Saturday, November 10, 2007

Going again

I am leaving tomorrow morning for Phoenix, meeting my dad at the airport there. He will arrive an hour after I arrive and I wonder if I can down a few shots of tequila, chase down some drugs, get high, have a few cigarettes, get a tan then have enough time to brush my teeth to get rid of the ashtray smell and still make it to his gate on time. I am totally frantic, wading out the door through the detritus of my life. DO I SMELL SMOKE? MY HEELS ARE ON FIRE.

On the way home tonight I passed a couple out taking their dogs for a walk. One of the dogs was a yellow Labrador, a genuine Oregon old growth dog well over two thousand dog years old with ferns growing on his back. I got so sad about dog death and his imminent purple shot I started crying and had mascara wiped all over my cheeks by the time I got home.


Sometimes I feel so much like I am in control of my life, adjusting sails, applying measured pressure to the brakes... but then everything falls apart all at once and I find I can't even manage the very simple things.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dog Gone: Part 3

At least this time with a happy ending.

Last Friday Sascha (bestest friend and instigator of / co-conspirator to this effort to save Ruben from the shelter) and I drove down to Medford to tentatively introduce Ruben to my Dad and his two dogs, Cairo and Ruby and his cat Mew. Cairo was my dog, Ruby had been my brothers dog and Mew was the cat my niece toted around abusively when she was too young to know better. My father is a certifiable catlady type personality, and crazy for his children's cast away pets as if they were tokens of us each, and he took to the idea of Ruben (never having even meet him) with predictable enthusiasm and abiding adoration.

(Love you Dad)

Anyway... Ruby is an alpha female, small, fearless and really sensitive. We introduced them at the park on neutral territory and Sascha was like SCOFF! THIS LOVELY DOG ISN'T THE TERROR YOU LED ME TO BELIEVE and I was like, HYPERBOLE IS MY SUPERPOWER... and we all went home to my Dads house and felt good about dogs.

But Ruben had to go and sniff a bone and Ruby, a third his size had to reclaim her bone and within a half an hour we knew a dog like Ruby, however remorsefully she slinks about afterwards, wont change and having been promised a life of love cannot be betrayed, even if Ruben is totally awesome.

Someone has to defend the rights of dogs like Ruby who are too sensitive and too aggressive to have a rightful place carved out in the world. It simply wasn't the right home for Ruben even though it broke my Dad's heart to admit.

Then Cairo died (agh... heartaching) and I wondered if I was the Doggy Grim Reaper, running around ruining the lives of dogs and dog lovers. *head in hands*

I have been falling in love with Ruben deeper and deeper by the moment. You only have to meet this dog to understand. People in his direct presence simply do not stand a chance against his charm. I was in the waiting room at the veterinary hospital with him and a man with a sick cat offered to adopt him right then and there and the vet who had seen him previously told me she swapped charts with the other vet so she could see him again then declined payment for her veterinary services. HE IS A LOVE MACHINE... A DANGER TO MARRIAGES AND ESTABLISHED PETS! I actually feel sorry for every home that does not have Ruben in it.

(including mine)

ANYWAY! My mother-in-law the week before had come over to meet this 'Ruben' character and fell in love (natch) and managed in time to convince her identical twin sister, who by the way is on my top ten AWESOMEIST WOMEN OF ALL TIME list, that she needed to take this dog and they called to let me know they would adopt Ruben if we had not found a home for him yet.

I couldn't hope for a better home for Ruben and would likely not find one. My standards were getting dangerously high, ready to preform background checks, interviews, supervised visitation, and surprise home inspections on potential Ruben adopters. Oh Providence!

Monday night I packed up his dog toys, food, leash and medical records and wrote a long letter of introduction. In the morning I left for work and when I got home he was gone.

My house is empty and quiet again. *Sniff* My husband is out of town and my cat is miffed that I let a non-Edison dog into the house. Then, last night my aunt-in-law called me to let me know that Ruben is wonderful, is happy, and will be coming down for Thanksgiving. Hooray for a happy ending.

Meanwhile I am going to hunt down Willie and subject her to some fearsome loving. No sense in fighting me cat! You WILL be petted.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More then just a dog, she is her own Era

Time changed back. In the middle of the night 2:00 became 1:00 again. During the worst moments of my life I always say to myself that TIME CAN NOT STAND STILL, THIS WILL COME TO AN END BECAUSE IT CAN NOT NOT.

I was chilled to hear my Dads voice through the door, kinda nervous CAN YOU COME DOWN STAIRS? I NEED YOUR HELP WITH CAIRO. I could tell from his tone something was wrong because it was a somethingiswrong tone all full of a worry that you wouldn't dare get mad at and will rush after with a little skip in the valves of your heart. We ran down the stairs he explaining to me that SHE TRIED TO GET UP BUT FELL OVER AND SHE HAS NEVER DONE THAT AND SHE STARTED TO TWITCH AND BLEED OUT OF HER MOUTH and my heart valves opened all the way and and my blood surged out of control.

Cairo lay on the floor all fucking bloody and blood dripping from her mouth and next to her something that I thought surely was an organ for it seemed to be something very important that looked like it should be inside of her but was distressingly on the Out side of her. And I was like OH GOD NO and then time turned back and I was like OH GOD NO again in a small prayer that lasted the full backward hour and my blood flowed the wrong way through the chambers for that long second.

FIND AN EMERGENCY VET HOSPITAL AND BAG UP THE ORGAN. We rushed out the door with Cairo bleeding and drove to the Animal Hospital. They took Cairo from us and left us in a fluorescent lit room. We just sat for awhile.


I know, he said.


Cairo has been living with my dad for the last three and a half years. When I moved back to Portland in 2002 I was living in a small one bedroom apartment, enrolled in school full time and working nights. My schedule was hard on Cairo and I felt stupid and guilty for cramming her into my compact life in a tiny apartment. My dad agreed to take her into his more spacious and accommodating life and naturally he fell in love with her. Naturally she fell in love with him for the first time in her life she actually relaxed and stopped watching me with terror every time I left the room or reached for my keys.

Cairo at my wedding
Cairo at my wedding in July

God I was the worst dog mother ever. Driving home today Sascha called Cairo my Teenage Pregnancy. I could hardly take care of myself and abandoned her to my mother more then once. Generously both my parents call Cairo Our Dog not More Evidence Of Your Failure To Thrive.


In the morning after not much sleep and some morose negotiations we headed back to the veterinary hospital. The bleeding had originated from a cancerous bone growth in her cheek and upper jaw. The bone there had been swollen for several months. She had been examined, had had teeth removed and been given a dose of antibiotics but nothing seemed to affect the swelling much and the swelling didn't seem to bother her in the least. The vet thought it might be cancerous but considering her advanced age and lack of discomfort had recommended we wait and see, keep an eye out for changes. A few months back I posted that she had cancer but it never seemed to go that way. I thought she would outlive all of us, the dowager Miss Cairo.

What had lay there on the carpet the night before was her clotted blood. And in the morning she was still bleeding heart shaped clots, more bright red blood. They gave her a sedative to lower her blood pressure enough to stop the bleeding and wheeled her in wrapped in a white blanket streaked with red under her chin.

She was so fucking alive... she was like, three dimensional squared! I just wanted to encourage everything vibrant about her!! I mean, at 18 my impulses were genuine if totally totally misguided. I was just lurking around unaware of the real world just yet, unaware that vibrancy alone will get you worse then nowhere.

Almost 15 YEARS LATER I am sitting here multiplying out her life into dog years. I lay my hands all over her, up her spine and across her ribs. I feel the thickness where her leg was broken so many years ago and the pointy knot on the back of her head. Right there where her skull tapers are her only gray hairs, six of them where I found a tick more then eight years ago. Her eyes are rheumy and in them I can see my own peaked reflection. She feels papery thin and older then anything I have ever touched.

My dad is holding his cell phone to Cairo's ear so my mother can say goodbye. He turns on the speaker phone and the four of us sit there in silence until I simply cant stand the sensation of being broadcast a million miles wide and he turns the speaker phone off.

I wonder what it is like to be an emergency veterinarian... all these people and their dying dogs.... these dying dogs and all their people. When Edison was still just being prodded by the vet for excessive water consumption and high calcium levels there were two generations of family in the waiting room. We filled up the exam room! I was like HOLY COW LOOK AT ALL THESE BROTH SPOILERS... but DAMMET there can't be such a thing.

I can't stand the idea of whispering to Cairo and having it broadcast to the ethers. It kills me. We hang up and call her back when the vet comes in.

I have no intention of writing an end to this. It was so abrupt. He said READY? *shoot* and I was like WHAT IS THAT? IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING, LIKE RIGHT NOW?

FUCK, and her eyes went and she stopped breathing but you might not even have a reason to know but you always know because they just aren't there anymore. And she wasn't there anymore and just like with Edison it seemed somehow pointless to keep kissing her head because you might as well kiss the hat someone wore yesterday. It isn't even comforting. It feels inexplicably material and selfish but you want to plant kisses on that forehead because you have so much more love to give even if you cant give it to that body laying there.

Rest In Peace

Me and Cairo 2001

Miss Cairo
1993 - 2007

The lovely miss Cairo

Saturday, November 03, 2007


This makes my seventh sentence for Nanowrimo. The first six were sort of irritable and are saved on my computer at home where, for the second weekend (of three) in a row, I am not. The next 5,102 sentences most likely won't materialize because the whole whimsical notion is totally impractical once that snowball of unwritten words comes bearing down. If I start tomorrow I will have to average over 1,800 words to write each day. But tomorrow I will be in the car driving back to my six irritable sentences without enough time left in the day for any sort of substantive writing. The next day, and the next day the words will pile up deeper and deeper. My daily average is going to compound until November 30th and on that day I will wake up facing the insurmountable task 49,587 words* or about 35 WPM for an entire 24 hours. Blast.

*if you don't count a month worth of chatting on the internet and text messaging


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