“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so right.” ~ Stephen King

So, I don’t know about you but February is a notoriously sucky month for me. Holidays are over…snow is coming down…there’s mud and slush everywhere…and you can go days to weeks without seeing the sun. Charmed, I’m sure. However, THIS February sucked balls even more…let me explain.

To start with, I had COVID during the first 2 weeks and was stuck at home in quarantine for 14 days feeling like Typhoid Mary. Bill and I did get along (he had it too and I don’t want to point the finger of blame at anyone for getting it but Bill gave it to me…probably… 😳) only because he has my basement fixed up like a little apartment and we didn’t have to really see each other unless we wanted too. After a few days, we didn’t want too. I know all of you women are nodding your heads right now…and believe you me, I got on my knees and thanked the good Lord above that I was insightful enough to buy a house with a finished freaking basement 15 years ago. Just sayin’.

We were lucky with our symptoms though: fatigue, loss of taste and smell, headaches, some congestion…and that was about it. As I’ve said before, I missed not having the senses but Bill, for some unknown reason, wasn’t as upset. When I asked him why he mumbled a couple of words that sounded like ‘kitchen’, ‘cooking’, and ‘God send.’ I’m really not sure what he meant.

Then, I had to put my sweet Little Dottie down. I’ve had to do this once before and I prepared myself since she was getting so old and I could see my baby failing. But when you actually do it, no amount of preparation can lessen the heartache and pain you feel. Not a minute goes by that I don’t think of my sweetie and I still look for her all of the time. Every night, for 15 years, she slept on my bed and I’m still putting her blankie out every night…I’m not ready to stop that yet.

Y’all might not agree with this but I once read that you might have a lot of dogs over the years, but 1 will always stand out as being ‘that dog’. The one that was just a bit more special to you. The one you connected with a bit more. For me, it was Little Dot. She was with me from the day I moved into my house with O and we were never apart. Her personality was something else: diva + sweetheart + ornery + sassy + adorable. It was quite a combination. I will miss her until the day I die and when I see her, I know she’ll bark her fool head off.

Then, I went in for a ‘procedure’ on Friday and to make a very long story short (but less dramatic 🙄), I need to have a full hysterectomy. Well, fuck me (sorry, ma 😬 ). This is major surgery and I’m scared! My awesome gyno is going to do it laparoscopically (it took me 4 tries to spell that correctly 😐) so the downtime won’t be too bad…just a couple of weeks. I’m going to schedule it, hopefully, on the first day of Spring Break so I can recover a few days before I go back to teaching.

The really fun part is going to be juggling 7 regular classes, a late-start class, healing, mourning, and taking care of my house. But as Hubby 3 used to say (shutty the mouthies 😳), I’m a ‘scrappy thing’ and I’m sure I’ll be OK. (Note to Bill, Ma, Pop, T, and O: I’ll still need a LOT of spoiling… 🤨).

So, ma went with me for my “procedure” (that sounds like such a weird word…old ladies say it with ‘quotation fingers’ because they don’t want to say the real reason because it’s usually gross, like hemmorroids or something; mine wasn’t that ‘gross’ but it’s still not table talk) and I got us lost. NOW HOLD ON A SEC…WE NEED TO WAIT UNTIL MA PICKS HER CHIN UP OFF THE FLOOR SINCE I DIDN’T BLAME HER LIKE I WANTED TOO.

Anyhoot, we had to go to Springfield to get ‘er done and I drove there so ma could drive back when I was groggy and possibly vomiting. Here’s how the conversation went and as you read it, be sure to make your voice very shrill (on ma’s parts), very sweet and patient (on my parts), with the volume increasing with every sentence:

Ma: “Kristi, do you know where we are going?”
Me: “Yes, ma…duh. In fact, you made us leave so early we’ll have plenty of time to kill. I know Springfield like the back of my hand.”

45 minutes later:

Me: “Ma, since we’re 40 minutes early, let’s pop into the General ($ General) and I’ll get a magazine to read.” We browsed for 20 minutes before I said, OK…let’s go!

I drove around various roads and kept taking wrong turns (there are too many one way streets there) and even though I had no idea where in hell I was, I DID not want to let ma know that. However, I finally found the building after driving by it countless times, and once I got going the correct way on the one way street, got the car parked, trotted into the building and…wait for it…didn’t see the surgery center listed by the elevators. I go up to a nice young gal and ask her where it is. She said: “It’s downtown…about 6 miles from here.”

Ma was still behind me…I rushed ahead ‘just in case’ something went awry, and when the gal asked me if I needed the address, I said “No! I know where it is!” before ma could hear this exchange. I didn’t know where it was.

When ma asked what was going on I actually said this (don’t judge…you don’t know ma when she’s pissed…right T?): “They moved the surgery center and now it’s downtown.” Ma: “Do you have the address?” Me: “Duh. Of course.” I didn’t.

So, off we go again with 5 minutes left to get back to the car and find this place that magically ‘moved’ overnight. I started down the street I thought was right and was fumbling with my google maps that was screwed up because it was trying to connect to ma’s fucking blue-tooth in her car. As I kept making more wrong turns, she kept getting more pissed off. I said a little prayer, found the place completely by accident, and didn’t have to read the magazine I had bought at the General.

BUT, here’s what’s weird: I had COVID, lost my baby girl, and have to have major surgery all within the span of a month, yet I’m in a manic phase. Bi-polar doesn’t give a hoot about what’s going on in your life. It’s going to do what it wants to do…period. How can you explain that you’re grieving or scared or achy or sad when you just can’t stop moving, doing, etc.? People with bipolar process emotions differently than others. I’m not saying I feel MORE than others, but I am saying what I feel is on a different ‘spectrum’ than others. It’s very very hard for me to process all of this: I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so sad. I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so scared. I’m ‘up’, yet I am worrying about how I’m going to do all I need to do while recovering. What a weird thing: it’s like my brain is experiencing this bit of mania (it’s not too bad, but Bill can’t believe all I do in a day) but my heart is experiencing so much else. And, since these 2 things aren’t matching, I feel confused. Kind of lost…even kind of guilty.

Anyways, I hope your February was better than mine and I already know March is going to suck balls. But, by April I’ll be ‘as good as new’ and hopefully have a great summer.

Take care of yourselves, peeps…stay healthy and safe. K?

Kristi xoxo

Dottie’s Rainbow Bridge

So, I’ve written about a lot of things in this blog: having bipolar, being sexually abused, being in an abusive relationship, and the list goes on. However, this is the toughest, and shortest, post I’ve had to write so far.

Yesterday, my son and I took our Little Dottie for a Quality of Life exam at our vet. She was almost 15 years old and was blind and deaf. She also was losing control of her bladder and back legs. In other words, she was suffering. After talking with the vet and her examination of Little Dot, O and I made the decision to have her put to sleep. We said our goodbyes, I sang her special song, and she died in my arms.

I don’t know what to feel. When Bill got home last night, I cried louder and harder than I ever have in my life…I made myself sick. I’ve never ever been in my house without her…and the emptiness of it is overwhelming. I see her everywhere.

Maybe people with pets can’t understand this, but she wasn’t a pet to me. She was my baby…my best friend…my comfort…my joy. It’s hard for those of us with mental illness to make real friends and I can honestly say I have only 3 human ones and that includes Bill. So Dottie was my bestie. She didn’t mind my bouts of depression and would lay down with me whenever I needed too. She didn’t care if I was manic…she’d be right along beside me watching me paint and getting drops of it on her back. When I had a mental breakdown, she was there…centering me the best she could. When I cut myself, I would hug her and try to forget the pain. When I attempted suicide and got off my bed to throw up the pills I had taken, Dottie was right by me…her brown eyes telling me I had way too much to live for.

There’s no words that can describe what she did for me, and I hope, with all my heart that I was a good mama to her. I believe in God and I believe he made animals for us to love. I truly know that my Little Dot is in heaven now…in my Grandpa’s arms…bossing everyone around like the diva she was.

Dottie: you were my precious baby and you are now my angel. I will never ever forget you and you will be in my heart forever. Someday, I’ll be making my way to heaven and I know you’ll be right there at the gate…barking at me to hurry up because you want to play fetch. And honey, I’ll do it.

Kristi xoxo

‘Cause He’s my Best Friend.

So, I was totally in love with Bill Bixby when I was a little girl.  Every time I saw him on TV, particularly in the “Incredible Hulk,” I would envision our wedding and him giving me a smooch at the alter.  Sigh.  🙂  For those of us of a certain age (cough cough), we might remember the show he was in called “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”  Aside from the acting, the theme song was the best part of it!

“People let me tell you ’bout my best friend,
He’s a warm hearted person who’ll love me till the end.
People let me tell you ’bout my best friend,
He’s a one boy cuddly toy, my, my down, my pride and joy…” ~ Harry Nilsson

Well, I actually have an Eddie in my own house, who just happens to be my best friend.  I didn’t meet this friend at school or while out and about, but instead, I rescued him 3 years ago this month!  And I’m so glad I did!

My little Dottie, a 14 year old toy poodle, is also a best friend of mine.  Dottie and I have been through so much together…2 divorces, death, a breakdown, etc. and she has been with me longer than any other dog I’ve had.  Now, this is where I say how loving and sweet she is.  Right?  Well…hmmmm.

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My all time favorite picture of Dottie…it captures her personality so well!

Those of us who love Dot, we know her to be a feisty, slightly aloof, fickle, little shit who is mostly out for #1.  BUT, her personality is HUGE and I’ve never had a dog as complicated and uniquely ‘her’ as she is.  It’s like she’s saying to the world, “Here I am!  I’m adorable…accept me for who I am or back off!”  I absolutely love her!  She actually reminds me of me (in terms of attitude), more than I’d like to admit!  Her face melts my heart every single time I look at her, and the thought of losing her makes me choke up so much.  Hers my baby.

But now Edward, he’s completely a different type.  Poor Eddie’s litter was dumped along a highway when he was just a few weeks old (why in fucks sake don’t people get their dogs neutered and spayed??) and the pups were taken to a shelter in a nearby city.  I was on the list for adoption since I had been wanting another dog, and was called in.  I was told by the rescue that the vet who gave the pups their first shots was convinced they were ‘chiweenies.’  Chihuahua and Daschaund mixes that would grow up to be about 10-12 pounds or so.  This was perfect!  Little Dot is 10 pounds and I wanted them to be about the same size.  So, I trotted up to the rescue, and Ed was the only pup left.  It was pathetic, he was just sitting there, all by himself.  After holding him, I decided to adopt, and instead of taking a lot of time with me, the rescue worker had me sign the papers, took my money, and scooted me out the door in minutes flat.  Hmmm.

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I took Edward to school after getting him since my students wanted to meet him so bad!

We went to a petshop next, and I picked out he cutest little things for him.  Little tees, a little collar, a little leash…I think you get my drift.  Next stop was Arby’s where I got my usual roast beef sandwich, and I gave Eddie a couple nibbles since I didn’t know when the last time he ate was.  He gobbled them up, and then went for my sandwich, of which he ate half.  Then, halfway home, he needed to poop, and to be honest, it was quite impressive.  At least half of his body weight.

Anyhoot, got him home, introduced him to Dot (who made it perfectly clear to him who was boss…after all, she is my boss too) and got down to getting to know him.  He slept in his little crate (see the theme?) until one morning I went to let him out, and he was hunched over.  Hmmm.  The crate was, after all, for the SMALL dog I got.  So, I trotted off to the store, and bought a medium crate.  I was sure there would be a lot of wasted space, but what can you do?  They don’t come in half sizes.  (Not to self:  idea for Shark Tank?).  A couple of weeks later, I staggered in after he started to whimper, and again, he was hunched over.  What the fuck?  Long story short, my Edward is a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Coon Hound mix and weighs a whopping 30 pounds.  Yep.  Chiweenie my ass.  Obviously, the rescue wasn’t REALLY sure of the mix.  In fact, in hindsight after being hurried along before I could have 2nd thoughts, and not getting ANY follow-up calls as I was told I would receive, I realized I had most likely been the victim of the old Bait and Switch.

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My ‘little’ Chiweenie.  Right.

And thank God I had.  Edward is not the brightest dog out there (which is really tough since Dottie is smart as a fox!) but he is the most loving, affectionate, needy, sensitive dog I’ve ever had.  I got Edward a few months before what was to be my breakdown and I think that was for a reason.  Eddie is so much like me.  He’s a hugger…a cuddler…a sweet old soul who just wants to give and give and give.  He wants to always be by my side…in my lap (did I mention he’s 30 pounds??) leaning against me…putting his cheek against mine.  And when I cry?  He’s right there to put his head on my shoulder and hug me.  Edward asks for nothing from me.  Except love.  And guess what?  I have plenty to give him.

Now, everyone know Dottie is the dog I’ll always remember as being the one who really got under my skin (in a good way!) more than any other dog, but she’s not affectionate.  She’ll cuddle.  But just for a minute.  She’ll allow you to pet her.  But just for a minute.  She’ll let you rub her little ears. But lets all say it:  just for a minute.

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Me and my Dot last summer!

And when she’s done, she’ll either walk away in a diva like fashion, or give a little snarl.  In fact, Dottie has been kicked out of 3 grooming parlors.  Yep.  Three.  And the woman who has groomed Dottie now for most of her life is tipped by me VERY well for what she has to go through.  AND, I told her I would give her half my salary before I’d let her retire.  If she ever did, poor little Dot would probably never get groomed again.

Eddie is the opposite.  He’s the first dog that gives as much…or actually more…than he receives.  Do ya’ll know that the Greeks talked about different categories of love?  (Actually, I think there’s a commercial right now that uses that info.).  Anyhoot, Eddie is the epitome of agape love.  Selfless, unconditional, and given with no agenda.  No idea of what might be given in return.  Just given for the sake of giving.  With Edward, I can vent, cry, hug, and cuddle, knowing he’s there for me and will do all he can to make things better.  And he does.  He truly does.

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I can’t nap without him right beside me on my pillow.  And I love it.

I think what it boils down to is this:  Ed is the first ‘man’ in my life that has the capacity to give as much as I do.  That’s as needy for affection as I am.  That wants to fix and help as much as I desire too.  Where others see a gangly, dumb(ish), annoying dog, I see my best friend.  The one I’ve been waiting for all of my life.

Kristi xoxo