Wulfric Wednesday on a Friday, Because Tonight It’s Safe

We are currently traveling, and tonight, while my husband was out picking up dinner for the family, I took the dog out to stretch his legs and empty his bladder.  As we walked out of the hotel from a side door, there was a rather big, burly man who must have come from a different hallway and exited seconds before.  He looked at me, then looked at Wulfric and said, “That’s a . . . That’s a big dog.”  Wulfric stared him down.

“Yeah,” I said, “he’s good sized.”

The burly guy continued on his way, and I continued on mine, and I felt perfectly safe.

As we got to the hotel’s designated dog lawn, there was another man, sitting in the back of his SUV, liftgate up, smoking a cigarette.  I smiled at him and said, “Hi” with a little more friendliness than I normally would, because I felt perfectly safe.  The man looked back at me and said nothing, and I continued on my way.  Wulfric turned for a few seconds and silently stared the man down, and I felt safe.

I spent the next quarter of an hour or so walking and playing tug-of-war with my squishy-faced, horse’s arse of a dog on a lawn next to a hotel parking lot in a strange town at twilight by myself, and I felt safe.

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This feeling of safety interests me because it made me realize just how unsafe I normally feel when I am outside of a locked home or hotel room by myself.  I don’t need therapy to figure out why I normally feel that way.  I know why I normally feel that way.  I just didn’t realize how much I normally feel that way until tonight, when I didn’t.  It was an incredible feeling to be able to be alone, if we don’t count the dog, and feel perfectly safe.

This dog drives me nuts.  He injures me with his exuberance on a regular basis, counter surfs when there is no food in sight (or smell), and eats walls if left alone for more than a few minutes.  But this dog?  He loves his family.  He watches over my kids.  He stares down strange men in parking lots (and at my front door, for that matter).  He stays close to his people.  He doesn’t let anyone near us without a lot of coaxing and coaching, and,  while I have generally been annoyed by this level of churlishness, tonight I realized he makes me feel safer than any dog I’ve ever had, and I realized how much I love feeling that safe.

Wulfric Brian Dumbledog, you’re a keeper.

Taxi?

 

There’s nothing like starting your day at o’dark early by opening the garage door, getting in your car, and, as you start to fumble with your phone to take a peek at your favorite weather app, hear your teenage daughter say, “Ummm . . . why is there a taxi in our driveway?”

Because it was o’dark early, and because I, once again, had awoken with a migraine brewing, what I heard was, “Ummm . . . why is there . . . uhhh . . . Taxi in our driveway?”

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Taxi

“Taxi is in our driveway???” I thought, as pictures of goofy, happy Irish Setter running excitedly back and forth behind my car, hoping I would get out to greet him, flashed in my mind.  “But he died over 30 years ago.  This makes no sense.  No sense at all.”  Then I saw the headlights of the car parked directly behind me, blocking my way out of the garage.

Sure.  A taxi in the driveway makes much more sense than Taxi in the driveway.  When I was 14 years old, and Taxi, the most ridiculous dog ever to run the face of the earth, died, I prayed for quite some time that God would give me a sign that he was okay and truly was in a better place.  In church, we talk all the time about what happens to people after they die, but nobody really mentions dogs.  They also don’t talk about cats, and we had a cat who died when I was 10.  I was sure he was going to hell.  He used to pick fights with neighborhood dogs and lie under trees with nesting mamma birds just to ruffle their feathers.  He would sit in the hallway of our home and dare our Irish Setters, who were terrified of him, to pass.  He bit me once, but only once, and we got along really well all of the rest of the time.  He would eat catnip my mother had planted and lie, completely stoned, in the front yard.  My ten-year-old self was so afraid he was going to hell.

I never thought Taxi, the ridiculous dog whom we loved ridiculously,  was going to hell, and by 14 I figured that cat wasn’t, either, but I also wasn’t sure dogs could go to heaven.  So I would pray that God would let me know he was okay.  Specifically, I would pray that I could look out and see him, his spirit, running one last time.  That never happened, of course.  I never saw him that one last time, but when my fourteen-year-old daughter muttered in a mystified tone about a taxi in our driveway at o’dark early on another migraine addled morning, I was suddenly 14 again, and I thought, for the briefest portion of a second, that Taxi was running happy circles behind my car in the dark and the rain.  How much happier would those circles be once he found out we have horses he could run with?

But, yes, a taxi in the driveway made much more sense than Taxi in the driveway.  Except?  I hadn’t called for one.  Currently, we have more cars than drivers, so why would I?  Though the fact that we even have a taxi service or two in this country town isn’t new to me, I still find it mystifying, which just added to my shock that one of their cars was sitting behind me, headlights shining into my blocked car.

Without getting out of my car, I closed the garage door.

Probably a normal person (is there such a thing anymore) would have walked out in the dark and the rain to ask the taxi driver why he was here and explain to him that nobody at this location needed a taxi, but I, once upon a time, lived in a high-crime-rate city for a little too long, and my current house sits a bit far back from the road, and it was dark.  If having lived through crime isn’t enough to justify my overly-cautious behavior, then we’ll chalk it up to the horror movies I watched as a teenager.  I’m not a virgin at this point, so my chances of being stabbed by a homicidal cab driver are way higher than they were back then.  Whatever.

I went in the house, figuring the cab driver would eventually come to the door, which would cause a whole lot of dog barking (Wulfric, much like the first dog we ever had, has a wonderfully large bark that belies his current actual size), and I would holler through the unopened door that he was at the wrong house.  After waiting for what seemed suspiciously too long, I watched the taxi go slowly down my driveway, then down the street, down the hill, and out of sight.

Crisis averted.  Nobody was stabbed by a bored, homicidal, country cab driver.  No boys were awoken by doorbell ringing and dog barking.  No ghostly Irish Setters were running happy circles on my rain-soaked driveway, though that wouldn’t have been a crisis, really.  The adrenaline rush seemed to speed up and heighten the effects of the caffeinated Tylenol I took for the migraine, which was helpful, because I got back in the car and life went on.

 

The Pied Piper of Puppies

That’s Spuds. Having all these animals drives me crazy a lot of the time, but they, especially the dogs, are good for his soul.  They love him, and, I think, I hope, he loves them.  Like, actually loves them.

With the German Shepherd getting so old, I find myself wondering how Spuds will handle The End. One dog, a rabbit, and a smattering of guinea pigs (wait . . . “smattering”  sounds a little too close to “splattering” . . . the guinea pigs didn’t splatter their way to the other side, I promise) . . . where was I?  Oh yeah, several animals have passed on since Spuds joined the family, and he was rather, disappointingly, dispassionate about each death.

It’s not that I want my children to be terribly, horribly sad; but sadness at the passing of a pet indicates an emotional bond had been formed, and I want him to have emotional bonds, even if, for now, it is only to the dogs; because being bonded to a dog enough to be sad when it dies is a start.  It’s a measure of progress.  It’s a rather morbid measure, I know, but it’s a measure nonetheless.  There are no rules or scales for this kind of thing, I’m afraid.  I’m not sure how much longer we have with good old Rude the Dog, but, yes, I hope my son is at least a little bit sad when the time comes, and I hope he continues to find joy in the unconditional adoration he receives from Wulfric.

I Can Blog Again!

Not like I couldn’t blog before.  I mean, technically, for the past few weeks I couldn’t blog very easily because my laptop went toes up.  But all of the months and months before that?  I just wasn’t finding the time.

I’m not sure exactly what I was so busy doing, other than, you know, spending unhealthy amounts of time on Pinterest and spray painting all kinds of crap because, “Look!  Somebody pinned a picture of spray painted crap and it looks so pretty!”

On the upside, I started frequenting our local Good Will to find the requisite crap, and I discovered that our local Good Will frequently has brand new, tags-still-on clothing.  Actually, a couple of weeks ago, I found a not-brand-new-but-in-excellent-condition, metallic bronze, dressy, leather jacket.  For nine-ish dollars.  In my size.  I so bought it.  And then I wore it to church and got a fragillion compliments and, of course, verbally vomited to anyone who admired it that, “Oh my gosh!  I got it at Good Will for $9.99!  Can you believe that?”  Because, yeah, I’m classy that way.

Anyway, I’m saving money by buying crap to spray paint.  That’s what I keep telling the husband, anyway.

 

Now I remember why I don’t blog any more.  I thought I had a few quiet minutes just now to write something mildly worthwhile and then *BAM*!  My two oldest daughters came into the room where I am because they wanted me to settle an argument about whether or not spikes can be made out of wood or if they are always made of metal.  True story.  They are still debating.

Personally, I think sharp pointy things made out of wood are stakes, not spikes (according to A~, Dictionary.com agrees with me, thereby proving her contention that spikes are always metal).  L~ does not agree.  I am afraid to ask how this argument even started and feel the sudden need to lock my bedroom door at night.

 

So now that I have a new laptop (AGAIN!) (this one had better last longer than two years like the previous two laptops) (one of which was supposedly top of the line, and one of which wasn’t) I have all kinds of plans.  To wit:  I want to start blogging here again, at least for the winter months when I can’t easily spray paint crap; I want to start working on a novel I’ve been working on in my head for a long time – not in a NaNoWriMo kind of sprint, but in a real “I’m an actual writer” kind of way; the kids and I want to start a new blog all about our new (fourth) dog.

First:  don’t ask me about my novel yet.  That will just freak me out.  I’ve had a bunch of book ideas over the years that I’ve never done anything with, but this one . . . this one is sticking with me.  I know my track record.  I don’t deserve anyone’s interest.  Yet.  Until I get deep into it, I’m just a stay-at-home mom wannabe.

Second:  yes, we got a fourth dog because we are obviously beyond-belief bonkers.  We’re starting a blog for him so that his previous family can keep up on his adventures while they serve a church mission in Guam.  Plus?  He’s great to photograph and has a lot of personality.  It will be fun to write from his perspective.   Oh, yes!  The dog will be “writing” the blog.  It isn’t up and running yet.  Not. At. All.  But should you decide you just can’t not follow a blog about a shorkie who will undoubtedly encounter Blue Barb at some point, add http://skipperthebard.wordpress.com to your Google Reader account.  Or, you know, whatever reader it is you use.

Okie dokie.  Aside from all of that, I’ve been out of the blogging world for so long that I don’t even know what else to say.  I do need to catch up on all the blogs I haven’t read for months and months (that would be *cough* *cough* pretty much everybody’s), so be, like, SUPER patient with me if I don’t comment on your blog until sometime around November. 

Of 2014.

Oooo!  Ooo!  Ooo!  Oooooo!  It’s been, I think, six months or so since my last migraine!  The Dr. told me to toy with my estrogen dosage to see if that helped.  He thought I needed more than he had me on.  I thought I needed less, as in none.  After months of “toying” I just quit using it, and *poof* the migraines went away.  So the progesterone was helping, but not enough to always overcome the estrogen that two separate doctors thought I needed.  Moral of the story:  work with your Dr. but listen to your gut.

Sorry, just seemed like an important update (you know, in case I don’t get back here for a while).

Tewt the Newt hopes to “see” you all again.

Before 2014.

Just Another Day On The Farm

So I’d just come back from an afternoon of mommy and me time with Tank Boy, all excited because some blessed soul raised the speed limit to 65 mph on a stretch of road between us and the nearest (barely a) mall, and because my New Moon soundtrack was waiting in the mailbox.  Really, it’s everything anybody can ask for when you live in such a god-forsaken place as this.

I popped the cd into my laptop to listen to while I started dinner.  I was just a few songs in to it, and hadn’t even gotten anything on the stove yet, when I turned to my fridge and, out of the corner of my eye, saw out my northernmost dining room window which faces the front yard.  Really, this is no big deal.  I always catch a glimpse out of my dinning room window(s) when I go to get something out of the fridge.

What was a big deal was that it looked like the Black Stallion was running, crazed, through my front yard.

Now you may remember from the earliest pictures I posted that Beat0 was brown.  Emphasis on the was.  The guy we bought him off of told us he was really black and just bleached out from being in the sun so much over the summer.  He was right.  Beat0 is now quite black.

And he was running, crazed, through my front yard (which is bordered in the front by a 55mph road).

I yelled to my husband and ran out the back door, peeling my socks off as I went because that took less time than finding my shoes, and tore around the side of the house to the garage to grab a flake of hay.

Oh yes, hay comes in bales that break into flakes.  More information I never truly needed to know, but do now.

As I ran for the hay I noticed a white car angling into our driveway, so apparently a passerby was going to alert us to what was going on, but I rudely didn’t take the time to stop to say thank you and chit chat before I ran (me running is so not a pretty sight) across the front yard and over to our gargantuan horse who was freaked out (remember those scenes with that big black horse in The Man From Snowy River?  Yeah, kind of like that, but with less rearing).  Luckily McH had run out and around the other side of the house, so he was already there.  And?  Luckily Beat0 is a huge pig who didn’t care that he had recently eaten. 

I threw the hay on the ground close to him and he stopped.  McH tried to get a rope around his neck, but he bolted again.  I picked up the hay and got close and tossed it again.  Or something.  I don’t know, those details are already fuzzy.  Anyway, we finally caught the horse and tied him to a post and gave him the rest of the hay so he could calm down a bit.

And I’m ready to pass out from the adrenaline rush.

But here is the kicker.  The damn horse jumped the fence.  Both gates were closed and locked, but part of the fence was bent and the newly installed (oh how we did not want to do it) electric top wire was snapped (we really didn’t want to put any electric up, but he was leaning over the fence and bending it d-o-w-n so he could get to the grass on the other side, and he was ruining the fence, and we were afraid he’d get it to the point where he could *snort* jump over it).  And now McH is feeling terribly guilty because he bought electric wire instead of electric tape, and the horse caught it with his back legs and cut himself (though it doesn’t look terribly bad, as far as we can tell).  And I probably should feel guilty because he went with the wire since it is way cheaper than the tape and I’ve been giving him grief about how expensive all this horse stuff is (because?  Oh, it is expensive), but right now I am too numb.  Because?  I just ran barefoot through wet grass in 40-something degree weather to chase down a spooked horse who could easily trample me to death.

I should probably also feel guilty because the reason the horse was spooked?  Also had to do with trying to do things on the cheap.  You see, since the lovely, lovely Barn People only just delivered our barn materials and still haven’t started building it, a couple of weeks ago (when the barn should have been built) McH built a shelter for the horses.  I have to give him props, too, because he was quite resourceful about doing it on the cheap.

He took the wood frame down from around my garden (which we were going to do anyway, since we have leftover fencing materials and can fence it to match the horse pastures), got some free used utility poles from the local electric company (so nice of them – didn’t even charge us for delivery) and built a two-stall shelter.  But then there was the whole shelter roof.  He was looking at some kind of solid roofing material but ultimately decided to get a big tarp, instead.  Way cheaper and still able to keep the horses dry.

The wind here, however, got the best of the tarp today.  It ripped, and half of it fell, and it was snapping in the wind.  And the horses?  Did. not. like. it.

So we figure a gust must have ripped it down and made it snap around when Beat0 was either in or near the shelter, so he took off running as far away as he could; and as far away as he could get from the shelter would be the exact corner over which he jumped.  Poor little Oscar apparently tried to follow him (or maybe he went first, I think that would actually make more sense), and it looks like he took the electric wire to his face.  He has a scorch line across his nose/forehead (which couldn’t be there if he followed Beat0, because Beat0 snapped the wire — at least, I’m figuring it was Beat0 who snapped the wire).  And now that I’ve typed that?  The numbness is clearing and the guilt is setting in big time.

Reason 562,000 so just say no when your daughter/s beg for a horse.

But?  There is a new country song (it always comes back to a country song for me, doesn’t it) that I really like and helps me keep things like this in perspective (not that I think it’s really that great of a song musically or anything but the message is good).

So between the country song and an emergency Diet Dr. Pepper, I think I’ll make it.

And George, if you’re out there . . .