Thursday, February 28, 2013

And did I mention my giant zit?

It's been kind of a rough week.

Thanks for the kind words about Lady Doodle. We are still waiting for the pathology reports, and she is busy creating uh-mayzing snotsicles. Seriously. You have not lived until you've shared a home with an 80-pound dog who has foot-long snot stalactites hanging off her muzzle.

Obviously, we're trying to look on the bright side. Sure, she might have a nasal tumor. But dude, this snot thing is a serious talent. Like, "America's Got Talent" talent.

To add to the general ambiance of awesome, we received 20 inches of snow in the span of 5 days. While my hearty Iowan heart finds this to be a sign that we've gotten our money's worth and had a real winter, the reality of living someplace where this sort of precipitation isn't normal is another thing entirely. Folks here are FREAKED OUT.

Plus, if we're honest?

This was our driveway Tuesday morning. The garage is to the right, and the camera is facing the street.
Yeah. That's supposed to be a driveway.

It took My Guy and I several hours - plus a kind neighbor with a snow blower - to make the drive passable. My Guy got to use his chainsaw, which is obviously a win. However, I am still unable to move from all the cutting and limb-moving and shoveling and hitting-trees-with-a-broom-like-the-old-lady-I-am-in-hopes-that-no-more-branches-break.

And speaking of being an old lady? Facebook is en fuego with talk of ... my 20th high school reunion.

I could handle the snotsicles. And the snowmageddon. But throw in a reunion, complete with people bitching, "Oh, nobody liked me, so I won't go and none of you will care" or "Does it have to be on a weekend? I don't know if I can get off work?" Well ... fuck. Just FUCK.

The world is clearly coming to an end. Much like R.E.M. predicted, I feel mostly fine. Mostly.

Monday, February 25, 2013

In defense of my too-many-dog-having ways.

Despite copious antibiotics and my best white-trash, steaming-in-the-shower efforts, Lady Doodle still sounds like Darth Vader and a vacuum cleaner had a baby.

She's a bit congested.

My Guy and I have gone back and forth ... she sounds better. No, she sounds worse. She's waaaay better! She kept me awake last night!

This morning, I took her back to the vet. We didn't have an appointment, but sat and waited for them to work us in.

The vet identified an abscess on the roof of the baby girl's mouth.

We moved on to the emergency / trauma vet.

I sat in that waiting room from 1:50 until My Guy came to take me to dinner at 6:20. During that time, I made friends with an 18-year-old dachshund and got French kissed by a gorgeous lab-pit mix.

After a quick getaway for sustenance, My Guy and I sat in that familiar waiting room until our girl was ready to go home around 8.

She has an Oreo-sized mass in the tissue between her palate and her nasal passages. Her distinctive snorgle comes from the fact that 80% of the passage from her sinuses to her throat is blocked.

The mass didn't break up easily. We are waiting a few days for pathology, but the vet feels the signs point to cancer.

Having her muzzle all messed with has left Lady Doodle with a Rolly Fingers-esque curled mustache. It's a distinctive look, really.

She's currently asleep with her head on my foot. I've lost feeling in that appendage.

I feel rather numb all over, actually. Except I want to take back every time I've ever said that 4 dogs is too many. Four dogs is perfect. Any fewer than 4 dogs is inadequate.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Clutter be gone! Except for the clutter that should stay!

When I took a severance package from Corporate Behemoth, lots of folks asked me what I was going to do next.

"Not this" didn't seem like an appropriate response, so I said I was going to clean my basement. Which was true. Except that I ended up starting a gig with Mega Corporate Behemoth a mere 2 weeks later, so ... yeah. No basement.

But now is The Time of the Basement.

Cleaning the basement is a time-honored tradition in my family. My mom lives in abject fear that she will die with a cluttery basement, leaving me and my brother to sort through a giant hoard o' crap. And so, she will undertake occasional basement purges. We have been known, as a family, to clean the basement together for quality time. Some families go to Disney World; we go to the crawlspace.

My mom can't throw out anything that belonged to me or Poochie, as the desire for clean is matched with a respect for stuff. This is why it took my folks the better part of a year to clean out my grandparents' house ... and why they lost their shit when certain unnamed members of the extended family saved stuff from that house that shouldn't have been saved at all. Stuff like used bars of Dial soap.

My people were not amused. My parents will not abide by your crap!

So, I was actually looking forward to cleaning my basement. When My Guy and I combined households 2 years ago, we did a ton of purging. However, there came a point between the Craig's List sales, mass remodeling, and wedding planning that we just kind of gave up. So, the storage portion of the basement became kind of a catch-all.

But no more!

I organized paint supplies. I purged suitcases. We got a whopping $14 for the 5 boxes of books we took to Half-Priced Books.

That was the easy stuff. Then there was what can only be described as Random Shit.

Random Shit includes:
  • Ugly, never-used Christmas decorations that My Guy's ex-wife bought
  • Approximately 9,863 CDs, none of which were actually paired with their jewel cases
  • Approximately 9,863 empty jewel cases
  • Every free lipstick I've ever received from Clinique Bonus Time

We got rid of the Christmas decor. But ... I packed up the CDs and jewel cases and didn't bother to match them up. I'm a basement-cleaning renegade! And I justified keeping all the lipsticks because, well, I might get invited to a costume party, and then I'll need a purple-hued lip color. And that stuff doesn't really go bad, right?

See, it's not hoarding when it's your stuff and it's good stuff, right?

OK, I don't actually believe that. But since we moved, My Guy and I have streamlined and donated So. Much. Stuff. And since we have room in our basement to store both the CDs and the jewel cases, the world is not going to end and our house isn't going to get condemned if I don't spend hours matching them up.

Also? If those free Clinique lipsticks get me on "Hoarders," then surely that will translate into a Kardashian-like fame. And that fame? Will surely translate into never having to wait at our local Mexican restaurant.

Calculated risks, people. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Because I don't want it all.

I've had folks come up to me and proclaim, "Ohmygod, are you just looooooving being unemployed?"

I've also had friends send me job listings. Listings for jobs that have absolutely zero to do with me, my skills, or anything I might ever, in any lifetime, be interested in.

I am not unemployed. I am self-employed. There's a huge difference.

Self-employed means that I don't wear pantyhose. Ever. It also means I do stuff in my own time on my own schedule. Stuff like run up our water bill.

I'm sitting in a chair just outside the cracked door to my bathroom. Inside the bathroom, 2 of my dogs are lounging on their very large beds and enjoying their mom-made sauna. The shower is on and the fan is off.

One of the labradoodles sounds like she has the croup. Our vet appointment isn't for a few more hours, so white trash medspa it is.

The other labradoodle clearly would prefer not to be trapped in a humid bathroom with his Darth Vader-sounding sister. However, she freaks when they are separated, so he's doing his moist sibling duty.

If I were working for Globotron, both labradoodles would be out in their dog house, in the cold. Lady Doodle's breathing sounds like a vacuum cleaner that just ate a sock.

A few months ago, I asked my mom about her experience as a working woman. She juggled kids and household obligations and marriage with a job that became increasingly more demanding. She was on the front lines during the floppy-tie-and-shoulder-pads 80s.

"Mom, I kind of feel like my generation has been sold a line with this whole 'you can have it all' thing," I said. "What do you think? Is it possible to have it all?"

Now, my sweet mama can hold her own in all situations. However, my dad generally has cornered the market on profanity in their household. So, when she busts out a 4-letter word, you best take notice.

"Having it all is complete bullshit," she said. And then she put her head on the kitchen table, overwhelmed at the challenge that is now 15 years in her rear-view mirror.

I trust she knows what she's talking about. Right now, I'm happy to have the time to steam my dog's lungs open. The self-employment is, admittedly, in its infancy. But I'm happy to be working on it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

That shit's romantic.

When My Guy proposed to me on the walking trail where we'd had our first date, he did so within a few feet of a doggie-waste disposal stand.

He didn't mean to. It was behind him and he didn't see it, seeing as how he was too nervous and concerned with remembering which finger the ring went on. But now we joke about it, and it's part of our love story.

I guess it's not surprising, then, that we don't get into the Valentine's day crazy. I think heart-shaped jewelry sucks ass, and he seems to think that making tex-mex rice casserole is a more-than-appropriate display of love. We are a good match.

He is incapable of hanging up a towel.

I am a shrill harpy.

He roughhouses with the dogs and then gets annoyed that they won't settle down.

I probably have other faults, although none come to mind at the moment.

We can make each other crazy.

But here's the whole truth: everything is better when he's around.

Fun is more fun and crappy is way less crappy. He makes me laugh like someone with a flip-top head, like my cranium is going to explode with delight and my mouth must open as wide as possible to relieve some of the joyful pressure.

He's my partner. He investigates potential dead mouse carcasses. I have expanded his diet beyond spaghetti and frozen dinners. Together, we make 1 fairly together and balanced entity.

I am so blessed. And thankful. And that doggie-doo station? Both apropos and a helpful landmark.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Canine roundup.

Tonight, our pack is gathered 'round the teevee, watching DOGSHOW!

It's the Westminster Dog Show, and My Guy initially rolled his eyes at my viewing choice. However, I will give you exactly 1 guess as to who is oohing and ahhing over the especially adorable dogs. While holding a sleeping dachshund. And commenting on a dreaming labradoodle and how she is clearly running in her dreams.


Now, clearly, we are not dog experts. Well, not experts on well-behaved dogs, anyway. I'm pretty sure none of the handlers on DOGSHOW! uttered the phrase "We DON'T make POOPIE in the HOUSE!" today. I got one up on ya, there, dog handlers! Thinkin' you're so great with your dogs that don't try to mark everywhere and don't bark at air. Whatevs.

So, we're not dog experts. And we've never been to a real-life dog show. And my husband is A Dude. But even he noticed that all of the female handlers are dressed atrociously. Is there some sort of rule about wearing matronly suits with Malibu Barbie suntan pantyhose? Are women not allowed to wear pants? Does DOGSHOW! operate in the dark ages?

In my fantasy, there's a special DOGSHOW! fashion outlet that sells these hideous suits. It's undoubtedly in a secret strip mall, next to that shop that sells cool jeans only to rock stars.

Interested in a gratuitous dog tongue photo in honor of DOGSHOW!?
Sure you are!

In other news, it's been about a month since Foxie Doxie got a belly band to hopefully curb his marking. Big thanks to Mrs. G. and commenter JL for suggesting it. Well, I doubt Foxie would thank you ... he haaaaaates it, even though it's a sassy argyle that totally fits his personal style.

We've been calling it his "Man Belt," in hopes that he will feel like a stud and not like he's having his manhood compromised. It's been kind of effective in curbing the in-house peeing. However, Foxie has figured out that he can roll it down by doing an army crawl across the floor, thereby freeing his ween for free-will in-house urination.

Cue me planting my face in my hands.

We're working on it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vote for me in the Miss Loser Freeloader pageant!

It's my second official workday away from Corporate America.

As my gift to the world, I washed my hair today. A few days of going to bed with wet hair and then not bothering to even look at it the next morning left me with meth-head mugshot-worthy hair. You're welcome, America.

Other than that ... I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself. I started a baby quilt for my soon-to-be niece. And I'm cleaning the basement ... you know, all the boxes we've never unpacked since moving 2 years ago? And all the crap that we stashed to just get it out of the way? Again, you're welcome, America.

I had this email exchange with BFF:

BFF: Are you just running around, singing about freedom?

Me: Yes. I am running around the house singing civil rights songs, and then mixing it up by getting all nekkid and singing George Michael's "Freedom 90" and acting like all the models in the video.

Except I just watched the video and the models aren't nekkid. And I'm not really nekkid, because I've been wearing the same fleece pants for 3 days.

Yes, America, you're welcome.

So, obviously, I'm still figuring this all out. And I'm trying to let go of some old messages that are haunting my brain.

See, back in the day, when I decided to be a full-time freelance writer the first time around, I was still living with Ex-Ex. While he was initially supportive, his day-to-day actions were not empowering. He saw no reason for his lifestyle to change simply because I no longer had a steady income and was starting a business. However, he still expected me to pay 50%. He would say things like, "Well, that's not how I'd do it, but if that's what you want to do ..." or "I feel like you decided to become a 'housewife' but just didn't tell me."

And then, he kind of cheated on me with his high school girlfriend and stopped speaking to me. When I finally moved out, he opened every cupboard to see what I'd "stolen" and then complained to me that he couldn't afford living room furniture since I'd taken my couch.

I know. I'm such a witch.

So, clearly, I have some emotional baggage. My reptilian brain still believes that self-employment and romantic partnerships do not mix, and that I am a obviously a freeloader and a loser. And My Guy will clearly take up with some hussy and I will be out on the street. Obviously.

Now, I know. I know! My Guy and Ex-Ex are not even of the same species - thank God! And my sweet husband and I have talked and plotted and planned and we're in this together. But there's still part of me that thinks that if I don't have the entire basement organized when he gets home today from his "real" job, he will judge me and start thinking about what employed ladies he could find to take my place.

I know. I know!

So, I guess in addition to quilting and cleaning the basement and getting my wits about my consultant / writer self, I am also busy rewriting some scripts and letting freaking go.

My to-do list is looooooong.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Be the change.

My Guy has been traveling all week. This has left me with a solid 4 hours every night during which I must entertain myself.

Have I been reading? Sewing? Writing?

Oh, silly kitten. No. I've been cleaning. And doing laundry. And cleaning the big labradoodle's ears.

I know. I know! I don't know why, either. I should have used this time to at least watch all the stuff on the DVR that my husband hates. But instead, I've been vacuuming.

I felt all productive and June Cleaver-ish ... until I realized that tomorrow is my last day at Globotron.

So, Friday, I have an appointment with my periodontist at 8 a.m. What am I going to do once 9 a.m. rolls around and my gums have a clean bill of health?

Cleaning would have been an easy win - something mindless to make me feel like I'm still a productive member of society. Instead, I'm going to do ... what? Because I feel like I need to be doing something.

Big picture, I'm going to do consulting and writing. But it's still a big transition from being Corporate America's bitch for years. And it's not like I'm rolling out of bed Friday morning with a giant to-do list. I'm ... transitioning. Not like gender reassignment, but, like, who-the-hell-am-I reassignment.

I know I don't fit in the corporate mold. I know I'm much more artistic and creative than I have allowed myself to be. Rationally, I know that part of allowing myself to be artistic and creative means that I need to allow myself to not have a to-do item to cover every waking moment. I know I don't have to earn my keep as a human being.

I know these things rationally. But emotionally? Well, it's going to take some getting used to.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The language of love.

The countdown has begun! I have a mere 3 days left at Globotron.

My experience leaving jobs has generally been harried - I always felt like I had a gajillion things to organize and transition. But this gig? I basically feel like I'm waiting for a stoplight to change. There's really no transition because I really never did anything except watch life pass me by.

I did have 1 big to-do to cross off my list, though. I had to tell Maintenance Mercury, my Mexican Freddie Mercury maintenance guy pal, that I'm leaving.

Now, I see Meximercury at least once a day. However, our language barrier has progressed from charming to practically insurmountable. "Hay muchos libros en la biblioteca" doesn't get you very far when you can't find the Spanish words for, "I was kidding when I said you ate too many tamales over Christmas and now you're fat."

What can I say? "Gordo" is one of the few adjectives I remember, and I was trying to be friendly and funny.

I must admit that the language barrier has provided a convenient loophole as well. A few weeks ago, Maintenance Mercury said something that included the term "besame." Now, my vocab is way limited, but even I know this means "kiss me."

I played it off like I didn't understand, and he laughed, and I went on my way.

But Friday, when I told him that "el dia after Miercoles es me dia finalmente aqui?" Because I couldn't remember the word for "Thursday?" Well, my friend was sad, and kept asking if I was going to work someplace else. "Escribo en mi casa" was as close as I could get to explaining that I'm a writer and will be consulting, even though I know it sounds a lot like I'm going to be journaling in my pink-flowered diary like a tween.

So, Meximercury and I chatted our way through that. Then, he pointed to his cheek and said, "Besame?"

Oh, for the love.

Now, when he kissed me on the cheek the first time we met, I decided it didn't make me a strumpet, because that's his culture. But I'm pretty sure there are no cultures where it's kosher to ask a married woman to kiss you in the back hallway of your shared workplace.

I told him no. Tengo un esposo.

He said he has a wife, but she wasn't watching. "Besame? Solomente uno? O tres?"

I shook my head, told him to have a good afternoon, and walked away.

This weekend, I told My Guy about my rather disappointing run-in with Maintenance Mercury. Always going for the strong lead, I said, "So, I got propositioned at work yesterday."

My brilliant and low-key husband didn't miss a beat. "And how did that work out for you?"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cut me some slack.

My recent tell-all about my misguided junior high show choir experiences started out as horribly embarrassing, but ended up bringing me such joy. Did you guys know that Gary was part of a 7th-grade Barry Manilow tribute that, sadly, never saw the light of day? Cyndi B.'s show choir sang "Through the Eyes of Love." And Karen? Well, she chickened out before singing Styx's "Babe" at a talent show.

Karen, my glee club sang "Babe" at the county home. It was one of those performances where you feel the need to apologize to the audience afterwards.

We all have those embarrassing stories, but I think they're lovely. They all reflect our need to create and explore and celebrate the things we love. And if we can stop being embarrassed, we can also see that the flaws are what make everything so beautiful and perfect.

No, I'm not high. I'm still digesting a fantastic movie My Guy and I saw Thursday night.

Now, my hard-core love of Dave Grohl is well-documented. So, of course I was going to see his new documentary, "Sound City." It played in theatres for 1 night only, and is now available for download.

I don't want to be bossy or anything, but you should go download this movie right this damned second.

"Sound City" is about a southern California recording studio of the same name. You won't even believe all of the folks who recorded there - Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, REO Speedwagon, Rick Springfield, Pat Benatar, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, and about a gajillion other people. People like Barry effing Manilow.

Sound City was a dump, but it had this amazing sound board, 1 of only 4 like it. The studio recorded on tape - never digital - and had a signature sound. But with the rise of digital recording, the studio fell on hard times. And then ... well, you just need to see the movie.

But the film is about more than some sound studio. It's all these people talking about their love of music - real music, human music with flaws and imperfections - and the joy of creating. There's such joy to being a creative person, to making something that reflects your heart and soul - critics be damned.

This is a movie about being alive.

It was the perfect antidote to any tiny little fears I might have had about leaving Corporate America. I'm a creative person. I'm doing the right thing. And yeah, I might have teared up a little during this movie. It's just ... lovely.

Also? I still love Barry Manilow. But that plastic surgery? Oh, for the love. What did I just say about beauty being in the imperfections?