Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Little House on the Scrapyard

I haven’t posted anything recently because it seems like all the lighthearted fun and hijinks have stopped since I returned to work. Leaving Annabelle each day has left me feeling humorless and uninspired. So I had to dig deep and find it within myself to share my latest adventures in rural living: Annabelle’s First Christmas Tree and Our trip to the Scrapyard.

We were very fortunate that the weather was good enough last Sunday for us to bundle Annabelle up and take her with us to select and cut down her very first Christmas tree. Bryan and I both were looking for a rustic tree- cutting experience. What I did not take into account was carrying a 12 and a half pound baby (who happens to weigh 25 pounds when she’s asleep) around with me. I strapped her to me Marsupial-style in the baby carrier. Bryan offered to carry her multiple times and I refused. I reminded him I carried at least 12 pounds of weight on the front of my body while I was pregnant.

What I did NOT do while I was pregnant was hike through the woods. Once we started walking I immediately regretted perching atop my high-horse and insisting on carrying Annabelle in the baby carrier. At this tree farm there were a number of “tree excavation holes” all over the footpaths. Please see an example of a tree excavation hole to the left. And the footpaths weren’t even really footpaths, it was what I would describe as land where there happened to be no trees. So not only was my balance off due to the extra dead weight strapped to my chest, but I couldn’t see the ground in front of me because there was a sleeping baby obstructing my vision. So essentially I tripped and twisted my ankle every 17 feet. Each time I tripped I gasped and said “Oh my God.” Which caused bryan to stop and turn abruptly thinking I was going to crush our baby. Each time I did this he rolled his eyes at me. So you can understand why he quickly tired of this. I still do not think he understands that I COULD NOT SEE WHERE I WAS GOING.

**I hope everyone took note of the amount of plaid displayed above

I’d like to say that my favorite part of our tree-getting adventure was finding our perfect Christmas tree, but my favorite part of the trip was when Bryan fell into a trench. After we had been walking for a while (and I have to admit it took me a really long time to pick out a tree) I wanted to get a closer look at a tree but didn’t feel like doing all the walking required to get a closer look. Bryan said “here just walk across here,” and I replied “Be careful, there’s a big trench or something there.” Karmic retribution was reached when he said “It’s fine,” and took one step and immediately fell onto his knees into the trench. My Christmas wish came early.

Several days after our tree-getting adventure I found myself in the position of returning to work, which is very un-christmasy. On Thursday I worked for a few hours in the morning and Annabelle was in daycare all day in order to become accustomed to my leaving her with strangers each day. So while driving home from work Bryan said he needed to run an errand and asked if I wanted him to wait so I could go with him. I said yes because we both agreed sitting in the house alone while Annabelle was at daycare would be really sad and would also result in my picking her up early.

When he told me his errand was going to the local scrapyard I was torn. It seemed like a pretty lame way to spend an afternoon. But at the same time, sitting in my empty house missing my baby seemed unthinkable, and well…I had never been to a scrapyard before. SIGN ME UP.

So we loaded up the trailer (i.e. Bryan loaded the trailer and I sat in the truck checking Facebook and updating my Google contacts) with our wares. On this particular trip we were taking a stainless steel sink, some ductwork, an old woodburning stove, some chimney pipe, a furnace and a stove to the scrapyard. And yes…that means for the past several months we have had stainless steel sink, some ductwork, an old woodburning stove,some chimney pipe, a furnace and a stove in our yard. When Bryan turned the truck onto the street the scrapyard was on I was amazed. It was all I hoped it would be.

Initially I was unable to focus on the actual scrapyard and how it functioned because I immediately noticed that positioned 2 feet to the north of this scrapyard was a house. A residential home. A family intentionally chose to live next to PILES AND PILES of garbage. I suppose the upshot of this is that there is no real garbage smell as it is mostly metal, copper, steel, etc. It isn’t like dirty diapers and lettuce everywhere. But it was, to say the least, unsightly. As I was finally starting to move beyond the fact that there was a house so close to this scrapyard, a passenger train came through. I mean it came RIGHT THROUGH the scrapyard. So not only do the residents of this home wake each morning to gaze upon the majestic beauty of a pile of old washing machines, they are also treated the auditory pleasure of an Amtrak train (and train whistle) multiple times a day. Who lives in this house???? I lived a mile and a half from the airport at one point and wanted to rip my ears off and throw them down the garbage disposal.

It seems I have lost my train of thought (pun coincidental).

If you have never been to a scrapyard let me explain how it works. You pull your truck and trailer onto a scale and use your CB radio to radio to the office to get your weight. Incidentally I also learned that C.B. stands for “citizen’s band” which I never knew. I am telling you, Bryan and I are getting closer and closer to homeschooling Annabelle each day. So the scrapyard attendant (I gave her that title, I’m not sure what her official position with the company is) gets your weight and records it and looks to see what type of scrap you have. To give you an example, our stove would be considered “white goods” and must be placed in the white goods pile. The stainless steel sink would be in a different pile, etc. Bryan had to get out of the truck and go in the office and speak to the Scrapyard Attendant personally. I’m not sure what exactly transpired in that trailer. The details were sketchy. Did I neglect to mention the Scrapyard office was in a trailer?

So then Bryan pulled the truck into the yard and unloaded our items. I was slack jawed and mesmerized by everything I saw. I can’t really describe it so I’m hoping my scrapyard photos (through a cracked farmtruck windshield that was covered in mud) will help explain my fascination with this experience.

There was also a large piece of equipment that was moving “scrap” into a building that housed what can only be described as the conveyor belt from Toy Story 3! That terrifying scene at the end of Toy Story 3 had to have been dreamed up here at this very scrapyard. I’m sure the men operating the equipment thought was I from some sort of federal agency that regulates scrapyards because I just sat in the truck snapping pictures and looking from right to left and left to right like a crazy person.

After bryan finished unloading our items we then drove back over to the scale to get weighed again.

With the truck resting on the scale, Bryan invited me into the trailer to see how the transaction actually went down, but then cautioned me it was technically not “right” for me to get out of the truck because the original weight had been taken with me in the truck, so if I got out the truck, I would be included in the scrap weight. This raised a number of questions. Could this woman then calculate my exact weight if I got out of the truck? Could she calculate my exact weight if I stayed IN the truck? Would my own personal body weight be displayed on a sign somewhere on the grounds of this scrapyard? Would my weight be published in Scrapyard Weekly? Bryan tried to reassure me that my personal weight could not be calculated nor would it be displayed or published. He explained that my body weight would be included in the scrap weight and we would technically be paid for my weight. I am not nearly comfortable enough with my self worth to find out what my actual net worth in scrap metal would be. So I opted to remain in the truck while he went in.

While I sat in the truck I saw that directly across from me was a do-it yourself station to turn in your aluminum (i.e. soda and beer) cans for money. I was very surprised at the number of people that drop off cans for money on a Thursday afternoon. It also got me to thinking about all of our cans. Why are we just GIVING them to someone to recycle??? Aluminum cans pay $.52 a pound. Think of all I could buy with our can money. The can money combined with our furnace money would surely pay for new window treatments for our house, our annual car insurance premiums, and nice steak dinner at a nearby supper club. Basically, I pictured myself rolling around in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck.

It was at this point Bryan returned to the truck and handed me the cash. As Bryan pulled the truck out of the parking lot I unfolded the bills and licked the tip of my finger to promote faster counting. I skipped over the ones, and then paused at the two dollar bill…this was not a good sign. I looked at Bryan and said “A two dollar bill?” And he said “Sure, that’s the only place you can get a two dollar bill anymore.” As if this was something I had been asking him for. I continued to count the bills and stopped at fifty-three. Fifty-three dollars was probably not going to be enough to cover our insurance, the windows, and dinner. I couldn’t mask my disappointment. But in all fairness, if I had to get rid of all of that while I lived in the city we would have to pay the City of Milwaukee $50 to haul away each of those items, so we definitely came out ahead.

It was a new experience for me and I always enjoy new things. The only downfall is that now I find myself repeatedly taking inventory of each room and the contents of our shed to see if we have anything we can take to the scrapyard for money. I even offered to quit my job so I could go through other people’s garbage full time, but Bryan didn’t think it would generate enough income. He always has to ruin my fun.

So when my loved ones open up their Christmas gifts this year, I hope they appreciate that our old stove helped pay for them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This is not a garbage...

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate grocery shopping. HATE IT. In fact, while living in the city I ordered my groceries online and had them delivered, which was a magical experience. In case it isn’t painfully obvious, such a service is not available in my new location. So I am forced to go grocery shopping just like everyone else.

Since moving here I have dreaded grocery shopping. My most hated chore now includes 40 minutes of driving. And if I carelessly forget something (which I always do) I pretty much just have to live without it until the next time I am headed into town.

Yesterday I was afforded the rare luxury of grocery shopping on a week day morning, but also…without a baby taking up 93 percent of the cart space. It was…amazing! I have never known such an enjoyable experience as weekday, childless grocery shopping in a small town. I had my choice of parking spaces, my cart wheels all functioned to OSHA standards, and salespeople were tripping over themselves to assist me with my shopping needs!

This new shopping experience caused me to exhibit a rare moment of politeness and understanding to my fellow shoppers instead of threatening them with physical violence. There was a woman who angle parked her cart across the aisle to better examine store brand canned fruit vs. name brand canned fruit. Normally this type of behavior would elicit a verbal assault from me. So when she turned me and said “I’m sorry if I am in the way (Note: she did not say “I’m sorry, let me get out of the way” but instead apologized for being in the way and remained in the way. BIG DIFFERENCE between those two statements)” I was shocked at my response. I smiled and said “Don’t worry; I’m in absolutely no hurry at all.” And then it hit me: I am at my personal best at a small town grocery store without my baby at 8:47 a.m.

I was even able to pay attention to small details of grocery shopping that I had never noticed before. For example, my eyes happened to settle on a can of Reese’s Fancy Octopus and it inspired a great deal of deep thinking for my 20 minute commute home. I do not question Octopus as a canned good, since I am of Italian (please do not permit your inner dialogue to pronounce it EYE-talian) descent and octopus and squid are prevalent in Italian cuisine as three quarters of EYE-talie is surrounded by water.

What gummed up the inner workings of my little brain was the use of the word “fancy” to describe canned octopus. Does this mean there was another section that contained the casual octopus? Was there an even lower class of canned octopus that I had not even considered yet? And what made this particular octopus fancy? In a decade of shopping at big city grocery stores I had never seen one can of fancy octopus. I am sure it was there, but I was too busy hating grocery shopping to notice it.

When I went to leave the store there were actual store associates there not only to ring up my items, but also to bag them! I thought humans in the grocery stores were a protected species only visible during certain business hours and holidays so as to preserve their numbers. It was nothing short of miraculous.

When I exited the store, practically skipping and whistling, I noticed a very large sign hanging over two large blue receptacles asking for winter coats and canned goods for the local food pantry (the word “coats” was spelled with a “K” which caused me to cock my head to the side and wonder why it was necessary to spell Coats with a K. The word County was also on the sign, why wasn’t that spelled with a K too?).

I was trying to think if I had some canned goods I could part with when I noticed a supplemental sign Scotch taped to the front of each blue barrel. I simply couldn’t help myself, I snapped a picture as evidence:

The reason I took this picture was that it seemed very sad to me that the words “this is not a garbage can” was not clear enough. Apparently the barrel full of coats wasn’t enough to help people determine outerwear from garbage and warranted a sign. And worse yet, Not only did they have to BEG the general public to stop throwing trash in the charity bin, they had to explain where to put the garbage. And the sign “THIS IS NOT A GARBAGE” was so unclear to shoppers it had to be quantified with the statement “please put trash in its proper place.” This was all housed underneath a GIANT sign explaining the bins were for coats and canned goods.

I suppose it is possible someone could think it was a huge coincidence that everyone at the grocery store was throwing away their old coats and cans of food.

As I sit here writing this listening to Annabelle’s rave party music in her crib “soothing” her while she sleeps, I realize that I will be returning to work tomorrow. It makes me so sad. I hate to leave my baby. I hate to not bake a new cupcake or other tasty baked good every day. I hate to not be able to have my 2:00pm glass of Riesling. I hate to not get to watch QVC at my leisure. And I hate that I will never again have the pleasurable shopping experience I had yesterday morning and will be forced to return to a world where Fancy octopus does not exist, and I throw cigarette butts and gum wrappers into a blue garbage can mysteriously filled with children’s winter coats and canned carrots.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why did the turtle cross the road?

In addition to adapting to my new, very dark at night, rural residence, I am also trying to adapt to being a mom. It is a very strange experience. I constantly think about the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda has her baby and when they hand him to her she says something to the effect of, “It’s like there’s a giraffe in the room.” I realized that quoting SATC and trying to pretend that it is somehow profound is mildly annoying, but it is one of the better analogies I have heard about being a brand new mom.

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, and am astounded by my own stupidity on a daily basis. How many times do you allow your infant to fling her feet into her own excrement before you start being proactive about the issue? You would be very surprised at the answer.

So today I was supervising some tummy time in Annabelle’s crib, because I feel like a much better mother when there is some sort of structured activity for the baby. Sometimes this structured activity involves me 'encouraging' her to grasp a rattle in her little hand followed by watching her smack her own head with it followed by me apologizing profusely and checking to see if anyone saw.

Currently, she is painfully close to rolling over. The amount of effort this child puts in to trying to roll over amazes me. I don’t put that much effort into anything. On one attempt she was so close that I decided to give her a little helping hand...just a little shove to give her a taste of freedom.

Let me tell you that when I gave her that little shove and she rolled from her tummy to her back, the look on her face led me to believe I had made an error. It was the unmistakable look of “WTF?” It was a look of shock that very quickly evolved into anger. It was as if she was working so hard to remain on her tummy and I just ruined everything, and possibly her entire life.

It reminded me of the time I was in high school and my friend Eric and I were driving in his minivan and passed a turtle standing the middle of the road. Eric, being the person he was, turned the minivan around so we could go back and help the turtle across the road so it wouldn’t get run over. Me, being the person I was, could have cared less but was grateful for the opportunity to have a cigarette.

Eric very kindly picked up the turtle and took it to the grassy area at the other side of the road. And then after we were back in the minivan Eric said “I really hope that we didn’t just take that turtle back to the side of the road it started from, because that would be really unfortunate.” It didn’t occur to either of us that the turtle had spent the better part of the day trying to get across the road and now would have to start that perilous journey all over again.
This afternoon, it was possible I did the same thing to Annabelle. The parenting books available do not address this subject.

To further complicate things, the dogs are not yet used to life with a baby either. Milton believes all of her stuffed animals, blankets, teethers, etc. are his own personal items. So today, as a self-serving early Christmas present, I bought Milton and Bernie their very own dog bed. I bought them a bed to share. I don’t know why I thought this would be successful. See picture at right. Poor Bernie is just happy to have a corner of the bed to place his paw on.

So today when Annabelle was working hard at, what I now believe to be the breaststroke, I was squealing words of encouragement at her. The dogs, of course, assumed I was addressing them in a high squeaky voice so they came running from their bed where they had been laying(actually Milton came from the dog bed and Bernie had to drag himself off the cold floor as demonstrated in the above photo). The dogs running in our house always results in frantic Scooby-Doo feet on the hardwood floor.

You will hear me complain about dog toenails on hardwood floors A LOT. The sound of dog nails on a wood floor has become my most deeply loathed sound on the Earth. I hate it because it occurs at its loudest and most frequent at approximately 3 o’clock in the morning, and again at 5:45. Which results in my beginning each day by saying “I hate these fu*king dogs.”

So when I squealed encouragement at Annabelle, only to learn she just wanted to be left alone, the dogs came skating at full speed into her room which ended with me standing over Annabelle with camera in hand shouting “NO! Quiet! Stop it. Lay down!” I am certain Annabelle was seconds from rolling over until those dogs ruined it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The point of all this is that it doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. I have resigned myself to the fact that when Annabelle reaches a milestone I will not have the opportunity tear up and clap my hands and say, “Honey, bring the camera!” The moment will inevitably be ruined by either a miscalculated parental intervention on my part, or by me screaming a string of obscenities at our dogs.

Incidentally Annabelle’s structured activity time apparently ends at 6:00pm because right now as I type she is lying on my bed intently watching QVC. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today's Lessons...

I think it is important to learn new things all the time. I was just sitting here watching Milton pluck burs ( aka cockle burs aka sticktights according to Bryan) out of his fur and drop them onto the floor...the floor that I just swept. It didn't really bother me, I've given up on trying to keep this floor clean. But as soon as he dropped them on the floor, he tried to eat them. And he tried to eat them more than once. I just watched him pick one up and flop it around his mouth and spit it out. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Why does he not remember it isn't food each time? Why, look at all the things I learned today and have filed away for future reference...

This morning I was able to confirm that if you are dreaming that a spider is crawling up your leg, chances are it is really happening to you while you are sleeping. Please do not confuse this with the other lesson I recently learned: If you are dreaming you are at an all night rave, in reality your baby has figured out how to bash her obnoxious, "soothing" crib toy that flashes lights and plays techno music with her tiny militant fist in the middle of night.

And yesterday I learned that when I want to bake cookies, I must look in the bowl of my standing mixer before filling it with ingredients. Unless, of course, I am making Box Elder Bug cookies, in which case I can just pour the ingredients in and stir away. From now on the bowl must be checked and washed before each use, or I can no longer store it in its original home.

Sadly, I did not immediately apply this newly acquired knowledge to other areas. This morning I decided to have a quick snack in the form of a Clementine (aka a Cutie aka the Christmas Orange). When I snatched one from the bowl I saw a dark spot on it. I assumed it was some sort of Cutie-rot and set it down. When I set it down I saw that it was in fact not Cutie-rot. See picture at right.

You can imagine my disappointment. You are probably also wondering why I photographed it. Somehow texting "NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE BUGS. FOUND A BUG ON MY CUTIE" to Bryan didn't quite seem to accomplish what exactly I was trying to get across.

Unlike Milton, I do plan to apply this knowledge I acquired yesterday and today to many aspects of my life here in the country. From now on I will check all bowls, fresh fruits, and drinking glasses for rogue insects. I will also watch the floor while I am walking barefoot in the middle of the night. Please note: Box Elder bugs are prevalent in the city as well, so don't question my lifestyle.

I also learned that smells in my new house mean different things than they did in my house in they city. For example, in the morning when I smelled bacon, I learned that it is never actually going to be bacon. The smokey, mesquite smell I will be sniffing will be my dogs smelling of smoke from the woodstove. Our home, and hot water is heated exclusively by wood in an outdoor woodstove (feel free to take mental note of the size of it. I am comforted knowing I have finally achieved my dream of having a place where I can dispose of a body) as illustrated here. And each morning (and night) Bryan makes sure its full of wood before leaving for work. Our loyal dogs feel they must accompany Bryan over to the stove to help load it (I suppose out here we call that stoking? or stokin?). Which leaves them with the lingering smokey smell of what you would think would be a campfire smell, but has a definite hint of Mesquite or KC BBQ to it. So you can understand how I would get excited when I awoke to the smell, and then upon learning what the source of the smell was, briefly contemplated eating my pets. So actually, if you think about it that's really 2 lessons, isn't it? 1.) The smokey smell of morning bacon is your dogs. 2.) Do not eat your dogs.

And if you're worried that the wood bunker looks a little bare in the above photo, no worries. Annabelle and I won't be cold. I enjoy the view of this GIANT woodpile each morning while I sip my coffee.
Now that I think about it, Bryan smells like that Mesquite BBQ smell when he comes in at night. So lets just call that lesson #3. Should Armageddon or an Alive-esque situation occur, both the dogs and Bryan should know that they all smell like a pork sandwich and I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Look at all the things I learned! So what the hell is Milton's problem?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis the Season part I

So the oven was assembled and operational in time for Thanksgiving, and dinner went off without a hitch, despite the fact that just days before I had moved into this house and everything was in boxes piled in the kitchen. I was quite surprised actually. Usually holidays or events that I am hosting or somehow in charge of typically end up like some kind of Ringling Brothers sideshow. But this Thanksgiving was a success (see turkey at left). I was very thankful that the food was hot and marginally tasty. Actually, for never having cooked a turkey, I was quite pleased with myself.

Disclaimer: If you are squeamish you may want to stop reading at this point and just enjoy my turkey pic. Spoiler Alert: the next section ends in dog vomit.

So living where I live, it is hunting season over the Thanksgiving holiday. And since, as I may have mentioned in my previous post, I live in the heart of nowhere...there is a lot of hunting going on very near us. So very near us, that while preparing thanksgiving dinner there was a knock at the door, and upon opening it I was greeted with Blaze Orange.

"Good Morning. Do you hunt?" was the greeting I received from Johnny Blazeorange. And I looked at him (forgetting where I was) and laughed and said "Umm...no." He then politely asked if he and his Blazeorange brothers could have permission to shoot a deer (a buck-confirmed later in this story) on our property. I couldn't really think of a good reason to say no (Note: if you are reading this story and are an animal lover/activist...well just hate me quietly and stop reading because I'm guessing next winter there will be a post about slaughtering chickens, and possibly a pig if the price of bacon continues to rise) so in the true spirit of Thanksgiving and a bountiful harvest from land that is not your own, I said "Not at all! Go get your buck!" and off he went.

Unfortunately, what I did not know or consider was that hunters do not take their prize home to gut and dismantle. They do the gutting and dismantling where the deer falls. But Johnny Blazeorange was a considerate hunter and dragged his carcass across the road to someone else's land to gut it. I am sorry to report that this did not stop my black lab/spaniel mix, Milton, from wanting a little Thanksgiving snack of his own. A few hours later while sipping my Chateau St. Michelle, I gazed out my kitchen window and upon the beautiful rolling hills and fields, only to spot a black furry fleck in the distance...eating a deer carcass.

I finished my wine and did what I do best in life, pretended not to see it. Unfortunately... (please feel free to count the number of times you read "unfortunately..." in this post)Milton was determined to make sure we knew what a good hunter he was. Proudly displaying his ability to eat something that someone else has killed, he trotted home with a deer tail in his mouth. A lovely Thanksgiving sight to behold during dinner. My 8-year-old nephew made an astute observation by stating, "If Milton is starting a deer parts collection, he's got a good start." How true that was. A few days later Milton brought home a deer testicle from the same carcass. Thusly confirming that Johnny Blazeorange did in fact get himself a buck.

I wish I could say the deer tail and deer ball was the worst of it. Unfortunately...after our company had gone home and Bryan and I tucked Annabelle in for her Thanksgiving slumber, and I drifted off to sleep dreaming of leftover stuffing, I was awakened at midnight to Bryan springing out of bed shouting "Oh my God! Oh my god!" When I sat up to see what the trouble was, he shoved me back and said "Don't look over here!"

So many possibilities danced in my head! Was there a mouse? Or worse than a mouse, was there a centipede? No, there couldn't be a centipede it was too cold. Had Bryan wet the bed due to sheer exhaustion from one of my family holidays? As I considered the possibilities, I heard the unmistakable sound of dog toenails clicking on our wood floor reluctantly to the corner of the room. Followed almost immediately by Bryan's feet racing down the stairs and back up, and then the soft gentle rustling of paper towels being unrolled.

I started to get out of bed to assist with the cleanup (technically Milton is my dog though Bryan became his foster parent after I got pregnant and felt the pressure of dog-ownership was too much) and Bryan shouted at me "I said do not look over here!" I was surprised at his continued insistence. I have never been too squeamish when it came to doggy throw up. And then I remembered, my dog had been snacking on a deer carcass for most of the day. On top of that, we decided to be loving doggy parents and treated both dogs (Bernie is Bryan's dog and is too smart to eat deer carcass) to dog food drenched in turkey fat drippings for their own Thanksgiving dinner. It was at that point I heard Bryan gagging and dry-heaving.

Did I neglect to mention Milton chose to throw up in our bed? And that Bryan had rolled in it in his sleep and that's what led to the discovery that Milton had thrown up in our bed? Now this is the type of Elizabeth event that I am accustomed to. First turkey EVER comes out perfect? Family has a wonderful time and is proud of the work I have done? Well it is at that point the universe always says, "Take that, Elizabeth! How about we make your dog throw up deer parts in your bed on your brand new sheets and comforter in the middle of the night? Now we're talking!"

It is as a direct result of this evening that we now just store the paper towels and stain remover in our bedroom. Milton, however, has been sentenced to a lifetime of sleeping on the floor.

As a side note, I did ask Bryan the next morning why he yelled at me and wouldn't let me look or help with the cleanup. His response? "Because I knew if you saw what I saw you would have gotten in your car and left and never come back." I am lucky that way. I have found a man who not only knows me very well, but is willing to clean up regurgitated deer parts to preserve our little family unit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Moving day: Converting my life from Natural Gas to LP.

I know, I know...a city girl moving to the country is about as overdone and cliche as something can be. Be that as it may, here I sit on somewhere between 5 and 7 acres of land nestled snugly in between farmland and farmland. I cannot see another house from this house, and it is very dark out.

As I write this I am watching my almost-husband reassemble the brand new (very dismantled) stove so we can convert it from natural gas to LP.

These are not things "normal" people have to think about when they purchase a new stove. Normal people buy a stove, bring it home, and connect it- actually they have the company they purchased the stove from install and connect it- and the stove magically works. Out here you have a propane tank filled, by what I can only assume are some sort of middle of the night fuel vigilantes, and then you convert your appliance to LP. This ridiculous process seems to involve a lot of nuts and fittings. It also involves listening to one's almost-husband wonder why the rest of the world does not adapt to him and why he has to adapt to the rest of the world. I, as always, have no answer other than "I'm not sure, honey."

I am living with, engaged to, and have a baby with an honest, very hard-working man. A man so hard-working he wants to get chickens simply so our two-month-old baby, Annabelle, will have farm chores to do before school each morning. I am not opposed to owning chickens, nor am I opposed to our daughter having farm chores. But I guess in the interest of full-disclosure I cannot blame the chickens on Bryan.

I lobbied for the chickens because I like the idea of fresh eggs. I am not certain I enjoy the idea of chicken ownership or chicken maintenance. But I like the idea of using fresh eggs for baking (just like Martha). But since I am a fair-weather baker, it's probably best the chickens serve a dual purpose. The purposes essentially being: A tool to teach our daughter the value of hard work, and my being able to say "these eggs came from my chickens on my farm." But anyone who knows me knows that the first sign of chicken-related trouble or chicken-related ick will quickly extinguish my fresh egg fetish and they will then be Bryan's chickens...until someone asks where I got my eggs. Then they will again be my chickens. Despite the fact Bryan and I refer to them as Annabelle's chickens. Please do try to keep up. As you can see my new simplified life is quite complicated.

But I digress. Must.Get.Stove.Operational.

I neglected to mention that the stove must be reassembled and operational prior to Thanksgiving. In September I had a baby. One week prior to Thanksgiving I moved into a house that is still under construction. So the obvious thing for me to do was to tell my family it was really important to me to host Thanksgiving this year. But it should be fine, shouldn't it? I mean it isn't like everything I own is presently in boxes piled in my new kitchen where a Thanksgiving table should be....