Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The other morning I got up for work at the ass crack of dawn, like I usually do, and stumbled into the bathroom.  As I wandered into the kitchen my roomate said "Oh, Michelle, this package came yesterday for you(I had gotten in late the night before and was not home to retrieve it).

I was slightly puzzled, as I was not expecting a package. I picked it up and looked at the return address to see who it was from.

It was from the vet hospital where we had Gizmo put to sleep.

As  I held the package in my hand, this is what was going through my mind:

Pleas don't let it be her ashes, please don't let it be her ashes, please don't let it be her ashes.

We did not request to have Gizmo cremated and we certainly did not request to have her ashes sent to us.  Dead people's(and animal's) ashes freak me out. I would rather remember a person(animal) as they were alive, rather than think obsessively about how they got to be ashes, or how heavy that box is that they are in(and why) and many  other obsessive things I start to think about whenever I am in close proximity to someone's ashes.

I'm not even sure why my mind went immediately to the thought that the package contained the ashes of my dead dog.

But anyway, when I picked up the package that's the first thing I thought:  Please don't let this package contain the ashes of my Gizmo.

I immediately dropped the package onto the table like it was a bomb while simultaneously almost shouting at my roommate, "Oh my god you have you open that package for me, you have to open that package for me, I can NOT open that package."

At this point I think she was starting to think I was slightly unstable, but being the good sport that she is, picked up the package from the table and proceeded to open it.  I found out later that had it contained my dog's ashes she had no desire to open it either, which makes her a doubly good sport.

And so she opened the package for me.  Much to my relief the package did not contain the ashes of my deceased dog.  It did, however, contain this:

Upon finding this little gift in the package that the animal hospital had sent me you would think that my response would have been something along these lines:

"Oh my gosh, how special this is that I have a small part of Gizmo to treasure forever."


"How sweet it was for them to take the time to make such a special gift for me in remembrance of my beloved pet".

Neither  of those were thoughts that popped into my head.

All  I could think of when I looked at that ornament was Holy crap when did they take that paw print?  Did they get it when they brought her in the other room to put her to sleep?  When she was scared and confused by the muzzle we had to put on her to keep her from biting them and the fact that she was being taken away from us by strangers?  Is that the paw-print of a terrified dog?  MY terrified  dog?

And if it isn't then did they take it AFTER SHE HAD BEEN PUT TO SLEEP? Is that the paw-print of my dead dog? At that point I wasn't sure which option was worse.

That ornament did not bring fond memories of Gizmo flooding back to me.  Instead it brought back every horrible memory of that day we put her  to sleep, but tenfold.

It brought back the fear I saw in her eyes as we stood with her on the metal table on a white towel with stains on it that smelled of bleach.

It brought back the memory of how cold it was in that room(even though it wasn't), and me sitting on the bench hugging my arms to my body and shivering, watching through tears as Joe fed her dog biscuit after dog biscuit, as many as she would eat,  to distract her(and himself) from the fear. It brought back the memory of the vet coming into the room to tell us that it had been done, that it was over(please don't judge me for not being there with her when they did it. I have my reasons for that, none of which I care to share with you all).

It brought back a wave of grief so deep that when I finnaly was able to process it, it left me in a funk all day and in tears all the way home from work that night.

Joe says that one day I will be grateful tp have such a special token of Gizmo.  He says I will be glad to have that small piece of my dog that I loved so much preserved.

I hope that is true because  right now I don't feel glad at all.  The ornament is tucked away in a safe place where I don't have to look at it or think about how that little paw print was obtained.

I miss her so much.

Friday, November 09, 2012


One of my friends on fb asked me how things were going with Joe.

More specifically she asked how the separation was going.

It is going as well as can be expected I suppose.   I see him every weekend.  Until recently I was not seeing him during the week.   That has changed a bit in the last couple of weeks and we have been meeting on the weeknights some days.  It isn't very sustainable for me though, as I am very tired from working nine hours and driving an hour home each night.  We'll see how it goes from here on out.

 The place he is staying is not ideal. I used to worry about it incessantly until  my therapist told me it is not my concern.   I felt like that was very cold, as if I were saying I didn't care.  It's not that I don't care(because I do).  It's just that his living conditions are not my concern.  It is his concern.   I have a myriad of things that I must worry about, that are my concern(and not his), and vice versa.

I think it is so easy to give advice(I've had plenty), or be judgemental(had that too), but the reality is that you have no idea about our situation(except what I have shared here, and for every blog post I have shared there are countless unwritten that I haven't).

You have not been in my shoes.

We have been married for twenty years.  He is my best friend(and I his).

I love him.  I have always loved him.

I have been with him longer than I have been without him(we met when I was 18).  

Being apart has been very hard.

There are some nights I miss him so much it hurts.  

I miss sleeping with him.  I'm talking about the literal act of sleeping next to him, although I miss the other part of sleeping with him too, if you must know.

I miss waking up together, and him making me breakfast.  I miss laying in bed and reading the newspaper, with my dog on my lap and my sister's cat on his. (That cat loved him, much to his dismay)

I  miss everything about our apartment.  I miss the view of the trees from our balcony. I miss the sounds of the marching bands from the local high school.  I even miss the firetrucks that would go screaming past our house every hour or so from the Fire house one block away.

I long for the life we had built together there, spanning fourteen years.

I often doubt the decision I made to give all of that up. 

Sometimes when you love someone you have to let go and realize you can't fix everything for them.

Sometimes they have to fix things for themselves.  That's a hard one for me.  I'm a lifelong fixer.

It is hard too, realizing that not only can I not fix it, but fixing it isn't going to be quick or easy.  It's going to be hard and messy and I am so scared that when all is said and done we will be completely different people who won't know each other anymore.

My therapist told me tonight that I am brave.  I shook my head vehemently and said "No.  I'm not brave.  I am scared and sad and some days am barely hanging on."

She said that's what makes me brave.  That I am all of those things but I still get up every day and try to make the best of things.

I suppose that part is true.  I do get up every day  :/

The truth is, I still cry in my car on the way home many nights.  That does not make me feel brave at all.

On a completely different note, we were talking the other night about the weight that we have lost over the last year.

After discussing it further,we both realized that since Joe's birthday almost exactly one year ago, between the two of us we have lost 85 pounds.  Yowza!  85 pounds!!!

That's like a whole other person!  He has lost more than I have and I still have a ways to go but 85 pounds is pretty awesome and I am proud of us for that.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


And just like that, October is over.  Poof.

Now we settle in for Christmas.  Thanksgiving is skipped right over.  I hate that.  I want to savor Fall a little.  I like turkeys and harvest and cornucopias.  I wish we could just celebrate one holiday at a time.

The last two weeks have kind of been a blur. I have spent most of my time aside from work, in bed. I was forced to go off of my thyroid meds due to a miscommunication between my pharmacy and my doctor's office.  I was off for almost two weeks.  Don't even get me started on how ridiculous it was and the number of phone calls I had to make to finally get my prescription filled and to the right pharmacy. No one should have to go without medication that their body needs to function because their dr's. office/pharmacy can't get their shit together.  Ridiculous.

My body crashed without them.  HARD.

My hair started falling out.  I couldn't stay awake. seriously. I was going to bed a nine, sleeping on my lunch break just to (barely) get through the day.  I was spending all weekend in bed.  Blah.

My brain has been foggy and muddled and I can't remember anything for more than two seconds.  That was superfun at work when you are trying to manage four doctor's schedules.  I think I went through a whole pack of post-it notes, which is not good because we are a paperless office.

I have been back on my meds for a little over a week now and am slowly, slowly starting to feel better.

I will never let that happen again.  I don't care if I have to go over to my dr.'s office and camp out until they give them to me.  Not fun.

October was busy.  The fifteenth was the anniversary of my Mom's death.  It's been 16 years and like every year I can't believe she has been gone so long.

Joe's birthday was two days later.  We didn't do much but my roommate was gracious enough to let me make him dinner and a cake at her house.  Aside from that his birthday pretty much sucked.  Then again, most things in his life suck right now.  If you could spare some extra prayers for him he could really use them.  He's kind of lost right now.  :(

I have been trying to take more pictures.  I am hooked on Instagram.  Most of the pictures are with my phone and they aren't good quality but I am more concerned with just the documentation than the quality.

Here are some pictures from October

Joe's birthday cake.  Double chocolate, as usual

Totally humoring me here

We went to the beach a couple of weekends ago. It had been raining and the weather was cool and fall-like.  I loved it.  Now it's back to 85 degrees.  Blech.  

It was simply gorgeous

We walked to the end of the pier and used a gift card to eat at Ruby's

This handsome guy flew in and sat there and let us take pictures of him

You can only see one of them here, and he(she) is pretty small, but we saw a pod of dolphins go by while we were there and it was very cool.

My pumpkin this year

My office manager bought these for me to wear on Halloween. I had a lot of fun with them.  The were quite "boingy".  That probably isn't a word but it describes them perfectly.

Beautiful sunset at my house one night.  I live so close to the beach we can smell the beach fires every night.  There is no better smell.

I did some fall baking.  I made Pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies(from Pinterest, of course) and they were dee-lic-ous.  I made enough dough to freeze so I could make more later. Yum.
They aren't burnt. I put some filter on it in Instagram that makes them look burnt but they aren't.

It was quite foggy a couple of days on my way to work in the morning.  Spooky.

Joe took this picture of me while on a bike ride at the beach. It's not the best picture but I like the sun flare.  That and I actually look happy.  I don't have many pictures of me like that from the last three months.

That pretty much wraps up October.

I am determined to be more organized about Christmas this year, and also to simplify.  I probably won't be sending out cards, or getting a tree and will be making only a few handmade gifts.  I will not stress about the holidays this year(I won't!).  Someone remind me of that in about three weeks, o.k.?