Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Loss for Words

My co-worker lost a pet this week. He was a wiener dog that had to be put down because his liver was failing. The story broke my heart and got me thinking about my own pets’ mortality. Bug and Jack are no spring chickens, although Jack’s got enough energy for all four of us. But Bug’s about to turn nine and Jack will be seven in the fall. Bug’s also had his share of health problems. So I know the time is coming. It makes me wonder how I’ll handle the situation.

When I was growing up, my dad always took care of our pets who passed away. I can’t begin to count how many animals he’s buried over the years: dogs, cats, rabbits, sheep, pigs, even horses. There’s the story of Gray Lady. Dad had to dig a hole with the backhoe to bury her because she was such a large horse. But Hank, our other horse, climbed into the grave with her and wouldn’t leave her side. It took a lot of coaxing and pulling to get him out.

When Hank died just last year, Pmo and I had just come home from our honeymoon. We were pulling into the driveway and I could see Dad waist high in the pond pulling on something. Mom said she saw Hank in the water earlier. Dad figured he had stumbled into the water and just couldn’t get out. He was pretty old, too. Dad had to get the tractor to pull the lifeless Hank out of the pond in order to lay him in the ground.

Now it’s my turn. When my pets die, my dad’s not going to be here to take care of it. I’ll be the one to bury them or maybe even cremate them. I’ll have to decide whether to get a new dog or just let it be for awhile. They say death is a part of life, but a dog’s life is not that long. So if you invite these furry friends into your life, you’re going to go through several times over. But thinking about all of this makes me hold onto Bug a little tighter. Not get so mad at Jack when he messes up. And bless Pmo’s heart for putting up with all of us.

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changes ‘cause I built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older, too.”
-Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Resolve

I'm not big on making resolutions, much less keeping them, but I thought I'd try my hand at things I could improve on in 2010.

First up, reading. I have tons of books I've never read. I have tons of books that I have read but I should flip through again because I've forgotten what's in them. I just think I have some form of ADD. I'd much rather watch TV or a movie than read. And now that we have a Wii, my attention span has probably gotten worse. But I'm going to try. My problem is I'll start a book and not finish it. I've got two right now I can think of that have bookmarks in them. Must. Stimulate. My. Brain. I also think because I read so much at work that I tend to shy away from it in my free time. I'm constantly reading scripts, emails, articles, press releases, etc. Okay, maybe I skim some of those things. Sue me.

Second, taking my vitamins. I try to take pills like iron, vitamin D, calcium, and cranberry every day because I have experienced their benefits and know they do their job. But I just forget to take them. I have an alarm set to go off every day at 1pm to take my vitamins, but somehow I still manage to leave the house without them. This should be pretty simple fix. Just take the damn pills.

Third, being on time. Anyone who works with me can tell you I'm lucky if I get in the door by 2:10pm. I'm supposed to be at work at 2pm. We have our first meeting at 2:15pm. And I leave each night at 10:35pm. This, again, should be pretty simple and just a matter of getting ready and taking the dogs out with a cushion of time to spare. Not doing very good on this one.

Fourth, paying off more debt. I proudly paid my car off this week, six months early. Of course, the heat went out that very night and cost us about $500. But that's another story. Next thing to pay off is the motorcycle, then the student loan, then THE HOUSE. I don't count my credit cards because they both have a relatively small amount on them that I can probably get rid of in a few months. It's an amazing feeling to actually have money to spare. I usually put what I can into savings and then live off of two or three hundred dollars every couple of weeks. But lately I've been able to keep a little more pad in my checking account just to see what it feels like.

Fifth, snuggling with Bug. I've realized that I don't snuggle with him anymore. When I lived on the west side of Evansville, it was just me and the dogs. Bug would always lay with me on the couch. Jack, not so much. But they both slept in the bed with me. Bug had to be under the covers as close to me as possible. Jack, not so much. But after Pmo and I moved in together, the tables turned. I ended up in Pmo's recliner most of the time, and Pmo ended up on the couch with both dogs. Even when I'm there by myself in the morning, I just tend to avoid the couch and stick to the recliner. And since the dogs sleep in their own room now, I hardly ever cozy up to Bug. But that's going to change.

Sixth, getting mad. We all know I have a temper and can fly off the handle if I'm in the right mood. This will probably be the most difficult. So difficult I almost didn't put it on the list because I don't think it's possible. I've tried counting to ten. I've tried stepping back from the moment and taking deep breaths. Nothing really works. I think it's a matter of willpower, and people not pissing me off. I can't stand three things: laziness, stupidity, and perkiness. If you come at me with all three, you're in BIG trouble. And once you get on my so-called shit list, there's not really a way to get off of it. But that's not the point. The point is me getting mad all the time. And stopping it.

Seventh, taking more trips. This is a no-brainer. Pmo and I are already picking out dates and thinking of places to go. Washington DC, Memphis TN, Key West FL, and Napa Valley CA are some locations we're kicking around. Of course, the trip taking is directly related to number four, paying off more debt. You've got to have money to travel.

I seem to have carved out a huge list of ways to better myself. Will I do it all? Probably not. If I had to knock off two items, it would be getting mad and being on time. I know myself. It's not going to happen. But I hope to somehow pull of the rest. And not be reminded of them when I don't. That would really piss me off.

P.S. Can I throw in visit more wineries and drink more wine? That, too, probably won't be a problem. And notice I didn't mention eating right and exercising more. I'll try to make more of an effort, but who are we kidding?