Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with a Bang... or a whimper?

It is the last day of the year, and the last day of the decade. Obviously a day of some importance. A time to reflect of the past year, and the past decade and maybe even the past fifty decades ( if you are me and prone to that sort of thing.)

The last year was really a train wreck, wasn't it? People losing their houses, their jobs and their savings- me included. But if you are reading this you made it through the toughest year and are probably looking forward to the new year. I know I am!
Ever an optimist, I have begun marking out horse show dates in my calender, taking my measurements to buy a new pair of chaps, brushing up on those pesky AQHA rules about trail penalties and watching and re watching the showing DVD's offering tips and encouragements.
This year I am going to call ~ drum roll please....

The DO IT Year!

If you can dream it, you can do it!

And here it is the last day of the last year and the last decade, and I'm starting a new and challenging job!


Last night I had to be rushed to the ER with kidney stones!


It makes me sound like an OLD LADY to even write the words!
I spent several hours lying in a cold bright room, with a paper mask hung between my ears,surrounded by crying people and whimpering babies and enhanced by a few shots of some really good 'stuff,' man- to make the pain go away. ( No wonder Keith Richards is the way he is!)

But there was no way I was going to make it to the new barn today. I'll go on Saturday instead.
Today I am flooding my system with water- kinda like a horse with colic. And of course, better living through chemistry is the order of today.

By Saturday I should be as right as rain...

....if the hay guys show up as they should...
and the shavings guy shows up on Monday...
and I'm able to talk the Partnership into getting a Kubota...
...and all the other equipment I need...

"But other than that, Mrs Lincoln- how did you enjoy the play? "

Better stp writing now- the morphine is ikcking in...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Am I there yet?

I'm not suppose to begin the new job until Jan 1, 2010- BUT- of course there is a lot to be done before that date rolls around,
And it will roll around all too soon I'm afraid.
I spent the whole day Saturday going over the property with the current tenants. Super nice guy!

Most of the conversation went like this...

Me: What is this?How does this work?Where does this go?What do I do about this?


Me: Oh good, you have a (insert item here).
Him: Nope- that's going with me.


Me: Is that working? (pointing to various items of equipment)
Him: Nope, but it could be repaired.


At this point there will be no hay,shavings or feed truck,gas or diesel, manure managing system,working tractor, drags, sump pump,utility trailer,garbage service,weed trimmers or any other type of equipment.

There will be :

78 hungry and thirsty horses
70 or so discombubulated and anxious horse owners
3 disgruntled partners and their attendant lawyers and realtors
2 anxious stall cleaners
2 anxious tenants (Living on site)
1 giant hog
1 large goat
1 flock of ducks

and me.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So this is Christmas...

And what have you done?

Another year older.

And a new one just begun.

And so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun.

The near and the dear ones,

The old and the young.

A Very Merry Christmas,

And a Happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one,

without any fear.

John Lennon

I always have this song running through my head this time of year.

I don't know why, I guess the melody or the simplicity of the lyrics appeal in some way to me.

It's not really a jolly song, is it?

But somehow the words , taken on the page, are hopeful.

The title of the song is Happy Christmas (War is Over).

We all wish that was the truth.

But it's not. Our young men and women are still there,fighting.

Please say a prayer, or light a candle or wish on a star or put a message in a bottle- what ever you do to make your hope and dreams come true-for the safety of those troops.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where the Poop meets the Shovel

... And everyone lived Happily ever after....

Whoops, wrong story!

Actually right story! I did get the job- I start on the first day of the new decade- but no pressure or anything!

I'll spend Sat with the current tenent learning where the water pipes are, who the suppliers are and all that stuff.

So as they say in the chinese cookie factory- be careful what you wish for- you may just get it!

Just think- this opens up a whole new box of tamales for this blog!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interviews always make me cringe

I had the interview with the set of lawyers for the job of running a boarding stable here in Northern California. Interviews always make me cringe. I mean, what is an interview except you trying to tell everyone else how great you are?

Of course sometimes you are great, or great at what you do, but it still is uncomfortable.

I had a 5:00 PM interview in the downtown of Oakland, California. Have any of you ever been to Oakland, California- the murder capital of Northern California? Well, actually that title goes to Richmond, just a mile or two east, but it is the same type of people that live in Oakland.

This was the downtown, so it has plenty of high rise buildings, and I'll tell you the view from the 24th floor of the bay and the city was AWESOME ! I didn't whip out my cell phone camera to take a picture while in the interview- I thought that might be bad form, but I wanted to. You'll just have to take my word for it.

The two lawyers representing the two opposing partners were polite and asked questions like, how many horses have you cared for?

( You mean all at once or over time?)

What do you do with the manure?

(They were surprised that you have to PAY someone to come get it or have it hauled away unless you give it away to gardeners)

They were a little surprised to learn how much a pile of horse poop weighs (Really! I did enlighten them!)

Or how long it takes to clean a stall, or how much you have to pay someone to come and do that job.
There are about 80-90 horses on this ranch- so paid help (read Manuel Labor) is a must!

They didn't know about boarding agreements or insurance waivers and how important those things are, as are up to date medical records for boarded horses.

So they got a free education on the fly if nothing else!

By the time I left, even the partner that didn't want me probably wanted me (and NOT in the Biblical way, Thank you very much!)

So now I wait a day or two to see if they liked me. Or if they will decide to keep horses on the property, I guess the option is to sell the property empty.

In the mean time, Hubby took OD and I to the best Haufbrau in the area for dinner and drinks-
I sure needed that Irish Coffee!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anyone have a pencil?...Anyone....a pen perhaps?

"Oh just bring that baby over here," I said to my daughter. " I don't care if he has a little cold."
Famous last words to be sure.
Now I have had a killer cold for the last four days- AND I have totally lost my voice.
LOST it...
Gone.. whoo hoo... bye bye.
Hardly can even squeek...
Hubby loves it....
Me...not so much!
Of course I got the phone call I have been waiting for on the first day... you know the PHONE call from a woman that might want me to manage her boarding stable...that phone call.
I tried making my voice deep...still no voice... I tried whispering loudly...nope- didn't work either.
She was very sweet- gave me her e-mail address so I could write to her and send my resume.
GREAT! This will work!
I log on...

........and nothing.
The cable company has gone all digital or some suchathing and in the process my modem has lost it's signal.

I try to re-boot. Everything goes on and off a bunch of times, to no avail.
No problem, I think, I'll just call the cable company and they can resend the signal and all will be well- I'll be able to write the nice lady a letter and send my resume.


I have NO VOICE! Can't talk to cable guys... or can I?

Not to be deterred, I dial up the 800 number, get the push button stuff that i usually hate, and beep boop beep- the modem flashes and all seems well.

Everyone with a working modem take two steps forword...Hey wait a minute- Not so fast Vaquerogirl!

Still no Internet- SHOOT!

It must be the wireless modem- oh no! Those people are a nightmare to work with.

Stew stew stew-light bulb goes on.
(Remember this is all with a wicked cold, no voice, a mild fever and on massive doses of cold medicine).

I unplug everything. And wait. Then replug everything. And wait.
Turn on the program- click click click!
Finally back on line!

Hurrah- I need a nap!

Sent the resume. Still waiting on word, but I expect a call on Monday, perhaps an interview on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I just hope my voice will have returned by then!

Monday, December 14, 2009

DANGER is my middle name!

Today there was a break in the rainy weather, so after coming in from feeding the horses, I rounded up OD and said- " Let's put up the Christmas lights".
Simple enough.
One string of lights across the front of the house... how long could it take?
She agrees, puts on her shoes and grabs the puppy.
Time:10 minutes
I climb the ladder and wait for Amy
Puppy can't be tied up so she brings out the playpen.
Time: 10 minutes
I'm still on the ladder waiting for Amy
Puppy doesn't like pen, but we stick her in it any way and begin to set up the ladder.
Puppy makes such weird gremlin noises we take her back into the house.
I climb down the ladder and wait for Amy.
She finally comes back out.
"Which lights?" I ask, "mini's, small ones or the retro big ones."
She chooses the big retro bulbs.
No matter how many times I untangle the big orange electric cord, and roll it up, it still is a big mess of wire when we need it.
Time spent un-tangling the cord-15 minutes
Pull out the box of lights, and plug them in. They seem to work.
Begin stapling the lights, but like the cord , it is a mess of tangled green wire. Could this be why I haven't put up these lights in five years?
Time spent unthreading lights-20 minutes.
Amy climbs the ladder, screams when a spider drops from the eves.
Time to get her back up on the ladder- 15 minutes.
There is one place where my garden slopes steeply.
"Just lean the ladder against the house" I say. Amy tries, but the ladder sways to the left, it doesn't reach.
Time trying to figure out the logistics of the short ladder to steep land ratio - 10 minutes
Amy finally leans the ladder left, climbs the right side of the structure, holding the lights in one hand,stapler in the other.
"Don't worry-danger is my middle name!" she says.
Time spent laughing our asses off- 20 minutes.
Finally the lights are strung, but half the lights don't work. We spend the next twenty changing out bulbs.
Total time spent hanging one string of lights across front of house- too long!
Time spent making another Christmas memory....just long enough!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas past... present and...future?

That is me, fifth from the left, with the longer blonde hair. The place is the 'girls' locker room at UPS in Concord, the date- probably about 1980. What we are is 'Team-O Bitches, or lady Teamsters if you will. When I started, only the lady directly above me and one other were working as UPS drivers. We took a lot of flak! Men hated that we were there. I had packages thrown at me, I was cursed at, sexually harassed, and worked nigh to death! Luckily there were a few 'enlightened' men there that helped a girl out, and taught me a few things so I was able to last in the job for about 12 years.

During my time there I went through 12 Christmas's- all of them miserable. 12-16 hour days and nights and rain and cold the likes of which hasn't been seen since! I literally had to swim to a few houses to deliver the packages. I took several pairs of shoes and socks and shirts with me every day, letting the wet ones dry out over the motor case where it was the warmest. It was a pretty good paying job back then. I had Lil Mama to support and no hubby or child support forth coming. I was also a member of the Teamsters( thank gawd!) and though I was abused, at least it wasn't the worse-case senerio abuse! I got my paycheck every week, and I earned every nickle.

UPS makes it's money on time-management- each SECOND is managed when you are a UPS employee- from how you put your pen into your pocket and how fast you can multi-task putting on your seatbelt and starting the engine.

Now in todays paper I see that UPS has gone retro- they are using bicycle messengers with trailers in 'select ' neighborhooods.


On one day I did 400 stops. That is one or more packages per stop. It takes several hours to do that, and you'd be hustling! UPS wouldn't put more people on the road, cuz that would mean more money spent on employment, benefits and the like. Less people, more work, less time, means more money for UPS. They don't call it the Big Brown Machine for nothing.

These bike UPS'rs are making 25-30 stops on a friggin' bicycle! The company claims it is saving money by not using the gasoline or diesel for their trucks and the neighborhoods like it better. They have most people believing that I reckon...

I say horseshit!

UPS only pays those bike messengers HALF of what they pay the drivers, about $10 an hour. That is how they are saving money- they could care less about the 'green' aspect of the whole thing! No benefits, no medical, nuthin' and they are putting an actual Teamster out of a job- one with a mortgage and a family to feed, one that is being abused on a daily basis year round,paying dues and working hard,trying to keep their jobs.

UPS will not change its spots as far as time management- so I know they will be doing time studies on how quickly they can make these messengers haul those 200 pound trailers around with the bikes,how quickly they can load and unload them, how fast they can put down the kick stand, write on their diad boards and steer at the same time.

All I can think of is, " How tired are those people's legs going to be at the end of a long rainy Christmas week of delivering packages?"

Well, that's not true- I also wonder why the Teamsters is putting up with this stunt!

Since UPS is going retro- I thought of one more thing. I have lots of experience in delivering packages for them, and I can go even more retro-

What do you think?
Would they hire me?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas with Vaquero style

Is there something that you like to do to begin your holiday season? Do you get up early on Black Friday and shop? Or is your visit to Santa the beginning of your Christmas festivities? Here in Teeny Town California I actually like to cross the Big River of the Carquin's and visit B-Town. The first friday in December is their gala tree lighting parade and I've been taking OD and her friends for years now. It is OUR way of beginning the Season. At the end of B-Town is this beautiful line of Royal Palm trees- all lit up, and at the very end is the traditional Christmas Tree. Kinda festive wouldn't ya say?

The other thing that we do is get our very own Christmas tree on the first Saturday of December. Daddy Jesus was born on the first week,and his favorite thing in the world is Christmas and all the trimmin's.

This is how our tree shopping and decorating expedition usually goes.
First we decide on where to go. After very little debate ( we usually buy from the local swim team) we all pile into my truck and scoot on down there. Then we shake all the trees, and smell the needles. All of us- even Daddy Jesus smells needles. The debate usually lasts for half an hour or so, no longer cuz the 'Game' is usually about to start and Lord knows you don't want to miss ' A Game!"
The tree is paid for, hauled into the truck and I am yelled at all the way home- I drive too fast, or not fast enough or the truck smells like horses, or the back seat is too crowded. Once home, we unload 'treenormous', Daddy Jesus disappears to watch the aforementioned Game, and I am stuck with putting the lights on~ all by myself. This year, my sweet and TALL OD helped.
We plugged the lights in, all working.
Tree in stand,straight? Yes.
Vacuum dead needles off rug, put tree in corner by window and then decide to rearrange furniture.
Move couch to west wall, chair to south wall, loveseat to north wall.
Move couch to South wall, loveseat to east wall, chair to west wall...
Move couch opposite other couch, get rid of chair, add a table, and tilt everything 45 degrees at an angle like they do on the home channel.
Put all furniture and tables back.
Plug in lights again, just to make sure they are all working. Yep.
Pull ladder in from very dark scary side yard, wipe away any traces of spiders so OD won't freak out in the middle of hanging decorations, vaccumm dead needles and dirt from carpet and position small kitchen stool on the back side of tree so short little me can wrap lights around tree without jumping.
OD places Angel tree topper. We stand back, notice tree is no longer straight, spent 10 minutes trying to straighten tree and finally think the tree isn't so crooked after all.
Climb ladder with working lights, try to figure out how may strings we will need and do all of them have male and female ends? The answer of course, is No.
We get rid of a set that doesn't have the male and female end, just the male end, begin threading lights very carefully around the branches.
Around and around we go, until we have used up three or four strings of lights, the little twinkly ones...
We plug them in...
The very top set and the middle set don't work.
We wait for them to warm up.
They still don't work.
I climb down from the stepstool and pour a drink,also hand one to OD.
Re-climb ladder, unwind lights from the bottom UP, unplug the angel and take a 'moment'.
Find another string of lights, male and female ends, begin winding lights around tree from the TOP again. Plug in lights-
I climb down the ladder and OD pours us another drink.
Re vacuum rug.
Go to the garage, bring out 10 boxes of Christmas toys and ornaments, can't find the one with the ribbons
I decide ribbon is highly over-rated, climb the step stool at the back of the tree and start hanging ornaments.
OD puts on Christmas music, chases puppy away from tree skirt.
Hangs toys.
Chases puppy away from bottom of tree. Takes red and gold Christmas balls away from puppy.
Get pruner, makes sure puppy has nothing to chew on that she can reach.
Yell for Daddy Jesus to come get puppy.
DAddy Jesus gets puppy, lets her outside, but doesn't wait to see if she makes pee-pee. Lets her in, then hollers cuz puppy pees on the kitchen floor.
I finish hanging toys and ornaments. Clean up pee-pee, chase puppy away from tree.
Pour another drink for myself.
OD takes the puppy to bed.

Finally treenormus stands beautiful and glimmering in the corner, finished.


There are boxes still to be unpacked tomorrow, but in the immortal word of Scarlett O'Hara,
I can't think about that now. I'll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day...