Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I would make a terrible action star.

I have a black eye. Courtesy of Walter the Wonderdoodle.

He's a baby. And he weighs 60 pounds. And he isn't quite sure what to do with his body. And he is only moderately well-behaved, for which I take at least partial responsibility.

But I was trying to be a good mom. Really, I was. He'd been cooped up in the house all day, so I got some tennis balls out. Of course, all of our dog toys are stored in the refrigerator. It's the one place where Walter and Li'l Frank are all, "Oh, so, shit just got real. That's really put away."

So, I got two tennis balls out so that the kids could run off a little energy before going to bed. And since it was late and I've all but given up on keeping our wood floors nice, we played ball in the house. As you do.

I grabbed at Walter and caught him ... but he didn't stop. He kept running, bringing me along with him. What stopped my forward trajectory was an upholstered dining room chair.

You know what part of an upholstered dining room chair isn't exactly upholstered? The top corner. Yep. That part of the chair may look upholstered, but it is pointy and hard. I hit it with my eye socket.

Now, I love me some Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He is funny and self-deprecating and his Instagram feed is kind and inspiring.

But within about 10 seconds of ramming my tender eye area into a chair, I thought, "The Rock is a lying liar!"

In his movies, if he gets partially blown up or breaks his entire body, he's still all, "We've got to save the kids" or whatever. And he keeps moving. And he always has some sort of cut that really needs stitches but he keeps going and you think, "Oh, it's not that bad."

But within 10 seconds of my Major Facial Injury? I was crying like a baby into my icepack and asking my husband to take the dog outside and beat him. (My Guy demurred because he's not a monster.)

Y'all? My face hurt so badly. And if you saw me, you'd be all, "Yeah, you've got an inch-long bruise on your face. So ... what else is new?" And then I'd be all, "YOU MUST RESPECT MY DEBILITATING WOUND!"

It's a few days later and I'm still amazed by how tender my delicate ladyeyeball area is. And although the black eye is fading into yellow and green, I still feel like I was somehow treated wrongly. The bruise should have been bigger, darker, or perhaps accompanied by flashing neon lights so that people would understand the depths of my suffering.

I would make a horrible action star. I am the anti-Dwayne. Instead of running off to save the kids from the earthquake or whatever, I'd be all, "Uhhh. You guys? This really hurts. Can someone tend to me? What? The dinosaurs have hijacked the Pentagon? But I'm actively bruising ..."

I guess we all have our special gifts.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Detergent, defeat ... and redemption.

I have the cleanest spare tire in all the land!

That is the only silver lining I could find, and I'm going to stick with it.

I bought a bottle of laundry detergent at Target. And then, like a fool, I put it in the trunk of my car. When I went to unload my bounty of cleaning supplies, paper towels, and trail mix, I found that the detergent and fallen on its side ... and the cap hadn't been secure. The trunk of my car was soggy with Seventh Generation Free & Clear.

Now, I got a new car a few months ago. I traded in my grey '03 Honda Accord for ... a grey '17 Honda Accord. I keep my stuff nice, so that '03 was in great shape. But finally having a new car has put me on high alert. No, I will not be parking by that hoopty that screams, "Free door dings." And I won't be hauling mulch in this car anytime soon.

But failed to see the danger of detergent. Oh, the detergent.

It got on everything. I will spare you the details, but here are the low points:
  • The detergent soaked the carpet in the trunk and dripped down into the compartment with the spare.
  • Liquid detergent is sticky and hard to clean. If you Google it, the results are basically, "Dude, you are fucked."
  • I ended up with my ice scraper, all my reusable shopping bags, and my ancient-yet-beloved suede messenger bag drying in my bathtub. It took forever to rinse them off.
  • I sopped the detergent out of the carpet using two rolls of paper towels. It was not the most ecologically friendly option, but I was desperate and mired in defeat.
All told, that's three hours of my life I'll never get back. At the end of it, I found myself, wine in totally dry and chapped hand, watching "RuPaul's Drag Race."

My Guy suggested we go out to eat. He is smart like that and also probably feared my wrath.

At the Mexican restaurant, I decided to continue my run of imbibing moderately priced white wine. Yes, I know Mexican restaurants aren't known for their stellar wine selections. I didn't care. I ordered a class of pinot grigio. The waitress clearly was not prepared for such a non-tequila-based request, but she scribbled something on her notepad. Then, she asked to see ID.

It was my turn to be totally unprepared. I dug my wallet out of the very bottom of my purse, figuring she'd been instructed to card all the people all the time. She apologized as I handed her my ID. And then she started laughing.

"Oh my god! Oh my god!" she said. "I don't believe it! You're older than my mom!"


"Your skin - how do you get it to look like that?"

And then? Then I rose above my station in life. No longer was I the shrew who'd been hunched over the trunk of her car for hours, bemoaning the roving packs of young ruffians who were obviously loosening the lids on bottles of detergent merely for sport. No. I morphed into a gracious, gorgeous woman, ready to lead youth onto the righteous path of proper skincare.

My Guy jumped in first. "She moisturizes like 17 times a day."

I eyed him, them turned to the waitress. "You are so kind. All it is is sunscreen. Use sunscreen every day."

She looked at My Guy. "And moisturize? I should get some moisturizer?"

She was all of 20 years old, if that. "A moisturizer that has a sunscreen in it will treat you right," I said in my effervescent, naturally gorgeous way. I did not mention my recent realization that my skin looks good because I have a fat face.

The waitress put her hand to the soft spot between her chin and her check. "I'm already noticing changes and I don't like any of it!"

Now, here, admittedly, I got a little "Oh, honey, get used to it." But she thanked me for the advice and went off to get our drinks. I tried to convince My Guy that we should adopt her.

Later, she approached the table apologetically, with urging from another waiter. "Umm, I'm sorry, but we don't have pinot grigio. But we do have chardonnay ... or merlot." She pronounced the later as it really should be pronounced: mer-LOT.

I smiled and said the chardonnay would be fine.

After she left, My Guy and I smiled at each other. "I love her," I said.

He shook his head. "We can't take her home. But we're going to have to tip her sooooooo much."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fat, dachshunds, dental care, crying in public, and why I shouldn't be allowed to leave my house.

I made a very kind vet tech cry today. It was an event 11 years in the making.

Let me explain.

Li'l Frankfurter has a long history of being too thin. When I first met him eight years ago, he was thin-ish but fine. Then, six months in? He had emergency surgery to remove carpet backing from his intestines. I don't have any carpet in my house (see also: dogs). He'd had the carpet backing in his system for months, if not years. It messed his gut up.

We had great success working with a holistic vet and Li'l Frank gained weight. And then those tricks stopped working and the vet moved out of the country and well, he just got thin. Too thin.
It hurts to look at this photo. I'm not gonna lie.

In August, we started seeing a new holistic vet. My baby boy has gained and gained and gained and is now a new dog. When you weigh five pounds and gain another four? It's a game-changer.

Now, he looks like a dachshund! Behold, the thick layer of neck fat! My Guy refers to it as Frank's "neck cankle." And our friends now refer to our once-sickly doxie as "beefcake."
So phat. And demanding!
It's such a blessing. And you know what blessings mean: dental hygiene!

I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to teach Li'l Frank how to floss. However, he now weighs enough to withstand a dental cleaning with the new vet.

Now, in the past, I have been a little chippy, if you will, about the veterinary! professional! dental! cleaning! But Frank's mouth was a stinky mess. It was time.

Today was the day. The kid had three little teeth pulled and came through like a champion.

When I picked him up, the vet provided a report card, complete with Li'l Frank's photo. Except they gave me two report cards - one with a photo from September, and one with a photo from today.

I know. I know!

And that "before" photo was after he'd gained a pound because we forgot to take his photo when we first started seeing the new vet. My poor boy. But look at him now - so furry! So robust!

So, I was already a touch delicate. I had been worried that the anesthesia would be troublesome, or that the kid would need to have all his teeth removed. But we were looking at the best possible outcome. And I was reminded of just how far my little boy had come.

The vet tech shared my relief and went on and on about how well Frank did and what a good boy he was. She also mentioned that before they put him under, he dropped a giant deuce in the middle of the table, because that's just the kind of guy he is. We laughed.

Then, she showed me before and after photos of his teeth. She pointed out his top, front teeth.

"These teeth are really worn down," she said. "Does he chew or ... is he in a kennel a lot?"

"Well, my best guess is that he was a puppy mill dog, so ..."

She was visibly relieved. "Oh, that makes perfect sense! We see this a lot in puppy mill dogs. They get so agitated that they chew the bars of the cage. And see this curve on the back of his canines? A lot of the time, they'll hook their canine teeth around a bar and just work it, trying desperately to get out."

Now, I will admit that I want to kill this dog at least once a day. But he is a trusting, kind, loving spirit. And the idea of him being treated so horribly, of being so desperate to get out of a cage that he wore down his front teeth and wore grooves into his canines? Well ... I started to cry in the middle of the vet waiting room.

"Oh, honey, I didn't mean to make you upset!" the vet tech said. Then she teared up. "The good news is that nobody here cries alone. I can't help it."

"Oh, no, I'm sorry! It's OK - he's so spoiled now. I just ..." I didn't have the words. So I asked about some post-op instructions even though I already knew the answer.

I got Li'l Frank home and he is appropriately loopy. Right now, he's curled up in a blanket on my lap and making sounds like a pigeon. And I kind of can't stop crying.

I know I am doing right by this dog. But sometimes I'm amazed by how much the world hurts. It's like the bitter cold air right now - it hurts to coexist with it. My heart seems to grow more and more tender and I just can't even stand the thought of some things. It's like the world is one giant ASPCA ad.

So, I'm going to dote on this big little dog who sounds like he is leaking air. I'll focus on that and hope my face stops leaking fluids.

Monday, December 4, 2017

When your show and tell is a human.

My husband loves to play disc golf. So, when we travel, we often find local disc golf stores. They're usually strip-mall affairs peopled by the disc golf world's version of stoner surfer dudes. But the folks are always nice and quick with a referral to a good local course. We support a local business. Everybody wins.

Our most recent local disc golf shop was something else. It was inside an office building and was a disc golf shop-slash-insurance billing office. But the owner? Well, he was a gem.

As My Guy looked at the assortment of discs, the shop owner told us about two local courses that would be a good fit. And, well, they were both named after guys who had been instrumental in bringing the sport to town. They were his high school history teacher and that teacher's best friend.

And then? Then, this gentleman whipped out his high school yearbook. It easily fell open to a page that had obviously been accessed often and displayed a quarter-page photo of a guy who looked like Jim Henson.

"See, in 1979, 1980, you were supposed to respect and fear your teachers," he said. "But Jim wasn't that kind of guy. He made you feel important. He'd be walking down the hall with other teachers, and he'd leave them to come talk to you. He'd give you a hug and ask about you and make you feel like a person.

"Well, he started the first disc golf tournament in town, and got me and my buddies into the sport." He pulled a disc off the wall. "This was the disc from that tourney. I felt pretty special having this disc that my teacher gave me. Talk about feeling like a big man the next Monday at school!"

Somewhere in this dialogue, I went from being charmed to being completely torn apart and oozing with love for this man and his history teacher.

Cancer got the teacher in the 90s. But he made such a big impact that my new friend keeps his 40-year-old yearbook at the ready, poised to talk about the man who had such a big impact on his life.

Life goals: be so kind that someone keeps your yearbook at the ready.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Priorities and grace.

I voted on Tuesday. You know, like a decent human.

As I was driving up to my polling place, I saw a woman striding with purpose down the sidewalk. And I thought, "That woman is gonna go git it done at the polls!" I was delighted when I saw her walk up to the church basement where the voting magic was taking place. Up close, she was kind of scary. She moved fast and she was not messing around - she was there to get her democracy on. I liked her.

At 2 in the afternoon, there was a tiny bit of a wait - I had to stand in line behind one person. But it gave me time to appreciate the red, white, and blue apparel donned by the volunteers. Plus? People were voting, even though we didn't have anything sexy on the ballot. Revolution starts at home, so I researched those water board candidates and was going to make my voice heard, dammit.

I voted. And as I was finishing up, an older gentleman came in. The volunteers took his ID and asked him to verify his address. And this lovely man said, "I have dementia, so this is hard for me. But I think it's ..." And then he rattled off an address.

I left. Well, I left the building but sat in my car and cried.

Last year, after voting? I also sat in my car and cried. I cried because I didn't have words to express how I felt about voting for a woman for president. I was proud and excited. And I tried to explain to my husband that this vote was for every boy who told me I was "just a girl," for all those times I was told to shut up or was talked over, for all of it. But I didn't have the words.

This year, I cried because the last year has been exhausting and scary and sad. But mostly I cried for the sweet man in the khaki jacket, who shared that reciting his address was a challenge. I admire his honesty and his bravery. And I'm so thankful that he saw voting as a priority. He didn't stay home, even if he didn't have the words. He went out and did the work to be done.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Dreams come true: dog pee edition.

My worst nightmare is having a house that smells like dog pee. Forget zombies or that dream where you're at the grocery store nekkid. Having a house that smells and that people talk about behind my back is my number one fear.

This is Li'l Frankfurter.
If you sleep on your toys, that keeps your dog bro from filching your stuff.
He's a dachshund. He does not give a rat's ass about anything. Sure, he'll go potty outside ... if you remind him. But now that it's getting colder? Nope. Left to his own devices, he'd happily pee behind the couch.

Yeah. I rearranged our living room furniture because "behind the couch" became a magical land where all dog folk could do whatever they wanted. Now, there is no "behind the couch." And Li'l Frank has been feeling ... displaced.

So, our TV room is where the kennels are. And it's been smelling a little funky as of late. Why yes, just last week, I washed all our floors with hot water and vinegar. Yeah, on my hands and knees. But no, I didn't move the couch in the TV room. It's heavy and I was already in need of both attitude and chiropractic adjustments.

But last night? Last night, I noticed a few drops of liquid on the floor, right at the corner of said heavy couch. You know, right next to Li'l Frank's kennel? Some paper towel investigation showed that Li'l Frank had marked the corner of the couch ... and there was an ocean of urine under the couch.

I moved the couch.

And this is what I found.
No, that's not an archaeological dig.
Li'l Frank had confiscated bones from his brother, pushed them under the corner of the couch, and then marked the couch as his territory.

On one hand, I admire his ingenuity. And to stash his haul right next to his kennel? Smart move.

On the other hand? It's going to be a long winter.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Me, too, or death by a thousand paper cuts.

I've been a tiny bit reticent to jump into the "me, too" fray for one seriously messed-up reason: what happened to me wasn't *that* bad. Like, it could have been so much worse.

When you feel like being harassed instead of physically assaulted means you maybe don't have a right to be upset? That's all kinds of systemic sexism, like layers of being told "it's not that big of a deal" have grown into our skin, becoming part of us.


So let's talk about the "it's not big enough of a deal to report" stuff. Like the boss who came up behind 20-year-old me and started rubbing my shoulders. "You're so tense," he said. (Note: Yes, I was tense because my 50-year-old boss just started massaging me.) "You should come over to the house and sit in the hot tub. It will work those knots right out."

I think I responded with a half-hearted "Ehh-huh" - just enough to make him walk away. I was 20. I didn't know what to do. I was just a baby.

But as an adult? This is how it went down.

My Guy: "I had a great day. I figured out the fix to a big problem. I feel good. How was your day?"

Me: "On the drive into work, this guy was waving and smiling at me, right on the freeway. I finally figured out that he was adjusting his mirrors to look at my chest. Then, I got to work and had a conversation with my male coworker, who insisted that I set up a meeting for him. I refused, since the meeting had nothing to do with me. But he wouldn't let it go. So I ended up yelling, 'I AM NOT YOUR SECRETARY' into the phone before hanging up and slamming my head against my desk. Then, I figured out how to fix a big problem. Nobody paid attention to my fix until a male coworker half promoted it / half claimed it as his own idea. My boss later thanked me for my work but called me "kiddo." Then, on the way out of the parking garage, I got behind Creepy Rajeev, who was driving 2 miles per hour because he had his window down and was driving alongside and talking to every woman walking to her car. He followed four different women. It took me 20 minutes to get out of the garage. I AM SO FUCKING TIRED."

Just think of how much more women could accomplish if we weren't dealing with this bullshit every day. Because all those tiny moments of gritting teeth, of pep talks in the mirror in the ladies' room? They take a lot of mental and emotional energy. And now? NOW WE ARE TIRED.

And done. We're done.