Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Wife's Horror Story

It's Halloween week, and while I have no interest in the holiday, the costumes or the fright (30-years-old, still afraid of the dark due to my childhood), I do have a horror story to tell. 

Yep, real-life. 
Happened to me just last week. 
It gave me the shakes. 
I'll never forget it. 

As legend tells..........

I've played keeper of all gift cards that we thankfully received as wedding gifts; meticulously tracking where and why every dollar was spent.

The gracious Lowe's gift cards allowed us to remodel our home and even installed new windows just before the polar vortex. 
The very kind Bed, Bath & Beyond gift cards stocked our home with the necessities required when two lives merge. Ever used a Black & Decker Dust Buster? Like, the new ones? Get one. I use ours every single day. My hobby this month is using it to see how many live flies/Japanese beetles I can "Dust Bust" out of our window sills in 3 minutes. 

You don't know frustration until you realize 
you're baking flies in your scented warmer. 

I digress.
And lastly, the Dillard's gift cards from family and friends have set our table and made our beds. Two dear friends, Katie and Chrissie, gave us generous gift cards to Dillard's, since it was a department store close to both our Indiana and Kansas homes. Their gifts were very kind and also intuitive; how would they know that a year into this deal called marriage we would finally figure out exactly what we need in this old homestead? We simply needed time to settle. 

Fast forward to last week when Cody asked me if we had any Dillard's gift cards left. Yes, I told him, thinking of Chrissie & Katie. He asked me how I planned on using them, and I admitted that at this moment there wasn't a pressing need or want. He asked if he could use the cards to purchase a new sport coat. He has big obligations coming in the following months and he'd really worn down the coats that he had since college. I listened then briefly considered what Chrissie and Katie would think if we spent their gift on clothes... 

The Fashionistas would probably love nothing more. 

We decided to make a date of it, so a few days later Cody picked me up from work and we headed to the mall. We met Ryan, the suit specialist in the store that evening. We found a jacket that looked awesome on Cody and would match a lot of the ties that he's grown fond of throughout his judging career. 

Cody was measured and tucked and pinned and marked. Ryan told us when the tailored jacket would be available and we moved over to the register. 

Not much of a horror story yet, huh? 
Keep reading.

He rang us up and Cody proudly presented the gift cards. One with $12 left on it, the other with a balance of $166. 
"Twelve dollars off from that one," Ryan said as he swiped the card. "Want this back?"
"Nope, toss it," I remarked, anticipating the thrill of hearing him say we'll get $166 off on the next "swipe". 
"Hmmm, this one says zero balance," Ryan said, swiping the big money card a fourth time. 
Cody and I looked at each other. 
I got out my receipt. 
I've been so organized with all of our gift cards, for more than a year. 
I've accounted for every dollar spent and tracked who kindly gave us the card. 
I've wrapped every card with a remaining balance inside the receipt stating said balance. 
I looked again: $166 should be on that card, I tried to convince Cody.
Ryan tried typing in the numbers. 
Growing increasingly embarrassed and frustrated, Cody asked if this was something we could consult Customer Service over. It was. 
Cody went ahead and paid in full for his tailored jacket.

We left Ryan in the men's department and Cody reconfirmed that I kept good records. 
"I wouldn't be carrying these old receipts if I didn't!" I told him, following the tile floor directly to customer service. My feet hurt from twelve hours in heels that I'd bought online. I'll never do that again; they never fit right. 
We reached the counter and I tried to explain to the young employee how our balance wasn't showing up on our gift card. She gave it the familiar swipe - several times - then decided to call the store manager over the issue. 

This was becoming much more of an issue than Cody and I intended it to be. He just needed a new coat. 

The manager arrived and I once again explained our situation. She asked for patience as she went in back and called headquarters; they should be able to tell us exactly where and when every purchase was made on the troublesome card. We let her know we'd wait in the outdated chairs until she returned. 

"You're sure you haven't spent this card? Think...think about it.....It's almost $200 we're missing here." said Cody. 
"I never come to the mall anymore! I can't figure it out...." I wracked my brain. 
"Didn't you buy sheets here?" he asked.
"Yeah, you're right -  I did. But I bought them online..."

And right here is where 
I would like to type 
the actual words that 
began to go through 
my head in that very second, 
but my lovely mother reads the blog.

Online shopping. 
The heels...the damn, too-small heels I had on were bought online at Dillard'

My mind started racing; what else had I bought online in the last year that didn't provide a store-printed receipt? It made sense now. If I bought it online, I wouldn't have a receipt I could tuck into my wallet. 
I wanted to throw up. I stood up and went out to look at baby clothes. Baby clothes are happy and cute and...
Oh, I am so dead. 
I preach to Cody about pinching pennies, and shutting off lights to save energy costs, and using less laundry detergent and not leaving the refrigerator door open too long. I ask him to bring me the hotel soaps and coffee packets when he travels. He knows not to throw away feed sack ties so I can use them in my stationary. I nag about going to Meijer with out coupons and make quite a scene when I have to toss brown lettuce. 
But when Cody wants a practical sport coat he'll use for years, nope. Sorry. I've spent all of our life savings on turquoise bracelets and leopard print blouses. 
I'm just a real hypocritical jerk, I thought to myself.

I was shaking. 
This was one of those marriage moments folks tell you will come in year two. 
I put myself smack-dab into a real-life-wife horror story:
Spending money on things you don't need and getting caught. 

High heels across the marble. 
The Manager was coming back to the front desk. 
Judgement Day.
"Ok...Good news is I got answers. The bad news is the card is definitely depleted of it's balance," said the Wicked Witch, as she handed me the receipt with her handwritten notes along the margin. 
Cody decided to read aloud over my shoulder...
"Women's Apparel, $48
Shoe Department, $38
Click...Clincky....What is that - the third thing down?" he asked. 

"Clinique," said the Wicked, Completely-Sell-Me-Out Witch. "It's our make-up counter."
I wanted to give the Witch a piercing glare, but I didn't have the guts to make eye contact with anyone at that point in my life. An itemized receipt was so not necessary, I thought. And - damn you, Clinique free gift. 

Every penny of the $166 was accounted for, right there on that tattered receipt. 
"Well," said Cody, clearing his throat, "thank you for taking the time to figure all of this out for us."
"Yes, thank you," I remarked, turning around like a child leaving the Principal's office with their parent. 

We walked through the kid's section, past the holiday display and out to the truck without a word spoken. 
Our plan was to go to dinner on Cody's parents; they had sent us a Texas Roadhouse gift card for Valentine's Day. Oh, the irony. 
Feeling only an inch tall, I suggested we just skip our dinner date and head on home.
"Do we have anything to eat at home? Is any beef thawed?" Cody asked. Before I could answer he continued. 

"Nah, we're this close, 
let's just use this gift card 
from Mom and Dad. 
Unless, of course, 
you've already spent it online."

If I could have climbed under the seat of that white F-250 I would have right then and there. Cody smiled at me and fired up the engine. 

That was last Wednesday night. Since then he's not forgotten the incident as he's used the following lines:

"Linds! Can you throw me down some socks?'ve spent them all online..."
"Did you pay the fuel oil bill? - - Or, were you going to use a gift card?"


Lessons Learned:
1. Halloween doesn't scare me. What scares me is my lack of willpower when the "SUPER DUPER SALE!" emails roll into my inbox over my lunch hour.
2. It could have been worse. I could have spent that money on pants that I will grow out of and into seven times in the next five years. 
3. As my sorority sisters, Katie and Chrissie really should have known better than to send gift cards. 

Yep. I blame them. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paper Placemat Gown

Two months after my thirtieth birthday I was reminded why I only travel outside of North America every thirty years. 

It isn't a fear of flying
or the thought of becoming homesick 
or even the staggering guilt from being away from the farm and out of the office for eight days. 

It's the paper placemat gown.

I visited our general practitioner a few weeks ago for my scheduled wellness visit. The nurse didn't laugh when I took off my coat, shoes, watch, FitBit and cardigan before stepping on the scales. She did, however, check her watch - which I've never before noticed her doing without putting a velcro sleeve on my arm? She must have been on a schedule that day or something. 

The gal directed me into a little white room with lights bright enough guide Ronnie Milsap. She proceeded to ask me approximately 82 questions in a matter of three minutes. 

Nurse: Back or neck aches?
Me: ....Yes. 
Nurse: Tell me about those.
Me: Well, I mean, they usually only occur when I've spent more than two hours with my brother, then comes this strange pain in my neck...

Later, I tried for some time to remember if it was gastritis or glaucoma that our family had a history of, but before I could call Momma for the answer the nurse decided to skip that question. 

Ten minutes later, Ms. Can't-Quit-Looking-At-Her-Watch closed her clipboard and left the room, though not before instructing me to put on the dreadful paper placemat in the front. 

Or was it open in the back?

Oh no. 
Before I could ask for clarification, the nurse was out the door.
I stood there in the bright room, alone and freezing. I threw a stack of National Geographic magazines over the register blowing cold air. If I have to take off my clothes and dress myself in nothing but a paper placemat, there was no room for a draft. 

I looked at the the shoddy pile of tissue paper sitting on the examination table. This moment - this simple decision of direction - could completely change any familiarity and comfort I've acquired with our practitioner.
Open in the front or open in the back?
Either way, ol' boy is going to see more than either of us would like. 

"Deep out. And deep breath again," Doc asked of me. 
By the time I did what he wanted, he was on to the next ask. 
Dude, is this a doctor's appointment or lung strengthening for deep sea diving?, I thought to myself. 

"Looks good. 
Sounds good. 
You get that from your father's side. 
No change there. 
Ideal blood pressure.

According to Doc's vocal play-by-play, the check-up was going exactly as we both planned.

Until I spiced things up by surprising him with a list of questions regarding travel to Argentina and a laundry list of vaccinations and medicines I'll need for the voyage. 

Doc is my favorite kind of man: Smart and Patient. 

He asked a few questions, then the nurse got out her pen and highlighter. 

He spoke so quickly and in a language I don't know. Here is my recollection:

She'll need a Photo-Tony-Romo-Benghazi-Stripizoid in the next month. Oral. 
Follow that up with an ingestible Benzoid-Astro-Instagram-Drug-Czar-Typhoid-Anti-Hysti-Shine-Mine-Yours-Ours
Taken twice daily following her arrival in Argentina. 
Don't take that with milk - She'll regret it. 
Now, when she gets back...that's a whole other deal. 
Let's look into a Herbo-Phobo-Robo-Cop-Azoid, every other day, also skipping days that contain a "T" in the spelling. 
We'll wrap things up with an Ammo-Camo-Glammo-Trifecta-Othro-Moto-Oxtail. Hold the tail.
Yeah, that's it. 

I looked at the nurse.
Geezo preezo I hope she is getting all of this. I lost him at Tony Romo, I thought to myself. 
Then Doc woke me from my daze.

Doc: Have you been you Africa?
Me: Yes. 
Doc: When?
Me: Two weeks ago, I went there to study the stripes on a zebra. Granted, it was a dream/nightmare  but I did wake up and remember to use the filtered water out of the Brita pitcher to make Cody's coffee. 
Doc shook his head the same way Cody did when I used the Rural King advertisement for kindling last February. 

He then gave me a plethora of great traveling advice, a few medical advisories and even asked about our cattle. There is something peaceful about a physician who closes the visit by asking about our herd, and by also talking about his hay situation moving into winter. Doc gets us.  

He shook my hand and offered one more nugget of advice: Remember: Don't drink the water. (Dually noted)

As I write this, I realize that my appointment with Doc was the easy one as I prepare to cross timezones. 

Next: Vaccinations at an Undisclosed Health Department.

To be continued...
Assuming I follow protocol for the 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Which McDonald's Dollar Menu Item Are You?

I've noticed a trend on social media as of late. 
Posts about pumpkin spiced lattes? Nope. 
Fall family photo shoot sharing? Nope. 
High school, college or NFL football scores, updates, rants or stadium pictures? Nope. 

Strange, impersonal, non-scientific quizzes. 

It is an interesting phenomenon that asks individuals to reveal a few preferences - such as what style of hat they favor - and just like that it's as though the internet gods can judge this person and interpret their destiny. 
Instantly, the person taking the quiz can learn who they're most like, what career fits them best, what their stripper name could have been, what breed of cow they may be in the next life and even what their name means. 

I'm serious.
These quizzes are very real, 
very accessible 
and very, very accurate. 

Except, if you're truly curious as to the meaning behind your name, it may be easiest to ask your mother. There is a good chance she knows why you're named what you are. And, she may even reveal that your father originally wanted to name you Jasmine but during a last-minute K-Mart run for baby things, the cashier's name was Jasmine and K-Mart Jasmine couldn't make six dollar change from a ten dollar bill. Just like that, your fate was altered. See, no ten-question online quiz could have told you that. 
Or could it........?

Have you seen these quizzes?
Do you take them?

Vocabulary size? 
Do you suppose "capacity", "depth" or "scope" would have been a better fit in that sentence?

My guess is that 90% of the results include some form of Feather, Little, Moon and River. 
I was hoping for Little Blonde River but the quiz revealed I'm actually 
Big Mountain Thighs.
What Ever.

This needs to be assessed by your best friend
Not your husband, not your kids and not your boss. 
Your husband hears the things you talk about in your sleep, 
your kids test you when you've not slept in days 
and your boss determines your pay scale right after 
cramming 49,549 expectations down your throat. 
Your best friend is the only one who can 
admit that you're bat-shit crazy then 
make up for it by complimenting your hair. 
This tests mental state. 

I'm serious, Katie - I really do. 

This is unfortunate. 
Get a hobby. 
And some grip on reality and real-world affairs. 
I'm very serious. 

What disturbs me most about these generic quizzes is the desire people have to take them.
At all. 
Why is that? 
They say a lot about the type of culture we've become, one begging to figure out just who we really are. 

With every bland assessment, people long to learn more about themselves, hoping to find a piece of them they've never known before. Something more that they hope(d) to be

"I never would have thought I was most likely to die in a fiery skateboarding crash in Malibu....
I always have liked the ocean................"

It's as though we're craving a way to dive into the the deepest parts of ourselves to find this new person, calling or even past -----

---- Rather than build upon the person we are now and the character we contain. 

When did distraction from reality become such a normalcy? What happened to living in the here and now and building your own future and determining your own character rather than taking the easy way out and letting a 10-question quiz drive your ship?

Get a grip, people. Come back to reality and find a better way to learn about yourself. Read books, begin writing, spend time alone, turn off anything that has an on switch, pray, volunteer, be part of something bigger than yourself, learn to cook real food, start running - and not just from gluten, research your genealogy, buy a camera, get up earlier, adopt a mutt, for goodness sake. 

Because between you and I, your life expectancy is only determined by the plans God has for you and how you use the tools and natural talents He's put before you.

And frankly, He's only concerned about how you specifically answer 
which ironically
has nothing to do with internet connection. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No Other Shotgun Rider

"Did you shut off the water?"
- asked halfway through Missouri

Slowly I'm learning just how much I have to learn. 

I learned a long time ago (like, on our second date) that we'd likely take very few vacations that didn't include sorting, buying, selling or showing stock. I guess that was one of the first boxes checked during Cody and I's early extended conversations: we had the same background, same passion and in turn...same future. 

Sometime after we were blinded from being googly-eyed at each other, but before twelve hours ago when I washed a large load of dark jeans with 1/2 pound of wood shavings and five Kleenexes in the pockets, life happened

And that is where I begin. 
And so did "vacation". 

We had barely reached the first stop sign (1/8 mile from our driveway) in our journey of 1,350 miles before I asked Cody if he remembered to put the lock over the double latch on the back door of the stock trailer. We were hauling cattle to Council Grove, Kansas for the Sankey's 6N Ranch production sale. Cody told me he did remember the lock, but I conducted a Chinese fire drill of my own just to confirm. He was right. 

We made it seventeen miles on to I-70  before Cody suggested I "take a snooze" so I could drive when his eyes got tired. It was then that I knew: This is the first of many "vacations" where I wouldn't catch up on sleep. 

When we we began our journey west (side note - we have the Journey West blanket  in our downstairs spare bedroom to commemorate adventures such as this - the wool blanket keeps guests warm in the winter and the summer! Highly recommended (for winter)).

Where was I? Yes, when we began our Journey West, I had these admirable Phil Bowman-Intentions of eating well and smart and healthy and not buying anything from a convenience store. I sincerely ate celery and peanut butter and honey crisp apples for the first 2 hours of the trip. 

Yeah well, life happens. Cody woke me beneath the bright lights of a Pilot truckstop, threw the rig into park and told me it's "my turn".
My turn for what?
To win the lottery? To use the neck roller? To fuel up?
My turn to eat Combos paired with Mt. Dew, pick the radio station, temperature control and seat adjustment preference. Twenty-seven minutes into my truck driving shift I hit a rumble strip, or series there of, just to prove to Cody that nothing ends well when I'm awakened from a nap.

Ninety-seven miles in and my big-rigging took an unplanned halt. We were just trucks away from a life-altering accident on I-70. We landed close enough behind the accident that we could watch the paramedics work. One minute you think you're in a hurry, the next minute you realize you have all the time in the world. I never felt tired after that deal. 

We reached the ranch safely at 4:00 AM; our niece Bayler was just waking up for a snack. That also put things into perspective for this kidless couple. Sleep is fantastic. 

I spent the next four days finding things around the ranch and surrounding shops/areas that I could stow away in the storage section of the stock trailer and tote back to Indiana without Cody noticing. A wide selection of pumpkins, a vintage mirror and an old mobile beverage cart, a fireplace, twelve servings of beef brisket.........really anything I could get my hands on and secured in tow before he caught on. Listen, if this was my vacation, I was packing souvenirs. 

The weekend went quickly. 
The truck made runs between the ranch and town and my celery was never touched again.
The trailer sat parked, though filled with various items periodically. 
The sale went well. 
Though sleep was limited, the views were not. 

Cody and I debated playing ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS to determine who had to drive the first leg of the trip back to Indiana. Then I quickly agreed to handle that shift; I then proceeded to drive four miles into town to get diesel. First leg down! By the time Cody filled the tank, then returned from buying lame gas station coffee, I was a soundly sleeping shotgun rider. #WINNING. 

Before I knew it he was waking me again - no lesson learned, I guess - and asking me if I needed to use the restroom. Like a temperamental 13-year-old I shuffled into the truck stop. Ten minutes later I rubbed my eyes in the check out line and asked Cody how far until we hit Kansas City?
"Do you have any idea where we are?"
I looked around. All the folks looked like grumpy typical tourists, diesel price looked familiar, there were dream catchers on a rack beside me, so no...I didn't. 
As it turns out, I slept better as a shotgun rider than I anticipated. 

Cody paid for fuel and I checked the black-hided stock in back, those who had new owners awaiting them east of the Mississippi. I rummaged through the back seat and decided to throw the bad celery out of the tupperware and onto the parking lot concrete; it was simply a lost battle. Then I saw a woman fifteen yards away - approximately 108 years old - picking up trash, watching me toss my sour salad into her lot. I proceeded to pick up all celery sticks and toss them into the pet lot. Dogs like celery, right?

I checked my reflection in the mirror and redid my ponytail; I was looking more and more like a trucker's wife every day.
Just. Get. Me. Home. 

In the hours that followed, the celery was replaced by the following items to keep me awake: Gobstoppers, Nerds, bottled water, chicken McNuggets and fries and Craisins. I'm basically the picture of health. 

By mile 329 east bound I was able to easily awake Cody with my rendition of Delta Dawn in which I sang mirroring the sounds of Tanya Tucker...all of them; then, and also now. Have you seen her lately? 

He begged to drive if I would just sleep and no longer sing. My plan worked exactly as imagined. I slept on and off for the next three hours. 

It was pouring rain when we got home, which was (not) appropriate since the pumpkins were packed in the trailer and our luggage in the bed of the truck; learn something new every day, I suppose. 

I also learned that long journeys west - and east, and all over this world - require a great partner and someone looking out for your best interests, always. For instance, Cody knew by the look on my face that the Pilot women's restroom was not going to cut it, so he drove me across the interstate to the Flying J and never asked a single question. That's a good man, right there. 

And frankly, I couldn't imagine any other shotgun rider. 

Shotgun Rider

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Stockman's Wife

This is for you, 
Stockman's Wife.

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can turn the bull-sale-season title of "Weekend Widow" into "Weekend Warrior" and get far more done than just ten loads of laundry, whole-homestead window-washing, grocery shopping, temporary fence tear-down and accurate book work.

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows who bred who, Who Made Who and who rode who due to her impeccable ability to memorize the pedigrees of every female on the farm. She knows their dam, their full sibs and their due date. She can tell you the year the female came open (2011) and the exact reasons why she wasn't shipped. And three years later, she can still convince you that you made the right decision to let that female stay. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows - and enforces - the importance of one check. The one check that her husband is authorized to carry in his wallet, unsupervised. The one check that he can use at his discretion, as long as it's not spent, but rather invested. The Golden Ticket, per say, to the next best thing to stir dust in a stock trailer coming down the lane. The one check that she knows won't be spent on jewelry or flowers or even a new dishwasher. The one check that hopefully brings to the ranch new animals - or genetics - that will build the program. 

The Stockman's Wife.
From states away she celebrates the profits made by the family program, as reported from the texting-fingers of her son, caught up in the action. Three hours later, The Stockman's Wife does not apologize when she absolutely loses her head because her husband - and son - decide to "invest their profit" into yet another breeding program addition. The Stockman's Wife had every intention of "investing their profit" somewhere else; such as the Farm Account. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She welcomes with a beautiful smile - coupled with a strong handshake - the guests who stop by to see sale cattle just minutes after her husband has left for the airport to fulfill an out-of-state Breed obligation he's committed to. She uses her best judgement as she discusses the animals and speaks as a family. She is honest, and upfront and proud. She uses humor and grace. Potential buyers sort stock with ease because of The Stockman's Wife's presence. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She rarely exceeds the speed limit, but if done, she's on her way to the vet clinic or the parts store. Upon arrival she tries to read the abbreviated words she scribbled down, but soon learns she can't tell differentiate between a 
G or a 6, a
1 or a 7 and even a 
B from an 8
She proceeds to drive  home even faster, convinced she'll be making a return trip due to her shoddy penmanship. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She misses obligations for which she bought new clip-on earrings because she noticed a calf with blood in it's stool. Her schedule isn't by her own design, but rather an accumulation of gestation cycles, 4-H meetings, sports schedules, feed truck deliveries, vet appointments and herd visits - none of which belong to her.

The Stockman's Wife.
She cries at the kitchen sink watching watching her favorite cow get shipped to town, and no one knows. 
She visits her Daddy's old friends at the nursing home in town and no one knows. 
She watches the ceiling fan at 2:27 AM worrying about the price of corn and no one knows. 
She also has a stash of Hershey Chocolate with Almond bars in the the back of the deep freezer and no one knows. Thank goodness. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows the difference between a heat and a hot heat. 
And I'm not just talking about Arizona. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She doesn't leave the farm or ranch much, but she does dress up to go to the bank, the grocery, the post office and her Momma's house - all of which she visits in the same day. She baffles the bank tellers with the adventures on the range and puzzles the Post Master with the strange things she ships to places that he - at 74-years-old - never knew existed. She spends extra change out of her own purse on insurance, tracking and delivery confirmations for things that will eventually arrive a day early. The Stockman's Wife cannot associate a price with peace of mind. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She makes cookies for the UPS driver and thanks him for not shaking the semen tank as he walks it to the house. She then proceeds to talk his ear off because he's the only adult she's spoken to in five hours. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She prays. 
She prays for her family, their herd, their land and their future. 
She prays for doors to open and rain to fall. 
She prays for healthy calves and healthy doctor reports. 
She prays for strong markets, strong fences and strong kids. 
She prays for our Country and for her grandkids who will one day have to clean up this mess. 
She prays for her best friends she hasn't found time to see in two years and also the women that drive her absolutely crazy, bless their hearts. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
She's never been one for crying over spilled milk. 
But a busted bottle of Draxxin? Oh yeah, she'll cry over that. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She is no longer the young lady anxious to receive a diamond ring from The Stockman, because her long, slender hands have been tainted by callouses and knuckles that simply won't back down. Her wedding band won't come off and hasn't in 36 years. She does, however, still appreciate pendants. And also dinners in town in which she does not have to prepare. Christmas is're welcome, Stockman. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She has a special love/hate relationship with Shorthorn Country magazines, Angus Journal editions and other stock publications. She understands they offer her husband monthly anticipation followed by profound joy, but they become a nuisance to dust under (or simply around in the case of last-minute company). She sorts through the new issues to see what other families are doing, what other ranches have to offer and quite frankly, what is suitable to wear to the next Auxiliary breakfast. She can count on one hand - - OK, two hands - -  the times she has been quite tempted to use these publications as kindling in the fireplace. But her Momma never went that far, so she never does, either. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She keeps close watch on fuel prices, 
the radar and
Gazette wedding announcements 
knowing that she may be called to react to any of the above at any given moment. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She latches every gate. 
Closes every door.
Rolls up all pick-up windows. 
Double checks hydrants. 
Keeps track of all syringe caps. 
Monitors the toilet tank ensuring it fills properly. 
And double checks the oven and stove top. 
Because her nightmares entail what could happen if any of the above were neglected. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can reveal every emotion while preparing food for a funeral dinner, then turn around and assist in the delivery of a calf in the same afternoon. 

LindaSharee and all the Stockman Wives of the world,
we salute you.