Weeks ago, my husband nudged me awake.

“Babe, your alarm is going off.”

Wait… what…?

I sat up and listened. Hard.

“I don’t hear anything.”

He pushed me again.

“Trust me. Your alarm is going off.”

So I rolled to the edge of the bed and, sure enough, my iPad screen was on and a still, small sound was barely audible. I’d left the volume turned down to the lowest possible setting from the night before. I pushed the button and rolled back over.

“How can you hear that but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you?”

“What? I dunno.”

[flash forward a few days]

“Honey, I still don’t know how you could hear my alarm the other day, but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. I was right next to it, and I couldn’t hear it ringing.”

“Well, I spend all day, every day, listening for small sound changes. Heart murmurs, valves closing, that sort of thing. So big sounds just get tuned out. You talk all the time. You’re a big sound. I don’t even hear those anymore.”

…….

…….

…….

Well, there you have it.

😉

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An Unexpected Patient

The Mister and I spent part of this past Sunday afternoon performing surgery on our back porch.

We assembled our tools and prepared the space before bringing out the patient. During the hour-long procedure we were able to explore the entire body cavity and clean out an obscene amount of gunk and build-up clogging the arteries. The patient is still on rest orders and cannot perform any work until replacement parts have arrived, but we are hopeful for a full recovery.

Whoever thought a vacuum cleaner would be so much work!

I knew I smelled something funny while cleaning on Sunday, but the carpet had gotten pretty bad and I powered through. Besides, the last time I smelled something burning I had sucked up a cell phone charger, and since there were no chargers present, I ignored it. Then I emptied the almost-full canister into the kitchen garbage.

That’s when I noticed it.

There was — and I am ashamed to admit this — all kinds of dog hair and nastiness filling up the inside hose components of the vacuum. I mean, this was a wedding present, and we’ve been married almost three years, and I’ve never done this before….. so picture that.

Now, I don’t completely abuse the thing. I empty the canister periodically and I sometimes have to remove gunk from the bottom, but it had honestly never occurred to me that I might ever need a second vacuum cleaner just to clean the first vacuum cleaner.

So out to the porch I went… soon discovering that a pair of needle-nosed pliers was not going to cut it. The Mister came out to help and, with the help of a wire coat hanger and a few brave puffs of air, eventually managed to remove a small puppy from the appliance. Top to bottom, every inch of the hosing was stuffed to capacity, and every time we thought we were done, we’d pull out another owl-pellet of compressed dirt. No wonder I couldn’t clean anything off the carpet! The next time I use the thing (after new filters get delivered, since we don’t even want to TALK about the state that was in), it will probably have enough suction to pull our thin carpet completely off the floorboards!

What was a time when you realized you were not as wonderful a housekeeper as you thought? Or that a small appliance got the best of you? Or that you had to perform unexpected emergency surgery on your porch, for that matter – I’ll take anything.

Happy Wednesday, and remember, love your vacuum.

Confessions of a Future Vet School Wife

So last Thursday was a pretty typical day, until the phone call came.

“Honey? Guess what?”

“What?”

“I just got a phone call from someone on behalf of Erica Wasserman. I got in to Ross vet prep.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really. We’re going to vet school!”

“Holy crap.”

*Hang up phone. Burst into tears.*

Yeah… not exactly the celebratory happy dance I was expecting to do. I want the Mister to go to vet school. I had finally gotten used to the idea of moving to the Caribbean (or so I thought). But the practical part of me was still preparing for plan B in case he didn’t get in. I’d been scanning potential job options and apartment styles, and thinking about puppies and babies – all the things I wanted out of the next phase of our lives. I guess I never stopped to think about how, if he did get in (and deep down I knew he would), I’d have to give all that up. At least for a while.

I cried for the high-profile job I always pictured myself having and I cried for the three-year gap in the impressive resume I’ve tried so hard to build. I cried for the amount of debt we’ll be in and the distance between us and home. I cried for the babies we’ll have to push back that much longer. And every “excited” phone call I made to parents and relatives made me cry that much more. I was determined not to let the Mister know that I wasn’t jumping up and down on the inside, but I did finally break down in front of him. I felt horrible for ruining his special, long-awaited acceptance day, but I couldn’t help it anymore.

I was giving up my life.

But I slept on it Thursday night and by the time I woke Friday morning I had come to a sort of subconscious clarity.

I’m moving to a place of indescribable beauty; a place tourists visit and wish they could stay, and I’ll get to watch their cruise ships leave as I call the island home. I’m going to have all kinds of cool stories and pictures to share with friends and family and to someday tell my children. I won’t have an awful gap in my resume because I’ll be able, hopefully, to work with the VIP spouses’ and children’s group to plan their social events and recreational activities. Hey, that’s PR too, isn’t it?

And maybe that big corner office isn’t as glamorous as I’ve always thought it would be. When we get back, I want to have babies, and that office often comes with long, unpredictable hours, phones ringing in the middle of the night, and un-family friendly schedules and responsibilities. Is that really what I want? And is it even about what I want, at that point?

More importantly, the Mister is going to get to go to vet school – the only thing he’s dreamed of doing since he was young. I should be grateful to the admissions committee for seeing his potential and giving him the opportunity to chase that dream when state-side schools wouldn’t give him a second glance. He is going to be a fantastic vet.

But most importantly, I also realized that I’m not giving up my life. It’s not my life anymore; it’s OUR life, and I promised to follow him for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and in health. I promised to laugh with him and cry with him and be the soft place for him to land. I “gave up” my life almost a year ago, and the “our life” we’ve been living since has been wonderful. What’s to say the “our life” of the future won’t be just as good?

Sure we’ve got challenges ahead of all shapes and sizes, but we’ll figure out how to beat them one at a time. And who knows, maybe we’ll just learn something along the way. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Advice about traveling, living as an ex-pat and handling veterinary school is all appreciated.