Pet Therapy

Being stuck in the house and sitting in the recliner all day can drive a person crazy. I don’t think I’m quite to that point, but some days are harder than others to not be able to get outside and see people.

Luckily, I’m easy to entertain and I have pets. I’ve mentioned that we have 2 dogs, 2 cats and a bunny.  I don’t do much with Bunny, because she is Little One’s, but I love to watch her when she is out of her cage hopping around the house, thumping, and scaring the other animals trying to make friends.  You just haven’t lived if you haven’t seen a bunny go up or down stairs.

Fat Gray Cat has been depressed with Oldest One at college. Before she left Oldest One spent 2 weeks sleeping in the same t-shirt to leave for Fat Gray Cat to lay on.  And she did, all day, for about the first month.  Oldest One has left before, but not for too long.  When Fat Gray Cat realized she wasn’t coming back I was the recipient of her affections.  She would jump onto my head as soon as I got into the recliner each morning and demand to be pet.  And then when she felt she had been pet enough and wanted to thank me she would rip some skin off with her teeth or claws.  I try to take pictures each day and Snap Chat them to Oldest One, who misses her baby.

The dogs are always good at cheering me up. White Shaggy Dog, in a perpetual state of confusion, is the best.  He jumps up on Husband’s recliner, right next to mine, and hangs between the two chair arms for me to pet him.  He doesn’t like me to look at him when I pet him (he gets embarrassed), so I look at blogs or FaceBook.  White Shaggy Dog grunts and groans in happiness when he gets pet, and when he falls asleep he snores.  He furiously wags his tail when I talk to him, and he is good for a hug when I feel sad.

Silver & Black Dog is a bit more aloof. She needs to sleep in the pantry most of the day, where the pets’ food and water is, and where the doggie door is.  She will alert us when one of the sketchy (to her) cats comes in by barking and hopping around.  Silver & Black Dog loves to have her tummy pet, and she will lay right by or on me all day as long as I pet her.  She gets super excited when we leave and come back, even if we only left for 5 minutes.  I love how she welcomes us home, leaping around, giving little cries and wagging her little tail stump as fast as she can.

Last is Tuxedo Cat. She spends a lot of time outside patrolling our house and some of our neighbors to make sure no gophers think to move in. She purrs all the time.  She is Little One’s cat, but she is always happy to come lay on me so I can pet her.  For hours.  The only bad thing about her is she sheds, so Husband can’t pet her.  Tuxedo cat is scared of Fat Gray Cat, but good friends with Bunny, the only one not afraid of her.

I’ve gone on way too long about my pets, but they have really helped me feel better being stuck in the house. There is something so wonderful about petting a dog, cat or bunny that makes you feel better, and makes the world look better.

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Sorry, Your Book Sucks

I’ve mentioned before how I love to read. And, since I’ve been stuck in the house for over 3 months, I’ve done a lot of reading.  And watching the Walton’s, but yesterday I finished Season 9, Episode 22, so I’m done.  I’m quite sad.

Before I forget, if you are looking for a book that will make you laugh, keep you interested (not want to put down and sleep interested), and is just a great read I have two suggestions. The first is Where in the OM Am I? by Sara DiVello.  I could connect to Sara, empathize with her, and it definitely made me laugh at times.  The other one is Kevin and I in India by Frank Kusy.  True story of Frank and Kevin travelling around India, you can’t miss reading this, it is fabulous!

Because I haven’t been working I’ve been taking advantage of all the free books out there. I really like BookBub.com, and they have both free and low cost books.  It can be hit and miss with the free books, but for the most part I have read a lot of good books, and it has been a bonus of my body falling apart.  Because there has to be a bonus somewhere when that happens.

I’ve also read books that weren’t good. The other night I finished a book that was so badly contrived and written I can’t believe I finished it.  I will say the romance genre isn’t my preferred read, but I have read many this year (free!) that were good.  I think I was hoping this one would get better, right until I finished it.  The character was completely unlikeable, the two plots didn’t go well…hot mess doesn’t cover this.  Yes, it was free, but it still shouldn’t be out there teasing people with a good read that really just tortures them.  The book is Over You by Christine Kersey.

I can’t bring myself to leave bad feedback. Mainly because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of someone who has tried hard, and put themselves out there.  I’d feel bad saying any nice variation of Your Book Sucks to someone, so I don’t.  I rarely read what other people say about books, preferring to go by what the book is about.  At the same time I feel like the public should be warned.  I did go back to Amazon, and there are a lot of bad reviews (48 people gave it under 3 stars, but 62 people gave it 5 stars, and 55 gave it 4 stars…maybe they read a different version?), so others have tried.  I just can’t do it.  Because, as the reviews for this book show, even though I found the book awful, a lot of other people are going on to read the next book.

Even a bad book doesn’t diminish my love of reading. I’ll always have a list of books to read, and the excitement and anticipation of where the next book will take me.  For every book I’ve read I didn’t like there have been at least 20 that have made up for it.  And maybe for me it’s better not to leave feedback, because I don’t want to judge what I read (yes, I just did, I know), but just enjoy the experience reading gives me.

Getting Back

It has been way too long since I posted anything. At first it was because life got a little crazy with my getting a promotion at work (yay!), the girls graduating (another yay!), and everything that went into all of that.  But then my life fell apart, and that is really why I haven’t posted.

I think letting the bad get in the way of my writing has not been good for me. I was really enjoying writing, and it made me happy.  I enjoyed reading the postings of everyone I followed, which also made me happy.  But in the long months since I’ve not posted, I also haven’t read the blogs I follow.  I intend for all of this to stop today.

At the beginning of summer my body gave up, the intense pain started, and I’ve pretty much been stuck in a recliner. I started out stuck in bed or on the air mattress Husband put up in the living room, so upgrading to the recliner was actually great.  With the help of a cane I can walk a little, and stand a little, and I can sit in a chair a little.  I can’t do any of these activities a lot, which is restrictive.  I haven’t been to work since this started, but I have watched almost the entire 9 seasons of The Walton’s!

I’ve had 7 procedures, and I was so very hopeful after the 7th, which happened 2 weeks ago. But, I don’t think it worked (although I’m supposed to give it a full month to take effect), because my pain spread a little, and I am having more problems walking than I was.  So now I have to get all of my records together and make appointments with surgeons.  I’ve said in the past that there was no way I would consider surgery unless I was to the point where I couldn’t walk and I was in constant pain…which is where I am, so now I have to hope I am a surgical candidate.

Pain is so wearing. I’ve lived with constant but manageable pain for 6 years, but what I am going through now beats all of that.  I’m on so many medications to help the pain I had to set alarms for when I’m supposed to take them, and then remember what I’m supposed to take when the alarm goes off.  I use 3 different over-the-counter creams when I go to bed to try and numb the pain so I can fall asleep.  I rotate them so I have a better chance of them not losing their effectiveness over time by my skin getting used to them.  Even with all of this I constantly hurt, and hurt fairly high on the pain scale…being at a 6 is a good day for me.

I am not doing too bad staying cheerful and optimistic, although Husband might say differently. I think blogging again, and reading other bloggers will definitely improve my days, especially since I’m almost out of Walton’s episodes to watch.  I really do have a lot of wonderful people in my life, and good things happening.  I can’t let the pain diminish that, and more importantly, I won’t.  So, I’m looking forward to reconnecting to blogging and bloggers, and upping the good over the not good in my life.  Happy Monday!

Evening Walks

Husband and I recently started walking in our neighborhood. My leg is finally, knock wood, to a point where I can start something to get me active again. My leg is still numb on the top of my thigh, and isn’t quite bending right, so my options are limited. We decided walking would be the best, especially since I could go as slow as I needed. Our second week of doing it I bought a new pair of tennis shoes, as my older ones were not giving the support I need, and all was good.

I am really enjoying the walks. We’ve lived in the neighborhood 8.5 years, but I always see it in the car, driving somewhere. Now I get to see it while strolling through it, and I can see what renovations and landscaping has been done. I get to see the different house styles, and what’s been done (or not) with the one acre lots. I’ve said hello to people on other streets I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I’m making friends with several dogs that run along fences, tongues hanging out, excited to see some humans who will talk to them (they all look quite spoiled, none of them are at all neglected).

Being with Husband is the best part of taking these walks. We hold hands as soon as we walk out the door, and keep holding hands until we are back at the front door. We talk about our day, about the kids, about all sorts of things. Because there are no kids around, no TV or music, or paperwork or computers we are focused on each other. It is wonderful. I look forward to taking these daily walks, and feel sad if we miss a day. Saturdays are hard to get the walks in with everything else going on.

We started walking as a way to get more active, but, at least for me, the walks have become so much more. Come summer we won’t be able to walk around the neighborhood because it will be too hot, and I’ll miss seeing the dogs and saying hi to people. We’ll probably have to drive over to the mall, and do our walk there. Where we walk won’t matter though, as long as we are holding hands and talking, and enjoying being with each other.

Auction Unfairness?

Well, the auction was awful, or the best, depending on what child was asked. I try really hard to treat the girls equally and fairly, but life doesn’t always work that way. Just because I make sure holiday gifts all have the same monetary value, and both Bat Mitzvahs were equally done for each girl doesn’t mean that other things happen that way. So there are many times I am trying to congratulate and be happy for one while trying to console the other.

Before I left work Friday I received an email from Little One that she was the lowest bid.  She was sad, embarrassed and upset.  Husband and I were thinking that was going to happen, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. We tried, but this turned out to be one of those things we had to let go. The auction was done by age, so Little One went first as the youngest, and the only cheerleader not in high school. We all know the first person auctioned goes for the lowest, and it turned out that the other cheerleader’s friends had banded together and groups bought the cheerleaders. Except for Little One, because her friends couldn’t participate.

Because Little One was the lowest bid, of course Oldest One was the highest. Really, she was the highest. 11 of the seniors got together and bought Oldest One. She will have a busy day on Monday catering to 11 people. Little One was also bought by a senior (one who pitched in for Oldest One), our neighbor down the street, and he is a great kid. He will be very nice to her, although he did say she had to complete his assignments for the day (this is allowed for one-day assignments). On the drive home when Oldest One tried to talk to and reassure Little One she was shut down, and Little One wouldn’t talk to her…after all, she had gone for the most money. I was able to let Husband know before they got home, but she didn’t want to talk to him either. I got her to perk up by offering ice cream. Yes, that is my answer when nothing else works, ice cream.

I’ve also dealt with the reverse, when it was Oldest One feeling slighted. Two years ago the girls both tried out for a cheer team, and they both made it. For some reason the scores were released right after the teams were announced, instead of just announcing and not giving scores away, which is to me the best way to do it. Oldest One was very excited when she came up to me, telling me she had the second highest score, but she didn’t know who scored above her. Right on cue Little One came running up screaming she had the highest score. Some days you just can’t win.

Barbie Table Memories

It happened on Mother’s Day when Oldest One was about 5 and Little One was about 2.  The Barbie Table had been problematic for several days.  The Barbie Table came about as a way to keep all the wonderful rooms Barbie lives in (and that Mattel realized was a much better way to go then a simple townhouse that took up a corner) along with furniture and clothes in one place and somewhat organized.  It was still messy, but a contained messy.

Oldest One was in a non-sharing mood, and kept getting mad at Little One for wanting to play at the Barbie Table with her.  So, about a half hour before Mother’s Day dinner with my Mom and Dad, Oldest One lost it and yelled at her sister again, at which point Husband was done.  He went into the playroom with two large garbage bags, swept everything on the Barbie Table into the bags, and told Oldest One she had lost the Barbie stuff until she could share.  That caused a meltdown, and Oldest One went into her room to cry, with my Mom following her.

I had no problem with what Husband did, we had taken toys away for not sharing before, it was just the timing.  Right before dinner on Mother’s Day wasn’t the best timing, but really, with kids, is the timing ever good?  Oldest One calmed down, we had a nice dinner, and a few days later the Barbie Table was back.  My Mom had a completely different take on this.

My Mom called me the next day and gave me a lecture about my supporting Husband over the girls.  She informed me that I should never choose Husband over the girls, and the girls were always going to be in the right.  She proudly told me she never sided with my Dad when it came to my brothers and I, and that she always supported our views instead.  That explained a lot about my parents relationship.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that Husband and I always tried to back the other when it came to the girls, and that we felt working together was the best way, and we weren’t going to side against each other.  Harder to do sometimes as the girls have gotten older, but we still strive for that.

Fast forward to today, when my Mom’s Boyfriend (we’ll call him MB) didn’t like me, or Husband, or the girls, and my Mom never tried to defend me.  Apparently I remind him of his deceased daughter who he didn’t get along with.  Pretty hard to overcome that.  And the things my Mom began to tell me about myself, my life and my family weren’t nice.  What she told my brothers about me was awful.  Never once did I hear her say anything good about me, just the bad.  What happened to siding with the child?  Not that I agreed with that, but it would be nice to think that a guy who has known me less than a year would at least get chastised a little bit for being mean, rude, and just not a good person.

My Mom wants to act like none of this happened, but it did, and it really upset and hurt me.  I know she won’t be here forever, and I know at some point this needs to be resolved.  Oldest One is inviting her to the graduation.  Little One isn’t, but after how my Mom treated Little One’s Bat Mitzvah, and then forgot Little One’s birthday, well, it’s understandable.  But when I think of having a conversation with my Mom about all of this I just get so angry at how she treated me, and how it’s okay for MB to think and say bad things without anything being said to him about how he acts.  I also feel childish thinking and feeling this, but at the same time I just can’t get over it.

This is on my mind at some point every day.  I try not to let it be because I do get so upset, but my Mom and I used to talk every day, and she used to do a lot with us, and was a big part of our lives.  We haven’t seen her since September, we don’t talk anymore, and she has missed everything the girls are doing for over a year.  At my Dad’s funeral an old friend of my parents, whose wife had died many years before, was there with his daughter, who is my age.  My Mom later told me that he had remarried, but was divorced, and during his marriage his 2nd wife hadn’t wanted anything to do with his daughters, so he hadn’t seen them during the marriage, two or three years, and was just building a new realtionship with them and his grandchildren.  She thought that was awful of him, and that he should have stood up to his wife and not abandoned his girls.  Yeah, I think that too.

It’s Easier to be Nice

I was a very shy child, and I had a hard time talking to kids my age and adults.  I was also awkward socially.  Shy and awkward, not a winning combination.  Because of this, or in spite of it, I tend to be one of those friendly people willing to talk to you anywhere I am.  Oldest One has commented on how I can have a conversation with a complete stranger in a line, and how she wouldn’t want to.  One day I’ll remind her of those words after she is done talking to the person in line in front of her at the grocery store.

I think the world is a better place when we smile and say hi to each other.  There are plenty of people I don’t know at work, but anyone I see when I’m walking between buildings gets a smile and a “hi”.  I always get the same back.  I’m not known for my anger, or negativity, or for being a difficult person to work with (thankfully).  I’m known for being friendly and smiling a lot, and for sometimes being too chatty.  I’m working on the chatty thing.

My Mom is known for being incredibly rude and nasty to anyone in a customer service position who gets the misfortune of having to deal with her.  She acts like she is better than someone assisting her, and as if they are the scum of the earth well below her notice.  She even gets a pinched look on her angry face.  I’ve pretty much apologized to any service person helping us when I’ve been along.  I know you can’t be responsible for someone else’s behavior, but it can sure be apologized for.  My Mom hates tipping, and doesn’t tip enough.  She also berates people, and complains about everything.

Little One tells the story of my Mom taking her and Oldest One out to breakfast one morning, where Little One ordered pancakes.  When the plate came the pancakes were huge, and Little One couldn’t finish all of them.  My Mom proceeded to yell at the waitress for not specifying how big the pancakes were and allowing a child to order them.  The girls have quite a few stories like this, and so do I.

I don’t care what a person does for a job.  I care about if the person is good on the inside.  Customer service jobs are difficult, and people are mean.  Husband and I always tip well for good service, and are as friendly as we can be.  There is no reason to be mean to others, and if the service is bad we’ll live through it, and not tip as well.  That rarely happens, and we enjoy talking to all the different people we meet.  I’ve been known to get exasperated while on the phone trying to get things done, but I do try hard to tell the person I’m not mad at them, I’m just irritated with the company, and apologize when I should.

Being angry and mean takes a lot out of me.  It’s stressful to hate everything the people around you are doing, and to yell at them for it.  I think your food would get spit in a lot also.  For me smiling and saying hello really does make for a better day, so it is something I’m going to continue to do, and enjoy.