Hey hi hello, how’s it been going? Not great here, not great at all. Health issues have kept me away quite a bit and an appointment yesterday was pretty fucking discouraging, so I expect the general withdrawal from human society to continue until some unknown point in the future.
PHILLIP DID SOMETHING YESTERDAY AND I SWEAR TO SHIT I ALMOST KILLED HIM and here I am to tell you about it.
Yesterday morning, Phil texted me something about a diet – he said something like hey, I think I’m going to try the Bulletproof Diet. It sounds like junk science, but I might give it a try.
And I said what I usually say, you know, to people in general about diets: junk science or whatever, it’s about finding something that works for your body, and more importantly, something you can stick with, and we moved on.
I was on a pretty extreme diet for a long time, and I lost a lot of weight – somewhere between 50 and 60 lbs. While it is very tempting to be an outright evangelist for the diet, I realize it can’t work for everyone, either because their bodies don’t work that way, or they just can’t stick with it. And I don’t mean that to sound like a personal failing kind of thing – oh, most people are TOO WEAK LIKE LITTLE BABIES TO STICK WITH IT. No, it’s an obnoxious diet, and it can be a pain in the ass, and frankly, it’s really pretty unrealistic for most people. When someone decides to do it, I’m happy to talk about it, but I’m not running around shoving that shit on people.
Anyway, day goes by, and later on, Phil picks me up to take me to my neurologist. We’re in the car, and he’s got a podcast on. The Nerdist. And they’re just chatting, and someone says something about a “butter and fat” diet. And I asked Phil, are they talking about the diet you mentioned to me this morning? And he said yeah, and this is the guy who plays Superman.
“Ok, so it’s butter and fat?”
“So it’s keto, then. It’s the same diet I was on?”
“No, this is the Bulletproof diet. See, there’s this coffee –”
“With butter in it, maybe?”
“Yeah, and –”
“And let me guess, the rest of the diet is butter and fat and protein and extremely limited carbs.”
“So it’s keto.”
At this point, I was completely turned in my seat to stare at him in shock. And he knows – HE KNOWS. I can tell by the look on his face.
And he tries to recover, right.
“Well, you know, they were talking about the science behind it.”
“You mean the science where your body goes into ketosis when it has no carbs to burn for fuel, and starts to burn your fat cells instead? Is that the junk science you were talking about earlier?”
“You mean the phenomenon you watched happen in your actual house TO YOUR ACTUAL WIFE for 50 goddamn pounds?”
“Well, there are similarities.”
“PHILLIP IT IS THE SAME GODDAMN DIET.”
And he knew it was! He definitely knew.
Listen, you are either the type who gets why I was about to shoot through the roof of the car on the sheer power of my incandescent rage, or you are not, and if you are not, you are probably asking yourself, what’s the big deal? How is this a big deal? IT’S A BIG DEAL.
“Ok ok ok, so let me get this straight. You see me decide to go on this diet. I explain the diet. I actually enact the diet and eat the exact way they’re describing on this show. You can physically see that there is like 25% less of me than there was two years ago. Your own wife doesn’t just tell you this, but ACTUALLY DEMONSTRATES IT IN YOUR HOME. A woman actually acts it out for you in real life. But then some stranger internet men come along and mention it, and suddenly you’re on board?”
“No, it’s not like that at all. This is not a case of a woman said it, and I ignored it until a man said it. This is a case of you said it, and then Superman said it.”
“Holy shit Phillip, fuck a Superman.”
I told him, I really don’t think I’ve ever been more of this bewildered and shocked kind of furious with you. In your entire history of being Phillip, this is the most Phillipiest shit you have ever done. I spent half the car ride just staring at him with my mouth open. THIS IS THE WEDGE SALAD THING, PHILLIP. THE WEDGE SALAD.
I immediately called my sister and relayed the story.
“It’s the wedge salad!”
“WEDGE SALAD!,” she agreed.
He, of course, finds the entire thing hilarious.
I find myself unwilling to share all my accumulated tips and tricks for eating less than 20 carbs a day and not being a miserable shit about it.
MAYBE SUPERMAN CAN HELP HIM OUT.
I went in to my appointment, which always takes a long time, because the doctor spends the entire time with the patient. (My appointment was at 2. I went back at 3. I heard the medical assistant finally have to hustle the previous patient away from the doctor, saying, “It’s 3pm and you’re the 3rd patient he’s seen today. We need to get moving.”) The appointment sucked for various reasons (but my doctor is good and listens so not those reasons). I got back in the car, and it took me three entire songs to notice that Phil was playing a playlist composed entirely of songs with Superman in the title.
Let me tell you about some bullshit.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably remember that Penelope was hospitalized a few months after she was born and blah blah blah, a kidney thing. A year or so later, she ended up having surgery to resolve the defect. However, during that year in between, we had to be on ridiculously vigilant watch for UTIs. Not that all parents shouldn’t keep an eye out for UTIs. But the structure of her body made it so that the infected urine from the bladder would be able to travel backward – something that should not and does not usually happen – to her kidneys and damage them before we’d know what was happening. We actually don’t know the extent of kidney damage she might have suffered from the first incident, but that’s something for future Kelly to worry about. Anyway, any fever over 100 degrees – even if she was clearly otherwise ill – required an immediate trip to the emergency room for her to be catheterized to get a urine sample, just to make sure. Fortunately, we only had to do that twice.
After her surgery, I think it was another year or so of watching, though the fever threshold got raised to 101. And then after that, a couple last tests and she was released from her urologist’s care entirely. Of course we still have to watch for UTIs, because UTIs are no good, but no more than any other parent. A UTI is no longer an emergency. Still, you also remember the kidney lady?
Okay, if you don’t, this is a story. I got a UTI, and I knew I had a UTI, but it kind of went away? I don’t know, I was stupid. I thought it was gone, but it wasn’t. It went underground for a few days, and then I was sick. I was so sick. I was so sick that when Phil and I decided to get married, one of the things I made him promise me was that as a married lady, he’d never let me sleep with my own puke bucket, because I was so sick all I could do was lean over and throw up and I couldn’t even remove my bucket from the bed. Like almost 105 fever, thought for certain I was going to die kind of sick. Anyway, it was a kidney infection, because of course that UTI didn’t just go away, you absolute walnut (me, not you). I got some crazy antibiotics and it took a while, but eventually I got better. And it took a long time for me to tell this one particular story about that incident, because it was embarrassing, so it took me a while to be able to tell it in such a way that it was kind of funny (but it was not actually funny). On my first day back to work after being sick, the medicine was still messing up my stomach pretty badly, and I was stuck in traffic at the 270 split in Maryland, and I had to get out of my car to throw up, and I only made it as far as the hood of the car before I leaned over to puke so hard I wet my pants. And I was still STUCK IN TRAFFIC, so I then had to get back in my car with all the same cars who were right there the WHOLE TIME all around me.
So I tell this story, and one of the comments I get is something like, “Hey, be glad you can even wet your pants. Some of us would love to wet our pants, but we don’t even have functioning kidneys.”
And. I just.
So if you see someone bellowing at someone else in my general circle of interaction on Twitter, “AT LEAST YOU HAVE KIDNEYS,” that is why that happens.
Oh, wait, here you go – I forgot for a minute the other site still exists and I can just take things from it whenever I want.
Needless to say, even though Penelope is cleared by her surgeon to not worry about UTIs as much, we still take them very seriously in this house. So when she was up and down every 10 minutes all night long to use the bathroom on Friday night, frustrated that she wasn’t actually peeing, and saying when she did pee that it was hot and “shocked” her, we knew we’d be going to urgent care first thing Saturday because no, we are not messing around with that shit. I mean, her kidneys may possibly be damaged, but at least she HAS some, and I have be soundly scolded by a random stranger on the Internet for taking that for granted one time when I was telling what was actually a really kind of sad story.
I will spare you the details about trying to get a urine sample out of a five year old who can only pee a drop at a time but wants to attempt it every seven minutes.
We go into the exam room, we go over her history with the VUR, the surgery, etc. Kind of irrelevant but also relevant, because you never know. We go over the symptoms – classic UTI stuff, minus any kind of fever, but then, when she was first hospitalized with a kidney infection as an infant, we had no idea what was going on, because she had no fever. It was kind of her UTI MO. So the doctor checks her out, basic exam, looks everywhere.
“I think she’s got strep.”
The fuck you say?
The doctor even had me look down Penny’s throat to see her tonsils, enormous and red and angry. She said it definitely looked like strep. But but but. No sore throat, I said. No fever. No nothing. Just the UTI. The doctor said, well, strep’s been a little weird this year. I’ll do a rapid test.
She does, and takes the test out of the room, telling us it will be five minutes, and the door swings RIGHT back open, and she shows it to me, explaining the clear positive that came up in like, 30 seconds. STREP.
Okay, I’m thinking, she’s got a UTI and we also found out she’s coming down with strep, coincidentally. NOPE. Zero sign of infection in her urine sample. NOTHING. She only has strep.
What, may I ask, the fuck?
And the doctor tells us, strep has been weird this year. They’ve had an epidemic not just of strep, but WEIRD strep. A kid came in with knee pain, walked out with a diagnosis of strep. Back pain, strep. Three people had been in THAT WEEK with UTI-like symptoms, no UTI, but a positive strep test. Penelope got one of their last two rapid strep tests. There’s no more left in the county at the moment. Five day courses of antibiotics haven’t been treating this well, so she was prescribed a 10 day course, and the pharmacy could only give us enough to get us through until today, because they were totally out. (They’ll get more today.)
I guess a lot of the cases the doctor was talking about could be coincidence. Maybe a kid did hurt his knee, and while there, they discovered strep. But three others with UTI symptoms and no UTI? And she also told us that in a ton of the cases they were finding, they were like Penelope – no fever, no sore throat, no signs of strep at all until you look down at the tonsils and then, hey, there you go.
So how many kids did Penelope take down with her, since she was in school all last week, since SHE WASN’T SICK as far as we knew? How many kids are walking around with this stealthy strep right now, passing it around and around, with no earthly idea it’s happening?
Having a kid is hard for a lot of reasons, because you know nothing and everything changes all the time, but you’re supposed to be able to COUNT ON STREP. Annoying, painful, yes. Basic childhood illness? Also yes. It sucks, it turns around within a couple of doses of antibiotics, and it’s a generally predictable and standard part of childhood.
IN A WORLD WHERE WE CAN COUNT ON NOTHING, I THOUGHT WE STILL AT LEAST HAD STREP THROAT.
In conclusion, this goddamn giraffe better make with a giant giraffe baby already.
We’ve only got one kid. I know a lot of people only have one kid, and a lot of people have more than one kid, and a lot of people have no kids. Today I am talking about only having one kid. Specifically I’m talking about us only having one kid, because probably if you only have one kid you don’t do things the same way.
One of the benefits we’ve appreciated about only having one kid is that we don’t have to set a lot of rules. I’m not talking about, like, household anarchy. But with more than one kid, with several kids, you’ve got to work harder to keep order. You probably want to keep order, what with all those arms and legs in your house. But for us (for us), with just one, we’re just really flexible. We only have a few hard rules. Listen the first time. Don’t be a turd in public, you can’t be rude to people. Manners. Actually, that’s about it. We feed her a separate dinner a lot. There’s no set rule on eating this to get that. Her bedtime is within a certain window, but largely relies on when she seems like she’s ready to go to sleep. Lots of things have no set “rule” in our house, and it works with just one kid, because we can bend a previous guideline to fit the situation without having the whole house erupt into unfairness or madness.
Mostly this stems from just not wanting to fight about every little thing, because she’s at that age. Where she is ready to fight about every little thing. So we’re careful not to make everything a hill to die on. We just evaluate whatever situation is currently happening and do what works, rather than set a hard line for every time a similar situation comes up. As a rule for myself, I don’t dig my heels in unless I’m ready to fight something down to the end, and with Penny, every little thing can become a fight down to the end, and it is EXHAUSTING to battle a five year old because it’s not like she comes up with new and interesting arguments.
“Can I paint?”
“No, we’re not painting today.”
“Ok, but can I paint?”
“I just said no, no paint today.”
“Can I paint, though?”
“Penelope. There’s no painting right now.”
“When I finish with this, can I paint?”
“HOLY SHIT IF YOU SAY THE WORD PAINT ONE MORE TIME I WILL EAT OFF YOUR ARM.”
Point is, I’m careful not to say anything that I don’t really, really, really intend to stick to, even in the face of endless questioning and fit throwing. That’s not a lot of stuff. Mostly like, you will say thank you, you will apologize, you will not burn this house down.
I made a mistake a few days ago, though. I mean, it’s not really a mistake. I think I’m in the right. But holy shit, has it turned into complete insanity in this house. I didn’t know Penelope had the attention span to harp on an issue for more than an hour, but it has been like a WEEK and we are all LOSING IT.
Kohl’s has these magic blankets, you know? And they go on sale multiple times a year, right around Christmas, usually. So in October, I think, I picked up three of them with the intent of having one for each of us at Christmas. One gray, one purple, one blue. The gray and purple have the same pattern on them, and the blue one has white polka dots. I don’t know why this matters. They’re all the same goddamn blanket. (You with the multiple children that you’ve had for a lot of years, you’re probably already laughing at me, like OH IT MATTERS.)
Every year on Christmas eve, we go out for dinner. While we’re gone, our elf, Roland, takes off to help Santa for the night and leaves a gift. This year, he left a microwave s’mores maker (AND IT IS GREAT), and I also put out the three blankets I got, thinking it would be nice for her to have a new blanket before bed, and that she could take on the car trip to Disneyland she didn’t know we were taking at the time.
So we get home and she sees the gift from Roland, and I tell her hey, I also got us each a blanket, go ahead and pick one for yourself. She chose the blue. Phil took the gray and I got the purple. Everyone was pleased. We took them along on our trip. Penelope actually even got a second magic blanket from family, one with dogs in sweaters on it. So she has two. I am not jealous because I am an adult and I will use her dogs with sweaters blanket while she’s at school if I want to. As long as I put it back before she notices.
A couple days after we got back from our trip, Penelope informed me that she wanted my blanket instead of hers. She wanted purple, not blue. And here is where I fucked up. I told her no, you had an opportunity to pick out your blanket, and you picked blue. The purple is mine.
WHY DIDN’T I JUST SHRUG AND EXCHANGE THE BLANKETS?
(Probably because she had just filled hers with a particularly rank fart and I was trying to escape her bedroom with my life at the moment.)
Oh, she was mad. But I decided. If you pick something, you stick with your choice and that is that. This is a life lesson. A life lesson with blankets. You can’t go back and take what someone else has because you regret your decision for whatever stupid reason. THE BLANKETS ARE ALL THE SAME.
The next night, she comes at me again. She wants the purple. I told her, look, you have the blue. The purple and gray have the same pattern, but you have the special one. You’re keeping the blue. I’m condensing this conversation for your sanity, but the back and forth was very, very similar to the paint discussion above (which also happened recently).
The next night she comes to me and tells me she doesn’t want the special blanket. In fact, she says, I should have the special blanket because I’m the most special one in the house. Well, as much as I agree about my own specialness, I’m now in much too deep to just let this go. NO. You keep blue. Purple is mine.
“BUT MAMA, when I picked the blue, that night, I was feeling like blue, but every every every other night EVERY OTHER NIGHT has been PURPLE!”
Penelope is like most kids, and when she’s tired, she just… loses all control. She’s completely unreasonable. Two nights ago she came in my room after school and made her play, again, for the purple blanket, and she was ON THE EDGE OF SANITY. Just going on and on and on, yelling and stomping her feet. She’s not a bad kid and she’s not really prone to tantrums, except when she’s this tired. She just latches on to something and can’t let it go for anything, absolutely cannot handle disappointments she usually takes quite well. I had to send her out of my room.
A couple minutes later, I get a text from Phil who is downstairs with her. It just said, “please kill me.” I can hear her yelling and yelling, and I just assumed, I guess, that she’d moved on to expressing her displeasure about her dinner, or about wanting to play a video game, or about not being allowed to launch a pirate ship from the backyard to sail the seven seas plundering unsuspecting cruise liners for their quality shrimp spreads.
But no. What am I, new? She was downstairs, pleading her case to Phil about the blanket. How she’s feeling very purple. How she needs to have the purple blanket. How he should make me give her the purple blanket. She was loud and shrill and in a full on meltdown over this.
At this point, I realize I am a 35 year old adult refusing to give a 5 year old the blanket she wants.
But I said! I SAID! That I wouldn’t exchange the blankets! That I was making a point! That you can’t pick and then unpick! This is how life goes! It’s my job as your mother to teach you these hard blanket-based lessons! What am I now if I give it to her? I’M NOTHING! I WILL CEDE CONTROL OF THIS HOUSE! I CANNOT!
Phil finally managed to stuff a little food in her and send her to bed, after 15-20 minutes of shrill blanket monologue, because while she really does want my blanket, she doesn’t usually resort to out of control shrieking unless she’s just too exhausted to go on. She’ll come back at me again, when she’s rested and at her most dangerous, with some new logical approach that will surely make me see the light and understand that she is the most deserving of the purple blanket.
But you guys. I SAID. I ALREADY SAID. I can’t let this go now. THIS IS WHY RULES ARE STUPID. I swear to never ever ever speak in absolutes to my child ever again. I will only ever say maybe. I promise you on my purple blanket, I WILL ONLY EVER SAY MAYBE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
I didn’t do one of these surveys last year because I felt like 2015 was particularly hard and just… not fitting for a survey. I wasn’t feeling it. 2016 would be the year I could do a great survey.
I was wrong. 2015 was not that bad. I miss 2015. I miss the particular shambles my life was in in 2015. This is a whole new shambles and I regret not appreciating my previous shambles.
I will put pictures of Penny in here so you can just skip from picture to picture like islands in a sea of crap.
1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I learned how to make fancy coffee. I took over the day to day operations of a shop and did a lot of stuff I didn’t really picture myself being the kind of person to … do that stuff. I apparently kept on with the habit of starting sentences without knowing where I was going with them. I put a pet to sleep. I took my child to Disneyland (that was last week and I haven’t written anything about it yet, but it was swell). I sent a kid to kindergarten. Geeze. Without a consistent blogging habit to look back over, I really don’t remember a lot of what I did this year. I think it was a lot of the same with a few events sprinkled here and there.
2. Did you keep your resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make resolutions, but I did have a general feeling that 2016 was going to finally be our year. It wasn’t, and I won’t make the mistake of pinning hopes on the flipping of a calendar page again.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have always defined this question as, “did anyone I know well enough to visit in the hospital or immediately following the birth of their child give birth?” and that remains a no, though all three female friends I have on this base did give birth this year. Or near the end of last year. I can’t really recall. So, not that close, then.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
I still do not travel. I still do not even own a passport. I don’t really have any thoughts of abandoning this country after the election, either, so I don’t know when I’ll get around to getting one.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A more solid idea of what our exact plans are when Phil retires at the end of the year. Financial stability. I don’t even care about financial security at this point. Just pick a spot and stay stable there, finances, even if it’s a shitty spot. A vasectomy (that one’s not for me). A bigger house. Less stuff. Way, way, way less stuff.
7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched in your memory and why?
When I realized Hillary Clinton was going to lose. The day after the election when some friendly Germans asked me about it and I cried. Watching Penelope watch the parade at Disneyland. She was on Phil’s shoulders and kept turning around to scream down at me. “IT’S GOOFY! MAMA! IT’S DONAAAALLLLD!!” When we lost Brinkley, those last few minutes. When a customer bought two coffees and when they were made, said one was for me, because I never get to have coffee during the day. When the French guys left. WHEN FRENCH GUYS CAME INTO THE SHOP TWO WEEKS AGO!! When we took Penny to the beach, that whole trip.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I guess nothing in particular this year, other than just doing well at work. My customers like me, my boss likes me, my boss trusts me with a lot, and said she’s going to miss me when I had to give notice recently. I like the job, and I don’t hate going there or being there every day. Sometimes that feels like a pretty decent accomplishment. Also, I feel kind of okay about the fact that I worked as long as I could, and eventually got myself around to the point that I felt okay about quitting without soul-crushing guilt. Just a regular amount of guilt.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Every other aspect of my life that was not work. Our kid looks like a hobo all the time. I never grocery shop and rarely get a decent cooked meal on the table. My house is… well, disaster is putting it nicely. I was an utter and complete failure at managing to hold it together this year. About halfway through, shit went sideways and stopped working well for us, leaving us just hanging on by the tips of our fingers as the year came to a close.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I’ve talked about this before – how I have a rare condition, the details are stupid and unimportant and depressing. And how I lost a bunch of weight and was feeling better, but then not feeling better again, and I had a spinal tap, which showed that my condition was controlled. Which was good news and also depressing, because if the condition is controlled, why do I feel like shit? So, turns out I have two other, less rare, pretty normal, but definitely shitty migraine and headache type conditions as well. So we adjusted some medications and lifestyle shit, and I started to feel okay again, until I didn’t. Until I really didn’t. So, back to the doctor, and he decided to do a spinal tap, because it’s his damn favorite thing to do. This was probably the hardest part of my year, if I’m thinking selfishly only about me, which I usually do. We all expected this spinal tap was just a check in, just to confirm that condition 1 is still under control so that we could move on without having to consider it as we figured out how to handle everything else that was happening. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the test results were quite bad. My exact words when my doctor announced it were, “you have to be fucking kidding me.”
I don’t really know how to explain why this particular moment was the most difficult, except that… it made it clear that I won’t ever be done with this. I struggled with it for years, actual years spent doing not much more than just laying in bed every single day, dealing with not only feeling like hot garbage, but also the guilt that comes with being chronically ill, which either you understand or you don’t. And I met a new doctor and got better and set that part of my life aside as closed, except it’s just not and it won’t be. It can’t be cured, only managed, and we’ve once again hit a point of “this might be as good as it gets,” with “as good as it gets” being so not good that I’ve had to quit the job I really enjoy, cancel plans, avoid making plans in the first place, and spend so much time sleeping that my kid declared our 14 hour car trip “the best day of her life” because she actually got to hang out with both parents for so much time. And I think worse than feeling like shit – not much worse, but a little worse – are all the feelings that come wrapped up with being chronically ill. I feel guilty, of course. Like, all the time. And angry a lot. Then I feel bad for being angry because what right do I have to wail about the unfairness of it all? And I feel snappish toward well-meaning people who cheerfully suggest it will surely get better, or have I tried this, or have I considered that, and I have to bite my tongue not to tell them to fuck right off, and then, of course, feel awful, because they mean well. And I’m the buttfaced dickbiscuit for even considering raining on their cheer-parade with a trout-smack of reality. THEY’RE being hopeful for me, how dare I not play along like the brave little soldiers sick people are supposed to be?
Anyway, it’s complicated. I want to be sick without also being an asshole, but they seem to go hand in hand.
To answer the question, yeah, I suffered some illness. I also randomly went blind in one eye, but that was only scary the first time. It’s fine now, usually, except when it’s not, and I can just wait it out. Oh, also, I went to a trampoline park a couple days ago and my thighs are fucking killing me.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm. LEE KWANG SCOOT.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Phil’s, of course. Just re-read above if you need help developing an accurate picture of all the shit that’s heaped upon him on the regular. Penny. She’s been pretty great this year. Five is pretty great. She’s generally understanding of situations as they stand in this house, and does her best to cope with them. As best as someone her age can. She also loves school and brings home great reports almost every day. Other kids like her and she’s made a lot of friends.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Can. We. Not.
14. Where did most of your money go?
The vet. Daycare. The beach and Disneyland. This year, she’s coming out of daycare, though, and we’re down a dog, so maybe we can catch our breaths a bit there.
15. What did you get really, really excited about?
Tickets to see BTS.
Taking Penny to Disneyland.
A new drink a friend and I invented called The French DeVonte. (My friend’s name is DeVonte.)
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
It came a little late in the year, but Big Bang’s Last Dance.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
sadder, about the same, poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Texting people when I think about them. Don’t I say this every year? If I have your number, I’m writing you at least two to three texts a week, then deleting them before I send them. Sorry/you’re welcome.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sleeping. Wallowing in a pit of despair/my own filth/empty diet soda cans. Being short-tempered.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent it at home, as I prefer to do. We went out for Chinese the night before, then spent the morning opening gifts together. We told Penny she’d be leaving for California to go to Disneyland. Later in the day, I made a pile of snacks. I basically arm-swept the fancy meats and cheeses shelf. At night, after Penny went to bed, we packed our bags and our car and early the next day, we left for Phil’s aunt’s house in California. We went to the aquarium (though we had to leave quite quickly because I didn’t feel well, see entry re: guilt above). We went to Disneyland. We ate ramen. Penny taught a bunch of people how to play her favorite card game. We went to a trampoline park. And then we drove 14 hours home.
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Does renewing my love for DBSK and Rain count?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Running Man. It’s always Running Man. I have a somewhat irrational attachment to the show. When I was spending most of my time in bed, it’s almost all I watched. 200+ episodes. I’ve always just told people simply, it puts me in a good mood. It always has and I love it deeply. Unfortunately, some things happened this year that weren’t cool but likely uninteresting to you if I explain, and the show will be ending in early 2017. I’m taking it so hard it would probably be comical to anyone else. But before you find it comical, you should know that Business Insider found Running Man to be the ninth most popular show in the world of 2016, and the number one most popular non-American television show. In the world. (link) So stick that in your butt and fuck off. I’m sorry, the pain is still very fresh.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?
I can’t remember what date exactly I started hating Donald Trump instead of just finding him to be a giant but harmless tool.
24. What was the best book you read?
Probably A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Feel free to ruin your own life by reading it.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I continue to discover that kpop is fucking awesome.
26. What did you want and get?
My job. Um, some new sneakers the other day.
27. What did you want and not get?
Good results in basically any situation in which I was waiting for results.
28. What was your favorite film of the year?
I only saw one, and it was Sully, and IT WAS SO GREAT.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 35, and I’m pretty sure I took a nap. Oh, and I worked. Which was kind of weird because all my co-workers were surprised. “Why are you at work on your birthday?” Is taking a day off for your birthday a thing? Why? I dunno. I worked. It was fine.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
You know, I don’t know. I hate this saying, like everyone else, but it kind of just is what it is, right?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Uniform, elastic pants, onesie pajama suits.
32. What kept you sane?
Probably Running Man.
33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Always this guy. He’s so great and you don’t even know it.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
CAN WE NOT.
35. Who did you miss?
The characters from the dramas that I finished watching.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
More like a group of people. I love my little German lunch groups. These little pods of regular customers who are also German. They are my favorite people, after me.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I will not.
38. Quote a lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t think so Tim.
Happy fucking New Year. Don’t fuck it up.
There have been a lot of things over the last week that I have felt like talking about, stupid stuff mostly but this is my website and I’ll do what I want. I haven’t written any of it yet, though, because I felt like there was one big thing I needed to get out of the way before I could do anything else. It just feels weird not to talk about it.
Last Friday, the World’s Most Handsome Dog left us.
If you’ve read this blog or read temerity-jane for any length of time, you know all about Brinkley. When I first met Brinkley, I was obsessed. Totally obsessed with this dog. For a year or so, probably every 4th post was about Brinkley or had a picture of Brinkley or a mention of something Brinkley did. He was Phil’s dog. He was four years old when I met him. Honestly, a not insignificant part of the reason I agreed to date Phil (after a very long year of attempts on his part) was because this dog was part of the package. He was Phil’s since he was a puppy, but he was my first dog. Because he was certainly mine, too, though of course I recognize the significance of Phil raising him from being a terrible puppy into being a frankly kind of terrible dog.
He was so lazy. He was the world’s laziest dog. Whenever he’d get sick – and if you’ve followed along, you know that was a lot over the last couple of years – it was hard to describe it to the vet, because he just LAID AROUND ANYWAY so what was the difference? But we always knew.
Anyway, I don’t want to go into some overwrought thing about my dog, because that will make me cry and it will make you cry and it won’t be any good for anyone. Instead, I want to Swistle this whole thing and tell you what happened, how it went, and what you might expect if you ever have to do this. I don’t really know what else to do here. You know I loved this dog. You know I’m totally devastated in a way that feels like it’s never going to stop. We don’t need to go over that and I don’t want to drag you down into it with me.
So you know last summer, Brinkley was diagnosed with serious, serious cancer. We honestly thought we’d lose him within a couple of weeks. But he held on, and he held on. We had him to the vet now and then to adjust his medications and to make him as comfortable as possible. Everyone told us we’d just know when it was time, but I want you to know it’s not that easy for everyone and every dog. We didn’t know. I still don’t know. And that’s really hard.
Picture by Allie Brosh
About two weeks ago, he started looking really bad. Very slow to move around. Very reluctant to get up. In fact, he had this spot he liked to lay in, right in front of the back door, and if you were trying to come in, he just… wouldn’t move. You either had to try to shove him WITH the door, or yell through the crack for someone to come help you. But then, he was always a lazy dog. Regardless, my “something is not quite right here” instincts with Brinkley have always been pretty accurate, so we made him an appointment for Thursday. We knew that this was the appointment where we were going to ask – is it time?
Over that weekend, he stopped eating his food. He’d still go for a pizza crust if you had one to offer, and he was still taking his pain medication wrapped in lunch meat. He’d done this before, stopping eating for a day or so, but this stretched on for more days than ever. On Monday morning, the week of that Thursday appointment, I called the vet and asked if they could please work him in, and they did.
It was good and bad, that appointment. They said his heart sounded terrific and strong. They said his teeth looked like he’d lived a long healthy life. They also said he was clearly in pain in his back legs. That the femoral pulse was very weak. That he was anemic, that his liver was swollen, and that he was full tumors – some harmless fatty tumors, some certainly the spread of the cancer. He was confused. But they said he looked happy.
Happy, so that means it’s not time, right? No, not exactly. The vet said it was time to talk about Brinkley’s promotion. That’s exactly how he phrased it – talking about Brinkley’s promotion. We talked about how he certainly didn’t have long, and I understood that the longer we waited, for every extra day we tried to steal, we were running the risk of some major traumatic event happening. A seizure, or a rupture of some sort, or the loss of use of his legs, or something else that would constitute an emergency. Something that would mean we’d have to rush him in to be put down. So he was happy, but he was on his way out, and it became clear that it was a good time. We scheduled it for that Friday, four days later. It felt really, really wrong.
These are the things I want you to know about choosing to euthanize your sick or elderly pet. If you’ve already done this or you don’t want to know about it, maybe don’t read any more.
Things That Were Easier Than Expected:
Enjoying Brinkley’s last days without the constant questioning we’d been doing for nearly a year. Is he okay? Is this it? Is it time? Is this what they mean when they say you’ll know? All of that had been going on for a long time, and it made it really hard to enjoy Brinkley as Brinkley. He was a constant source of worry for us. That’s selfish, I know, but taking that off our plate brought him back to being just our big dumb goofy dog.
The ability to make his last days special. He got lots of attention. He got to get up on the furniture. He got so, so, so many treats and snacks. We had a hamburger party the night before. He ate three hamburgers and a whole lot of fries. He was in Brinkley heaven.
The actual process. A lot of the dread – not nearly all of it, but a lot of it – that I had in that week was not really being able to understand what was going to happen, having never seen it before. It was not scary. The tech came in and gave Brinkley a lot of treats. She gave him a shot that was a major sedative, then she left. We hung out with Brinkley and loved on him until he got tired, then we helped him to lay down on a blanket. About 10 minutes later, two techs came back. They shaved a spot on his leg and took out a very large syringe filled with bright pink liquid. They told us it works fast. They started the injection with no delay. It was a very thick fluid, so it was a slow injection. About halfway through the syringe, they stopped and checked his heart, and he was gone.
The next day or two. They weren’t terrible. They weren’t good, but they weren’t terrible. I was significantly more torn up in the two or three days before than I was in the two or three days after. Something we’d been dreading for a very long time was over, and our sick dog wasn’t in pain anymore. I felt good about our decision and I still feel good about our decision.
Things That Were Harder Than Expected:
The techs and vets at this office have seen Brinkley a lot over the two years we’ve lived here. In fact, our very first order of business upon arrival was to find a vet. He was at the vet before we had furniture, for a sick and terrible abscess on his leg that we didn’t know if he’d survive, let alone keep the leg. He did both. Point is, everyone there knew him. I felt very collected, mostly, when we were in the vet’s office, until the tech gave him a treat. Then she got down on the ground and kissed him a bunch and told him what a good dog he was. Then she leaned in and had private words with him in his ear. That was hard. That was really, really hard. There was ugly snort crying.
That second injection. They said it worked fast. I thought they’d put it in, then we’d see his breathing slow, then he would slowly leave us. That’s not what happened at all. When they took it out halfway through, I was upset. I thought that his old leg had blown a vein or something and they needed to start somewhere else. That wasn’t it. They bring in more than they think they’ll need, and they administer more than needed. There was no slow slipping away. He was there, and then he wasn’t. It was so fast. I was ready, but I wasn’t ready.
The sick “oh god undo undo” feeling that kept cropping up at random for the rest of that night. Feeling like we made a mistake. That he could have had maybe a couple more days or maybe even a week. Being absolutely unable to grasp the reality of the fact that we’d made a permanent decision we couldn’t change. Questioning myself over and over if we should have waited for what other people mention – that their dogs can’t move without assistance, that they have accidents in the house, that they refuse to get up at all. Brinkley was such a people dog. He wanted nothing more than to be with us and make him happy. He wouldn’t have behaved like that even in his worst pain – which we know he was in – because it would have kept him away from us. Still. It just kept dawning on me that we couldn’t undo it. Then I’d not think about it for awhile. Then it would dawn on me all over like it was a new realization. That was brutal.
And speaking of brutal. Penny was fine that first night. And the next day. But Saturday night, it seemed to hit her. I can’t go into descriptions on this, but it was awful. Awful, awful, awful. Phil and I had to trade her off between us to handle it. It was so terrible. We expected it, sure, but the reality was harsh.
It’s been over a week now, and it was just yesterday or the day before that I looked around and really realized he’s not here. And that he’s not coming back. At all. Ever. Just… gone. No Brinkley anymore. If that could stop cropping up out of nowhere, that would be swell. Any time now.
Something I’ve had to tell myself over and over is that it’s better a week too early than a minute too late. Most of the time, that makes sense and I find it comforting. The rest of the time, it sounds like the most horrible combination of words I’ve ever heard. How could a whole week too early be better? How could a minute too early be better? And I can’t stand, CAN’T STAND, to hear “better place” one more time, not ONE MORE TIME. Brinkley’s very best place in the world was right next to us and there’s nowhere ANYWHERE EVER that dog would want to be. He’s not in pain anymore, and that’s good. He doesn’t need his sick old body anymore, and that’s good. But there’s NO better place for Brinkley than right where he was, and he can’t be here anymore.
Sheldon hasn’t been eating much at all since it happened. He was confused the first day, then mopey. He’s slowly coming out of his mope, but he needs to be around us at all times, and he’s very subdued.
What’s funny and terrible is that now that Brinkley’s gone, we’re noticing what a really great dog Sheldon is. He listens to commands. Brinkley didn’t, Brinkley didn’t give a shit, Brinkley does what Brinkley wants. He doesn’t eat toys – we’ve been able to take down all the gates that kept Brinkley separated from everything Penny owned, and Sheldon has just calmly followed us around to hang out. He’s so patient with Penny, where Brinkley had very little interest. Sheldon wore pants on his head for five minutes today, because Penny put them there, and what the hell, Sheldon’s game.
Sheldon was decidedly not a good dog when we first got him. He bit me all the time and tore my pants right off me in the yard one time. He jumped and punched people in the stomach. He got over our fence and ran away every damn chance he got. But somewhere in the last six years, he’s changed, and we missed it, because I am telling you without shame, Brinkley was the favorite dog. Now Sheldon’s the only dog, and he’s really not so bad at all.
Anyway. Brinkley was a great, great dog. The very best. He’s gone now, and we miss him.