Accidental Eavesdropping Is Never Good

Matt comes home.

me:  I can’t wait to tell you what I heard at work today!

Matt:  It’s going to have to wait until I change my clothes and I eat.

15 minutes later….

Matt:  Okay, tell me what happened.

me:  So, I’m sitting in the canteen this morning, working on my computer between meetings, and these two guys sit down at a table near me.  And this one guy is talking really loud.  I’m not trying to eavesdrop, really. I don’t wanna hear what they’re talking about, but he’s so loud.  He’s talking about going to the doctor, and he’s talking and talking.  And  I hear him say, “And then the doctor’s holding my genitals.”  And I’m like, “Really?”

Matt:  Is that it?  That’s kind of a let down.  I was expecting more after such a build up.

me:  Yeah, well, if I could have told you immediately after you came home, it wouldn’t have been such a build up.


me:  And the guy that he was talking to didn’t say a word.

Matt:  It was probably his boss.  What could he say?  He had to listen.

me:  I mean, the other guy couldn’t have cared about this guy’s balls?  Right?

Matt:  I don’t know.  Maybe it was like a warning.  Maybe the doctor was an eye doctor and the first guy was like, “Dude, don’t go see this guy because an eye exam ends up with your dick in his hands.”

Excellent point.  I would warn all my girlfriends if I went to the dentist and a speculum made an appearance.  I’m only “opening wide” at one end at a time.


Where is Matt?  I think he’s in the bathroom….


“Love, hell.  That damn stuff stinks.” 

Quote by my Great-Aunt Dot Miller

When we lost our dog, Nick, I didn’t know if I would be able to ever (1) get over his loss or (2) welcome another dog into my life.

But as time passed, I really started to miss having a dog around.  Of course, I missed Nick specifically, but I also just missed having a little ball of love around, the noise of nails clicking on the floor, of having something that I could talk to, etc.  And as a couple of hard personal events took place earlier this year, including a big fight with depression, I really missed having a dog that I could just pet at the end of a hard day.

Matt wasn’t nearly as keen as I was on getting another dog.  In fact, he really just didn’t want one.

And marriage is about compromise and give and take.  I could never bring an animal into a house where Matt wasn’t full on board.  A dog totally changes your lifestyle.  It would have been wrong to ask him to change his life because I wanted a dog.

But Matt loves me and saw how often I would look at dog adoption sites.  And talk about dogs.  And draw dogs.  So, last week, Matt started looking at dogs for adoption and found the little cuties that we just adopted.

He not only found them, he encouraged me to meet Ray.  He told me that two dogs would be ok when we found out that Ray and Reynolds were dumped together and were best friends.  He kept reassuring me that he would welcome them with open arms.

As we now have dogs in our house for the first time in over a year, we also are dealing with potty accidents in the house and the smell of dog.  And we clean up pee with vinegar and water and look at each other and talk about what sweethearts these two little monsters are.

Yes, love, that damn stuff, does stink.  Right now, it smells like dog and vinegar and water.  And that’s the smell of a husband who understood exactly how important a four-legged little fur-ball was to me.

Dog Tales

Hey!  My name is Ray.

This is my friend, Reynolds.

Some assholes kicked us out of their truck in front of the Humane Society of Catawba County.  On the asshole scale, I guess they ranked somewhere below 10 because the Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, but still, they were assholes.  Reynolds and I are 8 years old, that’s 56 of your human years, so we were these losers’ elders.  They treated us with no respect.

Anyway, the people at the Humane Society were righteous.  They took us in, cleaned us up, fed us, had the doc look over our old bones and put our pics out there on the internets for people to see.  No one came by for a long time.  I think it’s because they said that I had these things called “cat-racts” which means I can’t see.  I think that what they call it is must be wrong, because I’m a DOG, people, not a stupid cat.

That’s where our personal heroes come into the story.  Matt Elder (whose last name means that he understands how to respect us senior dogs) is a solid guy.  He saw my picture and showed it to his woman.  Said he thought I would be a good guy to have around the house (me and that dude get each other).

She finally caved.  Called the Humane Society and found out that I don’t go anywhere without my main guy, Reynolds.  Matt continued to show how he’s the kinda guy you want to be around — told Cristy that two dogs around the house would be just fine.  She and Matt visited us at our home at the shelter and realized just how cool R-man and I are.  And just like that, we’re now at home with M & C.

So, here’s the current sitch–C took us to get groomed and our new looks are fine.  My guess is that if we had had such awesome looking hair cuts while at the shelter, we would have been out of there a lot sooner.  (Women love a well-groomed man.)  Lucky for C & M, we were still around so that we could help them not be so lonely.

It’s a good thing we came along.  C & M needed us.

My Music Debut Then and Now!

I love to sing!  It is one of my favorite things to do.  When I was little, I just knew that I was going to be a famous singer when I grew up.  I loved Olivia Newton-John and Leslie Gore.  Don’t know who Leslie Gore is?  She sang “It’s My Party” (and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to…) and my mom had her album.  I played it over and over growing up.

I made my singing debut around the age of 8 during my 3rd grade Halloween Carnival talent show.  I sang “Don’t Cry Out Loud” for two shows.  I look back at that and wonder that no one laughed Out Loud at an 8 year singing:

Don’t cry out loud

Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings

Fly high and proud

And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

I mean, seriously….

My next singing performance was about the same year at the Glendale Springs Missionary Baptist Church, where I sang “Just Build My Mansion (Next Door to Jesus)”.  I still remember what I wore — a blue pleated skirt with a matching blue top, that had a white pilgrim collar with a rose at the throat.  I belted out “It doesn’t matter who lives around me, just so my mansion sets near the throne.”

But here’s the thing:  I can’t sing.  Not a lick.  I think I may be tone deaf.  I didn’t know it (obviously) during my talent show performance nor during singing in church, but my friend, Melissa Sheets, told me soon after the church performance that I couldn’t sing very well.

And other friends continued to give me feedback.  My best friend in high school, Becki, only allowed me to sing on my birthday and prom night, i.e. special occasions.  When I sing now, Matt says that he can hear dogs howling.

Thank goodness for long commutes in my car and my iPhone app Songify.  This app allows me to “produce” myself.  Check it out–I recorded my haiku tribute to Diet Coke.  It rocks.

Postscript to the Letter to My Husband

Used dirt bike for $2500 that you rode for 90 minutes
Emergency room visit for $16,573.91 that lasted 2 hours
Having something to say to you everytime you want to do something dangerous — “Do you remember the dirt bike?” — that lasts the rest of our lives

Headache Central

I have had a headache for the past four days.  When I have one that lasts more than a day, I am exhausted when it finally goes away, and (dare I say) a bit fearful of it coming back again.  Eventually, I begin to feel like myself again, even though I know that another one is inevitably around the corner.

This is what I feel I look like when I have a headache.  I think that we can all agree that it is a good thing that this isn’t reality.

Feels like my head is twisting itself

Several months ago, I was inspired by my headache to write this poem.  It’s not much, but I thought I would save it rather than trash it.


Lights are flashing
Hands are shaking
Who lives in my head?
Please stop partying!
Turn down the music and quit jumping on the floor!
Don’t you have to work?
I can’t believe my mind tenant is so lazy
Here’s the deal:  I’ve sent your resume to some employers
You have to move
I’m evicting you
I’m THE landlord of my head and I want you gone
And I’m keeping the security deposit for punching holes in my walls

Let’s See You Match Me With This

We hardly ever watch network TV in our house, but we have been watching the Olympics since they have been on.  I guess the Olympic-watching crowd is mostly single because I have been overwhelmed by the number of and commercials that come on.  Every time one of these commercials comes on, I think, “I’m so glad that I don’t have to date anymore.”

Matt tells me that I am the worst dater that he has ever met.  He says that he didn’t like me the first, second or third time that he met me.  On our first official date, I remembered that I had a prescription that I had to pick up before the pharmacy closed.  I thought that I was being extremely flexible when I told him that I had to go to the drugstore so we could (1) go together, (2) I could go and he could wait for me at the restaurant or (3) we could call the evening done and talk later.  Matt has said that it wasn’t being flexible, it was being the worst date ever.  (By the way, he opted to go with me to the drugstore.  I told him that I could have bought a bunch of yeast infection medicine and foot fungus treatment and then he could call it the worst date ever.)

My bad dating skills aren’t the worst around.  Recently, we had a girls’ weekend at my mom’s house with my mom, aunts and cousins.  During the course of the night, my Aunt Margo told the story about going on a double date with her ex-husband (her boyfriend at the time) and another couple back when they were all in high school.  I can’t remember the names of the other couple, and it really doesn’t matter, but the story goes that as they were driving through town the other girl yelled, “Stop the car!  I gotta shit!”

Even as I laughed, all I could do was think a couple of things.  First, I was surprised that the teenagers of what I’ve always thought of as my mom’s squeaky clean background would use the word “shit”.  Then I kept wondering why the girl (let’s call her Jane Doe), why Jane Doe would think that it would be okay to just yell out “I gotta shit”.  Did she grow up in one of those houses where talking about that was normal?  Like “I’m thirsty” or “I’m hungry”?  I’ve never been in a house like that, but surely they exist.  Or maybe she was trying to turn off her date?  I guess we’ll never know.

Then my Aunt Bobbie piped up and told us about one time when she was out on a double date.  My Aunt Bobbie worked at the hospital for 30+ years and was working there as a young woman during the time of the story.  She and her companions were out on their date when she realized that she needed to check on a patient that might be released.  She said to them, “We need to run by the hospital so I can check to see if I have a discharge.”

I laughed even harder at this story because this would So. Totally. Happen. to me.  I misunderstand people and they misunderstand me all the time.  Just word choice, I guess, and where your head is and their head is.  Like recently, I had to have a colonoscopy.  Which means drinking this nasty stuff called “movi-prep” the night before.  The next day before the procedure, the nurse asked, “Did you get clean from the movi-prep?”  And I said, “Yes, I took a shower this morning, so I don’t have any on me.”  She said, “No, are you cleaned out?”  Oh, yeah, that too.

And I just realized that my story and my Aunt Margo’s story both come back to poo.  Maybe I do know one of those households and it’s mine.

3 Years

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my dad’s death.  It’s a weird day.  Because in many ways, it’s just like any other day.  I’ve come to work, I’m attending meetings, I’m eating lunch with friends.  Just another day.

But at the back of my mind is a niggle, a little “mind worm” that won’t go away, that today is different, that today is out of the ordinary.

I have no idea what I am going to write about, but I just know that I can’t let this day pass without marking it somehow.

My personal milestone moment, that 9/11 moment–you know, the moment where everything changes for you and you begin to mark time as “that happened before the event” and “that happened after the event” — my personal milestone moment happened after lunch when my mom called me at work to tell me that my dad had died earlier that day.  I remember exactly what I said to her.  I remember everything that I did from that point forward that day.  I feel like my life changed at that moment:  before she called, I had two parents; after she called, I didn’t have a father anymore.

My dad was one of a kind — funny, charming, generous, smart, talented, charismatic — but he wasn’t the kind of father that you saw on Andy Griffith or The Cosby Show.  He wasn’t around much while I was growing up and hardly at all in my adult years, and as a result my relationship with my dad seemed so very complex while he was still alive.  I spent hours and days feeling mad at, frustrated at, exasperated by, amused by, responsible for, and sometimes even rejected by my father.  These were tough emotions to handle and so I often just didn’t handle them — my response was to isolate myself from my dad for periods of time in order to avoid the “icky” feelings.  My dad, sensing something was wrong, wouldn’t do any better job at reaching out to me, so long periods of time could pass without us talking.  (I inherited my avoidance skills from him, as well as a lot of other traits.)

When he died, he and I hadn’t spoken for several months.  This has become one of the biggest regrets that I have — that I let, that we let, our shared habit of avoiding uncomfortable subjects keep us from talking to each other.

Because, what I have realized over the last 3 years is that, in the end, my relationship with my father wasn’t as complicated as I allowed it to become.  He loved me and I loved him.  The feelings that he could invoke in me could be complicated, but the love is uncomplicated.

I don’t feel guilty anymore for “not being a better daughter”.  I am not angry at him anymore for the things that  I think “he should have done”.  What I am is sad that we don’t have any more time together.  I can still hear his laugh, like it’s in my ear.  I can still hear how he said my name when he would first see me, drawing out the first syllable, “Criiiiiii-sty!”  I can see him sitting on the couch, watching TV, with his legs up and crossed, his hands folded up behind his head, his one foot wiggling (I do the same thing).  I miss him.

I think about him a lot, and one of the gifts that I have been given is that I think about him so often on beautiful days.  I delivered an eulogy (click here) for Tom at his memorial service and I used a quote from the Bible to describe how he lived his life:

Psalm 118:24  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it

Tom lived his life as each day was a day for rejoicing and living fully.  Now, every beautiful, sunny day, this Bible verse automatically pops into my head.  And I think, “I love you, Tom.”

"My Dog" Movie Review

I just finished watching and crying over the sweetest documentary on Netflix.  The name of the documentary was My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story and was about just that — the love between a dog and its human.  (I hate to call us “owners” as we don’t really own a dog — we just get to love them and live in their space for a while.)

The documentary makers interviewed a lot of different celebrities about their dogs and asked them the question:  “Why do people love their dogs?”  And the stories proceeded from there.

I was so struck by how similar my thoughts and feelings about dogs were to these celebrities, people who live lives that are 180 degrees removed from the life that I live.  Yet, dogs seem to be one of the great equalizers, across geography, ethnicity, social strata and economic demographic.  Dogs are wonderful because they don’t care who their human is, what their human has succeeded or failed at that day, how much money their human makes, etc.  Dogs just want to be with us.  They are unconditional love in action.

copyright:  Matt Elder
Nick, the winter before he passed

I lost my soul mate dog, Nick, last year to prostate cancer.  I miss him everyday.  I miss saying good-bye to him every morning as he would follow me to the front door to watch me leave.  I miss seeing him run to say “hello” to me each day as I would come home.  I miss his presence.

In the documentary, Greg Louganis talks about how some of his HIV treatments made him really sick.  Some days, the only reason that he got out of bed was to take care of his dog.  I can totally relate.  I went through a really bad depression not long after I adopted Nick from a rescue shelter.  There were days where I spent the majority of the day in bed, and if it weren’t for Nick, the necessity to feed him, to let him out, to take care of him, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed at all.  And Nick seemed to know when he needed to put his head in my lap, and nudge me, as if to say, “Wanna talk?”  And I did.  I have told several people that Nick saved my life and I wasn’t exaggerating.

In the documentary, the crushing statistic is given that 6 to 8 million dogs are in shelters around the US (the movie was released in 2010, so it’s still fairly up-to-date), and nearly 50% of those dogs will be euthanized.  That was when I started to cry.

Let’s all go adopt a dog!  I don’t mean that we all collectively adopt one dog and share it, that wouldn’t really help, but each household go out and adopt one dog each.  And then spay or neuter it.  And then experience the uncomplicated love that comes from a dog.

I have to get Matt to agree to this plan for our house, but he doesn’t care about your house, so I’m really looking forward to hearing about all your new dogs!  Send me pictures.