I’m housesitting, hence the title.
Super place, on a huge orchard. My dog gets to tag along. Hot tub, sauna, gym. Did I mention hot tub, who needs a gym? Sweet dogs, bad cat. Perfectly green, weed free grass, water feature, garden...of the vegetable and flower variety. SUPER sharp kitchen knives that empower me with instant cooking ability and know how, a miracle...since I don’t cook. A shower head that only reaches my collar bone in the guest bathroom (and no, I’m not freakishly tall. A modest 5’8” if I fully inhale and think tall). Oh, and that whole wireless keyboard to your gigantic flat screen TV that has now magically become your computer!?!? WHAT? I need to get out more.
Anyway, the perfect kind of place for MVAR (motor vehicle accident recovery, of course). Did I mention the hot tub has a recliner? Ok, I’m back. They have a housekeeper, I think she comes about every two weeks. Now, in the past...I have cleaned up the house before the housekeeper arrives. You know, to be polite. Not look like a slob, or to be called out by housekeeping for being the dirty little pig I am. Well, pig might be a smidge harsh. But, you get me. Because this is simply what nice people do.
So here’s the thing: I’m feeling much better post Steve McQueen movie try outs the other day. I’m 100% capable of cleaning up my mess. I could get up, out of bed, right now...if I wanted to, and help out. But I don’t. I just don't feel like doing it. It’s late, I’m tired. The kitchen is ALL the way down the hall. My little dog has already been lulled to sleep with her nightly lullaby of my typing, I’d hate to disturb her doggy slumber. And, I think my leg might be asleep...and it would be unsafe to travel such a distance on a dead leg. I believe these are all REALLY good excuses, but, the single most important factor in my decision: I want to see if it’s fun! I bet it is. Real fun. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, AND I drank the last of their PBR tonight! These are great folks!!
In the blink of an eye. In an instant. Before I knew it. All of a sudden (happy Abs?!). I hear people say things like this all the time. Now I’m in the club. I had a really close call this afternoon on my way home from work. Here’s how it went down...
1:15pm, driving home from work, four lane highway. I’m in the left hand lane behind a crappy little tan colored car. I’m doing 55 mph, and am a good distance behind the car ahead of me. The car in front of me throws a bunch of trash, candy wrappers, a paper cup...and handful of junk, out of the window. Rude right?! I mean, you don’t just throw shit out of your car window. This isn’t St. Thomas after all. It’s simply not ok to be that gross. This is beautiful, green Oregon; DON’T LITTER! A few minutes after the trash confetti, this person’s car begins to creep over into the right hand lane. No blinker. It BARELY squeezes in between two vehicles in that lane. So, at this point, I’m convinced that this driver is not only a littering non-recycler, but a really big ass. But he keeps going, onto the shoulder. So now I’m thinking he is having some kind of emergency and is needing to pull over in a hurry. But no, he doesn’t stop. He drives through a shallow ditch and starts back up the other side. At this point I have no idea what the hell is going on, but now I’m worried. I certainly don’t want to see this litter bug wreck right in front of me. I lay on the horn in hopes of, well, I don’t really know what I was hoping. It just seemed like the thing to do. In a split second his car came shooting back out of the ditch and narrowly missed the front of my car. I slammed on the brakes. Litter bugs car goes spinning out of control into the center lane, making two full circles. The car was actually on ONLY two wheels at one point, when it was making the second circle...and I thought for sure it was going to start rolling, across all lanes, into oncoming traffic. It didn’t. The car landed back on all four tires and headed directly for me. Again, I slammed on my brakes and braced myself for what was sure to be a terrible impact. The air was filled with a combination of his black tire smoke and dust still settling from the previous off road excursion. I can feel every muscle in my body tightly, my antilock brakes grabbing and releasing trying to slow my car down. I can see this other driver with crystal clear, slow motion type vision. Young, mid twenties. No shirt, muscular, tan, but with a slight sun burn. Dark hair, shaved in a military style buzz. Our vehicles collided. The front passenger side of his car hit my front drivers side. Yet the impact felt somehow soft. Cushioned. Like the bumper cars you ride at the fair when you are a kid. I try to get out of my car but can’t as my seat belt has locked up. I looked in my rear view mirror to see if I was about to get hit from behind, and see a handful of cars all braking and swerving to avoid hitting me and each other. I look back out the windshield just in time to see this guy, the other driver, back up AND TAKE OFF! The bastard just drove away! In a hurry! Still unable to get out of my car I drive over onto the shoulder of the road. My seat belt releases, finally, when I turn my car off. I jump out and head further onto the shoulder to start dry heaving. Sorry, graphic I know, but true. There is a white car backing down the highway on the shoulder. It’s the car that was in the rear when this guy drifted through their lane. An older man with a huge red beard starts running down the road towards me, yelling for me to sit down and asking me if I’m ok. I’m shaking something fierce. He says to me, “Look at your car”! “I saw that guy hit you...and LOOK at your car”! I turn around and look at my car for the first time. I almost passed out. BARELY A SCRATCH! Seriously, a teensy sliver of red painted fiberglass, no bigger than a shred of paper is hanging from my bumper. This man’s wife jumps out of the driver side of their car and comes rushing toward me, sobbing hysterically with a handful of tissues pressed to her face, and hugs me tighter than I think I’ve ever been hugged. She is way more upset than I am at this point. She’s talking so fast and frantically that I can barely understand her. She says, “When that guy drifted in front of our car he looked like he was completely asleep or passed out. We watched the whole thing happen and thought for sure you both wouldn’t make it considering how fast your car’s were going when you hit”. She asks me again if I am ok, and then excuses herself saying she needs to go sit down. Her husband, who had been holding me up practically, let go of me to go inspect my car. He checked all the tires and got down on his hands and knees, head shaking in disbelief, as he inspected the lack of damage to my car. He walked back over to me, put his hand on my back and asked me if I was ready to go. I told him no, that I needed a few minutes to calm down, and thanked him for his kindness. He said, that he would stay there with me until I was ready to get back into my car. We stood there for probably two minutes in total silence, him with his arm around me, until I said I thought I was ready to go. He made me wait for all passing traffic, and then helped me into my car, reminding me to drive careful. My car is a wreck on the inside. Not that it was super clean to begin with...but all sorts of things have found their way onto the dash, my purse is wedged up under the glove box on the passenger side, my freshly made green apple smoothie from Dutch Bros splattered across the interior. I put my seat belt on and just sat there for another five minutes. And just like that, it was over. Everyone had left, and I was alone in my car wondering what the hell had just happened.
It’s crazy how much stuff ones mind is capable of processing in only a few seconds. I mean, this whole event COULDN’T have lasted more than five seconds from the time his car came shooting back out of the ditch and into traffic. No, my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Yet, I remember thinking...I’m going to wreck. This is going to be bad. I wonder how bad it’s going to hurt to get hit in the face with an airbag. Man, my dash is dusty. Why isn’t my car slowing down fast enough? What is that terrible noise? I wonder if my family will sneak Zipper into the hospital to see me? I still owe fifteen thousand dollars on this car! How will my family reach Andrew in Afghanistan to let him know I’ve been in an accident?
So, it’s been nearly ten hours since the accident, and the soreness is starting to set in. My braking leg feels like it ran a marathon on it’s own from pressing so hard on the brakes. Both arms and upper back are killing me from bracing for the impact. And, I have one hell of a migraine from all the instant stress I’m sure. But what’s hurting the most...I feel like no one believes me. I don’t know what I expect necessarily, but an un-ruffled “Oh man, are you serious?” isn’t it. My own father didn’t even want to talk to me about it once he found out that my car wasn’t totaled. “Well, you couldn’t have gotten into a wreck if you’re car isn’t totaled Brandy.” How could I and WHY would I make this up?! I can kind of understand why no one believes me, considering there is practically no damage whatsoever to my car. But I can’t explain it. I’m no accident scene mathematician...but common sense tells me that, considering all the variables, neither one of us should have walked away (let alone drove) from this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful beyond all belief, but I simply don’t understand why this wasn’t worse. I mean, the whole thing happened in an instant...but I’m pretty sure I would have noticed if Edward Cullen himself zipped in to cushion the impact (sorry, I’m a Twilight fan and not afraid to admit it) of our vehicles colliding!
Call it what you will...divine intervention, luck, a miracle, a super resilient fiberglass bumper from Mazda...or, call me a liar. I don’t know. I’m just grateful to be sitting here on my bed, albeit sore, typing this blog entry. And even more grateful that I didn’t have Zipper with me. What a way to end a shitty week.
Last week was what any veterinary professional would refer to as typical. Business was feast or famine...depending on the day. There were a few of the usual no money, super sick pet cases, the kind where you get blamed for the pets illness and their lack of ability to pay. The super sensitive middle aged female owner of an out of control seven month old dog, who equated my delicately worded statement on pursuing additional training as animal abuse (clearly she NEVER watches Animal Planet if she thinks constructive conversation qualifies as abuse) and made sure a fellow coworker knew she did not think my skills were a “good fit”. A pair of story problem owners, where it takes a calculator, dry erase board and a visual mind mapping scenario to explain to them that the cost of a forty dollar bag of cat food every two months is MUCH less expensive than twice yearly visits to the veterinary hospital to remove bladder stones...not to mention the pain and suffering of said feline. I don’t care how much he LOVES Friskies ma’am...HE COULD DIE! A surgery or two, a few dental cleanings, plenty of vaccinations, a staff meeting, and an adequate number of puppies, kittens and super friendly and adorable patients to keep it all balanced. Oh, and I had to fish my glasses out of the toilet; it’s a long story.
The real shattering moment (literally) came first thing on Friday morning, when while trying to be helpful, I broke one of my bosses most prized possessions. Sigh. I opened a cupboard in the break room, to assist a fellow coworker with her morning kick start of Ibuprofen. From the very top shelf, a huge stack of paper plates saw an opportunity to escape and came barreling down onto the counter. Well, they didn’t hit the counter, they hit an empty coffee cup; sending it to its demise on the cement floor. No big deal right? It’s just a coffee cup, and as it was turning over and over in slow motion on its way to the floor I noticed it had a credit union logo on it, so I’m thinking, “Great, nobody has a special credit union mug”. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Having heard the explosion, and trust me it was, my boss walks around the corner from her office and fixes her gaze upon the pile of ceramic dust that was once a coffee cup. She turned a pale shade of grey in the face. I bend down to pick up half of the handle and a bottom piece of the cup (the only two sizable pieces left) and by the time I stand up the rest of the staff has gathered around the freshly cremated coffee cup. While I glance around at the crowd I have drawn, my boss utters these words; “That was the most expensive coffee cup I have ever bought”. I lose it...with hysterical laughter. It was just a credit union mug after all, and I’m certain she is being overly dramatic just to see me panic. She then says, “No really, it was. Seven years ago when I did the hospital remodel and addition, I was given that cup from my loan officer. Its a (was) half million dollar coffee cup”. Still laughing, I look at her face and quickly realize that she is quite serious...and not laughing, at all. Shit. I glance around one more time at my fellow coworkers, practice manager, boss, bosses dog and resident cat who have also joined the makeshift circle of remembrance, and realize that I am all the sudden in the middle of what is best described as an impromptu funeral. The solemn expressions of a group united to mourn the loss of something dear sends a shiver of panic down my spine and I am nauseated with the following thought; I haven’t even passed my ninety day new hire probationary period yet! My boss silently helped me remove the carnage from the accident scene, and tried to make me feel better by acknowledging that it was “just a cup”. A tremendously sentimental cup that once held the promise of prosperity, now just a painful memory.
As I see it, the only form of repentance I have at this point is to find an identical replacement. Mission nearly impossible. The dark blue, gold embossed coffee mug replacement eluded me this weekend...but not for long. I don’t care if I have to personally visit every credit union, Goodwill and garage sale within a two hundred mile radius, I have to find this cup!! On the plus side, yep...I found one, this unfortunate event did inspire some creative energy within, and I was able to come close to capturing the sorrow with the photographic equivalent of this weeks loss.
Thrilled to finally be working again, and making regular bank deposits, it’s time I start looking for my own place. My parents have been gracious about me (and my dog and two cats) crashing with them...but I feel like the flashing “no vacancy” sign is about to get flipped on. Fair enough. I’ve been home for just over four months, it’s go time. So, here is what I own. Three pets, one chair, a random assortment of kitchen items, a shower curtain, a bed frame (no mattress) and six full bottles of Cruzan rum from the Caribbean. Oh, and a string of rope lights. So, I think I’m set! I had more belongings when I moved away from home at 17 just out of high school. Sigh. Oh well, this was all part of the process. The controlled loss of selling everything I owned to facilitate my big move to St. Thomas. The good news, I get to get all new stuff...eventually.
So what am I looking for? Grass. Someplace with grass for Zipper. I feel like it’s time to forego the apartment listings...and look for something a little bigger. Well, maybe not bigger, but more separate. While I think kids are great, well, that’s not true. Most kids. Nope, not there yet, SOME kids are great...I would prefer to not have them and their training wheels squeaking past my windows in a continuous back and forth pattern until way past their bed time. I need a place where twenty-five plus neighbors don’t know that I have set off my smoke alarm for the third time in a week trying to make dinner. A place that may entice me to stay a while.
So, that’s my mission. End of September is the deadline. Perhaps, along with perfect planetary alignment, I can make this possible. Because I have to be honest, living with the rents, out of suitcases, in my half room (along with three pets) is not super conducive to dating. Well, that...and the current circumference of my waist. Three jobless months really took it’s toll on the thinner, more tan Brandy that arrived in Oregon a short while ago. Again, sigh.
Since making my first post, I’ve been considering something that was reaffirmed by a good friend of mine and I think he’s right. I think we create ourselves, not find ourselves. So on with the creating! Tomorrow that is. The rest of this evening will be spent with an ice cold Mr. Pibb, fresh out of the dryer sheets, Van Damme’s Kickboxer (digitally remastered on Blu-Ray of course) on the lap top and Zipper...squeaking her crab at the foot of the bed. I know right?! But it’s true...no blog affectation here...I simply am that cool.
Ok, here it goes. My first ever blog post. The mere thought of this has kept me paralyzed with fear for weeks. Funny, considering there is absolutely nothing riding on this. Nothing. I’ll be buying my one faithful follower a latte for her review, other than that, it’s just a novel starting place for a new journal. So, for this first post, I’d like to start by giving a smidge of information about me and what brought me to this point.
I’m 30 (all right...almost 32), single, freshly relocated back to Oregon...and most fun of all...a bit crazy. I’ve had more than my fair share of jobs, everything from tree farm worker to nanny. Sales to retail, and have even occupied my own three walled cubicle in a matrix of other worker bees. Currently, I’m a certified veterinary technician. I’ve been in Veterinary medicine for the past eight years, but couldn’t make any promises as to this being my final career.
In summary, this is just the beginning. The beginning of the journey to find myself. And I think you sometimes have to take a good look back and around...to really figure out where you are today and where you are headed. A promise of Pulitzer prize winning writing...is one I cannot make. But I can promise an eventful, at times hysterical-albeit with laughter or tears, look at what it takes to truly discover yourself and the world around you at thirty (something).
July of last year I decided to make a radical change. Embark on the solo right of passage known to many as “finding themselves”. I had awoken one day to find my current situation quite drab, uneventful and stagnate at best. It was most definitely time for a change, time to hit the reset button on my environment, employment, attitude, company I kept and my perspective. I had a gut feeling that change was not optional, but required, a feeling so strong I had to choice but to follow it. I had plans of grandeur, I’d write a new chapter of seismic proportion...this plan didn’t include barely surviving the apocalyptic nightmare it turned out to be. Anyway, by October of that year, I was exiting a tiny plane into the hot, humid air of the Caribbean. Feeling the heat of the tarmac through my shoes and the scorch of a sun so close on my face. With legs trembling from excitement, fear and jet lag; I made my way into the Cyril E. King airport of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands with Zipper, my tiny best friend and canine travel companion in tow. I had accepted a position as a veterinary technician with one of the three small animal clinics on island, and was ready to start advocating for pets and focusing on my larger goals all the while surrounded by palm trees, white sandy beaches and the neon blue ocean. Ready to find myself, I was full of optimism and thought this island would be a great place to do it.
What I didn’t know, is that St. Thomas wouldn’t BE the chapter as much as it would be a catapult. A starting place for this journey of self discovery. While I knew veterinary medicine would be different in the Caribbean, sub par to all I have known, I made sure to keep an open mind. Believing that they would practice the best medicine with the tools, technology and staff that was available. What I didn’t know, is that I had just accepted employment with quite possibly the worlds most cantankerous and crusty veterinarian still in practice. Time moved painfully slow as I quickly discovered that the only real duties I was entrusted with were re-sterilizing syringes that must have been decades old and picking freshly boiled chicken off the carcass for the in hospital patients. Day after day drug by while I dodged the vulgar verbal bullets of my new employer. Realizing this job was not conducive to my goals, let alone sanity, I jumped ship in hopes of less abusive employment. The cruel and unusual punishment of this job lasted just over two months, and I went on to make my island living with several other part time jobs. But, more on St. Trauma (I mean St. Thomas) later, for now let me get you up to speed. Said catapult landed me right back where I started, nearly seven months later, in Oregon. Only this time, I was jobless, hopeless, tired, beat down...a veritable grab bag of emotions. However, I was remarkably tan (for a pacific northwestern Irish girl that is). I had literally sold everything I owned, winter coats included, to make this pivotal move to the Caribbean. So upon my reentry into the real world, I had nothing. Nothing but an ever faithful pooch, three suitcases full of sand covered and salt water stained clothing, two or three friends that anticipated my return, a chest full of heart ache and broken dreams and thankfully, a set of parents who graciously accepted me with open arms...and approximately half of a spare bedroom.
So the real chapter writing starts here. Now I have no plan, I have to improv. Most importantly, I need to come up with something constructive and witty to say to people when they ask me what my plan is! Something that says, “I am totally in control of this situation”. That...was too much work. I stayed in bed. For a long time. I had one veterinary interview that held potential, but unfortunately it also had a creepy air about the place. I passed. And so did the weeks. Weeks and weeks of nothing...and the Lifetime Movie Network. Finally, a hit. I turned on my parents DVR (to record all the Lifetime Movies I was about to miss of course) and took a short break to “work” for a convicted felon (unbeknownst to me I assure you) selling fake wellness plans to veterinary clinics. That lasted less than two weeks before I had to call it quits. This boss was quickly turning out to be as crazy as my last. Shady and secretive about the details of his company, but a smooth talker. So smooth in fact, that he had me absolutely convinced this “job” was a real deal...and all I had to do was “sell, sell, sell”. The details that I was asking for would come later, he said. “Two more days”, his most famous line. Obviously later, after my resignation, I found out about the above mentioned details concerning his character and work ethics. Thank god I never actually made any wellness plan sales, I tremor at the thought of the mess I would have been into. All that said, it was quite hysterical to see his mug shot on a popular veterinary website, calling him out on his unethical behaviors, several weeks after I quit.
So back to the couch I went. Depression compounded by yet another failure. HGTV was my poison of choice this time around. Although a permanent indentation of my ass still occupies my parents sofa directly across, front and center, from the television...I’m confident that I can create my entire next apartment out of tin foil, used egg cartons, a few great Goodwill finds and one can of spray paint. My resume would take me two weeks to revamp. I figure I rewrote it at the rate of approximately two sentences per day. Why rush? I wanted it to be perfect. And then, it started to rain. Two job offers, immediately after the republication of my work history. Perfect! But, wait...now I had a choice. I have never had a choice before. This was hard. Way more difficult that I thought it would be. Two veterinary practices on opposite ends of the spectrum. In the city; in the county. High tech; modest. Thirty plus employees; three. How was I going to decide? I wasn’t, my gut was. Even after the St. Thomas fiasco, I still had enough trust in instinct to go with my gut. So I did. I bought a Carhartt travel coffee mug and took the job in the country.
I couldn’t be more happy that I did! I honestly didn’t know veterinary medicine could feel like this following my most recent experience. Maybe I’m just looking at things through a fresh set of eyes, after witnessing the atrocity of veterinary medicine on the island. I’m not sure. But either way, it’s amazing. My boss is one of the sweetest women I have ever met. I have seen her kiss every one of her patients (except for a bouncy boxer or a disgruntled declawed cat) on the head and tell them she loves them during their physical exam. And you know what, I believe her. I can see it on her face. In the way she cares for these pets and speaks with their owners. It’s amazing, and so heartwarming. When I returned home, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to continue with veterinary medicine, but I am so glad that I gave it another chance. My passion for the field has been restored. I feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself, and am contributing to the greater good. I’m back in business, saving the world...one dog (and cat) at a time!