A List is all I have in Me

  1. The last time I felt this tired, it was due to a life-threatening, medical condition.  Motherhood and loving horses are not for the faint of heart!
  2. Nothing went as I planned when I planned this trip.  I thought it would be too long, and yet I find myself scrambling.
  3. I am so afraid for my horses–moving like jellyfish in the ocean of my life, at the mercy of currents they cannot control.
  4. Tris put his two front feet in the trailer of his own accord for the first time in the fifteen years I’ve known him and I cried.
  5. The first time my sweet Sunshine rode a horse, it was in the same driveway where I first rode a horse when I was three years old.  Best of all, my dad was there to watch and help, just as he watched and helped me nearly thirty years ago.  Tristan was every bit as good to her as Missy was to a very little me.  : )
  6. I am looking forward to a long, dark, quiet winter full of coffee, momming, writing, coffee, knitting, horses, coffee, dogs, and more snowy, northeast adventures.
  7. I have so much more to write it’s silly, but not one more millimeter of head or heart space to give to words until my horses are safely on the other side of their incredible journey.  Please keep them in your thoughts, by early October we should all be safely together again where we belong.  : )

Winter 2016: A Family

Afternoons passed the slowest.  Particularly on these gray, winter days, with the wind incessantly rattling her windows in their panes and the impenetrable clouds blotting out every ray of light.  Not that the sunlight could really come through the plastic stapled over the windows anyway.  It would be hours yet before her evening guests-a family of squirrels in the attic, a bat in the upstairs bedroom, and a family of mice in the kitchen would scuttle in and wreak a bit more havoc.  How sad that she had begun to think of them as her guests!  What had become of her?  Once a warm and stately home, where mice were driven out immediately and a bat would never have considered attempting to enter?

Of course it was partly due to her age, she knew that without truly understanding what “age” was because the many people who had come, walked through, and left never to return over the past few years were always talking about her “age.”  But even more so, it was a lack of care.  The basement was full of empty coffee cans, once filled with fasteners and tools for this project or that and the stairs up to the pantry were creaky and musty.  The first story floors had all warped as she settled, her original supports having been replaced with temporary, ratcheting poles that had never been made permanent as intended.  The walls were stained, the wallpaper peeling, and all of the carpet was rotting where it lay, old and dirty.

The kitchen ceiling was cracked and sagging after that terrible leak in the roof.  The bathroom ceilings were stained as well, dry wall giving way to mold.  There was a new roof, now, but the damage remained.  Every available surface held evidence of the rodents that had taken over when the last, human occupant had left for good.  There were holes chewed through doors, excrement everywhere, and little piles of cracked acorn shells in the attic.  Who could ever want to live with me?  She thought to herself.

She had been truly beautiful once–the envy of the block with state of the art windows and so many in every room that sunshine poured in any time of day.  Six spacious bedrooms each with their own closet, a large yet cozy kitchen, two indoor bathrooms, and . . . oh . . . was that the front door was swinging open?  A moment passed before he crossed the threshold and she realized that the man was back again.

This one had come a bit ago and looked around.  They had talked of age again and he’d pointed out several of her more serious flaws.  Truth be told, it had been an entirely humiliating visit and she’d hoped to not see him again.  She no longer got excited when a person came to look, and this one had not been any different than the rest.  But now he was back and why?  Just to insult her further?  Mock her in her lowest hour?  He paused there, in the entryway holding the door open and she realized she had been so focused on her embarrassment reliving his last visit, that she had failed to notice he wasn’t alone.

At first, she thought it must be the other man or “agent” as she had heard him called.  He always came with whoever wanted to walk around pointing out her inadequacies.  Of course, it could also be Will, coming to check on things as he often did.  If it weren’t for Will, the pipes would have burst and all would have been lost after Mamie moved on.  Then she heard it, so faint at first, but getting louder . . . a baby!  There was a baby!  How long had it been since the sweet cries of a baby had echoed against the walls?  The pitter patter of tiny feet, the squeals, the giggles . . . oh how she missed having a family of her own.

They all grew up, of course, and grew old.  She had held some from their first breath to their last and it had been her joy and her honor to shelter them as they went about their lives.  Truly, it had been a fascinating two hundred and thirty or so years!  The way styles and gadgets had changed!  She would never forget when the wood stove for cooking had been replaced with propane! Or the day they turned her first light-bulbs on back in eighteen whatever it was.  So very exciting!  She’d had her doubts when they decided to move the plumbing inside, but it had worked out famously in the end and it filled her with pride to always have the latest updates.

But it wasn’t always easy.  There were hard times for the people she held and she could tell by the way they paced or sighed or spoke in low tones the children couldn’t overhear.  When the people worried, she knew she might not get her usual upkeep and she didn’t mind; she was built to survive such times.  But this had been different.  This time she had simply stood empty, something she’d never done before, and there were no people inside to care if everything slowly fell apart or became overrun with creatures.

First, the mice had come with their scratching and nibbling.  How horrifying that had been!  In no time at all they became quite bold, chewing holes right through the walls!  Climbing the chimneys to make each and every room their own.  Then it was the squirrels.  There were fewer of them, but the damage they could inflict was ten fold!  They chewed holes right through her solid wood doors!  Between that and the leak in the roof, she quickly found herself in state of wretched disrepair.  After which, began the parade of gawkers, none of whom wanted to take her on.  By the time the first bat slipped in through a broken, attic window, she could no longer muster any indignation.

A soft sigh brought her out of her sad rememberings . . . not the man, and certainly not the baby . . . it was a woman.  She must be the mother.  Had the man brought his family here to look?  If she’d had hands she would have been wringing them, but as it were, she could only stand tall and still with her terrible hope and her terrible fear known only to herself.  She had thought herself past the point of wanting, but to see a young family, it was impossible to not yearn for them to be hers.  And in her state???  What mother would want to raise a child in her rodent infested nightmare?

But before she could work herself up any further, she heard the woman quietly breathe the words, “It’s perfect.”

Perfect?

She said it with such awe . . . as if she couldn’t believe her luck.

They proceeded to walk from room to room discussing this or that.  The man would point out flaws, just as he had when speaking to the agent, and the woman would murmur some acknowledgment then start talking about paint colors and shelves and carpets and cabinets, counter tops, and windows, and curtains . . . she even picked out a room for the baby.  It was hours before they finally stepped out onto the crumbling, old welcome mat and locked the door behind them.  When the squirrels and mice came in from the cold to scratch and skitter about, she hardly noticed them and when the bat flew in to rest upside down behind a particularly large peel in the wallpaper she could not bring herself to care.

It was, without question, her best afternoon in years.

The Old House

 

 

 

Laying on the Couch Reading (The House of the Seven Gables) when I should Clean

I am a broken jar

held together by the hands of those who love me.

feigning adulthood

with weekly trips to the grocery store,

budgets carefully crafted in Excel (including formulas)

and the nagging sense that any moment

someone will see me–

the fifteen year old running the show

behind thirty two year old eyes.

My daughter reminds me often

how little I’ve changed since I was born.

I am still just as frustrated at being told what to do (or not do)

and would rather eat chocolate chip cookies than whatever is for breakfast,

lunch or dinner.

I would rather lay on the couch and read

than anything I’m supposed to

and I often do only what I must to keep up the appearance

of responsibility

and make room for what makes me happy.

I am still sometimes surprised

to find myself a wife and mother

with still more years spent

a lover of books, horses, and water

than these other, more demanding roles.

I love them all-

my faces, my costumes,

(even the grown-up one)

I wouldn’t wear them if I didn’t.

And the theatre (if not always the audience)

seems to forgive me if

I don’t find my way to my mark on time

or miss the occasional cue

while distracted backstage with an especially good book.

 

 

 

Where the Time Went . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Heart is Full . . .

and so is my dirty laundry basket, but I’m going to continue ignoring it for just one more nap time so I can get a post written.  : )

My parents were here for two, magical weeks and after saying goodbye and safe travels I walked through the airport ugly crying while strangers politely looked away.  We are making a home here in Massachusetts and have been luckier than I could have imagined in finding the most wonderful neighbors and friends, but there’s just something about having your mom and dad around that takes home to a different level.
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While they were here, my mom cleaned everything (meaning everything is now cleaner than I will ever be able to make anything in my entire life), my dad sanded the crib (a project I desperately wanted done, but was likely never going to actually do in time for my sweet Sunshine to sleep in it again), I got the pantry table primed and painted (there are many mistakes but I am ridiculously proud of my handiwork!), and I got the changing table/dresser primed.  We also ate a lot of food, talked until our voices went hoarse, laughed like hyenas, and drank a number of mimosas (what number, I’m not exactly sure, our counting got a bit iffy.)  Needless to say, I was not ready to see them go and I cannot wait to see them again.

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In the midst of that visit, my little love and I jetted down to Pensacola and spent a couple (literally two) days on the beach with a few of her namesakes.  That little stretch of the Gulf is, without question, my favorite slice of water on this earth.  My dad grew up in that area and we’ve been going back to spend time with family in beach houses there since I can remember.   I have no accurate description for how good it felt to watch her love and be loved by the people I love most or how happy it made me when she grabbed my finger and walked straight into the Gulf like they were old friends.  So I’ll just leave it at that.  : )
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Now, we are facing the monumental task (which is actually what feels like 10,000 smaller tasks that equal the one, big one) of getting my horses from Idaho to Massachusetts.  I’m worried about everything.  I’m worried about getting the barn ready.  I’m worried about putting them in a barn when two of the three of them have never really had that experience.  I’m worried about the trip and how they’ll handle it physically.  I’m worried about getting a good enough fence up.  I’m worried about getting water to the barn in a way that it won’t burst pipes during the long, cold winters and I’m worried about what will happen when (not if, mind you, but when) Tristan somehow escapes (as he has from EVERY SINGLE ENCLOSURE we have ever put him in).  I’m just plain worried.

Yet again, in the midst of all my fears, we are surrounded by incredible people.  The neighbors have all offered to help and rustled up people they know to help us as well.  Our friend Doug flew in from Oregon this week to help us out.  And, I’ve recruited two of my closest horse-girl posse to help me figure out how in the heck I’m going to get them from point A to point B as safely, happily, and inexpensively as possible.  Bottom line: I could not do this alone and I count myself beyond blessed that I don’t even have to try.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my friends and family?  Probably not, because I don’t have words for that either.  <3<3<3
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So that’s what July-September are all about: horses, horses, horses!  I’ll do my best to keep sharing updates about what we find in the barn and how progress is going.  As always, wish us luck!  We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.  : )

Awkward Girl: Flies

Good morning everyone!

I’m writing today to let you know that I had a run in with Awkward Girl yesterday and, as per usual, hilarity ensued.  It all started a couple weeks ago when I was offered a very part time gig at a farm near our house that sells BBQ on the weekends.  They needed a hand taking orders, and Lord knows I’ve needed to get out of this house, baby-free, for some grown up time.  It was a win all around!

That said, I was also nervous.  I get nervous about things like this.  My last position was about as far from taking orders for BBQ as you can get and while I’ve had lots of customer service roles, nothing quite like this before.  Also, Carl and I are still working on building a life here and I wanted to do a great job and hopefully make a few more local friends.

I showed up about a half hour before the BBQ pit opened so I could get a little tour of employee areas, grab a farm shirt, and get some training on the (thankfully very easy) point of sale system.  It was just as that training was beginning, that Awkward Girl opted to make herself known.

Picture this, the BBQ pit is a very small area with a roof, a fire in the center, cooking and prep areas at the back, and three registers across a counter at the front.  At any given moment, there were roughly 8-10 employees working in this small area and, just then, there were about five people gathered up front, waiting for the work to begin.  We decided to do introductions since I hadn’t met anyone but the person training me.  Everyone gave their name, then the supervisor started to tell me about something and one of the ladies I had just met, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Jesse, come here.”

That in and of itself was a bit awkward, but I crossed through the center of the group and leaned in, at which point she informed me that my fly was completely down.  When I glanced, not only was it down, but my hands were in my pockets, which meant the zipper was WIDE OPEN revealing a good portion of my most large and comfortable blue and pink flowered granny panties–a leave over from my biggest pregnant days.

Feeling completely mortified, I looked up, flashed the group a grin, and did what any self-respecting mother would do–I blamed my daughter/mom brain.  But you, dear readers, know the truth, that’s really  just how this Awkward Girl rolls.  It’s okay, it won’t take long for everyone in Massachusetts to catch on.

The upshot is that all of my nervousness completely melted away and I had a blast!  Seriously, how nervous can you be after an intro like that?

Happy Sunday, everyone and don’t forget to embrace the awkward.  : )

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