Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Magnum Exits the Stage

It was maybe three weeks that we had him. Yesterday, we said goodbye to Magnum and another couple picked him up from our house, a new family for him, another couple attempting to live out the fantasy of having a French bulldog. They are the cutest dogs, adorable, and we somehow had put on our blinders to everything else that is involved with having a dog other than this cutesy aspect. There were many not cute aspects. Waking up bleary-eyed and stumbling to the bathroom only to step barefoot into a big pile of shit is not cute. Waking up in the middle of the night to him crying also not cute. Taking him for endless walks also not cute. Constantly cleaning up piss and shit very much so not cute.

A week into having the dog I was completely over the idea and knew that he had to go or my sanity did. My nerves became shorter and shorter. I dreaded coming home because I knew it meant doing nothing but taking care of the dog and making sure he wasn't chewing on this or pissing there. I realized how much I really do value my alone time and having a dog means no alone time.

Speaking of which, Jacob just came home.

I thought I would play George Michael's "Freedom 90" when the dog left yesterday and dance around my apartment in celebration. Instead I was actually quite sad, had really come to like his mushy face and perky ears staring at me all the time. Instead I played Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and The The's "This is the Day," neither of which really fit the mood I was in. I was grasping for some musical accompaniment to the moment, googling songs about goodbyes, all of them rather terrible, and so I listened to these two instead thinking they would work. Maybe not every moment has its appropriate soundtrack; maybe the absence of music, a quiet, is the best soundtrack for some moments.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tina says Lorne says:

"The show doesn't go on because it's ready; it goes on because it's 11:30."
This is something Lorne has said often about Saturday Night Live, but I think it's a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.

You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. (And I'm from a generation where a lot of people died on waterslides, so this was an important lesson for me to learn.) You have to let people see what you wrote.
-Tina Fey, Bossypants (123)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"It ain't no used to sit and wonder why, babe, if you don't know by now"

This morning, I woke up, it about five-thirty in the morning, groggy, not really wanting to be awake, wanting to sleep more, but knowing that I had to get up to get ready for work. I tiptoed out of bed and into the kitchen, trying not to wake Magnum, our newly acquired puppy. Despite my attempts to quietly get to the kitchen, perhaps because of those attempts, he awoke, crying and whining from his crate. I was tired and wanted to worry about getting my own self together, awake, but instead was now having to try to quiet/comfort some dog, attempt to calm him down for just ten more minutes until I could take a shower and get dressed, so that I could take him out of his crate and out for a walk to piss and shit. I became enraged. It was probably about other things. I wanted to throw the dog down the stairs, was wondering if this might have been the worst decision, that now there would be ten years of no alone time, that I will continually have this animal needing things of me, needing me to take him outside early and late when I am tired and don't want to leave the house.

I worked with this twenty year old girl today. She is harmless and funny, but is also young and says things the way young people often say them, without thinking of how they might be received. She said something along the lines of, "I never realized you were so old." So old being thirty. She meant it as a compliment she was quick to say, but given that I have been thinking about how unproductive and unsuccessful I have been with my life these last few years, it wasn't too much of a compliment to have someone a decade younger than me who does the same job that I do tell me that I am so old. I really need a new job. She also, it should perhaps be mentioned here, called me a cougar due to the young age of my boyfriend.

My nerves were already short today because of waking up to a crying dog that I wanted to strangle. I had already been thinking about the stalled nature of my life a lot in the last few days, and so to be told these things really was about all I could take. I was afraid I was going to start to cry and made myself steady the wheel - held the smile tight, didn't let those lips tremble.

Tonight the temperature is supposed to drop to the high forties. It is nice and brisk outside, fall's perfume coming down the hall ahead of her, making you look in her direction. Everyone is at their lockers in the hall, putting books away, a break between classes, and she is coming down the hallway. The camera is in soft focus all of a sudden and the film speed slows down to show her in slow motion, hair being blown back, a new season striding forward, camera showing heads gawking her way, mouths agape, books falling from hands.

I keep hoping to win the lottery and keep on failing to get even one matching number. I have finally gotten around to watching Mad Men, just started the second season tonight, and do see what a fantastic television show it is, cannot get enough of Don Draper and his depression, his disenchantment with the world, and his very successful coping mechanisms for getting through it. It's such a fantastic show that deals with issues of gender and class in specific historical circumstances so great. The show is also probably what is bringing me down and making me think about my own life, my own failed attempts at it, my lack of attempts at living. That's a good thing, the show bringing me down. Sometimes you need a good kick in the pants, someone to tell you that they are sick of seeing your cutoff "Our Place" shirt that you have been wearing every single weekend.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago, I was living in a house in Sarasota, Florida. I was just waking up and getting ready for class when Bonnie came home from her early morning class to tell me that the US was under attack, that planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Never in my life have I experienced such confusion, terror, and panic as I did on that morning. Sheer and utter panic, the world I thought I knew no longer existing, my mom potentially dead. I tried calling my mom but couldn't get a hold of her. I really started to panic, believing my mom had died in the Pentagon, where she worked. I watched news coverage and that did nothing to calm me. I might have tried calling my sister next to see if she had heard from mom - I don't remember. I do remember getting ahold of my dad at some point and he had heard from my mom, saying that she was okay, that she was fine. I cried out of relief and because there were just too many emotions for my body to process any other way.

Ten years have passed since that horrific day, all of us changed people in so many ways. A bubble was pierced and things we never used to imagine or fear will now sometimes cross our minds, the possible expanded to include atrocities that were unimaginable in America ten years and a day ago.

I'm not sure where America is now and where it would be if things hadn't happened. I know that the sky is gray now after being blue this morning, that there is a dog asleep on the couch next to me, that I'm now in my thirties, that I am very confused about what I am going to do with my life, how I am going to still make something of it, that there are several emails in my inbox that I have sent to myself, links to jobs that I should apply to, and that instead of applying to them, I have been looking at porn and taking vitamins and putting on face masks. Those are the things I do know.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I told Jacob that I didn't think they were Amish because they clearly had a microwave if the puppies were living in an old microwave box. Jacob said that they were probably Mennonites then, that Mennonites were allowed to use electricity. We were in rural Pennsylvania, had driven up a dirt hillside road to this house. We knew that unless there was something seriously wrong with the dog, we were going to purchase him, that we were not renting a car and driving three and a half hours for no reason, that we were going to come home with a dog for all this effort.

The two of us have been talking about wanting to get a dog for at least a year now. The dog that we fantasized about getting was a French bulldog. Their expensive price tags have always made it a bit prohibitive. We kept talking about saving up money for one. At one point, there was a puppy fund, savings with the goal of getting a French bulldog, but that fund morphed into a European vacation fund, and we spent two lovely weeks on the other side of the Atlantic this summer instead of getting a dog.

I'm not sure what finally spurred it. Perhaps it is the perceived change in seasons, the desire for a cuddly thing to get us through colder months now that summer has ended. Perhaps it's because they are insanely cute and with no other planned trips on the horizon, it was finally the time. I have no idea. All I know is that we have yet to even mail out our rent checks for this month that started a couple days ago, that I intend to do that Tuesday morning, and that hopefully the checks won't get cashed until Friday at earliest since we have spent all of our money that was supposed to go to rent on this adorable little puppy that we have named Magnum.

We drove home through mountains on I-80 and listened to current pop songs and classic rock anthems and lite-rock torch songs that I sang along with, trying to keep myself awake and alert, the seven hours total of driving a bit much at times. We finally made it home. The dog got carsick and puked several times on the drive.

We have only had him for a day and he is still only a young puppy, only eight weeks old, and so we are now in the painful task of potty training. My nerves are already getting a little frazzled and I have no idea how people potty train human beings. He cries a lot whenever I try to put him in his crate, but he is warming up in ways. He loves lying on the couch with me. He licks my toes too often. He makes adorable faces with confused expressions and he is just about the cutest thing ever. I am so incredibly happy to have this puppy and know why I have been wanting one for so long, know that it was a good desire, know that this decision was the right one. I am going to be very broke for a couple weeks and will probably end up having my bank account overdrawn once this rent check goes through, but that's okay. I cannot go out for a couple weeks because I have this adorable puppy to take care of, to play with, to love.