Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Saga of Size, Sighs.

This title is not meant as a pun (though it is a fine one), but rather as stakes to ground the flyaway tarps that are me trying to make my life into sentences. See also: that past sentence.

But first, Pinto.

I know, guys, I know, you're all out there rolling your eyes thinking Juh-heee-zus Rachel shut up about your dang dog already but whatever! I can't help it. He's my little fluffer nutter, and he is loved and revered by all who are fortunate enough to know him.

Also, he is a moose.

Both my parents have visited me this summer, and they have both said the same thing re: my moose dog: He's huge! To be fair, Penny, our Corgi, is small. Or, at least, not huge. As in, she is about 20 pounds, and Pinto is 50.

Now, as you will recall, I am actually somewhat retarded when it comes to numbers of any sort--my brain starts buzzing like the yogurt section at Wal-Mart and no matter how much I try to think, I can't really put 50 pounds, or 300 feet, or 7000 miles, in perspective. I'm certain whatever quadrant of my brain devoted to spatial reasoning was long ago taken over by Oasis lyrics.

Then there's the fact that I have been with Pinto since he really was just a wee little bean, so he hasn't sprouted so much as imperceptibly increased in the previous months. Ergo, to me, he doesn't seem like a big dog. He is not a little dog, yes--most of the time I just think of him as my little fluffer nutter.

Then we went to puppy school.

To be short, I think I now understand how mothers who get called about little Bobby's trip to the principal's office feel. Pinto is not exactly a star student. In fact, he's the equivalent of Roger from Doug--not the kind of dog you'd want to bring home for dinner. After our first class, I was pretty close to just sitting in the car and having a meltdown, but then I realized it was way too hot outside for such silliness, and, moreover, how silly it was to be so upset.

As my wisest friend Karlena J. Riggs put it: "Rachel. Seriously. You have to stop taking criticisms of your dog as a personal affront." (Karli also said, when I screamed OH LOOK IT'S A PIGGY at the Animal Actors show at Universal: Rachel. Seriously. You need to calm down.)

Pinto has a whole slew of little idiosyncrasies that make him a special case at puppy school: he is completely uninterested in the presence of food, so while the other dogs are happily heeling and sitting and staying, Pinto is dancing around so he can go make friends. Pinto's head is 90% mouth, so he likes to say hello with his teeth. And, I think, most tellingly, Pinto has a vice-tight grip on my heart because he was the only thing that stayed constant in the past 6 months, when I was completely alone and afraid and awkward--the other couples in the class (and they are all couples) have children, have houses, have each other.

I have my dog.

So that's why I never shut up about my dog, and why I crouch on the floor daily to look him in the eye regardless of the inevitable faceful of puppy breath, and why I sleep with him even though he vibrates the bed whenever he gets an itch, and why I almost crash my car every time I take him on a drive because I'm looking in the sideview mirror at his ears flying back and the unmitigated glee on his face.

And if that isn't a good enough explanation for you, well. Too damn bad.

So we went to puppy school for the second time yesterday (it's a 6 week course before he is "Star Puppy" certified), and we did a little exercise where we swapped dogs, a kind of canine musical chairs. And so I got to pet the 2 month old Shepard, and the little spring-loaded yellow mutt, and then I look over and Peyton's owner, a guy probably 6'5, muscled, imposing, is straining to keep Pinto in order.

That's when I kind of thought: okay. I guess he is a moose.

The good news is two-fold. Whenever we're out walking, absolutely no one fucks with me because I have a beast at the end of my least. Also, because I spend about an hour a day reeling him in from whatever squirrel/cat/interesting patch of monkey grass he is desperate to interact with, I am acquiring some legitimate guns. If my professional Scrabble career never takes off, I might start entering Arm Wrestling tournaments.

As usual, this post has been entirely about Pinto. But, briefly, there is also the size and the sighs of me.

Roll the drums and sound the trumpets, bitches, because I've lost 40 motherfuckin' pounds. Again, due to my inability to process any kind of abstract integer, I have no real idea of how much this is, but I do know this: I went to Ross. I scoured the racks. I extracted a slinky, teal-blue satin Calvin Klein number, thinking, "Oh, what the heck." I put that sucker on. I zipped it up.

And I looked good.

Which then, of course, inspired me to keep looking, and extracting, and zipping, and amaze-ing, and, of course, purchasing. So I'm down about a Benjamin, but my gigantic closet, weirdly located off the bathroom, is replete with a dozen new dresses. 5 of them are Calvin Klein. I wish I wasn't so proud of that, but I am.

And it is so, so, so nice to go through my clothing and discard not only what's too big, but what's cheap, what's worn, what's simply ugly because I can now go into a store and look through the middle of the rack, not the extreme end. It's a really awful phrase that I'm not fond of, but I have to admit, it's kind of true: Nothing really tastes as good as looking good feels. (Which, again, does not mean I don't eat, but that I only treat myself to a cheeseburger when I'm having my monthly Cheeseburger & Chandler night, where me and my detective novel pull up a stool at P.T.'s).

When I started typing this, I thought the 'sighs' in the title referred to all the sighing I've been doing lately, which is a lot--mostly exasperated, exhausted, between moving apartments by my lonesome (see the aforementioned budding gun show) and making novice's mistakes at the radio station and my dog's tumbleweeds of shedding hair that are overtaking the corners of my apartment--but I think I deserve some contented sighs, too. I have a semi-tan from spending days at the beach. I have a dog who does not shit on the carpet. I have five Calvin Klein dresses.


Glory hallelujah amen!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Saga of the Spooks.

Shit, guys. It's July. How did this happen? I am aghast, both at the passing of time and my inability to post consistently. I assure you, oh dedicated readers, it is not for a dearth of hilarious happenings, but rather my inability to sit down at my desk and type. See also: why I got the spooks.

The spooks are something like the heebie-jeebies, something like the willies, something like that giddy anticipation that happens when you dressed up two hours too early for Winter Formal and just kind of sat around watching TV in your dress trying to pretend everything was normal even though the evening held such, such promise, which of course was not capitalized upon, but which was, ultimately, still a really good time.

In short: Shit is happening!

I am in a weirdly liminal phase these days: I am boomeranging between dual jobs and dual apartments. The jobs are pretty nifty and not only because of the paychecks--I work at the radio station! This is so undeniably cool, and only really becomes tiresome when my blood sugar nosedives and my boss is trying to explain things about transmitters and routers and satellite feeds, which happened today, and which I remedied by sneaking away and wolfing down my lunch. A gal's gotta eat.

Speaking of eating! That is all my father and I did during his grand visit of the past week. Or at least, that was the majority of our activities: oysters and barbecue and donuts. Have I mentioned lately I fucking love this little city? Oysters! Barbecue! Donuts!

So my dad and I feasted like fiends and I still somehow managed to knock off two pounds. This is relatively small change in the scheme of things but perked up my day tremendously when I found out. More importantly, my dad showed up and was flabbergasted and told my mother over the phone that I was physically "a shadow of my former self." And people, I am currently wearing a pair of shorts. This pair of shorts does not stop at the knees (though it also does not stop at my heiny so don't get any wrong ideas). But I came downstairs on the day my dad arrived in said shorts, and I immediately prefaced: "I know they're too short" in hopes of waylaying any of my father's fatherly but unwanted criticisms about my appearance--which at one point were deserved because I was wearing a Wrigley's Gum t-shirt that I had cut up and refastened with safety pins. Granted, I was 13.

But my dad, in a totally non-creepy way, simply said, "Those shorts look pretty good."

In Richardson speak, this is tantamount to "DAMN, GIRL."

Which, again, was not creepy so much as it was pretty heartening. And my dad, who is the shit, was also completely fine with me leaving my number on the bill when we had our traditional Admiral's Delight Enormous Plate of Sea-Borne Deliciousness. I had also had 4 magaritas (including but not limited to some magnificent concoction called a Cactus Juice). The waiter in question had also been flirting mercilessly all night. And was tall. Which is about where my standards start and stop these days.

But, as I said to my wisest and wildest friend Karlena J. Riggs following her departure, it always astounds me how lonesome I get when she leaves. Likewise, today was tricky because, let's face it, I'm alone. And there's a certain thrill that comes with independence--little luxuries like leaving the bathroom door open when you're showering, making messes in the kitchen and not cleaning them up til the next day, etc.

But there's also a lot of trepidation, especially when you are also moving. I think I said to Pinto a dozen times today, "C'mon, let's go home." And then I realized I don't really know where that is right now.

My new apartment is not the place I posted about earlier, but it is on 4th street, and it is pretty amazing. Hardwood floors and fireplaces and a tub with a sloped back (thank the Lord) and, thank the Lord outside of parentheses, furniture. My dad came by and saw it, and I had some folks over following the tremendous fireworks display over the Cape Fear River, and everyone is duly impressed. My dad mentioned Stingo in Sophie's Choice, which shows how a) nerdy and b) awesome my dad is, because this is an apartment to write novels in! This is a place where a writer lives! I live here, ergo I am a writer!

But somehow it also cements the events of the past year, like the picture is finally developed after weeks sitting in the camera. I'm moving to a new place; I'm leaving the place I arrived in. When I got here, I thought I would be with someone; now I'm alone. The move is not so much a joyous affair--though I am excited--but really a reminder that my life is not what I ]thought it would be.

Point blank: I'm having to leave because I got left.

And this is not the venue to air the filthy, soiled, sodden and mildewed laundry of what went wrong with me and Rob. Suffice to say, I'll be glad to be away from the place we moved in to together.

So I'm over at the new place tonight, slowly moving my things--a box of books here, a bag of laundry there, the Where the Wild Things Are decals (which are totally on my new cabinets, and I should've known something was wrong when my ex kind of hated them, ha!), my stolen papa-san chair--and it's hot as hell inside there, and Pinto is kind of weirded out and acting strange, and I have no towels, no dishes, and this place has a strange old lady smell in the closet, and I'm more focused on whether my dog is completely overheating to really have an existential meltdown but it definitely crosses my mind--how I am alone here, and my family is 20 hours West, and how Rob left with no warning, and how I am living in a strange state and doing this crazy thing and this time last year we were on the road or riding roller coasters in Branson, and the year before that I was in Europe, and remember college? Jesus, I was in college last year, I am only 23, what am I doing what am I doing--

But, again, these thoughts are quieter than they've been in previous instances, and I safely drown them out (with a Red Stripe) and Pinto and I head back to the old place. But I'm still unsettled. I feel rattled. I still have the spooks.

Or at least, I have the spooks until I see the happy parade of ants marching from my front door--what used to be our front door--to Pinto's dirty food bowl.

At that point, the Antinator kicks in and I vacuum those fuckers up and spray down the baseboards with bleach and stand with my hands on my hips and tell those little six-legged shits who the hell is the goddamn boss.

Because the goddamn boss is me, goddammit.

At that point, friends, I realize I am over thinking things, as usual, and somewhere in here there is a great metaphor, something some Buddhist philosopher could say: When in plight, recall the ant, who toils only for a morsel of spare snack. Or: Be as the ant is, following the path of his brethren. Or: As ants are, so should you be; act with determination, perseverance, and worth.

But really, what I think is: fuck this place and fuck these ants and my life is going to rock so hard solely because there will be no motherfucking ants in it.

Which, I gotta say, is a pretty sure-fire remedy for the spooks.