So, last Friday around 5 PM we pulled into The Lakes at Deerfield Beach, an apartment complex here in Florida. Weary, exhausted, we went inside and signed some papers and handed over a huge wad of cash…and became the proud renters of a beautiful new apartment.

Then we just had to get all the stuff inside. We had called ahead and hired some movers but we’d told them that we would be there at 1 PM and we were really, really late.

But they were still there and they moved us in. I tipped them big; it was a lifesaver.

Then it was a matter of juggling finances (and ending up having to borrow some money) so we made our March rent on time. Then it was just time to wait until I started working.

And yesterday I went to my new job for the first time. Everyone there seems very nice, the corporate culture seems laid back (and I need that after General Motors, honestly). The work looks like something I can do.

Here’s a thing though…I hadn’t slept much the night before (I do have an anxiety disorder, after all). So by lunch I was dragging.

So I had a Coke.

(gasps from the audience)

Yes, I deliberately drank caffeine for the first time in over four years. Other than the small amounts of caffeine in chocolate, I had not consumed any since my heart problems started in October of 2008.

Now, I had already asked my doctor years ago, and he had said that a caffeinated soda a day wouldn’t hurt me. In fact, a doctor once put me on modafinil, a much strong stimulant than caffeine! (I didn’t realize what it was at the time.) But I was afraid to do it until today. Today, I felt like it was necessary for me to be at my best.

And the worst part was, it worked. I felt great! I got lots of stuff done. I felt like things might be okay now.

I was kind of half-hoping that it wouldn’t work, so I could tell myself, hey, I tried it, it doesn’t work, no need to be tempted any more. But it did.

I guess programmers really are machines that turn caffeine into code. So I guess I’ll be having a (single) soda each day to fuel that.

I just have to be careful. Now, there is still no clinical research showing that stimulants cause heart attacks, but when you tell the paramedics that you drink a lot of caffeine and are taking pseudophedrine and they look at each other knowingly, that’s evidence enough for me.

Wow, this got off course. The upshot is, we’re here and it looks like we’re staying. My first-day jitters are over and it looks like, for a while at least, I’m going to be working for a living and we’ll be getting back to what normal people consider normal.

Thank you to all my friends and family who helped us. It really does feel like waking from a nightmare.