Friday, May 14, 2010

Sometimes cleavage is a very useful thing....

Sometimes cleavage is a very useful thing. I don’t mean just when you can use it to get a man to move heavy objects for you or hand you that item you can’t quite reach off the top shelf in the grocery store. Or to get out of a speeding ticket (so I hear… this has never worked for me). Cleavage is also a handy place to carry things. I once smuggled a sprig of lavender out of Cawdor Castle’s gardens in my cleavage. I’ve carried my cell phone, cash money, and, yes, even baby animals in there!


A few years ago one of my sister’s cats brought her a live and unharmed baby squirrel. We thought raising it would be a good experience for my nieces. For some reason, however, I ended up having to squirrel sit every time Sister had to go somewhere. My cats and dogs were enormously interested in the smell of this small aquarium Sister had set up as little Skippy’s house and I was afraid they might form a raiding party the minute my back was turned. Sister had told me to put him someplace warm, since baby squirrels were unable to regulate their own body heat and required warmth from their mom. Figuring I’d take care of both issues with one grand idea, I took Skippy out of his cage and slipped him down inside my bra! He nestled quite happily in there and none of the dogs or cats had any idea where he was. When he’d get a little too warm this tiny nose would pop out, or sometimes his whole head, but he was always quite happy to hang out in there.

After a few days we became concerned that the cats may have gotten the mama squirrel and there was a nest of orphaned babies up in that tree. You could kind of tell where little Skippy had come from by the feline audience hanging out at the base of the tree, just waiting for someone to toss them something new to play with! So we called our Tree Guy, Randall, who was just the nicest man you’d ever want to meet. He had helped us clear out the mess from the tornado and he agreed to come out and climb the tree and look in the nest for us. It was, thankfully, empty. When Randall got his feet on solid ground again, he was shaking his head.

“I can’t believe I came out here and climbed all the way up there just to look for a nest of baby tree rats!” he said good-naturedly.

Mom and Sister and I had been standing below, watching, and Randall didn’t know it but I’d had Skippy in my shirt the whole time. I have about 20 men’s cotton v-necked t-shirts that I wear around the farm. It’s sort of my farm uniform. I walked up to Randall and pulled the neck of my t-shirt down and leaned over, showing him dear little Skippy, contentedly peeking out from between my breasts.

“But Randall,” I said. “He’s just so cute!”

The poor guy turned bright red. He didn’t charge us for the visit.





So last night I was a little late getting to the barn, but nothing that a bit of hurry-up wouldn’t fix. I was efficiently going about my evening chores, standing outside at the water spigot to fill up Old Meg’s bucket. (Meg is my eldest ewe and she prefers hose water to sink water, thank you very much!) I had her bucket about halfway full when some movement caught the corner of my eye and it suddenly became One of Those Evenings. From the tree line next to the barn comes this little bird. Y’all know the song “You Can Fly” from Peter Pan, right? Everyone sing along with the baby bird now…

“I can fly! I can fly! I can fly! I can fly! I can….” WHAM! Barn.

The little dude flew right into the side of the big red barn and I’ll be damned if George Earnest didn’t just happen to be there to pounce on him the minute he hit the ground! The bird is screaming at whoever will listen, I’m screaming at George, George is looking for an escape route… and so I turned the hose on him! Well, he decided the bird wasn’t worth getting soaked over, promptly dropped it, and I jumped in and scooped it up.

So I find myself standing there with a wet cat glaring at me, a baby bird in one hand, and a running hose in the other. I just sort of shook my head and thought yep, this is my life. I shut the hose off, walked into the barn (George hot on my heels, just in case I dropped something), baby bird in hand, called my mom and said, “Well, you’re not gonna believe this shit!”

Now I’m really running late getting everything ready for the sheep to come in for the night. I have no idea where this little Tufted Titmouse baby came from, no idea if he’s hurt, or what the heck I’m supposed to do with him! And it’s getting dark and I don’t really have time to figure it out. I knew he was scared because I could feel his little heart just hammering in my hand, but I checked him over and didn’t see any blood on him and his wings appeared to be ok. I was pretty sure hitting the barn had rung his little bell, though. So I did the only thing I could think of— I tucked him in my bra and went about my chores. When Mom and Dad got to the barn I was dishing up feed and Mom asked me what I’d done with the baby bird.

I said, “Look, mom! I have a Tufted Titmouse between my titties!”



That pretty much had us giggling on and off for the next hour. I took him to the house and put him in a box out on the screen porch where he’d be safe from the kitties and decided I’d figure out what to do with him in the morning.

Well, this morning he was flying all over the porch, trying to get out! I was so relieved that neither the barn nor the cat had hurt him. I took him down to the barn with me and walked up into the tree line where he’d come from, deciding that if I put him on a safe branch he’d eventually figure out where home was. Well, that idea lasted about as long as it took to get him settled on the branch. He just looked so tiny and frightened, I couldn't stand it!

I said, “Aw, crap, dude! What am I going to do with you?”



As visions of raising this baby bird to maturity in my bra ran through my head, I scooped him off the branch and walked along with him in my hand, I suppoe hoping I'd just happen to run across a flock of Tufted Titmice. When I ran out of trees I decided to cross a bit of open pasture and check out the woods. I was getting really disheartened when he suddenly heard a familiar voice. That little head popped up and he started chirping his little guts out! And then I could hear Mama Bird talking back to him! He started wiggling and wanting to fly away, but I kept a firm hold on him, wanting to get closer to wherever his mom was before I let him loose. I finally found her in the trees just at the edge of the woods, and boy was she pissed!

I opened my hand and the baby flew off, making his way very well up into a tree. And then he flew to another tree in the absolute wrong direction! I just about pulled my hair out in frustration, but his mom came and found him. She swooped down and bitched at him some more and then flew back to her original tree. I could just hear it: “Oh my God! Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick, do you hear me? Sick! You are in big trouble, young man! Staying out all night and coming home smelling of human! Just you wait until you father gets home!” The little baby flew over to her (“But Ma!!!!”) and the last I saw of them they were sitting together on the same tree branch. I cannot believe that with all the trees and all the acres we have on this farm he and I managed to find one little Tufted Titmouse Mama!!

Let’s just hope the little guy has learned his lesson and stays away from the barn!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vodka is the Devil

Disclaimer: I do have permission to tell this story from all the drunks involved … mostly, I think, because they don’t remember it!


Before I start in on the complete disaster that was my friend Marie’s birthday party Saturday night, let me tell you that considering how we met, nothing that happens when we’re together should surprise me. I met Marie in probably freshman year of high school when I accidently went out with her boyfriend. How does that happen, you might ask? (And she did!) Well, I knew this boy from the school bus. He lived down the street from me and we used to talk on the ride home every day. One evening he calls me and asks if I want to go to the movies with him and some friends from the neighborhood. Now, I didn’t have any interest in this boy as possible boyfriend material, but it sounded a lot more interesting than staying home. Someone’s dad drove us to the mall, we saw the movie, came home, end of story.

Until I got to homeroom Monday morning and this girl comes up to me and says, “Marie is pissed and she’s gonna kick your ass.”

I said, “Who the hell is Marie and why would she want to kick my ass?”

She said, “Because you went out with her boyfriend Saturday night.”

I said, “I did what?”

This jerk had conveniently forgotten to mention the fact that he had a girlfriend. So I went and talked to Marie and we squared things up. And then we hunted this boy down and clouded up and rained all over his parade! It was a bonding moment because I don’t even remember his name but Marie and I have been friends ever since. And so I can say with all the love of twenty-plus years of friendship behind us…. the bitch can’t hold her liquor!

I tell her this (in between the 900 times she drunkenly tells me she loves me) every time she goes out on the town. Marie has three children and on the rare occasions she gets a kitchen pass to go out, she really goes all out! The dear girl doesn’t understand the concept of pacing herself. I knew this, of course, when I bought the birthday card that I brought to the party she was having at a local bar (which shall remain nameless) this past Saturday night. It had a picture of yard flamingos on the front of it and the picture was taken from such an angle that you’d have to be lying down, looking up at them. The card said:

If this is the first thing you see the morning after your birthday celebration, you may want to ask yourself these important questions: Am I naked? Is this my front yard? Who are these people and why are their necks so long?

I had no idea when I bought it how apt that would become! I showed up to the bar about10:30 since evening farm chores always make me late getting out. I knew Marie was already there with our friend Misty and Tanya, who I hadn’t previously met. I had Marie’s card and a bouquet of lollipops, but I couldn’t find Marie or Misty anywhere. Finally Misty wanders into the bar, beer in hand, and tells me that she thinks Marie is outside. So off I go and finally find her out front, already looking a bit bedraggled and green.

“Jenna,” she says, all drunk and slurry. “I’m in trouble.”

“Why are you in trouble, Marie?”

“I think I’m gonna be sick. Go get Misty for me.”

Ok, so back I go into the bar and return moments later with Misty in tow. I should have known Misty had had a couple too many herself when the following conversation went something like this:

Marie: “Misty, I’m gonna throw up.”

Misty: “No, you won’t. Come back inside and dance and you’ll feel better.”

(Seriously? That’s your plan?)

Me: “I really don’t think that’s a good idea. If she has to throw up we don’t want her puking in the bar, do we?”

Misty: “Jenna, I can’t handle throwing up.”

Me: “Well neither can I! Marie, if I walk you up the hill so you can throw up in the privacy of the bushes, will you be ok then?”

Marie: “Yeah.”

So Misty goes back into the bar and Marie and I head off across the parking lot. In an effort to safeguard Marie’s vanity, I figured the bushes were a better place for this business than the bathroom or, from the looks of her, right in front of the door to the bar. I walked her across this little access road to a nice concrete drainage ditch and told her to have at it.

Now, I’m a farm girl and I have a really high ick factor. I’ve been elbow deep in nasty stuff that would make you gag just to hear me tell it-- and then gone directly home and eaten dinner! But there are three things I cannot handle: childbirth, either human or animal; human poop (boy was I ever glad when the nieces were out of diapers!); and human vomit.

I gag just walking into a public restroom, so you know I was pleased to hear Marie say, “Jenna, don’t leave me.”

“I’m not going to leave you,” I promised, “but I can’t watch you throw up or I’m going to be throwing up too. So I’m just going to be right over there and I’ll come get you when you’re done. Are you going to be ok?”

“Ok.”

Well, ok then.

Turning around, I’d taken about two steps when I heard WHAM! I spun around to see Marie sort of rolling down the concrete drainage ditch! I ran over, stopped the rolling, and got her into a sitting position. She’s crying and I’m pushing her hair out of her face and then I see it… blood just pouring out of her mouth!

“Oh my god!” I yelled. “Do you still have your teeth?” And then, “Honey, spit out the blood. No, not on your jeans, on the pavement. Do you still have your teeth??”

When I’d established that she’d cut her lip but still had her teeth, I told her to stay put and I ran back down the hill to the bar. I still had her damned card and lollipops in my hand so I left them with the cop at the door and told him what had happened. There was a city police officer there talking to him and apparently he went out to check on her because by the time I’d run to the bathroom and gotten paper towels, run into the bar and gotten Misty, and we got back outside the ambulance was pulling up. I will say one thing for Marie, she knows how to cause a scene! We had two cop cars, one ambulance, three paramedics, me, Misty, Tanya and at least one member of the house band standing there watching her cry and bleed. The paramedics got her cleaned up and put an ice pack on her mouth and that’s when things just got silly.

Misty says, “Damn it, Jenna, I left her with you. You were supposed to take care of her.”

“Hell, I just got here!” I said. “I didn’t know she was that drunk. What have you been feeding her?”

“She’s had the same thing I had. And I had two beers on top of her!”

“Two beers on top of her? Really?” I said. “Misty, I didn’t know you two were like that!”

And, of course, some male in the group commented on how he would have liked to have seen that.

That got me one hell of a smack on the arm from Misty. And then Marie started hurling. Tanya, bless her heart, sat behind her and held her hair. Misty and I, good friends that we are, had to walk down the hill a ways until she was done. We decided we needed to tie her hair back with something but, go figure, neither the cop nor the paramedics had a scrunchie. I went back into the bar and managed to come up with a rubber band. Pulling her hair back and wrapping the rubber band around it, I said, “Boy, she’s gonna be pissed in the morning when she sees her face and then can’t get this rubber band out of her hair.”

Now, apparently there’s paperwork to be filled out when the ambulance has to come for you, so while I was bending Marie’s glasses back into something that resembled what they’d looked like before she took a nosedive into concrete, the paramedics started asking the pertinent questions like what’s her address? Hell, I didn’t know.

So Misty crouches down and yells at Marie, “Marie, what’s your address?”

We got her address and all the important stuff down and then the paramedic decided to get funny and asked her blood type.

Misty yells into Marie’s face, “What’s your blood type?” And then looks up at us and says quite earnestly, “I think it’s vodka and Monster.”

That, of course, sent us all into giggles.

Now, at this point the cop tells us we’re going to have to get her out of the street because if they get another call they can’t leave us all on the side of the road. I pointed out that it was hardly a “road” since there were only a few houses up there and I doubted anyone was going to come barreling down it in the middle of the night and hit us, but he insisted. The birthday party had a designated driver coming to pick them up at close, but no one other than me had a vehicle there. We’d called someone to come get Marie and take her back to the house, but in the meantime we had to put her somewhere.

I said she was definitely not getting in my truck because she was alternately semi-conscious, wanting to lay down and go to sleep, or throwing her guts up and there was no way I was cleaning barf out of my truck. We decided that maybe we could lay her down in the bed of the truck, though I wasn’t sure how the hell we were going to get her up in there. I pulled the truck up to where she was, though, and two of the paramedics and Tanya’s brother lifted her up onto the tailgate. Then we sort of rolled her and… smushed her… into the bed of the truck (I remember saying at one point, “Jesus, it’s like a dead freakin’ deer in the back of my truck!”) and put the tailgate up so she didn’t fall out. The paramedics got her a pillow and a blanket out of the ambulance and we covered her up. And then we all suddenly found ourselves with nothing to do but lean up against the bed of my truck and watch her sleep it off.

At which point Misty and I told her, “Happy birthday, Marie! We love you!”

And then we took pictures because we’re good friends and we knew she’d want something other than a busted lip to remember her birthday by!

That's the cop with the flashlight. I'm standing next to him in the dark tank top. The green wristband is Misty. The clipboard is one of the paramedics. Marie, of course, is the dead deer under the blanket!


She was out like a light until her ride showed up, and then there was more hurling. I think the girl threw up things she ate in high school! Misty and I once again found ourselves standing on the other side of the truck, taking deep breaths and gagging and telling each other we were horrible friends.

Misty said, “You realize if we’re ever drunk enough to throw up, no one’s going to help us!”

Tanya, I still don’t really know you, but if I am ever that drunk I hope you’re there! You were a rock, girl!

So Sunday morning I get up from the barn to find a voicemail on my phone from Misty that went something like this: “Hey Jenna. Marie is ok. We were wondering if you’d call us back and tell us what happened.”

Well, girls… that’s what happened!