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?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just wonderin'.....

What's going through the mind(s):

...of people who walk across the mall with twelve people in their shopping posse like they're getting ready for a game of Red-Rover? Move the fuck over, get in single line formation, and let the fast-walkers pass!

... of the person who's driving 6 miles an hour with their blinker on and stops at every corner to look for the name of a street when there are people with road rage behind them who actually KNOW where they're headed and needed to get there ten minutes ago? Pull the fuck over and get a map/gps/make a phone call.

...of the person who has his windshield wipers on full speed after three drops of rain and is driving as if there's a hurricane? Again, either pull over if you can't drive with a splash of water on your window, stay home, or use public transportation. Just get the fuck off the road.

...of my son, Twelve, when he tells me he doesn't need to wake up until 7:30 am to get to school by 7:45 am because he's so tired but THEN tells me his "eyes adjust better at 6:30?" What kind of logic is that? I hate when people speak in tongues I just can not comprehend. Even when said person/people are my own creation(s).

... of the old woman who slowed down just to give me a nasty, dirty look while I was walking my puppy? I wondered if young(er) women and sweet animals somehow offended her. What a bitch, old or not.

... of my daughter, Eight, when she asks me a question and I answer her directly and then she re-asks the same question, and I answer her again directly but still, she continues asking. Is eight plus six NOT fourteen or something? Does she want the sum to be another, somehow better number?

...of my cats when I decide to make the bed (because, as my family knows, a made bed equals an entirely clean house and once the bed is made, housework is completed)and they jump on the bed and decide it's nap time? Do they really need to force me to yank the sheet as hard as I can to knock their old asses off? (It's hard to be nice anymore since they puke all over and pee on random plastic bags).

...of people who don't say something but think you should just KNOW it automatically somehow? I mean, when I ask a question at work, shouldn't that be a clue that I don't actually know the answer to begin with? Can I just get an answer minus the smug look and the attitude? (bad ending to my workday today, obviously)

... the people who work in Subway? When I tell them, "JUST turkey and olives...nothing else" why do they insist on asking if I want cheese? Mayo? Lettuce? "No, dude, I said I only want turkey and olives.That's IT." "Would you like tomatoes then?" I have Subway-rage, too.

...of my family when I say I'm going to the store, "do you want anything?" and they all say "no", even when I ask three times. Then, when I come home with $200 worth of shit, they THEN tell me what I should have gotten. One of these days, a jar of pickles is gonna fly across the room and if someone happens to be standing in the line of fire, well then... whose fault is THAT?

...of the people in Ace's Liquor store when I went in the other day and 'suggested' they get those cards you punch for each visit so you can get a free bottle after ten or twelve purchases? I mean, I was in there at least three times this week, so...

...the dude in the gym that forgot he has a lower body, too? Can you PLEASE work your thighs and calves? Do you think that because 300 pounds of your 305 pound body are in your upper, nobody's going to notice your legs are the width of a sewing needle? And while I'm at it, nobody wants to hear your grunting and groaning when you lift 800 pounds. Put it the fuck DOWN if you have to scream. It's distracting while I'm trying to listen to Manilow.

...of kids that have to spit a huge goober on the sidewalk JUST as I'm walking by? What, you couldn't have waited until I passed? You wanted me to see the slime from your throat?

...of the guy that practically blocked my exit from a club one night with his posse, wooing me with free raviolis from his store? Really? Is that the best line you can come up with? A ravioli? If I was single, I'd be all over that shit. ::::NOT:::::

...of the person giving me a pedicure, especially when she starts digging under my toe nails with that sharp, metal tool? I know what's going through mine: "OUCH! "STOP TRYING TO MURDER MY TOES! WHAT DID THEY EVER DO TO YOU?"

... of people who need to use an entire shopping wagon for a roll of tin foil and a bar of soap? Do you not realize that there are no more wagons and I am carrying a case of beer, a 12-pack of paper towels, a case of dog food and my own tin foil?

... of the mother/daughter duo that walk all over Merrick with their ever-changing hair colors and flat-ironed bangs? Must they change their color every week? Do they think they're suddenly unrecognizable and nobody can tell it's the same pair sitting in Dunkin Ds with their 5 bag-loads of nonsense?

... of my poor hairdresser when he sees my name in the appointment book? The only real clue I have is that he's said on many occasions to me, (including today), that "you're always interesting." I'm choosing to think that that is good. be continued :)

Ol' Forty xo

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Charles Atlas Has Nothing on Me....

I always thought of myself as utterly weak: weak spirited, weak attitude, weak in will. Scared of what people thought of me; terrified if they were right. My confidence was non-existent, my fears overwhelming, my attitude always dipped to the negative side.

I now beg to differ with those old thoughts.

Difficult times made me want to crumble. Nasty people made me cry and question myself. I swam in an ocean of self-pity, always looking for someone to throw me a rope to drag me to safety before I drowned. Come to think of it, it's possible that that dependence on others was my biggest weakness, my hugest downfall. It's also possible that it also set the tone for how I felt about myself.

It never occurred to me that there was one person that I should have looked to for saving me: yeah, that's right - the one, the

There had to come a point in my life that I realized, hey, this is my life, not any of the assholes who came and went, who belittled me or betrayed me; not those who took advantage of my kindness or caring; not my family's; not anyone's: it's mine.

And that point has come now, even if midway through.

I'm a terrific thinker, even if I do over-think at times. But I toss everything around in my head until I either a) find an answer, b) get tired of hearing my own voice in my head (which is usually what happens), or c) until I make a discovery. I'm going with "b" and "c" and I'm good with that.

I've discovered through all my thinking that throughout my life, I never acted or reacted to things in a healthy way; a mentally healthy way. What, really, was or is the point of self-pity? It does weaken you and it holds you back. I'm sure the lack of self-understanding as a kid and immaturity as a young adult lent a hand in that, but there's only so long a person can use that as an excuse, say into your early twenties. As I started experiencing more and more painful things, as life got a little tougher, I still threw out that stupid fucking water-logged rope, wanting to be pulled into safer territory; a place where someone was waiting with potential answers to my life's questions and problems. I always wanted to put my life into someone else's hands. Shit, I allowed other people's opinions of me to shape who I thought I was, so... why not let them save me and be mental muscle, too?

Still though, when I think into the past, no matter how much I listened, how hard I tried, how much I wanted resolutions, nothing stuck. And I never understood why - until now. When it comes down to it, nobody but me can fix anything that's meant for me to fix. If a person can't fit into my size eights, how can I expect them to walk for me? No matter how many times my friends or family have tried to pick me up when I started to fall down, when they had to let go and back away, the only way I could stand on my own was by tying my laces tightly and finding my own strength. Nobody can hold me up, throw me a rope, or convince me of anything unless I'm willing to believe in myself and believe I can do it. Even if I wobble around, if I remain upright on my own two feet, hey, that's better than falling into a heap any day. The point is, it's ultimately my decision to stand or fall, laugh or cry, to try hard or wave the white flag, to sink or swim. And come to think of it, I don't think I ever really did crumble or drown. Obviously, I'm still here. So, it's possible that I always had the fins but was too afraid I wasn't a strong enough swimmer. Kind of like Nemo.

I've somehow made it this far in my not-by-any-means-horrible-life but through a life of self-doubt and uncertainty. I don't think I could have if I didn't have strength of some sort. And I sit and think about this all the time: where did it come from? Was it always there? If so, why didn't I use it? And then I think, well... maybe it had to be built up and stored for a time when it was needed the most. Maybe I needed to be weak in order to gain strength. Maybe I had to hop over piles of dog shit in order to find that clean spot of grass. Maybe the first part of my life was a pop quiz where I had to get half (or all) the answers wrong so that during the second part of my life when I have to take the real test, I'll be better prepared with better answers. Maybe I needed to walk a certain path in order to find the me that I'm meant to be. Maybe, just maybe, finding and embracing who I am is truly the key to strength - period.

And I think I've found her. Shit, I think I'm embracing the hell out of her, too. She's not half bad.

For all my mistakes, past and present, I'm becoming more and more okay with them as time goes on. I realize that I have to be. I know all my experiences made me who I am and because of that, I finally know what makes me tick, what makes me laugh, what's worth crying over. I know what my capabilities are, what's important, and the kind of people I want and need in my life and the kind of people I don't. I know when to care, when to not care, and when to be indifferent. I know that I still err in judgment at times, but I understand that it's okay because I'm human. And I know that sometimes you can control things and other times you can't and when you can't, then the only thing you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best or hope that things will be what they're supposed to be. I realize life is difficult but it's up to me to make the best of it and to live it. And sometimes, you just gotta fucking roll with it and right now, I'm rollin'.

Finally, I can listen to other people's opinions, take them in, and decide whether I agree or not. It's no longer crucial for me to have everyone's approval. I no longer feel completely dependent on other people to make my choices for me. I finally feel like I can jump in an ocean and swim, even if sometimes it's just doing the doggie-paddle. I've put my weathered rope away because I want to swim as far as I can across the ocean on my own, riding the waves and drifting when it's calm.

I guess I can thank God that I've known weakness, otherwise I'd have never recognized my strengths.