Thursday, October 24, 2013

Being Morbid

First, checkout the Sunday Serial The Cursed Gift over at Joyous Art.  The weather has turned  colder and the days are shorter...the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch and get lost in magic and mystery!  

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A friend of a friend of a friend is trying to re-home 9 cats for a lady who passed away.  This is not a hoarding case.  Individually, these cats came into this lady's life because they were in great need and she took them in out of the kindness of her heart.  She could afford their upkeep; they were all well-fed, vaccinated and groomed.  Unfortunately, as much as she cared for them in life, she had no plan for their upkeep should something happen to her. Now neighbours and friends are scrambling to re-home the cats so they don't end up at the shelter.

This is not a unique situation.  I regularly see dogs that were obviously cared for and loved by their owners, end up in shelters after something happens to their caregiver.  I see the same situation for horses who end up on feed lots.

I have always had a plan for my four-legged companions should something happen to me.   When friends and I talk about our companions, most stare at me like I have antennae sprouting out the top of my head when I mention that I have a plan for my dogs, and now Gem, should I become incapacitated or die.  I am amazed that not one fellow boarder that I have spoken to on this topic has a plan in place for their horse should something happen to them.  Horses live a long time (my friend's horse passed away at 36 years of age).  Gem has another 20 years of living yet to come and his long-term needs need to be considered.  My friends and fellow boarders think I am morbid.  They don't want to think about the future or their death; they want to enjoy their horse NOW.   I find it intriguing that no seems to think like I do.  :-)    

The reality is that your Will outlines your "wishes" and it's important that you have someone you know well and trust to make sure your wishes are carried out.   My Husband will obviously manage the care of the dogs and Gem should something happen to me.  I have an amount set aside for Gem's board and care so that he can retire (hopefully at LA's) without worry.   My Will states that he is not to be sold under any circumstances.  Depending on his age, having him ridden by a staff member a few times a month to keep him tuned is OK, but only my niece is allowed to ride him socially.  If he cannot stay at LA's, he will be moved to a reputable retirement farm 1.5 hours away.  I have a very close friend who act as my executor should My Husband pre-decease me and she will take over the responsibility of the care of my dogs and Gem. She also happens to live 10 minutes from the barn.  So, if she is managing my estate or helping me if I am unable to get to the barn, she has committed to grooming Gem on a regular basis and checking on his well-being.  My niece will be helping her in this area.  

I am guessing that the topic of this post has probably got you squirming a bit.   But you know, it gives me comfort to know that my companions will be looked after.  Does thinking about my death make me morbid?  I guess in some eyes it does, but I look at it as being prepared.   I would be interested to know if there are any other "morbid" people out there.  Hello?  Hello?   :-)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In an Instant.....

This past weekend, My Husband and I attended a wedding in Montreal.  It was a lovely affair, with about 250 people in attendance.  We were booked into a chic hotel about 5 minutes away from the event.  There was a cocktail party prior to the 6:00 p.m. ceremony and a dinner/dance after.  Very civilized!  :-)  The food was fabulous, our table companions were fun and the band was awesome.  It was great.

I bruise fairly easily.  On top of that, I have a high pain threshold.  Not a good combo, actually, because when I knock myself about I REALLY knock myself which results in big bruises and lumps.  Sigh.  So, after a couple of bad bruises on my forearm and the top of my hand (WTH??) a couple of weeks ago, I decided to be careful when I was around the barn and out on the trails.  I didn't want to look like I had just gone 9 rounds when I was at the wedding.   :-) 

The day before the wedding, DH's Mom and I decided to take advantage of the 21C temperatures and bathe our horses for what would probably be the last time before Spring. The wash station is located outside in the "yard" that separates the house and the two barns.  She bathed her horse first, while I kept her company and then she helped me bathe Gem.  

Squeaky clean!!
While Gem was in the cross-ties being soaped up, a horse trailer was backed up right behind him and parked.  Then the father of one of the boarders drove his truck through the yard.  Gem didn't bat an eye as these vehicles came within a few feet of his butt.  Good boy.  A few of the younger riders were sitting around a phone squealing while watching something.  Two other horses were lined up, waiting their turn to be bathed.  The yard was a busy place!   After his bath, I walked Gem across the yard next to the house and let him graze in the sun, just to dry him off a bit before he went back to his stall.  He was a horse on a mission to eat every blade of green grass, head down facing the house.  I, on the other hand, was standing next to his head facing the opposite way with the sun on my back, relaxed enough that my eyes were glazed over.  :-)

The next thing I knew I was flat out on the ground with people gathering around asking if I was OK!  To be honest, I was dazed and a little unfocused.  As I struggled to sit up, my immediate concern was Gem but I realized that he was now standing next to me on the other side. My second thought was how many friggin bruises I was going to have!  Darn!!   After a minute, DH's Mom and someone else helped me stand.  I did a quick check.  My jaw was sore, I had a cut from a tooth on the inside of my right cheek, my cheekbone and brow bone hurt, I had the beginning of a bump on the middle of my forehead, my neck had a kink and my sciatica was coming into play.  WTH??!!!  Was I unknowingly in the path of a truck or trailer and got hit?? 

DH's Mom saw what happened as she was walking towards me to chat.  The father of the boarder unloaded a lawn mower from his truck and decided to start it up to see if it still worked....right next to Gem's head.  1300 lbs. of horse spooked and jumped to the side, hitting me jaw to jaw and knocking me down.  What idiot starts a machine next to a grazing horse???  Apparently, this arrogant bastage does.  He didn't even apologize.

People volunteered to drive me home, but by this time I was a bit embarrassed and really sore and just wanted to get the heck out of there.  I drove myself home and after taking Advil, I stretched out on the couch with an ice pack for my face and a heat pack for my back.  I was not missing this wedding!!!  :-)   I had some time to think about the incident and I sort of laughed to myself about being so careful to avoid bruises and then to have this happen.   

Then anger set in.  How could a man who is around the barn all the time think that starting a lawn mower next to a horse is OK??  To let go of my anger, I tried to focus on the positives.  Yes, there are could have been a whole lot worse: 
  • Gem is not a lunatic kind of horse; his spook was just a couple of big side steps and not the snorting-and-running-around-the-yard kind of spook that could have potentially caused injuries to the other horses and people in the yard.
  • I was standing sideways beside Gem, shoulder to shoulder; if I had been turned facing his shoulder, his head connecting with my face would have broken my nose, no question. 
  • I was standing close enough to Gem that when he swung into me he did not have his full body momentum behind the step, so the hit wasn't as forceful as it could have been.
  • Gem did not trample or kick me.
  • Other than the bump and bruise on my forehead, I didn't have a visible mark on me.  :-)
I have been in worse pain from falls off of Gem while riding.  But this incident shook me because it happened while I was on the ground.  Other than getting stepped on or shoved or even bitten, I hadn't really considered being injured by a horse while on the ground.  When you are around horses, things can change in an instant and you must be prepared to react or be proactive in avoiding dangerous situations.  True, you can't predict idiocy.  And, the reality of it was I couldn't see this guy unload the mower or him starting it because Gem's body blocked my view.  But, perhaps if I hadn't been so relaxed that I was "glazed' over, if I had been more in tune with what was going on around me, I would have heard him and investigated??

The drive to Montreal the next day was a bit of a challenge, but Advil helped.   The bruise on my forehead was covered by make up.  The fun (and vodka!) I had at the wedding made me forget about my aches and pains.  My back survived dancing and my 3 inch heels.   :-)   My new outfit made me feel like a million. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Sort of hard to believe that just a day earlier I was sitting on my couch with ice and heat worried about a black eye and a bad back!   

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone, and be safe!   Remember....there are idiots out there!!!  :-)