These May Be Dark Times, But There Are Still Puppies…

I feel as though my previous post may have been a bit dark, although these have been a particularly dark few months for issues that are important to professional women. I want to stand on the top of the highest point of my great state (which admittedly would not be a feat to climb) and yell, “Now to you see what we’ve been telling you?!?!”

Problem is, I don’t see these issues as tremendously complicated at all. For years (a decade in a few months) I’ve been saying, best bet is to leave the women who work for you, that you mentor, or that you serve in some way, alone. If you’re shocked by all of these recent allegations or surprised by the number of #metoo stories popping up in your feeds, where have you been? Problem is, people (and by people, I mean mostly some members of 50% of the population) can’t just sit and be still. They can’t just sit and listen. And of course, we have to hear about the poor men, and I damned near lost my mind when I woke up to find someone drawing a comparison between Roy Moore and poor Jerry Lee Lewis and his wrecked career…

Jerry Lee Lewis?!?! Fifteen hours later and I am still salty that someone thinks that Jerry Lee Lewis suffered any kind of real consequence of marrying a 13 year old child. He went through an unpopular spell, but seven wives, $15 million, and an induction into the hall of fame later, that guy’s just fine. He was a tremendously popular country music star in the ’70s and the south welcomed him right back. Why am I so bent over Jerry Lee Lewis? Because it’s laughable to insinuate that powerful men suffer any kind of real, long-lasting consequence of their action. Not that I am wishing suffering on anyone, mind you. I’d be ok if we could all just communally pink swear to knock it off. Chasing teenage girls is predator behavior, even for Elvis.

I’ve been a bit engrossed by things, but in the last month, there have also been happy happenings in the Strange household. Right around the time that Strange Mom got sick, I started to get the fever. I got the fever for the first time about twelve years ago and, nine months later, Little I showed up. I got the fever again seven years ago and Tiny Diva arrived. A few months ago I started to get the fever again, but I looked at Strange and I and realized, we’re too damned old to be feverish. If we had a Strange Tot , Strange would have to work until he died and my dusty gonads are not in the prime condition they were when I started blogging a decade ago. There is no logical reason for us to make people, other than the fever. So, I got an IUD and tried to shut down the fever.

But, the fever didn’t quit and I didn’t know what was coming over me.  Everything in my head and most things in my heart told me that giving in to the fever would be a horrible idea and that it would not make me happy in the long-term. I think it came from feelings that Strange and I will never share that part of our lives. It was sort of a faux fever. Thankfully, Strange’s son gave me a diversion when he started talking about a dog. He’s a kid who plays his cards very, very close to his chest but in July we visited my aunt and her family. My aunt has four dogs and Strange’s son looked like he was in heaven. He started talking again recently about how his “life-long dream” has been to have a dog.

When he started talking about dogs again, I started having dreams about a Jack Russell Powter1Terrier that we had before Little I was born. He had been my brother’s dog and my father wanted to get rid of him when my brother went to college. My brother freaked out and we got a dog. By all objective criteria, this dog was the world’s worst dog, but I loved him. One night, after a particularly vivid dream about this dog, I googled Jack Russell and that pretty much sealed my fate. The google algorithm had my number and Jack Russells started showing up on every web page I clicked. Then google went too far and petfinder images started showing up in ad spaces, including an ad for a tiny Jack Russell named Powter. To cut to the chase, Powter is not a google star any longer. She’s now living the dream in the middle of the corn and playing regular games of fetch with Tiny Diva.

And, I have to tell you, I am nuts about this dog. Local friends ask about the dog and all I can say is “Dude.” Just “dude,” over and over. I only took a couple of weeks of maternity leave for each of the I-kids, but I might need at least a year off for this dog. She’s a five to nine year old rescue from Missouri. She had a little sob story about how her former owners kept getting arrested for selling drugs and she’d end up roaming the mean streets, evading the long arm of the law. The funny thing is, I took a friend with us when we met her. Not to judge the dog, but to judge Strange’s reaction to the dog. I wanted to make sure he was really alright with getting a dog and that I wasn’t setting myself up on the path toward divorce #2. By that point, his son and I had already joined Team Dog and I had lost all objectivity.

She’s been good for us. She’s sweet and playful and good with the kids. Powter came with a little note from her “foster home” that said she didn’t particularly like men.  It must be that she didn’t like the men where she was because, although I was the captain of Team Dog, the dog prefers Strange. She follows him around, waits for him at the door, and sits next to him at night. The foster people said she’d likely attach to whoever feeds her. Fifty bowls or kibbles ‘n bits later, I can tell you that’s not true.  This dog has bonded with IMG_3416Strange in a serious way.

Judging from the evidence, I think it might be mutual.


On the End of 2017…

The end of 2017 has been the weirdest stretch of time I have ever experienced. Nothing constant. Just ups and downs. Strange’s mother had her stroke, went on hospice and died five days later. His condo in his former town has an offer on it, so we may be able to think about buying our own home together someday.  We made plans to meet his father and stepmother in a nearby city, and then his father ended up in the hospital with a flare of his COPD.  He was treated, ended up leaving the hospital, but when we got home Strange developed new afib and was cardioverted in the middle of the night in the emergency room.

I just can’t remember a time in my life when the world felt so unsettled and at odds with itself. This week I’ve heard several of the organizations I am affiliated with professionally say that they are committed to increasing the diversity of their membership, but I’m also watching the women around me struggle toward tenure. Women who have all of the accolades and accomplishments their male colleagues have, except for one long, dangly one. My closest friend here was easily wooed away to industry.  In so many ways, there are as many barriers today as there ever were before.

And I’m struck by how, at nearly 40, it is so much  more difficult to make female friends than it used to be.  There just aren’t as many of us around, compared to 20 or 30 year old women, unless you venture out beyond the ivory tower.