Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cow Crap Happens amid the Bliss

I was in New England for work a few weeks ago when one of my colleagues, who used to keep up with my more regular columns, asked if I was planning to write more again someday. I exhaled with the kind of “yes” that needs an explanation. I’ve been a married woman and legally recognized step-parent now for almost two months.  As cliché as it may sound, putting my opinions and personal stories out there now affects much more than just me. I struggle regulating my candor especially when it might need regulating.

Also, writing takes quiet, stillness and alone time. With a wife, 3 kids, 3 dogs, 5 cats, and 2 turtles, quiet and stillness have taken a sabbatical. My alone time happens on my bicycle or walking dogs and scheduled alone time is often interrupted by some sort of predictable chaos.

Take, for instance, last Friday. I left work early to pick up the two younger boys from school. One of them had been on a two-day backpacking trip near Crystal Summit with his class. He had too much stuff for the bus.  I planned on getting home and doing some more work before the five o’clock bell, but as life would have it—crap happened.

After two minutes in the truck, I asked why it smelled so bad. The backpacker’s pants had a crapload of dried cow crap on them because he had tripped and fallen in a cow pie the day before. We rolled the windows down. It was cold. I told him to go straight to the laundry room and leave his clothes in there. He didn't catch that.  Either the frigid wind was in his ears in the backseat or he’s now naturally selective to the sound of my voice.

Instead, he walked through the house to his room for a change of clothes before his shower, unwittingly leaving little morsels of cow crap along the way. He took off his crap clothes in the downstairs bathroom—his sister’s bathroom, so more morsels of crap were scattered about the kitchen, stairwell, and in her space.  She was going to scream when she got home. The gold-star sprinkling of manure mimicked the pattern of flower petals that brides dream of for the aisle of their wedding day. We had a blissful wedding day. 

Since the poor kid had been freezing for two days in a tent, I didn’t balk at the length of his shower, but sadly the curtain didn’t get pulled tight. Cups of water leaked onto the floor moistening half of the cow crap morsels. Only the dry ones could be swept. I didn’t log back into work. I was on the floor hurriedly hunting for crap crumbs with disinfectant before the teen got home. 

After that floor was clean, and the window was opened to air out the space, I started scrubbing the back seat of my truck. It, too, had to air out while I put the crapless clothes in the washer and hosed down the crap-coated pants in the yard. With the situation barely under control, I decided I should take the dogs on a walk to regroup. As I gathered leashes, the brothers weren’t noticing the stench in the house but they noticed the cold. Yes. It was cold. And it will be cold as long as we have to keep the windows open. Probably until Election Day. I hadn’t thought I’d be dealing with literal crap this election season, but alas.

The boys were huddled up in blankets, both of them on the top bunk, playing video games. Cute. The little brother missed the big brother.  I felt my blood pressure ratchet down a notch and left for a cleansing dog walk in the rain.

I got home. Laundry was done. As I pulled out a pair of long johns, wet flecks of cow crap flew across the laundry room and settled on the concrete floor. Something with cow crap got put in the washer. The wet clothes. The air. The hairs in my nose. All I smelled was cow crap.

At this point, all three wet dogs burst into the laundry room in a frenzy. Holy Crap! A cow crap snack! It’s like Christmas morning and their stockings had spilled onto the floor. I started to stop them, but why? Someone should experience some joy in this moment. I let them keep licking and left to light a candle. They could handle the rest of the cleanup.

Instead of logging in like planned, crap happened.  A lot of crap happened. So, to my friend in New England—this. All of this explains why writing a weekly column has become a challenge. There’s a lot of crap happening amid the wedded bliss.

*Later while getting takeout, I sent the teen a text complaining about the smell in my truck. She, who will most likely never—NOT EVER—don a cow suit replied:

But hey it will make the suits more authentic in the future, right?
This whole experience was worth it, if only for that text. 

And in “Hair of the Dog!” fashion… the next day, the boys and I went to visit a friend with acreage and a cattle farm outside of Lava Hot Springs. He’s been inviting us to see the cows for months and plans were in place before all of the cow-motion the night before. Visiting with Kurt was cathartic. 

Remember that one time when the kid tracked crap through the house??  What a riot!

Good lookin' boots

Explaining problems with pistons

Giving lessons in how tractors work

I'm watching where those hooves are steppin' !

I'd clean up cow crap any day for this face. SUCH a great sport! T

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