Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hoofers and Catch 22s

My farrier phoned this weekend to schedule an appointment to trim the horses hooves. He always chooses Tuesday, which is the one day of the week that I'm not home. There have been some weeks in which Tuesday is the only day he could come by, so my husband stood in for me and did the job of catching, haltering and holding the horses. We keep telling the farrier that we can do any day except Tuesday, yet he always picks Tuesday. At first I thought it was because he had other clients in my area who could only see him on Tuesdays, but then the truth hit me: He purposefully chooses Tuesdays because he enjoys talking with my husband more than he does talking with me.

So, when he called this past weekend and picked Tuesday, my husband told him that he has no interest in standing outside in the freezing cold for an hour and a half holding horses. Horses are my hobby, so it's my responsibility to do that job. The farrier ended up settling for Wednesday.

He usually shows up between 9:00 AM and 9:30 AM. When I logged into my computer in my home office on Wednesday, I was met with an urgent email regarding an emergency code release at noon. I calculated how much work would be involved and knew that even if I canceled my farrier appointment and worked as fast as I could, it would be a miracle if I met the noon deadline. I resigned myself to canceling the farrier appointment.

Then I remembered that both my kids are home over the holiday break. I asked my daughter if she could catch, halter, and hold the horses on my behalf. She agreed. Let's just say that thanks to a series of mistakes made by other people and mishaps with electronic equipment, that noon deadline slipped into tomorrow, which is supposed to be a company holiday. I never even got outside to say hello to my farrier, because I was being jerked around in so many different directions by people at work.

I asked my daughter later how the horses did. She said that Gabbrielle was antsy, but the other two horses did well. Several hours beyond that it hit me that I should ask her if our nosy neighbors came out to watch her, since they always do that to me every time that I hold the horses for the farrier. Sure enough, she said that the woman was loitering around the perimeter of our property while they were working with Gabbrielle. She said the woman first went into her back yard. That is usually where she stands on her tip-toes and peers over the fence when I'm out there. My daughter said that Gabbrielle was also pointing with her nose at the barn, so she figured the woman was hiding back there at one point. I asked if she and the farrier talked much. She said they didn't say much beyond talking about the weather. My poor nosy neighbor must have been so bored.

Despite me trying to catch cases of thrush ahead of time, the farrier did find some on one of Gabbrielle's back hooves. I had only treated her front hooves, because the back ones looked good last weekend. So much can change in just a few days. As soon as I got a break from work, I ran out there and smothered some gunk on her hind hooves. She's good as new now.

Hopefully, I can actually get a break from work with the next appointment, because no one will be home to help me then. I have so many appointments that I hate to have to inform my boss of every single one. I'm always responsible about making up the time I miss by either starting work early or ending late or working on the weekend. The problem is that things get out of control when I don't inform my boss of an appointment (because I'm embarrassed for having had too many other appointments recently), and then something comes up at work that prevents me from being able to attend my appointment. Then I have to choose between canceling my appointment at the last minute or telling my boss without advance notice (which is required by my company) that I can't do what he wants because I have to be somewhere else. It's a stressful life when you always have to be in two or three difference places at once.

I wish our economy could improve enough to get back to allowing one person per family to stay home to manage the household. Right now my husband works full-time, I work full-time with overtime hours, plus I have a couple of other jobs on the side, my daughter works full-time and is a full-time student, and my son is a full-time student who is involved in sports. That's just too much, but without three adults within the family working, we wouldn't be able to afford our current lifestyle.

Big sacrifices would have to be made for me to stay at home. Considering how expensive it is to keep horses, they'd probably have to go, and then I'd have no reason to stay home other than to cook and clean house. The kids are already raised. We are now concentrating on putting them through college at a time when college tuitions are nearly doubling over the course of a few months. State governments are running out of money to fund their universities, so now the students have to foot the majority of the bill. The only reason why I would want to stay home is to work with the horses, but without my job, I can't afford to keep the horses. With the job, I can't get the time to handle all the farrier and vet appointments necessary to maintain the horses' health, and it's difficult finding the time to train and ride the horses. It's a Catch 22.

12 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

Glad your daughter was there to pinch hit for you ,but it does seem a challenge to get everything done. Too bad the farrier can't come on the weekend

photogchic said...

My farrier always wants to come early...I work nights, so it is painful, but I grudgingly do it. Better to keep them happy.

Breathe said...

It's hard to believe there was a time where one income in a household was enough. That was when health insurance was less than a day's pay and house payments never cost more than a week's salary.

As we look for a place to have horses live with us, I'm trying to find a place that will allow us to live on one salary. It's tough. Maybe not even possible.

But a girl can dream.

Flying Lily said...

How nice that your daughter could help out like that! Hope things improve with your schedule in 2010...

Leah Fry said...

That's the same Catch22 a lot of us have. I honestly don't know how some people do it on just one salary. It's a different world out there from our parents' generation.

Happy New Year to you and yours. Let's hope for better times.

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, I hear 'ya! We didn't have horses when the kids were in college. We just wouldn't have been able to handle it. Of course, now I'm still paying off my parent loans and will do so for the next 5 years! After that, I'll be looking forward to retirement AND more time with the horses.

Shirley said...

Ah, Nuz Muz, it is possible, you just have to keep looking to find the way. I hope the new year brings some wonderful changes for you, keep looking and praying and it'll happen for you. God bless!

Janice said...

Been there doing that. You have my sypmathies. Sometimes I think I should get rid of my horses,I never seem to do anything with them, they cost a lot to be pretty yard decorations. Then my real brain kicks in and says are you nuts because without my horses I would be nuts.

Mikey said...

It's totally a catch 22, and I feel it too. By the time I'm done working in town, got the groceries shopped, errands run (feed store) and home, picked up poop, thought about what's for dinner... where is the time to actually RIDE these horses? Few and far between...

Pony Girl said...

I wish I had a second income to help. It's tough living on my salary, and being able to afford a horse! I am lucky and have a farrier that comes on Saturdays! Also, I have some flexibility at work- not a lot, but I can usually leave early for appointments if there is an emergency, or I just take a sick day. Since I am in education, I get a lot of vacations and also the summer off to ride! :)
Happy new year to you and yours!!

Pony Girl said...

p.s regarding funding oneself for college....that too, a catch 22. Speaking as someone who had student loans all through college and is now struggling majorly to pay them back. I wish I never had the loans, seriously. I'm not sure how I would have gone to college without them, though.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What a dilemma! Truly a Catch 22. Your daughter is just awesome to take on the farrier appt for you. She sounds very special. I wish I could have met her when I was visiting in November.

Happy New Year to you, my friend!

~Lisa