Firefly

I lived in an exoskeleton of
cynicism, sarcasm, pride
entirely closed off to harsh winds
sharper words
not letting my gooey center out
not letting matter in

And
I wish I found out sooner
that life begins with underbelly exposure,
with squishiness of uncomfortability,
with pins and palm needles of unsuredness
and not with The. Perfect. Plan.

I wish I had discovered earlier that
my firefly moments-
intense sudden bursts of brightness that last moments of breath-
were what built the illuminating glow of summer
that the more I recognized tiny twinkles of lights
the less terrifying night would seem
the less horrifying forests could seem
the less frightening loss should be

I wish I had learned that sometimes
backwards motion is forward momentum
that missteps could be dance steps
that lost paths are new trails
that failing gracefully isn’t failure

I wish I had known to follow that belly instinct of truth
and be a firefly.

After Covid-19

I didn’t find bugs before.
I didn’t take in leaves, branches, blooms
in front of Windows,
beside the roads.
Before.

I didn’t know squirrels before or
chipmunks,
didn’t watch daily theatrics of crows, chickadees, hawks
unfold in front lawn branches.
Before.

I didn’t nod
along to rhythms
of my neighborhood, relying on changing sounds
of outside to keep time.
Before.

I didn’t smell
buds of spring, each a different sweet.
Before.

I didn’t taste air, my palate
distinguishing flavors – savory petrichor, sour humidity.
Before.

I didn’t feel weight of hugs,
electricity of high-fives,
snap of kissed cheeks.

Before.

An ode to the lone Chinese fortune cookie on top of the microwave

Your plastic wrapping crinkles
each time I move and move and move
you again,
attempting to find your ideal place-
out of the way but still at the forefront of our minds.

You will never be eaten, only relocated
until we deem it to have been
“too long”
or we explore whether we
“even really like these”
or we
“can’t even remember when we ordered.”

But the fortunes you bring will not
go unread,
merely discarded after months of existing
as a seemingly necessary kitchen fixture.

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Week 3

Mozzie’s Journal:

Mom and Dad have been awesome and let me hang around without the cone on. Sometimes. Sometimes they say, “No licking” over and over and then put the cone back on. It’s really a crapshoot and I have yet to figure out any sort of rhyme or reason to their methods.

Since the cone is mostly off, I am obviously mostly free so I try to take off running any chance I can and unless Mom or Dad stand in front of me, I like to leap down the 2 steps from the front door to the lawn. I still refuse to use the ramp Mom bought because it is weird and Mom obviously wants me to use it. Her wants do not dictate my actions, thank you. She must have a treat in her hand for that crap to work.

All of the sudden, I’m getting peanut butter almost every day. I’m not sure what the occasion is but first I got to lick frozen remnants out of an old jar. Then, Mom put some in a Kong and froze it and I got to lick that. It’s like any chance she has, I get peanut butter.

Sharon’s Journal:

He’s been handling surgery mostly well and hasn’t been biting at his knee or overly licking. That said, he’s a licker. He has skin allergies and can give himself a hotspot from licking in an afternoon if we’re not careful so to avoid a hotspot on the incision. Hence, the peanut butter distractions. And for the record, while he may think it’s a lot of peanut butter, it’s only about 2 tablespoons; we don’t need him weighing any more than he does.

He’s putting weight on his leg regularly and is gaining confidence walking on it. Now, if only we could get him to stop running…

 

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Day 16

Mozzie’s Journal:

I got to go in the car for the first time in like a million days! It was so exciting! First, we got in the car which was difficult but everyone got really excited and cheered when I got in.

Then, Mom stopped for gas in New Jersey which meant that I got to bark at the gas station attendant. I love barking at the gas attendant. Especially if they are wearing hats. It’s always really fun to let them know that this is my car and my mom and they should stay away.

Then, there was a weird motorcycle thing and I got to bark at that. I barked so much that I pulled my cone off which made seeing things in the car much easier.

Then we got to the vet and I made a friend with another canine who was also enconed. We joined the cones together and created a unicone, allowing us to momentarily read one another’s minds. Sniffles has seen some stuff, man.

I also got to get love from some of my favorite humans including Dr. Schneider. She and the other humans took out my stitches. But they left the cone on.

Then they brought me back to Mom. But they left the cone on.

Then Mom helped me load into the car and she also left the cone on.

Then we got home and I said hi to Dad and Kita and Dad again and the cats and Dad again. But both Mom and Dad left the cone on.

Guys, I’m starting to think that they’re not going to take it off ever again.

Sharon’s Journal:

We can give him cone breaks but he really needs to keep it on until everything is a little more healed. So another day or two. So long as he’s distracted he shouldn’t lick, right?

Also, in case you’re wondering, Mozzie wasn’t cooperative today when it came to photos so instead, here is Mozzie’s rescue cat, Little Guy. Mozzie believes that Little is legitimately “for him” because he was there when we rescued Little. Obviously, this makes Little Mozzie’s kitten.

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Day 15

Mozzie’s Journal:

Mom keeps singing about, “Tomorrow” and loving it a lot. Dad doesn’t seem as annoyed by this as I am. I figure as long as they keep rubbing my ears everything must be okay. Ear rubbins and chin rubbins make everything okay.

My parents keep insisting that I use this ramp but I keep trying to show them that I can jump on and off things just fine. The ramp, for the record, is scary and makes me worry no matter how many treats they put on it. I can use the stairs like a proper gentleman, thank you. They worked so hard to teach me that stairs aren’t evil and now they want me to switch it up. A canine can hardly keep up with their mercurial whims.

The stair situation is especially awful when I’m on the deck and the neighbors are outside. Or, even more exciting, when the neighbor’s Newfie is outside. I want to sniff her butt so badly!

I also keep trying to climb the stairs to get to the bedrooms Kita can get up but I can only walk on unobstructed stairs and they have put packages of canned food there. If the entire stair isn’t available, I assume I will fall. Probably. Mom keeps looking like she’s afraid of falling down the stairs, too, so this isn’t entirely crazy on my part.

For now, fellow canines, I remain coned. Despite its advantages, I long for the feel of the wind in my neck fur, my ears flopping in the breeze, and my tongue on my bits.

Sharon’s Journal:

Between Annie’s “Tomorrow” and Les Mis’ “One Day More” I have properly butchered Broadway classics, Weird Al style, but very specific to my life so the lyrics probably won’t have wide appeal. Enjoy anyway. Or not.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, tomorrow, your stitches come out tomorrow, it’s only a day away!
(Repeat as often as necessary)

One Day More

One day more
Another day another squirrel to see
And then rushing in the woods to pee
Your cone, my boy, has hit my side
Way more than just a thousand times
One day more!

You did not get to lick today
I know you can’t stand the teasing

One day more

Tomorrow your stiches go away
And yet all walks we’ll still be leashing

One more day out in the cone

Will you ever lick again?

One more day with air not blowing.

You were born to run in fields

You’ll be able to eat your bone!

And eat the pears out by the drive

But you still can’t use the stairs!

The time is now, the place is here (no, over here…stay…stay…)

One day more!

One more day to itch abatement
You can fin’ly lick your butt
You’ll be just fine with your new leg
As long as you don’t go jump

Watch him run amuck
Then he makes Mom fall
When he has no cone on
It’s a free for all
Watch out for the leash
He’ll get it underfoot
Careful or you’ll find yourself
With a face full of dirt

One day to a new beginning

The time for bellyrubs is nigh!

Every itch will be relieved

Every itch will be relieved

There’s a bully stick for the noshing

There’s a new bone to chew on

Do you hear your mommy sing?

Don’t look in fear, I sing to yooooooooou!

One day more!

Tomorrow you’ll be a happy face
Tomorrow is the stitches day
Tomorrow we’ll discover
Just how much longer you must chill for
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Day 13 and Day 14

Mozzie’s Journal:

I thought they said two weeks. The humans are liars or I can’t do math or both. Probably both. Either way, the cone has been on too long. I am restless. I am eager to scratch and paw my ears. I am dying to lick my butt. Dying. Sometimes I bark at my own ass to let Mom and Dad know just how much I want to lick it.

There were chipmunks in the yard this morning so I followed Kita and enacted Chipmunk Protocol wherein we ran and jumped off the front stoop, while loudly alerting all area canines to the chimpunks’ presence.  Then, because I wasn’t attached to Mom, I took off running. Then I had to sit down because my leg felt funny. Then Mom made me “come” and “sit” and “stay” and “down” for a while until she seemed happy with me listening. Then we went on our walk as normal.

Now, anytime I want to go outside, she puts me on the deck. I’m not a fan of it but only after I’m out there will she leash me up and then take me through the house on a leash to the front. It’s so weird. It’s like she doesn’t trust me at all.

All the while, Kita is leashless, running and jumping wild in the glory of nature and she doesn’t have a cone to stop her from getting all the good smells.

Then, for what appears to have been at least a fruitfly’s lifespan, Mom slept. She and Dad discussed how “only Sharon” would get the fever side effect of the tetanus shot she had to get and that she is “always lucky.”

Meanwhile, Kita and I are making plans for the impending Spring Barkening when all the animals start showing up on our property.

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Sharon’s Journal:

Mozzie is an asshole. Kita is no better.

My thumb hurts.

I feel like now I’m the whining one. I guess this is in solidarity?

Is it Wednesday yet?

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Day 12

Mozzie’s Journal:

I am feeling better. I make this obvious by wanting to go outside more but both Mom and Dad seem intent on limiting my walks as well as not letting me off the leash. So, today, to show them that I feel a lot better, I avoided all the barriers they set up to keep me off the couch. Not only am I more capable of movement, humans, I’m also really good at puzzles.

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“I do what I want.” – Mozzie.

I refused to move and Kita had already stolen my bed so I told Mom that telling me to “lie down on my bed” wouldn’t work. Then, I let out a gruff sigh and let her know that it was the end of the conversation. That will show her who’s really in charge.

Kita has been complicate in my plans to stay on the couch all day, as she is more than happy to occupy the bed. The cats, too, seem happy to curl up with me n the couch which just makes it that much harder to get Mom or Dad to want to move me. Now I know their weaknesses and I know how to play them.

Later, I was feeling especially frustrated so I banged my cone against the coffee table over and over until it broke apart. Then, before Mom could put it back together, I jumped on the chaise lounge and instantly knew I was in trouble so made my adorable guilty look. Hopefully with very little coaxing I will be able to get them leave the cone unattached. If I do it over and over and over again, perhaps they will give up. I can be very stubborn and persistent when I want to be.

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How can you stay mad at that face for long?

Sharon’s Journal:

He moved pillows, pawed at blankets until they unfolded or fell, pushed the coffee table, and blatantly walked across the folding table we were using as a deterrent. Without relocating the couch, I’m not sure how to keep him off anymore…Maybe we’ll cover the couch in the plastic stuff my grandparents used to use – no one wants to curl on up plastic.

James had to help me put his cone back together because I’m doing everything with one hand. Chances are if Mozzie gets the cone loose on Monday, he’s going to get to roam free for a bit unless I can find the gaffer’s tape because then I’d tape up the hooks enough that they wouldn’t pull loose. Yay for being a theater kid with gaff tape, boo for being disorganized enough to have no idea where it is. Also, boo for hairline fractures making an already ridiculous situation that much more ridiculous. Oh, Sharon-luck, you are so incredibly mean.

He shouldn’t be jumping AT ALL, but at least the jump to the couch is only 2ish feet. And he doesn’t jump down from the couch – he sort of pours himself off of it, slowly. And with legs like his (at least 3 feet high) it’s more of a climb than a full jump but still. If he relies too much on his good leg, he’s at a 40% risk for needing to do the same TTA procedure on his now-good leg. So, there’s that.

I wish he would use the ramp we got him…

Mozzie’s Post-Surgery Journal: Day 11

Mozzie’s Journal:

Cone status: zen

Boo Bear/Monkey status: MINE

Squirrel Status: on high alert

Kita status: partners in crime

0630: Mom comes down the stairs to walk us but instead of coming down on two paws like she normally does, she decides to come down on all fours, face first, like the rest of us. She then began to discuss defecation, but I didn’t see or smell any feces in the area. Then, she retreated upstairs while Dad left, presumably to pet other canines, and Kita and I were forced to wait an entire lifetime and a half before we could get our walk. Obviously we are victims of animal cruelty and the humans should be punished; perhaps they are not allowed to eat their own food and must give it to the canines for a week, eh?

For the rest of the day, Mom was really teary for no reason and kept putting cold squares on her paw. And talking about feces. I think she may have a horrible fascination with the stuff because she keeps talking about it even when it’s not there.

Sharon’s Journal:

Remember when I said that I would end up with stitches before Mozzie was out of his cone? I was wrong. I’d end up with a broken bone. A doubly broken bone.

So, to keep Mozzie off the stairs, we put a single package of canned dog food on the steps. This was enough to keep our nervous boy from attempting the stairs. But then, when Kita arrived, she dashed up and down the stairs a bunch, making Mozzie cry. So we added another package of canned dog food and then put a long amazon box across it. Because all of these things were already in the living room by the stairs when we needed a barricade. Also because we are dumb.

Yesterday morning (day 11) I decided to climb over the barricade, knowing it was about the same height as my leg, to “save time” instead of moving it to the side so I could step around it. The following happened in slow motion:

My foot caught on the edge of the box and I lost my balance, tumbling head-first towards our hard, tile floor. Because the stairs are currently unfinished, I managed to get wood burn on both my palms and wrists as they caught the edges of the stairs and I fell. My knees banged both the stairs and the tile floor, leaving impressive bruises. I caught myself, if you can call it that, by the forehead and the palms/wrists.

My left wrist/thumb in particular felt weird but I figured I would give it at least fifteen minutes to calm down before I freaked out. Then I realized my nose was bleeding and I had cut up my wrists and was bleeding from there as well. So I cleaned up, I iced my left thumb, and I took the dogs to the front yard to take in the beauty of nature while I googled “numbness in thumb tip” and “when I move my fingers my wrist hurts.”

So when James came home we went to urgent care. There, we confirmed I wasn’t pregnant (despite my explanation that I actively try to make my womb as inhospitable as possible) so that I could have xrays done. Then, because I had open skin abrasions and because the last time I had one was because of a college theater accident that was definitely more than 10 years ago, I got a tetanus shot. Instead of giving me the shot in my left arm where I already had a ton of pain, they did it in my right arm because reasons? Finally, I went for xrays.

It was confirmed that I have two hairline fractures in my left thumb and now I need to see an orthopedist and do all of that fun stuff.

I’m useless – my left hand is out of commission and the muscles in my right arm are crazy sore from the shot. The dogs are loving that I’m being lazy with them and they’re loving the out door time but I have things I’d like to do…

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Super swollen hand and fingers. Fun.