Thursday, April 23, 2015

Georgia On My Mind

Living in Augusta, Georgia, after a decade of living in Virginia is weird.  You wouldn't think it would be that different, but it kind of feels like we up and moved to Neptune.  The land is different (there are hills!), the weather is different (we never saw a single snowflake this winter and Spring came at the end of February!), and the people are different.  OH, HOLY HELL ARE THE PEOPLE DIFFERENT.  You know, I grew up in the Real South, in Tennessee, but this is a whole new ballgame here.  EVERYONE wants to be your friend.  EVERYONE wants to hug you.  EVERYONE wants to make you feel welcome.  One day when I needed an I-9 notarized, I ran into the bank to see the notary and even with no wait time left an hour later, carrying a list of the best restaurants to eat at, the owner's names, and a note to tell them that "Gary sent me."  Last time I went to Kroger, I left having been hugged by three different old ladies and having been told by a couple of other people that I had "beautiful hair" and "needed to stand up straight."  IT SCARES THE EVER LOVIN' FUCK OUT OF ME.

Despite being terrified to leave the house because I know I'll have to talk (or at least listen a lot) to a bunch of strangers who want to welcome me to Jaaaaw-ja (that is the correct pronunciation of "Georgia" if you grew up in Augusta, it seems), I love it here.  It's fabulous.  People told me I was crazy as hell when I let Blaker buy a house I had never seen in a town I had never been to, but it's perfect.  I still get confused about where some of the doors lead (every time I'm trying to go to the garage, I walk into the pantry and once I spent five minutes wandering around upstairs trying to take linens to the guest room before I remembered that the guest room was DOWNstairs, but that's probably just my ADD issues and not the fault of the house) and I have no idea what all the light switches operate, but I'm learning.  Slowly.  We have amazing neighbors who seem to mostly be a handful of doctors and dentists except for the guy next door whom I'm convinced is running some kind of high-class drug situation out of his home, but I haven't actually met him, just spied on him, and I suppose there's a chance that he just works in IT or something.  The doctor across the street actually came over and gave me an ear exam one day in the front yard while I was planting impatiens because he had been sitting in our yard visiting our dog (people tend to visit the dog, not us-- not that I blame them) and I was telling him that I was convinced a spider had crawled into my ear several weeks earlier while I was sleeping and laid spider babies on my eardrum.  (It turns out, this was not the case.  I just had fluid in my ear from having a cold and it was making things feel kind of tickly in there.)  How neighborly is THAT?

I do miss my old friends in Virginia.  When all of your friends live in your neighborhood, it makes for easy impromptu drunken barbecues, and when you're bored you can just wander from house to house and have a glass of wine with everybody and never have to worry about having a DD.  That's what we had in the KP.  Maybe we'll have that here too, but I can't tell yet.  I miss the librarians knowing me so well at the public library that they would hoard new books for me because they knew I wouldn't have them long enough to matter to anyone else who was waiting on them.  I do NOT miss 12-hour drives to get to TN (less than 4 is mo' betta) or everything being flat and sandy.  I did NOT miss the ton of snow Suffolk got this year, or being there when a horrible tragedy took the life of one of our former neighbor's six-year-old in March. 

Anyway.  We're here.  We're home.  Welcome to Georgia.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Unconditional Love, AKA My Mimipants

I've been trying to write this for 3 months, and every time I start, I just can't find the right words to even begin to say what I need to say or express how I feel inside.

On January 24, right around lunchtime, my Mimz died.  She was here, she was fine, then she wasn't fine, then we were at the vet, then I was holding her while they gave her the shots to take her away, then I felt her leave me.  And she was just gone.  It's amazing how life works that way.  One day you're eating eggs or fussing at your kids, thinking about the laundry you need to do, chugging along in the world, and suddenly the roof falls in and you don't even know who you are anymore.  It happens that fast.

I haven't been able to blog, because when Maddie died in 2012, I felt like I wrote her an eloquent letter.  It honored her, and it was written with love and respect, and it came from the heart.  This time, I can't write an eloquent letter--I can barely write anything--because my heart feels like it has been removed from my chest.  But I'm going to tell you about her, because she was amazing and she deserves to be remembered, and I need to do it to move forward.

I have never loved a friend as ferociously as I loved the Mimz, and everyone who knows me, knows that.  My in-laws, who don't care for dogs and who have a strict NO DOGS ALLOWED rule at their beach house invited Mimi to the beach every time we came because they knew we were a package deal--if she didn't come, I wasn't coming.  THAT WAS A BIG DAMN DEAL.  If you knew them, you would understand just HOW big.  But that's how Mimi and I operated, we were a pair.  I shared everything I ate with her, we drank out of the same wine glass half the time.  We slept together.  She laid beside the tub when I took baths so I could talk to her.  I told her, and her alone, every single secret I ever had.

Mimi was disdainful of the world outside of me, and honestly, much of the time I was disdainful of the world outside of her.  There were times when she was literally all I had support-wise, and she never failed me.  She was at my side through an abusive marriage, a messy divorce, several job changes, twelve moves, graduate school, an unexpected pregnancy, an unexpected remarriage, the birth of two children, the passing of several other much-loved pets, the death of all of my grandparents, and the crushing loss of my Dad.  And so many other things I can't even think of right now that I will think of later, at Kroger or the library or the gym and think "HOW COULD I FORGET THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE SURVIVED THAT WITHOUT THE MIMZ?" because I have things of that sort happen EVERY DAY because LIFE IS HARD, especially mine, and when life is hard, well, YOU NEED A MIMZ.

I know that I'm lucky, because for nearly 15 years, I had a Mimz.  I know that when it comes to choices that FUCKING SUCK, I made the right one when I let her go that Saturday morning.  Because we always had each others back, and for all the monumental things she had given me, it was time for me to give something back to her.  Like peace.  And I did.  Though what it cost me can't even be quantified or explained.

But I will love her for the rest of my life.  And I will miss her for the rest of my life.  I will remember how her fur felt soft and curly and tangly all the time, and how she always smelled clean.  How she hated to have her paws touched, and felt cuddling was ridiculously below her unless I was sobbing, during which times she would begrudgingly allow me some minimal snuggling.  How she had absolutely perfect timing when it came to snorting in disgust (which, blessedly, B can imitate with near perfection.)  How she had the worst breath on the planet.  How she only truly loved me and nobody else.  And how nobody could have truly loved her more than I did.  And I do.  And I will.  For always.