Tuesday, June 4, 2013

1 Week Ago Tomorrow...

I had to make the most heartbreaking decision of my life.  I had to take my dog Shelby to the vet to be put down.  Shelby, also known as Pappy (yes, Shelby was a HE), had been my guy for a very very long time.  14 years to be precise.  I had moved out of my parents house, got my first apartment, and practically went straight to the shelter to pick out my first puppy.  I will never forget that Shelby was sitting in a kennel with a Dalmatian that kept stealing his food.  I took him into the little visitation room, he crawled up into my lap, stuck his nose in my armpit, and that was it.  I was sold.  I took my 3 month old puppy home to my new apartment where, while I was in the bathroom, he managed to chew up all the carpet around the fireplace and shit on my new washcloths (yes...they were on the floor...I was 19 okay?!)

But we stuck it out.  Through moves, terrible choices in men, across state lines...we was always with me.  Over the last year or so, he started to have trouble walking.  We have linoleum in the main section of our house, and at times, Shelby was like Bambi on the ice.  But his spirit was still in tact...and he would manage to slip and slide all over for a treat or peanut butter pill sammie.   But for awhile now, you could tell his mind was slipping.  He would bark or yelp for no reason.  Sometimes for 15-20 minutes at a time.  It was kinda like we was a Vietnam vet that wasn't quite sure where he was when he woke up and he was always waiting for Charlie to come out of of the jungle.

Two weeks ago I took him to the vet and she told me basically he had doggie dementia.  That he wasn't in pain, but I had to start thinking about end of life procedures...and that at some point I was "keeping him alive for my comfort, not his".  I started bawling and repeating "I'm not ready for that yet".  So she sent me home with some crazy meds (for him).

I have been saying for awhile I wish he didn't seem so happy to be alive...like if he WAS in pain or had seemed to give up, at least it would make the choice a little easier...

And last Tuesday it happened.  Heather got home before I did and found Shelby half in/half out the doggie door...breathing...but unable to walk.  I don't want to think about how long he had been there like that.  So she called me and told me to hurry home...and that it was time.

I got home, scooped him up...and Heather drove us to the vet.  She went in and arranged everything while we waited in the car.  She couldn't go back with me, but I wasn't sending him back alone.

When we got back there it was so so hard.  I've never had to put a pet down before.  The vet came in and told me how it would go...asked if I was ready...and she started.  And then it was over. 

Just like that.

And...that's all I can type about that part.  I get to pick up his ashes on Monday.

I took the next day off.  Crying and cleaning the house, changing around the dog beds...trying to remove visual cues.  Heather was amazing.  Very patient with me.  Cried with me.  Talked me through it.

Coming home is different and probably the hardest part of my day.  I am used to that crazy bastard waiting for me with a look of hunger in his eyes (he was a Workman after all...we are always starving).  I know they don't get to live as long as us.  And that sucks.  And I know you have to think about what a great life you gave them and that they gave you.  But it doesn't really make it easier.  I am selfish and want him with me always.  But I know if there is a better place...that if our spirits don't go with us to the dirt...that he is somewhere biting ankles, riding on SeaDoos, and eating all the food is fat belly can hold.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

If You Like It You Should've Put a Ring on It

On May 22nd, 2013...the most unbelievable thing happened.  It still makes me close my eyes and breathe deep and relive the moment while I feel the smile start to spread. 

It was Heather's 36th birthday and she had been arranging a birthday party for herself for several weeks.  She invited people.  She picked the place. 

And all the while...I thought it was a little odd that she was planning a birthday party...because she doesnt really LIKE birthday parties.  But oh well, she is getting up there in age ya know so I thought maybe she was warming up to the idea of celebrations.

I guess she had expected about 6 people to come.  About 18 showed up. 

No worries.  The Fish House accommodated us.

Heather's brother Corbin came down and they had rode together.  Travis and I rode with my sister, in order to get there early and make sure we could get a table or 8.  Well Heather and Corbin were taking forever to get to her own damn party...so I was getting just a teensy weensy bit annoyed.  They finally showed up though and the party got under way.  The entire time though, Heather was acting all anxious...even more than normal.  I was going to go get her birthday cupcakes  out of the truck and she wouldn't let me.  She said that she would get them.  Or Corbin could get them.  Which made no sense to me and so I got a little more teensy weensy bit annoyed...but tried to be the good girlfriend and not concern myself with why my girlfriend was crazy.

Then, she stood up.  And started talking. 

And I was said out loud, to no one in particular "Is she giving a birthday speech"?  Heather doesn't talk by choice in front of groups. 

And then she started thanking everyone for coming and started to get choked up...to which I thought to myself "WOw, she must be really happy that everyone came to help her celebrate"...

And then she reached across me and Corbin handed her a box.  She said "Hopefully this will be the best birthday ever"...

And she got down on one knee. 

Here is the video.  If you can watch it, look how nervous Heather is.  Our friend Natalie is filming, because Heather is supposed to be standing up.  She is pretending to look at pictures with Travis.  Watch Heather rub the chair and breathe, and then rub the chair....

And said "I love you. Will you marry me?"

At some point, I snatched the ring from her hand and put it on my finger.  Damn it! I was just so excited.

It was really the most surreal moment of my life.  Never in my life would I have thought that when and if she finally proposed, that she would do it in public...and in front of people.  I thought maybe in the back yard while picking up dog poop she might just stop and give me a ring. 

But no.  She did all of it for me.  It was never a birthday party for her, that was just a way to get everyone there.  And she had picked Fish House because 3 years ago that's where we came out as a couple to most of our work friends....and did naughty things in the bathroom...and standing up in public, and sneaking around behind my back for weeks to find me the most perfect ring and having the ring built...that was all for me.

It was beautiful.  And it was perfect.  And my sister was there, and her brother was there, and our closest friends...

And it made me so happy.  I can't really explain it.  I can't do it justice.

So I am engaged!!!  Who knows when the wedding will be!  Heather's rule is that it has to be legal in the state we live in...so it could be a few months, or a few years.  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.  Ya'll better start saving up for a trip to Florida for a wedding though!!  It's gonna be one hell of a party :)

The double headed gold unicorn was a gift to heather from my friend Travis.  It is the tackiest thing ever and we saw it at a used game shop...we couldn't miss the opportunity to snap a little photo with it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Tough Mudder Recap

So many things have happened over the last couple of weeks...I have no idea where to begin...so after much debate, I thought I would just go chronologically!  On May 18th, after being signed up for this damn race for about 9 long long months, we arrived in Palatka, Florida (near Jacksonville) for Tough Mudder.
We have been training and preparing since January 1 really.  While we didnt have to have a themed costume of choice for our team, I wanted to look fabulous, so after much debate we decided to go with "SuperHeros/Alter Egos".  Carmen and I were Wonder Woman, together...WonderWomen.  Heather was the Hulk, we also had 2 captain americas, 1 superman, 1 batwoman, 1 robin, 1 SuperWoman, and 1 AquaMan.
We arrived clean and pretty.

Then the signs leading to registration started.

This is one of our obstacles.   You had to climb over these mud piles.  This was one of the easiest...and just the beginning.

Below is the second to last obstacle.  After 10 miles of running, running, some more running, and about 20 different obstacles, we were expected to run up this damn ramp and pray that we were able to get over it.  It was the one obstacle I feared I physically could not complete.  Mama's got no ups.  However, there were some angel's at the top in the bodies of three really strong men with bulging muscles and tank tops.  I made eye contact before my short stubby legs put me in motion and said "you sure you got all this"...to which they all nodded.  So off I went and sweet baby mongoose, they caught my hands and pulled me up.  I love them.  Wherever they are.

The worst obstacle of all obstacles...well...there were two...was the electric shock obstacles.  There are hanging wires, with alternating currents.  Some wires are live, some are dead.  So when you first start running or crawling, you are thinking "hmmm...this isn't bad"...and then one of those live wires hits you.  And it takes you down my friends.  It takes you down.  This is Natalie picture below...being knocekd to the ground by the shock.  I ate it as well.  Face first...into cowshit.

Some of our fabulous Team.

Now this is the worst of all obstacles, one which I didnt really fear because I am from Kansas and I have swam in mud lakes in early March...was called the Arctic Enema.  They take trash dumpsters and fill them with colored water and ICE.  ICE ICE ICE.  Several weeks prior, at a race in Pennsylvania, a man died on another obstacle from the shock of cold water, so we entered the race with "life partners"...like a buddy system.  Carmen was my buddy.

This is Heather, emerging from the ice...with a smile on her face.

And this is me and my best superhero side kick jumping in.  It was worse than I could have ever imagined.  You go underwater and coming up in shock.  You can't really get your breath.  It's painful.  You want to die.  And then they make you go back under water to go under that piece of wood there and come back up on the other side.  Well I went under...and Carmen never came up with me.  I thought she was dying.  I thought I had to go back under to save her...I couldn't MOVE!  But I managed to gasp out to Heather and Sean "Carmen....Carmen...she.is.dying...."

And as everyone ran to help, she emerged.  Looking like this.  Bless her heart.  She had waited to go under the wood.  She wasn't dying.  But it was terrible.  TERRIBLE.

I will tell you that for the first 6 miles or so I had it going on.  I was cheering and singing and chanting.  I was feeling goooood.  Then, the shit cramps came upon me.  Stomach cramping.  And the blisters started.  And you know...my mood shifted a tad.  There was one beautiful obstacle, that was a trench dug out and full of water with a cage over it.  You had to crawl in the water, roll over face up, and pull yourself through the trench by grabbing on to the cage.  Just your nose, mouth, eyes were out of the water.  I loved it.  It was peaceful.  The water was cool. 

Heather hated it.  It was her least favorite obstacle.

We finished though.  Finished in under 3 hours.  11 miles. 

I can't wait to do another one.  My girlfriend has lost her mind and has signed us up for every mudder race that is semi-close by over the next year.  The Savage Race, The Spartan Run, The Warrior Dash...

They are tough and slightly stupid, but it is amazing being able to do them with Heather and some of the people I love the most.