The Kill Switch Returneth

Me before I attempt to put Kaya’s Service Dog charm on her collar again.

Me before I attempt to put Kaya’s Service Dog charm on her collar again.

Howdy, amigos! Finally getting a chance to form some thoughts after a busy day. I am spent and feel like being quiet tonight. Think I’ll order in and catch up on some trash TV. Where I wanted company and a chain restaurant last week, I want a cup of tea and Real Housewives this week. Life ebbs and it flows. Next week I might be snapping swizzle sticks in the closet. Who even knows.

Like I said, today was busy. Baby Sister came by to collect some things for her new house and I love how excited she is about her new life. That first house when you’re young newlyweds is really magical. I’m excited for them, and I kind of love that there will be pieces of me everywhere making it weird. I had Baby Sis adopt my little doorstep Lisa Fox to bless her home and watch over her. That was one of those bittersweet moments that catch in your throat. Not because it’s sad, but it’s the realization you’ve come a long way and are ready to move onward. As things get settled, I am getting more confident about how this is actually a genesis of sorts and we are all going to thrive. I think of how overwrought and confused I was this time last year, and while I’m as equally overwhelmed, I feel in control. I don’t feel rushed into anything. Is it on my time table and the way I want it? No. But it is solid, bulletproof, and going to work.

I’ve also accepted that this time in my life happened for a reason. Four years ago, Team Chicago was also in a totally different life space with small children, relationships, and life changes of their own. Nobody was really equipped to give me the support I needed, and I wouldn’t have had the space to learn how to be independent. I also gained my person, a best friend, and a family. I just teared up typing that because OH YEAH I ALSO GAINED STRENGTH AND VULNERABILITY WHICH MEANS FEELINGS.

In order to get it. You have to be willing to lose it. That’s the biggest lesson here.

Speaking of my best friend, I think this change is taking years off his life. Poor thing. It’s raining when I leave and he said it’s because Atlanta is crying over me leaving. Awwww. I think he’s worried. He’s seen first hand what I’m walking into, and he’s scared. Everyone is, but he’s one of the few who have actually physically witnessed how it goes and what it’s like to be a target himself. He was so relieved that I have to take his biological daughter Kaya with me up there. He’s got peace of mind knowing I will never be out in public without a buddy, and never in my home without Kaya.

We’ve all put $50 on him living in Chicago within a year.

That’s kind of why I believe everything happens when it’s supposed to. Team Chicago is now in a place where they are able to participate in this with me. We have a buddy system worked out that I am never in a situation alone. Anything I have to do that could potentially become a situation… I am going to have a buddy. It makes me feel like I’m being needy, but it’s empowering in a way because it shows strength in numbers, and there will always be eyes and ears. There’s a lot of comfort in that. I’m lucky to have had these people in my life for decades willing to show up, and potentially have my dog kill them.

Oh, Kaya. See, she’d go live with her biological father, Louis, if he weren’t allergic to her. He is the only person on the planet besides me she loves. Everyone else? Blood on the walls. We did a trial separation with someone she has known for a few years and really thought she would be living her best life.

Nope. Just like the last two times I tried to give her a way better life than one with me, she lost her shit. I WANT MY MOM.

I’m never getting rid of this bitch. She will live forever.

Speaking of blood on the walls because Kaya can’t deal with life, I had to invoke the whole ‘service dog’ thing to sidestep the dog rules in the corporate housing I’m temporarily staying in. Both Kina and Kaya are street legal, papered service dogs. My doctor says I need them.

This company doesn’t require, but kindly asks that you make your service animals identifiable because of their strict pet rules, and they don’t want their phones ringing with, “WHY DOES THE BLONDE HAVE TWO WOLVES.” I get it. Kina has a harness. She’s a floppy heffalump I can do anything to.

Kaya, on the other hand…

Her first owner I rescued her from bragged about how she was ‘towel trained’ and proceeded to lay a bath towel on the floor and Kaya laid on it like a statue. In order to get her to do that, he whapped her with a yardstick every time she left the towel. Great guy, right? He also controlled her diet as a reward system.

Well as a result of those three years of trauma, I have a nutcase with a kill switch on my hands. You cannot touch Kaya on the face or the front of her body. She has to be fully sedated at the vet for simple procedures. I get exactly 2.5 seconds to clip on her leash everyday before the kill switch activates. It takes a village to get a collar on her. She broke my finger last year laying me out after I grabbed her by the collar to discipline her.

She’s the perfect dog 99% of the time and makes me feel safe. Nobody not Kaya approved gets within 10ft of me. This is purely a trauma response, and I want to punch her original owner in the face for doing this to her.

Because I can’t get a harness on her without certain death, I got a charm to hang from her special collar and a service dog leash to identify her. As of this blog post, I have attempted it five times, and have been bitten three. I feel so terrible for her! It’s like she leaves her body when she snaps at me, then returns and is SO SORRY. Like crawl on her belly and lay on my feet sorry. She really can’t help it. So I’ll try one more time tonight, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll have her biological father hold her while I do it tomorrow.

We will make it work. Hopefully with fewer broken bones this time.

Well, I think I’m going to get this quiet night started. I’m trying to find a really good 30 day yoga program, so if you know of any good ones, let me know! I have to trim some luxuries out of my life, and yoga class is one of them. I like a home practice, and goodness knows I need it.

Oh! I know I said When You’re Far Away would be coming back on Medium this week, but I’m going to postpone it one more week so I’m not making you slurp rushed garbage juice. Sorry for over promising and under delivering YET AGAIN. Thanks to this blog, I will not have writing paralysis and it will get out the door next week. Just too busy right now.

Off to visit my Postmates app and a night of Bravo!

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Jennifer Gulbrandsen