Faithful Companion. Pillow Stealer. One of a Kind.

Buster

Saturday night we made the gut wrenching decision to say goodbye to Buster. To say that we are heartbroken doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

While the decision was, thankfully, very clear in the end it does not take away from the absolute devastation that we are currently experiencing. I am speechless to describe how low we are feeling, and every sentence I type sounds so melodramatic. But the truth is this: it is the largest loss I have felt since my dad passed away, and I had forgotten how physical the pain of loss can be.

Grief is so non-linear, and it feels strange to be managing it amongst the minutiae of daily life. To be experiencing it side by side with the joys we are going through as parents to be.

Buster 2

Four years ago when Buster walked into our lives, I was not confident that I could take care of something that was so dependent. As his health problems escalated over the years, I not only developed confidence but I became almost dogged in my desire to give this dog the best life possible despite the poor genetic hand that he had been dealt. We were constantly searching for answers to his health problems, and while I knew we would find them someday, I didn’t think that it would be the same day that we had to say goodbye.

I am angry because we were hitting our stride as a family. While things were never “normal” with Buster, we had gotten to a place of effective management with all of his challenges. Food allergies. Environmental allergies. An autoimmune disorder. Chronic Ear Infections. Eye Lesions. Mouth Lesions. Nose Lesions. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. A mis-shapen stomach. All things we knew how to deal with. Make no mistake, we knew he was not going to be one of those dogs who lived to be 20 years old. It was inevitable that one day we would part ways, but I am angry that he was barely 8 years old, and this was the end of the road.

There was a point, about a year ago, where it began to feel like Buster was brought into our lives specifically to help demonstrate that we could, in fact, take care of something. We had both been cautiously considering trying to have a baby, and after surviving years of the team work required to address a dog with a number of special needs, we began to feel like “Ok, maybe we actually can take care of a human.” It feels bittersweet to know that Buster won’t be here to help usher in the baby that he helped us prepare for.

Buster 4

Over the years, unknowingly, we rearranged our lives for Buster. Never leaving him for too long. Learning to recognize his barks. Understanding the sounds and needs of his tiny little overworked body in an effort to anticipate the intervention it would need before a problem could escalate. I even joked with a friend recently how I ashamed I was that I would drive him to another neighborhood for walks (TWO BLOCKS AWAY) because it was quieter than ours and Buster could be skittish around cars, and no longer enjoyed walking down the one busy street it took to get there.

But it wasn’t really shame, actually. There was joy in that accommodation. Finding small things I could do to make his life more enjoyable or more surprising was such a simple form of happiness for me. For both of us. And it’s happiness that I am reminded of during so many parts of my day now, but then it is quickly replaced with a feeling of loss, like a punch in the gut. No longer needing to leave the lights or the tv on while running out to do an errand. No longer joking with him “Ok, buddy — Don’t buy anything on QVC while I’m gone” before heading off to work in the morning. No longer needing to look down before I put my feet on the floor first in the morning to make sure I’m not interrupting a snoring puppy. They were silent gifts that no longer have a recipient.

Buster 5

Where there was joy and love, it is now just quiet and empty. My house that was full of lightness and brightness a week ago all of a sudden feels dark and hollow all at once. It’s amazing how these habits came about so seamlessly that I honestly didn’t even realize we were going out of our way. It just felt like part of loving him. A love that he returned so unconditionally, every single day.

Our hearts have a permanent hole without him, and while I know from experience that we will get through this one day at a time, and that we will think more about the gift he was instead of about the loss we feel, right now it seems like we are at the bottom of a very steep mountain.

Buster 3

House Stuff, Baby Stuff, Dog Stuff

The objective this weekend was to relax and to decide on nursery furniture.

Buy Buy Baby

After two trips to IKEA, a trip to Buy Buy Baby, and helping a fellow dog walker save their dog from a rattlesnake bite while out on our leisurely Sunday stroll, I can tell you we only accomplished one of those things. Hey, at least we were productive? I guess I’ll relax when the baby gets here BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.

With a baby coming, we are very much in the process of purging crap from our house: clothes, books, random things, furniture. It’s fun, but purging leads to re-evaluating, re-evaluating sometimes leads to reorganizing, and then reorganizing leads to buying more stuff. I’m sure Marie Kondo is shaking her head.

But we have actually been quite happy with our progress. We’re getting rid of furniture that’s never really worked for us, addressing house issues that have been “on the to do list” for years because we all of a sudden have a fire under us to fix them, and doing some major re-structuring of space. All of this is normal, I think, when you are inviting a new person (and the necessary amount of baby-related crapola) into your house.

People keep telling us, “Oh you don’t need that much stuff” which I believe in theory, but the truth is — baby’s need some stuff. So we started with the major stuff this weekend. We plan to go pretty low key with the nursery mostly because we have to – the room is SUPER TINY. I wish I had a picture to show you. Wow, ok so I just spent an hour scrolling through tons of old photos and apparently I have never photographed that room in our house?

Other thoughts I had while scrolling: I would kill for my 2012 body composition right now. Seattle is beautiful. Time flies and kids grow so quick. Dang, I’m sad we aren’t going to Maui this year.

Hmmm…Ok, I will take a pic of that room soon even though it is currently filled with crap. I’ll make that happen.

Anyway, a little refresher on our living situation: we currently live in a 3 bedroom house (master, guest bedroom and office) and we’re going to leave it that way because it works for us. But we also have an annex (with a door) off our master bedroom that used to be Garrett’s “man cave/game room” that is now going to be the nursery. (RIP Man Cave. Well, I guess it will still be a man cave, but just for a squishy little baby man.)

House

We plan to move in the next year, so we think this little space will work perfectly, for now, so we want to outfit that room, but also buy some long term things. To say the least, it has posed some challenges: There is no closet, few walls (one wall has a door on it, one wall has a sliding door on it, one wall has oddly placed light switches) so this weekend we busted out our measuring tape and found a solution with some furniture that we hope will work.

baby shopping
Why don’t cribs come equipped with coffee cup holders, man?

I was set on a double wide dresser/changing table with a hutch for storage, since there will be very little storage in the room, and a crib at a minimum. We have a pretty massive walk in closet in our bedroom so I don’t mind sharing that with baby, and the doorway to it is right across from the future nursery so I think we’ll just hang whatever baby stuff we need to in the entry there for easy access. But you still want other fold-able baby clothes and supplies accessible by the changing table, hence: double wide dresser and hutch.

Here’s the nursery furniture we landed on, which I’m pleased with:
Nursery Furniture

Just the crib and dresser/hutch. We still have a glider to buy, and I may end up picking up that little nightstand-ish piece as well to keep by the glider just to store breast feeding “supplies” — I don’t know. This is all new to me. It’s the blind leading the blind here AND BUYING FURNITURE. Danger, Will Robinison!

Anyway, we ordered everything from the appropriately named Buy Buy Baby and now we just wait 4 months for it arrive. (WHO KNEW this stuff takes so long? :))

In other news this weekend I also had a small breakdown over unpasteurized cheese. I don’t miss alcohol really at all. But what I miss dearly are HOT TUB HOT scalding baths, and unpasteurized cheese. I may have shed a tear or two about it this weekend. Alone. While grocery shopping. Awesome.

I’ve found I am getting super good and shedding lots of tears about random things lately. We watched Draft Day recently and I cried during the first five minutes. For no reason, and couldn’t stop. (The NFL Draft — SO EMOTIONAL?) And a couple weekends ago I was so frustrated at how frustrated I was, I just cried about it. Seemed reasonable. Although when Garrett asked what initially frustrated me, I couldn’t actually pin point it. These pregnancy hormones are really no joke. :)

Walking B

I spent most of Sunday crying though, because I had a sort of traumatic experience. We took Buster for a walk because it was a gorgeous day and as we were heading back to our car I noticed an elderly guy coming up behind us and carrying his dog. My spidey-sense sort of went off, seeing as people are usually walking their dogs, and right as I started to think that something might be up — he yelled to us asking if we had a car because his dog had been bit by a rattlesnake.

Everything happened so fast, but we ran to my car (score — pregnant and out of shape, I can still hustle!), I left Garrett and Buster to fend for themselves a bit, and we got this guy and his dog into my car and took off for the closest emergency vet clinic. The dog was howling and in so much pain, and the guy was just hysterical in the back seat consoling his dog and saying “Please Esther, don’t die” and the entire time I felt absolutely calm. But the second we got them to the vet clinic (Thank GOD it was open!) and the dog was in being treated, I just started sobbing and couldn’t get it together most of the day. Adrenaline + pregnancy hormones are a real combo.

We took a trip to IKEA later that afternoon to pick up MORE FURNITURE (omg) and I couldn’t keep it together there — every time I thought about sweet little Esther, and her scared owner it I just got so sad. It just went on all day, reliving it. I was just out! in the world! crying at the drop of a hat. JEEZ LOUISE.

GOOD NEWS THOUGH: Garrett and I did stop by the vet clinic later on in the afternoon just to inquire about the dog (she was a fluffy little Australian Shepherd type mix just about Buster’s size, so I was very worried) but they said that she was alive and recovering, and only paralyzed in her leg where she got the bite and that even that may be temporary. That made me feel a little bit better, but honestly I just teared up writing about this, so I’m still shaken. Again: Pregnancy Hormones, NO JOKE.

On a happier note, we assembled our new media stand from IKEA the same afternoon (and by “we” I mean Garrett). My own personal version of hell is a 40 page long instruction booklet from IKEA, no unpasteurized cheese, and no booze in a piping hot bubble bath afterward, so I just couldn’t really be of help. šŸ˜›

ikea stuff

But in the meantime, I was able to perfectly captured Buster’s GIVE ME THAT TREAT IN YOUR HAND face while this was all going on. So that was a win. :)

Buster

So tell me a good story: What did you get up to?

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