Monday, March 19, 2018

Striking Out

Today was rough.  Dad was in a horrible mood when I arrived at the nursing home.  I brought him his traditional bananas, diet Pepsi and Reese cups, and he still was just not happy.  He laid in bed for most of my visit, not wanting to go for a walk or for me to push him in his wheelchair.  Perhaps the most uncharacteristic thing he did today though was strike out at Fenna and yell at her.  I quickly told him to stop being mean to the dog and explained to him that I would not bring her over to visit again if he was going to strike at her.  He told me he didn't care, exclaiming that he hated all animals.  This is so far from who he really is.  He LOVES animals and would not strike an animal if he had to when he is in his right mind!  

Fenna actually handled my father's outburst better than I did.  It was as if she knew that something was off with him today.  She quickly dodged him when he yelled at her, and she looked at him confused for half a minute, but came right back and laid down at the foot of the bed on the floor.  She was quiet and watched him, but was unaffected and willing to forgive him.  

I'm praying this is not a trend.  I didn't know the man I saw today.  
He was not my "dad". 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hiking And CSI Don't MIx....

NicuK and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather recently and took our pups for a hike in the woods across from our new house.  Now, I know, it's a bad idea to explore woods after watching CSI and Criminal Minds, and instantly from the moment I stepped into the woods, I was on high alert.  

When we entered the woods, Fenna immediately started "hunting" for something.  I assumed she was looking for "deer raisins".  I then noticed a huge rib cage, spine and a femur sticking up in the air.  Immediately I looked at NicuK and said:  "God, I hope that's an animal!"  Upon closer inspection, we determined it was a deer.  By the looks of the decomposing body we are guessing the big guy had been dead for several months and due to the broken tines on his rack, we are assuming he was hit by a car.  Fenna was in heaven!  NicuK was not so much in heaven.  She had been watching for this deer for a while after seeing his hoof prints in our front yard, so to see such a magnificent guy dead was kind of a disappointing.  

On the way out of the woods, NicuK stopped suddenly, put her hand over her heart and goes:  "Oh God, that scared me!"  I couldn't quite see what she was looking at when she said this, and then I saw her.  After finding the dead deer and still in my CSI/Criminal Minds state of mind, I nearly had a heart attack!  For a second I thought we were going to have to call 911, and then I realized, she was just a mannequin with a bad hair cut who obviously, by the marks on her forehead had experienced a run in with some type of sharp object.  

I'm hoping for a little less excitement and a little more bravery by the time Spring in Ohio really arrives....

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Dog Can Fly!

We don't call him Toad Hopper for nothin'!
My dog can fly!  
What's your dog's super power?!

Well meaning people say to me all the time: "Oh, I want a Malinois!"  And generally they've met a well behaved Malinois whose owner who really "gets" this breed.  I always answer their questions, but generally I try to talk them out of this breed for the picture above....

I often tell folks: "They aren't a dog, they're a lifestyle.  The only thing a Malinois does poorly is nothing.  The go ALL day long, and then are ready to go again."

I love this picture of Kay and Toad playing fetch this afternoon.
It really shows the athleticism behind this breed.... 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Wrongly Labeled

I'm a strong woman.
Some might consider me short tempered or bitchy.
Evidently some consider me aggressive.
I don't like that connotation.
I especially hate when people use it as a way to describe me negatively.

In all honesty, I'm not aggressive.
I'm assertive.
There's a difference.

I'm confident.
I'm passionate.
I know what I want.
I'm sure of myself and I don't care what other people think about me.

I seldom behave.
I'm occasionally hard to handle, and if you are weak or mild you may be intimidated by me.

Often times people take me for being rude.
Please don't confuse my directness with rudeness.
There is a difference.

No,  I don't sugar coat things.
It's not my style.
In fact, I'm honest to a fault sometimes, and I will hurt you with the truth before I tell you a lie.

I think a lot.
I constantly reflect and evaluate my emotions, in an attempt to be a better human being.

I will never hurt you intentionally, and I will feel horribly guilty if I hurt you accidentally.

I can't stand someone who lies, and I will not hesitate to cut you out of my life if you break my trust.
I will forgive you as it takes too much effort to hold a grudge, but I won't forget how you made me feel.

I'm comfortable in my own skin, and my scars are a beautiful reminder of my life experiences.

I say what's on my mind without hesitation, and will advocate for myself and the underdog endlessly.

When I'm angry, give me some time and space to re-group.
I re-bound quickly and we can talk after I thoroughly think things through.

I'm sorry you're too sensitive to understand me.
I'm sorry you're too put off by who I am to like me.
Mostly though, I'm sorry you're too meager to be emphatic like me.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Living the 10th Life

Just treated for fleas, so we can't get too cuddly...

My dad has a heart the size of Montana and his love for animals runs deep, but when you don't have the financial and physical ability to take care of yourself, taking care of an animal is impossible to do.  

For years, our veterinarian has patched up my dad's cat as cost effectively as possible, and when my dad became ill, I spoke with our her explaining that because my dad was in such grave shape and would likely never go back to his house, I was going to bring his cat in to be euthanized because the cat was in just as bad shape as my father.

But I wasn't ready yet....

I am not one to save an animal who is suffering, but try as I might I could not bring myself to euthanize this cat.  For 4 months I have procrastinated, cried, and just turned a blind eye to the fact the end was coming for this guy.  Part of me sees my dad in this cat.  Part of me didn't want to euthanize him because in a way it felt like I was giving up on my dad.  Like I was euthanizing him.  Another part of me felt beyond sorry for this cat.  He is loaded with fleas despite my flea preventative donation every month.  He is horribly anemic, can't walk well, and is a mess from their living situation.  Part of me just wants this cat to live one day where he is warm, free of blood sucking parasites, and where he has a full belly.  

Tonight I got the call from dad asking me to please take his cat to the vet.  He said the cat was unable to walk normally and that he was in rough shape.  I braced myself, fully ready to euthanize the cat, and together Kay and I drove over to take the cat for his final ride.  When we got there, I found a cat who could hardly walk, who had fleas so bad you couldn't see his skin, but through all of his sadness, he just kept purring.

The entire ride to the vet, I was bothered.  I know it makes sense to euthanize this cat, but I for the life of me just couldn't let go!  Finally, with Kay driving, and me deep in thought, I worked out in my head that I would have the cat tested for communicable cat diseases.  If he was positive, I would euthanize him.  If it was negative, I would save him.  I was leaving it up to the Universe.  I was going to let fate work it out.

Shockingly, Sam's blood work came back really well.  He has a high white count and is horribly anemic, but the veterinarian thinks there is a strong possibility he'll pull through.
If he does pull through, he will have a home here with us where he can live out the remainder of his days with no worries, plenty of food, warm/soft spots to rest his weary body, and no "little pets". 

If he doesn't pull through, at least he died comfortably.

 Like my father a few months ago, he isn't going down without a fight....

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Giving Up Breathing for Lent

For Lent this year, I gave up breathing....
Sorry, what I meant was, I gave up Facebook.
It's sort of the same thing to me.....

Truth be told, giving up breathing would've been easier than giving up Facebook!

I did this because I've come to the realization that Facebook makes me less authentic in real life, and it's squelching my creativity.

I'm guilty of jumping onto Facebook every morning to see what's going on in the world and what's going on in other people's world, even before my feet hit the carpet.

I jump on Facebook when I'm riding in the car, when I'm standing in line at Chipotle, when I'm stuck in traffic, and as embarrassing as it is to admit: even when I'm not "stuck" in traffic...

Last week my wife was talking to me when we were driving in the car and I realized we'd had an entire 20 minute conversation, and I could not tell you what she had even said.  (Sorry, Honey!)  That's because instead of being present, I was surfing through Facebook watching kittens fall off counter tops, learning how to bake a potato via solar power, and reading about my friend from 3rd grade's daughter who finally popped in the potty.  (Congrats, kid!)  

Now, these things are important and I enjoy them, but do  I value them over the time I spend with my family?  
With myself?  
With my friends?

I wish my answer was no, but in that moment I realized I was placing more value on online relationships and the online escape than in my physical world, and I needed to stop.

There was no fancy post saying I was taking a Facebook sabbatical, I just quit.  Honestly, most people probably don't even notice I'm gone.    

I'm allowing myself to get on to post my blog posts, but I'm not getting back on every few minutes to watch for "Internet trolls."  (A huge concern for me sometimes...)  I'm just sending my writing out into the digital world to survive on it's own.  To be liked (or not) by whomever enjoys it, and I'm going to catch up with it and read the comments the next time I'm online to share another blog post.  

The first few days of being Facebook free caused me to tick and twitch, I so wanted to know what all those notifications were about, but this experience has actually forced me to write more because I can't quickly throw a picture on my wall with a funny saying.  
It's forcing me to delve deeper.  
I appreciate that.

It's made me be more present and I'm enjoying planning my spring gardens, playing outside, getting work done around the new homestead, and spending more physical time with the people I love.  

Not only will I survive the 40 days, 40 nights, and 7 Sundays, but  I think I will be better for it.... 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Setting myself free.....

Several months ago, someone I love completely berated me via a myriad of vile text messages.  Whether this person honestly feels the way they claimed to feel about me, or they were just acting out of fear and stress, I will never know, but this person screamed the most inhumane things at me, and I have to admit her words cut me to my core.  

Somewhere between hearing: 

"You are a horrible person!"    
"You're fake!"
"If only you were a genuine person...."
"You're f*cking worthless!"
"I hate you!"

I believed this person.  
I believed I was worthless.  
I believed I was horrible.

I quit writing on my blog for fear this person would judge and berate me again for something seen there.  I second guessed everything I put on Facebook for fear the person would judge me for something I wrote there, and honestly I have been walking on eggshells.  

I'm uncomfortable when I talk with this person because where I apologized for anything I'd said or done to warrant this person's feelings towards me, there has been no apology on her part, so even though this women acts like nothing was ever said, it leaves the continual question in my mind:  "Is what she said about me true?  Do I not know myself?  Does she honestly feel this way about me?"  

This woman has stolen my spirit. 
She has taken the joy out of my smile.
Her words took any self-worth and confidence I had, and ground it into the dirt.

This week I realized I was allowing this woman's words to define me, and I am here to say: No more!  I know who I am.  

I'm brave.
I'm kind.
I care. 
I'm worthy.
I'm enough.
I AM who I'm supposed to be.  

This woman's words will no longer hold me in bondage, and her words have no hold on me.  
I'm shutting them down. 
I'm shutting her down.
I was not created to be bullied, vulgarized, stigmatized or humiliated.
I'm writing this blog post to set me free...... 


Monday, January 29, 2018

4 Seconds from Pulling a Britney

Tonight I am struggling.  
I never realized how hard taking care of another person was until I started this adventure with my dad, and I have to say I hate it.
Part of me is sad, part of me is empathetic, and part of me is flat out pissed off.
Now, I'm sure one day I will miss my dad, and one day I will reflect back on this night and cry tears of sadness that he is no longer with me, but tonight....

Tonight I am 4 seconds away pulling a Britney Spears in the late 2000's, shaving my head and beating the crap out of something with an umbrella.  
Tonight, I am not taking care of a "sweet dad".  
Tonight, I am dealing with his alter ego.  I'm dealing with someone who wants what he wants, wants it yesterday, and really doesn't care what/who he destroys to have things his way.  Tonight he forgets his manners, doesn't see the sacrifices made on his part, the financial burden he is strapping me with, and he doesn't say thank you.  
Tonight my best is not good enough.
The worst part about tonight though, is knowing I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
In the past I have always wondered why Britney shaved her head and beat an SUV with an umbrella.  Tonight, I know why......

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Smile, it can't be that bad....

I saw her at Tim Horton's on a Thursday morning.  Her hair was blonde, stick straight and pulled up in a ponytail.  She had a coffee in her perfectly manicured hand and was clad in yoga pants, which were obviously created for a woman with a body type like hers.  She had a beautiful smile, was super perky and I'm sure she was a nice person.  I will never know, because I ate her alive....

You see, the back story here is this.  My father is sick and our family is struggling to do what's best for him while we figure out our new normal.  It's obvious to many people in my immediate life that I'm not handling this with a whole lot of grace some days.  This Thursday morning was one of those days.

My morning started off with an 8:30 meeting at an assisted living place we were trying to get dad admitted to.  From there I was to swiftly rush my dad to a doctor's appointment for a monthly follow up after his hospital release.  The appointment was for 10:30 am.  With a little bit of luck and pixie dust, I managed to usher my father into his doctor's office at 10:27 am.  At this point I was feeling pretty good about my morning accomplishments, and then the receptionist opened her sliding glass door.

I said: "Good Morning!  We're here for a 10:30 appointment."
She looked at me and said:  "I'm sorry your appointment was for 10:00 am."
At this point I tried to explain all my discharge paperwork said the appointment was for 10:30 am and essentially begged the receptionist to work us into the schedule.
The receptionist simply shrugged her shoulders and said: "Sorry!"

In my normal life, a minor inconvenience like this would not derail me, but on this day, it wrecked me.  It was as if every tear I had not shed for the last several weeks came out right there in the lobby in the worst "ugly cry" I have ever cried.  And once I started crying, I could not stop.  I cried out of frustration, sadness, exhaustion, and just flat out defeat.

Breaking me from my tears was Candy the receptionist saying a little too happily: "I would be happy to reschedule your appointment for you!"  Now, I know when I get that angry, I tend to go from 0-60 in mere seconds, and I have been working on this so I snarked at Candy as nicely as I could muster that we would not be rescheduling our appointment as I ushered my father out the door.  As I was feeling sorry for my dad because he looked so dejected after waiting weeks for his appointment, he said to me: "Emmy, don't cry!  I'm sorry I'm sick and putting you through all this.  Can we go to Tim Horton's for lunch?  I'm hungry."  Quickly I turned off my tears, gathered myself up, swallowed my anger and decided to take my dad out for his favorite chicken noodle soup.

This is where I met Yuppie Barbie.

As my dad hurried through the door of Tim Horton's, on a mission to find the nearest restroom, I brought up the rear.  My father said hello to Yuppie Barbie on his way past her and I glanced at her, still just thinking about my morning and my new life.

And that is when Yuppie Barbie said the sentence that almost ended her life.  A little to perky, with her pony tail swaying, Barbie says:  "Smile!  It can't be that bad!"  Only unbeknownst to Barbie it WAS THAT bad!

Without thinking, and with NO restraint, I swung around, met Barbie eye to eye with a look that could kill, and let it fly: "You know WHAT?!  You have NO idea just how bad IT is right now!  My dad is in the fight of his life against an illness!  I can't find an assisted living place who takes his Medicaid, and without that he's essentially homeless!  His medication is expensive, 100% necessary, and I can't seem to secure a way to pay for it.  Did I mention we're facing foreclosure and the reality that he is loosing EVERYTHING?!  That I am using ALL of my vacation and sick time to take him to appointment after appointment and THIS is my WHOLE life right now?!  And on top of ALL OF THIS, we missed his appointment this morning even though we were exactly where we were supposed to be ON TIME!  So you know what?!  Where life might not be that bad for you, it SUCKS for me currently!"

Quickly Barbie left Tim Horton's and truly I felt bad for unleashing on this woman, but honestly the more I got to thinking about it, when did in become okay to assume you know how another person is feeling, what they're thinking or exactly what struggle they're walking through in life.  Perhaps they don't want to smile because they aren't happy.  Perhaps they just lost their job, recently got a horrible cancer diagnosis, or their child has passed away.  People don't wear signs making it obvious as to what personal struggle they're dealing with, so how about we do each other a favor and say or do something positive to the person facing a difficult time, build them up, let them know we care, and for the love of God folks, lets please stop using the phrase: "Smile!  It can't be that bad!".......