Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm bad at grieving.

Thank you for the kind words about the passing of Foxie Doxie. They truly mean more than I can ever say.

This is hard.

I'm cycling through all the stages of I'm-not-good-at-this grief:
  • Eat your feelings. Pad Thai for breakfast and pizza for lunch? Don't mind if I do!
  • Sleep. All the damned time. My excuse is that sleep was a rare commodity the last week of Foxie Doxie's life. The truth is probably closer to "I don't want to face the world."
  • Watch "Rambo: First Blood Part II." This is actually a really good movie. If you're grieving, I highly recommend channeling your pain through John Rambo. He will shoot people, and it will make you feel better. You'll feel guilty for feeling better, but you'll feel better.
  • Call your parents and start crying when you hear your dad's kind, even voice. Make him tell you all about how he went to coffee and then to the dentist this morning, and take comfort in your dad being your dad and the beauty of the everyday.
  • Make an executive decision to wash your hair and put on some pants. Not sweatpants. Real pants. Implement this decision, even though it takes longer than usual to prepare to face the world.
  • Leave the house. See friends. Realize the depth and breadth of your riches, as well as the simple power of a frou-frou cocktail.
  • Love on your dogs. They're hurting, too. Cuddle up, even though the entire house still smells like dog pee and you should scrub the floors instead. Choose love and a slight funk over a clean house.
What's your go-to stage of grief? Clearly, I'm no expert. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Farewell, sweet friend.

When I first adopted Foxie Doxie, he had a big ol' bald spot on his side.

He'd gotten burned by some fresh asphalt, and the vet said my hyper doxie would probably never grow hair there.

Well, clearly, the vet was full of shit, because Foxie totally grew lush side-body hair. He was the dachshund equivalent of Farrah Fawcett. He did things his own way, thank you.
That was 12 years ago, and Foxie has been full of piss and vinegar every since. You lookin' for somebody to trap a possum, at night, in the pouring rain? Foxie's your man. You wondering just who would pee on wedding invitations?

Well, Foxie was a tiny bit ashamed about that one, but evidently, it had to be done - even if it meant wearing The Overalls of Shame afterwards.
So, 12 years and one week after I first met my little guy with the bald spot on his side, he got the same hairdo again. He got shaved for an ultrasound, as we hadn't been able to shake his raging UTI.

Never in my wildest, most hypochondriacal dreams did I think that Foxie Doxie's little tinklepotty problems were actually prostate cancer.

But they were. And that bidness is bad, bad news in dogs.

Our options were basically "ship him off to Colorado for treatment that will scar him emotionally and fry all his internal organs" or ... let him go.

We found out Friday. By Saturday, it was obvious that he was miserable and wasn't going to get any less miserable. My Guy and I decided that keeping him around would be wholly selfish on our parts.

Foxie cuddled with Lil' Frankfurter, and then enjoyed some sunshine.
I wrapped my boy up in a blanket and we went to the vet.
He died in my arms.

I can't stop crying.

So, here's the thing: Foxie Doxie was the longest non-family relationship of my adult life. He knew stuff. We went through a lot together. And while he didn't say much, he knew.

And he was a total jackass. This is a kid who peed in my bed more than once, just because. He had such social anxiety that he would lose his mind if another dog even deigned to walk down our street. He felt it was his duty to mark every piece of furniture in my house - and my parents' house. He took this duty very seriously.

And yet. He had the softest ears on the planet. When I held him, he would tuck his head under my chin and snorgle loudly. He was my boy, and I was his mama.

My heart is broken.

And yet. When the vet tech asked for a phone number to call when the ashes were ready, I told My Guy to give her my number. He was upset, and the phone number he rattled off had about 17 digits and wasn't even close to my number. Like, the area code wasn't even right. I was holding our dying dog, and I started laughing like a hyena. I looked at the tech, who was mortified. "That's so not my number," I said. "We've been married 3 and a half years, and that's not even remotely my number!"

So, at least there was laughter through the tears in Foxie Doxie's last moments.

Later, dear, kind, generous friends wordlessly showed up on our porch with our favorite, completely complicated pizza order, a 6-pack, 2 bottles of wine, and 2 gigantic mums. As my sweet husband told me, "I don't even know what to say. Except that this feels good after a few really shitty days. I don't even know what to say."

Lil' Frankfurter and Big Doodle are sticking to us like glue, as they know we need each other more than ever. Our little pack is reeling, but we're doing it together.

We're heartbroken. But blessed.

We love you, Foxie.
Enjoy marking the pearly gates.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Better Homes & Gardens, c'mon over!

We've got a mouse.

I used my mad detective skillz to figure out we have a mouse because someone chewed through the bag of Fritos, right before I made chili. So, you know, there were no Fritos for chili. Our lives are so terrible!

And after it became obvious that there had been a mouse in the bread drawer, I checked out all the other kitchen cabinets. The lazy susan was filled with corn starch, and the corn starch had tiny little paw prints running through it. There were actual turds in the blender.

Sigh.

For those playing along at home, here's the final tally:
  • Baking supplies thrown out: 5
  • Canned goods wiped down with bleach wipes: 752
  • Appliances with mouse droppings in them: 2
  • Hours of my life lost to disinfecting my entire kitchen: 27

This crazed disinfecting took so long because I had to keep stopping in order to clean up dog pee. Foxie Doxie has a raging UTI, and is basically slow-rolling through the house, tinkling as he goes.

You know you want to come over.

Last night, My Guy and I surveyed the damage. Everything except canned goods is on the counter, because surely our mouse isn't surly enough to breach the counter. This means that we have about 4 square inches of available counterspace for actual cooking.

We ate some chocolate chips and discussed our food options. And then I realized that the bag of chocolate chips had two tiny holes in it.

We're probably going to come down with the bubonic plague. It seems fitting.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

An open letter to my parents and all my elementary school teachers.

Hi all - 

I'm not really a stripper.

Today, my coworkers and I went to lunch. We were celebrating a birthday, and we ended up at a downtown restaurant / bar.

Now, this restaurant / bar is next door to a fabulous strip club. Actually, I don't know if it's really fabulous - I haven't been inside. But the glass entry shows an escalator. Because yes, this strip club is so fancy that it has an escalator. Or maybe it's not really fancy, but it certainly looks nicer than the club a few blocks away that has the "TOTALLY NUDE" flashing sign.

Ours is a downtown in transition.

The strip club and the bar / restaurant share a parking lot. As I wedged into the lot with several large trucks, I realized that the strip club was packed. Dudes were spending their lunch hours at the boobie buffet, if you know what I mean.

As crossed the parking lot, I noticed a few guys purposely not making eye contact. Hmm. If you're ashamed of what you have for lunch, maybe it's time to switch up your diet.

Later, my coworkers and I enjoyed a lunch of food, not body parts. One of my cohorts glanced out the window and said, "Oh, look. There's a Google Earth car."

Hmm. Recording street-level views for all the internet to see. Nice.

Capturing my car in the parking lot of a strip club. Recording it for posterity.

I related this to My Guy later. His response? "I'm gonna find that on Google Earth and send it to everyone I know!"


But really? Google Earth is providing proof to suspicious spouses everywhere! I found the current Google Earth view of the parking lot in question. While the license plates are blurred, the car makes and models are very clear. And ... there's a guy in a blue and white shirt walking across the parking lot. I wonder if he knows he's forever captured in this state.

Wouldn't it suck to be caught on Google Earth walking out of a strip club?

But, I'm off track. The point of this open letter is to let you know, before Google Earth updates its images, that I'm not currently working as an adult entertainer. I may cuss a lot, but I'm still basically a good girl.

Love,
B


Monday, August 11, 2014

That weird combination of happy and horrible.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.

If you just whispered, "Oh, shiiit," you're not the only one with that reaction.

But, that was a few weeks ago. The whole thing turned out to be the best possible scenario - they caught it early, and she won't need chemo or even radiation. Once she's healed up from the lumpectomy, we can kind of pretend this whole thing never happened.

Except that it did.

It turns out that I'm the official family Cancer Sherpa. As Cancer Sherpa, I know what stuff means and how things generally work. I'm the one who explained what margins are in terms of removing a tumor. I know things. I'm like a very sick version of Liam Neeson's "I have a very particular set of skills" character.

The whole thing revived the latent PTSD I have from my mom's breast cancer. You know, that cancer that I like to pretend never happened, except that it did? The cancer that now, with a mere 16 years of distance, we can all agree was horrific?

It's a fine line between sharing my experience and telling stories that aren't mine to tell. I hope my MIL doesn't mind that I share her diagnosis. And I hope my mom doesn't mind that I tell you how even now, even after the dust has long since settled, I am still traumatized and terrified by what she went through, and the scary times our family faced.

My mom is a badass. I think I've covered this. But it's still hard to believe that we are living our lives as if we're normal, everyday people. Sixteen years ago this summer, my mom was pretty sure she wasn't going to make it to Christmas. The rest of us didn't want to entertain this possibility, even though it kept knocking at the door.

Mama was given an 80% chance of reoccurrence. She had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She went into heart failure on the table. Her body rejected some of the transplanted tissue.

Oh, shiiit.

She told me recently that she still can't believe she went through all that she did. And I opened my big dumb mouth and said, "Well, it's not like you were just going to lay down and die."

She could have. But she didn't, because that's not who she is. And I'm glad.

She's said that she knows she's a bit overzealous when it comes to her new grandbaby. But she explained that she never thought she'd see my brother graduate high school, much less get married or do something totally insane like become a parent. And so, she celebrates.

We're shell-shocked, if we're being honest, even 16 years later. But we celebrate.

And so, I'm celebrating for my MIL, and my sweet husband's family. I will be your Cancer Sherpa, and share what I know only if you really need to know it. Right now, what you need to know is that it's OK to be upset.

But I highly recommend celebrating.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's hard to write when you're up to your eyeballs in it.

After I finally left Corporate America for good, I kind of mourned all that blog fodder. What in the world would I write about if not Creepy Rajeev, the world's best sexual harasser? Or how Corporate Behemoth required me to use a tool that they wouldn't allow me to install on my computer?

It was a time of intense soul-searching.

However, never fear! I have found that crazy is all around us. Case in point: I'm currently working with a client that does everything by committee. A rather disheveled committee wherein everybody is multitasking and no one is really taking charge. Working with these folks is a lot like herding cats.

We have the guy whose email signature is "This is an email from: Bob Smith." Just in case you didn't realize you're reading an email, and that it was from Bob.

We also have the guy who makes final decisions, but then changes his mind after it's too late. You know, like after a billboard is printed and up. Little issues.

Then, there's the guy who promises to do a lot of stuff, doesn't, and then points out what everybody else is doing wrong. He's swell.

And finally, we have the guy who emailed me, took my business card, received 3 emails from me, and then left me a voicemail in which he stated, "I would have emailed you, but I don't have your email address."

So.

Speaking of shit, it turns out that Lil' Frankfurter has inflammatory bowel disease.

Yep. Well, either inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Or some fungal disease that comes from the Amazon. But we're betting on inflammatory bowel disease. Because who doesn't love the word "bowel?"

Lil' Frank has been on meds for about 2 weeks and, miraculously, has actually gained some weight. This is good, because I felt really, really guilty for calling him "Skeletor," even though it was so fitting because you could count his ribs from across the room. Now, you just have to be next to him to count his ribs.

So, he's still skinny, but he's gaining weight, even though he's still pooping like it's his job. I, personally, would be fine if he didn't work so much, especially since it's disconcerting to see a 5-pound dog produce a 4-pound poo. But mostly, I'm just happy that he's no longer wasting away.

So. Two varieties of shit. That's why I haven't been writing much.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's talk about ladybits, shall we?

So, the Supreme Court decided that it's OK for a "closely held corporation" to decide not to cover birth control in their employer-provided insurance.

On 1 hand, the 3 employees at the perennially understaffed Hobby Lobby in my hood are all over 70. They are also always on break. I'm pretty sure not having birth control covered by their employer isn't a huge deal.

On the other hand, not all birth control is used for contraception.

Case in point? Me.

Turns out that there are no 2 humans less able to conceive a kid than my husband and I. If you had a word cloud of our skill sets, you'd see all kinds of creative, technical, and cake-based endeavors. However, the term "conception" wouldn't be anywhere. It would be in the next town over, hiding out in a smoky bar, trying to buy a lucky lady a drink.

But you know who's on the pill? Me. The Baroness of Barrenness.

I'm a bit reticent to talk about this, because it's nobody's damned business. But I guess now the Supreme Court is saying that it is. Thanks, 5 old guys, none of whom own nor operate a uterus. You're swell!

So, I have some sort of horrible ladyparts curse that makes my lower abdomen hurt. A lot. Maybe it's polycystic ovarian syndrome. Maybe it's endometriosis. Who's to say? Because ladyparts are so mysterious and research is underfunded, literally no one can say without cutting me open to check it out.

Instead, I opted to go on the pill. It keeps the symptoms in check and seems a hellova lot smarter - and cheaper - than exploratory surgery.

Now, I am blessed to have rockstar health insurance through my husband. But what if I didn't? What if I worked at Hobby Lobby? Would they pay for me to get cut open, but decline to cover medication to make the cutting open unnecessary - all because they don't believe in contraception?

Well.

Stand where you will on today's ruling. But remember: I'm the woman who needs birth control. I don't need it to whore around and piss off Jesus. I need it so I can get out of bed and be a productive member of society. And I don't see where that's part of your religious freedom.