Long ago I promised myself I would never write anything containing negative rants or sorrow-filled poems about how deep and meaningful my transformation has been and blah, blah, blah. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on professional writing and basically, self-centered, negative blogs that wallow in sadness (in an attempt to be profound) just don’t work. There has to be variety and the author needs to include others. Your audience will only tolerate woe-is-me posts so long before they recognize it’s recycled material. And really, who actually has moving and profound experiences every single week? Certainly not me. Unless you count getting all the laundry done in one day as a miracle. I did that last week. It was amazing.
Here’s the problem I’ve run into: I’ve had the mother of all crap-tastic weeks. And yeah, I kind of want to talk about it. If I promise to wallow sparingly and at least try to throw in some humor, will you still read my blog?
Well, here you have it, the story of my last five days. I’m not sure it serves much purpose other than satisfying the people who have requested I share it. Don’t worry; I won’t try to be insightful, but I’m going to forewarn you; even my funny story feels kind of sad today.
My Sad but Promising not to Wallow too Much Post.
I’ll start with a little background info before I get to this week:
I’ve decided I need to own a gun. I won’t even lie. It’s 100% because of “The Walking Dead” (henceforth referred to as TWD). I’ve spent my entire life avoiding guns and all it took to convert me was a show about the undead. I definitely need one.
I’m just going to put a disclaimer here: I will not argue on my blog. I will not debate on my blog. I do not wish to engage in any conversation (pro or con) regarding the following topics: guns, vaccinations, breast feeding, staying at home vs. working, homeschool vs. public school, politics, and/or any other controversial topic that may arise. I am pro or con or neutral on the above topics. I’m just like AA, I neither oppose nor endorse any cause. I’m not here to make you use your brain. I’m just here to make you laugh (or in today’s case, cringe).
I don’t know exactly how it came to be, but he idea had landed in my head and, as is the case with all of my endeavors, it wouldn’t go away. One evening not so long ago I marched right up to the husband (who was on the treadmill at the time) and declared my intentions. The conversation went something like this:
Me: I need a gun.
Him: …. What?
Me: I want to fire a gun. Will you teach me how? It has to be a Colt Python. That’s what Rick on TWD carries. I know that because I looked it up on Google.
Him:… wait. What?
Me: You can get a permit to purchase at the courthouse. It only costs $5.00. As long as you don’t have a felony you can get one. I looked that up too.
Him:…I thought you… hated guns…
Me: I did, but now I don’t because I want to learn how to shoot zombies. Seriously, I won’t ever shoot it at anything but a target and I’ll store it outside of our home.
Him: (silence)… You’ve never even touched a gun, where is this coming from?
Me: I don’t know. I just decided I want to shoot one. I’m not ever going to use it, except for on a target. Claire on “Modern Family” does it.
Me: Fine, I’ll figure it out myself.
I exited the room and proceeded to pout for two weeks, which brings us right up to the crap-tastic week that is the subject of this post. (Still trying not to wallow)
On Sunday we took our kids to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop. It’s become a tradition. Me at Bass Pro Shop is quite a sight. I do not fit in at Bass Pro Shop. Nonetheless, BPS (I’m calling it that now for the sake of brevity) has the best Santa system known to man. They give you a ticket that tells you when to return. Then you return at that time and see the man with little to no wait. It’s brilliant. Plus there are free crafts and game stations and they give you your Santa picture for free. That’s all kinds of win. I can usually enjoy my day there as long as I focus on the ginormous fireplace and the extra-awesome fish tank and try really hard to forget that the store exists mainly to supply people with the tools they need to kill stuff.
We had an hour to burn while waiting to see Santa, which both of my kids knew was not actually Santa and didn’t care much about seeing at all. I saw it as an opportunity to bring the subject up again and made a beeline for the gun section. Then I walked up to the counter, browsed around a bit, looked up at the young man behind the counter and asked to see a revolver.
Then I picked it up and got yelled at because I pointed it at his head. Twice.
Then I got yelled at because I pointed it at some customers. Twice.
And they took it away from me.
After that I decided maybe I should start with a crossbow. So I meandered over to that section and asked the man behind the counter if they had a range (they did), signed a waiver, and proceeded to shoot a weapon for the first time in my entire life. I’m not going to lie. It was pretty much awesome. As it just so happens, I’m a decent shot. Just two inches from a bullseye on my first shot.
Quick tangent: I’m freaking out about posting this picture, as I am extremely self-conscious of my hips/thighs/backside and this photo showcases them like a movie poster. I can tell you those jeans are about the smallest size jeans come in, but in my mind it doesn’t matter because the proportions are just them same. I once had someone tell me “You would be really pretty if you didn’t have such a huge ass.” That is a true story and it happened within the last year. And no number of compliments will ever help me forget that. It was especially great to get verbal confirmation that others are noticing the one thing I hate most about myself.
I learned that using a crossbow in a zombie apocalypse is highly unrealistic for the following reasons.
- Crossbows are heavy
- Loading a crossbow involves placing it nose-down on the floor, stepping on it and pulling back with about a hundred pounds of force
- Crossbows are heavy
We did eventually see get to see the Santa that wasn’t the real Santa and I even bought a sweater. The women’s department is full of exceptionally warm, inviting sweaters. They were an easy sell, given that it was three degrees outside that day.
So Sunday wasn’t so bad. Except I still don’t own a weapon. It’s like no one wants me to have one. I don’t understand why.
Monday was insignificant.
On Tuesday I had two emotionally draining appointments. I’m so over telling doctors my life story. Apparently my tendency to drop $800 on baking supplies, shelving, and groceries, then pull my kitchen apart with an unrealistic schematic in mind, meanwhile attempting to cook a gourmet meal, is indicative of some fairly seriously psychological disorders. When you put it that way it’s not nearly as fun to talk about.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter because my current doctor is leaving and unless I want to spontaneously quit taking medication and possibly die a painful death from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, I have to find a replacement. And that meant rehashing my life from birth to present. Again. And that meant being honest with myself. Again. It’s so selfish of my doctor to go on a lengthy deployment.
Then it was Wednesday.
I woke up with a psychological hangover and had planned on curing myself by composing a hysterical bit about my childhood. I told myself it was going to be a good day repeatedly. And it was, until my morning bed-making routine (which basically consists of me pulling the covers up to the pillows haphazardly) was interrupted. I heard a strange noise that sounded like a combination of a cough and a squeal. Unable to locate the source of the noise, I moved on with my to-do list.
Until I heard it again.
Eventually I followed the noise (which was becoming more frequent) to my daughter’s room. It was her pet guinea pig, Jack.
I have a love/hate relationship with animals. I’m definitely not what you’d call an animal lover. I like them well enough; I just prefer to have a single small dog versus a house full of different species of whatever my kids were into that day. The husband sees it differently. He’s content to have fish and hamsters and guinea pigs and crayfish and anything else you could possibly come up with, making noise and smelling up my house. Guess who ends up caring for these pets when the kids are at school and he’s at work?
Jack the guinea pig was a biter who seized every possible opportunity to pee on me and, to be honest, I had been complaining about him to a group of friends just a few days earlier. Not wanting a house that resembles a zoo is one thing. Having compassion for an animal is another. I have compassion. Guinea pigs are known to make quite a lot of noise, but this was a new one and it didn’t sound good.
An immediate veterinary appointment was set and I went about my day assuming we’d leave the vet’s office with a bottle of antibiotics I’d have to cram down his throat for the next week or so. Instead, they asked if I could leave him for a few hours. Everyone was friendly and nothing seemed out of place. So we went home.
I made the catastrophic mistake of telling my children he’d be fine.
As one can clearly ascertain from my previous comments, everything was not fine. Jack the guinea pig had kidney stones and kidney stones are very, very bad for guinea pigs. The vet could perform surgery, but she felt it was unlikely he would survive. I had to make the call to euthanize our pet. It’s not a call I’ve ever had to make before. And I had no clue it would feel the way it did.
I’m a good person to have around in an emergency, despite all of my emotional issues and being extremely high-strung, I can stay calm. So I composed myself, told my children the truth, and kept it together as they waivered between sobs and expressing how (rightfully) angry they were with me for telling them he would be all right.
Just as we were preparing to return to the vet’s office, the husband texted, “How much do you show in the shared checking account?” Not exactly understanding what he was getting at, I pulled it up on my ultra-convenient iPhone app.
That is how much I had in my account, two dollars and seventeen cents. Someone, somewhere, somehow had cloned the husband’s debit card and drained our accounts. I will spare you the back and forth, but you can just picture us calling and texting for the next hour trying to figure out how I was going to pay for having my pet euthanized. All the while, he was suffering and I knew it.
I remained in emergency mode until we were able to secure a few hundred dollars, (courtesy of the very considerate staff at USAA) and stayed that way all through the return trip and the goodbyes. The heartbreak I felt for my children was unimaginable. I continued to silently repeat, “It’s a guinea pig, Amy. It’s a guinea pig.” I have no idea how I felt so much sadness for an animal I swore I didn’t even like a week earlier. I mean real, tangible grief that rivaled how I’d felt after losing friends. I can’t explain it. It felt as if my chest was being squeezed in someone’s hands. Taking a breath was painstaking.
We made our way home and into our beds. All I could do was sit with my back against the headboard and stare straight ahead, until my little white and tan, pancake wielding Papillon jumped up onto the bed and laid her in my lap.
And then I cried. And cried and sobbed, which is something I rarely (if ever) allow myself to do. I don’t know if it’s self-preservation or pride or fearing that if I start, I will never stop, but I will go to great lengths to avoid it. My rational mind knew I had done nothing wrong, but it became about so much more. It’s always about so much more. Once again my children had somehow suffered at my hands. How can I ever possibly make up for what I’ve put them through? There are not enough apologies in existence to even begin to rectify the damage I’ve done. The grief I felt on their behalf was immeasurable.
That is why I never let myself cry. In a way I kind of reside in emergency mode.
I have to confess to having written my children’s teachers lengthy emails about the guinea pig situation. Far, far too lengthy. I was afraid they’d spontaneously fall apart in school and no one would be able to figure out why. In my mind, I’m the only one who is capable of helping them. Oh, the irony.
I just thought of a fantastic little soliloquy to lighten the mood (enough with the sadness!). While writing about my kids’ teachers just now I thought, as I always do, about how much my daughter’s teacher looks like Katy Perry. I mean, seriously. Surely someone has to have told her this before. Whenever I’m at the school and she’s around, I can’t stop staring and wondering if they’re related. I need to find a picture. Wait. Does that cross a line? Anyway, that thought brought a story to mind:
My son has decided to love violin music. When he decides to love something, he loves it right into the ground. Fixating on various subjects and carrying on about them without regard for feedback is a hallmark characteristic of Asperger’s. In many ways it’s endearing. I love my son, as the saying goes, right up to the moon and back, and there’s absolutely nothing I would change about him…. But… Sometimes he goes on about a subject so much that I have to tune him out and nod in agreement, otherwise I would never get anything done (see, I really am a terrible parent!).
As I said, he’s decided he loves the violin and all things to do with the violin and every single composer or musician who’s ever had anything to do with a violin in the history of the world. Forever. The end. Period. (There’s a violin party at my house and you’re all invited!) And he was talking about his newfound preoccupation and I was dutifully nodding in agreement, when the following conversation took place:
Son: I really like violin music.
Me: Mmm. That’s nice.
Son: Because violins sound nice.
Me: Yes, they do.
Son: I like violin music. There is a guy and I can’t remember who it is but he can hear any song and just play it. Because he’s really good at the violin.
Me: (absentminded head-nod)
Son: I really don’t like music that’s not violin.
Me: (more head-nodding)
Son: Ms. Ashley (his occupational therapist) sometimes plays music but I don’t really like it because it’s not violin music.
(I can confirm this because last week Ms. Ashley actually used the words “He said he doesn’t like my music, because it’s not a violin.”)
Son: Have you ever played a violin?
Me: (head nodding again)
Son: You’re not listening to me. Are you listening to me? I said ‘have you ever played a violin?’
Me: No, no I have not ever once played a violin. I do not play any instrument. But if I decide to learn, I promise it will be a violin.
Son: Because I really like violin music.
Me: I know, I really know.
Son: Violins sound nice. So don’t play music that’s not violin music.
Me: I won’t, ever, I promise.
Son: I don’t like any music except violin music. And also, Katy Perry.
It’s Friday now and we’re okay. I’m okay. I’m just sitting here on my couch surrounded by mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers. Screw you, thinness. I’m hungry and I want to eat an entire bag of chocolate-covered peanut butter candy (that was meant to be used in Christmas cookies). When I’m done, I might just go back and lick the insides of the liners in search of remnants. Try and stop me. I dare you.