Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flashback..Kindergarten Blues

I was going through old files on my computer the other day and came across this gem, written on Ryder's first day of kindergarten.  The first day of kindergarten that now, 3 1/2 years later seems like an eternity ago but just yesterday at the same time.  I've learned that's the way of the parental timezone.  Time stands still and flies by at the speed of the light simultaneously. 

August 21, 2008

It’s fitting that it was drizzling and dreary out this morning, I’m pretty sure that was a sign of God’s sympathy as we sent our baby off to kindergarten. Yep, we did it. As tempting as it was to say he’s too young we’ll send him next year we stuck to our guns and let him go. It’s like ripping off a bandaid, it would just hurt worse next year so might as well do it now. But it was every bit as terrible as we expected.

Up until last week, Ryder kept saying he didn’t want to go to school and would even get the trembling lip and watering eyes when talking about kindergarten and said he wasn’t ready to go yet. The good mom part of me was thinking “oh man, this first day is going to be rough, he’s going to be clinging on to us, begging us not to go and I need to really talk kindergarten up so he’ll be ready”, the other bad mom part of me was thinking “cool, we’ll just wait til next year, I’m not ready for him to go either.” But then something changed one day last week, and he looked up at me with that adorable baby face and big blue eyes and said “Mommy, don’t be sad I’m ready to go to kindergarten now.” Oh man, there goes my plan. Time to prepare for the worst.

Last night, the plan was to get them into bed by 8:30. You can imagine how that went. Two little boys finally fell asleep at about 9:45. That could’ve made for some really grouchy kids this morning. But when GI Joe went in to wake Ryder up this morning he was his normal sleepy self until GI Joe said “c’mon buddy you get to go to school today”, and with that magic word of school, Ryder BOUNCED out of bed and into the kitchen for his breakfast of champions. By 7:00 Ryder was dressed, teeth brushed, shoes on and ready to go. Too bad the bus didn’t come for 30 more minutes. We killed some time by taking the standard 1st day of school pictures, or should I say photo documentary. Ryder was more than happy to oblige, some with the backpack, some without, whatever I wanted, he was in rare form. Dakota and Blade on the other hand barely tolerated it but I got some of them as well.

Then at about 7:30 I heard the dreaded sound. The sound of the schoolbus coming up the road. Before I could even get my shoes on, and the camera lens off the camera, the 3 of them had sprinted out the door and were running towards the bus, Ryder bringing up the rear. Picture this if you will, me in my skirt and high heels in the rain, camera in hand, trying to run after them to get at least one picture of Ryder getting on the bus. Yeah I’m sure it was a sight but I didn’t care, that was my BABY!!! Needless to say I got only one picture of the “bus moment” and Ryder is a bit of a blur. Kinda fitting for the way I’ll remember this day, as a bit of a sad blur.

I gave it about 10 minutes and then hopped in my car to head for the school. I get there just as their bus is pulling in, phew! I got to the sidewalk just as kids start getting off the bus, first Dakota, then Blade, then Ryder. I immediately started quizzing Blade and Dakota to make sure that one of them sat with Ryder. I still haven’t confirmed who sat with him if either, but he didn’t seem traumatized so that was a relief. I forced them all to come over to our annual “in front of the school” photo backdrop for yet another round of pictures. Ryder and Blade were both now slightly irritated with me as they just wanted to get to their classrooms. Dakota has learned to just humor me and it will go much faster. Pictures done, I let Dakota and Blade take off for their classrooms, I of course will stop by momentarily to photograph them even more. So Ryder and I get to his classroom, pause for another photo op, then go inside and get him settled. I think at this point he’s ready for me to cut the apron strings and leave, but I’m not ready to do that yet. I dilly dally as he puts his stuff away. I finally decide it’s time for me to move on. I tell him to give me a hug. He says “MOMMY!!” in an exasperated tone as if to comply with my sentimental  wishes  would tarnish his cool kid reputation for the remainder of his educational career. I pick him up and give him a big ol’ hug and kiss anyway. He laughs and tells me to put him down. Reluctantly, I do and then turn to leave. Stealing one more glance at our baby boy. Can this really be happening? Will he still hold his arms up for me to pick him up now that he’s a kindergartner? I hope so. I know that I'll blink and it'll be his senior year and we'll be visiting colleges and arguing about curfews.  But for today, I'm just going to savor the fact that this is just kindergarten and we get to keep him for another 12 years and that he still lets me pick him up and give him hugs and kisses. That might be hard to do on his first day of college.  But I'm willing to bet the farm that I'll try because no matter how big or old he gets, he'll always be my baby.  I just may throw my back out doing it.  :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Llama Drama Part 2

Quick Recap:  Wally/Conway the Llama got very sick, we hauled him over 309 20 acres on a toboggan, hand fed him for days, took him to the vet, the vet gave us bad news and then, well, the rest sucks.  Actually, the whole thing sucks ,except for the part where GI Joe told me, "you need to lose some weight mama llama", that was pretty hilarious, I guess.

Back to the story....

After the awful deed had been done, GI Joe took me to a nearby cupcake bakery because it's a proven fact that cupcakes make everything better.  We split a French Silk Cupcake and each got a latte to wash it down with.  The cupcake was good, I don't know if I'd say it was Suck It Up Cupcakes good but that could be because the frosting ratio was low compared to the amount of cupcake and I like my frosting at an almost equal proportion to the cake.   I could also be saying that because I'm insanely jealous that they opened a cupcake shop and get to do that for a living where I''m just a moonlighting cupcake baker. 

While we were eating our cupcake, I began doing what I always do when we lose an animal....I started looking for a new one.  Now, don't judge me that's just how I cope.  When we lost our first dog years ago, I had a new puppy a week later.  It's not that I'm replacing the one I lost, it just serves as a welcome distraction to help my aching heart.  GI Joe and I had already discussed and decided on exactly what we wanted in our next llama; young so we could hand raise them and make them think they were a dog, sweet disposition, and a boy because as a rule female llamas are more standoffish and skittish than their male counterparts, and we, I mean he, set a llama spending limit because that's what he does.  A quick Craig's list search of our area and within a 90 mile radius of us turned up nothing.  Then I realized we were going to be in the Omaha area that weekend for my family Christmas so I expanded the search.  And wouldn't you know, the first ad that came up read like this:  For Sale:   Baby llamas, male and female, 8 months old, sweet disposition, the male thinks he's a cat and likes to rub up against you and get in your face for kisses.  The female takes awhile to warm up but once she does she'll eat out of your hand.  Would not be hard to halter train either of them."  WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE.  Was that every single quality we were looking for?  Yes, yes it was. AND it was below the predetermined llama budget, SCORE!    The ad had been posted a few days prior so I was sure it was too good to be true and I'd call and find out the male llama had been sold.  But that wasn't the case.  The stars aligned, another couple that had said they were going to buy the llama backed out, and viola,  we had a new llama!  It was meant to be. 

We took the horse trailer with us to our family Christmas because we like to make an entrance and nothing says the hillbilly family is in town than a rusty, 30 year old horse trailer parked in the driveway of my parents' house in their lovely little lakeside community.  After we celebrated Christmas, GI Joe and I left the kids with my Dad & Smom and made the 90 minute journey to a small town in NE to meet our new addition.  We pulled into the farm and went over to the fence where the llamas were and up sauntered this very cute white llama w/ a little brown spot on his booty.  He immediately put his nose right in our faces and demanded to be pet. I wasn't sure if this was the llama we were getting but I sure hoped so as he reminded me so much of Wally/Conway.  The farmer came out and said, "I see you've met Boise, that's one of the ones we have for sale.." And before he could finish, I said, "We'll take him, he's the one we want." It was love at first llama sight. 

We loaded him up and went on our merry way.  At every stop on the way back to Dad and Smom's, we'd check on him in the horse trailer and he was just laying there, hanging out.  Unless we got in the horse trailer, at which point he'd put his head our shoulders and blow his stinky llama breath all over us.  He could not be more perfect.

Don't let the tough exterior fool you, this guy loves his llama

I'm happy to report that Boise is still doing great, and has adjusted to life at the Koons Zoo swimmingly.  His favorite barnyard friend is Hormel the Hog (you know, the one that should be bacon by now) and every time we walk outside his ears perk up and he saunters up to the fence looking for some lovin'.  A common saying in our house is "Have you hugged the llama today?"  I'm thinking about having t-shirts made.  :) 

While he doesn't in any way replace Wally/Conway, his disgusting llama kisses and full body hugs certainly help fill the void.  

RIP Wally/Conway, we'll never forget you.

Welcome to the family Boise, we're glad you're here. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Food Friday

I think I'm going to start a new thing on the blog called Food Friday. While sometimes I may be afflicted with writer's block and am not sure what new stories to tell you from our zoo, one thing is for certain, not a day goes by that we don't EAT. I love to try new recipes, I love to cook, and most importantly I love to eat (obviously). So with that being said, every Friday I'm going to post a few recipes I've tried recently and loved. I am the girl known to send my sisters and smom random emails that say things like "You NEED to try this recipe ASAP. Hilary, it's really easy YOU CAN DO IT! You're welcome." Don't you wish I was your sister? I know. Sidenote: Hilary is the one out of all of us who cooks because she has to not because she likes to, so easy and fast is of upmost importance to her.

Here are a few recipes from recent weeks/events that warrant entry on the first Food Friday.

Cookie Dough Dip-Yes, you read that right. COOKIE.DOUGH.DIP. I mean, HAVE YOU EVER?!? Genius. And it's easy. It was one of the items at our SuperBowl party that people were powerless to resist. I was in a bit of a haze after this commercial but I distinctly remember repeat trips to this dip bowl. It may have been the only thing saving me from certain marital embarrassment. I just pretended I was oohing, aahing, drooling, and hyperventilating over this dip instead of Mr. Beckham. But you know the truth. Ok, it was a little of both. The dip is THAT good, "that" being good-as-David-Beckham-in-his-underwear good, which is saying a lot. You understand.
The recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs  Every recipe I've tried from there has been perfection and I'm quite certain that if Mrs. How Sweet and I met in person we'd be BFF's. She seems to have some very princesslike tendencies, is admittedly high maintenance, loves sparkly things and pink, so you know, basically my twin. And when she posted this recipe my love for her deepened. Have you ever made cookies and only one or two dozen get baked because you and your beloved dish the dough out in bowls and eat it with a spoon while watching CSI? Yeah me either, just wondering. Now you can do that in a socially acceptable manner without the fear of salmonella. See? Genius.
Here's the recipe Cookie Dough Dip.  I made it exactly as posted for the SuperBowl party and it was obviously delish but next time I think I'm going to cut the cream cheese amount by an ounce or so and make up for it in butter.  Because it did have a slight cream cheese tang that isn't authentic to cookie dough but let's be honest it was still wonderful.  Follow the recipe the first time then adjust to your tastes the next time, and there will be a next time.  Now go forth and make cookie dough dip! 

So this may seem like an odd time to tell you that I've been trying to cook and eat healthier, aside from SuperBowl of course. C'mon it was the SUPERBOWL aka the football game that apparently was on before and after that David Beckham commercial. I just don't understand why I can't find a diet plan that includes butter, chips and salsa, and Reese's Eggs on the daily requirement list. Sigh. But I have found some good recipes that don't include any of those things and feel it's my civic duty to share with you.

Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps
This comes from another food blog that I enjoy and use regularly, my kind of girl. It's the same blog that brought us CAKE BATTER BALLS, so how could anything on there be wrong?!?

Back to the Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps, it's fine if you eat 5 of them because they're HEALTHY, or at least that's what GI Joe and I told ourselves. And trust me you'll want to eat 5 of them. So good. I omitted the celery because celery is gross but left the carrots in. Anytime I can sneak in veggies I will, except celery of course because again, IT'S NASTY. But the carrots were entirely unnoticeable and acceptable in this dish. GI Joe actually prepared this recipe...wearing an apron...a cupcake apron.

I'm sure that attributed to it's deliciousness as well. Since he was cooking, he was slightly more liberal with the amount of hot sauce used because we like to keep things spicy...OUR FOOD PEOPLE, OUR FOOD. This isn't last week's episode of Khloe & Lamar after all.

Give both of these and try and if you do feel free to express your undying love to me let me know how you like them. 

Happy eating and happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Llama Drama

I'm finally in a place where I can tell you about our llama drama of a few weeks ago. This is going to be a long haul so get your energy drink, a protein bar, and some Kleenex.

So remember when I was so excited because I'd finally gotten a girl llama to..ahem.."straighten" out our brokeback llamas? I named her Dolly and abruptly fell in love with her friendliness, her nose in my face, and her very stinky llama kisses. But then remember how one day last summer the wind blew just right, the fur parted, and I discovered we'd been living a lie and that Dolly was actually a Wally? I didn't love her/him any less of course, but it did explain why we hadn't had a llama baby. I then determined that we needed an ACTUAL proven girl llama and GI Joe surprised me with one, the romance is still alive. We named her Loretta Lynn Llama and renamed Wally to Conway (as in Twitty) because they fell in love and were going to have a beautiful, baby llama filled life together just like the epic country love of yesteryear. Oh wait, the original Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty didn't leave a legacy of llamas behind? Huh, weird.
Conway formerly known as Wally formerly known as Dolly is quite the looker, no?

Our llama legacy plans were foiled when on Christmas Eve Day, GI Joe discovered that coyotes (or something, mountain lions? cougars? bears? ok probably not bears since this is Iowa and all but maybe one of the others, however we're still leaning towards coyotes) had gotten one of our brokeback llamas, killing him, and had maimed Loretta Lynn Llama so she was just barely alive. She had no chance of survival so GI Joe humanely put her down, don't ask me how because I don't want or need to know those details. It's always sad when we lose animals and we'd already lost the other brokeback llama to unknown causes last fall, but it wasn't ugly cry sad because neither one of those llamas had ever let me give them hugs or take pictures with me, so I wasn't bonded with them. I was just relieved that Wally/Conway was still alive and unharmed, because him? I was totally bonded with. For those of you who don't think animals have feelings (GI JOE I'M TALKING TO YOU), Wally was heartbroken. He hung around the place where his beloved had died for days, weeks even, as if he was waiting for her to come back. She was at the top of a hill way behind our house in the back 40 and it made us really nervous that he was hanging out there because we knew coyotes (or bears?) ran that area and didn't want him to fall victim next. Every day I would go to our back fence and scan the hilltop for him and could always spot him just hanging out so I'd yell his name, he'd look at me, and I'd go about my merry way. Finally, he started wandering further from that place and resumed normal grazing on safer pasture with the horses but would still return to that spot at night. We were happy that he was wandering further and figured he'd eventually move on and hang out up near the barnyard and our house like he had before.

Until one morning, I couldn't spot him on the hill and I couldn't see him anywhere in the pasture. I had a sinking feeling and resolved that as soon as I got home from work I was going to go check on him. But I knew something was wrong. When I got home that night (GI Joe was working late...of all nights), I put on my pretty pink Carhartts for their maiden voyage and dragged the kids out with me. The weather was mild and it was actually an enjoyable walk to the back 40, well except for the "why do we have to walk so far to check on a dumb llama?" and the "why can't I just stay inside and draw?" and "it's YOUR llama anyway". Children are a blessing I tell you, except for this night. Oh and did I mention that they had killed the battery on the four wheeler the day before so it wasn't usable.  A blessing, I tell you.  :) Normally, when I yelled for Wally, he'd come running or at least come to where I could see him so he could determine if it was worth coming all the way to me. We yelled and yelled and as we made the trek up the hill near the spot where Loretta Lynn had met her demise, my sinking feeling got worse. Just over the hilltop a little ways further back from where we'd found Loretta, we found Wally. He was laying on his side with his head down and when we first saw him I thought he was dead. The waterworks started but then I got over to him and we discovered that he was still alive! I looked him over for injuries, blood, evidence of foul play but could find none. He lifted his head just barely at me but that was as much as he moved. This was bad, this was very bad. From our experience with llamas, usually by the time you know a llama is ill, it's too late. But I was slightly encouraged that he was still able to move his neck and that there wasn't any blood. I cried (alot), pet him and then devised a plan. Oh and then I got REALLY ticked off at the kids and yelled at them (and I'm not sorry) because their behavior and insensitivity was completely disgusting. We left him there and made our way back to the house. I left the kids in the house because frankly at this point, it was better that we have our space, and they went about their merry business of playing Wii and drawing, as if it were just another day and OUR LLAMA WASN'T DYING. Oh yes, mama was HOT. I filled my Prairie Princess Pink Carhartt jacket with feed and filled a bucket with water to take to him and made the trek back up and over the hill.  He was hungry so I hand fed him everything I had stashed in my pockets and tried to get him to drink a little.  I was encouraged that he was hungry so I decided there was still hope.  I made another trip back to the house to get some antibiotics I knew we had from when Holy Cow had been ill when we first got him.  And then I, city girl turned country, walked back to Wally and gave him a shot using a giant livestock syringe and needle.  Oh and did I mention I HAD TO DO MATH TO FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH TO GIVE HIM?!?  I did.   Who am I and when did I get to be such a farmgirl?!?  I'm proud to say that my shot giving abilities were perfect and I didn't draw blood and he barely flinched.  I think this means I'm basically a veterinarian (again).  I had no idea what was wrong but figured, in my professional veterinarian opinion, that whatever it was antibiotics couldn't hurt the situation.  I think I made 7 trips up and down that hill, you guys it's a HUGE HILL, and across about 20 acres that night and each time I approached him I was sure I'd find him dead but he was still alive every time.  On my last trip up there for the night I took an old comforter from our linen closet and covered him with it.  I did this for 2 reasons..1) I hoped the human scent on it would deter any predators from coming near him.  I have no idea if this has any scientific bearing but it sounded logical.  2) That it would keep him warm.  So yeah, I tucked my llama in for the night in the back 40 covered in a hunter green and navy comforter circa 1998.   The only bright side of the night, besides getting rid of that hideous comforter, was that since I had logged a lot of miles and my legs were basically jello from all the exertion I figured I was entitled to chocolate chip cookies cookie dough guilt free.  Woo hoo! 
The next morning GI Joe was on llama duty as I couldn't bear the thought of finding Wally having fallen victim to coyotes.  GI Joe waited til I got to work and then went to check on him and discovered that he was still alive, much to our surprise.  We decided that as soon as we got home that evening we would implement Operation Llama Rescue.  I should've excused myself to a dark conference room at work to rest up because I was going to need it. 
That night GI Joe tried jumpstarting the 4 wheeler as our best option was to take the 4 wheeler up there with our 8 foot rescue toboggan hooked up to it and load him on that to take him to the barn.  Of course, he could not get the 4wheeler started...awesome.  And we couldn't take the truck back there because there's a creek that stands between our house and that hill and the crossing was way too muddy.  So we did what any level headed hillbillies would do, we decided we'd just have to push/pull/drag him down the hill into the barn using the rescue toboggan.  A great theory.  Except that Wally weighed about 350 pounds and there wasn't any snow on the ground to help the toboggan move smoothly.  And this is when I realized for the 1000th time what a stud my husband is.  He wrapped the rope that was attached to the toboggan "world's toughest man" style around his chest and back and PULLED.  Meanwhile, I was on my knees at the other end of the toboggan pushing.  Blade was holding the flashlight because of course it got dark quick, and making sure Wally's head stayed on the toboggan.  GI Joe would pull 5 feet or so and then we'd stop for a break because I'm not sure if you're aware or not but dragging a 350 pound llama on an 8 foot rescue sled over muddy ground is a bit draining.  I thought I was going to die and I wasn't even doing a tenth of the work, it was insane.  It took us about 45 minutes to drag/push/pull Wally over the hill, down the hill, and to the creek crossing.  And then we couldn't pull him any further, he was stuck. 
Move llama in a rescue sled can now be checked off of my "things I never thought I'd do or see" list

As we were standing there, both GI Joe and I bent over with our head between our legs, trying not to puke, and barely able to catch our breath GI Joe looked at Wally and then at me and said, "You need to lose some weight mama!"  I looked at him incredously, unable to mask my fury as I UNLEASHED ON HIM.  "HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT AFTER I JUST HELPED YOU GET HIM ALL THE WAY DOWN THE HILL TO HERE...ON MY KNEES?!?  AND YOU KNOW I'VE BEEN TRYING TO LOSE SOME AND I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD EVER SAY THAT TO ME BUT ESPECIALLY NOW AFTER ALL THE WORK I JUST HELPED YOU DO?!?"  And yes it really was all in caps, I was THAT mad.  I mean THE NERVE.  And then he looked at me flabbergasted and said, "I said, you need to lose some weight LLAMA!  LLAMA!  As in it wouldn't have been so hard for us to haul him all this way if he didn't weigh 350 stinkin' pounds. Wow."
Oops.  And then we laughed, or tried to laugh but it's kind of hard to when you can hardly breathe and are waffling between throwing up and passing out at any given second. 
Since we couldn't move Wally any further, you know since I'm such a heavyweight and worthless when it comes to manual labor and all, GI Joe decided to go tinker with the 4 wheeler and try to get it started and running just long enough to pull Wally into the barn, which at this point was a mere 50 feet away. 
And it worked!  We got him pulled in there and set up with a nice warm straw bed, more food, and another shot of antibiotics.  We really thought when we left him that night we would come down the next morning and he'd be up walking around. 
But that was not meant to be.  He didn't make any changes, good or bad, for the next 2 days. We hand fed him, watered him by syringe and I gave him Pepto Bismo.  That's right Pepto Bismo because I thought he had something like what horses get called colic where their stomach can't digest something and it makes them miserable and unable to move around much until it gets better or is treated.  Hey, if I can cure a turkey with cayenne paper I thought Pepto BIsmo was a reasonable idea.  Finally, we decided that maybe it wasn't certain death and it would be worth a vet visit.  By this time we thought it was probably pnuemonia and that he probably just needed some stronger antibiotics and some steroids for the inflammation.  We both arranged to take that Friday off and got him an appointment with the farm vet near us.  We decided we would load him up and take him to the vet clinic to save the expense of an expensive farm visit as we thought that money would be better used for his treatment, and besides at this point after our very strenuous llama workout, we were basically made of steel and muscles and would just pick him up, throw him over our shoulders and set him down gently in the horse trailer. 
We got him loaded without any problems or pulled muscles (ours not his) and made our way to the vet's office.  We were sure it would be as simple as a shot to cure him right up.  We were wrong.  Really wrong.
It suddenly turned into WORST DAY EVER.  The vet didn't yell at me at all when I told him what all we'd given him (ie: calf antibiotic, followed by an even stronger antibiotic, and of course the Pepto Bismo).  He was very nice and sympathetic when he broke it to us.  And he had to very clearly spell it out for me because I was not getting it and kept waiting for him to say, "I'll just give him a shot of this here drug and he'll be as good as new after a few days rest and plenty of fluids."  But he never said that, instead he told us that Wally had a parasite that comes from oppossums that ultimately and quickly causes paralysis and death.  It's specific only to llamas and there's no real prevention or cure for it.  And it still did not register with me.  Until, GI Joe said to the vet, "I guess our only option is to put him down isn't it?"  *Insert Prairie Princess ugly cry here* and he responded with a solemn, "yes, it's the only option and the most humane thing."  Humane for Wally maybe but notsomuch on my heart.  This was my llama, ya'll.  I'm tearing up just reliving it for this blog post. 
The vet left GI Joe and I alone in the horse trailer with Wally where we pet him and whispered what a sweet sweet boy he was in his ear and told him how much we loved him and how much we were going to miss him.  And then the vet quietly came back with the supplies he needed to carry out the inevitable or at least I think he did I couldn't really see given the sheets of tears falling out of my eyes. GI Joe and I stroked Wally's head while the vet gave him an injection and we slowly saw the life leave our llama.  It was absolutely heart wrenching and awful, but I knew we had done everything we could do for him and that there wasn't anything we could've done differently.  No regrets, except I wish I would've taken more pictures with Wally and given him more llama hugs.  But I'm thankful for the ones I have and that we had the chance to own and love such an incredible, special animal.   This is the second time in our marriage that we've had to have a vet put one of our animals down and it was just as horrible this time as it was with our dog, Buddy.  If you've never been through that I hope you never do, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  I hope all your animals live long and healthy lives and then just pass away in their sleep. 
As for Wally, I think he had a happy life and knew he was lovedMan, I miss those disgusting llama kisses. 
While nothing could ever replace Wally and completely fill the hole in my heart left by him, there was one thing that could turn my frown upside down.....
To be Continued

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Isn't Over..Carhartt Letter #3

Dear Carhartt,

Hi! So umm, remember that one time at band camp when I sent you a letter THREE YEARS AGO with a brilliant design idea complete with picture (Exhibit A: asking you, no, BEGGING you to make a line of pretty pink Carhartts? And remember how you ignored me? And remember how I called you and spoke with a lovely Customer Service Representative (Exhibit B: who assured me I would hear from you because "they always respond, usually within 2-3 weeks"? And remember how I DIDN'T HEAR FROM YOU?!? Oh and then remember the time, A YEAR AGO, that I sent you yet another cry for pink Carhartt help? (Exhibit C: And last but not least, remember the time that you PLAGIARIZED MY IDEA AND MADE PRETTY PINK CARHARTTS IN OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR UNDER THE GUISE OF BREAST CANCER AWARENESS?!?!?

Ringing a bell yet?

So here's the thing Carhartt. As you can see by the evidence provided above, I have been on the quest for pink Carhartts for a very long time. I have scouts in all areas of the country who are constantly on the look out for pink Carhartts or a worthy substitute (ex: Dickies) because they know the needs and desires of my heart. Imagine my surprise, delight, and utter disgust when I received a call from a "scout" in Tennessee advising me that she had just come across a set of bubble gum pink Carhartt coveralls AND coat! How could this be? My idea implemented by you with nary a response to my numerous communications? So original of you to put the whole Breast Cancer spin on it but I know the truth.

I was then faced with a moral dilemma. The dilemma being I was spitting mad at you, Carhartt, so I certainly didn't want to have to PAY for what was my brainchild to begin with, but on the other hand my bulky, manly navy blue coveralls that I was still wearing 15 years later, had lost their luster and definitely needed replaced and the shade of pink of the new Carhartt line was absolute perfection. Good job on that, not that you had any input or suggestions or anything from your loyal customers...AHEM. I had decided I was not going to buy them because I tend to hold a grudge and could not get over the fact that you used my idea without even so much as a "thank you for your suggestion we'll keep it in mind" letter. But my husband knows me well and he bought the overalls and the hooded coat for me for Christmas, because he knew how long I've dreamed of pink Carhartts. But he, the husband of the original creator of the infamous pink Carhartts aka yours truly, had a lot of trouble finding them because as he was told by several stores "the pink line flew off the racks, they're out of them everywhere". Well, would you look at that Carhartt, I wasn't going to say it but I have to...I TOLD YOU SO. Anyway, he searched far and wide and procured the overalls at a Tractor Supply Store 30 minutes away but went online to order the coat. On Christmas morning when I opened the packages I realized that the coat did not match the overalls. The coat was more of a coral, a watermelonesque shade of pink, while the overalls were the "perfect pink". The watermelon color was ok but not the color of my pink Carhartt dreams and they didn't match and hello, have you met me? I could not, would not, wear clashing shades of Carhartt pink. He felt horrible and immediately went online to find the right coat in the right shade of pink and everywhere was sold out. The day after Christmas we visited and called approximately 8 Tractor Supply Stores only to be told that they'd been out since the week they came in, and that "people LOVE that PINK Carhartt line". Oh really?!? How surprising...NOT. In a last ditch attempt, we called a Tractor Supply Store, an hour and a half away where I knew I had a scout ready to go out on pick up duty if need be, and they had ONE lonely pink coat medium without a hood. I would've preferred large so as to be able to accommodate the 17 layers I sometimes put on under my coat and I really wanted a hooded one but it was either medium no hood without a hood or back to my boring, old, raggedy navy ones. We quickly paid for it and arranged for my scout to pick it up. My husband sent the watermelonesque pink one back and I finally had my complete set of  pink Carhartts. But by this time I was even more upset with you, because not only was my idea used without me knowing, but I, THE INVENTOR of the pink Carhartt awesomeness, had to search high and low to even own a pair. Something is not right about this, Carhartt.

But I have to tell you it was all worth it because I look GOOOOOOOOD in my PINK Carhartts, thankyouverymuch.  Exhibit D:

I love these, I really do.  They are exactly what I envisioned when I wrote you the initial letter 3 years ago.  Way to nail that.  And because they're rough and tough but girly and lovely, I feel like a regular country Superwoman when I'm wearing them.  Added bonus. 

As the mind behind the design, I only ask 3 things of you, Carhartt.  One for each year you've ignored me:
1) That you acknowledge and respond to this letter.  Would it really be too much to ask that you thank me for my genius idea that you've profited from greatly?  No, no it would not.  And in the slight chance that this idea was not, in fact, my idea (AS IF) just tell me that and thank me for my undying support and love of your product.  And throw in this super cute, matching pink and brown striped Carhartt stocking hat that I cannot find available to purchase ANYWHERE.  I NEED this to complete my look. 

2)  I still want the hooded jacket,  so if you could hook me up with that, you know, in exchange for my freelance design services, it would be appreciated.  Large, please.  Mmmkay, thanks. 

3)  I would like the color to be named "Prairie Princess Pink" in my honor.  It can still be for Breast Cancer but I think it's the least you can do, in addition to my letter of acknowledgment, my pink/brown stocking hat, and my pink hooded jacket.  And as an added bonus, I'll be your spokeswoman!  Will work for free Carhartts.  An offer you can't (and really shouldn't) refuse. Have your people call my people to work out the deets. 

I look forward to hearing from you, SOON.  In the meantime, I'll continue to be the envy of all the neighbors while I'm out doing chores in my gorgeous, PRAIRIE PRINCESS PINK Carhartts.  Thank you for realizing my Carhartt dreams even if I'm the one who gave you the idea in the first place.

Pink Power Forever,
Prairie Princess

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This is NOT a Figment of Your Imagination

Oh hey there, remember me, the girl who used to blog here more than once a month?  How have you been?!?  We have some catching up to do.  Here's a list of blog posts I have in the works and hope to have scheduled to post by the end of this weekend:  My letter to Carhartt, Christmas in January, my run-in with a deer (pun totally intended), and our Llama Drama.  We're in the midst of a winter storm so it may actually happen because you know, blogging beats organizing a closet or watching WWE, which are my other entertainment options.  

And now I've completely drawn a blank as to what to blog about.  Maybe blogging isn't like riding a bike after all. 

*You need to try this makeup tip called tightlining, if you're a girl reader that is.  Guyliner not allowed on my watch, sorry guys.  It really works and is easy once you get the hang of it and past the poking yourself one or twenty times part, not that I did that I just heard of someone else doing it. 

*I went to my first Zumba class the other day...with other people.  And the other people were all ladies in their 50's and above.  It was awesome.  And I had to let them all know that even though it may have appeared that I was having a seizure that was just me trying to get in touch with my Latino side as regardless of how black I thought I was ('92-'94) I still ain't got no rhythm.  I want to be JLo.  I am not JLo and that makes me sad.  Anyway, the class was a blast and I made all the old ladies feel much better the next day when I had to admit to them that yes, I was very sore too.  To which they replied, "OH good and you're SO much younger that makes me feel better about a little soreness today!"  Yeah, really made my day too. 

*Speaking of Zumba, we bought Zumba for the Wii too because if I'm going to have the moves like JLo, it's going to take more than one class a week.  Besides it's a great way to exercise without actually feeling like you're exercising, until the next day when you can't laugh without wincing in pain.  Somehow I convinced GI Joe to do it with me the other night.  Highlight of my week.  Between the zumba and the laughing I did watching him, my abs are on their way to being of steel.  I wish I had video of it.  After it was over, and he scored more points than I did (sadly), he declared, "I don't think Zumba is for guysI"  I disagree because that was the best entertainment I'd seen in awhile.

*I had a brief scare with thyroid cancer and/or herpes of the ear this week.  I woke up on Friday morning and my ear down the back of my throat hurt, like it was filled with canker sores.  It was miserable.  So I did what any responsible patient would do and put my symptoms into Web M.D.  It gave me a list of about 17 possible diagnoses but my favorites on the list were Thyroid Cancer and Shingles or Herpes of the Ear.  Nowhere on there did it say it could just be a virus.  I was thinking sinus infection or ear infection but whatever you say Web MD.  Since it was Friday and if it was something that could be treated with an antibiotic I wanted to get on that before the weekend so I wouldn't spend the weekend being in pain and sick.  I called my doctor's office to make an appointment and when she asked what I needed to be seen for I said, "I've got some pain in my ear that goes down the back of my throat and my head on the side that my ear/throat is bothering me is very sensitive.  I was thinking maybe it was sinus infection but according to Web MD it's probably thyroid cancer or herpes of the ear, so I thought I should come in before the weekend."
"Uh ok, does 3:20 work?" she asked.
"Yes.  Web MD is always right, right?"
"Umm, well...." I could just see her marking a big red CRAZY X next to my name in the appointment book.
"One time I diagnosed my husband as having a gallstone and/or a heart attack via Web MD and it turned out to be a dislocated rib so maybe it's not right all the time."
"Uhhh yeah not always, in fact hardly ever," she still didn't know whether or not I was seriously a nutcase.
"Gotta love Web MD, huh?  I'm guessing it MIGHT be wrong," and then to let her know I was not a complete Fruit Loop I started laughing, which may have served to let her know I was kidding OR make her think that I was completely maniacal.
"Yeah, gotta love it.  See you at 3:20," she quickly hung up so she could go to the nurses lounge and tell all about the crazy girl who thought she had herpes of the ear.
When I got to my appointment, it took every ounce of restraint in me to not loudly announce at the reception desk for everyone in the waiting room to hear, "I'M HERE FOR MY 3:2O APPOINTMENT, REMEMBER I'M THE GIRL WITH THE EAR HERPES?!?"  And then sit down right next to an unsuspecting patient and lean over to them and say, "Don't worry it's only contagious if you stick your tongue in my ear."
I mean, can you even imagine?  Best. Doctor's. Visit. EVER.  As it turns out, it's NOT thyroid cancer OR ear herpes, but just a virus.  But both my doctor and nurse got a good chuckle when I told them what Web MD thought it was.  Apparently, they get that a lot but they told me that Web MD doesn't have a diagnosis simply called "a virus" which 99% of the time is what it turns out to be.  Darn, and I thought I was well on my way to a career in the medical field, even though I couldn't pass college chemistry.  

*Blade turned 10 on Wednesday which means we are official members of the "2 KIDS IN DOUBLE DIGITS CLUB".  And that kinda makes me want to hurl.  How is he 10?!?  His birthday demands included chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, pancakes & sausage for brinner, a family outing to Zombie Burger, and a boys get together next Saturday for some of his friends from school to go see a movie and eat Mexican food.   So basically his birthday has turned into a week and a half event.  Honestly, these kids and their birthday weeks turning into months.  Also, TEN?!?  Not possible.  Let's take a moment and reflect on the sweetness that was/is Blade.  I die. 
No, he's not special needs, he's just a goofball. 

See?  Totally normal, what with streamers on his head and all.  Also, please note GI Joe's beard.  Between Christmas Eve and January 2nd, he didn't have to shave.  That hasn't happened in umm, well ever, you know since the Army likes you to shave daily and stuff.  He's never had that much time off at one shot (in the winter) that he hasn't had to shave.  It was kind of hot.  I miss the beard.

*I gave up soda/pop/whatever you call that caffeinated aspartame laden fizzy drink as of January 1st.  I have been a one can of Diet Dew a day drinker forever, with slightly more on the weekends and such so it's not like I was a first class addict, but I've just read so much about how bad it is for you and how just dropping it can help you shed a few pounds so thought I'd do it. Last summer I had stopped drinking it except for maybe one a week,but you know how it gets around Christmas where all food/drink inhibitions are thrown to the wind and you figure you'll just start over on New Year's so I had gotten back on the Diet Dew bandwagon. But now I'm off again and haven't had any since December 31st.  I'm drinking about 80 oz of water a day, sparkling fruit flavored waters, Low Calorie Fuzes, my morning coffee (my caffeine for the day, for the sake of those around me), and decaf iced tea.  But the other day I had about 4 swigs of GI Joe's Diet Mountain Dew and first of all, it didn't taste good at all and it burned my throat.  This was 2:00 in the afternoon and I'm not kidding I slept like crap that night.  Also, it gave me a sore in my mouth.  Hi, my name is Prairie Princess and I'm EIGHTY.  What has happened to me? 

*In closing, I need to show you my new favorite outfit. 

PINK Carhartts, baby!  Supposedly, they were made especially in October for Breast Cancer Awareness and GI Joe knowing my obsession with pink Carhartts bought these for me for Christmas.  While I love them deeply, I'm more than a LITTLE irritated with Carhartt for PLAGERIZING my design idea that I sent them for the first time THREE YEARS AGO.  Which is why I'm working on a little "love" letter to them regarding this situation.  Stay tuned, it's gonna be a good one.  They have no idea who they're up against.  And yes, that's Hormel the Hog behind me.  You know, the hog we bought to raise and butcher.  The one who is still alive and well and if GI Joe doesn't carry out her "destiny" soon it's never gonna happen because I will start dressing her in tutus and teaching her tricks.  I've held out this long and refrained from attachment but I'm only human, I don't know how much more I can take. 

*And one more thing, this blog turned THREE YEARS OLD on January 8th.  Whaaaaat?  That just blows my mind.  If you haven't been here from the beginning, you should go back and read some of those, there's a lot to choose from since I blogged *slightly* more regularly than I do and there's some funny stuff in there.  Like THIS and THIS and oh help us, THIS, and definitely can't forget THIS.  Good times, all of it.  Thanks for reading along as I try to record some of the crazy, funny, ridiculous stuff that happens around here.  There's more where that came from!

P.S.  You're welcome, Heather.  :)