Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Underbelly

I'm fast becoming one of the world's worst women.

Without the melodrama, let's just say I have my moments. And sometimes they last hours. Days.

Not only did I consider leaving my adopted cat behind while I move to Florida for the only reason of what do I do before her litter box arrives (apparently pet stores do exist outside the valley), but I left my dog in 110 degree heat for three days. The biggest user conference of the year for my mapping software employer occurred this week. And in the hustle to grab supplies from work, pack, and set up some timed blog posts and tweets, I pawned my dog off at the last minute--just swing by midday Wednesday for a food and water fill. Didn't check the weather. Didn't follow up with the poor sap. I get a text message mid-GIS for trail management session from husband. The neighbor called. She's been hearing Butters whine for two nights. She slipped in the gate to check on her. No water. It's so hot out. She takes Butters in.

Thoughtless, thoughtless woman I am.

I take the early bus home from the San Diego Convention Center, back to Redlands. I listen to another employee suffering from food poisoning or God knows what else in the bus bathroom, retching for a good 45 minutes. My mind runs over the early morning phone call I got from the moving company that's scheduled to come out in a week and half and pack up our possessions. I remember a friend's suggestion to bring over and inventory other people's expensive stuff. A second laptop. An extra mountain bike. It's gone! I need reimbursement. Tsk, tsk. Bad, Aly.

I keep drifting back anxiously to thoughts of Butters sunburnt and dehydrated and lonely. Her eyes aflame from her allergies. I find more guilt with how I'm waiting until her final physical before flying to pick up some fucking allergy medicine for her since everyone likes to add to my guilt by pointing out that her eyes are so darn red. Is that right one a little swollen? She's so timid, I bet she was abused. Sign. No! She's just shy. It's her personality. Good god, people. Oh wait, right. Wretched pet mom with a short fuse, that's me.

At home I race to the neighbor's. A warm and friendly face and three happy dogs greet me at her door, Butters among them. She's alive!!! After a plethora of thanks yous and understanding comments from a surprisingly angelic neighbor (I didn't know those existed), I realize maybe finding a lover of dogs who weigh over 10 pounds is the key.

While I let Butters gulp down fresh water, wipe sweat off my upper lip, and shove my bags in my bedroom, I contemplate giving the abused pup a bath with the cold hose water in the backyard. I lean against the kitchen counter and rub my neck muscles, soar from computer life. Then Dot barfs. On the stove. All in the grate that sits atop the big left burner. I'm starting to tear up. I want to call husband immediately and complain and maybe scream a little and cry. I want to scream at myself for almost giving into that bad decision that only draws the love of my life into a can't say anything right Web. So I just cry. Hard for 30 seconds. Then I drag Butters into a cold shower with me.

When we reappear, clean and cool, the barf is gone. Dot ate it all back up. Super.

Only a fewNo one was drawn into the underbelly of my day. And now I can curl up and blog about San Diego with the Crystal Light pitcher I down every week and two pets whose lives are in my hands, and whose lives I will try my best not to screw up.

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My world is changing. ESRI is now Esri and pronounced Ez-ree. I'm beginning to find another hole of depression where all the Ezree coworkers that I do adore are going to go when I move. I'm trying to realize permanently that some people will just never like me. And to them, I say the words of my Indian friend, "Get a hike!" But to take a break from the dance of professionalism and friendship, quitting and moving, left behind and wonderment of the future--to forget about a day full of sessions and walking miles and miles around a too cold convention center and too hot Map Gallery--a mish mash of colleagues at about equal levels on the corporate totem pole, head to a diner across the street in the Gaslamp District.

We pig out on nachos and mac'n cheese, sandwiches and eggs. We all luck out except for my Indian whose Caesar salad (pronounced 'Kaiser' to him) has chewy chicken and yet cost the most of everyone's meal. We must not let this get us down; we must move on to the next place and hope for the best. Atop a downtown hotel, rounds are bought, we sit by fires and throw ice and watch it sizzle and melt. I learn the difference between an amaretto sour and a Midori sour. Dr. Pepper or lemonade from Tatooine. We are determined to have a good time. We want to fall asleep in our hotel beds having forgotten the dark side of a day's work; it's work.
Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Awards 2010; editing 158 award winner Web pages over two months culminates in this ceremony.

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