January 30, 2012

Forget Evil Robots, Watch the Animals

Ever since we moved to this neighborhood four years ago, there has been a constant supply of feral cats that live near the entrance.  I'm beginning to think that, with each successive inbreeding, these cats get more and more insidious.  There is one, whom I've dubbed Psycho Death Cat, that has made multiple attempts to cause my own dear, hairy children to kill me.

One day recently it would have been really embarassing and extremely funny if someone had been filming us on our daily walk/jog.  I was jogging (the dogs were walking fast) when Psycho Death Cat made an appearance.  Since we already had some forward momentum, I was powerless to stop them; I have to brace my legs and use my entire body to stop them if they both decide to charge after something at the same time.

My jog became a sprint as I was forcibly dragged forward by the 120 pounds of dog attached to my right arm.  I'm yelling, "Stop! STOP!!!" while thinking that I was surely going to fall and break something.  Or worse, hurt my teeth!  I was just about to let go when they lost sight of Psycho Death Cat and stopped. 

Good workout, guys.  Thanks.

So, if you see two brown dogs on the same leash tangled up in a tree somewhere, they're probably mine.  Approach at your own risk because I'm sure the Cat will be lurking somewhere near awaiting a fresh victim.

January 25, 2012

Photo Essay

Since yesterday's post was kind of a downer, today I give you:

Why Grampa is Out of Toilet Paper

After all of that, she didn't even go.  Le sigh.

January 24, 2012

Faking It: My PSA About PPD

Well, I had a really shitty summer last year.  In my usual nothing is sacred way, I will tell you about it. I'll warn you that there is some heavy stuff ahead, but I promise I am doing much better. 

Two years after the partum, the depression finally struck.

I definitely had the "baby blues" after having Sweet P, but pretty much everyone does.  I pulled up my big girl panties and carried on.  It started less than an hour before she made her grand entrance when the nurse said, "I'll go call the doctor, it's time to have a baby!"  My reaction: panic, tears, blubbering.  Fear of giving birth?  Nope, something more like, "Shit, I'm actually having a baby.  I'm going to be a Mother.  Why did I ever think that this was a good idea?!?"

You would think this would have occurred to me at some point in the previous 35 weeks.  Not so much.  Luckily, it was an easy delivery without any drama.  It was actually so fast that she still had some fluid in her lungs and after getting to hold her for a few minutes she was taken to the nursery to get fixed up.  I'm sorry to say that I did not have the immediate connection with her that everyone expects.  It was just kind of, "well, I guess you're here.  Now what?"  Then everyone followed her to the nursery and I'm there, alone with the doctor and nurse.  The old, broken eggshell, forgotten as soon as the Golden Goose hatches.  Exhausted, starving, paralyzed from the waist down, sad.

The act began in the hospital, putting on a happy face for visitors.  Trying to eat, though everything tasted terrible.  Finally free from the fear of Listeria, I didn't even enjoy the cold deli sandwich I had been lusting after for months.  There was a moment the first night when the nurse had brought Sweet P into my room around 2 or 3 a.m. Doug was asleep and I looked down at the bassinet at the foot of the bed.  She was awake, and though I know she couldn't see more than a foot in front of her, she was looking right at me with those tiny, dark, newborn eyes.  Realizing that there was truly a life in my hands, I fought the rising panic and made a silent promise to her to do my best.  It may not be the best, but it would be my best.

I cried the whole way home from the hospital.  I couldn't believe that they actually sent her home with us.  I had been expecting someone to come in and report that I had been determined unsuitable and couldn't have her.  I mean, I lose things.  I drop things.  Couldn't they tell I was going to be a horrible mother?!?  It just seemed wrong somehow.  Irresponsible.

When we got home, I laid in my bed and tried to figure out how I could get out of it.  I didn't want anything to happen to her, I just didn't want to have to be in charge.  I wanted my former life back, the one with less responsibility.  The emptiness I felt was mirrored by the literal hole in my stomach left behind where she had lived when it had been so easy to keep her safe.  Babies start by rearranging your internal organs, and then your entire life.  The knowledge that nothing would ever be the same again was oppressive.  I knew I loved her, but she seemed like a strange alien creature to me.  I had no idea what I was doing.

Things did improve in a few weeks.  You quickly learn to accept being second fiddle to the newborn, and even to enjoy the short times of not constantly holding the baby.  Life goes on.  Smile.  Nod.  Yes, yes, very happy.

Forward two years to the summer of 2011.  I had been having a hard time with the toddler. I just didn't have the patience I needed to deal with a two-year-old, and that made me feel like a failure. She was happy and wanted to play, and I just couldn't.  I felt numb.  I found joy in nothing because of my own guilt.  I was a terrible mother and a terrible person and I didn't deserve to do anything fun. So I would do chores. Go to sleep. Go to work. Repeat.

I still don't know if it was me or just chance, but I was having trouble keeping up with things at work.  Not the actual work, just what people were talking about.  We do tend to get quite technical at times, but I felt like I wasn't getting any of it.  So now not only was I a bad mother and a bad person, I was also stupid.  I got paranoid about my friends not liking me anymore, as if I were still in high school.  What I felt was my inability to do anything right turned into anxiety...about everything.

Every part of my life was affected, and it had to get that bad before I would admit that there was a problem.  I got very good at the act and no one even knew that there was a problem.  Doug was suspicious, but I even hid the seriousness from him.  Below is text from the actual e-mail I finally managed - after 5 days of crying and hiding in bed - to send to the most fabulous work nurse anyone could hope for:

Hi Kay,

I left you a message earlier. I wanted to talk to you to see if I have any options for taking some time off of work. Things have been building up for a while and came to a head last week. The stresses and disappointments of daily life have piled up until I just feel buried by them and the thought of going to work makes me feel panicky and sick to my stomach. I have trouble driving anywhere because I get so nervous and stressed out by the other drivers. I feel like I'm about 80. I want to find a therapist and most likely start taking an anti-depressant to see if I can get my life back.

Please call me so I can find out what I can do.

Kay, you saved my life.  I needed someone to tell me exactly what to do: "You have post-partum depression.  Call your doctor, and don't worry about work."

It's one thing to realize that you need help and another thing completely to actually say it out loud; even to your own family.  Depression makes you incapable of the simplest things, even just getting up out of bed.  Those TV commercials about depression where they show the lady sitting on the edge of the bed?  That's right before she gives up and lays back down.

I just didn't see the point.  There wasn't anything I wanted to do.  Nothing I was good at.  No one wanted me around.

It sounds silly now, but I truly believed it at the time.  I thought it would just be easier for everyone if I was gone.  Especially me, because then I wouldn't have to worry about all of the things I wasn't getting done or doing wrong.  Part of the reason I didn't want to drive was because I would find myself thinking about how easy it would be to just turn the wheel into a tree, oncoming traffic, whatever.  The strange thing was that it all seemed so logical, like I was thinking about these things so clearly.

I knew it was selfish and not what I wanted to do, but I still spent days hiding in bed too afraid to get up because I wasn't sure what I would do.  After the first dose of Prozac stopped working, I was worse than I had been before.  I laid in bed thinking about the 6.5 Xanax tablets on the bathroom counter.  I didn't know what they would do to me, but I considered finding out.  Then I realized that if my death wasn't accidental, Doug wouldn't get any insurance money.  I'd have to think of a different way.

Fortunately, it never came to that.  The increased dose worked and I slowly started to feel human again.  Prozac worked, but had way too many side effects.  So began the battle of finding the right drug.  I am now on Zoloft which only kind of works.  I have an appointment on Wednesday with a psychiatrist to find a new anti-depressant.  I see a therapist about every two weeks; just having a safe place to talk about things helps so much.

The  irony of depression is that it makes it so hard for you to get the help you need.  I am guilty of thinking that someone who is depressed should just go and get help.  Duh!  It's so easy, right?  Now I know how paralyzed you feel, incapable of mustering the energy to do the smallest things.  If I hadn't had people who depend on me and care about me, I fear I might have been lost.

Don't let the people you love get lost, help them.

I am not weak, I am human.
I am a wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece, and aunt.
I am family.
I am a boo-boo kisser, bath giver, doll finder, puzzle-doer, book reader, song singer, and tucker-inner.
I am a mother.
I am a listener, a commiserator, a laugher, and an advice-giver.
I am a friend.
I am a chef, dishwasher, laundress, duster, folder, wiper, mopper, scrubber, and shopper.
I am a homeowner and a neighbor.
I am a member of the Quality Team, party planner, meeting facilitator, poster-maker, presenter, consultant, report writer, experiment planner, and a good employee.
I am a scientist.
I am a blogger.
I am a promise-keeper.

January 11, 2012

Crazy Daisy

So, we thought it would be a nice idea to get a new a dog about a month ago.  Dozer had been sad since we lost Kaleb (us, too!), and we thought a friend might cheer him up (see the post titled Kaleb: A Dog With Great Character, since fb apparently thinks it is "unsafe or spammy" and won't let me link it).  I also like having two dogs.  Here she is the day we brought her home, unsure about the whole deal:

We got her at the Wake County Animal Center - same as Dozer - and nothing has been the same since.  Now Dozer aka Bubba has a friend to bark at ladies with babies and little girls walking their dogs with:

Someone to wrestle with.  Here they are recreating the title bout between Kang the Destruc-Tor and Nellie Nine Nipples:

They've even been working on their formations:

Every day brings something new and interesting.  Today I walked in through the laundry room to this:

Hmm, something seems to be missing...

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Your guess is as good as mine.  However, seeing as she often eats like this:

I suppose I can see the appeal of a carpeted surface.

P.S.  The food stations were removed to the laundry room because Daisy has a drinking problem.  Approximately 85% of the water that goes into her mouth flows back out creating both a marsh-like area immediately surrounding and under the placemat as well as a nice long drippy trail.  This varies in length between 10 - 20 feet, depending on the speed at which she leaves the water bowl.  Daisy's massive water consumption causes some amount of distress for Dozer, because he will not eat unless his water bowl is full.

I will leave you with this:

People don't have dogs, dogs have people.  So it follows that two dogs have me.