Crappy Birthday/Great Birthday

Hi My Peeps,

Thank you for all the loving posts, texts, phone messages, e-cards, and donations to Tails of Joy wishing me a happy birthday yesterday. I have not heard/seen any of them yet but I will later today.

I had a nice, low-key birthday planned. I was going to swim my usual mile in the pool. I swim a mile every day but always make sure to do it on my birthday to prove to myself I am not getting old. Then I was going to cook some great fish for my nephew and me, and we’d watch the Mets together and drink some champagne. I quit drinking a month ago after becoming an alcoholic during the first few months of lockdown. My hubby had already given me the greatest gift; solitude. He’s off with two friends on a bucket list motorcycle odyssey across the west, giving me the space I always crave and never get enough of. He sent pictures of Old Faithful spouting; gorgeous.

I woke up in the LA heat to find my never-sick-a-day-in-his-life younger dog pretty much paralyzed. Actually, I could not wake him. He was rigid and cold and locked in sleeping position. I tried and tried with no luck, but finally, after yelling loud enough for several minutes, maybe his soul heard me and came back into his body? (I know many of you will stop reading now lol. Pet owners “know” and will continue..) The vet was fully booked but I could drop him off and they’d get to him. On the 405 Fwy by 9am, speeding crosstown to the westside, immobile dog next to me. Dropped him off, headed back. For those who don’t know the 405 Fwy, it is what hell will be if we get there. You sit for hours to go one inch an hour. The heat had already hit 100°.

Rushed home to meet a workman who was coming to fix a phone problem. By then it was mid-afternoon. I rushed to Costco to buy the fish & champagne. I splurged and bought one I didn’t know but looked great for $19.99. I felt guilty spending that. I used to buy expensive bottles, but Tails of Joy cured me of that. Not buying a $50 bottle of the good stuff is a dog or two cats saved. The heat was stifling. As I left Costco I saw two incredibly handsome, fit, young black men rolling their cart to their car. They both wore t-shirts with stark black and white thick print so you could not miss the words if you were coming at them, “UNARMED“. I burst into tears.

I got into the car and the thermometer showed 111°, an unbelievable first. Thank dog global warming is only a hoax or I’d be worried. I was supposed to stop at a stranger’s house to pick up Bill’s lost cell phone, which he lost the day before his trip and this person just found, but she did not answer so I headed home instead. Thank goodness I did; as I pulled into the driveway, the car exploded in steam. The coolant tank just split in half and coolant was spewing all over the engine. I had my own Old Faithful!!

Luckily my nephew had arrived. So we could get back on the 405 to pick up the dog. If we didn’t have to drive, I might have downed the whole bottle of bubbly right then, but oblivion would have to wait. So we finally get to the vet and okay, it was most probably a disk in Beau’s back. He came out so stoned it was like trying to talk to Robert Downey Jr. in the ’80s. But he certainly looked $567.42 better, and that’s with a rescue discount. Important Note: I never, ever, EVER use Tails of Joy money for my own dogs. That would be a SCROTUS move. We run a clean ship.

We get home and fuzzy Keith Richards is able to walk from the car, yay! My other dog and my nephew’s dog whom I love love love come out to greet him and they run into the house happy. We crack open the champagne and both take one sip and spit it out. Tasteless bad fizz like putting an Alka Seltzer tablet into your mouth. We’re too tired to cook the fish so we take out leftovers. We bring them to the outdoor tv at the pool and turn on the Mets game (, watch the game any time you want). And there, umpiring at first base, is my Sheepshead Bay High School buddy Steve’s son. Steve had texted me it was happening but during this day I forgot. I realize I don’t feel even a little bad about the day. Why?

Because these “problems” were the whitest, most first world problems anyone could have, and I am one of the luckiest people in the world. “Bad champagne”? LOLOL. “Outdoor tv by the pool”, not “bleeding and sweeping up shrapnel in any one of a score of countries”. And all day there was a solution available at every turn: I had the money to help my dog, a vet who knows us, a beautiful car that has run well for 20 years and deserves to let off steam, a wonderful nephew who loves the Mets like I do, and shares fish with me that my husband won’t touch. And I am not forced to wear a t-shirt that says “UNARMED”. My friend’s son is a Major League umpire because we were not shot in school. My dog will probably be okay, and I have the money to send him to drug rehab after the medicine is gone because right now he’s smoking a Marlboro and listening to the Stones. I am waiting for a tow truck, and it’s only 105° today so things are looking up. On the shallow end, I weigh exactly 38 pounds less than on my birthday last year. And hey, the Mets WON!!! Plus, my nephew brought us a flan from the most delicious little taco joint on Sunset, and my great friends Penny and Dewey Bunnell sent a birthday cake all the way from Wisconsin.

I got into bed and saw the beautiful, proud, loving people in all fifty states nominate Joe Biden for president at the Democratic National Convention. I feel sure that the people who vote for Biden will help change the soul of this country so that, one day, no one in America will have to wear a t-shirt that says “UNARMED”. I drifted off to the righteous indignation of John Kerry expressing the anger that all decent human beings feel at what has been done to our country, our people, our system of justice, our constitution. I drifted off feeling there will be better days ahead.

I am waiting for the tow truck. I will then read and enjoy the many many good wishes everyone posted, texted, phone messaged to me yesterday. I will then get back to work sending out help for pets and homeless animals all across the country, as I see Tails of Joy has received about thirty new hopeful emails, asking for the help I was lucky enough to be able to afford for my own dog yesterday. I know I have made it, I am lucky, I am here.

What a great, great birthday.

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