Thursday, June 25, 2015

Love is helping your honey walk around the driveway.

I have a crush on my octogenarian neighbor. He sits in a lawn chair outside his garage quite a bit, and is always quick with a smile and a wave when I walk by with the dogs. He's also the guy who told me that he was cleaning up his yard because his grandson was coming, and he didn't want the young man to think that his ol' grandpa was getting soft.

See? Crush. Deep crush.

I hadn't seen Cute Neighbor Man for a while, and I started to worry. But then I started seeing him driving past with his wife at the wheel. They would both wave, and I would wave in return, resisting the urge to throw myself in front of their vehicle and demand to know what was going on.

We are neighbors, maybe six houses away. I don't even know their names. But we smile and wave and exchange pleasantries. I certainly don't know them well enough to ask if everything is OK.

Recently, Cute Neighbor Man resumed his post in the driveway, this time with a walker and his wife by his side. Her hair is the most beautiful color of silver. And the walker seemed an unwelcome interloper.

The dogs and I walked by. We smiled and waved. It felt like such an invasion to ask about the walker and compression hose, so we chatted about a neighbor's remodeling project. I was talking about new windows, but what I really meant was, "You are brave and amazing."

A few days ago, the dogs and I walked by as Cute Neighbor Man was making his way down the driveway, aided by a cane. His wife was by his side, ready to grab her love should he falter.

Although they were just doing a little physical therapy in the cool morning air, I felt as though I had stumbled into a very intimate, private moment. It was a scene of trust and dedication and true partnership.

And then there was pride. Cute Neighbor Man was clearly embarrassed to be seen at a weak moment. Big Doodle trotted towards him, and my neighbor said, "I know, you say, 'Why's that guy walking so funny?'" He smiled.

I looked down at my huge dog with the hot mess haircut from his medical adventures, the lanky pup with a funny gait from having basically no hip sockets left. I smiled. "You know," I said, "It's fine, because he's walking funny, too."

I was talking about my dog, but what I was really saying was, "We all have our moments. We're all delicate. It's OK."

And we all laughed, and I took my dogs on down the street. Not because I didn't want to cheer on these lovely, good people, but because I was an interloper. They were in the thick of Marriage.

We celebrate youth and weddings. But I can't help but think we're missing the boat. We should celebrate the mate who drives you to your colonoscopy and doesn't make fun of you too much. Or the spouse that gracefully supports a venture that may or may not be crazy because their love is in love with it. There should be marriage merit badges, and ceremonies and parties for reaching certain milestones.

But it's all so intimate. I'm guessing my neighbors wouldn't want that kind of attention. But I just might make my husband a sash and some badges. It seems appropriate.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Traveling the country, like "Kung Fu" or "Highway to Heaven."

When Geriatric Poodle wasn't so geriatric, his spleen just kinda ripped in half for no reason.

We happened to be at the vet. He collapsed, like that scene from "Bambi" when the animals are learning to ice skate. His legs just slid out from under him. It was horrible.

A few hours later, I was driving across town to the emergency vet. I had a comatose poodle on my lap and a bag of donor blood in the seat next to us. I was barely - barely! - keeping it together.

In the parking lot of the emergency vet, a rather granola-ish lady was getting in her car. She stopped and visited with us. She said, "Your baby is very ill."

Although I was thinking, "Yeah, no shit," I did not have any mental reserves, and speaking without crying was a challenge. So I just nodded.

She said, "I'm a poiwnvoipuiyswekrhlkwyer healer. May I send healing energy to your dog?"

I literally have no idea what kind of healer she said she was. But I nodded, and she put her hands on my sweet dog. Healer Lady closed her eyes, and Not-So-Geriatric Poodle sighed.

And then Healer Lady told us to have a blessed day, got in her Corolla, and left.

After a scary few days, my poodle pal was just fine. We never found out what caused the torsion, but he didn't seem to miss his spleen. Who knew an entire organ could be so superfluous?

Sometimes I think about Healer Lady. I wonder if I imagined her, or if she was some sort of magician, just traveling the land from emergency vet to emergency vet, healing animals in the parking lots. I would totally watch that show. But if nothing else, I was and am so thankful for the thoughtfulness, and the energy.

Which brings us to this week.

I was back at the emergency vet, this time with Big Doodle. We thought he had a UTI, but now it looks like it might be something more complicated and/or sinister. He's one test result away from driving two hours to a vet school so they can scope a camera up his private parts.

All the vets we've seen have been so kind and complimentary. "I see a lot of dogs," one of them said. "This is literally one of the nicest dogs I've ever met."

"I couldn't believe it," said another. "He let me catheterize him like it was nothing."

High praise, indeed.

Of all the people we've seen, we haven't yet seen Healer Lady. I've seen a lot of Anxiety-Ridden Mom in the mirror, but I'm not feeling chill and centered. I'm feeling like I could probably go for an Ativan and a stiff drink.
Behold, the boy's amazing, ultrasound-friendly summer haircut.
So, if you would? Consider sending a little healing energy to Big Doodle. Or if you see Healer Lady? Direct her Corolla our way. Thanks.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wuhve. Twuu wuhve.

I'm tucked away in my office, listening in on my husband's conference call. I'm not trying to be a Nosy Nellie, but he's on speakerphone down the hall, and I have ears. Also, I would very much like to go use the blender, but I'm guessing that would be bad marital etiquette.

His voice his calm and measured. But I can tell he's mad as hell. Like, "Ima burn down your cubicle with you sittin' in it" angry.

I guess this is a symptom of marriage. Not the plotting homicide part. The "I know what you're really thinking" part. You spend so much time with someone that you learn the subtleties of their language. Verbal language, sure. But tone and delivery and timing and holy crap, don't even get me started on body language.

I freely admit I'm a novice at this whole marriage thing. It's been 4 years and I still have moments of wondering when this person is going to go home. But one of the real joys so far has been getting to truly know this amazing, interesting, textured person.

He's introduced me to new things about myself, too. I was not fully aware of how completely psychokitty I can be when I'm exhausted. Now, he reads my signs and I see his signals. I start to tired clean, and he physically points me in the direction of the bedroom. He's kind yet firm, and I realize, "Oh, he means business and I'm too tired to do anything that will end well." We have a system. A shorthand.

In the past, when I'd broken up with boyfriends, I would mourn the shorthand and the inside jokes. But I had no idea. Dating - and I once dated a guy for 7 years - offers the Cliffs Notes of couple shorthand. Marriage is more of an Encyclopedia Britannica. Do either of this publications still exist, or do they now collectively go by the moniker "Wikipedia?"

At any rate, I will stick with my old-school references and my old-school thoughts about marriage. It's a privilege. And I married well. And if he does burn somebody's cubicle to the ground, I will bail him out.