Well, today was one of those days that had a few bright spots. It is my sweet Ralph's birthday and although I completely ruined it with bad news...I am grateful beyond measure for him and all that he is in my life. I mean, he has loved me like a daughter and he has been that person who can always make everything better...and I feel terrible about casting a shadow on his special day. I really do.
Then there was the good news that a chore that I thought might take all night...didn't. I have had lots of prayers, thoughts, comments and love thrown my way, and I'm even getting a new checkbook cover from my uber-creative friend, Cindy. So, life does not totally suck. But today...it totally does not rock, either. Let's just say that today has not been my friend.
You may not know what it is like to see your precious dog get miraculously pregnant at the ripe old age of eight or nine and then lose those long awaited pups on an awful night...but I have. Last night. And as if that wasn't enough to have my heart hurt about...I've had a pretty awful day by most measures.
Which, in some strange way, is hilarious...because it is like God is trying to tell me that it isn't as bad as I think. In fact, His flair for the dramatic has been underlined in Sharpie for me. He is reminding me that no matter how bad I think it is...that there is someone out there who is dealing with far more than I am.
I mean...my sweet Dixie is fine. And one of my favorite dogs that I only know online - Wynny - walked across the Rainbow Bridge today. Before you go "Say who? Online?"...you have to know that I am friends with her mother, Pam. She sent me photos of her dogs for one of my favorite activities...captioning. The fact that my Phi Mu heart sister and I enjoyed this exercise together makes me sad for her as she is trying to adjust to her girl being gone. I remember that pain well when we lost Rebel last October. And although I really miss the opportunity to know the beautiful little creatures that we lost last night...I still have my baby girl here to love and spoil. And I'm extremely grateful for that.
But what I mean is...well...you honestly have to just read about some of it because truth is stranger than fiction. Today was like that girl who you think is your friend but then she doesn't invite you to her party and talks about you behind your back. To the guy you like. In front of you. Yeah.
I took Miss Dixie to the vet this morning to make sure that everything was okay because her ordeal was a little bit emotionally trying for all of us last night...and the last thing I wanted was to be the worst dog parent ever...especially since I haven't already had her spayed and I brought the Abercrombie model of shih tzus - Riley - all up in this house. Y'all, Riley is pretty. So much so that a male dog that I know and love kept trying to express his admiration in ways that were more than a little disturbing in that there were small children present But primarily because we were so grateful that she was so much more herself after everything was said and done that I felt that the least I could do was make absolutely, positively sure that all was well with her.
Just so you know, "absolutely, positively sure" costs about $150 for an office visit and a short ultrasound. I'm totally not kidding. It is why we don't go to this particular vet office any longer...but our vet is out of town and I had limited time...so I paid. Dearly. Guys, I was there for 20 minutes. But I have the benefit of knowing that she is okay. And you really can't put a price on that. Plus, it really has been something to whine about all day. That can't be undervalued either.
Unfortunately, while I was away, I inadvertently set the house alarm incorrectly (it is on a key fob...how hard can it be to press the button that sets the alarm? Answer: Dixie could do it and she can't read. I don't think she can anyway.) and it went off while I was at the vet. The local sheriff came into the house in search of someone breaking in...when it was really only my carelessness. Yeah, great, right?
After dealing with that...and between us...Big Dave got the short end of that stick, I got back in my car and checked the fuel gauge...something you get in the habit of doing if you live 15 miles out of town like I do. It was on less than a quarter tank. Which meant - you guessed it - that I had to stop for gas. Naturally, you'd expect that at 9:20 a.m. on a Thursday morning that there wouldn't be a line at the pumps at Costco. But if you thought that - like I did - you would be wrong.
Leaving there I decided that the "check tire pressure" light that had come on for the third time really needed to be addressed so I whipped it into the local Firestone for a quick fix to what I assumed was a nail in the tire. Oh, it was a nail, all right, but the treads were too thin to fix it...so it had to be replaced. And, naturally, the other back one was threadbare as well and the front two weren't that much better. Oh, and I needed it aligned and my windshield wipers needed replacing. This was after I told him NOT to find a bunch of stuff wrong with my car because I couldn't afford it. Okay, that last one was actually at my request, but I ended up paying a whole lot more than I anticipated. Then I got the bill...$666.
Because, OF COURSE IT WAS on the day from Hell. I also told him that this was why I quit coming there...because they always found some way to get my money.
I left there and went to work and things looked up for awhile. Except that I was really hungry and had failed to bring a snack. So I went foraging into the refrigerator for anything I had brought over the past two weeks...and found an apple and a yogurt. Healthy stuff...blech. But I ate it anyway. And liked it. Not nearly as much as I liked the Zero bar that I ripped off from the tellers because their customers bring them candy all of the time...but close. I finished my work earlier than expected and am grateful for that. I came home and found Dixie more herself than she has been in weeks, and I had a good call with Jill that erased a whole lot of awful today.
All of us have the possibility of a very rotten day...or the potential for an over-the-top good one. Some people had life changing good go on at the exact time that I was having my really bad. And there are times when I feel guilty just being happy when other people crushing disappointments, losses, and struggles to bear. Maybe you think that my sad little day didn't come close to the pain you've felt at one time or another...or you think I must have been incredibly self-absorbed to have stored it all up to put out here to be read about. But I used it as a reminder of what all I have instead of what all is lost.
I have a healthy dog that I love dearly. My car has new tires and windshield wipers. I was able to pay for the vet visit...and they didn't question why I didn't bother to make an appointment or explain why I haven't been there in a very long time. My daughter is happy. My son is coming home to visit for the weekend tomorrow. I'm getting a new checkbook cover. And people who love me have been praying for me and sending sympathy and good wishes my way all day long.
I'm actually convinced that the latter is responsible for today turning out as good as it has. It is why Dixie hopped up and voluntarily (okay, she didn't hide...so that was good) got a bath to clean her up from her ordeal yesterday. It is why I was able to write a dog obituary (my first) for my sweet friend (to try to cheer her up) and why I am able to sit here and think "Wow, what a day." without crying.
I know that there are times in our lives when things go the way we want...where the little miracles that we think are meant for us actually are. There are also times when we don't understand why we have to go through things if they are going to turn out wrong. As I looked at those sweet little still bodies of the puppies I'd been waiting for since July...I realized that the most important thing is that they gave me something to look forward to when I really needed it...and that is a miracle in itself. The second part of that is that it has made me appreciate my Dixie so much more because she has come through this doing well, relatively speaking.
I just hope that tomorrow is a nice, quiet, boring day. But I already know it will be a good one. Brian is coming home. Dixie will be here to greet him. I don't have to stop for gas, or a flat tire, or because my windshield is rainsoaked (if it rains) and I can't see jack squat because my windshield wipers are worn out. I may be broke...but I've checked a few things off the list of things I needed to do today. At the risk of sounding like Annie...tomorrow is another day. Another chance for things to be better. Another chance to find something amazing to celebrate, ruminate...or at least tolerate.
And for that...on this very bad awful no-good day...I am grateful.