Broken, precarious, neurotic, and/or furious

Look at me—it hasn’t even been a whole month, and here I am again. Writing! Like some sort of… writer! Who does things with words on a regular basis!

That’s weird.

Anyhoodle, here we are, having survived the holidays and *gestures vaguely* everything else, so that’s good, right? I would love to tell you a fun story about how Goose has settled in to being officially ours by being even more ridiculous than usual, but basically she’s just peak ridiculous all the time, so there’s not much to tell there. I do hope to have a fun tale when the weather warms up, though, as her current favorite thing to do when I take the dogs out is to run across the pool cover and while I try to convince her not to. Otto thinks she may just charge full bore right into the water when we open the pool this summer, but I think she’ll just be miffed that her favorite pseudo-trampoline has vanished. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I do love to use my language facility to complain a lot, so that’s what I’ll be doing today. Because: complaints! I have ’em! Although at this particular time I believe I am more than justified, though in the spirit of full disclosure I ALWAYS feel justified, so that’s not saying much. read more…

Christmastime, gone to the dogs

A few weeks after we received Goose, and about a week after we said goodbye to Licorice, my phone started lighting up with messages from the rescue. Possibility of a owner surrender, yorkie/dachshund mix, 10 years old; could I take her? Otto has always said we have a two-dog maximum. Well. I had just one dog, now, and even I was growing tired of my moping around and spending all my spare time crying (side note: my parents were very much of the “shield young children from death” variety, and while I’m not blaming them for the profound grief I found myself mired in after Licorice died, allow me to suggest to any parents with younger children that death is indeed a part of life and trying to keep your children from realizing that may bite them in the butt later on), so I said yes, sure, let’s get her.

It was a group effort; one volunteer worked out the surrender paperwork, another went and fetched the dog, and then I went to her house to do pick-up. It was a sad story: Rosie had belonged to a single, older owner for most of her life; when the owner died, her adult child claimed her, but couldn’t keep her. The dog I picked up seemed friendly enough. I now have a “doggie carseat” type contraption in the back of my car (because of course I do) complete with a seatbelt that attaches to a dog’s harness. I loaded Rosie in, buckled the seatbelt, and away we went.

About 30 seconds after I started driving, I noted that Rosie managed to flip herself out of the doggie containment and was now seated next to it, in the middle of the backseat. Hmmm. Well, okay. And then we were just a couple miles from home when Rosie jumped into the front seat. I did NOT drive into a ditch when that happened, so YAY ME. She had somehow slipped the harness—the one provided by the rescue as escape-proof, mind you—and it remained securely buckled while she made herself comfortable right next to me. Huh. read more…

The very goodest girl ever

In retrospect, it’s easy to see meaning in things where maybe there wasn’t any, but that’s the way we silly humans are, I guess. We need stories about our lives to make sense. We struggle to understand our experiences as cohesive narratives that follow some sort of reason. I know this. It does not stop me from doing it.

And so I know it both to be true and probably not when I tell you that after the first couple of days with Goose here, Licorice—the dog who took several YEARS to warm up to Duncan, and who generally practiced disdain for all other four-legged creatures—took to lying down next to her, patiently waiting for her food while I attended to Goose’s, and generally acting like Goose was her new best friend. Goose literally climbed all over her and Licorice was unbothered.

The story that feels true to me is that Licorice knew. She knew she was dying, and she knew I needed another dog in the house, even if it’s not a dog we’re keeping. She knew Goose would be a comfort to us, and that she wasn’t leaving us alone. read more…

*insert indignant bird noises here*

Licorice lasted about 2 weeks on her new glaucoma regimen before she started squinting again, and back to the vet ho$pital we went. They put her on a third eye drop, and so far, so good. So she now gets three different eye drops three times a day, but also they have to be given at least 5 minutes apart, so each dosing period is referred to as the Parade of Eye Squirts, but we’ve all acclimated. She doesn’t mind at all. (“That’s because she never sees it coming,” explained Monkey with an arched eyebrow, proving that his comedic delivery remains unrivaled.)

Chickadee and Sunny are coming home for Thanksgiving, and as we navigated Licorice’s medical issues and weirdnesses, Chickie kept reminding me that she couldn’t wait to come see her dog again. (Never mind her human family, natch.) There was a brief period of time when I worried Licorice might be in a downward spiral and perhaps would not make it to the holidays, but things are much better now. Phew.

Naturally, in the middle of this canine drama—while still insisting that I was absolutely not ready for another dog—I started looking at various rescue dog listings and just THINKING, you understand, about someday-far-in-the-future Next Dog. I did find a Very Good And Handsome Boi about 5 hours away who tugged at my heart strings, and Otto even offered to drive us out to get him, but I knew it wasn’t time, yet.

Finally, I contacted the coordinator at the rescue where we got Licorice a dozen years ago. “I’m ready to start fostering,” I told her. “But don’t get too excited because I don’t know how useful I’m going to be.” read more…

Yo ho ho and a bottle of… kibble

In the continuing saga of “old dogs are old,” Licorice has done her level best to fill the void Duncan left behind. (Understand that by “void” I mean “need for expensive trips to the vet.”) I mentioned before that she had some accidents in the house (unusual for her), but—in the immortal words of Billy Mays—WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

One day this summer, and honestly I can’t even remember when, now, Licorice started limping. She was favoring her back left leg. We’ve always joked that Licorice is part gazelle due to her impressive vertical leap, and because she is an old lady now (you never really know with a rescue, but between her assigned birthday and assumed age, we think she turned 15 this August) we figured perhaps she had leapt off the bed or the couch and landed a little wrong. I hadn’t witnessed anything like that, hadn’t heard her yelp or cry, but we figured that must be it. I pointed it out to Otto when he got home that day and we agreed to wait and see how she was the next day. Maybe it would get better on its own!

HAAAAAAAAhahahaha. The next morning, she’d stopped using that leg altogether and was refusing to bear any weight on it. Off to the vet we went! read more…

Well that was quite a summer

I did not mean to leave you with the depressingness of Duncan’s demise for quite so long. I apologize. We had a rough week there and then gradually settled into being able to reference and talk about him fondly and without tears. It helped that Licorice has taken to having periodic accidents in the house (SHE IS JUST TRYING TO HELP) and Monkey loves to proclaim that it’s “The ghost of Duncan!” peeing on the floor. So. Who knows? Maybe it is Ghost Leaky Duncan. I feel like haunting us with puddles would be on brand for him, honestly.

And then… the second half of the summer seemed to rev up into turbo and WHOOSH it came and went and now it’s over, I guess. Which is also weird.

In addition to my own stuff, it was pointed out to me by one of my children (three guesses and the first two don’t count; one reads the blog obsessively and the other says “what, you still have a blog?”) that I haven’t updated on Offspring Shenanigans in a VERY long time, so I guess I’ll do some of that, too.

[And just to save us all some time, NO, we did not get another dog, we are not getting another dog anytime soon, and if you suggest that what I need is a puppy, I will suggest that what YOU need is to get bent.] read more…

Not undead after all

I don’t know how to ease into this so I won’t. Duncan is no longer undead, he’s just regular dead, now. And it feels shitty and morbid to put it like that, but I don’t think he would mind. If Duncan could’ve spoken English I like to believe he would’ve cussed like a sailor and been very blunt. “Listen, I’m 207 fucking years old now. I can’t hear. I can barely see. My brain’s going and I piss everywhere and when you let me go, don’t pussyfoot around it and say I ‘passed on’ or ‘went forever to sleep’ or anything. Just say I’m dead. But also remind everyone that I was a legend because I cheated death for years.”

I can’t know for sure, of course. But that’s what I think he would’ve said. And then (as long as I’m predicting what my dog would’ve had to say about his own mortality) he probably would’ve reminded me that he was dying and and really, really liked cheese, so why wasn’t I inserting some cheddar into his mouth right then?

It was just a few weeks ago that I was updating here and assuring you all that even post major-seizure or stroke or whatever that horrible event was, Duncan continued to be utterly undead and unbothered. Sure, in the days and weeks that followed we watched him like a hawk, but other than being a little unsteady and a whole lot leaky, he seemed fine. I mean, as fine as he ever was. read more…

Because we are all old

I swear I didn’t mean to pop in three months ago, mention I was horribly depressed, tell a story about dog poop, and then disappear again. That’s what happened, but it wasn’t intentional. My intentions are always more like “I’ll post this and then I’ll get back to updating regularly, and with less angst” because hope springs eternal. Then life happens. You know how it is.

The bad news is that it’s been three entire months AND I’m not really even sure I would know how to live a life that is free from angst, so—intentions or not—my plan, such as it was, is not salvageable. Then again, if you come here, I feel like you’re okay with the angst (and generally pretty patient with me wandering off for months at a time).

The good news is that SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED and SO MUCH OF IT IS STUPID that I am now here, back again, ready to share. Will it be anything interesting to you, a presumably normal human who does not view life as a combination of a Twilight Zone episode and a marathon you most definitely did not sign up to run? WHO KNOWS! I’m going to talk about it, anyway, because I am most definitely not a normal human (not in a “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom” sort of way, but in a “my entire personality is just a collection of various trauma” kind of way).

Ready? Buckle up! Trigger warning: lots of medical stuff to follow, including some doggy stuff. read more…

Panic at the disco, but no disco

Hello again! Happy over-a-year-of-our-new-hellscape, and I hope you sensibly celebrated by getting takeout or something. I, apparently, decided to celebrate one year of lockdown by telling both my regular depression and my seasonal depression to hold my beer, and then proceeding to plunge into the pit of despair for most of February and March. I remained as sensible as possible during this time (which is to say, not at all) and every week got online with my therapist and defended my ridiculous behavior as if it was all totally normal and fine, because no longer talking to anyone or doing anything was PERFECTLY LOGICAL because I was just TIRED and also EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE felt objectively true so obviously that was why I was crying so much. And then when she would sigh at me I would just shrug and say it’s fine, whatever, everything’s fine, whatcha gonna do, it is what it is.

I am an utter fucking delight (especially while depressed).

ANYHOODLE, I would love to tell you that’s all over now and I’m good, but that’s not quite true. I am better than I was. I am still not great, but Otto is no longer looking at me like I might spontaneously combust at any moment. While trying to quantify it the other day, I explained that I had been moving through a giant vat of peanut butter during the worst of it—sticky, heavy, and very constricting—and now I am in a vat of Jell-O, instead. I am not unimpeded but at least things are a little bouncier than they were. ALSO I got my first coronavirus vaccine shot, and I think that helped my mental state a lot more than I realized it would (even though it made me pretty ill and I am not looking forward to the second one). read more…

What I did on my winter vacation

Hello! How’s everyone holding up? How are we handling… you know… everything? Still hanging on? Good, good. Us too.

Today is day 7,391 of the plague, right? My hair clippers—which I’ve had for so long I really don’t know how long I’ve had them—started making a really weird noise when I used them last month, and after giving Chickadee and Sunny haircuts while they were visiting (more on that in a bit) I discovered that I’d given Sunny terrible razor burn on her neck while I was tidying up at the end of her cut. I felt awful. (She, true to form, was all, “It’s fine! No big deal!” because she is a doll.) I fell down a rabbit hole of reviews and price comparisons and after hemming and hawing for a few weeks, ordered a (higher-quality) replacement set. I got them out for the first time yesterday to give Otto a back-to-school haircut and HOOBOY those new clippers are sharp and powerful and so much better than my old ones, I was legitimately excited and exclaiming things like, “Oh my God, these are amazing!” and “I cannot believe how cleanly these cut!” And then this morning as Otto got ready for work I admired my handiwork and again commented, “Man, those new clippers are AWESOME.”

This was when I realized my already-tenuous grasp on real life might be unravelling. I mean, yay for decent clippers, but this shouldn’t be the most exciting development of the year. Still, here we are. Hair clippers are the best part of 2021 so far. Wheeee! read more…

Things I Might Once Have Said


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