« Central Park Hoodie | A time to plant….. »

Six Months Gone!!

God, that sounds like I’m pregnant!!!

Maybe I should tell Pop first, before announcing it publicly here!!  You think???



Six months since I bought cigarettes.  Six months since I smoked a cigarette.  Six months since my clothes smelled of smoke.  My hair, too, probably.

Six months since one (or all) of my kids, all non-smokers, bitched and fussed about the stink in my house.  Or the smoke burning their eyes.  Six months since I’ve gone out to the kitchen or into the bathroom to smoke near a fan that would carry the offending smoke out of the house quicker.  Greater than six months since I accidentally burned a hole in something, be it clothing, linoleum, area surrounding an ashtray.

Everyone knows that I’ve got the willpower of sand.  I’m giving all credit here to Chantix.  I had heard about this medication from several friends, and was due to see my doctor.  I mentioned it to him, just as he started to recommend it to me!  (Great minds???)   At about the same time, Pop had another Pulmonary Function Test and the results showed continuing decline.  It was time.  Actually, it was way, way past time.

The directions for taking this medication state that you continue smoking during the first days you are taking the pills.  On Day 8 of the meds, you actually stop smoking.  They recommend that you pick a date — then count back 8 from there.  Sooooo —  Happy Birthday-and-a-half to Son #1, whose birthday was just after that doctor’s appointment.  It’s the date I picked, knowing I would remember it!  I have for many years.

So – what’s it like for a ferocious smoker of 40 years to suddenly stop?  What changes, both good and bad —  and there have been both!!   (Nobody thinks there will be any bad!)

Bad Stuff

I’ve switched habits.  To better ones, perhaps, but best yet would be to have stopped smoking and not started:

    1. Eating bags of Starburst chewy candies by the ton.  Buying big bags, multiple bags in the local Sam’s Club, cause I can get more, cheaper.  Chain-chewing on these damn things; one still stuck in the roof of my mouth as I unwrap the next.
    2. Drinking French Vanilla Cappaccino from the Royal Farms, every morning on the way to work.  This started on our trip in May; my SIL recommended them to me, and I’ve been stopping every morning ever since.  I think they have about 14K calories each, and of course, I get the biggest size they sell because they’re so good.
    3. Eating Entenmann’s Cheese Danish every morning, more addictive, if possible, than the damn nicotine.  (Pass the lipitor over here, please.  Thanks.)

I’ve gained about 20 pounds.  (This is a better thing than smoking, but still…….)  I’m now reading diet and exercise tips on the internet, something I’ve never had to do before.  I’ve been skinny all my life.  The only way I’ve ever found to gain enough weight to come up to “normal” was to get pregnant, and that was temporary.  Other than when I was very pregnant, I didn’t come near a normal weight until I was in my late 40’s!  I fear that extra pounds put on at this stage of my life is going to be doubly hard to get rid of — I’m just not as physically active as I was 25 years ago!!

Pursuant to above noted weight gain, most of my summer clothes haven’t been worn these past months, AS THEY DON’T FIT!!!!!  (well, they would fit a sausage nicely, one of those little breakfast link types)  The weight gain has settled at my waistline, making me look either pregnant or like I have a serious beer gut.  (One is not possible anymore; the other, well, is unearned)  Not attractive either way.   I have a “sit on my ever-widening butt” job, and that makes tight waistlines in clothing even more uncomfortable.  As the seasons are changing and cool weather is due here shortly, I suspect I’m soon going to discover that all my winter clothes have shrunk while in seasonal storage.

I barely take breaks at work anymore.  On every break I’ve ever taken, from every job I’ve ever had, for over 40 years, I’ve quickly gone to the “designated smoking area.”  Maybe a short pit-stop on the way, but 98% of my breaktime has ALWAYS been spent with a cigarette in my hand.  I literally don’t know what the hell else to do with free time on the job.  After the first few weeks, I started bringing my knitting to work, but find that I continue to work while I knit, so I really get no break at all.  My choice there.   What I should do, based on the aforementioned increasing girth, is to get off my bum and walk.  Do laps around the building or something.

Good Great Stuff

I don’t smell like cigarettes anymore; my hair and clothes don’t reek of it.  My house doesn’t smell like “early the next morning in a taproom” anymore.

My car doesn’t stink.  In fact, I traded in the Jeep, bought a new Ford SUV and got one without the “smoker’s group” so I don’t even have a lighter or ashtray in the vehicle!!  The window glass stays cleaner longer because there’s never been any smoking inside.  There’s no ashes spilled near the ashtray or on the floor, no burn marks, no lost lighters way under the front seats – and there never will be!!! 

Too soon to tell, but I anticipate that walls and ceilings at home will not yellow as quickly.  Aging will still occur, and that does discolor, but smoking accelerates it.  Fresh paint will stay nice looking longer, which should impress my resident painter.

K and her boys live here now.  While we can’t undo the past, we no longer contribute to a “second hand smoke” health issue. 

I can breathe more deeply now.

We no longer buy cigarettes.  That sounds like, well, duh, no smoking — of course there’s no buying.  But it needs to be appreciated fully.  We were paying about $24 a carton when Pop and I both quit.  We each smoked more than a carton a week, say 3 cartons a week between the two of us.  Times 52 weeks.   That comes to over $3700 a year, that we set fire to.  Just burned up.  In good times, it was a hell of a dumb thing to do, burn up money.  In rough financial times, well, when we cut back on groceries, we still always found the dollars for cigarettes first.  Go figure.  (but any smoker/former smoker knows exactly what I mean)  On $3700 a year, I could have done more for my kids.  I could have gone to Europe every summer.  Taken that cruise to Bermuda.  Put against the mortgage, it would have paid it off by now.  Cigarette money is now paying for that new vehicle.

Several months ago, our state implemented an additional 60-cents per pack tax.  That’s a real bite.  A year ago, I’d have been bitching and fuming and ranting about it.  All to no avail, of course, whatever.  This time, I expressed dismay at the financial plight of the poor smokers affected by it, and bitched and fumed and ranted about how our state will waste the additional revenue.  Maybe another $46 million campaign on whether or not they should change the state motto (again).

And after I get steamed up about the money I’ve wasted, I think of all the time I’ve wasted, sitting on my butt smoking, or running out to the store for more, or hunting for matches or lighters.  Or digging down to the bottom of my purse!  Geez, I could have built a pyramid in all that time, all by myself.  Before lunchtime.

With the extra time, I’ve done more knitting, and taken up spinning.  By keeping my hands and my mind occupied, I think that’s made the whole process easier.   And I’m much better off playing with wool than smoking.  And I have stuff to show for it.  I need to put the extra time into even more productive areas; for all the time I’ve saved, my house should be cleaner or something.  I need to do some thinking here, and set some reasonable goals of what I should now be able to accomplish.    Or maybe, with all the extra free time, I could take up dancing and drinking.

Pop is eating everything in sight.  I haven’t seen him eat this much, this regularly, since before he got sick 12+ years ago.  His appetitie just never went back to the previous levels.  It has now.  He’s getting his ass back.  He looks healthier, his color is better.  He’s taking up golf and loving it.

My sons’ allergies don’t go crazy anymore when they’re in my house for an extended period of time.

My kids are proud of me.  They’re glad I finally did this.

I’m proud of me.  I feel like I climbed the mountain, and now I get to sit on top and look around.  My own private and personal mountain.  And the view is nice from here.  I think I’ll stay awhile. 

2 Responses to “Six Months Gone!!”

  1. Brian Says:

    Visit Brian

    You are the awesome, and I love you very much. I honestly never thought you could go more than a few months again due to the ever recurring family crises…es. Good job!

  2. Petunia Says:

    Visit Petunia

    I finally realized, after several aborted attempts, that going back to smoking neither prevented crises, or helped me get through them! Shame that it took me 50 years to figure this out! But my success was due to those meds!