Unbeknownst to her, but knownst to us…

Throughout the day I kept thinking of writing a blog, I had a few ideas for witty titles, I had a few ideas for what to actually write about. Then a friend of mine and I were texting today and she dropped the “you know you can still write a blog even if the challenge is over.” She’s right, so Stephanie, this one’s for you kiddo.

I feel like where we left wasn’t actually the end but the beginning. I was feeling so good and on top of the world or at the very least on top of my own mountain of shit. My own personal shit mountain… no relation to the shit sandwich we grew close with in previous posts.

I was on the verge of adopting a dog, starting a work out routine, starting therapy, conquering my life’s dream and of course, saving the world. Let’s start slow:

Working out. I’ve been going! I’ve been doing really well with sticking to the classes I’ve commited to with the exception of the weekend I got my dog, because there were some separation anxieties so I didn’t leave her side for 3 days. Really, she didn’t leave mine… Then as of yesterday, I sprained my right ankle and my left foot is swollen and looks like a sausage desperately trying to escape its casing. I was bit by something on my left foot. I know that may sound funny to you, but I have literally had to go to urgent care MULTIPLE times in my life because of bad reactions to bites. Last time I had a bite that was bad was a few weeks ago actually, where I think I was stung by a wasp and my toes ballooned up bigger than an entry for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.

Luckily, this time it’s my actual foot part which is less painful than my toes because there’s more room for the swelling, the problem is I put my weight on my actual foot part when I walk so it’s awfully painful. My ankle was just an accident. To avoid the grassy area where I got bit, I’ve been taking the dog a different route where I can stand on pavement and she can walk along the grass to do her business. It’s a grassy slope down to the dog park area and there was a loud noise that startled her, so I stepped on the grass so she didn’t choke herself with the leash and after the fresh rain, my flip flip slipped and down I went. I heard a crack in my ankle and literally thought I had broken it. I couldn’t feel it at first, so I stayed seated for a little while until I felt strong enough to stand. It’s mostly just tight, especially in certain positions but with the two injuries together walking is difficult.

So I worked out on Tuesday morning, cancelled last nights class and I cancelled tomorrow morning’s class. Hopefully I’ll be up for it Friday morning. I’ve been taking Benadryl and icing them both alternately.

Therapy is great so far. Only the 1 session but I feel like we connect and she gets me and I am really hopeful for this experience. I’m super excited to talk to her tomorrow because I’ve got some things I’ve been wanting to get off my chest. This blog will be like a rehearsal.

I’m having lots of feelings about adopting this dog. Some are good, some are bad, some are a little scary or at least they bring up the emotions that feel scary. The weight of responsibility and just overall feeling of OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE at times, feels insurmountable.

She’s such a great dog. She’s really low key and easy maintenance so far. She’s amazing at potty breaks and she goes so quickly when we go out. She’s an early bird, unlike me, so she patiently waits from 3am (when she wakes up) to around 6 or 7 (when I wake up) to be relieved. Now I understand the value and luxury of a doggie door!

I had a really bad day yesterday. I just felt empty but also that just awful, uncomfortable yearning for something that I couldn’t identify. I spent every free moment I had through my work day looking up apartment prices in various parts of the county. I was looking at Austin, my hometown in California, close to where my family lives in New York, random places along the South East coast line, I mean I even looked up apartment prices in Boise, Idaho thinking I’d find rock bottom prices. Median rent in Boise is $1400 a month! It is so hard to afford to live as a single person – at least one with a crappy paying job or maybe it’s just 2021. Why was I expecting a 3 bedroom luxury apartment to be $800 in Boise? (I’d still choose my mental happiness that I get from this job over a higher paying one that made me want to quit everyday.)

I had what was a pretty lonely weekend. According to the dog adoption manual I got from the rescue place it said to spend as much time with your new dog in the first few days. I happened to have a three day weekend from work and so that was perfect, it also poured all weekend. We basically just sat inside except for one day when we ran some errands. It was tough, mentally I wasn’t wanting to spend the weekend inside. I had made plans to take a weekend trip to explore this town in Texas that I have never been to and have been wanting to visit for years. I was going to camp and just enjoy some time outside. It’s about a 7 hour drive from Dallas and driving plus the camping is such meditative experiences for me. I do some of my best thinking while I’m driving.

I had wondered if I could take her with me, until I read the manual and decided that much change and car time would be way too much. Even at the end of this month I am making a 7 hour drive North to meet a friend to go camping for an extended weekend, so that will be a challenge in itself for us.

She’s very timid. She’s a little hard to read because if I’m in bed or on the couch, I mean she can’t get close enough. But I think it’s because she wants me to protect her. She wiggles her way in between the couch cushion and me, where i assure you, there is not enough room for the both of us. So I inch out off the couch a bit to give her space to nestly comfortably – in my spot. Same with my bed, we had to lay some ground rules after her corner of the bed quickly became her side of the bed.

Yesterday, just in the depth of my emotions and after falling down a wet grassy slope I just wanted nothing to do with her. I was mad and angry, not at her but just in general and when I’m in that condition it just seemed so hard to take care of myself, let alone her.

I limped and wobbled back to my apartment and immediately laid on the couch in pain. It was time for her dinner. I was also starving but after swinging my legs around and putting weight on my feet and ankles it became clear quickly that only one of us was going to eat – boy was my dinner good. Just kidding. I fed her. She’s a picky eater and won’t eat dry food, plain. It has to be wet a little, so at first her foster mom told me to put water in her food. I’ve never had dog food but I can assure you putting dog food in water to soften it is like putting water on your cereal because you ran out of milk – it’s disgusting and insulting.

So I bought little cans of wet food for her and use a little bit of that with her dry food and she eats it up. She doesn’t trust around her food yet, like she peeks her head around to make sure I’m busy or doing something else and she eats quickly. If I move, come close to her or make too much noise she runs for cover into bed. So, I generally run the water in the kitchen so that she thinks I’m busy and can’t see me from her bowls.

Actually, just as I’m typing this she sees that I’m busy and looks me up and down and then goes for a casual drink of water knowing I won’t interfere. Then she runs back and claims her bed, formally known as my bed. Now she’s licking my elbow. I got a new body wash – coffee and coconut, I think she likes it.

With the adoption, there is a 2 week trial. During this 2 week it is to determine if it’s a good fit for both parties, if it doesn’t feel like a good fit, I return her and get my money back. After the 2 weeks, if I ever feel like I need to give her up they ask I return her to them and I wouldn’t get any money back. Ultimately, the money is not the issue. It’s how can you know if this is the right thing that will be the right thing for the next 10-15 years within only 2 weeks of what feels likea gigantic life change.

It should be mentioned that I don’t think either one of us slept the first night she was here. The second night wasn’t that much better. In fact, I think last night was the first time I got a decent night’s sleep since I got her. I thanked the Benadryl I had to take because of my left foot for those 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night. There’s this weird feeling when you share a bed or a room with a dog at the beginning it’s half fear that she’s gonna pee or poop on something she shouldn’t or that she’s gonna bit my face or something in the middle of the night.

It’s just this bizarre realization about having an animal present and how at the very basis of being an animal is this unpredictability. It’s sort of the same for humans, there’s always that possibility that a person can just lose their shit at any moment and do something totally crazy or reckless.

She doesn’t seem like the type at all, but it’s just strange. I wonder if I can be a good dog mom, if she’s happy now or will be happy for the rest of her life with me. The past two days while I worked, I imagined she’d follow me over to the work area, where I put a nice big dog bed for her, but no she doesn’t like it over there, or that bed really. Today I got her to come to me for the quickest of boops on her nose but she quickly trotted off and back to her big queen size bed. I feel bad I don’t have a yard for her to play in or other dogs for her to play with.

It just feels like a very big decision that I thought I had made before I even got her but now that I have her, I’m just overwhelmed with all the years in the future piling up on me, today. Is that definition of anxiety? Or at least a very close example of it. Like, why is 10 years of the future stacked up on me and spread out over the two week trial period. Ultimately, I think this is just an adjustment period.

I was talking to my mom about it tonight and saying how I really need to respect the adjustment period – for both of us. I mean, I’ve been in my new job for 5 weeks and I BARELY feel like I’m starting to get the groove now. I had to adjust to the schedule, work load, learning new things, the new faces and overall the new routine. So this is the same.

I don’t think that I’m going to surrender her at the end of the two weeks, but I am not taking this decision very lightly at all. I want to make sure that we both think it’s a good fit before I sign the final papers next week.

I mean, the guilt is crazy and I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about my doubts and concerns. The two people who I’ve opened up to about my worries both assured me they are completely normal. A co-worker said she cried a few times after she got her dog because she was so overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do, now she says he changed her life and she can’t imagine life without him. That’s what my other friend said too, more or less. Even as I said I was worried my girl was resenting spending the days in bed, my friend quickly sent me a pic of her dog, lounging in her bed.

There are tons of resources out there for adopting and training dogs. I haven’t found a lot that are reassuring or calming to new dog parents. It’s brought up some other issues within me. This is part of the reason why I don’t want to have kids, or at least why I’m afraid to have kids.

I remember when I was little and my mom was on empty and didn’t have the energy to mom. Looking back now, I mean is when I can see that she was on empty, as a child one has no concept of what empty is… kids are never on empty it seems. Anyway, I remember when my mom would snap at me. She had a very particular tone. It was one of those stop you in your tracks tone. I can hear it in my head now and just remember that feeling of “oh crap ABORT ABORT ABORT” and just start flying back to my room to escape the awoken dragon.

I get that feeling sometimes, that I know my mom had. Where my battery is just on empty and I can’t give any more. I never wanted to be that person to kids. My first therapist and I talked about my mom and dad in therapy and I remember her saying that parents don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be good enough.

My parents weren’t perfect but they were definitely good enough. We would argue and fight just like the next family, but we would also apologize, talk it out and try to resolve any issue we had. Parents don’t always give their kids enough space to be mad. They think that when they’re done being mad the kids has to too and then they force the kid to apologize. My dad was really good about that. We had our own way of doing things. We would scream and fight and I’d go to my room and he’d stay in his room (the living room) (Quick shout out to all the parents who live in the living room so that their kids can have privacy). Anyway, whoever got over being mad first would come to the other, if it was me, I’d peek out of my bbedroom or maybe throw a shoe down the hall to see if he laughed. If he was ready to make up he would say “come out I’m ready to make up.” Then we would chat and apologize and then at a more rational level of emotion we could communicate with each other.

I do remember he was always really good at giving me my space if I was mad at him. He never forced me to have the conversation if I wasn’t ready. He would never make me change my emotion to have the conversation either. For instance, if I was still angry or hurt by whatever we were fighting about I could have my time to myself but then if we had to resolve it quickly I had at least gotten the time to cool down and collect my thoughts.

He had an amazing patience with kids, which I don’t think I have. Having a dog feels like having a kid to me – where I know I am 110% capable but that still doesn’t mean that I should. It has to feel right. I’m hoping over the next week, that feeling of this really feeling right takes the lead over this doubt that it’s currently contending with. Needless to say, I am super excited to see what comes out in therapy tomorrow.

Let me tell you about today really quickly. When I woke up this morning I was starving. I had ended up eating about 4 silver dollar pancakes from mix I had made 2 days previously for dinner last night. I woke up this morning practically drooling over food. All I had was stuff for tacos or taco salad and since that was going to be my lunch I fantasized about diner food. I wanted bacon and eggs and biscuits and gravy. I wanted an ice coffee the side of my head and all the benedicts the breakfast world had to offer. Since I wasn’t on a challenge I thought, screw it why not and I WENT TO MCDONALDS FOR BREAKFAST.

I didn’t just go to mickey D’s, I went all in at mickey D’s. I got a sausage mcgriddle, an egg mcmuffin, TWO hashbrowns and large vanilla iced coffee – no ice. I came home and ate the crap out of that breakfast. It was so good. It was the best $11 I could have spent. I debated stopping for donuts too, but I knew that would just make me feel bad unlike my feast for one.

I had to do another grocery order today, which I love love love. I think I hadn’t done this during the pandemic because the grocery store was the only time I got to go to a place that wasn’t work, so I always went myself. Now, I love doing grocery pick up because I have to plan ahead and stick to that plan throughout the week. I really wanted chocolate and candies and a bunch of junk food. However, while I was making the order and couldn’t decide between all the treats I decided to only get one- I wanted a really rich, gooey, decadent ice cream.

I even changed my order from one store to another because the first one didn’t have the right kind of ice cream. I wanted to get exactly what I wanted. After dinner, a very unhealthy dinner of cheese ravioli with pasta sauce and more cheese on top I grabbed the pint of Ben and Jerry’s’ Phish Food and went to town. Much to my dismay, despite having all of the emotions to eat, I barely ate a quarter of the pint. It was too rich and I was full and satisfied!

That is the definition of a win. Also, I think it’s funny to mention that I forgot what farting and those bubbles in the stomach felt like because I hadn’t had dairy in so long. Right after eating I felt my tummy moaning like “ugh this broad is gonna kill us with all this dairy.” It made me appreciate my diet more and made me grateful that everything else I bought was the usual suspects for healthy eating, so the only real temptation here is the ice cream. The rest of the raviolis are in the freezer and if I want to eat them for dinner this week then I will. It’s nice to have the option.

Alright, so that was kind of a lot of blog and word vomit and I still can’t think of a flashy title. This has been a crazy week with some other stuff too so I’m looking forward to hopefully a few more good nights of sleep, some clarity through therapy tomorrow and some healthier foods to balance out the mega “cheat” day today.

That is my armpit that she wiggled almost five feet between body and cushion to plant herself in. How could you not love that face tho?

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