Sunday Column: Spontaneous Fishing

When you live on a ranch, your free time is pretty much mapped out for you. Meaning, you don’t really have it. There’s always something to be done, especially in the summer–fences to be fixed, cows to be checked, weeds to be sprayed, yard work to procrastinate, gardens to weed…you get the idea…

And it’s ok really, because if you choose to live on a ranch, most of the time most of us prefer to be out working the place than anything else.

Especially in the summer. Summer is why we stand strong through the winters here.

But when you live on this ranch there is a bit of a distraction, one thats swimming in the river about ten miles to the south, or the big lake that surrounds us.

And when your work in the yard or digging fence posts unearths dozens and dozens of worms just waiting to be collected for bait on a Sunday evening after you’ve tired of tinkering on the tractor or you’re on your seventeenth load to the dump grounds, a farmer or a rancher might take it as a sign to head to the river before dark and see if the catfish are biting.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes you just need to throw those homegrown worms in a coffee can, grab whatever tackle is leftover from last summer and maybe the new stuff you got for Christmas, trade your boots for your old tennies, grab some seeds and bug spray and head to the river.

Because it’s summer dammit. And sometimes you just need to go fishing.

Coming Home: Quick, hold on to summer traditions
by Jessie Veeder
6-15-14
Forum Communications
http://www.inforum.com

You can find my columns weekly in the Fargo Forum (Sundays), Dickinson Press and the Grand Forks Herald. All columns are reposted on this blog.

Between “I do” and “death parts us”

It all starts with the best of intentions. Most clean-up, housekeeping, get-some-shit-done-around-here tasks do. Unfortunately, most of my clean-up, housekeeping tasks also end with me questioning the meaning of life, love and why I don’t just live by myself in a tiny fort made of logs by the creek like I planned when I was ten years old.

Because inside our houses, the ones we share with the people we promised to have and hold ’till death do us part, there lies unexpected secrets, secrets just waiting to jump out at us when our guard is down, when we’re comfortable and on task and thinking that this time we might have it under control.

Our poop in a group.

Our shit together.

But no. Those secrets remind us that marriage is not always the blissed-out, romantic, snuggle, love fest those ridiculous bridal magazines told us it would be.

No.

Because sometimes your husband leaves an uncooked egg bake from a camping trip he took three weeks ago floating in a cooler filled with beer and warm, melty, mushy, cloudy, curdled water and you, in your attempt at the whole “getting our shit together” thing,  has the privilege of being the one to get the first whiff.

And because it’s wedding season and the two of us had just returned from a lovely one in Minnesota, complete with mason jars and lilacs, heirloom dresses and lights strung across the beams of an old barn, I was feeling sort of romantic about the whole idea of the two of us living out our lives here in the country, quietly and easily, just like we had planned.

Perfectly planned weddings will do that to you…you know, create delusions.

But nothing says love like pulling on your muck boots, turning on the hose and testing how long you can hold your breath as you dispose of your dearly-beloved’s moldy concoction and spray down the inside of a rotten cooler, gagging and gasping when you inevitably have to take in air.

I love my husband every day…I just don’t like him every minute.

I know for a fact that he feels the same way about me.

Anyway, after I returned from the dump, I trudged inside to grab a beer from the fridge and sit on the back deck to contemplate the meaning of life and the consequences of actually living by myself in that little fort by the creek.

I took a sip and listened as the birds chirped and frogs croaked at the dam below the house and thought that some days, on hot days like these, I think I would be ok with being a frog–cool water, an abundance of flies, no worries about what outfit to wear to a quaint Minnesota wedding and definitely no three-week-old egg bake clean up surprise.

There isn’t mention of three-week-old egg bake cooler clean up surprises in any marriage vows I’ve ever heard.

Which got me thinking, when it comes to starting a life together, no one really talks about stuff like that. I’m not just talking about the annoying and surprising things, but the things that come with sharing a house, and plans, and dinner and dogs and babies and landscaping/housebuilding projects together.

The real things.

Because hopefully here is a lot of life in between those “I do’s” and the whole “death parting us” thing. That’s what I was thinking when the bride took the groom’s hand last weekend and made promises to him. I thought of all of the things that couple has been through together to get to this point.

And then I thought of what almost 8 years of marriage has looked like for us and I realized that not too often has it looked as lovely as that day we were in with the beautiful couple before us. Not even on our own wedding day, you know, the one out in the middle of the cow pasture complete with cow herd crashing, a random drunk guy trying his damnedest to spill booze on the pastor and the groomsman nearly plummeting to his death out the door of a moving RV…

Wedding Tree

Let’s just say there have been more “tragic egg bake style incidents” than I planned on. But I should have known. Just because I got married doesn’t mean the two of us (or our luck) changed. No. We just became a combined force of mistakes and small tragedies, goofiness and bad ideas, opinions and forgetfulness and big plans in the works.

But that’s what you get when you’re in it together–you get two. You get a witness. You get a built-in dinner date that sometimes is really late to dinner and it pisses you off.

You get a man who takes off his work boots and stinks up the entire house, but you also get a man who will drive around the countryside for hours and take a detour every day before and after work looking for your missing dog, not because he particularly likes him, but because you do. And that sort of quiet gesture makes up ten-fold for the stinky socks. And the late to dinner thing.

But forget the even score, because from what I’ve learned in eight years of marriage, there is no even score.  He will work late. You will drink too much with your girlfriends the night before and ruin the plans he made for leaving early on a fishing trip. He will take out the garbage and you will forget to get groceries until you’re both eating saltines and wondering  when the new Chinese food restaurant will start delivering to the ranch. You will unload the dishwasher, he will never remember where you put the spatulas. You will be thankful you married a man who uses a spatula.

No, the chores will never be equal because life might be a balancing act, but it sure as shit is never balanced (except when it comes to dog puke on the floor. In that instance, you will keep score). But that’s ok. That’s why you’ve got each other.

Because life is so annoying sometimes, and sometimes it’s his fault. Sometimes it’s mine. But I tell you what’s also annoying, that damn pickle jar that I can never open myself or the flat tire he’s out there fixing on the side of the road in the middle of a winter blizzard, proving that regardless of our shortcomings, life is easier with him around.

I hope he could say the same for me, regardless of the inevitable mess I make in the kitchen when I actually attempt to make a meal or the hundreds of bobby pins I leave laying around the house, driving him crazy. I think at the end of the day that’s what we really want out of this crazy love/union that we all enter into blindly knowing that it just has to work out.

It just has to work out. That’s something isn’t it? As if the whole working out thing happens on its own because we love will make it so.

Now I’m no expert here (if you want experts, ask my grandparents. They will be married for 60 years this September) but here is what I know. Love will never make you agree on the arrangement of the furniture, but love goes a long way in laughing it off when he backs into your car in the morning and forgets to tell you, leaving you to wonder all day when you might have had a car accident you can’t remember.

Love will not make him throw away that ratty State Wrestling t-shirt, but it will make you change out of your favorite sweatpants, the ones he loathes, every once in a while, you know, on special nights.

And initially, love will send him running when he hears you scream in the other room, but there will come a time when he won’t immediately come running. No. He will wait for a followup noise to help him make the decision, because love has made the man mistake a stray spider for a bloody mangled limb too many times.

And love will laugh her ass off when he gets clotheslined by the dog on a leash, leaving him laying flat on his back on the sidewalk, the dog licking his face along a busy intersection in a mountain town while drivers yell out their windows “Hey Rollerblades!”  And love will let her tell that story at every party because, judging by her hysteric laughter, it brings her great joy.

And, just for the record, sometimes love is not patient. Sometimes it needs to get to town and she’s trying on her third dress of the evening.

And sometimes love is not as kind as it should be. Because love is human.

And no human is perfect. Not individually and surely not together.

Because humans leave egg bakes in coolers in basements for three weeks.

The same kind of human that is my husband, the husband who once told me that love, to him, means doing all that you can to make the other person happy.

“Like going to that Dixie Chicks concert with you, or running to town to get you popsicles when you don’t feel well, or hemming your choir dress in college because you failed Home Ec…”

There’s so many fancy ways to say it, but if I were to do it over again, I would put things like this in my vows. I would vow to be a combined force of mistakes and small tragedies, goofiness and bad ideas, opinions and forgetfulness and big plans in the works.

And then I would promise, no matter the mess we got ourselves into, to never run away to that log fort by the creek like I planned when I was ten years old, unless I take him with me, you know, to help build a fire…

A conversation with Husband…

Scene: Spring cleaning outside the construction site that is our home. We live in the middle of a coulee filled with oak and ash trees and their bare, fallen branches gave me an idea…

And now, for a quick conversation with Husband:

Me: There sure are a lot of fallen trees around here.

Him: Yup.

Me: Hey, wouldn’t these trees make a great rail fence?

Him: Yup.

Me: I mean, think of the money we’d save!  All the supplies we need are right in our backyard.

Him: Better go get your ax.

Me: Why do I halfta use an ax? Why can’t I use a chainsaw?

Him: Because a chainsaw doesn’t build strength and character does it?

Me: I’ve got enough character…

Him: And also, if I gave you a chainsaw, you’d find a way to chop your own head off…

Me: ……

End Scene. 

Horse frustration

And that, ladies and gentlemen is, how you crush dreams.

 

With that boy…

It’s Saturday and the wind is howling like 50 miles per hour out there. I just spent a good five hours out in it doing the one thing that makes the most sense in 50 mile an hour wind–cleaning up and hauling construction materials out of the yard.

Half of the earth is in my ear…

The other half? In my eyeballs.

Husband and I are on the down hill slope of this home construction project. Which means, when I look around I only see about another year or seven of work left…which isn’t too bad considering we started this project three years ago with a a pretty clear idea that we will be working on this house for the rest of our lives.

But here I am on a Saturday and I can tell you this: there’s trim in the living room.

And base boards. And outlet covers.

So pretty much we’re fancy now.

Except for the air compressor in the master bedroom.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I’ve started hanging things on the walls. This is a huge step for me.

I haven’t committed to the whole wall-hanging/decorating ritual since I moved into my first apartment in college, so this is a big deal.

For those of you who are new here, I’ll refresh you. Husband and I have been married for seven years.

Six out of those seven years have involved some sort of major home/rental construction renovation project, and saw dust and tools on pretty much every surface of the house for months on end. (Oh, and scary ladder projects…)

So you see where I’m coming from.

Anyway, I don’t know why I felt compelled to sit down at the computer on a perfectly, unbearably windy Saturday at the ranch to tell you this, except that I felt like I wanted to say that, yes, the wind is blowing 50 miles per hour out there and I just stood in it for five hours next to my husband throwing boards and boxes, bent nails and shingle cuttings and pieces of plywood and house wrap and leftover pieces of our work into the back of the old green pickup that guy bought in college when we were broke as hell.

I bent down and stood up seven million times. I hauled pallets and filled buckets with tiny little squares of wood and screws. I told him I’m glad we kept this pickup. I told him that this job sucks as he threw a giant piece of plywood over a pile in the pickup box that was dangerously close to toppling over and then I got in the passenger seat as we drove to unload that dangerous pile, chasing after stray particle boards and escaped pieces of plastic flying in the tornado like winds before we went back to do another load.

And another.

And another.

He told me he wished it was summer so that when he lifted these boards he might find a salamander or two.

Salamanders are like tiny water dragons he said.

You’re a dork, I said.

And then I said I wished it was summer too.

We always wish it was summer around here.

And the job, the chore itself, it sucked. And here I am now inside the house on a Saturday night with a homemade pizza waiting to be put in the oven and a husband worn out and sorta snoring on the easy chair…

The evening is mine now.

I can do anything with it.

And I’m sorta wishing we were still out there throwing boards into the back of that green pickup.

And I don’t know why that is except that I would do anything with that boy.

I have just always wanted to do anything with that boy…

 

Sleep Talking…

My husband talks in his sleep.

In the early hours of this morning he turned to me and said, “That’s enough of that now.”

To which I replied, “Enough of what?”

“Enough of those carrots. You keep putting them in the mixer and they’re flying out everywhere. You’re making a huge mess!”

“Ok,” I said. “I’ll stop with the carrots.”

And we both rolled over and went back to sleep.

These are not generally the types of conversations we have while he’s sleeping. No. Generally our middle of the night sleep chats are much angrier.

Now, my husband, He’s not a loud man in his waking hours. In fact, he is the opposite. Calm. Reserved. Collected. Stoic.

The only thing I’ve ever heard him yell at are the dogs when they’re taking off at top speeds over the hill after a deer, leaving all sense of hearing behind and that one time when a guy driving a random piece of machinery mistook our yard for an oil site and almost ran over our new culvert.

I know it’s not nice to laugh when someone you love is all worked up, but, I mean, a brand new vein spontaneously appeared in his neck. Don’t mess with this man’s culverts.

Anyway, besides those few select scenarios, my man is basically eerily unemotional. Chill. Laid back. Reserved.

But in his sleep he is another man entirely.

Yes, in his dreams he yells, strings of words I’ve never heard him use together in his waking life, not even at culvert man. In the depths of the night he’s mad at someone. He rolls over and makes a heavy dramatic sigh. He hollers at unnamed characters. He makes general, angry suggestions to do things like ‘get over it’ or ‘hurry the hell up’ or ‘come on already.’

He curses, Tourette style, words flying from his mouth that stand alone in the quiet, dark night of our room, flinging my eyes open and reaching my arm to his back to tell him, ‘shhh, shhh, it’s ok.”

He’s upset. He’s frustrated. He’s loud.

He’s completely and utterly out of it.

Asleep.

Now I’ve shared a room with this man for a while, and I can tell you he has always slept the  sleep of the dead. Like, if an elephant opened the front door of our house and made his way up the steps and into our room to sit on the end of our bed and clean his toenails, my husband wouldn’t even stir.

Once, when we lived in town, someone threw a construction cone at his car parked on the street, setting his car alarm off in a frenzy and scaring the shit out of me enough to whack him on the back and send him up out of the bed, out the door and out on the street before he woke up under the street lights to realize he was in nothing but his underwear.

Yes, the man can snooze. And sometimes he rolls over to tell me things about how delicious the pineapple tasted in his dreams, or maybe once there was something about pants that didn’t fit, or getting the right cheese at the store, or making it to the top of a mountain in time to catch the goats, you know, weirdly normal sleep-talking subjects.

But his sleeps never used to be angry. No. This new phenomenon crept into our lives a few years ago, in the middle of the night, sending me shooting out of bed and dangling from the light fixture in terror.

Who was this man in my room and why was he shouting the F-bomb for no reason?

And of course at first I thought it was a funny, one time nightmare thing, but that, as you know, has proven not to be the case.

No. My man has become an angry sleeper.

Now, I’ve tried to understand it. I have asked him if he remembers being angry at anyone in his dreams. I’ve asked him, if there are names involved, if they are real people, people he may have unresolved issues with, perhaps?

I’ve wondered if he’s ever yelling at me.

But he can’t remember, not the angry dreams anyway.

The good dreams? The ones where he can fly or is riding a fast horse or winning the lottery? He can remember those.

The annoyed dreams, like the thing about the carrots this morning? Yup. Clear as day.

The bad dreams?  Not a slice of a memory.

Weird.

Now, I’m beyond analyzing this, except to come to the conclusion that this stoic man of mine, this even tempered rock sleeping next to a woman who has been known to have countless emotional and similarly loud outbursts of joy, anger, pain or excitement in her waking hours, has to find a way to let go somehow.

Because, wild dogs, culvert guy and being forced to watch the Academy Awards excluded, this man is pretty steady.

So sleep it out my man. Tell the world to…well..you know what…while you rest in the safety and oblivion of your deep slumber. Those words from your mouth don’t scare me.

Actually, I’m happy to hear them and perfectly fine with the booming of your voice waking me in the night.

Because sometimes, when I’m all worked up, arms flailing, words slurring together, tears squeezing out of my eyes and you say to me “Don’t worry. It’s fine. It’ll all work out,” I worry that you holding this puddle of a woman together in this puddle of a world might be a quiet burden you don’t need to bear so softly.

So yell into the quiet night when no one can hear you but me so I can wake up and smile, roll over and touch your back knowing that in this life, all things find balance…in their own way…

Oh, and don’t worry, I’ll get those carrots under control.

Sunday Column: The miles together

photo-64We’re leaving Nevada this morning, saying goodbye to our first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. I’m sitting in my hotel room at the Rodeway Inn listening to sound of my husband’s breath rise and fall as he sleeps, cars swooshing past this door on their way to  church or the grocery store down the road, and my fingers clicking on the keys, procrastinating the task of packing up the clothes draped over chairs and tables, cords and papers, CDs, toothbrushes and shampoo bottles and to-go coffee mugs strewn about before we hit the road again.

In a few minutes Husband will wake up and jump in the shower. If I can get it together, we’ll be out of here in an hour or so, turning up the radio and pointing the car back toward a beautiful part of Idaho we look forward to seeing in the daylight. When we get hungry we’ll pull in the next town, head toward Main Street and hope for one of those really great diners, the ones where the old folks go after church. He’ll order chicken-fried-steak and I’ll have a burger and we’ll sit and chat and notice things about this place that we like.

photo-67

When the miles start to drag out before us we might start making plans for the barn or the unfinished house. Or I might wonder out loud what sort of animal I was in a past life. A Canadian goose, I’ll say, like the two who fly away together and return to the stock dam every spring…

In my life I have been given a solid traveling companion (and this week, he’s made a pretty great purse holder, guitar carrier, outfit chooser, audience member, and therapist too). We’ve  put on a lot of miles together, back and forth and up and down and home again.

photo-66

We have three more days on the road–a yet to be determined stop tonight when we’re road weary and one in White Sulphur Springs, Montana on Monday before heading back home. These miles could be daunting, but they’ve never been for me as long as we’re taking them together, sitting close, moving forward and wondering about things…

Coming Home: Stretch of road brings back memories
by Jessie Veeder
2-2-14
Fargo Forum
http://www.inforum.com 
photo-65

This text message brought to you by Winter.

And now, an afternoon text chat with Husband.

Me-”I just fell off a ledge and into a snowbank in front of a thousand cars on Main Street.”

Him-”Bwahhahaha”

Him again-”I mean, omigosh are you ok?”

Me-”And a pop blew up in your pickup.”

Him-”Now that is not funny.”

Me-”And your windshield wiper broke off.”

Him-”You’re back to your car only.”

Me-”I cleaned up the pop.”

Him-”I need that pickup functional”

Me-”Relax, I think you can fix the wiper…”

Me again-”I think.”

Sunday Column: My name

Jessie Veeder
I tried to change my name to Stephanie when I was in kindergarten. A little boy named August raised his hand during sharing hour and asked to be called Gus, and, well, I thought that meant in kindergarten we got to change our names. So I raised my hand and declared that everyone must now call me Stephanie.

My sweet teacher looked at me, no doubt trying to stifle her laughter at the little weirdo before her, and calmly declared she thought Jessica was a nice name and I should keep it.

I was bummed. This was the 80s after all and Stephanie was the name of my favorite character on Full House. But I carried on as Jessica until second grade when we moved to the ranch and, struck with a sudden urge to shorten things up, I introduced myself to my new country school classmates as Jessie.

Everyone should call me Jessie.

Our names are more than just our signatures on paper or a word on a tag stuck to the lapels of our shirt at a meeting. Did I look like a Stephanie? Well I’m not sure, but I’m thankful Mrs. Schaffer didn’t allow me to undo the name I was given with a raise of the hand at five years old.

And so I stayed Jessican Blain Veeder.

jessie

Jessica after the woman on “The Man From Snowy River” (did I mention it was the 80′s?)
Blain for my mother’s maiden name.
Veeder for my father’s side.

Fast forward twenty-some years and for as much as I wanted to be Stephanie at five years old, upon my marriage I couldn’t bear part with the names I was given, no matter the tradition or how much I lived and respected my new husband and his family.

This week’s column explains why a woman like me might choose to live out a life with four names…

Coming Home: Holding on to family name important
October 27, 2013
Fargo Forum
http://www.inform.com

Wedding

Project: schedule

Annddd….now we’re building a garage.

A garage that looks like it might be bigger than this house, and, well, we all know the sorts of debacles that went into this place.

Look familiar? That’s the basement wall building party…in the middle of a 20 degree winter day…

Last winter’s three night backsplash marathon that sent Husband up and down a ladder to the basement to get to his saw, because, well, we didn’t have stairs. (Or a basement floor, but who’s keeping track?)

Last summer’s death defying chandelier project two hours before hosting Husband’s 30th Birthday Party

This summer’s railing, saving me from sleep walking to my death…

The bathroom tiling project that nearly ended a thirteen year relationship…

The loft that went from shop to master bedroom one board at a time…

And let us not forget the birthday deck...

So now we’re onto the garage. Oh, it’s only about a year off schedule,  but right in time to be tackled in the monsoon, 24-hour rain that fell the day before Husband got the hammers out.

And so it’s the story of his life, standing ankle deep in a mud puddle holding a power tool with one hand and holding up a giant wall with the other, looking up at the sky wondering which way the clouds are moving and where the time goes while his wife hollers out the door wondering if there’s time for some lunch.

Why must all of our projects span over the year mark? That’s the next question I wanted to ask after the lunch question, but I thought maybe it wasn’t the best time to bring it up.

I mean, wasn’t it last November that we dug the giant hole for the footings for this thing? Did I or did I not walk across a plank over a moat over the slush and snow and ice to get to my house for a good ten months before the weather dried the ground enough to get some blocks and concrete in that thing?

Didn’t I fall in that hole?

More than once?

Didn’t my neighbor nearly slide her way to a broken hip in her innocent attempt to deliver Christmas wreathes?

Didn’t I make my dear husband promise that this building project was going to be easier than the last house project?

That there on the right is a face of hope and trust…

Didn’t he tell me that a garage could go up in a couple weekends?

Didn’t I make him define the number “couple?”

Didn’t I learn anything about believing him?

Didn’t he tell me to order scoria last week while he was away in Texas so that he wouldn’t have to work in a mud hole if it rained?

Did he know it was going to rain?

Didn’t I make that call? I can’t remember…

Didn’t anyone tell me not to marry an ambitious carpenter no matter how cute that carpenter looks in his Carharts?

I mean, I have sawdust in places I didn’t know existed…

But it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t have listened.

Because I have a weakness for capable men.

And turns out we need a garage. Somehow it’s feeling a bit more urgent today…

Heaven help the carpenter’s wife. May we one day reclaim our kitchen tables from the tools that rest there…

A really scary story.

It was a low and agonizing moan, a sort of desperate sound that no one wants to hear, especially at six in the morning when it should be dark and quiet in the loft where I had twenty-more-minutes before I had to get up.

Twenty more minutes and there it was again. It was coming from the kitchen.

“Ohhhh, noooooaaa. Noooooaaa. Lord. Why? Whhhhyyy?”

It was my husband. The only other living thing in this house that can form words and the only other living thing in this house that would attempt to stand upright and form them in the hour before the sun arrives.

I’d never heard this sound before. I searched my sleepy mind for what could possibly be wrong:

An work disaster email?

A giant dog poop?

A dishwasher/washing machine/sink explosion?

Maybe we left a door open and that damn squirrel set up shop in our cupboards? Or a turkey. A turkey could have gotten in. They’ve been knocking on our door all month.

Or an alien. Never rule out the aliens.

Or a robber. We were sleeping pretty hard up there, I mean, maybe we didn’t hear him.

Maybe he’s still down there.

Oh Lord, I haven’t heard another moan for a good three minutes. I could have a hostage situation on my hands.

Where’s the phone?

Where are my pants?

Where’s that baseball bat I don’t own?

I swung my legs over the bed and snuck toward the door of the bedroom, peeking my head out and over the loft to quietly assess the situation.

What I discovered was worse than anything I could have conjured up.
LOFT

No. We weren’t being robbed. There was no intruder, furry or feathered or otherwise.

Nothing was flooding or exploding or pooping.

No. No. No. No.

Husband.

Broke.

The.

Coffee. Pot.

The. coffee. pot. was. broken.

Thecoffeepotwasbroken!!!

Cracked.

Leaking.

Smashed.

B.R.O.K.E.N

BROKEN!

BRRROOOKEEENNNN!!!!!

coffee pot

I heard another groan. A similar low, agonizing growl, but this time it was coming from a wild haired, pants-less  woman leaning over the edge of the staircase clutching her heart with the realization that she had just become powerless against the perils of early morning at the ranch while staring at a horrified man in middle of his own stunning realization.

We looked at each other, my mouth agape and his forming the silent, whimpering words “I’m sorry. I’m so. so. sorry.”

At that moment we would have taken the alien.

You think I’m over-exaggerating. You say to me, no big deal. Just grab some coffee from a gas station or a coffee shop on your way to work and pick up a new pot on your way home. You’ll make it.

But I tell you you don’t understand.

The only thing worse than the absence of coffee in the wee and vulnerable morning  hours at the ranch is the absence of toilet paper in the middle of a vulnerable night. You know what I’m saying?

Because unless we want to disturb our neighbors’ early morning ritual, seriously, the closest cup of coffee is twenty-five miles away.

TWENTY-FIVE MILES!

That means we have to drive, groggy and impaired behind oil trucks, service pickups, moms in SUVs and school busses carrying precious cargo before we even had the chance to properly fuel our veins. And once we finally arrive at a gas station or a coffee shop we have to stand in line behind fifteen people who are buying gas or muffins or beef jerky or aspirin or TEA FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! WHO DRINKS TEA? WHAT’S EVEN IN TEA? LEAVES? SOGGY HERBS? I DON’T GET IT! TEA IS A NON-ESSENTAIL ITEM! THESE ARE NON-ESSENTIAL ITEMS!

NON. ESSENTIAL.

COFFEE DRINKERS UNITE! IT’S 7:30 AM AND WE HAVEN’T HAD A SIP.

IT’S 7:30 AM–WE’RE MOVING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE!!!

See what I’m saying.

Without coffee the two of us become an environmental hazard.

It really was serious. But it wasn’t all my careless husband’s fault. I should have been prepared. When you live out here with the wild turkeys you shouldn’t leave yourself vulnerable to these disasters.

Before the fire hit the little ranch house and we moved to the new place I had three additional coffee sources on hand to sustain us through power outages, broken or faulty equipment and carelessness. No electricity? It’s fine, we have a propane stove and a camp percolator. Broken coffee pot? No big deal, there’s an extra downstairs.

Want to get fancy with the beans? Great! Let’s use the french press!

We were safe then. We were secure.

coffee

Then there was a fire and we got distracted with things like, you know, building shelter for our bodies and our earthly possessions, and some important things fell by the wayside.

Important things like backup coffee pots.

How could I be so negligent? How could I forget about the essentials? How could I be so ill prepared?

It doesn’t matter now. My lesson’s learned. Never again will I be left standing sleepy-eyed,  pants-less and horrified in my own home.

Never again will I put the lives of the innocent children in danger.

School Bus Stop Ahead

Never again will I allow a simple mistake like the slip of a hand leave me stranded and powerless in the face of an early morning and long work day.

Fed-Ex lady, I hope it doesn’t snow next week, because there’s going to be some big shipments coming in.

Because today I’m clearing out a space in the basement and Googling “Coffee Pots,” and, well, I guess I’ll be seeing you soon.

coffee

Peace, Love and, you guessed it, Coffee,

Jessie