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Laughing at a funeral (the eighth stage of grief). Or, why are people so fucking stupid?

I would like to semi-publicly thank you for attending my grandparents memorials.  Without you, distant neighbors and quasi-acquaintances, we never could have had the opportunity to take our minds off of our grief due to your ridiculous toe-stepping, inappropriate comment making and bullshittery!  Honestly, though you are a burden to the human race in general, we are happy to feed your gaping maws with lovely food and drink while we carefully listen to your long-winded insincerity during our time of sadness.

Oh!  And thank you for your forethought!  It’s so good to see that you are comfortable enough to push aside our carefully crafted displays and photos honoring our loved ones in order to front and center your Walmart scatter of thoughtless garbage!  Nothing is more precious than you doing so well after the ceremony has started, either!  There’s nothing better than being late to a funeral.  Too bad it wasn’t your own!  Ha!

Let us not forget you, giant windbag!  It matters not that you simply were never liked by either of the people you so gracelessly memorialized, only that you knew them so well and loved them SO MUCH that your bubbling lips could not manage to pronounce either grandmother’s first name or our surname!  Oh a surname?  It means LAST NAME.  It must have been your grief talking.  Your grief talks a LOT.  It sure liked discussing you for 27 minutes of your 30 minute ode.  Your wonderful and heartfelt words resonated with us all…calling my grandmother a “hottie” in her younger days definitely resonated with my father and I.   We cannot thank you enough for drying our tears instantly when you said it!  Dad and I have never been closer as our heads snapped from you to one another and our eyes met in simultaneous double rage!  Oh, us “Swaggers”.  Silent assassins, we are, thus your inability to read the social cues we were shooting you so that you could live long enough to exit the room on your own accord!  We sure do thank you for saving us the jail sentence!  Also, calling me “Mindy” and my mother “Joan”, was just the icing on your giant fat motherfucker of a clueless cake.  Thank you!

Certainly you folks that asked me for details about the exact cause of my grandmother’s death have a special place in my heart, and thanks to the grace she taught me, I merely dreamed about another place in time when she was alive while you asked me if she “suffocated”.  You are older than shit, though, so you do get a pass.  I guess social graces escape some as they age.  Particularly appreciative of your apology when I began to cry.  Thank you!

I would certainly like to point out that out of the many who were so amazing, there were only a few of you that stood out as completely heartless and overabundantly socially retarded.  But for the few, thank you for taking the opportunity to utilize the beautiful setting honoring amazing people you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing or loving to take shit-eating grin photos of yourselves with my grief stricken family members and posting them on Facebook!  That, distant non-relative, is the gift that just tops all…especially your corresponding Facebook comment that stated you knew that said family member “had a lot on her mind” and that she must have “forgotten to smile”.  She’s so silly!  Why wouldn’t she be smiling?  So weird!

So, in closing…I know that anger is one of the stages of grief so for forcing that stage forth I thank you!  However, all thanks go to my grandmother for her gentle strength and grace, my grandfather for his hair trigger temper and high standard of decency, my father for his outstanding ability to be awesome and intimidating simultaneously, my mother for being a saint on earth, and my aunt for wanting to make everyone happy all of the time, even at her own peril.  Because of my love for them and all of the things they have instilled in me, you get to walk away with nary a scratch!  Simply a blog post in order to vent, and carefully hidden from those it would disappoint, from my heart to the eyes of those bored enough to read it.

Thanks again for coming!

The Path of Most Resistance

The Path of Most Resistance

In August my aunt was kind enough to take me on a wonderful trip to Hawaii.  She and I have ruefully joked that it seems that we either A:  had a simultaneous dream in which we both were on said trip, or B:  that it happened approximately seven years ago.

The trip was lovely and I was blessed to be able to spend that great time with her during what we thought was a difficult time in both of our lives.  Life soon had more in store for us and the trip now is a faded memory only recalled with photo aid.

Immediately upon our return to the mainland we set out to see her parents, my grandparents, at their home in Southern California.  At some point years prior there was a time that my grandfather in particular was very critical of me and to be honest ever since that time I was wary of return trips.  Having enjoyed visits in between that debacle years ago and this one in August though, I felt the wariness give way to a bittersweet return to childhood and the knowledge that this time with them may very well be the last.

Grandma had suffered a minor fall while chasing her escapee of a dog and I made a big fuss over permanently fixing a leash to her chair so she could secure that little nutbag dog prior to answering the door, as that was his escape method of choice.  We spent some time looking over a photo book that I had never seen; a collection of her childhood family photos.  I took pictures of each of the pages.

My little Japanese Grandma had a hankering for burritos that day and her favorite thing to do was buy a baker’s dozen for us to eat and take home to our family in Washington.  I offered to take her and she readily accepted as she never drove and probably wanted to get out of the house.  She was wobbly from her fall and I walked slowly beside her to make sure she stayed upright, helping her into and out of the car.  She ordered about sixteen gigantic burritos at the small taqueria she loved to patronize and we sat at a little booth to wait for our order.  I looked at her glasses and as usual they were perched at the end of her “no-nose”, as she called it, and crooked.  I took them off of her to fix them and realized she was missing a nosepad.  Turns out that her optometrist was in the same strip mall so we made that our next stop.

As we waited for her nosepad to be replaced, she proudly stated to the office staff that I was her granddaughter visiting from Seattle, that I was an optician and jokingly insinuated that they should watch their backs.  It made me feel really embarrased and really, really special.  She and I were in a good mood, giggling and joking.  She turned to me suddenly to tell me that she felt lucky and that we should stop next to get some lottery tickets.  This cracked me up, naturally, and I told her I would take her wherever she wanted to go.  Well, upon return of her glasses she told me to take a right and next thing you know we are walking in to some crazy ass smoke shop full of crazy ass smoke shop type folk.  The incongruity of my little tiny adorable respectable grandma standing on line at a smoke shop just made me giddy and I bit the inside of my cheek while she told the clerk in her accented English that she wanted one of each ticket.  The clerk, in a different kind of accented English, readily sold all of them to her.

On the short drive home I looked at my little grandma and told her that I wished I lived closer so I could do this with her all the time.  She and I had never had any time together just the two of us…not like that.  It was an hour. Max.  I will never forget it.  Later that night, the goodbyes were harder than ever and I drove my aunt and I the 90 minutes back to her house blinking back my tears.

A couple of months later, Grandma had a severe dizzy spell that sent her to the hospital.  The terror in my aunt’s voice when she told me how scared she was that it was serious…I will never forget.  Later that day, though, Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt were at home eating Chinese food and Grandma was more talkative than I ever remember her being.  She told me about her “peepee test” and all of the things that had gone on.  Turns out she had a few of those spells in her lifetime and she told me she was fine and “don’t worry, I’m too mean to kick the bucket”.

She and Grandpa made it, along with their dog, a driver, and a Town Car to their daughter’s house for Christmas and I thank whoever is listening for that.  Three weeks later, Grandma was in the hospital because she was sick to her stomach.  I texted my aunt that she would be ok, that it would be ok.  But in my journal I asked God not to take her because we so desperately needed her.  I prayed for one of the few times in my life and I did not sleep that night.  In the morning I called my mom to see if she knew how Grandma was doing and I heard the radio in the background.  My mother is a cell phone stickler and never talks on the phone while driving.  My heart sunk to my feet.  Mom said she had just dropped Dad at the airport and that Grandma was not doing well.  I asked her to come straight to my house and she did.

My wonderful and amazing dad lost his amazing and wonderful mother while he was stuck in San Jose waiting for his flight to her.  Of all things, I think that breaks my heart the most.  Our world became a different and frightening place in that moment.  I forced my mom to get on a plane within the hour, as the snow was falling and the airport would soon close.  My mom, worried for my surgery the next day, was refusing to go.  I told her Dad needed her more and that we would call her constantly, that everything would be fine.

A day and a half after surgery I was there with them too, on one of the only flights out of SeaTac that day.  The power was out, the world encompassed in ice, roads treacherous.  The next day my husband called to let me know his wonderful father had a heart attack and was in the hospital.  My heart hurt to be away from him.  My heart hurt to see the glazed eyes of my aunt, grandfather and parents.  Surreal does not even come close to describing those days.  A seven inch hole in my chest and everyone I loved was in pain.

As we have somehow made it through the weeks since she left us, we have stayed busy with the business of change.  Planning the memorial and living through it.  The work of moving Grandpa, who is coming to live with my parents and leaving his home of 42 years.  Yes, his little dog is coming too.  My brother is moving in with us.  The seven inch hole is finally and not without complication, starting to heal.  Chris’ dad is amazingly strong and back to work already.

We have blessings.  I know somewhere in my mind that we do.  Just not all of them.  I wish God would have answered my prayer.  I wish I could suspend that moment in time that I got to walk slow with Grandma the way she walked slow with me when I was little.  I wish I could take away the pain for my aunt, she is my best friend.  For my parents, who I love more than life, I wish to make their lives easier and make them realize how much they and their happiness mean to me.  I wish my Grandpa an easy transition and that he has the strength to move forward out of love for his wife of 59 years and out of respect for those that love him even when he isn’t easy to love.

As for me, I am scared of loss.  Scared to leave my loved ones out of my sight.  Sometimes scared to leave the house.  Scared to move on, to feel what I have to feel to do so.  I guess writing this is part of stopping and feeling those feelings.  I have written tributes, obituaries and stared at pictures of my grandma for days to make her slideshow.  All of those things were difficult yet easy because they were for her, and there is not one thing I would not do for her.  But this one is for me, for those of us that are here missing her.  The hardest thing to do on this path of ours seems to be crying for ourselves, for our immense feeling of loss.  The loss of her sweet self, the loss of our innocence.  Life must go on but that path is yet to be.

There Goes My Stripper Career.

There Goes My Stripper Career.

I haven’t written for a while, all the words in my head have been swirling and I find it super hard to sit and write.  Or sit and do one thing at a time, or do anything at all.  You see, my doctor told me that I have a third stage skin disease and while it isn’t life threatening or anything like that, big giant chunks of boob have to be removed.  From me.  My boob.  So that I won’t have any potential threatening of life from the stupid mass that decided to become my right boob’s conjoined twin.

This isn’t my first time with this lovely issue, however, this is the most severe time.  And hopefully, the last time.

I have to laugh a little because if there was ever a body part of mine that I didn’t hate it was the boobal region, but as this is the third surgery and I have no realistic idea of what I will wake up looking like, I think it’s time to put my dreams to rest.  I have to put the stripper dreams to bed. Sigh.  For unless the stage and pole were part of a circus tent sideshow, the dream has to die.  “Step right up folks and be partially disgusted by the horrifying and hideous….Frankenboob!”.

Seriously, though, I am a virtual litany of physical reasons why I would be the world’s grossest stripper.  And I have never aspired to be one.  Maybe it would be cool to have the body of a really good one but otherwise, no.  But I am not opposed to strippers, or strip clubs, for that matter.  I have been to a couple back in my wilder days.  One in Vegas and one in Victoria, B.C.

Ladies, if you are in Vegas and want free stuff, all you have to do is look halfway decent and tell a friendly male cab driver that you want to go to a strip club.  Now, when I said this years ago, I was tipsy, in Vegas on business and was mostly kidding around.  Well, the cabbie gave me his card when he dropped my cohorts and I off at our destination and let me know that he would pick us up and take us wherever we wanted to go.  Later, drunk and falling off a bar stool, I “accidentally” dialed the number and in less than seven lucky minutes we were off to a swanky (yeah, I didn’t know they existed either) strip joint.  Free cab ride, free entry for myself and the five people with me and enough drink tickets to buy for the entire place.  Of course I sobered up as we arrived and realizing where I was, I sort of felt uncomfortable so I mostly spent the time quickly utilizing my drink tickets and reveling in the fact that the night of craziness was free.

In Victoria, the strip clubs are different.  They are far more performance-based and the chicks inexplicably all carry blankets onto the stage with them for the few moments they are off of the pole.  I know this because my husband used to play baseball in Victoria and of course had frequented a club or two during his travels.  It was “because of the guys on the team” naturally.  However, even if it wasn’t, I don’t mind.  Really.  This is the guy that told the stripper doing the Jersey Turnpike in his face at his bachelor party that he could smell what she had for dinner.  Nubile girl ass in his face and he tells her he guesses it was beef stew.  He’s good like that and that’s reason 607 why I married him.

Anyway, on a couples trip to B.C. with some friends of ours we decided that we had to find out what this whole blanket on the stage thing was all about.  After a day spent touring, drinking, shopping, drinking, and drinking, we called a cab to haul our drunk selves to a local establishment so that we could debunk the blanket myth.  I rode in the front of the car and as I am wont to do when intoxicated, began chatting up our driver.  Chatting with cabbies while drunk for me equals trading dead baby and dead hooker jokes.  Those guys have some real doozies.  I was having a great time with the guy but alas, we had arrived at our destination.

Our husbands being old pros at strip club attendance, they settled in easily though were perplexed by the incongruity of their wives accompanying them.  Us two ladies were not quite comfortable at first either.  So we took a few shots and had a few beers.  We went from embarrassed to tilt pretty quickly and it was quite possibly the most hilarious and awesome night ever.  Drinking and debauchery galore.  Absolute mayhem.   We moved from the back of the room to the area nearest the stage and ended up having some sort of celebrity status with the strippers, all nice girls, by the way.  Our favorite girl is depicted above and she was the favorite of our husbands’ too…which made them quite haughty when she paid so much attention to us ladies and ignored them.  Our night was not to be outdone by our jealous husbands and more hilarity ensued as my husband fought off a feisty French Canadian that wanted to kidnap me, I told a halfwitted girl who tried to start shit that my shoes cost more than her house and told another mean girl to “kiss the rings, bitch”.  I also told people I was a US Marshal.  By the end of the night we had a security escort, after all, a US Marshal being accosted at a strip club doesn’t look good for Canada.

Now I have never been sicker than I was the next morning but as the fuzzier moments were re-lived we had learned that the blanket myth was reality and that strippers are real girls, and that my husband really hates French Canadian dudes.  Of course when he re-tells the story he adds in some colorful imagery complete with John Woo doves flying around them as they took on the French Canadian and his army of buddies while Peter Cetera sings in the background.  The only actual injury incurred that evening was when we went looking for cheeseburgers at 3am and I skinned my knee hopping a fence.

My partying days have been pretty much over for a while now and though I am boring I am okay with that.  Now that the boob debacle has hit a crucial point I have no choice but to be done with everything.  No excessive drinking, no smoking, limited caffeine, eat right, exercise.  Blah Blah Blah.  I know it’s good for me, I’m not stupid.  I am, however, WEAK.  But!   I should have quit all of that a long time ago.  Or never started.  So it’s time to throw away the cigarettes and buy as many stop smoking aids as I can because I will need them all.  The drinking is not a big deal anymore though it would have been in prior points of my life.  The caffeine will be as tough as the ciggies but at least they make decaf.  Eating right and exercise, ugh, I’ll get to that when I can.  Rome wasn’t built in a day for chrissakes.  If you see me eating a corn dog and a burrito simultaneously I recommend that you back away, avert your eyes, and bring me cheese if you know what’s good for you.

It’s a blessing in disguise, this boob problem.  While of course it’s scary to deal with this and have surgery and it sucks to have this painful thing happening, I am really freaking lucky.  There are people a lot sicker that do a lot less stupid stuff to their bodies.  It’s unfair, really, how lucky I am.  So for once I will heed my doctors orders out of respect for those people, if nothing else.  And I needed a reason to start fresh and take care of myself.  It feels like it’s time to make some significant changes.  As far as what the mangled Frankenboob will look like, yeah, that kind of sucks too but lucky for me my husband loves me and is used to the gross neglect of myself.  He has stood by me through everything and I have no doubt that if I, for some unknown reason, needed him to pull out grotty boob stitches with his teeth he would do it.  He’s kind of awesome that way.  Like Peter Cetera and John Woo doves.

Muffle the Smoke Alarm

Muffle the Smoke Alarm

It stands to reason that approximately everybody makes a New Year’s Resolution or two…or twenty.  I generally have a laundry list of faults and foibles that each year I vow will change instantly at the stroke of midnight, and of course this is ridiculous.  This past year has been a real mofo, so seeing the end of it was welcome.  But I have been busy and have not made my token list of “resolutions” aka hopes that I am soon to dash.

As the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve this year, I was attempting to sleep.  Tired from work and a lack of sleep over the prior week, I was content to crawl into bed at 9:30pm.  However, our neighborhood of maniacs will find any reason to drop thousands for fireworks and lit them with abandon, blasting the neighborhood begininning at around…9:35pm.  This made for irritation for me, hilarity for the husband, and for three nervous dogs, the perfect occasion to blast the carpet with stress induced diarrhea.  Instead, though, the dogs made it their collective resolution to once and for all finally find a way to crawl inside my skin however possible.  Comforting them, I resigned to waiting out the goddamned fireworks.  Back episodes of Eastbound and Down on HBO kept me only partly entertained so I figured, all right then.  Let’s make some goddamned resolutions.

I lay there, contorted and uncomfortable, with one sleeping (read: snoring) husband beside me, a thirty pound dog on my head, another dog sprawled between my legs so that I could only lay prone and spreadeagled.  The last, most giant dog, spent the night shoving her snout repeatedly into my hand, face, and eventually my left kidney in an attempt to keep me stroking her fur.  God forbid I stop.  Getting up to gather list-making materials was all but impossible, as was breathing or moving, so instead of making the list of lies I normally tell myself every new year, I figured that I had to come up with one thing that I could remember and make it my all-encompassing resolution.

So I had this thought:  I will stop muffling the smoke alarm.  Figuratively speaking, of course.

Let me try to explain my sleep-deprived thought process.  Ok.  You’re standing there in a room filling with smoke, right?  And you’re waving your arms and flapping a towel at the alarm just trying to make it stop the god-blessed screeching.  And you’re spending all of your energy and hope on frantically waving the smoke away just so it will shut up.  But you never look for the cause, the origin of where the smoke derived.  Eventually you pull the plastic alarm out of the ceiling and stomp on it, or throw the batteries across the room and revel in the silence once you have freed yourself from all the noise.  But you are now exhausted.  And unsafe.  Now that the alarm is disabled you are in danger of fire…but that horrible noise is gone so you figure, I can live with a little smoke.  And turn a blind eye on it if it returns, which it surely will.

When I think about it, somehow it has become normal to muffle the alarm instead of finding the source of the choking smoke and fighting the fire.  The alarm sounds for things that you deal with out of what you consider to be necessity, the wrongs that you think you cannot make different, that steal your character slowly and in small measure over time, until you don’t recognize the chameleon-like individual you have become…bending to the whims of only the needs of others all for the low, low price of your very own happiness.  Turning a blind eye has given me a sore neck and my arms are like noodles from the towel flapping.  So, it struck me that every single thing on a hundred page list of resolutions falls within this categorization.  Stop muffling the alarm.  Put out the fires as they come and stifle the old smoldering slow burners for good.  Find the cause and fix it.

It’s convoluted.  And pretty lame, in all honesty.  But it makes sense to me.  And in my life, like lying contorted in a bed full of frightened dogs, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else to be right.

Eating the Proverbial Oreo

Eating the Proverbial Oreo

At 7 years old I, like every other 2nd grader, was made to stand on risers in an abominably itchy sweater and sing Christmas carols at a school assembly/recital type thing.  I was a nervous child, shy natured, with the intestinal constitution of a preemie nursed on Ipecac.  Now, this is not to say I was an unhappy kid, just a sensitive one.  Any unexpected change in routine, like the appearance of a substitute teacher in the place of my beloved teacher (Ms. Clarke, that year) would cause the churning and roiling in my gut that would send me running for the nearest bathroom.

At any rate, the morning of the 2nd grade Christmas sing-off, I was nervous.  Nervous because of the singing to commence, my itchy sweater and my breakfast choice.  I had decided that since the only cereal available was Life (blugh), and my mother was catching a little extra sleep, that I would take this opportunity to get my one and only chance at a sugar fix.  Sugar was never available for breakfast in any form, you see, and as much as I begged for the cereal choices my friends enjoyed, there was no Cookie Crisp coming my way.  It was Kix or Life and I was over both mushy, tasteless options.  What did we have that would usurp Cookie Crisp?  Oreo’s.  Yes!  Approximately  20 Oreo’s would do just fine.

Cookies guiltily consumed and my mom none the wiser, we headed to school.  I walk in, but…Where’s my teacher?  We have a SUB!  On top of guilty Oreo breakfast, a dreaded sub.  And just like an Oreo she was dressed in black and white.  Black sweater and ivory pants.  What are the odds?  Sigh.  Queasy, I swallow my bile and follow the other kids to the auditorium.

From my dead center location on the risers, I see my mom and the sub.  I am hot.  Then clammy.  Nauseous, swallowing and gulping, I get through a song or two.  Somewhere in the middle of Rudolph, I know it’s coming.  The Oreo’s are on the rise and no matter what I do, I can’t keep them down.  Panicked, I stare into the eyes of my sub, silently pleading…but it’s not working.  Ms. Clarke would have known what to do…but this broad?  Clueless.  I can’t just throw up!  I am in the middle of the risers, the star of the show!  I am desperate.  Not knowing at all what to do, I do what every well-behaved 2nd grader does.  I slowly start to RAISE MY HAND.  Mid-song.

The sub sees and looks at me quizzically.  My instant Pavlovian response to her acknowledgement is burping, gulping and retching.  Her eyes wide, she jumps up from her seat, runs up to me, yanks me from the risers in front of everyone.  As the kids keep singing I can see my mom running toward me from the corner of my eye…we make it just outside the auditorium doors and still running toward the nurses office I can’t hold it any longer and  BLLLLLLAAAAAAGHHHHHH….

Projectile vomit.  BLACK projectile vomit.  All over the creamy ivory pants worn by the sub.  We stop running and I cry and apologize.  Shock.  No one can believe what just came out of me.  My wide-eyed mom, mind whirling, is thinking first that I am dying: black puke is the precursor to dying, surely.  Then the fleeting thought that I may be the Anti-Christ, spewing black froth at a Christmas recital can only be explained by this theory.  She is perplexed for the moment, but I know the truth.  And I am ashamed and embarrassed.  And so sick.

Apologies and dry cleaning arrangements having been made with the sub, we head for home.  My mom is the best mom and when I am sick, she is somehow even better.  She tucks me in and I take a much-needed post-vomit, post-cry nap.  When I wake up, my sweet mom is right there next to me, asking me how I am.  “Better”, I manage to whisper.  She tells me that’s she’s glad and looking down at me in my bed, she smiles.  Smiles and offers me an Oreo.

And in my 7-year-old head I say, goddammit.

And now I am 35 years old and still a nervous and sensitive sort, though I hide it a little better.  Or I’d like to think I do.  I do have a tendency to emotionally involve myself in situations in which I know I will come out feeling sad or lost, particularly when dog rescue is involved.  My mom may be proud of me for what I try to do but she doesn’t always say so…I think she wants me to find a project less taxing.  I know that is born out of her own protective mom nature, but I find it hard to talk to her about, say, how sad I am to let go of a foster dog and how scary it is to trust his new family to love him, lovely as they are.  In her mind, she thinks:  you shouldn’t foster dogs, it will make you sad.  Whereas I think:  I will be sad, but it’s worth it.  So we differ.  However, yesterday, when exactly such a situation occurred, the first thing I could think to do was call my mom.  She listened on the phone as I drove home and I found myself driving to her house.  She made me soup and we didn’t talk about it, but that was ok.  Because my mom is the best mom and when I am sad, she is somehow even better.   She doesn’t ask why I would do something that would make me sick or sad, she just knows how to make it just that much more ok.   Even when I eat the proverbial Oreo.






Selfish Selflessness, Doggy Style.

Selfish Selflessness, Doggy Style.

A couple of years ago we adopted our dog, Yoshi.  I have absolutely no recollection as to how I found him on Petfinder or even how it came to pass that I found the group that had him up for adoption.  Looking back it was kismet, I suppose, that somehow I did.

So somehow, some way, we brought home a little tiny weird black thing rescued from the streets of Taiwan that my mom (the professed lover of all puppies) saw and asked, eyes boggling, if we had found the elusive Chupacabra.  Granted, he was an odd looking puppy but we were absolutely head over heels for this bat-eared, frog-legged, sparsely furred little specimen.  He shook and cried on the way home from Seattle yet took a step into our home and decided it was the perfect place to reign supreme.  His Highness and Lulu were fast friends and commenced wrestling immediately which was absolutely hilarious as he was approximately Lulu poo size at the time.  We fell hard and fast.  An orphaned pup from an ocean away was sleeping in our bed…it still blows my mind how far he had to come to be safe as he had no real chance at life in his home country.

Two years later,  I can hardly believe he was ever that small little baby, he is now a handsome athletic chunko of a black devil little shit and acts like he owns the joint.  With his addition to the family came the addition of dog rescue into my life.  That bumpy road has shown me more than I ever thought possible about the amazing resilience of dogs and the superhuman strength of the people who truly rescue dogs from death and give them a new chance at life every day.  My own limits have been tested and breached a hundred times and I do little compared to some.  Coaxing and comforting, bathing the dirty, driving the homeless to a place to be warm and loved.  Listening and emailing.  Getting lied to and being told horrible truths.  Holding judgment and silently swearing.  Crying and laughing.  Heart breaking and bursting.  Breakthroughs and breakdowns.  That is the road so far.  A foster dog or two have come and gone with all having gone swimmingly, one so much so that we adopted him.  Dogs I have boarded for their owners have come and gone too and as it turns out the one thing I am really good at is taking care of high-strung, skittish rescue dogs.  But pride goeth before a fall.

A couple of months ago after much ado, I went to Portland to pick up our newest foster dog.  Saved from Thailand, this guy was as skittish as they come.  But he took right to me and so I was head over heels in love with this little fuzzy guy inside of an hour.  Remember that pride goeth before a fall thing?  Yeah.  Soon enough the sunshine and rainbows were replaced with urine, feces, holes in walls and chewed through doors.  I did everything wrong for him, it seemed, as his separation anxiety took over all of our lives.  Thousands of dollars in damage and epic fights between my husband and I and endless tears to follow.  After plenty more mistakes and some more ups and downs we have just finally hit our stride.  My foster guy is calm and content.  Playing and interacting well with our dogs, napping with Lulu, playing fetch with Yoshi.  Snuggling with Bruce (the foster dog we adopted over a year ago).  My buddy is always by my side, kissing me on the nose, laying at my feet while I do dishes (none of my dogs do that for crying out loud), he is getting over his fear of men slowly still, but is tolerating my husband…finally.  And guess what?  Tomorrow we are headed to his debut at an adoption event.  Why now?  Why?  What an asshole thing to say, right?

On one hand all I want in the world is to keep him forever because he loves me like nobody’s business.  And because I love him just the same.  And I know I am an asshole and selfish and that it’s not fair to him, as he deserves and needs someone that can be with him far more than I.  My twelve hour days are about as conducive to his well-being as a recovering sex addict getting a job in the mattress department at Macy’s.

On the other hand, I desperately want him to find his forever home so his rescue will be complete and his life will be too. And so I won’t be holding him back or claim to rescue when all I want to do is keep for myself.  As he lays curled next to me as I type, I cannot imaging not petting him or snuggling him or that tonight is his last night with me.  Pray for me, because I am a selfish mofo.  I may even give prayer a shot…strength at that adoption event tomorrow, Lord.  And please send that special person along for my sweet buddy, someone I can trust with this love of mine.


“The” Question and Dropping Knowledge

In my group of friends it is a well known fact that I have and will ask anyone and everyone “The” question.   I don’t remember  when or how it started but somewhere in my twenties, obviously while intoxicated, “The” question was born.

You can glean much information from the answers you get from this question and it’s a real ice-breaker on a first date or at a bar.

“The” question?

Would you let someone poop in your mouth for one million tax-free dollars?

Now.  Ask yourself.  Then ask a friend!  It’s a blast.  No, you don’t have to chew or swallow.  IF YOU SAY NO:  You A: already have one million tax-free dollars.  Or B: are a liar.  It’s that simple!  IF YOU SAY YES: Whatever, so do I!  I wouldn’t do it for any other reason but a giant payday.  A few moments of disgust for one million dollars?  Yep.  In our dire straits I would probably do it for 50G’s.

In our house, poop is relegated to the toilet.  However, the fine art of pooping is much discussed and revered.  It is known as “dropping knowledge”.  Or in the case of Taco Bell inhalation or similar feats of gastric limit-testing, “dropping serious knowledge”.

I guess I am lucky to have a husband that not only appreciates a good poo as much as myself but will actually awaken me from Saturday morning slumber to drag me downstairs to actually witness his “knowledge” in all of its gigantic greatness.  That guy, I swear, has a week’s worth of rock solid waste that goes straight down into the depths of the bowl as far as the eye can see and breaches the surface of the water like a fecal Jaws.  It’s impressive.

But I have him beat.  The post barium milkshake “phantom ghosts”  after endoscopy were pretty surprising.  Imaging crapping out old dog doo.  Powdered sugar poopoo.

But the very best, the most ridiculous and awesome of dumps, happened in the woods of Eastern Oregon.  This happened a few years ago at our friend’s parents property.  We all ate (inexplicably) about thirty deviled eggs for dinner followed by seventy-eight beers around the bonfire.  After a night of severe punishment outhouse-style, the morning shone bright.  A breakfast of scrambled eggs and a little corn salsa and a few of us decided to take the ATV’s up the mountain.  All of that jostling and jarring over rough terrain was fun for awhile.  And then suddenly, it wasn’t.

Politely excusing myself by loudly exclaiming, “I have to take a shit”, I began the task of running around in circles frantically searching for something to clean up what was sure to be a large mess.  Friends Goat and Kate had my backside covered, though, and produced the only thing they could find; an old, slick-paged L.L. Bean catalog.  Accepting it gratefully, I made my way to the edge and held on to a branch while blasting the mountainside.  Sweet relief.  Buzzing bees broke my revelry and I hightailed it back to safety.  But I just HAD to look.  I peeked over.  And there it was.  It was the most glorious, perfectly swirled Dairy Queen soft serve with, I swear to Jeebs, two corn kernels right on top.  Maraschino cherries atop a shit sundae.  I don’t know if I have ever been more proud and Kate and Goat, being the great friends that they are, shared the moment with me.  We gagged and snorted and just about died laughing.

Poop is natural.  Everybody does it.  It brings people together.  It’s satisfying.  I do it while playing Angry Birds on my phone and it is the one true moment of peace in my day.  So go forth and talk about poop with a friend.  Sit at a bar and when a member of the opposite sex approaches you, ask them “The” question.  Go ahead and judge my toilet talk all you want but ask that question and you will see into someone’s very soul.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go drop some knowledge.

Stoic Martini

Like a movie 1950’s housewife, I prefer a martini and stonefaced denial to most things.  Including owning and admitting my struggles with depression.

Now.  I know it’s a widespread problem and one that is much discussed and accepted.  Medications on television and blah blah.  To me, it still feels very much unaccepted and misunderstood.  And judged.  And it makes me feel unacceptable to myself, which is another issue altogether.

With that 1950’s martini wife attitude comes a lot of anxiety about discussing this with ANYONE, including medical doctors.  Or typing these words on these keys.


Recently, I faced the fact that the inevitable return to medication was necessary as (unless an infant) it is unacceptable to wake up and instantly burst into sobbing, ugly, gulpy crying fits.  It took some time to gear myself up for a visit with a new doctor, as I haven’t had a regular doctor in…well, ever.  I HATE to go to the doctor and will put it off at all costs.  That being said, when I needed one and needed one on the double my doctor aversion karma bit me in the ass at a really bad time.

Appointment made with Doctor #1.  They could get me in a week.  Wondering how the fuck I could survive another week feeling the way I did, I took it and counted down the days, minutes, seconds.  Day of appointment, the receptionist calls three hours prior to my scheduled appointment to tell me “Doctor doesn’t have time for a new patient appointment”, we can reschedule you”.  Anger.  Then tears.  Oh, CAN you?  Why, you’re too kind.  But no. way.  I should have known it was a shit show office when it took 30 minutes and a call back to schedule the appointment in the first place.

Doctor #2.  In desperation after waiting for the original appointment with Doctor #1 that was cancelled last minute, I went here as a walk-in that same day.  While standing at the front desk nearly coming out of my skin because I just needed help, for crying out loud, I am silently praying that this will go well.  Instead, upon sheepishly telling the giant behind the desk why I was there I was looked at disdainfully and told LOUDLY by unsmiling front desk Jabba The Hut (I know that’s not nice , but come ON)  “Well, I don’t know what WE can do for you”.  I left in a state of shock.

Doctor #3 and a month later…jackpot.  An hour and forty-five minutes past my appointment time, a nice little fella asked me some questions and because I am a person that cares way too much about the opinion of others, I joked and smile with him as I answered.  Then he handed me some questionnaire-type paperwork.  Ten or so multiple choice questions, I assume, to determine your level of depression and interest in staying alive.  At first glance I wondered what kind of idiot created it and then about 3 seconds later that thing scared the crap right out of me.  In my head: “If I circle one too many of the same type of answer will I then be hauled off to share a room with someone like me?  Is there a worse kind of hell?  Oh God…..”.  ”

Turns out that wasn’t necessary (thankfully) and that Doctor #3 is a keeper, even if he made me wait two hours.  Also turns out talking about depression isn’t quite (gritting teeth) as hard as I thought it would be.  All the angst and anxiety over having to tell someone face to face what was “wrong with me” just melted away with the understanding and empathy I felt in his responses and saw in his face.  A treatment plan is in place and just knowing that makes me feel better.

I believe that depression is still misunderstood.  I have it and I don’t understand it, so I can relate.  However, I have heard far too many people I consider to be intelligent spew dumb and sometimes even heartless where it is concerned and felt the need to maybe put myself out there.  Maybe it will help me to get better.  But what I sincerely hope is that the people out there that have been put off or treated poorly by their version of Doctor #1 and Doctor #2 get to find their Doctor #3 .  That they don’t give up hope that someday they will get to actually feel better.  That they don’t stop taking their medication because they think they are “better” or can no longer afford it (yep).  That they don’t feel isolated by those around them that don’t get it, even if they are members of their own family.  That they swallow their pride or embarrassment.  That they throw away their own stoic martini and stop sweeping the shards under the rug.

Hey, Thanks

Hey, Thanks

In Hawaii a few months ago, while in the throes of some kind of sun related euphoria,  I made a list of goals.  One of which was to write daily.  In my mind, I write daily.  In the shower, in the car, on the toilet…the thoughts and words really flow.  But the goal was to actually write, not just think about it whilst pooping.

So to celebrate the fact that the goal list is still in existence and not lost in the laundry I still haven’t done since the return from Hawaii a few months ago, here goes.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and as this year has been one of the most ridiculous and depressing yet to date, it would seem there would be little to be thankful for.  But as I sit here on the couch in the house we still (barely) own, curled up next to the foster dog that nearly destroyed said house, thinking of my love for the husband sleeping upstairs that nearly divorced me over said foster dog while sipping this 16 ounce Keystone Light (Eighteen 16 oz’ers equals a case, it says so on the box)…I am thankful.

The blog is called almost always an idiot because aside from being a child masquerading as an adult I really am almost always an idiot.  So it’s pretty self explanatory.  It’s not meant to be self-deprecating (though I think that’s a fine quality in myself and others) or meant to evoke some sort of “what are you TALKING about, you’re AMAZING” fakiness from anyone (assuming anyone at all will read this).  It’s a for-real fact.

I talk about poop, I have been known to bite off more than I can chew in every possible way, over-extend myself one week then hide under the covers the next.  I have peed in my car (a story for another day), have puked in all the wrong places.  Never do laundry, spend money like a drunken sailor, act like an ass.  I have neglected friendships, eaten an old burrito from my backseat.  There’s so much more.  I mean, what the hell is wrong with me?  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s funny.  But more times than not I have had to pay the piper (particularly where that burrito was concerned).  So clearly, I am an idiot and there is much I don’t know.

However, the one thing I do know is how thankful I am for family.  Family as in my own and my husband’s, whom I love so much I have never deemed them “In-Laws”.  Husband, I think, may only be married to me for access to my family so I am pretty sure I can speak for him where this is concerned.  I include the four legged members of our family of course, because they are the center of our existence.

In addition to the blood, by marriage, and four-legged relations; I am also thankful for the friends I have had for years that accept my inability to pick up a phone or attend their children’s birthdays.  I love and am thankful as hell for them, as much as it may appear otherwise.  The friends that haven’t been around as long that I also love and am so thankful for…hey, thanks.

There’s plenty on that Hawaii sun-stroked goal list that has yet to be crossed off but every day brings a new opportunity to get something accomplished…just not the laundry.  Let’s not get crazy.