Monday, December 2, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

If you love fashion anything like me you definitely need to check out Mix and Match Mama's blog and Pinterest Told Me To. Both are fun blogs with great fashion and home ideas with awesome giveaways and even better deals!

Right now they have teamed up to do Shaeffer and Dhay's 12 Days of Christmas! Day 1 is a $500 gift card to Nordstrom. My new favorite store over the last year, thanks to them!

Visit Shaeffer here:

And Shay here:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dog House Rules

As you all know, there is no slowing Grandpa down. He may be pushing 90, but he is still very active. Although he's aged a bit since my grandma died, he is still in very good shape for someone his age. And he does things every day that he probably shouldn't be doing. But it keeps him busy and he enjoys himself. He never has been one that liked staying inside or sitting still.

Last week we had a really hot spell of 100+ degree days. The heat doesn't really bother him, he's cold natured anyway so he actually kind of enjoys it, but when it gets that hot and the heat index is about 15 degrees hotter, it's too hot for anybody, including him. It was a Saturday afternoon and I'd been gone most of the day. It was the day before Labor Day, which is also the day before the opening day of Dove Season. My dad runs a dove club, so it's always a busy time for us each year. I had been in town at my parents' farm helping get everything ready for the following day. Before I left, I talked to Grandpa for a bit in the kitchen. It was early afternoon and I asked him what he'd be doing all day. He told me he was bored to death, it was too hot to do anything and he'd been stuck inside all day. He'd taken a nap and watched at much tv as he cared to, and now he was climbing the walls with nothing to do.

We finished our conversation and I got in town to help prepare. I was gone most of the afternoon and by the time I got back it was close to six o'clock. My dad's best friend from college (Chico from the goat blog :) was here and we were getting ready to go to dinner. Usually the whole family would have gone, but my brother also had company in town and instead of going out to eat with us, there were several of them so they were staying in and cooking out. Grandpa and I both headed outside together. I didn't have long before I needed to start getting ready but I needed to water my flowers and it had finally cooled off enough for him to go tinker in the machine shed. I started watering and he told me he'd be back shortly, but he didn't say what he was going to do.

About thirty minutes later, Buddy, the dog, kept coming to the yard and then back to the machine shed. He did this about 3 times and I thought it was a little weird, but he wasn't barking or whining so I didn't give it much thought. I kept watering and was getting ready to head inside. About that time my phone rang. It was grandpa. I immediately stared at my phone funny. I didn't know why he'd be calling me when he was less than 100 feet from me. I answered the phone and he was calm as could be. He told me he needed me to come out to the shop to help him real quick. I asked what he needed help with, and again, calm as ever, he told me he needed help getting a dog cage off of him. This threw me off a little. It still wasn't clicking. I asked why he needed help getting a dog cage off of him. He said "well, I'm in trouble". Then it clicked. It clicked good and I took off running.

About two weeks ago, I had asked Rusty, our hired man, if he would help me move the dog cage in the yard. It was in the sun for most of the day and it was too hot for Clem to be in it all day. I wanted to move it across the yard under a shade tree. Rusty said he would help me whenever, just to let him know. Grandpa heard me talking to him and said instead of moving that one, he had another one and we could leave the first where it was at and move the second one under the tree. That way she'd have one for shade when it was hot and she needed a nice breeze, but she also had one that sat in the sun once it started to get cold out and through the winter. That seemed like a perfect idea. He said he'd help me move it. That was fine with me, he liked doing things like that, but I told him to let me know when he wanted to do it and I'd get Rusty to help us.  Okay he said.

I should have known better than that. When grandpa decides he wants to do something, it usually means right now. And it bothers him until it's finished. So, earlier that week, I knew he had brought the second dog house from the farm in town out to the farm in the country. I knew it was out in the machine shed and he was doing a few things to it, but I didn't know he'd gone out there to work on it that Saturday.

When he said he was in trouble, I took off running. I got out there and couldn't find him. I turned around and in the corner I saw the dog house but I still couldn't find Grandpa. I got closer and I saw him and nearly died. The dog house was big and metal, so it was heavy and hard....very hard. When I got close enough to see, I saw him on the concrete floor and couldn't see either of his legs from the knee down. He had fallen and had somehow gotten his legs traps underneath the dog house. I found out later that he had been trying to turn it over onto another side, and he lost his footing and when he fell, he obviously dropped the cage as well, and it landed on him. Did I mention how big and heavy it was? It landed right on his knees and I was sure that his legs were shattered. When I saw him, I knew there was no way he was going to be able to walk when I got it off of him.

He saw me and still was calm as ever. He said, "Morgan Lea, I'm alright I just lost my footing. I just need you to get that corner and lift it up a little so I can slide out". How the heck was he going to slide his legs out when they were broken! I tried lifting the edge of it and couldn't, it was too heavy. I told him I was going to get Chris and I'd be back.

Chris was right next door over in the Seed Shed. It's the farm office building and it has a sitting area and full kitchen we use for family functions and get togethers. Chris and his buddy were in there watching tv before they had to start cooking for their get together that night. I ran in the door, all worked up and not making much sense. I yelled for him and he didn't answer me. He can't hear thunder. But I saw Bruce and yelled I needed his help. He was obviously confused and asked what was wrong. All I remember yelling is 'Grandpa is in trouble I need your help!" and I took off running back to the shop. I immediately saw Chris' head shoot up, that got his attention and I saw them both get up and I heard them following me....but other than that they had no clue what was going on. And clearly I wasn't much into details. I was a lifeguard for several years and a crisis didn't really send me into a panic. Apparently this isn't true in my own situations because I was yelling random things, running everything, and breathing like I had just carried 7 mules on my back up a mountain. I probably sounded like I was about to have a stroke.

I got back to the shop and tried lifting the cage. I couldn't lift it the first time, but for whatever reason I got it the second time. I don't know how because I couldn't lift it now if I tried. But I got it enough that he could get his legs out. Grandpa said "that's just great" and at the same time Chris and Bruce came around the corner. I was still holding the cage......and then all of the sudden I wasn't. The dog house was gone. It was there.....and I was lifting it....and then all of the sudden it disappeared. I turned around to try and figure out where it went and there it was.....half way across the machine shop floor. Bruce is a big dude. Very tall and very solid. I would always want him on my side in a fight....but even he can't tell you how he threw that dog house. He said he couldn't lift it now to save his life. I guess that's what adrenaline does for you.

Before he threw the cage half way across the state, he said a few cuss words. A lot of them actually. Really only one. But he said it several times. Grandpa isn't much of a cusser and because of that most of us try not to cuss around him just out of respect. When I first got into the shop and saw the dog house on his legs, I screamed "oh shit" and then realized what I said and immediately said "oh, grandpa, I'm so sorry! I shouldn't have said that!". I'm pretty sure, in that moment, me saying shit was the last of his concerns. He told me it was fine just to get that thing off him. So, when Bruce rounded the corner and started repeatedly saying the F word in every single form you can imagine and in 14 different languages, you can imagine I was a little taken a back. He meant no disrespect at all and now, in hindsight, it's hilarious, but I had never heard one individual say the F word so many times in such rapid succession. Especially to Bob Ford! He was obviously freaked out and was saying it out of panic......but let me tell you he can let that word fly in a pinch!

After all the commotion of the cage toss, Grandpa starts chuckling. CHUCKLING. Bruce and Chris were trying to get him up off the ground and then tried to get him to take a seat and all he kept saying "I'm alright, I'm alright, I just couldn't get it off me". Meanwhile, I went to the nearest corner and had a nervous breakdown. Seriously started bawling. I was sure he was going to be paralyzed or at the very least have broken bones. That is one big freaking dog house! And I have no idea how the only thing he managed to get was a bruise on his knee where it landed.

But in typical Bob Ford fashion, he wasn't phased. I'm sobbing and Chris and Bruce are making sure he's alright, and he puts his hands on his hips (signature Bob Ford pose) and says, "now boys, since you're over here could you go ahead and flip that for me?" Bruce just stared at him with an open mouth. Chris just looked at me and shook his head. He'll never change. He's a stubborn ole goat.

They got the dog house rotated and I asked Grandpa if we could just go back to the house. Alright, he said. "I mean, I'm fine. But I guess I'll go back if that'll make you feel better. Bruce gave me a hug and said "this is why you don't have a career yet, this is why you're here." I'm not sure if he knew how much that meant to me....but it meant the world. I've struggled a lot with not being able to find a job that is within my degree. I don't consider living with Grandpa to be a job. He takes care of me. Not the other way around. And I consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life. But I hadn't ever thought of it that way. I'm getting precious moments that I can't ever get back and won't always have the opportunity to take advantage of. I'm glad that I'm in a position that I'm able to be around to tinker with him during the day, go pick peaches and sweet corn, have lunch and dinner every day, take rides on the tractor, and rescue him from underneath the dog cage. Whether Bruce meant to or not, he made my struggle with myself and a career a little easier. Love you mucho, Brucie!!!

Of course we couldn't just go straight back to the house. On the way, we passed the Igloo dog house that he has for the inside of the cage. It had old straw in it and that wouldn't do. Clemmy needed fresh bedding for the winter and he wanted the old out. Now. He started to do it himself. Igloos are freaking heavy by the way! And he was trying to turn it upside down to dump it out. I stopped him and told him I'd do it. We finally got all that straw out and he wanted it moved across the yard. Of course, he doesn't ask me to do that either he just starts pulling it. I stopped him....again....and took it from him. I asked where he wanted it and lugged it half way across the yard.

All of this was for me, anyway! And he was supposed to let me know before he did it so I could help. That worked out well for everyone. Typical.

After all that, I finally got back to my phone. In all of the shuffle I had dropped it in the yard. My mother had called. Like seven times. Bless her ever loving heart. I had thought that all of this had been pulled off without her knowing. Because she freaks her freak in a time of crisis for her family. It's one of the best parts about her....but I'm pretty sure she nearly kills herself every time.

Apparently before he called me, Grandpa had tried to call my Uncle Jay. I'm not sure why he did that, he knew I was in the yard, but he called him first. Uncle Jay couldn't come help though, he was in Wisconsin. So.....Grandpa then called me. But, obviously, Uncle Jay and Marci were worried so they had tried to call a few others to see if someone else could come help. They got ahold of Marci's son, Brian, but he wasn't close. Finally, he had no other option than to call my mom. He ain't no fool. He didn't do that until he absolutely had to. No matter how he described it or what he said, I think he knew she was going to lose her mind.

He tried to be as delicate as possible. He told her several times it wasn't an emergency (half lie, but I don't blame him), he told her to stay calm and he needed her to do something. Apparently, this didn't work out so great for him because at that point she essentially told him to cut the crap and tell him what was wrong. I guess something about "dad is trapped under the dog house" doesn't really come across as "non emergency". She hung up on him. Let the good times roll.

Did I mention she was in the shower when he called? Yeeeeeepp, you bet she was, and if you thought Robin Lea Weller was going to take the time to put real clothes on in this situation you are dead freaking wrong. Her dad was in trouble and by golly she was going to get there fast. My dad had just gotten home and was changing his clothes. He had nothing on but his shorts. My mother was in a bath towel. And she starts rambling incoherent sentences....I think that's where I get my cool under pressure...thanks mom! : )

He finally got it out of her what had happened and they loaded up in the car.....Zsa Zsa in a bath towel and Popsicle in shorts and his crocs. I'm sorry.....but now that it's over and everyone is okay.....this is my very favorite part of the story. I know she was in a frazzle....(just as I had been about 10 minutes before that) and the two of them racing to the country going about 110 in shorts and crocs and a bath towel really trips my trigger. Even better for me is trying to recreate the phone conversation with my uncle when he just kept repeating to stay calm. God bless his heart. He knew better than that. We all would have done the same, and when I was in the middle of the situation I was acting like a freaking lunatic when I didn't know if he was okay or not, but telling Zsa to "stay calm" or "don't panic" in a situation like that is like telling a stallion not to buck. Or a lion not to roar. Good. Luck.

That night at dinner, I went through the whole story in detail with Zsa Zsa, Popsicle and Chico. And I think my dad summed it up best. At one point I used to think my grandpa had 9 lives like a cat. He tried to change a girl's tire once and the jack gave out and the car fell on him and he somehow rolled in the ditch. He flipped a tractor mowing ditches once and was standing and waiting for someone to come by with his hands on his hips when Chris found him without a scratch. He put the transmission out of the truck while trying to feed the horse in the back of the pasture in the middle of a blizzard, and then instead of staying in the car like my mom told him to, decided to walk back to the road and meet her so she didn't have to drive as's a good two miles from where the truck was, he lost the flashlight on the way, and did I mention it was a blizzard? In the middle of winter and the worst storm we had had in years, my mom, sister in law and my niece (wearing only a diaper and a blanket because they didn't have enough time for anything else!) met him half way back to the road. He didn't pay one bit of attention to my mom lecturing him about how stupid it was for him to try and walk back in the middle of the storm, he opened up the back door, completely ignored my mom and looked at Kalynn and said "that's just the girl I was wanting to see!" He climbs to the top of the grain bin and has slid to the bottom of the hill on the mower more times than he can count, but somehow he's never been seriously hurt. He doesn't have 9 lives. He has 29.

I'm not sure how he does it, but we've all just come to accept it's what he does. God forbid anything ever did happen where he would get hurt, but somehow he's just lucky. He does things a man in 40's shouldn't be doing. But he does them anyway. Me telling him to stop now won't make a bit of difference.

And at the very least, if he does something bad enough, I can just put him back in the dog house again.

That'll teach him!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Rescuers: Goat Edition

So....yesterday I told y'all about the goats and how they came to be. Today, I'm going to tell you of their latest adventure. And mine. But first I just need to tell you about my favorite part of adopting them that I forgot about yesterday. I'm not sure how I left this part out, but when we went to pick them up....they had signs on the doors of their stalls that said "waiting to go home". Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard! It made me cry. For real. Bobby just looked at me, shook his head and told me to pull it together. But they'd finally found their home! And they were so excited that they were waiting for their family. Okay, they probably weren't that overly excited about it but I was. Aside from actually bringing them home, that was my favorite part. And I love that those rescue workers took the time to put something like that with each one that found a home!

Anyway, back to the goats.

I love animals. It's well known and documented and isn't really big news. But one of the most frequently asked questions I get is why I didn't become a veterinarian. With someone that loves animals as much as me, it seems like the obvious choice. And my answer to that would be a few things. One, I can't handle the needles or the blood. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Two, I don't like to see them hurting. I start crying. I'm basically a hot mess. Even shots are too much for me. Their little yelps just break my heart. So, needless to say, I'm not good at administering the shots, either. When I worked at the shelter I had to have lessons on giving shots, and it took four other coworkers in the room with me. One cat, I got the needle half way in and she freaked out, and I started yelling "she doesn't like this!" and just threw my hands up and walked away. After it was all over, my boss was like "so constructive criticism...I know she doesn't like it...but she also doesn't like the needle left hanging half out of her and the shot not even next time or out if you're gonna walk away". Mk. Well solid point, Michelle. Actually really good point. Dually noted.  And finally, I don't handle death well. And I think that it's pretty safe to say that when you go to put your animal to sleep or they pass away, that you are already struggling enough with the difficult time. You probably don't need your vet curled up in a ball on top of the animal in a fetal position screaming "I'm sorry I couldn't do more". Yeah. Probably not the best course of action.

Therefore, no vet school for me.

But recently, the goats got an infection in their hooves. I was pretty much appalled when I realized this but apparently it's pretty common. Our vet said it's like athlete's foot for humans. But like anything else, it's an infection and when it goes untreated it gets worse.  We didn't realize they had it until last week during Dove season. Every year for Dove season my dad's best friend from college comes to stay for the week. His name is Chico and he is legitimately one of my Top 5 favorite people ever. I don't quite know how to describe his greatness other than he just gets it. He listens more than he speaks (I could take a lesson or two) and he can read people like no one I've ever seen. He's around someone 60 seconds and he knows whether they are a good egg or not. But if he isn't a fan of someone, you'd never know. He just minds his own. He gives great advice. And he's also hysterical.

One day last week he and Big Mike were making their rounds around the farm to check everything out. They were checking on the cattle and the goats when they noticed that the goats were walking funny. One was limping and the other was walking on his knees. So, obviously something was wrong. Dad called the vet first thing and described the situation. Doc immediately knew the problem, said it was obviously uncomfortable for them, but fairly common. They get it from standing in cool, damp areas a lot where bacteria sits (their urine) and when their feet aren't allowed to dry enough it gets infected. They both needed a shot and they should be good to go.

This all sounds pretty easy, but I knew immediately not to be fooled. The goats roam with the cattle. They have a fairly large pasture that they have free rein of and before they could be given the shots they needed to be confined to a smaller area. Wednesday night, Dad told me to be at the farm at 9:30 Thursday morning. We had a dove hunt that afternoon and needed to be there in time for lunch, but we'd go get them around 10, get them to the smaller lot and be on our merry way. No problem, he says. Sure.

Thursday morning I get out to the farm. Dad, his bestie Greg and Chico, of course, are already there and immersed in some conversation that I have no clue about. Chico lamented that I was on time for once. He should have known the injured animal would be enough motivation for me, and that they should try telling me there is a needy animal in every location they need to be at on time. See. He's a joker. I got bored with their conversation pretty quickly. Boy talk. So, naturally I started playing Candy Crush on my phone. I was deep into a game on level 147, which is my arch nemesis.  I've been stuck on it all summer. ALL FREAKING SUMMER. Hate that level. All of the sudden I hear Big Mike inform me I need to get my "nose out of that damn phone. We have things to do and he's not waiting on my ass". I look at him somewhat confused, and tell him I've been ready for 15 minutes and he was telling a story. "Well, I'm ready now, damn it. Let's go."

This should be fun.

We start to walk to the vehicles and Chico, ever the voice of reason, say, "shouldn't we maybe have a game plan?" Oh, that's a novel idea, Mikey thinks. His plan is that he and Greg will ride in the Ranger and Chico and I will follow on the four wheeler which has the wagon attached to the back of it. Dad and I each have a lead and we will each get a goat and lead them to Chico in the goat ambulance, who will then drive them up the hill to the lot they need to go to. He says, "it will only take a minute and we will be on our way". Fine. Everyone load up.

I get on the back of four wheeler and I look at Chico and say, "something tells me this won't take just a minute. He should have never said that". Chico just shook his head, chuckled and said, "yeah, this is going to be bad. "

Everyone takes off and we get to the cattle lot. We first have to find the goats. We don't know if they are at the top or the bottom of the hill. Dad first goes into the small lot with the wishful thinking that they are already at the top of the hill and no goat chasing will have to be made. No such luck. However, he and Greg did decide to take us through a few bumpy areas which prompted Chico to ask, "they do remember we are pulling a trailer right?"

We head on down to the bottom of the hill and Chico says to me, "so....what if the goat won't come to you? I feel like flip flops probably aren't the best choice of foot wear for you to chase a goat in". Good point, buddy. Solid point.  But ever the constant supporter, he says, "don't worry I'll make sure to follow you with the goat ambulance, plus, if you can't outrun a goat walking on his knees then you've got bigger problems." I said, "you aren't going to help me catch them?" He laughed. He laughed a lot. And said no, he's just the goat ambulance driver, I'm the paramedic.

The goats were easily spotted at the bottom of the hill laying next to the water tank. Dad directs Greg to get out of the ranger, me to get in, and Chico to be on standby to come when he's told. Dad goes in the Ranger every day to fill the water tank so they are used to it. He was hoping he'd pull up and they'd just ignore it. Which they did. Excellent job, Mikey. The only slight malfunction was that when I tried to get the lead on Timmy, Gus immediately started dry humping him. I knocked him off of him and he kindly took his left horn to my vagina bone. And people wonder why he got kicked out of the Barn Buddies program. All I heard was Chico laugh and say "this is great".

Anywho, Dad takes Gus, I take Timmy. In the meantime, dad starts directing Greg and Chico with what to do. Except he just throws his hand in one direction or the other and expects you to get what he wants you to do. I mean, afterall, that's all he has to tell his prized and elaborately trained hunting dog, Bandit, so surely it will work on the humans too. So, Chico drove the ambulance in a small circle and got some more hand throwing from dad and came back around to where he needed to be. Or, as dad put it, he guessed it would do.

Now, I didn't mention this earlier but Gus is the one in better shape out of the two. Timmy is the one that was walking on his knees. So, essentially, I got the one that needs to be carried. So, naturally, dad and Gus load up right away. No problems, no hesitation. Gussy is unusually well behaved and he and dad take a seat on the bench in the back of the trailer. I have no idea where that seat came from but it worked out for dad and Gus at the time. Meanwhile, I'm still back at the water tank trying to get Timmy a good 50 feet from where he's at. Have you ever tried to move a hundred pound goat that doesn't want to move? It's about as hard as it sounds. He also has horns. So picking him up and carrying him wasn't really an ideal option unless I wanted a horn to the temple.

I was trying to be gentle with him. I knew he was in discomfort and probably the last thing he wanted to do was load into the back of a weird trailer. He was walking on his knees anyway, so upsetting his gravity some more was probably not his idea of a good time. About that time dad pipes up. We had gotten along so well up until that point. So well. But as with any Weller adventure, that can only last so long. He starts shouting at me from the back of the trailer that I need to get a move on. There is no gentle about it, the goat needs loaded up. There is no room for babying. Seriously, is he trying to make a play on the "there is no crying in baseball" thing? Cause I wasn't impressed. I told him that he was hurting, I wasn't going to yank him. Plus, I was pulling as hard as I could without it choking him. He pipes back "if he chokes, he chokes, he'll get up on the trailer faster". Now.....he didn't actually mean that. He wouldn't have choked the goat any more than me. But things weren't moving at his pace so he got to sassin. Well, I don't get my sass from nowhere so at that I screamed that if he could do such a good job to come do it himself. Then he shouted, "Greg! Go help her".

Timmy started moving then. I think he knew things were going south. Greg was told he could stand down and Timmy and I made it to the trailer. He still wasn't a fan of the step up though, so Greg held the horns and I lifted him on the trailer.

Some of you might be wondering where Chico went or if he had any commentary. No. He was still sitting on the four wheeler staring dead ahead. He's not stupid. He stayed as removed from the situation as possible and said nothing. Just listening.

We got everyone loaded and we were off to the small lot. Chico did a couple of crazy eights in the pasture after some good directions again from dad, and finally we made it to our destination at the top of the hill. Everyone unloaded fine, went in the pen fine, and got some treats while we checked out their feet. Everyone was happy.

That's when Mikey thought he needed to go get ballsy. He decides that, hey, we've got some time. Why doesn't he just run on down to the vet's office, show Doc the pictures of the hooves to make sure it's what he thought it was, get the shots, and come on back and we can give them the injections ourselves. You know, I was thinking the same thing. Why don't we do that. Remember when I said I don't do needles? And I don't do animals in pain.

Let the good times roll.

He leaves us at the pond, makes his trip to the vet and comes back about 15 minutes later with two of the biggest syringes I've seen in my life. The only thing I've seen that came close was the needle they used to numb up my sister in law's kitty cat when she was about to shuck my niece out of her who-ha. Yeah. This just went way south and I am not excited about it.

Again, we all load up. Chico's driving services weren't needed now that the ambulance had safely delivered it's passengers to their pen, so I asked if he was staying or going. He scoffed at me. Scoffed! And said, "I'm pretty sure I'm not going to miss this show". On the drive to the top of the hill, Chico says, "you know, I knew this was much easier than it should have been. Had I thought their condition was critical, I would have just made the executive decision as the ambulance driver to go right instead of left and go straight to the vet's office, but they'll be fine. This will be entertainment."

This was going to be bad. Real bad.

The plan was Greg would hold the horns, I was to deliver as many treats as possible and dad would inject the antibiotic in their neck, and Chico would supervise. Chico always has been the smart one.

It just played out that Gus got his shot first. Mistake. Remember when I said he got kicked out of the Barn Buddies program for butting people with his horns? Yeah, well he hasn't forgotten that trick and still likes to do it for fun or, you know, when someone injects a pint of burning liquid into his neck.

Gus did not like the shot. He didn't like the shot at all. He rared up on his back legs and was bawling. He just kept bawling and it wouldn't seemed like hours of him just crying out. Then I wanted to start crying, I knew it hurt him but it was the only way to make it better. He didn't so much care about the treats anymore, he was more or less just bucking around like a rabid stallion. And he. was. ticked. I've never had that shot before. Tetracycline or something....I think it would probably kill a midget, I don't know. But, it was awfully brown and looked less than ideal for the human digestion system. But I got the impression that it burned. It burned a lot. Gussy was not a fan. Just ask him. Or my left butt cheek. He got through his bucking and bawling and then he wanted a piece of somebody.

Anybody would do.

You would think that given that I had the treats and not the needle that I would be safe. Not so much. Ole' boy came at me with a purpose. He was getting somebody with those horns and he was going to feel better about it. Greg tried to get in front of me. And then quickly got out of the way again. I can't really blame him. He's got some tender parts in front. I wouldn't voluntarily put my lady bits in harms way, so I don't expect him to either. Luckily, there was a water trough right behind me, so when Gus decided to knock my ghetto butt down, he basically sat me right down like a chair, only I got a little air before I actually hit. What was that dog's name that could make baskets? Airbud? I felt like him.  But I couldn't get any farther away from the situation once my airbud fizzled out. The treat bag fell out of my hand and scattered everywhere and I hear my dad go "the treats! He wants some treats!" Really, bud? That's your advice right now? My ass just got served, by a goat no less, and he's showing no signs of being done with his little tantrum and your advice is to pick up the treats and throw a couple his way. You got it bud. Right on it.

At one point I did fall backwards too, but guess who caught me? Chico. Put a little hand out and caught my shoulders. Hey, thanks for having my back buddy, I couldn't have made it through this debacle without you.

All and all I was pretty much fine. The only blood was on my ankle where it got caught between the water trough and the wall. Aside from that, my left butt cheek was bruised for a spell or two from where Gus made direct contact twice. You ever had a horn to the buttocks? It. Feels. Fabulous.

After Psycho calmed down everyone realized there was still another shot to be given and it was for the one that needed it the most. Chico: "well this outta be good. Now he really wants a piece of you and he'll get you while you're distracted with the other goat". Hey, Chico, you want to take my spot? Nope, I'm good, he says.

Ole' Timmy took it like a champ. I don't even think he knew what had happened. At first he just kept shaking his head but he shook it off like a stud. He didn't act like the idiot that Gus did when he resembled a dying sea lion in a fight with a sea horse. I gave him some treats and he was cool as a cucumber. And naturally, Gus wanted a few then, too.

I often wonder how I get myself in situations like this. But I've come to realize I come by it naturally. If I didn't, there's no way that out of the treat giver, the horn holder, the injector, and the supervisor, that I was the one that ended up in the water trough with the assistance of a goat.

On the way back to the pond, I told Chico of how they suggested Gus and Timmy be adopted together, so that Gus could give Timmy a little more confidence. I said I thought it had worked but that Timmy was still as sweet as could be. He was more comfortable with humans now, but he rarely got upset or got an attitude, he'd let you do whatever and he was cool about it. I told him of Gus' Barn Buddies days and that he was basically known for being as ass hole. His only response was, "I can see it".

On the bright side, Chico says that he can now check "goat ambulance driver" off his bucket list and I can check "goat paramedic" off mine. But for today, the goat ambulance has been parked until further notice.

Well, thank you Jesus.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gussy and Timothy.....the Prequel

So....about three years ago, I decided my mission in life was to get myself a goat. Ever since my grandparents had a goat named Lady when I was growing up, I've always kind of loved them. Lady just chilled with the cattle. She didn't cause any extra trouble. She was black and white and the coolest goat ever. She'd follow my grandpa around and she would let you pet her when we'd walk through the cattle trough. Lady died when I was still fairly young, so I'm not sure why it took me to the age of 20 before the urge really struck me that I needed a goat again, but for whatever reason, there I was.

I stumbled across a rescue ranch for farm animals online. Massive mistake. Massive. We all know I'm a sucker for the animals. I will take in any one of them. Except for snakes and spiders...and probably mice too. So when I found this website, I naturally found about 67 animals that I just HAD to have. Some goats, a miniature horse and a miniature donkey, a pot belly pig and about 19 horses.

Just like the goat, we had always had horses growing up. My brother Bobby was particularly into riding and his horse, Mae Dae was legit the coolest horse you will ever meet in your life. Homeboy had massive skills and was such a stud. He was a lover and he was Bobby's main sidekick. Together, they kicked the tails of every other man and horse in the country. Okay, maybe they weren't that well known.....but none the less.....basically every show they entered, they won. Sadly, Mae Dae had a brain aneurysm and didn't make it. We don't know all the details and the circumstances were a little suspicious. He wasn't that old and he went way before his time, but if you were ever wanting to know how much he meant to our family, go check out Mae Dae's burial site. I'm not sure if you've ever had to dig a hole for a horse.....and let's face it, I haven't actually either, I generally tap out when it comes to manual labor such as that, but I remember my dad and the boys did. And it was no small endeavor. But only the best for that special boy. Although, it's a good thing he had the boys to dig his hole, because the only hole I've ever had to dig for an animal was for a kitten and I nearly had a mental breakdown. This is why I would suck as a veterinarian. Back to the horse, I never rode as much as Bobby did, although I did take lessons here and there, but around the same time that I decided I must have a goat, I also decided I needed a horse.

For some unknown reason my dad, Popsicle Weller, was less than impressed with the idea of bringing all of the homeless to our home. I don't know why? I mean, I do actually. As is typical with the barn yard animals, he has the main task of caring for them. I was still in school at the time, Bobby lives in Alton and Chris is....let's just say Chris isn't one with the animals....I'm still not sure how he and I burst forth from the same womb. So, that left the primary care to my dad. He knew this....and I did too really, but I really wanted a goat y'all. And a horse. But I have a philosophy on animals. Some people won't agree (a lot probably, especially Chris....who still to this day makes some kind of comment about have I sent him off to the glue factory yet. What a charmer) but I feel like we have the space, we have the shelter needed, and we have the love to give, and as long as that continues we should open our homes and our hearts to however many animals need us. Keep in mind this is all good in theory, especially when I'm not the one paying for the horse feed (thanks dad : ).

Anywho, around my 21st birthday, I was really making way with my horse and goat plan. I would print off pictures every night of the ones I wanted and each picture came with a little bio of what the animal had been through before it got to the rescue ranch. Well played, Long Meadow. Well played. If that doesn't pull at your heart strings that the horse you think is amazingly beautiful on the computer nearly lost it's leg and was starved to death, and then survived an over turned trailer in the middle of the Missouri freeway, then you don't have a soul.

Well, guys, this may surprise you, but I'm no amateur. I knew my dad couldn't hold out long with this game either. He's a softie for the four legged furry friends too. So, I'd print out their picture and their little bio and set it on his dresser at night, so that it was the first thing he saw the next morning. I usually tried to limit myself to four animals per day, but sometimes I just couldn't help myself. I had just nearly convinced him I needed a goat.....when Bobby went off and got himself not one, but two horses. Score. Excellent move, Robert. (everyone give Mesa and Boris their due respect).

If Bobby can have one and keep it at your farm, where the majority of the work to care for them is your responsibility then why can't I? Afterall, you've already got two, what's a third going to do? You're already feeding the others anyway. Well played, Morgan. Well played. Guess what I got for my 21st birthday?

A horse.  His name is Bullwinkle Roosevelt Weller and he. is. gorg. (as in gorgeous).

Oh, also, I got a goat....or two.

Originally, I only thought I HAD to have one goat. I wasn't trying to be greedy, I just wanted to save one. Her name was Willow and she was beautiful. I'd been stalking her online for months. And I'd already made her mine. Then, the week before we went to pick them up, some little five year old skank adopted her first.  So rude. What a jerk. I was devastated. Willow was all I wanted. Well, now Willow was off with the bratty five year old (who I'm sure gave her a wonderful home. I would have given her better. But whatever), and I had to find another goat.

And so you have Gussy and Timothy. You might wonder how it went from one to two and well....I'm not quite sure either. Other than another one of my golden rules is that they always need a buddy. The horses had each other, and the goat needed a friend too. Timothy was the one I found first. He just seemed so shy and sweet. Well, the lady at the ranch said he would really do better with a more outgoing and dominant goat to have as a friend.  She was afraid by himself he would never come out of his shell. I liked that lady. She reinforced my plan without even really meaning to. She thought a more outgoing goat friend would help him to become more comfortable with people and that he would follow the other goat's lead. So then there was Gus.

The lady was right. Gussy really did help Timothy to adjust. In the beginning we couldn't even pet him, he was so skittish, but eventually he livened up and today he has no problem with humans, but he's still as sweet as ever. You can pet him and basically do whatever and he's cool with it. He doesn't get bossy. He doesn't get irritated. He just loves to be loved.

Then there's Gus.

Little history on Gus. Gus was in this program called "Barn Buddies". It was the program that Long Meadow had to promote their organization and get their residents publicity so that they would have a better chance of getting adopted. The animals in the Barn Buddy program were the ones that they would take with them to community events, on tv, or for whatever publicity even they needed. Basically, those animals were in the traveling petting zoo. Well, Gus got kicked out of the program. Sometimes, manners are not Gus' strong suit.  Turns out, he likes to give a little tap here and there with his horns. And by tap, I mean....he likes to tap whoever is closest right in the hiney.

Apparently, this was a common enough practice for ole' Gussy that he got demoted. Gus didn't care. He didn't care one bit. He didn't have to travel anymore and he could still do it to whatever unlucky sucker got to feed him that day. He's kind of an a hole, really. Because he truly does know better.  You might say he's just a goat. And he is. But after he gives you his little love tap, he'll go to his corner and the look on his face, he just knows. And if a goat could laugh, that's what he would be doing. Laughing at himself and at the fool he just made out of you. But, as some of you may know, I've been known to love an a hole animal or two. I like their sass. Bullwinkle and Mesa are a couple of ass hats too.  Too bad they aren't donkeys. Furthermore, some people might say I'm an a hole too, so I probably relate to them because of that. I just think they are fabulous, really. They are spunky and sort of out of control and I find them to be hilarious. So we bond. He really is a sweet boy. Most of the time. Well, sometimes. But he's still mine.

He and Timmy are complete opposites. Timmy a sweet boy with a gentle heart. And Gus, a dirt leg. But I love them both. They are my boys.

I told you a few weeks back that you'd eventually hear all about all of my animals, and you will. So today's blog was in part because it was time for you to hear and G and T. But today's blog also had a bigger picture with it. You needed the back story for tomorrow's blog. Because it just wouldn't be quite as great without the back story.

As it turns out, we run an amateur goat ambulance. I say amateur, because it could be argued our skills aren't as finely tuned as they should be. And if you have any brain at all, you'll come back tomorrow to hear all about why.

Oh, and ps....I still don't have my miniature donkey or my pot belly pig. But I will one day. Just you wait.

Just. You. Wait.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't Be Wasteful....

I told you yesterday of Bullet's aversion to the air we'll talk about his aversion to throwing things away. Anything. Everything. And by anything and everything.....I mean all of it.

Most of his issues come with food items, but he's also got weird little tendencies with other things too. For example, the newspapers. He doesn't save them for anything. They hold no significant value to him. He just doesn't throw them away.  But if I throw them away for him, he's okay with it. Wait....maybe he isn't a hoarder....just wants me to do his dirty work? Just kidding!

He also saves prescription papers. You know, the pieces of paper that are stapled to your prescription bag. Yeah, he pulls those off and saves them all in a pile in the kitchen. I'll go in there and before I know it he has 37 prescription papers piled up behind the rolling pin. And, I mean, why??? What in the world would he want those for?

With most material items we don't have an issue when I try to throw them away, but where we do quarrel is with food. He wants to save it forever, until it's eaten. And me....not so much.

Bob Ford grew up in a different era. He grew up through the depression and I suppose then you didn't throw things away. You couldn't afford to or you would literally be hungry. People didn't have the luxury of just going to buy new all the time. I reckon that's probably why he's so weird about conserving energy and all that too. But I'm here to tell ya, Bullet doesn't need to conserve near as much as he does.

When I first moved in with him back in November, I spent the first couple of months I was there trying to organize my stuff while also trying to give each room a good deep clean. I started with the kitchen. Grandpa has never been one for housekeeping, my grandma did all of that. So in the two years since she's been gone, it had obviously gotten a little out of control. Plus, in the several years before she died, her health wasn't good enough for her to keep all of that in order. She was diligent and meticulous about her home, especially her kitchen.  Things were always in their place and neatly organized. But, with her failing health, some of those things fell by the wayside. When help came in to assist in taking care of her, those things weren't a priority either. She was their main focus and if they had time they kept all of the obvious things clean, but cleaning out the pantry or the cabinets wasn't really on their to do list.

So, in those first couple of months I tried to clean out all of things that had been forgotten about in the last 10 years. The pantry was my first stop. I know my Grandpa pretty well and I knew this was not going to be an easy endeavor. When I was in high school, I used to clean their house for them once a week. My grandma was always good about leaving me a list and getting the things I needed. Grandpa however just wanted to know why I was using so many paper towels. To this day, I still hear him complain about the paper towels about once a month. It doesn't matter who is cleaning the house at the time, he just can not wrap his mind around how us women can use so many dang paper towels.  Maybe this is why he has bought us enough to own stock in them? Seriously, if you ever run out of paper towels, come to our house. He buys them in bulk. Because when the apocalypse know the things you are going to need most are paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter, syrup, chocolate bar, and apple cider. Because....why wouldn't those be what he stocks up on?

The pantry took me two days to clean out. It would have only taken one, but I got everything cleaned out the first night, and promptly found it back in the pantry the second night. I hadn't been smart enough on round one to take the trash out before he realized what I'd done. He dug every single thing out of the trash can that I had thrown away and put it back in the pantry. Keep in mind, they were all canned or jarred items, but still, my disgust level was over the edge.

On night two, I'd learned my lesson. I waited patiently for him to go to bed and then I started my covert mission. And let me tell you, it was a mission. Bullet runs the philosophy that if it comes in a can, it never expires. word. I found jello from the early 2000s, honey from the 90s and even a can of evaporated milk from the late 80s. Shut. the. front. door. Let me just point out, I was born in '89.  That can of evaporated milk had made it through my entire lifetime without hitting a dumpster!

I went through all of the pantry....again....and ended up with 6....six....SIX....large black trash bags full of junk. That included the cleaned out fridge too, but none the less.....holy crow. Here's where my mission really gets going. By this point, it was about 2 am.  I knew I couldn't leave the trash again....he'd go through every dang bag and have it back in the cupboard before I was even out of bed the next day. the middle of November, I put on his coat and my snow boots, and went and got his truck. You all are dead wrong if you think I was putting evaporated milk from '89 on the carpet of my back hatch!

I tried to load everything as quietly as I could. But, as is pretty typical of me, I sound like a heard of cattle regardless of what I'm doing. Quiet has never been one of my strong points. So, at one point I conveniently didn't get one of the bags all the way onto the tail gate and it fell off on the road. Luckily, it was the bag full of glass jars. Idiot. I saw his bedroom light go on. In the middle of that, I wasn't paying attention and was fairly confident I'd fractured my tibula in 3.5 places. I started to shout....and stopped myself. And then quietly hid in the corner of the kitchen with the lights off. Like he couldn't see me if he came down to get a drink or see what the noise was from? My 23 year old body would be completely unnoticed in the corner of the kitchen. Genius.

Before long he was back to bed.  I finished loading the bags into the truck and off I went in town. At that point we didn't have a dumpster out on the farm. The only dumpster we had was in town at my dad's farm. Grandpa still burned all of his trash then. Since then, we've gotten a dumpster here too. Something about him carrying a blow torch at all times just didn't sit right. Once again, the blow torch is a whole different story but basically he freaking loves the blow torch. It just set things on fire so easily. Who knew? He would use it to set fire to anything. Trash, light a candle, melt some wire....just whatevs. He had lost the blow torch at one point and was sure someone stole it (as he is sure happened to most things he can't find). It finally showed back up in the back seat of his truck one day....miraculous that whoever stole it put it back there for him....but in the meantime he'd bought himself another one. I came home one day and saw both blow torches sitting on the table next to some gasoline. No big deal. Needless to say, we try to avoid the torch at all costs, and getting a dumpster was an easy fix.

But in November, I still had to trek in town at 3 in the morning to get rid of all that junk. I seriously felt like I was apart of Seal Team 6 and I was headed to take out Bin Laden. I was even dressed in all black, to be a shadow of the night. Turns out, it's a good thing I wasn't on the team to get Bin Laden though. In the middle of trying to throw the bags from the back of the truck to the dumpster, I had one foot on the dumpster and the other on the truck. Bad move, self. I gracefully slipped and did the splits between the two and managed to rack myself along the way. If I can't have children one day......I'll know why. A metal dumpster is less than ideal to the crotch bone. Take my word for it.

Once my mission was complete, he never even knew the difference. As long as he can't see you throwing it away, he normally doesn't pay enough attention to the food to notice.

Since then, we've had a few more incidents. Like the day I came home to find 3 jars of almost gone apple butter in the freezer. I wasn't quite sure what that was all about so finally I went and asked him. Well, actually he just hadn't used them fast enough and they'd started to get a little mold on them. He just threw them in the freezer and he was going to scrape that top layer off and then he'd be good to go.

I'm sorry, what? You have got to be freakin' kidding me. I told him that was unacceptable. I'd buy him some more apple butter. He didn't need to eat the moldy ones. We are not trying to take home the prize on Survivor.

Not a week later, I came home and saw where he had about four pieces left of a desert my mom had made the week earlier. He loves sweets and I really feel like it's a true dagger to his heart any time he has to throw some away. This desert was like a strawberry jello cake and it had real strawberries on top of the icing. The strawberries were past their prime and had started to in true Bullet fashion, he just scraped them off to the other end of the pan. When I asked him why he had done that, he said the rest of the cake was still good eatin' and it was too good to waste. No. No no. No.

We are not carpet baggers traveling back after the Civil War. We do not need to resort to moldy food. He looked at me straight in the face and without missing a beat he said, "Morgan Lea, do you know that before they had antibiotics, doctors gave sick patients moldy bread to get all the germs out of their system? It worked too....turned them back healthy as a lark. It's good for you. It cleans out your system".

I didn't know what to say to that. And as often happens when I'm dumbfounded by the nuggets of wisdom he throws at me on a constant basis, I just stared at him for a few minutes, pretended like I didn't understand what he said and continued to throw away the stupid desert. Eventually, he walks off and lets me do it anyway.

Which is fine by me, because all I know is that I'd much rather have him mad at me for a few hours for "being wasteful" as opposed to Lois Lea Ford haunting me for the rest of my life. Homegurl would be spinning in her stilettoes if she knew I let Bob Ford eat moldy food!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Wish I Were A Camel......

So, as most of you may or may not know, I live with my Grandpa. We're roommates. And it's a trip.

Most days we have a great time. I do the laundry and the dishes and I make sure he eats more than cream horns for a full meal, he takes the trash out and deals with mice and spiders for me, and we watch Lawrence Welk together every Sunday. Except for when they decide to replace Lawrence with some stupid special like "Folk Favorites" and then Bullet is not impressed. But don't worry, he's got Lawrence on video so on those weeks, we just watch those. Any other night of the week you can find us watching the Dean Martin specials. He also owns every one on VHS or DVD, which is about 57 different tapes, but if you thought he watched more than just two of them over and over again, well then you've never been to Bob Ford's....because if you stop by, it's guaranteed you'll catch the episode roasting the Merchant of Venom, what's his name, Morgan Lea? Don Rickles. And that drunk....I laugh every time, Morgan Lea. What is his name, I'm having a stupidity attack (fist to forehead). Foster Brooks.

We go through this routine at least two or three times a week.

Like I said, most days he is my best buddy. But there are a few things we don't necessarily see eye to eye on. Molly Margaret would be #1. #2 and #3 would be the air conditioner and food. Wasting either of the two are severe infractions in Bullet Bob's eyes.

Today we are going to start with the air conditioner. 

At the age of 89.5, Bullet is somewhat cold natured.  It can be 110 in the shade outside and he'll have on a long sleeve shirt and his ear muffs while he's mowing. At night, in the summer or winter, he sleeps with a regular sheet, a heated blanket, a plush blanket, his comforter, AND a fitted heated blanket. There are only about 3 or 4 weeks out of any given year that at least one heated blanket isn't turned on. That's probably why Buddy loves him so much, he likes to cover up more than any other dog I've ever met.

At the tender age of 24, I'm not so cold natured. And there are times when I'm confident that I am hitting menopause early because I have raging hot flashes. I would rather be cold than hot. I love the summer best out of all the seasons, but body temperature wise, I would always rather set it at too chilly, because you can always add layers. Plus, I've never really found it to be a pleasurable past time to feel like I was hiking through the desert on a camel wearing a parka and moon boots with only three sips of water from one side of the Sahara to the other.

So basically, if the temperature reaches 75 degrees outside and the air quits moving, you can bet my air conditioner is getting turned on. This actually pains me to a certain degree, because I love having the windows open and opening up the house with all the fresh air. I do not however enjoy sweating my skin off. So the air conditioner wins. However, there are days when even the doors open are too much. The front porch is screened in and one of my favorite things about spring, summer and fall are the days where it's nice enough to have the front porch door open so we can go out and sit on the swing or have the fresh air through the house.  Any more than much of a breeze though and he'll lock that up and throw away the key, too. Homeboy is NOT a fan of being cold.

If there was ever a time I thought we might not make it as roommates, it was when summer rolled around.  We had a nice and rainy spring, so we did well for months because we were able to have the house open.  Even into the first few weeks of summer it wasn't able to get too miserable because it rained so much and it always kept a nice breeze. But then the heat set in. For about two weeks straight it was no less than 100 degrees outside.

At that point, he did turn on the air, so you might think the problems were over, but think again. Bullet runs the philosophy that if you aren't in the area that the air conditioner is cooling, then you really don't need the air conditioner to be on. So, during the day, the air in the bedrooms would be turned off. And at night, the downstairs unit would be turned off until morning. Or, if you left for the day you turned off the air before you walked out the door. But Bullet is used to living with my Grandma. She wasn't near as cold natured as him, but the heat didn't bother her as much when he'd get to flipping switches. 

Me, on the other hand, I am certain I now know what the depths of Hell must feel like. Sometimes he'll turn off the air when he leaves to go out and work for the day and not really think about it and I'm still home. So, all of the sudden I will feel like my skin is melting off and I can't figure out why. He's just turned off the unit. 

I think in his head, he thinks he's saving money. I've tried to explain to him that it's actually more efficient to turn on the air and leave it at a consistent temperature than to continually turn it on and off because it's constantly having to work to cool everything down again.  He either doesn't care or doesn't listen. Either way this is not good for me. I could fry an egg off my left thigh in the middle of some summer days. Meanwhile, Grandpa is in his chair with his heated blanket over his legs. No. Lie.

There are two things I can't do and be friendly about it when I am that hot and that is get ready to go somewhere or try to sleep. Even if I take a shower first, it doesn't do me any good by the time I actually get ready to go because you need a shower again and all my make up is melting off my face like I'm Mrs. Doubtfire or something. My hair sticks to my forehead like a whore in church, my eye shadow gloops together, and my arm pits smell like Muddy Waters' feet. Nothing puts me in a worse mood. It generally ends up in me having a complete emotional breakdown because I'm so frustrated and I'm basically sweating my balls off.  If I had any.

Sleeping is no different. Although the make up isn't an issue, the sweating is. I can't be comfortable when I'm sweating, especially when I'm trying to sleep, which means I don't sleep. I actually thought I had this problem solved though because I got my own window unit for my room. I thought it was a brilliant solution because he could control his room and I could control mine. No. He just goes and shuts mine off when I'm not paying attention. One day he actually shut it off while I was still in bed. He came in my room to let the dogs out and found it to be a bit chilly so he shut it off. Never mind the fact that he immediately walked back out of the room and shut the door so it being chilly no longer affected him.  Don't let him fool you, he's a sneaky little devil.

At one point this was also an issue for the animals. I have never had fur, so I can't say for sure, but I would think that being stuck inside a closed up house with no air flow is less than ideal. Poor Lola would pant and breathe like she'd just tackled a line backer. Molly would start heaving and having reverse sneezes....which she only gets when she gets too hot. Buttercup and Buffy just dealt with it, almost like they were used to it. But I knew it was bad when they were all but knocking me down to get OUTSIDE because it was cooler out in the sun than it was on the couch.

Most of you are probably thinking there are other alternatives, like a fan. Well, that would be a novel idea. Except any fans in the house get turned off once he realizes they are on. He doesn't so much have a beef with the air flow as much as he does the fact that they blow his papers off his desk or his newpaper off the kitchen table. And let me just clarify that his newspapers...let's just say, like many other things, he doesn't like throwing them away, so if I didn't do it on the sly, there would be newspapers from 1903 hanging out around the house. And his looks like an atomic bomb hit it on any given day of the week.....a piece of paper being blown on the floor would not affect his organization system, I can assure you.

The good part about all of this is that I tend to keep a later schedule than Bullet. He goes to bed at a pretty decent hour.  Even though he doesn't go straight to sleep, he goes and lays upstairs and watches tv, which leaves the downstairs unattended and he usually doesn't know until the next morning that I've turned it back on to keep things tolerable. But, that is a double edged sword for me, too.  He is always up before me and by the time I'm up and moving he's already mowed two yards and caught something on fire, so he's had plenty of time to turn off the air conditioner and let the house get to sweltering temperatures. 

After a few weeks he figured out my game anyway. I came home one night and couldn't figure out why the air wouldn't turn on. I pushed every button I could find. I eventually went to another window unit and tried that one. It didn't work either. No coincidence. Sly had unplugged them. By golly, if I was going to get that air back on, he was going to make me work for it!

Throughout the last few months, I can say I think we've gotten on a better routine. He doesn't mess with air in my bedroom anymore. He only makes quick comments on how cold it is in there, but doesn't touch any buttons. I don't mess with the air in his and as far as downstairs.....well we just constantly chase each other to turn it on or off.  I actually came home today and he'd turned it on himself!

Plus, I dug out my cool portable air conditioner named Larry that you can just take with you from room to room. It's genius. And if you're wondering, his name is Larry after my boss from my waterpark days.

And just like Larry.....I like to keep it cool when it's hot.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Molly Margaret

For any of you that know me, you know I love animals. If you know me well, you know that I also have a lot of them. If you're going to read this blog, you're going to need to like hearing about them and getting to know them too. They are my pride and joy. At some point or another you'll hear about all of them, but today you're going to hear about Molly Margaret Weller. The only reason I choose her first is because she has the most material. Home gurl is a rebel.

Molly is a 9 year old beagle. She's all but blind in one eye, she had heartworm and she's a little chunky. I've only had her about a year but you'd think I'd had her for years. She settled in quickly and became very attached. Prior to moving home, when I still lived in Champaign, I worked at the humane society. Molly and I's story is kind of fabulous. Obviously.  On my first day of work at the shelter, I was getting my tour of the building. When I walked into the dog kennels she was the very first dog I saw. For whatever reason, I immediately bonded with her. At first, I just wanted her to find a home.  She had several applications that fell through for one reason or another. Then I started getting attached in other ways. I would get sick to my stomach if people asked to look at her that were less than ideal. Before long, it didn't matter who wanted to see her, I would get nauseous. At that point, I decided it was probably time to bring her home.

On August 1st, 2012 I welcomed my third baby girl ; ). All the visitors at the shelter claimed that part of the reason they chose other dogs was because Molly didn't interact enough or she was too independent.  I have to disagree.  Out of all my girls, she's the most attached. If I move, she moves. She sits on my feet when I get ready in the bathroom to ensure she's the first to know if I make a move. Before coming to the shelter, she was originally turned in to animal control as a stray. I'm not sure what exactly she went through in her first 8 years, but I know it wasn't all great. She is very scared of loud noises or sudden movements and men sometimes make her nervous. Every once and awhile she has issues that I know are from her past, but for the most part it took her all of 33 seconds to settle into the good life.

Out of all of the dogs, she's the most easy going and laid back. And in the beginning, she was the easiest to deal with, too. That only lasted about a month. I should have known that was coming, given her namesake, Maythel Margaret Hunt, one of the kindest and sweetest women I ever got to know, but also one of the most stubborn and bullheaded. 

Molly quickly learned she could get away with basically whatever she wanted.  She started out slow with the trash cans. She'd turn them over to find whatever scraps she could and string it all over the house. But gradually she turned into a straight up rogue. At some point over the last year, I lost complete control over my sweet and innocent girl. And she turned into a first class heathen. What can I say, being a single parent is hard work.

I think it all started when we moved to the farm. Molly loves being a farm girl, and being a beagle she loves to get her nose to the ground. She also loves pretty much anyone she meets. Except Bob Ford. She and Bullet Bob are not besties. And let me tell you, the feeling is mutual. I'm not trying to place blame or anything, but it's pretty much his fault. Bullet didn't care for her from the start.  She doesn't listen real good and particularly not to him. The first week we were there, she started to take off across the yard and he got after her and yelled at her. He wasn't even near her and she laid on her back and started whimpering. He didn't mean to scare her, but after that they were basically arch enemies. Any kind of listening she did before, she definitely doesn't do now.

I can usually keep her in check until I have to leave. And then all Hell breaks loose. Bullet lets her out of the house before I'm even out of the driveway. Mainly just because he doesn't like her. I'm know I'm biased and all, but I know she's not perfect. He'll put her outside for causing trouble when all she's doing is sleeping. By the time I get home, who knows how long she's been outside by herself. Grandpa can't remember her name, he just refers to her as the "fleagle beagle". And he tells her every time he opens the door to go play in the heavy traffic.  I told you they weren't friends.

Sometimes, when Grandpa is thinking about something a lot, he talks to himself. I've heard him say more than once when he didn't realize I could hear, "I wish she'd left that fleagle beagle at the pound." Molly can't talk, but she's got this look in her eyes where she's basically telling the world to go high five themselves in the face with a chair. I've seen her give him "the look" on several different occasions.

For a few months he would put her in the basement. The basement in the house is off the kitchen.  The is a door that swings out into the basement from the upstairs. So when you are downstairs you have to swing it back into yourself to get up in to the house. For about two months, Grandpa tried to claim that she was opening the door and letting herself back upstairs, and in doing this she was ruining his door because she was scratching at it to get it to swing back to catch it and nose her way in. Now, I'm pretty sure my girl is a genius. But.....really? You'd think if she could do that she was a full blown human. Like she was Houdini or something.

For weeks he and I would go back and forth. I finally told him that if he hadn't put her down there in the first place, she never would have scratched the door to begin with. He finally quit putting her down there.  But about a week ago, I had to eat my own words.  I'd let her out to potty and she got inside and I could not figure out how. Not gonna lie, I was pretty sure there was either a ghost or a burglar in the house.  That is until I saw the cracked basement door.  When I opened that door, I saw that the door from the basement to the outside was fully open. She opened them both on her own. I have no idea how. My girl is smart. Maybe I should enter her into the circus or something.

But back to her shenanigans, Molly has given me at least 8 strokes. Luckily for everyone, none of them killed me. About a month ago, I was outside watering flowers. All the dogs were playing in the yard.  Buttercup and Molly tend to be a lethal combination. Unless I'm out there with them, I don't usually let them out together. This day they had been doing fine. Molly was laying under a shade tree just enjoying life. Molly doesn't exactly get in too big of a hurry to go anywhere. She waddles her way to and from at her own pace. But don't let that fool you, she can move when she wants to. All of the sudden she and Buttercup were off towards the milk barn. We have a few cats outside and I know that they often times hang out in the barn. Those two fools were up to no good and I knew it.  I finished watering my flowers (big mistake, I often underestimate how fast she can get herself into trouble.) By that time her howling was non stop. I knew they had cornered the cat, I just didn't bank on how exactly she'd done it. I got over there and could hear Molly's howling and the cat (Virginia) hissing. I saw the cat, and by that time Buttercup was off to the side acting like an innocent bystander. Lies. She is far from innocent. Molly was nowhere to be sound.  Heard but not seen. I looked and I looked and I looked. I finally looked up. That little brat had somehow climbed up all of the junk that is piled in that old storage barn and was on top of the garage door. On top of it. You know how garage doors go up and there is the door and then some space and then the ceiling. Yeah, she was just hanging out on top of that. How in the sam hell? Ole' gurl can't even get on the bed without the help of her doggie steps, but somehow she can get to the raftors of the milk barn in 60 seconds or less. This debacle went on for about 25 minutes. I climbed as high up as I could to be eye level with the door. She slid down the curve of the door twice and had to claw her way back up, and wouldn't ever come close enough to me for me to pick her up and climb back down. And I'm no idiot, my ghetto booty wasn't putting my body weight on that door that hasn't been used in 30 some odd years in the hopes it would support me. After awhile she just got tired and just laid down on top of the door. Jerk.

Once that was over, I thought we were in the clear awhile. Wrong. Molly doesn't believe in taking resting breaks of one shenanigan to the other. The next night I came home and she and Buttercup were both outside. Again, Buttercup was waiting for me at the door. Molly was nowhere to be found but her howl. When I went to let Buttercup in, she took off for the old machine shed. At first, I was less than impressed with this. I wasn't in the mood to chase them both. But I quickly realized B was in a panic. She kept pacing back and forth from me to the machine shed. I could hear Molly and by this point her howl was different, it was kind of panicked. I kept looking for her. I could hear her and I knew I was where she should be but still couldn't find her. I went outside the shed and then back in. Then it hit me. I glanced over to the left and saw a hole in the wall. It didn't go all the way outside but it was a hole between the outside wall and the inside insulation. Molly was stuck between the two. And that hole was not big enough for her to easily get out. On this day it was about 113 degrees in the shade. It was hot and no one else was home or around to help. I kept calm for all of about 7.3 seconds.  Then I quickly spiraled into a freak out. I could get her to come to me, but the hole wasn't big enough to get her out. She was hot and thirsty and pacing back and forth. I was afraid she was going to have a heat stroke. I was also pretty confident at this point that I was going to have a heat stroke. Also, it should be noted by this point, I'd been working at it about 20 minutes and I'd fallen into a complete emotional breakdown of hysterical crying. My baby was stuck and I couldn't get her out. My next move was straight out of Wonder Friends or whatever that show was called with all the super heroes. The metal wall was bolted down to the other metal wall.  It was old metal and it had rusted a bit but it was still metal. In complete panic mode I just started pulling at the wall. I eventually pulled the wall apart. And when I say apart, don't go thinking I'm the Hulk or anything, but it was enough to get her out. But not quite enough to get her out easily. I still had to put her on her hind legs and shimmy her out that way. She was wimpering because it hurt, which made me cry harder, but I couldn't get her out any other way. I finally got her out and we had settled down enough to head back to the house. Homeslice attempted to immediately take off after a cat. Not so fast, Margaret. I've had enough for one day.

The adventures of Molly were "to be continued" for awhile. Not like a summer hiatus or anything but at least until the next week, when she promptly cornered a raccoon in Grandpa's garage. Again, Buttercup kept running up to get me. At least she knows when they've gotten themselves in too deep of trouble. I grabbed the flashlight and headed out to the garage. I get there and find Molly, stuck between one side of the garage and the other. An animal or something had dug out an area to get from the outside of the garage to the inside. Apparently during the chase, the coon took a quick retreat into the garage through the hole and Molly followed. Well, bad idea on Molly's part because her slim self wasn't about to fit under that hole. I walked up to her wiggling relentlessly trying to get her bad self to the other side. This time I didn't so much panic as just stare at her like the fool she was. She got herself in to it she could get herself out. She had no sooner done just that when she and Buttercup both started trying to literally climb the walls. I flashed my light up towards the ceiling and was greeted with a raccoon clinging to the rafters like a koala and staring straight at me.  I have never jumped that high in my life, nor have I ever moved that fast back to the house. I've got some speed on me when needed. I thought Grandpa was asleep through this whole deal but quickly discovered otherwise when I got back to the house. I could hear laughing coming from his bedroom. I mean, he didn't come down to help me or anything as I was being attacked my wild animals, but leaned out his bedroom window to watch and laugh. I got to the mailbox and in between his laughs he goes, "I told ya you'd need that flashlight, Morgan Lea!" Then shut his window.  Thanks Pop.

This wasn't the last time she made have an encounter with a critter. The following week I let her out when I got home from work and she promptly had something cornered under the propane tank. I could hear it hissing and again assumed it was the cat. I went in to get the flashlight thinking if I could just show Molly it was her sister, she'd leave it alone. I bee bop on back outside and get down real close and shine the light directly into the face of a hissing opossum. What is wrong with her? Is she trying to get me killed? That O possum started moving and I moved a lot faster back to the house.

So basically my point is, Molly gets in to trouble on her own, but she'd get in a lot less if Bullet Bob would stop putting her outside. She will seriously make me die an early death. Or make all of my hair fall out, one of the two. And I don't look good with short and or no hair. I should have known she'd be like this when on the second day we were here, she was by my side in the yard one minute and within less than 37 seconds I looked up and she was a quarter of a mile down the road, on the other side of the road, elbow deep in the cattle lot. Brat.

I'm not sure what I'd do without her though. I'm guilty of babying her, I know. And no one else probably thinks her shenanigans are nearly as delightful as I do. I get annoyed at the time but it makes Molly, Molly. And that howl. Grandpa hates it, but it is my favorite. And if you can find any better feeling than coming home to her howling repeatedly because she's so excited to see me or to her being outside by herself and then seeing me for the first time and taking off in a full blown sprint towards me with her ears flapping the wind, well then I double dog dare you to show me what that is.

I double dog dare you, Molly style.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stay Off the Grass....

So, yesterday as I was out checking my tomato plant and letting the dogs play, Grandpa rolls back in the driveway. Buttercup in the dashboard sunning herself. Buddy in the passenger seat like a human. They had been mowing.  It was around noon and it was starting to sprinkle so they had come home for lunch. My grandpa's favorite hobby is mowing. Everywhere. He mows the ditches of our property and all the lawns in the family. Sometimes he also mows things that aren't even ours. He just loves to mow. He doesn't so much pay attention to landscaping, flowers, or weed eating, so if you are looking for're fresh out of luck.  But as he's gotten older, it keeps him busy and it is a way to make him feel like he's still contributing. So it works out for everyone.

That is until he gets on the hill.

My parents live on top of a very large and steep hill that takes a couple hours to mow. My grandpa insists he be the one to mow it. My mother has a small stroke every time. People have come to us and told us they were worried about him. They have talked to us about having him stop. A few years back, my cousin Amber, who was the school counselor at the high school right across the road, saw him chugging along and I'm pretty sure she nearly died or peed her pants. She called Andy (my cousin and her husband) and my mom.  If you thought any of the three of them could do any good, think again.  We know their intentions are good and they mean well, but I double dog dare any one of you to go and tell Bob Ford he can't do something. Double dog dare. If you come out of that conversation and aren't crying, I'll kiss your feet.  I have seen him having a conversation with someone in public and they bring it up and he walks away....while they are still talking. Like I mentioned before, he's set in his ways. It angers him to be told he can't do something. I'm sure that has a lot to do with his age. He feels like people think he's too old or not capable anymore. But whatever the reason, it upsets him. Maybe we are wrong, but we let him do it. We hold our breath every time, but it makes him happy. And at his age, he should be able to do whatever he wants. If that means mowing that god forsaken hill, then so be it.  He'd probably tell you that's how he wanted to go anyway. On a tractor.  The best part is that my brother, Bobby, just bought a home...with another hill.  Super.

Grandpa told me yesterday he was glad he finished mowing before the rain started. If that hill is just the least bit slick he says, it'll send you for a joy ride. He followed that up with he didn't want anyone else on that hill either. If they aren't careful you could get in real trouble. If you are scratching your head right now, don't worry, so am I. If the hill is really that dangerous, it seems to be perfectly logical to have the 89 year old mow it. I never claimed we were a bunch of brainiacs. As he tells all of us, why the worry? He's insured.

All this mowing got me to thinking about when I first learned how to drive the zero turn mower.  Several years back, when I was still in high school, I worked at the waterpark as a lifeguard. My dad also decided that summer I needed to contribute around the farm. Fine by me. But if he thought I was painting fences or something, he had another thing coming. He decided I would be the family mower. This was before Grandpa did all the mowing.  At that time he was probably busy climbing the grain bin to check out the view or something. That's a whole other story....but up until about 4 years ago, he would climb the grain bin and just stand at the top with his hands on his hips checking out the farm. I think he loved the view and it was relaxing for him, but at the tender age of 85 and with no way of steadying himself once he was up there, it was a less than ideal place for him to be.  Apparently, he thinks he's Evil Knievel.

Back to my mowing adventures, this was when we had just gotten the zero turn mower.  Needless to say, I didn't know how to drive it. I'm not sure how I lucked out on this particular summer day, but my dad was busy and Bobby wasn't around. So, I scored Chris as my teacher. Rad. Not.

I love Chris. I really do. He's good at everything he does. But, God bless his heart for not becoming a teacher. Prior to the mower, the last time Chris and I had paired up as partners on the farm he needed me to pull some machinery to some other land we farm. My parents were gone on a fire board conference and Bobby was living in DC at the time.  I was his only option. He's not an idiot. He wouldn't choose me to be his hired man unless he absolutely had no other choices. I've driven a tractor or two, but aside from that I'm pretty much worthless with farm equipment.  Which is why it shouldn't surprise anyone that on this day, he needed me to pull the combine head half way to Jacksonville. That's right, the longest piece of farm equipment we own is the first piece of equipment I ever pulled anywhere.  I was pretty confident I was going to die that day. And so was my Grandma. Somehow I conned her into riding with me.  With my hands firmly locked on 10 and 2, she just kept giving me words of encouragement....while patting my leg and praying the whole way. No lie. 

Because Chris is good at everything he does, he's not exactly great at slowing down to show you how it was he did it. You pick it up fast or get left in the dust. Or in my case.....leave him in the dust. We started off great. He was showing me where all the important buttons were, how to start it, how to make it go, how to turn the blade on. He got through his little tutorial fairly quickly and painlessly and told me to go ahead and give her a little test drive. That's when it got sticky. That some buck was a little bit touchy on the go. I thought I could ease into in.....and instead I shot off like a bottle rocket. And Homeboy forgot to tell me how to stop it.

I took off at what I was sure was the equivalent of Mach 5, leaving Chris with a trail of dust and rocks to the face. By the time he could see again, all I could hear were cuss words.  Lots of them. I've never known anyone to put together a string of cuss words quite like Chris. It makes me laugh every time.  By then he was running after me trying to tell me how to stop it. I couldn't hear that part though. Probably because I was laughing, which he did not find funny, by the way. After a few seconds that seemed like years, I finally got that bad boy stopped half way across the farm. Once ole' boy caught up to me huffing and a puffing, I asked why he was so dusty. Again, apparently not the appropriate time for a joke. I think his exact response was, "what is wrong with you!?" I think the real question is, what's wrong with you, dude? You're the one that didn't tell me how to stop.

Chris is affectionately referred to as Hilter among the family. One might ask how that can be affectionate, but really it is. He's the work horse and the business mind behind everything. He's the responsible one and the serious one. The voice of reason, if you will.  Bobby and I are the ones that gave our mother gray hairs.  The ironic part of that is that Bobby and I are lucky to even be here, given the complete dirt leg of a child that Chris was. But none the less, he's turned into the brains of the operation and when he says he wants something done he means, like, yesterday. So, basically, he and I are perfect work partners because I am so skilled at manual labor and often handle things in a very mature manner (i.e., the laughing). Once he quit cussing at me for laughing at him and blowing rocks in his face, he did ask if I was okay. And then told me to get to work.

My next go at the mower went better. That is, until I put the mower in the pond.  Nobody told me that they were so touchy about a little wet grass.  Crap.  Plus, it wasn't even my fault. Someone left the hose on behind the dog kennel leaving a mass amount of water heading straight for the pond.  I hit that and there was no correcting it. I couldn't get ahold of my dad. And once again, Bobby wasn't around. Seriously, where is Bobby? He's the only one that relates to me when I get in situations like this. Mainly because he's already done them once or twice before.  Rule #1: Never leave a fellow crasher behind. Bobby! Why do you continue to leave me hanging? I tried revving the engine some thinking if I really gave it a good go, she might just climb out for me. No. I know this will stun you guys, but that actually didn't happen. I put myself further in the pond. So, I was forced to call Chris. He was on duty. If you can imagine how happy he might be to come pull me out of the pond on a regular day, times that by 10 when he's on duty. He. Was. Stoked. He pulls up and I was bee bopping to some jams on my iPod. He first question was, why was I still sitting on it. Well, to be honest, I didn't feel like getting my feet wet. I asked if I could do anything to help. He told me I'd done enough. Fun hater: party of 1. Needless to say, he pulled the mower out....with his squad car. Again, I thought that part was hilarious. He did not. I asked if he wanted me to finish mowing. All he said was "you're an idiot" and walked back to his car and went back to work. Apparently, it's not great on the engine to run it after you've given it a drink of water. Who knew?

My mowing adventures only lasted one summer. Grandpa took over shortly after that. Thank you baby Jesus for that blessing, because unlike Bob Ford, I am not insured.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm Basically an Author Now.....

I've never been one for brevity. It's well known. I can turn a 3 minute story into 30. Thank me later for the enlightening details. But I enjoy story telling none the less. I love the details. My life is no better or more entertaining than anyone else's, but I often find myself in comical or funny situations. For years I've written about them on Facebook. Remember when Facebook made you keep a status under a 160 characters or something stupid? That was my own personal Hell. Which is also probably why I've never really gotten into tweeting or "twitting" as my mom once said to me. Telling me I need to keep things under 140 is basically the same as telling me to go stick my head under water and fight for air. Anywho, now Facebook doesn't make you do that nonsense anymore, but I still sometimes cringe at my status after I've written a whole chapter. I mean, my story is obviously hysterical and worth the read, but the word "status" makes me think something short and sweet. I can make it one but not the decide.

So, instead, I've decided to write a blog. The chances of anyone reading it are slim to none, but I'm cool with that. I basically want it to be able to go back and look at later. To be able to remember and look back on the memories 20 years from now when things aren't as clear anymore. Something that will be written down so my family always has those stories.

Two years ago my grandma passed away. She was basically the defining figure in my life. And if you knew her, you know where I came up with the title of this blog. During the two weeks surrounding her death, my family all came together. In such a sad time, we all had so much fun together and made memories that I wouldn't trade for anything. There were so many funny, bittersweet and loving memories we made during those two weeks, that I always told myself I'd write them down and make a book out of them. When I say "book" it could also be a binder. I don't consider myself a pro or anything...but like I said....if you know me, you know I love to talk. I did write down all those memories in a bullet points version.....but I have yet to actually write out the full stories. I hope with time that I can actually get those stories on this blog. If for nothing else, for myself, so that I never forget how special those two weeks were to me.

Since then, I've graduated school and moved home. I don't have a real job or anything. Who needs one of those, eh? I'm having a little trouble figuring out that part of my life. I don't really know what I want to do...which is a real pickle when you're 24 and have been out of school for two years. I haven't had any luck finding a "career" so the time has come for me to figure out what I want to go back to school for to further my education. I'm working on it, but more on that another day.

In the meantime, I live with my grandpa, Bob Ford. He's 89 and "somewhat" set in his ways. In the beginning I didn't know exactly how this would play out. But I've found that it's pretty fabulous. I do his laundry and make his meals and he takes care of me. We're basically besties and he's one of the coolest sidekicks I know. But living with him also provides me with some great entertainment. It's something new every day. I also have my Grandpa Floyd. He's my wingman when I hit the streets. He's the equivalent of Norm on Cheers. Yeah, go and ahead and be jealous. Between them and the rest of my family, I could go on for days. They really are the best. And the funniest. I mean.....I suppose we also could be qualified as a little dysfunctional and a lot country. But.....we are fun. Don't hate.

I also love me some animals. Mostly dogs. But any animal really. I run my own personal zoo on the farm. My family is supportive most days....but let's face it.....I can guarantee they aren't exactly thrilled when I bring my 5 dogs for a visit. Or that I won't turn down a single stray. Hey, we all have our faults people.

I'm no dummy though. I know we won't be here I want to write those down while I have the chance. I hope in the process I can create a place that I can come back to and laugh, cry, and smile at my life. And if any of you fools are silly enough to read it, I hope that you, too, can get a smile and a giggle for your day.

Let the blogging begin!