Bourbon, Prince of Barksylvania

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I learned something new today about Bourbon (the dog, not the booze) today: he is an avid fan of the British Royal Family. While I watched a documentary about the late Princess Diana, he was riveted by the screen. (Don’t tell me that dogs don’t understand TV and that this is proof I need to get out of the house sometime tomorrow. I know). Okay fine, he actually did this before when I watched a documentary about Queen Elizabeth, but I thought it was because of the Corgis.

I just need to believe that he’s more than the dog who barks at the neighbor girl and shreds dirty laundry in the yard and embarrassed me at the vet’s office, that he can be a sleepy snuggler, the doggy I like to snug in the morning (Sadie’s too big, Scooby’s just too many sharp elbows). That he can be the true legacy of his big sister Betty.

(And that I wasn’t wrong taking a chance on a two time loser from the shelter)


2016 Year in Review

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1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Bought a house, sold a house, worked from a hotel, worked from home, worked from my parents’ house

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

NYE 2015 was probably spent in a bald faced panic at the prospect of moving to TX. I probably made no resolutions other than to Just Keep Swimming. Sumbitch, I did.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, we are all too old now.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Betty Boo, our sweet, innocent, loving gentle wonderful puppy dog. Also Leonard Cohen RIP (when we saw him live years ago, we were only 30 feet away, that’s kind of close)

5. What countries did you visit?
Texas is its own country y’all. 2017: Europe?

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 15, the day we started the move to TX. February 19, the day we had to let Betty go.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not losing my GD mind. Holy fucks 2016 sucked.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not realizing that a member of my little family needed me desperately.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A plane ticket to IN for Thanksgiving. Also 2 cute pairs of ankle boots. Love them.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine, dammit.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No puta estupida antics in 2016. But here’s the secret about puta estupidae – even the ghost of one can really fuck things up. Fuck her.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Realtors. Movers. Visa. Nice restaurants in TX. Grocery delivery.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

 

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

No idea. I’m here.

18. Thinner or fatter?

Fat, fat, fat. I am now a land whale who doesn’t even walk to the mailbox daily.

19. Richer or poorer?

We’re doing OK.

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d spent more time snuggling with Betty. Not the other two, just her. A classic middle sibling who probably could have used some special attention.

21. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I’d spent less time hating my job.

22. How will you be spending Christmas? Xmas 2016: at home, just Gene and I and the dogs.

23. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Yes, with Bourby.

24. Any one night stands?

Nope!

25. What was your favorite TV program?

Catastrophe. South Park. Another Period. @ Midnight.

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No one new

27. What was the best book you read?

I’ve read so much but nothing that I really loved. I keep re-reading Big Little Lies before the miniseries begins on HBO later this year but I read it first a couple years ago.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don’t think I discovered any amazing new music this year.

29. What did you want and get?

A trip to the beach. A trip to Indiana.

30. What did you want and not get?

I was { } this close to giving notice at work before the move. So close. Not that I look gainful employment as a bad thing. Also, 4 more years of Democrats in the White House. I won’t lie, this worries me.

31. What was your favorite film of this year?

Bridget Jones’s Baby. Mmm, Mark Darcy.

32. What did you do on your birthday?

OMG my birthday sucked! We were still in the hotel, Gene had to go to the new house and deal with workmen and I was at the hotel working and it was just not fun. The next day I celebrated by having a Jimmy Johns delivered to the hotel. It was a very lonely day.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

This is where I usually post about how much nicer my year would have been if I’d been able to get pregnant. Instead, I will say that 2016 would have been more satisfying if Betty could have lived and Hillary would have been elected.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

OMG, I think I have given up. I make sure to not be wearing my PJs when I walk into the home office, but it happens sometimes. I have inherited a ton of clothes with cartoon characters, so…it’s just not a good look. The other day I wore a pair of PJ pants emblazoned with each of the houses from Harry Potter and a t-shirt with Bill and Ted on it.

35. What kept you sane?

Ativan. Ambien. Netflix. HBO Go. Chocolate. Talking w/ the Almighty D (but not enough, I’m sorry). Camping out in the back yard on sunny days for an hour or two.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Blah blah blah Henley c. 1991. I would still hit that if given the chance. Second choice, Cumberbatch.

37. What political issue stirred you the most?

WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO, VOTERS?

38. Who did you miss?

I miss the Boo.

39. Who was the best new person you met?

Bourby, but he’s a dog.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:

Still, just keep swimming.

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 

That’s right you’re not from Texas

Texas wants you anyway

  • Lyle Lovett

So, that happened

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Much as predicted, we have a new furry member of the family. Literally, the same day I wrote the last post, we went to a small town near us to a non-no-kill shelter and adopted our new dog, Bourby. It hasn’t been the turnkey experience that I was hoping for, but so far things are moving along. I don’t think he’s bonded with Scooby or Sadie yet, but they all seem to get along okay. These things take time I guess.


New dog, maybe?

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So, I don’t know.

I’m thinking it may be time to add to the family. It’s been nearly 1 year since Betty passed away, so nearly 1 year since we moved to Texas. And what nicer way to cap off this (very good, very bad, very weird, all in one) year than by adopting a new dog?

That’s just it. I don’t know.

There are so many places to find the right dog. And it has to be the right dog, I’m on a 3 dog winning streak. And I don’t want to adopt the wrong dog.

(So often I do that – hem and haw and think about it and then buy the first shirt/shoe/sofa/house that I see)

(Proof: 3 wedding dresses. An impulse pair of ankle boots, eventually returned and transformed into two pairs, both of which I adore)

(Also: that stupid dryer in the NC house, bought during some sort of energy rebate weekend even though it didn’t qualify because no dryer qualified but hey! Dryer acquired!)

(Furthermore: every mobile phone I’ve ever purchased, ugh)

Here’s what I want in a prospective third (fourth) dog:

  1. Male – Scooby is too old to care, but Sadie’s younger and I think she would see a male as less competition. (Basically, I’m trying to prepare for a post-Scooby universe)
  2. Older – Ideally around 5 or 6. Still younger than Sadie (who is 7 or 8?) but not a puppy and not a full senior
  3. Not too large – 50 lbs maximum, but even someone Scooby’s size (25 lbs) would work. There are a ton of rescue chihuahuas here and I’m not interested in little dogs. There are also a ton of pit bulls (and other breeds like that) and I don’t want a dog I have to explain to the vet, the insurance company and the neighbors.
  4. Maybe from a not-no-kill shelter in my area.
  5. Gets along with Scooby and especially Sadie.

Basically, I want a turn-key dog.

We’ll see.

 


It’s All Over Now, Betty Boop

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So. The terrible awful thing that happened the day after we got to TX.

(Hideous Spoiler Alert: As of today, we only have two dogs now)

Anyway. Early in 2016, Betty was taking a long time to pee. I’d noticed it even in Cheesecake City but chalked it up to her being old. Eating like a champ, able to get up on the sofa, etc. Eventually, the groomer pointed out to me that Betty had peed a lot at the groomers and I realized that it wasn’t just old age.

The vet diagnosed her with a bladder infection and gave us antibiotics. Dutifully, we gave them to her. She began peeing in her kennel at night, and in the house at all times. We’d moved the dogs to my old office so the dining room could be a dining room again and the dog room smelled just terrible 🙁 Still drinking water like normal, still eating like a boss, still the most loving dog anywhere.

And we were days from moving to TX. A 20 hour drive, stretched over 3 days so the dogs wouldn’t be too uncomfortable.

Back to the vet’s on moving day. Infection not gone. More meds, stronger ones.

Moving day was freezing cold outside and we had to leave the dogs in the back yard while the movers were moving. Poor Booper was freezing cold and sick, huddled against the side of the house because it was out of the wind and a little warmer. My incredibly sick dog, just desperate to get a tiny bit warmer. I will never forget doing this to her.

The first day, we drove to Atlanta and stayed at an Embassy Suites. We gave them all they wanted to drink, and oh my Betty wanted to drink so much water. If I’d let her at the swimming pool, she would have dried it up. Just a few minutes later though, she forcibly ejected it all. We decided that she wasn’t keeping down the new antibiotics so we stopped giving them to her temporarily.

Her illness in Atlanta was repeated at our next stop. By our last stop in east Texas, I’d taken to holding her at night (despite the protests of Scooby and Sadie) and trying to decide what we needed to do. Finally, the day before we hit our new home town, I called a vet in the new town and begged for an appointment as early as possible the next day. Our poor little girl wasn’t getting any better. If we gave her water to drink, she drank with intensity only to get rid of it quickly.

At the hotel in the new home town, we arrived around noon, unloaded everything and then Gene took Betty to the new vet. I did not expect good news. I honestly didn’t even think she’d come “home” again, but she did. For the night.

Bladder cancer. My poor baby had bladder cancer, and there was nothing to be done. The massive tumor was blocking her bladder so none of the ocean of water she’d been drinking actually went anywhere, which is why she lost all of it. “You have the best dog, with the worst disease” the vet told us.

Dutifully we went back to the vet’s office to begin the process. They did the first shot and then the second shot. When dogs go to sleep like this, they don’t close their eyes. They just aren’t awake. And then that’s it.

We elected to have her cremated, with her ashes buried at a memorial park for animals here in Texas. We still have her collar and leash and her kennel. I desperately want a third dog again, but mostly I want my Booper back.


The last 6 months

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So, here’s what I’ve been up to in the last year

  1. Coworker J and her husband got pregnant. The second J told me this great news, I demanded to get to host her baby shower. The LaineyD from 2009 is horrified that I would attend a shower, let alone host the damn thing. The shower, initially planned as an elegant do hosted in a favorite restaurant, ends up taking place at J’s house due to bed rest. Not as elegant as originally planned (I still have one of the original invites – I cannot put into words the huge investment of finances and time and hope that it took for me to want to do that) but it all worked out.
  2. August 2015: Said farewell to my beloved friend The Almighty D, who has taken off for the Midwest. I miss her even though I can talk to her whenever I please. D singlehandedly (or singlehandedly enough) got me through the worst time in my life.
  3. Finally, finally, finally scheduled bladder surgery for December 2015 after meeting with a doctor who quoted the recovery time as being 2 days (down from the 2 weeks originally quoted to me by another doctor). Basically life changing.
  4. The week after my surgery, Gene interviewed with a company in TX. And then, while that was working its way through, interviewed with a company in Indiana. Eventually we ended up with two offers and even though one of them would have taken us back to Indiana (very near my parents’ house), TX was the better choice. I can’t do Indiana winters. I can’t make Gene do Indiana winters for a job he wasn’t thrilled about. I’ve lived in Indiana, haven’t lived in TX. Better money, better relocation package.
  5. Spent a very quick 2 days in TX to pick out a house to buy (also while Cheesecake City house is on market, and actually it sells while we’re in TX for the weekend). End up with a house that’s being built and won’t be finished until a month or so after Gene needs to be here to take the new job. Make plans to live in long stay hotel for 4 weeks (which is exactly how long it takes for you to forget how to do chores).
  6. Go back and forth with my job about if they’ll let me work remotely. Initially it was no big deal. Then it was a big honking deal. Then I told them that I’d have to start a job search in TX. All of a sudden, not a big deal again (They tell me this 1 day before I was going to give 2 weeks notice). Shrug. Meanwhile, Gene does 90% of the packing up of the house in Cheesecake City.
  7. Hmm, that’s weird. Betty’s taking a long time to pee. Poor Booper, she’s old and fat, I’m old and fat. Perhaps we should get her the same bladder sling surgery that I got. Take her to vet. Bladder infection. Ah, poor girl.
  8. Laptop slowly hand grenades. Oh well. Too much going on at home, will limp along with phone until we get to TX, then deal with it. My basic plan for December through February 15, the day we left for TX, was “Is it on fire? No? Well then, it’s not a big deal and can be dealt with in TX”.
  9. Turn sharply inward, stop communicating with pretty much everyone and contemplate digging a bunker somewhere to live as upheaval of my life is too overwhelming to be dealt with.
  10. Oh Betty, why aren’t you getting better? First thing on moving day is taking her back to the vet’s. Bladder infection is not gone. Oh well. Stronger antibiotics. Please get better, we have a long drive to make.
  11. Move out of house in Cheesecake City. Load up car with 3 dogs, 5 (?) laptops and a lot of candy.
  12. Terrible awful thing happens when we get to TX. More later on that.
  13. Three days after getting to TX, I start working from home (which at that point was a extended stay hotel). For the first four days, I don’t have a headset so I take all phone calls by yelling into the speaker on my incredibly terrible work laptop. My clients are saints for putting up with that.
  14. I spend a lot of time chasing around the builder and the lender, filling out paperwork, and walking the dogs around the outside of the hotel. Closing day on the new house gets pushed by 13 days (I guess a last minute surprise job change will do that) but eventually gets adjusted back to a less awful 3 days later. Badgering the lender works sometimes, although next time I’d rather just not. Closing goes fine, ultimately.
  15. Birthday ruined for house related reasons.
  16. Move in Day pushed 2 days later because idiot movers don’t realize that they have to move our stuff to TX. The yelling. Oh God, the yelling.
  17. Eleventeen trazillion chores later, eighteen trazillion boxes later. Moved in. Bought one of everything that Amazon sells.
  18. A week ago: Hmm what is the big wet spot on the bedroom floor? Oh. A leak. Spend a week with a dehumidifier and blower running 24 hours a day in bedroom and only using guest bathroom. The good news is that the last of the fix happens tomorrow.

So. As my coworker said to me today: At least you’re surviving and thriving!



Hey

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Hey internet

My life has two spheres (probably true for most people): work and home.

Life sucks in one of those spheres. I haven’t written anything here in 5 months because what am I going to say? “Hey everyone, everything’s lousy and let me tell you how lousy”? No, because that’s dumb. And because I promised someone a long time ago I’d never talk shit about them on the blog again, and I’ve kept that promise.

So right now, I’m taking care of myself, being kind to myself whenever I can remember to be, reading a lot, playing a lot of Pogo, and waiting.

Love,

Elaine

 

 


A Little More Conversation

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Hey outside world!

So, to catch us up:

Survived another year end in payroll. Previously, year end meant that life was an 11 on the busy scale for about a month, complete with working 6 day weeks and then it leveled out to about a 7 on the busy scale for the rest of the year. In my current job, year end means that I’m typically at about an 8 on the scale but it stays that way all the time. I might even say that sometimes it dips to about a 6 but if I say that I sound like a slacker.

Sometime in early February, had a little kerfluffle on the home front that more or less rivaled year end for suckitude. Did not run away, eventually talked it over with my therapist and then did the grownup thing and got things fixed up and they have been pretty splendid since.

Which is a good thing because we’re heading for some pretty major job stress for Gene. Something we were counting on didn’t happen and it’s thrown things into some uncertainty. Even if my own job is not always a solid gold delight I’m going to keep hanging on. So, so, so glad we didn’t buy the new car we were looking at. If the worst happens, I know that we’ll be fine for some time in terms of mortgage, food, etc but I definitely don’t want a car payment, increased car insurance, etc until stuff feels more stable.

That said, I still immediately reached for my wallet when I got the email that said Eddie Izzard’s coming to town later this year and bought the best tickets I could find (he’s never been here before, it may never happen again). It’s my birthday present along with a good birthday cake and a new pair of wedges from Duo, the company who made my boots. (I may or may not also have my eye on a wristlet purse doodad, but I feel guilty buying it after buying my dream purse last fall).

More later 🙂


Well, that was silly

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Crazy shit I have done lately:

1) Posted 8 month old draft on blog for no conceivable reason

2) Lost my mind and good manners and was extremely rude to someone in a customer service position. (Seriously rude. And now I have to attend the Best Picture Showcase in disguise).

I’m blaming point #1 on being cracked out on Ambien. I really think that the zombies on the Walking Dead aren’t really zombies, they just took their Ambien and decided to go for a walk. Sooner or later they’ll get tired and wake up 8 hours feeling refreshed. We should all just be glad that they don’t have laptops or else who knows what crazy stuff they’d buy?

Point #2 is due to work stress. This has actually been the least stressful year end I’ve had during my career in payroll. In my old job, year end was an 11 on a 10 point scale for 3 months a year. In this job the entire year is a 7 on a 10 point scale. Some of it’s just ridiculous but none of it’s as ridiculous as it could be.