Sunday, October 31, 2010

Horses Concluded- Halloween


          Two days before Halloween, one of Gram’s brothers died and she had to go to Potterville for five days to make funeral arrangements and help his widow settle things. She decided we were old enough to stay home by ourselves, but not quite old enough to get ourselves out of trouble if something went wrong, so she forbid us to go Trick-or-Treating that year.

          We had already decided we would dress up as Icabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. We told her we could ask the neighbor for a ride when she took her little girl downtown, but Gram didn’t want us bugging the neighbors for transportation. She said she was sorry, but we’d just have to watch Icabod Crane on the TV that year.

          We felt she was being unreasonable, but we also knew she might ask the neighbor if we went, so we decided to provide our own transportation. We’d still go as Icabod and the Headless Horseman, and use real horses. Though I was the one known for my daring, and The Sister Person for being timid, we decided it would look silly to have a pony chasing a horse, so she got to be Headless.

          I put my hair into a ponytail and wore a white shirt with a ruffled collar and a green velvet jacket we’d found in the basement. She had found a big black trench coat and a lighted plastic Jack-O-Lantern.

          Whenever a car was coming, we’d get the horses running, and then she would pull the trench coat over her head and wave the Jack-O-Lantern at me. And people loved it; they shouted and waved at us, and once we got in town, ten thousand little Ghosts and Princesses asked if they could pet the horses. Though some of the home-owners were a little worried about finding horse poop on their lawns, they got a big kick out of it. I don’t think we’d ever taken in as much candy as we did that night, and Peanut and Chariba had never eaten so many apples, because people thought it was so cool to be able to feed a horse. We paid for it big time for the next two days in barn clean-up duty.

          We knew there was almost no chance that Gram would call the house to see if we’d stay home, because she’d called us earlier and said she was exhausted from the work and worry, and was planning to be in bed real early that night. But the guilt we felt for defying her took a little bit of the fun out of the evening.

          Still, we had an absolute blast, which lasted until we left the lights of the town at 11:00. And then the exhaustion, the bone-chilling cold, and the worry about riding a brown horse through the dark with no tail lights, (pardon the pun) hit both of us and the horses. It took us almost an hour more than it should have to get home, and when we got there around 1:00 am, what to our wondering eye should appear? Gram’s car in the driveway, and all the lights on in the house.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Horses- Part 2

We didn’t give up trying, but we also didn’t find Peanut much fun, which was suppose to be the point of getting her in the first place, and we were pretty certain that the sentiment was mutual. I think we were too young to realize how lonely Peanut must have been, (chickens don’t count as companions) until we brought an Arabian gelding home. Peanut and Chariba loved each other madly at first sight. She was nickering for him before he even got out of the trailer.

Peanut was easy to ride after that, because she couldn’t stand to be without Chariba, and then, we had a blast! We spent hours riding those horses down back country roads; my sister gliding along at a smooth 35 miles an hour, and me bouncing along at what felt like 10 miles an hour. Somehow, though, we always ended up at the same place at the same time.

Peanut did seem to enjoy these rides as much as any of us, but when she got hungry, she wanted to go home, and preferably riderless. I quickly learned to ride not only bare-backed, but also one legged, because Peanut had a propensity for running as close to mailboxes as she could, trying to wipe me off. I also learned that when we got into the yard, I’d better lay down and wrap both feet around her butt, because when she saw the gate, she’d run full tilt to within three inches of it, then stop dead in her tracks, hoping I’d go flying over her head. She was a brat, but she was fun.

Halloween Story On Halloween

This is the last of the “Horses” series. I thought you might get a kick out of reading how Ding Bat and I went as Icabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, when our grandmother had sort of, kind of expressly forbidden us to go. At the time, we thought she was being unreasonable, but now that I’m an adult, her reasoning doesn’t seem quite so quacky.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Horses- Part 1


Note: My sister doesn’t want to be identified in these pages, so I’ll either call her My Sister, the Sister Person, or Ding Bat, our favorite term of endearment for each other.

We had wanted horses for years, so my sister saved every dime she made painting houses in a summer teen work program. I was about 11 and she was around 14. When she found a bargain-priced pony in the paper for sale, she bought it, sight unseen. Obviously we needed two horses, but figured we’d start with this. The man said “Peanut” was middle aged so nobody rode her very much, but she’d be “just perfect” for us. We had a fenced-in area and barn built, and moved her in. We did run into some immediately obvious problems, starting with the fact that we knew almost nothing about horses, and had no equipment except a bit and reins. My sister could have bought the man’s saddle also, “Cheap!” he said, but the $200 price tag would buy half of another horse, so she declined.

Our first problem was getting the bit into Peanut’s mouth, because she would simply clamp her teeth shut. We figure out that if we covered Peanut’s nose, she couldn’t breathe and had to open her mouth. Luckily for us, she was short and couldn’t lift her head very much to get it out of our way.

The second problem was getting on her. Since we didn’t have a saddle, we pushed her against an old wooden cable spool, my sister would climbed that, and then sit on her. That worked pretty well until Peanut figured out she could rub Ding Bat’s leg between her body and the stool.  At that point, we understood that Peanut was playing us, and it became a game between the horse and the humans to see who was smarter.

We got the Sister Person situated on top, and she gave a hesitant kick and cluck. At which point, I think Peanut thought to herself, “Oh goody, she’s afraid of me; watch this.” At first, she refused to move, until I slapped her on the butt. Then she tried running straight toward the barbed wire fence and turning at the last second. This worked beautifully; my sister got off and flatly refused to get back on. So, I tried. She was the resourceful one of us, but I was more adventuresome, I weighed more, and I was too stupid to be afraid. Peanut was twice as wide as a barrel, and a good dancer, and we soon found out why nobody had wanted to ride her. I definitely wasn’t used to riding bareback, and hadn’t been expecting her to pretend to trip, and then take a sharp turn.

When I looked up, she was pawing the ground, daring me to try that again. I didn’t know at that point if Peanut really would have hurt me if I had moved, or if she was just playing another trick. But I decided I’d better play dead until Ding Bat could figure out how to rescue me. She put some grain in a can and shook it. You could tell Peanut would really have preferred to mow me down, but in the end, her stomach saved my life. 

Part 2 Tomorrow

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don’t Have That Luxury- Part 9

Lot Of Things To Thing About

That is a lot of things to think about, isn’t it? That’s what makes this so much fun! Granted, it would probably be a whole lot easier to start my businesses (notice the plural form) if I had fifteen years of experience in my fields, hundreds of business contacts, and thousands of dollars saved in the bank, with no debt. 

But as I said, I don’t have the choice, I don’t have that luxury. I also have nothing to lose that I won’t lose anyway if I don’t find ways to increase the bank account balance. And I am having so much fun with this! 

Yes, it gets overwhelming at times, because there are so many things to learn, and I don’t yet have the network in place to be able to get everything I need. But I’m working on it, and it is very slowly coming together. 

Considering  that I’ve used eight posts to tell you what I need money for, it would be easy to conclude that I’m only doing the blog and other things for the money. Obviously, with this much debt and financial problems, for lack of a better word, I have to be concerned with fulfilling my contractual obligations. And if I wish to be financially free, I have to be able to make my own living, and all that requires money. 

But for me, the money part is a secondary consideration; necessary, but secondary. I can’t think of a better way to live out me life and to pay it forward, than to use my skills as a writer to encourage others to keep on going in their own walks, while giving them something to chuckle about. And to use my skills in Massage Therapy, and especially Trigger Point Therapy, to get people out of pain and teach them how to keep themselves that way. Both of those things bring me great joy.

Next Series, Coming Up

Halloween is coming up, so I thought I’d publish the story of when my sister and I went as Icabod Crane and The Headless Horseman, without exactly having parental permission.  But the story won’t make sense unless you know how we got the horses, so you’ll have to first read Peanut and Chariba’s story on Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don’t Have That Luxury- Part 8

Motor Mount Challenge

Here’s another challenge that just popped up; last week, I lost my engine. No, I didn’t forget to change the oil and blew my engine. The screws that hold the motor in place rotted off, sort of, kind of, and it ended up on the ground. A mechanic said that my fifteen year old car is definitely worth saving, even with 280,000 miles on her, and he thinks he could fix her if I can come up with roughly $400.

However, if it turns out that she is unsavable, I seriously doubt that any (credible) bank will give me a car loan based only on my pretty smile and the fact that I can usually make anywhere from $10 to $120 doing chair massages at local fairs and festivals. On the other hand, I’m sure the new car places would be tickled pink to give me a loan, with about a 140% interest rate, compounded hourly. 

So, it seems pretty obvious to me that if I can’t figure out how to earn the money to repair the car or replace her if necessary, I’ll probably never be able to buy another car. That fact alone gives me a lot of motivation to work my tail off, in spite of the fatigue and body pain.

By the way, my car’s name is “Smudgy,” so named by my sister because her (the car’s) paint job was starting to peel off when I got her six years ago, and now her head is decidedly getting rusty. This same Sister Person lets me use her “Dodgy” when she’s at work, but it would obviously be easier to make my living if I had my own car. Whine whine complain.

Changed My Mind- There’s One More After This

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don’t Have That Luxury- Part 7

I Lied A Little Bit

Okay, I lied a little bit; I do have things I could lose if I either can’t find “a real job,” or do not succeed in my multiple endeavors. In order to be able to write and display the blog, I had to replace my ten year old computer, which was constantly threatening to lose all my work, with a $508 Wal-Mart computer and printer.  And, since I haven’t worked in two years, I couldn’t pay cash for them, so used a Wal-Mart credit card. 

Some friends have offered to help as much as they can with my monthly payments, in exchange for massages for the husband’s painful back problems. This has been a lousy year financially for them also, and they usually come up a little bit short on the payment, but I would far rather have to pay $5 to make up the difference than either having the computer repossessed and my credit shot, or forced to pay hundreds of dollars more in interest rates than the computer is worth. I would be really stuck if it weren’t for their help. Conversely, the husband would really be stuck if it weren’t for my help with his back, so it works out pretty well, doesn’t it?

Last Of This Series Starts Tomorrow- Unless I Change My Mind