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Monday, June 18 2018

My life should come with a soundtrack. That way I'd be able to decide whether or not to get out of bed. Yesterday I should have just stayed under the covers and whimpered. I swing between being poor and being broke. All money is pretty much spent on livestock and things that make life easier on the ranch. I rarely spend money on new clothes. I never spend money on frivolous clothes. Unfortunately most of my dress clothes are made for cooler weather. Because I'm in the choir at church and it's now too hot to wear choir robes over my jeans, it was time to bite the bullet and invest in some casual summer clothes - like normal people wear. I don't do normal well. It doesn't work for me. I now completely understand the Greek concept of the gods of Olympus playing games with humans for their own amusement. I'm sure I provide rich entertainment.

The day started well. The Other Half was up early. I was on the tractor setting up a new sheep chute arrangement. We managed to exercise the dogs and get everyone settled in pens and I changed for church. Uniform of the day - adorable lavender print top with white capri pants (that had matching lavender embroidery) and freaking adorable white eyelet shoes.

The Other Half took one look at me and said, "Those shoes won't even make it to the truck."

"I know. I'm wearing flip-flops to the truck and I'm bringing my white shoes in my purse. You're opening the gates so I can stay clean."

He grunted. "I don't see why you just can't wear blue jeans."

"Because it's church and you're supposed to look nice."

He shrugged. Men have no clue. Or maybe they know more than we give them credit for. Nevertheless, I didn't tell him how much I spent on summer casual clothes that I couldn't wear between my front door and my destination. Intoxicated with the splendor of my fresh new clothes that gave the illusion that I was a normal person, I decided a carwash was needed too. We live off a gravel road and so my little Toyota truck is always covered in white dust. Four dollars later my truck wasn't clean but the top few layers of dust was scrubbed off. I walked into church a happy camper. Cool, clean and carefree was the uniform of the day.  Is this how normal people feel? Well darn, this is nice. I should try it more often.

After church we went to lunch where I made a concentrated effort not to get anything on my white pants or new top. I chewed Other Half out for accidentally stepping on my new white eyelet Jellypop shoes. A tiny sand-stained blemish on the toe. Oh, woe is me! A tragedy of epic proportions.

After lunch we drove an hour away to pick up some benches for the kitchen table since my chairs are so old and feeble they should be drawing social security and disability. I sat in the truck lest I get my clothes dirty. Other Half could load them by himself. He's strong.

On the way back home, I was playing on Facebook, basking in the glow of being normal, when he slammed on the brakes and my phone almost landed on the dash. A giant bull was walking down the highway. A lumbering black billboard. Oh my! You can't drive past that. So we turned on our hazard flashers and slow-rolled down the highway with the bull until we could read his brand. Then we called the sheriff's department. The bull was happy enough walking south on the shoulder of the highway. He was not ambling, he was a bull on a mission. Go south. We drove north.

We found a ranch house that somewhat matched the bull's brand and Other Half proceeded to ruin a rancher's Sunday afternoon Father's Day. The guy put on some shorts and leaped into his truck. We all headed south where we caught up with the bull. Here is the spot where my illusion of normal fell apart like shattered glass in a mirror. I took one look at that rancher trying to turn the bull and knew that someone was going to have to get out on foot and help him. I am ashamed to say that my first thought was not, "I hope no car hits that bull." Instead, it was "Well shit. I'm gonna ruin my new shoes."

So I took them off. Other Half slammed on the brakes and leaped out of the truck. "Here, you drive."  Unfortunately he hadn't put the truck in park. Both of us started to get out as the truck tried to roll away. Crap on cracker! There go my new shoes! Other Half jumped back in and put it in park. Barefoot, I ran through the bar ditch and around the back of the truck to get into the driver's seat. There was a point as I ran through the ditch that two thoughts crossed my mind. 1) I hope none of us gets hit by a car. 2) What idiot chooses to run barefoot through a bar ditch in Texas during the summer because she doesn't want to get her shoes dirty?

Safely seated back in the truck, I slowed down vehicular traffic while Other Half and the rancher got the bull turned around and headed back north. Once he was moving north, the bull walked with the same determination he had used to walk south. Bull on a mission. Other Half hopped in the rancher's truck and followed the bull while the rancher jumped on my bumper and rode ahead to open a gate. The bull cooperated and we were soon giving out introductions and handshakes. I was elated. My white pants were still somewhat clean. All was well in the world. Other Half got back in the driver's seat and I picked up my phone to photograph the bull's ass as he walked off. We said our goodbyes and drove away. A few minutes later, the final broken pieces of my illusion mirror fell to the floor.

Lights on the dashboard started coming on and wisps of smoke came from beneath the hood. We limped into a driveway underneath what looked like a cell phone tower. A group of ramshackle campers were clustered at the base of the tower like a gypsy camp. Everything was behind a tall chainlink fence with multiple locks on the gate.

"Do you think they have water in there?"
"I think they have banjos in there," I said. "Turn the truck around in case we have to drive out really fast." For once he didn't argue with me. And this is where I had to accept my fate. Normal people can wear white. I can't. I tempt the gods when I try to dress like a girl. I have adventures on a good day. If I dress like a girl and my adventures can make Lord of the Rings look like a walk in the park.

It was soon apparent that the new shoes would have to come out of my purse and I'd have to get out of the truck. It didn't take long to figure out that we weren't going anywhere. So much for the carwash. Help was on the way though. Dear Friends Leo and Ruby were saddling up to come rescue us. Again. True wealth lies not in your bank account but in your cell phone favorites list. Who are your friends? Who can you call in a pinch? When faced with the choice between a rich bank account and a bank of good friends, choose the friends. Always. Life is not about money. The good things in life can't be bought, but they can be shared. Sharing the good times and the bad times with friends is a far better investment.

Do you have friends who will get out of their pajamas to drive an hour in the heat to rescue you? Do you have friends who will bring ice, water and gatorade?  And this is the bar to strive for: will your friends, upon discovering that your fan belt has shredded AND pieces of it flew off and wrapped around other somewhat important engine parts, AND the owner's manual says your 4 Wheel Drive truck cannot be towed behind another truck, will your friends drive ALL THE WAY BACK TO THEIR RANCH to get a car hauler trailer? Mine will. Find friends like that. Find friends who will gently point out the BBQ sauce on your new lavender print top will come out - eventually.

Find friends who understand the frustration of ruining white clothes because they ruined their own white clothes the day before - when they rescued another stranded motorist, who was a total stranger. Good friends are there for you, even when they can't help. Even when another friend is on the way to your rescue, good friends want to help.  As one dear friend pointed out later, "Even if we don't have the mechanical skills we can still be moral support. Four of us can stare at an engine instead of just two."

So this is what I learned:

Girl clothes are cute and comfortable, but not practical. I knew this when I was six years old. Why do I still have to learn this when I'm 55?

Money is like water. It flows in and out, but never stays. Use it when you have it, but don't get too attached to it. This is my own law of motion called "money inertia." Inertia is the tendency of an object to resist change in its motion. Money inertia is the tendency of my bank account to resist change. If something acts upon it, say, any increase in deposits, there will be a resulting decrease directly proportional to any money earned, thus the account resumes its zero velocity.

One can examine this scientific rule further by using this example. If money is earned through book sales enough to give the author the illusion that splurging for casual summer attire might be an acceptable idea, the universe will simply send an opposing (and hopefully equal) force (i.e. a mechanic's bill) to equalize the state of money inertia. Once the bank account has reached zero velocity again, it is in a resulting state of happiness.

The author, however, is back to eating beanie weenies.  With no money, but rich in friends, and therefore, truly wealthy.

 Click to find the Farm Fresh Forensics book!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 15 2018

As I sat in my swing this morning watching dogs and chickens play at my feet while I drank coffee, I gave some thought to how much I don't like cobras.

One wouldn't imagine that a rancher in north Texas would give much thought to cobras and the truth is, I don't. Now. When I was a kid, cobras were a thing. Like many children of my generation, I grew up on a steady diet of The Wonderful World of Disney. It was a Sunday evening staple in our home. Three children and a dog would gather on the floor around the television set. This was before the invention of the remote control and during that time if you wanted a remote control for your television set, you had children. Kids these days have no clue. Their parents had them just so they would never had to get up and change the channel again. Then the remote control was invented and children became obsolete. But I digress.

Disney. Disney was more than a vacation spot. Disney used to be imagination. A one hour show on Sunday evening fueled the imaginations of children for the rest of the week. We could be whatever the magic makers at Disney studios dreamed up. Disney took us to foreign lands. Hand in hand with The Wonderful World of Disney  was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. This was the Animal Planet and Discovery Channel of its day. Thirty minutes of Marlin Perkins, Jim Fowler, and Stan Brock fired the imagination of every child sitting on the floor in front of a glowing television screen. I wanted that life. I wanted Born Free. I wanted a lion sleeping on the roof of my jeep. I wanted to live with the animals, not in zoos, but in my home. I wanted elephants poking trunks through my kitchen window. I wanted to shoo the monkey away from my blender. I wanted a parrot that answered the phone. But I didn't want cobras. I already had rattlesnakes. No fun at all. Cobras are bigger and kill you faster. Definitely strike cobras off the list. I read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi about a pet mongoose who saves his family from a cobra. This fueled both my desire for a mongoose and my love of Rudyard Kipling, who gave me the ultimate thrill - The Jungle Book. Not the movie, the book. Better story. More animals. Spoiler alert - the snake is the villian. No surprise.

So I sat in my swing, sipping my coffee, and gave some thought as to how Walt Disney, Marlin Perkins, and Stan Brock shaped the woman-child I am today. I did not come from a family of ranchers but it was an easy gravitation. After all, living on a farm is very much like having a elephant at your kitchen window. Our life tilts toward the extreme. We live in the barn with the animals. Sheep, goats, chickens, and dogs wander around the yard together in some lopsided version of a Disney movie. And the villian is still the snake.

A dog the size of a mountain lion scattered chickens as he raced through the barnyard with a piece of dried up watermelon leather in his mouth. Herding dogs hung off his sides like a pack of hyenas on a wildebeast. Chickens scrambled and then regrouped as the dogs played out their own scene of Wild Kingdom. I don't have a parrot answering my phone, or a monkey to chase off the kitchen counter, but as I sipped my morning coffee it was still pretty clear - I do live in the jungle.

 Click to find the Farm Fresh Forensics book!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:25 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email

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