Friday, April 24, 2009

Out and About


We arrived home from out trip out west and I've been running around like a woman with her hair on fire ever since. Today I'm in Columbus, Ohio in the coach with our two dogs while John is judging the Friday afternoon session of the River Ridge Horse Show. We got here on Tuesday afternoon and set up in the campground of the Ohio State Fairgrounds. It isn't a bad spot except for the train track that runs through it. I love the inside of Mary so hanging out in here is a nice respite from running around like a woman with my hair on fire.

Last night I went over to the show for the first time. I got to sit in the judge's stand for the evening performance. Many moons ago I did a little judging out west at some open shows which I really enjoyed but from that experience I realized that the view from inside the ring is much different from what it looks like from the rail. I was reminded of that again last night.

One of the fun things that happened was that I got to meet the horse show manager, a woman who I worked with regularly on the phone when I was managing the Breeds Department at USEF. Barb took over the show several years ago which was in need of some intensive care and she had a lot of questions. I always liked helping horse show managers and secretaries when I was there (they have a huge job and USEF has a huge amount of red tape) and I particularly enjoyed talking to Barb. She struck me as a brave and bold woman, very bright and dedicated to making things work. When I met her I found a tiny woman with bright eyes, a great sense of humor and lots of pluck. I love pluck. She does a wonderful job with River Ridge.

When we got home from out trip it was tax time. I'm a word person not a numbers person. I do the bookkeeping entries monthly and email them to the accountant. Every year I think I have finally done a good job of not missing things and not confusing poor Margie at the accounting office and every year I find out that I missed some things and confused poor Margie at the accounting office. She is slated for sainthood from working with me, a non-numbers kind of person. We have a similar sense of humor so I'm able to get it done without her wanting to kill me. I think.

Moms getting ready for foaling time

During tax time I decided that it was time to get myself on a cleansing diet for a week. I did it once about 12 years ago guided by a doctor and at the end of the diet I felt like brand new. In between starting it and ending it I felt like a refugee from Ethiopia. Twelve years dimmed my memory of how bad you can feel when releasing toxins from your system but even if I had remembered how crappy I would feel I probably would have done it anyway. To say that we have had a lot of fun in the last three years is a wild understatement but we also ate our way around the world and in the process we both got a little...pudgy. Not terrible but enough extra weight that my wardrobe went from skinny clothes and fat clothes to skinny clothes, fat clothes and just cover the %#!@!! blubber clothes. It's bad news at Black Rock when your fat clothes are too tight. So it was time to feel better and lose a few pounds. I tackled it while I was tackling the taxes. Not too smart. John took cover for a week.

The diet allows only fruits, veggies, fruit and veggie juices, herbal tea and broths made from fresh veggies. No bread, no salt, no sugar, no caffeine, no starches, no wheat, no eggs, no dairy, no alcohol...none of the things that are or were a part of my diet. The second day I dragged myself out of bed with a pounding headache and achy joints and cement in my legs. Five days into it I was feeling like I was ten years younger and thinking "just two more days and I'll be done and can go back to eating some real food again." Donnie Brookshire says that you can do anything for a week. John went on eating like normal (my cooking) and saying, "I don't know how you can do that. I could never do that." You can do anything for a week.

Colts playing on a sunny day

On that fifth day of cleansing John had his first appointment with my naturopath so I dropped him off and went unenthusiastically to do some shopping for more fruits and veggies. As I was pulling into the parking lot to wait for him to get done my cell phone rang. It was John and he said, "Where are you?" I said, "I just pulled into the parking lot." He said, "Come in here please." So I got out of the car thinking that she had found something dire in his blood work and when I walked in he was joking and having the best time. On the desk in front of him was a cleansing diet. A 28 day cleansing diet. Ha!

I would have bet the farm that he wouldn't be able to stick to this diet for 28 days. Not that he isn't determined or dedicated. His career proves all of that. It's just that he made such a production about what I did for a week and he loves good food so much that I thought he would weenie out and give up.

I was wrong.

He is on day 19 today. Week one was more liberal than my week one and to be helpful I said that I would do it with him. I was feeling terrific and his week one included some organic chicken, fish and lamb which sounded like a feast to me. Week two on his diet was like week one on mine only with brown rice and protein powder so I told him he would have to go it alone and that I'd stick to his week one diet while he muddled through. He suffered the detox symptoms but kept his nose to the grindstone, went to A.J.'s barn every day (he has been helping A.J. because he broke his hand while we were out west) armed with a protein drink and an apple in his pocket. He has followed this thing for 19 days without wavering...not without whining and complaining (which I did a lot of as well) but has not cheated once. We are both feeling like kids again. John has lost 12 pounds and looks wonderful. I've lost six pounds and am clipping along toward my skinny clothes again. Tonight is the first time we can add back meat so we are having roasted game hens for dinner with wild rice and steamed broccoli. Wahoo!

After taxes, doctor appointments, diets, a trip out to see our yearlings and a lot of spring cleaning at the house we left for Clemson, South Carolina for the J.D. Massey Classic horse show. Donnie and Phyllis Brookshire were inducted into the hall of fame so we took Mary and the dogs and drove down to the show. We had never been there before and when we arrived we found a really nice show facility in the country that is part of Clemson University and a beautiful little town. We had nearly perfect weather for the weekend too. We met some really nice people and had lots of fun with the Brookies and then we motored home for two days before we repacked and headed up here to Columbus.

Two of our yearling colts at A.J.'s

After Clemson we arrived back at our townhouse late last Sunday afternoon with plans to leave on Tuesday around noon for Columbus. We live in a condo complex which means that we are "governed" by a home owner's association. I've come to believe that home owner's associations are fashioned after Hilter's Germany but that's just my opinion. We have one in Florida to which we pay obscene amounts of money for what I'm not sure. The landscaping company employs Marilyn Scissorhands (if memory serves me there is an earlier blog post about Ms. Scissorhands) who regularly butchers the landscaping around the pool. That is until we had a Waterloo over the whole thing. Now she has gone passive aggressive and won't trim at all. Our HOA in Lexington isn't expensive but is far more restrictive than Florida. Up until recently I think I may have irritated them a bit but in general haven't had much problem with them. Also the neighborhood is full of retired people, most of which are very nice but don't have much to do except watch the comings and goings of their neighbors. Given our lifestyle I'm sure we have given them tons to chat about.

Two weeks before we left for Clemson the HOA had the landscapers come in and start the yearly bark project. They bring in dump trucks full of bark and dump it in inconvenient places and then a truck with a blower on it is loaded by little critter with a bucket on the front. They blow the bark into the flower beds, over people's plants and flowers and generally make a hell of a mess. And they are SLOW. Before we left for Clemson they filled up our guest parking spot with bark so we couldn't park Mary in there. Normally that's where we put her if we leave her overnight. When we got home it was still full of bark (go figure) so John pulled her up to the curb in front of our unit and we unloaded her. I asked if he was going to take her back out to the farm and he looked at me like I had two heads. "I'm not taking her all the way out there for one day and then bringing her all the way back." I threw my hand up and said, "Okay. I was just curious." I suspected that we were going to raise the ire of someone in the complex. Mary is the size of a small office building after all.

Tuesday morning John went to the barn and I started my mad rush to get the coach packed, make a run to the grocery store (this diet requires that you shop several times a week to keep fresh produce in the fridge), go to the bank, pick up some more protein powder from the doctor's office, and a few other various things. Before any of that happened I had to usher a furnace repairman in and out of the house (long story that I'll spare you from). The wind had picked up that morning and it was icy cold. I made six or seven trips out to the coach with armloads of stuff, being blown from hell to breakfast between the curb and the front door so my mood wasn't exactly what I would call upbeat. Harassed would be a better description. Plus I knew that John would be home soon so I was trying like crazy to get out the door to get my errands done so we could get on the road. As I was flying through the house gathering my coat, purse, keys and Ransom I caught a glimpse of a red truck flying into the driveway. Before I could register who it was the doorbell rang...TWICE. It was a type-A ring. I was in no mood to deal with a type-A anything. I opened the door and there was a man there who introduced himself as the president of the HOA. The Gestapo had arrived. He launched into what I could only describe as a dressing down over leaving the coach parked in front of the house. I immediately felt like I was back in high school getting chewed out for skipping school or being late for class...which didn't meld well with my already harassed mood. I was in a hurry and I wasn't interested in the lecture. I tried to interrupt but on he went until Ransom dashed out the door onto the stoop. "Oh shit!" I said.

Ransom is a wonderful little dog but when he is fresh he goes deaf to my requests to come to me. He had been patient to a fault for two days without exercise because the weather was awful and I was once again running around like my hair was on fire.

So I eased out the door calling Ransom and reaching for him. This man apparently had no clue that I was afraid that the dog would take off across the yard and dash out into the street. My mind unfolded the entire disaster complete with me running down the road hollering "Ransom come back!" while I was getting a lecture. I really wanted to say, "Just give me a ticket or something because I don't have time for this!" Instead my mother loomed in my head (she was a stickler for being polite) and I said, "I understand and it won't happen again," as I finally got a hold of Ransom's collar and put him in the house. We were good to go until he said that someone had complained. I felt the fire burning in my temper zone. Then he said in his self important voice, "And it has been here for three days." The fire turned into an inferno. "It has NOT been here three days," I said (sorry Mom). "Well whatever," he said. You are only allowed to keep it here overnight." We got home late Sunday afternoon and it was Tuesday morning. Do the math. So I said, "Oh! While I have you here there are some dying bushes on our lot that need to be replaced." I dragged him out in the cold wind to point them out. "That happens and I suppose we can replace them." It happened a year ago and while we are expected to keep up our end of the bargain and adhere to a three ring binder of rules and regs about planting and pots and bird feeders, PARKING and you name it, apparently they can look the other way when its time to spend money on replacing dying plants. Finally he told me that they didn't have a contact number for me. That would be because someone misplaced it because I spoke to the manager of the HOA last year about another issue (our patio roof leaking and peeling away) and she returned my call. So I invited him in while I gave him John's cell number. "You can get him 24/7", I said as I handed him the paper and gathered up my stuff to leave. Then he began questioning me about what we do with the coach. I explained that we use it for business purposes and some pleasure trips. From there a conversation ensued about his house on Hunterstown Road. Huh? Finally I promised that we would never leave the coach on the curb again (alright already!) and said goodbye. Sheesh. We are thinking a place in the country with room for our dogs and horses and Mary might not be the worst idea. Stay tuned.

For now I'm going to sign off and say happy spring to everyone. It is 80 degrees today and my old friend, the hair-wrecking wind is blowing like sixty blazes but I'm not cold and the fire in my hair has temporarily been put out. We will be home or close to it for the rest of the summer. I will continue to bore you with my tales of the neighborhood and life in Lexington until we travel again.
It's time to fix a chicken! YES!