Sunday, November 16, 2014

I may hate furniture shopping even more than I hate going to Walmart!

Our couch and leather recliner in the den are pretty much destroyed, thanks to Sadie, who never met a piece of furniture or carpet that she did not want to dig at. I never much cared for the couch anyway, and it is almost 13 year old, so we decided to replace both of them.

The hubs had this brilliant idea of getting a sectional with a cup holder feature in between one of the love seats. I am not a fan of those, but I gave in, mostly because he had me sold on the chaise. Yesterday, while J and I were at my mom's, he went to a furniture store, found a set he liked, and emailed me a pic of it, which included a chaise. I liked it okay, so the three of us went to see it today.

I was expecting to be in and out of there within 30 minutes. We went over to the set, and I liked it  better in person (though still did not love it). But once he sat on the chaise for a couple of minutes, the hubs realized it was not as comfortable as he thought. Worse was when you reclined the chaise (which I thought was cool), you were left with a gap in the cushion where the small of your back would be.

So we looked at many other sets and pieces of furniture. J and I found a nice one, with a chaise large enough to fit both of us. I was sold, and even willing to spend more money, until the hubs measured it. Unfortunately, our den is an odd shape and quite small; we basically have 8'x8' to fit furniture. This long chaise would pretty much give us a foot between the end of that and the TV. Maybe. So we examined many other possibilities, and we still could not come to a decision.

I suggested going to another, typically more expensive, store, against everyone else's wishes. Turns out they were right: This store was advertising prices of 50% off. But with that discount, most sectionals were still between $1,500 and 3,000. Which means they were regularly priced between $3,000 and $6,000. Who would pay $3,000 for a loveseat?! (Unless you were wealthy, of course.)

By this time, we had been gone for close to two hours, so we stopped at a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. That was our third and last time at that place, let me tell you. Over 30 minutes into our being there, when our drinks were empty and there was no sign of our lunch arriving, the server apologized for the slow service because of a large party. That info would have been nice from the get-go, or at least 15 minutes earlier. Once we got our meals, he never came back to check on us. And when we got our bill, I almost choked--the guacamole and sour cream I had asked for on the side/as an extra cost $5.50. That was more than half the cost of my lunch. When I gave the server our credit card, I told him that I wish he would have told me the cost of those things when I asked for them, as I never would have gotten them (I did not notice them as an upcharge on the menu; Mad Mex, which I love, charges $1.50 for guacamole; sour cream is free upon request).

Not particularly happy, the three of us tried another furniture store, which was just about as expensive as the second one. So we headed back to store number 1. We decided to get a reclining loveseat with the console/drink holder, and then find a coordinating second love seat. After about 15 or 20 minutes, we thought we knew what we wanted. Then the hubs explained to me that the second loveseat would actually be in front of the "fancy" love seat; the two pieces would not be shaped like an L, as I had envisioned. Thinking about how silly that would look, I said to forget it. Then hubs had another idea: What if we got the reclining loveseat and then just a chair and ottoman perpendicular to that? At this point, close to four hours after we had left home, I did not care if we bought bean bags. So we found a red (!) reclining leather chair with ottoman, that would at least not be in front of the loveseat, and we ordered it and the fancy loveseat.

I don't love either of them. What is worse (for me) is that we can now seat fewer people (two on the loveseat, because it has the console in between, and one person on the chair) as compared to the four or even five we fit on our couch and recliner before. And I would have loved to have spent that money on five other things.

But I just could not stand it anymore. I had to get out of there, and we had spent so much time that I hated to come away with nothing.

Walmart: You are looking better and better.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The little things still get me (but I'm doing okay)

About 72.5 hours removed from saying good bye to my dog and I am getting through it. 

As I have said over and over, I did not think it would be that/this hard. But I did not have much to compare it to.

Waking up Tuesday was pretty bad, just knowing I no longer had Sadie. It was so sad peering down the steps and not seeing her there, either waiting on the other side of the gate or sleeping beyond the gate in the living room. Of course the gate wasn't up either. And there was no dog to take out or feed, yet we still could not leave on time.

I managed to get through work on Tuesday, not without tears a few times. I was glad a coworker suggested lunch out. I cried even then. But by mid-afternoon, I was able to get on Facebook and post a small tribute to my dog. I cried on the way home and several more times that evening. I was dismayed, for some reason, that I left my bedroom door open, when I had felt so sad about not having to close it when I left my room that morning. I swore I heard Sadie a few times; I did look for her once or twice. Most of the evening was a blue. But I did hug my kid really hard a few times. :-)

Yesterday was better; I could actually talk to coworkers. My eyes welled with tears just a few times. Choir was a good diversion. 

This morning, unlike the last two, Sadie was not my first thought; she was my second. Progress. Later in the morning, the Western PA Humane Society, which is where we adopted Sadie (née Shorty) from, posted a pic of a dog who looked a lot like Sadie. That was sad and weird, and for a brief minute I decided that we had to get another pit bull. Soon. I am mostly over that. Mostly.

I think I have gone several waking hours without crying today. Progress!

I feel bad that I practically scoffed at people who seemed so upset at the death of a pet. I get it now. I guess when a dog is part of your life for over 12 years (longer than I've had my kid), it makes sense that you would be greatly affected.

I know I will be okay, although I am sure I will miss Sadie for quite some time. But I know I am not alone.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I did not think it would hurt this much.

Two months ago, I started a blog for/about our dog Sadie, just after we found out she had cancer. I was hopeful writing would be cathartic; I was particularly concerned how J would handle it and thought if nothing else, it would give her a chance to write happy things about our beloved dog.

As with a lot of things, J started out enthusiastically, but in time, she did not have much to say. Plus school got in the way. 

But I managed to write a good bit and post some good pics. I hope to continue it for awhile. 

But just 23.5 hours removed from Sadie's death, I am still devastated. I never would have guessed it would have affected me this way.

Sure, I'm a crier, but as been documented here, I cry for strange things. Not for my own wedding or birth of my child, but for strangers on TV. I definitely cry for tragic events (9/11, in particular), but I also cry when I see certain commercials. I did not cry when my aunt or Bri's grandfather died a few years ago, yet every year when I see Penn State THON canners canning, my eyes well up.

I was sure I would cry when Sadie went, and I have teared up a bit this weekend, particularly Sunday night. But I did not anticipate the gut-wrenching feelings that would ensue once she was gone. I got home last night and cried for almost an hour. It felt as if someone was sitting on my chest. I kept saying her name. It was unimaginable how much I had missed her. I would stop for a few minutes (TV was a good distraction), but start back up. J cried a bit, but God bless her, went back to studying for her math test. 

I spend the night at my mom's about once a month (it used to be every other week), and I would kiss Sadie good bye, but not necessarily miss her (though I always asked the hub about her when J and I would call to say good night). So how could it hurt so much so soon?

Probably 14 or more years ago, a coworker at my last job sent an email titled "Unspeakable Grief." In it she said her dog died. I thought the title was dramatic and profound, but I could not relate. Yet that title was burned into my memory, as I often wondered if I would someday feel a similar way.

So many years later, I know now just how she was feeling. Because I can't really speak about it. I don't want to talk about it. I can write about here, because no one will talk back to me as I write these words. I have yet to answer texts from well-meaning friends. 

And I cannot bring myself to get on Facebook, which is amazing for me. Sunday night I posted a funny pic of Sadie; a friend commented on it, asking how Sadie was doing, and I commented back that she was not well and that we were saying good bye the next day. Friends that happened to read that comment posted a lot of thoughtful and supportive comments, but I could not bring myself to acknowledge them. Maybe when I get into work, I will feel differently.

I so just want to stay home today and feel sorry for myself, but that will do no good. And thankfully I am busy at work, so hopefully that will help. But I dread walking in there. Because my coworkers know what was going to happen. And as soon as the first person says something, I am going to cry. And let me tell you, waterproof mascara apparently does not mean tear-proof. Or maybe you can cry only so much before it fails.

To anyone out there who has lost a pet and felt the heart-crushing loss, I now understand your pain.

And I so very much wish I did not.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Note to self: Know what you are taking your kid to see

I am a big fan of performances. I particularly love musicals. For many years I had a subscription to Pittsburgh Musical Theater (nee Gargaro), but then my husband opened a restaurant, I had to take a 25 percent pay cut, and I had a baby, all within a six-month period, so that ended that.

About five years ago, we discovered Gemini Theater, a wonderful production company that puts on reasonably priced interactive performances geared towards children. We attend a few show every year, but J is kind of old for them. 

Earlier this year, PMT put on Le Miz. I had never seen it but knew a little about it. Some of it was adult-related, but the musical director (my former choir director) assured me those things would go over J's head, so I took her. He was right; the brothel scene was just a dance hall for all she knew. J enjoyed the performance, as did I, though she admitted parts were confusing. 

This summer, PMT had a preview performance for their upcoming season, which included A Chorus Line. I saw that (via the movie) over 20 years ago, and really liked it, but was recalling some of it was not suitable for kids. 

Fast-forward two months, I bought two tickets for me and J, completely forgetting that several parts were not kid-friendly. Sunday afternoon, about 10 minutes into the performance, I finally remembered! Oops!

The cursing made me cringe a little, but I could live with that. The dialogue about wet dreams, erections, and sex, on the other hand, made me wish the show would hurry up and end, which was a shame, because it was so good. 

Then one of the characters started talking about her tits, using that very word. I am pretty sure I stopped breathing at that point, because I remembered one of the songs I had completely forgotten about: "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" which is also known as "Tits and A$$." Looking at the program, I was guessing I had a few minutes before that came on, so I considered just leaving. I don't normally care what others think, but I was convinced at that point that the people on either side of me thought I was an awful parent, and that bothered me as much as J's hearing the sex, boob, and F words.

I apologized to J for the inappropriateness of the musical, and then I asked if she wanted to go, reminding her we did not eat lunch. She said she wanted to stay. So we did.

We got through that, though not without my wishing the floor would swallow us both up. When a character started taking about being a drag queen, it was a welcome relief. Before I knew it, the excellent performance ended, and as we left, I did discover J was not the only kid under 13 there (a number of performers and musicians were in high school). 

In the end, I am not sorry I took my kid. The theater is important to me, as is supporting local arts. And I have certainly sheltered J more than most parents would.

As long as she does not start belting out "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" when she sings in the shower, I think we will be okay. :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

First place!

So I ran in my first 5k in two years this morning. I ran in the Race for Pace, which is one of my favorites because it is local (10 minutes from where I live) and Pace School does great things for kids with emotional and behavioral disorders.

I initially wanted to finish in under 35 minutes, but once I realized that I ran the race in 28:55 two years ago, I decided I had to do better than 35. Even though back then I ran, swam and did Zumba weekly, and I was two years younger, I refused to settle for something six minutes slower. For the love of FloJo, I am not that old and out of shape.

So I set a new goal of 33 minutes, though I was really, really hoping to do it in 31 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen: This Supergirl finished in 29:21.

And, best of all, I got first page in my age group, 40-44 (or 40 and Fabulous, as I like to call it).



It turns out there were only three people in my age group, but I was still first! (If I had finished third, I would have been pretty bummed) I finished 67/159 overall. For someone who is apparently middle aged and past her running prime, I am proud of myself.

Supergirl!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What kind of guy would wear a shirt like this?

I started running again about five months ago, somewhat sporadically. But about two months ago, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could run in a 5k again. So I figured I had better start running once a week, if I had any hope of running the entire thing. Once you are fully entrenched in your 40s, it is a little more difficult to just run a few times over the course of a couple of months and go out and do a 5k. Or so I would imagine.

The 5k I am running in next week is the Race for Pace. This year, they are having a super hero theme. Me being me (well, I being I) embraced that wholeheartedly and decided to wear something super hero-ish. At first, I thought I could go as the Flash. I figured it would be ironic because I was probably going to finish in the bottom 25 percent (maybe worse, but let's not think about that). People would see this middle-aged woman panting and barely jogging as she was halfway through the race, and they would laugh. I am always happy to provide a few laughs. :-)

But yesterday, I headed to Dick's and found this nice Superman (maybe Supergirl?) Under Armour t-shirt. It is subtle for sure, but I am pretty certain I would not embarrass myself, no matter how slowly I end up running.


I next went to Target to get a few things, and I happened upon this gem of a shirt. In the men's department, no less.

That red piece of fabric coming off the back shoulders? A mini cape! Of course, I had to buy it. And it was about a third of the price as the Superman UA shirt.

I so totally want to wear this shirt, although I have some qualms about the muscle definition in the front. I have pretty decent abs and all, but not a male six pack.

But honestly, the big thing that would keep me from wearing this shirt? The small part of me that thinks I can run the race in a decent enough time that I just don't want a cape slowing me down.

Stay tuned for what I end up wearing. But as my title asks, what guy would wear a shirt like this? Or maybe the question is where would a guy wear a shirt like this? Because I want to know!




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Decisions, decisions

On Friday, I had planned to leave work a few hours early. Because the bus I ride runs every 30 minutes that time of day, some planning is involved. So after being too busy to make the 1:19 bus, I left at 1:44, which would give me 5 minutes to make the 1:49 bus.

As I was about 2/3 of the way down the street, I saw two buses at the stop, across the street. I looked at my phone and saw it was 1:47. Since it was early, I told myself it was unlikely either bus was mine, so I decided not to run the rest of the way down the hill, knowing the light would change before I got there. Fortunately when I got to the bottom of the hill, I saw the buses, now a block away, were not mine. Less fortunately was it was raining harder than a sprinkle, and I had yet to replace my recently broken umbrella. 

Before I knew it, 10 minutes had gone by, as did five other buses, and I started to fret. Maybe my bus had come early. After all, the drizzle did not seem to be enough to justify a delay. 

When a couple more minutes had passed, I was wet, cranky, and wishing I would finally get into a campus parking lot, so I could give up the bus. After all, in about 15 months, I had not only gotten into my third choice of lots (which I turned down), my name had also moved up about 40 people for my first choice.

Eventually, I had come back to reality. The bus showed up, 15 minutes late, and I got over my ire fairly quickly. However, ironically enough, when I checked my work email a few minutes into the ride, I saw an email from the parking people. I had gotten into my lot!

My first reaction was almost dread, because I would have to decide whether or not to take it. To some people, it would be a no-brainer; jump on it. But for me? I had some real debating to do.

I pay nothing to ride the bus, as my employer pays for it. A monthly lot permit costs $85. Sure, I paid almost twice that the first 4.5 months at my job when I parked at a cash lot (one of the cheapest!), but I have gotten used to what essentially became a $156/raise. 

And I hate driving home in traffic, something I largely avoid busing it. Then there is the additional wear and tear in my car and more money to spend in gas.

But, of course, there are positives to parking. I can come to work late (which I almost never do because I drop my perfect-attendance-seeking kid off to school daily). If you get to the bus lot much past 8:30 or so, you might not get a parking space. I can also leave when I want. Having to time that with a bus has been an issue. 

And this lot is a 2-minute walk to the office. So I would save time there (but would get less exercise).

I have to drive to and from the bus lot, so there is wear and tear on my car and gas expenditure.

I have 1.5 weeks to figure it out. If I turn it down, I can get back on the list. But the last person on the list is #47. When I got on the list 1.5 years ago, I was #37. (In the same amount of time, I went from 529 to 205 for my second choice, but if I turn down my first choice, I lose my second choice, as I understand it.)

I am slightly leaning towards yes. I figure I can still take the bus a few times a month, although I would be paying for a lot I am not using. But it is an option. 

Decisions, decisions...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second chances

I thought I would wait until the ire surrounding the Ray Rice/domestic violence in the NFL died down a bit before posting some thoughts. Of course, with an ongoing investigation, it is still rare to go more than a few days without seeing that incredibly disturbing video.

So here goes my thoughts about various topics around the saga and domestic violence in general:

  • Enough with the video. Can someone please think of Janay, Rice's wife. And I feel sorry for their daughter who in just a few years will probably be on the Internet and come across that. Just stop.
  • It does not (much) matter that the extremely damning video came out later; the Ravens and the NFL should have done more knowing what they knew months ago. Rice said he hit his fiancée, and at the time there was video of his dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. For the love of God, why wasn't that abhorrent enough to warrant more than a two-game suspension?
  • It is never okay to strike a woman. Closed-fisted, open-handed, it does not matter. If a woman has wronged you, hits you first (which is also wrong), or badgers you verbally for hours on end, you need to walk away. Punch a wall if you must. But not a woman. Never. I might even go so far as to say even if she is 6 feet tall and 250 and you are 5'6" and 140 pounds wet. But you know what I mean, hopefully.
  • Women who stay with abusers don't deserve scorn. You probably have no idea why they won't leave, but to them, it is a really good reason. And often there are many reasons: fear, forgiveness, thinking divorce is a sin, fear, their children, embarrassment, fear, money, thinking it is their fault, fear, self-esteem issues, bad advice, fear, not wanting to be alone, thinking they will never find someone else, fear. Yes, I said fear. A lot. Based on my experience volunteering at a DV shelter many moons ago, fear was up there and a big motivator to stay (because really, if your man points a gun at your head and says he will shoot you if you leave, I am guessing that would be enough to make most women stay). But again, many, many reasons.
  • Most batterers hit again. Ask any woman who has ever been hit. Some change, but it is probably not worth it to take a chance and find out if said person is a new man. But see my next point.
  • Once someone has been suitably punished (and Ray Rice has not been yet, as far as in the eyes if the law, but he has as far as the NFL is concerned, if he misses the entire season), and in some cases, once there is enough passage of time, we should move on. See my next point for more about that. But when I say "we," I do not mean the victim of DV; I mean the rest of us.
  • Former Steeler James Harrison slapped his girlfriend many years ago. The Steelers, particularly Dan Rooney, did not handle it well. I am pretty sure I blogged or wrote a letter to the editor about it. But that was years ago. Since Harrison has not gotten in trouble for anything DV-related since then, why punish him now? I would say this for any person, any team. Otherwise, why not just leave every person in prison and never let anything go? And, yeah, for me this applies to all wrongdoings. I don't hold Ben Roethlisberger in the highest regard as a person. But he was suspended for what he did (and keep in mind he was not charged with anything nor was there proof). So I am over it. 
  • Again, I am saying this as an outsider, not the girlfriend or wife of an abuser or sexual assaulter. Because those people have no obligation whatsoever to move on as far as forgiving and forgetting. But if they do? Again up to them.
  • Finally, we make our own choices. What we do is rarely the fault of our team, family, coworkers, school, teachers, etc. Dont hate and/or blame entire entities for one person's screw up. I root for entire teams. I refuse to hate a team because of the things a few did. Just as I would not quit my job if I found out a coworker or boss drive drunk and injured someone. And just as I would not shun an entire family if one of their kids was a drug user and seller.

Now giving someone a third chance? That is different. Still working through my thoughts there.

That is all for now.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

42 going on 22, going on 37, going on 63

Can someone please tell me I am not alone in feeling as if I were a different age on different days?!

I am 42 3/4, and quite comfortable sharing my age with anyone. This is due mostly to my mom's shaving four years off her age and my finding out about it in the seventh grade, via looking at her yearbook at Grandma's. But the other reason I don't bother hiding my age is because if you are not getting older, then you aren't doing anything (except, perhaps decaying in the ground). You are welcome for that visual!

But feeling and/or looking a certain age is another matter entirely.

I think I look around 37. I don't know why I have that age in mind, but I am quite convinced few people would guess I was in my 40s. In fact just recently, two gals in the choir, who are somewhere between late 20s and early to mid 30s seemed genuinely surprised I was 42. I told them I think of myself as 37, and one said she thought I looked even younger. (She is my new best friend.) The other one said that 42 is the answer to everything. So there is that!

A few weeks ago when I was riding the bus in Oakland, where there are several universities, some older woman (she was in her 80s, maybe she said 84 or 86) asked me if I was a college student. I laughed and told her, "Not for over 20 years."

I walk around campus with a backpack, because I can carry more things. But I am not going to lie: There are times I pretend I am a college student and imagine that people (i.e., students) think I am one of them. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Although, as my one coworker said, that 85-ish woman probably thought I was a grad student, or she just had poor eyesight!

Then there are the times when I feel young(er) and within a matter of minutes or hours, I feel about 20 years older. 

Yesterday, I went running, which is something I started to do again, but only 2-4 times per month. I started out, as I typically do, feeling like I was all that, convinced that anyone who saw me was impressed with my great shape and form and probably thinking I was this pretty 35-year old. However, within five minutes, I felt every bit of 42. And by the time I got to the second-to-last, killer hill, just over 20 minutes into my run, my heart rate had gone beyond the max it should, I was panting more than a dog on a warm day, I was dripping with sweat, and I felt as if I were pushing 60. Afterwards, I was sore for hours, and I felt old, sad, and out of shape.

Today? I don't know. I guess I feel 42. But in a young mom kind of way. :-)




Friday, September 12, 2014

Can't cry hard enough

Pretty sure I've used that as a blog post title post before. But it fits. 

Yesterday, we found out Sadie, our nearly 13-year old dog, has cancer and likely only a few months to live. She had a growth by her tail, which hindered its usual question-mark shape. I had thought it had to do with her injured ACL (maybe she was overcompensating). But when I really looked at it, I decided maybe we should get it checked out. 

When we walked into the vets's office a few days later (last night), the vet took one look and said it was bad. No need to biopsy. He knew. And because of its location, he could not operate (though at her age, I would not put her through that anyway). He said things will probably get bad; she'll have trouble going to the bathroom, particularly if/when the mass grows. She is struggling with that now, but she can still go; everything else seems okay. She did get sick a few times this evening, but I am hoping it is a fluke and not the beginning of the end. I am counting on those few months and selfishly hoping for more.

I am not ready to say good bye yet. I cried so much last night. I did not even sleep for two hours last night. Thank goodness I was able to stay home, rest, and just be with girl, the original reason I was called "Mom."

I have been quite upset about the Ray Rice/NFL crap. I had wanted to write a post about that, mostly to express my disappointment with the NFL. But I never got around to it. And last night, it mattered less. (Though my feelings about it have not changed; they are a mixture of anger and sadness.)

J and I decided to start a blog about Sadie (sadiethepitbull.blogspot.com). I like to think I/we will do a better job of keeping up with that than I do around here. I hope it helps us. 

Because I can't cry hard enough.