Thursday, December 2, 2010

MMMBop... Yeah, that's Right.

I randomly hear the song MMMBop by Hanson (waaay back then) (usually at Wal-Mart and some idiot that works there inevitably has to make some stupid announcement over the loudspeaker as soon as it comes on....) but every time I do hear it, it makes me happy. Well, happy and sad. Happy because it's fun to sing but sad because the words are just so...true

I thought about the song tonight for some reason even though the last time I heard it was maybe a month ago in the mall. Yes, it sounds silly with the MMMBop, buh dip uh dop chorus but hey, the three Hanson brothers wrote it when they were really little so you have to expect a little silliness in the lyrics, don't you? But after all the MMMBops and buh dip uh dops are sung, the other lyrics truly do have a significant meaning. When it saturated the radio stations in 1996/1997-ish, (I remember I was a big load o'pregnantness with Thirteen at the time), I was hooked on how adorable the brothers were but really, I was in awe of their talent and drive, as well. Who comes up with these kinds of lyrics at the ages 9, 11, and 13?

You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast
Oh yeah
And they're gone so fast, yeah
So hold on the ones who really care
In the end they'll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Tell me who will still care
Can you tell me who will still care?

Listen, I'm not saying the lyrics are completely genius, but maybe just a smidge.

It's so true that you have so many friendships and relationships in your lifetime but many of them will last? So you have 6,854 friends on Facebook but of those 6,854 friends, how many really care and will still be there when you need them? When you're old and start losing your hair, (or maybe if you're like me, you start growing some in baaaad places), who will be there to buy you a toupee or to help you pluck your chin? Huh? Who?

When the chips are down, the ones that slink away are the "MMMBoppers": in an MMMBop they're gone, in an MMMBop they're not there as the great Hansons sing. As much as I love to sing the song because it's catchy and and the buh dip uh dops are challenging to sing, it makes ya think: Aren't there people in your life that really are there for the long-haul while others are just gone like that? ::finger-snap:: I have come to the conclusion that I've had, and no longer desire, too many of these sorts of people - these MMMBoppers -in (and apparently) out of my life. I'm so done with that. I want the people who will wipe my nose with their sleeve when I'm crying and have no tissues; I want the people who will feel the lump on my ribs/head/neck/toe/armpit so they can assure me I'm not dying; I want the people who will listen to me (and join me) when I laugh so hard or cry so fiercely that sound no longer actually comes out of my mouth. I want the people who don't care that I went to the deli for coffee in the clothes I slept in the night before, come to their house in said clothes and proceed to sit around for a few hours of gabbing. I want the friend who will sniff my pits in public to assure me I don't smell as bad as I think I do when I break out in some weird nervous sweat. I want the people who can tell me my faults without secretly enjoying it because somehow it makes their faults seem faulty.

On the other end of that, I do not want people who laugh with me but behind my back knock me down or or do hurtful things intentionally. I do not want people in my life who begrudge me my successes, (even as few as they might be), but still. I do not want anyone in my life who doesn't add anything positive to it. And yes, I believe the friends that will pop the zit on my forehead or look down my throat with a flashlight are, indeed, adding something positive. They are accepting me for who I am, warts and all, and whether humoring my hypochondria or allowing me to boo-hoo to them about something, this is what friendship is about to me. Being there, no matter what.

Friendships and relationships take so much work but if you want great ones, whether it be with siblings, parents, friends, significant others or spouses, they can be as only as good as you're willing (and they're willing) to give and to make them be.

You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last....
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast...

I never did and still don't give a shit that people laugh at me for liking Hanson (currently) and MMMBop but I have always found the lyrics so profound.

I often do wonder, in the end, who will be the only ones there.... ???

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If Pride Had Calories, I'd Be 9,000 Pounds.

Boy, turning Forty came with more shit than I could have imagined - some good and some bad and some, well... I guess some newly-acquired knowledge. (I guess that can fall under either category).

Everything has changed for me and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm now questioning the virtues, the ideas, and everything else I've always believed in.

We all have a certain sense of pride, dignity, and integrity; some of us have small egos, while others have inexplicably ginormous ones; some people are self-righteous, while some are humble; some are conceited, while others are completely self-deprecating. There's well-deserved forgiveness and equally, well-deserved blame. And then there's the truth. The truth is a concept that has different meanings, or so it seems, to everyone.

I've come to a conclusion that all of those things mentioned above are full of great meaning and also full of shit at the same time. Yes, while all of those virtues and traits are fine and dandy, there has to be some sort of balance between them, as well.

I'm always able to swallow my pride if and when I have to. Sure, it tastes bad going down but, hell, when I have to do it, the results have always been worth it. Shit, if pride had calories, I'd weigh 9,000 pounds. What amazes me, though, is how other people allow their pride to get in the way of things and how they make their decisions. Sure, it's a wonderful thing to have pride in yourself and in your character, but when it prevents you from seeing situations from another person's perspective because, God forbid your ego takes a punch in the gut, is it really that important? When it comes to losing out on something significant in your life, is it not worth taking that small hit? I've always believed that nobody is that fucking great to take that hit.

But there's another, darker side to that, as well. A small ding in your pride is one thing. But when you let go of it almost completely, that's a problem. Like I said, balance is key. I've been to that side, where I've tossed all my self-respect to the ground and had it dragged through the mud for something I believed so strongly in, something so worth it, but in the end, unfortunately, all that did for me was make me feel foolish. But in another way, it was a good lesson in learning that whole 'balance' thing I mentioned. Wear your pride like you wear your winter clothing: in layers. Sometimes, you have to shed a sweater when it gets too warm, but at least you still have something still on so you don't get too cold. Does that make any kind of ridiculous sense? (Oh, my three readers, I've been up since 3:50 am. Please try to figure that one out on your own.)

Another thing I've come to realize with age is that I hate how people skew the truth in order to soothe themselves, to make themselves look better/smarter/superior to others, or just because the real truth isn't something they can accept for whatever reason. Damn, I've told the truth even when it shed me in a bad light but to me, it was the right thing to do. Sure the truth is always easier to say when it makes us look good, but I think it shows more character to admit it even when it doesn't. People dance around it, they twist and turn it, they ignore it, they exaggerate it.... To look the truth right in the eye though? (Mostly) unheard of.

Which brings me to forgiveness. I've had so many experiences in my life with so many people where this was an issue. I've forgiven people in my past for things I probably shouldn't have forgiven them for. But who says I'm so great or high and mighty that I shouldn't give others another chance (or two, or ten, or endless ones, which has been the case many-a-time). Why are too many people so intent, though, on being unforgiving? Is it their stupid dignity that gets in the way? Are they in some way partially to blame in some way, shape or form and can't accept that? Do they feel that forgiveness is a sign of weakness? I don't know about anyone else, but to me, being able to forgive is a sign or strength.

I hate questioning all I've ever believed in, all the virtues and ideas I've had about people and life, but every day, something causes me to do so. Certainly, I am far from perfect and at one time or another have had the scales tip too greatly on the pride/truth/integrity/whatever side. But I am human. I recognize these things about myself and I always want to find a balance; I strive for it.

We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that the person looking back at us is the one person we have to make decisions for and live with forever. When I feel like I'm losing my own sense of self or have done something I am not too proud of, I never revert my eyes from that reflection - I face it and try to do the best that I can to change or make up for anything I need to. I don't want my ability to forgive or to be honest or any of those other things to become unrecognizable to me. But sometimes they do and unfortunately, it's because I've allowed people and bad experiences to do that to me. I don't want that, and I really don't want to question myself and who I am because at the end of the day, warts and all, I still want and like to be Ol' Forty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks Be

Normally, I just say little prayers in my head and thank God silently. But here's a list to my three readers of what I am thankful for:

1) My kids, Thirteen and Nine. The lights (and pains in the asses) of my life. Nothing would be the same without you two. Even though life has changed for all of us, all is still pretty damn good and for those things that are a little shaky, Ol' Mama Forty will make it all good. I love you two to pieces.

2) My family (Ol' Sixty Eight, Forty-three and even Ol' Forty-Eight). No matter what, you are all constants in my life through the good, bad and the-fucking- so-ugly-it's-ridiculous.

3) My friends. The ones I met through my kids' school, the ones who I've known through my own schooling and the ones who've gone away and come back. You all are the people who I hold near and dear to me, sometimes nearer and dearer than other times. ;-)

4) My sense of humor. It gets me through all those aforementioned good, bad and so fucking-ugly-it's-ridiculous times. I laugh at myself constantly even when I want to scream. Who else can walk into work with a bra hanging off her shoulder and laugh all day?

5) My sense of who I am. It's taken me years to figure it out but I finally know. I no longer care so much how others perceive me because perception is just that - we all see things differently. My truths are the most important to me because I know what I believe, I know what I mean, I know my own intentions. If someone else chooses to see it differently, then so be it. As long as I know what I know.

6) My determination. I have done things that I never thought I would do. I have pushed through things I never thought I could get through. I have achieved certain goals that, at one time or another, seemed unattainable. Sometimes it takes me years and years to accomplish what I want to, but I always find a way.

7) My belief and desire to forgive and be forgiven. Everything and everyone deserves chances - sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes countless. Most, if not all things, can be worked through. At least I think so.

8) Pizza and Pindar. (come on... we knew that was coming)

9) The opportunity(ies) to speak my mind. We should all be able to do so no matter what.

10) People that tell me my bra is stuck to my shoulder. I am so thankful for you.

11) Food Network. The day isn't complete without the Neelys or Paula Deen, y'all!

12) My dog, Almost Three. She's a little nutty lately but she wags her weapon-like tail at me and always smiles when I need to see one.

13) Discount stores. How else would I be able to buy a wardrobe for under $100?

14) Suavitel fabric softener. My clothes smell yummy all for the low price of $7. Who needs Downey? (well, except for the one below...)

15) Robert Downey Jr. Period.

16) To those that love me through it all... no matter what. You make my days brighter knowing that you believe in me and the person I truly am even when I fuck up, which I will admit to doing here and there ;)

17) My age-earned wisdom. Even though sometimes I'm off the mark, at least I'm reasonable enough to know and understand WHY I'm off the mark. Age does have its benefits.

To be continued.....

Ol' Forty

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Open Letter.....

How many times have you had conversations in your head with people who you need to speak with but you can't for some reason? How many times have you wanted to bawl someone out who fucking deserved it but you can't because it would cause too many other things to snowball so you just hold it in? How many times have you eaten a really good fucking slice of pizza and wanted to hug the person who put just the right amount of cheese on it and baked it to a bubbly brown? How many times have you just had a damn day/week/month/year that was so crazy, you wished you could address everything and everyone involved personally?

For me? It's been millions. So here's an open letter to all:

Dear The Idiots I Have Recently Encountered:

Thank you for showing me that in order to make yourselves feel better, you make up lies and embellish stories. Not only have you fucked up parts of my life, but you've also made me realize that 99% of people are just selfish assholes and I can no longer have faith in most people. Somehow, someway, I will find the strength to delete you all from my stupid Facebook account.

Dear Former Employers Who Have Treated Me Like Crap:

You have taught me many a lesson in being an employee. I will no longer be able to be honest to a fault about who I am and what I want because you have taken advantage of that and have treated me like a worthless piece of shit. Lesson learned and I pity the fuck that crosses me again in the work place.

Dear Friends Who Are No Longer Friends:
Oh, just fuck you. So not worth more words than that.

Dear People Who Have Stood By Me:
Well, thank GOD there are a handful of you. What would I do without you?

Dear Selfish People:
I have given you 100% or more of me. And when I make a mistake, suddenly I am like the plague. How sad it is that all the good I have added to you and your life (lives) is instantly forgotten. I guess human error is unheard of when all you can do is think about yourself(ves), Carry on with you life(ves) and leave me the fuck alone. I will no longer give more than I should and that's too bad.... because, damn, I can give an awful lot. You screwed all the people that I may encounter one day in the future.

Dear Pizza:
You make me feel full and warm and happy when I am sad and down. You soak up my wine just enough so that I feel cozy and lovely. Thank you for being ever-present at the mere cost of $4.50 for two slices of your heavenliness. I heart you.

Dear Paycheck:
I worked really hard for you and you made me smile amidst any gloom and doom I was experiencing. God bless you.

Dear Debit Card:
Thank you for seeming to be endless lately. I have enjoyed swiping you at Nordstrom, Marshall's and TJ Maxx for the past three days. Please don't disappoint me when I need to go to Toys R us.

Dear Westbury Liquors:
Pindar Winter White for $9.99 a bottle...the big one. No more explanation needed.

Dear Me:
I am bruised and hurt by people who were/are supposed to know who I am and what I am about. But I will fight like a mother fucker to not let them get me down. I know the truth about everything and that's all that matters. I will make sure I let myself heal and then move onward and upward. I will no longer beat myself up for mistakes, wrong decisions or anything else. Please keep remembering these words when I can't sleep at night when I think of those bruisers and liars and selfish people who make me feel horrible.

Dear New House (even though you're not really new and sort of old but you're new to me):
I like you and will make you my home.

Love Ol' Forty who no longer gives a fuck.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Hairy Situation - An Open Letter

Dear Hair Follicles:

You're fired.

You're services are no longer needed from my eyebrows down. It has come to my attention that you've all been working overtime without permission and have taken it upon yourselves to pick up some day laborers as well. Please cease any projects you are working on now and vacate from those premises immediately.

I no longer have the desire or the funds to find new ways to remove the over-production of hair in places that make hair-removal necessary. My legs have endured too many cuts, bruises and scrapes as it is, so I refuse to use anything else on them that might cause bleeding, require immediate medical care and cause possible scarring. It has come to a point where I need to carry tweezers with me at all times for plucking emergencies.

Cease and desist any and all hair growth from my face down. I have sustained red, mustache-shaped burns over my lip in my efforts to be hairless along with an angry mob of blisters above my eyebrows. Because of your insistent desire to over-produce and because of the pain my poor face has endured, my only choice is to fire you all and just consider going with the Tom Selleck look. Please don't take it personally.

You are all very hard-working, dedicated follicles with potential for continued growth. I've heard my scalp has lost some employees and the ones that remain are lazy and unmotivated. All applicants are welcome.

If you all feel qualified, which I know you are, please make the journey to the top of my head and begin work immediately. It would be nice to brush my hair without gathering it all up afterward from the floor, sink, counter tops, my dog's head or the front of my shirt. It would also be nice to have more than three strands in my ponytail, which I can only hold together by one of those tiny rubber bands kids use when they have braces. I am not greedy and I don't require much at all. My only preference if anything is that when you begin producing, please make it that nice hue of brown rather than that wiry silver that seems to be all the rage up there.

Love and Ponytails,
Ol' Forty

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Heads-Up to Santa....

Dear Santa...

I know I am going to win "Meanest Mother Award" but please by-pass my house this year. I know it sounds unreasonable to ask you to do such a horrific thing, but let's review:

- Thirteen no longer believes in you so... screw him. Why go out of your way to bring him 652 presents he tosses aside, some which he never winds up using anyway?

- Eight is onto you, as well. She's a savvy little creature. But at least she pretends to believe: she helps me leave you cookies and milk and always wants to wait up so she can hear Blitzen and gang trampling on the roof. But she will always keep up the charade, that little schemer, because she now wants a laptop, an iPhone, a pink convertible car with leopard-striped interior and exterior (no, not a Barbie car - a real one), an iPad, anything with a lower-case "i" prefix, actually, and a Blackberry. If you decide to fly by, just drop an "iCarly" video into my mailbox and keep going. PLEASE.

-I busted my old ass going through my basement, or what I should really call, The Toy Graveyard From Hell, aka - Someone,-Please-Break-Into-My-House-of-Toy-Horrors-and-Steal-Everything. I carried up approximately thirty board games, boxes and bags of Legos totaling probably thousands of tiny pieces minus the ones my nephew, Fifteen, claimed to ingest a few years ago "just because" and the ones my dog probably munched on, three boxes of books, maybe 10 of those books, if that, read, a Leap Pad, a ghetto-version Lite Brite (which anyone who knows me knows I spilled half the pegs on the way up the stairs), and a shit-load of puzzles. Nevermind the half-colored Spiderman, Dora and princess coloring books I tossed.

Five over-stretched garbage bags later, I'm still not even close to having anything resembling a clean house. There are still:

- Twenty baby dolls, some with newly streaked blue hair, most naked, all neglected.

- BINS and BINS full of body parts: Green Goblin/Spiderman/Superman heads, arms, legs, wings, feet. You name it, my kids dismembered it.

You get the idea.

If you really need to drop by, come pick that stuff up and give it to kids who enjoy using the stuff. I'm throwing that shit out on the driveway to make a few bucks so you better come before I sell an entire Game Cube system with 100 perfectly good games to the lady who doesn't speak English except to say, "No, a quarter."

Dude, we're really Jews who become conveniently Catholic in December anyway.

Just a heads-up.

Ol' Forty

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm Going to Kick Your 3rd Grade Teacher's Ass

Today as I was driving, I bypassed my annoying, evil iPod to see what was happening on the air waves. Every station was saturated with the same shit I hear all day, everyday, whether it's on the radio or blasting from Thirteen's iTouch. Finally I settled on, I'll Be Missing You by Puffy P. Diddy Daddy. Something old, yet new compared to everything else.

But then it happened - I heard it.

Every bref you take....

I suddenly felt venomous towards Puffy Diddy Daddy's third grade teacher.

Seriously, why is this man rich? Clearly, he has not been able to master the difference between the sounds th make and the letter f and people pay to hear him mangle the alphabet?

Then I got to thinking: I've heard waaaay too many people do this. Unless you're under the age of 12, (and that's very generous) or you have something physically preventing you from proper pronunciation, please learn how to say the following as these are the most common (that's so fucking sad) and the most annoying:

birthday, NOT berfday.

breath is NOT bref

While I'm on a rant, if I see one more apostrophe where it doesn't belong like on the end of a plural, NON-possessive, or another error where their, there and they're is concerned, I'm going to find the offender, force the name of their third grade teacher out of them, and kick their ass hard. The same goes for your and you're. Really.

I'm by no means a grammar snob, but if you think so, then you can Thuck Oth. ;-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Smell of Defeat

Come a little closer and take a whiff - no, not of my ridiculously expensive perfume that I will never, ever, ever be able to purchase again. Not that. Come on, smell... Got it now? It's strong and it's the other scent I've been sportin' lately, which, by the way, is quite costly in its own way and is called, "Eau de'Feat." There are several translations and/or pronunciations in English:

1. Oh, Defeat!
2. Oh, fuck.... defeated again!
3. Fuck My Life
4. Really? Why? Whyyyyy?

and my favorite...

4. My boss is a mother fucking hairy prick who has no compassion, human decency, or interpersonal skills who thinks his pocket bulging full of money (and probably only money, if ya know what I mean) make him better than everyone else.

I wish someone could explain to me why I decided to forgo the usual "interview smile and head-nod" and went with, "be forthright, be relaxed and be yourself." What, I ask you, was the point of being forthright to this potential employer (who went from "potential" to "actual") when all he did was take advantage of that? And is it really too much to ask for that same courtesy in return? Whoever can explain those mysteries to me, please also shed some light on a possible reason(s) why when someone employs a very eager, smart person who's willing to learn (and can learn!) anything that the employer constantly speaks to this employee with contempt, impatience and disrespect.

What happens to people when they become successful? Do they turn into selfish, arrogant fucks immediately? Or are there prerequisites for being successful, like they need to possess inner-scumbagdom (yes, that's a word: my word), or have complete disregard for the less-than-human folk that they employ?

I have approached my job searches in several different ways: the above mentioned "interview smile and head-nod" combo, then I've used that one along with the "outgoing-personality-willingness-to-learn" approach, and then I've gone the "Full Monty" approach - just being completely honest about who I am, what I want and why I think I'm a good hire. That's probably what helped me get my current position, although I think somehow my honesty and willingness fucked me in the end.

What is it that employers want? They place ads which take time for people to carefully respond to but then don't have the courtesy to respond back in kind. Then the rare few who do call you in for an interview, put you through a four-interview process over the course of weeks, hire you, then proceed to treat you as if you left your brain back in your health club locker. But, because we all need that green paper, we take it. We take all the bullshit because we have to. We work harder to prove ourselves, we bite our tongues when we should really lash them out with venomous words, then we work even harder to prove ourselves more and then we get screwed. Or at least I did.

Because this position I have is seasonal, most of the staff is laid off for either the entire summer or for part of the summer. Me? I got off for August with my re-hire date near Labor Day. But I never heard exactly when. So I emailed the Prick. After treating me like shit on his shoe (I have witnesses!)he sends me a negative email in response. He accused me of having a 'bad attitude.'

An overview of the beginning:

April: Four-part interview with Prick and his interview side-kick, Fat Pork Sword
Second week in: Mother Fucker Side-Kick Pork Sword bullied me into silence.
Every week following: Sarcastic remarks, no eye contact when speaking, rare acknowledgment of my existence.
Oh,, and apparently, when either of them raised their hand in my face, it meant, You, Woman. You no speak.

Many disdainful looks, snide side-comments and snickering between the two of them, and one-too-many belittling grammar corrections later, I was thrown into an ocean of "do this with little or contradictory instructions" and basically told to swim. When I asked for help, the hand went up in my face and I was spoken to with contempt.

I feel defeated. Not completely, where I'm gonna lay down in a puddle of my own tears, but enough where I reek of it already. Add a few other disappointments and struggles (to be announced in a future blog of misery)and I feel the urge to warn people to stay away from me as the smell of defeat is pungent and will curl your nostrils.

I know mine are. And like I mentioned earlier, it's a costly scent. It's costing me a little of my self worth and confidence.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thank Yous Long Overdue

I'm a big believer in thanking people (even if my gratitude isn't always so sincere). Here we go...

Thank you...

... to the guys/girls/old men/little-kids-with-manners/creepy-dudes who hold doors open for me even when I'm a hundred feet away. Way too kind.

... to the lady who just stumbled off the curb probably thinking that because she was next to a huge truck, nobody saw. But I did. Much needed chuckle for an already-shitty morning.

... to my 3rd grade teacher who encouraged us to get extra credit points and by doing so, brought out the wanna-be-writer in me.

... to my professors in college for continually helping me to hone my (so-called) craft. (and for letting me sit in your office listening to all my tales. You know who you are!) the people who actually take the time to read what I write. You five people ROCK!

... to all those wonderful, loving people out there who have taken it upon themselves to knock me down and kick me while I'm there. Again, more people who ROCK!

... to my puppy, Two and a Half - you make me smile daily. :)

... to my sister, Forty-Three. A girl needs to have someone in life who she can share a secret language with. You know what the raised left eyebrow means in any given situation. Thank GOD.

... to whoever it was in my family, (Sixty-Eight?) that I got my sense of humor from.

... to those who have taught me harsh lessons. Those are the ones I will never, ever forget. Pindar Winter White - you make my evenings more enjoyable.

... in the same vein, to the Local Liquor Store for amusing me by taking my suggestion half-way seriously of having a card to stamp every time you come in. Every ten bottles gets you a freebie. (Come on, guys - Subway used to do it!)

... to Senor Frog's in Mexico. Period.

... to Seth MacFarlane. You are a comic genius and I don't care who isn't with me on that one. (also to TVLand for running all those Roseanne marathons for when Ol' Forty can't sleep).

... to Anne Murray for singing a song that makes me cry like a fucking idiot. My iPod seems to be a source of pain and self-punishment somehow. Maybe I should set it on fire.

... to my fantabulous boss for paying me that unbelievably HUGE mountain of cash every two weeks just so he can have someone to sneer at daily. It is SO fucking worth it.

... to anyone who loves me, warts and all.

... the guy at the nail place who gave me a really long and quite awesome foot massage recently. My toe nails looked lovely in that shade of red, btw.

... to all those who never cease to amaze me.

... to my daughter, Eight, for having that wicked Mizrahi sense of humor. She's 59 pounds of solid love and companionship and she makes me laugh.

... to my son, Thirteen, for shocking the shit out of me with his strength and courage. Yes, he whimpered when he got his ear pierced but he didn't even flinch in the face of something else that should have knocked him down.

... to Eight and Thirteen. Never have I been more proud of the two of them. When hit with shitty news, they were both courageous and understanding. I love them more than life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

McDonalds Ain't So Bad....

I picked up McDonald's for the kids last night. Ya know, they say it's not good for you but honestly, last night, I was happy to give it to them. Here's the looooong reason why:

About 10 days ago, I mentioned in my blog that self-pity was useless. But yesterday, at least for a few hours, I felt like total shit and dare-I-say, pitied myself a wee bit. I know there are waaaay worse things in the world but when utter frustration takes over and when with every step forward you are thrown far back, sometimes you just can't help it.

I had to take my doggie, Two, to the vet. She's been a fixture there since September. Here's a run down:

March '08 - I adopted the sweetest puppy in the world, three and a half months old.

Sept. '09 - Said puppy started limping on one leg. Within weeks, she couldn't even walk. After an emergency visit to the vet on a Sunday night at ten pm, Lyme disease was ruled out but X-rays were needed. Yay to the yay.

Oct. '09 - After sedation and x-rays, both the poor girl's knees were deemed busted up. She needed ACL surgery. Within weeks, knee #1 was done. Cost: oh, I don't know. Between x-rays and surgery and meds, let's go with somewhere near three grand.

Three weeks after said surgery - My dog couldn't use her tongue. She was drooling like mad, had breath that could kill small animals and/or humans. Seriously. She chomped her water instead of lapping it. Many phone calls and visits to the vet later.... Vet was stumped. I was instructed to roll her food into balls and put them in her mouth. Dog dropped from a slightly overweight 72 pounds to a skinny 60. Ol' Forty was at her wit's end. Suggested plan of action from Vet, (who had been fabulous, sympathetic and even tried to discount me where she could, bless her): take her to the neurologist.

PLEASE NOTE: If at this point you're reading this and saying that Ol' Forty has got to be kidding and she is a fucking idiot, please move along and click back to your Facebook/MySpace/Twitter account. For all the animal lovers out there and for those who want to believe there's hope for human kindness in the world, I hope you continue...

Somewhere between November '09 and December '09 (I can't even keep track but whatever): I took Two to the neurologist. Hours later:

Dr.: "Your dog, Two's, tests seem all fine. She's not banging into walls or staring into space, is she?"
Forty: "Noooooo! She's perfectly normal except for smelly drool and a dead tongue.
Dr.: "Well, let's do an MRI. It's around $2,000."
Forty: -----------
I paid my consultation fee and blew outta there.

January '10 (ok, now I'm just pretty much guessing with the time frame but it's not the point): My dog's licker got its ticker back. Slooooowly but surely. But then she got all kinds of ear infections. Oh, and she was still limping and wouldn't sit down. I started walking her, trying to at least strengthen her knees. I fed her anything that she wanted. If she had wanted to, say, eat my cats, (both Almost Eighteen), I would have let her have them, too, at that point. I was desperate for her to be normal again. Leaving Eight in the room at dinner time was questionable as she is small, probably chewy and most def delicious. Anyway...

Things started seeming better for awhile. I mean, after what....almost four thou later, they'd better be. So, recently I decided to let Two play with her old dog pals, just to see how she'd do. She played, she was happy and so was I. But then I noticed her ear was missing hair. WTF?, said I. Then itchy, scaly lumps appeared. Fuck. After about 2 weeks, Ol' Forty became suspicious. I refused to believe Two could have another ailment. Two is... only fucking two for God's sake. "Let her have some good health, damn it! Please! She's just a baby!!!" I yelled up to God. (ok, I really didn't do that but it certainly would have been fitting).

But no. No, no, no...

I Googled "lumpy, scaly, dog ears" then I took Two to the vet yesterday for confirmation. Hell, she needed her shots anyway. So, since my suspicions were most likely correct, Vet scrapes the ears to do cultures and let's me know not only does Two have an ear infection, but it's yeast and bacteria. And the other test for the ear scrapings will come back in 4 weeks but to get the antibiotics in case. I drag my sad, sorry, completely self-pitying self to the counter, dig out my hot Visa and recoil when I'm told, "$550. Oh, and you have one more RX to fill at CVS." It's grand to be me! I bet you're all jealous.

When I dropped Two off at home, I tried to rationalize how it wasn't her fault for being a lemon of a dog health-wise, but Forty-Four's instead just because he picked her out. I went to CVS and handed in my 'script. When I saw a look of fear in the pharmacist's eyes, I said a prayer for my kids. I knew something horrible was coming and that when I got home, God, help them if they even blinked too loudly or if they looked at me wrong.... I knew my mood was going to change.

Pharmacist: "Five hundred dollars.Generic."
Me: --------------------
Pharmacist: "Nine hundred for name-brand."
Me: --------------------

I called Vet, got a "cheaper" ($132) 'script and then cursed all the fucking way to McDonald's to pick up Unhappy Meals.

(Just shut up. I know this is long...)

So I'm in McDonald's, spewing to the man behind the counter how I just spent a shit load of money on my pathetic dog and while he's smiling politely, I figured he was probably really plotting to over-salt my fries. I move over when I'm through assaulting his poor ears with tales of animal and wallet woe so that two really old ladies could hobble up to the counter. I watched them, thinking that maybe McDonald's was an exciting Friday night out for them yet they looked so happy. One of them turned to me and smiled. There's nothing like the smile of a baby or an old person to melt my stupid heart and I couldn't help but smile back. The one lady and her even-older looking, really-struggling-to-walk chum ordered their burgers, fries, Diet Cokes and apple pies together. They shakily took out crisp bills from their wallets, and waited for the man to give them their change.

McDonald's Man: "Here you go, Sweetheart."

He placed his hand under the one woman's hand and held it, carefully making sure she wouldn't drop any of the coins.

McDonald's Man: "Why don't you go find yourselves a table?"

She smiled at him and then smiled at me, asking if there was even an empty one around as she slowly turned to look. I pointed two out to her and looked into her old, truly sparkly eyes. I looked back at the McDonald's Man, who was hurrying about trying to get through the dinner rush. How nice, I thought. Really, when do you see people slow down, speak so warmly to the older folks, making sure they don't lazily hand over change so that it falls all over the counter or floor? How many times do you hear people call a complete stranger, and not even condescendingly but with utter sincerity, Sweetheart? Who ever takes the time to act like they give a shit about other people? I rarely come across a counter-person or cashier who is pleasant.

After such a crappy, pitiful day for me and Two, it was witnessing the tiniest, simplest act of human kindness and respect that left me feeling all gooey inside.

McDonald's ain't so bad for ya, now, is it?