My Great Barnyard Adventure

I am married to a cowboy.

While this does have its advantages (i.e. white cowboy hat), it also has its downsides (cue barnyard smells).

But this past weekend, when the mister rolled out of bed to go feed the university’s cows far earlier than anyone wants to be up on a Saturday, I was struck by an inexplicable desire to go with him.

For some reason completely foreign to me, this semi-city girl wanted to go see the cows.

Sort of like a small child wanting to meet the Muppets.

So I went. And I hung out the Dodge window and took pictures of the cows thundering past on their way to the feed trough. And I felt like I was on the set of the Lion King when the buffalo stampede. And I loved every minute of it.

I wasn’t allowed to get out of the truck while the boys fed, partly because I was way too interested in taking pictures to pay attention to not being run over, and partly because I probably would have stolen the tiny baby calf named Minnie Pearl.

The mister’s farm buddy, J, kept looking over at me like he thought I was crazy. I wonder why.

I don’t know what it was about watching the boys walk through the sixty-six massive steers waiting at the feed trough like children, or watching the sheep run along the fence in single file waiting for the boys to bring their food, or hearing the goats bellow from their barn stall that made me feel like I was in another world.

Probably because I was.

My world is full of air conditioned offices, comfy computer chairs and gossipy secretaries. In my world I type documents and research product costs. I give presentations to high-ranking administrators and plan promotional campaigns.

I don’t wade through herds of living animals three times my size like they are a flock of chickens. I don’t pat enormous angus bulls on the head and treat them like puppies. Needless to say, I was impressed by the mister’s and J’s lack of nervousness around such giant creatures.

Our worlds are almost as far apart as they could get, but somehow that separation helps the mister and I get along as well as we do. I don’t necessarily understand all the things he deals with every day, but I don’t have to. Just like he doesn’t have to understand what a SWOT analysis is or when to apply the ROSIE method. We just have to know when to nod our heads and make approving gestures at appropriate times.

However, my great barnyard adventure did give me a bit more perspective on what the mister’s life is like on a daily basis.

“Playing” with the cows was fun for an hour, but it’s not something I would want to do every day. Even from the truck. . . in the air conditioning. . . not loading and unloading heavy feed buckets. . .

But then again, he wouldn’t want to stand in front of a conference room of executives and pitch campaign plans either. So I guess that makes us even.

The second picture is of Minnie Pearl, the tiniest of the babies, who reminds me a bit of Bambi for some reason.


The Case of the Missing Underpants

I don’t know what is happening to my husband’s underwear. It’s just disappearing!

He has so many pairs of underwear that he has to cram them down just to close the top drawer of his dresser. But somehow, after only a week since I last did laundry, he has no clean underpants.

I even sorted through the dirty clothes just so see how many pairs one man could possibly wear in a week. I only found seven pairs, plus the two in his suitcase for the lake make nine.

Where is all his underwear!!?

I asked the mister this question, and he is genuinely as confused as I am. I have been through the laundry twice and sorted all the miscellaneous piles of work clothes in our bedroom. No underpants.

I’ve looked in the various bags we’ve used for recent weekend trips. No underpants. They don’t just melt into the dresser wood, do they?

I mean, this is admittedly the first time I’ve had to deal with men’s underwear on a large-scale basis, so I suppose it’s possible they just disintegrate over time. But it doesn’t seem likely.

His socks, on the other hand, seem to be multiplying like rabbits; although somehow they are always born with holes (probably for the ears and tail).

In my search, however, I did find a package of undershirts I bought him when he “needed work shirts immediately,” a crumpled pair of socks from the LAST TIME he went to the lake (Febreeze. Immediately. Lots of Febreeze.), and a very nice shirt that I don’t think he has ever worn for me.

Now if I could just find those blasted underpants!

Finding Faith in Love

We all have things happen in our lives that can shake our faith in love.

Maybe your parents got divorced, or that perfect couple broke up, or someone got caught cheating.

Maybe you’ve seen your own heart shattered and stared down at the pieces littering the parking lot and wondered how you would ever fill the space they left behind.

It is far too easy these days to focus on the bad things, the heart-breaking things. I know too many young people who are too old for their years. They have seen too many seemingly-solid relationships fall apart to really believe in the power of love.

So they settle. They settle for the security of money or the promise of being able to leave their parents’ house. They cling to the idea that “at least he treats me better than the last one.”

I do not claim to be anywhere near an expert on this topic, having only been in love twice and married for two months. But I do know that love is not about pride. It’s not just about finding something better than what you’ve got.

It’s about endurance and faith and trust. It’s about knowing that it doesn’t matter what hardships may lie ahead, you have someone who will always walk those rocky paths beside you.

The mister and I have only been married for two months, and we only dated for two years before that. We have not yet had to endure true hardship.

However, we were privileged this past weekend to witness the marriage of two young people—the bride younger than me—who have already been through more in their seven-year relationship than many couples endure in a lifetime together.

They have been through military deployments and radical job changes. They have been 7,000 miles apart and still managed to have movie dates on Friday nights. They have made it through those difficult years where you truly learn who you are, and have come out the other side still each other’s better half.

Now I’m not saying they are that mythical “perfect couple;” they’ve had their issues just like everyone else. But even when they’ve disagreed, fought and even broken up, they have always found their way back to each other. Even across oceans.

D and J are an inspiration to everyone who has ever hoped to be in love. But just because they finally have rings does not mean their battles are over—the hardest part has only just begun. However, of all the couples I know who have gotten married this summer (the list is at 14 right now since May 12), they are the ones I have the least worries about.

Their wedding was beyond gorgeous, and they are two of the most deserving people I know to have had a celebration like that. And it truly was a celebration.

So for those of you who may be cynics, for one reason or another, remember that there is real love in this world. There are those who, whether you believe in “fate” or not, were somehow meant to be together.

People are not perfect, and those we love will sometimes break our hearts. But even through the heartache there is hope; you just have to remember to believe in it.

(Click here for sneak peek pictures of D and J’s wedding!)

Rubber Ducky, You’re the One!

My husband can stand in the sun for ten minutes and come back inside looking like an Indian.
Every woman in the country is jealous.
But a few weeks ago, he spent two days working on Kentucky Lake and came home with a terrible sunburn.
And by that I mean he looked like he’d been dipped in red paint from his waist to his chin.
About a week of aloe cream later (which his wonderful wife had to apply, I might add) he’d started to revert to his normal golden brown. But now he is peeling (Gross!).
Peeling also means itchy, and there’s no way in the world I’m scratching his back and getting that stuff all over my hands. So last night I had him soak in a warm bath, expecting this would bring some relief.
It did help, but what I had not anticipated was the effect taking a bath would have on a young twenty-something.
“Can I have my rubber ducky?” a small voice asked me from the tub. (We have bride and groom ducks someone gave us at the wedding.)
“Sure honey,” I replied, tossing both ducks into the tub with my now-splashing husband.
I had forgotten how rubber ducks make gassy noises when you squeeze them underwater, and our bathroom was soon filled with the giggles of a typical boy.
I, sitting on the toilet seat watching his antics, heard something smack into the trashcan.
“What was that?” I asked, turning around.
Bad idea.
Warm water hit me hard on the leg, creating the feeling of having wet myself.
I had also forgotten that rubber ducks squirt water out their beaks.
After about five minutes of “practicing” his aim, the mister had successfully gotten water all over the towels, rug, ceiling and me. He says his aim wasn’t getting any better, but I’d wager he was right on target every time.
But water doesn’t just come out the duck’s beak. It also leaks out the bottom.
“Duck pee!” a delighted boy shouted as he put the rubber animal on my jeans and watched the water spread. . .
Right before I turned the cold shower nozzle on him.
I really should have left the bathroom long before this, but it was all too much fun. And I would have missed the rubber ducky song, which was beyond priceless.
I’m sure our neighbors upstairs enjoyed the serenade.
This all just goes to show that no matter how mature a man may seem for his age, all he needs is a rubber bath toy and it’s all downhill from there.

Growing up Groggy

Has it ever occurred to you how much college students resemble newborn infants?
We’re always hungry, often whining and constantly searching for a few minutes to sleep. The only difference is that public urination becomes a criminal offense.
I think it’s funny how small children fight nap time because they don’t want to miss anything, but college students center class schedules around sleep.
I always want to tell those young kids, “Go to bed! I’d do anything to sleep while my clothes magically clean themselves!”
They wouldn’t believe me. There’s too much fun to be had. But by the time high school rolls around, they’ll be craving nap time like an addict.
Between classes, on lunch breaks, on library couches, in the quad, on the bus . . . the possibilities are endless. Anything for 15 minutes of shut-eye.
Ever since we got married and started working full-time, the mister and I have been exhausted by 8 p.m. every night.
What are we, 80 years old?
No, we’re working. Welcome to adulthood.
I feel like I don’t have time for anything anymore. By the time I get home from work and put dinner on the table I’m too tired to even look at the to-do lists that are multiplying like rabbits.
I think the mister and I push ourselves to 10:30 p.m. out of defiance more than anything else. We refuse to accept that our early-morning days are likely over.
And I have a feeling it doesn’t get any better. Add sick children, irritable bosses and professional jobs, and we’re not likely to ever be rested again.
Obviously, the only solution is to go to one of those exotic destinations in the travel commercials with those people who lie on hammocks and drink rainbow-colored drinks without a care in the world.
There’s no stockpile of caffeine tablets in their bathroom cabinets, I can assure you. (Tylenol and red Gatorade may be another story, however.)
They say history is destined to repeat itself, so maybe the urge to sleep 20 hours a day means we’ve come full circle for the first time. Perhaps this continual exhaustion is a mark of true adulthood.
So I say embrace your inner child! Make friends with naptime! Just be sure you remember how to use a toilet on your own.

Facing My Frog

Our apartment is certainly not a Martha Stewart home by any stretch of the imagination, but I do work hard to at least keep it clean and somewhat organized.
One of many reasons why a cockroach in the bathroom sink is a problem.
But, problem or not, there he was – at 2:30 a.m. – failing his legs in the air near the drain.
I will admit my first response was rather stereotypical: I shrieked and hoped my husband would come save me.
But he slept on. (Good to know in case a crazy ax-murderer ever breaks into our home.)
Well, it’s a commonly known fact that cockroaches don’t die. Ever. They will be here after the nuclear holocaust has destroyed the rest of creation. So obviously smashing it was not a viable option and would only further contaminate my sink.
The only realistic course of action was to somehow transfer the revolting creature to the toilet – a mere 12 inches away – and flush him. But how?
Now I must admit that, in this situation, I was rather fortunate the intruder was stuck on his back. Because, of course, a cockroach on his back is a hundred times better than a cockroach on his legs.
(Those little devils are FAST!)
I first tried scooping him out of the sink on an old toilet paper roll from the trash, but realized the slope would flip him onto his legs. Obviously a very bad idea.
After about forty-five minutes of frantic deliberation and several more shrieks (the mister never woke up) I finally got the roach into a plastic cup and dumped him into the toilet.
I flushed four times, just to be sure, and finally woke my husband and cried like the terrified sissy-girl I sometimes am.
I learned several things from this very early morning encounter with fear itself, starting with the fact that it’s best not to know what may be lurking in the plumbing.
Secondly, the mister is an incredibly heavy sleeper. If I am kidnapped from our home in the middle of the night hopefully one of our neighbors will hear my screams and call the police. Because he sure won’t.
Thirdly, sewer-dwelling bugs are most definitely a boy’s job. Early morning or not, the next time I find a multi-legged creature of any kind I’m letting my husband take care of it. I’m all for strong women, but there are certain lines that have to be drawn.
And, last but not least, the saying is true that “if you swallow a frog in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
But when it comes to cockroaches, I’d rather flush.