Problem Solving

Pt. XI

Fuck it all. Something had to be fixed.

I did not like living in a haze. I did not like feeling sad all the time. I did not want to abandon my husband for some guy. I had to fix the problems.

* * * * * *

My arguments with David, to the best of my recollection, went something along these lines:

Me: I felt very angry/upset/hurt/sad when you did/said/didn’t do/didn’t say ______.

David: I am sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.

Me: I know you didn’t. Maybe what’s really upsetting me is all the pressure, you know? Maybe in the future you could just _______.

David: I will try. I love you.

Me: I love you, too.

Except there was a lot more screaming and crying and insistence on my part. And a lot more apologizing on his part. We’d try and compromise, but you know.

* * * * * *

So clearly we were at a point where something big had to be done. We both knew it.

I did not ovulate in April, and we decided that instead of continuing on the hormonal route, we would put off having kids until we were in a better place.

And then we got to the heart of the issue.

David hadn’t found work yet and god. The house was such a force. I mean, on the surface, the financial drain of the house was a big issue. But below the surface was my resentment. I just wasn’t ready to be 25 and saying this is the one place I want to live for the rest of my life.

I just wanted to back up. Could we just back up a bit? To before I started freaking out?

Yes, let’s just realize that we did too much too soon and took on way too much grown-up-ness too early because we happened to get lucky.

So we did.

We mutually agreed that we would sell the house. Wham.

We would buy something smaller and easier (like a condo) and trendier and younger. We would start saving money again. (I wouldn’t have to go to Home Depot again, I could just call someone when something didn’t work.)

But...what about the dogs? What if the new place doesn’t take dogs? We’d have a lot more living options if we didn’t have the dogs.

Too much too soon.

We mutually agreed that we would find homes for the dogs. Wham.

It is all for the best.

* * * * * *

We called the breeder who gave us Basker and explained to her that our suburban dreams didn’t quite go as planned.

After nine months of pouring my energy and time and money and so much love into the training of the cutest dog that’s ever lived, he still hadn’t developed a strong bond with me. He still liked playing with other dogs (and my poor cats) better. I’d never seen anything like it.

When Gail came to pick up my beloved baby, I had pages of instructions. An entire legal page (front and back) of vocabulary words he knew. Boxes of toys.

He happily bounded into her van and she drove him back to her farm. He went to go live on a huge farm with five or so other dogs.

We called to check up on him regularly. He was fabulous, she said. He was perfectly happy.

I never cry about David anymore. But I cry about my dog.

* * * * * *

We’d only had Scarlet for three months, and while she was sweet and adorable and loving and had bonded with us, it still felt pretty new. I told the people at our vet’s office that we were looking to find her a home.

I got a call from the receptionist who said that she and her husband felt that maybe their 9-year-old daughter, Kristin, was ready for another pet. She had cerebral palsy, and had taken the loss of their first dog (two years before) very hard. But recently Kristin had taken to naming worms in the front yard, so they thought she might be keen on something with fur.

One evening, they came over just to meet Scarlet, so that they could see how Kristin would interact with a growing puppy. The plan was that they would come meet her and see how it went; if afterwards Kristin continued to speak about Scarlet, they would consider adopting her.

Inevitably, they left that night with my darling girl.

Of course, we called to check up on her, too. Scarlet and Kristin had become very good friends, and even though they had a strict, no-dog-on-beds rule, apparently Scarlet would sneak into Kristin’s room at night and sleep curled up at the foot of her bed.

Yep. Still cry about the dogs.

* * * * * *

We were going to sell the house. We were child-free. We had a plan that was sad in many ways (wow, this feels like a whole lot of failure), but for the best.

Let’s get back to when it was just about us.

Yes, that will work. It has to. Right?



  1. moremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremore

    Is it weird to you that we are all so transfixed by what was the most difficult period of your life?

  2. It feels wrong to say it's entertaining, because the story is about a person. You really went through this, and yet, I keep checking every five minutes for more. Perhaps we all feel fine reading it because you made it through to the other side, not unscathed, but well enough to show us the happy you've shown so far until this outpouring that keeps me checking back for more. Thank you thank thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you so, so much for putting this out there. Even if now *I'm* crying about the dogs too.

  4. Just wanted to say 'thanks' as well...I'm hooked on the story, and it's just how movies are - they are better when you know they are 'true stories'! So thanks for sharing your life with us all...I think it makes our own stories easier to tell and easier to live.

  5. Okay - I am crying about your dogs. At work.

    Must be strong when reading at work...

  6. Someone - another poster on another comment section - complained that it wasn't fair... Kiki knows how the story ends, but the IIFs don't, and waiting between entries is torture!!

    Just wanted to add that not knowing how it ends has nothing to do with it... even having lived this story real time, waiting between entries is STILL torture!! ;)

    Third time I've checked back here in as many hours.


  7. even though this may amount to admitting that i am crazy, i will tell you that i kept a picture of basker as a puppy that you emailed me after i got my australian shepherd a couple of years ago. it's in a folder with pictures of a couple of other especially adorable puppies that i like to look at every so often. i just looked at it a couple of days ago.

    i can say for sure that he was the CUTEST PUPPY EVER. (i can say that because i didn't know my dog when he was a puppy. which is a good thing because i'm pretty sure i'd have died from the cuteness.)

    when you emailed me the picture and we were chatting about dogs, you didn't explain why you'd had to give him up. it is sad, and so very symbolic of everything else you were going through, that you had to give him up. and i can only imagine how hard that must have been.

    when i left my dog for a couple of weeks last fall, i left a BINDER of information and instructions for the poor dog-sitter. (hey, i already admitted i was crazy. stop looking at me like that.)

    i waited to read your blog until i was ready to handle what i knew would be a wrenching story. i'm glad i did because you made me all teary!!

    it's amazing how, for so many of us, your story echoes parts of our lives.

  8. Thank you so much for ripping your life open and showing us. I'm taking great comfort from reading this--my ex husband of 15 years moved out 2 months ago and I just managed to take off my wedding ring today. I promised myself I would do it when it was out of acceptance, not anger.

    I'm so sorry about your dogs. They get into your heart in a special way. I just put down my rescue dog last week-he had cancer and it was time. It never gets easier, all we can do is remember the love they lavished on us.

  9. The part about the dogs broke my heart. You can come play with Oz and Grendel any time. (I know it's not the same, but still.)

  10. sweetone,

    i have not -- in any way -- taken the time i should to thank you for your kind and thoughtful commenting, your good words and your genuine sweetness. i am always flattered (almost to the point of surprise) that you're a reader.

    the entire time i was writing about the dogs i was thinking about our conversation, too. and wondering how your beautiful companion has grown and become part of your family.

    please shares sometime. i hope you are well. and miss you. :)

  11. someone on npr said the other day something about how we think dogs give us unconditional love... but it's really us that give the dogs unconditional love. the kind we can't, or don't, often give to other people.

    interesting way of looking at it... dogs do make you a better person. :-)

  12. so, here's a weird question. do you talk to david anymore ever? has he heard the story this way?

    it's such a moving story, and so real...not real like it happened in real life, but real like honest.

    i like how you're able to make it so emotional and moving without it sounding bitter, accusing, guilty.

    life is what it is sometimes. sure someone did something along the lines...but it just is.

  13. I'm with Melissa, I'd like to know if you still have contact with David?

  14. I have been on David's side of that conversation. This is all sounding familiar.


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