Everything’s (Not) Happening

Hi everybody. Wow. It’s been a minute. Well, it’s been a few months but it might as well have been a few decades. Every day is a long time lately.

My job wrapped up right before Thanksgiving, and Sam and I decided to take a quick post-turkey trip to Maui. Right before we left, Sam Adams took a real turn in the kidney department. On a Tuesday, we were told he had a year left. By Friday (Black Friday, and bitter cold), we had to put him to sleep. And then Monday we were in Hawaii. Whiplash.

So obviously that sucked. We loved the guy and thought he was younger and we’d have more time with him. (And apparently a lot of dogs die RIGHT before vacation. Weird, right?)

So we spent the trip missing him like crazy, doing beach stuff and eating. FYI, the Hawaiian grocery store Foodland rules. Their Spam musubi is good. It turns out I like Spam?! (Which may prove useful in the coming weeks!)

Back at home, we dove back into fostering so Charlie wouldn’t be lonely, but he seemed really sad. At first we thought he was mourning, then we thought it was his back — and found out in the process of various tests that he was probably ALSO older than we thought (based on his PEE?!). Joy. But then he started bumping into things…

Well, it turns out Charlie has SARDS, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. It’s rare, so he’s special. There are all these experimental procedures you can do, but after much hand-wringing we decided to let Charlie adjust to being blind without putting him through medical interventions.

To recap: We have always worried about his back. And then he just randomly went blind. PLOT TWIST.

Remember that song from the late 1990s, Everyone’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)? I used to think about this line a lot, and lately I think about it even more, because… it’s not wrong.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.

Honestly, having fostered a bunch of blind dogs, and having recently dealt with Sam Adams’ death, I think we took it in stride? (Other than the natural WTF NOT ANOTHER SICK DOG SO SOON feeling.) But I also have this feeling that I gave up on any preconceived timeline or… sense of hope about things? But that sounds maybe worse than it is. It’s just like… sometimes things don’t work out, no matter what you do. Period.

The kicker is — most SARDS dogs die of kidney failure. Which feels like cruel fate after our first little kidney beast died that way, but hopefully a cruel fate that’s at least a few years away.

There are other details here, like how Sam Adams had the best in-home vet on his final day (like SO GOOD, if you ever need one), and how the other SARDS-dog owners we found online who seemed most bent on finding a cure seemed the least happy, but I could have instrospected here more if I hadn’t decided to jam all this info together months after the fact.

So anyway, after Charlie went blind we went a little YOLO and decided to FINALLY book a trip to Japan, mostly on credit card points. Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kyoto. Yokohama (you might know it as THE CRUISE SHIP PORT) specifically because they have a great baseball team, and beyond that we were looking at food tours and museums and maybe even Tokyo DisneySea. But, you know, mostly very excited about food.

We even booked this ryokan in Kyoto that was going to make us a kaiseki meal, to be eaten in our room in fancy robes. I mean, you can’t take those credit card points with you, you know?

(I know, it sounds like we’re these crazy traveling fools because I’ve mentioned TWO trips in one post, but we’re really not, don’t judge us — unless you want to trade all your dogs getting sick with us.)

We knew that coronavirus was out there,  causing problems in China, but while we were booking I kept saying — by late March this will have blown over or it’ll be a BIG DEAL. I fully expected the former, but joked to our pet sitter that we’d rather be quarantined at home with Charlie than quarantined in Japan. (He ALSO would rather be quarantined with Charlie, he’s still telling me.)

A few weeks ago we seriously starting thinking that we should cancel the trip. Then Japanese baseball got postponed. Then Japanese Disneyland closed. Then AMERICAN baseball got postponed. Then WORLDWIDE Disney parks closed. And things have escalated quickly from there. As of today, bars and restaurants in California are a no-go.

This is honestly like — not a scenario I’ve ever pictured. I grew up here, so I worried about earthquakes. But a pandemic? A run on toilet paper and groceries? Was not on my radar, really.

Anyway, I guess I decided it’s time to put a few things on the record, because if I’m in quarantine (self or mandated) I’m probably going to want to document it just a bit. Maybe here, maybe Instagram, maybe a real paper journal. Maybe a combo.

The thing that always grounds me is food. When we decided to cancel our trip I started eating a lot of our local Japanese flavors — ramen, matcha, sushi, etc. And now that we’re gonna be cooped up I’m just in general zeroing in on my snacks.

Last Monday I went to Trader Joe’s and kind of musing about the idea of quarantine (my friend Allison was already IN IT in Italy), I threw some white cheddar popcorn in my basket. That’s my Christmas Eve go-to treat when I know I might not go to the store for a few days and I want a little treat.

Over the next few days as Sam and I mostly stayed in and watched a lot of Bosch, I had time to think about the snacks I WISHED we had, in these anxious times.

Yesterday (Saturday, less than a week later), the threat of quarantine looming much closer, I went back to Trader Joe’s (which had been ransacked, restocked, and depleted but was strangely not too crowded when I peeked in) and really went to town — cheese puffs, pretzels, green tea mochi, matcha latte mix, peanut butter cups, dried apricots, jelly beans, licorice…

I read that the elote chips are really good for dipping, but they seemed TOO DECADENT to just buy on a normal occasion. But now? Into the basket, along with some salsa that I was worried would be too spicy, and some Greek yogurt guacamole because I felt like that might mitigate the spice. Honestly in normal times I’d look down on a YOGURT-BASED guac but there was one left so at least it seemed… popular? (And I think it’ll last longer than pure avocado, which goes bad IMMEDIATELY.)

Btw I walked to and from TJ’s IN THE RAIN. Yes, on top of everything else it’s been raining kind of endlessly in Los Angeles. NOTHING IS NORMAL.

I had some leftover tortillas and Mexican cheese and made a quesadilla and ate it with my salsa-and-guac-esque condiments and it was actually really good and I was like, I am SO Southern California. As long as I’ve got a taste of avocado, I’ll be okay.

Anyway, what the fuck am I talking about?

What matters and what doesn’t at a time like this, you know?

I’d gotten into ClassPass (like, I was doing SPIN — who am I? — and reformer Pilates, though sometimes disastrously) but now we’re not supposed to go to the gym, but also I keep thinking that if I gain back the 20 pounds I lost maybe it will get me through if I get sick?? Silver linings???

Oh and also I got a manager, like this week! Congratulations to me, this is the craziest fucking timeline. Thank goodness he gave me some tasks to work on so I can work from home with the rest of the world this week.

Oh, and when Sam made HIS grocery run he brought back some gems as well — Bagel Bites, fish sticks (which I like but we’ve NEVER bought in adulthood), canned ravioli (which makes me laugh but let’s be honest I’d probably like), and 6 boxes of Cracker Jacks because “baseball will return.”

That makes me think of the end of a Marvel movie. The Avengers will return. Ha.

And maybe I’ll return here, sooner than usual. Empty threats.

In the meantime — stay well, everyone. Pet a dog if you can. Squeeze their little meaty thighs.

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