Honey Badger Just Dont Care

Look out Bees and Cobras

Archive for the category “Grateful”

Happy Planes, Trains and Automobiles Day to Seoul Man! 5 YEARS ago today…

….this crazy adventure called parenthood began for my husband and I, and if how we finally were brought together with our son is any indication, this will (and has been) a loooong, strange trip….

So, 5 years ago, right about this time, I was in a flurry of insanity as all our plans for a fabulous “Gotcha Day” were quickly going down the tubes.

The original plan was for us to head to JFK at 7:35pm to pick up our 3 1/2 month old son. Our family and friends were going to go with us, we had signs, we had people there to take pics for us…it was going to be a huge “WELCOME HOME!” that little guy would be able look back at through pictures, and he could see how excited everyone was for him to finally be here and was going to be a part of our family.

But Mother Nature had other plans….

This would go down in history as “The Valentine’s Day Ice Storm/Blizzard of 2007”

Now, looking at this map, it doesnt look too terrible around the Tri-State Area, as we are shaded in a 1-4 inch grey coloring. Well, what is not evident on this map is that we were not getting snow, we had ICE.

Oh wait, here we go…here’s a better one…

So yeah, you can see that this was a doozie…

EVERYTHING around here was pretty much shut down. Ice covered the third rail causing trains to be shut down, leaving thousands and thousands of commuters trapped at Penn Station. All the airports were closed, leaving passengers on planes for 11 hours. If I am not mistaken, it was this storm that rallied the cause to create an “Airline Customer Bill of Rights”, as leaving people on the tarmac for 11 hours, when they can see and walk to the gate, with no working bathrooms or food, just doesnt make good business sense. Jet Blue cancelled 1000 flights because of this storm, and I think there are still people sitting at JFK waiting to get home!

So you can see, our happy Gotcha Day Plans were probably not going to happen. Here is how it played out…

I had received the call that Seoul Man was going to be arriving home on February 10th. I was at work and my social worker emailed me to say to call her ASAP. I called her back and she gave me the great news that he would be flying in to JFK at 7:35 on February 14th – VALENTINES DAY. Now, part of the reason why we chose Korea to adopt from is that they offer an escort option (they dont anymore now). Being that sitting on a plane for 12+ hours is actually not good for me at all, in that I am highly prone to thrombosis (clots) in my leg due to all the surgeries and the radiation. Add to that, sitting for too long causes LOTS of pain for me, and has actually triggered cellutitis infections. I would have loved to have flown to Korea to get our son, but I dont think he would have been too thrilled to have his new mom in a hospital for a week after homecoming. We could have flown business, or first class, which would help A LOT as the additional space is good for me, but I dont think the other travelers paying top buck would want to sit next to a screaming infant for 12 hours.

So we quickly spread the news about the homecoming info, and let anyone come who wanted to come. We figured we would do this as little guy would already be in shock with everything, so throwing in a mess load of new strangers ooogling all over him would be alright, THEN we could retreat to our home and be uninterrupted as we all begin to bond with one another without interruption.

I had originally decided to work that day, as we wouldnt be going to the airport until 5:30ish or so, and I would have rather applied the day off to my maternity leave. Plus I would need something to keep me occupied! But by the end of that Monday, I decided it would be my last, as the last thing I would need is to get stuck in a storm on my way home from work.

I also intended to sleep in the next morning, as I knew my days of sleep were going to be over, and I might as well take advantage of it!

I watched the 10:00 news on that Monday night, and no one really knew what this storm was going to do. The City and Long Island were most likely going to be on the warm end of things so we would see rain, but before I turned in for the night, I heard the proverbial “…but any shift in the storm track could change everything”. Well it did make that shift.

I woke up Tuesday morning at 6:00am. So much for sleeping in! I immediately put on the news, where the new report was that the city would probably get some ice, but Long Island would still probably be rain. North of the city….Blizzard….

Knowing that Seoul Man was already in the air, as between the time difference and his 12 hour flight schedule, I immediately went to Flight Checker to see where he was, and he was departing Tokyo! The plan was to fly from Seoul, to Tokyo, then Tokyo to JFK direct.

SOOOO EXCITING!!!!

At 6:30, I checked again, because…well…Im obsessive….

And what did I see in that 1/2 hour time frame? CANCELLED! What?! Its RAINING and the flight into JFK was ALREADY CANCELLED?! WTF!

Now, our adoption agency had a local branch, but their HQ is in Massachusetts, and the HQ is the one who monitors the travels of babies coming in. I waited a long two hours to call them, as they opened at 8:30, but got a message that said “Sorry! Because of the Blizzard, we are closed today.” Oh yeah, my rain was their heavy snowfall.

So I frantically went through the paperwork packet we were sent after our travel call and scoured it for additional phone numbers. Thankfully, there were 2 emergency phone numbers for after hours (or blizzards). I called both…and ya, got voicemail.

About a 1/2 hour later, I was finally called back by one of the ladies whose numbers I had. Apparently, the office was closed, but folks were working from home. Ellie was kind of like the administrative assistant for the Korea department at HQ and she was going to be the person to help me through this.

Right before she called me back, I checked the flight status, as ya, I knew it was cancelled, but….they had to land somewhere!!!! And that somewhere was LOS ANGELES. And not only was he cancelled, he was now GROUNDED in LA.

I told Ellie the new news….and she said “I wish they had landed in San Francisco. We HAVE people in San Francisco! We dont have anyone in LA!”

Now, here is the usual description of an escort from Korea who is going to fly with the baby to the US:

They are usually middle aged women, who dont speak a lick of English, and often escort babies to the US so they can visit family here. Usually they aren’t big travelers, and it is not uncommon for them to have to ditch and run to catch a connecting flight to somewhere else.

To help these folks, the American agency dispatches “a greeter” who will meet the adoptive parents at the airport, and will help the escort get through customs, help them go where they need to go after that, have us sign paperwork, etc.

There are no greeters available in Los Angeles for the Agency. No one. San Francisco is their usual hub, and there were people readily available to head there immediately to help out, but not in LA…

All I could think about is that there was this little Korean woman with a 3 month old baby who doesnt understand english and is alone in a different country and no one knows what to do.

So, Ellie was a VERY nice woman, but was not very helpful when it came to solutions of what to do, so I had to start guiding this situation

FIRST – “Ok, lets get the escort’s cell number. I have someone who could speak Korean and we could work something out”

The dont use cell phones.

HOW CAN YOU NOT GIVE THE ESCORT A CELL PHONE!!!!!!! GET A TRACK PHONE FOR EMERGENCIES AND HAVE THEM GIVE IT BACK WHEN THE GET HOME!!!! IT’S KOREA! I AM SURE THERE ARE NO SHORTAGES OF SAMSUNG TRACK PHONES!!!!

Ok…calm down….

SECOND – “Lets call another adoption agency in California and explain the situation and see if they can dispatch a greeter to help this poor helpless woman get through customs in this foreign country”

Ok – that she can do – have to wait for PST 9:00 for agencies to open.

THIRD – “My local airport is still open and we are supposed to get just rain. I am going to call Southwest Airlines and book a flight for them from LA to Islip and I will put her in a hotel here, and then will get her to where she needs to be”.

Ok…that sounds good.

So while Ellie called around to get help on the west coast, I was able to book a new flight. Southwest was GREAT with the whole situation and ensured me that if things got cancelled, I could get my $$ back and flights still were on time for take off and departure over by me. I got this all together by 11:00am EST, and Seoul Man’s new arrival time will be 10:45 at the airport literally 5 miles from my home. Festivities were still on and folks were now going to go to McArthur.

But how are we going to tell this lady who is stuck in Los Angeles that she has to get on another flight!!!

So while Ellie called around to find a greeter in LA, I went to the adoption bulletin board I belong to, and asked if anyone was near LA. A good number of folks said they would go to LAX to find the escort and deliver the message if there is no greeter to be found!!!! OK, plan B if necessary!

Ellie found a greeter to head to LA and she was going to give the message to the escort to go to the Southwest terminal and away they would go! The downside? THE GREETER DOESNT USE CELL PHONES! WTF!!!! So if something changed, there would be NO WAY to tell them! Shoot me now….or rather….shoot me then…

But at least the little korean woman lost in the airport would have someone to help them and they wont be stranded in Cali.

I could breathe a sigh of relief finally and would just wait until late that night to zip to the local airport.

Then I went and checked Southwest’s flight checker….the plane hand not  even arrived in LAX to eventually get to Islip, but at 1:30pm, the flight was CANCELLED! I wanted to vomit at that exact moment. Instead, I called my husband at work and told him to come home ASAP as I cannot do this anymore…

So now we were back at square one and I had nothing left in me. As my husband was driving home, the rain did indeed start to turn to ice, and within an hour, conditions had become hazardous.

By this time, I had finally received a phone call from the head of the adoption agency in Massachusetts. She was going to see what can be done with the airlines, but we all agreed that with worsening conditions, it was probably safest to just have Seoul Man stay in Los Angeles overnight, then try and fly him out the next day. Thats where we had left it at that time and that was supposed to be the final game plan.

Well, about an hour later, we get a phone call back from the agency head “I just spoke to Jeena the escort, and she needs to be back on the west coast for an obligation she must meet on February 15th, so we have to get them to the east coast somehow so she can fly out the next day.”

Ummmmmmm……..what?????

The first thing out of my mouth was “She speaks english?!?!?!?” to which I was told “She speaks wonderful english”. It turns out that she is a WORLD TRAVELER and not only does she speak english better than people who are born here, she goes to college in Canada where she is studying to be a teacher.

Then – “she has a cell phone?”  – Yes, she has a cell phone.

Then – “HOW THE HELL IS SHE GOING TO GET TO THE EAST COAST- DID YOU LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW???” – We have to figure out a place for them to land then you will have to go and get him.

Then “HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO GO AND GET HIM! DID YOU LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW?

So the director made some calls and said we may have to go to Chicago, Philadelphia, or Washington DC – the ONLY airports still open and accepting flights.

At this point I am numb – especially when the director’s response to “HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THERE” was answered with “Take the train”. Again, did you look out the window????

So my husband, being the calm person he is, took control and just handled it, even though I made sure to point out that by that point in the day, the ice had SHUT DOWN THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD, CLOSED MAIN ROADS BECAUSE OF ACCIDENTS, and ALL the AIRPORTS WERE NOW OFFICIALLY CLOSED.

So about 1/2 hour later, the director called and said to get to Washington DC (Ummm…OK….see above?), their flight will be in around 10:00 pm. Book a room at the hotel Jeena will be spending the night at then she will fly back to the West Coast the following morning….here’s her cell phone, they should be boarding soon.

Ummmm…ok? So LIRR is SHUT DOWN, people are stranded at Penn Station, the airports are closed, we have now been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning with significant ice accumulation possible….how are we going to do this.

Well, there was ONE branch of the LIRR still operating. Hicksville, which on a good day, is 30 minutes from our house. If we hop the 5:30 to Penn Station, we could then hop an Amtrak Acela train to DC, which was still operating. The 7:00pm Acela would get us to DC at 10:30pm, where we would then take a cab to the hotel and would hopefully get in around the same time and Jeena and our son.

OK, so there we were, scrambling to put together a diaper bag for a child we have not met. We didnt know what to bring, what we would need, etc so we just packed as much as we could carry. My inlaws would drive us to the Hicksville station in their AWD car, we would hop the train, do Amtrak, then Amtrak back up the next day, then to Penn, then to our local station. This should be easy, right?

Well, we gather everything we could as quickly as we could, being that the drive is going to take forever. The drive to the train station was the most terrifying thing I think I ever did. Cars sliding everywhere, accidents, etc.

We get to the train station after an hour and a half, just in time to catch the 5:30 train. BUT, the trains were SO DELAYED, we actually wound up taking in the 4:30 train that was an hour late! We didnt care! It went west!!!!

We got to Penn with about 1/2 hour to spare, so we grabbed some dinner and loaded up on some snacks and drinks to take with us on the Acela.

We hopped onto the Acela and for the first time all day….I could relax. And can I tell you? The Acela WAS AWESOME!!! We went business class so there was a food concession, and we had tables at our seats so you could read, eat, use your computer, etc. I opted to put my head down and rest as I had been a raving lunatic since 6:00am.

We got to Union Station at 10:30ish in DC, where we got a call from Jeena telling us that she too was delayed (she was supposed to be in the hotel already) and should be there about 11:30. Perfect as we would probably be there around the same time too.

We headed out of Union Station and searched for where we would find a taxi. Well….we were in for another delay. Apparently, all the travelers stuck up north decided to take the Acela down to DC too, so they could get home. There were, no joke, a good 100 people waiting on line for a taxi.

By 11:30, we are close to the front of the line. We have NO idea how far the Hotel is from the Train Station, but we were assuming 20 minutes or so…

We finally get into a cab, tell the cabby where we needed to go, and he tells us: THATS REALLY FAR AWAY! 

WHAT!!!!!!

Well, what are we gonna do. GO. DRIVE FAST.

Jeena called us while we were on our way, and she was finally in the hotel. We told her we will be there in about 40 minutes and we will call when we get there.

Well, we drive right through the heart of DC. Our ice storm was their snow storm the day before, so snow was piled up everywhere, and the taxi windows were fogged from the warm air inside and the cold outside, but that didnt stop me from trying to take in the sites as we drove! Looking through a small, cleared spot on the window, we passed the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Library and some other stuff I couldnt tell because it was a) dark and b) 11:45 at night and I was bleary eyed!!!)

The taxi driver got lost…it was closer to an hour…but we FINALLY got there…

We walked into the lobby of the hotel where we were met by the guy at the front desk. We told him that we needed a crib for our room, as we were picking up our son. He said “Oh! The lady with the baby! Hes a little baby!!!”. Great, the front desk guy saw him before us…

So at 12:30…we head to our hotel room, then make that call to the room above us…..

Jeena said “Come on up!”

We decided to walk up the stairs as it was only one flight, and as we entered the stair well, the faint cry of  a baby could be heard. As we climbed higher, the sound got louder. Then as we opened the door to the hallway, it was obvious the crying was coming from Jeena’s room.

My husband knocked on the door, where we were met with “One second!” yelled over the sound of the screaming baby.

Then she opened the door and there he was, in all his screaming glory.

The poor thing had just had enough…..afte rall….he was in the air for 24 hours……I had had enough…I could only imagine how he felt…

My husband took the baby from Jeena, who I am sure was HAPPY for the break. We exchanged small talk, exchanged gifts, and she told me how great he was through the whole thing, until about the last 3 hours of the flight to DC. The whole thing was just surreal.

So we headed down to our room with screaming baby and tried to figure him out and get him to calm down. Well, it didnt work…nothing worked….he just cried, and cried, and cried…

By 3:30am, I was crying, baby was crying….it was just ugly.

I then thought that there would be NO WAY we would be able to Amtrak back up to NY with a screaming baby. Nothing we could do would console him, and we would be surrounded by commuters just trying to get to work. I then began calling around to 24 hour Car Rental companies and found one who would let you drive out of state with the car.

I figured if he was going to scream, it was better that he do it in a car with us.

The drive from DC back to Long Island, on a GOOD day, is probably about 6 hours…after an ice storm? Who know….but we will just do it…

We packed ourselves and screaming baby up and headed to the front desk, where a shuttle took us to the car rental. While waiting for the shuttle, Seoul Man FINALLY chilled out, and fell asleep on his dad’s shoulder…

Its funny…..our original plans were such a hoopla….and we thought we would have tons of pics of the day…..but this is one of the only few we have – taken with a camera phone in the vestibule, waiting for the shuttle…

So we headed to Avis..I think it was….and rented a car. We opted for an AWD as we didnt know what to expect in NY. We got a Maroonish/Red Suburu Outback Wagon and a non set up infant seat….yeah, they dont set it up, and being first time parents…it was quite interesting trying to get this thing in the car safely without directions….but we did!

Seoul Man stayed asleep the whole time from the picture above…right up to when we pulled in the driveway at home….

He missed all the excitement of us having to constantly keep driver switching as we were both so physically exhausted and one would nap while the other drove….well….he would nap while I would drive, and then I would grimace in pain while being scrunched in the back seat watching the baby while he drove…

But we made it home – in great time too! The conditions seemed to clear up nicely as we drove north.

We took little man out of the car, as he woke up as we pulled into the driveway. My husband carried him inside where he was met by Sox, who had just spent HIS first night ALL ALONE…for the first time…EVER. I think they were both like “what the heck is this?!?!”, then went to introduce him to the parrot, who he was quite enamored with at first sight. Then we carried up the stairs so he could see his room, and get his first change at home. My husband wretched…it was funny, as I am the one with the wretch reflex.

Folks came over to say hello, then it was time for EVERYONE to crash, and boy, did we all crash….

So, it was a long strange trip for us, and 5 years later….its still a long strange trip. He really has no concept of the whole “Gotcha Day”, but we share his story with him and what happened that day. We call it “Planes, Trains and Automobiles Day” and make sure to give him a gift every year of a plane, train and automobile. Again, he still doesnt get “the whole thing” and asked us if we were going to take him to the airport today….we still have to work on this…

We are Facebook Friends with Jeena and always remind each other about the insanity of that day, and we have gotten together since them when she flew to NY escorting another baby.

Here are some pics when we finally got home….

Chillin' in the Buggy

Conked Out! We sent that bear to him in Korea, and they send it back! A real cool connection.

First Bath Home

So, I look back and sometimes get sad that we werent able to give him the hoopla reception that we had originally planned as it was replaced with just my husband and I hundreds of miles away in a hotel, but then I think to myself…..this makes for a WAAAAY BETTER STORY………

So HAPPY 5th PLANES TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES DAY to our SEOUL MAN!

Advertisements

Staring Down the Barrel at the Ending of a Decade

So on Friday, I will be turning 39, and as a result, will be wrapping up the last year of the decade that encompassed my 30’s. Being a card carrying member of “The Cancer Club”, its almost a prerequisite (and if you dont have one, do one NOW) to have a “Bucket List”. The “Bucket List” is separate from just, general life goals, though they do overlap. For instance, my 20’s were fun and carefree (well, as fun and carefree as I can be) but I did have educational goals to get my degrees, and personal goals to get married, buy a house…..boring stuff like that. But I also knocked some things off my bucket list, like: Learning how to surf (well, that was more 18-22ish – and I dont even think I could carry my 9 foot board. Standing up on it? Ya, pretty sure it wouldnt be pretty now) and swimming with dolphins. I felt like I hit those goals I set out in my 20’s and went into my 30’s with a new set of “things”.

“The Bucket List” and life/personal goals very much overlapped in my 30’s. I was dealt a curve ball career wise, but just adapted new goals and “BL” items. We started a family. I have a horse (and a goat – one of those adaptations), became my own boss, etc. I think I hit a good amount of things I wanted to do this time around as well.

But now I have to look out into “The FORTIES”. I honestly didnt even think I was going to make it to my forties. Heck, there’s still a year left – and if those MAYANS are right…well…

So what should my “Bucket List”/personal goal overlap look like come 2013.

Well, first and foremost, I hope to set my son up for success. If/when I am writing this 10 years from now, my son will be about 16, looking at colleges, thinking about HIS future, etc. I hope by setting up the goals I had in my 30’s, it sets him up to be able to be the best that he can be.

The next batch of things ARE more “Bucket List” oriented.

I WANT to (in no particular order):

  • Surf again (maybe with a surfing buddy!)
  • GO ON A VACATION! (Because of all the chaos of them 30’s, we havent had a vacation in a good 8 or so years and we have never been on a family vacation). I would be happy to go to ANY or ALL of the below:
    • Disney World
    • Hawaii
    • Somewhere in the Caribbean
    • Australia (hmmmm…..the 24 hour flight….would need to figure out the sitting/please dont cause a blood clot/lymphedema/cellulitis/altitude issue for this one)
    • England/Ireland/Scotland
    • A safari
    • California
    • New Orleans
  • Go to an ADULT concert or too (sorry kid bands – LOL)
  • See the Beatles Cirque Du ‘Soleil in Vegas
  • Participate in a Habitat for Humanity build
  • Go to the Ellen Show (either as an audience member OR as a guest! LOL)
  • Do Mardi Gras (with husband NO child!)
  • GO TO SOUTH KOREA – this is separate from “Vacation”. I want to be able to visit the land where my son was born and if he is old enough, be there for him (if he wants me to be there) should he want to explore his roots. WILL need to fly business or first class though, for the same “Australia” reason
  • Get back to “me”. Although I could be MUCH worse (i.e. you know, cancer club card carrier) I need to put some focus back on my own well being. The 30’s were giving myself for others at the expense of myself. I wont make it to my 50’s if I keep that up! I need to get back into the shape I was in back in my late teens/early twenties/surfer babe days. 40 is the new 30 right?!
    • Heck! If I hit those goals, I may even DYE MY HAIR (chuckle to those who REALLY know me – LOLOL)

So thats a quick “whats on my mind” rundown. Countdown to 39 starts….NOW!

Gluten Free of Course!

 

RIP “Mr. Rat” – Part III in the Series “You Had to do WHAT?”

So our pet rat died last night. I know, I know, a rat? Yes, a rat, and he was a really nice guy, and heck, he had been very helpful with getting us through a tough time with Seoul Man.

Our journey to “Mr. Rat”, whom I originally named GW, definitely warrants to be part 3 in my ongoing series “You Had to do WHAT?”

Here is Part 1

Here is Part 2

So about 2 or so years ago, something really rattled Seoul Man one night and it caused quite the horrible sequence of terrible sleeping events. When it started (I am thinking perhaps a night terror) he became petrified to be alone in his room. We had to resort back to being in close proximity until he fell asleep again, even laying down in the hallway, but he would wake every hour or so in a panic. Having the attachment issues we had in the past, we just go back to how we handled things then as to not cause any regressions. Eventually the panic went away, but the night time wakings didnt, but it didnt stop him from waking us up. What began as “Im afraid” turned into “OK guys, Im awake. Entertain me!” Ummmm no…..

I of course began to lose my mind, as sleep deprivation is not one of my strong suits. But then I had an idea. If he had “something” in his room to keep him company, he wouldnt need us, right? Makes sense, right? To say that when I said I was going to get something like a hamster for Jack (he was around 3), I received SOOOOO Many “You’re crazy’s”! “Ugggg, you have enough on your plate’s!” and my favorite, “Its not going to work’s” – even from my husband.

I never felt SO HAPPY to announce on Facebook that EVERYONE ONE WAS WRONG! I think I even prefaced it by saying BITE ME!

So yes, my hamster idea worked. When Jack would wake up at between his then usual hours of 1:30 to 3:30 am, he would go and talk to “Hamster”! If he wasnt talking to me I was happy!

We picked out Mrs. Hamster from a local non chain pet store. She and her girl friends had just arrived, and I picked her because she came right to the glass of the tank to say hello. I opted for a Teddy Bear Hamster as I needed to make sure that it was big enough for a 3 year old to handle. She was really awesome. VERY friendly, VERY social and VERY Cute.

Then one day, about a week after we had her, I went up to Jack’s room, and there was no longer 1 hamster, there were about 13. If you heard a faint scream in your neck of the woods, even half way across the country, that was me. She must have been preggo before I got her, or else every one of those babies were going to be named Jesus. I called the Pet Store, and they said “If you can keep them, it would be better. Then bring them in when they are older.”

Ummmmm No…..Sorry……no more babies in my house please. PLUS, if you already are unaware, hamsters have a tendency of EATING their babies when they are stressed. I could see it now. Child walks into room and beloved hamster is chewing on one of her children. Cue the mental sequence in the child’s head associating me to chewing on him ANNNNNNND we are back to non sleeping.

So, no, I packed up Mommy and her babies and back she went. I was not happy to hear screaming from the cage on the way there, thinking that Mommy was eating them and I was listening to the murder. Thankfully, she didnt. The screaming was just that they didnt like the movement from the car.

We said Bye Bye to Mommy and I felt bad, but again, NO BABY EATING IN MY HOUSE.

So, now I have a void in the child’s room. It was NOT going to go back to the 1:30 to 3:30 am routine of “entertain me!” Yeah, no…not happening…

I wasnt going to get another girl hamster because god forbid I have another mystery pregnancy. My heart couldnt take it. So the only boy hamster they had was an older and somewhat ornery fellow. I didnt care. If he could sit there and listen to a kid talk to him every night, he could chew my fingers off every time I cleaned his cage.

So we had “Hamster” for a couple of months, then “Hamster” died.

OK…..bad luck with the hamsters….BUT GOOD LUCK with my strategy, as my sleepless child felt safe in his room with someone in there with him….

I needed to find a replacement, but was NOT going to do another hamster. I decided to let little child pick this one out.

For those familiar with my child, he has an amazing affinity with creatures big and small. He just “clicks” with them. (See this if you dont believe me).

So we set out  for ANY animal he thinks would be a good fit to keep him company at night.

He could have come home with an elephant if he wanted to, as I didnt care as long as it let me sleep!

Oh, but the ONLY thing I just cant do are snakes. I am PETRIFIED of SNAKES.

We first went to the pet store we got the hamsters from. We went cage to cage to cage, looking at bunnies, ferrets, guinea pigs, ground hogs, hedge hogs, lizards, frogs and turtles. Nothing. “We go to different store?” he asked me.

Ummmm…..OK…..so off we go to Petco. Same thing……”We go to different store?”

Then off to another store where I felt so bad I wanted to take everything home, but again “We go to different store?”

Soooo off to Petsmart, the only other store I could think of. We walk in, look around, and I say “did you find something?”

“This! This! I WANT THIS!”

With his eyes fixated on the glass tank, I looked in it and my stomach sank. Yes, he chose the rats. Now, we had just went EVERYWHERE and he saw rats, but NO, he wanted one of THESE rats.

“Are you SURE this is what you want?” “How about these cute guinea pigs?” “NO NO NO THIS ONE”.

Now, you have to understand the my child was EXTREMELY speech delayed at the time. At 3 he had the expressive language skills of an 18 month old. He says to me “Open this up and pull out the tank and pick that one” as he is also trying to open the display to take one out.

Ok Ok Ok…..I think I feel sick.

But to make matters worse, he isnt pointing to the fuzzy, kinda cute, multicolored ones…..he is pointing to the NAKED, HAIRLESS ONE. I think I almost passed out right then and there.

I said “OK, fine, but we have to make a compromise. I just cant do the naked ones.”

Thankfully, he picked one of the others.

So I asked the sales person about what I should know, and was actually kinda surprised to hear that they are very intelligent, very social, and VERY CLEAN. So if you didnt associated the name of “Rat” to the object, its sounds like the perfect pet!

I reluctantly agreed and the rat the child picked out was placed in a box to take home.

Can I tell you, that he was probably the easiest, nicest guy and YES, he was VERY CLEAN. Actually the CLEANEST pet we have probably ever had. We named him “GW”, but as we got to know him, we just called him “Rat”, because frankly, he was too nice to be associated to a rat. (Political statement)

Excited Kid

See! He was kinda cute!

Sadly he passed on sometime overnight. I hope he had a good life with us. I felt bad he didnt get out of his cage much, but frankly, he liked hanging in his house and shredding cardboard boxes. I discovered that pet rats such as these would become snake food when someone would come in and “feeder rats” were unavailable, so even though he didnt like to come out, it was still better than being dinner.

He was surprisingly a picky eater, to which I would tell him “ummm, you are a rat, you should be eating everything I give you!”. But most importantly, he was a good friend to a kid and was helpful in getting over the “Santa Reign of Terror” episodes, as well as other scary times. For the most part we are over the 1:30 to 3:30 am wakeups, but every once and a while, I would hear a one sided conversation. Hopefully we wont regress….

We’ll miss ya buddy! Thanks for teaching us how to not judge a book by its cover.

A Boy and his Horse

***I have been trying to crank this post out for almost a week, but between writer’s block, being tired, and lack of insprition to keep it going, I have had a hard time finishing. But now I am home with “Sick Boy” and he is engrossed with Phineas and Ferb, I have a little time…and I will preface, it is LONG, but I hope I kept it interesting and good read. So if you read everything – THANK YOU – this whole story means a lot to me. Im also probably full of typos and bad grammar, but will edit when I find things!*****

Attempt #1

So as I sit here on the momentary coffee/caffeine hit I am experiencing, I figured I would try and crank something out while I am somewhat coherent and alert. You know? Let me chat about my boy and his horse buddy and why a terrible decision at the time turned out to be the best decision for the future.

So back in May of 2006, the husband and I were finishing up all we needed to do to be put on the waiting list to adopt a child from South Korea. We were also in the midst of a frivolous, and I mean frivolous lawsuit that had nothing to do with me, but as our court system dictates, I have to defend myself. (I will chat about that at a different time and I will title that post “Karma, its What’s for Dinner” and will go through the time line of how people basically suck, and how no good deed goes unpunished, and how the adoption of our son was almost derailed, and how the judge threw out the case because it was ridiculous but I was still out thousands of dollars and how I could have sued back to get my fees and damages and would have won but didnt want to because we just wanted our kid home, and how as a result of all of this, the true nature of these individuals was exposed and they were shunned by the economic community they served and are now subsequently on the run from the law for unscrupulous business dealings.)

So as we were dealing with a lot of stuff, I just kept getting this NAGGING feeling to do something that was just NOT the right thing to do at the time. Get a horse. I enjoyed riding and took lessons and because of the circumstances above (“Karma”) I left, but found a very nice group of folks who allowed me to lease their horse at their backyard barn around the corner from my home, so I continued to ride, and I enjoyed it very much. It was good for me mentally and physically. Even though I was leasing a horse, the NAGGING feeling to have my own was just ridiculous. I have no idea why, but my husband said OK. We could pull it off. I had a good job. I made good money. I could work off part of the Boarding Fees. When the baby would come home, I could still head to the barn and see and ride the horse, and do the work for board exchange. It wasn’t a good idea, but I just couldn’t let it go.

So, with the husband giving the green light, it was time to search around for a horse. I had heard that the dealer who brokered horses out of the “Bad People/Karma Gonna Git Ya” barn I used to take lessons at had also experienced something similar to me, and he pulled all his horses out of there and started selling out of a different barn. He was the only broker I knew, but I knew that he was great at matching horses to riders. I also knew that he was a bit like a used car salesman, but he always had “a guarantee” if something was wrong and I could return the horse at any time for any circumstance. Seemed like a safe bet that if I couldnt handle the work load with the baby, I could give the horse back and get my $$ back. I hunted him down and met him at the barn he was now at. I explained that I was looking and he said he would head up to a sale to find something for me, as the horses he currently had were not a good match for me, as I am a timid rider, have the physical issues, etc. This was at the end of May.

By June, I called him to see if he had found anything. He said he was heading to a sale that weekend. So I called him the following Monday and he said “I think I have the perfect horse for you”. Sounds good! So the following weekend I head over there, and he directs me to a bay horse in a back stall. I had my tack with me to take him for a test drive. The dealer…………..

**** coffee wore off – lost inspiration ****

**** Finishing off at 8:00 PM – of DAY 1 Attempt –  cannot be held responsible for lack of cohesion****

OK, where was I….

Oh yeah….so I go check out “the perfect horse for you…me…..you know what I mean”….Dealer guy says to go ahead and tack him up because he is very good and will just stand there. Well, he was right! I tacked him up and we headed out for a test ride. Problem: no mounting block. Ok, I cannot mount a horse from the ground (that sounded wrong). I just dont have the leg strength. So here is how I knew this horse was calm and spook proof….Dealer guy went on one side of the horse and held down the stirrup so the saddle wouldnt shift, and then my husband somehow managed to push me up. It looked quite horrible…embarrassingly horrible….but the horse just stood there…

I trotted around with him and he was responsive, listened to what I asked, and things seemed really good. We agreed on a price and I asked to think about it.

I asked my friend, whose horse I was leasing, if she could go check him out for me, being she was far more horse experienced than I was. She of course offered to help me out and took the horse for a REAL spin. If you asked him to move, HE.WAS.FAST. After she ran him around, we took him to get hosed off since it was a bit hot that day. She checked him out and being he was going to stay at her place, she gave the green light, from the perspective of a person who has been around horses her whole life….

****************** Thats all I got out that night….continuing at lunch time 2nd Day*********************

So I arranged to have him delivered on July 4th to my friend’s house and he was going to live there, I was going to work off board, the equestrian park is literally a walk across the street, etc. He settled in great….at first….he walked right off that trailer….we put him in a paddock that separated him from the other horses………and he was just indifferent. We let him gather his senses, then we put him in the paddock he was going to inhabit with 2 other horses.

ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

Nice, happy, indifferent horse turned into S.O.B/GONNA KICK YOUR ASS/YOU ALL SUCK horse. The SCREAMING that emanated from this horse was ear piercing. Now, horses naturally set a hierarchy within a herd. It was apparent that he was going to be the boss, and there would be NO shenanigans, and all food would be his. It was bizarre and we were ALL shocked at his behavior. He was a REAL bastard.

I opted to let him settle in before trying to ride him, even though I wanted to right away. I mean, after all, I now owned a horse. Everyday I would go to clean and help feed, and every day for about a week I would hear about how he kicked the shit out of this horse, bit the hell out of that other horse, pinned his ears back at the barn owners when anyone approached when he was eating…...I thought FOR SURE at that time, I HAD made the most terrible decision. But, he was “bomb proof” and in the grand scheme of things, that was important, in that he was safe for me to ride. So I will deal with the attitude crap. One horse was going to be leaving in about a month, so we could put him in another paddock where he would be alone.

So after about a week of acclimating, I decided to take him for a ride. I could go into the paddock and say hello, and pat him down, and  scratch him up, especially if I had food. BUT, he was just “flat“. Thats the only way I could explain it. He had NO personality. While the other horses followed you around like puppy dogs, he could care less. While the other horse owners would get nuzzles from their horses, he was devoid of any of that. Again, I could go and pet him, and scratch him, etc, but he was “just there”. HOWEVER, the second he saw me walk in with a halter, lead rope, and saddle that first time, IT.WAS.OVER. Thats it. I DID make the worst decision of my life. Not only did he try and avoid me, he would spin his butt at me. He wouldnt kick, but sent a clear message that I WAS NOT going to go ANYWHERE near him ESPECIALLY if I had a lead rope, halter and a saddle in the distance. I was devastated. He HATES me….

I was able to bribe him with some carrots, and was able to catch him and halter him and take him out of the paddock. Thats when I noticed something VERY sad. That “feisty, you’re not gonna get me, I dont want to work” guy became BROKEN when I put that halter on him. It was like a complete removal of any free will. He was aloof when unhaltered, and fought to get away when you tried to halter him, but once you got him, it was like his spirit was broken. There is a difference between a BROKE horse, which indicates they are excellently tempered and have good training, so they are predictable, and BROKEN, which is basically taking the spirit and drive out of them.

He was good when I got on him, and listened and was “safe”, but the two personalities were so polar opposite. I rode him around the property and then let him go back to his paddock where he went as far as he could away from me.

A couple of days later, he was put into his own paddock, as the other horse left sooner than expected. The barn owners said that he was spinning his butt on them too when they tried to put him in his new place, and when putting him in the barn at night. The asked if it was OK to keep a halter on at all times, because when the farrier came out earlier, he did it to him as well, and it would just be safer….

I agreed and sure enough, he was easier to get when he had that halter on, but I noticed that same “sadness” in his eyes and change in his personality with the halter on vs. halter off.

In retrospect, when I first got him, he had halter marks on his face: areas of missing hair from where a halter was left on too long….

**** Continuing 1/17 – lets see how this goes ****

So I decided at this point that yes, I was sold a BROKE horse, but yes, he was BROKEN. But these were issues I believed I could fix. When I started getting interested in horses, I researched NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP. First I read the books by Monty Roberts – THE Horse Whisperer (Robert Redford’s the Horse Whisperer movie was loosely based on him, more as a character than as a biography). He studied the natural behavior of wild horses and picked up on their communications between each other, then basically applied his knowledge to “gentle” horses – AKA use their own language to communicate with them, which in return, leads to better working and training relationships between horse and human. He went so far as to apply his techniques to a WILD Mustang, IN THE WILD. It was amazing.

Monty Roberts

So basically, I realized I needed to build a trusting relationship with Indy, as I named him, and work with him to help him realize that A) I am not a threat, B) I can be trusted and C) He can be comfortable with me.

In addition to Monty Roberts, I also looked into Pat Parelli and his techniques, as well as GaWaNi Pony Boy, a Native Smerican who uses Native American techniques to work with horses. Both men focus on Monty’s principals of trust building, communication, etc and have created their own systems of training.

In accordance with Parelli, I spent WEEKS just SITTING in the paddock with Indy and DOING NOTHING! Yeah, it was great. I had this horse I was paying board on, and was cleaning 7 stalls and paddocks twice a week, and was paying insurance, etc. and all I was doing was sitting in the corner of his paddock for hours….

Basically, as I deduced, Indy has no connection to me, or anyone for that matter. People would come in, grab him, make him work, and put him back. That the only thing I could think of. No wonder he wasnt thrilled to see anyone. By sitting in his paddock, I was showing him that I come by for more things than just working him. The first couple of days he would just stand at the far end of the paddock with his butt towards me. A few days later he would at least look at me. A day or two after that, he would face me from afar. The next day, he would walk up and sniff me, then would retreat to his corner. Then finally, he would just come over, stand and hang out. Literally. He would “Hang Out” (see You Have to Clean His What?!) In all seriousness, a horse that is just “hanging out” is a horse who is VERY comfortable. Eventually, he would greet me with it. Lucky me. So after about 2-3 weeks of just chillin’, I guess I was OK in his book.

Once he got to the point to where he would actually greet me at the gate, I started him with a different halter. I used a very basic rope halter like this:

It is VERY basic and I wanted him to have a POSITIVE association to a halter, as the typical halter like what he was wearing was associated with being “BROKEN”. I did the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Games with him to garner trust and to let him know I could be a pretty awesome and consistent alpha horse. Click the pic to learn more:

Parelli Level 1

Can I tell you that after a week or so, IT WORKED! TRULY amazing. The next step was to garner a relationship with the saddle. Unlike the previous time when I saddled him and he went “flat”, he was content with what was going to come next. I kept his ROPE halter on, as he knew it was A GOOD THING that meant COOL FUN STUFF, and knowing that he was safe, I used a BITLESS BRIDLE. Riding him was like night and day. He was still safe, and listened to what I asked of him, but the difference was that he WANTED TO work with me vs. BEING FORCED to work with me.

The barn owners were truly thrilled by the transformation, as his “attitude issues” were pretty much gone too. It was such a WONDERFUL affirmation one day when I was there, and he was right at my shoulder, being nuzzly. She said to me how great it was to see that he and I finally had that great relationship. So I got him in July of 2006, and he was good to go by the fall. It took that long but he was now happy.

But then there was some other stuff that wasnt so great. UGGGGGGGGGG

There – I hopefully have your attention again!

So during my research about Natural Horsemanship, I discovered a dirty little secret about the horse industry: HORSE SLAUGHTER. Being naive as I was at the time, I thought that horse dealers go to sales, much like used car dealers go to auctions to pick up stock. Well, they do, and they do bid on horses run through a sale, and they can get a real nice deal on a horse that they can then turn around and sell for a profit. Sounds good, right? Well, unlike used car auctions, where many folks are there to buy to sell or drive, there are KILL BUYERS at horse auctions that aim to pick up horses CHEAP so they can in turn be sent to slaughter. And its not just old, decrepit horses that get bought by the kill buyers. Its the racehorses that dont make the grade, its the horses at riding barns that cant pull their weight anymore, its the extra camp horses that are no longer needed when the summer is over. When there are too many horse at the sale, and not enough private buyers, they go to the bad place.

The reason why there was a link between Natural Horsemanship and Horse Slaughter is that horses that were deemed “unruly” and sent to slaughter, we often saved by rescued and “gentled” by Natural Horsemanship to create great horses. There are no bad horses, just people who mess them up for them to turn “bad”…

So what does this have to do with me and Indy. Well, one day, he came up LAME. He was running around like a buffoon sometime that august, and he hurt himself. He was limping on his front right leg. My friend and I checked him out and he had no heat anywhere which would be indicative of an injury nor did he have any swelling. We kept him calm and within a day or two, he was fine. I thought about that “Money Back Guarantee” I was given but wasnt going to give him back as I put a lot of work into getting him to like me, but more importantly, if I gave him back, HE WOULD GO TO AUCTION. A LAME horse at an auction is pretty much an instant death penalty, and I knew that he would go right back to the auction so the dealer could recoup some money. So yeah, the money back guarantee suddenly had a different meaning and I wasn’t going to have him befall that fate.

Fast Forward to December 11th, 2006 – WE WERE MATCHED WITH A BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY half way around the world. He came home in quite a crazy manner (TBD later!) on February 14, 2007!.

I couldnt wait until I could introduce Seoul Man to Indy, as both will become part of each other’s life. I just had no idea how much so at that time. I was afraid to have the baby close to Indy because although we were doing well with Indy and his Crankiness,I felt I couldn’t trust him with the impulsiveness and erratic motions of a 4 months old.

Dontcha know, I get out of the car holding the baby, and Indy walks to the fence as if to say “ITS ABOUT TIME YOU GOT HERE KID!!!

Their first picture together is worth a thousand words:

SeoulMan and Indy

So Seoul Man and I had a nice routine when I was off from work. Every day we would head over to the barn to see Indy. Usually, SM would fall asleep in the Jeep, which would allow me to do my “work exchange for board” chores and be able to work with Indy. When he would wake up, I would grab Indy and bring him to the Jeep to greet SM through the window! Again, I dont know which one was happier to see the other! And you should have seen what would happen when he would cry (the child of course). It was like the giant horse turned into a panicked worry wort. “WHY IS HE CRYING! IS HE HURT! IS HE SICK! IS HE HUNGRY! WHY IS HE CRYING!!!”

NOW HERE IS SOME INTERESTING STUFF I LEARNED ABOUT INDY AFTER JACK CAME HOME! YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS!

So some new boarders came with their horse to stay in the back yard barn of my friend. This person used to also take lessons at “The Bad Karma” barn, and purchased HER horse from the same dealer as me. She knew ALLLLL about the stupid lawsuit against me as she was still at the place at the time, and she also knew stuff about MY horse. So are you ready? Remember I said horse dealers can be like used car dealers?! So, she takes one look at my horse and says “Is THAT Lynx?” I was like, what? “Is that horse Lynx? You got him from <dealer> right? Well, yes, his show name is Lynx B Naughty, and he didnt have a name when I got him, but that seems too close to be coincidental. “Yes, YES, that IS him! I would recognize those ears anywhere!”

Ummmmm……explain?

Sooooo, I discover that Lynx, or Indy as he is named now, used to be at “The Bad Karma” barn. He was owned my the horse dealer’s MISTRESS! Yes, he was having an affair. He was having an affair with this new boarder’s (I will call her X) friend. So X’s friend, who owned Indy, boarded him at “Bad Karma Barn”. “Oh! He was lame! He used to have this issue with his hooves!” Oh really now?

“X” went on to explain that one day, the Mistresses’ husband found out about the affair, and went to “Bad Karma Barn” and beat the shit out of the horse dealer. Shortly thereafter, horse dealer left, (for reasons I explained before), and “X” and her friend pulled their horses out and rough boarded them somewhere else. Then Mistress has to abruptly get rid of Lynx, know known as Indy, as it was not good to have the horse who she got from the guy she was cheating on her husband with. Are you with me?

OK, merge in my phone call back that June, and  “I have the perfect horse for you”. Yup, he never went an auction like he said (at least that weekend), he was just GIVEN BACK a horse! Lynx AKA Indy. Literally, the day before I called. I told you horse dealers are like used car salesmen!

So as I talk to “X” she tells me that Indy was lame, and that was another reason her friend got rid of him. She kept saying it was something with his shoes. She also said that, since she was friends with “the horse dealer”, she called him out on it! He fessed up but said that in the end, he was in a good home, which he was, and for what I was going to use him for, the mystery “recurring injury” wouldnt be an issue.

Now, knowing how horses were taken care of at “Bad Karma Barn”, it made sense that he was an asshole with other horses. It was not uncommon for horses to be packed into small turnouts with electrical fencing. Cram a bunch of horses in a small area with the constant potential for electrical shock, I’d be an asshole too. Added to that, I believe that in his rough board situation, he may not have been fed regularly, hence the reason why he was a dick around food.

“X” realizing that she probably said too much, and that she was also friends with another party in the frivolous lawsuit, the party who would be brought into an easily winnable “lawsuit to get my  fees back and then some” lawsuit if I chose to, opted to leave my friend’s barn in the middle of the night with no notice. QUALITY!

So there ya go. Cliff note version: Sold a knowingly lame horse of the horse dealer’s mistress who needed to get rid the horse quick for the sake of her marriage. Much different than the: got him at an auction that weekend and he just came up from Texas after working cows on a ranch.”

SO NOW, HERE IT IS, THE INCIDENT that, at that point, I said THIS HORSE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A HOME WITH ME.

One day when Seoul Man was about 10 months old (he wasnt walking yet) I headed over to the barn to see Indy and do some work with him. SM was sound asleep in the Jeep and I took Indy out of his paddock to just hang out with him. I dont even remember if I rode him. Anyway, Indy had a lingering problem with tight spaces. If in fact, he was a ranch horse, he was probably put in a cattle shoot to herd the cattle. Its narrow, its crowded and ya, I could see why he would be nervous. He would DART through a narrow space. So, when being lead to his stall, he would DART through the opening in the stall. He would DART through the gate to his paddock as well. One of the things I worked with on was “lets walk through the door/gate SLOWLY”. Again, he made BIG improvement. After talking to “X”, she said the previous  owner had a tendency of working him hard and fast (see why he didnt want to work, especially because he was in pain?) and then whipping him back in his stall and leaving. So yes, he had many negative associations. I made GREAT progress with him and he was no longer doing it.

On this particular day, when I was done with him, I was walking him back to his paddock. As he entered between the gate and the fence, the gate started CLOSING in on him. He saw this AND PANICKED. He BOLTED through the gate (ripping the lead rope right out of my hand), and the gate CLOSED IN and SYNCHED his ribs. He BROKE the gate and then proceeded to TAKE DOWN THE FENCE. It happened in a matter of seconds. So obviously concerned about his safety first, I go in to see if he is hurt. What does he do? He REVERTED RIGHT BACK to that horrible “I DONT TRUST YOU” phase and wouldnt let me ANYWHERE near him. I stood watching him stand as far in the corner of the paddock as he could, with his ribs twitching. Every time I go anywhere near him, he goes butt first. I was panicked and devastated at the same time.

I went and rigged the fence and the gate to keep him in, then ran to the house where I grabbed my friend’s son (13 at the time?) to tell him what happened. He came out and we figured out how to temporarily fix the paddock until my husband could get there (I called him and he was on his way home from work anyway). He also saw Indy butt spinning at me and running to get away from me. At that point, I knew I wasnt going to get anywhere near him, but I knew who could.

I went to the Jeep and Seoul Man was awake, probably because of the commotion. I took him out of his car seat and he was all smiles because he knew where he was. I walked into the paddock, and when Indy saw him, he turned around to face us. I swear, and I had a witness, that with SM on my left hip, I was able to approach Indy. I kid you not when I say that Seoul Man put  his RIGHT HAND on Indy’s forehead, and his LEFT HAND on Indy’s cheek. Indy put his head down, which is a sign of comfort, and while trying to keep SM in this position while balancing him on my hip ,was able to feel all around to see if Indy was seriously hurt. He wasnt.

I decided at that point, that these two had a special bond and I would not break that up.

It seemed like after that point, Seoul Man and Indy were closer than ever before too. When SM started walking and talking, he would RUN to his paddock to say hello. And his SECOND WORD? (The first was Daddy) INDY! (Interestingly, when SM lost all his words – one of his red flag Autism signs – he still retained INDY).

SM dressed as his FAV person that Halloween:

When Seoul Man began the long road that would become Attachment Disorder, later followed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and the resignation of my job (and subsequent loss of income), I had to make some hard decisions regarding Indy. Do I give him back and pray he doesnt end up at a slaughterhouse? Do I try and sell him privately? There was no way I could afford board down an income. Then I remember, that when making THE POORLY TIMED DECISION, I always had a PLAN C in the back of my head. If need be, my home is actually zoned for horses. I could have 2 horses on my 1/2 acre. So THAT is what I did. Sure, it would be a lot more work, but heck, it meant I could keep him! So I got a small run in shed, 2 goats to keep him company (story to follow!) and began the daily chores of an onsite horse owner, and yes, it is a lot of work, but I wouldnt have it any other way.

The day I walked Indy over to our house from my friend’s, I kept it a secret from Seoul man. I had my husband take him out so it would be a surprise when he got home. And yes, it was a surprise! He took one look outside and yelled INDY INDY INDY INDY INDY!!!!! Needless to say, I havent looked back or questioned my decision.

Its been 3 years since Indy “moved in” and he it has been a lot of work, but he has also been a lot of help. During those horrible Attachment meltdowns and anxiety attacks, I would wrap SM up in a blanket in the middle of the night and run him outside. Indy calmed him down. I would get a much needed laugh as I would watch SM slide down the slide of his swing set, only to be met by the 1000 pound nervous Nelly at the base of the slide. “What is he doing???!!! He’s going to get hurt!”. I see how the two of them have “grown”, to the point now where SM and Indy ride together, and I see how the two of them will do great things in the future.

So yes, my BAD decision was for a reason. Somewhere, somehow, these two needed to cross paths. I needed to help Indy heal, and then Indy needed to help my son heal. I actually look at Indy as my first “Attachment Parenting Case” as I needed to do right by him to make him better. Then he helped to make our son better, I can can say with confidently, that I could not do it alone.

********************************************************************************************

It took me DAYS to write this, and I hope folks can stick through it to the end. I discovered some more stuff about Indy that truly makes me believe in Karma and Fate. I have his Quarter Horse registration papers. I wanted to put him in  my son’s name, so officially, he would be owned by him. His papers say he was born in North Dakota, then was purchased in South Dakota to a rancher. He was then sold to another rancher in South Dakota, then somehow wound up at a sale barn in Minnesota. I have no owner information after Minnesota, but his Coggins paperwork had him under the “ownership” of a sale barn, who sends midwestern horses to a sale barn in Massachusetts once a week. Judging by his Hip Tag info that I received with him, along with his papers, I deduced that he was sent to this sale and that is how he ended up in the North East. So, he was never in Texas as I was told. I was then told when I called The American Quarter Horse Association, that I cannot change his registration papers, unless the previous owners listed sign him over. So I did some Googling, and was able to track down the 1st owner, who directed me to the 2nd owner, who directed me to the 3rd. All three people said “HE WAS LAME. THATS WHY WE GOT RID OF HIM”. Everyone said he was a good boy, but just lame, and in the industry, a lame horse isnt useful. To me, its amazing that he was shuffled from auction to auction, and never wound up in a kill pen. If you know how many horses, especially LAME ones, end up at the slaughter house, you would know why I say this. I wonder if Indy ever thought he would wind up in a back yard on Long Island under the care of a 5 year old boy.

And regarding his lameness. I pulled his shoes, which caused his hooves to strengthen and widen out. He also is a giant lawn ornament. I think this combination have allowed him to heal. Every once and a while, if he twists the wrong way, he hurts himself, but it is nothing like when he came up lame on me the first time.

Isnt he handsome!

Good Bye 2011

As I sit here this morning, watching Seoul Man and his daddy playing Disney Kinect Adventures (Its pretty funny!) I am taking this bit of down time to reflect on 2011. The past 12 months havent been all that terrible to me/us. Sure, I started the year off with pneumonia, then wound up in the hospital with a perforated intestine due to diverticulitis I didnt know I had, played the cancer game again due to said intestinal perforation as, being me, you always have to look to make sure something “routine” is being caused by something “not routine”, and I lost my favorite person, my Nana in May. As horrible as this all may seem on the outside, this actually wasnt too bad, especially when compared to others years.

I am actually happy my grandmother is gone. She is in a better place. When your body fails you but your mind has not, thats a pretty lousy dichotomy.

The perforated intestine turned cancer game turned out well in the end, and although I have been clean for 21 years and have reached my official remission mode in 2006 where I do not need to be monitored anymore, I always worry. Going through this recent bout of  hell, I was able to be tested again and everything is fine. Even though remission is a fabulous word, “peace of mind” is an even better one.

And most importantly, Little Man started FULL TIME KINDERGARTEN this September. Not only does this mean I have 7 to 8 hours of time to myself again, it means I CAN GO BACK TO WORK. What started out as a dismal prognosis for going back to a classroom job (THOUSANDS, and I mean THOUSANDS of teachers have been laid off here on Long Island AND in New York City this year), actually opened another door. What started out as an idea turned into a full fledged business plan and business. I expanded beyond my initial intent and now have a few interested parties who like I what I created, I have $$ waiting in the wings to get started, and most importantly, I am 100% in control of my own destiny. Well, almost. I will post about the stupidity of New York State and its complete indifference to business owners at a future date. I need everything completed before I complain – I need the good Karma. I will just say that it is VERY true that NYS is not business friendly….

So I have to say that this  year was a pretty good one for me/us and I am grateful and fortunate, especially when I watch the 2011 recaps on the news and am reminded of the devastation in Japan, Joplin, and even New England following Irene. I am fortunate to not be concerned about losing my home, or the household being unemployed. I am grateful for my family having their health, as there are always folks with harder battles than our own.

I hope 2012 turns the bad of 2011 around. And if not, party like its December 20th….

Post Navigation