Those Days

Do you ever have one of Those Days. You know. The kind where you wake up and think it is going to be a good day, only to arrive at work to find out that while you were sleeping the world turned and things happened you have no control over, but that somehow you are supposed to be the one to fix it? I thought I had an issue at work that was resolved. A technical issue. Then I got to work and found out that instead of the problem being fixed, it was made much, much worse. Craptastic, I tell ya.

Then I go to get a pop from the machine. I am not a coffee person (love the smell, hate the taste) so this is my morning caffiene. I put in the money… and the damn button lights up to rudely inform me that particular item is OUT. Water just isn’t cutting it.

I decided after days of soul-searching that I need to let one of my cats go away to a new home. It’s been hard. Very, very, very hard. I try not to show how hard it is to my family as they have had other losses as well and I don’t want it to seem like my pain is any worse than theirs. It isn’t, I know, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less. It is our newest kitty, Cleo. She was the stray that we saved when she was eating bird seed off the porch and was skin and bones but loads of personality. She’s still a sweetheart, and that’s what makes it so fucking hard to say goodbye. Several months ago we noticed ‘someone’ was pee-ing and spraying around the house. Not good. Since we have five cats, it was hard to catch someone in the act. When we finally did, it was Cleo. We took her to be checked for any bladder infections, etc., and she came out with a clean bill of health. She was put on anti-psychotic medicine and we’d thought that was helping for awhile. Guess not. The problem has cropped up again. From all I’ve read and researched, it is an issue that should be taken care of by her being an only child. I put a flyer up at the vet clinic hoping we could get her adopted out quickly, but no one has called. I decided to take her to the animal shelter. We have a local shelter that has a no-kill policy (I couldn’t take her to anywhere that wasn’t.) I call ahead, as daughter has kindly offered to take her over as I’m working… and would be a blubbering mess if I had to do it. Now they tell me they don’t know if they can take her – the person who answered said she’d have to talk to their director and call me back. Damnit. Just when I make the decision and get myself all psyched up… and, yes, say a tearful goodbye before leave the house this morning, now we are in ‘wait and see’ mode.

I’m sure this all seems so trivial in the big picture. I keep reading about all the pain and heartache floating around the internets… and so many people are hurting and suffering, even in my own home. I just sometimes feel the need to scream… ENOUGH.

So, you with me people? …. Deep breath… “ENOUGH!!!”

Feel better? I do.

Farmers

I grew up a town kid, then met and married a farmer. It opened my eyes in a lot of ways. One thing that was a shock to my system was the idea that farmers weren’t all as buddy-buddy as the old movies and all would have you think. It really is a business and as such, there is a lot of competition. There is only so much land – and less every day what with cities growing bigger and more and more farm ground being taken out of production for development. The bits that are left get watched for any sign that they are going to have a change… if a landlord dies, or the farmer himself dies, the landlord decides they want to charge more money beyond what the current farmer can pay, or just someone farming the land isn’t doing the job quite the way the landlord wants. The buzzards circle then and everyone is going after that one bit of ground to make it their own.

I’ve heard horror stories of farmers camped-out at landlord’s deathbed trying to make sure that they get a shot at what is left.

I’ve always been very proud of my husband for not being one of the buzzards. He and his dad farmed for years and now he and my son do, and all the ground they have they have gotten honorably. The landlord has come to them and offered it to them. There was no back-stabbing or weaseling in place to get it. That’s just one of the things about him that makes me very proud to be his wife.

The other? For all the backstabbing and competition that occurs, they have this weird sense of community when someone is injured or dies and there is field work to be done. My husband has participated in many of these “harvest days” including the one that happened when his own father passed away. Today one of these days is happening. A couple of weeks ago a farm friend had a stroke. It has been a trying time for he and his family as he goes through rehab and tries to get back to the real world from the hospital (he may be home next week! Yay!). But in the meantime, the crops are ready to be harvested and the stress from knowing they are sitting in the field instead of at the grain elevator or in the bin isn’t helping. So today, as of last count, they had 18 combines lined up and I don’t know how many trucks and other support vehicles. My hubs is taking his semi-truck over and spending the day – or as long as it takes. Usually, you get that many rigs and it doesn’t even take a whole day. The rain held off that was predicted, and it appears they’ll have a good and productive day.

It is things like that which make me very proud to be a farmer’s wife.

Dear Writer

There are some bloggers out there who are amazing writers. Truly amazing. They can say things that get to me. Deep inside of me. Whether it is reaching down and touching a memory or giving me a giggle, they can get to me.

I know it is silly, but when one of those bloggers comments on my blog or sends me an email I suddenly feel like I have been seen. That I’m Ally Sheedy in “The Breakfast Club” and you have fussed over me and made me pretty and accepted and … seen.

I’ve never been one of the ‘cool’ kids. When I was in school I loved the work, the learning, but hated the rest. I sat in the back and barely spoke unless directly called upon. I got good grades because studying was interesting to me and important to me. I enjoyed the challenge.

Growing up I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. We lived near to a large state university that had great vet med program. I took all the math and science I could cram in… then realized I hated it. I liked the idea of the animals and helping them, but to actually do all the rest? Not so much. The final blow came when I went to visit a relative who was a veterinarian and he let me watch him stitch up a cat that had been in a bad fight. Faint? Yeah. As a teen, that was soooo embarrassing.

Somewhere along the way my English teacher noticed I enjoyed writing. Then they offered to let me take an independent study course of creative writing. I’d get credit for doing something I did all the time anyway… and actually liked? Cool.

Of course, my parents thought that going from a veterinarian to a writer was a huge mistake. Just one of the many mis-steps I was going to have in my life, according to them.

One thing led to another which led to … well, life. I never did go to college. Never did get that degree. Never did turn into a ‘Writer’.

Still? It gives me warm and fuzzy’s when the big kids like something I’ve said. Or, to even realize they’ve been here. I wonder if they realize how powerful they really are? How their very prescence here makes me feel validated.

Thanks guys. It means a lot.

No, I’m not going to name names or link. If you think you might be ‘that person’, you probably are.

Having Fun Yet?

Sorry I’ve been missing. Partly it has been an issue with the evil forces of the internet. You know… those stupid virus-maleware types again. Thanks again to Brad for fixing me. Sheesh. I wish that would just stop. It really gets annoying. Hope none of you got infected. It upsets me on so many levels. Mainly because I’m afraid it will scare off all two of you who are still reading this.

The other reason for my lack of posts is the season. We are full-swing into harvest now. Among other things my sleep patterns are all messed up. Yesterday morning I was wide awake at 3 a.m. Then I worked until 7 p.m. only to turn around and be wide awake again this morning at 4 a.m. I mean, c’mon! We are so busy and then my brain just seems to not want to shut off. Glad this is only a seasonal thing. If it lasted year-round I’m sure I would have a melt-down. I feel sorry for those people who have these kinds of long and stressful days every day. I couldn’t do it.

Last, I just once more want to mention that no matter how much I rant and rave around the internets… my heart knows just how lucky I really am. I have seen so much loss, hurt, sorrow, pain… there are people hurting all over the blogosphere and in my real life and I feel for them. I suppose I should just shut up and quit whining, but then what would I blog about? KIDDING. (Sort of.)

To those of you who are hurting or have loved ones who are hurting… you know who you are. You know that I care. To those of you who have things going pretty good right now? Take a minute to acknowledge that… be it to your God, the Universe, or just to yourself.

If You’ve Seen My Mind… Send It Back

No, I'm not really losing my mind… not in the normal sense of the word. I am just having pangs of mortality. I'm not THAT old, but I find as time goes on I'm having more and more brain farts. You know, you have something on the tip of your tongue – or the edge of your brain, more likely – and it just won't come out.

I have always been fairly quick-witted and pride myself on the amount of won't-make-me-a-dime trivia I have always known. Life lint. The itsy bitsy little things that somehow get stuck in the crevices of my brain that I have always been able to pull out at a moments' notice. Now? Not-so-much. I have to stop and think about it… or start playing the 'relationship' game with my spouse or one of my kids. You know, "they were in that movie with what's his name "… and his name starts with a "D". Then they say something else that triggers the name to pop out of hiding.

Lately, I find myself depending more and more not on my own brain, but on the internet. It is so much easier to google the movie I thought they were in or the one I'm currently watching to remember what else they've been in or "where have I seen them"…

I have turned into a cheat.

Even with all that? I am losing it. The other night I was watching a show with my daughters and I was so sure that one of the characters had played a certain part in another show that I bet my daughter $20 on it. I looked it up.

I was wrong.

Do you know what that did to me? I mean, seriously. Me. I'm the one who knows these things. Now it isn't just about the speed of response, or the fact that I even am aware of the connections that are there to be made… now I am wrong even when I'm SURE I am right.

How depressing.

Cranky

So, I realize I'm rather cranky these days. This cold is getting the best of me. I get the tickly-scratchy coughing spells that end up with me gagging, eyes watering, nose running. Well, let's just say I never knew a head could hold so much snot. I mean, seriously. You blow and blow and blow… and there is still more? WTF?

This is the time of year I'm working a lot. I'm supposed to be at the top of my game. It's the superbowl of my business. I'd be lucky to be picked for a farm team. Ugh.

In spite of it all, I realize how lucky I am. I see so many people in the blog world and the real world who are having such a hard time right now. Emotionally, romatically, financially, physically. I am so very very lucky. This is not being said to rub it in… I just need the universe to know I realize it.

Sweet Benny

  

On February 2008 I wrote the following post after the Westminster  Dog Show. Last weekend we had to put our sweet Benny to sleep. On Friday he didn't seem excited about his food – definately NOT his style – and on Saturday morning it was still there in his bowl and he was lethargic. I took him to the vet in the afternoon and they ran some tests and said he had liver failure. His chart said he was 11 years old, but because we'd gotten him from the pound and he was a stray, they'd guessed at his age. The vet said it was possible he was even two or three years older than that. He was a sweetheart to the end and he's been missed so dearly. I told Hubs, "I've cried more over Benny than I ever did for my own dad"… Hubs, in his normal astute way said, "Well, your dog never hurt you." We loved you Ben… have fun chasing bunnies in heaven with Toby, Dusty, Betsy, Max, Bud, Callie, Turbo, Freck, and all the other critters we've loved before.

Even non-dog lovers probably didn't miss the announcement this morning that a beagle, Uno, had won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. I've had a special place in my heart my whole life for beagles. When I was growing up, my first and only dog was a beagle. Toby. Since I was an only child, he became my 'brother', my partner in crime, my confident, my playmate. He took my tears and soaked them into his fur and kept all my secrets locked away. Every day he was my escape – allowing me to take him for a half-hour walk where I got to get out of the house and away from the craziness that was my homelife. He lived to a ripe old age of eighteen, but I was out of the house by then and my parents had him put to sleep and let me know afterwards… giving me  no chance to say goodbye.

About six years ago Emily and I went looking for a dog at the local animal shelters. My sweet shih-tzu, Dusty, had passed away and we had a hole to fill in our family. As we saw dog after dog, one caught my eye. He was just sitting in his pen, leaning against the fence, and looked up with those sorrowful brown eyes as we walked by. With great effort (it appeared) he reached up with one paw and lay it on the fence. My heart went out. We kept going, looking further, and ended up in a nearby town where we found a cat that we couldn't resist. (That turned out to be my huge black cat – but that's another story).

Although we got the cat, my mind couldn't get rid of the sight of that dog, just sitting patiently waiting for someone to come. I told Emily I had to go back and check him out. We went back and I don't think he'd moved one inch since we'd left! Once more, he put his paw up on the fence. Brown eyes pleading for escape. We took him out to one of the rooms they have to get to know the animals better, and he slowly walked around and veeery slowly put his paws up on my leg. Everything he did was in slow motion – we were tempted to name him Slo-Mo!

He became a member of the family and we named him Benny Beagle … aka… the Bowling Ball (Hubs' nickname). He was not a "normal" sized beagle as Toby had been, but rather a large lump that soon grew to a whopping 50 lbs. We found that the "slo-mo" movements were a ruse and that he could be extremely quick and clever if either a bunny or a sandwich were involved. Hubs even had me ask the vet if he was a mixed-breed of some sort, seeing as he was so large. She then told us that beagles come in varying sizes and we just happened to end up with one of the big ones.

He's a personality. Here in the new house he has a kennel in the garage that has doors to a fenced in kennel outside. He has an igloo dog house in the inside kennel as well as a fan in the summer and a heated pad in the winter (although our garage isn't heated, our vehicle thermometers generally register 50 degrees even in the most frigid days of winter). He plays on sympathy – when you go out to see him he pulls out all the stops, making this horrid wheezing sound. I thought it was asthma, but the vet says it is a "reverse sneeze"… and although he can't seem to stop himself from doing it the minute he sees you when he's in the kennel, the second you hook a leash on him to take him out for a walk, he'll stop. He can got through his whole walk without doing it until you bring him back to his kennel. Faker.

His other trick is to play the slo-mo card. He'll walk very slowly on his leash, practically making you drag him at times to catch up (trust me, walking him is no exercise). However, when he gets a whif of a bunny you'd better have a good grip on his leash or you'll be trailing him to the next county. When he wants to, that dog can move! Luckily, the last time he got loose out in the open was at the old house and he'd run into the evergreen grove – which just happened to have an old fence around it. Whew!

Anyway, I just had to take a moment to acknowledge the mighty beagle. Way to go, Uno! (I'll be giving Benny an extra snack today in honor of the win!)