Day 2

I’ve been living off of miso soup and protein shakes. Of course I blame the reason for my headache-y lethargy to not taking my multi. Yeah, no. I have chapters and six (short) scene analysis due on Thursday morning, which is just three short sunrises away and I do my best work in the a.m., so I have got to get it together.

A few weeks ago, I ordered some samples from a company that has mushroom based protein powder and coffee and elixer/potion stuff. I accidentally drank one of their “chill” chai latte at work, having read the word “latte” and assumed it was a pick-me-up. It was so not. I was very relaxed that evening and I think I went to bed at 7:30. All of this to say I have another sample packet of said “chill” and think it’s just what I need tonight. And not to worry – I don’t get paid from the brand to promote or anything. I mean, who reads this besides me?

My lights just flickered. I CANNOT lose power. Tomorrow the high is 2 degrees. Dos. Degree-os.

Major win today: Getting two booties on Olive. The sound the plastic hitting the ice is hilarious. It’s what I kind of always hear in my head when she’s walking anyway – she is soooo flat-footed and the most ungraceful labrador-golden(?) I have ever seen. It’s like she’s got palapus feet – plat plat plat plat…..

I did get two booties on Mayhem, who promptly sat down and Yoda-ed her ears until I took them off, then she ran away. We both knew that was the only outcome that could ever happen.

Turn up the volume for that plat plat perfection

Day 1

Was up at 4:15 am and felt a bit proud about that, but still a bit panicked about the upcoming cold snap. Negative 26 degrees won’t crack the house open, I think, but I’m scared of things happening: pipes cracking, septic tank exploding…I can’t imagine what -26 feels like but I’m about to find out. Last year the lowest was -13. I wanted to get out of the heat and humidity, but as usual, I overshot.

  • Ate a huge pancake right out of the pan,
  • Kept a baking show on the TV all day to keep me calm,
  • Two loads of dishes,
  • Scrubbed the fridge,
  • Shoveled snow from the side steps, and walkway, and created 2 dog paths. It’s not melting anytime soon and the weather app predicts clouds with light blue stabby knives coming out of them, whatever the heck that means, but it can’t be good,
  • Rolled-up towels and blankets to stop drafts, my addiction to rubber bands coming in handy and secured the rolls with them,
  • Took the dogs out for mini-walks. They were so happy to go outside but got cold pretty quick and looked at me accusingly,
  • Took a two-hour, man-sized nap,
  • Smeared Aquafor on my face like three times,
  • Brought in some miscellaneous pet toys that were outside, and
  • Threw carrots to the bunny that is living under the front porch.
Mayhem & Olive

Skipped dinner, which I may regret soon, but Day 1 down.

I’m Still Here

Death was following me around for a little while, and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the dark. In 2020 my Labrador died slowly, then my Dad died quickly, then in 2021 my grandfather passed, and then a dog I adopted. All in less than a year.

My heart and my mind were heavy. Leaden, really. I knew in my head that others lost more, but it was still hard.

I don’t remember the holidays last year, or the ones the year before. Thank god I keep a planner otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything that happened or when. Everything is like in a big soup in my brain. That’s right, I was supposed to research trauma stages today and just remembered.

So that’s where I’ve been, in my Me-Soup. But what I’ve learned is: adopt another dog, it won’t be the same but they will still bring joy; and be a fierce and unapologetic advocate in a family members healthcare, no matter what doctors or facilities say.

But like I said, I’m seeing an end, and so a beginning. I’m thankful for my family, for two healthy pups, for bending over in laughter with my husband, for watching deer cross my lawn. You know. Small but big stuff.

Told ya’, kiddo.

Mr. Krouse would swing open the door to the country club, oppressive Florida sunshine glaring down the hallway. Light would bounce off the highly glossed white paint on the walls and the framed portraits of past “Commodores”. Despite all the shine, there was always a musty smell emanating from the navy blue carpet. No amount of spit and polish can cover up the stories of a fifty year-old building.

“Hiya honey!” Krouse would call out, taking off his ballcap, slapping it against his leg, a genuine smile for me as he headed into my office.

He’d pull up a chair. We would brainstorm about a committee he was on. He would get me to do things I didn’t want to do, mostly because he had more initiative and drive than me, even though he was probably twice my age.

“Hey,” he once said. “My daughter wrote a book. I think you’d love it. If you don’t, I’ll give you your money back.”

It was a deal! I bought it, I loved it, I told him so.

“Told ya’, kiddo,” he said with a wink.

I worked closely with him for five years, knew him for about ten, and we had a love/frustration relationship. I know I drove him nuts, and that’s ok. He drove me nuts too, but I still liked him a whole hell of a lot.

About a year after I stopped working at the country club, I heard he had died. He was having health issues while I was there, but he was a fighter and would bounce back. He had lost his daughter about two years previous – I wonder if that had anything to do with it. His fight, I mean. His spirit. I worry about his wife.

I’m currently writing a book. Ish. A short book. To comfort myself, I went to my bookshelf to pull some of my favorite books and see how long they were.

The Egg and I – 287 pgs
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – 176 pgs
Magical Thinking – 281 pgs

I was feeling better, then grabbed Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by Amy Krouse-Rosenthal. Mr. Krouse, my mind whispered. I flipped it open, read this page, and thought of Amy, of her Dad, of the COVID pandemic.

“Pg. 219
Y
You
Perhaps you think I didn’t matter because I lived x years ago, and back then life wasn’t as lifelike as it is to you right now; that I didn’t truly, fully, with all my senses, experience life as you are presently experiencing it, or think about x as you do, with such intensity and frequency.
But I was here.
And I did things.”

His family and mine would probably be surprised to know I still think about him a lot, remember the little conversations we would have. I’m not sure, but I’m suspecting with the way the world has gone sideways, that the things that people can do – the smiles in the hallways, the helpful hand at the door, the push of “no, we can do more” – these things will be remembered, and missed.

But, really there are no answers for me today, just memories of a man I miss that’s gone who smelled of Florida sunshine.