingle with the people.  For the first two years I still did not like the meetings.  The people there thought they knew all the answers, and seemed mad at the world.  They all seemed angry at something.  They had a “click” too.  I went to a potluck once and nobody was friendly to me at all.  They were all in their little groups.  I would find someone I could relate to and ask if they’d be my sponsor, and they would say they sponsor too many already, or I live too far away and to find someone closer to me.  Egads, now I know what a guy feels like asking a gal out and being turned down!!  I started straying away from the meetings and going to bars and drinking diet Dr. Pepper.  I would go out to the place I used to work by the Ferry and they would put up a diet Dr. Pepper as soon as they saw me.  I used to drink Peach Schnapps on the rocks , so they bought a bottle of alcohol free Peach Schnapps to keep behind the bar for me!!  I ordered one and they served it to me.  I took a sip then felt really strange.  I read the label and it said alcohol free but I felt like WHO THE HELL AM I KIDDING!!  I am setting myself up for a big slip, and I did not want to go back to that lonely drunk life again!! 
I found a different AA meeting in Oak Harbor called the Blue Box.  They called it that because they had a portable closet painted blue that they keep all the books and pamphlets in during the week.  We met in the basement of a Church.  The minute I walked in there I felt right at home!!  Everyone was smiling and welcomed me.  They were a bunch of people that didn’t like the Hall down town because of all the cussing and smoking.  This was a smoke free meeting that had a break for smokers.  After the meeting people came up to me and introduced themselves and hugged me and welcomed me.  I noticed big burly construction working guys hugging each other!!  There was a lot of love in these rooms and everyone truly cared about each other.  I found home!!  To this day I still attend the Blue Box!!  I make sure I introduce myself to any newcomers.  I make sure I never say no to anyone asking me to sponsor them!!  I get phone numbers and when I sit at home and feel bored once in awhile I pick up the phone and call them!!  Especially the newcomers!! 
After work I would walk three miles, and I decided to go on a diet too!!  Nothing seemed to work so I went on a Toppfast diet.  It was the diet like Oprah Winfrey went on when she lost so much weight the first time.  It was powdered crap that you mix with water or soda.  You drink that for four meals a day for 5 days then for two days eat sensible meals. 

I was on that diet for 7 months and lost about 100 pounds!!  I looked good, I felt good, I had energy, I was single and forty!!  It was mid 1989 and I was on top of the world!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Chapter 36

I jumped into January before I told you that on December 21st  I collected my $50.00 for staying sober for 6 months!!  It was quite an accomplishment, as they tell you in AA not to make any drastic changes in the first year.  HUH???  As I collected the $50.00 another Paramedic said she’d bet me $50.00 I couldn’t go another 6 months!!  HAHAHAHA the fool wants to part with her money, that’s for sure!!
My life was full.  I was working three jobs and I dedicated my spare time to the volunteer Fire Department.  I was getting pretty much full time work with the transit and a guarantee 24 hour shift a week on the ambulance so I happily decided to quit the bar business.  That was a tough decision as I have worked restaurants for 20 years!!  I kept my bar setup for private parties, but no longer working the bars!!  It was difficult to pour drinks and put people on the road then go answer my medical pages for drunk driving accidents.  It just didn’t make sense to me!!
The medical calls were very dramatic.  I responded to many different calls, heart attacks, aortic aneurisms, suicides, SIDS, difficulty breathing, choking, auto accidents, assaults, gunshots, overdoses, anxiety attacks.  I had never seen a dead person before this.  In fact I was afraid every time I saw the lights of an ambulance go by.  Now I am up to my elbows in body parts and blood.  I still have a weak stomach when it comes to smells though.  I mean there is nothing like going to a call of a “possible”.  You go to the door and open it and get hit in the face of dead body smell!!   Of course the cops beat you to the scene and step back and let you go in because they don’t want to get their hands dirty. 
Once about an hour before going to work on the Transit I responded to a CPR in progress call.  I was the first one on the scene and took over the CPR and helped the Paramedics after they arrived on the scene.  I got to work just in time to take the bus out.  It was weird jumping from one job to another in a flash.  I kinda felt like Superman.  Jump into a phone booth and change clothes and go save a life (or not) then change back into civilian clothes and go drive a bus.  I couldn’t talk about the calls I went on to the bus drivers because they would think I was being a braggart or something.  I’d just be all pumped up with my adrenaline and wanting to talk about the call.  After driving a bus for eight hours I would be all tense and not able to drink, so I’d go to the track by the school and start walking that.  It is ¼ mile around, so I would aim for a mile, then 2 miles then 3.  I realized I felt great after walking.  It is called a runner’s high.  I would look forward to getting off work and getting my “high”. 
In February I decided I wanted a divorce so I bought the yellow “Do it yourself Divorce” book.  It was $12.95.  I filled in the appropriate blanks and called Larry.  He said if I wanted to see him that he would be down at the bar.  So I got the book and went to the bar.  I asked if we could talk in private and he said anything I said I could say in front of everyone.  So I told him I got the papers and wanted a divorce.  He said he would get a lawyer.  I said “Why?  I filled out the papers, and all you have to do is pay for the filing fee”.  He was flabbergasted.  I mean he has gone through three other divorces, he should know what to do.  I think he thought I was going to fight him for something.  There was nothing to fight for. I wanted out!  So he paid the $79.00 filing fee and May we were divorced. 
I wanted to buy a place but everything was too expensive, so I went to a place that sells mobile homes and bought a brand new double wide for $22,000.00.  I had no money, so they said they would buy back the wheels, then all I needed was $1,000.00 cash down payment.  I applied for and got two visa cards and used those for the down payment.  I also traded my car in on a new 1987 small dodge pickup.  The divorce wasn’t final yet, so I had to put everything in my married name.   When the divorce was final I changed my name back to my maiden name.  The divorce was completely stress free, but changing my name was another thing!!  I had to re-finance my home and car, and close out (with permission from my ex-husband) my checking account. Everybody acted like I was a criminal or something because I didn’t want to keep my ex-husband’s name!! ARRGGGHHH!!!
Tomorrow,  the new found freedom!!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Chapter 35 Falling into place.

December 1st was a cold blustery day, and our first day on the road for bus service.  I was stopping whenever I saw a person on the road walking, giving them a ride.  They would shake their heads in wonder, but decided they liked the bus.  I stopped if someone was out checking their mail.  I waved at everyone I saw, I loved my job!!  It was like being in a parade!  We wore white shirts with dark pants until our uniforms came in.  I was driving through Langley smiling and waving at all the cars I passed, and they would all smile and wave back!!  I decided that they were the friendliest of the people on the Island until I saw my reflection in the windshield and saw that my blouse was unbuttoned!!!   OOOOPS!!  It was a white satin blouse, and I guess all the motions of turning the big steering wheel loosened the buttons!!  No wonder everyone was smiling and waving and honking!!! 
The Routes went from Oak Harbor, down the Island  through Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland, Bayview, Langley and down to the Clinton Ferry. (about 45 miles).  Then back up the Island.  Along the way I would point out the Eagles, Deer, Raccoon, Coyotes, and other points of interest.  I loved driving up and down this beautiful Island looking at the sights and getting paid for it too!!  Life is Goooood!!
It was easy to find replacements for my bartending job if I was needed at the Transit.  Also there were 10 people chomping at the bit to take my ambulance shift, so I made Island Transit my priority!!  I worked an average of 36 hours a week for Island Transit, 24 hours a week on the ambulance, and about 30 hours at the bar.  Not to mention all the calls in the middle of the night for the fire department.  No days off!!  I was 37 going on 38, no kids and living alone, so I worked a lot!! 
My cat Squeakie died of liver failure in December.  I was devastated!!  I had her for 11 years and she was my best friend.  She was always there for me when I came home from work to give me some lovin.  She was all that I had for comfort.  Christmas was hard.  It was the first Christmas ever that I did not drink!  I love Christmas drinks!  Hot buttered rum’s, Tom & Jerry’s, Coffee Nudge’s, hot cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps, ahhhh.  Our family would get together on Christmas Eve and have drinks and exchange gifts.  We would take turns on who would get drunk and make a fool of ourselves on Christmas Eve.  Well this year it wasn’t me!!  (But I sure have had my share of turns).
Right after the New Years I was working on the ambulance and found a black & white cat at the ER.  He was standing right outside the entrance in the frigid cold.  I walked up to the door and as it opened he walked right on in the door.  There were people there that were in a car accident and had their dog with them, and the cat walked right by them all, afraid of nothing!!  I asked around as to who’s cat it was, and they said it was a stray.  I picked him up and took him to my car.  He sat in the back and when I took him home he was purring.  People could not understand how I got that “wild cat” in the car!! I guess a lot of people tried to catch him and he would growl and run!  He was a real pussy with me.  I guess he knew where he was going to get spoiled the most!!  I named him ER and he was my new baby!!  I kept my kitchen window open so he could go in and out as he pleased because he was used to being an outside cat.  He would bring me all sorts of rewards!!  Mice, snakes, etc.  Just ask my sister!!
My mentor, instructor for the EMT class, Deak Shields died of Lung cancer in January.  He was 36 years old, a very healthy strong man.  He was a Paramedic on the ambulance and picking up a patient in June he pulled a muscle in his chest.  He was in the hospital in traction and he asked about a lump on his chest.  Doc Z did a biopsy and then exrays.  He found inoperable cancer.  Deak was ridden with it.  There was nothing anyone could do!!  It was horrible!!  Deak was in denial up until October when he started going down hill fast!!  The entire community pitched in to help him and his family.  He went home to die.   We all were called to his house one night to say goodbye to him.  I was working on the ambulance that night, and when he died, Doc Z put it on the air waves that Whidbey (I forgot his number) is 10-7!!  We all broke down!!  It was the saddest thing I have ever gone through!!  Connie his wife and Bill his best friend was in the bed with him when he gasped his last breath!!  Lung cancer is a horrible painful death!!  Please, if you smoke try and quit!!  Do it for yourself and for the ones you love!!  Deak had so much to offer this world and he died because he smoked!! I smoked for twenty years and quit cold turkey April 19th 1984.  I smoked three to four packs a day!!  If I could do it so can you!!
More to come

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Chapter 34 The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

Chapter 34  The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round
I was desperate to get out of bartending and to find a job that had benefits.  I have never had a job that earned sick days and vacation days.  And I have always been taken care of by the Navy with my dad then my husband with any medical problems.    I am realizing now that I need to take care of myself!  I cannot rely on a man coming by and sweeping me off my feet and riding off into the sunset to take care of me for the rest of my life!!  So with all that in mind, I jumped to the chance of getting a good stable job!!  What do I have to lose?  I filled out the application and mailed it in.  I did not have an answering machine so I made a pest of myself calling and asking about their decision.  They finally told me to come to the Best Western for a video scenario test.  I was among over 200 people that were chosen to take the video test.  I was in line outside the testing room and saw a bunch of men in the line.  I thought to myself that I had no chance against these men.  They are all retired Chiefs and have much better experience than the bartender here!!  In fact one guy that knew me laughed and said “What’re you doing here”??  I watched the scenarios and answered as best I could and walked out of there.  I called every day to ask how I did in the test.  One day early I got a call and the gal said I am the first person she is calling to come in for an interview!!  WOOO HOOOOO!!
I was ecstatic!!   I had an interview at 8:30am Monday morning.  I worked on the ambulance until 8:00am, so I went over in my EMT uniform and apologized for that.  The interview went well and Dan the Director told me that driving experience was not a requirement, as they wanted people that knew how to handle people.  He said that bartending experience is great!!  I was called the next day and was offered the job!!!  MY GOD!!  ME???? They hired 22 people out of more than 200 that tried out to start. By the way, the guy that laughed at me in line?  He wasn’t chosen!!
November 14th in the early morning I was at home on the beach when my pager went off for a deputy down at the jail!!  My heart jumped out of my chest!!  Deputy down meant probably dead!!  We were to standby to await further instructions.  Larry worked in the jail and I was petrified it could be him!!  I called his house to see if he was home and he answered the phone.  I told him what I knew and started crying in relief that it wasn’t him.  The scanner had the entire airwaves shut down for emergency broadcast only.  I heard a car squealing down the highway going as fast as it could go.  I then heard that they were looking for a Sheriffs car that was stolen!!  What happened was:  Deputy Heffernan was training Deputy Saxerud and they picked up a local guy on the Southend of the Island for DUI. (I knew him from my bar).  They took Darrin Hutchinson to the jail to book for another DUI.  When they pulled into the Sally Port they closed the bay door and took Darrin to the breathalyzer.  There, Darrin reached into Heffernan’s pocket and pulled out his gun and shot him in the back of the head then turned and shot Saxerud in the back of the head then jumped into the patrol car and backed out through the locked Sally Port door and drove down the Island!!  About 5 minutes later a Deputy coming on shift walked into the Sally Port and saw the dead Deputies.  It was a horrid tragedy!!  The Deputies were good guys!!  They made a tragic mistake by not locking the guns in the locker right away.  They paid the ultimate price!! 
I was to start work on the day of the funeral but Dan told me to go to the funeral.
November 18th was our first day of orientation.   December 1st was when the service was to begin so we had two weeks to learn to drive the big buses and learn the routes.  I was petrified to be behind the wheel of that bus at first!!  It is 9 feet wide!! Our roads are narrow with no shoulders, just culverts.  We would meet logging trucks coming at us, and there was no room to swerve!!  I had my guardian angels working overtime to get me trained for this job!  Ten of us would meet in the morning and drive around in the bus taking turns and driving the routes.  I got to where I could actually feel comfortable behind the wheel.  I was going to work for the Transit at 8:00am, get off about 1:00pm go to work bartending at 6:00 pm and get off around midnight.  I would work on the ambulance a 24 hour shift on Sundays.  Plus I was going to Monday night fire drills from 7-9, Wednesday night rescue squad drills 7-9, answering at least two medical calls a night  and AA meetings whenever I can get to them.  I was too busy to even think about being lonely or drinking!!  Life was going good for me!!  I was on a pink cloud enjoying the ride!!Tomorrow,  everything falling into place

Friday, July 16, 2004

Chapter 33 Bye-bye now!!

It was a frustrating time not drinking.  I was bartending and coming home to a husband that drinks.  It is like working in a bakery and being on a strict diet, and going home and cooking the same stuff for your family and smelling it all day and eating dry iceberg lettuce for dinner.  It was a challenge, but it was starting to get to me.  I was wondering if I really was an alcoholic.  All my friends and family were drinkers.  I saw my whole life changing in an unchanging world.  I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere!  I would come home from work and have dinner and go to bed.  Larry would get off work at midnight and come home.  I would hear him come in the front door and go straight to the refrigerator and I’d hear a “pop” of the beer can he opened.  Ten minutes later I‘d hear the same noise.  He would come to bed and I’d smell the fresh beer on his breath.  I would turn my back and feign sleep.  I finally decided I was an alcoholic.  I sat down with Larry and told him I was an alcoholic and quit drinking and was going to AA meetings.  He said “You’re not an alcoholic, you just drink too much at times.  Your mom is the alcoholic”.  Well DUH!!!  I told him I needed to be alone and work out my problems.  I asked him to leave.  Well that didn’t work!!  He said he didn’t believe in separations and he wasn’t leaving!!  So I went out looking for a place to move in to.  I found a cabin across the street from the beach for $500.00 a month.  I asked Larry to help me pay the deposit because I had no money at all in savings.  He gave me $500.00.  On July 28th  I took the furniture that I bought, my clothes, poured out the scotch and took my car and my cat and moved.  Almost thirteen years of marriage, and I walked out of it just like that!!  I loved Larry, but more like a brother, not a husband.  He was too controlling and not a social person at all.  So here I am, 37 years old, sobering up and still bartending, working part time on the ambulance and alone!!  My mom was upset about me going to AA because she was afraid I’d try to pull her into that “cult”.  She lost her drinking buddy, and I felt bad for that. 
I’d come home from bartending and sit on my balcony with my cat and bawl my heart out!!  I was petrified!!  I left the only world I knew!!  I realized one night I wasn’t crying from leaving my husband, I was crying because I left the bottle!!  The bottle was a part of my life!  It was there when I was a baby, growing up, at holidays, at work, at play!!  Everything I did, alcohol was a part of it.  The AA meetings were a big help to me, but after a while I didn’t feel like I belonged there either!  The meetings In Mount Vernon were too far away to go to every day, so I went to the ones in Oak Harbor.  The people there were mostly court ordered and mad at the world!!  They had slips to sign to prove to the courts that they were there, then they’d go out and drink after the meetings.  The other ones there were grumpy.  I didn’t want anything that they had!!  I love to laugh, and there wasn’t much laughter there.  I’d go to the bar I used to work at and order diet Dr. Pepper.  My presence made people nervous because they all knew I was going to AA meetings, so they would act different around me.  I was in a weird place in this world!!
I went to work bartending one night and two brothers were drunk when I got to work.  I cut them off and they left.  They went to the store beneath the bar and bought a case of beer and dropped it and broke most of the beer.  They went and bought another case of beer and drove about 90 miles an hour down the highway and ran into a van stopped on the highway, nearly killing all the occupants of the van.  My pager went off and I couldn’t leave work.  Later when I closed the bar I drove by the scene of the accident and realized who it was.  I went to the hospital and helped out in the ER.  I saw the two brothers and they were loud and boisterous, and not caring about the people they just injured and changed their lives for ever!!  I was so disgusted at drunks at that moment!!  This was in September.  In October I was bartending and there was another boisterous crowd.  I was reading the want ads and saw an ad asking for bus drivers for a new system starting up on the Island.  I mentioned I was going to put in for that job.  A few people laughed at me knowing that just a year ago I was petrified of driving my car.  How in the heck was I going to drive a 35 foot bus??!!!!
Tomorrow…The wheels on the bus go round and round!!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Chapter 32 Sobering up!

I was bartending in Greenbank and it really wasn’t that hard to not drink.  I didn’t quit because I was an alcoholic, I quit to get the $50.00!!  (And because someone told me I couldn’t!!).  The hardest part was when someone sends a drink back and says it is bourbon and not whiskey.  I used to taste the drink by sticking a straw in the drink and putting my finger over the end and bringing it up to my mouth to taste.  I got the straw up to my mouth and realized OOOPS!!  So I just made a new drink and tossed the other one. 
I was busy at night after work chasing calls for heart attacks, broken legs, car accidents, fire alarms, strokes, etc.  We were on call 24 hours a day, and if we responded through the fire department we would get $5.00 a response.  The money was for reimbursement of fuel and wear and tear on our private vehicles.  I had a green flashing light that I put in my windshield when responding to a call.  The police usually wouldn’t stop us going to a call because they knew where we were going.  Actually they usually got off the road in fear for their own lives knowing the volunteer fire department just got a call at three AM and are sleepy and speeding!!  Imagine being in a sound sleep, then your radio alarm goes off at high volume.  That is what it is like getting a call in the middle of the night.  After I peeled myself off of the ceiling, I would run to the bathroom (a must).  I kept things close at hand for when I would run out the door.  I about died laughing once, my husband was up drinking his beer at three AM and I got a call.  I was heading out of the bedroom at mach speed and he had the cat in his arms and was flat against the wall saying “Look out Rascal, here she comes!!”  I would wake up in a start and my eyes would get huge and my heart would be beating out of my chest!!  I was at a doctor’s appointment and asked him what I could do to not be so anxious during the calls.  He looked at me and said ”Turn down the volume of the pager”.  Well DUH!!!!  That worked!!  What a concept!
The next time I worked with Tony he asked how I was doing on the drinking bit.  I told him I haven’t been drinking, and it wasn’t a problem with me.  He said if I ever wanted to go to an AA meeting to let him know and he would take me.  I was actually curious at what those meetings were like, so I told him I would like to go.  The next day he took me to a noon meeting in Mt.Vernon.  He didn’t clue me in on what went on in the meetings, so I was actually caught off guard!  We were all sitting at tables and the chairperson opened up the meeting by saying “We will have a moment of silence to reflect on why we are here, followed by the Serenity Prayer.”  Then he asked if there was anyone here with 24 hours of sobriety to give us your first name so we could get to know you.  Then he said is there anyone here with less than 30 days, give us your first name so we could get to know you.  A gal stood up and said “My name is Patty, and I’m an alcoholic.”  Everyone said “Hi Patty, welcome”.  Then they all looked at me, then I looked at Tony and of course he wasn’t looking at me.  So I stood up and said “hi, I’m Phyllis, and I don’t know if I’m and alcoholic or not, I’m just here to see what the meetings are like”.  OOOOPS!!  The meeting was focused on me of course!!  I remember one guy saying “Young lady, you probably haven’t had you last drink yet, but I can guarantee you this, with a mind full of AA you will never enjoy another drink again!! The bastard!!  What the fuck did he know about me? 
Everyone at the meeting was friendly and obviously knew each other and were friends.  They all laughed when someone talked and even laughed when they reflected on some bad times.  At the end of the meeting I got up to leave and everyone got up and grabbed hands and stood in a circle and said the Lord’s Prayer.  Good grief, what kind of cult is this??, how HOKEY!!!  I was mad at Tony for not letting me know what went on at the meetings ahead of time!  When I take people to meetings for the first time I let them know what will be said so they won’t be shocked!!  Well I was still curious so I started going to noon meetings to see what the heck all this AA stuff was about.  I went to Mount Vernon 40 miles away because I was still bartending here on the Island and didn’t want my reputation for being a bartender ruined.  (It’s ok if I get drunk and fall off the barstool, but heaven forbid if I ever went to one of those AA meetings)  I remember saying at the bar, I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t go to meetings, and we’d all laugh!!  Little did I know!!
More tomorrow!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Chapter 31 1987 A year to remember!!

On December 31 1986 the Hospital hired on a new ambulance crew. They paid for a full time Paramedic to be on duty all the time, and would pay for a part time Emergency Medical Technician or First Responder to stand by. The Fire Department had all of us first Responders/EMT’s sign up for standby duty. The person on duty would take the ambulance home and if there was a call during our standby time we would meet the Paramedic at the scene and drive the Paramedic and the patient to the hospital. I really didn’t feel comfortable enough to take the ambulance home and meet the Paramedic at the scene, so I would go to the hospital and either sleep in the ambulance or sneak in the Physical Therapy department and sleep on their mats. If there was an empty room in the unit, I would sleep there. I was known at the hospital for being found sleeping in odd places, but it worked! I didn’t feel comfortable in my skills to be working on the ambulance so I signed up for an EMT course. It was three months long beginning in March and ending in June. I bartended three nights a week and took the class two nights a week. Learning never has come easy for me, and I was determined to pass this class so I would make 3x5 cards with facts on them and tape them behind the bar in different spots. So if I was washing glasses, I would read the blood pressure norms for adult, child & infant. At the mixing station I would learn the 204 bones of the body. You get the idea.
In June the finals were taken. The Patient assessment test was the hardest. I had to give a complete Patient Assessment looking for any injuries (hidden taped pencils) and ask the right questions. I passed the testing with flying colors, but had to wait a few weeks for the written to be tested and returned.
After the testing we all went to a bar in Freeland and got drunk (surprised?) I had some fireworks I had been saving for a special occasion so we went out to the parking lot and set them off. OOPS!! Some landed on the roof of the nursing home next door, but that’s ok, we were drunk firefighters and cops!! No damage was done, but we did giggle all the way home after getting our hands slapped!!
Three weeks later the test scores came back and I passed with a 94!! WOOHOO I am now an EMT!! ME!! A responsible person doing something good for the community instead of just getting people drunk and putting them on the road (me included)!!
On June 21st we got a call for a sailboat overturned and 6 people in the water. I got to the station and got rescue 51 and waited for a partner and we went to the scene. A Navy helicopter was picking the victims out of the water and bringing them to shore. We would run bent over under the rotor blades (like in M.A.S.H.) and get the patients and put them on a back board and run them up the beach to the ambulance. All 6 survived but had hypothermia. We had two patients hanging on backboards from the ceiling and one on the gurney, one on the bench, one sitting on the medic chair and one up front in the passenger seat. I rode in the ambulance back to the hospital. After the call we all met at the Tyee for drinks. Our adrenaline was pumping!! I got home about 1:00am and started in on the scotch. Larry got home at 12:30 and started drinking his Millers. We had a call for an MVA about 2:00am but I was drunk and couldn’t go. I called my Captain and he couldn’t go either because he was drunk so we stayed on the phone and flirted with each other. To this day I have no idea what I said to him but he smiles and winks every time he sees me!! I thought I was the sexiest person in the world when I was drunk!!
Well I remember going to bed about 4:00am. I don’t remember the rest……About 5:00am two deputies came to get me. A deputy friend of mine was in the hospital having her baby and she asked for me to be notified because she knew I wanted to see a live birth for my EMT skills!! So I was pulled out of bed and I drove to the hospital two miles away in a blackout!! How would I explain that to a judge if I got a ticket or was in an accident? Sheesh!! Well any way, I “came to” in the operating room joking with the doctor while he was performing a C-section on my friend!! I remember seeing this huge baby and joking about the after birth and saying I think I’ll have liver for dinner. (Yuck!!)
I had to work on the ambulance the next day and the paramedic I worked with was joking with me about how drunk I was the night before!! I told him I’d never drink again!! He laughed and said “Sure you will”!! I said not the way I feel now!! I made a complete fool of myself in front of the hospital staff!! He said he’d bet me $50.00 I couldn’t go 6 months without a drink!! HA!!! He didn’t know who he was talking to!! So I shook and the bet was on!! The next time I worked with Tony he called me to his room and sat me down and gave me a book called “Under the Influence”. It is all about alcoholism. I was embarrassed and wondered why he gave me that book. He told me he was an alcoholic and was two years sober!! I was shocked!! An alcoholic? You? He laughed and asked what I thought an alcoholic was, and I never really thought about it, but I knew my mom was one. He said read the book and I will talk with you next time we work together.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Chapter 30…1986-87

I was a full fledged firefighter now and had a few grass fire calls, smoke alarm at the assisted living apartments, but nothing real scary until March 1986. It was about 2:00am and the pager went off for a fully involved structure fire on Harrington Lagoon road two miles from my house. I ran out to the car and saw the sky glowing orange!! I was petrified!! I got to the station and pulled out our rig (Tanker), and awaited someone else to show up. The Captain showed up and we responded to the fire. We were the first at the scene and the house was totally ablaze!! There was no saving it. I saw a car in the driveway and nobody outside, and my stomach churned. We set up and I saw the wires falling and arching on the ground. We called for the power company to show up and turn off the power. I manned (or womaned) the gears on the tanker, and other rigs started showing up. They hooked up to me and we squirted water on the surrounding structures to protect them. About an hour into the call the bodies were found. A body was in the kitchen and another body in the bedroom on the floor. An elderly couple lived there.
I stayed with the bodies until the coroner showed up and I assisted moving them into the bags and then the van. I won’t go into the gory details, but it wasn’t a pretty sight or smell at all!! They were both burned beyond recognition. We were there until about 8:00am. The crew cleaned up and left to go to breakfast at the Tyee. I chose to stay with the Fire Inspector and be there when the son showed up from Issaquah. He showed up around 9:00 asking where they took his parents. I had no idea he didn’t know they were both dead. I had to tell him. He fell into my arms and we both cried like babies.
The inspector was going through the ashes and called me over. He showed me a strip of aluminum that is nailed to the floor when you separate carpeting from vinyl. He decided that was the cause of the fire. Sure enough, there were nails all in a row with sharp points and one nail had a flat melted point! The man built the house himself and knew the layout but forgot the wiring layout. When he was re-flooring his kitchen that day he nailed the strip to the floor and nailed it right into the big wiring that goes to the stove!! That must have smoldered for hours until it caught fire, and by the time he got to the kitchen he must’ve been overcome by the heavy smoke and collapsed. The wife was in the bedroom and probably got up to the smell of smoke and collapsed by the bed.
It was horribly sad. This fire was one month after the fire that killed the family of 5 which was 6 months after the fire that killed the mother and two kids. This is a small community of maybe 1,000 people. It was devastating!! There was a critical incident stress debriefing held at our station. I was really impressed that grown heroic men can sit and cry like us women!! Yes, they do have feelings!! I was proud to be part of the crew!! I hadn’t had my First Aid training yet, and they told me there was a First Responder class coming up in June. I told them I don’t like blood and I had a weak stomach. They said to take the class anyway. So I did. In September they handed me a different pager and said congratulations you are now part of the Elite Rescue Squad!!
WHAT??!!! No, wait, you don’t understand, I don’t do blood and gore!! No way!!
They said yes you do, you will do just fine!! So off I go in the middle of the night answering medical calls!! I get to my first heart attack call and thought I was having one myself. The EMT’s were all in Oak Harbor at a training class when the pager goes off for an MVA (motor vehicle accident) on Madrona Way. I drove to the station to get the Rescue Rig and me and another First Responder were the only ones to respond to the scene. The ambulance was coming from Oak Harbor, so we were all alone. We couldn’t get the doors open so we called for the Jaws of life from Oak Harbor (10 miles away). The driver was alive with a broken Femur, but the passenger was dead. They hit a pole sideways on the passenger side. They both just left the tavern. The Jaws showed up and they parked just in the driveway of the house in front of the scene. They looked at the rig I drove and they all laughed and said “That is why we don’t have women on our team!” I looked over at the rig and saw that I had pulled over to the side of the road and hit a branch of a low hanging tree and broke a flashing light. SWELL!! Just after that we all heard a big crash and looked at the driveway. The place where they parked had a sink hole under the driveway and it swallowed their rig!!! HAHAHAHAHA They had to call for a tow!!! He who laughs last!! Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t usually laugh at horrid times like that. (well maybe we do) A 20 year old man just lost his life and the other guy will be scarred for life, and here we are laughing!! That is what you call gallows humor. You have to get escape from the horror that is going on right before your eyes. We try not to let the public see this. I usually go home and cry in the shower like the rest of the men. (but not with the rest of the men)!
I answered calls for about three months and decided I wasn’t ready for the big stuff. There was an EMT class coming up and they told me to sign up for that. It started in march of 1987, and over in June. a responsible drunk!! Do not drink and drive!! The driver usually lives but kills the passengers!!

Next….1987 a year to remember!!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Chapter 29, 1986

February 1986. I was bartending at the restaurant by the ferry and when I got off work around midnight I would go into Coupeville and drink a few drinks there and go home. We lived about 2 ½ miles from Coupeville. I left the Tyee bar about 1:30am and was driving home and saw a house with all the lights on. I noticed a stained glass window just above the front door and it had yellow and green in the pattern. I work in stained glass so I stopped the car and was looking at the pattern of the piece and thinking I could make that, but would change the colors. I drove on home and had a few more drinks. About 3:00am my pager went off for a fully involved structure fire on Terry Road. I was drinking so I did not respond to that fire, so I listened to it via police scanner. It was the very same house that I was stopped at with the stained glass window!! There was no smoke when I was there! The entire family perished in that fire. The cause of the fire was from a spark from a short in an electric blanket. There was a lot of debris under the bed and along with the cord of the blanket when the father turned on the blanket it caused a spark which ignited the debris under the bed which slowly smoldered until it found enough oxygen for the flame. The father was found burned in the bed and the mother and their 3 children were in the living room overcome from smoke inhalation. One 12 year old survived for about 3 days then died. The other 2 kids and mother died at the scene. The really sad part of this story is that the mother was pounding on the window trying to break it to escape (there was blood on the window and her hands and wrists were cut). The kids were right with their mother. Right around the corner the front door was unlocked!! All she had to do was go another 10 feet and escape!! This was an old farmhouse. It did not burn to the ground. The main fire was concentrated in the bedroom where the father died in bed. If the mother knew to drop to her knees and crawl to the door she and her children would be alive today! I cannot stress enough for people to practice fire drills in the home!! Teach your young children to go to the nearest escape route. Plan and drill!! Drill in the middle of the night. Drill often!!! Make sure the children know what to do if they wake up in the middle of the night hearing the smoke alarm!! Change the batteries in your smoke detectors every year!! When you change your clocks would be a good time, I do it every Fall. Please, if you have children, teach them not to run to your room, teach them the safest escape route!! If you have a second story in your house, have portable ladders for the windows. The kind that roll up and you can put right by the window inside. If you go to type in fire escape ladders in the search box and it comes up with different sites for ladders from $35.00 to $200.00 you don’t need to spend a lot on them, just something you can throw out the window to escape. Something the kids can do by themselves. Drill…drill…drill…I cannot stress enough the importance of fire drills!!
In August of 1985 we lost a woman and her two young children from smoke inhalation. She came home from the bar late at night and dropped her cigarette in some trash in the garage and they were found in the living room. The mother was laying on the couch and her two kids were right next to her like they were trying to wake her up.
Clean up the trash in your house, make sure that there is not a pile of trash under the beds. Practice a drill yourself. The kids will know what to do, will you?

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Chapter 28 1985 Volunteer Fire Department

I joined the Fire Department in December 1985 right after we moved into our new place on the Prairie. The Station I joined was about a mile down the road from where I lived. I thought I would go and sweep out the bays and make coffee for the guys that fought the fires. Little did I know what I was in for. I showed up at the Monday night drill and they told me I had to go through the academy. The academy??? What is that? HA!! It is BOOTCAMP!!! Grueling hard labor!! Hot and scary, but I was not about to back out now!! They had me do exertion exercises, and all the time wearing old heavy bunker gear and a Breathing Apparatus! (heavy containers of air with hose and a face mask) All total probably weighing about 75 pounds. (I weighed about 250 pounds at the time, 36 years old & just quit a 20 year smoking habit) Then after about six weeks of the basics, I was sent to North Bend Fire Academy. We had to carry wooden pallets up 9 flights of steps to build the fire we were going to set for the Search and Rescue exercise!! SEARCH & RESCUE???!! Yep!! They smoke the place up really thick and you are to get on your hands and knees (wearing full bunkers) and keep in close touch of your partner and feel your way through the entire room searching for “victims”. They assure us if we get panicked, all we have to do is let the captain know and they will ventilate the room and let us out. I was petrified that I would not get through this, so I took baby breaths and was determined not to back out because I was an overweight older woman!! My partner ran out of air and his warning buzzer went off so we had to back out quick. One of the other guys panicked from claustrophobia, but I was fine!! YAHOO, I passed that one!! The next challenge was the 35 foot ladder. Uh, ladder?????? You want me to climb UP that ladder with all this heavy gear on and climb through that itty bitty window? ARE YOU CRAZY????!!!! They rolled their eyes like they knew I would back out of that one, so up I went!! I got as far as the window and lost my balance and couldn’t get into the window. That’s ok, I did most of it. I didn’t flunk!! Oh, by the way, I am AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!!!
The next segment was portable fire extinguishers. We were to fight a few small fires and refill the containers and fight more fires. Then there was the Warehouse fire. We crawl into a big concrete building that is HOT and put our knees on the hose to keep from burning up, (I did get burns on both my knees) and spray the nozzle in a fog spray using a clockwise circular motion. Counter clockwise would pull the fire towards you! HUH???
The last one was the Propane fire. We would all work as a team and the nozzle man would put his face close to the nozzle and the man behind would have to be close so the fire doesn’t creep around and burn you! One team did get a burn because the guy was too far back. This is serious stuff, man!!
Well I finally passed everything and went home a full fledged volunteer firefighter!! They gave me a pager and I was to go to Monday night drills and respond to fires.
I was petrified of the pager going off but ready to try it.
Next segment....FIRE!!!!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Yahoo, tomorrow is FRIDAY!!! My favorite day!!!

Yahoo!!!! It has been a weird week, and I am so looking forward to this weekend!! I am taking a day off from my story. I need to regroup my thoughts and try and be thorough. There are some time warps that seem to feel odd with me right now, but I think I have it all right now.
Any way, I was reading the new Alaska Magazine and it mentioned this site that has a webcam on the Aurora lights!! The cam will be hooked up in September so we can see it for real life!! Cool!! We have a site here in the Spring that shows the Eagles nest.
I have to confess to everyone that I tried to pull a Joke on Leslie, and it backfired on me!! I made a comment on my site and pretended to be her, then I forgot to change my name back to mine and was commenting on everyone else's site. Well Leslie and my sister were wondering who did that, and I have to confess!! OOOPS!!! So sorry!! hehehehe
Well I need to get to bed. Have a great Friday!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Chapter 27 1984-85

I was looking for work and a person I knew owned a Lady’s clothing store that specialized in Maternity and Large Women’s clothing. She hired me to manage her store. She was a petite person and I am a large woman. It made more sense for me to work there and assist women in their choices. Connie was a drunk worse than me. She kept vodka in her desk and drank during the day when she was there. I went to Seattle with her on a buying trip for clothing, and we stayed at the Edgewater Inn on the water. That is the hotel the Beatles stayed when they were in Seattle in the 60’s. Connie and I were walking down the street and she saw some guys and she smiled and winked and rolled her tongue around her lips at them. I was appalled, because they turned and started following us!! We ditched them, and we had a big fight over that. I worked for her for about 6 months, and was bored stiff! She wanted me to buy the store from her and I refused to. In February 1984 the old restaurant that I used to work at in the 60’s was looking for a bartender, so I applied and got the job. I was working the night shift there. The bar was built under the restaurant on pilings that went over the water. Huge picture windows surrounded the room. It had a great view. There was a fireplace, a piano and about 8 tables and a tiny dance floor. The bar seated about 10. Most of the time I worked the place alone and again made great tips. The restaurant would close upstairs and the cook would send me down a two inch thick prime rib sandwich, (which I would take home and fry) and I would send him up a scotch and water the size of Texas!! We had a fun crew that worked there. We were all drunks. Once the cooked grabbed my hand and forced it under his apron and plopped a cold raw turkey neck in my hand!!! Well it felt like a real “thingy”!! He chased all us gals around the kitchen with his turkey neck laughing his fool head off as we ran squeeling!! That night he asked for a scotch and water and I sent him up one doused with Tabasco!! Once I came on shift and the day bartender had stuffed paper in all the pour spouts!! We were always playing jokes on each other!!
On April 19th I quit smoking. I had a horrendous hangover and a head cold. I would gag every time I tried to light up a cigarette, so decided to see how long I could go without smoking. Nobody figured I would quit because I smoked 3 to 4 packs a day. Well I showed them!! I quit cold turkey and never picked up another cigarette since!
I was working one night and a guy came in and was drunk and talking with big words. He was telling me about a flight he took and he had nocturnal emissions while he slept on the plane! I thought he was so weird that I called my sister and told her she just had to meet this guy!! Well the rest is history!! It was Bob, and Mary Lou has been seeing him ever since!!
A gay guy owned the place and his son was running the place. Van lived in California and would come in town about 3 times a year. He would never tell us he was coming up, but I usually knew because his Friends would all show up and play at the piano bar. One night after closing I was alone in the bar counting the money, and heard a noise in the hall. I thought it was one of the bikers that I had kicked out earlier. I yelled out “who is there”, and no one answered. I yelled again and no answer, but I heard footsteps. I grabbed my gun and had it aimed at the hall and in walked Van!! I was FURIOUS!!! He laughed and told me I could hurt someone with that!! I said “NO SHIT!!! Next time tell me you are coming into town and let me know if you are walking into the place after closing!!” He agreed.
On Monday nights the Volunteer Fire Department had their drills and after the drills the squad would come down to the bar and drink pitchers of beer. Once in awhile they would be paged out on a call and leave their beers on the table. When they returned I would give them a fresh pitcher on the house. They were fun and crazy guys!!
I advertised a Halloween Party for Halloween night. All sorts of people in unique costumes showed up. The place was packed!! One guy came as a flasher and had a kielbasa hanging out his jeans!! It was disgusting. The most disgusting part was when I was cleaning up after closing and found the half eaten kielbasa lying on the fireplace!! EEEYYYUUUUU!! Fun was had by all.
I don’t know why I wasn’t stopped by a cop or killed someone in those days. I would drive home drunk all the time!!!
The bar closed in February 1985. I got a job bartending at the restaurant by the ferry that I used to manage. Larry and I moved to Coupeville on the Prairie in December 1985. The place had a barn that was burned down in October by an arsonist. I was bartending one night and said I would join the Fire department so I would know what to do in case of another fire. I was joking, but a guy (I believe it was Bob) laughed at me. He said “YOU??? HAHAHAHA!!” Well That did it!! I joined the following Monday!!

Next segment…The Volunteer Fire Department!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Chapter 26…1982-83

I mentioned earlier about a panic attack I had in Virginia with the thunder storms, and again in CT. Well I had more. I was driving to Coupeville and realized I was petrified of driving the car!! I would pull over to the side of the road when a car would come at me the other way. My palms would get really sweaty, my heart pounding out of my chest, and I would feel really shaky and petrified!! I spent almost three years not driving the car in CT and drinking a lot!!

Papillion’s was a restaurant at the Keystone Ferry terminal 12 miles from home. The ferry went across Puget Sound to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. The view is fantastic!! It had a coffee shop and a dining room and in the back of the dining room was the bar. When the food portion closed down I would open up the sliding partition and we would have the panoramic view of the sound. Wally said I could close the bar when I closed the restaurant, but I had friends that came out there, and booze is a better profit margin than food is, and since I was the only bartender, there was literally no extra cost to keep the bar open, so I usually kept the bar open to at least midnight every night, 2:00 am on the weekends. Wally was amazed at the money I made for him. I guess the other managers really stole a lot from him. I only ate my meals and drank scotch. I was so honest that I even charged my husband for his drinks.
Larry (a jailer now) was booking a person at the jail one night and the guy had threatened him and me. So Larry got me a 38 Smith & Wesson special to carry to and from the restaurant. The Sheriff told him it was a good idea as I was out there alone at night carrying $5,00.00 in cash to the bank for night deposits. There also was a rapist on the loose and a murderer. A little old lady was murdered in her house in Coupeville three miles away. So I went out to the shooting range and learned how to shoot the gun. So here is Phyllis, a neurotic drunk carrying a loaded gun!! Heaven help the person that threatens me!!
One night after closing I was all alone in the restaurant and in the back office drinking my scotch and counting the money and preparing the deposit. I heard a noise out in the dining room and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up!! I grabbed my gun and like they do in the movies, I held the pistol straight up with both hands about face level and my back to the wall by the door I inched slowly around the door and peeked into the dining room. As I peeked my head around the corner I saw a movement so I darted back in the office. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was scared, but pissed if someone was gonna rob me!! So I yelled out “I have a gun!!” then peeked again. Again I saw a movement!! Again I darted back into the office. Well now I was gonna make the big move. I yelled again then peeked again then realized it was my reflection in the dining room window!! The noise was the air vent blowing in the wind!! Well DUH!!! That would've been cute!! Shooting out the dining room window! Hello, Prudential?

We had a fun group out there. One of my favorite customers was a 74 year old bachelor that was from Saskatoon, Canada and had an English accent. George retired from Boeing in Everett, and lived here on the Island. Friday nights was a ritual for him. He would go to the gentlemen’s club for a spa in Everett, then have a steak dinneer then come to Papillion’s for 7&7’s. He found the bar by the neon sign I hung in the bar window. He lived about 10 miles away but could see that red glowing light, and that drew him to the bar. He said it was the smartest thing that happened to the place!!
We had about 10 regulars that would sit around the bar telling tall tales and arguing about hand guns etc. (Little did he know I was packin)!! George turned 75 March 8th 1983. I decided to have a belly dancer come to the bar and dance for him. I told the entire town but kept it secret from him. When he came to the bar the place was packed and I had a chair out in the middle of the dining room and made him sit there after he had a few drinks. Then the music came on and the gal came dancing out and did a great dance around him and put scarves on him and made him blush!! He was so mad at me for doing that!! HAHAHAHA but he never forgot it either!! He is gone now.

Wally came in town and was out at the bar. We were all drunk when I got a call from Larry from the jail. He told me there was a stress patrol going on and to be careful driving home. A stress patrol is when State Troopers put up road blocks checking for drinking drivers. Now why would Larry call me??? I told him I was going to sleep at the restaurant and not to worry. He knew Wally was in town, so about ½ hour later I heard a knock on the back door. It was a deputy. He said he was going to drive me home. I argued all the way home, but he got me there. (The poor guy)!!
Once I drove all the way home and I dropped my keys trying to get in the house and I couldn’t find them (That’s what you call blind drunk)!! I slept on the steps until Larry got home from work at 8:30 am. Sunday morning and I am drunk on my front steps!! I’m sure the neighbors could write a book about us!!
The restaurant sold in June and I was without a job for a month.
Tomorrow……change of careers, 1983.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Chapter 25 1980

I got a 1978 powder blue Ford Futura to replace the totaled Pinto! I liked that car a lot more than the Pinto. 1980 rolled in and I was happy with my job. I was back home with family and friends and Larry didn’t have quite the rule on me that he had while we were in CT. My 31st birthday was Feb 4, and of course I celebrated after work. I had a few drinks at the Deli, then I went up to the Legion for my “Birthday” scotch. Larry was at the college and made no plans to take me out anywhere, so I was on my own. I walked into the Legion and the bartender gave me a PITCHER of scotch and water!! That alone would put a logger under the table, but people kept buying me scotch and waters and pouring them into the pitcher. The bartender and I had been flirting with each other for months. That night when I got so drunk he decided to take me home. Instead of home he drove down to the beach and started to put the make on me. I passed out cold!! I came “to” while in Sambo’s restaurant drinking coffee. I was a mess!! I had peed my pants and my makeup was all over my face. He didn’t get far at all!! I convinced him to take me home. The next morning I felt horrible that I went to the beach with that guy, and confessed to my husband what happened. I told Larry I needed to move out because I was disloyal and needed to get my head together. He said he wouldn’t let me, and I was just going through a phase, and it will pass. I couldn’t believe he was so calm about that!! I stopped going to the Legion after that and stayed closer to home.
In 1981 Larry got a job at the Sheriff’s office as a Dispatcher. He really wanted to be a deputy, but settled for Dispatcher. He later transferred to Jailer. He still works at the Sheriff’s department in the records department. He worked odd shifts, his favorite being midnight to 8am. That was my favorite too, because I could go out after work and run home to bed before he got home!
One night I was home and Larry was sitting at the bar at the Deli. A woman came in and flirted with him and they got to talking, and they realized they were married to each other for two years!! She was his second wife (I was number 4). They both changed a lot, and she was so drunk she didn’t realize it was him!! Dang, I missed that!!
He was working at the Sheriff’s office one night and I was drinking at the Deli and she came in. I introduced myself and we sat there and got drunk together. We went to my house to compare notes and talk about Larry. She wouldn’t leave, so I told her I was going to bed and she can sleep on the couch or go on home. I woke up at 8:30 when Larry came home and was heading to bed. He sat on the edge of the bed and there she was sleeping on his side of the bed!!! He jumped up which woke me up!! Thank God she was dressed, or I don’t know what he would think!! But could you imagine what went through his head when he came home and found his wife and his second ex wife in bed together??!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh, gosh!!
There are way too many incidents to log in this story, but you can get the gist. I was a drunk and worked as a bartender and loved it! The Deli sold an in 1982 to a Mexican food restaurant. I moved to a new restaurant that was opening and set that bar up and was the first bar manager there. I took most of my friends with me. I lasted 5 months there and a guy that owned a restaurant in Coupeville asked me if I would go to work for him. He was up here from Tempe Arizona because the managers of his restaurant were crooked and took off with his money. He had the place up for sale and needed someone to keep the place open until he sold it. I agreed to manage the restaurant for $1,000.00 a month and anything I could drink for free. Hehehehe well he knew me!! It was quite an experience. I have never done the whole management scene, but it was a slow time of year and I more or less taught myself as I went. The crew asked when payday was, and I had no idea. I called Wally and he said to just give everyone paid outs from the register until he came back up in a month. I looked in the office and saw the paper work for payroll, and talked with Wally on the phone and figured out how to make payroll and paid everyone. So now I was a bookkeeper.

Boy, will I be glad when I finish this story!! I'm sorry I even started it!! oh well I'm in too far now.
Tomorrow, The rest of Papillion's. (Thje name of the restaurant).