Greetings from a hotel room in Elko, Nevada where I landed on Monday night to be a part of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, but have spent the first few days in Urgent Care and fighting off a terrible flu. Luckily I haven’t missed any performances and the medication is kicking in so I’m ready for a whirlwind three days of performances, but it’s just another reminder that there are things we simply can’t control, no matter how long I’ve been planning for them.
Our health is one of them for sure. And then, of course, there’s the weather. It’s always the weather. T
A few weeks ago that variable threw another wrench in my plans as I found myself holed up in Fargo during an epic blizzard. So that’s what’s this week’s column is about. That and how my darling husband is keeping it all together while I’m out telling my stories and trying to stay healthy. Thank God for him.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go blow my nose and write the next one!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
I spent last week across the state in the middle of a 72-hour Fargo snow day.
I arrived in front of a winter storm so epic that they gave it a name, you know, like they do hurricanes. And I suppose it deserved a name since Mother Nature added a 50 mph wind on top of 50 feet of snow and we all woke up to a regular Elsa-style eternal winter.
And so there I was, stranded inside a hotel room among the buildings of downtown Fargo, all the work I was supposed to be doing canceled, which freed me up for things like sleeping in, watching movies and eating brunch for like three hours before heading into lunch, and then supper and then cocktails and so on and so forth until it was time to sleep again.
It was just terrible. I was unnerved. Probably because I was super rested and hadn’t had this much free time since high school… I was half-tempted to start work on another degree…
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
My husband answered my phone call to report that things were going just fine. Cows were fed, dogs were fed, horses were fed, cats were fed, kids were fed…
“Yeah, I’m getting so much done at home with them,” he said. At least I think that’s what he said. I could barely hear him over Edie singing the entire soundtrack to “Frozen II” at the top of her lungs in the background.
“No you’re not,” I replied, because I know the truth.
“Of course I’m not,” my darling husband declared. “All I do is make food and clean it up and make food and clean it up and make food and clean it up…”
So, yeah, everything was fed. Which isn’t an easy task, I know, especially when it means bundling up a squirmy 2-year-old who barely ever wears pants and coaxing a glamorous 4-going-on-16-year-old out of her ball gown and into snow gear in order to load them up in the old pickup and feed the cows a few bales.
The whole getting ready process alone takes a lunch break to accomplish, and that’s if one of them manages to actually stay in her snowsuit long enough to convince the other to find some socks.
“What do you mean Rosie bit Edie in the forehead?” I asked him, clutching my chest, mildly alarmed between sips of cabernet. Turns out there was a fight in the feed pickup over the silk costume gloves my husband let Edie wear outside, because girlfriend’s gotta look glam. And that, apparently annoyed her little sister…
I wondered if this was foreshadowing. And then I wondered if there were bite marks. But I didn’t ask.
Instead, I adjusted my pillows on the hotel bed, grabbed a handful of snack mix and said something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I wish this weather would cooperate.” (Takes a sip of wine.) “But it looks like the interstate’s closed from here to Bismarck.” (Opens new bag of Cheetos.) “It could be a while until I get on the road…” (flips through the channels on the hotel television).
And then I put him on speakerphone so I could really get comfortable while I tried my nicest Midwestern wife tactics to wrap up the phone conversation so I could catch up on episodes of “Beat Bobby Flay.”
“Well, I suppose,” I said.
“Where did you go for supper?” he asked.
“I should let you go. Sounds like you have your hands full,” I tried.
“Have you forgotten the normal volume of our lives?” he asked.
“Did I hear something crash? You should get that,” I suggested.
“Is it still blowing bad?” he asked.
And we went on like this for a while until someone or something in the house peed on the floor.
And eventually the road cleared as it always does and I pointed my car back west through the snowbanks, feeling at least five years younger and a million times grateful that I married a man who can handle all the crumbs and baling twine and bite marks so I can focus on things like work and surviving blizzards that have names I can’t remember.
If you need me, I’m home now, likely feeding or wiping something…
Actually, no, if you need me I’ll be in Elko while my husband is feeding something or wiping something. I owe him, I know. He knows it too.
See ya out there!