Love and Loss

In just the past week, a friend in Mobile and my brother both lost their beloved pets…and when I say “lost,” I mean the dogs passed away. If you’ve never had a pet, you likely think “beloved” before the word “pet” is odd. But if you’ve had pets, you get it.

Growing up, we always had pets…mostly dogs. We had a cat once, but it was a stray that stayed outside. I was too young to remember its arrival, but my mother told me we named it Valentine, because it showed up on Valentine’s Day. We had lots of dogs along the way, and no matter what breed they were or how much of a mutt they were, we loved them all. After I got married, we got an Airedale Terrier and named her Annie, even though I wanted to name her Fannie, after a college roommate. My husband wouldn’t go along with the name “Fannie,” but later, he said he wished we had named her Fannie. I was crazy over that dog.

Annie helped me get through morning sickness (or all the time sickness) in the first trimester of pregnancy. She was a big dog (about 80 pounds), but when I would lie in bed with nausea, she would get in bed next to me and put her warm back against me. She was the only dog I had as an adult who I knew would put her life on the line for me. And I knew she would. She was not aggressive, but she was very protective, and I was grateful for that, especially when my husband was out of town.

My brother didn’t call me and tell me about his dog’s passing. His dog, a beautiful Weimeraner named Amos, was his sidekick. I woke up yesterday to a text message from a family friend, Jane, who told me, “Amos is gone.” I must have gasped audibly, because my husband asked me what was wrong. I called Jane immediately, and she told me Amos’s health had declined rapidly, and he had passed away during the night. We sat on the phone and cried together, and after we hung up, I texted my brother. I couldn’t call him, because I couldn’t stop crying. He didn’t need to listen to me blubber.

My friend in Mobile who lost her dog called me a few days before my brother’s dog died, crying hysterically, after her dog was hit by a car. She lives on a busy road, and the dog had jumped the backyard fence. She had fostered the dog after she found him wandering somewhere. We always laugh that she’s a “bleeding heart.” After her dog passed, she said to me, “I just love too hard!” She said she had resolved she wouldn’t do that again, because it hurts so much when she loses a pet, but she can’t help herself.

I remembered something Dr. Seuss said about love, “A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no roses. To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Isn’t that the truth? My brother was certainly the world to his dog, as my friend in Mobile was to hers.

Here’s the thing…yes, it hurts to lose those pets we love so much, but the joy they bring us outweighs that pain. I cried for a month when we lost Annie, but now, six years after her death, I mostly remember the good stuff: her fighting off the scary snowman, her happiness when I came home, how she drooled like crazy when she saw me get out the peanut butter jar, her floating on the pool lounge, and her unconditional love.

And sometimes I have to remind myself  the same applies to people. Yes. It’s totally worth it to put yourself out there. I’m 52. I’ve loved friends along the way. No, I’m not talking about boyfriends, but yes, I had boyfriends when I was young. Do I regret loving any of those people along the way? No. Most of those folks are still my friends, but some are no longer my friends, and I certainly don’t have any boyfriends. Even though a few friends are no longer in my life for whatever reason…their fault, my fault, or no one’s fault…I’m glad I loved them. I’m even glad I trusted them. Here’s why: if they were my friends, there were some “roses” along the way. Sure, there were thorns, but I know we had some “roses” along the way. And no matter what, I learned something from every relationship…sometimes learning more form the thorns than the roses. And don’t get me wrong…sometimes I presented the thorns, no doubt. All my relationships, the great ones and the failures, have contributed to my life. In fact, because of that, I don’t hold grudges. I wish all those people well.

So right now, during this coronavirus, I’m making a point to reach out to some folks I haven’t talked to in a while. Because, yes, there will be some thorns, but the roses are glorious!

 

Maybe I’m Schleprock!

Maybe I’m Schleprock. If you’re about my age, you know who Schleprock is. If not…he’s a character on The Flintstones who has exceptionally bad luck.

Lost shipments. I rarely complain, but I’m complaining today…wondering if others are experiencing the same thing.

Do you remember when we didn’t order online all the time? Do you remember when we actually purchased things in brick and mortar stores, and nothing was shipped to our homes? The delivery trucks weren’t an everyday sight on our neighborhood streets. Right? If you’re anywhere close to my age, you remember those days.

Now, the delivery trucks from the two big US shipping companies are in my neighborhood daily…usually more than once. And often, they’re ringing my doorbell.

I will admit it. I order online a lot. I have subscriptions for lots of household items, and those are delivered regularly, and if I can’t find things I want/need in local stores or boutiques, I order online for that too. The UPS delivery man is one of my best friends. I’ve said before that my husband used to say he wished I got as excited when he came home as when the UPS man rang the doorbell. I told him, “If you always brought me packages, I’d be excited to see you too!”

But here’s the downside: now that everyone is ordering to have everything shipped to their homes, more packages are being lost. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you, but I’ve actually become a little paranoid that there’s a big red mark next to my name on their shipping manifests. Why? Because both companies have lost multiple packages that were shipped to me over the last few months.

Yesterday, I was expecting a shipment from a company in California. It contained a gift that I needed to give someone today. When it hadn’t arrived at about 5:00pm, I looked up the tracking information on the website of the delivery company (I won’t say which one it was this time), and it said it would be delivered to my house before 8:00pm. But I looked at its “progress,” and it had been sitting in another city for three days. And I knew what that meant: it was lost. Unless they were “Bewitched,” there was no way that package would be delivered to my house by 8:00pm.

I called the toll free number, and when I entered the tracking info, it said my package would be delivered by 8:00pm. Again…wrong. So instead of dealing with the stupid prompts on the phone, I just started saying “REPRESENTATIVE” (loudly) every time the stupid system asked another question. Finally, it connected me to a representative. She took my information and promised me they would call me within two hours with information. Well, I’ve heard that before (from the other company), and it never happened, but what could I do? So I waited, and miraculously, they called me back…and apologized that my package was “delayed.” Hmmm…I asked, “What does that mean? That it’s lost?” He confirmed it was “misplaced.” And then he told me they would search for it, and someone would call me back within 48 hours. Meanwhile…I need the package now. {Sigh.}

So now I’m not expecting the package at all. Almost every time something has been “misplaced,” it was actually “lost.” The only time something actually turned up was when I shipped a check overnight to my brother in Alabama. I’m not even sure that one counts, though, since it wasn’t coming to me. My brother did receive that check, but I’m convinced it actually turned up because it was “misplaced” in Montgomery, Alabama, and my brother sweet-talked the lady at the office there to actually look for it.

This is a long way of saying I’m not expecting to receive that package…ever. In the past six months, these companies have lost two dresses, some shoes, some reading glasses, and some t-shirts. None of it was a big deal, but dang it, I wanted the stuff I had paid for! And I even paid extra for faster shipping…so really, I wanted that money back too! And more than once, the other shipping company has promised me “call backs” or “refunds” that never happened. But my hands are tied! I can ruin my own day by continuing to call, or I can let it go. The stores always refunded the cost of the items or replaced them, so I just gave up on the shipping companies. Seriously, though, if they would just let me go through the bins in their warehouses or offices, I feel sure I could find those packages somewhere.

So last night, I reordered the gift I was expecting to be delivered. If the other one turns up (doubtful), I will return it for a refund. Since the store I ordered from is in California, I have to wait till 1:00 this afternoon (10:00am their time) to call them and let them know I haven’t received the original package.

Maybe it’s just the law of averages. Maybe I’m just Schleprock. I promise, I’m not having a pity party…I’m just letting folks know they’re not alone if it seems more of their shipments are being “misplaced” or “delayed.”

I know…first world problems. So…are you experiencing the same thing?

Maybe I’m Schleprock.