It is Sunday and I am not at work

IMG_7562We went to the zoo today.  I haven’t been to the zoo in two damn years, and I love our zoo.  I am probably going to have a sunburn on the top of my bald-ass head tomorrow and I feel good about it.

They have two peacocks; they just let them wander around.

A brief note about the dog, if you’ll indulge me again a bit: you may recall that while I was finishing up that piece yesterday the doorbell rang and I didn’t answer the door.  That wasn’t an invention for the piece; it actually happened.  My wife and son were out of the house for a little while and they got home just a few minutes later.

There was a vase of fresh flowers on our doorstep, delivered to us on behalf of our vet’s office.  The dog had been gone for maybe three hours.  Guys, if you live anywhere near me, and you have pets, you could do a lot worse than letting Clayview Animal Clinic take care of them.

Tomorrow should be an exciting day: I actually get to find out what my job is!  I’m not teaching this year, as you’re probably aware if you’ve been paying attention, and while I know the broad outlines of the new position it’s not necessarily immediately clear what I’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis.  For example: the first day of school?  I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing right now on the first day of school, or really even the first couple of weeks.  I mean, I’m on the administrative team in a school; there’s gonna be stuff to do if I decide I wanna do things (and I do,) but none of those things will be my job.  The next couple of days I’m in training for my specific position and I’ll be much clearer on what my day-to-day job is going to look like by the time it’s over.

So yeah.  I’m excited.

What’s your week looking like?

Snarf, 2004-2018



For reasons that aren’t really clear to me– I live my life online, and I write about goddamned everything— I don’t tend to write about it when my pets pass on.  When my wife and I got married in 2008, she had a cat and two dogs and I had two cats– our five pets were actually against county ordinances for the first several years we were married, until one of my cats died and we were down to a legal two cats and two dogs.  My author description on most of my books describes me as living with “an assortment of pets.”  Since I started this blog, we’ve lost Hector, one of our dogs, and Kashmir, one of our cats, who I know I wrote about a couple of times.  I did not mark either of their deaths with a post, and I don’t know why.

We had to let Snarf go this morning.  My cat (she is twenty years old, has lived with my wife for half of her life, and is still manifestly my cat) is now our only pet.  Snarf was nearly fifteen years old, a ripe old age for any dog but particularly so for a German Shepherd, a larger breed that most of the time doesn’t make it past twelve or thirteen.  She’d been on a slow decline for at least a couple of years now; I’d had a conversation with my mother as recently as last weekend about how much longer we were going to let things go.  If you know German Shepherds, you know they tend to have issues with their hips, and over the last couple of years it had been getting harder and harder for her to move around.  In addition, she’d gone stone cold deaf.  But she was still her, and like I told my mom when she asked, how do you get up in the morning and decide okay, today’s the day I kill my dog?  Today, and not tomorrow?  How the hell do you decide that, until it’s already past the time when you should have decided?

I dropped my son off at day care yesterday morning and spent most of the rest of the day in front of my PS4.  Around noon I realized that Snarf wasn’t in the room with me.  If I was home, Snarf was always in the same room with me, to the point where lately I’d been trying not to move around all that often because she’d force herself up and follow me around, even if I was just going to the bathroom or getting something from another room.

And I’d been home for three hours, and I hadn’t seen her yet. I actually thought right then that I was about to find my dog dead on the floor in my bedroom.  But no; she was alive, just a few steps slower than she’d been even the night before.  I don’t know what changed, but overnight she’d gotten worse.  Much worse.  She stayed in the bedroom almost all day.

She didn’t eat dinner last night, and she didn’t eat her breakfast this morning, and that was after my wife woke me up crying because she couldn’t get the dog to get up and go outside.  She’d made it to our bedside, where she slept every night, and that was as far as she wanted to go.

That’s how you know, I guess.

Our vet has been taking care of Snarf since she was a puppy– she’s actually known the dog for longer than I have– and she was nice enough to come in on her day off to take care of us.  And for the third time, I had to explain to my son that one of his pets was going to die– only this time, it was a complete surprise.  Kenny knew that she was getting old, of course, but she wasn’t sick in a way that a nearly-seven-year-old was going to really notice.  As far as he can remember, she’s never not been an older dog, and it was even harder than usual to explain why what was about to happen had to happen.

I’ve had, depending on how you count, somewhere between four and seven dogs that I could have called my dog, and two that I was actually personally responsible for.  Snarf was probably the smartest dog I ever had, and she was absolutely the best-trained of all of them.  She was loyal and friendly and scary as hell when she wanted to be and she was happy and she had fourteen good years with us and some months that maybe weren’t so good.

And as I’m writing this, the doorbell rings, and it’s not greeted with a chorus of dog barks, and that’s the moment when I lose it and start crying again.  I’m not answering the door.  Whoever is out there should have called first.  There’s supposed to be a dog there, telling them to stay away, until the moment I let them in the house, when they became safe and a friend.

She was a good dog.  I’ll miss her a lot.  Bye, babygirl.



In which I get what I asked for

85792b8c-ce6f-4e36-872e-f4ba2d8afdd8I realized after dropping the boy off at day care this morning that today was another “last time” sort of day– and that this time, having finally gotten my weekends back like I’ve wanted for two years, I was about to experience my last Day Off To Myself.  I am willing to embrace this small bit of hypocrisy; I want to both have my weekends off to spend them with my family and to have days off where I can do what I did today, which is laze about and play Dark Souls 3 all goddamn day, and by “all goddamn day” you need to understand that I mean all goddamn day.

I have been playing the hell out of the Dark Souls series lately– I own all three, or four, or five games in the family depending on where you slot Bloodborne and Nioh, and until beating Dark Souls Remastered several weeks ago the only one of them that I’d beaten was Nioh.  I took Bloodborne out last week sometime, beating it a full three years after buying it, and I’m replaying through DS3 right now.  I’m not at the point yet where I’m hitting bosses I couldn’t beat on my first playthrough, but I’m getting close.  After that I’ll play through Dark Souls 2 again and, hopefully, beat that as well, and then…

well, hell, that’s where my Future Planning about Vidya Gaemz runs out, but given that I don’t have all day Thursday and Friday to play video games any longer this plan is probably gonna be good at least until Thanksgiving.  Surely I’ll have something else I want to play by that time.

My wife and I have all sorts of plans for the next couple of days, ranging from general housekeeping sorts of stuff to a birthday party to a trip to the zoo.  I’ve got two full days of family stuff, and then two days of meetings for school.  At some point in there, I’ll be working on fiction stuff and readying at least one cool thing for the blog that got an early look over on Patreon.  Which you can see right now, if you like, for just a dollar a month.

On new habits

article-2421505-1AA2E1E3000005DC-504_964x740First of all, I have no idea where this image came from.  I can reconstruct the original Google search but I sort of fell down a rabbit hole after that and I can’t be held responsible for pictures of dogs climbing on elephants.  I just can’t.

I completed my final act of outstanding customer service this morning, which required an hour-long drive up to Michigan to return the now-repaired piece of furniture I had picked up last week.  Everything went fine; the piece was fixed to my and their satisfaction, the drive was pleasant, everyone was happy,  and the hell-rain that filled up the entire afternoon didn’t start until after I got home.

I spent most of the drive up there listening to podcasts.  I’ve got a handful that I’m pretty fond of now, meaning that pretty much any time I have time to listen to them there are going to be a handful of new episodes on my phone.  A few notables:

  • Pod Save the People
  • Lore
  • Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Nightlight: The Black Horror Podcast
  • Feminist Frequency Radio
  • Females in Fantasy
  • Mass for Shut-Ins

And just today I noticed one called Subliminally Correct, which I haven’t actually listened to yet but it’s a couple of psychologists talking about subconscious messaging and propaganda in politics, which definitely sounds up my alley.

It hit me on the way home that starting in a couple of weeks I will have no time to listen to any of these, ever, unless I radically change how I interact with podcasts.  Because podcasts are for the car, and what with my drive to work having been cut down by about 90% I’m just not going to be spending any time in the car any longer.

It’s interesting, right?  You think of a new job as just a change of job, but in this case there are all these ancillary lifestyle changes that are coming with it– and, really, it’s not unfair to say that the lifestyle changes were a huge part of I wanted the new job in the first place.  My wife and I were sitting on the couch yesterday evening after she got home from work, each of us trying to get the other one to commit to some sort of plan for dinner, when she looked at me and said “This is what our lives are going to be forever, now.”  It hit me that in a real sort of way, after two years of me working every weekend and until 8 three nights a week, there’s going to be a real element of my wife and I having to relearn how to live together again.  And to be clear, I am not not not complaining about that, and I’m looking way forward to it, because it’s what I want.  But there’s no reason to pretend it’s not going to be a thing.  I haven’t cooked dinner in a while!  Maybe I’ll start cooking again!  I mean, we’ll have to, right, what with being home together for dinner for– gulp– seven nights a week.