Pace. (yourself for this is like reading a boring marathon.)

If there is a God, he’s either heartless or he has a sick sense of humor (literally). About two weeks ago, Toby and I decided to dump an excessive amount of red wine into our trash chutes, right after consuming a meal made up of entirely mac and cheese and crab cakes. We were out with friends of ours, Jon and Lindsay. It was one of those evenings where as long as the conversation was good, the wine was its chaser.

After we finished our meal at Dumont we headed over to Daddy’s to meet a couple of other friends for a few more drinks. Because, what we needed were more drinks at 10:30 at night on a Saturday^

There, we drank more wine and beer and booze. By midnight, I could barely walk. Not only was I drunk, but I was also dead-tired from walking around Manhattan all day with Toby Joe. I wanted to go home. We pulled a French exit from the bar just after midnight and stumbled under the BQE towards our house. Daddy’s is only about 5 or 6 blocks from home. It was the longest trek I have ever made.

Just like any good gal drunk, I made time for a few phone calls that I don’t remember. You know, the type of call where at some point during the following day you get a message from someone and it goes something like this:

HEY MICHELE! Oh my goodness! It was so nice to hear your voice! I’m still in LA and I still date Jonathan. He’s a professional bowler now and we have three pugs and a cactus. I still drive that car! It’s really warm here. Call me back!

It was just that kind of a night, a night that held those kind of calls.

By the next morning, I could barely move. (Surprise, surprise, I know.) I was sick. I threw up a few times. I crawled back to bed where I stayed until Monday, basically. It was the worst weekend ever. Even Desperate Housewives was a rerun.

That Sunday evening, while making hot tea and moping around the kitchen, I told Toby that I was tired of feeling sick and sick of feeling tired. I told him I no longer wanted to sway home at night beneath the underbelly of the BQE making phone calls to people I haven’t spoken to in 5+ years. Most importantly, I was tired of wasting my time. I was tired of wasting our time.

I have gone through something like this before. (I even wrote about it.) I have gotten to that point where I just throw in the towel. Usually it’s right after realizing that I just can’t seem to stop once I get started on the stuff. It’s not that I can’t get by without it, that’s just not the case. It’s that once I’m with it, I don’t want to stop being with it. That is, up until it sucker-punches me the following day. (Bitch.)

And I do this with simply everything. I do it with people, certain foods (which are either new to me entirely, or are new to me because enough time has passed), hobbies, writing, blogging; I do it with everything. Even booze.

So, we stopped drinking (again). Basically, I replaced the phrase “going-out” with “gym-time”. And the changes have been interesting. (This is the point in the story where my actual reason for writing begins.)

Several months ago, while we were still living in San Francisco, I wrote about a skin problem I was having. It tore my shins up for months. Some days, the pain and itch was so awful I couldn’t stop scratching them. As a result, they would turn red and bleed. It was horrible. I kept thinking that it was because I turned 30 and I had too many neuroses growing up. I thought there had to be some cream that would help. DonaldEugene even sent me a replacement box of Buttpaste because I basically inhaled the first one. It was an ugly time. My legs were ugly. I was ugly. I couldn’t shave. And I was living someplace I didn’t know. Things weren’t going very well for me back then, not well at all.

I tried everything. I talked to people about the problem. I even left messages on internet message boards in search of answers. (If you know me at all, you’ll know that this pretty much sums up just how desperate I was.) My friend, Dee, helped me to feel more normal again. And a lot of regulars from here were helpful as well. But nothing worked. My legs just kept on erupting.

Last Friday, almost a week after we had stopped drinking booze, I was sitting around watching yet another Law and Order, when I noticed something. Rather, I noticed the lack of something. My legs hadn’t itched in days. I pulled up my pajama pants and began to taunt them a little bit. Usually, if I even so much as touched them lightly, they would start to itch. But they didn’t this time. Were they finally, after a year of severe annoyance, getting better?

Yes, they were. My shins no longer itched. But what I don’t know yet is why? Is it because now that I’m going to the gym every day, I shower twice a day and moisturize excessively, more so than I ever had in the past? Is it because I am drinking more water? Or, is it that I’m allergic to sulfites in red wine? Am I allergic to alcohol in general? Because that possibility scares me a little bit.

Either way, up until I got sick, I hadn’t felt this good in ages. (I guess that was the incentive I was looking for.) I run at least 3 miles a day and the pace in which I accomplish my daily goal gets faster every day. I lift for a little bit, but I am weak, so that doesn’t last very long. And I bike for 7 – 10 miles a day. But just when I thought I was out in the clear, I get the worst cold I have had in years. And that is why God is laughing.

I’m writing today for a few reasons. First, I needed to be reminded about how good I have felt recently especially since I am so very sick today. And the mountain of used tissues currently sitting on my desk gets taller and taller by the minute, adding to the daunting climb I must make in order to get out the door. I’m also writing because sometimes it helps to say things out loud if even on here, even if no one made it this far. Most importantly, I am hoping that I won’t look back on this post in a month, three months, a year from now and say, “Why did you stop taking care of yourself?” (Again.)

I wish I could be one of those people who enjoys something just a little bit. Even when I’m sick I take it to an extreme. I need to work with this word, reservation. I need to work on my pace. And I needed to tell you this. (Again.)

17 Comments

  1. i wish i got drunk phone calls—-want my cell #? it’s new, i just got it yesterday!!!

    i’m going to guess the lack of itching may be the combination of all the things you are doing—-maybe there is also less stress now?
    you seem signifcantly happier now since you came back from the other side.

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  2. Send me that cell number, girlie. I’ll hook you up real good.

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  3. My roommate is allergic to alcohol, when he drinks it he gets a red rash all over his body and itches like crazy. He is asian though, and he tells me that a lot of asian people are allergic to alcohol. Maybe a combination of stopping alcohol, working out (sweating out bad things) and drinking more water (which helps make skin healthier) is what’s happening.

    Your story of working out and feeling better is inspiring…I think I might actually start drinking more water and exercising.

    I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well…I hope you feel better soon!

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  4. Maddie – erythmya isn’t necessarily the result of an allergy when booze is involved. In some people (helloooo, IRISH!) it’s just something that is more apparent than in the general public. I’m not disputing the cause, just clarifying the allergy part because allergies have specific criteria and are usually at least somewhat worrisome. It might be an allergy – just saying that it might not be. If it is, he should avoid the sauce.

    Michele – your skin thing is DEFINITELY wine related. The timing is just too clear. It’s so cut-and-dry, it’s frightening. Why? Because your legs haven’t let up in a year. You stop drinking for a few days and they clear up. That means that there hasn’t been more than a few days in the past year when we didn’t at least have a few glasses of wine.

    I love wine. I really do. I also have quite a fondness for certain finer beers and spirits.

    Having taken yet another break (and these breaks should not be seen as failed attempts to stop drinking, but simply as breaks), though, I can’t believe how much better I feel in general, how much more productive I am in the evenings and late at night. I’m doing an easy hour of 155-175 bpm cardio per day and lifting weights again. I have an honest 15 or so pounds of fat to shed that are almost entirely the result, in one way or another, of booze.

    I’ll be drinking again some day, but I need enough time to pass to let habit fade. I can’t give up wine with dinner on SOME occasions. I’m absolutely finished with the binging, though.

    And I’m gonna get in shape so I can be a cover model for Time Out like our boy Jon!

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  5. I think from now on I’ll stick to beer. Yummmmmm beeeeer. :]

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  6. tobyjoe ~ I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it, because my roommate is a certifiable idiot, so he probably has no idea what he’s talking about. That’s what I get for speaking before considering the source. :)

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  7. I have actually heard, however, that Asians don’t metabolize alcohol well. Is that a true story? Or am I being an ignorant honkey. I wonder. Probably the latter.

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  8. toby, do you want me to sign a pinup for you?

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  9. I want the cumberbund from your tux, signed with your belly sweat.

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  10. I heard something about that too, Michele, from several people. I don’t think you are an ignorant honkey. Heh. You’re funny.

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  11. dont have the cumberbund. it was a rental tux from a cheesy costume shop. 120% polyester.

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  12. Hope you feel better. I’ve been sick, too. I stayed home from work yesterday, and I shouldn’t be in now. MrsJesus? and I drink a bottle of wine with a meal every couple of weeks or so. We’re not big drinkers, although I am prone to the occasional binge.

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  13. Yeah, this cold hit me like a ton of bricks. Today, I plan to speak only in metaphors and similes.

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  14. i’m sorry you’re sick. it’s awful, but glad to hear how good you’ve felt lately.

    when my friend carolina eats chocolate her allergy makes her shins flare up in itchy bumps that she scratches til they bleed. when i eat yummy orange food with the preservative calcium chloride, the same thing happens. i’m sorry for you because wine with certain dinners is lovely. and i miss cheetos and a million other things.

    feel better soon, dear

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  15. Hang in there through the cold.

    It’s amazing how quickly I forget how good I feel when I’m working out and eating healthy. Because as good as it feels being healthy, it is so easy to slip into the junk food, lethargy and alcohol!

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  16. Good to hear that you’ve found a solution to the skin problem with your legs. Nice that you can give up the Butt Paste along with the wine.

    Hope you kick the cold soon.

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