Let’s Not Do It Again and Say We Did

I had the dubious honor of receiving a summons to report for jury duty. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the judicial system, and I would have loved to get to be on a jury back in my old state. In fact, I was never called for jury duty in Missouri for the fifty plus voting years I lived there. I move here and in less than three years, they find me. It’s just that here I don’t know where anything is and how to get there. I have gotten to be a real hermit, more than happy to stay home and order most everything online. Yeah, I know, not the healthiest attitude.

On Sunday before my first day of jury duty, we took a road trip checking out the best route for me to get to the Superior Courthouse. My summons also warned me to be early because parking was limited and only a few free parking spaces are available for the jury pool. We scoured the area and found the allotted free parking lot and the closer lot that charges fifteen dollars a day. Of course, Mitch said, that for ease of finding a parking space I should just park in the closer lot. I added up fifteen dollars times five days and decided that I was too cheap for that.

I was to report Monday morning at eight am, and based on our road trip, the trip should take about a half hour, nothing is fast around here. So to be on the safe side, get there by eight and still get a free parking spot, I left the house at six thirty in the morning. Shaking your head now right? So was I, but I was so nervous about driving in morning rush hour traffic, getting there on time and finding free parking, I left fifteen minutes earlier than I had planned. My stomach was in a knot and my head was hammering away.

I found my free parking lot, along with other early birds who were also afraid of not getting a parking space. I parked the car, put my jury pass in the window and headed down the hill to the courthouse. I was one of the first to get there and walked up to the door. The door was locked and the lettering on the door said the doors would not open to the potential jury pool until seven thirty, twenty minutes to stand there in the cold with my nose running and coughing from the dregs of my cold. Woohoo. A line formed behind me with others. As soon as I coughed or blew my nose, everyone took a step back. Perfect, now everyone thinks I have leprosy, oh well, maybe I’ll get excused.

When the doors finally opened a man came out and addressed the group telling us what we needed to get in the door and what we couldn’t take in the building. After going through the metal detectors and getting scanned, we headed off to the jury assembly room. There were between two hundred and three hundred other potential jurors called in to maybe be assigned to a court. Lucky me, I was selected to go with the first group, a total of fifty in our group. Another group had fifty-five and a third group had sixty potential jurors in it. We were ushered into a courtroom to watch a video about what to expect and what was expected of us.

After the video, we were ushered back out into the hallway to wait. There wasn’t enough seating so we stood, for days. We couldn’t leave, had to stay on the first floor, couldn’t sit in any of the courtrooms, smokers had to go outside to smoke and come back through security. Makes me glad I don’t smoke. Afternoon came, and we were told to return our color coded badge and go home. We were to call or check the website after five pm for instructions on our group for Tuesday. Tuesday was a go to work day for our group, do not go to court, we were directed to check in again that evening for Wednesday. Wednesday was also another go to work day and not go to court day for our group. This was totally wreaking havoc on my psyche, not being able to plan my week.

Wednesday evening came and the words of doom on the website greeted me. Be at the courthouse by eight-thirty on Thursday morning. Eight-thirty meant I had to leave the house by six forty-five in order to get one of few coveted free parking places. Eight-thirty meant I had to stand in the cold for twenty minutes waiting for the doors to open so I could go through the metal detector. Eight-thirty meant that after I got through the screening process I would wait for another half hour in the hall outside of the jury assembly room until someone showed up and to unlock the door to the jury room. And lastly, eight-thirty meant my stomach would be in a knot until I was either attached to a trial or released, whichever came first.

Thursday morning once settled in the jury assembly room, waiting for everyone to get checked in I did what I love to do, people watch. One thing I can say about the jury selection process, is that all different demographics were called in. Some I wondered if they had mirrors in their homes and even bothered to look before walking out the door. Others came that were clearly put out about the whole ordeal, you could tell that they were much too important to be bothered by due process. One man sat in the room with his back turned to the room and talked on his cell phone the entire time, during our videos and even when our coordinator was explaining how the jury pool selections would be made. She finally had to ask him to leave the room until his conversation was done. Another man walked into the room, right passed our coordinator who kept addressing him, wandered around then turned and walked out of the room, ignoring her repeated attempts to talk to him.

Again, I was selected for the first group. We were told that we had enough time to go to the bathroom before we would be escorted up to the courtroom for a trial. Oh yay, that meant if I was selected then next week or longer I would be ensconced in a trial. We were told that we could take our belongings with us, but no food or gum was allowed in the courtroom. No coffee cups, cans or cold drink glasses, the only thing we were allowed to take with us was a clear bottle of water. After going to the bathroom, I stopped at the way overpriced coffee bar and bought a very expensive bottle of water.

This time though, there were seats available in the hallway, so I was able to sit and wait to be led to court. After sitting in the hall for another half hour, our group was called back in the jury assembly room and told that the attorneys for our trial had asked for a continuance, so we were to turn in our badges and go home. I raised my hand and asked if that meant we were done-done and did not have to come back. Jury duty here is for one week or one trial, whichever comes first and there is no jury on Fridays. Fridays are for motions. Our coordinator repeated my question to the room and asked the room what they wanted to do. Of course everyone said done and she concurred. We turned in our badges and almost all sprinted toward the door, just incase someone said, no wait.

Walking back to the car I noticed others walking so fast, it might have been a timed race, there even some that could barely walk in the courthouse damn near running toward the parking lot. I wanted to tell them all that they should thank me for their good fortune. If I hadn’t paid for the overpriced bottle of water, we would be stuck in a trial. Karma.

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Charlie

I will preface this by saying I consider myself an animal lover. I would never intentionally hurt or abuse any animal for the pleasure of seeing something in pain. I think of myself as a good pet owner, or at least I try to be. Sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact right now I’m at an impasse as to what is a good pet owner.

We got Charlie when he was ten weeks old. He is the only dog we picked out as a puppy and purposely brought home to raise. His parents were proven bird hunting dogs, so Mitch figured that Charlie would inherit those traits and he did. Charlie has always had a great nose, searching out pheasants. His points are picture perfect and he’s never been leery of the retrieve. He’s a good hunter despite having us as pet owners. Now after eleven years he still has that hunting heart and soul.

What he doesn’t have any more is all of his facilities. He is suffering from Canine Dementia or Cognitive Dysfunction. There isn’t a lot of good information out there on Canine Dementia, but he’s not exhibiting most of the symptoms, loss of sight, hearing or incontinence. No, Charlie has become very aggressive. He has always been a bit unstable, stemming from being attacked by the dogs of a former neighbor twice when he was a puppy. Those two incidents pretty much set the tone for his animal aggression for the rest of his life. Now an explosive episode comes without warning or provocation.

In the last two months Charlie has attacked Orso three times just for being within five feet of him. On one occasion, Charlie went after Orso and I was between the two so Charlie bit me, not breaking the skin, but he left a large bruise and a knot on my thigh. Another incident happened with Orso walking in the door and Charlie went after him drawing blood and when Mitch tried to separate Charlie from Orso, Charlie went after Mitch. Mitch said that when he looked in Charlie’s eyes, he wasn’t there. His eyes were dilated and blank, no recognition, just rage. Two of the last three episodes have drawn blood.

We’ve tried Diazepam (doggie valium) but it doesn’t help much. I think we were hoping he would sleep through his days and be blissfully dopey. Instead we still have a dog that gives way to explosive violence and aggressive attacks aimed at Orso. It is so heartbreaking to watch our dog (crazy as he is) slip away and become replaced by an animal that is more Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll. It is even more heartbreaking knowing that we can’t protect Orso, who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, doesn’t deserve any of this and loves Charlie so much.

Since we don’t have a vet here yet, we don’t have anyone we trust to talk to about this and ask for guidance, we called our vet in Kansas City to discuss our options. Sadly there are few out there, and only for the short term. More Diazepam maybe but this is only going to get worse. We need to plan for an end of life solution. We know this and accept it, but following through and finding a vet here feels almost like an act of cowardice. We took him to raise and euthanasia feels like we are failing Charlie; that we should figure out a way to fix him. That is our hearts talking, our heads know better, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It’s hard to even talk about it because to voice it and say the words, makes it real, and that means you have to make a decision.

I only hope that Charlie will sleep well and rest easy and know how much we have loved him his whole life. He was a good hunter, and loyal to a fault. A piece of my heart will go with him.

Anniversary

Today is my anniversary. It’s definitely a cause for celebration but at the same time I wish I didn’t have this anniversary to celebrate. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I made the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I’m still taking a drug to keep any estrogen out of my body, but other than that and my six month checkups I am living my life as I did before cancer.

I want to shout it out loud, “I beat you Cancer! I beat you!” I want to spin around in circles with my arms wide and head tipped back in pure joy. Of course with my grace and balance I would fall down. But that’s not the point.

Today I want to eat cake and drink champagne for breakfast. I want to go shopping for something fun and frivolous. I want to get a manicure, pedicure and a massage. I want to sit on a beach and drink great wine and just watch the tide. Today I want to just have nothing on my schedule but fun.

Okay back to reality, today will be just like all of my other days, go to work, walk the dogs and hug Mitch (my rock). And most of all this is really perfect too, because I’m still here to do these things. I wake up every morning damn glad I’m alive and hope to stay that way for a long time.

Happy Anniversary to me.

Surprises

Yesterday we went to see a play. Something I had never done. Oh I had been to dinner theater ages ago, but I’ve never gone to see a real play. So this was to be a new experience. And ladies surprise, it was Mitch that suggested it not me. He had read the review in the newspaper and was intrigued so he suggested it to me. I’m pretty much game for anything so it didn’t matter what the topic was, but I read the review too and said sure why not. The play was being run at a local theater house, “Unicorn Theater”. I went online to their website read about the venue and future offerings. The plays looked a bit offbeat, not stuffy at all. I went ahead and purchased tickets online and printed them out.

The play we were going to see was “Venus in Fur” and the paper reviewer had written that it was a bit kinky with bondage, leather and whips. I was really surprised that Mitch wanted to go. Mitch is not in to debauchery, me, well I’m always up for a bit of debauchery. Maybe more than a bit, but I’m not telling.

We decided to go to the Sunday matinee, thinking that it wouldn’t be very crowded and were immediately surprised that it was almost a packed house. Imagine that, all the seats filled on a Sunday afternoon, in the middle of the day, who knew plays were so popular. The next surprise was that the majority of the patrons were female and even more, elderly. We were the youngest in the crowd. There were more canes in the house than in an old folk’s home. I had no idea there were so many elderly women that were into kinky. It makes you wonder what goes on behind those lace curtains, doesn’t it?

The play started off sedately enough but soon the “F” word was flying around repeatedly. Me, I wasn’t offended because I can fling it with the best of them, but these women were my mother and grandmother’s ages. I would never say the “F” word in front of my mom, not if I wanted to keep my teeth. I looked around to see all the faces with the shocked disapproving looks and was completely floored that all of these women were laughing and slapping their legs at the raucous bawdy humor. I guess I need to get out more.

The play progressed to partial nudity, black leather spiked dog collar, black lace bra and garter complete with black stockings. And this was what the actress wore before she donned the sheer white nineteenth century gown. It was distracting for me to see the black under the prim and proper white gown. I’m pretty sure that was the point and it succeeded. The play was engrossing and held the audience in rapt attention all the way to the surprise ending.

We really enjoyed ourselves so much that I think there may be more plays in our future, and who knows, maybe more kink.

The Day That Shall Remain Nameless

My Monday started off okay, nothing spectacular one way or the other. The dogs actually behaved themselves on the walk. They did their business sniffing and peeing on everything, but acted like perfect little canine gentlemen. I showered, put on my makeup and tamed my crazy, curly hair. My hair hates me and generally does its’ own thing, but I got it to look presentable. So far so good, no sign of impending doom.

If I had any inkling as to how my day would turn out, I would have crawled back into my bed, pulled the covers up over my head… and I would have stayed there for the rest of the day.

On my drive to work, I apparently forgot to remove the target on the back of my car. I had three different morons think that my lane was their lane too. I try to play nice but I draw the line at sharing an eight foot wide space with an idiot driving a pickup truck who was too busy drinking his coffee AND talking on his phone. I have no idea how he was steering and I’m not sure I want to know. I’m a little protective of my 2002 Pontiac Firebird. Even though it’s eleven years old, it is the first car I bought off the showroom floor. It’s too bad I don’t have a bazooka… I wonder if I can get one online.

Walked into work, climbed the stairs to my Department and sat down at my desk. I poured a cup of coffee from my thermos. I’m all by myself in the mornings, so I get a calm moment before everyone else gets in and the crazy starts.

At nine, my boss called me and asked that I come into his office. A project I had worked on for weeks had become a top priority and was needed for a big meeting in half an hour. Super. The spreadsheets won’t work properly on his computer. Double super. So I did what any sane person would do, I called a friend and coworker for help. Crisis averted with a few minutes to spare, keeping me from spending the morning in ladies room crying.

The meeting was almost two hours of looking at spreadsheets on the big overhead screen. Long meetings are a death knell for me, my eyes glazed over and I started to nod off. I can’t sit still that long without falling asleep. So I sat there scribbling on my note pad, wiggling my feet and fidgeting like a six year old, trying to stay awake.

The final blow to the day was when I slammed the middle finger on my right hand in the door to the ladies room. Granted most bathroom stall doors aren’t very menacing, but the bathrooms were built European style with each stall designed as a sort of closet with floor to ceiling doors, just like a regular interior door with sharp corners. I slammed it so hard that the door cut my finger on one side and produced a giant blood blister on the other side. I stood in the stall squeezing my finger that sent throbbing pain all the up my arm and to the pit of my stomach. I thought I was going to get sick. It took a minute for the finger to start bleeding but when it did I had drips all over the floor. I had a nice blood trail going and, with my loud epitaphs, a body would think that someone had been murdered.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Monday’s suck. No beating around the bush on this, no sugar coating it. Monday’s just suck. So, I have decided that I am no longer going to refer to Monday as Monday. From now on Monday shall be called “The Day That Shall Remain Nameless!”.

To quote Yul Brynner in The King and I, “So shall it be written so shall it be done, etc. etc. etc.,”. Great movie, I bet it wasn’t filmed on a Monday.

The Sultan of Slobber

The other day I was sitting on the bench at the end of the bed putting on my shoes when I glanced up and saw a long brown streak on the wall a little higher than eye level. I walked over to get a better look and figure out what it was. You can imagine the look on my face when I realized it was dried dog slobber. Gross! Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve found dried dog drool on the walls, it is almost a daily occurrence around here. Ever since we brought Orso home we’ve had this phenomenon. So you’d think I would be used to finding it by now, but every time I spot a new blob of drool, I get grossed out.

I’m pretty sure there is a Saint Bernard hiding in that Labrador body. I’ve never seen a dog drool quite as much as him. Orso will be walking along and drool will be hanging down swaying back and forth with each step getting longer and longer. The long tendril will even pick up stray debris and add to the drool creating a sort of anchor at the end. It’s really disgusting looking. Mitch will take his shoe and knock it off, no big deal, but not me, I do not want that anywhere near me. I’ll take a twig to try and snag it, but I am not going to touch it with any part of my anatomy, unh huh no way. Yuck! I am pretty sure it is some sort of toxic waste or something like that.

What amazes me the most is how in the world it ends up splattered on the furniture, the walls and occasionally me. That is probably the grossest feeling in the world getting hit with flying drool. My stomach usually turns over a couple of times when that happens. Then I rush to go bathe.

Now my life is reduced to doing daily wall checks, where I walk around each room and check for fresh slobber shrapnel. I have found it as high as above the door jam, how he got it almost seven feet high amazed us both, but it usually is about five foot off the ground that I find most of Orso’s weapons. There is nothing more embarrassing than washing down all the walls and as soon as someone stops by the first thing anybody sees is the remains of a fresh nasty slobber blob at eye level.

That’s my dog.

Sunday Poetry

A couple of poems for Sunday morning.

Indecision

Standing on the edge of the abyss
Struggling with my demons
Indecision holding me tight
Run away or stand and fight.

Life closing in around me
Sucking out the air
Draining me of all energy
Losing the will to go on.

Looking deep in my soul
Searching for the resolve
Reaching down to my core
Gaining strength to fight the battle.

Memories

Walking in the sand
At the water’s edge
Each footstep washed away
By the rise and fall of the surf.

No tale tell signs
Of intrusion
Only the moment to be treasured
Recalled through memory.

With each step moving through life
Creating memories and moments
To be remembered
Over and over fondly.