One would think that a quiet home for close to one week, devoid of husband and kids and even your once day-to-day job of corraling our young American youth to teach them what they needed to know in this modern world, would warrant some big-time R&R, late nights, a chick flick or two, a few unlimited Ebay purchases, more cold beers than you really needed to indulge in, some good coffee on the porch swing as the world awakens from a stormy night, soggy, fulfilled and finally green...
.....That scenerio sounds fabulous compared to what the reality of it all was.
Yeah, sure, late nights - coughing my head off and implanting twisted tissue tubes into each nostril to hold back the faucet-like drip action...Absolutely...BIG-TIME R&R...medicated under a fog of antibiotics, and over-the-counter severe sinus saviors - confined to the couch with the nearby ottoman supporting the remote, a box of tissues, a cellphone, the house phone and my bottle of pills...no chick flick, but the ol' John Wayne classics sure did hit the spot and put my world of sufferage into perspective...no cold beers, but lotsa juice, water, Sprite and hot tea...no coffee...no front porch swing... and 4 days of laying in my wallow on the couch, holding my head in near traction for fear of creating a worse sinus migraine. OK, maybe it's a bit glorified, but it was certainly not fair, nor fun.
My first 4 days of summer...Mmmmm...not good.
I am tickled to say that on the 5th day, my body was able to move in a vertical position for the entire day starting at 5:45am! It was a miraculous healing! Really! It was on that 5th day that I was to be at a suicide prevention/intervention workshop in Wichita Falls. My signatures for both the morning and afternoon sessions would allow me one comp day in January, so I HAD to make it there. Everyone else would be there too, so I had to suck it up and push past the pain.
Looking back, it turned out to be a very eye opening workshop filled with information and resources to begin our campus Task Force Team. The stats were staggering and alarming - mere children of 7 years of age have been documented to have suicidal tendencies, thoughts,and even attempts. I left there with a desire to "save the world" from that mess, knowing that it was near impossible. The world that our children are growing up in is a world unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. "Sex-ting", cyber-bullying, internet porn and the like...how is that stopped? I don't guess you can actually stop it, just provide interventions and protocols as the support system...that's the sad part.
Anyway, backing up...As I enjoyed my first cup of java, happy to be alive and vertical, while the morning news curtailed last nights events, I lazily went to check my email. Mmmmm, a nice relaxing morning after my near death experience in the days prior. I breathed deeply, wheezing as the air passed through my larynx. No new emails. I decided to see which craft shows my DVR taped in the night. Choosing my favorite one, I watched it in its entirety - lazily sipping coffee, curled up in my faux fur throw and fast forwarding through the commercials, without others saying, "Can we watch something that we ALL like?" How could someone possess the depth of intellect to think up and design such an invention as the DVR? As the show ended I gazed through the early morning dawn's light to the far northern pasture. From the warmth and comfort of my favorite leather couch, and almost choking on my next mouthful of hot coffee, I quickly realized that the cows were out... What the heck? They hadn't been out in over a month! We sold off the culprits of the hourly breakouts and things have been totally fine since...!! Seeing which area they were in, I knew at a glance that the "Wheaties" (the guys that cut our wheat yesterday)did not secure the fence and of course with 90 acres of fence, the dang cows - 3 day old calves and all - found the escape route. What do they do all night, walk the fencelines looking for openings? Sheesh! I powerwalked to the kitchen -breathing heavily and raspily - I realized exactly how out of shape I really was. Monday - next Monday, I thought. That would be the perfect day to start a rigorous, structured daily exercise routine...I have always drempt of looking like G.I. Jane...maybe this was the summer it would come to fruition...With the use of the binoculars that I keep conveniently on the windowsill by the sink, I was able to surmise that some of the cows were not actually in our neighbor's pasture to the west of us, which meant they were out on the county road. Glancing at the clock, and mentally listing all of the things I had to do by 7:00, I knew without a doubt that everything HAD to work like clockwork...I hate when I put myself in these binds. Mental note: I will schedule an appointment with an attention deficit physician in the morning.
If I departed the farm no later than 7:15, I could get to the P.O. for a shipment, grab a sin-filled burrito at the Grocery Sack and be at the school meeting spot for our 60 mile commute to Wichita Falls. I rose from the couch, chased my morning antibiotic with a mouthful of lukewarm coffee and headed to the shower. WHY? Everything was so nice, calm and easy! Why did it have to get light out? Why did I have to see the cows? I had just at 45 minutes to get ready for my "professional" day, feed the cats, get the car out of the barn, where I put it last night after a hail warning methodically moved across the latenight TV screen - scenes of me running to the car in my p.j's lightning dancing all around me, cracking thunder and pelting rain flashed through my head...I should have known then.
As 6:56 clicked on the oven's digital clock, I took my last swallow of "ice" coffee, grabbed my keys and headed to the barn. Jeans, black top, turquoise jewels spilling and clinking all over me, concho belt and turquoise-dyed lizard boots...pretty much my every-day attire...Yup, Turquoise Cowgirl at your service! The plan...well it was more like a mission... was to use Jake's spit-shined pick-up to herd the dang cows back into the pasture, hoping they'd stay in while I attended my 6 hour suicide meeting 60 miles away. I knew good and well that we had been blessed with at least a full inch of rain in the night - maybe more...at this rate, I didn't have time to check the gauge... I also knew that I wouldn't be able to stop the pick up to fix the fence, in fact I knew I couldn't stop or slow the pick up AT ALL on this entire expedition or I'd sink it in the mire and would never make it to town in time to catch my ride east...besides, my favorite turquoise boots would be totally ruined. So fixing the fence was never a part of the scenerio...which I later wondered why I even embarked on the dang mission. Was it just a mid-life joy ride at seven in the morning? Oh, I really do need some mental health assistance...As I backed the truck, which, by the way has a 6" lift kit on it, out of the barn, the mud in front of the barn immediately released all traction from the huge $300.00 a piece mud tires and I nearly got stuck ... 3 feet from the barn... I should have known then.
Oh, OK, ya' wanna play rough? I can play this game! (Now, I was talking to the mud!) I threw it into 4 wheel drive low and came outta the mud like water off a duck's back - or something like that... No problem, I can conquer this task and still make it to town on time! I smiled a sort of "kick-butt smile"! I felt a surge of empowerment...Hooray for women! Before I got off on some women's lib tangent, I gassed it. The tires began kicking up a considerable amount of sticky mud as I made my way down the drive and all I could think of was Jake and how pissed he'd be if he knew what I was doing with his beloved truck. 7:05. Shoot! You can't go very fast in 4 low, so I made it as quickly as I could to the back road where I could see the bull, one of the longhorns and a calf - standing at the top of the hill past the bridge... hock deep in mud. I should have known then.
Filling my wheezing lungs with stale air from inside the cab, and adjusting my Navajo-signed squash blossom necklace from the 50's that I purchased at the last estate auction in town (which I could pawn to pay the farm mortgage if I needed to anyday of the week!) I said to myself, "It's now or never!" "No guts, no glory!" For some wierd reason, Darwin's Theory of Survival of the Fittest flashed through my meager mind...I threw it in first gear and as I revved the engine,I could plainly hear the soundtrack of "Chariots of Fire"...bum, bum, bu, bu, bum, bum...I let out the clutch and the race was on!
Only 10 tire rotations into this wicked mess, the big honking mud tires were churning up some of the blackest, stickiest mud I had ever encountered in my entire measley life. It began sticking, and clumping ALL OVER the entire body of the truck...within 60 seconds of forward propulsion, all windows were slathered in mud - so thick, I could not see - REALLY!
I could tell that I was fishtailing and knew the bridge was coming soon, so I crumpled down and was able to see out through a 1 inch gap between the windshield wipers and the base of the windshield. If you've ever driven on slick, icy roads, you'll know exactly what I was having to do to stay alive! By now I was really fishtailing from one side of the road to the the other, knowing that if I went off in either ditch, I'd probably roll the truck. It was like the MUD BOG 500...I probably slung mud into the next county! The Chariot's of Fire themesong blared in my head as I white knuckled the camo steering wheel sleeve. Ya' know how riding a bike comes back to you after years of not engaging in it, well, it's the same with 4 wheel drive muddin'. In our earlier married years in Colorado...every time you went to town, you had to battle this 10,000 foot sub alpine, muck mired, tire rutted, 4 wheel drive road of sorts which lead to a raging stream that had no bridge. The vehicle that I cut my 4 wheel drivin' teeth on was dubbed, The Beast! It's strange how quickly I transported myself back to those days. I was ONE WITH THE BEAST...again!
I kinda chuckled outloud in between repeatedly proclaiming my Lord and Savior's first name! As I forded the bridge, I aimed the grille guard for the middle of the hill up ahead. The cattle must have known I meant business and started making tracks to the southern verdure. I honked and hollered with vim and vigor, spittin' mud in every dang direction! Suddenly, there was ZERO visibility through the front windshield! AHHHHH! When my short-lived panic attack subsided, I brilliantly decided to try the wipers. OMG! What a mistake! Continuing to keep the gas pedal pushed to the floormat, I gave the wiper fluid button a push. Great! Now I had liquid chocolate splashing everywhere. Finally, by holding my finger on the wiper fluid sprayer button while the blades spastically tried to do their job, a gorgous, chocolately masterpiece was born on the windshield. The artist in me started seeing identifiable shapes and scenes among the evilness of the mud and I had to shake myself out of the trance I was heading into...More fluid! Ahhh, more visibility! Ohhhh, Jake is going to be so NOT happy with me! The side windows allowed no light in and I felt like I was being cocooned by a ginormous black spider in some Japanese sci-fi film! Strangely enough, the Chariot's of Fire tune was silent.
As I slowed toward the top of the hill, I knew I had to keep the wheels moving or it was over! I also realized as I topped the hill that my plan to turn around and retrace my tracks was definitely not a plan to invest in and my only option was to follow this foulness to the blacktop road which lead to the highway and then head home from the southern route, which was all blacktop. 7:28. I didn't look back to see if the cows had run in the pasture or not - I couldn't... even if I wanted to... all I saw was raw brownie batter slathered on the glass!
Once I had all 4 tires -which were more like brown gumdrops, on the hardtop road, I stopped, caught my breath, put it back into 2 high and headed toward the highway. Merging quickly, I gunned it and hoped I wouldn't get pulled over for operating a motor vehicle without proper and legal visibility.
No ticket...not a smudge of mud on my clothes...not late...I made it home, switched vehicles, grabbed my purse and was off to town. Although I had to forego my breakfast burrito...my first step toward looking like G.I. Jane! I did get my other chores done and was on time for my workshop! It was definitely divine intervention. I love when God moves His mighty hand! Praise His name!
How was y'all's morning? Just in case you think it was fabricated...here's proof!