Feliz Crompleaños

It’s possible that yesterday, on the ninth birthday of crommy crom, the bombest of crommests, we spoiled him the tiniest bit. It’s possible this is because every time I look at his little face, which has gotten so very gray, my heart seizes up and I get to thinking about the life spans of dogs and the feeling of loss and the inevitable heat death of my own personal universe and my heart seizes up and my brain goes all haywire and then suddenly my dog is buried under an avalanche of love, some of which is in boughten form.

In the morning we jumped right up, when he indicated he was awake by whopping me on the head with a heavy paw and whining about the difficulities of being him, Crom, in the world without a person to love him or understand the pain the he, Crom, suffers every day vis a vis being understood, loved properly the way he should, treated with the respect he deserves, and not ever having a stomach full enough of things that are not kibble, which is evil formed into small crunchy pieces and sent to earth to plague him.

We leapt into the world where he got to run free and happy in the park and then fly down the seawall, barking after birds without me trailing behind weakly saying no, stop, Crom, hey, don’t, what, oh, hell, fuck, and damn. We stopped at a play structure and clambered all over it, and he went down the slide many times, and then demanded that I too go down the slide many times (dampening my butt) as he followed after, and then we experimented with various configurations of going down the slide together, most of which were awkward but all of which he celebrated as successful.

We ran across the big old soccer field, and then I hooked him up to his leash and he towed me across the boulevard because he had opinions about our next stop, the pet store. He had strong opinions about how fast we should get there (quickly) and how we should improve our time (by diving into traffic and cutting diagonally across the street) and three small older ladies found his determination charming and hilarious because they were not the ones trying to hold back a 35 pound dog who is stronger than I am and always has been.

At the pet store, he carefully inspected all the offered wares and selected a four-foot-long bull penis. I handed it to him, and he bolted for the door because no way was anyone going to take away his bull penis, no how. He dragged me home and he settled down in our bed with his bull penis (our bed!) and he spent the entire afternoon gnawing that thing down to a greasy spot on our bed (our bed!).

And then we napped the nap of the just (and for some of us the just-have-eaten a four-foot bull penis). For his evening walk, K took him to the beach where he frolicked like a dog who took a deep and satisfying nap after eating a four-foot bull penis, and then came home and napped the nap of the dog who had played in the park and then ate a four-foot bull penis and then chased birds at the beach and who had never napped before and was making up for lost time.

Bedtime is always an adventure of a routine for all the pets, because at bedtime we feed the cats a can of wet food divided between them, and then we offer the dogs the can (and a decoy can) to lick clean.

“It’s Crommy’s birthday!” we said. “We should give him a real treat!”

“We should give him a cake!” K said, and you have never seen a prettier cake fashioned of an entire can of cat food, with a candle right in the center, and a can with some scraps to distract Woody.

“Feliz Crompleanos!” we sang, and looked askance at the candle, but we blew it out for him, and then he sniffed his cake, looked at Woody going to town on his can, and seemed to feel he had gotten the bad side of the deal.

“Eat your cake!” we urged, and he sniffed it again, and then delicately lifted the entire patty of cat food off the plate and in a single breath hoovered it into the black hole of his head. And then he was mad, because Woody was still working away at the empty can that this patty had come out of.

We fed him a Pepto Bismol, because we realized that this was probably not the happiest day his digestion ever encountered, and then he was ready to play his customary game of bedtime tug as if he had not spent the day eating questionable things.

He is nine years old now, and so grey, though fast as ever after the birds who mock him, excited as ever about a slide, as stubborn as ever about the excellent ideas he has, as loud as ever when he snores, with the silkiest ears and the worst farts in the world. He’s my little monster-brat baby and nine is too old for him to be, because he needs far more time to be terrible and sweet and ridiculous and whiny. It’s never enough time.

begin as you mean to go on

Back in the molten days of the primordial past, when people who posted things on the internet made super a lot of fun of the word blog (BLLLLLAAAAAAWG) and congratulated themselves for not writing blogs, I was congratulating myself for not writing a blog. I was writing an ONLINE JOURNAL and that meant carefully crafted mini-essays that delved into the minutia of my life but in a poetic, charming, introspective-but-relatable way that made you laugh, and cry, and cheer.

Or that’s what it felt like I had to do. The pressure, my god. To always write something funny or smart or wise or knowing or smart or in some way crafted to give you the feels and feel like you loved me. I started off writing almost every day and it slowly slowly drifted down to just sometimes and almost never but I kept writing online for almost ten years and then I got paid to write online for a couple of years and then I said you know what, I do not want to write online any more because I am afraid every time I post something I am only opening myself to ridicule and misery and who the fuck knows where that came from, because I’ve never gotten hate mail or hate comments but such is the stuck-in-your-own-brainness of so many folks in this world who need to get unstuck from their brains and be the -ness they need to see in their lives.

Anyway, this latest tick over to a new couple of end digits in the year, you see people reflecting on their past and thinking about their journeys and being all retrospective and introspective and nostalgiaspective and I realized I don’t remember very much about my year at all.

I did not like school in any way and always felt bombarded and raw and vulnerable. We looked for an apartment for three months or so, and found one and loved it and moved in May. My best friend and soulmate was getting sicker and sicker, and the hospice care versus transplant journey was so fucking fraught and endless and the story ended with a race to his bedside to be there for his last breaths, labored and sucking and painful, and a part of me shrunk into a tiny ball of pain that still beats inside my chest, behind my heart. And – what. I gave up on so many manuscripts and book proposals that I had written and been proud of and somehow just got crushed into tiny bits and discarded. I discovered I loved screenwriting but the script I was writing would never get produced because epic space operas were too expensive, especially when they’re written by nobodies. I stopped writing anything else. I abided.

No, I stopped binge drinking. That’s a thing. Why wouldn’t I think that was a good thing, an impressive thing, a thing to be proud of? My ability to self-sabotage is a magical and powerful one, and my fear of writing is a powerful one, and the combination is like a Wonder Twins kind of thing where my terror and my uncanny ability to dodge around the things that cause terror become me having maybe too many glasses of really bad wine and then saying WHOOPS guess I can’t work!

No more of that.

More thinking about what I want, and what will get me there. More thinking about where I am now, alongside all the thinking about where I want to go. More being here and taking care of myself and loving my family than panicking about not being enough and trying to bury that misery and self-hate. Less self-hate.

More posts. (BLLLLAAAAAAAWGS) More keeping track of my life and marking small moments, less generalized anxiety. More writing, less [     ].

I’ve read two books so far this third day of the year, and I want to read 100 total. I’m in the middle of plotting a novel, and I want to write it, all of it, steadily. I’ve decided to trek to the library every weekday to write, and I have done that, despite Rainfall Warnings and sheets of rain and self-doubt. I’ve started plotting this book, and it’s about girl gamers and a fuck you to #gamergate. I’m worried about Crom because he seems like he’s always anxious, always. I love my wife more than most things by which I mean any of the things. We just bought a pink couch and how does it get better than that? Well, in an infinite number of ways for an infinite number of folks but right now for us, it is an upgrade in the quality of life we started upgrading already with the purchase of full-sized electric blankets on sale. Also we roasted a duck for New Year’s Eve, and that was an olympic effort. Why does anyone roast a duck? That is a question for the ages.

I am happy to be alive, for the first time in a really long time. How are you?

last night of the year

This year has hurt. It has torn me into pieces. And I have helped, enthusiastically ripping my own self to shreds in the service of coping and trying to deal and trying to survive. But I have survived, right?

That’s the thing. We’ve lived through this year, despite the pain and the horror, the grief and the sadness, the frustration and the anger. We’ve navigated the ugliness and plowed right through the awful and we’ve paused at the beautiful things – because there are always beautiful things, whether or not we’re in the mood to do some of that counting our blessings shit – and now we’re right here at the end of it.

And the beauty of these completely arbitrary and artificial demarcations of time and years and lives is that we have a spot to just stop and take a breath and maybe if we’re in the mood for it, think about those beautiful things, or just be grateful we made it through the unbeautiful things of every shape and size. And congratulate ourselves for being here. Cheer for the luck of our loves and our lives. Make a resolution, maybe, or just make it through. Whatever you need to do.

I’m going to celebrate my still-hereness, and I’m going to forgive myself for all my floundering and my many mistakes and missteps and miseries and in twenty nineteen, I’m going to do my best, the way I always try to do, whatever that ends up looking like. And also write more letters, and floss, and smash the kyriarchy.

Happy last night of the year, from the western side of Canada. Love to you, and yours, and all the beautiful things that you deserve (all of them).