Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Where to begin?

It seems that a new year is always for new beginnings. This year, it's also for endings.

Where to begin? Oh, where? At the end of September, a coach I work with took a new job and left. We had a temporary head coach for 6-8 weeks before getting a new head coach... and then the other deck (assistant) coach I worked with left. Have you ever tried to help 30+ 9-15 year olds through major transitions? While you have your own kids? Yeah. Physically and emotionally exhausted doesn't begin to describe it.

Right as we got our new head coach, Higgins, our giant black lab, got sick. It was my son's birthday and I said to the vet tech, "I don't care what the problem is, the dog DOES NOT die today. No way." He didn't die that day- he waited until a week later, the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday indeed.

We thought he had a simple inflammation but the treatment didn't seem to be making him feel better. Thanksgiving night, he threw up bile. The next day, I headed into work (coaching hours change over the holidays) while Engineer Husband took him to the vet. I kinda knew it was coming but it was confirmed when I walked into the vet's office and he didn't even stand to greet the children. The vet talked to us, and Higgins had a massive abscess in his belly. He was in alot of pain and we were given several options. I actually wanted to do surgery, money be damned, to see if it was treatable. Could we remove the abscess and treat the other inflammation? And if the abscess was indeed cancer, just simply not allow him to wake up?

In the end, after hashing out all the details, the what-ifs, the how-to, we decided the most loving thing was to put him to sleep. I HATE IT. HATE IT. I feel like I'm playing God, even though Higgins was clearly telling us he was in pain. He could barely walk into the exam room and hardly lifted his head when the children came in. And, geez, the kids. My 11 year old tries to be all tough and manly and I held him while he sobbed. It. was. horrible.

As I said to my husband later, "The dog was a giant pain in my backside when he was alive and he didn't even have the decency to be sick for a long time. HE JUST DIED."

Needless to say, that put a damper on the holiday season. Neither EH nor myself were eager to jump on the new dog bandwagon. Both FancyGirl and Higgins were older when we adopted them and were only with us for five years before passing away. As much as we were committed to adopting older dogs, we simply couldn't face the "every five years plan" of putting a dog down. I feel like Higgins death was sudden, and I needed time to recover. I didn't even want my in-laws dog to stay with us over the holidays. I couldn't do it.

Until my evil, evil husband took me to PetSmart under the LIE of getting bird feed for the WildLife Bird Habitat we have going on in our backyard. (Four feeders and counting!) It was adoption day and I saw all the dogs and said "NO DOG" ... until a little Mini Aussie Shepherd puppy sat in my lap and snuggled. Then I was all, "DOG! PUPPY!"

We did not get that puppy (long story that makes me grumpy) but a one year old yellow lab named Mason joined out family this past weekend. I wanted small, girl and NotALab. He is small, male and very much a lab. He's a rescue and a "guide dog school" drop out. He's still very much a puppy and likes to play fetch with himself. It's adorable! He walks well on a leash, sheds, loves his people and can destroy balls in a single chewing. Good thing he;s cute!

While our time with Higgins was ending, and we were beginning a new life with Mason, my sister's family had their own new beginnings going on. Shortly after the new year, my sister had a  little girl at 25 weeks. My super adorable niece, Fruit Punch, is hanging in there. She looks JUST like my sister as a baby and I cannot wait to see her this weekend.

With so much going on I realized I needed a change. I tried something new, kickboxing class. I hate exercising in front of people and mirrors in equal measure but kickboxing is NOT the hardest thing I have ever done. Sure, I was and still am SUPER sore but it was a fun class. You can really work out some aggression on those bags!

Because I'm all about new things, I also helped record a podcast with two friends. My friend Charlie hosts Unblocked . We talked about books, award winning books, Percy Jackson, and so much more. I'll be sure to write more about it when the episode is on line!

As for my own writing, it took a backseat while all the work/dog/baby/kid stuff was going on. I juuust printed out the last pages in Until Then to finish hand-editing it. I had a dream that needs to be in a book. My husband got me a tablet with a proper keyboard for Christmas so I can write easily from anywhere. Here's to publishing the book in 2016! Well, one can hope....