Friday, February 28, 2014

R.I.P. Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson, one of my favorite comedians, died on Wednesday.

He was both outstanding and typical among comedians.

Outstanding because, even amongst other comedians he was unmistakable and unforgettable. He was a true headliner.

Typical because, like almost every stand-up comedian I have ever met, his on-stage persona was just that, a persona: He was a great guy.

I got to see him twice live. Unforgettable.

He was an outspoken Southern Baptist, as evidenced by his song, First Baptist Bar and Grill (Note: Couple naughty words)

Also: Church League Softball Fistfight.

He won over NASCAR fans with Jeff Gordon's Gay.

Also, the NASCAR Song, better known as Dale Daryl Waltrip Richard Petty  Rusty Awesome Bill Earvin Gordon Earnhardt Smith Johnson Jr.

Pretty much any parent can appreciate Chuck E. Cheese Hell.

My favorite, though, is Beer Belly Blues. Sort of a theme song of mine, at one point. Lost the beer, still have the belly.

Bonus: I Could Be Wrong  This is the censored version, which is the one I wanted, because it's funnier that way. Unfortunately the guy who posted it decided to fill in the blanks when he was captioning, so if you don't like that, don't read them.

R.I.P. Mr. Wilson.


Finding myself in a downturn again.
I miss my friend, Abby.

I wish I were getting better, but I'm not. I'm getting worse. I feel as though all the oxygen has been taken from me, like I'm in a candle jar. Each day, I feel as though my flame has dimmed a little, slowly being extinguished by a lack of air.

My health is declining, while my weight continues to rise. At one point, I would walk five miles as a warmup and now I struggle through one. By half a mile, I feel like dropping and the only thing that keeps me from quitting is, well, being half a mile from home.

She used to tell me she loved my words, and now I can hardly put anything in writing. I've not written anything funny in ages. There's no funny left in me. I can't muster sufficient energy for a rant.

Does the oxygen thing seem melodramatic? On the day our friendship was severed, I was literally floored. I couldn't stand up or breathe. My doctor almost called the squad. I fell several times. He also nearly sent me for a three day supervised vacation. He would have if I hadn't lied to him. I've been lying ever since.

I've never hurt so bad for so long. Every day is agonizing. I can't even paint on a happy face anymore.

I can't write the whole story of that day yet. I will. But not now. In a few months. I have the day picked out.

After that, nothing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How it feels

This is the way life feels to me, inside, pretty much every day:

But for me, there's no Miracle Max. No Fezzik. No Inigo Montoya. No princess.

I don't even have any change in my pockets.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Big Fight

Somehow, we blew through an entire paycheck in 5 days.

There's no  money in the bank. No gas in my car, No food in the house.

Money spent on garbage. Thrown away.

$130 dollars a month increase on my healthcare thanks to Obamacare.

I took a second job to try to start getting ahead, or at least stay even.

Now, I'm just trying not to fall behind a little slower.

The confrontation on this was not pretty. I still can't figure out how $50 at the grocery store turns into exactly no food.

I'm not perfect, but I'm trying.

Please God, I know you're out there. I can't do this alone.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Oddity

My wife recently dropped a hint that she had a gift of some sort for me. It came as a mild surprise as she didn't bother getting me anything for Valentine's Day. Or Christmas. Or my birthday.

All she would say was it "took a lot of thought" and that it would have to wait until the kids weren't around.

Please don't let it be "naughty." Please.

But it usually is.

I can only think of two things that I would like to receive from her at this point, and as I suspect neither of them is any more likely to occur than me winning the lottery during a full solar eclipse during a full moon, I guess I'm going to have to practice pasting on a smiley-face and pretend to be happy while silently hoping for a bullet to the brain.

Okay, THREE things she could possibly give me...still not very likely.

My Hot Date

Not really.
I had a "date" with my daughter on Saturday night, to the father-daughter sance that her school holds each February.

We went to the Japanese steakhouse for dinner, then to the dance. She was all dressed up in a new dress, with a corsage that matched, and jewelry she had made herself. She had her hair done and really looked even prettier than she normally does.

This year, she kept telling me how sad she was that she missed dancing with me last year, which is odd because she didn't say a word about it until about the last two weeks or so. But this time she made a point out of making sure we danced.

In fact, before the last dance of the night, a few members of her softball team from last summer called her and said they were all having a team picture taken, so come on. She told them that they would either have to wait until the dance was over, or take the picture without her.

It was sweet.

All in all, on of the few happy times I've had in the past four or five months. When I look back, I can't think of a single day since at least October of which I could say, "That was a good day." I get a moment here and there, occasionally string a couple of hours together, but this was probably the longest consecutive stretch I've had in ages.

I'll have to make sure I can get back for these dances after I move away.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'd Watch THIS

I haven't been watching the Olympics much. I mean, beside the fact that I watch as little NBC as possible, how many times can you watch people doing the exact same thing over and over and over again? And, of course, the Olympics over the past three or four cycles have added some of the "extreme" sports that the X-Games had already rendered stale and unwatchable.

Even skating. If it weren't for cute young girls in very tight, very short skirts? Boring.

But THIS? This I'd watch:


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another One of Those Mornings

Got up to get the kids off to school today.

They had five days off, of which I got got to spend about 6 hours with them.

So, of course, at 755, waiting for the 815 bus is, naturally the time to tell me, " I have no clothes to wear to school. I have no lunch money. I can't find my library books. I need my homework signed."

Looks like there was a store run over the weekend, too, as I found a loaf of bread. Probably convenience store bread, which is, what, three dollars a loaf now? That's actually cheap, as that same loaf would have cost about $40 at the grocery store after you factor in junk food and a bag of apples (gotta eat healthy).

I only work six nights a week. I guess it's fair that I do most of the housework, laundry and shopping as well.

That TV ain't gonna watch itself.

An Odd Thought

So, I've been doing some family history work. I think I said that earlier. I am five generations back on one side and three on another, and I have yet to start the other two.

Wait? Four sides?

Yep. I was adopted, which means I have four different parents to research. Which leads to my odd thought: Since the adoption agency tried to keep children with parents of similar ethnicity, and since they seem to have done a pretty good job matching, with one parent from each side matching pretty closely a parent from the other, there is a pretty good chance that by the time I get a couple more generations back, I will find a common ancestor.

I will be something like my own sixteenth cousin, twenty times removed, or something like that. Not quite my own grandpa, but still that's going to be an amusing moment.

Interestingly, since I am doing it for religious reasons, I found my dad's grandparents on his father's side have already had some of the work started for them. There is still stuff to be done, but it's kind of neat to see that someone was already thinking of them.

I think it's kind of romantic: My great-grandparents, married in 1894, finally receiving a sealing in Paradise in the last year or two, with the opportunity to spend eternity together. There is a whole lot more work waiting. I have so much to do.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On a Lighter Note

Yesterday, I was informed of my first church calling: I'm going to be teaching the Elder's Quorum for one Sunday a month. It may not seem like much, but my heart is in my throat.

I went from a guy four years ago who thought his "faith" part of his brain was broken to a guy who had no church a year ago to a guy who will have the opportunity to actually lead.

They didn't put me in charge of, I don't know, making sure the bread is ready to go, or filling the cups with water: They gave me a full 25% of their learning time. That's a HUGE responsibility to me, and I will work hard to live up to it.

It's an amazing journey, one that I thought I would never make.

I thought I would share this here because it's so different from all the bad stuff that's happened to me lately, my family is antagonistic to my church activities (I can actually hear my wife sneer every time I bring it up), and I have no friends left, so I decided to throw it out into the æther.

I can't believe I've gone from someone with little or no faith at all to someone with a good deal of faith who will lead. Maybe God DOES have something in mind for me.

Love Stinks

Well, I decided to ask my wife to go out this past Saturday. I got two free tickets to the Improv, which is cool, because it makes it that much easier to afford dinner, which is not cheap there.

We drove all the way there, sat around before the show and chatted, had a nice dinner (steak for her, ahi tacos for me), dessert (Funnel Cake fries, which would just as awesome as they sound), drinks in glasses we got to keep (non-alcoholic, thank you), and enjoyed two solid hours of comedy (Bill Crawford was the featured act, Steve Byrne from Sullivan and Son was the headliner). All told, about a hundred bucks, which is a bit pricey, but, hey, Valentine's Day weekend.

So, we got home and I was expecting her to run right off to bed, as she had to be up for work in just a few hours, which she did. She got in the house and said, "Well, that was fun," and ran off to bed.

I wasn't expecting anything, really. No Quid Pro Quo, Clarice, or anything. But a "thank you" would have been nice.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Music Time : Down & Funky - Don "No Soul" Simmons

I heard David Alan Grier on the radio the other day, and it reminded me of one of the greatest pair of sketches in the history of comedy.

For your convenience, both are included on one handy-dandy video.

I know it says "Music Time." Trust me.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Recap

Had a nice Valentine's Day:

Had a nice, romantic, candlelit dinner for two.

Took a long walk by the light of the full moon.

Made mad, passionate love not once, but several times.

Just wish I'd had someone to share it with.

Friday, February 14, 2014


I had a discussion months ago with Abigail about the concept of forgiveness. I believed it was a two-way street, that in order to forgive someone, that that person first had to be remorseful for their transgressions. She believed that this was not so; that Scriptures require us to forgive someone even if they don't ask us for forgiveness. She was right, as usual.

In the New Testament, there are numerous discussions of forgiveness. We are supposed to forgive any transgression, as many times as necessary, even "unto seven times seventy times."  Even if the person doesn't ask for our forgiveness.

I'm unclear as to some of the specifics, though. Even of we forgive, are we to roll over every time the transgressor hurts us? That doesn't make sense. It seems to me that with unlimited, unconditional forgiveness, we simply give an abuser license to abuse us. There seems to be an implication that there can be a last time to forgive, a 491st transgression, if you will.

Or perhaps, that we have the right to remove ourselves from the presence of the transgressor. You may forgive someone who abuses you, but if you stick around, you have to expect to be doing a lot more forgiveness, as an abuser will take it as consent.

I say all this because I received an apology note from my wife for picking a fight on Wednesday night. I can forgive that. I have before. But there is a fundamental disagreement, an underlying argument that is irreconcilable. I don't see any way to work around it. Every time I want to talk about anything  even remotely related, no matter how peripherally, she reacts with instinctive hatred and animosity. So, I have to tiptoe around a subject that has become central to my life for fear of provoking an angry reaction.

It's not fair to me and it's not fair to her. If she's going to have the opportunity to learn what I have learned and experience what I have experienced, it will necessarily have to be without me: My presence will prejudice her against acceptance. If I'm around, she will never accept and the conflict will make everyone around miserable.

We were always friends, which I think was a strength of our relationship.We enjoyed doing things together, going places, seeing movies and plays, amusement parks, hiking. Tomorrow night, I got free tickets to the Improv; We'll go and have dinner and maybe laugh out loud. But I think our spiritual journey, the most important of all our travels together, is likely coming to an end. I've gone someplace where she refuses to follow, and to go back would be to turn my back on God. I have work to do here, and she doesn't want to be a part of it, resents the need I feel to do that work.

I'll forgive her for that, but like I said before, the chasm between us has likely grown too wide and deep to be spanned, and it may be better to part now (or soon), while we can still BE friends, or at least friendly. I don't know where to go from here. Or, rather, I kind of do, but I'm not strong enough yet to make that leap of faith.

Life is hard.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Wow, did I have a great night last night, if by "great night" you mean "horrible night that reached a superlative of suckiness." Which is, in fact, what I mean.
I spent yesterday afternoon doing some research into family history. I've never been overly curious before, but it is part of my church's doctrine that it is necessary work, and in the process I found a few things that I hadn't known before and that whet my curiosity for more.

I thought that I had never met any of my great-grandparents, but it turns out, my mom's grandmother on her father's side died when I was three. There is almost no chance that I didn't meet her, I just don't remember it, like I don't remember meeting my dad's father, but know that I did. It's a little strange, but comforting in a way. At least to me.

I saw the draft card of my mom's dad's father (when there are four or eight or sixteen, you start having to have to refer to them that way), from the First World War. In his own handwriting.

I found my dad's dad's father on the 1940 Census, with record of his immigration from east central Europe. His wife immigrated in the same year, 1890, and they were married in 1894.

It's a strange feeling, knowing that the actions of all these strangers led to me sitting where I am right now. That's the egocentric way to look at it, anyway. I really look at it as how many people are in the world right now, doing whatever they are doing, because these people made the choices they did when they did. It's humbling. You can look backward that way, then extrapolate forward, wondering how many people there will be, doing whatever they may be doing, 125 years in the future, because of choices we make today.

Speaking of choices, I made the choice to tell my wife about my afternoon. I chose poorly. She immediately wanted to turn it unto a discussion on doctrine, rather than a conversation about the cool things I'd learned.

I say, "discussion on doctrine," but what I really mean is her telling me that I'm wrong and that it's stupid and berating me and my church in general. The few words I got in were brushed aside. I cited Scripture, but she doesn't care whether it's in the Bible or not, she knows what's right, and what's right isn't what I believe.

So, after she stomped off to bed, I stayed up for a while. I did what I normally do when I'm upset and played solitaire for an hour or so. When I finally went up to bed, the kids were, as is their habit, strewn out all over my side of the bed. It happens almost every night. So, I went to carry them to their own beds, but their rooms were both so messy I couldn't get them to their beds safely.

I am so sick of this.

I pulled my C-PAP and alarm clock off the night stand, swept all the stuffed animals off of my sons bed (after climbing over the mountain of junk on the floor) and slept there.

It's only the second time in nearly twenty years I have chosen to sleep elsewhere because I was angry.

I knew last year at this time that my marriage was ending. I lied to everyone. I lied to myself. I thought I couldn't leave because it would look like I was trying to "trade up," if you will, to leave her for someone better. I also thought if I fought hard enough, long enough, that there was a chance that things would turn around. But they haven't. They've gotten worse. I honestly don't know that there's anything left anymore.

I should have left a year ago, darn the appearance, and let the chips fall where they may. Would I have been happier now? I don't know. But I couldn't be any worse off.

Sometimes the road not taken is the one we should have followed.

Are we there yet? Is my marriage over?

It's getting close. For the first time today, I researched the legalities of ending a marriage in this state. I never thought I would have to do that. And yet I should have done it a year ago.

She and I are on the road to different forevers. I think that very soon, our paths will diverge and we will only see each other across a great, unspannable divide.

I should have left a year ago, and I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused by overstaying my welcome.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another Anniversary to Forget

On this day last year, I had a surgery for kidney stones. If you've ever had them, you know they're no fun. Even worse than the pain associated with them, I found, is the surgery involved with getting rid of them. You end up trading intermittent, excrutiating, agonizing pain that medication won't help for constant, low-grade agaonizing pain that medication won't help. I passed blood every time I walked for almost three weeks, not that my wife ever noticed. That was about the time she decided to give me the silent treatment for something I wasn't doing. She was petty, vindictive and mean to me at what was already one of the lowest points of my life. To that point, anyway.

If I had the experience again, I would refuse the surgery and just suffer the intermittent pain. Also, I'd leave home while the leavin' was good.

On a brighter note, the pitchers and catchers officially reported for the Clevelnad Indians yesterday, so spring in inexorably on its way.

Do you think they'll still say "pitchers and catchers reporting" when the Major Leagues are filled with openly gay players? There might be some misunderstandoings at first...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Month

I've now been off my antidepressants for a full month. Though I AM back on the blood pressure pills. Reluctantly.

Antidepressants are supposed to take the edge off the highs and lows, stabilize the emotional rollercoaster. Instead of running lows and highs from, say, 2 to 9 on a scale from 1 to 10, they're supposed to even you out, make the range, say, 4 to 7.

What I got was a range from 0 to 2. It didn't help that I received news about the time I started them that was utterly devastating, made me not want to go on, but they certainly didn't do what they were supposed to.

So now, I range from about 2 to 4. I'm very rarely happy, except at church and with my kids. Of course, I'm forbidden to ever mix the two.

On the other hand, I from time to time feel a smile on my face that doesn't feel forced or foreign, doesn't make me cringe to think what it must look like. Not often, but occasionally. I still have no real desire to go on, to see what's next, no hope that things will be any better anywhere else, but I don't wish constantly that it was over and I was gone. Just mostly, not constantly.

So, I guess we'll just see what happens. Valentine's is coming soon. Another holiday to get no gifts from my wife. I'm done trying.

Anybody looking for a roommate?

Monday, February 10, 2014


I have been searching for some time for a new job. Over a year.

I took a PRN (as needed) position with the Cleveland Clinic in September. I enjoy it. It provides money that is slowly bringing my debt down, ad well as allowing me to do other things. like this past week's trip to the waterpark. I know some people think that those trips are frivolous or wasteful, like a trip to the amusement park, but I think there is a great benefit to them, especially if you have kids.

(I love introducing my kids to the biggest, baddest rollercoasters I rode as a kid. And the great ones my dad rode as a kid. And the idea that some day, they will introduce THEIR kids to all of these and more. (There's a new one going in at Six Flags north of Chicago that looks crazy awesome.) I think that's a rite of childhood that kids to which have almost a right.)

Sadly, my current full time position continues to deteriorate in a number of ways, as does my marriage.

I have been researching new positions and have come to the conclusion that I have to leave north east Ohio. I spoke with my wife, briefly, and she seems receptive to the idea of never leaving the area, ever, ever, ever.

So, an impasse.

Or not.

I am on the verge of applying for a position as a civilian employee with the Air Force. I know, the Navy is way cooler, but they're not looking right now. This position is one of about 40 or 50 available nationwide. I could end up almost anywhere. Though I would like to move south, where the weather is warmer, there are a few interesting possibilities elsewhere.

While Biloxi and Gulfport seem like good choices, I would love the opportunity to take a spot in Idaho or Utah. I know: Snow and cold. But: Mountains and fresh air. I think the trade off would be fair. I would actually take the one at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, just to be daring. The most important thing is to be some place fairly conservative for when the Troubles begin.

And they will begin.

I'm scared and alone, and it seems I likely to be even more alone, very soon. I worry my kids will think I'm abandoning them. My wife...well I don't really care much WHAT she thinks these days, as it's become obvious she cares very little for what I think.

A discussion I had at church a week ago leads me to believe that this is a decision that God will support me in, if I feel it necessary. I think it is, but I still feel like a failure. Of course, that's nothing new, so what the heck.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

That Coke Commerical

Okay, yeah. This one is better. If you say you want diversity, then sing for the fences: I can find people at work who can sing in Spanish, Arabic, French, etc...

But a guy who can sing in Klingon? Don't see one of those everyday.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

...and so it goes

It's amazing how quickly a good week can be brought low.
A week that started with  family vacation that went surprisingly well has now ended with yet another shouting match.

So much of the time, I feel like I not only don't have a partner in life, but like I'm married to an opponent. It seems that the more I try to change and make things better, the more she obstructs and fights. And not just big things.

Sometimes I feel so petty and awful.

Last night, I was angry. I thought I had a good reason, but I don't know.

When we went to leave the hotel yesterday morning, I packed most of the stuff and brought it to the car. It's easier this way. I sent everyone else to the waterpark to have a good time and I got to spend some time just being busy and productive, which I enjoy. But I had packed most of the stuff in the car prior to the trip, along with the kids, unloaded it all at the hotel, also with the kids, done the little shopping necessary for food for the trip (the room came with dinner vouchers which saved a bundle), packed everything in the car after the trip, and, with the kids, unloaded the whole car at home. Then, since the kids had so many stuffed animals that they were essentially buried under a large pile of fake fur, I made the trip back the way I had come to pick up the dog, followed by her evening walk, which she was hounding me for (pun intended).

It was a long, cold walk, in temperatures as high as 8 or 9, or at least it FELT long (1.4 miles is nothing, not even a decent warm-up, on a nice day). And then I went home.

At ten-thirty on a school night, kids ought to be in bed. Instead, there's my boy, playing videos games on the TV, while his mother plays video games on her phone. My daughter, bless her, is working: packing for the mother/daughter Girl Scout camping trip they have to leave on less than 24 hours later, and putting stuff away from the trip she just got home from. I was upset: They should have been in bed, and stuff should have been put away, at least a little. And when my daughter found the clothes from vacation that she needed for camping, her mother took them down and washed them and left all the wet swim stuff sit in bags upstairs.

I was upset: I worked hard, not just to pay for the trip, which I will be doing for the next month and a half, but before, during and after the trip to make sure everyone had a good time. And now I'm going to get to clean up the mess afterwards, as well. By myself.

Then today, I went to upload pictures from my wife's camera to the computer. She has about 1100 pictures on the card. almost none of which have been seen since the day they were taken. She's good at taking them, not so much at getting them looked at. I thought I might help the process. Well, I uploaded a bunch of them, but then I was trying to get out the door for work and accidentally stuck the camera in my coat pocket. This resulted in a call at work, during which I apologized repeatedly while being berated and insulted.

So I hung up.

And refused to take any more calls.

And now, I'm sure, I'M the bad guy.

She was upset on the way home, as well. I was playing the stereo and singing along to pretty much every song, but when our song came on, I couldn't. She made a nasty remark and I didn't really respond.

If she'd have looked, she'd have seen the tears running down my face.

I've decided I'm leaving. I don't know when or where yet, but I'm looking south: Alabama or Missisppi or maybe as far as Texas. I'm tired of the cold. And the weather around here has been lousy, too. I know there are jobs available where I can work 7 days on/ 7 days off, which would allow me to get back and see the kids more than I do now. If the kids wanted to come with me, I would work hard to make that possible. My daughter is old enough to make it work right now with just us, but my son needs a few more years. I would do everything I could to make that happen, though: I would hate to separate them. I have a few ideas, but I don't know if they will work.

I'm just staring down another lengthy period of solitude: The people who I thought loved me are treating me like a pariah, those who said they were my friends have abandoned me without so much as a "Go to Hell," my family doesn't want to follow where I have to go.

I'm scared. I'm lonely.

I'm resolute.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Two inches of snow on the ground already, with five to eight more due by 5pm tomorrow.

If it was just me, I would chance it, but there's just no way that I'm driving an hour and a half through the snow tomorrow with the kids in the car.

Looks like we're stuck at Kalahari for an extra night.

The kids are DEVASTATED. They have to spend another day at the waterpark while it snows like heck outside. And they might not make it to school at all this week.

Sucks to be them.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jacuzzi Warning

Just a word of caution: It is VERY asy to turn a hot tub into a hot stinky monkey tub.

Not always a problem, but you need to be careful:

Kalahari has banned us from the waterpark.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dogs and Doctrine

There is a certain denomination/sect/cult that believes that animals who are loved by their owners and are faithful to them can earn a soul through that service.

I used to believe this.

Turns out, as I learn more of the doctrine of the church I've joined, it intersects and expands on my beliefs in a good way. We apparently believe that all life, plant and animal was first created in spirit, then in body.

I told one gentleman at church the whimsical postscript to this mornings post about my dog Mollie, about how her spirit followed me home. He just looked at me, smiled and said, "Of course."

I want to cry again.

Our church says that Mollie will be there with me when I die.


It was another wonderful day at church today. I may write something about it later. Church keeps me alive. It gives me hope and reason to continue on, no matter how bad now is.

I wish Abigail were still speaking with me. I have so much I want to share with her, and so many questions to ask. I miss her with all my soul.

Gone to the Dogs

I saw this last night and once again tears flowed.

They call them Canine Commandments, but really, I think a dog would call the Polite Canine Requests.

It was the tenth one that hurts. I'm crying again right now.

It's been over six years and, well, you know. Even when it's time and it's the right thing to do, the decision will haunt you. In my case, literally.

I have pictures.

This was Mollie. She was the first dog that I had as an adult. She was a shelter dog. It was a no-kill shelter, so some dogs stayed there for a long time.

Mollie was there six months. That was probably half her life to that point.

She was a horribly damaged dog. Physically she was fine. Emotionally, not so much. 

If you've ever been to the shelter, you know all the dogs come to the front of the cages and bark, "Choose me! Choose me!" Mollie just hunched over in the back of the cage and shook.

We brought her home on MLK Day 2007. She wouldn't walk on her own. I carried her to the car. When we got her home, she hid in a corner and shook.

That night, her first night of freedom in many months, we went to bed and she stayed in the living room. She was welcome in the master bedroom, we just couldn't get her in there. Within about ten minutes, she came to life and we could hear her running all over the house at top speed. The next morning, she was sitting on the couch like nothing had happened.

The first week was rough. It turned out she was more or less housebroken, or paper-trained, anyway. But she was scared to death of me. Maybe she was abused in her before time. Hard to say. But, after that first week, she was bonded to me as if with glue. She was only on a leash for formality. She had no desire to be anywhere but with me. 

When we moved back to Ohio, she rode 5000 miles in the only part of the car not occupied by luggage and stuff moving with us and, well, us, her head out the window the whole way. Rain, shine, wind, snow, she would whine like crazy until her window was rolled down.

She was very shy about going to the potty in front of people. It wasn't until we were in Louisiana, a week into the trip, that we actually saw her go. That was the first time in the year we'd had her. I think whoever had her before gave her grief over it.

The only time I remember her doing anything remotely close to running away was when a section of fence fell in our backyard. She'd chased squirrels and such at the park, but I don't count that. Anyway, she found the fence down and decided to explore. I was asleep/ We usually left the back door open if the weather was nice, so she could go in and out as she pleased. Anyway, I had been sleeping for several hours. When I got up, I realized she was missing. I called three times, and on the third, heard her tags jingling about three doors down and she came running. That's as far as she ever went from us.

We moved to a house of our own and when we were just getting settled, she ran in from the wet back yard, across the deck and onto the linoleum floor in the dining room, where her long legs got tied in knots and she slid all the way across the room and whacked into the wall on the far side. The mud splotch is still there. I don't have the heart to clean it. It's a good (and funny) memory, like the kids' height measurements.

Another time, she saw a squirrel on the back fence and lit out the back door like a shot. She ran across the deck and proceeded to get her head stuck in the slats of the deck railing. It only took her a few seconds to free herself, but by that point, I had a good laugh and she learned a valuable lesson.

When the kids came along, we were concerned how she would react. We needn't have worried. I have a picture somewhere of my daughter on Mollie's back like she's body surfing, giant grin in her face. Unfortunately, that was pre-digital camera, so I don't have it to put online. That dog never bit those kids, no matter how much they deserved it.

Those pictures are Mollie and Jake. She was very gentle with the kids. She was a friendly, loving dog to almost everyone outside the house, but inside, she didn't much like other people coming around. She was very protective of her pack.

The next pictures hurt really badly.

All three of these were taken on the last day of her life. She developed an aggressive cancer that was inoperable. It looked like a lump of bloody ground beef hanging from her lower jaw. I Biggie-sized the picture just above. You can see it on her lower lip. It looks like her tongue sticking out, but it's not. We tried to have it removed once, but it took all of the front teeth on her lower jaw and grew back within days. We said goodbye at home, then went to the park for a last walk. She bled all over the trail and all over the car.

We went to Strickland's for chocolate ice cream, because a good dog deserves chocolate at least once in her life. 

Then to the vet. Everybody hugged her and kissed her in the lobby and I went back into the office with her.

And then she was gone.

It only took about ten minutes to kill my best friend.

I held her as her breathing and heart rate slowed. I watched the spark of life fade from her eyes. I laid there on the floor in a puddle of urine holding her body and wailing. I must have stayed there twenty minutes. Then I had to get up and go.

It was the right decision to make, but it still haunts me.

But, interestingly, the story doesn't end there.

I called her as we left the vet's office. Felt a little odd, but also the right thing to do. For the next few years, I could lie in bed and feel footsteps crawling across my legs. I would hear barks. A few times, I saw the mattress actually dimple, as though her feet were pushing it down as she walked across it.

This actually went on for years, through two dogs that didn't work out, until we got our next good dog, Katie. Now, it's been a while. I don't know if she's gone for good or just waiting, but it was nice to know she stayed near. Am I crazy? Probably, ,but I'm not the only one who noticed.

I walk Katie every day, at least a mile. Why? Part of it is guilt: I was raging drunk for the almost the first nine years Mollie was with us. And yes, pretty much every day. I didn't walk her nearly as much as I should have. I don't want that to happen with Katie. Mollie deserved more. 

I love my Katie-dog, but I still miss my Mollie. Katie is not a replacement, but a successor. She has made her own niche: She will never be able to fill Mollie's place, but she occupies a special place all her own.

Mollie's ashes are in a tin in the hutch in my dining room. They will come with me when I move out, and I will call her spirit, just like I did at the vet's office that horrible day. Is she still around? I don't know. But if she is, she's welcome to come along with me when I go.

And I expect that when I am dead, her ashes will be buried with me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Yet Another Failure

I think it's obvious that of all the things that I dislike in this world, I am at or near the top of the list.

I have tried to rectify this situation through the discontinuation of my medication. Seemed like an easy plan. Just stop and let nature take its course.

I have discovered one thing that I dislike more than continued existence: Being fat. Since I stopped my blood pressure meds I have gained 20 pounds. Correlation doesn't necessary indicate causation, but the correlation is pretty strong here, and I have experience and precedents that tell me one likely follows from the other.

So, I will likely have to start taking my meds again, which is a shame because I know the strategy was working. It's amazing how much the body can deteriorate in just a couple weeks. But at the same time, the threat of continued existence at a greatly increased body weight is too much to risk.

I have a few alternatives in mind.