Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just Another Few Days in Paradise

Tuesday was my dress fitting. All went well and, unless I lose a great deal of weight(unlikely, especially when I ate a Shake Shack Burger, cheese fries andd HUGE plate of Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo for lunch and dinner) or gain back all the weight I've lost, I do not need another fitting. The dress fits perfectly!

Sheryl and I spent the day wandering around Chelsea. We saw a guy with a parrot in a cage strapped to his back, leading a Min Pin decked out in the cutest tiny pink doggie sneakers. A lady on a bike serenaded us with a song touting the benefits of being vegan, while we were in line to order our burgers and cheese fries. And I gave a guy, who was hocking his CDs, 10 bucks because:

a)I thought it would be good karma to give him a chance-after all, he was on the streets selling his "vision";

b)I am a horrible haggler; and

c) I am a sucker who is not good at saying "no thanks" under pressure.

We plugged the cd in as soon as we got in the car. And there we were, two white women of a certain age, riding around NYC in a mud-spattered Mercedes, windows down, and head bobbing to the hip-hop beat. It was a vision.

But the music isn't bad, interesting beats and he sampled the Red Hot Chili Peppers. not bad at all.

The rest of the day was spent driving around the fabric/garment district looking for a place to park, but parking is only available at the most wallet-raping garages in the city. Well, at least now we know where it is.

I spent the next day at a horse show. Enough said there.(I did rememeber to put on sunscreen and wear a hat).

At 2AM that night/morning, I let Putter outside(yes, I let him drink a bucket of water before bed. Again.) As I opened the screen door, I heard it. Not the screech of the foxes that live in the sheep pasture, nor the lowing of the Black Angus(and the bull was thankfully not screaming either), nor the blat of the sheep. No coyotes could be heard. Instead, the loud mew of a kitten filled my ears. Hmmm...

I silently hoped the mother came back before morning or that I was mistaken and it was a terribly confused mockingbird. No such luck.

Opened the door this morning, released the hounds, and the air filled with the sound. Went into the sheep shed and there he was, one tiny black and white kitten in a large orange feed pan. Still screaming. And no sign of momma cat.

So after driving to Tractor Supply and waiting for them to open, I now have kitten milk replacer, a bottle, and a tiny kitten to take care of.

I love cats (have 4), but I'm really hoping the mother cat shows up soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's amazing, the many types of people you find in the line at the DMV. A wide array of humanity, shuffling through the turns of the line, patiently(or not always) awaiting their call to a window.

The line was already long when I took my place. There was the man who expressed his regret, "I should have remembered to do this online," he proclaimed to all who waited, waving his envelope in the air. Further ahead, a woman rocked a car seat with her foot, bending down to offer a bottle when the baby squirmed and whined, and shoving the whole apparatus forward with her foot when the line moved. At one window, far ahead of me, an infantile young man(he looked FAR too young to be old enough to be applying for a license, but maybe that's just me getting old), handed over his documents and his cell phone, before disappearing behind a wall. At the second window was the client who doesn't want to understand that whatever she wants, is not going to happen today. "What do you mean I need...?" "Can't I have it faxed?" "Are you sure you can't just stamp it?" On and on, she would not leave the window. And we wonder why the DMV people are grumpy.

I was there to register my truck and horse trailer, finally trading my lovely green and white Vermont plates for ones of gold and blue. I dreaded it. Yes, I am shallow enough that, while green was maybe not the best match for my blue truck and my white trailer, the new plates are simply hideous. It still had to happen. I must add the fact that I was already frustrated as my computer froze three times while I tried to print out new insurance information. A five minute chore turned into a thirty-minute ordeal.

Step by step, person by person, I crept closer to the window. The mother strolled out the door with the baby seat draped over her arm, swinging with the motion of her stride. The proclaimer got his renewal, though he loudly congratulated the young man on his perfect permit test score.

"You'll make a good driver. Probably better than me. Just remember, if you get pulled over, be respectful and don't give the officer trouble and he'll be nice to you." The young man smiled and nodded, thrilled with his future behind the wheel and a little leery of this large man's advice.

It was finally my turn. I handed the woman my paper work. She looked it over. "Your registering an out-of-state vehicle. You need to fill out this form." She handed me a green sheet of paper, marked with red pen to indicate the required fields. Off I went and dutifully filled it out(and another for the trailer in anticipation) and got back in line. It was slightly shorter. This time a couple were bickering about what forms they needed.

"Do you have that one?"
"You sure it's filled out right?"
"I think so."
"Did you sign it?"

She turned her back on him and shook her head. They reached the window and she gloated when all was in order, "See? I told you."

Behind me, the woman who refused to take no for an answer had returned. She sighed dramatically and crinkled her papers, muttering, "I can't believe this. Such a pain."

I worked my way back to the front. We started over. She typed away, verified my license and passport. Yes, I am who I claim to be. Then she paused. Uh oh. "Your insurance card says 'replacement vehicle.' Are you transferring tags from one car to another?"

"No." Oh no.

From behind me the complainer yelled, "Hey, do you have a bathroom?" The answer was no, which prompted a new round of grumbling.

My attention returned to the woman behind the window, "You have to call your insurance company and get them to take the 'replacement vehicle' designation off the card. Have them fax it and I'll call you to the front of the line as soon as I get it."

Oh crap. Really? Sigh. Out the door, called the company(who were very nice, by the way) and went back inside to, yet again, await my turn. I met "Complainer" at the door, she gave up. I gave thanks for small favors. After a few scant minutes I returned to the window. More typing ensued, plates were pulled from a drawer, papers were stapled together, I thought my hour-plus ordeal was over. Screw registering the trailer, I'll come back another day to do that. I could finally go home, ride, garden. After all, it was a beautiful day outside and I'd wasted too much of it here.

The woman behind the window stopped her typing and shuffling. A crease appeared between her brows. She flipped a page back and forth. She turned to me and shook her head.

"Your insurance doesn't take effect until midnight. You'll have to wait and come back Monday."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back in the Saddle

"Where have you been?" she asks.

I ponder a moment before answering. Let's see... I've been to Pennsylvania and Vermont recently, done some short trips to the mall and Lowe's, but mainly, I've been shuttling back and forth between garden and barn.

I've been busy." I reply. I am sulky, feeling guilty and defensive. After a winter of snow and ice, we finally have those perfect days of sunny warmth and green growing things. Always one to bite off more than I can chew, the garden and yard projects have piled up. There were beds to be dug, lawn to be mowed and bushes and trees to plant.

And then there is Tucker.

Our first few rides were pretty uneventful, a little walk and trot to remind me that I do, indeed, remember what this is all about. We even cantered a bit on the third outing. But, in an attempt to increase Tucker's weight, I have been feeding him a lot of grain and second cut hay- horsey high-test. Add fresh, sugary, new-growth grass, and, POW! You have a four-legged rocket on your hands.

The paddocks all have repaired fences, which was another project that took quite a bit of time. It's nice to not worry that the horses are going to push over a post or hop over a broken rail. Right.

Back to riding. I took Tucker out on the road. He was very excited about getting out of endless circles in the area I call my riding ring. He jigged and bounced while I talked to myself to keep my muscles from clenching in terror. Heels down, relax your arms, keep breathing...was my mantra. And Tucker settled.

A short distance down the road there is a kennel of foxhounds. And in the yard infront of the bellowing dogs? A huge, inflatable bouncy house. Complete with screaming, excited children. My mantra changed to: Heels down, relax your hands, keep breathing, Oh My God, I'm going to die, heels down, keep breathing, don't pull! Luckily, my mount was more interested in being out. And despite my abject terror, he never even glanced at the colorful, swaying behemoth.

The next time out was not as wonderful. I tried a new trail, got lost, and had to dismount because the bugs were intolerable-Tucker would take two steps and dive his head down to scratch his face on his front leg- NOT comfortable or conducive to forward progress. I led him through the buggy field, only to find I was definitely not headed toward home. We hiked up a steep hill. I gasped for air, in the throes of an asthma attack, Tucker was barely winded. At the top, I thought I would get back on.


Tucker would not stand still. He backed, threw his hind end away from me, and generally flipped me the hoof. So on we walked, finally finding our way to the barn. I sponged him off, fed both the boys and put them out in the knee-high grass of their paddock. By 8:30, I was exhausted. I read until about 10:00 then fell into a much needed slumber.(It had been a LONG week)

Fast forward to 5:30AM. The phone rang. "Tucker is loose."

"I'm on my way." Rushing up to the barn, I found a friend leading Tucker toward the barn, while Gil frantically galloped back and forth in the paddock. I got them both settled and went to investigate how the T-man got out. It was a rail down. The opening faced the woods, away from the lush pasture, but of course he would rather go crashing through the brush...

The rest of the day was dedicated registering my truck, which took most of the day-and I still have to go back-that's a whole 'nother bunch of blog fodder. Returned home in the late afternoon, in time to run a wire around the inside of the fence and hooki a charger up to said wire, to keep my wayward pony at home. A little electric current goes a long way in keeping horses from dismantling fences. And I had to cut brush away from the wire, find an extension cord for the charger, and pick the ticks from my sweatshirt-ICK!

At least Tucker has stayed where I put him and I got over 8 hours of sleep last night!

My spring rush is winding down and I am settling back into some sort of schedule. There are still wedding meetings, pots to plant, and trails to explore, however the frantic need to do it all yesterday is passing and my new computer and office beckon.

We'll see how long that lasts! At least I have developed a healthy sense of humor at my lack of discipline.