Hines Geno Janflone: Doggie Sommelier

That is Hines, my awesome 3-year-old German Shepherd and devoted friend, taking in all the subtle nuances of the Cab he is about to sample. His intensity jumps through the camera lens, and one can only imagine he gets every hint of oak, tobacco and cherry vanilla notes.

Since it dipped under 40 degrees here in Lake Worth (town motto: Where the tropics begin), He suggested a nice glass of wine and turning on the gas fireplace the best course of action to deal with the bone numbing chill. GSD’s are so stinkin’ smart!

I had intended to blog about the fraud that wrote A Million Little Pieces, how I find it grossly offensive that anyone fictionalize the agony of an addict’s life. But, I was punched in the gut just about an hour ago, and the best laid plans….I owe my dog a lot (and since I know Tucker, my 4-yr-old black cat enjoys reading dad’s blogs: Tucker, you know you’re a vital link in my sanity chain), not for his ability to know a good bottle of wine, because I don’t drink & this pic was from happier married days. Hines is truly my best friend, and while I am sure he can decipher the differences between Shiraz & Merlot 50 feet away with his eyes closed, he can also sense when I am having a bad day.

Tail wagging, all it takes for him to smile, ears plastered to his head (and those are some big ears!) just for a simple itch of his hind legs. He is my ultimate barometer, and always forces a perspective of gratitude into my brain when all I want to do is crawl under some rock in my closet of woes.

The family and I have to move soon, and that uncertainty brings stress into my life I have never experienced before. Back in October, on paper, I was able to bank $700/month into the moving fund. Somewhere along the way, that guy Murphy snuck into my house, punctured a hose in the hot water tank of life, and sent me a $500 electric bill, since the heating element was constantly on. In the dog days of a Florida summer, with A/C cranking, the bill might have approached $400 if we were obsessive about maintaining a comfortable 75 degree room temperature.

Since the wife became my ex- and moved out, room temp went up to 82, and conservation Al Gore himself would applaud, became a lifestyle, not a choice. Quite possibly, the power company should adjust the bill, me armed with the plumber’s invoice and logical argument of looking at the 3+ years of bills for the house. “No, we don’t do adjustments, sir. And no, we don’t do payment arrangements past one month. You have  to pay or the power will be disconnected.”

My nest egg took a hit, but hey, what’s one minor set back? A few days later, my renter was fired from his job, and rather than look for a new job, one which would be easier to find in season in the service industry, not to mention I could apply at the same places finally using him for transportation, he moved out. Damn you Murphy. One month later, I finally got the place rented again, and got back to the positive, even if it was a few dollars in the black.

As I said in an earlier blog, the new renters bailed out on Saturday, giving me a great New Year’s Eve event to celebrate. After giving Hines an ice cube and watching him prance about, I smiled, thanked God for shelter, food, and friends and family supporting the release of my memoir. It took 9+ years for me to finish it, and over 15 of life experiences for the brunt of the content. The outpouring of support and praise overwhelmed me, and was more than enough to help pull me through any holiday blues.

Somewhere along the timeline, Murphy gave me the gift of pneumonia, and being uninsured, sucked dry my book proceeds after a visit to MedXpress and an ER visit a few days later since breathing was suddenly a frightening challenge. Oh, and while I was at the walk-in, he also pissed on my PC. When you work for Google as the source of most of your income, have a book PR campaign going on, well, a new (used) PC is as vital as a heartbeat. “Back in the red with you Mr. Janflone!”

Um, Mr. Murphy, seriously, you have worn out your welcome. The only reason I have even gotten back into the black is the kindness of friends and family. So, I began the process of renting the efficiency back out again, with a looming short sale right around the corner. My paper budget shows I should have $2000 saved, and all the bills here paid. “Hines, come here, I need to brush you you and watch your tail wag.”  I also have my second bedroom rented out,  and through this gentleman, quite possibly have a new place to stay, on a ranch, where Hines and Tucker can both stay with me. If I had to give up either of them, I would freak out completely.

However, just this morning,  I find out he isn’t going to be able to give me money in January since he has to commit money to the new place. I get that, and I plan to help out next month with money from December & January book sales, as well the Google gig. “AAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”  Sorry if you heard that, and were startled. I am wondering if Murphy is ever going to get the hell out, preferably before his buddy Wit comes in with his end.

I am exhausted from all of this. Worse still, the money borrowed from people that I should have been easily able to repay, I can’t do. Having been in recovery throughout the worst year of my life, I have held onto one thing above all else when it comes to my dealings with people, especially those gracious enough to help me. I keep my word. When so much of the time in the past, my word meant nothing. My good friend Dan and I were talking about stuff from the 2001 period, and he gave me $20 and just knew my promise to pay it back on payday was complete bs. He knew it would never be seen again, and he still jokingly uses it to guilt me into a free copy of the memoir.

So, here it is, January 3rd. By the 5th, I had promised to pay back the 3 people that have helped keep my power on, my dog fed, internet & cable connected and my stomach filled. I am feeling that uncomfortableness, that the trust I have established is going to collapse into a sinkhole when I explain the situation. The first thought is going to be, Here we go again. If I were in their shoes, I’d think the same thing. People that gave me the loans in some cases could not even afford to do so, and are counting on being repaid.I am failing them. Worse, I am feeling defined by the very word my sick mind has used so often throughout my years of active addiction and shaky at best attempts at recovery-failure.

I feel trapped, all the work and planning put into being able to take care of myself, to find a place for my family, to prove to the world that Mike can indeed succeed, that the epiphany I had in my heart and soul was pure, perfect and real and not just the same lip service those with me throughout the saga have heard in bits and pieces for years. I have known this time around, it’s not what I say, it is what I do. It is the only way I can demonstrate the truth I know in my heart. Yet here I am, letting the gracious down, praying that they understand my position is pretty complicated. Heck, on my life planning schedule, I had buying a car being one of the first things I did.

With car, will travel, will find a job. I have continued doing my exercises to help minimize the searing nerve pain that shoots down my leg, being able to read quarterly divided sections of War and Peace while holding myself in a side plank position. The plan though, has unraveled, and now instead of repaying people, depending on the timeline of the house’s short sale, I may have to beg again. I swear, maybe I should just go to my Paypal account and plaster the “Donate Now!” button on every webpage I put content up on.

It’s somewhat of a quandary, in recovery, I ask for help all the time, but it is advice, or just to listen to what’s on my mind. It’s free. When money comes up, I clam up. Such is the power of finances, unpaid debts ruin friendships. I don’t want to even have the possibility of letting others down.  Not to mention, just in October I had everything mapped out and was damn proud that I was going to be able to accomplish something on my own. I had already failed in my promises repeated in my wedding vowels, I am not going to let Hines down, or myself for that matter.

At the very least, these past few months have been a tremendous challenge, to my sanity, to my recovery. I take pride in the fact that I write this blog, that in addition to the fact that selling my memoir opens up my entire past, I am sharing rather than bottling up my emotions. It truly does help.

And when I get down, all I have to say is the word walk and my perspective changes. I hear phrases like, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade bounce around my head. From the dark corner where those engrained debasing thoughts arise, I tell them to shut up, it doesn’t matter I can’t afford the sugar.

Thank you everyone again for reading the ramblings of a recovering human being, and I know Hines’ photo made you smile! Try living with the guy! He’s awesome.

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fall seven times, stand up eight.  ~Japanese Proverb
Peace to you all.


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