I’ve always had this philosophy -- especially with regard to my posts on social media -- that I can get past any obstacle if I can find a way to laugh at it. Thus I find myself accentuating the absurd when I explain things like a flooded basement or the difficulties of dealing with a potty-training two-year-old. “Ok,” I tell myself, “this event was pretty rough, but I managed to write something funny about it on my blog, so I think I can feel better about it now.” Every difficult situation is blog fodder. And once I’ve written about it, I can get it out of my head -- with the added bonus that things you say on the internet often immediately cease to be true.
So please bear with me as I try to get this past year out of my head. I don’t think I can make it funny, which is a large part of why I haven’t written about any of it.
(Disclaimer: I know that it could always be worse. I know that there are babies who are homeless and toddlers battling cancer in the world. I’m not competing against them, I swear. I’m also not fishing for a bunch of sympathetic comments, so don’t feel obligated to write any.)
Um … ok, I think a list is the best way to handle this. And so I present “A List of Shitty Things That Happened (Abridged)”:
1. My dog Bella somehow injured her knee in January of 2013, and when I took her to the vet we learned that her kidneys were beginning to fail and she couldn’t handle the anesthesia that would be required to surgically correct the problem. All we could do was put her on pain medication and watch her health deteriorate.
2. Bella died in May, during my finals week. We made the decision to put her down after she’d lost about 15 pounds (almost half her body weight) and could no longer keep food down. She was the first dog I’d ever owned as an adult. She pre-dated Rob’s and my marriage. She followed me around the house all the time because she just wanted to be around me. Even though she was our dog, she was my dog.
3. On the Fourth of July, we went to watch a baseball game and the after-game fireworks show and had a wonderful time. (Other than Robbie getting really tired and becoming inconsolable at not being able to go down the giant inflatable slide. That doesn’t really count on this list, though, because it’s just part of being a parent.) We got home really late to learn that our house had been burglarized while we were gone. All that joy I’d experienced as I watched my kids stare in amazement at the fireworks just vanished, because my kids were now terrified. Ever since, they have been scared that some faceless, nameless “bad guy” will sneak into their house and take their things. Kaylee is particularly concerned about Wocket, while Robbie is worried about Bear. The last time we watched fireworks together, out an upstairs window, Kaylee said she preferred watching them from home because that meant no one would rob our house while we enjoyed them.
4. Around the same time, we had some unexpected expenses like a broken washing machine and a power outage that took out at least a couple hundred dollars worth of food that was in our freezer. This one seems silly to include on the list, but it was a big deal at the time.
5. We decided to sell our house and move in with Rob’s mom. We marketed this to ourselves as a strategic move to save money during my last year in nursing school. We marketed this to her as a way to save her money because we would be able to help her with expenses. So we began the process of getting our house ready to go on the market.
6. In August, exactly one week before my birthday, I took our second corgi, Kody, to the vet because he’d gotten really sluggish over the previous few days. There, I learned that he had a massive tumor on his spleen and was likely to bleed out at any time. We put him down that day. The kids were with me. They now approach vet visits with a certain wariness because they’re not sure we’ll get to bring our pet back home. Kody had also been with us since before we were married, be he always felt like Rob's dog, and Rob didn't even get to say goodbye to him.
7. The Tuesday after that, my car was rear-ended at a red light. Another minor inclusion, as no one was hurt and ultimately the other driver’s insurance had to pay for the damages.
8. The day after my birthday, we moved in with Rob’s mom. This is not a shitty thing in and of itself, because Rob’s mom is actually pretty awesome and we really like her house. It’s on this list because we never fulfilled the marketing promises we made to her and to ourselves in number 5, for reasons that will be discussed soon.
9. A week or two later, I started the most stressful and difficult semester I had in nursing school. I would go into the details, but that would be even more boring than this post already is. I’ll just say it was busy and stressful and frustrating.
10. Within a few weeks of the start of my semester, Rob lost his job.
11. During the semester from hell and Rob’s job hunt, we were also trying to do some painting and fixing up of our house so we could put it on the market. Somewhere in here, the basement of that house flooded and set us back at least a month. Because we were busy, it took until mid-November before we finally listed it. Luckily, it sold within three days and closed in December.
12. Rob was out of work for a little over three months, and we never contributed a dime to the household expenses. (The check from the house covered some past-due bills and Christmas presents, and that was pretty much it.)
13. At the very end of 2013, Rob started a new job. We have spent all of our time playing catch-up on the bills that we racked up during the various bouts of unemployment, and still couldn’t contribute to the household expenses. This summer, when we stopped having to pay for daycare while I’m looking for a nursing job, we were finally about to reach a point where we could help out instead of being carried by someone else. And then …
14. Last Thursday, Rob lost his job again. In both of the two incidents on this list, Rob was part of an entire department that was let go, but he still sometimes believes these job losses were a result of his own failures.
So, I haven’t written about these things because even now, a year later in most cases, I can’t find the humor in them. I need the universe to let the hell up and allow us to get our feet under us again. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can look back at this period in our lives and chuckle. I’m sure it’ll make a great story. Eventually.