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23 Aug

Here I am, unlocking our new house for the first time! Can’t you feel the dogs’ excitement?? Stephen and I went over there on the closing date of April 12, took the dogs around, introduced them to the doggie door, which is about the best thing to ever happen to them. We made plans for painting walls and replacing screens and getting new furniture and getting rid of old furniture.

My parents and niece came over, too. My dad and Isabelle hadn’t yet seen the inside, so we all went on a tour. They didn’t stay long. Isabelle was bouncing around like a five year old does, the dogs were chasing her like dogs do, my mom had an early morning meeting and my dad was really tired. I hugged them all goodbye, my dad right around his ribcage, my arms circling the same spot where strangers would be applying CPR almost exactly 12 hours later.

When my mom called me at work to come to the hospital, my hands were shaking as I unlocked my car. It surprised me, because I didn’t consciously feel that worried. My 62 year old father had been to the doctor a few months back and been told he had the health of a 40 year old. A fit 40 year old. He rode his bike to the BSU gym almost every day, and the gym was where he had collapsed, and that was all I knew. As I drove I thought of when I was a kid and my parents were late to come home from dinner out, and how my worry would snowball into wondering which aunt or uncle I’d live with now that I was an orphan. As a kid I’d remind myself that it had never been anything before, and that they’d always come home. That’s what I thought on the drive to the hospital: it’s never been anything before. Everyone’s always ok.

They took him off life support about a day later. Even with no brain activity, he was so healthy that his brain stem kept his body going for three more days. My mom and my dad’s best friend stayed with him in the hospital those days, when they moved him out of ICU and to a room with a shower and extra bed. When there was nothing else to do for him, so they made my mom comfortable instead. I said my goodbyes before we took him off life support. I watched his empty body gasp for air as they pulled out his breathing tube, and then I left and didn’t go back. It was too hard to watch him sleep, the same as when he’d doze off while reading, and know he wasn’t there.

I don’t regret that I didn’t stay those days it took  his body to catch up with his brain. I do regret that I didn’t rage when we knew there was no hope. When the doctor showed us the CT scans and explained the dark spots. I regret that I didn’t unhook IVs and throw around telephones and overturn hospital beds and scream until they heard me over the babies crying in the maternity ward three floors down. My dad’s life deserved a grander send-off than stoic weeping and quiet phone calls and patient waiting for organ donor consults. I should’ve burned the place down.

People who go through trauma talk about the break into Before and After. My dad never saw the new house with furniture. He never picked me up for our Sunday breakfast from my new house. He never made fun of me for how spider-freaked I am about the new basement. He never saw the garden he built me thrive in the new backyard. He never gave me advice on how to keep my new lawn from dying in 105 degree heat. He never helped me figure out how to turn the water off when my new water heater leaked. He never came over to grill burgers on the new barbecue. The house is full of his absence. Full of the After. But maybe because of that, the memories I have of the last time I saw him living are especially vivid. How he smiled when ducking his 6’6” frame under the doorways in the basement. How I teased him about all the free home improvement he was going to do for me—where I wanted the bookshelves and the garden gate—and how he said that he was happy to do the work, as long as I knew that “you get what you paid for.” How he checked out the backyard fence where I told him it was wobbly. How he greeted my dogs with the same wrestle-y pets he gave every dog, and how they loved it.

These new rooms where I live in last memories. Memories that are easier than the questions: when his heart stopped, did he feel it happen? Was he scared? Did I tell him I loved him when we said goodbye that last night? What if all the brain scans were wrong, and he would’ve been one of the “miracles” that comes back despite supposed brain-death?

But those are questions about Before, useless in the ever-After. He’s gone. And I miss him.


Grumpiness and water

29 Jan

Weekend was all about the H2 to the O! In various forms. First, in the form of frozen water, and the sport played there-on: HOCKEY.


Stephen and I went to a live game of the Idaho Steelheads with some friends. So fun! Although I am probably the only hockey fan (and yes, I like it enough to call myself a fan now. I will choose to watch it on tv even!) who doesn’t like the fights. I mean, I enjoy them in that I understand they are a big part of hockey, and one of the most fun things about the sport is how much it has retained its schoolyard sensibilities, and fighting is a big part of that.  But it just stresses me out. Their poor mothers watching and worrying!

It is pretty funny to see them both throw their gloves to the ground, though. It reminds me of that moment when you can tell two dogs are about to fight; their body language suddenly goes aggressive. And then the refs just stand there and watch, which is also amusing. But the fight though! Punches! Scary! And what’s the point? I mean, they know the fight is going to be broken up. Here is where Stephen would interrupt with points about how fights impact team morale in the game, and how much that matters to game momentum, and the noble role of enforcers, etc. In any case, hockey is fun, fights and all.

And now I’m going to boringly rant at you. Let me tell you how stupid the Idaho Steelheads’ mascot is.

Firstly, Steelheads is a great name. It sounds tough, it’s unique, and it’s regionally appropriate. Awesome! But who is the big costumed critter at the Steelheads games?

Yes. A bear. Dressed in fishing gear. So if you didn’t already know that bears eat steelheads (aka rainbow trout), you would know that now. Also, the team the Steelheads were playing on Friday? The Utah Grizzlies. Our mascot was basically for the other team. ALSO HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE A FISH COSTUME? I mean, really, guys. If Colby can try to make the mule a hardcore mascot, you can at least TRY to get a steelhead fish to look mascotly. Or not! Make it a pun! Get someone just wearing a hockey uniform and a “head” of “steel.” Just put an old fashioned knight’s armor helmet on him if you want. DONE AND DONE. I would even support this: 

It’s not like your bear mascot is especially intimidating. This guy is just as tough-hocky-hardcore as your smiling bear IN A FISHING VEST:

YOUR MASCOT BLATANTLY WANTS TO EAT YOUR TEAM. I really . . . I just . . . don’t see the logic. Googling “why is the Idaho Steelheads mascot a bear” got me nowhere, so maybe I’m the only one. 

Ok, rant over. On that topic anyway. New rant! Covering Aqua: Part Deux of this theme post: Water with Animals in it!

 On Saturday I went to the new Idaho Aquarium with Gretchen. What a bummer that was.

except the seahorses. they are always cool.

I love me a good aquarium. I really wanted to love this place. It’s really small, but ok, it just opened so it’s still growing. It smells like a dirty fish tank, but ok, it’s working on its ventilation system. I was open-minded until I got to the shark/stingray petting pool.

"don't put your fingers in shark mouths."= excellent life advice

Even then I thought, ok, these are some little sharks I don’t know about that don’t grow too big.

ba dum. ba dum.

But nope. I couldn’t get a good pic, but there was clearly a baby hammerhead shark in the petting tank. So what are they going to do when those grow up? They have no room for them. Let alone the fact that there was no supervision over the shark/stingray petting, so kids could just stick their hands in and grab the poor animals any old way they wanted. And you can talk about parental supervision all you want, you know that some of the parents would be just as bad, though. “Here, kid, let me show you how to grab a shark by the dorsal fin!” I didn’t actually SEE anything bad there (not that I was really looking), but at the stingray tank in New Orleans Aquarium, where they even HAVE supervision, I have seen people basically pull the animals out of the tank just because they can. And even if I hadn’t seen that, I have, you know, met a human or two in my life, so I know what they can do. And what they can do really well is disregard rules when they feel like it, especially when there’s no one there enforcing said rules.

And oh, man, and there were SO MANY KIDS THERE. I literally think Gretchen and I were the only two adults who were there sans child. It was ridiculous, to the point that I felt like people were hostile about us looking at stuff for longer than five seconds, because we were taking up precious time when their kidlet could be tapping on the glass of “Nemo’s” tank. Most of the fish tanks were no bigger than the ones you’d see in PetCo, so there wasn’t a lot of sharing space. But, ok, whatever, Boise is very family-friendly, and this is catering to that, and that’s fine. There was very little focus on conservation or education though, which was also really annoying (there was NO focus on conservation that I noticed, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt that some info was there and I didn’t see it). A lot of the tanks had no labels, and the ones that did had labels that were these electronic do-hickeys that changed screens way too fast for me to read, let alone for a kid to read. 

hey, this looks cool! No idea what it is, but whatever! FISHIES.

The last room before exciting the aquarium had balloon sculptors, who were making balloon octopi and balloon sharks and such for the kids. Cute! Especially since toddlers and balloons go together SO WELL. We were in that room maybe five minutes and heard at least three balloon pops. Loud, violent, and startling noises+an extremely crowded room of 80% children=MAGIC.

Doesn't that fish look sick? I'm no marine biologist, but I think I've seen these fish before, and they didn't have brown stuff all over them.

But everyone else seemed to be having fun, so maybe I’m just a spoil sport. The last aquarium I went to was in New Orleans, and that shit is tough to beat. The gift shop goods at least seemed rightly embarrassed to be there: there were little dolphin sculptures and such that had “California” written on them. Which makes about as much sense as having your mascot be your team namesake’s main predator, but what do I know? Well, I know I want my $9 back from the aquarium, but not much more than that, apparently.

Things I Don’t Understand, Vol 2

7 Oct

I love the fall. I know that’s not exactly an original stance, because if you don’t love pretty leaves and the smell of apple cider, then I need to take you on a road trip to Maine in September to find your soul (by October I’m pretty sure Maine is officially winter). But I also love the winter, so fall is awesome in itself, and it’s double-awesome in that it’s my Friday season: great in its anticipatoryness for the weekend that is winter. Hot cocoa! Warm coats! Heat turned on in the office so I only have to wear two layers instead of three! GLORIOUS.

But the fall also brings football. And I get so, so annoyed by one particular aspect of football, that I must record it for posterity in the Things I Do Not Understand column (see previous rant on self-flushing toilets. By the way, if I wrote that rant now, I would have about five more points of argument. I think about toilets a lot).

So, football! I’m not into it, but I have been to games, and Stephen watches it when his teams play, and I have found that it’s oddly comforting to have on in the background. Football, basketball and NPR were the background noise of much of my childhood, so it’s kind of nice to curl up with a book and sit on the couch with the sound of men jumping on each other as my white noise. And Boise’s a super-fan town for the BSU broncos. Which is great! I love superfans of anything, it’s so cute to see people deck out their cars and get excited. AND it means that I can wear a baggy sweatshirt to work on Fridays, as long as it’s a BSU baggy sweatshirt, and you know I love that. Oh, also, that there’s one time a week guaranteed to be non-busy at the cheap grocery store. So. All in all, football and me, we’re ok.

EXCEPT the fact that during football season, friends who I normally consider smart, considerate beings, will forgo everything for a “date with football.” I was recently trying to help organize a going-away party for a friend. And seriously, about 1/3 of the responses varied included the phrase “date with football.” This friend was LEAVING THE STATE. She could not reschedule her get-together. She would not see you again soon, and maybe never again at all (being realistic like that). People asked if the game would be on in the background, which it won’t be, because this friend had already packed her tv because SHE IS MOVING AWAY FOREVER. And, you know, there’s no magic machine that would let these fans somehow make a record of the game to watch as soon as they get home (I know that at least two of these punks have dvrs). It just . . . I mean . . . I don’t want to judge other people’s priorities, but GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT SO I DON’T HAVE TO JUDGE THEM. I would probably get it if this was a BIG GAME, like the superbowl. Or mmmmaayyybbbeee even if it was against Idaho State, BSU’s biggest rival (though not really, I am not even sure they are in the literal same league? But in general, we hates them, so I would get wanting to watch that game, even if it is always a blow-out).  But BSU has only lost one game in what, three years? So you are staying home to watch your team win. Like you know they are going to. Like they have 99% of the time. Instead of going to see off your friend who is leaving forever and ever and this is the last impression you are giving her: I prefer watching strangers on tv to spending time with you, my friend who is leaving forever and ever.

I just don’t understand. Maybe I just don’t get sports. Or maybe these people are just kind of assholes. 

juicy stuff

29 Jun

I have to get something off my chest. It’s a pretty big revelation, so prepare yourself. Move fragile objects out of the way, make sure you’re not eating something, etc.

People. Are. Confusing.

Ok, did you have time to put the socks back on that I KNOCKED OFF with that observation? Sitting back in the chair that you FELL OUT OF IN SHOCK AND AWE? Good. Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (copyright Inigo Montoya, 1987).

I am going through a bit of post-grad-school-disorientation. I think it’s what everyone else in the world goes through after graduating undergrad and going into a new world of not really knowing anyone. A friendship based disorientation. Because I lived the majority of my post-college years either within driving distance of most of my BFFs from college, I am only now going through cultureshock. Because NYC is basically college for the rest of your life. I mean, you can be living with roommates, sleeping on hand me down furniture, eating ramen and going to bars till you’re 60 if you want, and no one there will bat an eye. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! College life is universally regarded as pretty damn awesomes. The best part for me was being able to knock on the door of your friend just two steps away and make them play video games or watch Freaks and Geeks with you. Snack-sized portions of friendship, whenever you wanted it! And yeah, I’ve been out of that environment for almost two years, but I always had other things distracting me. School during the year, travel/dating/etc during the summer. But now I have my degree, I have my boyfriend, I have my job. Distracting goals: met. So now I am just kind of treading water in this new adult-friendship-pool, trying to figure out where to go. (and yes, I live with Stephen and he’s wonderful and all, but he’s my boyfriend, not my girl-friend)

And I have friends here! I do. They are cool cats who are inspiring and nice and don’t make fun of my obsession with manatees and weird desserts. But I’ve done some overanalyzing, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you, Internet.

it's like looking at a mirror image of my former NYC life

NYC was built by outcasts and emigrants who left their family behind and made a new family in the big city. From the poor Irish farmers to the gay kids from the Midwest. There’s an understanding in NYC that most people there came to meet new people and try new things and get a new start, and so you’ll be facebook friended and invited to parties by people you barely know within minutes of meeting them. The downside of that is that it’s easy to get a circle of acquaintances, rather than a circle of friends. I was lucky enough to have both, although most of my friends were made through work (which adds other complications, but overall was pretty great. And reinforces the whole NYC-as-College thing: you spend all day with the same people).

who needs friends when you have so many horses?

Boise, on the other hand, was founded by whole families packing up their lives into covered wagons and moving here and staying here for generations and having 20 kids who all get married by the age of 20 and all bleed blue-and-orange (Go Broncos!). They have a built in “tribe” of family and religion. And this is reinforced by my friendships here, which are almost universally with people I knew before I moved. The few people I met who were also transplants have since re-transplanted somewhere else (the bastards). The downside to that is that we don’t necessarily have anything in common, except a shared history. The upside is that if you knew me as a teenager and can still like me now, you’re probably a pretty kindhearted and lovely person.

There’s also the barrier that everyone here is really, really outdoorsy. And I’m not. I mean, I like to hike and explore and swim and such. But they like to mountain bike and rock climb and go on three-day long bakpacking trips. Which I would be fine with doing, and have done (except the mountain biking. I have enough trouble getting down mountains while on my own two feet, thankyouverymuch), but it’s hard to be the newbie in a group of experts. I am more of a “let’s have a werewolf movie marathon and eat themed food!” type of person. They are more of a “let’s go whitewater rafting then hike the Sawtooths!” type of people. Which I am totally jealous of and have really tried to get into but . . . I am clumsy and wear contact lenses and don’t eat summer sausage and like to walk slow and get really uncomfortable sleeping in tents (that are usually too short for me) and don’t like bugs (it mostly comes down to the don’t like bugs part).

I might still have PTSD from sleeping on a nest of less-cute versions of this guy

The problem is, I feel like in Boise, people have friends to do things with. They don’t do things to be with their friends. Like, if I call someone up to hang out, they don’t say “awesome, let’s get together Saturday!” They say, “awesome, let’s go kill a bear with our bare hands on Saturday!” and if I don’t want to kill a bear . . . well, then we don’t hang out. Whereas, in my romanticized memories of NYC/college/East Coast, I remember more making plans around the person, rather than making the person work into your plans.

I don’t really know what this all comes down to, except I am only now figuring out navigating the how-to-make-friends-when-they-are-not-built-in-to-work-or-school thing. It’s kind of sad and daunting right now. And maybe I just don’t have enough built-up friendship points that people are willing to put off their killing bears plans and instead get coffee with me. Lord knows I have done my share of blowing people off (thanks grad school and procrastination!). This overly-generalized-and-personal post comes after a week of having plans fall through for various reasons that have either been annoying or feeling-hurting, so I am being a big baby about it and crying to the anonymous internet, because my social bar is in the red (Sims shout out, woot!). And wishing for the days when I knew my friends well enough to know pretty much exactly what they were doing at any point in time. That’s a nice feeling.

Maybe I just need a hobby. OOOO, or a puppy. Yes. Puppy will be my friend forever, and I will hug him and love him and call him George.

the solution to all my problems

Things I don’t understand, vol. 1

24 Feb

What is up with self-flushing toilets?

I get it. In theory. People don’t like to touch the toilet handles (which I don’t understand either, because you wash your hands after, DO YOU NOT? But that’s for another time), people don’t like to find a dirty bowl upon getting prepped to do their dirty business, so it’s forced cleanliness.

I didn’t really think about it till I starting working at a place with self-flushers. Now I think about it every time I have cause to use the self-flushing. Here’s my things I don’t understand:

  1. This is a professional workplace. Can we all agree that professionals know how to flush a toilet and can be trusted–nay, EXPECTED–to flush that said toilet?
  2. What happens if you don’t do butt business, but instead have to throw-up or toss out tissues? There is no way to flush these toilets. So your vomitus is there till someone adds something to it, and the toilet determines it’s flush time, because whatever robot toilet thing that figures out when you stand up won’t be doing its job. Gross.
  3. WORSE is when the robot is like, timed, or something. I recently had to provide a urine sample, for a drug test before getting said job, and it was an auto-flush toilet that auto-flushed like three times while I was trying to . . . collect myself. It was very, very disconcerting, and seems like an AWFUL decision on self-flushingness toilet placement.
  4. Ok, I know this is a gross list, but this could be the grossest, but also the most valid, argument. Sometimes, you need to see stuff. Like, think how traumatic it would be to just catch a glance at some blood (or really, any vivid, unexpected color) there and it be gone before you can properly process and/or remember if you ate beets. Your health is at stake! The robot toilets are killing us!
  5. Two words: cell phone. About 30% of my social circle has, at one point (or multiple points, in some cases) toilet-bowled their cell phone. It falls out of pockets and all that, it’s not even from just stall-texting (though I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of, whatev). And it would be a personal choice whether or not to rescue said phone, but I know some people who did, and in any case, even if you didn’t rescue the phone, you wouldn’t FLUSH it, right? I mean, worst case, you leave it there for the cleaning people to pull out with their sterile gloves. Because flushing it would mess up the pipes so bad! (I am assuming it would be anyway. Plumbers are free to correct me).
  6. I tried to think of this somehow environmentally, but no. The most environmental would be some “let it mellow” flushing, not a flusher that goes all out, all the time. Right?

That’s it. I would be happy to have someone explain this to me. Because really, all I see are cons to this whole robotic toilet situation.