This is not about the brand Chipotle, the Subway-style restaurant that I haven’t visited in ages, not probably since when my ex-girlfriend and I visited it during one of our Hamden reunion tours, back when Hamden felt nostalgic and homey, after we had both managed to escape it and move forward. That was in the past, though, and times have changed since those days. I’m not the same person I was back then, and even though I wish things were different I cant’ change the past. I’m no Gatsby. (Even though he couldn’t turn back time either, but you get the reference hopefully.)
This blog post began with an idea of talking about My Brother, My Brother, and Me, an advice show for the modren era, and a podcast that I listen to regularly. In it, they recently discussed the triplelupa, an item being sold from Taco Bell that seems to explode in your mouth when you try to bite into it. One of the flavors being offered in the triplelupa is some kind of chipotle mix, which seems appetizing only if you’re the kind of person who regularly hits up Taco Bell. I used to be that type of person, so to me I can relate to finding that kind of food appetizing or at least somewhat appealing.
I guess what I wanted to talk about here was the Munch Squad that seemed really cool and full of info for me to riff on, when in reality talking about Chipotle at all kind of dragged down my spirits and brought back some memories of a different time in my life. It’s impossible to ignore the connections you’ve made with people over time, even the ones you want to shove away and put in a different box, away from view.
Once, a long time ago, I think while I was still in grad school, I watched a dog for my cousin’s neighbors in Madison. It was in this huge, gaudy mansion with a massive, fluffy monster of a dog. Their mansion had three or four floors, with a top floor dedicated entirely to games and arcades. It was immense and incredible, and I wish I got the chance to go back there and scout out how it’s changed in the time since then. But what’s most likely going to happen is I won’t have the chance to go back, considering I accidentally broke their dishwasher. It was an unfortunate situation, but honestly the dishwasher was kind of shoddy considering the rest of the house was such great quality and in such incredible condition.
I remember sitting downstairs at their desk, on the first floor, looking up at the huge balconies above me from the other floors, and blasting Queens of the Stone Age from the speakers. They had speakers that played throughout the whole house, so it felt like a concert going on just for me. I think the song was “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire,” which starts really low and then explodes about a third of the way through into thunderous guitar and drums. Josh Homme, the leader of the band, is an absolute maniac and I love him. Such a creative mind, and I love the inspiration behind the song.
Well, originally this blog post was going to be about how I’ve been watching my dad’s dog for the past few days and will be continuing to do so for the next few days, too. It’s been nice being able to go to his place and take care of another animal.
This post is a continuation from the previous one, so please read that one first to get an idea of what I’m talking about here.
So, when I talk about Jace leaving the room and roaming around outside, I don’t mean in the outdoors, thankfully. If he were actually roaming around outside, I would be worried. He’s supposed to be an indoor boy, apparently, and so he most definitely finds the most happiness and comfort surrounded by walls. He’s domesticated, after all, and has a penchant for climbing on top of things and jumping from place to place.
The doorway allows him to roam around the basement or first floor area, and I’ve considered leaving the door open so he can just roam around wherever he wants. The only issue with that is that I worry he’ll stand by the doorway leading into the garage and, when someone opens the garage door, he’ll make a run for it. He’s a crazy little dude and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to do that from time to time.
Whenever I’ve opened the door and he’s made a run for it, he usually doesn’t run at all. He just kind of casually walks away, meanders down by the staircase, doesn’t go up it at all, but just stares at it for a few seconds before deciding to go towards the computer desk in the other room. He looks at it, goes underneath the desk when he sees me wander nearby, and then waits patiently for me to pick him up and bring him back to the room. He doesn’t mind being picked up, thankfully, which makes this whole process that much smoother and better for me. Sometimes he even just walks on his own back to the doorway and doesn’t seem to find the other area that interesting.
The doorway into my bedroom is a wooden door that’s quite slim and tiny. It’s difficult to get in sometimes if you’re carrying something. When Mike and I were carrying my desk from the apartment back to the new home, we thought about bringing it through the doorway, but then remembered it would be impossible. It’s too tiny, and the curve around the hallway makes it exceptionally difficult to manage holding something like that. So instead, we went in through the door that leads outside, the one right by the bathroom. It was easier for us to manage and made the moving process so much better.
But this blog post isn’t about something as mundane as the doorway leading into my room. Instead, I want to talk about how the doorway leads to a certain escape (to borrow a term from a previous blog) from one small cat, the same cat that loves leaving the room as soon as possible and roaming around all over the place, leaving its hair on the ground and chewing on whatever seems to be chewable in the nearby vicinity. He’s a monster, but he’s my monster, and I love that about him. He’s the exact type of cat I imagined getting all those weeks ago, and he’s fulfilled all the obligations he has. He’s the type of cat that meows when you see him, and he lays down on the floor as soon as you walk in because he wants you to pet him and love him. He’s beautiful and a bundle full of love.
The doorway, however, is what allows him to roam around more. It’s not that him going around the downstairs is a bad thing, necessarily; it’s good that he’s able to explore and manage life on his own. He’s a good boy, after all.
Yesterday, as in the day before I wrote this blog and not the day before this blog will be published, I spent some quality time with my brother in law, talking about life and school and work and all the things that have bothered us in the past. It was nice to catch up with him after not really talking much over the past few years, ever since the election four years ago. We had a falling out as a result of differing opinions on that sort of subject, and our once-strong bond kind of eroded afterwards. But he offered to help me move the last of my things from the apartment in Stamford back home to Northford. I had a mattress and a desk to take with me, and so it was nice to be able to load them into his big work van and take them back.
That’s why today I’ll be discussing the van we took together, and all the memories we recounted on our trip. Even though I no longer have certain people regularly in my life any more, it’s nice that some people have re-entered it. When one door closes, another opens, or however the saying goes. I also heard from another set of high school friends recently who I haven’t talked to in a really long time. By that I just mean, I got into a group chat on Instagram with a few of these friends and some of them live all over the world. But it’s nice to recount memories with them, just like I did with my brother in law, and it’s nice to be around regardless.
The van we took back to Northford reminded me of driving in my dad’s work truck. It was bulky, and I have some good memories of us together.
I’m going to miss having Alex around for family gatherings. I feel so alone there, by myself. After spending three years with her always around to keep me company, to always confide in about everyone I was with, it feels so lonely doing all this again by myself. I don’t want to show up at all, for fear that people will ask me where she is, and what happened to us, and why I’m by myself again. She got along with everyone so well, was so nice and friendly and kind to them, and they treated her well, too.
Alex knows how I feel about seeing family. She knows there are certain people I don’t get along with too well, people I can’t stand and don’t want to be near if possible. Being around her made seeing those people so much easier, so much more palatable, because she validated everything I felt about myself. She knew how to make me feel better in those moments and she occupied all the space.
Now I get to sit at tables by myself, drink and eat by myself, and talk without a close companion around to keep me companion. I feel miserable just thinking about what the next party will be like. I don’t have the excuse of being in Stamford any more to explain why I’d leave early, either. That’s all well and done by now.
It’s just one of the things that stands out to me while thinking about the future. I know there are plenty of worse outcomes, like the fact that I don’t have a job within an hour driving distance of where I am, but for some reason this aspect in particular is what’s standing out to me. It seems the most poignant and necessary to talk about here.
(I’m pretty sure I’ve written a blog post titled “The Countdown” before, so I’m using this as an alternate title, because I wanted to write about a similar topic!)
When it comes time for December to roll around, there’s always the inevitable countdown to Christmas. It begins at 25 days and strolls slowly down to 0, and when 0 hits, you start to feel the magic of the season a bit more intensely than before. It’s not something that happens every year, but when it does, it’s special.
This long countdown is going to also be about a different kind of countdown, more of a count up I guess. On another website, I’ve been doing daily posts, a certain kind of series of posts one day at a time, and I realized about a week or two ago that they would line up in such a way that the one hundredth post would also be on Christmas. So instead of the usual Christmas countdown, where we had an advent calendar or a written countdown somewhere, instead it was monitored by this series of posts. While I was the only one counting down in this way, it feels nice to have a countdown going that you can always keep track of. It keeps you motivated about Christmas, and it makes the season that much better by virtue of the fact that you have something to always be looking forward to. Whether it’s giving or receiving presents, you have the benefit of being around other people this time of the year, and you get to share in their collective joys and happinesses in a way that’s unique to Christmas.
I don’t know if I’ve written much about this holiday here, but hopefully I have. I know I’ve been doing this for over a year, so it’s somewhat likely.
Angus is such an important part of my life. I realized that recently when I went to the visit the apartment on Monday, after taking the day off of work to pick up some more of my things and some clothes for the week. I realized how much this dumb dog means to me, and how much I love him in spite of the fact that he causes us terror and unrest from time to time. He’s a spectacular boy, and I missed seeing his face around the apartment. I was worried I would never be able to see him again, or that things wouldn’t work out for us. I’m glad that that’s not the case, because I almost mourned the loss of that connection the most. You should never separate someone from their most beloved pet.
When it comes time, I plan on giving Angus a big hug. I don’t want to ever leave him again. He means too much to me.
Having a dog means being able to appreciate the little things. It means sticking up for the little man, no matter what, even when he’s a big butt and makes your life difficult from time to time. It means coming home to take him out in the afternoon even when you don’t need to, just because you’re worried about him and want to make sure he gets to pee when he needs to. You know his habits, you’re aware of how he acts when he’s alone for too long, and you want to make sure he’s alright. Angus is a special dog, and I don’t know what life would be like without him around. When he jumped up on me on Monday, I felt a special connection, I felt like I was about to be missing something.
Shopping like that has become sort of a tradition for us, even though we dislike the holiday of Black Friday and despise how it treats workers. We just like the aesthetic of walking around really busy public spaces and picking up new things there. I like saving money, I like spending money, and I like buying new things that are useful for me.
We weren’t able to stay out for long, though, because Alex had work the next day and Angus needed food. He’d been by himself for awhile and I felt bad for him, especially on a day when I normally would be around to stay with him, considering I have it off for the holiday. Next time, we’ll consider bringing him with us to the family gathering, maybe for Christmas this time. It’s definitely something to think about, but we haven’t committed to it because bringing Angus anywhere is always an adventure. He’s a big lard, and he likes exploring everything, and he likes putting stuff in his mouth that he shouldn’t put there.
(This post has turned into an Angus post, and for that I am sorry. I wasn’t expecting it, honestly!)
But basically, Alex, Bella, and I go shopping on Black Friday and the day before as a way of releasing all that stress. It’s nice to just walk around and see everything, as we don’t usually just wander in places. It feels normal to be able to wander on Black Friday of all days, because even if you don’t plan on buying something, something will likely show up in front of you with a great sale that you just NEED to purchase. I feel that urge in my soul and of course I relent to it, because I’m the kind of person to do that.
Not every dinner needs to be an event, but when event dinners come around, I never feel ready for them the way I should be. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I have some random issues related to eating that prevent me from getting all the food I need in my system when I need it. Sometimes that flares up when I’m sitting at the table at Thanksgiving, but it didn’t happen this year, thankfully. It’s just difficult to prepare for, even when you know it’s coming.
Having dinner can be such a relief, especially earlier in the day, when it’s taking place during the afternoon and you get to have a few different plates full of food and dessert as well. The options are endless.
This Thanksgiving, we had a fairly small dinner party. It was just six of us, and while normally that would be a bit small for our usual gathering of people, it was nice to just relax without having to listen to people shout and talk over each other and their dinner table. Having a small group meant not having to worry about that obnoxious stuff as much, and instead we got to just sit and talk with each other about work, dogs, and other things related to all of the above.
(As I write, dog hair is getting on my new laptop because Angus is a huge mess and it’s impossible to be near him without somehow absorbing some of his massive hair onto yourself. It’s just inevitable.)
Thanksgiving this year was great, and I appreciated the size we had. My youngest sister, Alex and I went Black Friday shopping shortly afterwards, and we picked up this laptop at Best Buy. I’m thankful for the ability to have a new laptop, and I’m thankful for the world itself.