Friday, May 28, 2010

A year ago today

A year ago today, I woke up to find my dog lying on the bedroom floor, dead.

It was the day after Kyle's birthday. We'd gotten home from a family trip to Florida the evening before, on a Wednesday, in time for his weekly band practice. The trip had been relaxing, the journey home less so. My dad had underestimated the time it would take us to get to the airport. We ran through the airport and dashed through the security; sacrificing my water bottle to the TSA in the process. Moments later, an escalator began to gnaw away on the laces of my still-untied shoe, which Kyle had to yank to secure its freedom.

As it turned out, the flight was delayed, and so we sat for an hour in the airport Chili's. We sat and ate stale tortilla chips, washing them down with overpriced drinks.

When we arrived in Columbus, we headed to my mom's house to pick Sollie up. He'd spent the week at her home. We got him into the van; I dropped Kyle and the dog off at our dingy home, a rental, and headed out to Dairy Queen to get an ice cream cake for Kyle's birthday. A few minutes later, Kyle was on the phone. Did your mom mention anything wrong with Sollie? he asked. He's acting sort of strange. I called my mom, who said no. I told Kyle, It might be an ear infection. (He had many an ear infection, thanks to his moisture-loving floppy ears.) I'll bring him to the vet in the morning.

Band practice began, but it didn't last long. Our house suffered a brownout, with half its electricity--including the space in which Kyle practiced--out. So we sat out on the porch that muggy night, Sollie pacing and panting. It felt like a storm was coming, and out of everything he feared--our cat, Rosa; the toaster oven; small children--Sollie feared storms the most. More than once, his terror during a thunderstorm had prompted him to jump the chain-link fence at my mother's home, blind panic driving him across busy streets blocks away. And his worry had only worsened over time. My mom's beagle, Sukha, seemed to provide him some comfort during storms, but it had gotten to the point where even a heavy wind would find him hiding under the closest available person. His trembling would often wake me in the middle of the night, a harbinger of a storm that had not yet arrived.

Shortly before bedtime, around midnight, the power came back on and we decamped to our bedroom. I tried to coax Sollie into our bed--his preferred position was to lie between Kyle and I, his lanky limbs splayed for optimal bed-hogging--but he refused to stay there for long, instead opting for the floor.

In retrospect, I should have known that something was horribly, terribly wrong. Instead, I set my alarm for 7 a.m., when the vet would be open for business.

When I woke that morning, his body was stiff, his torso swollen. We would later learn he had died of bloat, his stomach flipped and twisted inside of him, lack of oxygen slowly killing the organ tissue and, by extension, him.

Sollie died a year ago today and I still am overwhelmed with grief and guilt. I wish I'd known about bloat, which can kill dogs that are, by all appearances, healthy. I wish I'd known that he was seriously ill. I wish that he could have been in bed with us, instead of alone on a hardwood floor.

Sollie loved snuggling. He loved sitting next to me on the couch, his heavy head draped on my shoulder. He loved bedtime--though he usually waited for me before heading up to bed, if I stayed up too late, he'd sigh and head up on his own. He loved walks. He loved the tortilla chips guests at our house parties would smuggle to him. He loved cottage cheese--the sound of a plastic container was enough to bring him running to the kitchen. He loved ear rubs, and would let out a low moan if one was done just right. He loved plush toys with a squeaker inside, and would squeak them on end, to Kyle's annoyance and my amusement. He had a creepy smile that he only showed when he was really excited to see someone. (The first time I saw it, I thought he was going to attack me.) Though he had a reputation for impeccable manners--one of his many nicknames was Mr. Perfect--in the last year, he'd taken to greeting me when I came home by jumping up to put his paws on my shoulders before giving my face one great big lick.

I wasn't Sollie's original owner. Credit for his good manners and training goes to my friend Nate, his original owner and my roommate during my days in San Diego. It was that Sollie--who had playfully gnawed on my ears with his sharp puppy teeth when he was younger--became my greatest source of comfort as I spiraled into depression and loneliness out on the West Coast. Even when I headed back home, to Ohio, Sollie was there, a bony, non-stuffed animal for me to snuggle with. As cheesy as it is to say, he never failed to live up to his name, Solace. But for all the comfort he gave me through the years, I'm left feeling like I never gave him comfort when he needed it most.

A year ago today, I woke up to find my dog lying on the bedroom floor, dead. I miss him so much.

Monday, February 15, 2010

That time of year again

(About my annual blog post: Twitter seems to better suit my A.D.D., which is why I don't come 'round these parts too often, but it's probably good for the soul to sit back and reflect every once in a while, no?)

Kyle and I spent our Valenversary this year filling our gullets with comfort food via trips to Tip-Top, Dirty Frank's, Pistacia Vera and The Dube; sharing a Holiday Inn with a swarm (flock? school?) of biker dudes and biker ladies; and mucking about Columbus' finer big box stores in search of kitchen organization tools.

Ah yes. Because we bought a house. Bought it Oct. 30, Moving Day was Dec. 6, Get All of The Rest of Our Shit Out of There Day was Dec. 31 (because what better way to spend New Year's eve then by sweeping--while weeping--at 9:30 p.m. that night?). Jan. 1 was No, Seriously, Let's Get That Lamp and That Chair Out of the Old House Day, and we've been at our new house ever since. Seventy-five percent of the time, I manage to give people the correct address for the new place. Homeownership is lovely, for the most part, except for when I look into my bank statements and find that 90 percent of my income is going straight to Lowe's.

Last year had its highlights--the aforementioned home purchase, the celebration of our one-year wedding anniversary--but mostly it was one of intense heartbreak. Sollie died, suddenly, awfully and on Kyle's birthday, and just thinking about him and how much I still miss him makes me ache. Not in a metaphorical way--my muscles tense up and my bones hurt in the way the arm I broke as a kid hurts before a spring storm. I miss that damn dog so much.

So, yeah, there's that.

And then there's the job stuff, and well, let's just say I am fond of the people I work with and am happy to be working with them; in the interest of personal preservation I'll stay mum on the rest.


But to leave this post on a similarly sentimental note to the previous post, I would be remiss if I didn't talk--or, more accurately, gush--about Kyle. He has been tremendous through the madness of the last 365 days. He is a strong, kind, honest and fundamentally good person, and is a source of measureless comfort and support. Each day I am with him--even the days where we inevitably work each others' last nerve--I feel my love for him grow and our relationship strengthen. It is a joy to be his partner.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I know it's gross

but I really, really, really love my husband. And today's our seven-year (dating) anniversary*. (You're still allowed to celebrate such things once you get married, right?)

Truth be told, I am not so great at the wordsmithing when it comes to matters of the heart, but man, this guy is just the best. He is a man of integrity, a talented musician, a loyal friend, a gentle soul and a possessor of one sly sense of humor. And have I mentioned his beard? The beard is great.

Bee's knees. That's him.

Anyway, I may threaten him with murder on a regular basis, but I can't imagine my life without him in it. (So tremble in fear no more, honey!)

*Actually, I argue it's actually tomorrow, but Kyle is an unstoppable force in this dispute. Plus, hey, TWO days of romantic presents in a row! Can't complain about that.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I swear I will return to regular posting soon

But until then, enjoy this, the most amazing news story ever*. (I am SO JEALOUS of the reporter on this 'un.)

*Don't believe me? Here's a hint. It includes talk of "Butt Hole Road."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My dad wants me to get fired

E-mail from my dad: Yipee! Can’t believe it’s real. Hey – toke ‘em if ya got ‘em!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thank you, Jungle Jim's

The taste is ... meh ... but the design of this bottle is so much awesome in a small glass package.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tears were shed

If you ever want to go on a road trip with me, there's something you should know: I can't drive stick.

Oh, I tried once: I was sixteen, and, on the day in question, I was running errands with my dad. We were in a Kohl's parking lot when I felt my blood sugar plummet. I asked if we could get a soda somewhere. Sure, said my dad, but why don't you try driving first? I'm sure there have worse suggestions made then this. I mean, someone had to pitch the concept of Crystal Pepsi, right? But this one had to be up there. Still, I clambered into the Taurus' driver's seat, started her up, and then eased into reverse, slowly backing out into the lane from our parking spot.

At least that was the plan. In reality, I started the engine, moved into reverse, and, panicked about how quickly the car seemed to be moving in the crowded parking lot, hit the brakes. Only, it wasn't the brakes I was hitting, but the gas. FUCK! I yelled, slamming on the not-brakes-but-actually-accelerator again. FUCK! I repeated myself, again hitting what was proving to be the wrong pedal. One last FUCK! escaped my lips before my dad calmly reached over and took the keys out of the ignition. My lesson was over, and, 14 years later, I haven't attempted to repeat it.

All of that should have served as fair warning for me yesterday as I tried to learn just how a person (in my case, me) is supposed to insert and remove contact lenses. I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest lesson. I mean, I have a bit of a thing about eyes. I was never one of those kids who turned their eyelids inside out, and ever since the third grade, when the tip of my pencil broke and it flew into my eye, I have made it a practice to try to keep things out of my eyes, rather than put things in. So, until yesterday, I'd never so much as attempted touching my eye, and here I was, being required by a medical professional (Donnell, my optician for the day) to do it over and over. Ick. Ick. Ick.

If that wasn't hard enough, my appointment was scheduled at 4:20 (heh, heh) p.m. on the Friday of what was proving to be a exhausting week, which itself was on the tail end of another exhausting week. My energy, already at a near-all-time low, was in a freefall when I entered my eye doctor's office. And Donnell, who, it must be said, scheduled my appointment in the first place, didn't seem too happy to have me there either. After confirming around the office that he was the only person there who could do the "teach," he instructed me to wash my hands and meet him at a small station set up in the back of the office.

And so, for the next 1 1/2 hours, we worked at it. Staring at my own reflection in the mirror for that length of time started to make me feel crazy, as I noticed every clogged pore, every errant hair, and a hairdo that was beginning to resemble Cameron Diaz's infamous 'do in There Something About Mary as I reached over my head to grab my eyelid and pull it taut, pushing my bangs skyward in the process. All the while, Donnell noted some challenges: You need to actually touch your eyes to do this. You aren't going to be able to push the contact through your lashes, so you're going to have to open your eyes. You have small eyes so you're really going to have to pull on your eyelashes to keep them open, he said, giving my battered self-esteem another kick in the shins.

Eventually, I got it.

Sort of.

I managed to get the lenses in on my own, but taking them out was yet another challenge. Finally, I popped it one out. It was a fluke, to be sure, but Donnell, taking a not-so-surreptitious look at his watch, was ready to go. After making sure I could insert the lens again, he sent me on my way. My instructions were to wear them for four hours Friday, six or so Saturday and 8-14 on Sunday.

Let me take a moment here to say that my dad tried contacts for the first time a few years ago, and, in an incident that will live in family lore, found himself at the ER, in need of professional help to remove his contacts. Perhaps I should not have mocked him so much for that. Because four hours after I'd had the lenses inserted, I made my first attempts to remove the contacts and quickly discovered I just couldn't do it. Three hours after that, after I punched and kicked our bathroom wall in frustration, after I sent Kyle to my mom's to get a light-up mirror and after Kyle tried to yank the contacts out himself, an effort that led to both of us crumbling into hysterics, I gave my dad a call. Do you still have that suction cup thingy that the ER people used to take out your contacts? I asked. He did not. But, he said, he'd figured out some techniques that he could help me with.

So, that's how I ended up at 11 p.m. last night with Kyle shining a flashlight in my face as my dad hovered over me and plucked the contacts from my eyes. Kyle suggested I give up on this contacts thing altogether. I said I would schedule another "teach" at the eye doctor's. My dad suggested I try again today. And so, against my better wisdom, I'm gonna do just that. But I think I'll have a soda first.