Monday, March 3, 2014

The Best Job In the World

I have the best job in the world.

In this house, I am the one who dumps and rinses the sick pails.

I clean up the dog poop left in the garage by the elderly and somewhat incontinent old hound; she can't always wait for us to let her out.

I'm the hairball-cleaner-upper and the toilet-scrubber, as well as the lucky one who plunges them when necessary.

If there are gooey globs of hair in the drain, or slimy gobs of moldy food plugging the dishwasher, its my job to evacuate them.  The science lab in my refrigerator is my responsibility, as well.

My eye doctor laughed when I visited him with a raging infection, the result of manure juice splashing in my eye while cleaning a cow's stall. He said that was a first, for him.

There are days when I find myself shoulder-deep in the back end of a foaling mare, standing in fresh manure, while an ice storm rages outside and the vet inches his way to our aid.

I'm present for the messy breedings and births and deaths and the often grody doctoring of livestock, often in closer proximity to the action than most normal people would ever allow themselves to be.  As for the  inevitable deaths, some are messy, some are not, but I still cry over every one... then perform the clean up and disposal... and then, cry again.

Merchant marines have nothing on me when it comes to swearing over a frozen hose or broken fence or dead battery... not a skill I'm proud of, but sometimes, something's gotta give.

The good news is the next sentence after the curse is usually a prayer of gratitude. As in, "Sorry for that one, Lord... I know You will help me out here, You always do."  And then, He does.  Not always in the way I hope He will help, and not always in my time frame, but in His way and in His time, and it always works out for the best.

If something needs cleaning or painting or doctoring or praying or tending, I'm your girl; especially if  the job requires a strong stomach, extra dose of fortitude or wildy-irrational-yet-steadfast faith.

I have the best job in the world.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What Do I Expect?

On Friday night, my girls and I made a big deal out of watching the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.  After retrieving a pizza and some snacks from town, we gathered before the television to take in the pageantry and cheer for Team USA as they paraded through the stadium. I love pageantry, love the excitement and the tradition and especially love watching the faces of the athletes as they live their dream of representing their country as an Olympic athlete.

While expecting to learn something of Russia, its history and culture over the course of the ceremony  (and looking forward to it)...  I did NOT expect, however, to hear the television network narrator describe communism as "a pivotal experiment." The tone of the comment seemed approving of communism, and I found that disturbing.  Others apparently did too, as Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree.

My daughters are taught to value freedom, and that to fight and sacrifice for freedom is a worthy and noble pursuit. I find it appalling that our own media would glorify communism, the antithesis  of freedom, as if the autocratic leader of the host country had penned the narration himself. For them to do so in a show watched by kids from sea to shining sea, was a slap in the face to every soul who suffered the darkness of communism and especially to those who perished while fighting it.

While voicing my dismay to a friend, he asked me, "What do you expect?" He added that we've become so politically correct that our common sense and ability to do more than chase ratings and popularity have all but flown out the window. I could not agree more.

It got me thinking... what DO I expect, really? Can we, as citizens and consumers and viewers of the media which mistakenly assumes it represents us, really expect anything anymore?

This was my reply:

"Well, I expect that my children won't be brainwashed by a simpering television network. I expect people to say something, to rise up, to speak out against this. I expect that the memory of those who died fighting the darkness of communism would be honored, rather than diminished. I expect more of this country, of its leaders, of its journalists. And I expect myself to say so."

And so, contrary to my usual Minnesota nice and political correctness, I've decided to speak up, to say enough is enough, so make good on my word and say so.  

I've had it with political correctness outweighing common sense.  

I'm tired of a media that apologizes to the rest of the world for American excellence and perseverance and success.

I'm angry that the freedoms for which our forefathers fought, bled and died, are being tossed away by a bunch of whimpering sheep begging for the wolf of tyranny to save them in the name of "security".

SO... what do I expect?

Freedom.  Nothing less, and without apology. 

I expect to do business without overbearing government regulation and red tape.  I expect to raise my children as I see fit, according to my faith and values, and not those of a collective bureaucracy. I expect to work hard, enjoy the fruits of my labor, and to give generously where need presents itself to my heart.

I expect the freedom to assemble with like-minded folks without black helicopters hovering overhead and my photo added to some government database.  I expect to share my opinion privately, if I so choose, with those same folks via telephone, internet and mail without that opinion being read and judged by some anonymous chap in a cubicle on a sprawling not-so-secret-anymore-government-campus funded on the backs of my fellow hard-working citizens.

I expect children to be raised as beloved, cherished human beings with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from conception to natural death.

As a citizen of the United States of America, I expect every right granted by its Constitution, Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, without cherry-picking, profiling or preferential treatment.

I expect a lot... but then, so did the patriots who declared their independence and forged this nation.   

They also expected that we would value those rights and fight to keep them. Its about time we lived up to not only our birthright, but to our responsibility in defending it...starting right now. Right where we are at, and with what we have.  Washington's troops were without shoes, many of them, and dying of dysentery, and yet they fought on for these freedoms we so carelessly take for granted. 

What's your excuse? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Twenty Below Zero

Grace, ever vigilant.
Two days ago, I returned from a week-long trip to Montego Bay. It was lovely; the company and accommodations and food and libations were second-to-none.  The air was balmy, the ocean azure, the residents beautiful, the music reggae. My soul thanks me for the rest... my liver, however, just might deserve a note of apology.

Wonderful as it was to get away, I could not wait to return home.  Yes, to Minnesota, Land of the Polar Vortex, of back-to-back blizzards and subsequent -20F, -30F, -40F temperatures. After learning of my pending departure back to this frigid climate, a shopkeeper extended her condolences and exclaimed that she could not handle such cold; I assured her that both my wardrobe and I were designed for it.

While doing my afternoon chores today, it occurred to me that the ambient air temperature here is a full 100 degrees colder than when I was visiting with that shopkeeper in Jamaica. And yet, I could not be more content. Upon my return I was greeted with joy and enthusiasm by my children and animals alike; everyone was happy to see me and I, them.  It did not take long to put away the swimsuits and sundresses, or to replace them with long johns, wool socks and down parkas.

It's a "snow day" today. Yesterday we hunkered down while a blizzard raged outside; today we dig out. The plows had some difficulty clearing the roads, school was closed...

...and I wait for days like this all year.

My family is here. We have plenty to eat, enough to wear, a warm house, running water, and a German Shepherd who bounds with joy when she gets to accompany me doing the chores, regardless of the temperature.

We will have homemade chicken and wild rice soup for supper. I will spend the evening reading or knitting or planning an upcoming event...

It's good to be home.