Who Rescued Who?

Growing up, I always wanted to be the girl who lived on a farm, or the one whose parents fostered animals, or the girl who was born into a family who already had dogs. It’s no secret that I love animals a lot more than I love people, but I love rescue animals most of all.

Over the past year, I’ve spent a considerable amount of my time working for a local dog rescue. This rescue brings dogs from high kill shelters in the south home to the north. Working with this rescue, I’ve heard a lot of stories in regards to the backgrounds of our dogs. Unfortunately, most of them make me roll my eyes towards the human race, others make me tear up.

Before joining this rescue, I didn’t realize how terribly dogs were treated in the south. I’m not saying that all dogs in northern United States are treated fairly, but this rescue works with multiple shelters in different states in southern United States where the euthanisation rate is through the roof and a lot of individuals down there don’t even know what spaying or neutering means.

For example, one dog that was recently brought to us was very large and fluffy. The owners of this dog lived in an apartment and decided to pack up and leave one day without warning and left their dog to fend for itself in the empty space. Did I mention that this was in the middle of summer? Without air conditioning, the apartment was 90 degrees.

In another instance, members of our rescue team went down to a new shelter in the south to save a few dogs. When they got there, they found out that multiple dogs were euthanized three hours before our team’s arrival because they were “cleaning up for the weekend.”

To me, animals are not just animals; they’re family. My dog has been with us for 13 years. We got him when we went to a pumpkin patch shortly after the September 11th attacks. My dog is hands down the best dog for our family. He’s relaxed but loves to go for walks and gets along with other dogs…most of the time. Over the last 13 years, we’ve had some great moments, but our dog has taken more of a liking to my mother. However, over the last year with me being around our house more with my unemployment, I’ve developed the deepest bond with him that I’ve ever had. Nowadays, he’ll take naps on my bed, follow me around the house, get very excited when I put my tennis shoes on (signaling a walk), or put him in the car with me (signaling a ride to the dog park or Pet Smart). He’s been my constant companion and best friend, and I’m so happy that we’ve gotten to spend so much time together recently. We’ve grown very close, and as I write this, he is sound asleep on the edge of my bed.

Goodnight my angel; and sleep tight to all of the dogs without a home. Don’t worry, we’ll come pick you up soon!

Granny Smith – over and out

The Other Side Of Depression

In my last post, I talked a bit about my parents and their recent struggle with one another. That post made me think about a topic that I haven’t covered but semi-relates to the previous post; depression.

However, I’m not going to write an article that articulates the warning signs of depression, or what it’s like being depressed. Many of you have probably read those articles, or, if you have a family member or friend that’s experienced depression, you’ve witnessed everything first hand. What I am going to write about is what it’s like for those on the other side of depression; the family members and friends (such as some of you reading this) who sit in the emotional sidecar and get pulled every which way. I’ve been there, and I’m hoping that if there is anyone out there with depression that this piece can help demonstrate what it’s like for those that love them.

1. My Mother: I never knew that my mother was prescribed anti-depressants until about a year ago. If you’ve ever met my mother, you’d think she was one of the sweetest, nicest people in the world. When I found out about the anti-depressants, my heart sank. Thoughts of, “am I a good enough daughter?” ran through my mind constantly. I worried that if I caused her trouble or made a rude comment that she would have an awful day and rely on her medication even more.

I felt so lost and I didn’t know what to do to make it better. Should I be spending more time with her during the week and on weekends? What if I volunteered to cook a few family meals? Do the laundry? Wash the dishes a few times a week? Would any of these make her feel less burdened, happier, healthier?

When she retired to care for my brother and the house full-time, I knew she was happy at first, but her joy quickly faded. As if she didn’t think her life was exciting or meaningful before she quit, now, her daily routine consists of household chores and running errands. She was and is lost. She wants to go back to work, but she doesn’t think she has any skills. I constantly worry that one day she will just up and leave because she’s sick of doing the same thing day-in and day-out.

I try to get her out of the house and go on adventures as much as possible, but nothing changes. She’s still lost; I’m lost. I don’t know what to do to make it better. I don’t know how to help her, and every time I ask, I get the same response, “nothing.” But, she’s living in a state of ‘nothing,’ and ‘nothing’ can be a dangerous thing.

2. My Boyfriend: Meeting Matt, you would have no idea that he used to severely suffer from depression. He was a freshman in college and I was a senior in high school. We were living in different zip codes (something we’ve gotten used to) for the first time, and he wasn’t making as many friends at school as he would’ve liked. He had also lost contact with a lot of individuals from our high school, and he felt more alone than ever before.

Almost every night of my senior year was spent sitting by my computer with a TV tray off to the side. While I did my homework on the TV tray, I would be talking to Matt via MSN messenger. The conversations went back and forth for hours. But, the conversations were the same every day. Every day he told me that he had an ‘ok’ day and was feeling worthless. He felt that he didn’t have any friends and wasn’t good at what he was doing. He would then advise a plan to get more friends, or to reconnect with the old ones, and it would fail…miserably…for no good reason!

It was hard watching him struggle. I told him over and over again how much I loved him and gave him advice on what to do about his extreme sadness, or reassured him about his plans for the future. We saw each other almost every weekend, and I even tried bringing a few of my friends to visit him..but nothing worked. On multiple occasions, he brought up suicide. Even though he said he wouldn’t do it because he loved me, I stated that I was the only thing keeping him on Earth. How could I give up on him? What could I do? I thought I’d tried everything.

This pattern continued on into my first year of college, but it got better. I was still on messenger with him every night, but it was hard to see each other every weekend. Eventually, we broke up. But, when we did break up, he was at least on his feet. Of course, we’re back together now, and he’s doing much better.

For both of these beautiful people in my life, I had no idea what I could do to make it go away. I tested multiple ideas, did what I thought was right…what THEY wanted me to do…and no matter what, meds or not, I couldn’t get through to them. It’s something that they need to overcome on their own, but they need help just as much as the rest of us do with our daily lives. Talking to specialists or reading articles can work, but only so much. To those that are depressed, we love you, and we’re hurting because we see you hurting. Communicate with us, help us help you.

Granny Smith – over and out

Love Runs Out

My parents…lord love them. They’ve been married for almost 26 years and have been through a lot of shit. A disabled son, a crazy daughter, two houses, multiple cars, family members passing, you name it. My parents have always had a nurturing relationship, but lately, something has changed, and I don’t know what to think of it.

Within the last nine months, I’ve witnessed more fighting and just an overall lack of displeasure with one another. Almost every day they’ll get into a tiff, and almost every day, both of them come to me with their side of the story and indirectly ask me to play mediator. Part of me wishes I could shout, “take care of this shit yourselves; you’re adults!” But, I want to be there for the both of them because I know they have no other outside party to turn to but me.

Most nights, I hear my mother complaining on the phone about my “crabby father” to her sister or her mother. And, most days, you can find them mocking one another behind the other’s back. Usually, in situations like this, I don’t take sides. But, something tells me I have to go with my father. My mother tends to be fairly harsh on my father, getting irritated about his hearing, complaining to his face that’s he’s too angry or too particular, that he takes too long at the store, and the list could go on and on.

At dinner, she’s very short with him, but when he leaves for work in the evening, she always gives him a kiss. Unfortunately, that kiss in the evening is my only reminder that they still love each other. In times past, you could always find my mom laughing at whatever my dad said, curling up to him on the couch, you name it. Now, she prefers to not spend any time with him. Even on the weekends, the only time my dad is not providing for our family, she doesn’t seem to want to be around him.

My father, one of the silliest human beings on the planet, is one of my most favorite people. One day, many years ago when all of my mother’s siblings seemed to be getting divorced, he told me in all seriousness, “divorce is absolutely, positively out of the question. Unless your significant other is beating you, cheating on you, living a double life, or damaging you in any other physical or emotional way, put on your adult pants and work it out. I know that he would never leave my mother. He’s even told me over the past few months, when times have been rough, that no other woman “could ever love an asshole like him.”

Divorce is such a complicated, messy thing. I don’t know what I would do if my parents split up. I know there are plenty of other individuals out there who have experienced divorce themselves, or have had parents or close friends go through it. So, what do you think? Are my parents headed for splitsville?

Granny Smith – over and out

One Body, Multiple Personalities

I just got a Netflix account…I know, I know, there goes my life! I’m already obsessed with “Orange is the New Black,” and I can’t wait to start “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad.” I’ve even seen their movie selection…and HOLY CATS. One movie in particular that recently caught my attention was the documentary, “Mitt.” “Mitt” follows Mitt Romney and his family while on the campaign trail in 2008 and in 2012. I’m not afraid to say that I voted for Romney in 2012, but after watching this documentary, it became clear that the man I voted for during the campaign was very different from the man in his documentary. In 2012, I voted for Romney because I wanted a change and because I thought he was the lesser of two evils. But, once I saw “Mitt,” I actually wound up really liking the guy. Mitt is hilarious, and his family is so down to earth and honest. Mitt was criticized a lot for only thinking of the “rich, white man,” but it turns out that he is best friends with a lot of small business owners and is truly worried about their future. I think what was most surprising to me about the documentary was Ann Romney. I remember thinking that Ann was somewhat of a plastic, air-headed, Barbie doll during the campaign. Ann Romney, in a way, was like the Anne Hathaway of politics. She was so nice and sweet all of the time, only said positive things, and didn’t really have any strong opinions (other than to back her husband). However, during the documentary, I was shocked to find that she was a real, human being, a great mother and grandmother, and only wanted the best for her husband. She, in fact, had opinions of her own and a strong personality. At the end of the documentary, I left wishing that American would’ve gotten to see that side of Mitt and his family before the 2012 election. Yes, I realize that documentaries like this one can be used to boost “approval ratings,” and may completely cut out the negative side of a person. After all, it’s HIS story and no one wants to be seen in a negative light. But, that’s not what I’m getting at with this post. What I want to say is that the documentary left me wondering about my own “true colors” and how others perceive me differently.

My family and CLOSEST friends: They know me, for the most part, and usually get where I’m coming from. They know that I’m loud, obnoxious, love a raunchy joke, and pass gas from both ends on the regular.  They know that I would do anything for them. Also, they love the fact that I can be over the top, and they know that I’m obsessed with pop culture, and they believe I should be famous. (Doesn’t everyone?)

My Co-Workers and Acquaintances: If you asked my past and present co-workers, or individuals that I don’t know well, they’d say that I’m extremely reserved, quiet, and very shy. They’d probably even mention something along the lines of “it’s hard to hold a conversation with her.” They know me as the “nice,” quiet girl that sits in the corner, will listen to your problems, and be of assistance in any way that she can.

My Significant Other: He’s seen both sides of me, but knows that my “true” personality is the one I show my family and closest friends. He knows that I’m a little rough around the edges, but I can also be VERY emotional. At times, I have multiple emotions over the course of one day! He knows that I can also be inappropriate in public places and randomly break out some new dance moves while walking down the street. He also knows that I may be crazy, but he can also take me home to his mother, and introduce me to other important people in his life without them thinking, “Why the hell is he with her?” He understands my insecurities and is trying to help me overcome them. He realizes that I can be lazy and complain, but I also love to be active and I have goals. I like to party, but I also like to stay home. I’m a hot mess, and yet, he wants to be with me. How cool is that?

My Dog: And then, there’s my other best friend. He thinks I’m a nurturer. He knows that I’m the lady who coddles him too much, gives him one too many treats, provides him with food and water, and walks him daily. Other than that, he doesn’t give a shit about what his mommy does with her free time.

Do you have different “personalities” depending upon who you’re with/what situation you’re in? Let me know in the comments!

Granny Smith – over and out

Go Ahead, Celebrate!

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So, now that Valentine’s Day is long gone, I want to bring it back into the realm of conversation…I know, sorry! But, it’s not what you think! Give me a second to explain…

My birthday is August 14th, so Valentine’s Day is a big day for me because…it’s my half birthday. Check: If you’re not rolling on the floor laughing by now, what’s wrong with you? I can only imagine what all of you are thinking, who the hell celebrates their half birthday? Trust me friends, I didn’t come up with this; I was suckered into it by my mother when I was a little girl.

For as long as I can remember, every Valentine’s Day, my mother would sneak into my room before I woke up and leave a few small gifts, candy, a card, and a balloon. And, at the end of the day, my family and I would gather around the kitchen table and enjoy some cake! I was always reminded on February 14th that not only was it a national holiday, but I was exactly 6 months away from my birthday. Now, why did my mother constantly remind me that Valentine’s Day was also my “half birthday?” I secretly think that my mom has always wanted to share her birthday with a holiday and when that dream obviously did not work out in her favor, she hoped and prayed that one of her children, hell, even one of  her pets, would have a birthday on a holiday. When that didn’t work out, she studied the calendar and thought of the next best thing. I mean, we don’t celebrate anyone else’s half birthday in our house ….lucky me!

The point of all of this is that when I told my boyfriend about my family’s crazy Valentine’s Day tradition…he didn’t even flinch. Sure, he thought it was weird. But each Valentine’s Day he makes sure that he treats it like my second birthday. I receive half a cake, half a birthday card (tehehe), flowers, my favorite food, and most importantly, love. The crazy part about all of this is I hate Valentine’s Day and so does he. But, the dumb Hallmark holiday has actually brought us closer together because of my mother’s interesting calendar observation. We don’t look at February 14th as another stupid holiday, but a funny reason to have something to celebrate. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to celebrate two birthdays a year instead of one… and I don’t age twice!

In the end, everyone should have the opportunity to feel like they’re the most important person on the planet! And it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day or just your birthday. It’s important to find someone in your life that wants you to feel amazing about who you are, what you believe in, and everything in between. The fact that my boyfriend picked up this ridiculous tradition of mine and ran with it means wonders, and I don’t have to cringe every time Valentine’s Day rolls around!

But, the main reason why I brought this up is because I want to hear from you guys! Is there anything that you significant other, family members, friends do for you that makes you feel special? Are there any holidays in particular that you love more than the rest because of an awesome tradition you have?  Let me know and be well!

Granny Smith – over and out

Negative

negative

This past week, I had one of those big “smack you in the face” karma moments…Let me explain.

Since I’ve known the definition of teen pregnancy, I’ve been completely against it. I was also against having sex before marriage for the longest time (and boy am I glad  that’s changed). In general, I’ve always frowned upon teenagers and even women in their early 20s getting pregnant. Seriously, just wrap your tool!

And with all of the TV shows nowadays like “16 and pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” young pregnancy has been glorified and presented as a “trend.” I actually heard a story a few years back about a girl that got pregnant at a young age just so that she could audition for “Teen Mom.” Needless to say, she didn’t get the part, and now she’s stuck playing mom without the cameras…what?

And, in my early college years, my roommates favorite TV show was, coincidently, “Teen Mom.” I recall watching it with her and commenting on how stupid all of those girls were. And to this day, my friends and I constantly pick on old classmates from our home town that got pregnant while we were away at school, or right after they graduated college.

So, never in a million years did I think that I would go to the doctor to get a blood pregnancy test. Yes, yes, yes, you might be utterly confused right now, but here’s the deal….I’ve noticed within this past month that my body has been going through some major changes. I’m seeing fat (particularly around my belly area) that has never been there before, and aunt flow hasn’t paid a visit since September. Needless to say, with the constant bloating and missed egg drop, I freaked out.  But, before I went to the doctor’s office, I took three home pregnancy tests within three weeks of each other..all negative. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

Needles to say, the blood test also came back negative. But, I’ll never forget how the doctor’s office made me feel. Coincidently, my mother works at the clinic where I took the test, so registering at the front desk was a bit awkward. The day I took the test, I walked in and Martha was the only woman sitting behind the counter. Now, I knew Martha from the few times that I’ve come for an appointment with my mother, but I also knew that she never remembers who I am.

As I walked up to the counter and gave my last name, a bit of a smile crept across her face. You could tell she was thinking, “Oh, you’re her daughter, how nice.” But, as she opened my chart and saw why I was there, her smile faded. And the way she spoke to me changed. The minute she realized my situation..she wasn’t having it. “Are you in college, or are you employed,” she said with a snarky tone. “Employed..” I whispered. Then, she took down my information and told me to “JUST go downstairs!” I felt like I was in major trouble…like the teacher had caught me talking for the third time in class. I felt so ashamed. I felt like I wasn’t Marsha Brady anymore. I was imperfect because I thought I might be pregnant.

Even when the nurse called to tell me the test was negative, she said, “I’m assuming that’s what you wanted?” Yeesh, thanks for your concern, lady!

So, what did I learn from all of this? You can’t pick on someone if you haven’t been in their shoes. Again, NEVER EVER in a million years did I think I would take a blood pregnancy test. If you’ve ever been in this situation, even if you’re the man and it’s your girlfriend who thinks she’s pregnant, it’s by far one of the scariest times. So many questions run through your head. “If the test comes back positive, what do I do? How do I tell people? What are my next steps?” I mean, what if the girls on “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom” just forgot to take their birth control one day? It happens! We all forget! I actually have a friend who took the morning after pill, and her boyfriend used a condom, and they STILL got pregnant. Not everything works…even if it’s 99.9% effective.

At the end of the day, I think I’m just getting fat because of my desk job…but I definitely know that I won’t be making fun of young moms anytime soon…good grief!

Granny Smith – over and out