Posts tagged ‘Lubbock Texas’
I turned 40 over the weekend. I also participated in my fourth 5K race. I don’t race, because I don’t believe in running. I walk. Also, I broke both my ankles once in a freak accident, and now I have plates and screws in my left ankle so I’m not allowed to run. Or at least that’s my excuse.
This was the Chuy’s 5K, and it’s down south in Oak Hill. New Oak Hill. I’ve lived in Oak Hill, and I just know we didn’t have anything like Arbor Trails back then. So, you walk the 5K uphill and then downhill. Since the race was in South Austin instead of me spending the night at Lubbock’s the night before the race, as we usually do, I decided that it would be fun, seeing as how it was my 40th birthday, to have an adventure.
So, I found a “resort” on the internet and booked a room in south Austin so we wouldn’t have such a long drive Saturday morning. I found this place on William Cannon called the Austin Lonestar RV Resort Park. I think I scared Lubbock, who texted me from work on Friday to ask if we would have air conditioning.
Actually, the place we stayed at was clean and cute, and, yes, there was air conditioning. It was like a little mobile home with a wood deck. Sort of a duplex log cabin. We had the right hand side. And except for the fact that the propane tank had run out and had to be changed (no hot water) everything was super great. We had cable TV and wireless access. There was a swimming pool we didn’t get a chance to use. And the place was super quiet with a bunch of retirees and young families.
The RV park thing is kind of a weird dream of mine. My idea of the perfect life would be to travel the country in a motor home and interview strangers and then write about them on the internet. I would be like the new, female version of Charles Kuralt, finding fabulously eccentric and fascinating people to entertain the masses. My new blog would be called Travels with Gooseberry, and I would have to take my new dog with me for company. I don’t have a new dog. I would just get a dog before I took to the road. Feel free to contact me if you would like to fund my dream.
In reality, it would probably be more like that Albert Brooks movie, Lost in America. But in my dreams my new dog Tiny and I are winning Pulitzer Prizes from my Winnebago. Lubbock says that I am bound to win any RV Park popularity contest and would probably make new friends at each park and start Crochet Clubs across the nation. I wonder if they have beauty pageants! I’d have a shot at Miss RV Park.
After our little adventure, the Mr. Brewsters made me birthday dinner. Yummy enchiladas and chocolate cake with coconut frosting. I scored a fancy armband for my iPod touch. No more do I have to hold it while I walk. Woot! And I also got the most beautiful afghan. I know you envy me. Lubbock showed up for birthday dinner, and she got to meet the Mr. Brewsters. And, like I thought would happen, they all three ganged up on me. And by ganged up I mean that as a bonus the headlight on my car that’s been out for two weeks got fixed Sunday morning, and I spent the night so I wasn’t driving back home in the dark with one headlight. It was sort of like an extra birthday present that one of the Mr. Brewsters could replace my bulbs.
Then the Mr. Brewsters went to look for a house. And they found a house. And on Monday they signed a contract on that house. I am moving in to the Harry Potter room under the stairs. Just kidding. But I wonder if that counts as a tiny house.
One week ago yesterday and one week after my surgery, I joined Lubbock for the weekend, and we went to the North Austin Event Center to pick up her packet for the Capital 10K. Her enthusiasm inspires me. Like me, she doesn’t believe in running, but she is consistent in her efforts to work out, and she walks 2.5 miles every evening.
So, I was inspired enough to want to go with her to Academy where she also talked me into buying fancy shoes. When I say fancy shoes I mean the cool Nike+ iPod running shoes and the sensor that goes along with them. This represents a $100 investment on my part which was offset by $50 in the form of a Visa gift card contributed by Lubbock. I have generous friends. Actually, this was very savvy on Lubbock’s part, as a tool of motivation, since I hate exercise but love technology. I’m like a man about wanting the latest electronic toy. Also, I love that Mr. Landlord is an Apple junkie and a runner, and I was hoping to make him pea green with envy at the next Neighborhood Association meeting.
The sensor tells you how many miles you walked, how fast you were going, and how many calories you burned. It’s like the ultra pedometer. You put it inside your shoe. And the shoes are as light as air. They are without a doubt the lightest pair of tennis shoes that I have ever owned.
After the fancy shoe purchase we went to Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you newbies) and walked around for 2.5 miles. I did have to rest a couple times because I’m a total wimp. Well, I would have been totally okay if it weren’t for the fact that we had to take stairs, and it was hot out. Really, if it weren’t for inclines I could have done it without a rest.
After we walked we then synced the information to Nike, and voila! Now Lubbock can keep tabs on whether or not I exercise, which is a good thing because of that accountability thing. I am an inherently lazy person.
Monday Lubbock sent me an invitation to walk a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. Easy stuff. So, I paid my $30 to register, picked up our packets yesterday and walked 5K around some park in Cedar Park to benefit the Williamson County Humane Society. After we finished Lubbock took my picture with her iPhone and “threatened” to send it to my mother as proof that I was exercising.
Then we went to Cracker Barrel and probably ate twice as many calories as we burned.
To walk 3.1 miles two weeks after gallbladder surgery is not too shabby, I think. I can do it in a little over 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll keep this up. I love my fancy shoes. Now if only I could just click my heels together and lose 75 pounds.
Lubbock, who just finished reading the blog post, “Publish or Perish,” made the comment that until I actually got to the part of the blog post about Mapplethorpe and Smith that I made her sound like an ignorant country bumpkin. Well, Lubbock is no ignorant hick, obviously. She’s not as technologically savvy as I am. I like to think that I’m more technologically savvy than the general American public.
After all, I live in Austin. I’ve worked for three large tech companies, all of whom are household name companies that you would recognize. I have generally been the go to girl at other offices at which I’ve worked in terms of fixing computer problems. No, I can’t build a computer from scratch, but I know my way around the software.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a techie, but I’m really good at that stuff generally. And when I worked for smaller companies, I was always the one who got to interface with the IT guy. Why? Because I know his lingo. That’s why. The techie guy and I, well, we just get each other. We’re sympatico.
However, there are times when even the mighty fall, and to prove that I am culturally sensitive to the fact that I kind of built myself up with my Craigslist skills at the expense of Lubbock, I am going to admit to…technical difficulties.
One of the Mr. Brewsters is an IT help desk guy. A couple weekends ago I was mentioning that I thought I needed to get a new battery for my iPod touch.
Mr. Brewster: Why do you think that?
Gooseberry: Because the date and time are wrong.
Mr. Brewster: What do you mean wrong?
Gooseberry: It says that it’s November 5, 1969. According to my iPod, I haven’t been born yet.
Mr. Brewster: Have you synced it lately?
I don’t have to sync my iPod to charge it. I have one of those “fancy ass” chargers where you just plug it into the outlet, and the iPod charges.
Mr. Brewster: Here’s a cord. Sync it.
I plug in the iPod.
Gooseberry: It’s not syncing. It said it was syncing, but now it’s not.
Mr. Brewster: Why not? What’s the error message?
Gooseberry: Something about only five approved computers, and this computer isn’t approved.
I have had this computer for over a year. I’ve never synced it to my iPod or made it an approved computer on my iTunes account. Yes, I realize that this is sad and lazy and, well, just plain ignorant.
Mr. Brewster: Well, just approve your computer. Go into iTunes…
Gooseberry: It says that I already have five computers with accounts.
Mr. Brewster: Move over. Let me drive.
So, we get that dilemma taken care of, and then I sync the iPod, and…I still haven’t been born yet. That just figures, since I can’t figure out how to get my iPod touch to say the right date and time.
Mr. Brewster: Go into Control Settings.
Gooseberry: (pouting like a 5 year old) I did.
Mr. Brewster: Give it to me.
Five seconds later, my iPod touch is returned to me with the correct date and time.
Gooseberry: How’d you do that?
Mr. Brewster: It’s magic.
Gooseberry: No, really. How’d you do that?
Mr. Brewster: It’s magic.
What was that I was saying about how technologically savvy I am? Oh, yeah. I did eventually figure out how to change the date and time. There’s this magician who shared the secret with me. He’s called The Amazing Google.
This weekend was one of the Mr. Brewsters’ birthdays. Friday night we were supposed to meet at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate, but I had to leave work early because my tummy was upset Friday afternoon. So, I cancelled because I didn’t want to burp and fart all through dinner.
Saturday I spent the day with Lubbock, and we watched movies and made a pot of soup and some hot cider. I finally saw Inglorious Basterds. Pretty good movie. Then we watched Whip It, the Austin based story of a girl (Ellen Page) who decides that she wants to play roller derby instead of competing in beauty pageants. That movie was directed by Drew Barrymore, and I give it a solid B. It’s cute.
During the course of watching Inglorious Basterds, it suddenly occurs to Lubbock to tell me that she has met Quentin Tarrantino. I once wrote a post about my Brushes with Fame, more as kind of a big, fat joke than anything else, but Lubbock has met more famous people by accident than anyone I know. She used to be a model and wears a size 2; I have a theory that that might have something to do with it.
Lineman, Lubbock’s boyfriend, gives her a run for her money because he used to be a musician, so while I don’t know everyone he’s ever played with, and he doesn’t brag about it unless you coax him – Hel-lo! Jimmy Page!
But back to the story of how Lubbock knows Quentin Tarrantino, sort of. This was in 1989, and Tarrantino I guess was working on location on the crew of some movie set in Lubbock (the town, not my friend). And Quentin and Lubbock and one of her girlfriends hung out together one afternoon at the mall. This was right after Lubbock’s divorce when she was in a relationship with the Custard King, a man I finally met at a brunch with Lubbock at Trudy’s last weekend. Custard King, that is.
But back to Tarrantino.
Gooseberry: What’s he like?
Lubbock: Well, you know he used to be fat, and that he’s kind of nerdy. This was before he was famous.
Gooseberry: Yeah. Well, I can’t believe you never told me about this before. We’ve known each other for seven years.
Lubbock: It just never came up. I forget a lot now. Remember? Just the other day I forgot that you’ve aged at all in the last seven years. I still think you’re 32.
Gooseberry: Thank you.
Sunday I went to the Mr. Brewsters because one of the Mr. Brewsters was having a quiet birthday celebration at home, the one whose birthday it is. Lasagna and garlic bread and bruschetta and knockoff Olive Garden salad. Good stuff. We hung out all afternoon. I got him the second half of the first season of Glee on DVD. I had an unusually girly girl moment. I decided to buy some scrapbook stickers and decorate his gift bag.
I also bought a bunch of crap from the dollar bins at Target. Stuff for the Punky, all Disney princess stuff because every two year old needs her own Princess refrigerator magnets and her own Disney princess calendar.
The Target store I went to has a Michael’s across the street, so I bought some yarn and a crochet hook. I figured that without a dog I would have more time on my hands and so it would be good to start a hobby. So, I figured that one of the Mr. Brewsters (the older one) could teach me how to crochet. In truth, I’ve done some crocheting with thread when I was a kid, but I never had the patience for it. However, I figure that yarn has got to be more forgiving.
So, Mr. Brewster teaches me how to do a granny square, and I finish the first one, confident that I can remember the pattern because it is really easy. I finish three of them before the evening is over.
I ask him, “How many of these do I have to finish to have an afghan?” I wonder if the blanket is named after the dog and if they’re both named after the country. Or maybe the country is named after the blanket or the dog. In photos of Afghanistan, I never see anyone wearing crochet or knit wear.
“Oh, about a hundred.”
Three down, ninety-seven to go.
After the birthday dinner, I have a standing date to watch Boardwalk Empire every Sunday night with Lubbock. I finish another granny square there. Lubbock thinks it’s pretty cool that I can crochet. I was afraid that she would make fun of me. After the show ends, she flips around to some Lifetime movie called Who Is Clark Rockefeller?
This Lifetime movie is about a sociopathic con man who preys upon women and the woman who married him. It stars Sherry Stringfield from ER and Eric McCormack from Will & Grace. There’s a scene right after Sherry finds out that Will is actually this German exchange student who might have murdered someone, where she’s yelling across a table at him, with their divorce lawyers present, and she calls him a lying bastard. I think she might have spit. I laughed out loud; it was unintentionally funny.
Lubbock: This is serious. I find this movie creepy and disturbing. I tell you I watched it late one night last week, and I couldn’t get to sleep afterwards for some reason.
Gooseberry: I think they should rename this channel The Victim Channel. Have you ever noticed that all these TV movies are about a woman in peril?
Lubbock: That’s pretty good. Or the All Men Are Evil Channel.
Gooseberry: It would beat Lifetime. That’s not really indicative of the true spirit of the network.
Usually, I write something glib, flippant, sarcastic, satirical, or otherwise just plain old damn un-serious, even if I am writing about a serious matter. Not this time. It wouldn’t do the subject justice to treat it with humor. I am in mourning. I had to put my dog down.
Many of you (well, okay five or six of you) have faithfully read this blog for about a year and a half now. Some of you have come to the table only recently. How could you know how important that damn silly dog was to me? Well, I’ll just say I loved her more than most humans I know.
I think I might miss her more than I miss drinking, although with her recent death, those two loves seem to get increasingly mixed up in my head. Miss my dog, need a drink. Miss my dog, need a drink. I try to hold myself at bay with the rational thought that it is just the latest of a series of excuses that I’ve used over the better part of a decade to drink alone.
If you have been keeping up with things recently, my last post, Weiner Dog Blues, described my dilemma. My dog was a faithful and loyal and loving companion for seven years. I fed her and watered her, often threw a Kong ball for her amusement (after we figured out that those tennis balls wouldn’t last a day). I took her for walks where she was the neighborhood celebrity weiner dog, a hit with children everywhere.
I took her to the vet’s. She always actually liked going to the vet’s. She would get excited, and her little tail would wag, and she’d be beside herself with all those new butts to sniff and new humans to love on her and give her doggie treats. What was a little anal probing and needles compared to the delights of the less unseemly side of the vet’s office?
I did the usual requisite responsible pet ownership stuff: shots and city license, outdoor dog house, kennel, collar and leash and flea and worm prevention and obedience class. To tell you the truth, the obedience class never really worked like it should have, not because she wasn’t a smart dog. She was plenty smart. She just didn’t give a hoot about doing what I wanted her to do most of the time. She learned how to sit and lay down on command and how to ignore me about 33% of the time when I called.
Up until approximately the last year of her life, she was a very active dog. For most of, well, okay, you got me, ALL of that time, I was under the influence of my moderately functioning alcoholism. Read that as: I could maintain the status quo at a Dilbert desk job that was well beneath my capabilities (How else could I afford my drug of choice?)). I think that it’s safe to say that I didn’t really do her justice. She never ever complained, though. She was always happy to see me. She loved to snuggle and to play, and if something was lacking in our relationship or the quality of her care, she certainly never let on about it.
That might be because she couldn’t talk. How I wish she could have talked those last few days so that I could have asked her what she would like for me to do. I read an article by a physician in The New Yorker that addressed issues of terminal illness, living wills, and hospice programs, etc. The thing that struck me from that article was an exchange that an elderly man had with his daughter about his wishes before an operation for terminal cancer. He told her that he wanted the doctors to resuscitate him as long as he could sit up to watch television and he could still eat chocolate ice cream. Many of us might assume that our loved ones would wish for more.
After I talked with the vet on Monday morning, we agreed that my dog should be brought back in for evaluation on Wednesday. I told her that I wanted to leave her off the medication all day Tuesday and see how things go. She did okay, except that again she couldn’t stand to be held or to sleep with me in the bed, as she always had before she went blind, every night. I put her in the spare bedroom because I figured that room had the least chance for injury with her bumping into things.
At approximately 1:00 in the morning Wednesday I awoke to blood curdling scream barks, and I had thankfully stockpiled some medication. I gave her two pills like she was prescribed. She became mellow and sleepy, and we got to have a right nice slumber before I took her to the vet’s Wednesday morning.
I dropped her off at the vet’s at about 6:30, and I thought that she had jumped clear of the car, but I accidentally shut one of her back paws in the car door and came across like Cruella de Vil again in front of the vet tech in the parking lot. I tried to tell her that my dog had gone blind very recently and that I was still getting used to the situation. I think she was probably less hard on me than I was on myself.
Later that morning, after observation, and after the other vets in the practice had been consulted, the vet called me again. This time the news was that they had done another blood screen and that the Tylenol had not permanently damaged her kidneys and liver and that they could give her stronger pain meds! This didn’t sound very optimistic to me.
So, I said to her, “I don’t care if she’s blind or not. I love her, and I can accommodate, but if the only way to keep her from screaming and crying and being scared and possibly in pain is to keep her doped all the time, what kind of quality of life is that?” It occurs to me that in some ways it’s not too far off from the quality of life I had when I was drinking myself silly on a nightly basis.
She told me that was something I would have to take under consideration. And I get, really, that they can’t tell you what the hell to do. How I wish someone would have, though, for the convenience of being able to finger point later.
I said, “Is this something that can ever be fixed? Can you make her better?”
She said no, and she told me that the “neurological disorder” could not actually be diagnosed without an expensive MRI but that my dog was exhibiting many of the classic symptoms of a brain tumor and that was what she thought the diagnosis probably would be. Even if I paid for the MRI they would not be able to do anything more than give her meds to make her “comfortable.” Even if it was not a brain tumor they still could not fix her or treat her or improve her condition in any way.
So, for me, really, there was no choice. I didn’t want to do it; trust me, I didn’t. But I could not live with her continuing to suffer for no good reason. I could have picked up the dog and my pain meds and had someone to cuddle with, a nice little bed warmer for perhaps a few months more. The pain pills would have cost less than the euthanasia. Don’t think the thought didn’t occur to me.
I opted to end her suffering. I called my friend Lubbock who came up to the vet’s office and met me. When they brought her in, I knew that I had made the right decision because they had already given her something, and she still whined continually like a siren in pain or anxiety (probably both) until just after the vet made the first shot through the IV tube.
Even the vet said that I was making the right decision. I held her and stroked her and whispered in her ear what a good, good dog she was and how much I loved her until her heart stopped beating and her head lolled. Even the last twitch was done, and her little barrel body was fully limp before I stepped away. I bawled like a baby, and so did Lubbock.
Afterward, I went to Lubbock’s. I meant to just hang out and watch Boardwalk Empire and eat pizza. I didn’t want to go home. Lubbock talked me into showering and putting on a pair of her ex husband’s jammies and staying the night. It wasn’t that hard to talk me into it. I didn’t want to go back to the empty house. Last night I went straight to the Mr. Brewsters after work and hung out there.
When I got home last night I practically went straight to bed and yet there must have been at least three or four separate instances where I thought of my dead dog as if she were still living and still here, wondering where she was lying around, wanting to make sure she wasn’t under foot. I didn’t actually call for her. The brain doesn’t go that far. The thought is a nanosecond of impulse, and then you stop yourself and think, oh, yeah, she’s gone. She won’t be back.