My first fox hunt — Belle Meade Hunt Club in Thomson, Georgia — very fancy. I learned lots of fancy new things, like you don’t call them dogs, they’re hounds. Unless they’re male hounds and then they are dogs. So instead of saying hound dog, e.g. hound male, I guess we should be saying dog hound, e.g. male hound. Anyway, the females are just bitches, but you knew that. You don’t hunt in a particular area or piece of land, it’s a territory. The territory that is across the street and which is five steps away from you is different from the territory you’re currently in. Don’t say, “this is a beautiful place to ride,” say, “this is lovely territory.” Are we on some sort of Williams and Clark expedition? Flasks and sandwich pouches are mandatory and while I’ve never seen so many flasks in all my life, I did not see a single sam’ich. I think those pouches hold more flasks. Yes, you must share your flask, communicable diseases be damned. Guess we’re all counting on the alcohol to kill those nasty germs. Refreshment truck arrived mid-hunt, carrying beer and bourbon. Nothing for the horses, hounds or tee-totalers. One of the hounds was loaded into the truck, hurt paw or too slow or some sort of thing. As we galloped away, we were invited to toss our beer cans into the bed of the truck. One of the Yankees in our party did not have the greatest aim — nailed the hound on the noggin — he yowled as Coors Light dripped down his snout. Belle Meade is fancy, but we, clearly, are not.
Of course she was beheaded, she should have been beheaded and if she hadn’t been, I would travel back in time and do the deed myself. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I have lost my love of Lady Jane Grey and it is entirely related to the fact that the Tudor teen is the only thing standing between me and graduation next month. True, I’ve been immersed in Tudor history for the past nine years, having read at least 17 books (including the historical fiction bodice-rippers) on Lady Jane, alone. Yet this thesis paper (Religious Zealotry in Pubescent Girls, as Manifested in Lady Jane Grey) is going to be the death of me. All I’m doing is writing this damn paper, ignoring my family, eating junk food and not running or riding — so add that I’m getting fat and you’ve got a pretty good picture of how I’m looking and feeling: not good.
I do find solace in the new puppy, though I would find even more if she was progressing in the house-training department. But she isn’t. And while some may find it difficult to sleep with a puppy on your head, thanks to my love of and commitment to shut-eye, I’m pushing through.
I can still sleep
Now that I’ve been laid off for a little over a month, I’ve found all sorts of new and exciting activities that I can add to my resume. Of course, most of these activities require a sizeable investment, but I see it as an investment in my future! Or some such drivel — these career/life coaches are rubbing off on me and not in a good way. Or maybe just rubbing me the wrong way. Whatevs, on with the new skills:
Cross-Country Fence Judge. In the biz, we refer to ourselves as XC Fence Judges, but I thought I’d spell it out for you civilians. I was a XC fence judge at the Horse Trials at Fitch’s Corner. You know you’re impressed. I judged fence #6. A giant carrot with a rabbit head sticking out. Those horse people are a wacky crowd, aren’t they? I wore a swanky, WASP-y straw hat while judging. Though the fact that my hair isn’t blonde, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower and my last name sounds suspiciously Eastern European kind of blew my cover.
On-camera talent. Yes, I emerged from behind the camera (where I really belong) and onto the set. While the cameras were rolling! More on that in a future post, but suffice it to say, I am meeting with my director later this week. Sounds important, doesnt’ it? Also sounds like my Botox has become a business expense. And that’s a very good thing.
Fence installer. Now that I can judge a fence, why not build one? It’s a learn-as-you-go type of thing. Fence should be completed by Christmas. One hopes. But it should increase our property value (fully fenced backyard!)
Failed foster parent of rescue dogs. Totally related to my sudden interest in fence installation. Thumper the Bumper was a great dog, until he decided that he was the alpha of the pack and we were all below him in the hierarchy. When he started stealing food from out of our mouths (yes, you read that right) we knew we were not the best foster home for him. The bumper was assigned a new Nurse Ratched-type of foster mom and we welcomed Jerrie/John/George into our home. For three hours. Who knew he was a flight risk? As soon as we got him into the house, he started jumping from table-top to table-top (yeah, you read that right, too) trying to leap out of the closed windows. Smart he was not. As soon as we took him outside to go to the bathroom, he was off like a shot and ran for five miles without looking back. He was found three days later. He, too, was assigned a new (better) foster home.
Artisanal Organic Farming By-Hand Bug Population Control. While installing my new fence with my handy-dandy new post driver (that’s the red thing in the photo), I became distracted by the war waging between my cucumbers and tomatoes. Cukes were wrapping their killer tendrils around my tomato plants and as I was sending them to their respective corners, I found what I thought was a little baby cuke — until I plucked it and it squished black-green goo all over me and I noticed it had about a hundred legs. Ewww! I threw it in the neighbor’s backyard. But I think there’s a future in my gross-out — slap artisanal, organic and by-hand in front of anything and everybody wants it!
if only that’s the way our trips to grandmother’s house would go. But no, our most recent sojourn to Mimi’s place was a lot more like “over the Throg’s Neck and through the puke.” Allow me to explain.
On a sweltering summer day, I decided that it was high time for me, stay-at-home-mom that I have become, to take the kids to grandma’s house for a relaxing visit and swim in their pool. Ha! Loaded all three kids, all of the swimming and relaxing and distracting accoutrements each of them required and added the two dogs. Our own loving and beloved spaniel mix and our current foster puppy, who I am now convinced is not a Golden Lab and Beagle mix as we were told, but a Pit Bull-Jack Russell cross. He is very affectionate, but – well, yesterday I turned around and he was standing on top of the kitchen table. Anyway, said foster puppy was highly reluctant to enter the mini-van, so I added all sorts of toys, treats, bones, etc to entice him in. And yes, I did take water and food away from both dogs about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, to avoid any bodily function disasters. On the dogs’ part, anyway.
10 minutes into the trip and just as we entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that precedes the Throg’s Neck Bridge, an unmistakable and overwhelming odor wafted through the van. Everyone under the age of 21 began screaming, crying and mock-retching while I exploded into an unprecedented (even for me) string of expletives. Everyone in that car can now make sailors blush on four different continents (not that they couldn’t before).
Pile of dog poop on the back seat, quickly followed by and even larger pile of dog puke. I jumped the curb, pulled onto the median and no, our 6 year-old Honday Odyssey mini-van is not 4-wheel drive, so I had no idea if we’d ever make it out again. I found some old newspapers and plastic bags and with 6 trial-size bottles of Purell, managed to clean up the worst of the mess. Got back in the van, fought our way off the median and into traffic. Every other driver was screaming at me and honking their horns, and I screamed back, until my youngest said “I know why they’re yelling at us! The back door is open!” Yeah, mom of the year drove over the Throg’s Neck with the rear hatch wide open. Luckily, no children, animals or prized possessions were lost, though their innocence certainly was.
Mouse update: dead and flattened mouse seen in location of release. Ironically, flattened mouse appeared to be running back in the direction of our home. Don’t tell me he didn’t know a good thing when he saw it!