dis·com·bob·u·late transitive verb \ˌdis-kəm-ˈbä-b(y)ə-ˌlāt\
: upset, confuse <inventing cool new ways to discombobulate the old order — Kurt Andersen>


We are now in our new apartment. Just like that, I flew out to Atlanta one day, I came back to a packed house, and the next day we said goodbye and left a decade behind. I would have had a little more mental space to process this, but then a hurricane hit and I felt too guilty and concerned about other people’s devastation to spare myself a few moments to mourn, so I basically just drove down the street with a noncommittal “peace out, house” and that was that, until I woke up at 4 am on the bottom floor of a massive complex experiencing my own massive complex.

I never took in our view one last, proper time. I didn’t bid adieu to the Mulan tree, the one we bought right after she died and I loved because the leaves were shaped just like her ears. I didn’t take one last walk to the park at the bottom of the hill, the walk I took and always, in the back of my head, looked for a sign of Callie. I just left.

The animals, having had no prior notice of this major adjustment, are not sure what the heck to think. Apollo alternates between sitting on the bed meowing plaintively and hiding behind the washer. Brody spent a good part of the afternoon glued to my hip, squishing his massive frame next to me on the couch, not to the left or right but wedged right in between me and the cushion so I half levitated over the edge. They are a little freaked out too.

We were having a better afternoon, with the pets settled into the living room watching me unpack, when our upstairs neighbor decided to unleash the beast and do what I can only assume is some unholy combination of Zumba, p90x, and paramilitary assault training. It was rhythmic, it was loud, and it involved no small amount of crashing onto the floor. It’s fine. I will get them back by bringing Koa over and leaving her alone in the living room at 2 am.

It’s Halloween and I didn’t do Halloween costumes this year. For some reason, this, above all other things, upset me. No Bret. No Gaga. No Charlie. No Katy. Does “dessicated husk of a corpse, straggling through the parking structure like a lost extra from the Walking Dead shuffler audition” count? This year I’m going as Emo Vet and Brody is my Appropriately Anxiety Riddled Pet. It’s the best I can do.

Intellectually I know things are actually pretty peachy. We have our health, stability, and a perfectly utilitarian place to hang out for the next few months. It’s hard to muster up a lot of sympathy even for myself when you see all these people on the news who just lost everything, though I’m not grandiose enough by half to frame this massive disaster as one long teachable moment meant for my own edification.

At the end of the day, I’m just taking my cues from the dog: wander around the place in a curious yet slightly perplexed state. Find out where the bathroom is and where one might eat. Hopefully these are two separate locations. Panic slightly, find a warm body to lean against, and then take a nap. If it works for the Golden, it should work for me.

Besides, I’ve learned there is a Nordstrom not 5 minutes from this place. That should count for something, right?


Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings Tagged: , ,
  • Deborah Mendez

    I bet you’ll have them decked out as Pilgrims come Thanksgiving! Hang in there, Dr. V!

  • Amy

    Hey, some of us in the East need to read about a little normalcy. The house is fine except for some shingles. But as I travel through NJ and PA I am saddened by the desolation, and shocked by what remains. Two large trees, one up by the roots, the one just feet away, standing proudly. Homes demolished next to homes that appear to be fine.

    I am certain that if you asked, the new owners would be happy to let you say your final goodbyes. I know I wouldn’t mind. We all need to grieve, for different reasons, all equally valid. So knock on the door, or just park on the street and say your good-byes.

    • I’m glad you guys are all OK. The images are just jaw dropping.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, honey. I agree with Amy — if you feel the need, ask the owners if you could take a few minutes. I can’t imagine they’d mind. And I also can’t imagine that Nordstrom won’t be a huge help. Hang in there!

  • Sue W.

    Grief is grief – there are no levels to mourning. So grieve, and feel no guilt. It doesn’t take away from their grief, I promise.

  • Normalcy keeps me sane, when it comes to moving or holidays. I have to dress up on Halloween, even if I celebrated the weekend before. I don’t know, something about missing holiday’s makes me unhappy. I would dress up Brody like a ghost and take funny pictures of him, and then curl up with a nice scary movie and some red wine. 🙂

  • Susi

    Nordstrom shoe therapy. That’s all I’m sayn’.

  • tabitha


    I need to tell you, with the loss of Magoo just over a week ago, you and your blog helped me so much with my grief and are still helping, I can’t thank you enough for that. I hope we can be just as helpful for you during this time of transition/loss/adventure.

  • Lisa F.

    Your post here reminded me of something that was supposed to be my mantra this year (heard it in January), but have not thought about for some time: “Progress, not perfection”. Try not to let Halloween slipping by weigh on you too hard. Remember that you’re wonderful as is and do much good. The rest is just semantics.

  • Cathey

    Hang in there, Dr. V! I’m thinking when you can find the cook book, a batch of Brody Treats will make everyone feel better!