A Post-Scooby Universe

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I absolutely can’t believe I haven’t written about this.

(I’m so sorry, Bertie)

We lost Scooby in January.

He was fine. And then he wasn’t. And then he was gone.

One Thursday in January, I was doing my pre-workday nap (I do this Monday through Thursday if Gene is not working from home) after hauling the boy dogs into bed. (Sadie jumps up on her own). A little snooze, a little snuggle, a little Netflix.

Eventually, work time approached and I got out of bed. Scooby also jumped out of bed like always. We all decamped for the home office. A couple hours pass and it’s Puppy Dog Lunch Time. Sadie runs in, Bourbon runs in.

Finally, I notice that my boy hasn’t joined them. He’s still chilling out on the dog bed under my desk and hasn’t moved in hours. Immediately I lay down with him, one arm around him gently (the dog hated cuddling any way but the way he wanted).

The rest of the day, I do a little work and then get down to hang with him. I told him stories – “I remember the day we adopted you, the way the rescue lady reminded us that you were a beagle MIX, the time we saw someone else take you for a tryout walk but return you. Why would anyone return you?”. I sang to him (yes, endless rounds of “Scooby Dooooby Doo” Frank Sinatra style). I reminded him of my mantra for him “Everything you do is just fine”. This didn’t mean he was above being in trouble, it just meant that I would understand if he had to Go.

At some point I told Gene what was going on. A dog not eating is serious business. The next day, we took him to the vet. She did some scans, saw something on his spleen (?) that she didn’t like. She was quite convinced that it was Very Serious.

That afternoon, we came back to say goodbye. I’m ‘yadda-yadda’ing some of this.

I am an atheist. I do not believe in God. When I die, I am not going anywhere. But I absolutely believe in the concept of Dog Heaven, the Rainbow Bridge. When one of the dog Twitter accounts posts that their beloved pooch has gone OTRB (Over the Rainbow Bridge) I want to tell him that Scooby (and Betty, obviously) will be their friends.

Because now Betty and Scooby are playing together again.


2018 Year in Review

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1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

I rode on a tank!

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

My 2018 resolution was to Do Better. I don’t know. 2019’s resolution is again, Do Better.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope, too old!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, no. My mother had surprise surgery a month ago, but she’s doing much better.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. 2019 may bring us to Asia, but that’s up in the air.

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I’m sure I achieved something, but I’ll be damned if I know what it was.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I make so many promises at work that I can’t keep.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I strained my back, but beyond that I’ve been very healthy this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine, dammit.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The president.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Doctors. That “in sickness and in health” thing is no joke.

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

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

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

IDK, but I feel more anxious. Y’all, I think I need to get out of Big Payroll.

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?

Visiting my family.

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

Sitting in hospital waiting rooms for Gene’s medical adventures.

22. How will you be spending Christmas?

Xmas 2018: at home, just Gene and I and the dogs. We went out for a long, loud dinner with 11 other people so that was fun.

23. Did you fall in love in 2018?

No, but I am always reminded about how happy Gene makes me and how much I love him.

24. Any one night stands?

I can’t even choose a quilt, definitely no nightstands!

25. What was your favorite TV program?

Bojack Horseman, Grace & Frankie, Catastrophe

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 just went through my history list on Overdrive (I get 95% of my ebooks through the Cheesecake City* Public Library) and it turns out I’ve borrowed approximately 50 books but have read approximately 6. So, let’s go with either the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy (if re-reads count) or You by Caroline Kepnes.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered where all our music is! It’s on Amazon Music! YAY!

29. What did you want and get?

30. What did you want and not get?

A vacation.

31. What was your favorite film of this year?

Crazy Rich Asians

32. What did you do on your birthday?

We went to a small town an hour away and explored. Finally, I had a good birthday.

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

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Clean pants every other day, shower every other day, clean t-shirt daily. I think hobos have more pride of appearance than I do.

35. What kept you sane?

Denise and my parents

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Don Henley yesterday, Don Henley today, Don Henley forever!

37. What political issue stirred you the most?

How much I dislike the president

38. Who did you miss?

I miss my family.

39. Who was the best new person you met?

Did I meet anyone new in 2018?

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018:

Get it together, keep it together

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


My Dog’s Asshole, and the other dog IS an asshole

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Hey, if your dog’s butthole looks a little misshapen, like he/she has a zit next to said butthole, take that poor beast to the vet right away. Don’t put it off because the groomer didn’t mention anything. Don’t put it off because your husband thinks you’re weird to check out your dog’s ass. And if the vet recommends surgery to remove said butt zit? Don’t put it off because (sigh) we just paid off that credit card! And don’t get me started on the bullshit you chose to buy instead of fixing your poor dog’s asshole.


Because, what will happen is, the dog will come back inside from the backyard and you will notice she’s panting and it will dawn on you that hey, dogs do that when they are in pain and HEY look, blood everywhere! And then you get to spend the weekend changing your dog’s diapers! And then emergency surgery 5 days before you’re supposed to go on vacation! Followed up by two damn weeks wrestling your conehead dog into and out of the house.

TLDR: when it comes to your dog’s asshole, if you see something, say something.


An Attitude of Flattitude

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Hello. Happy Thanksgiving, nearly. Here are the things I am NOT grateful for this year:

  1. Not making it to Indiana. Again.
  2. Having to cancel 2 vacations this year (New Orleans and Miami) due to health and scheduling problems.
  3. Year end is nearly here. This is my 19th year end. I am truly afraid that I can’t do this anymore, but what else can I do?

I feel trapped, unmotivated, frustrated, scared. I don’t know how to change anything.


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1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Turned 40, Tweeted (a fair bit), Got Laid off, Filed for unemployment, Got a new job, quit that job, Got a new new job

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

I don’t remember if I made resolutions, but I probably didn’t keep them. My 2018 is to Do Better.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister in law had my awesome nephew A. With any luck I will meet him someday!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

One of my sorority sisters passed away. We weren’t close (I don’t think I saw her since midway through my college career), but we were Facebook friends and her death shocked me. She left behind a 20 year old son, whose father died not even a year prior. I just don’t understand how that is at all fair. What 20 year old in 2017 should have to bury both of his parents?

5. What countries did you visit?
Belgium and France

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 24 (?), the day that Big Payroll laid me off (?), January 26, the day I got my New Job, August 14, the day I quit my New Job (first) and accepted my New New Job when I went back to Big Payroll

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Losing a job, gaining a job, quitting that job after getting recruited out of nowhere. It all feels a little magical even if it also feels undeserved. (If I got the job I thought I deserved, I’d be unemployed).

9. What was your biggest failure?

Taking the New Job and not holding out for something greater. I think my heart was in the right place (I didn’t want to be unemployed for long)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing that even needs to be thought about. My neck hurt a tiny bit after my car accident, but it was temporary.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought a really cute pair of rose quartz earrings. Ooh, and the VW Golf. I don’t get to drive it much but even if I walk past it I greet it enthusiastically, “Hi Baby!”

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine, dammit.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My former colleague, the Payroll Troll. #1 reason when my old team-lead texted me “Do you want a job?” I immediately said “YES PLEASE”. I kind of wish I’d had an exit interview so they could ask why I was leaving and I could say that her shitty attitude sucked the joy out of my life for 8.5 hours a day, bookended by a an hour long commute each way only to be criticized all day. Ugh.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Gas (I guess a 2 hour commute adds up even in my Golf!)

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

Going to LA for work.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

 

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

Happier

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 a tiny bit more time unemployed and I wish I’d visited Indiana and Arkansas.

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

I wish I’d spent less time driving.

22. How will you be spending Christmas?

Xmas 2017: at home, just Gene and I and the dogs.

23. Did you fall in love in 2017?

No, but I am always reminded about how happy Gene makes me and how much I love him.

24. Any one night stands?

Dude, I can’t afford any furniture!

25. What was your favorite TV program?

Catastrophe. Bojack Motherfucking Horseman. The Crown.

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 finally read/listened to Pride and Prejudice. It was really lovely.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

My greatest musical discovery in 2017 was the full album option on YouTube. It’s so nice to listen to music I love while I work without trying to figure out exactly what app or whatever all of our music is squirreled away on.

29. What did you want and get?

A car I can drive whenever I please. It’s not just your car it’s your freedom, yo.

30. What did you want and not get?

A fucking Belgian waffle in fucking Belgium.

31. What was your favorite film of this year?

I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s mostly because I want to adopt Baby Groot.

32. What did you do on your birthday?

OMG my birthday sucked! I worked all day at the new job because I couldn’t take the day off. It was a very lonely day.

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

If the voters of America hadn’t done that bad, bad thing in November 2016. Please note that I’m not necessarily wishing for Clinton presidency, round 3, I just wanted a better option than the guy in office. And I didn’t vote for either of them, but I am most likely NOT making that mistake again!

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

January-August: decently put together (although not dressed as a Clown Hooker like one of my bosses, who dared to criticize my choice in footwear, what is wrong with you lady?). August-December: ::sniff, sniff:: yeah, these 3 day old sweat pants can make it another day.

35. What kept you sane?

Slacking off, in tiny increments.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

37. What political issue stirred you the most?

I have obviously reached a “Bitch Eating Crackers” level of frustration with all of them. I was glad to see Doug Jones win office in Alabama. Could this undo the horrors that have been visited upon us?

38. Who did you miss?

I miss the Boo.

39. Who was the best new person you met?

So far, I like my coworkers at the New New Job (Big Payroll II: Electric Payaloo).

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:

Believe in yourself.

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

I was looking for a job and then I found a job,

But heaven knows I’m miserable now

(The Smiths, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now)

(PS: I’m actually not miserable now, Morrissey! But if you’d asked me in early August, that would have been my answer!)


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

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