Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fur on film.

Tonight, I worked so late that Corporate Behemoth turned off the lights.

Seriously. It's not a good sign when you outlast the timed overhead lights.

As you might expect, I don't have anything interesting to report today, unless you're curious about some new URLs for my products or want the learn all about our system-generated e-mail tool.

I thought so.

However, I just loaded pictures from my camera. Is it a good sign when all 56 of your photos are of your dogs? Are housecoats and hoarded newspapers close behind?

So, might be bad for me. But good for you. Behold the cuteness!
And yes, Lil' Frankfurter is doing much, much better. I've convinced him that the liquid amoxicillin is pink mayonnaise and he will eat it on bread.
I know. I'm brilliant!
And well exfoliated.
And so, so lucky.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And it was super fun. Really.

Last night, My Guy With Two Dogs and I had a hot date. We went out for barbecue - at the best place in town, which is in a gas station (seriously). Then, we were off to see my other boyfriend.

Except! Except that on our way out the door, My Guy warned me that we would probably run into his ex-wife's sister and her husband. They were going to the concert. And while the former brother-in-law was one of the nicest humans ever and a good friend? The ex-wife's sister was a bit of a snow queen. My Guy was concerned about my comfort level.

I considered this for a moment. And I thought about all the times Ex-Wonderful's ex looked through me, or how she had to approve of me before I was allowed to spend time with their daughter, or how her mother wore sunglasses inside a church - all the better to look down her nose with.

Dating in your 30s is complicated.

I considered all of this. And then I considered how I've spent the last 10 days cleaning up vomit, poop, and pee, and how Lil' Frankfurter actually gacked on my person.

I considered all of this. Then, I told My Guy, "If your former sister-in-law wants to try to ice me, she can fucking bring it."

Except! Except that My Guy's former brother in law texted him. Bruuuuuuce canceled.

No Born to run. No Born in the U.S. No long guitar solos where truthfully I zone out but am still glad I'm there. No Bruuuuuuce. No ice queen former sister-in-law who would turn a critical eye and then provide a full report to her sister even though it was totally unfair because I was having a bad hair day and didn't even have the opportunity to prepare for such an event.

So, My Guy and I did what anyone would do.

We went to Target.
Image courtesy of Google images. Thank you, Google. Really.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If only I were animatronic.

I've been thinking a lot lately about forgiveness and compassion.

I have compassion for Lil' Frankfurter and forgive him every time he barfs. I don't have quite the same amount of compassion when he poos in the house. I'm working really hard to forgive him for eating 27 toys and causing us both a lot of grief. I'm about 90% there. So, let's round up and say score one for compassion.

A few months ago, one of my editors accidentally deleted a document. Recreating it was a hassle, and it was the day before I was leaving for vacation. She was mortified, but it never really occurred to me to be upset. I totally could have done the same thing.

Score two for compassion.

But when it comes to me? To being compassionate and forgiving of ... me?

Well, the score is really, really low there.

I make a living being critical. It's my job to point out flaws and inconsistencies. And really? I'm good at it. I'm good at being a hyper-vigilant freak. I'm blessed to have found a job that takes advantage of my natural gifts.

But when I'm not looking for style guide inconsistencies or misplaced commas, all that critical energy has to go somewhere. And typically, I train it on myself.

My house is a mess. Foxie needs a bath. I need to repair the chip in my windshield. I owe 27 people 27 e-mails. I wore shoes with too high a heel for the pants I had on. The pants were wrinkled. I should lose 10 pounds. Everything I own is covered in dog hair. I have yard work that needs to be done. The right side of my hair is still growing out and looks like a wire-haired terrier. I need to mop my floors.

And there's some broken little synapse in my mind that thinks, "Well, all of these things are well within your reach ... if only you would just try harder."

Yes. Because clearly, I'm not trying hard enough.

Typing this, I see how ridiculous it is. And yet? Yet, I feel guilty for the time I spent cuddling sweet Lil' Frank this weekend. It was great, and then I reached that "What am I doing with my life?" epiphany, and I got up and washed windows.

Yes. I washed windows instead of cuddling with my dog. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I'm not compassionate towards myself. I don't seem to forgive myself for ... gulp ... being human.

Any words of wisdom?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Highlights of the week.

1. Lil' Frankfurter pooped today. It was even outside. Yes, it was on my deck. But it was outside. And it was a sign that his digestive tract is back in business. Yahoo!

2. My Iowa Hawkeyes? Were down 9-13 with :02 left to go against Michigan State.

And we won. We won! We threw for a touchdown with two seconds left! We're 8-0 for the first time in school history! I have been jumping around, cussing, and pumping my fists in the air like a freak. Alone. While my dogs exchange glances that clearly say, "Well, she's finally gone over the edge."

My parents called me. We are all basically incoherent. My darling mama, who has repeatedly told me, "You are a lady of grace and dignity and shall conduct yourself as such?" That lady?

She said, "Your daddy can't even talk. But I can sum it all up in three words: holy fucking shit."

My thoughts exactly.

Today is a good day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You're the reason Mommy drinks.

So, Lil’ Frankfurter is back at the vet. Or, as I’m coming to think of it, his day spa. He barfs and refuses to eat in the morning, so I take him in. Then, as soon as I leave, he’s all, “Why, yes! I’d love to eat!” And they dote on him and my tab climbs and climbs.

Basically, he won’t eat for me because I put pills in his food. The vet gives him the meds via injection, so Lil’ Frank’s sensitive palate can enjoy his luxurious prescription canned dog food.

The vet promised to cut me a deal on the injections. Frank is booked at the day spa again tomorrow. And yes, I know how to shove the pills down his throat, but this seems to be the path of least resistance. At this point, I just don’t want him to bite me again.

The people at the vet are sooooo nice. Like, ridiculously nice. Today, as I was dropping off the kidlet, the office manager said, “Cha Cha, I’m so sorry about your week. I know this is stressful.”

As I left, I realized that I haven’t cried all week.

That’s weird for me. I’m a crier. It’s a skill that’s been passed down from generation to generation. My mom and I typically cry in weird places like the floor of the bathroom, or in a laundry room. I’m also particularly adept at crying while driving because I think that people can’t see me.

The other day, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw that the woman in the car behind me was sobbing. So, it’s not just me. I wanted to pull over and hug her, but, well, that would shatter the illusion of being invisible.

Maybe I haven’t cried because I’ve never actually thought Lil’ Frank was going to die. Or maybe I’m too tired. I feel like I’m on autopilot. Maybe I’ll freak out later … later, when I’m eating Ramen for three months because all of my money went to the vet.

Or maybe I’m just a badass and everything is just fine and I’m just fine and it’s all just fine. Dammit.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poker face.

When I first met Foxie Doxie, he was being fostered by some friends. They were having a party, and Foxie got overwhelmed by the six whole people in the room - so he retreated. He took a nap between the wall and the back of the couch.

My sweet Foxie is a gentle soul. I'm coming to appreciate more and more how depressed he was after Geriatric Poodle died. And the last two days? Well, he's been more sensitive than usual.

Lil' Frankfurter was home last night, then spent today back at the vet getting IV fluids. More on him in a moment.

But Foxie Doxie?

Well, Foxie has spent the last three days literally hiding under the covers. My bed is a disaster area in general, since I've cloaked it in my oldest, shabbiest linens in case of further vomit, blood, what have you. But Foxie doesn't seem to mind - he's literally willing the world to go away because gosh darn it, he just can't handle it.

Dude. I am so there.

I am exhausted. I appreciate that I got about five hours of sleep across Monday and Tuesday. But how can I still feel like I got hit by a car?

Oh, yeah. The stress. The worry. The mixed emotions of desperately wanting Lil' Frank to be ok / worrying about what I'm supposed to do next for Lil' Frank / wanting to strangle Lil' Frank with my bare hands for running up $2,100 in vet bills. Yes, that's $262.50 per pound of dachshund.

So, Foxie? Make room. I want to bury my head, too.

Except ... isn't this the most pathetic, precious thing you've ever seen, ever?
The paparazzi? So annoying.
Can't a guy convalesce in peace?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big trouble with a little dog.

Lil' Frankfurter's destructive habits are well-known. He has enjoyed destroying various paper goods - envelopes, the stray newspaper, boxes. He redecorates by pulling Foxie Doxie's bedding all around the house. And he rips toys apart.
And now? He's destroyed his digestive system.
Lil' Frank started puking his guts out on Sunday night. Allll of Sunday night. Like, I got maybe two hours of sleep Sunday night. We were at the vet's office when they opened on Monday morning. X-rays showed that the kidlet had a foreign body in his tummy. We went home with the hopes of passing it.

We went back last night because he couldn't stop gacking and was totally disinterested in food. He slept until about 2 this morning and then paced the rest of the night.

Yes, we were at the vet again this morning when they opened.

New x-rays showed that the foreign object hadn't moved. We went to the emergency vet for an endoscopy. The emergency vet didn't like the look of the films and so did an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed the small intestine was involved. I hauled Lil' Frank back to the regular vet. He had surgery this afternoon.

My kid? Was chock full o' plastic and fiberfill. From his toys. They had to make three incisions to clean him out. He weights eight pounds. I don't know where they fit three incisions.

This is a little different than the time he ate the dental floss.

One of the darling vet techs took him home with her tonight so that she could monitor him. She gave me her cell, called me when they got to her house and got settled, and promised to call if anything should change in the middle of the night.

I've spent most of the day in the car, driving from one vet to another. I've slept maybe five hours in the last two days. I want to throttle Lil' Frank's neck. I desperately want him to be OK because we're just getting to know each other. I want to stop figuring the cost per pound of all of this veterinary care.

Right now? We're at about $190 per pound of dachshund.

Foxie Doxie knows something is up and refuses to leave my side. He's gonna have to figure something out, as I'm about to go get in the bathtub. Yes, you can sleep in my bed and lick my face. But I draw the line at sharing a bath.
Yeah, I'm a bitch like that.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If you don't have your health ...

Yesterday, there was an article in the paper about concierge health care. Basically, you pay a monthly membership to a doctor. In exchange, you get same-day or next-day appointments that last as long as you need them to and a doc that's always on call. There's no insurance to mess with, and in-office lab work is included.

Now, the doctor they interviewed said that they highly recommend that you maintain health insurance in addition, just in case you are hospitalized or get really sick or something. But oh, by the way, the concierge doctor's office features wi-fi, spa robes instead of paper gowns, and heated exam tables.

This all sounds very "ladies who lunch." However ... I must admit that I am really intrigued. The idea of having one doctor instead of a cadre of specialists would be awesome. At this point, I know what I need - I just need a doc to write the scripts. I don't think my gynecologist, allergist, and psychiatrist should be all that put out.


Well, last time I had my super-fun lady doctor appointment? The gyn that I had been seeing for nine years walked in and introduced herself, saying, "I know you typically see Dr. Ward, but welcome."

I sat in my gown, about to flash my goods at this doctor who obviously didn't know me from a can of paint and was speechless. Then, I noticed that the back of the chart she was toting had notes from a previous visit that read, "Patient will practice rhythm method of birth control."

Oh, HELL no!

Yeah. She had the wrong chart.

Now, as I was leaving the appointment, I overheard the doctor letting the office staff have it for giving her the wrong chart. Accidents happen - I get that. But we're not talking about taking the car in for an oil change - we're talking about my private lady parts. My private lady parts that will never, ever depend on the rhythm method. Ever.

But that's another story.

I'm a little terrified that I'm considering paying $125 a month just for the luxury of having a doctor who knows my name. Is this how it works in the city? Corporate Behemoth is futzing with our insurance, and my gyn went out of business (gee, wonder why?). And yet? There are so many people without health care of any sort that I feel like a spoiled princess for even giving this a second thought.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Almost emotionally mature.

Don't worry, I didn't send Alice's response to Ex-Ex. In fact, I didn't respond at all. Instead, I'm going to wait until he replaces his stolen TVs. Then? I'm going to break into his house and steal the new TVs and donate them to a charity of some sort. And I'm going to leave eggs hidden in the attic and basement so that the entire house stinks, just like his black, black heart.

Or maybe not.

But it's stuff like that that makes me think I should have my own sitcom. Then I remember that my life is mostly about punctuation and cleaning up canine bodily fluids.

However ... Hope was right. The new boyfriend? Guy With Two Dogs. I just sort of realized that I wasn't seeing anyone else ... and I didn't want to. I only want to see him. A lot.

As my mother said so joyfully, "You finally let your guard down and let yourself really like him. I'm so glad!"

Me too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I think I know the answer.

Once upon a time, in a house a few miles away, I was burgled. Or, rather, Ex-Ex and I were burgled. Which was only cool in that we got to go around saying, "We've been burgled!"

Two teenagers and their uncle literally broke down our back door. They took electronics, a blender (really), and a bottle of Kahlua. I guess it's the beverage choice of deadbeats.

I discovered the scene, called the cops, and had the distinct pleasure of seeing every pair of underwear that I owned strewn about the bedroom - a byproduct of the punks digging through dresser drawers. I arranged for a neighbor to board up the door. And I called Ex-Ex, who was traveling for business.

He yelled at me.

I stayed in a hotel because none of my friends were home. When I arrived at the police station at 7 a.m. the next morning, responding to a call that they had recovered our stuff? Well, I was treated to a show from a rather angry woman brought in by a bounty hunter. I sat in my little Gap jeans and fleece jacket, clutched my little Coach bag and kept my eyes on the floor in the too-small waiting room. I found myself rocking back and forth to the time of my new mantra: "I am a bad-ass bitch. I am a bad-ass bitch."

I had the door replaced. I navigated the insurance nightmare. I cleaned up the house - including the dust the cops used to lift prints - before Ex-Ex got home. I wanted to save him from the trauma of seeing our home ransacked.

It was all fine. But really? It's not an experience I would wish on anyone.

So now, seven years later, I receive this e-mail from Ex-Ex:

Well, our old friends are back. I guess every seven years they deem it appropriate to break into my house. This time, they were quite brazen and kicked in the front door, then stole my two televisions. Thought you of all people would appreciate this latest turn of events. Considering the last experience with the insurance company, I'm considering not filing a claim.

How are you?

Why? Why, why, why are you contacting me to tell me you got burgled? Bet you're amazed at all the work involved in cleaning up from such a mess, huh? And how can I not respond to this message without outing myself as a Grade A bitch?

Luckily, Alice came to the rescue. She drafted this little ditty:

Funny how life operates in cycles. May the next cycle be that someone who slowly rips your heart out and screws you out of money tries to be your friend and e-mails you about things as if you give a shit.

Cha Cha

Oh, I do so like that Alice. She's got style.

So. Do I send the message? Or do I ignore the whole business and instead return to my own regularly scheduled programming, where I have discovered that I kind of have a boyfriend and I am more than kind of falling really hard for him?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I believe the children are our future.

On Friday, I journeyed to my alma mater to speak to English majors about, like, having a career and stuff with an English degree.

I was excited. And terrified. I was nervous about crashing and burning, a la Randy Watson in Coming to America.

And I figured they asked me to speak because they had a hard time finding English graduates who are, you know, employed. And not living in their cars.

But I went, and I was one of four panelists. The first three? Well, we kicked ass, talking about how our English degrees prepared us for a myriad of interesting careers. But the fourth dude? Basically talked about how he went to LA to be a screenwriter, ran out of money, returned to the Midwest, and has a job he hates because he has a wife, two kids and a mortgage.

Yay! Congrats on choosing a super great major, kids!

I loved my time at Large Midwestern University. I transferred as a sophomore and didn't know a soul. I chose to major in English because those were the classes I liked. I became more myself in the three years at that school.

And yet? I looked around that very familiar campus and had to laugh. It looks so different. They're slowly but surely replacing all the dorms. The bookstore is nicer than a fancy department store, and the rec center looks like something out of The O.C. This is not my school anymore.

I walked around, figuring I could blend in. When some guy held the door for me and gave me That Look, I realized that at best, I was a nontraditional student. But more than likely? I looked like someone who just didn't belong.

I was shocked by the footwear. On a rainy day, most students were wearing flip flops. This was both cold and completely against any fashion choices that would have been made in my day. Then, there were girls wearing wellies, which was adorable and practical. However ... since when is it cool to wear sweatpants tucked into Uggs?

These are totally not my people.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things that are awesome.

Foxie Doxie barfed tonight. On the couch. And in between the couch cushions. And on the throw pillows. And a teensy bit on Guy With Two Dogs.
The boy? Doesn't feel good.
There's a reason I buy paper towels in bulk.

And there's a reason I like Guy With Two Dogs. I wouldn't let him help me clean, but instead forced him to entertain me while I cleaned. He obliged, asking about every two minutes how he could help.

The fumes from the Resolve? Pretty strong.
And I had to use a lot of it.

We started getting slap happy, and I started incorporating yoga poses into my cleaning efforts.
Obviously, this is the start of something big. It's a cleaning bodily fluids / yoga revolution. We shall call it "fluga." And I'll make videos that teach parents and pet owners how to incorporate yoga into their ongoing cleaning efforts. And I'll market my own brand of Foxie Doxie-approved super-absorbent paper towels. I will become a spokesmodel for Resolve.

I'm pretty pumped about it all. But Lil' Frankfurter?
Well, he's less than impressed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fight, fight, fight!

My people? We are a football people.

We don't follow the NFL because, well, we are from Iowa and there isn't a team to follow. We follow high school football. My parents have had season tickets since the dawn of time, and Poochie and I started going to games probably before we were in kindergarten. It's fun to watch the neighbor kids play. There's such a sense of community, and nothing is more exciting than when the team does really well - or a player goes on to play in college.

Which brings us to college ball.

Otherwise known as My Family's Autumn Obsession.

You have to be a little obsessed - and a little off - to follow the Iowa Hawkeyes. They were so bad for so long. They will never get the respect of an Ohio State or one of the plethora of Florida schools. Our fans have been mocked for looking like bumblebees in our black and gold striped sweaters. Yet we travel very, very well to bowl games.

Yeah, this is partly because nobody wants to be in Iowa in January. But also? It's because we love our team.

I thought I was sort of alone in my love of college football. Sure, my dad is an insane fan. But he's a guy, right? It's not so normal for a woman to cuss like a sailor at the TV during the big game, is it?

But then I watched the USC / Ohio State with my mom earlier this season ... and I wasn't the only one screaming at the TV. And we don't even really care about either of those teams. And recently, we talked about the big Iowa win over Penn State. My sweet, darling mama had this to say:

I'm not sure what's wrong with me - I have some sort of deficiency - but I just hate Joe Paterno. I just think he's an idiot, and I can't believe they keep him around and he just needs to retire and he just makes me so mad. So the morning after the Iowa game, your dad and I were getting ready for church. And I turned to him and said, "You know, the best thing about beating Penn State? I just love being a boil on Joe Paterno's butt."

Ah, yes. Now I know. It's genetic. And I got it from both parents. Thanks, guys. Fall is totally my favorite season.

In honor of Saturday's big game versus Michigan, here's a clip of The Greatest Game Ever. It's an epic tale of good persevering over evil, of Cha Cha's Future Husband winning the game, of Hayden Fry's not inconsequential hair helmet. Basically, it's all that's good and right in the world.

Mom? Dad? Enjoy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Conversations with my family.

Poochie and I talked on the phone yesterday.

Me: So, Poochie, people are starting to ask: what are you going to be for Halloween? It's going to be hard to top last year's Publisher's Clearinghouse Prize Patrol.

Poochie: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. I liked being the guy with the check.

Me: Yeah, you have the hair for it.

Poochie: Well, this year, we all want to go as something that works well together. Cuz that was fun last year.

Me: Uh-huh.

Poochie: We were thinking we could be the guys from the bad dojo in Karate Kid.

Me: The Cobra Kai?

Poochie: Uh-huh. And we could just spend the night being real assholes. 'Put him in a body bag, Johnny!'

Me: That's awesome. You know, you have the hair for it - you could blow-dry and feather your hair and be the lead guy from Cobra Kai.

Poochie: The sensai?

Me: Yeah! And you could yell, 'Sweep the leg!' And that guy was on Cagney & Lacey, too, so you know he's cool.

Poochie: That's a really good idea.

Me: Uh-huh. You have options.

Poochie: I was telling my friend Craig that he could be Mr. Miyagi, and he was all, 'Oh? Is that because I'm Asian?'

Me: Was it?

Poochie: Uh, no, it was because he's short and Asian and has a goatee. But I didn't point that out.

Me: Yeah.

Poochie: But, if the whole Cobra Kai thing doesn't work out, we might just go as all geese or all buffalo. And that way? We'd just all do the same thing, en mass, all night.

Me: That's hilarious. How would you dress as, like, a buffalo?

Poochie: Umm? Yeah. That part? I haven't figured that out yet.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conversations with someone else's family.

I was at the grocery store today. I noticed a woman in the line next to mine, conversing with her 8-year-old son.

Mom: You can pick one candy bar. Choose one and c'mon.

Son: Umm ...

Mom: Choose one and c'mon.

Son: (indecisive)

Mom: C'mon!

At this point, I thought mama was a bit on the impatient side. Then, I glanced down at her groceries.

Mama was buying two items: a can of Raid and a box of Midol.

My judgment? Vanished. Kid, hurry your sorry-ass self up. Your mama is so kind, buying you a candy bar. You don't even know.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day of the Doggie.

Dear Minnesota Matron is going through that most painful rite of passage: her beloved pooch is fading. Jekyll, the sassy dog who once ate a five-pound bag of flour, is actively dying.

The Matron writes with such strength, and she is handling the situation with grace. My heart goes out to her.

It's been less than a year since I lost the Geriatric Poodle, and I think about him every day. The day he died, I told him that I'd love him every day forever. And it's true.
I miss his sweet smell and the softness of his fur. And I was laughing just yesterday because he would smack his lips when he was happy, and I have long wanted to try that out in meetings. You know, instead of nodding in agreement? I want to just smack my lips and see what happens. Maybe it will catch on.

I don't understand people who say they aren't dog people.
Obviously, dogs are a valued part of my team.
And for anybody who thinks dogs don't give their all? Well, I defy you to watch this news clip. I promise it has a happy ending, but ... ohmigod.

So, here's to Lil' Frankfurter and Foxie Doxie and all those dogs out there who just want somebody to love.

Let a dog rescue you. Because I can't adopt any more and still, you know, not be a freak.