Christmas Disease of Perception

I asked my boss what he wanted for Christmas to which he replied: a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. That’s easy enough.

Not being a frequenter of liquor stores anymore, I kindly asked my roommate to go into a liquor store and purchase a big bottle of Jack Daniel’s in a gift box. He kindly agreed knowing that I would rather avoid such places unless absolutely necessary (the roommates a normy).

He came out of the liquor store the other night with a 750 ml bottle… that’s it…

I told him thank you, of course, but inside my head I was wondering if he really thought this was a big bottle of Jack. Back when I was drinking I wouldn’t have even glanced at a bottle that size for myself let alone someone else. There had to be a gallon size bottle in there somewhere didn’t there. The roommate is oblivious to my dilemma, why would anyone need more than that is what he’s thinking.

I gave the gift to the boss today and he was appreciative and said it was a very nice bottle, so I looked at him sideways too.  It reminds me of an old friend that used to get very drunk off of just two glasses of alcohol, I suggested he see a doctor… he’s missing out. These are the people who I don’t understand – something is wrong with them.

However, as the boss and I left the office for his vehicle and I kindly offered to help him with his things, I was fortunate enough to be able to carry the lovely bottle of Jack, and I had a moment where I could recall the taste, the feeling of it burning on its way to my stomach and the long past memories of BOOM… just like that I can remember the wonderful feeling and taste and sensations.

It takes a few more moments before I can vividly recall the bad things that went along with that bottle and how much I’d lose if I chose that path again. For today, it’s not worth it, for today I’m happy with what I have and where life is going, for today I’m going to keep trudging and not worry about how little whiskey someone else will get to drink. And I can be grateful too that the people around me aren’t like I was and don’t need the gallon bottles of anything to satisfy their undying thirst.

40th Birthday Trip

Turning 40 isn’t exactly something I was ever looking forward to, but I did make the best of it that I could. I had a great birthday trip with a great man and will tell you all about it.

First, let me say really disappointing part of my trip was the service by US Airways. Two canceled flights due to “scheduled maintenance” the day before and the day of travel – if it was scheduled why didn’t they tell us sooner? Poor customer service, bad manners by gate attendants. It was just bad. If I can help it, I will not fly them again, I’ve sent a letter and expect an apology and refunds for some of their errors.

Bill and I did finally meet, in spite of USELess Airways canceled flights in Maui only 30 minutes later than he should have arrived. The flight to Maui for me was two leg, first stop in Phoenix where a USEless Airways attendant refused to talk to me unless I covered up a word on my shirt. When I landed I also received texts from Bill saying his flight had been canceled and he’d been rerouted through Dallas.

In Maui I feared the weather might be an issue as it was overcast and windy, but it cleared up and was great the rest of the trip. Bill rented us a convertible which was very nice to ride in, we headed off to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, in Lahaina about a 40 minute drive as it was rush hour. The Hyatt was pristine, just a very lovely huge property. The only issues that I had at the hotel were long lines to check in and just so so food at the restaurants. The staff was very kind and helpful. There happens to be a bunch of stores in the Hyatt (Macys, Sunglass Hut, some flip-flop store, Na Hoku, and some local things). I forgot to pack my shades, so I had to buy new ones, got a great pair from the Sunglass hut and the lady was very friendly and cool. Bill and I found perfect wedding bands at the Na Hoku.

On our first full day we had scheduled a waterfall tour with Wade and No Ka Oi Adventures. Wade met us on time and greeted me with a hug at the Starbucks. We were soon off on our grand adventure to see secluded waterfalls on Maui. It had been raining and some of the spots we hoped to go were flooded out with very fast-moving current, so Wade opted to take us on more conventional routes. The first more conventional route I slipped and was neck-deep in a fast current before I knew what was happening – some initial panic before I was safe. Then later Bill was trying to reach a cave behind a waterfall and he slipped and hit his side against some rocks, huge bruise and scratch on his ribcage. What we saw with Wade was beautiful and we appreciated all his knowledge of the area, plants and history.

Saturday night we went to see the Drums of the Pacific Lu’au at the Hyatt. I got up to learn to Hula and we met two wonderful people named Ken and Sue from Phoenix. They were great conversationalist and just wonderful people.

Monday morning for my birthday we went whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation where we saw several whales from afar and a ton of dolphins – it was just what I wanted. That evening Bill had bought a ticket package to see Cirque Polynesia at the Hyatt and Ken and Sue were there too, we had dinner together after the show and closed the restaurant, it was a great evening and I even got a candle on my dessert. I should mention that Bill decorated the hotel room with 40 Year type things, it was sweet of him. It was the best birthday on record because I got to spend it with him.

Wednesday we flew to Honolulu to see Pearl Harbor where we spent about 4 hours. Then we headed off to The Queens Medical Center where Bill was born and then off to the Palace for a tour. It was nice.

The best parts of the trip were lying in a hammock with Bill under the stars, waking up with Bill every morning, finding the wedding bands and of course everything we did on my birthday. I love Maui. I probably forgot something important that Bill will give me a hard time about, but I’m ok with that. It was a great birthday trip.

Old Age

This year I became old. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking 40 isn’t old… I’d agree with you normally, but this year all kinds of things happened that made me realize that yes, I’m old.

This is the year that other people told their children or grandchildren that my name was “Mr. Prudlick” which has never happened before. Before it’s always been Jamez, or Uncle Jamez or Jamez and the giant peach, but never Mr Prudlick.

This was the year when I realized that going barefoot over stones in a creek bed hurts. When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for summer so I could take off my shoes and run around all over the place in just my bare feet. I’d love the sound of them as they slapped the pavement or the feel of the grass as it tickled my soles. This year, pain, and irritation, I miss the old feelings.

This is the year that I’ve actually gone to bed before 10 on weekends more times than I’d like to admit and when I’ve gotten up before 7 on a Saturday or Sunday because I didn’t want to watch the day slip by without my getting things done.

This is the year that I came to realize how much other people mean to me. There have always been special people in my life but rarely has it mattered to me if they would be around for me when I needed them or if I would be there for them. This is the year I fell in love and also the year that I almost lost a friend and did lose another.

I turned 40 yesterday and the world didn’t stop spinning and my hair didn’t all fall out nor did I start to use a walker (although my foot does still kind of hurt from walking in the creek bed). I do think it might be about the best birthday that I can remember. Lots of folks who saw my 40 Tshirt and 40 year old buttons made sure that I knew it was just the beginning and all the fun was just around the corner… lots of younger folks wanted to know if I got any discounts or specials for being 40… well no, but maybe you get a finer appreciation of the things around you then you had before.