So, once we made the rare sighting of the Pedal Tavern during our photo safari of downtown Nashville, we hopped in the car and drove for two hours to a place in the country where our family reunion was taking place.
I like to think of myself as an adventurous person, but I am much more comfortable with taking my life into my hands by jay-running between speeding cars in the city than I am with hiking through poison-ivy infested woods.
My daughter’s first priority for vacation was to go horseback riding. I’ve done this several times, so I know the basics: wear close-toed shoes, put your left foot in the stirrup first so you don’t end up facing the horse’s rear end, and don’t let yourself fall off. Despite the fact that my horse, Maverick, emulated his Top Gun namesake by showing no regard for anyone but himself and nearly decapitating me on low-hanging branches several times, I did pretty well.
It wasn’t until that evening that I realized my wardrobe mistake. Major chafage pain in the posterior region informed me that I should be less concerned about panty lines the next time I go trotting through the forest. I know this is TMI, but I feel it is my duty to warn my fashion-minded readers about the consequences of improper undergarments when riding a horse. No one thinks to tell you these things. Sure, they will give you a helmet to keep you from cracking your head open, but no one mentions the importance of protecting your crack.
I did get advice later on that day about the ramifications of picking up toads. The kids seemed so enamored with one that was hanging out by the sidewalk that I swept it up in my hands to give them a better look.
“Ewww. It’s going to pee on you!” approximately 10 people shouted to me at the same time.
Now, I’ve had held lots of strange animals – hedgehogs, snakes, tarantulas, hissing cockroaches, etc… And, a few of them have peed on me. It’s no big deal. You set the animal down, go wash off the tiny drop of urine and all is good. So, I wasn’t too intimidated by this warning.
Toad pee, though, is a bit different than hedgehog pee. Apparently, a toad’s bladder holds an unprecedented volume of pee. Picture yourself holding a water balloon that is the size of the palm of your hand, and a dime-sized hole suddenly opens in the bottom of the balloon. Oh, and to this picture, add a bunch of kids of various ages watching you closely to see if you are going to screech and pitch the poor toad 10 feet into the air as soon as it dumps urine all over you.
Ironically, my efforts to encourage the kids to observe nature more closely ended up with them observing me intently for signs of a freak out.
I will tell you , quite proudly, that I did not toss the toad. Nor did I freak out. In fact, I calmly held the toad for another couple of minutes – until it released another gallon of pee all over my fingers. Then I prudently set it down and said, “Well, that’s enough for now. Why don’t you go chase fireflies?” (to the kids, not the toad. Although I guess the toad might be interested in eating fireflies, too, but I was a bit too ticked off at him to be giving him meal or entertainment suggestions) and walked quickly to the bathroom to wash my hands.
Well, as quickly as one can walk when your butt cheeks are on fire.
*Our Golden Retriever will from now on be referred to as Mrs. P.I.B. (Pain in the Butt) for reasons which will become apparent.
This weekend, Wonderbutt got his first introduction to The Ranch. Being ten, Mrs. P.I.B. has been to the ranch at least ten times, but Wonderbutt, being not even a year old, got his first opportunity this past weekend.
The Ranch belongs to the family of one my best friends. My friend likes to call herself The Delegator. We feel that she is better suited to being called The Dictator (affectionately, of course). T.D. and her husband brought three dogs and a cat. Cap’n Firepants and I brought our two dogs, and, of course, Dimples. Another mutual friend (Nigella, to me, since she is beautiful and cooks wonderfully) brought her daughter.
All in all, it was a happy gathering of five dogs, five adults, two kids, and two cats (one cat is a permanent resident). In a two bedroom no-dishwasher house. WITH NO INTERNET ACCESS!
I was worried about Wonderbutt’s behavior during this trip. As regular readers know, he is not exactly past his teething stage. In addition, he has a dog door at home, and such a thing does not exist at The Ranch. Plus, he has never been within a foot of a cat before. Or a cow.
When we arrived, the usual butt sniffing ensued. Then the dogs had their turn. (Just making sure you’re paying attention.) Everyone seemed to hesitantly agree to get along for the weekend. Except for The Dictator, Nigella, and I. We have a running Scrabble enmity, and we were all determined to win. The atmosphere was tense. This would be good practice for my Adult Spelling Bee, I thought. But more on that later.
Wonderbutt baptized the saltillo tile twice within the first few hours. I felt like a mom whose ten year old still wears diapers. Leaky ones. When I saw all of the possible objects of his chewing affection strewn all over the house, I inwardly groaned. I anticipated spending the whole weekend chasing after him and pulling flip flops, friendship bracelets, and television remotes out of his mouth.
Happily, there were too many other things to occupy Wonderbutt’s time. Figuring out his limits as he stole other dog’s bones and toys seemed to be his primary objective, but he seemed to be pretty good at knowing when to back down.
After an afternoon of racing around and sniffing all of the new animals, objects, and people, Wonderbutt was quite satisfied to curl up with his butt in my face on the sofa after the lights went out. Being one of the rare times that he was not regularly passing gas, I decided I had the best end once his snoring started. I pulled a pillow over my head and fell asleep.
But Mrs. P.I.B. had other ideas. That anxiety-ridden dog cannot relax. She is so worried she is going to miss something that she cannot stay in one place for more than fifteen minutes every time we come to The Ranch. And when animals and humans are distributed in various rooms throughout the house, she comes as close to a dog having a heart attack as I’ve ever seen.
She pants and paces and whines. If you let her into the room she is whining outside of, she stays about five minutes, and then starts whining to be let back out.
This was my first evening. Wonderbutt happily sacked out and sawing logs while Mrs.P.I.B. would settle down, get up, pant in my ear, whine by a bedroom door and start the rotation all over again. At five thirty a.m. I finally tagged Cap’n Firepants in the bedroom and sent him out to deal with Mrs. P.I.B. as I firmly closed the door behind him. Then I got into bed with Dimples. Which, to be honest, was not a whole lot more restful.
Tomorrow’s post – Wonderbutt meets the cat and attempts to slip and slide. And Mrs. P.I.B. narrowly escapes sleeping in the pasture with the cows.