Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Cranky and that's Tough Shit

Smoking stand my nana and I used to use on her front porch. We were big smokers together. Nana died of lung cancer.

I’m not smoking. It’s been two weeks. It’s hard. But I’m doing it. That’s all I feel like saying right now. Wait. I’ll say this. For a while I was pissed because it seemed like all the people who’ve been nagging me and pressuring me and getting on my case and driving me crazy all these years to quit have suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. Dropped off the face of the earth! No calls. No pats on the back. No inquiries about how I am doing other than the perfunctory questions at the beginning of our phone conversations—“So how’s it going?”—followed by obvious disinterest in the details of how it’s going if I actually attempt to get it off my chest. Forget flowers. How come no one sends anyone flowers when they quit smoking? This is big! And we get no flowers.

What are they thinking?! Two weeks have gone by and I’m supposed to be over an addiction I was doing every fifteen minutes for almost forty years?! I never even had a job where I couldn’t smoke freely! It’s like they think, She’s good. It’s been two weeks. And then they tell me about their vacation plans and Girl Scout cookie orders and Brazilian bikini waxes. As if this fight for my life is suddenly over-with because I could actually get out of bed this week and wash my face. Which goes to show that they had no idea what I was grappling with when I was smoking if they think I could function and care about vacation plans, Girl Scout cookies, and Brazilian bikini waxes two weeks after quitting.

Then I thought, fuck ‘em. I didn’t quit for them anyway. I don’t need their approval or their support. I am doing this for me.

As you can see, I’m a bit cranky. One time I lost a friendship when I quit smoking because I was cranky. Well, not only that, but it was morning and everyone knows I’m not a morning person. So what happened was, this girl Sherley and I had an argument about how mules are stubborn. I said it in passing and she took a shit fit. She’d just bought a couple of mules. I had no idea she was going to be so touchy. I didn’t mean anything by it. Mules have a reputation for being stubborn. Everyone knows that. Great jokes have come from it. Plus god knows Sherley freely said many things to Kurt and I that most people would construe as very rude and we didn’t take a shit fit. She’s not exactly the sensitive type. Like one time she asked us what we paid for one of our horses, a horse we were very proud of, and when we told her, she screamed, and I quote, “Are you people f-ing crazy?!” We let that, and all the other obnoxious crap that used to come out of her mouth, go. So I was quite surprised that my comment about mules being stubborn got her so upset. But that’s not why I’m saying I was cranky—because I made the comment. I was cranky because I didn’t have any patience for her reaction to the comment. When she started screaming, I said, “Bye bye,” and haven’t talked to her since.

I’m not saying bye-bye to any of my other friends. They really haven’t been as non-supportive as I made out. I am cranky. But I’m not smoking because when I set my mind to something, I'm as stubborn as a mule.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Things You Need on a Farm

I can’t even imagine how often the heat would be going on if I didn’t have a woodstove. Thank god we got the woodstove. I have the stove going around the clock and still the oil heat kicks on every time I’m in the smoking room, aka, the basement.

I’ve relegated myself to the basement in a desperate attempt to cut down. It’s working pretty well. I’m smoking half as much as I used to smoke. Who wants to go down into the basement every time you want to smoke? It’s not a finished basement. The floor is cement and when there’s a lot of rain, a trickle of water runs down the center of it to a pit where the sump pump is. There are paint cans, buckets of joint compound, and plastic jugs of water in case the electric goes out and it’s not worth pulling out the generator because we think it’s going to come back on again. Like if there was no reason for the electric to go out—no snow, no wind, no rain. Nothing’s happening weather-wise. That means there was probably an accident—someone went into a pole—and as soon as they clean it up, the electric will come back on again. But if there’s a reason, if there’s any kind of precipitation, it could take days.

These are things you need on a farm. A woodstove and a generator.

People don’t realize that, when you’re out in the country and you lose your electric, you not only lose your lights and can’t watch The Bachelor, but you lose your water too because you have a well and the pump runs on electric. My sister thinks I’m out there hand-cranking it, but that’s not the case. For someone who has horses, it’s a disaster since horses drink about a dozen gallons of water per day each and if they don’t have water, they can colic. My first pony died of colic so I’m really paranoid about that. If you have six horses, that’s seventy-two gallons of water a day. That’s a lot of water. It’s not like you could run down to Walmart and get a few jugs off the shelf. Well, you could, but that would be the last thing you’d want to do because it would be really expensive. Like if it was an apocalyptic situation. You know, an end-of-the-world thing and your horses were dying of thirst. Of course if that was happening, even though I love my animals dearly, I think we’d be hoarding the water for ourselves. The horses get their feet done and their teeth floated before I get new shoes or go to the dentist, but you have to draw the line somewhere. So I would go down to Walmart if I had to. It would have to be really bad but not end-of-the-world bad.

Last summer it got really bad. We had a fierce storm that knocked out power for a week. I almost had to resort to Walmart but then Kelly’s boyfriend showed up with a 250-gallon container full of water sloshing around in the back of his truck. He had rustled up the container from his grandfather’s farm, brought it over to a friend’s farm where he rinsed it out (including using bleach because he knows what a fanatic I am about the horses) and filled it up, and then brought it back here for our horses to drink. I felt like the Calvary arrived!

Since then, one of our neighbors who is an electrician, rigged something up on the electrical box so that now all we have to do is plug the generator in and flip a switch if the power goes out and we’ll have water. He didn’t charge us a thing. I tried to pay him, I was so grateful, but he waved his hand and said to just give him a good deal when he needs new carpet someday.

The electric has gone out twice since we got the woodstove put in and the gizmo installed on the box. I dared it to. It was flickering. I said, “Go ahead you sucker! I don’t need no stinkin’ lights!” It came back on so fast I didn’t even have to get a log but I felt very secure knowing that, no matter what, we were going to be warm and the horses were going to have water. Because we have a woodstove and a generator.

And good people around us. That is something you need on a farm.