Friday, April 27, 2018

How much?

I've often heard (and even believed) that the universe never gives us more than we can handle. 

But sometimes I'd really like to ask the universe "what the actual fuck?".

The last two weeks of my life have been crazy, more last week then this week.  I work on an academic calendar, so my work life has a few insanely busy weeks a year, with late April being among them.  With work alone, sometimes I don't know if I'm coming or going.

It all started the Monday of the dreaded photo shoot.  The photo shoot actually went pretty well, and despite being as un-photogenic as I am, the photographer got some decent headshots.  But then the shit hit the fan at 4 pm.  It all started with a phone call from my dad.  Now, I know that none of you know my dad, but suffice to say, he is a man of few words, and generally despises his cell phone.  So to get a call from him, during his workday, from his cell phone was immediately a cause for concern.  As it turned out, he was in the emergency room with my mom, who had a heart attack.  Within 15 minutes, my husband called to let me know that our dog was vomiting uncontrollably and needed to go to the vet.  My mom was admitted to the hospital and we were in the emergency vet clinic with the dog until 2 am.

On Tuesday, Hubs' mom called to let him know that one of their family members passed away.  My mom was in the hospital undergoing further testing.  And the dog was home with us, and while he'd stopped vomiting, he wasn't doing well.

On Wednesday, my mom was still in the hospital for testing (some of the Tuesday tests were unable to be completed because her vein collapsed part way through a test involving dye and so had to be aborted).  Hubs' dad called to let him know that he had tumors in his throat (discovered during a routine endoscopy), and while the biopsies didn't reveal anything cancerous, the tumors would likely require surgical intervention.  The dog wasn't showing any signs of improvement but also wasn't declining.  At this point, he hadn't eaten anything since Monday morning, and we were on the outer edge of the limits that we'd been told he could go without food.

On Thursday, my mom had a heart catheterization, since a few of her tests revealed some abnormalities.  Fortunately, they didn't find any blockages or other issues.  As such they are calling this a "cardiac event".  They know something happened that wasn't supposed to, but they don't know what it was.  For a minute I savored the good news, only to get a call from hubs letting me know that the dog had started to decline, quite rapidly.  Off to the emergency vet, we went again, where he underwent another battery of tests and it was decided that he would need to spend the night for observation, fluids, medication, and more tests in the morning.  His blood work was normal, but his x-rays revealed a bunch of gas in the entirety of his intestine and a possible bowel obstruction.  When we left him, there was a 50/50 chance that he'd end up in surgery in the next 24 hours.

Friday was a good day in the sense that my mom got to go home, but also a day filled with worry for the dog.  I will never say that pets are children, but our dog is our family member and we care deeply for him.  We are keenly aware that he's getting up there in years (he's 9.5 years old), with the average life expectancy for his breed being between 10-12 years.  Simply put, while he is relatively healthy for his age and we don't feel like he is in any immediate danger of crossing the rainbow bridge, he has shown a marked decline over the last year, and we know he is in the twilight of his life.  Anyway, with fluids and meds, he improved a lot overnight, and the morning x-ray revealed that things were slowly moving along.  We were relieved that surgery was now looking less likely, and opted to continue conservative management with fluids and meds, reintroduce food to see if he ate and was able to hold it down, and then do another x-ray in the late afternoon.  We were very surprised to get a call around 7pm saying that he was excitedly eating all of the food that he was offered, that his x-ray revealed a lot of progress, and that they were comfortable with him going home that night.  We rushed to pick him up.  We spent the weekend laying low and staying home with the dog.

In the midst of all of this, an email from my boss lands in my inbox late Friday afternoon, and boy did it cause some chaos.  I was involved in a meeting last fall on the topic of this email, at which time, the next steps involved letting this thing work it's way through the appropriate channels to see if it was feasible.  I didn't hear anything else, nor did my two immediate supervisors, so I figured that this thing was a no go.  Except the boss decided that it was a go without bothering to inform my department chair or program director.  I should add that there has been quite a bit of head-butting and conflict going on, which I have done my best to avoid to this point, but now I was right in the thick of it.  At a time where I was already overly emotional.  And also at a time when I had to fit unplanned things and rearrange planned things in an extremely busy schedule.

It all got worked out, well at least in the sense of the parties that were involved in a pissing contest still are, but all parties acknowledge that I was put in a situation beyond my control.  Also cool is that all of this will result in a neat travel opportunity (or potentially two trips to the same location).  Mali, I'm almost sure this place was a stop on your most recent travel adventure abroad, so we may have to touch base.  :)

All in all, the last two weeks have been incredibly stressful and left me wondering at more than one point how much a person can handle.  Thankfully, everything seems to have worked itself out at least for now, and things are starting to calm down quite a bit.  Suffice to say, I think I could deal with a few uneventful weeks to get my bearings back.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


I despise clothes shopping with the passion of 10,000 firey suns.  I have exactly zero fashion sense, am painfully cheap, and am a difficult fit (especially for pants).  Admitting that I need to go shopping takes a while,  psyching myself to actually go is a process, and a pants shopping trip usually ends (unsuccessfully) with tears and/or cursing.  Needless to say, my work wardrobe consists of almost exclusively black trousers and lightweight shirts (because I also have zero tolerance for being hot).

I went shopping on Saturday.  For pants.  It ended with no pants, a lot of cursing/self-depreciation, and a six-pack of pineapple ale.  Well, technically a six-pack plus one additional can because we have antiquated laws about alcohol in my state and we have to buy beer by the bottle or the case, and the bottle shop that I buy at gives you a seventh can for a penny.

Note to self: Banish the thought of "I haven't gone shopping at (store name) for a while now.  I should try there." out of my mind and go to where I know the clothes fit.

Why did I go shopping?  Because I'm participating in a marketing photo shoot for work tomorrow. "Participating" makes it sound like this is a voluntary activity, but really it's not.  And I am the least photogenic person on the face of the earth.  I am looking forward to it like I look forward to dental work.

I thought that a new outfit might make me feel good, or at least a little bit better about this stupid photo shoot.   But it was not meant to be.  Ugh.

But anyway, that's not what I want to write about.

I want to write about the fact that there were advisements all over the store about Mother's Day.  Holy Hell.  Mother's Day isn't for a full month.  It's nothing more than a profit scheme for the greeting card companies holiday.  The store I was at sells clothing for women, men, children, juniors, etc.

When I saw the first advertisement, my eye roll was so hard that I damn near had a seizure.   I was so annoyed. 

I suppose this is an improvement over previous years, however.

But yeah, it looks like we (at least those of us here in the US) have a full month of advertising for a holiday that doesn't apply to us ahead of us!  Pass the pineapple ale!