Jul 29, 2023

Where’s there’s smoke…

By [email protected] | on August 03, 2023

Editor’s Note: Julia is experiencing technical difficulties this week. Enjoy an oldie from a year ago.

It’s official now. I became a one-month-old non-smoker on Monday, August 1.

I didn’t smoke cigarettes, but I did enjoy the little cheap cigars. My particular favorites were the ones with the filter on the tip that come five or six to the pack. Since I normally smoked only about three a day, I wasn’t all that concerned with quitting but this has been quite a stressful summer so my tobacco intake rose to alarming proportions! Once I started hearing myself wheezing and gasping for breath and after a harsh talking-to by my cardiologist, I knew it was time.

God and the Universe have ways to get a message across, but sometimes I’m like the fly in the open screen door… If I’d just move a couple of inches to the right, I would be able to SOAR out into the wild blue yonder…but noooo….I just crawl around on the screen while looking longingly at the world beyond it. When four or five of the stores that sold my brand no longer carried it, I should have recognized that as a “Divine Intervention,” but I ignored it.

Like Mark Twain said, “Giving up smoking is easy…I’ve done it hundreds of times!” I too have tried many times to kick the nicotine habit, but somehow I’ve always gone right back to it. (And yes… I do know there’s always a chance I will this time too.) When I quit cigarettes about 20-plus years ago, I thought I had it licked but…I was out with a girlfriend after work one fine balmy California evening and she wanted to meet some friends at a cigar bar. I didn’t want to go because I didn’t like the smell and I told her so. A big burly guy covered in tattoos overheard me and he started laughing.

“Yeah…that’s what I thought…” he chuckled as he eyed my conservative corporate wear and my sensible shoes. “You just don’t look like the kind of woman who could enjoy a fine cigar.”

Well! That remark just irritated me to no end! I thought about it for days. I wondered what a “woman who could enjoy a good cigar” was supposed to look like. Obviously not me. So a few days later when I saw those cheap cigars being sold separately in a gas station…I bought a couple.

And I went home, poured myself a glass of wine, and sat on my balcony and lit up.

They. Were. Awful! I gagged. I coughed. I sputtered. It was like I had never smoked in my life. I think that too was a sign from the universe that maybe this cigar smoking wasn’t for me…but nooo….no. I persevered. I kept smoking. I forced myself to take another puff. Then another…and another…and before I knew it, a couple decades had passed and there I was…still smoking. I hope and pray this time I have it licked and I won’t backslide. I’ve never gone this long without cheating, so my hopes are high. I never realized how much time I was WASTING by smoking. All of those “let me just sit for a few minutes and have a puff” moments could eat up some otherwise productive hours. These days I’m getting tons of projects around the house done that I’ve put off for months…maybe even years. I’m a little one-woman whirlwind and the house and yard have never looked better.

But I may be driving my husband, Marty, a little crazy. I heard him on the phone the other day talking to one of his pals. He wasn’t thrilled with my new-found energy.

“I’m telling you, she CANNOT sit DOWN,” he told his buddy. “She is constantly moving around cleaning something. If I even LOOK at a shirt or pair of shorts, she’s gottem’ in the wash ten minutes later.”

“Oh ,Marty,” I said when he hung up. “I’m sorry my quitting smoking is bothering you so much. But aren’t you glad I’m doing something good for myself?” I thought a health angle would calm him down.

“Of course I’m proud of you for not smoking, Julia, but GEEEZE! You’re going to give yourself a heart attack or have a stroke or something if you don’t slow down.”

“So you want me to keep smoking and get cancer? Is that it?” My temper may have been a tad short due to lack of nicotine intake.

“Oh for crying out loud, Julia…of COURSE I don’t want you to get sick! Don’t be ridiculous. I just don’t think you have to get to every single project on your to-do list in one day.”

“But I have soooooo much more time now, Marty. Smoking was causing me to waste a LOT of time.” I called this over my shoulder as I was going upstairs to grab more laundry.

“All I’m saying is you could slow down just a little… maybe do only one or two loads of laundry at once instead of five…and WHERE did you find enough clothes to DO FIVE loads anyway?”

“Well it’s easy…see after you divide the laundry by color, then you divide the colors into dark and light, and after that you can go even farther and divide them by the material and then…”

“OKAY!” He abruptly cut me off. “It was a silly question. Just try to slow it down a little…you don’t have to…Julia? What are you doing NOW?”

While we were talking, I noticed there was a candy wrapper in our trash can holder so I was going to pick it up. Only once I kneeled down to pick it up, I noticed a few crumbs under the wires that hold the bins in place and slide them in and out. Naturally I got out my trusty mini-vacuum and I was about to suck up the crumbs when I figured that was as good a time as any to just dismantle the whole thing and wash everything. By this time Marty was basically talking to my butt.

“I’m gonna tidy up the trash cabinet, Marty… will you empty the cans so I can wash them after I’m done here? And could you hand me a screwdriver?” I asked this very sweetly, but I doubt he could tell since he could only see my backside. He heard me though. I heard him muttering as he left the kitchen carrying the trash cans. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying but he never did bring me that screwdriver.

And the toolbox has gone missing too. Maybe that’s Marty’s version of “Divine Intervention.”

I’m just saying.

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