When we bought the mini-ranch one of the first things hubby did was stake out an area for a shooting range. He then put up stacks of hay bales, some wooden pallets, and stapled three targets in a row across the top.
Standing back, about 25 yards..or feet…I don’t know, because math, he proceeded to take the big-ass gun we have (okay ONE of the big-ass guns we have) and plug the bullseye nearly every time.
Handing me another of the BAGs, this one a smoother semi-automatic (the first being a revolver) he told me how to aim and shoot and stepped back.
I proceeded to empty the clip………..into the ground. By God, if anyone comes near me their feet are in some serious danger!
Every once in a while, patient hubby would take me out to try and teach me how to not shoot an intruder in the foot, thereby simply angering him/her and probably causing me to lose the battle, and each time I shot the ground. It didn’t seem to matter what size caliber the gun was either. Hubby had (wrongly) assumed a little “plinker” as he called the .22 we have would make it easier. Oh but he underestimated my ability to not be able to shoot straight. Still, he persevered. Bless him.
The other day, we tried again. This time with a BAG – the semi-automatic one I’d used on my first outing – and it was like a light bulb going off at my feet. Suddenly, I “got” it and began hitting the target every time. I mean, right in and around that bullseye. Anyone stupid enough to try and hurt me or mine would be in some serious trouble.
Unfortunately, I also became a casualty of the shooting range. You see, I was wearing ear protection, eye protection, the correct shoes, and a hat. But, since it was elebenty-hunnert degrees outside I was also wearing a tank top. And, since semi-automatic handguns have shells that eject after shooting, I now have FOUR rather large and painful burns in areas that are…well, sensitive. Yep, those suckers went straight up and then down the front of my tank top.
On the plus side, anyone coming at me now can feel reasonably certain their feet will survive intact.
They were two kittens hanging around our yard. One, a golden tabby we nicknamed “The General” after the cat in the original (and still the best) “True Grit”. John Wayne’s character, Rooster Cogburn, had a cat in the movie named General Sterling Price. Love that name. Anyway, the other cat was a tortoise shell tabby that had an elongated face and giant ears. He reminded me of every cat I’d ever seen in ancient Egyptian wall paintings. We didn’t call him anything, but he was clearly a very clever kitty because he’d hang back as The General snatched some of the food I’d begun to offer from my hand and when it was dropped, the other cat would saunter up and eat it off the ground without ever having to get near the stupid human.
One day, the week before 09/11, I opened the front door and there on my welcome mat were The General and his sidekick. The minute I opened that door The General ran off but the other kitten sat there staring up at me and meowing.
“Well?” I asked, “are you coming in or not?”
He slowly stretched up from a sitting position and sashayed his little ass into our house and hearts.
And there he stayed.
We named him “Bugsy”, and later “Bugsy, the Insane” for his crazy antics. He had pink paw pads, and a pink nose, and the rest was gray and white. He looked like Bugs Bunny.
At his visit for neutering, the vet guessed he was at least part Abyssinian – a revered breed in ancient Egypt – due to his bat-like ears and regal profile. He was crazy smart, able to open drawers and doors. He came when called, argued incessantly when given a command before reluctantly doing whatever I asked, and in general was a royal pain in the ass.
And we loved him awful.
When he turned 10 I started having to give him insulin twice a day. When he turned 13 we added thyroid medication.
When he turned 16, after years of not wanting too much human contact, he became an affectionate and sweet lap kitty.
Last weekend, after being sick a couple of days, he went to sleep and didn’t wake up.
We buried him under a mesquite tree and cried, the hubs and I. We still catch ourselves looking for him in the house, and I’m hearing the echoes of his meow from time to time.
He will be missed, but as my 9-yr. old granddaughter said during her breakfast prayer yesterday, she’s hoping that he’s in heaven with her great-grandmother (who died the same day as Bugsy) and having fun playing together. I choose to join her in that sweet and pure belief.
And, when I die I’ll look for Bugsy, and Smokey, Duchess, and Bandit, and all the rest of the animals I’ve loved along the way.
We bought a mini-ranch, and this blog has just gone. to. hell. Hasn’t it?
Sorry, kids, but ranch and work and commute make awesy here not so awesy-ish. Or something. See, now I’m just rambling.
Where was I? Oh, right, I had not yet begun had I?
Begun what? You ask.
Today’s post, which in retrospect is probably not funny but desperate times and all that…
The hubs is a machinist.
Trust me, it looks like it’s random sitting up there by itself, that statement. But it’s important to the story. Or maybe I’m bragging.
Definitely one of those things.
We have been unpacking and sorting and decorating the ranch for elebenty-hunnert months now, and in one of the guest bedrooms we were missing bedside tables.
Tired of hearing guests curse whenever they went to either turn on a lamp, or lay their phone/keys/wands on the nightstand only to find there were none, we decided to buy some.
Only here’s the thing, we were adamant about re-purposing an old set.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find just the right set of old nightstands that aren’t covered in Scooby-Doo stickers, have things growing in the drawers, are missing a leg, or have been painted over so many times they are collapsing under the weight of the paint?
You know what, never mind. That isn’t even really what this post is about.
Suffice it to say it’s hard to find the right nightstands. Also, we did…after looking for six months under every Flea Market rock in the land (or at least the land we live near), we found two gorgeous tables. We also scored big on these solid wood babies, because it was approximately the surface-of-the-sun hot that day, and the poor vendor at the flea market booth was literally melting in front of our eyes – no shit, I’m not exaggerating (much) here..he was over six feet tall when we first spotted his tables. By the time we’d negotiated price, he was only five foot three. The rest of him was pooling at his feet.
We got them home, and then proceeded to place the set of gorgeous lamps the previous homeowners had left us on the tables.
Except, one of the lamps was missing the whazzit that you use to turn the switch on. It had the stem part – the part made of machined glass that will cut your fingers to ribbon if you can latch onto it , which you can’t so you have to either unplug the lamp every time you want to turn it off or keep a pair of pliers on the table so your guests don’t require stitches. But you see, pliers really aren’t in my decorating scheme and unplugging the lamp is just too much work.
In steps the hubs…the machinist who tells me he can make a “knurled knob out of black metalkote”.
The next day he does in fact bring home a knob-thingy. And it’s black. And it doesn’t fit.
“Well, I was guessing,” he says, “I thought it was a 256, but it’s gotta be a 440”
“Clearly” I said, haughtily. “You should have asked me. I coulda told you the standard 256 won’t work on these. Ya gotcher non-standard 256, but that’s risky. Idagone with the 440 from the git-go.” I said.
“You don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, do you?” He said, smugly…and right-ly.
And, the next day he brought home the 440 and it fit like a glove.
Of course, I could have told him that if he’d of just asked me in the first place.
*WARNING* Language and anger ahead. If you’re sensitive, go away now. If you’re a snowflake, go far, far away and don’t come back.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT.
Why is everyone so upset about this Pepsi ad?
It’s an advertisement. For a fucking soft drink. It’s no more, and it’s no less.
Get over yourselves, snowflakes of the world, you don’t get to be the only ones outraged. Wait, yes, you do get to be the only ones outraged when your outrage is so clearly manufactured. And, if it’s not, sweet clothespin jeebus, you people need to get out more. Or maybe just study your history.
You who protest a fucking Pepsi ad hide behind your keyboards, and compress your outrage in Twitter-sized posts. You weren’t there, on the front lines, fighting for equality. You need ‘safe zones’ everywhere you go. You’d probably piss yourselves if you were ever on the receiving end of true opposition to your beliefs.
If Dr. King, Jr were here he’d slap the shit out of you and tell you to shut up or dig in and work for those people who are still facing inequality and discrimination every day. Not just people of color, but all people.
If Mother Teresa were here, she’d pray for your fragile asses and go back to ministering to the unwashed masses; quietly bringing dignity and a measure of comfort to their lives.
If Ghandi where here, he’d tell you to find your inner peace and project it on those around you.
But none of them are here, and I’ve taken great liberties with what I’m *sure* they’d say if they were. Who knows? Maybe they’d dismiss you out of hand for the immature children you so clearly are.
I started this as a part one because I’m either naïve about the amount of baffling happenings living in the country will provide, or because I’m not.
It’s definitely your classic either/or situation.
Besides, it makes me look introspective and cool. Or not.
See what I mean?
Did you know that “in the country” there are a LOT of people who not only don’t have smart phones with GPS, they don’t even have smart phones? Or dumb ones they can carry around past their front porch – provided the cord stretches that far? They also don’t have voicemail or answering machines. There’s a helluvalot less conversing on the phone going on in the country. I’m convinced, given the sheer numbers of people I see parked in front of the local eateries, that that’s where one goes to talk to people who live in the country. It’s been interesting trying to get things done/fixed around the ranch. Interesting and slow.
“In the country” driving directions involve a lot of “…then ya go passed where the Souters red barn used to be, only it got hit by lightning in ’79 so it’s not there anymore, sad story, they lost their best mule in that fahr…” And I find myself very sad for the Souters’ loss, and I don’t even know them. I also don’t know how the hell to get where I’m going.
Did you know that “in the country” a good number of businesses are either cash only or cash/check? The first time I encountered the checks only thing, I had to sit down with a blank piece of paper and practice writing a check…yes, it had been that long. The first time I encountered a regular brick building business that was cash only was after I’d had my car inspected and handed the guy behind the very cluttered desk my debit card. He stared, blankly, at me. “We only take cash” he said.
Shit, I thought, now what do I do? I smiled, trying to buy some time. “Oh, guess I should’ve known when I didn’t see any of those ‘we accept VISA…’ signs in your window.”
“Welllll….I can take a check, if it’s local…” he said, smiling back at me.
“Oh, I’m local alright. Been living here a few months and just realized my car’s inspection was about to expire so thought I’d better get ‘er done, ya know..” shut up, you idiot “Anyhoo…here you go” I said, handing him the check, and then not able to leave well enough alone, added, “It’s a perfectly good check.” what the feck?
His face darkened, and looking at the check he said, “It better be; I know where you live now.”
Did I mention folks in the country can be a little scary?
So, had 2 of the granddaughters last week for a few days on the farm.
One of them caught a cold, and when she sneezed all over me all I could think of was this……
…and for me it’s a slowly fading memory, but..
I didn’t leave the planet, I just moved to the country on Halloween 2016.
You see…we moved.
Gosh, that sounds so…I don’t know, innocuous? And most of it was not fraught with insanity-inducing happenings, but the stuff that did happen turned me (momentarily) into the hell-bitch from, well, Hell…with a capital “H”.
The packing ladies arrived at the house a couple of days prior to our move, looked around, and proudly proclaimed this an “easy job, 4-5 hours tops” …and then proceeded to pack for 10 hours with one short break. I had known we had a lot of stuff, but to hear professionals mumbling about “all this stuff…” when they didn’t think we were listening was an eye-opener.
An aside – we’d already spent weeks cleaning/purging/packing prior to this. There was a lot of stuff…just…so….much.
Anyway, at the point where these two lovely workers were glassy-eyed and looked about ready to collapse from exhaustion, they finished. We paid them, twice what we’d budgeted, and tipped them generously to boot.
We knew the move would be expensive – though I don’t think either of us thought to double our original estimate, but we’d sold the house and knew that we’d be getting a chunk of change once we closed on it. So, out came the credit card. We’re so cute when we’re being all optimistic and totally naïve.
Two days later the moving trucks and six young men came to move our stuff from the big city town (40K population) to the country town (3K population). They, too, proclaimed this an “easy job” and how it wouldn’t “take long”. TWELVE hours later, with daylight fading, they were still pretty upbeat but it was not longer an easy job that wouldn’t take long.
It was an epic journey, and everyone was so tired we giggled insanely at every little thing.
Well, almost everything.
The one thing we did not laugh about was the one thing we desperately needed once the packed trucks and our packed vehicles arrived at the new farm in 90-degree weather.
Electricity. That was the one thing we needed. It was so important that I’d arranged for it to be turned on three days prior to the move. I’d arranged this, over a series of phone calls, a month in advance. The last phone call, to confirm, had been the day before the service was turned on to the house.
Guess what we didn’t have? No, really, guess.
You’re so smart.
I proceeded to call the electric company we’d chosen, and in the country calling someone on a cell phone is an exercise in frustration…and sometimes futility. I finally found a good signal in a spot about 50 yards in front of the house and within two minutes the helpful young man at the other end of the phone told me his company didn’t service our home. We had to use a co-op.
I proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs at the poor kid, the gist of my screaming was that I wanted to know why someone hadn’t informed me of that sooner.
I scared the absolute shit out of the kid on the phone, and my movers. Every. single. one.
My husband had to tell them I wasn’t normally a maniacal hell-bitch, but no electricity when I had been so careful to make sure we had electricity, that was the proverbial straw.
I’d been working at my job, coming home and packing, cleaning, packing, sleeping little, and so on for weeks. To say I was at the end of my rope is too cliche. I was at the end of every rope, ever.
We finished unpacking the trucks, in the dark, and since it was Halloween and we were in the boonies and it was dark, the sounds of the forest scared the shit out of the young movers. They whispered about curses and witches and ghosts to one another. I did nothing to alleviate their fears when I said, straight-faced, that the house was built on an “old Indian burial ground” and rumored to be haunted. One of them asked me if I was afraid of ghosts, and I told him that since I was a witch I had power over the ghostly realm. I honestly think he believed me. Poor kid.
We collapsed into bed that first night, too tired to even care that it was sticky and warm. All the windows in the house were open, but if any ghosts visited we were too tired to care about them either.
We got the electricity turned on the next morning, but only because I threatened to sit down in the middle of the co-op’s office and cry until they did. I was desperate, exhausted, in need of a shower, and the nice lady in the office had just told me it would be 1-3 business days before they could get the power on at the house. Instead, she took pity on me and by the time we drove back out to the house we had lights and air conditioning and a working washer and dryer.
Too bad we couldn’t locate a lot of our clothes. Somehow, in the move, everything seemed to get separated. We spent four days unpacking and we wore the same clothes all four days. I’d wash them every night, and we’d put them on every morning. We finally found all our clothes, so with that and electricity things were looking up.
Then, our real estate agent called..the old house may not have sold after all. Maybe, perhaps. We need to re-negotiate here. With ginormous credit card bills looming, we listened and we compromised and we got the old house and some land we owned sold.
We spent the rest of the week unpacking everything, and in the end were really only missing a couple of small items and only found a couple more broken.
It’s been a few months now, and we are loving our new home. It’s magical, it’s beautiful, and it’s where I intend to spend the rest of my life. I told my hubby that if he ever got the notion to move again I’d go straight for his throat. After seeing me react to the whole electricity debacle I’m pretty sure he believes it.
Last Friday a snowflake fell on Dallas and the entire world went batshit crazy.
In all fairness, a few pellets of sleet joined the snowflake so there’s that.
Now, my normal commute these days is about an hour. On Friday, it took me THREE AND A HALF hours to make it from work to home.
I think a Kardashian or two got pregnant, gave birth, and started a search for the baby daddy all in the time it took me to get from Point A to Point B.
I saw TWELVE accidents in a 20-mile stretch of highway. All of them single-car, none of them looked like anyone was hurt, and every one of them avoidable if people would just pay attention.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Stuck, sitting on the highway with no exit in sight, I had to pee so badly I created a makeshift bedpan for my car’s front seat and prayed that a. I wouldn’t have to use it, but if I did then b. I’d positioned it properly. (fyi, I didn’t have to test my MacGyver-ish work but I’m seriously considering carrying an actual bedpan for future disasters it was that close)
But that’s not the worst of it.
Then there was the part where I was watching big rigs get stuck on bridges with slight inclines because the bridges were solid sheets of ice, and praying that fishtailing trailer didn’t slam me as I crept past them.
But that’s not the worst of it.
You wanna know what the worst thing was? Other than having to hear my hubby on the phone telling me how pretty the snow looked from in front of the fireplace at home while I struggled to maintain some control over my bladder?
It was the mother trucker from hell in front of me. She appointed herself shoulder police, and since we were in the far right lane and no one was really moving, she had ample opportunities to block drivers who tried to take advantage of the unused shoulder of the highway to move up in the world. She’d pull off to the shoulder every time someone broke from the pack and tried to maneuver their way around. Once an SUV came up alongside me, and I guess she saw them at the last second and pulled hard to the right forcing the SUV off onto the embankment and down in some slick/frozen grassy area. I thought for sure he was going to roll it, but he managed to maintain control and got around her. She wasn’t happy, so she decided to stay on the shoulder because no one, by God, was going to do that to her – the SHOULDER POLICE – again. Since she seemed content to now be the person using the shoulder to move along, I inched my car up until I was about halfway down the length of her trailer. It was at that point she rolled down her window and started gesturing wildly and screaming at me. I rolled down my window, utterly perplexed as I had not tried to use the shoulder to pass her but was, in fact, passing her in the lane. You know, the right of way, the part you’re supposed to drive on.
The conversation went…
CrazyMotherTrucker: Do you want to get run over, bitch??!!
CMT: DO YOU WANT TO GET RUN OVER??
Me: But, you’re the one on the shoulder and I’m nearly passed you now so why don’t you just let me get in front of you and….
CMT: I’M COMING OVER NOWWWWW!!! RIGHT NOW!!
Me: (realizing at this point she had about 40,000 lbs. on me) Uhhh….
And she did…she just kept coming, and I had nowhere to go because right next to me was another truck and he had nowhere to go and so on.
So I stopped.
And I prayed.
And I held my breath and my bladder…the last one just barely.
And she juuust missed me by an inch or two as she did just what she screamed she would.
Crazy. Mother. Trucker.
I’m really working hard on a post detailing the insanity of our move to the sticks. It was like a bad “B” movie, but with worse lighting.
Anyway, as I work on that, some random observations from things that’ve been going on.
- Our new ranch has a house and guest house (insert sarcastic “yay” for doubling the square footage I have to clean) and in both houses we got satellite television. Except in the guest house we didn’t get…something..some piece of equipment – a router? – that let’s us access the Internet on the television. This is important. Because Netflix and Hulu. So, I called my provider to get that fixed. And I spent a SOLID HOUR on the phone with a tech as she told me, I shit you not, her ENTIRE LIFE STORY. She is in her 20’s and has had a rough go. Dad’s done time, Mom died when she was young, she’s raised her sister. It’s a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie waiting to happen, kids. She kept saying to me “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I haven’t even told my sister or Granny yet.” as she relayed recent events or innermost feelings. Since we only get landline coverage in the hinterlands I was trapped at the kitchen table, listening, as my husband kept going in and out looking perplexedly at me as each time he passed he saw the glassy-eyed look on my face. Finally, we got to the end of her story and she said a tech would be out to fix the problem. I hung up the phone with a headache, and I think a small country might have gone to war and won in the time it took for that conversation to end.
- Yesterday, I went to the post office to drop off my out-of-town packages for mailing. I’d already printed the postage and put it on the box, so I normally just set the packages on the counter and leave. But, yesterday I needed to get stamps so I stood in line. I’m so glad I did. The woman in front of me was 80 if she was a day, and she had on BRIGHT green pants, a trench coat over a simple blouse, and a matching BRIGHT green floppy hat with a long purple/pink/green paisley print ribbon wrapped around it. She was carrying a backpack that had skateboards and graphics all over its black exterior. Inside, she had a few packages she was sending. She giggled as she tried to extricate them one by one, saying “I wrapped these up so neat, and now I am going to tear them up just trying to get them out of here!” I offered to help her and her smile lit the room. Just when I thought she couldn’t be any cuter, the clerk called her to come up to the counter asking, “And how are you today, ma’am?” to which she LOUDLY replied, “I AM BLESSED IN THE LORD, YES I AM!!” Everyone in line, myself included smiled broadly and a few chuckled softly. Floppy Hat turned that sunny smile on all of us and said, “MERRY CHRISTMAS Y’ALL!!” And I thought as I watched her, ‘I want to be her. Just like that. Now and always.’ It was a magical moment, and I hope I can keep the memory.