I Still Look Good in the Dark

18 09 2010

I’ve talked to women who took miscarriage pretty well, who said, “I knew it just wasn’t right, and that it was better to try again.”  This is a healthy take on losing an embryo in the first trimester, although it’s also common and perfectly normal to be devastated by it.  I fell into this latter category when I started bleeding in my 6th week.

Grief hit hard.  I didn’t lock myself away and give in to it, but nothing felt good or right for me during those three days when I thought the pregnancy was over.  I continued to work.  I went grocery shopping.  I walked the dog.  But everything was shadowed by sadness and disappointed, and of course, the almost painful hope that maybe everything would be okay.

In the middle of this difficult time, I made a late-night stop at the gas station.  The attendant was just a kid; he looked about 16, but maybe he was a little older.

As I got out of my car to pay, he asked, “Doing anything interesting tonight?”

“No,” I said, smiling, the secret of my mourning safe under the halogen lights.

After I paid, I came back out of the station store.  He was standing by the door, smoking a cigarette.

“So…” he continued.  “Nothing interesting at all?”

“Nope, pretty boring.”

“Oh, come on, it’s Friday night!”  He attempted to begin some friendly banter.

Finally, he broke through my cloud of self-centered thoughts: this kid was hitting on me.

My gas tank was filled a minute later, and, in spite of myself, I couldn’t help a wry smile as I drove off, imagining his horror if he knew I was old enough to be his (very young) mother.

And still hoping that I was soon to be the mother of someone else.


Bad Dog

19 06 2010

Jason’s parents offered their hospitality to Charlie and I when we went to meet up with Jason and his crew in the valley (

The Crew


Jason’s parents absolutely spoil Charlie, with sweet talk and chin scratches and bites of food from their plates.  Jason’s mom purchased Charlie, Carbon, and Porter each a dog bed last Christmas when they all came to stay.  They request, quite reasonably, only that Charlie stay off the furniture, though they’ve never shown any sort of anger when the rule is broken.

And, these past few days, Charlie broke the rule.

I tried, oh, I did try.

But we’re talking about a dog who has been visiting my own mother for ten years now, and still jumps up on her Pottery Barn couch every chance he gets.  He climbs up and makes himself comfortable, and looks not a whit ashamed of himself as my mom and I yell and wave our arms and tell him NO!  He goes into a death roll when I grab his collar to drag him off.

We’re talking about a dog who disappeared for a few hours last summer, and was finally found sleeping on Jason’s neighbor’s bed.  Granted, I was a hundred miles away when that happened, but I was right there the day Charlie ran into the same neighbor’s house and ate his dog’s food.  To this day, I only have a nodding acquaintance with the guy, but Charlie’s given himself the full tour of the man’s house.  And backyard, which was yet another day.

So there just wasn’t much of a chance.

I sat with Jason’s family watching a movie last night.  Although Charlie’s bed was in the living room with us, it wasn’t long before we heard the click of his nails going down the hall, a soft whump, and the jingle of dog tags.

“Charlie’s on the bed again,” Jason pointed out.

With a sigh, I went to drag from the guest room a dead weight that belied Charlie’s lean frame.

Good thing he’s cute.

Scenes from Sunday

6 06 2010

Three Men and a Baby

2 06 2010

I was very impressed that Karen was willing to bring her infant son over to our construction zone of a house.  Accommodations have once again declined: the wood stove has been removed.  June this year feels more like March, and our only source of heat now is open flames in a Hooverville barrel, burning outside in our driveway.  Baby Carter didn’t seem to mind much.  Neither did he mind when the boys began playing Where Shall We Put the Baby? as he lay peacefully sleeping in his carrier.

With some adjustments, the boys settled him on the deconstructed bar that sat between the fire and the chopping block.  They were quite pleased with themselves and went off to fix burgers.

Carter’s patience didn’t last long.  He began fussing, and I immediately picked him up, the advantage of holding an already crying baby being that you don’t get blamed for making it unhappy and if, by some miraculous coincidence, it actually stops crying, you get all the credit.

The boys weren’t done with giving Carter a good evening, though.  Travis demonstrated a new father’s willingness to change little Carter’s diaper.  And Jason, determined to get the fire going well enough to keep the baby warm, fanned the flames with a large chunk of plywood, entirely oblivious to the fact that he was wafting all the smoke and ash directly at Karen, who was nursing Carter at the time.

Welcome to the world, Baby Boy!

Time to Go

30 05 2010

Moving Out Day arrived in good time, beginning a mere 4 hours behind schedule.  Of course, our Moving In Day is still some ways out.  Currently, the house is livable: running water, shower and toilets up and working, fridge humming in the garage, and even a temporary stove in the kitchen.  But it’s not yet efficient.  Here is an example of the facilities:

Home Sweet Home: The Bathroom is Kitchen

There is something to be said for storing your clean dishes above the pot.  It’s easy to pour a glass of wine (or something stronger) while getting your business done.

Jason’s crew of friends and employees helped ease the stress and strain of moving.  They showed up in force to help load the U-Haul and to entertain us with their antics:

Jansen didn’t realize the danger of posing as a buck in La Pine, just yards from BLM land.  It might not be the season, but I don’t imagine the locals would hesitate to take down a multi-pointer wandering through the neighborhood.  Luckily for us, Jansen survived, because we really needed his muscles.

By just a little after midnight, we achieved our goal for the day:

So that’s that.  Now, we get to anticipate Moving In.  Soon, I hope – once I recover from moving out, that is.

Pauvre Chien

23 05 2010

Pity my dog.  Do not pity him because of the wound on his neck; pity him because my deep, abiding affection makes him the victim of many unwanted (unwarranted) ministrations.  Last night, Charlie opened a cyst on his neck, causing clear fluid to run out and enough blood to tinge his white undercoat pink.  The result?  Three frantic phone calls to Jason, who was out for a late dinner with his parents, a phone call to the emergency vet clinic, an hour and a half call to my mother to help me stay calm while waiting for Jason to finish his fish tacos, and two trips to the store for medical supplies.

In my defense, I only called the vet to ask what to use to clean the wound.  I never found out, because, in a surge of panic, the first question I asked was “Am I awful for not bringing him into the clinic straight away?”  To which the receptionist replied, “Yes.”  In shame, I immediately hung up.

Instead of going to the clinic, I went to the nearest store, a discount grocer.  The clerk ringing up my purchase looked at me with concern: “You’re buying a lot of first aid supplies…”  After all that, I had to wait till morning to get the proper wound care items from another store, so I ended up with quite the kit:

rubbing alcohol: $1

hydrogen peroxide: $1

Bactine: $4

Neosporin: $3

5 types of gauze: $10

elastic bandage: $3

medical tape: $2

betadine: $5

sterile saline wound cleanser: $6

Giving my anxiety free reign and full access to my debit card: expensive

And the patient?  Well, he ate heartily, slept soundly, and frolicked enthusiastically about our acreage this morning, snacking on fresh rabbit droppings.  Despite the vet’s dire words about my poor dog’s level of discomfort, Charlie submitted calmly to the shaving of his wound, the flushing out of his wound, and application of a bottle of betadine and whole tube of Neosporin (only brand name medical supplies for this dog) to his neck.

He’s not asking for pain meds, he’s asking to be left alone.  Sadly, that seems to be the one thing I’m unable to give him…

the barely-visible cause of all this drama...

Wrong Address, Officers

16 05 2010

Jason’s group refers to themselves as the Stench Goose Posse; they are on the 16th year of Pole Pedal Paddle Madness; and when they throw parties, everyone within a half mile knows it.  This year, we hosted the 3-day event in traditionally epic SGP style.  And, as tradition holds, the cops came.  It’s standard operating procedure for these parties, and a point of pride for the host.

This year, however, the visit from the cops took a new twist.

The gate to nowhere?  Apparently it leads from the cop car to our house.  That’s right, a 3-acre property, and the cops came in through the back gate.  Yes, the back gate that Jason built 5 days ago for no pressing reason.

But here’s the real oddity: the visit wasn’t due to a noise complaint.

Nope, said the cops.  We got a report of domestic violence, and someone strangling a cat.

Um… Wrong house.

Luckily, the cops were very friendly and found no reason to halt the party.  Rather unluckily, I was in the house attempting to sleep during the whole visit.  Which is too bad, because it’s sounds like they would have been happy to have their photo taken for my scrapbook.

Since I don’t have a picture of the police raiding our property, here are some other PPP-related pics.

a gorgeous race day, warm and breezy

Manimal, personification of the PPP spirit

nothing says "motherhood" like beer

trench and minimal live it up

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