Saturday, February 25, 2012

Attractive Creeping

I have discovered an unsettling truth about myself.

I'm quite adept at being worthless.  Especially if my husband is out of town.  If he is gone, and I'm home with the girls, I immediately become worthless.

I'm fairly okay with that.

This weekend I was unable to be as unproductive as I'd like for the simple reason that my children needed new shoes for softball (which I'm so excited about I can't hardly stand it) and Popcorn had the audacity to grow out of her school shoes...

And I had to take Bookworm to her basketball game...

And clearly, my life is just so DIFFICULT.

Anyhoo, my nephew was in town the last two days for a state wrestling tournament.  He had asked me to try and meet up with him.  He is 17, and has all of the responsibilities of a 17 year old...

Trying to get the details of when/where to meet, or if it was even possible to plan ahead was next to impossible.  Of course, it ended up that we couldn't meet because he was busy with matches except the time frame we were at Bookworm's basketball game.  I told the girls that our plans for meeting Kris were cancelled.

They took it pretty well considering we had eaten early so Bookworm would not get sick in her game, so they were being quite the little complainers about having to wait to eat anyway.

Bookworm asked if he had a job.

"No, I don't think so."

"Well, he better get one if he wants girls to find him attractive.  Girls want guys to have money!"

And being the wonderful example I am, I died laughing...

And then texted Kris the tip that Bookworm had for him.

He LOL'd and said that he did too.

Me:  You find guys with money attractive too?

Kris:  LOL  NO!  I seriously need a job.

Me:  Good, because I was about to post a facebook prayer intervention with you tagged in the subject line.

And the reality is I'd probably do that, all in the name of being a bossy loving aunt...Because while he may think I'm creeping on him when I'm checking his facebook albums and status updates, I consider that part of being a loving aunt.  PLUS, I thought creeping was viewing without the person's knowledge.  I am very upfront with my nosiness loving concern.  At least I message him any concerns instead of voicing disapproval in comment form...

If course he DID block his status updates from my view.

Wonder why???

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Never Get My Way

Not much to say...

I had to take Flufferpants to the vet today because he was sneezing and his eyes were running, and he didn't leave the garage AT ALL yesterday.  I was tempted to wait it out and see if he got better, but Popcorn made me promise to take him to the vet because she was worried.  She told a friend the other day that "kittens come and go, but Oliver is forever." 

He graciously decided to clean his face when I needed a recent photo of him.  His eyes were so gross, I was totally okay with that.

This is the same child who will not go to bed at night until all three cats are in the garage. This frequently involves me dragging on extra layers to go find cats that don't come when called...Then I give up and leave the front door open with just the storm door closed, and eventually they come "meow" at the door, and then I let them in.

I dread the day they don't actually come meow at the door.  Because then I will have to deal with the fact that I might have possibly fibbed about them being in the garage, when in fact they were outside, and I was waiting for them to come to the door to be let in.

Of course on a beautiful day the darn things won't come OUT of the garage.  I keep taking them out today, and they keep dashing right back in every time the door is open.
 Anyhoo, Oliver has an upper respiratory infection.  So he got a shot and ten days worth of antibiotics. He is obviously suffering as he has dropped all the way down to 17 pounds.  I tell you, he is just wasting away before my very eyes!  He's seven years old and lived lots of adventures, not the least of which involve an ongoing rivalry with a yellow tom that keeps trying to come visit.  I saw Oliver chasing him down the street a few days ago, and seeing his big prissy self chase that short stocky yellow cat was a sight!

I also scheduled the other two cats and Chesney to be spayed next month.

I was trying to take "good" pictures of the animals running my life.  While this is not great, you can see that six month old Chesney has passed Kelsey.
  And I am seriously questioning my wisdom in so many animals, because animals are expensive, then I went over and read Taylor's blog, and her COW (Comment of the Week) really hit home...

She really is a sweetheart.  Of course, areas of my yard look like the surface of the moon, but at least she doesn't eat everything in sight!  (Please disregard the sock she stole lying on the ground in the background.)

And now I'm thinking perhaps I should refrain from buying the chickens I eye at Atwoods every spring, and try to convince my husband to let my buy...Then he just says Kelsey would kill them anyway, and then I stomp my feet and try to convince him that I can train her to think she has to protect them. 

Is this the face of a chicken killer?  Well, actually it IS, but perhaps I can train her to love them instead?

(Please, do not laugh at my expense, as I'm quite earnest in saying this.)

Then he rolls his eyes and never lets me have what I want.


Unfortunately my camera couldn't catch this whole progression.  This little battle was ended by Chesney laying on the ground mournfully whimpering as she gazed on Oliver's untouchable beauty.

Today is a beeYOOtiful day.  I need to clean house. 

But I'm not going to.  I'm going to go sit outside and play in my flower beds.

Or take a walk.

Or read a book.

But I will NOT be doing housework.

And that, Gentle Reader makes it all abundantly clear that I NEVER get my way.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On a Lighter Note

Friday's post was heavy.

Sorry about that, but sometimes life is heavy.  And I feel the need to inflict it on you.

One day last week I was whining to my husband about one of the cases we had.  However, I was also expressing relief that it was during normal business hours.

Oh, did I mention we were chatting about this at the dinner table?  Aren't you jealous that you aren't at our dinner time conversations?

Anyway, Popcorn wanted to know where these drains were at that I was so stressed about.  Bookworm immediately said, "I don't want to know!  Just stop talking about it!"  Popcorn voiced that it must come out the ear...

"Not quite," and I chuckled.

"Oh.  I get it."  And she squirmed in her chair.  "How awkward."

"What?  Where do you think it comes out, then?"

"PLEASE!  I'm eating!  I don't want to know!"  Poor Bookworm.

Popcorn squirmed in her chair again, and said "You know..."

I started laughing.  "Not out of your bottom!  Is that what you thought!?"

"Well, if it doesn't come out of your ear or your bottom where does it come out!"

So, I explained that they drill a burr hole in the skull and thread a tube down into the brain to drain the blood accumulating.

I think she thought the bottom would be less horrific.

But she still ate a second bowl of chili, so it must not have been too horrific for her.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oh. My. Heavens.

Yesterday I did not do one blooming thing.  I took the day off on Friday to stay home with my kiddos...It seems that our school wanted to get a rush on President's day, so we took Friday off instead of Monday...

I asked if the girls wanted to go shopping and get a jump on the sales.  No, they did not.  Popcorn is not able to spend any money as she is saving for an iPod touch.  Actually, she has her half saved, and she agreed to not have a slumber party in exchange for my picking up the last $80 that she needs to buy it.  However, she has been slack in some reading at school and I will not buy it until she is up to and beyond where she needs to be...

Thus shopping is quite painful when one has worked to save over a hundred dollars by doing all sorts of menial tasks and one can't spend the money...

Bookworm needed new jeans but she deferred shopping too.  She feels that her three pairs, two lacking any holes whatsoever, suffice for her needs.

So, in light of my children's desire to lock themselves in their bedrooms and play Barbies and horses all day long, I slept until 9:30.  Then I lazed around doing absolutely nothing.  I got an invite for them to BOTH stay the night at friends, and quickly pounced.  They even made themselves lunch while I continued to do absolutely nothing.

Brent & I went out to dinner, then to Old Navy to grab Bookworm a pair of jeans that she obviously does NOT need, and I got some new shoes for work.  The Dansko's I got several months ago feel great, but my feet are so narrow that I find when I'm pushing 300 pound patients around on stretchers, my feet slip in the heel and I'm in danger of a twisted knee or ankle.

I am happy to report that I came away with not only a new pair of bright pink shoes for work, but also a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that I grabbed at Marshall's for a mere $20!  Hooray!  I had originally been considering a pair of Reeboks that were gray with yellow soles and bright pink trim, but after spotting these, which were half the price, and no difference in comfort level, I bought them...

Which left me with money to buy some moccasins!

Can we all just take a moment and pause at the sadness that Minnetonka's are now made in China?  How wrong is that???

Anyway, this morning I was determined to be productive.  However, as I started to drink my coffee and found myself alone in my house, (Brent went to help a friend clean his house before a lady friend sees it for the first time) the temptation to read a book fell upon me.  I decided I would start something that I would not become engrossed in and unable to put down so that I could do laundry and do some housework before going to grab my girls around eleven...

I made the mistake of deciding to read Pride & Prejudice for the first time ever.

Why have I waited so long?  I am laughing out loud!  I love the characters!  I fear today will be another do nothing day...

I feel compelled to copy down the quotes that have me laughing out loud as I read it, so perhaps if you have felt that Jane Austen was too old fashioned, you may come to appreciate her as I am.

The first sentence grabbed me and made me chuckle...

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

There are many, many funny bits, but I'm not sure you can appreciate them out of context, however this one made me laugh also:

"Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune, and risen to the honour of knighthood by an address to the king during his mayoralty.  The distinction had, perhaps, been felt too strongly.  It had given him a disgust to his business and to his residence in a small market town; and, quitting them both, he had removed with his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, denominated from that period Lucas Lodge; where he could think with pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in being civil to all the world. "

Alas, I must now go fetch my children and offer them nourishment in the form of Taco Mayo before we must head to a basketball game for Bookworm.  Stay tuned for more quotes!

Friday, February 17, 2012

One Month Older

Monday I stayed late to sedate a patient who needed a cerebral angiogram.  That's a big term for a study of the vessels in the brain.  I dread these cases.

 Mostly because brains freak me out, and I've never been that comfortable with what to do with tubes and bolts sticking out the top of people's heads....

Here is a picture to tell you where the drain sits inside the brain:


The external collections system of the brain is set to only drain if the pressure within the brain gets above a certain point.  The drainage system has to stay level with the ear canal to monitor this pressure accurately.  Our doctors have to move the procedure table up and down and back and forth all through the case.  This means that not only are we giving medications, monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, etc.  Now we are freaking out on a drain that is vital to helping decrease injury to the brain.  My shoulders are turning to earrings just thinking about this...

However, regardless of my wants and fears, my hospital has hired two new neuro surgeons, and signed a contract for two neuro interventional radiologists to work in our department...A neuro interventionalist puts a catheter in the femoral artery and threads it up to the brain to do interventions...Mostly put coils into vessels that are bleeding.  Do you know the sort of confidence they must have to carry to put coils in a brain through a catheter that originates at the groin?


The other thing that is stressing my fellow coworkers and me out is that while we have all been reading up on and taking skills tests on these neuro patients, we haven't had much real life experience.  It's kind of like when you graduate nursing school and you have lots of head knowledge but can't put it all together easily.  Only instead of working with a preceptor, we are wading through the trenches on call cases at night.  Thus far we've learned that most patients don't tend to have crises in normal business hours.  If the patient is in the ICU we can drag that nurse along with us, but if the patient is still in the ER, we are on our own.  We've actually started adding a second call nurse to come in as a back up if the case is really hairy.  We are all super excited about more call.


Anyway, Monday night as my shift was ending I found out we had an intracranial hemorrhage in the ER.  "Don't panic, Dr. G is going to do it, and it's just diagnostic."  That was good news for me as Dr. G is "my" doctor and he works much faster than the neuro interventionalists.  Plus, I know him better (and he knows me) so we work better together.  For instance, he understands that I'm going to get snappy and possibly tell him to "be quiet and let me catch up" with these urgent cases where everyone is rush rush rushing and I haven't even had time to give the patient medications, or if I have I haven't charted a single thing I've done, or "you are making me nervous positioning that table.  I don't have my lead on yet."  And he knows I don't want to get fried, so he would never xray while I am "naked."  But again, these are all things I tend to get snippy about in these late cases. Especially considering I was hungry...

You have to understand that when an emergent case occurs during the day, even though I may be the only nurse in the room, there are at least three other nurses just outside my door.  At night, I'm the only nurse unless the patient is from the ICU, and then I can drag that nurse along with me to the procedure.  When things are going down, it's always best to have a pack mentality.  You know, safety in numbers.  The more people that I have in the room with me that meet my skill set, the better I feel...

I was surprised when I went to get the patient from the ER to see that she is only one month older than me.  She has six children, the youngest of which is just a baby.  She was actually alert and oriented, but she had "the worst headache of her life."  She was walking into the grocery store that morning and her headache, which she'd had for three days, became so bad that she felt as if something exploded in her head.  She called 911 and ended up with me that night.  After chatting with her I learned that she had went to her doctor after she had her baby, and the doctor said her blood pressure was normal so she quit taking her medicine.  She didn't understand that the blood pressure was normal BECAUSE she was on medicine.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with the ignorance of people.  It all seems so pointless and at times just plain stupid.  However, I also realize that a big piece of it is lack of proper education.

And the jaded nurse in me also realizes that another big piece is noncompliance.  Unfortunately I see a lot more noncompliance than lack of education.  Truthfully I think this was really a lack of understanding.  

She was a never smoker, denied any drug use, occasional drinker with the brain of a 70 year old.

High blood pressure:  The silent killer.

After the procedure was over her daughter had arrived.  She looked about the age of my girls.

And she was scared to death.  I pulled her mom's oxygen tubing off of her face and took her surgical hat that I had covering her hair off and encouraged the girl to chat with her mom to see that she was okay...She was being so good and so strong and trying so hard to hold the big pools of tears in her eyes back.  Her voice was wobbly and her breath was shuddering.

For some dumb reason, I said "Baby it's okay. Your mommy is going to be okay. I promise."

No sooner did those words leave my mouth than I wanted to take them back.  I can't make that promise!  I've never made such a dumb promise in my life!  I let my emotions get the best of me, and I made a rash statement.

Those words haunted me off and on throughout Monday night.

The next day we had to repeat part of the study to get a little clearer picture of one portion of her brain.  Her daughter was not with her, but I learned that the little girl had spent the night at the hospital and was home resting.  By the time we were complete with the follow up study, her daughter was back at the hospital.  She rushed up and gave her mommy a kiss on the cheek after I quickly whipped as many tubes off of her mommy that I safely could.

I am not sure what the decision was based on our follow up films.  I had read in the neuro surgeon's note that was written before our study that he was "asking for a repeat, with probable surgery in the morning."  I didn't get to learn what the findings were because as soon as I returned to our department I had to tend to another patient who was having irregular heart beats.  Then I had another patient in the ER that we had to go get and do a procedure on...

And then it was 7pm, and I had never even eaten lunch, so I simply clocked out and came home.

But my little momma has been on my mind.  I pray that she's okay so that she can be a mommy to her six children.

P.S.  I originally typed this post on Wednesday.  On Thursday I went to check on her.  She had gone through surgery to clip the aneurysm in her brain on Wednesday well.  On Thursday she was alert and oriented and doing great.  Hopefully she will have a full recovery.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Had A Breakdown in Homeland

Today I went to Homeland to do my coupon shopping.

I had already spent too much money at Walmart.

Because we have animals and our pet food bill is ridiculous.  Note to self:  If one wants to save money do NOT buy a dog that will be close to be eighty pounds.  Not to mention the three cats.  Can anyone tell me WHY I have three cats at my house?  Oliver is CERTAINLY enough cat for four people.

And these "kittens" want to be held all of the time.  Literally.  And they are really no longer kittens, but will be forever be the "kittens" because it's like when you have a dozen kids, the last few are the "little girls." 

Not that I have or WANT a dozen kids, but I had a friend growing up who was the youngest of seven.  She and her two closest sisters were all within three years of each other.  The entire family called them the "little girls" even when they were reaching six feet tall...

But that is a total rabbit chase, and I don't even know what I was typing about.  Excuse me while I  go back and review this post and try to decipher where I went wrong...

Oh yes!  Grocery shopping.  I had just left Walmart where I had spent too much money on pet food.  And secretly wondered about not feeding my cats so they would learn to hunt for their food and thus rid the neighborhood of all unwanted vermin...However, that probably wouldn't work as Oliver is only fed 1/2 cup of food per day and he still weighs 18 pounds.  I'm guessing he's convinced another family that he belongs to them while I'm at work.  The tramp.

I walked into Homeland armed with my list and my coupons, prepared to conquer the store...

All of their Valentine's candy and baked goods were half off.  Did you know that I did not receive chocolate for Christmas or Valentine's?  Did you know I don't keep sweets at the house because I find that if sweets are at the house I eat them?  However, if I receive them as gifts, then they are totally guilt free!  Anyhoo.  I was feeling deprived.  So I promptly threw in a bag of snack sized Snickers (the very best size to have), a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises (I keep them in my locker at work), a bag of some sort of almond toffee chocolate candy that I'd never heard of, and last but not least a dozen chocolate cupcakes with pink and red frosting and "Be Mine" Valentine picks in them...

I left the grocery store with a total bill of $23.85.

Guess what?  $9.62 of that bill was on crap.  That's right.  Nearly half of my bill was spent on empty calories that are sure to go straight to my thighs.

Speaking of my thighs: 

Popcorn had an "un"birthday party this past weekend.  (Remember Alice in Wonderland?  "A very merry unbirthday to you?"  That is what one celebrates when one's parents are unable to let you celebrate your birthday for two months following the actual event.)  I had to accept failure as a Betty Crocker wannabe and buy a cheesecake.  Of course, upon buying the cheesecake I realized it cost only a few dollars more than it does to make one from scratch.  And that is just wrong somehow.

On Saturday afternoon, Popcorn wanted a piece of cheesecake for a snack.  She offered for me to sit and have a piece with her.

"I do NOT need to eat cheesecake,"  I said as I went to brew a good strong cup of coffee to enjoy with my treat.

"Why?  Are you on a diet," she asked as she began to pull two plates out of the cabinet.

"No.  I don't believe in diets.  Are you saying you think I SHOULD be on a diet?"  You see, I'm an equal opportunity guilt employer.  I have absolutely no compunction about throwing random guilt darts at unsuspecting family members.

"No!  Of course not!"

"That's what I thought."  And we joyously dug into our slices of cheesecake.  But I made her eat part of mine..."Help save me from some excess jiggle in my wiggle."

Which made me think of a conversation I had at work yesterday.  By the way, please pardon me as I complain for a moment.  I worked 12 hours on Monday with no sustenance but a banana, an orange and a container of Greek Yogurt.  Oh, yes!  I also had a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos because one of my coworkers knows my need for comfort food on late nights...I worked 11 hours yesterday with no lunch break whatsoever.  I did go and scarf down three tablespoons of peanut butter in a moment of rebellion.  It was either do that or punch someone in the face, and I decided that taking three minutes to throw some food in my face was a better plan.

Two reps were there to do a case with my doctor, and I was needing to ask him a question about a case we were about to do.  Somehow we got on the topic of coffee.  They were talking about cutting back on coffee.  I said, "Yeah, I've considered cutting back on coffee, but I get cranky just thinking about it and then I go brew myself a second cup just for good measure."

They both laughed like I wasn't serious or something like that.

But I was.

Speaking of coffee:

Have you made this Blueberry Coffee Cake yet?

If not, I have to INSIST that you simply must do it double quick.  I have made three already this week.  It's doctor appreciation week, and I made one for Tuesday when we had planned to have a feast of order out food but instead were too busy to even eat.  It turns out that most people made time to go back and shove some cake in their face.  We are reattempting the feast tomorrow, so I made it again today.  However, my girls begged me to make one for home too.

Because, returning to the original topic of this post, we are obviously quite deficient on sweets in this house.

Excuse me.  I feel the need to go do some Just Dance with the Wii to burn some jiggle out of my wiggle.

Happy hump day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hiding in the Bathroom Stall

Time:  Freshman year of high school
Setting:  School
Cast of Characters:  Me, Loud Mouth, Nancy, and Susan

I was sitting eating lunch, chatting with my friends.  I'm pretty sure I was talking.  That's what I did/do after all.  Loud Mouth comes bursting through the cafeteria doors.  Loud Mouth was a seventh grader I think.  Either way, she's younger than me.  And she's trouble.

"Andrea, how old is Nancy?"

I looked at her flabbergasted, wondering why the heck I should know or care.  However, of course I had an answer.  I have an answer for everything!

At least I think I do.  And even if I don't have the absolutely RIGHT answer, I have a pretty good idea of the answer!  So, of course I gave her the answer that I ASSUMED to be right.  (You know what they say about assuming, right?)

"I think she's 18.  She lives with her boyfriend, so..."

"I told her she couldn't touch me because it would be assaulting a minor!"  And with that proclamation, she spun and left the cafeteria.

I wish I could say that my gut feeling was that this could not be a good thing.  However, I forgot the conversation nearly as soon as it happened.  After all, I was given to rattling off at the mouth before my brain could stop and process, and frequently I did not register the repercussions of such rattling until, well quite frankly, they were staring me in the face.

I had typing immediately following lunch. After the first bell announcing the end of lunch, I ran to the bathroom.  While I was still in the stall, I heard two girls entering, obviously upset.

"I'm going to kick her BLEEP!!!

Wow!  Somebody's in trouble.  Wonder what that's about.  And being not at all nosy, I prolonged my bathroom time to catch the scoop.

"Who the bleep does she think she is?  I am not 18, and if she keeps telling everyone that and  butting into my business I'm going to beat the bleep out of her! That bleeping little bleep."

Uh-oh.  Is that Nancy?  I hear another voice join hers.

"I know.  I'm totally with you.  Bleeping know it all."

Oh, crud.  It's Nancy AND Susan.  I was already more than a little afraid of the two of them.  I knew they were wild.  They were so far outside of my little realm that we might as well have been on different planets.  Just a few weeks before they had been showing off the bruises on their upper arms from where their mom had taken them to get Depo Provera implants so they wouldn't be teen moms.  They wore thick coal black eye liner, too heavy foundation, skin tight jeans (but it was the 90s, everyone wore tight jeans) and black leather bomber jackets. They drank.  They smoked...They were the very embodiment of my version of "bad girl."

(Oh, and guess what memory just popped into my brain?  I think their mom was a nurse!  But that little nugget is completely irrelevant to this post, unless one relates it to the fact that everyone I know who had a mom for a nurse talks about the complete lack of sympathy their mom had, and perhaps that led them to a life of brutally beating up underclassmen?)

I quietly lifted my feet up off of the floor.  And I began to try and think of an escape route...But that was impossible as it was a one way in, one way out bathroom.  I could hear hair spray being lacquered on, and they continued their conversation of the dire consequences I was going to face as soon as they got me alone.  I swear, if I hadn't been already sitting on the toilet I would totally have peed my pants.

After what felt like an eternity, and with escalating threats being tossed about considering my person and Loud Mouth, I decided to face the dragons...

I walked out of the stall and walked to the sink as if I had no idea what they were talking about.  They both stopped what they were doing and watched me.  My hands were shaking as I rolled out the paper towels..."By the way, I had no idea why Loud Mouth was asking how old you were.  She just asked and I guessed 18 because you live with your boyfriend.  Sorry." 

"Yeah, well I'm 17, so you better just learn to mind your own business or I will seriously kick your bleep!"

"Yeah.  Sure.  Yeah.  Okay.  Well.  Okay.  Sorry again.  Um...See you around!"  And for some dumb reason I think I smiled cheerfully and offered a little wave.  Maybe not.  But I'm pretty sure I did.  And I tried to calmly walk (not run like I wanted to) out of the bathroom. 

Guess what?  I saw her no less than one minute later.  You see, she had typing with me.  That was the real reason I had braved her in the bathroom.  Seeing her was going to be unavoidable!  She walked right past my desk and pounded it with her hand on the way to her typewriter.  I tried to look cool and calm, but I'm pretty sure I jumped and flinched away.

That girl got pleasure out of shooting murderous glances at me every day throughout typing for the rest of the year.  I had visions of her and Susan dragging me by my hair to the parking lot from then on.  To this day I still think of her as one of the scariest people I've ever met, and she never even laid a hand on me, and I really don't know of her ever getting in an actual fight.

The power of suggestion was enough for me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What EXACTLY is She Trying to Tell Me?

A while back we had some friends over for dinner.  I don't remember exactly what we were talking about, but I do know we somehow got on the discussion of scary girls in high school.  All of the scary girls in my high school had this strange habit of cutting their hair extremely short from the top of their ears down, but leaving the rest of it long.  You wouldn't really notice it until they pulled it up in a pony tail.  I never understood it, but I always thought it strange...

I guess I should qualify the above statement about scary girls.  Two scary girls (who were sisters) in my school had that hair cut.  Some other girls did too.  They weren't scary at all.  However, because the two scary sisters had that hair, I've always associated it with the thought that the gal sporting that 'do may take it into her head to drag me into the parking lot by my hair and pound on me at any given point in time...However, THAT story is a post for another day.  Today's post is about something else, not high school bullies....

So.  My friend Tammy and I were discussing that hair cut.  And how we were scared of girls with that hair...Okay I was scared of girls with that hair.

The next Monday I went to work and had a lady about my age as a patient.  She was having a biopsy done of a mass on her lung.  As I began to get her ready for her procedure, I noticed that she had what I fondly refer to as "prison tats."  You know those tattoos that are that navy blue color and poorly delineated?  A lot of the people who have those received them from friends in their garages before tattoo parlors were legal in Oklahoma....Or they received them in exchange for smokes in jail...

I seldom ask where they obtained them.  As a matter of fact, I actually refrain from inquiring after them at all, because I really just DON"T want to know.

Anyway, I had a lady my age.  She had prison tats...

And she had bad teeth.  She was really kind of pretty in a rough sort of way.  I couldn't help but silently think that it was a shame she saw fit to put poorly designed tattoos on her inner wrist and chest...

And I thought it was too bad that she apparently had a history of methamphetamine abuse, or her mother had taken tetracycline when she was pregnant, or in her early stage of her childhood causing her to have become discolored.  I really doubted the antibiotic theory as I don't think it affects adult teeth...

Do you find it strange that nurses are taking in so many details and trying to guess causes as we are chatting and starting IVs and whatnot?  I don't do it consciously.  It just happens.

I continued my care of her and learned that she was a smoker.  Well, actually I was pretty sure she was a smoker the minute I listened to her lungs, and sooner than that, when I put her coat in the closet and smelled the smoke...

Anyway, she asked if she could go have a smoke before her procedure.  I said I didn't think so, and that since she came right out and mentioned it, I was now compelled to give her my "quit smoking lecture." 

Her friend was also lecturing her on quitting Diet Coke.  I said I wasn't quite as concerned with her soft drink habit as I was the smoking...

Anyway, eventually as I took her back to the table and began to hook her up to my monitors, I learned that she was a prison guard.


She was a tiny little thing. 

Anyway, that surprised me.

It took a ridiculous amount of medicine to get her sedated.  She had been taking pain pills and anxiety pills, so her tolerance to medications was pretty high...At one point I asked her if she was doing okay.  she said she was fine but not at all sleepy.  I told her that I wasn't certain I'd be able to get her to sleep, but if she wasn't scared, I was calling it good.  She tolerated the procedure well.

After her procedure, when I had her back in her bay, I noticed as she pulled up her hair that short under the long layer hair cut...And I mentally checked off, "prison tats, bad teeth, scary girl haircut, and now I learn she's a prison guard."  Yep.  She pretty much met all of my stereotypes.

It's hard not to become judgmental in my world. You hear so many stories, and see the same consequence to the same action over and over so that it gets hard to not look at people and go, "What are you thinking?" 

Anyway, she had to stick around a while, which led to some chatting as she was my last patient to go home for the day.  She asked why I couldn't get her to sleep.  "Well, unfortunately you've been using a lot of medications at home that act the same brain receptors as my sedation medications.  That means you are resistant to them, and I would have ended up giving you enough to dart an elephant to get you to sleep.  I decided that rather than that, we would just shoot for super relaxed."

She agreed that she had felt fine and didn't really mind the procedure at all.

However, she did ask if I'd ever thought of working in the prison system.  She thought I'd make a "great prison nurse."

What exactly does that mean?

I decided I didn't want to know.  Perhaps I've become a bit TOO matter of fact in my job?

Something to think about.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

As I'm Posting Cowgirl Stories...

I've been reminiscing a lot about my years growing up on the farm.  And most of my happy thoughts involve the horse.  And cattle.  Heck!  I even liked building fence, even though it drove me crazy that Dad could drive four steeples to my one...

Apparently, Brent is dreaming of his childhood too.  My husband keeps leaving links such as these up on my homepage...

And this:

Look it even has two seats!

That would have been much comfier to sit in when we were dating! 


You didn't ride the tractor with your boyfriend? 

I'm sorry.  You really missed out.

Oh, and he seems to think he needs one with these track thingies on it...Apparently it doesn't pack the soil as firm.

I'm not sure where the man is going to get the green to buy himself a big ole John Deere tractor.

But he sure is wishin'.

And I'm seeing my visions of "stay at home trophy wife" be slowly overtaken by "wife who drives the tractor on her day off."

Which I fear is his vision of a trophy wife.

I think we need to lay out some concrete definitions.

What have you been wishing for this Valentine's Day?

Oh, and that picture makes me think of this song I love called "The Farmer's Daughter."  I asked Brent if it made him think of us...

"Why would that song make me think of us?  I never worked for your dad.  And you didn't have hogs.  And you never went to Panama, much less had a tan."

Me:  Ugh. You have no romance in your soul!

Brent:  No, babe.  Our song is "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."

Me:  That makes absolutely no sense!  You HATE Kenny Chesney!

Brent:  Well, you did think my tractor was sexy!

Me:  Um, noooo.  I thought your 1992 Chevy stepside pickup was hot.

Brent:  Huh.  How about "John Deere Green?"

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Me:  Okay.  I'll go with that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Day's Wages: A Cowgirl's Story: Part 3

Have I lost your interest?  Part 1 was most assuredly TOO long.  But I felt you needed the background.  I think I did better with shortening Part 2.

Part 3 will, hopefully, be the end of this particular saga.  Well, unless I somehow end up working for that former employer again. 

Although I can't quite fathom such an occurrence.  But after getting paid with promotional items from my Dad's business, I had sworn to never help him again.

But Dad made me anyway.  However, this time he agreed to come along.  Especially in light of the fact that I told him my "employer" had sworn at me, and yet said nothing to his slump of a son who was scared to get his horse out of a canter.

Yes indeed, I did have a very smart mouth.  But Dad was gracious enough to not smack me in light of these  spoken truth...Not that he ever smacked me...Except a few spankings that I truly deserved...Although each time Dad spanked me, David got one too.  So, it was probably all David's fault, and I was just the innocent bystander.

Sorry.  I rambled there.  Oops.

So Dad and I were off to help this individual work cattle.  This was a semi load of cattle that he was expecting delivered first thing in the morning.  He was quite proud of his truck load of Limousin cattle.  I had never worked with Limousin cattle, but I confess I was intrigued as they certainly sounded impressive!

We arrived about the same time as the truckload of cattle.  We watched them trot off the truck and scatter through the corrals.  I don't remember finding anything special about them. 

However, as you are about to learn, I soon realized that they had one very specific trait that seemed to run through every single one of them.

Dad and the Employer did the little chat with the trucker thing that comes along with such goings on as cattle, then he headed off down the road.  And we commenced to grouping the cattle into one large corral, with the plans to bring them by smaller bunches into what's known as a "crowding pen."

Okay.  I will now stop this post for a bit of explanation on the system.  The cattle are in a large pen.  You bring them by bunches into a smaller crowding pen.  Once they are in a crowding pen, the person working the pen, brings them by groups of two or three into a narrow lane.  The lane should be just wide enough for the cattle to fit through.  I'm sure fancy operations have a gate to swing shut in their lane.  We had a gate in ours, but always found it simpler to use a fence post that was narrow enough to go through the squares of the corral.  You run the cattle into the lane, then make them stand as close to each other as possible and then with your hip planted firmly into the last calf's backside, you shove the post in.  Not too high, or he will get under it.  Too low and he'll pull his back legs up and climb backwards over it.  When I helped my dad work cattle at this age, I'd run the cattle into the lane, shove in a post, then  climb the fence to help work them.  We had a nice little system where we knew exactly who did what.  He nearly always ran the head gate, as I was too slow to get it closed, and the calves would jump through, then be loose in the final big corral where you let the cattle after they'd been worked.  My ineptitude with the head gate would lead to sorting the cattle to get the ones I'd let go back through the chute.  This was nearly always a big hassle as the cattle tend to be a bit wound up after being branded, ear marked, vaccinated, and if they were bull calves, castrated....

This isn't our chute, but you see if the head gate doesn't get closed, the calf runs right out the front.

In the system we were using with Dad and Employer, we would all three run a group  into the crowding pen.  I would work the crowding pen, then stay in the lane behind the cattle trying to keep them in place as Dad and Employer did the actual "working" of the cattle.

My job was not a fun job.  It involved getting pooped on more than should be necessary.  I also got kicked more in that single day than I was kicked by cattle in all my days combined...

You see, Employers lane was too wide.  The wide lane meant the cattle had room to turn around.  And switch places in the lane.  And generally be pains in the rump.  When it came time to put them in the chute, inevitably the next calf was facing backwards.  Only I wasn't able to really do much about it, because I discovered that the cattle had the most amazing ability.

They could climb fences.

I'm not kidding!  Because the lane was not narrow enough, and they were apparently crazy as bed bugs (there seemed to be a pattern that developed with all of the Employer's livestock) they would literally turn up on their back legs and start climbing the corral panels until they just literally kind of climbed/fell over the sides.  Please understand, Gentle Reader, that the average corral panel is about 6 feet tall.

I am saddened to admit that I was quite intimidated by such goings on as I had never in all my born days seen such behavior in cattle.  However fearful or not, I had two people up in front attempting to work cattle, and my job was to get the cattle to them. So I soldiered on with much grumbling and whining on my part, I'm quite certain.  I was a teenage girl after all, and grumbling and complaining was all part and parcel of using me as a hand.

My Grandma Irene brought us a sandwich at dinner time (remember this is the noon hour, or "lunch" to town folk).  As I sat on the tailgate of the pickup eating my bologna sandwich with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and potato chips on it, I tugged off my boot and pulled up my pant leg...

My legs were swollen and black and blue from the knee down where I'd been getting kicked repeatedly by those dastardly Limousin calves...

My employer took one look at my legs and said, "Well, I guess you're going to sue me over that."

"Well I would, but Grandma won't let me."  I said in all seriousness.

"Oh now listen here, kid.  Nobody's suing anybody.  Now just don't talk like that."  And sadly her statement was pretty much law, so I dropped it.

Aside note:  As I think about my acceptance as adults word as the law, I can't help but think of kids today, and their lack of it.  And directly on the tail of that thought is the thought that it's the parents fault.  If we as parents demanded the respect, and taught respect and most of all SHOWED the respect that I was taught, kids today would be respectful.  It's really a pretty simple solution.  Well, and I also have the solution of ceasing to allow kids to watch all of those shows where kids talk sass to their parents, and it's treated as humorous....But I will now step down from my soap box and return to the story....

Forgive me, I just can't help it!

That is the last time I recall helping that employer.  I'm sure there were other times.  However, that experience with those crazy Limousins is burned forever in my brain....

When we moved down by San Antonio, there was a Limousin bull ranch about two miles south of our house.   He had fences that we use around here to keep bison in...I think they are a good seven feet tall...

So I'm guessing the propensity for climbing fences wasn't exclusive to that one herd.

At last the saga of a cowgirl's life is wrapped up.  How sad for me, as my blog ideas have been few and far between lately. 

What's the most exciting job you ever had?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Day's Wages: A Cowgirl's Story: Part 2

As you recall from yesterday's post, life with a certain employer was always exciting. 

Maddening.  But exciting nonetheless.

The weekend following the saga of the crazed cows, my sometimes employer informed me we were to attempt to gather them again. 

I refused.

He promised to have his son and another hired hand on horseback with us.  He also said he had a new plan that involved driving the cattle down the road.  I guess to his house.  I don't recall exactly where we ended up.  I just remember the process of getting there...

Dad convinced me to help out.  And Granddad promised to be there.  I agreed.  And when I say "agreed" you should read that while Dad "asked" he was really "telling"  and refusal was never a real option.

So it's Saturday again.  I had the horses in the corral unsaddled until my employer showed up, miracle of miracles, by noon (7AM was the planned start time) with two horses saddled in the trailer.  It turned up that his son was to be on Star, his hand was on Smokey, and he was to ride one of our mounts.  I quickly spoke up that Blue was mine.  And I saddled him with my saddle before you could say "boo."

We unloaded at the pasture, and Granddad met up with us.  I've always wondered how Granddad happened to be there no matter what time we started.  I guess he was called from the house.  Heck I don't know, as we did not have CB radios or cell phones...

The cattle predictably bolted to the far southwest corner.   Our plan was to drive them through a gate on the North side.  I was feeling pretty confident in our game plan as we now had four horses, and you can do darn near anything with three horses, so four is a bonus!  Well, as we were burning daylight it was suggested that we trot until we got closer to the cattle.

Did I mention Smokey was old?  It took lots of energy just to get him to trot.  And his rider probably weighed over 300 pounds.  Poor Smokey.  He also had a tendency to let out unfortunate bursts of air from his backside as he trotted along...

My employer's son was on Star.  I had experienced gathering cattle with him when we were younger.  It involved him being on Smokey and crying.  Because he was cold.  He ended up going back to the trailer and reloading his horse and riding in the pickup.  The big baby.  I was hoping I wouldn't have to see any tears that day. However, as I felt the sweat run down between my shoulder blades I was relatively certain that his seventeen year old self wasn't going to cry because he was cold.

We drove the cattle up the fence and to the gate they were supposed to exit.  The gate is one I didn't even know existed.  And neither did the cattle.  In fact, the gate had been opened, but it was overgrown with some sort of tall weeds or something.  I can't remember what it was.  I do remember that the weeds/feed/whatever was taller than my horse's head.  And Blue was not happy about riding through it.  He stomped and snorted and hopped around and resisted and did NOT want to go in.  So it definitely wasn't corn.  We had some cattle get in our neighbors corn and like to never got them out because all my horse wanted to do was eat.  Dang horse.

Anyway, the gate was overgrown.  You could not even see a gate there.  Nobody had bothered to stomp down or drive through the trash grown up around it so we could go through the gate. 

The cattle bolted fifty different directions.

My employer proceeded to yell at me.  His son was utterly incompetent and seemed incapable of moving out of a light canter.  Poor Smokey was too overburdened to move out of a jolting trot...

We started all over, gathering up small bunches of cattle that had bolted then grouped up...Granddad had driven through the gate a few times so it appeared that there was an actual place to go.

After much swearing and yelling on the part of my employer and much ineptitude on the part of the "help" provided that day, we finally got the cattle through the gate and headed north up the road.  Granddad took his pickup and went the opposite way to hurry around the section and make sure the cattle did not go the wrong direction at the various road intersections..

I guess we drove them to my employer's corrals.  I don't remember sorting cattle.  Although I'm quite certain I did help.  Gathering cattle to just dump in a corral would be pointless.  Perhaps we just herded them in then let them cool off for a day before sorting was done.  I don't know.

I do remember that when we went home, Granddad followed in his pickup.  And I also remember that my employer said, "Hey!  I need to pay you for all of your help."  I wearily walked up to him, relieved to finally get some monetary reward for my suffering...

He reached in behind the seat of his pickup, then dug around a bit in the console...

And he finally turned around and handed me a ball cap and a pen.  The ball cap was a "ladies" cap.  The kind that has a really short bill and a pompom on top.  They both proudly read "Jones Trucking Company."

I wanted to throw the pen and cap at him.  But I merely took them and turned to walk away.  Granddad had witnessed the exchange and called me over to him.  "Did he pay you last week?" 

"No."  That was all I said.  I don't deny that I have a smart mouth, and that I did even then.  However, there were certain people I did NOT smart off too.  And Granddad was at the very top of that list. 

He quietly reached in his wallet and handed me some cash.  "You don't have to do that,"  I said even as I took the cash from his hand.

He simply lifted his straw fedora hat with his left hand, ran his hand over his nearly bald head with his right, then took a drag on his cigarette which was always firmly held between the first two fingers of that right hand.  He gave me his Granddad smile and told me to take it.

So I did.  I stuffed the money in my pocket, gave him a big hug and a smack on the lips   then went to unsaddle the horses. 

(I miss the smell of Granddad.  His kisses always smelled like Marlboro Light 100s and Original Chapstick.  I still remember him every time I crack open a tube of Chapstick.  Sometimes he had cherry, but I always liked it best when he used the Original.  It still comes in the black tube I can always remember him fishing out of his pocket to apply between drags on his cigarettes.)

And I did not so much as say goodbye to my employer, his son, or his hired hand that day.  I merely walked to the house with my cash in my pocket, and the stupid pen and hat in my hand.

"How did it go?"  Mom asked when she heard me come stomping through the back door.  I showed her what my "days wages" were according to my uncle. 

I think she actually started laughing.  And then I did too.  Dad got an even bigger laugh out of it...

Because you see, Gentle Reader, Jones Trucking was my DAD'S trucking company.  And it had not even existed for at least ten years by the time my employer was "paying" me with the promotional items!

I guess that maybe says something about the quality of work I was doing.

My employer had deemed my two days of sweat and near tears worth a ball cap and pen that my dad gave out as promotional items for his trucking company.

Some people are just utterly clueless...

Guess what?  That's not the end!  No sirrree bob!  I have yet at LEAST one more tale to tell...

But I think that my final tale is the very last time I worked for that employer.  At least it's my last memory of it...

Maybe I've blocked the rest out for sanity's sake.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Day's Wages: A Cowgirl's Story

I should probably change my background.  But who's ready to let go of Christmas?

I need to shower and run to the store.  Sadly, I only found three good coupon deals for me this week, and that is not worth the trip.  However, Popcorn has once again shared all of her pencils to never be returned, and Studmuffin asked me to buy him some new socks.

So to the store I will go.

However, as my mom was telling me about cleaning out some junk I was reminded of a situation I faced as a teenager.  And I realized it was a blog that I MUST write.  So, instead of showering, or doing housework, I brewed another cup of coffee and here I sit to write...

I will not disclose who my employer was at this particular time, as I hate to disparage his name.  However, those who know me will know who this is and they will chuckle and shake their head.

So, here's the background:  In my teenage years I was "forced" by my dad to help a certain gentleman with his cattle.  Whether it be gathering cattle, working cattle, whatever.  If he needed help and called to ask for me, I was  pretty much required to say "yes."  I would like to share a sampling of why I did not LIKE to help him.

Example One:

"Andi, we will need to get these cattle gathered on Saturday.  I will be by at 7:00 to pick you up.  Have your horse saddled and ready to go."

At 9am he would finally show.  Only, his horse trailer was empty.  "Where's your horse?"

"Oh, I haven't caught him yet.  I need you to help me."

In all honesty, I found the less I tried to truly communicate with this individual, or understand his thought process, the better things went.  So, I simply loaded my now irritable horse who has been saddled and tied to the corral for two hours, and climbed in the pickup.

We pulled up to his corrals and there is no horse in the corral.  "Well, they won't come in.  I need you to bring them in."  I was dismayed to realize he meant he wanted me to herd his HORSES  in on my horse.  I had never done such a thing in my life!  We always went to the end of the lane where our corrals go to the pasture, shook a feed bucket and yelled, "HEY HORSES!"  And the horses would come running...

So, I tightened my cinch (it's not nice to have the cinch tight until just before you ride.  Especially if you have no idea when your "employer" will be by to pick you up for the day's work) and climbed on Appy.  I am not sure why I was riding Appy that day, but I do remember it was him.  I usually preferred Blue.  Anyway, I climb on Appy and trotted out to the pasture where I see the horses.  I slowed down as I approached and made a kissing sound with my lips and called softly to them.  Imagine my surprise when a horse who I'd never met, but later learned was named "Bugsy" suddenly laid his ears back, and charged my horse full speed ahead, teeth bared!  I don't know if I reined Appy out of the way or if he dodged out of sheer instinct.  I do remember that in the midst of our dodge that a pair of hooves came flying at my head.  And Bugsy ran away.

You will be impressed to know that I did not immediately concede defeat.  Instead, I focused on Star and my employers ancient horse Smokey, the horses that I knew and tried to herd them to the corrals.  Star had no interest in going where I was directing, and he led me on a merry chase over the river and through the woods...Well, except there was no river or woods, simply a pasture with junk in it.  Smokey merely looked at me as if I were crazy and resumed grazing.

As I was unsuccessfully herding Star and cursing under my breath at the idiocy of some people who don't feed their horses in the corral so they'll learn to come, and the sheer stupidity of myself for agreeing, yet again, to help this person I heard a thundering sound.

Only it was a sunny day.

And it was not thunder.  It was Bugsy.  Coming at me full speed ahead.  Again.  At the sight of that big red horse with the white blaze down his face with ears back, teeth bared, Appy started throwing his head and snorting and stomping.  And facing him.

I was not happy with this reaction.

So I gave Appy a good kick in the sides and a firm click in my cheek and we headed to the corrals.

With Bugsy hot on our heels...or hooves as it were.  He and Star both ran behind me all the way to the corrals where my enterprising employer stood at the gate and promptly shut it behind all of us.  I can still remember that shaky feeling in my chest as I cut into a smaller corral and tried to swing the gate behind me, but of COURSE the gates didn't swing easily and that stupid Bugsy was pitching and kicking the entire time like a crazed thing.  I jumped down and yelled at him to get away as I shut the gate, then took Appy OUTSIDE of the corral to be tied up.

Then I fear I may have voiced some displeasure to my employer over the mental stability of his mounts.

"Yeah, well Bugsy has been a little crazy every since he got mauled by those dogs in town."


Well, I don't remember the details of how he caught and saddled Star with the loony Bugsy in the corral with him, but I do remember it was nearly dinner time (which is noon on the farm) when we were unloading to gather cattle.

FYI:  We were gathering cattle so he could pull the calves that were ready to wean off their mamas.

It was hot.  I was irritable.  And hungry.  Never a good combination.

We unloaded our mounts at the pasture.  The plan was to gather the cattle into a corral in the pasture, then my employer would haul them out by stock trailer.  Sounded like a good plan.  It would have been an even BETTER plan if a feed wagon would have been there to help things along.  Instead we had the two of us and my Grandad who was probably there to keep the peace.  (Grandad was ALWAYS in a pickup.  I know he COULD ride a horse.  He just chose to drive a pickup like a maniac through the pastures herding cattle much the same as I did on a horse.  Only scarier.)

I realize not all of my readers are country folk.  So please allow me to explain how this scenario would have played out if Dad were in charge.  He would have been planning to bring in the cows to sort off calves.  Even though it was summer with plenty of food to eat, he would have been feeding them a smackeral or two of  feed daily with the feed pickup so that they would come to him.  The system is to pull into the pasture honking the horn on your feed wagon, which is an old beat up pickup with the regular bed removed an replaced with a flat bed where you put a bin of feed and a hay fork on back for winter time.  The feed bin has a chute that you lower down and a lever inside the pickup that you flip and drive forward as the "cake" pours out so you can scatter it.  (Before we had a caker, Dad would stand on the back of the pickup with bags of feed while one of us kids would "drive" as he poured it out.  He did the same thing when we still used small square bales.  He stood on top of the stack of bales and scattered out the bale to the cattle while he trusted his offspring who's feet may or may not reach the pedals to drive him.  Did I ever tell you Dad is brave?  Or crazy?)

Sorry, I veered there for a minute.  Back to topic:  Dad would have been feeding the cattle even if it wasn't necessary in anticipation of gathering them.  He also would have instructed his hired hand (that would be me) to ride through them several times early in the morning so they would be used to the sight of a horse and not go berserk.

Well, my employer of that day had done none of that.  He simply planned for the two of us to show up on our horses, herd the cattle to a gate they'd probably never gone through, into a  corral they'd never been fed in, and all of this was to be done starting hours later than it should have.

Well, I'm sure you can imagine all did not go as we would have liked.  The cattle bolted at the sight of the horse.  Once they all reached the far corner of the pasture, we decided to drive them along the fence to the corral.  My employer at drag, me along side as the wing, and Grandad there for moral support. 

And to scare the dickens out of me.

You see, drag is an easy job.  You simply stay behind the cattle and keep them moving forward, which if they're scared of your horse is pretty easy.  The job on the wing is to make sure any cattle who might like to deviate from the course chosen are quickly stopped and herded back with the others....

The problem was that when one would try to break off, I'd have at least one other trying to break free at the same time.  So I would try to head off one, and Granddad would chase the other, full speed ahead, and make me nervous as a cat that I was going to collide with him in our highly disorganized state of chaos.

Not to mention Appy had an unfortunate habit of deciding to pitch in the middle of pursuing cattle at least one time every time.  It was maddening, as he would kick up his back hooves in the middle of chasing a calf and it would just tick you off...He also liked to jump over things instead of go AROUND them.  I hated that tendency.  Especially considering he may not jump the next bit of sage brush, but instead cut sharply around it, making it difficult to maintain a dignified seat if one weren't on guard.  Again, I have no idea why I'd chosen to take Appy that particular day.  I'm getting annoyed with him just thinking about it.

After what seemed like hours we finally got some but certainly nowhere near all of the cattle in the corral.  But not until Granddad had a blowout on his pickup from running over a piece of junk in the pasture in mad pursuit of a cow...

My employer began to yell from his position atop Star "Close the gate!  Close the gate!"  I quickly dismounted and went to grab the panel that was the "gate" and drag it closed.  I say drag, not swing because on old corrals that are found in pastures, the gate is seldom still on a hinge.  Instead it is held up by baling wire and it drags in the dirt all the way closed.  One must physically lift the panel (an old wooden one in this case) and carry it closed.  I was closing the gate and the cattle are running circles in the pen as I'm dragging and shooing at them each time one darts toward me to escape.  Just as I was trying to wire the gate shut with the ever helpful baling wire hanging on another panel, a large charolais cow came charging at me.  I waved my arms and yelled at her to "Get outta here!"

She completely disregarded my gesture of dominance.  Instead she chose to smash into the gate, knocking it completely down and all of the cattle went running out as my employer, finally dismounted and now tying his mount up begins to yell "Stop them!  Stop them!"   Only there were many, MANY more adjectives that were thrown in that are not suitable for blogging...

I didn't get a single one stopped.   And somehow it was all my fault.  By now it was blistering hot.  The cattle were hot and mad.  Appy was staring at me with ears pricked forward as if I should be better than this.  My employer was yelling.  I was mad and trying not to cry.  Granddad was yelling at him because he was yelling at me, and it was just a lovely day.


When all was said and done, we loaded our horses BACK in the trailer because Granddad insisted we were not going to accomplish anything good that day and we went home.  I was not at all secretly relieved.  I think my relief was quite apparent to anyone who had an ounce of observation skills.

And he failed to pay me...

I was madder than an old wet hen... But I didn't say anything.  I just took my horse to the corral and unsaddled him...

You would think that would be the end, wouldn't you?  It's not.  I have more to tell you.  But that will be tomorrow's post.