What’s normal anyway?


What’s normal anyway?
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On the evening of Christmas Day, after all the gifts were opened, the leftovers were boxed up and the goodbye hugs were given, we arrived home to our house in the middle of nowhere to discover an open front door, a bag of scattered garbage and every boot in the entryway missing.

In another setting, I imagine one’s mind might have automatically thought “burglar.” But in my life, my husband just mumbled, “Apparently the dog can get our new front door open” as he trudged with his arms full of bundled-up babies through that open door.

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As I wandered around my yard the next morning, shielding my eyes against the sun reflecting off acres and acres of fresh, sparkling snow under which any one of my boots could be lying (and hopefully not shredded), I couldn’t help but think that these are not the sort of problems normal people have.

Unless, of course, you live on a ranch in rural North Dakota. In that case, I’m guessing you’re with me here. You’re also with me on the thrill of the weekend morning drive to town without the kids so that you can stock up on a grocery supply that fills the deep freeze and hopefully lasts a few weeks.

ARCHIVE: Read more of Jessie Veeder’s Coming Home columns

And if you’re from rural North Dakota, or maybe anywhere up here in the great white north, please tell me I’m not the only one who has found herself and that overfilled cart stuck wheels-deep in the snow-packed parking lot on the way to the car. Like, so stuck I needed assistance from the nice lady who just pulled into her spot to witness me spinning out and grunting profanities under my breath in failed shove after failed shove to free it.

“No, these are not the sort of problems normal people have,” I thought again as I unwrapped the celebratory doughnut I purchased to eat on the 30-mile drive home… and then the second one because I was alone in my car with no one there to judge me…

snowy road

And, when I arrived home, I muttered it yet again, because after all that effort I forgot the milk and had to call a neighbor on the hunt for an ingredient I needed for my New Year’s Eve party dip. Because I swore I bought it, but it could have flipped out of the cart in my efforts to free it from the grips of the winter parking lot, or maybe it is in my car, just living in the black hole of space where the sippy cups, Froot Loops and missing gloves go to die.

Next time I accidentally lock the barn cat in my car while unloading the kids, I’m sure she’ll find it and have a front-seat feast, just like she did with my missing package of cashews a few weeks back — which was a welcomed clue to her existence before I accidentally drove her to a meeting in town.

Which, judging from the cat in a sweater I saw being pushed around in a stroller at the airport last month, showing up to a meeting with a cat might actually be normal everywhere but here. I don’t know anymore.

Happy New Year, you weirdos!

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Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.

9 thoughts on “What’s normal anyway?

  1. So its been awhile….the cat was reminiscent of a trip to Bismarck to pick up the mare of my dreams. We parked the trailer at the ranch outside Bismarck to be picked up the next day with the mare. Little did we know that a barn kitty had hopped in while getting the trailer ready for the trip to pick up the horse of my dreams.
    I was so excited! I went into the house to visit with my new best friends wife. While my husband hooked up the trailer to ready for loading and departure. He and the owner of the ranch heard a faint but plaintive meow. Could it be? Yes coming from the inside of the trailer.
    Upon investigation my husband found a scared and hungry kitty in the trailer. Shed bumped along the windy 350 mile November trip all alone in that trailer.
    Pops put her in the tack compartment, we loaded our new mare, and we were off. We did stop in Jamestown and got a little cat food and with trepidation opened the tack compartment, contained her successfully, and pitched in some kitty chow. We already had a horse named Traveler so she was forever known as Gypsy the traveling kitty. Happy New Year!!!

  2. I’ve had Cattle Dogs for over two decades, most who have managed to come up with and do creative things humans haven’t even dreamed of yet. In his excitement to go out, one of my current ones streaks down to the basement and grabs any shoe or boot he can find and shakes it violently. (Read as: destructively) Eventually, with repleaded abuse, said shoe/boot will begin to disintegrate, causing much angst when my hubby ends up with wet feet from his leaking, torn foot gear. So I bought a large tub to all hold our shoes and boots. The dog hasn’t seemed to catch on that he can still grab the boots out of the tub (proof that they can be oh so smart, yet oh so dumb), but any he finds laying around are still fair game. Do you think I can train the hubby to put his shoes and boots IN the tub? No. Can’t train the dog, can’t train the hubby. I give up.

  3. We see all kinds of animals, including cats, pushed around in strollers, or riding in chariots pulled by bicycles at the farmers’ market, although the most unusual one in recent years was a chihuahua sporting a pink tutu. She was happily sitting in the waist of the guitar of the musician performing that day, while he was playing, standing up. She stayed up there for most of the performance. They made quite the show.

  4. Have you seen the cartoon where a little girl asks her mother “ What’s normal mommy ? “ And the mother replies “ It’s just a setting on the dryer honey “. 😂

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