Monday, November 27, 2006

In Search of Colored Thread

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and even prettier out over the Gulf of Mexico. The hubby played golf with a couple of friends. He left the car for me and I hot footed it up to Port Charlotte in search of thread. Thread? Don't they have thread in Ft. Myers? Yes, but this is special thread --- the kind that you use in embroidery sewing machines in a color palette to make any artist drool. Here's the problem --- before the hubby retired, he let me buy a super neat sewing machine that does everything but the dishes. I took a few lessons to become versed on the workings of the wonder machine and then promptly forgot everything I ever knew about it. Over the weekend, a couple of friends who are very good at utilizing their machines to the max took me under their wings and forced me to watch the accompanying video for my Bernina. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was able to embroider an adorable mouse parachuting down on a falling leaf. Oh, how cute! If you spent over a hundred dollars on a computer card to do these cute little animals and have never even opened the card --- you better hustle along and learn how to use it. Now, I know! But, I didn't have the colors of thread (special threads) to continue this work before I forget how to work the machine again. Therefore, $117.00 for thread, so I can make good use of my earlier investment. I bet I never get the car again while he golfs. I'm dead meat! Next time I'll just do the laundry, hang out in the sun and get a tan or maybe actually use the machine and the lovely threads.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Told You So!

I distinctly remember telling you that my husband of forever thinks you can pack for six months in Florida in a couple of hours and be out the door without a second thought to the details. I, on the other hand, agonize over the little things --- like we have shirts in the suitcases, but do we have any pants? Also, I try to take things out of circulation a couple of weeks in advance, so I can have them washed and ironed in time for the great journey. HRH (his royal highness) wants his things left intact for possible use right up until the last minute. Since I am the one who does the list making and packing, I thought he would humor me and use stuff that was not making the trip. I did tell you that he would get a couple of miles down the road before asking if his sunglasses were packed? He has his glasses, but today is Sunday and time for church. Dress pants? Check! Suitable shirt? Check! Dress shoes? Uh? I left them out for you to pack!!!! They are not in the closet? I left them out for you to pack!!!! Since we went through the whole house before firing up the truck, I'd be willing to bet he left his shoes in the walk-in closet in Ohio. For sure, they are not in Florida. Honey, would you like your Topsiders, sandals or tennies with that shirt? Perhaps next time, he will let me pack the essentials ahead of time. What a turkey --- and just in time for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Addiction

I didn't know when I ran off and married the man that he was predisposed to an incurable addiction. Sure, he talked about his love for horses when he was a little boy, but don't all kids love horses? What I didn't consider was that his blind, unreasoning love extended even to the smell of manure, green hay stains on their teeth and brutally hard feet. Manure is not a real problem once you get used to it permeating everything about your life. I have been knocked down by a skittish horse while leading her out of the pasture and then dragged around the manure pile, because like a water-skier, I forgot to let go of the lead line. The poor little filly kept looking at me sideways and tried so hard not to step on me. Like the idiot I was, I kept hollering, "Whoa" in my most authoritarian voice. It is hard to be the authority figure while lying on the ground with manure streaks on you clothes and hair. The problem I had was with the smell of horseflesh on my husband's clothing and skin that came with the constant grooming and currying of his precious equines. When you raise horses for the show ring, your life is scheduled by the needs of the horses. Do they need feeding, exercising, grooming, breeding, veterinarian care,your life savings or any other myriad of things? The hubby would feed in the morning in his business suit and then cheerily head off to the office smelling of "Eau de Hors Hide". You may anticipate an evening out after the hubby gets home from work and has fed the gang in the barn, only to discover that one of their number has been secretly plotting all afternoon to develop a case of colic..... which will require a half gallon mineral oil lavage and being led around the paddock for a couple of hours. Horses who colic are not allowed to lie down until they have done their duty and produced a manure pile to prove that their intestines have not twisted in a volvulus. We all know where the wife falls on the priority scale with this warm pile of poo! Honey, would you like to take a turn leading him for a while? So, much for dinner out.
Vacations become trips to horse shows or a quick run to Texas to take your hot mare to visit that stud with a strong hip and long neck. Not only do they have the privilege of messing with your mare.... they get paid for doing it! Eleven months and ten days later, you find yourself hanging out in the barn at all hours of the day and night awaiting the birth of the new foal. You breed your mares in late winter or early spring, because you want your babies born as close to Jan. 1st as possible. We are talking AFTER Jan. 1st! If a baby should happen to hit the ground on Christmas, it would become a year old on Jan. 1st. All horses become a year older on that day and must compete with other horses in that age class, where the rest of the horses are eleven or twelve months old, but yours is only two weeks old chronologically. People who turn up at a show with a large, well developed weanling don't fool anyone.... everyone calls those babies "turkeys", because they were probably born on Thanksgiving and hidden in the barn until January.
It all started when I was in nursing school (at forty years old) and was studying every night. My poor husband was so bored and I was up to my eyeballs trying to study and keep up with a bunch of eighteen year olds. We were sitting on the front stoop looking at the stars one night when my honey said, "I've always wanted a horse of my own." Like my brain was in the off position, I replied, "So, go buy one and board it somewhere." I think the actual purchase happened the next day.... there just happened to be a gelding offered for sale in the newspaper and BAM!... we sold the house, bought acreage in the country and started
building a home and barn in the outskirts of town. I won't lie and say that I didn't like the country or that I didn't like having a few horses in the backyard, but a very wise patient at the hospital said, "Never add onto your barn." Owning a couple of nags only lasted until his first foal won the Michigan Breeder's Futurity. The addiction was on and he wanted more and more. Every stall was soon full and the mares had babies in the stall with them and they were pregnant for the next year. Where where we going to put them? The little voice in the back of my head said...."Never add on to your barn!" I threatened to leave home if some of the babies were not sold and pronto! He did sell the ones that didn't appear to be winners and bred for more. I did love the babies.... they are born and are standing up within an hour and are nursing within two hours. If you spend time in the stall with them, they begin to think that if you are not their mother.... you are at least an aunt or uncle. You have about ten days before they start getting teeth and will suck on your fingers just like human babies. My husband handled them from the first minute when he pulled the amniotic sac off their faces and they followed him around like puppies. He would run his hands over their backs and legs to get them adjusted to standing in the show ring and having their legs placed in a show presentation. One newborn kicked out with a quick flick of his back leg and broke my husband's baby finger the first day of it's life. It didn't matter... he was mainlining on horse manure by that time. He was fortunate to win many state futurities and made money from the shows and the sales, selling to breeders in Mexico, Venezuela and even Terry Bradshaw.
Then, the time came when we were getting older and keeping a small horse farm became more than we could handle. He says we had to sell the horsefarm, because the mower broke. I was the mower and I got asthma. The day we moved away, he sat on the picnic table and stared out at the pond.... I know there were tears in his eyes, but did not go out and let him know that I knew how hard it is to break an addiction. They don't make equineaderm patches for people who can't get the love of horses out of their veins. He still dreams of possibly owning just one mare to love, but I know the secret....never add on to your barn.... and our barn door is locked.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

At Last!

Okay, so I've been bending your ears about getting ready for the land of sunshine for the last month or so. We left the cold, gray skies of Ohio last Thursday at 8:00 in the morning and then drove for nineteen hours straight. Here we are a few days later and the sky looks the same as Ohio --- gray, leaden and rainy. And I am gray, leaden and rainy! I loll about on my bed like Cleopatra on her barge. Not young and lovely, but stricken with bronchitis and nasty of temperament. We have sustained ourselves on the bags of food that we brought from home, because I was not feeling like fighting the crowds at a grocery. Last night, we ventured out to the local Taco Bell and grabbed a quick couple of tacos, while trying very hard not to cough and give away the fact the a veritable Typhoid Mary was in their midst. The couple in the next booth placed a gray gunny sack on the table and kept feeling it in a very peculiar manner. The hubby said, "I think there is something alive in that bag". I eyeball the bag and look at the size of lumps therein --- too small for a kid, not noisy enough for a small animal ---- Hmmmm! Could it be a snake? A very big snake? In Taco Bell? And I am worried about taking my bronchitis out in public? You bet your life, it was a boa constrictor --- very big and very beautiful --- but not something you would find in your everyday Taco Bell in Toledo, Ohio! The folks in Florida do things differently from nice, middle class mid-westerners. I'm not talking about their tattoos or multiple piercings, but snakes on the dinner table? The young couple were very obliging and opened the bag to show us their lovely snake. I was impressed! I was also out of there!
This was the second snake we had seen since setting foot on Florida soil. Numero uno was a thin black snake about twenty inches long in our flower beds. This whole thing does not sound like the paradise I have been promising myself while I worked so hard to pack up and get here. Perhaps tomorrow, the sun will come out and I will feel differently about the gray and the snakes. On the positive side, the plants we stuck in the ground last summer have grown four or five times their original size and the living is easy.
We already have two or three sets of guests coming down for Spring Break, but Christmas is still up in the air. The picture at the top is my forty-six year old daughter at Ft. Myers Beach last spring. So, if you are reading this and are related to me --- come on down! The weather is bound to clear up any minute.