Category: Family


And Then There Were Three

Today we sadly had to put down my oldest dog, Sammy. We got him from the pound 12 years ago, and he’s been a welcoming face home everyday since. He was 16 this year and things were definitely becoming difficult for him. He developed really bad vertigo yesterday and could hardly stand up. Apparently this is something that can happen with older dogs, and occurs seasonally. The vet said he could possibly return to something close to normal in about a week, but he wasn’t eating and was barely mobile on his own before this anyway. We decided it was the right time and took him in this morning.

I will definitely miss him. I’m mostly sad I was so worried about him dying for so long that I never took him out to do anything. I feel like I didn’t do enough with him or for him. Growing up we weren’t allowed out to play unless my mom went with, and she was always tired after work, or had extra work to do, so we never got out just to go on walks. I think Sam was definitely happy with us but I still feel like he could’ve had more adventure. He’s been a reliable constant in my life for many years now and I will definitely miss him. I think I’ll probably miss the way his tail would wag in a circle the most. Whenever he was really excited his tail would just go completely around in circles like a propeller. I’m glad he’s finally at rest though and I think it was definitely his time.

The house feels really quiet without him. He had a little trouble staying the right temperature so he was always panting, and any time he wanted to get up and move there was always a bit of stumbling while he got his bearings. And you could always expect to find him laying in the middle of the floor. Without him here the house seems a little bit bigger and significantly quieter, and it’s something I’m not at all used to. He’s been a part of my life since I was 10. He used to sleep on my bed when we first brought him home. Me and a big black lab curled up on a little twin sized mattress. My life is going to be really weird without him.

Mostly I’m writing this to just say thanks to him for everything. Thanks for being my best friend, and for always being there when I needed you. You were mine, and I was yours. Always.

 

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My new job is going really really well. I’ve been there for almost exactly a month. Maybe a month and two days if I remember correctly. I’m very overqualified so I have a lot of time on my hands. I’m treating this position like the character Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. My boss is slightly similar to Miranda Priestly, in that she gives you very little time to get a project done, and she has very high expectations but doesn’t give you much in the way of instructions. My shift supervisor struggles with that a lot and she and my manager often bump heads because of it. So far I’ve handled everything thats been thrown at me pretty much flawlessly, and I’ve also done a few smaller projects that my manager doesn’t know about. I just recently finished compiling all of the files for a store manual, since our store was the only one that had a copy of it and it was extremely outdated. It was handed off to my manager for review yesterday so we’ll see what she has to say!

in other news, we almost put Sam down last week. His health has seriously declined over the last two years and he’s had this awful tumor growing on the back of his neck. He regularly scratched at it to the point that it would start bleeding profusely. I came home at least 5 different times to a small pool of blood on the floor, with drips of it throughout the house. My mom has been refusing to take him into the vet on the grounds that she can’t afford to take care of him, which has infuriated me to no end. Finally I told her I was taking him in with or without her, with the intention of putting him down. She came with and the vet said he was actually just in a lot of pain from arthritis and his tumor was infected. They told us years ago that it was benign and we didn’t need to worry about it, so we never had it removed.

We took home a weeks worth of pain meds and antibiotics to try out, and if we didn’t see his health or mood improving we would put him down. He recovered very quickly and the vet advised I give him a bath. I did but it irritated his infection and he scratched it open more than he’s ever done before. So I decided enough was enough and I took him in to have it removed myself, since my mom refused to do anything about it. He had the operation done yesterday and has a very large cut on the back of his neck to show for it. Believe it or not it actually looks better than the tumor. He’s been very subdued because of the pain meds he’s on, but he’s definitely getting his personality back and I expect he’ll be much happier once he’s healed up. We have to keep a T shirt on him until the wound has healed so he doesn’t scratch it open, and so far he hasn’t touched it. He hasn’t eaten today but he did drink some water this morning.

All of our dogs were actually due for checkups, so I took all four in at once the day before Sam’s surgery. Everyone needed their shots updated and we also got flea meds and some chew sticks to help fight plaque. It’s been an unbelievably expensive couple of days, but everyone will be happier and healthier, so it was worth it.

And since I’ve been so responsible with all of the dogs I felt I deserved a treat, so I went out and bought 72 stepping stones to make a pathway from our patio to the staircase in the garden. I’m still about 15 bricks short, but I have to wait until I deposit my paycheck until I go buy those. Even though its not finished it has made a dramatic improvement to the yard. It cuts the lawn almost completely in half and covers the most damaged part of it, so it makes the lawn look healthier than it is. We’ve been talking about putting in a pathway for years but my mom has never “had the funding for it”. She regularly uses that as an excuse to not do things, since so far this project has only cost me $87.51, and we spend twice that on eating out every month. Once all the bricks are down I think the total cost will be right around $120.

My mom and I have continued to grow more and more distant over the last year. I have a really hard time talking with her because she says no to almost every idea I have. I think of her more as a roommate than as a mom at this point. I don’t trust her to make good decisions so I don’t go to her for advice on anything, and I haven’t talked to her about how I feel about anything since I was probably a child. I’m really mad at her for how she’s handled Sam’s health. Every time my sister and I brought it up my mom automatically made it about her and how she didn’t want us to deal with her in her old age the way we were trying to deal with Sam.

This whole Sam thing has been very stressful for me though, and she hasn’t really seemed to realize that. I would rather have put him down than have had him suffer through like he was doing before we took him to the vet. He will be on the equivalent of ibuprofen for the rest of his life to combat his arthritis, but I suppose that’s fine. He does seem happier, and I had forgotten what he was like when he was playful.

I’ve grown really close to two of my coworkers from Starbucks, but I still feel very isolated and alone. I’m at this really annoying stage where I make enough money that I don’t need anything from my mom, but I don’t make enough money to move out and be entirely independent. I’m hoping a newer, better position comes up in the company I’m working for and that I can hire into it quickly. I’m technically supposed to stay there for a year but if something better comes up then I’m not sticking around.

Anyway, I really have to get going. I start work in an hour and I have to run to the bank. Thanks for reading!

An Update From Home

I’ve been home for just over a week now. I have to say, I’m not enjoying it. My house isn’t any messier than it has been in my entire life, but after living for a couple months on my own in a room that was immaculate and completely devoid of clutter, its driving me crazy. My first night back I stayed up until 2 AM rearranging the kitchen and the cupboards. You can’t find anything you need in this place and there’s stuff EVERYWHERE. My mom is genuinely a hoarder. We got in an argument this morning over moving a bookshelf from one side of the room to the other! It was finished by my mom saying she couldn’t afford to do anything and that she’s loosing her job soon (and I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s been saying that since we moved into this house 5 years ago). We were supposed to go for a walk today but she decided to shut herself in her room after telling me my opinions were “bullshit”.

That opened the way for a very nice breakfast with my sister though, and I do actually appreciate that. We talked about how crazy our parents are, and I apologized for being awful to her a couple years ago. It was nice to be able to talk about things again.

I’ve also stopped shaving, something I’ve only done once before. I’ve got three weeks of relative aloneness, so I figured now would be a fun time to see what I look like with facial hair. I normally could shave twice a day if I needed to, so its coming in fast. The longest I made it last time was 10 days, so I’m hoping to break that record this time, haha. I’ve also started going on walks! I feel bad not being able to play with the dogs all the time because of the weather, and even when we are playing its not like they’re getting constant exercise. So for the last three days I’ve made sure to do at least a half hour walk around the neighborhood with them. I almost didn’t go today because I was out of the house for so long running errands with a friend, but I decided i might as well go tonight. It was wonderful getting to see the city after dark! I live up on a hill but there are buildings in the way so I don’t get a very nice view from my house. There’s a nice street a few minutes away though and it has a great view of the valley and the hill on the other side.

I’m glad to be back home with my dogs, but living with my mom is definitely a bigger struggle than it was before. I’ve got a few big projects to do around the house this coming year, so I’m hoping I find a decent job to cover all of the expenses, haha. I did tell you I was going back to my old store right? So I’ll be working a few days a week there just to give me a small amount of income, but I’ll be looking for something bigger and better on my days off. Getting stuck at Starbucks is the last thing I want.

Anyway, my neighbor has invited me over for a movie, so I’m gonna head out! Jus thought I would write to let you all know I’m doing well. I feel like I don’t write those kinds of posts very often so its nice when I get to!

Moving Day #3

I moved into my new place today, officially. I moved some of my stuff down at the beginning of the month, and then I borrowed my aunts van on thursday so I could bring down my larger items. Today consisted of moving down myself and a couple pillows and food items. I’m kind of excited to be starting a new chapter in my life. I was going to move down last night, but my mom ended up throwing a last minute bon-voyage party for me and my cousins stayed later than I had anticipated. Which, by the way, sparked the funniest conversation I think I’ve ever had with them. My oldest cousin turns 28 very soon and is still living at home with his mom (he has a bachelors in something to do with aeronautics) and jobless. He’s become very interested with the idea of having a girlfriend (though he’s such a misogynist I don’t know where he’d fine a girl who’d put up with him) and having kids. Or I should say, he’s opposed to both those things. He told me I should never have sex because “it’s not worth the risk” of getting a girl pregnant or catching an STD. His brother (and my mom and I) couldn’t stop laughing at him. From there the conversation got crazier and crazier, until at one point my cousin (the younger brother of the one opposed to sex) came up with the idea of a “sperm stopper” (not a condom??) and they had me google it to see if the website already existed. It does, and they sell cock rings and piercings. It was a conversation that really could only be had at our house.

But anyway! I’ve moved into my new house! My room is huge, with furnished with a queen sized bed, two dressers, and two desks. I’ve moved a few things around to make room for my 29 gallon fish tank and overstuffed arm chair. I still need to find space for a 35 inch bubble screen TV, which is about the same foot print as my arm chair. If I could get rid of the smaller of the two desks then everything would fit perfectly. My mom and I went grocery shopping and somehow managed to get so many groceries I have to store some of them in my room. My shelf in the cupboard is so full you can barely take anything out. And someone keeps putting things in my fridge space so I’ll have to ask about moving that all around. I do get a crisper drawer though, thankfully, so I’m keeping everything in that until my shelf is emptied.

I’m a little nervous about going to orientation tomorrow. Campus is huge and I don’t want to get lost. I actually don’t even know where I’m supposed to be going yet. I’ve got a few emails and things about where I’m supposed to be, and theres a schedule online, but I haven’t looked at all of it properly. And I’m exhausted from moving things around. I’ve done more in the last few days than I have in weeks it feels like. The drive down here (which takes about an hour and a half) felt like it went quick. I still can’t quite believe I’m down here. It’s so unlike anything I’ve ever done.

There’s a lot of ruckus out in the kitchen, so I should probably go socialize with my housemates. I haven’t really eaten yet today, so I should go have something. I had a few cubes of cheese and a half of the worst americano of my life. My family wanted to get together for coffee one last time before I left this morning, and I ordered a hot americano that ended up being tepid and terrible. And my mom ordered a double short late but ended up getting a grande soy latte instead. They were extremely busy, but still, two drinks wrong in a row is kind of bad. Especially an americano since its literally the easiest drink you can make. Its just espresso and hot water. You press a button and turn on the tap and you’re done.

I still don’t know if I’m going to work while going to school or not. I really can’t afford not to, but school sounds like it’s going to be really hard. *sigh* I still have so much to do. I should go have lunch. Or I could take a nap and not eat today… I’ll force myself to be social. It’ll be good for me, right?

This Is A Crows World

Part of going away to Evergreen for school means that I have to read a simple book they sent me in the mail. It’s called Crow Planet, and its pretty boring. At just over 220 pages long, you think it would be an easy read. I found it to be a little dry, and not anywhere near as motivational as the cover had me thinking it would be. It’s a short, semi-biographical piece about a woman (the author, obviously) who becomes depressed after she realizes her life isn’t what she would’ve hoped, and finds herself feeling disconnected from the earth after she moves into the city to support her husbands career. I hope you forgive the lengthy sentences. I’ve just finished reading this book and it was full of sentences half a page long. While rather lacking a significant motivational component (at least for me anyway), the book did have a section near the end that did a good job of stirring up my thoughts. It covered the death of crows, and also the reminder that crows represent to humans. To be honest, I never really notice crows. I know they’re one of the more intelligent creatures we’ve come across, but they never piqued my interest the way they do some other people. My mother certainly loves them, and would keep one as a companion if she could. Anyway, this little paragraph, only a few pages from the end of the book, made me think about death. The death of crows, to begin with, but, as was the goal of the author, about my own death as well.

I will be the first to admit that I regularly get so caught up in my own simple life that I regularly forget to live it. I spent this summer so completely entrenched in work that I never had any time for fun. And what did all of those hours of work really earn me? Am I any better off having completed them? I for all the hundreds of hours I worked this weekend, I earned only a few thousand dollars. Not enough to live off of, and certainly not enough to pay off the college loans I have yet to take out. And how often did I enjoy myself during this time? Was I ever really happy? My time at starbucks was fun, once I got the hang of things, but the amount of waste was still something that weighed on me every day. I certainly didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment at the end of every day. The only thing that seems to have kept me going was my sense of duty. Both of my parents work incessantly, so that’s kind of the only model I’ve got to go off of. Crow Planet seems to have awakened in me the fact that working incessantly isn’t the only way of living ones life.

It also made me realize what a fantastic opportunity I have by going away to school. I won’t have a single acquaintance in the city when I go to school. My closest friends will be 2 hours away, and I’ll be entirely alone. A year ago this idea would’ve probably scared me, and it does scare me a little, to be honest. But for the moment this truth gives me a kind of hope. I have a great opportunity to change my life. I can meet new people who will help me do whatever it is I want to do in life. I can actually decide if I want to know what I want to do in life. I can make good impressions, work (not so hard) in school and earn the respect of my teachers. I’m hoping that the resulting culture shock will also help get rid of some of my meaner tendencies. I do try very hard to be nice sometimes, but things invariably come out mean. Just last week I was talking with a coworker about a show that is based off of a comic book series in Japan, and the tone of my voice slipped into a tone of derision while I asked him a question without my meaning to. I sounded like I was calling him stupid in a way that didn’t even make sense, just because my tone was wrong. Social blunders like these seem to happen a lot to me. I’ve actually started reading a book for personal reasons, titled something like “the 5 languages of love”. The book explains that there are 5 languages with which people communicate their feelings of love, and teaches you how to better communicate utilizing the knowledge of how all 5 work. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but it seems very interesting. I’m hoping it will help me better communicate with people in general, and increase my threshold for compassion. 

For now though I need to go to sleep. I just got very tired all of the sudden and I have to work (surprise) tomorrow. I can’t believe its already September!

I’ve almost finished my rain garden! Tuesday and Wednesday were days I had off, so I spent all of Tuesday hauling compost. I brought in 3 pickup trucks full that day (I borrowed my uncles truck), which means a total of 4 have been brought into my garden. Everyone assures me that there’s no way the pickup truck is a full yard, but I had the office woman at the compost facility come out and look at it and she assured me it was. Anyway! Here are some pictures of the rain garden so far!

I really really like it! And it’s actually been really cheap so far. Here’s a little list to give an idea of what this project involved.

Plants: $5. I only bought one plant for this garden specifically, almost everything else was relocated from around my garden. Some plants (a couple of red flowering currants, a sedge and a bunching grass, some sea holly, and a plant called serasiformis) were collected from/donated by the garden where I intern. 

Compost: 3 yards. Cost: $90.

Rocks: Large rocks were donated by my grandpa and transported by my cousins. All small rocks were collected from the excavation site.

Decorative branches: donated by my aunt

Use of uncles truck: $73 in gas (I didn’t use that much gas to haul compost, but that’s what it cost to fill his tank since it was almost empty when I got it). $5 carwash.

Time: honestly I haven’t been keeping track of the hours very much simply because I was working on this every spare minute that I had. I would guess that I spent probably 100 hours on this so far. Digging up the lawn took several days, and getting the dirt out took a couple of weeks. I spent all of tuesday working on it, and several hours on wednesday.

Total cost? $173. 100 hours of work.

All that I have left to do is cover the raised edges with wood chips and fill in the shallow area with the pebbles I collected from the excavation. I was reading through my rain garden book and it said that rain garden soil has sand in it, so I might mix in a little bit of the old dirt that I have still. It’ll help get rid of it and improve drainage. I think I missed that page on my first read through, haha.

Oh, and here’s a list of the plants I used, incase you’re interested.

Mock orange, lady fern, red osier dogwood, red flowering currant, several varieties of sedges, a bunching variety of grass I don’t know the name of, oregon iris, costal strawberries, common camas, salal, hardy fuscia, sea holly, and a small flowering bulb I believe is called morning star.

The majority of these plants are native and will provide food and shelter for dozens of species of birds and insects. I’m hoping the increased shady “wetland” will also encourage frogs. I don’t really expect to see those until I get a pond set up, but that’s a different project that might have to wait for a year or two. 

I’ll post more pictures once the project is completely finished!

Oh and here’s a picture of Buttercup impatiently waiting for me to finish my breakfast this morning.

That picture also shows our newly refurbished couch! The darker purple on the arm is the real color of the couch, with the lighter stuff just being some sheets we through on it to protect it while we get a real slip cover. My mom really likes the color purple. We currently have a purple house, a purple couch, purple drapes, and purple asparagus, purple brussels sprouts, and several variety of purple flowers growing in the garden. My mom also has purple nails at the moment, haha,