31 July 2019

Get Out of the Way, Trees.

It's been a few months since the Deal with Your Shit Post.  An update:

I've mentioned before that I made amends with someone who was/is significant in my life.  It has been a whole mood from time to time but I wouldn't change a thing.  I'm eternally grateful for the grace they have given. It went from being a constant, quiet sadness to being a comfort.

I've reached out to a handful of friends more. Texts and messages make my day now and I've made promises to visit. Baby steps. I'm still an introvert.

After a lot of thought, I decided not to reach out to someone. For them specifically, there is a reason for the breach and I believe it's best to just let it lay.  I cannot think of a result that is satisfying.

Along the way, I've received comfort and support.  Three things have become comforts that I have drawn upon:

One of the things that were said: "They are just places." and that resonated with me. They hold no power.  I've repeated that back to myself a handful of times.

To use my bff's phrase "Naming it took it's power away."  and to use another friend's words: "What you're feeling is probably grief."  In a situation like this, it didn't occur to me that grief was applicable.  Once I realized both of these things, I felt a little stupid for not understanding this earlier.

I mean, I work in social services. If this was happening to someone else, I would be able to confidently advise, guide, define. But because I'm in it, I couldn't see it. Hey forest, get out of the way of the trees.

Unexpectedly, there was an interesting conversation with Kevin.  I don't remember how it even came up now but we were on the way to dinner when my former husband was mentioned.  Kevin was surprised that I still kind of wished him dead.  Kevin is a live and let live guy and he worries about karma. Legitimately, it is bad karma for me.

He asked why I couldn't forgive him.  I will paraphrase his question for simplicity: "What did he do?"   At first I was a little nonplussed.  Then I realized two things: it's been thirty years and memories fade. Mostly, though, I'm not a big talker when it comes to this part of my life.  So...I may have not/probably didn't share a lot.  I mean, of course, he knows about the threats of violence, the stalking, etc.  But specific, finite details weren't shared. That's on me, not him.

So I had to sum it up because I really don't want to talk about it or give the former husband any more power.  I decided upon "He was awful to me in all.the.ways. that a person can be awful."  This left Kevin quiet for a minute. We talked about it a bit more and that I will leave between us.

This is the part where if this was an article in the Oprah magazine, I would say "I'm healed, I'm whole, and/or this was just all part of my journey."

First: anytime I hear someone talk about their journey, I really just want to snick them between the eyes.  But you do you.

I am not healed and I don't even know what that means really.  I will admit to feeling a little more whole.  I am interested in where this will take me, I am still wanting to solve things that are unsolvable, I still wander into regret from time to time.

This is what life is, I think.

29 July 2019

It's Too Hot to Write

I'm a sucker for a questionnaire.  The one from Inside the Actor's Studio (Proust) is my favorite but Vanity Fair has a good one too.  Then I spotted this one in Fast Company, one of my favorite magazines.

As it's currently 83 degrees and humid a.f. outside, I'm phoning this post in with a questionnaire. Please play along...

What's your best habit, and your worst:
I am purposefully organized
I underestimate how long things take/I live in my own time zone

Do you have a work uniform or a wardrobe staple?
Converse sneakers and hoodies. I am lucky to not work in direct service

How do you unplug?
Garden or read

What advice would you give your younger self?
Slow down. Don't make permanent decisions over temporary problems

What is your favorite object in your office?
My Doctor Who painting at work
My window at home

What service or tool can you not live without?
Amazon. for someone as forgetful and anti-social as me, it's a gift.

Is there a book you recommend to everyone?
Becoming Mortal Atul Gawande  This is important read for anyone with aging parents
The Lemon Orchard - Luanne Rice  It's not necessarily just a romance story, and has gained some poignancy with the current political climate

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Watching The Bachelor/ette and Married at First Sight

What is your favorite form of exercise?
Long walks with Lucy but I don't hate yoga either

What is your Get Pumped song?
I have a playlist...
Right Here, Right Now - Jesus Jones
Running on Sunshine - Jesus Jackson
Bang Your Drum - Dead Man Fall

What was the best career decision you ever made?
Reducing my working hours to make room for other things

Do you have a favorite classic product?
This one took me a minute.  My Cosco stool.  I use it all the time

Who is the businessperson you most admire?
Ashton Kutcher...for a guy who started with Punk'd and That 70's Show, he's used his fame for good instead of evil

Look back, what is the biggest career risk you took?
Quitting a lucrative sidegig because the stress wasn't worth the money

28 July 2019

This is a Terrible Story - Part Two

So, this story just keep going.  It's like a Stephen King novel at this point.  I apologize for any emotional scarring.

Yesterday I was working in the garden when Neighbor Lisa texted me three long texts.  You won't believe this.

She noticed a Missing Cat poster about half a mile down the main road the next day so she stopped and got the number.  She didn't have the heart to phone the number so she had Alex do it.  He explained what happened and told the woman that they just wanted her to know.

And that's where it got weird.

The lady was upset, understandably, and wanted to come pick up the cat.  Alex explained that we had packaged...I know that probably isn't the right word...up the cat and they had buried  it.  He apologized for not calling sooner but felt like it was the correct thing to do.


Alex explained again that it had been buried and that it had been a few days If You Get What He's Saying.


At this point, I would have gently yet clearly told her no.  It sounds like Alex tried but she was persistent.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, they "retrieved" the cat.

They dug up the cat.

O.M.G. they dug up the cat.

We don't know if she came to see it yet but we're assuming she did.  Lisa asked "I wonder if she TOOK it!?!?"  *hork*  Lisa said she kinda doesn't want to know.  I don't blame her.

Kevin kind of shuddered and said "Now that's love for a cat."

I'm trying to decide if the lesson is To Call the number on the sign or To NOT Call the number on the sign.  Call only if it's good news, maybe.

27 July 2019

This is Terrible Story if You Like Cats

Swistle, you might want to skip this one.

A cat showed up a few days ago.  It liked hanging out in the rock garden and sitting on the steps that go to the creek.  By the grace of dog, Lucy didn't seem to notice it.  It seemed to come around during twilight.

The other night, it was in the rock garden while I was standing at the sink.  I was the only thing between the window and Lucy losing her sh*t.  So I silently tried to shoo it away.  It spotted me and took off, which made me wonder if it was feral.  I didn't mind the thought of a feral cat hanging around, just that Lucy would never relax ever again.

The next morning Kevin phoned about thirty seconds after he left.  "Prepare yourself when you leave because that cat is "sleeping" next to the road."  Ah man, that sucks.  Poor kitty.  And poor Kevin. What a way to start his day.

I left about two hours later and poor thing was still there.  I guess I just assumed that someone would take care of it.  But Kevin leaves at 5:30 am so it's not like there is a ton of movement from us at that hour.  Then I thought well, certainly my father in law or one of the two other neighbor men would take care of it during the day.

I was wrong.

When I arrived home about 4:00, poor cat was still there.  Strangely, none of the wildlife had claimed it. And that made me wonder if it had gotten sick.

Our neighbor Lisa was coming down the road and spotted me.  "Do you know whose cat that is?  Isn't it sad?"   I phoned our other neighbor and it wasn't his. So we're back to it's a stray/feral cat.

Lisa wondered what we should do.  I offered to bury it but was worried about Lucy or the other dogs digging it up again.  "Well, we can bury it down here....Or we can wait until my husband comes home"

That was a no for me. Kevin is a guy's guy. He does manly, dangerous work and has manly, dangerous hobbies. But hurt animals is his kryptonite.  There was no way I was going to leave it for him to see again or to do when he got home.  Her husband Alex is just as good of a guy and my inner feminist was all "Oh we are not leaving this for the boys to do."

I walked back up to our shop (it's an 1/8 of a mile between the mailbox and our house and I still have an inhaler. I make good choices)  I got a big paper bag and latex gloves then walked back down.  Lisa saw the gloves and asked "You're not going to TOUCH IT?!?"  I laughed and wondered aloud how else we could do this?  "I don't know but I don't want to touch it."  I waved my gloved hands to her, "You aren't going to" and laughed.

I bent over sweet cat and talked to it, shooed flies away and began to pick it up. Two things happened: I balked.  "If you come alive, I swear to god I will kill you again" I said to it then I made myself laugh.  Yes, I am the person who can laugh in the most inappropriate places.

DISCLAIMER: dark hearted, effed up childhood, strange coping skills.  I told Lisa it was okay and repeated what I just wrote.

In my head the plan was that I was going to tuck the cat into the bag.  That was not the case.  Nature, shall we call it, had taken over. There was no gently tucking the cat into the bag. So let's just say that I was thankful that I had a big bag.  (Olive Garden to-go bags are great, by the way. And: insert inappropriate joke here)

This also made me laugh. AGAIN: I am NOT a normal person.  "Okay, kitty, I need you to help me out a little here." I said, like that was going to work.

I did get it into the bag and the bag sealed.  Lisa took it from there because I did the hard part.  You have to love our neighbors.

Lisa wondered if we should post on the neighborhood watch facebook page that we found the cat.  I wasn't sure what the right answer was. It did not have a collar and we weren't sure if it was feral or dropped off.  I told her that if it were Kevin, he would tell himself that someone saw the cat and loved it more than we did.  Lisa thought that was a sweet sentiment and said "I like that. I will think about it and decide later."

No, I didn't have nightmares or regret.  I told myself that if I can watch Bones on a constant loop, I can deal with this.  At least now poor kitty has a proper resting place.

I told you. this is a terrible story.

25 July 2019

Painting in Secrecy

When you're married to someone like Kevin, you have to learn to have a bit of thick skin and patience.  I don't mean this in a negative way, wait for it.

When he's gone, I always choose a project to spend my time with.  It's one of those rare opportunities to work on something without distractions.  Last November I painted the bathroom.  One time I went through all of our keepsakes and photos and organized them.

This last trip I committed myself to finish the laundry room.  I had painted all of the walls except the alcove where the washer and dryer sit.  I had hesitated doing that area because difficult and because I was dithering over what color.

My original plan for the weekend was to paint one wall in our bedroom the same mocha color as our living room.  But I can't decide if that's the right color. Because I can't decide, that is my decision: no.  I'm going to choose a different color and do all the walls.


He left Thursday morning.  I worked all day then visited a friend afterward.  I mentioned that I was going home to paint and they questioned my sanity: "And, you're alone?"  "Yep" I said "I make sketchy and questionable decisions"  They shook their head and I think mildly considered calling for an intervention.

I started by taking everything down and questioning my sanity.  But it was looking so faded and grungy.  It's the original paint so flat white, in a mud/laundry room.  All the other walls looked clean and shiny.  I'd taken it all apart so there was no stopping me now. At least that's what I told myself.

It's fine. It's just blah
The hardest part is well, all of it, but that there are shelves affixed to the walls.  Kevin made gussets so that they were super sturdy but that meant they can't be taken down.  Then there's the actual washer and dryer.  They're not heavy but I wasn't going to disconnect anything because home alone.

I ran out of steam about 8:00 pm and yes, I am doing this while recovering from pneumonia. Again: sketchy and questionable decision making. I considered just leaving it this way because with the curtains pulled, no one but me would know it wasn't finished.

halfway done
I made it all the way to Saturday until I couldn't just leave it anymore.  I pulled everything out and painted to the floor.  It is one of those situations where I'm glad I'm small.  I could duck under/around vents and pipes and cords pretty easily.

My hand-eye coordination is crap and my patience is slightly less.  So the joint between the wall and ceiling is not great.  Kevin will eventually (perhaps never) finish that for me.  I did have to break out the white paint to fix the overspray on the outside walls but not as much as I'd feared.

It makes the room look more homey and warm.  It also makes it look a little smaller, but that could be my broken eyes.  All in all, I like it and am glad that I did it.

I knew Kevin wouldn't notice when he got home because he would be tired from his trip and he's just not that observant.  There is virtually no paint smell and I had all evidence cleaned so there wouldn't be any clues.  And he didn't.

Then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.  Nothing.  Now I am a little surprised but still not offended.  Now it was going to become a game. A story to tell the family.

This morning (Saturday) he organically mentioned that he hadn't noticed something.  Here is my cue.  "Umm, pal?  Is there anything else that perhaps you didn't notice?"  He looked at me and smiled, a little nervous.  

He is actually standing in the door way of the kitchen to the laundry room.  He begins to scan the house. "Like, in the laundry room maybe?"  He turns around and nothing.  I'm about to shout "SERIOUSLY" when he gets sheepish.

"When did you do that?" he asked, hopeful that it hasn't been weeks.


Now he's embarrassed and laughing.  "I'm sorry. It looks nice."  He started to consider what it took to complete the job by myself and I saw him squelch those thoughts.  Better off not thinking about your tiny wife teetering on a ladder/appliances painting by herself.

He's totally going to to help finish the trim this weekend.  I win.

23 July 2019

What's that Banging Noise?

The boys went on a road trip last weekend.  It was one of those once in a lifetime events that Kevin couldn't say no to.  It was a no girls allowed kind of thing and this time I was fine with it.  I've been sick and it required traveling with his brother so NOPE.

And, as I've mentioned before, we are at the point of our lives where someone needs to be home with the parents. The sister-in-law was home too so at least the burden was shared.

They were leaving super early on Thursday and returning late Sunday.  Kevin had just gotten out of the shower at 4:30 in the morning when his dad called.  He was taking his mom to the hospital but not yet.  He just wanted to let Kevin know.  Her blood pressure had spiked but she was sleeping now.

Okay, let's break this down.

Why are we taking her blood pressure at 4:00 in the morning?
Why are we letting her sleep?
The rule is Call the dogdamned ambulance, don't drive.
If you're not going to do anything, why call us?  Especially since they knew the guys were leaving AND insisted they still go.

After some soothing, Kevin left for his trip. He said he'd check in and I'd keep an ear out.

I called before leaving for work at 7:30.  He's, like, surprised I called? Sigh.  She was still sleeping (???)

I went to work and kind of forgot about everything.  This is where we are at life now, this is our normal.

Before I left work, I called again.  No answer.  I didn't call my mother-in-law because that's pointless.  I figured that someone would have called if something had happened and went home. I love surprises.  (sarcasm font)

And they were fine.  No big deal. Not to worry.

So, that's Thursday.  I was home most of the day on Friday, with the exception of a few hours in the morning.  I was home most of the day on Saturday, with the exception of less than two hours in the morning.  I was home all day on Sunday.  And I had my phone with me AND I live 50 feet away.

There was an earthquake early Friday morning so I was awake-ish from about 3:00 forward. (it's fine, Swistle. Little one, no big deal. It was like god hit the side of the house with his open hand)  I was up later than usual on all the nights because I'm a night owl.

This all established how much I was home.  I didn't hover, but kept an eye on comings and goings and such. I'm assuming the sister-in-law did as well.  And now as I remember it, she took the m-i-l shopping on Saturday.

Kevin gets home Sunday early evening.  Checks in with his parents and returns with his hair on fire.  "Did you know the ambulance came?"


No, I didn't.

She's dehydrated again and that is most likely why her blood pressure spiked.  She has UTI #3456 and this is just what happens now.  Reportedly the cardiologist had told them to manage the high rate with a wait and see approach. (Turns out: super not true.)  Then they said that they have an appointment with the cardiologist at the end of the week.

They also said that the ambulance people "helped her" then left, stating that there was no need to take her.

What's that banging noise?  Oh, it's our collective heads against whatever available hard surface.

We're at the place where they really need help. They need daily in-home care. Frankly, we're teetering at the hospice level at this point.  But they refuse. No meals-on-wheels, no niece cleaning their house, no outsiders. No help from us. THEY'VE GOT THIS.  And they really don't.  Yet they fail so often.  It's reached the level that Kevin has to force himself to go over there now because there's always something wrong and they're always refusing help.  (this is common, folks. It sucks for anyone with elderly parents)

I asked Kevin if he knew when the ambulance came and he said no. They were vague about it. Because this is something we lie about now.  ALSO, he checked in with them each day so they didn't tell him until he came home.  So much for anyone staying home in case they need something.

The sister-in-law reports that she thought it was Thursday night that the ambulance was here and that "They could take her or they could go into the E.R. on their own" AND THEY DIDN'T GO. Because they have an appointment coming up anyway.

And I have no idea how I didn't hear the ambulance, or be awakened by the flashing lights. Let alone the whole DIDN'T CALL thing.  It's crazy-making, for sure.

The reason I share this and the other stories is so that if you're helping raise elderly parents, it hopefully provides some sort of empathy and camaraderie.  Because it is so unbelievably frustrating and sometimes so ridiculous that it becomes comical.  And if you're not, but see it in your future, please bookmark these posts for future therapy.

21 July 2019

I Can't Get There from Here

I have a project at work that I'm a little spun out about.  It's challenging but not impossible.  I just can't...decide. I don't know how to start.  I know what the end result needs to be but I just can't get there from here.

 And I was thinking about it this morning and thought "Hmm, that's gotta be kind of a metaphor."

A quick recap: the job I do was a brand new position two years ago.  It was a very much a Choose Your Own Adventure kind of design.  It had requirements to be met on a quarterly-ish basis, but how I arrived at meeting those requirements was my decision/creation. So, I built a system but as time went by, it changed as things have the tendency to do.

So, it's not like I can simply go to someone and say "How did you do this?"  Because I am the You.

Back to the metaphor.

It's a situation where I know what needs to be done, what the end result is.
The struggle is that it's difficult.  It's not easy. It's not fun.
And it has to be done.

Substitute this project with, say, any other thing and what would the advice be?

Do the hard thing.
Just start.
Figure it out on the way down.

I'll figure it out, I always do.  I'll do the hard thing and probably make mistakes but I'll figure it out.  If that's not a metaphor for my life, then nothing is.  :)

19 July 2019

Your Mailbox is Full

Lately I've found myself hitting Select All and Delete in my email box. I used to enjoy scrolling through the various newsletters and news publications.  I used to have time to do it too, I'm not sure what changed there.

Email has kind of fallen out of vogue, where it used to be the main way to communicate.  Now there is messenger, texting, snapchat; lots of other more immediate ways to communicate.  Although I'm not great at texting (I have stories, omg) and I just haven't gotten the hang of snapchat.  (kellwynn03) I do enjoy the immediacy of it.

So, what's in the mailbox you didn't ask:

I get news updates from the local papers and New York Times.  I usually just scroll the headlines and move on.  There is so much "BREAKING NEWS" anymore that I tend to ignore them.  I used to enjoy news aggregates too but I've unsubscribed from most of those too.

Washington Post has a lot of cool newsletters, if you dig that kind of thing.  The Lily, The Skimm are also good.  While trying to remember The Skimm, I found this page:  60+ Fantastic Newsletters
There is a lot of good content out there.  It's just sussing out what works for you.

I get bloggity updates and those are prioritized so I see them.  Emails from friends.  Lots of car stuff.  If you peek closely, you'll see that there are food newsletters. (GASP!)  I'm trying to have more than five things that I cook on the regular.  This has been met with mediocre at best success.

When I was on disability, I signed up for a bunch of health newsletters with the good intention of following through.  They still arrive but unfortunately, they mostly go unread.  I don't know why I just don't unsubscribe. 

I also have two churchy emails that I am consistently inconsistent with reading.  I discovered one because a guy friend kept posting links on his social media and it kept catching my eye.  What made it interesting was the it was like Guy Faith so it's direct and straightforward.  I don't attend church and my beliefs are - to quote Stephen Colbert - anemic. I admit to hitting delete on these quite a bit. 

My favorites are:
CityLab from The Atlantic
Fast Company 
Vanity Fair
Rolling Stone
Real Simple - but not always

The death knell for any newsletter is if I have to click a link to read the rest of the article. Sorry, nope.  People, Entertainment Weekly and Oprah are super guilty of this one.  Or if they are spammy with the Win The HGTV House and clickbaity kinds of emails.

I do get electronic bills and have found that works for me.  Occasionally I will miss something but it's better than a folder of papers and envelopes sitting in a drawer. The more trees that can be saved, the better.

One of the more important things I had to learn and do is to make sure everything is sorted.  Store emails and political requests go into their own folder.  Social media updates go into another.  I do appreciate gmail for that feature.  Otherwise, I fear I would read nothing.

Now I just need to work on hitting that unsubscribe button.

17 July 2019

Bracing for Impact

I have the tendency to hold my breath in stressful, emotional or painful situations.  I didn't realize this until someone mentioned it to me years ago. Then I read about how it's a common trait with sing-it-with me-because-I've-mentioned-this-a-lot...traumatic childhoods.

So I tried to become aware of it and stop.  Oxygen = good, seems simple enough.

Kevin caught me the other day when he was taking a splinter out of my finger.  I caught myself a day ago because I was trying to squelch some feels.

This is where I have found that mediation can help. When I catch myself doing it, I can remedy it and refocus. Something as simple as three big breaths can reset your brain and thwart the panic/fight-flight-or freeze instinct.  It doesn't have to be a big process.

I practiced it as a family gathering where I felt myself becoming angry.  I was on the verge of running my mouth but caught myself, walked away, and refocused.  In the long run, it was better but I still wish I'd just unloaded.  Being a grown-up is a bummer sometimes.

Take the situation with SusyLoudPants.  I've practiced refocusing/meditation on the regular while sharing space with her. I wondered one time if she thought I had the asthma or something because I realized that I had breathed/sighed/stretched quite a bit for a normal morning. I realized this would require her to have some awareness so I'm good.

What I'm saying is just focusing on breathing can help more than a person can imagine. It's a baby step. Then a person can focus on another step. like stopping anticipating or awfulizing.  Stop bracing for impact.  Start assuming that it will be fine instead.

15 July 2019

Scenes from A Marriage - Slug Bug!

Kevin and I play a game similar to Slug Bug and we are never not playing.  It started when we bought his big truck.  It is the situation of once you've bought something, you see them everywhere.

Like Slug Bug, you have to be the first to announce when you see it.  (there is no slugging)  In our case, the rules are specific: it has to be a 2nd Generation Dodge or extra points if it's a 1st Generation Dodge. (don't worry if you don't know what that is)

We've been playing for a few years and it's just habit now.  We can be together, in a group, on the phone, or not even together.

The Nephew and I traveled together a few weekends ago.  Like a silly version of Tourette's, I kept saying "Dodge"  Finally I had to explain what was wrong with me.  (I also had to explain that this wasn't a game we play with his SensitivePants father because he ruins everything)  Then I had to teach him the rules.

The rules however are fluent and ever-changing.  It used to be we both had to see it.  Then I'd send a photo so there was an amendment.  Or Kevin would call it when we were on the phone.

THEN we began to assign points.  Sometimes one of use will call the wrong truck, so that's minus a point.  There was a debate as to whether the driver or passenger gets the point when we both call it.  (the driver wins because extra observation. Although it should be the OPPOSITE OF THAT, REALLY) There were extra points added when Kevin called one that was in the background of a movie set on television.

It's just one of those silly things that generate when someone is in a relationship for a long time.

Always read Kevin and Me with a sarcasm/smart assery tone

13 July 2019

Don't Call Me Honey

There's a waitress at a restuarant that we regularly go to.  For whatever reason,  it bothers Kevin greatly that she's the kind of waitress who uses "Honey" and "Sweetie" while waiting on us.  I mean, seriously annoys him.

I know that's a thing in life that bothers people. It just doesn't bother me.  (I hate when people use my name because they read my nametag or whatever and we haven't been introduced. That's my thing.)

Anyway.  It bothers him.  A. Lot.  and it makes me laugh because it's a relatively silly thing to spin out about.

Kevin's mom is friends with his ex-wife on the facebook.  They were very close while they were married and this has never bothered me.  She posted something to the mother-in-law's page the other day and I knew she'd never see it.

So, I gave Kevin a heads-up to let his mom know that his former wife had sent his mother something. And that she needed to actually respond to her.  We are putting aside the conversation that "Facebook is broken" according to his mother right now for the sake of this story.

It occurred to me that now might be a good time for Kevin to let his ex-wife know that his mom is in failing health and if she wanted to call or visit, time is of the essence.  Heavy sigh from Kevin because this means actual communication with her and just the brutal truth of the situation.

He doesn't have her number anymore and back when he did have it, it was listed as "Rhonda. DO NOT ANSWER" in his phone directory.  So he messaged her on the social media.  (he's friends with her but has her muted)  "Call me when you get a minute."   Three...Two...One...

And she calls.

He explained  the situation and she appreciated the call.  When he suggested that if she was ever going to visit (which means, by the way, coming to OUR HOUSE) she needed to do it soon.
Of course she can't because a thousand reasons, including poor health, PTSD from a car crash, money, etc.

"There it is" his best friend replied while hearing this story.  The stark reminder in a five minute conversation why they're no longer married.

But the Piece de Resistance - for me - was she is one of THOSE.  "Hun." "Babe" "Sweetie"

He said it took everything in him not to tell her to stop.  Couple reasons: He hates it. They're not married. He's So Not a honey,baby,sweetie guy.   I don't usually call him any of those unless I'm being particularly sassy.

11 July 2019

Jittery Hot Mess

I am never going to stop coughing.  This is it for me. I'm Typhoid Mary.  Totally melodramatic but that's how I'm feeling this morning.  I'm on Day Three of an inhaler and while I'm marginally better, I am a JITTERY HOT MESS.  (sidebar: don't trim your bangs when you've just taken a hit of steroids. I'm just saying)

On Sunday night Kevin lost his patience, which is rare and asked told me to go to the doctor.  I told him I would, which was kind of a lie.  Then as I dragged my hacking self into work, my coworker gave me the same speech.

So, off to the urgent care I went.  I've never gone because I'm never sick but it was remarkably easy. 

I felt like I was being melodramatic with the whole coughing, not being able to speak thing but the doctor was a little "And you're sure you feel okay?"  I was on the verge of an ear infection, on top of everything else.  Because, why not?

They gave me a nebulizer treatment right there.  No negotiation.  That's when I realized that maybe I'd waited too long.  "This should help and if it does, we'll give you an inhaler. If it doesn't, then we'll worry about that then."  SUPER.

The cute Samoan guy nurse set it up and said "This will make you jittery so don't panic."  I'm all "Pssh, it will be fine."

Dude, it was not fine.  My hands were shaking so hard I had difficulty keeping the nebulizer wand in my mouth.   Hello person who never takes medicine: Meet Steroids.  Sweet tiny baby jesus.

Thankfully/horrifyingly the nebulizer worked.  I started coughing so hard that I feared for the worst but it was a good coughing.  The doctor returned and I coughed out "Inhaler, please." and he laughed.

Then, because I'm not quite glued to the ceiling yet, they gave me a shot glass of steroids.  "It's going to taste terrible" the cute nurse said.  I channeled my inner Irish heritage and tossed it back.  Yep, terrible but no worse than Nyquil.  "Now, that's going to continue to make you jittery."

At this point, I wondered about driving because I was like a crack whore, sniffling and shaking.  I was texting Kevin during but had to stop because my fingers wouldn't cooperate.  Probably for the best.

Yeah, we're not normal. ("herps"=herpes, a long running joke) 

I'm on the inhaler until it's gone so that's fun.  Jittery all the time.  Kevin's out of town now so I have to be the responsible adult.  Which means not trimming my bangs or  using any of my fine motor skills, really. 

09 July 2019

In the Words of Michael Scott

Kevin and I play a game quite frequently and yes, we are fifteen year old boys.  If you have ever watched The Office, you're aware of That's What She Said.  It's just flexible enough to make something funny while not being overly crass.

It's silly and juvenile and it makes me laugh every time.  What's funny about it, to me, is that we can play it around his family and nearly ALWAYS get away with it.  We were having dinner just the other night and I said it while sitting next to his mom and sister-in-law.  It went over both of their heads. I doubt they've seen the show and if we're being honest, they're just not that quick.

And his brother hates inside jokes. Hates.Them.  He not only doesn't like that Kevin and I have any sort of connection, he also assumes that we're talking about him.  It's not nice of me but I just have no patience with that nonsense.

We've played it at my family until the nieces were old enough to understand.  I can't remember which one of them stopped, laughed, and said "Did you just say 'That's What She Said'?"  Kevin won't play there anymore because he's a grown-up, but I still do.

Niece was the first to catch the hashtag and react

It often puts Kevin in an impossible situation.  I'll say it quietly so no one else can hear or say it in such an inappropriate setting that he's aghast.  Again: I say it quietly and almost all the time, only to him.  Like a sniper.

I'll do it in front of his best friend and Kevin will usually just reply "you tramp" which then cues the best friend that the game is on.

I consider it karma for times like his non-explanation of why he was late to work the other morning. And I know that I have karma waiting for me.  But it will give me a great story.

07 July 2019

Tell Your Story Walking...


Yep, as of today I will have been sick for THREE WEEKS.  And survey says: Walking Pneumonia.  SUPER.

Luckily (!?!) I am on the tail end of it so I just get to tough it out.  I can, at least, see where each day is a little better.  Until I sleep in until 10:00 these last four consecutive mornings then it's difficult to deny that I am not keeping it 100 up in here.

Last weekend was the super-extra-omg-busy weekend and it was as promised.

Saturday we had a memorial and a wedding to go to.(insert joke here)  Difficulty Level 3,000 because the memorial required a ferry ride and the wedding was on a whole other island, not accessible by ferry.  And, keep in mind, we set small achievable goals. hahahaNo.

Here in the PNW, you need to have reservations to ride the ferry.  I should say it's highly recommended, not required.  Until you're traveling on the busiest weekend of the summer then it's required.

I made reservations TWO WEEKS in advance and the sailings we needed were already booked.  Yikes.  This should have been our clue to adjust our expectations but who are we to heed the universe?

Memorial is at noon, on a Saturday. Not to be heartlessly bitchy, but they waited three weeks to hold it and then chose the most inconvenient time on a holiday weekend other than say 11:00 am on a Tuesday.

Available ferry for that day?  6:45 am or 7:15 am.  FOR A NOON EVENT.

So, I went shiny-side: we'll make a day of it.  Kevin and I will go explore the peninsula and make an adventure out of it.  And the universe laughed. Again.

His family was on the same sailing. FML.  And traveling with whom I will describe as the weird aunt. She's Kevin's mom's best friend and to sum her up best: she kisses everyone on the lips.  Swistle cleverly described her as Shirley McLaine and she could not have nailed it any more perfectly.

The parents were in their van with the weird aunt and stayed in the van because his mom is scared of the water. (sigh) And it is for the better anyway because they don't ask for wheelchair accessibility when they reserve sailings. (because nothing can ever go wrong)

However, the kids rode with the brother and sister-in-law and THEY STAYED IN THE CAR TOO.  What is going on?  FERRY RIDE!! BEAUTIFUL PNW!!!FUN UNCLE & AUNT!!!  *waving of my hands around me*

Later, with more information, the guess is they didn't want to make the brother uncomfortable by leaving him in the car.  Because the brother is massively overweight, he does very little at this point. (I am not fat-shaming. This is a well-known fact and has been negatively affecting everyone's lives for a few years now. Don't get me started, this post is already too long.)

This guess is also based on normally easy-going Nephew ripping out of the car and walking away when we stopped at a restaurant.  BECAUSE OF COURSE WE ALL HAVE TO HAVE BREAKFAST TOGETHER BECAUSE WE NEVER SEE EACH OTHER EXCEPT EVERY.SINGLE.GD.DAY.

Even after breakfast there was still three hours to kill.  I admit to saying to Kevin quite passive aggressively "I thought we were going to go explore" when someone mentioned the group finding something to do together.  The parents were going to the house where the memorial was being held so that was one less problem to deal with.

Port Townsend is small and we were early enough that not much was open yet. We went to a beach that you have to hike down to.  It's an easy path, just downhill but it's a good walk.  I did it, knowing that I was sick and coming back up was going to be challenging.  But BEACH, Beautiful PNW!  Kids!!  This is not an opportunity that you say no to. Lack of oxygen be damned.

Tide was out so we were able to walk way out

I should clarify: when I say kids I mean grown kids.  Only Nephew and Niece came on this trip.  It was too much to have six kids for the Nephew alone and both spouses had to work.  We never, ever, ever get one-on-one time with the kids so this was the shiny side.

We spent hours walking the beach and talking.  I was able to take some wonderful photos and my dark little heart was happy after all.  The brother?  Well, he pouted at the trailhead as we all explored the tidepools and beach. Then walked himself back up to the car and sat in it for HOURS.

Then we went to the memorial.  It's our uncles house, an over-century old, historical district home with an English garden.  It's one of my favorites.  ALL the cousins were there and that is A LOT. My Big Fat Greek Wedding level A LOT.  Four generations of folks, ages toddler to seniors.  It really was probably the last time all of us will be together.

We had scheduled to leave about two hours into the memorial because that was the only ferry until way late in the day.  Kevin reconsidered and asked me to change our reservation.  I went onto the app to find that...our reservation had been cancelled.  (there is a story to this but I will shush for brevity sake)  On the Busiest day of the summer.  Sonofabiscuiteatingdog.

Here were our options:
Keep our plan of early sailing and hope we could get on.  Odds were pretty good of success.
Wait for later sailing on standby and odds not so good, especially as it got later.
Driving around the peninsula, which would be 4.5 hours in traffic.  NO.
Staying the night with no preparation to do so.

So we left and nearly drove right onto the ferry. We probably could have stayed according to the ferry tollbooth guy. Kevin was crushed and I felt so badly.  I mean, we kept to our original plan but he wanted to stay.  *I* would have risked it but with everything going on, Kevin was not in the headspace for that kind of adventure.

By the time we got inland, it was too late to even try to get to the wedding or the reception.  All of that for nothing.  Instead, we phoned a friend and arranged to meet at a car show.  This show was something we scheduled to do a year ago and couldn't go because of the memorial and the wedding

AND with all of this, we were supposed to be in Canada all weekend racing.  Kevin was invited to run with a group that he's been trying to get included in for two years. He was finally invited and he couldn't because of all the above nonsense.  And he was supposed to crew on our friend's car also. This time next year Kevin and I are going into hiding.

This continual mess created a whole mood for him and I understood.  And during this, he kept saying "I don't know why I'm in a bad mood."  It was literally frustrating him that he was in a bad mood.  I'm all "Um, do you want the LIST? because we have time." *unfurling the scroll of current bad news*

We hung out at the car show then after a bit, I tapped out and sat in our truck.  Kevin went for a cruise with our friend, which is exactly what he needed.  Cool car, one of his besties, and a cruise. Meanwhile, I rested in the a/c, listened to music and caught up on the social media.  I know it doesn't sound fun but I very much enjoyed it. (hello introvert tendencies and oh yeah, pneumonia)

We got home late then was up early to Canada the next morning because why not at this point.  We spent the day at the track with our friends. This was another antidote for Kevin: spending time working on racecars with his friends and NOT his brother is pure heaven.  Even if his wife sounds like Typhoid Mary at this point.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were back to normal...ish.

Then the annual (my) family gathering on the 3rd.  Every year I am tasked with making spaghetti.  Last year, barbecue meatballs was added onto the menu for me to make.  Until it wasn't.  My sister-in-law texted THAT DAY to say that the mom had made them but forgot to make coleslaw and could I make some.  That is ADORABLE.  Yes, I will make some by stopping at the deli and spending three times more than it would take to make it.

And...does anyone need barbecue meatballs because I have buckets of it.  Kevin walked in the other day "Why In.The.Hell. do you have so much barbecue sauce?"   "My family" was my only reply.

I powered through the family gathering.  Turns out my sister-in-law broke her ankle and was in a boot. Did anyone mention this previously? Nope, because "my family." So it was up to me to round up the nieces to do the food and cleaning.  PERFECT. This is going well.  Shiny side: time with young nephew and we busted out the silly string for the adults.

On the fourth, I slept a good part of the day while Kevin did racecar stuff.  Kevin worked the next two days and I coughed and slept.  Today I am trying to remember what real life feels like.

AND THEN Kevin leaves for four days on a trip on Wednesday.  I leave instructions that my memorial be as inconveniently planned as possible.

05 July 2019

The Journey

‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

01 July 2019

Dog Spa Treatment

Whatever losers had Lucy the first few months of her life must have disciplined her with water or something because she is terrified of baths.  She doesn't like standing water at all, especially if us humans are anywhere nearby.  She takes the garden hose as a personal affront.

We bought a wading pool during a heat wave a few summers ago.  We were hopeful that she would enjoy it.  That is a big No Thank You.  She would drink from it, IF we were nowhere near her or it.  That was it.  Water is not her thing.

Kevin tried to bathe her a handful of times but it broke his heart and it just didn't end well for anyone.  We  talked to two groomers about it and their prognosis was: good luck with that.  I researched the interwebs, because that's what I do, and it was the same.  Good luck.

About two years ago, I decided that this was nonsense and we had to figure out a way for her to get a bath without her killing people.  Because she totally would.  She would scrap and wiggle and cry and fight the whole process.  She would do the full Tom Cruise pose just trying to get her into the tub.

By the end, I would be soaked, the bathroom would be soaked and the dog would be not bathed yet soaked.  I had to wear one of Kevin's hoodies so she wouldn't accidentally scratch me.  I mean, it was super bad.

Finally, I tried something and it seems to be working.  I fill the tub up with soapy water while she's outside.  I use the common folk bathroom because the garden tub is way too big even though it would contain the splash zone and her a little better.  I draw the line at lighting candles for her though.

Then I'll bring her inside, or Kevin will.  Because she has Super Nose, she is immediately aware of what's about to transpire.  She pulls the full Cartman and tries to leave.  

She becomes the best running back, juking away from us. But I've learned to close all the doors to every room (all THREE of them, lol) so then she runs to her fort: her bed under the dining table. Certainly I will never get to her there.

This is base, I'm on base. You can't get me here because base.

This is where Kevin leaves because it really does break his heart that she's so upset.

At first, I would have to drag/carry her to the bathroom but lately (*knock wood*) she will reluctantly go in there. She pretends resignation to lull me into complacency, I think.  And that's where the fight begins.  You can see when she realizes her mistake and tries to get out the door. Every. Time.

I put her in the tub and she complains.  It's warm, it's soapy, it barely touches her chest.  Any other dog would be so lucky, I tell her.  And she tells me to piss off.  Although, she doesn't struggle as much now. It used to be like bathing ten toddlers at once.  Plus a shark.

Here's the thing: there can't be running water because it freaks her out.  In the past, I used to use a big gulp cup to pour water over her and she hated it.  Until, by complete accident, I learned that Her Highness will allow me to wash her with a handtowel.  She buries her head in my shoulder and suffers through her spa day. I mean, seriously.  

Every once in a while she'll act up, as if to remind me that I am SO Not The Boss of Her but anymore it's half-hearted.  What used to take twenty minutes and leave everything in ruin, now takes about ten.

When I take her out, she does the shake thing, I dry her, and she's happy.  Then she walks over to the tub and chests up on it, like "Yeah, I kicked your ass."  Until I move then it's back to the Peace, I'm Out. Open.the.Door. attitude.  

Because she's not a normal dog, she doesn't get the zoomies.  I think partially because she's exhausted and mostly because she knows that there is a pay-off that she's earned. And she won't be distracted until payment is made.
I cheated death, I get a treat. And it better be a good one because I cheated death.
You saw, right?

She lays on her blanket and gets a chewy while I clean up the tsunami in the bathroom and then I shower the dog shampoo and hair off of me. I would describe her attitude as happily cocky after her bath. She feels better, I'm sure. Even if she did just about die.

Then when all is said and done, I will watch her sneak into the bathroom and revisit the scene of the crime.  I don't know why. Maybe she talks smack to the bathtub, we'll never know.

Then when Kevin comes home, she'll jump in his lap and tell him about how she cheated death and fleece him for more treats.  I swear she looks at me like I'm the assailant while doing so. But I'll be the bad guy if she gets a bath in the long run.