chicken chaser

Got home from work, fed the cats, let the dogs out, walked up (with MCB) to let the horse out, then down the Clone Coop to begin chasing chickens

See, the Clone Coop is where the meat chickens live. They do not mingle with the laying girls.

I’ve never raised meat chickens before, but let me tell you…

they are fucking bizarre.

At 2 days old they looked identical, like, seriously identical, not a single feather was different from the rest.

Creepy.

Then we put them in a hen house with food, water, and a heat lamp.

And they grew.

They did this in a seriously disconcerting way; they basically doubled in size every day.

I hear that sometimes their legs will break because their bodies grow too big too fast and their legs basically give out from under them.

So as a perfect visual aid to a class on Darwinism, we see that these overeating, overweight, overachievers, have developed feet the size of my hand. Their ankles are as thick as mine.

Creepy.

Anyway, they were out of their coop on this lovely October day, sitting.

Because that’s what these birds do; they sit.

And there were 10 0r 11 of them that are TOO FUCKING STUPID to make their way back into the coop. (the other 15 were even more stupid; they hadn’t managed to out how to go outside.)

So MCB runs around the pen with a piece of irrigation pipe, plowing the chickens in my direction. I, when a bird gets close enough, dive onto it’s almost nude little body (these chickens don’t have a lot of feathers), and grab frantically at anything I can grasp onto, often a wing or one of those ginormous feet, then carry the terrified clucker into the house.

Then I went to Team Dinner.

When I got home I realized that I had to go get the eggs from The Girls. I drove there so I could use my headlights to see what I was doing.

This henhouse has a solar timer on the door.  The door opens at sunrise to let the girls out for the day, then it closes at sunset to keep them safe and warm. But it seems that we are having issues with the changes in daylight, and tonight, there were 4 of them that got shut out when the door closed for the night.

We have foxes, bears, mountain lions.

Into the coop I went, chasing chickens in a circle, slipping on fresh hay, throwing myself down over and over. It’s dark. It’s cold. I’m wearing real shoes, not workboots.

Finally I caught one.

Then I caught another.

Winded and swearing up a storm, I tucked one under each arm and marched off towards the man-door, to deliver them to their beds.

And then, it happened, warm liquid down my arm, my side, my thigh.

I opened my mouth in shock and while it was open, out came: “I DON’T WANT TO BE A RANCHER.”

I said it again and again. It rattled through my brain while running in circles trying to catch the other two.

It played and replayed while I stood under a million stars.

It was in my head as I made my way back to the house.

Then I said it again, out loud, one final time, just as I realized that I had forgotten the goddamn eggs.

img_2789

Let me tell you a little story about this sweater…

This was the stuff of which my childhood was made (and some of this too)

Shetland wool, fair isle design, and the colors that come from a palette of four: butter yellow, sky blue, pale pink, and kelly green).

So every year I got a new fair isle sweater and the year I decided upon the yellow and blue one was the year that I was going to complete my collection; I had pink with blue, blue with pink, kelly with yellow, kelly with blue, and quite a few solids with my initials embroidered on the front.

It was a huge step but I was going to take it; three buttons at the neck to better display the layers of oxford cloth and turtleneck underneath.

I was so excited about this sweater; I drooled.

So my 12th birthday rolls around and sure enough, the yellow and blue sweater was “under the birthday tree.”

I was beyond happy. I was ecstatic. I was fulfilled. My life was complete.

I couldn’t wait to wear it to school the next day.

Just before dinner that night I rummaged through my mother’s bathroom drawers and decided upon some mascara. Seemed appropriate since I was now twelve. As you can imagine, I wound up with a lot of black everywhere on my face except for my eyelashes.

I wiped it off as best I could and sat down to sup.

Mom, “Do you have makeup on?”

Me, “No.”

“Really? Are you sure you don’t have mascara on?”

“Nope.”

Why the fuck did I lie? That stuff was everywhere – I’m surprised my mother didn’t ask if I’d drawn all over my face with a Sharpie.

I lied because I was embarrassed, especially in front of my dad and brother. Maybe I would have responded differently if they hadn’t been there.

But they were, so I didn’t.

And once I lied I had to keep going with it.

So yes, I continued, mom continued, and the power struggle grew.

Eventually, dinner was ruined. Birthday was ruined. I was crying black tears.

I so badly wanted to tell the truth because I knew I was in deep shit, but I’d already gotten the dishonest ball rolling and I didn’t know how to make it stop.

So I just kept insisting on my innocence.

Finally, my mother gave up giving me opportunities to give it up.

She said, “Give me the sweater.”

Devastated.

Crushed.

Scarred.

Remorseful.

Lost.

Angry.

Confused.

Broken hearted.

Ashamed.

Stupid.

Why didn’t I just pull my mom aside and tell her? Why was I so embarrassed in front of my dad and brother?

Okay, that’s an easy answer, but why didn’t I just fess up when I had the chance?

I got totally stymied. I had the choice to continue lying, even though we all knew I was lying. Or, I could admit to lying, but then that would mean that I actually had lied and then I had to deal.

I think I was hoping that if I said “no” enough times, that it would all go away.

I can’t remember if I ever got the sweater back. It didn’t matter. It was ruined for me.

I grieved.

For many years.

Many a time I’ve had uncomfortable memories surface about that night.

When my own children have lied, I’ve thought, “No no, don’t do it – I might have to confiscate your favorite yellow sweater…”

Recently, for whatever reasons, that sweater has popped up in my psyche repeatedly.

Someone lies – there’s the sweater.

I put on mascara – there’s the sweater.

I find a shirt in the thrift store with an aligator – there’s the sweater.

And I’ve written it off as the fact that I am re-connecting with the uniform of my childhood and it’s just one more item.

Until it suddenly became an obsession.

They don’t make them any more.

No one here out west has ever heard of let alone seen one.

I hit up all the thrift stores I could find in Florida hoping that since the color scheme was right, I might turn one up.

No luck.

So I hit the internet like only a jersey girl trying to find a deal can do.

And Voila! I found it.

The yellow sweater with blue tulips around the yoke.

AND…..

three buttons, just like the original.

So I bought it.

I love it.

It is just as gloriously and beautifully preppy as it was back in the 70’s.

My heart is healing.

And all it took was a little shetland lamb.

close up!

close up!

 

 

 

Today my heart…

…is heavy.

Every year, come hell or highwater (which is exactly what it was this year – thank you Hurricane Matthew) my mother goes to Paris. Paris is her heart place; a piece of her soul lives there. We who love her, know this, embrace this, and send her on her merry way every October.

She’s almost 80 and legally blind and a badass adventurer.

But my 85-year-old father’s health hasn’t been so good lately. Actually, we’ve had some pretty big scares recently.

So Mom was going to cancel her trip but instead, I flew to Florida to hang out with Dad.

Perfect solution for all of us.

And then came the hurricane. Mom was gone, Dad was evacuated, I didn’t know if I was going to even be able to arrive here.

Turns out I was. Dad had just returned to his home which was damage-free, yet still a mess. When I got here, there was a massive amount of debris and the steel “shutters” still covered every window and door except the garage.

It was mighty dark and fortressed in here – like a bunker.

Dad was in pretty good shape and very good spirits. I was super psyched that I was here.

We’ve had a week of cleanup, chores, and lovely talks. We completed some projects that he would never have been able to do on his own.

And I have seen things; I’ve gained insights into my father and into being elderly in general.

I’ve witnessed that a sense of order is important. I’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to do simple things by oneself. I’ve opened the doors to the near empty refrigerator of people who no longer cook for themselves. I’ve met the comrades who take care of each other because none of them can do it completely on their own. I’ve been here for the death of a close friend’s child.

This morning my father is visiting a friend who can no longer leave the house and has become isolated and depressed.

I sat in the cardiologist’s office while he explained that they can’t explain what is happening to my dad’s heart and lungs.

I’ve watched my father wince in pain. I’ve seen that he needs to sit down and catch his breath after taking the dog into the yard to pee.

I made the decision to stay with my dad rather than take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to see my best friend from high school – a choice I certainly would never have made when I was 17.

And, I’ve borne witness to his strength and resiliency. He’s still the same guy; kind, witty, intelligent, loving, and totally unwilling to give into old age and sit on his ass.

Vital.

We’ve had gallons of coffee, bowl after bowl of ice cream; we casually ate our meals at the bar in the kitchen rather than the dining room table. We’ve lingered, we’ve shot the shit, I shared some incredibly personal and painful bits of my life

For the first time EVER, we have watched the news and agreed on politics.

I have been told, repeatedly, by many of the folks in this town, “You are your mother.” I am honored.

My father is amazing, a gem. He is the most decent man I know. After close to 60 years of marriage, he and my mother are still in love.

So today, I depart. He will drop me off at the airport at noon so I can return to the rest of my family who I miss terribly.

But I am sad. I could stay here forever. I would love to be here when my mother arrives (tomorrow) and have more time with both of them.

This trip has brought to my awareness the fragility of life and the desire to share these last years with my mom and dad; they won’t be around forever.

I get that in a way that I’ve never really gotten it before.

I adore my parents. I am so fortunate to have been born into this family.

I am so thankful that I outgrew my stupid teenage rebellion.

There’s this:

There’s a gaping hole in your face. imgres

Apparently this is a trend.

In Portland

Definitely Oregon, NOT Maine.

Let’s have a close up:

imgres-1

 

 

Yes, those are his (?) teeth you see through that magical window.

FUCKING FREAKY.

But of course, being the middle aged mom that I am, I wonder, what happens if you have that in your face and you decide that you know longer like the look (as if anyone ever actually did) and you take the gauge out?

Gonna guess that the hole doesn’t close right on up. I have piercings in my ears that have been there since high school, that haven’t supported an earring in 25 years, that are still wide open.

So, you remove the gauge and you don’t have the money for plastic surgery because no one was willing to give you a job with that thing in your face.

Now what?

Do you drool out the hole?

Does food spray out when you eat?

Can you eat and drink at the same time?

When you drink tomato juice does it look like blood is pouring out of your face?

Can you say two things at once?

If you’re already a mouth breather, do you suck in too much air with one breath?

Speaking of sucking…

One advantage might be that you could still breathe while giving a blow job.

Yeah, that's his tongue

Yeah, that’s his tongue

PS: Do y’all see the irony in blurring his eyes for anonymity, because now he’s totally unidentifiable

 

On my chronic pain wagon

I just posted this article on FB:

5 Things the Healthy World Should Know About the Chronically Ill World

It popped up on my news feed and I read it because, well, I have a chronic pain disorder, that hurts, sometimes, a lot.

And, I am not the only one I know in the neighborhood that has a chronic illness.

I’m not crying out for sympathy, I’m writing because I am on vacation and I’ve been astounded by just how much sleep I’ve had and continue to need – some days, more than my 85-year-old father.

I’m working down here – plenty of hurricane cleanup, but it’s not like I’ve been felling trees and re-shingling the roof.

My days involve morning coffee while I lie on my heating pad, chores, nap, chores, dinner, bed early. I even fell asleep sitting in the sand on the beach.

Mentally I read through a list of reasons for why I might need so much sleep down here:

humidity?

getting a much-needed rest from working so many long hours at home?

emotional fatigue?

being lulled by the sound of the waves?

dehydration?

Then I think that this pretty similar to how it is when I am at home – the main difference being that I am not working 12 hour days so I do have the luxury to lie down, often.

It freaks me out sometimes. Is it just laziness? Do I not like to do work?

At home I worry about not pulling my weight around our home – because I don’t.

My ex constantly berated me for my unwillingness to work hard (another term for laziness.)

So every time I put my head on the pillow, that voice runs through my brain.

Throw in my ever-present anxiety, and you have the perfect storm.

And yet, I could sleep all day; sometimes I do.

And then I feel slovenly and guilty as fuck.

And ashamed.

But after I read that article, I thought, “Oh yeah, you do have that pain thing going on.”

So then I clicked on a link to yet another article and read these words:

“Am I lazy? No. I can do a load of laundry or cook a meal. I can usually get my son dressed, fed and to school in the morning (though not always); however, it usually means I will need to sit down and rest and recover from a simple tasks that most people take for granted.

Sure, I can take a nap whenever I want. But I never feel rested. It doesn’t matter if I have had two hours, 12 hours or 20 hours of sleep, my body can just never seem to catch up.”

For just a couple of minutes, I was able to let up on myself, show myself a little compassion.

Those warm and fuzzy feelings didn’t last very long because the voices in my head, and the ones that I imagine are screaming in everyone else’s heads, are louder than the more gentle, soft ones.

I will not be a victim to this and will not use it as an excuse.

But, sometimes a valid reason is just that, not an excuse.

I found my tribe!

My tribe of one – but hey, it’s a start.

Someone over here helping out my folks.  I know she helps them a lot lot lot.

So I said to here, “Thank you so very much for looking out for them.”

Her response??????

“Shit, they’re easy.”

SHE SAID SHIT

My response, “Fuck fuck shit damn fuck.”

She totally cracked up and said, “Get it all out honey. I feel your pain.”