March 17, 2011 (this day)

Like many Americans, I have some Irish heritage to claim.  My father, the one who died from alcoholism at the young age of 33, was of Irish descent.  I think his mother may have been all Irish, except that I don’t think she ever went to Ireland.  Her parents, though, were probably from there, maybe having come here because of the potato famine, maybe not.  Something that dying young like that does is it interrupts the story, it breaks the connection between the past and future.  My kids may possibly be mostly Irish by heritage.  Their father was adopted, and legend has it that one of his parents was Irish, one Italian.  Which means probably, for that time and place, their parents or grandparents came from Ireland and Italy.  He was put up for adoption, it seems, because his drunken father abandoned his young mother, and she did not have the resources to support him.  Another chain broken by alcohol.

I’ve had a rough week.  My work partner has been on vacation, making lots of work for me.  I started the week with a period and I’m ending it with a cold.  Late last week, I bought a new car.  This is not something I ever want to do.  I believe in having old cars and running them into the ground.  But with my work partner leaving, and my car being unreliable, I bit the bullet and put down cash for what I hope is an extremely durable, dependable and long lasting vehicle.  I hated parting with the money, but I’d hate debt more.

Erika’s been visiting for spring break, bringing her two cats with her.  Their addition to my menagerie is most definitely too many animals in one house.  But, she tells me, I’ll miss them when they’re gone.  I also spent many hundreds of dollars on Erika’s car today, because hers is old, and I need to feel that it’s as safe as it can be.  She’s in graduate school, working hard, and I do know that the world does need more environmental chemists.  I’m glad I’m able to support her in that.

Then I had a surprise inspection at work, and don’t they always find something wrong?  Then today I had to suspend someone for a bad drug test, then unsuspend her because the lab made a mistake.  I’m a name snob, for sure, but people, if you have a very common last name, please don’t give your kids a very common first name.  Bad moments there.  I didn’t get nearly the work I needed to get done at work, and next week I have to go to four days of training.  I don’t want to go, plus I won’t be able to do my work work, which will pile up behind me.

I’ve been trying to do this exercise with Carole.  Instead of saying “I have to” we’re trying to say “I get to.”  So:

  • I get to have a new car and no car payment.
  • I get to have a cold (some people have worse).
  • I get to go to training (some people are being fired).
  • I get to support my daughter in her education (some people can’t even dream of that).
  • I get to enjoy my daughter’s pets, and then they go home (grandkitties!).

I get to break that alcoholic chain for my kids.  I get to be here, now.

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