Archive for May, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Dylan!

I stayed up waiting for daughter to call after she got back from her birthday shopping trip last night. I had to FORCE my eyes to stay open (I really was exhausted) but, after midnight, I couldn’t do it any longer. She called this morning. She said that she DID call me right after she got back from shopping because she fell asleep at 8:30 p.m., right after she called, and didn’t go until this morning! Heh. Dang roosters and alarm woke me before 6 a.m. Damnit. Happy children woke her up a little bit later.

She told me last night that whatever I got for Dylan, it had to be unbreakable. Whenever he gets something, he has to take it apart to see how it works. Then he “fixes” it. It shows that he has an active and curious mind, but it is kinda hard on computer and electronic components. Daughter also said that he wanted cowboy boots, but he’s not allowed to wear boots to day care. Ever. He’s not a walking advertisement for turning the other cheek. Nope.

I don’t think he’s going to do well in (traditional) school because he’s too curious, too active and a great believer in self defense (you pull my hair, I punch out your lights). I’m thinking that the MeeMaw School will probably be opening soon where, in addition to learning things like letters, numbers, and reading, he’ll also be digging in the dirt, growing veggies, shearing sheep, and learning how to form concrete, weld, repair automobiles, do electrical wiring, build fences, make furniture, train horses…all the sorts of things that the SwampKids learned when they were little, but living in the city sorta precludes some of those educational opportunities.

Now if I can just figure out a way to earn enough money to pay the bills while simultaneously schooling younguns…..

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Hypervigilance Gets A Little Tiring by Friday

After a week of hypervigilance among children who will hurt themselves and each other (and staff members) at lightning speed if they are given the teensiest opportunity, when Friday afternoon rolls around and the kids are safely on the bus home, I start doing weird stuff. I went to a fund raiser at a fast food place, placed my order (a milkshake) and some food for SwampMan. Then I chatted with my friends, walked out, tossed SwampMan’s bag of food into the trash with my empty drink cup, got into my vehicle and was leaving when I realized what I had done, and had to come inside and reorder to everyone’s great amusement.

I dunno whether it is because when the danger is over, I let down waaaaaay too much, or whether it is due to lack of sleep. (Or maybe too many birthdays?) So far this week, I’ve lost my cellphone, a couple books and magazines (before I read them), and almost forgot little Dylan’s fourth birthday tomorrow. I did, when I figured out that Dylan’s birthday was Saturday, remember to call Mommy to see if she needed any assistance with birthday shopping, but she was planning on doing that tonight. Giant slap to the head for not calling sooner, but the time is just speeding by so quickly that I wasn’t aware of how far into the month we’ve come!

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Pareto Principal in the Sheep Flock

Since I spend a lot of my free time out standing in my field, I have had occasion recently to ponder the Pareto Principal aka the 80/20 rule, in which 80% of my problems will come from 20% of my sheep.

I ponder this as I look at my little weak lamb, hovering between life and death and not making a firm committment in either direction. He’s half the size of a lamb born 2 weeks later, and the little 4 lb. preemie has nearly caught up to him and is much, much more lively. He’s never grown. He’s not eating like he should. I spend most of my time with the sheep worrying over him, trying to coax him to eat, buying expensive supplements for the whole flock in the hope that something will magically make him thrive, and hovering over him at the feed trough in order to make sure that he has room and enough to eat. *sigh* I’ve already spent more time, effort, and money on him than all the other lambs which are all healthy.

I suppose I should stop all my efforts and just let him die.

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Dang, I Hate Mondays

Have you ever just known when you went in to work in the morning that it was going to be a bad day? I just started off slightly bad by sleeping through the alarm and getting up 1/2 an hour late. AAAAAAAACK! Minimal grooming, dressing, then racing around like a maniac slinging feed at everything that was awake and begging at the fence, jumping in the vehicle and stomping on the accelerator to make it to work on time. Yikes. I pledged to drive extra slow on the way home to make up for the burned gas that I couldn’t really afford. No time before I left for breakfast and/or sweet tea. No time to stop for a caffeine fix on the way in (and no money for that, either). After signing in, I found a gift certificate good at one of the fast food eateries for staff appreciation week, as well as an insulated mug in my mailbox. Oooooooh. Just the THING to dump sweet tea in on the way out the door in the morning. Yay! Maybe my day was on the mend! Ooooh, and a package of M&Ms, too. Sweet.

When I got to the classroom, I heard twin screams in the back from other staff members. There was a giant cockroach in the coffee maker. It was in the back of the coffee maker behind the water tube, waggling his antennae (and probably his private parts) at them in sneering defiance. Made me glad I drink tea instead of coffee. Sucker was 3″ long. I dropped my mug with the fast food gift card along with my M&Ms and some paperwork and ran outside to get the kids off the buses.

The kids were not happy to be back at school after a weekend, and some expressed their displeasure by cursing at me, spitting at me, and kicking me in the shins. Breakfast was not much better as they fussed and fought with each other as well as the adults. *sigh*

I keep pretty good order among the sheep at feeding time. The adults eat at one feed trough, the youths at another. They’re pretty polite eaters because I whack the ones that get too aggressive with my shepherd’s crook. They will not let me bring my shepherd’s crook to school. Pity.

By lunch time, I’d sustained several more kicks, pinches, slaps, scratches, and a few minor bites and an attempt at a major bite. Maybe it is all because my attitude could best be described as totally pissed off today. We have five weeks of this school year left, but who’s counting? (ME! ME!)

By the time they got on the school bus, my butt was draggin’. After school duty time! Then back to the classroom after work to get ready for the next day, then time to grab my mug and gift card and go pick up some fast food because I’m broke. Went to the back–my paperwork and candy was there, but the mug and gift card were gone. I suppose somebody passing through for the bathrooms thought it was theirs (or wanted it) and took it with them. Dang. I was hungry (and thirsty!) but broke. Oh, well. I still had my M&Ms. I was walking to the front to sign out when they slipped out of my hands, broke open, and scattered all over the dirt. *sigh* Guess eating anything before supper was not to be.

I got home and tried to find my feed receipt from Saturday. I’d been shorted a bag of feed and wanted to prove I’d paid for it, but it was missing. Great. I’d have to pay another $15 for a sack of feed that I’d already paid $15 for but didn’t get. Damnit. Then I took care of livestock until 10 p.m. while SwampMan cooked chicken wings and a frozen casserole from the store. Now it’s 11 p.m., I still have to iron, wash dishes, take a shower, and head to bed. Something tells me that tomorrow morning will probably turn out poorly, too, since I have an eye swollen shut from an allergic reaction to something, and I’m gonna pop a couple Benadryl before I go to bed!

Tuesday Update:

Monday was so bad that I forgot to click “publish”!

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Happy Mother’s Day

To the women that bore us, loved us unconditionally, kissed our boo boos, housebroke us, made us eat our veggies, made us take baths, brush teeth, and comb our hair, put on underwear AND clothes and insisted that the clothing was clean and matched just to play in the yard, told us that coffee (or tea, or soda, or candy) would stunt our growth, spanked our bottoms, didn’t kill us when we doused ourselves with ALL her very expensive perfume, bath products, and then painted our entire face with lipstick and eyeshadow, made us go to school and do our homework when we did not want to, corrected our spelling of bad words, washed our mouths out with soap for correctly using those bad words, made us go to bed at a reasonable hour, made us get up waaaaay too early once we became teenagers, made us learn skills of daily living, took us to church, tolerated our friends, took us to social events, told us that we were going out in public wearing those clothes over OUR dead bodies, waits up until we get home every time, imagining us lying dead beside the road if we’re even a minute late, sympathized with us over the boyfriend/girlfriend broken hearts while inwardly rejoicing that that person was GONE without once outwardly showing her jubilation:

Happy Mother’s Day. Hope it was was worth it!

Speaking as a mother, it definitely WAS, although my maternal worries about the children have been expanded to include grandchildren, and MY mother is still worrying about me! She calls me weekly to tell me to quit my job because she worries about ME getting kicked and bitten at work. You would think, from our conversation, that I was about 4 feet tall with a weight of maybe 80 lbs. (My mother is a teensy little woman. I’m closer to 6′ tall. And I do NOT weigh 80 lbs.) Those maternal worries never go away, do they?

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Tired

A new premature lamb was born after I thought lambing was finished. He’s about 4 lbs. and *very* tiny. He’s vocal, though, and EVERYBODY knows when he’s lost, hungry, etc. which happens frequently. So far, his mommy seems to be taking very good care of him when she remembers that she actually HAS a lamb. *sigh* Dang teen moms.

I have another lamb that is just barely alive. He’s a walking skeleton. I’ve force fed a bottle; he spits out the milk. I’ve given him (goat and ewe) milk in a saucer; he turns up his nose. I’ve put sheep milk replacer powder in his creep feed. He eats so slowly that he’s knocked out of the way by the bigger, stronger lambs unless I’m standing over the top of him whacking them away with a bucket. His mom pushes him up to her udder; he stands there and doesn’t drink. I don’t see how he’s still alive. Him dying would make my evenings a lot easier!

I outdid myself tonight. I picked up a board in the dark that the sheep had knocked out of their feeder. I was afraid that there would be nails protruding from it, and didn’t want anybody (sheep or human!) stepping on it. I turned around to pick up my bucket, keeping a firm grip on the board, and whacked the other side of it into a fencepost. Dang. A nail WAS driven into somebody, but, thank goodness, not the lambs. My thumb and palm have deep puncture wounds, and it looks like there are broken wood fragments in there, too. (Yeah, I whacked that post HARD.) What’d I do? Scream? Cry? Curse? Nah. Finished feeding, of course. I didn’t toss out the hay; that will have to wait until morning.

I’d dripped blood all over the handle of the bucket, switched carrying hands, and came inside with not one but TWO bloody palms! A little antibacterial soap, some Neosporin, and several Band-Aids, and I was ready to cook dinner.

There won’t be any dishwashing tonight. Sniff sniff.

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Recovery? Not From Where Son is Standing.

Son works for a company that does large industrial projects for both the public and private sectors. Work, while not fantastic, was steady until the prices started really shooting up in the grocery stores and the gas stations due to the dollar devaluations. Upcoming projects have suddenly been cancelled. The company has gone from steady work to no work. They’re laying off almost all their employees this week.

Son is one of those extremely skilled people that are in high demand and, in fact, another company has made him an offer, albeit at a lower rate. His main concern is that this is the extremely busy season for his type of work and layoffs in the spring mean that, by winter, there will be nothing.

Son has a big garden and is planning on freezing and canning a lot of produce this spring, summer, and fall, with a big winter garden as well. He’s cut waaaay back on his expenses–using the bare minimum of electricity by not even turning on the lights until time to go inside, shower, and then go to bed with lights out again. No AC. Cooking outside on the grill. Working in the garden after dark by flashlight. Momma here (grin) is supplying him with some layers and pullets as soon as he gets his pen ready, along with some fryers come fall. He’ll be puttin’ deer in the freezer this fall as well, maybe a wild hog or two, and this has been a bumper year for squirrel.

He’s using the “D” word (depression) now for conditions in his industry.

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