Some of you know Bella (my 9 year old St. Bernard), but for the rest…she’s seriously like the greatest dog EVER. We rescued her in L.A. from a puppy mill breeder that gave her to the pound because she didn’t sell fast enough and was the runt of the liter (yeah, I did say ‘the runt’.) Bella has never really chewed anything, never been a runner, never destroyed anything. Her biggest flaw (and at 125 lbs. you can hardly hold it against her) is that she’s totally clumsy.
A few months ago I was standing in the kitchen doing the dishes on a Wednesday night when water started leaking out of the toekick under my sink. A thorough investigation yielded no evidence of any leaks…but the smell of sewer water was a dead giveaway. Long story short, the plumbers came out the next day, did whatever it is that plumbers do, and basically said, ‘Lady, you’re screwed. Call your homeowner’s insurance.’ Turns out that 20 some years ago when my house was being built, whoever was piping the plumbing had an urge to get on with whatever was next in their day and left a drainage pipe wide open in my wall without an endcap. Fast forward 20 years to when the pipe clogs and destroys the wall and everything else around it requiring a major home renovation (I’m calling it my kitchen remodel because it makes me feel better.)
So after 11 backbreaking days of work (for the purposes of full disclosure, it’s mainly my doll of a husband and his contractor friend from Atlanta doing most of the ‘backbreaking’ stuff, but my back kind of does hurt just watching them) I’m sitting at my desk the other day grading papers when my husband blasts through the front door yelling ‘What the F is going on around here?’ Turns out he found Bella all the way down our very long street, and the carcass of a dead squirrel (DISGUSTING! And out of respect for your breakfast I am not posting pictures) delivered neatly like a package from FedEx to our front step.
After banishing the dog to the yard and sending my daughters out to do the dirty work of bathing her (what are kids for?) I realized that Bella, is probably just as off as we are around here these days. Human beings (and animals) are sensitive creatures, and sober human beings are especially sensitive. In fact the big book says our sensitivity can kill us. The best thing that happened for me in my early sobriety was that I got a sponsor who didn’t give a damn and said, “I don’t care how you feel, just do it anyway.” That kind of tough love sent me back to school. It taught me to pay my bills on time, to return phone calls, to show up for commitments.
It’s never about how I feel, I have to act right. That means not beating the dog when she brings home a dead squirrel. Sometimes acting right is hard for a person like me. My first instincts can be terrifying– I remember once asking a mom in my older’s daughter’s preschool, ‘Don’t you just want to sometimes throw them off the balcony? She was HORRIFIED. I realized that my instincts are sometimes not normal ones.
But over the years I’ve learned that there are big consequences (in the form of pain) for acting badly. So I’m trying to keep my cool around here these days…even though dirty dishes and clean ones are all mixed up in the dishwasher (since that’s the only place to put anything) and human food and pet food is mixed up in boxes sitting outside the kitchen, and I’ve fed my family canned, packaged and processed food for the last two weeks. It just won’t help to be a bitch to my husband. The freaking plumber who caused this disaster over a 50 cent part is long gone. It’s not God’s fault (this is such growth for me!) so literally there is no one to blame. It’s just life, and it’s incredibly stressful (and expensive!) sometimes. I just have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it, and try, try, try to remember that it is not all about me.