#202: The Bathroom

bathroom interior

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Something I don’t talk about much is the bathroom. Not because it’s something private that doesn’t deserve discussion, but because it’s something I’ve been shamed for in the past that I feel embarrassed about. But putting it online as I’m doing now is a bit more liberating, in some ways. I feel like I am activating a discussion I wouldn’t have had on this blog prior to writing 201 blogs before this.

Simply put, I have what’s called IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It means that I have to use the bathroom a lot, and at random times, sometimes without explanation or rhyme or reason to it. Most of it is triggered by anxiety, but that’s only some of the time. Other times, I eat something high in fiber and have to sit in the bathroom for a few minutes before it passes through me. It’s not fun, I’ll tell you that much.

When I first started working at my previous job, I remember asking to find the bathroom as soon as I could. It’s necessary for me to know where these places are, just so I know when in an emergency what to do and where to go. I also remember being in the bathroom one time, and hearing people outside the door waiting for me to get out. They gossiped about how it was me inside, so it probably would take awhile before I got out. I remember feeling total shame afterwards, and because I recognized the people’s voices, I never trusted them again. Sometimes bonds of trust are broken not because of overt betrayals, but because of simple acts of cowardice behind closed doors, when they think no one is listening or paying attention. I wish it wasn’t always like this, but most places are like this.

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#199: The Big Sleep

woman sleeping

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Can’t believe, after all of these blog posts in a row that I’ve written, that I haven’t talked about sleeping yet. Sleeping is so, so enjoyable, and it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I love drifting off to bed with my head’s weight laying down on the pillows, nothing else in mind except the tranquility and relaxation I’m experiencing in this moment. The softness of the pillows, the coziness of the comforters. And nothing feels better than waking up before your alarm, realizing you still have a few more hours of sleep to go, and then drifting back off to sleep another time. I’d like to crystallize that moment and keep it forever, endlessly repeating it over and over until I eventually have to go into work or school or wherever is next. If only it were possible!

Sometimes my anxiety prevents me from falling asleep on time, but I’ve had good luck recently in falling asleep exactly when I need to. I’m almost always tired and ready to go to bed, regardless of what time of the day it is, so if the opportunity presents itself for me to drift off to bed, I’ll take it immediately and with no regrets. Having a strong, sturdy bed with various pillows and a dog sleeping next to the bed definitely helps, although, like I’ve said in other blog posts, having a dog sometimes makes sleeping more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes you want to sleep for longer during the weekend, and then it’s all wrestled away from you by a dog jumping up on the bed and bothering you until you take him outside. It’s a sensible, ethical alarm clock. Thankfully he’s gotten better at not doing that since we got him his new bed. He’s been a good boy.

#181: The Otter Blanket

dewgong on body of water

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On Sunday night, the one before the most recent one, Alex and I had to sleep with a different comforter on our bed. We fought over the blanket all night, apparently, too, wrestling for control of it because it wasn’t long enough to cover our queen-sized bed. It’s a blanket with a bunch of pictures of otters on it, and I believe my mom got it for Alex for Christmas one year. Don’t quote me on that, though. I’m not 100% sure. Either way, we both had pretty bad sleeps and weren’t able to recover much from it on the day after. The blanket was partially to blame for it.

Now, you might be wondering, Anthony, why did you have to sleep on a different comforter and have a miserable sleep on this night? Why was that necessary in the first place? Those are smart questions! Let me explain what happened.

So, it was a Sunday night, and as has already been established on this blog, Alex and I decided to not watch Game of Thrones. Instead, we relaxed and I turned on my computer and played some Magic the Gathering: Arena. While I was finishing up one of my runs, I hear an unfamiliar sound from the bedroom, and then it again. Alex rushes into the bedroom, and comes out immediately after.

She says, “Angus barfed on the bed.”

My first reaction was, of course, “Why did it have to be on the bed?” I guess I’m a terrible dog owner, because my first thought wasn’t about the health and safety of our dog but rather the location he decided to barf on. Then again, why did he barf on the bed, of all places? We still don’t totally know; it’s not like he was on the bed before. He jumped on, barfed, then jumped off and went about his night. What a weird dog.

#137: The Roomba

gray suv on river

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It’s time to talk about another invention that’s made its way into our home: the Roomba.

Angus’s hair is absurd. We clean the apartment at least once a week, sometimes more often depending on how much hair is strewn across the couch, floor, rug, and bed. Sometimes, we have to clean the comforter and mattress to compensate for Angus’s sporadic attempts at jumping on the bed at night, even when we tell him not to. That’s where the Roomba steps in.

We bought a Roomba not too long ago by the time this post will be published, and it’s been an absolute godsend for our sanity and cleaning abilities. The Roomba is set for a specific time, twice a week, and it unloads itself from its holder and goes off. It’s an incredible invention that sucks up all the hair from the rug and floor, including the bathroom and bedroom, too. I remember my uncle used to have one, and I’m not sure what happened to it, but this hunk of junk is anything but junky. It saves us time, and has already helped our cleaning sensibilities. We only have to vacuum every once in a while since getting the Roomba, and when we do, it’s usually not much.

One of my fears originally about getting the Roomba was that Angus would be afraid of it, or would chase it around the apartment. He actually doesn’t seem to mind it at all and lets it do its thing. Again, this invention has saved so much time for us.

But above all, we love Angus so much. He’s a bundle of joy and excitement and honestly, earnestly fills our lives with happiness whenever he’s around. I hope he’s doing well now, sitting at home by himself without anyone around. I always worry about him a little bit when I go off to work.

#131: The Door

abandoned ancient antique arch

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Since time immemorial, we have always had trouble with the door to our apartment. Whether it’s a problem involving the keys not working or there’s something wrong with the key scanner, it feels like trouble follows us when it comes to this door. Our apartment, otherwise, is great; the features, amenities, setting, and more have been consistently wonderful to experience as a newly-embarking apartment owner. But that damn door…

This all took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Alex was on her way home, arrived at our doorstep and realized, upon trying to unlock it, that her keys weren’t registering on the key scanner. She knocked and knocked on the door, and sooner or later I realized what was going on. I got up, opened it for her, and sat back down at my desk.

Later, when Alex took Angus out to pee, she took my keys with her, thinking that the problem involved only her keys. Turns out, not a minute or two later, I heard another knocking on the door. (This is beginning to sound like the plot of “The Raven,” isn’t it? It wasn’t a gentle rapping on my chamber door.) Neither of our keys worked.

Finally, after attempting both keys, Alex went downstairs again to talk with the people at the concierge desk. She told them about all of our many frustrations involving the door, including what had happened both times we tried to get in.

When I got home the next day, I could hear Angus moaning in his crate, waiting for someone to come rescue him, as my keyfob flashed red on the scanner. It was heartbreaking to witness.

One of these days, our keys and the door itself will work fine, without any issues. Today was not one of those days, unfortunately.

#122: The Crate

person using forklift

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So, we had to crate Angus again. So today I’ll be talking about the crate, its uses, and why we decided to put Angus in the crate one more time.

As some of you may know, one of my most recent blog posts was about “the countdown,” our count of how many days have passed since Angus ate up the apartment. Until yesterday (relative to the time of my writing this post, not its publication), Angus had been a good boy, lasting 16 whole days without any mishaps or misdoings. I honestly, genuinely started to think that the countdown was unnecessary, that it’s not needed any more and that Angus had clearly learned his lesson. That is, until yesterday.

I came home from work, and after I opened the door, I could barely believe my eyes. In front of me, staring me in the face, was a complete disaster zone, the recycling bin tipped over, milk cartons strewn along the floor and chewed open, empty bags and torn cereal boxes everywhere. It was nightmarish, and of course, as a result, I blew up.

Let’s provide some context, though, to be fair to Angus and his plight. What I didn’t mention is that this happened on a Tuesday, and on the day before, I was home with him all day because there was a snow day at school. On Thursday and Friday, Alex took sick days because of her bronchitis so that she could rest and relax a bit. She also stayed home with Angus pretty much all day. So on Tuesday, the day Angus decided to be a bad boy, Angus was alone and without friends to accompany him throughout the day. He almost had gotten used to what it was like to be with someone in the apartment all day.

Thus, the crate has returned. We’ll have to see what happens now.

#93: The Bed

eyeglasses on bed

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A constant struggle for space and room. A nightly ritual fueled by strife and dominance. A chaotic fight between man and beast, and who will come out on top? What will the result be of this climactic battle, waged in what is supposed to be a shared, relaxing, communal space for all to rest in. This is the bedroom, and this is what it is like to own a big dog that doesn’t like moving when it’s told to.

Angus is a funny dog. Sometimes, when I’m asleep in the morning, he cuddles close to me and waits for me to wake up, patiently and carefully, so as not to disturb my slumber. I appreciate when he does this, because it shows remarkable calm and care from a dog that usually doesn’t exhibit those characteristics (Angus is notoriously not calm and not careful when he does things.)

I’ll give an example. Last night I got up to go to the bathroom, and by the time I returned to bed, Angus was covering my spot in the bed. He likes to lounge and has no sense of personal space or obstruction, despite how frequently he obstructs the way between things. I talked with Jimmy, and he says that his dogs do the same thing; they get in the way whenever they can. When I decided to gently move or push Angus away from my spot by actually getting into bed, he decided to bark in my face very loudly, waking up Alex and causing a big disturbance at 11:30pm. Totally unnecessary, but the battle between man and beast continues for a little bit longer. I hope that it doesn’t.

Though this probably reads as me being frustrated with my funny, unaware dog, I love little boy Angus and his weird proclivities and idiosyncrasies. He’s unique in how obnoxious he can be sometimes, but I love it. I hope that in the future we figure out a way to get him to move without causing him to scream out in panic.

#80: The Toilet

bathroom cabinet candles faucet

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The toilet is important. The toilet is a sanctuary. When the toilet is destroyed, for the third time in a row, the bathroom is tarnished, and our lives are temporarily halted in place, having to make do with what we have. There’s a public toilet down the hallway, but we have to pass by the large bay windows peering into the gym, where rough and tough bodybuilders observe us walking in our pajamas back and forth. It’s not a pleasant sight, to say the least. When it comes to walking in my pajamas, doing it in front of bodybuilders is definitely my least favorite part of the whole process.

If there’s one constant about this apartment, it’s the toilet and waterworks problems. One day it’s the dishwasher (which we don’t use), another day it’s the toilet flooding over its head. Some days it’s the washing machine’s turn to act up. Either way, something is almost always acting up in this apartment. It feels like we call maintenance at least once a month for something to be fixed.

An update: As I’m writing this, the toilet has been fixed. Hooray!

Unfortunately, this still means that Angus, our illustrious dog, is still locked up in the bedroom with his water, sloth, and bone. I wish I could’ve told the guy who came to fix the toilet to let him out, but that’s against the whole point of locking Angus up in the first place. We need to protect one person from the vicious, happy-go-lucky pet we have. If only the maintenance people had come during the other three days that were available, then maybe we wouldn’t need to trick Angus into entering the bedroom before I leave for work. It’s disheartening to do, and I hate hearing his moans and worries.

Homesickness

Contagious but not infectious

Symptoms may last up til 72 hours

Or more, we don’t really know

May or may not include nausea

Pneumonia headaches chills and fevers

Spontaneous mental loneliness

Unattached mood swings

Anxiety while driving

Mundane tasks not the same

Irrational emotions

Longing for unattainable things like

Unwritten books letters and journals

From the past

Childish Dreams

Yesterday I dreamed of Aquaman

It reminded me of when I was a child and

I also dreamed of Aquaman.

He’d storm out of the ocean with a pack of rabid

Dolphins, sharks, and whales

Riding gallantly toward the evils that plagued the land

And extinguished all of the previous nightmares from my consciousness,

 

I didn’t really think that I was rediscovering all of my childish dreams until

Three days ago, when it began and

I was standing in line at a Subway

And the sandwich-maker, or

“Sandwich artist” as they self-stylize,

Asked me what kind of bread I wanted.

I immediately slipped into a daydream, a memory of when someone else

Had asked me that same question in the same manner of speaking long ago.

It made me angry at the time because

I wasn’t ready to answer the question so I left,

And so I did.

The same thing happened at Stop & Shop not too long ago

When the man bagging my groceries

Asked if I wanted paper or plastic.

But, taking the initiative

He had already started bagging the eggs and milk in plastic bags

Without my consent, so I said plastic.

Because paper would take longer.

And there was someone else in line,

Someone likely not as environmentally friendly as I am.

For my unfortunate transgression

Aquaman turned against me that night.

 

Two days ago I was sitting on a wooden park bench adjacent to

The actual park but facing the opposite direction.

I thought of the traffic soaring quickly and

Dreamed of when the park bench faced the park instead

Of the traffic, and it was much more serene that way,

But they’ve locked it in place.

And so I left.

That wasn’t how it used to be.

Back then it was a much simpler time,

And it was socially acceptable to wear white

After Labor Day.

White was my favorite color.

Until they shamed it;

That was a bad day.

When I told my therapist that I regularly wear white after Labor Day,

He said I must be insane,

And that I needed to see a therapist.