Thursday, November 27, 2008

I went roller skating in public with no pants and it may or may not have been Thanksgiving

Don't you love not having to go to work? It's one of my favorite things about holidays. The not going to work.

I get so much done. It's not even 8am and I've already emptied the dishwasher, baked a pie, washed the kitchen rugs, had about a million cups of coffee, whipped up a pitcher of Bloody Mary's and made cocktail sauce for the gorgeous giant shrimp (oxymoron anyone?) I bought yesterday on a whim when I picked up my turkey from the deli.

Perhaps much of what I've just described sounds a bit like work, but it's my work and I do it because I want to. So there.

All this holiday hoo-haw and you'd think that I was entertaining for the masses, but sadly this year it's just me, MDH and our cat. I decided to pull out all the stops even if it is only the 3 of us.

I include the cat in the festivities although he won't technically be joining us for dinner at the table and I would beat him with a broom handle if he jumped on the counter and laid a whisker on my beautiful roasted bird, but I did buy him a special can of Fancy Feast turkey and giblets.

This will be the first Thanksgiving that we have ever spent without family and/or friends. How weird.

When I was a kid Thanksgiving and most other holidays were always at my parents house. That's just the way it was. Probably due to the controlling nature of my mother combined with the twin facts that we had the biggest house and were more centrally located to our relatives. I'm not even sure my mom ever actually invited anyone. People just seemed to naturally show up.

While I have a small nuclear family, I have an enormous extended family. Aunts, uncles, and buttloads of cousins. (We are hillbillies after all.) So I have somewhere near like 25 first cousins and of those about 15 of us are within a 4 year age range of each other.

On Thanksgiving day while the mom's were busy cooking and the dad's were occupied playing poker and occasionally slipping out to the shed to steal sips of corn whiskey from the mason jar my dad hid behind a collection of old car batteries, us kids were left to our own devices for very long periods of time. I'm pretty sure there would have had to have been an explosion or rifle fire before any of the adults would have taken notice of us and even then I might not have been surprised if they merely told us to keep the noise down and to sop up the blood before it made a stain.

One year when I was very young, like not more than 6 or 7, I seem to recall that some adult, perhaps one of the older cousins, had had enough of our destructive and rowdy bullshit and decided to get us the hell out of the house and took us all roller skating.

As I type this I begin to doubt whether or not this actually took place on Thanksgiving because what roller rink would be open on Thanksgiving day? Is that possible?

Anyhoo... you will have to suspend your disbelief along with me and mine because I can't think of any other holiday or reason we would all be together and I want to carry on with this story so that I can finish this blog post and dress my turkey and get that mo-fo in the oven.

Besides, whether it's real or not, going roller skating on Thanksgiving day with all of my cousins is one of my best and favorite childhood memories.

One thing I do remember vividly is the fact that I left the house wearing only half of my special Thanksgiving outfit and my parents and the other adults around were so drunk and busy cooking or gambling that no one noticed.

My mom bought me a Jan Brady type of ensemble consisting of a longish, plaid, button front top with a Peter Pan collar and a matching pair of elastic waist bell bottom trousers. I loved the top and despised the bottoms. They were itchy.

The top was just long enough to cover my tush if I stood completely still. So it might have been just fine if we decided to go to the movies or pose for oil portraits.

I thought I looked like my favorite child movie star Shirley Temple, who frequently pranced around my TV screen in black and white, wearing short little dresses with bobby socks and lace up shoes. Apparently I did not grasp the concept of how fashions evolve over time, the importance of covering up your bum in public or, more importantly, how frequently one is required to bend over while roller skating.

I (bottom right corner) along with a few of my cousins, circa 1979, hope you make some great fuzzy holiday memories for yourself this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When You Tickle Me Do I Not Throw Up?

I've been sick with a rotten head cold for almost two weeks now. I could see it coming but it was too late, we were surrounded. MDH and I jokingly referred to our train ride home from Chicago as the tuberculosis express because of the freakish amount of open mouthed coughing and sneezing going on around us by what seemed like every single human being seated within a 10 foot radius.

By now of course I'm feeling much better, practically back to normal. No more fever and chills but for some reason all the great gobs of snot created during the course of my illness have decided to make a winter nest in my sinuses and just hang around for awhile doing bong hits and watching reruns of Mork & Mindy. So even though technically I guess I'm not sick anymore I remain a disgusting mess and have apparently lost the ability to control all my parts because once at work and numerous times at home I have coughed or sneezed and busted out with an uncontrollably boisterous fart.

At home that's not a big deal. Happens all the time. So much so that I barely notice and most of the time and admittedly, I am probably doing it on purpose or at the very least controlling the volume, force and tempo. Sometimes I even do it timed perfectly to punctuate a fake yet graceful, karate style round house kick to my husbands head or some other equally mature form of physical humor. Ah yes. Those are great moments. When I'm at home.

The one at work seemed particularly hearty and long lasting and my office is carpeted so there no getting away with trying to scoot my chair all around trying to create a similar noise. Nor could I cover it up with more coughing.

It just happened unexpectedly and I couldn't control it.

The shame of it all. I farted at work and it was loud. People heard it and then pretended like they didn't and I was mortified. Not that I would have warmly welcomed any comments at that particular moment, but still.

The closest I can find to any bright sides to this story is that:

A. At least I didn't crap my pants


B. In retrospect it's kinda funny and at least funny enough to blog about. Although at the moment it happened I wanted to die.

Anyhoo... it made me think of this Dimitri Martin bit, mainly the part where he talks about how funny farts are by location (starts about 1:44) - it's like 9 minutes but worth it if you haven't seen it and have the time:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs - I'm going to grieve and get a bit preachy...

My best friend Amy lost her dog Rita to cancer last week.

I wrote about Rita almost a year ago in honor or Amy's birthday in a post describing Rita's nasty smell and obstinate, curmudgeonly disposition.

Smelly and undisciplined though she was, Rita was not without her charms and I loved her very much for many reasons, but mainly because she was deeply loved by someone who I deeply love. Going to Amy's house just won't be the same anymore without Rita there yipping at my heels and trying to lick my brains out.

Rita developed a tumor on her front leg that was removed in early July and made to suffer indignities while the wound healed by being forced to wear not only the perfunctory plastic funnel around her head to keep her from chewing on her stitches, but also a glitter encrusted 4th of July preemie sized t-shirt, not unlike this, that Amy bought at the dollar store to prevent the doggie from digging at her bandages.

Rita was not the kind of dog you put clothing on.

Not if you wanted to keep your fingers. She had her dignity. So for Rita to sit still while being dressed and then actually keep the t-shirt on long enough for it to be beneficial is really saying something. After awhile she was back to her old spry, naked self. Good as new.

This fall however, a little more quickly than expected, the tumor came back with a vengeance and after only one watered down chemotherapy treatment Rita seemed to wither. The tiny, stinking dynamo became unrecognizable as the sassy pain in the ass she once had been and rather than put her through any more misery Amy decided to have Rita euthanized and made an appointment with her vet last Thursday.

Amy is inconsolable and understandably so. Rita has been her constant, faithful companion for the past 13 years.

In addition to her overwhelming grief, Amy worried that she put Rita down too soon. She and I spent a lot of time talking about this all throughout Rita's illness, starting way back when the tumor first developed and right up to last week when Amy made the final decision.

Although I couldn't make that decision for her, I think it was the right one and I certainly didn't think it was too soon.

After working in vet clinics for so many years I have seen people do some crazy shit in attempts to keep sick and dying pets alive. Some of them work out and are very inspirational, but most of the time these attempts just seem cruel to me and I'm amazed at how much money people are willing to shell out to keep their pets with them just a little while longer.

This is what I think, and maybe some of you will disagree with me, but here goes:

Your job as a pet owner is to give your pet the best quality of life possible for as long as it lives. That doesn't merely mean feeding it, making sure it has clean, fresh water and cleaning up it's crap. It also means keeping it safe from harm and getting regular check ups with your vet. It means teaching it not to jump on people and not to bite. To take it a step further, I also believe it means that you should try to shape your pet's behavior in such a way so that it can get along in the world, be more easily loved by you and others and not get kicked, beaten, bitten or taken away from you by the authorites.

Otherwise your pet is either a large pain in the ass or livestock and unless you are a giant asshole or a farmer, what's the point?


You cannot explain to your pet that it has cancer, or kidney disease, or liver failure or whatever it has wrong with it. Your pet doesn't understand why it feels sick or has pain, so your pet isn't going to understand why you are forcing it to swallow pills or give it daily shots or IV fluids or whatever horrible hell you have to put it through to keep it alive. Being a pet owner involves a certain amount of selflessness and that sometimes means deciding whether or not your pet's quality of life is being compromised by medical treatment.

Maybe it isn't.

If the medical treatment is minimally invasive and/or your pet has the kind of disposition that doesn't mind being poked, jabbed or prodded, then maybe you can stretch things out a little longer. Lucky you.

Otherwise you have to think about how you want your pet to spend it's last days and how you want to spend your last days with your pet.

Amy decided that she'd rather have Rita live a shorter life as her yapping, obstinate, brain licking self. I'm going to go cry again now.