Thursday, August 28, 2008


The remnants of Hurricane Fay have been rolling through here for the last 2 days and they've dumped a huge load of rainfall on us. We've been in bad drought conditions for a few years now so we need all the rain we can get, but this much this fast is starting to cause a few problems.

Last night around 9:00pm I heard a loud crash from outside and knew that another tree had fallen. Sure enough, the large tree that's been leaning badly for years now came crashing down. Luckily it didn't hit any of the apartment buildings, people, or cars but it has managed to block off the lower parking lot.

Some guys were here about 30 minutes ago with a chainsaw, but they left soon afterwards without doing anything noticeable. I think they may have underestimated the size of the tree and have hopefully gone to get something bigger than the single, small chainsaw they brought.

The guys finally got the tree "cleared" around noon. They had to call in some local guys with longer, more powerful chainsaws to cut through the trunk. They got it sliced up and rolled out of the driveway so we can get in and out. 'Course they didn't clear it away or anything, this is Candler after all. I predict it'll be here for at least another month before they do anything else.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mondays

Today was a bad day. Not because of anything that happened though, it was basically my attitude that made the day suck. I woke up this morning and did not want to be around anyone. I wanted to be left alone and not interact with people whatsoever. And I can't think of any particular reason for it either; it was just one of those days. I didn't want to speak to anyone; I didn't want to deal with anything; I wanted to sit at home and be pissy about everything and nothing.

But of course it was a Monday, and the weekly meeting I have to sit through at 9:00am ran longer than normal. Sitting in a hot, stuffy room listening to people drone on about things that have absolutely nothing to do with my job for 2 hours didn't really improve my mood much either. And it only got worse from there.

By the end of the day I had exhausted everything I could find to complain about and started getting mad at myself for being so pissy to begin with and ruining my day.

Of course now that the day's over I can see how silly it all was, and if I'd only made myself change my attitude first thing this morning I would have had a much nicer day. I'll try that next time, but every now and then it feels kind of good to have a pissy day. Gets it out of my system in one big burst.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Week Ago

Well it’s been a week now since I lost the Shelbster, and I’m slowly adjusting to her not being there. I don’t think you truly realize how much a part of your life your pet is until they’re not there anymore. I find myself still talking to her like I used to do and I still expect to see her sitting in her favorite spots around the house when I turn around or enter a room. I haven’t collected up her stuff and packed it away yet (toys, bowls, leash, etc.) since I’m not quite ready to remove her completely from the place. Like everything else the time for that will come when it comes, and I’m not in a hurry for it to happen yet.

The biggest adjustment so far has been going to sleep at night. She always slept in the bed, so suddenly not having her there after 10 years has caused a bit of insomnia. Plus she always had to be touching me if she could, even if it was barely making contact at my feet. It comforted her and let her sleep better, and apparently it did the same for me too since I’ve found that I have problems going to sleep without it. I’ve co-opted a pillow from the couch to give me a physical “presence” in the bed, and it’s helped a lot, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I really get used to an empty bed again.

My family and friends have been very supportive through it all since they know how big a part of me she was, and that’s helped quite a bit. I even got a nice card (hand-signed with well wishes) from the vet’s office early this week and it’s helped a lot as well.

This may sound odd as I’ve experienced the loss of loved ones before, but losing Shelbe has really made me realize how permanent death is and how quickly it happens. It’s not that I didn’t know that before now or that I’m saying her death was somehow more meaningful or important than anyone else’s. I think the difference for me now is that I’ve seen it happen. I held her head and watched as she was there one second, and the next she was gone forever. It wasn’t some big cosmic event with dramatic music playing or anything, it was simply a tiny instant in time when everything from her perspective and everything she was a part of simply ended. And that realization is having a rather profound effect on me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


“To own a dog is to know that one day, you will cry.” I read that quote once a long time ago and it describes perfectly the day I’ve just had. I don’t remember who said it, so I don’t know whom to give credit for it, but the truth in those few words hit me hard and often all day today.

For the last week or so Shelbe’s energy levels have been dropping and her appetite coming and going. Then on Sunday she stopped eating altogether and I noticed her breathing getting heavier. I took her to the vet on Monday and she spent the remainder of the week there. Her pancreas had basically shut down and her body was starting to get thrown out of whack because of it. The vet called me this morning and told me the situation, and I made The Decision. I scheduled the appointment later in the afternoon, and then went to be with her at the end.

After all she’s been through in the last two years I knew this time was coming, but that didn’t make any of it easier. But once they brought her into the room I knew The Decision was the right one. Her breathing was very labored and wheezing, and she barely had enough energy to hold up her head. I could tell she didn’t really know where she was or what was going on, but there was a glint of recognition in her eyes when she saw me, and I knew that she realized I was there with her. She laid her head in my hands and I scratched that special spot on her ear until she breathed out for the final time.

There have been a number of nicknames I’ve given Shelbe over the last decade (Shelbster, Shelbe-Dog, Baby Doll, Pretty Girl, Shelllbeee [said in a high-pitched droning voice], Shelbe-Lynn, Lil' Miss Shelbe-Dog, just to name a few), but the one I liked and used the most often was “Shelbe-Dog”. It rolled off the tongue easily and it always sent her tail into a wagging frenzy.

Thank you Shelbe-Dog, for the 10 years of life that you gracefully shared with me. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of unconditional love and happiness every day when I walked in the front door. Thank you for listening patiently to my rants, for making me laugh when I needed it, and for catching my tears without judgment when they fell.

Good night Shelbe-Dog. I’m going to miss you.
March 7, 1998 - August 14, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Anniversary, of Sorts

6 months ago today I was in the hospital. I was spending my 2nd evening there after being admitted hurriedly following a visit to the cardiologist for chest pains. I’d spent that day and the afternoon before speaking to numerous doctors, having all kinds of tests done, and eating some rather bland food (low salt, low fat). After all the doc conversations and tests, a diagnosis was reached and I was to be sent home the following day so we could start putting the plans to fix things into motion. Things like angioplasties & stents, MRIs & CAT scans, aneurysms & occluded arteries. And of course the possibility of more serious surgeries later in life when things get worse, which inevitably for me they will. And a lot of what was decided has already happened in the 6 months since then.

I’d like to say I lay there that night pondering deep meaningful things like life, health, and family. You know, the types of things you’re supposed to contemplate when a life-altering event happens and you come face-to-face with your own mortality. But I just don’t think like that, and don’t remember ever thinking that way. I spend my time disconnected from reality and everyone around me. It’s like I’m slightly out of phase with the rest of the world. Things happen to my body and in my life, but I’m not really there feeling any of it.

So instead of meditating on life and its meanings, I lay there with my mind a blank. I didn’t set new goals for myself and start myself down a path of renewed spirits, I was frustrated by the poor sound quality of the TV speakers in the room and pissed that there was nothing good to watch on a Friday night.

And here I sit half a year later on another Friday night. There’s still nothing good to watch on TV and I’m still floating around aimlessly as life happens to everyone else.

At least the sound quality’s a bit better though.