Oct 9

Just a little meme for you since I’m over here guzzling the wine, wringing my hands with guilt.

Your Blogging Type Is the Private Performer
Your blog is your stage - with your visitors your adoring fans.
At least, that’s how you write with your witty one liners.
And while you like attention, you value your privacy.
You’re likely to have an anonymous blog - or turn off comments.
Oct 9

Today is Columbus Day, which is a national holiday.  Which means in the retail world, nothing at all.

But this morning when Howard and I got into a spat about where exactly I should put all incoming memos printed out from email?  I decided that I?  Was taking a mental health day.

I sure did.  I flung the papers at him, walked out, and drove home.  I then called in my bookkeper to cover me, because oh, he owes me.  Big time.

Not that it has done me any good, because now, I’ve opened up a bottle of wine,  I’m a ball of nerves over Howard’s not being able to get anything done and the big guilt trip I’m going to get when he gets home, and man, I should really be at work now.

So instead I’ve made myself lunch that I took three bites of, watched an episode of Six Feet Under, contemplated washing those dirty dishes from last night, vacuuming and possibly making the bed.

I’ve merely contemplated.  I haven’t lifted a finger at all.  Except to call Dusty and vent to him,and oh yeah, provide you all with a ramble.
Speaking of Dusty, he surprised me yesterday on our trip back from breaking down our hunting camp.  I was getting out of the boat when Howard quipped a smartass remark about something I don’t even remember now, and Dusty told Howard if he said anything like that to me again, he would shove Howard into the river.

Geez.  We’re all in a good mood.  Luckily, Howard let it go, and later Dusty apologized for snapping at him.  But awwww, my “other husband” stood up for me. Not that I needed it mind you, but still “awwwww”.
I am glad we’re leaving for Anchorage on Thursday.  I need a good dose of civilization.  Much as I love this town, it is imperative for me to get out of here once in a while.  Seeing the same people, day in, day out, doing the same thing everyday, can really wear on one’s psychy.  And lord knows, my psychy doesn’t need any more wear and tear.

Howard hasn’t called to check in with me, and that’s fine.  I think he knows just to leave me alone.  I think he’s also hoping that I’ll get the dishes, the vacuuming, and the bed making done.

I think he’s also hoping I’ll be good and sloshed by the time he gets home, that I’ve called in that refill of Prozac.

Mondays.  Who’s idea was that anyway?

Oct 8

Oh man, here it is October already and I still haven’t filed for my vacation time off.  In my line of work, things have to be approved months in advance due to logistical purposes.  Someone has to fly out and fill in and there are only a couple of decent relief managers.  So the time has to be carefully coordinated.

After last year’s family fiasco, I’m leery of going back to NC again.  At least for a lengthy visit.  It gets more stressful every year.  Everyone wants a piece of our time,  everyone wants US to come visit THEM.  Nevermind that we just flew over 3000 miles.

I want to see my memaw, my mom, my sister and my nieces and nephews.  Howard wants to see his mom and brothers.  This year, we could really care less about our extended family.  We always feel like we’re cheating our immediate family out of time and I just don’t want to do that anymore.

Plus, in my family?  Extended family situtations always end up with someone getting their feelings hurt, someone getting offended, etc.  No one in my family knows when and how to just bite their tongue and NO one knows how to just let things roll off their back.  Not that I don’t love my family dearly.  I do.  But getting all of us together is sometimes a toxic mix.

Howard’s family?  Well they just see the beauty in it.  I could spend an entire week with them and be relaxed.  Seriously.  His family would make anyone else feel envious.

But we also want a really nice vacation for just us.  Luckily, for the past two years, we’ve been able to steal a week in Argentina and a week in Italy.

I’d like to steal longer than that now.  You know, I’d like a REAL vacation.

So we’re thinking somewhere balmy and with a beach.  But not somewhere everyone goes all the time.

We think we have it narrowed down to three places:

Caiscas, Portugal

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Casablanca, Morocco

All three have beaches and a balmy climate, but still have lots of culture we can immerse ourselves in.  Morocco is the most expensive but seems the most exotic.  Rio is kind of a tourist trap but I’d love to see “Christ the Redeemer” and walk on Ipanema Beach.  Caiscas is the least expensive and we don’t know anyone who has been there.

So we’re torn:  where should we go?

Help!  Email me your choice or leave it in the comments.

Oct 7

Happy Birthday ETS!

Lucky, Pepper, and Katie send birthday love too!

Lucky and PepperMcGrath November 2005 006.jpg

Oh yeah, and so does Howard.

We all love you sweetie pie.  Have a fabulous day!

Oct 4

Zeus at the park
My mother in law called us tonight and gave us some very sad news. Our beloved dog, Zeus, passed away peacefully yesterday in his bed, asleep. I was in the middle of cooking dinner when Howard repeated what she said to me. I naturally broke down in to tears. After he got off the phone, he leaned back against the kitchen sink and wrapped me in his arms. I cried into his chest.

Zeus came in to our lives nearly nine years ago. He belonged to neighbors who were constantly ignoring him and yelling at him even though he was just a dog, chained to a tree, not harming anyone. Howard and I used to sneak food over to him, when they weren’t home. We’d also sneak snuggles and kisses. I called the local humane society. They, apparently didn’t think it was too big of a deal and did nothing. We kept sneaking sweet words, food, water and love to him as much as we could. Our hearts breaking for him.

He was a Pit Bull. Now, of course, half the people you say that to, gasp in horror, because “Pit Bulls are mean!”

I’m here to tell you, Zeus was never mean to us. He looked forboding, but he’d snarl his teeth up and smile and wag his tale and then cover my face with kisses. He loved Howard equally as much. Our neighbors, even though they obviously hated him, would NOT let us take him off their hands. I just kept praying for an opportunity.

Finally, they moved away, leaving him tied to that tree. We immediately took him in.

Now Zeus, though sweet and loyal, was odd when it came to being indoors. He was/is the only dog I knew that hated being indoors. And we were indoor dog people. We believe if you take a dog to raise, you make it part of your family completely or else you just don’t get a dog.

But poor Zeus would pace and pant, even in the cool air conditioning, safe from the NC summer heat. We’d just shake our heads and apologize refusing to let him out until the hot weather subsided. Once we opened the door and let him outside, he bounded, and played in the grass and reveled in being outdoors. It was his element. We relented when we realized that he truly was happier outdoors and built him a HUGE dog lot, complete with a shingled dog house, cedar shavings lining the perimeter ,and even a covered “patio”, where he could lay in the grass, rain or shine. Then and only then, when we knew he had the cadillac of dog lots, could we rest easier knowing he was living outside. And even then, we felt we had to spend our evenings outside playing with him.

When we moved to Alaska, of course, we planned to take him with us. In the weeks before the move, we tried to “groom” him to being an indoor dog. But the more we tried, the more unhappy he seemed. I tried to acclimate him to being in a dog crate, but he wasn’t having any part of it. He was 71 pounds of solid steel when I tried to use my entire body to shove him in one. He didn’t cry or even flinch, he just sat, and stared at me with a poker face as if to say “Um. Sorry mom, but I will NEVER get into that pet crate.” We found ourselves in a dilemma. How were we going to get him on a plane? Much less turn him into a house dog once we got there. (because unless you’re a mushing dog, the outdoors is no place for one in winter Alaska)

The time drew near to our move. We contemplated backing out. We weren’t going without our dog. We were a family. But the house and belongings were already sold. We were going or we were homeless. Luckily, my mother in law loved Zeus as much as we did. As far as she’s concerned she has “grand dogs” and tells everyone so. She offered to let him live with her. It was tough to let him go, but we knew she’d take good care of him and love him as much as we did.

Again, at her house, we built the “cadillac” of all dog lots. Howard’s brother Chris chipped in as well. He bought cedar shavings, and planted holly bushes all around his lot, and even buit another shingled “patio”. Howard built a dog house with a covered porch. Again, we were only satisfied when we knew he had all the comforts an outside dog could have.

It was hard to leave him but Jean loved having him. She took him for walks, took him to his vet appointments, fed him, talked to him, played with him and loved him. He had a good life. Jean lived alone and loved his company.
Our last day with him was when we were back in NC in January. We took him to the park and went hiking on some back trails and played fetch on the tennis courts. He was so happy but we could see he was getting old and tired more easily. He was nearly 13, which is pretty old for a pit bull. Nevertheless, we had so much fun with him that day, he played and frolicked and we tried to fit in a year’s worth of hugs and kisses and snuggles until we could get back to NC again.

But still, it doesn’t mean we don’t feel guilty for leaving him. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have just turned down the job because if we couldn’t all go, then we shouldn’t have gone at all. Because really, that’s what we should have done.
There’s nothing we can do about it now, but Howard and I made a promise to each other tonight. Never again, will we leave an animal behind. Even if it is with his or her grandma who will no doubt love and care for them. We’re a family. Four legs, fur, and all.

Goodbye our sweet Zeus, you big baby, you big bear, you big sweetheart. We will always love you and will never forget you.

Zeus and his daddy at the park

Oct 2

Good Christ, today was…well, I hate to be cliche but it was a typical Monday.

Of course, I got a few funny emails from Tess.  And Tess can make any Monday feel like a Friday.

Late last night, I couldn’t sleep and rather than get up early to do my Monday morning tasks, I decided to head on in to work.

I processed payroll and sent it on to Tess and I always like to leave her little notes of my affection, because that girl just rocks.  No, it’s not because she’s the one who makes sure we all get paid.  Though she is VERY good at her job.

Aaanyway, I sent her a note stating that I was up late, etc. and the usual stuff.  Like again, how much she rocks and how much I appreciate her and got this back today:

Rebecca and I both agree that whenever you can’t sleep at night we would not be unhappy were you to paper us with lovely little e-mails ranting about your day, or silly little things, whatever, so that you aren’t working when you should be sleeping!  

To which I promised I most definitely would.  By the way, “Becky” works in the same department as Tess, and she’s equally as awesome. (Not to mention hopelessly tiny and adorable..I’m telling you, this girl is wee)

Earlier in the day, I sent another report to Tess because it’s yet another month end task that I had to do.  To which, I got another awesomely awesome reply:

To Tess

From Chris:

I actually remembered to save it in Adobe this time! Go me.

To Chris

From Tess:

Dude – you’re, like, the coolest thing since sliced bread.

 

You’re, like, COOLER than sliced bread!

 

Which, I guess, makes you…unsliced bread.

 

Which is, like, way cool.

 

Dude.

To which I replied:

I’m totally posting this tonight!

So I won’t bore you with how my day went because Monday is almost over and halle-friggin-lujah.

Let Tuesday commence.

Oct 1

Friday, I read Amalah’s post on her baby’s first birthday. Oy. How touching and amazing was that right?

Last night, we threw a surprise baby shower for our friend Hoi, who is expecting a baby girl in November. Her name will be Yukiko, which means “daughter of the snow”. Fitting for a baby born in Alaska, don’t you think? Hoi is Chinese as well, and wanted a name that pays homage to her heritage, as well as her husband Joe’s.
Joe’s cousin Joey (yes I know..it really is coincidence) and his wife Hannie brought their own baby daughter, Katherine. Katherine is 13 months old, with olive toned skin, dark brown eyes and is the picture of adorable. I really wish I’d brought my camera. She’s just that beautiful.

The party was held at Jacen and Stephanie’s. Stephanie is expecting her own child in March.

Inevitably, when you get a group of parents/soon to be mothers in a group, the subject of parenthood becomes a dominant topic. Not that it’s a bad thing at all, I know I’d be doing the same thing.

It occured to me that Howard and I were the only childless couple there. And I’ll admit; it hurt my heart a little. There were the antecdotes on how a baby changes everything, to cravings during pregnancy, to breastfeeding debates. Howard and I usually don’t actively participate in these conversations because, well, obviously we’re not parents, nor are we expecting.

However; I have been pregnant before. Obviously it wasn’t a successful pregnancy. Inevitably, someone will bring up the subject of why we’re not parents yet. We’ve got our game down, that’s for sure. Everything from not wanting them in the beginning because we were young and didn’t feel ready, to my pregnancy loss, to doing fertility treatments, our inability to adopt, and finally to the resolve that we’ll probably never have children. It’s one of those conversations that ultimately ends up with people giving us a sad look of pity. Which I hate. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us.

Last night, Howard joined in on the issue of cravings, before the question of “why haven’t you had children yet?” even came up. Before he could take it back, he joined it the conversation of cravings by saying:

“When Chris was pregnant, she craved Mexican food everyday.”

The knowing people looked at us uncomfortably, and the unknowing asked: “And how old are your kids now?”

Then Howard hated himself because he had to explain that we lost the baby.

It’s not something that I can’t handle anymore. I mean, I’m used to it and it’s one of those chances I take by having friends who are expecting and who have children and by participating in such conversation.

But it does make me ache for them all over again. I crave the anticipation of a new life. I crave the smell of a newborn. I want to be a mother. I want to cup a downy little head in my hand. I even want to change poopy diapers. I want to celebrate milestones and throw birthday parties. I want first days of school. I want to kiss boo boos. I want children to worry about. I want my title to be “mom” to a human being in addition to my beloved dogs and cat. I want all the craziness and sleepless nights, because I know the end is worth the means.

But I know that I’ll never have it. It will never be mine. I’ll always be the aunt, the godmother, the mentor. And that’s okay. I’ve accepted my fate. I’m not meant to be a parent. I like to believe that if I were a mom, I wouldn’t be such a doting aunt, godmother, and mentor. I am meant for other things.

I have an amazing life. I’ve seen different parts of the world that I probably wouldn’t get to see if I had children. I do crazy things on the spur of the moment. A part of me appreciates the freedom. I don’t have to psych myself up for 10 hour plane ride with an infant, I don’t have to worry about where I want to eat, hoping there’s a changing table in the bathroom. I can sleep late on my days off and nap all day if I choose.

At this point, a lot of parents would tell me that motherhood is better than all of that combined, and I know that it is. But it’s how we have to see things because we know we’ll never be parents, and we certainly don’t want anyone to think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves.

But it doesn’t mean we wish for it any less either.

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