Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Few and Far Between

My blog posts and comments have been few and far between, because now that I have the freedom to choose what to do with my days, I'm constantly on the move. It's hard to read and type while on the run. I'm literally on my feet all day long now, only sitting down to process photos or to eat a meal. Previously, I was chained to my desk with nothing but a couple of computers, so if I had a few minutes here and there, I'd blog.

My big project has been painting and setting up the photography studio. I always laugh when someone says that you can paint a room in a weekend. I've been painting for five days now and only have two coats on 1/3rd of the room. I spent three days before that cleaning out the room, moving furniture, and taping off the edges. I have to paint a sloping cathedral ceiling, which means either buying a pair of painter's stilts or climbing a really long ladder. I did this same job years ago with the help of my daughter, and I remember it taking weeks to get done mainly because I had to be so cautious to avoid falling 20 feet. I'd have to paint two square feet, climb down and move the ladder, paint two more square feet, climb down and move the ladder...

And each time I think, "All I've got to do is this and this and this and then I'm done," something randomly goes wrong and I have an extra step or two thrown in. Like, for instance, when I used a razor pen to separate the paint from the tape before pulling up the tape, the pen scratched the paint right off the wall, so now I have to do touch ups. It's amazing how you can spend so much money and still end up with cheap paint. Thanks Lowe's.

The horses have been more of a source of frustration than anything lately. I haven't been able to ride, because the ground has been nothing but muddy and slick ever since I got laid off. My next-door neighbors have also been busy bees buzzing up and down the street, doing construction projects, and inviting every Californian in the state to come stay with them for a few days. They have more cars in their parking lot (I mean front yard) with California plates than they have Nevada plates. They rope their guests into helping them fix broken down cars and build an add-on to their barn. So, there are people all over the place making unpredictable noises and sudden movements causing lots of spooks with my horses.

I had to abandon my mother's offer to pay for a wall between our properties for several reasons. One is that I was originally going to just put it up on the property line between us and them. Then people started loitering around the fence on the street side, so I wanted to build a wall there too. Then my nosy neighbors started hanging out in their backyard while staring at me, which would require a wall on the northern perimeter as well to block out those stares. When all was said and done, the estimate to cover all our bases with a wall was $20,000! That's a down payment on a house. My mother doesn't have that much money to spare, nor do we. With me being out of work, we may need my mother's help with more essential bills like food, shelter, electricity, and hay. Also, we missed our window of good weather to build a wall. Maybe by next spring we can either try again or start looking for a new home since my youngest will be out of high school and moving on to college.

Scrappy has been barking for hours because another neighbor, the one who fixes dragster engines, rented himself one of those tractor jack hammers and has been banging away at his driveway. The vibration is shaking my entire house and he's two houses away. It sounds like someone is rapping on our front door over and over, which is why the dog is in hysterics. As a horse woman, I didn't think I'd ever say this, but winter can't get here soon enough. I am sick to death of all this construction. It's non-stop.

Back to the horses. Lostine has been on a gnawing binge. She's destroying the walls of the barn and the fence posts. The horses have been gnawing the fence panels for years, and we just replace them now and then, but if she chews down a post, that will be bad, because those were set in concrete. I have to go outside every day with a can of motor oil and paint it onto the spots where she's chewing. Then she just finds another spot to chew the next day. People used to tell me that I had the most beautiful barn around, but now it is an eyesore. If I want to move, I have to be able to raise the property value, not lower it.

Bombay has been completely suicidal. I have to keep taking measures to protect him from himself. There are these relentless flies that focus on the horse's legs, and the horses are stomping and kicking their legs every few seconds. No fly spray affects these flies. They just fly away and come right back to land on the horse's legs after I spray them. Bombay gets so irritated by them that he kicks himself in the belly so hard that he now has fluid lumps and hematomas all over his belly. He also stomped the ground so hard that he made himself go lame. He exacerbated the splint on his left front leg and has been hobbling around. When I tried to lead him into a turn, he almost fell down. So, I've been having to give him pain killers. With Bombay's problems, I haven't been able to focus on Gabbrielle's lameness at all. At least she doesn't act like she's in pain, and she moves well at all paces except the trot. Her gallop is right up there with Secretariat's.

Of course, as soon as I lost my paycheck, everything in our house started breaking down in addition to the horses having injuries and destructive behaviors. I have to be careful what I spend money on. It's easy to say we'll stick to such and such a budget, but when you are experiencing unexpected problems and emergencies every day, your budget flies out the window in a hurry. Every time someone in my family mentions another problem that needs my attention, I just want to put my hands over my ears and say, "Na na na na, I can't hear you..."

I think of all the times I've gone to the doctor or taken a child to the doctor or taken a pet to the vet, spending hundreds of dollars only to be told that it's nothing or nothing can be done to help. Or worse yet, spending hundreds of dollars only to be told that the doctor doesn't know what is going on and then having to spend hundreds of more dollars either on tests or a specialist who also doesn't know what is going on. I tend to view initiating contact with the medical industry as opening Pandora's Box. Usually, in the end, everyone is so happy to be relieved from the stress of all the appointments and poking and prodding that the original problem instantly goes away. So, I'm trying to refrain from racing to the phone to call for help every time something goes wrong. Sometimes the help ends up being more trouble than it's worth.

We've discovered that Scrappy has quite a nose on him and he guards the house as well as a Doberman can. The other night he leaped off the bed barking and ran for the back door. My husband let him out only to be hit in the face with the waft of skunk. Yup. Scrappy is a skunk-huntin' dog. So now we have to be careful about letting him out at night. He also chased off a stray cat that wandered into our house when I left a door open. Nothing gets past this dog.

Oh yeah, and I like Scrappy's no-nonsense approach to the flies. If one comes near him, he snaps at it, chews it up and spits it out.

I'm just looking forward to things settling down. It will be nice if I can maintain a productive routine without getting waylaid around every turn by some problem that needs my immediate attention. I may not have the stress of my job and my boss forcing me to do the impossible anymore, but I still have a lot of stress trying to keep up with all the ridiculous things that happen at home when I have my back turned. I honestly don't know how I handled it all when I was working 60 hours a week. Things are just as insane as they've always been. I guess that's how life is when you choose to care for possessions and a ranch full of animals.


Sydney_bitless said...

Stay positive nuzz. Everything crazy here right now usually I am less busy come the end of summer but it seems I have every direction to run it at once these days.

Crystal said...

yikes, busy agin sounds like. I laugh at your last statement about not knowing how you managed when you worked 60 hours a week.. I always tell people I am too busy to have a job, same story, lol.

Maia said...

Don't you just love it? You are suffering through a "who's got the voodoll" time. Hang in there, things will get better.

I understand what you mean about cathedral ceilings, my office has one and the thought of painting it keeps freaking me out.

Keep posting, I want to hear all about your painting progress.

Oh yes, out your way,do they have the fly catcher that you fill with water and then add a really gross smelling liquid to. It doesn't take very long to attract all of the flies and turn them into soup. If you're interested, I'll see if I can find out the name of it. We used it a few years ago at the barn and it really worked.

JanLou said...

You're braver than me. I just keep putting off the idea of doing any painting as it just seems an insurmountable job with two small children and not having a clue about where to start lol

Jeni said...

wow nuzz... I do hope things smooth out for you so you can enjoy life..

fernvalley01 said...

I figured at least for a while when you got unchained from the desk, blogging would take a backseat.Still so much going on for you though! Hope your overall health is at least improving without the job stress,all the running around and painting you are doing you are gonna be so slim you will have to stand twice to make a shadow!

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, we had a huge tree branch just fall off our eucalyptus tree onto our ROOF! We've been in the house for 35 years now and this was the first time our roof was damaged. It cost us $350 to remove it and now we have 11 broken tiles (we have a red tile roof). Hubby and I just can't even deal with that now...if it rains, we'll just put a tarp over it. Fortunately, we haven't had any real rain here yet.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Funny how the more free time it seems one has, the less one can get accomplished. I know, all my days seem to be for work and sleep, work and sleep.
LOL on the painting. I've got the den and part of the hallway painted and almost a dozen cans of paint just laying there waiting to be used on the ceiling and the walls. It takes so much work moving furniture and prepping the walls that I don't know when it's going to get done.
Gosh- those crazy horses! Hopefully, they'll settle down soon- maybe it's the change of season. Scout had a huge edema on his belly last year about this time. I wonder if it was flies? The vet never did figure out what was wrong. She just gave me some medicine and it gradually went away.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Maia - I do use those stinky fly traps, but they only collect so many flies. There are plenty of flies left over the hassle the horses. I think next year I'll use Fly Predators.

Anonymous said...

Nuz, save your money on the fly predators if there are other horses anywhere near yours; they only work if your neighbors use them too. I would suggest leg covers made of the same stuff fly sheets are made of, but they are a bit spendy and I'm not sure your herd would leave them in place! Maybe wiping the repellant directly on their legs? Check the label directions to see if it's safe, though. Nothing is worse than having the hair fall out as well.

Yeah, the more time you have the less you get done. I think this is partly because other people don't respect your time and push tasks onto you. Last week I was having one of those weeks where things keep cropping up and going wrong. I told my hubby my problem is I need to schedule 4 hours a day for crisis management. I said this as I was walking a colic, mind you. A colicy good size 3YO the owner has not seen fit to halter break, at that. And maybe not said in a real nice tone of voice!

That ceiling - yeah, we had one a couple of houses ago and after some consideration we panelled the darn thing. Much easier to dust it now and then.

Take a deep breath, and just keep your goal in your sights as you plug away.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Anonymous - Thanks for the word on the Fly Predators. Unfortunately, Bombay is notorious for shredding any kind of sheet protection. He destroyed both a brand new fly sheet and a face mask within 20 minutes of me walking away from him. I can't leave a winter blanket hanging inside his stall, because he'll shred that too. The only fly product that works for me is Swat. I try to save it to use around wounds, but I may as well rub it all over the legs to prevent further stomping and kicking. Swat collects a lot of dirt, though, so he'll have brown legs for a while. I'm also keeping him in isolation now, because Gabbrielle kept attacking and chasing him at feeding time, forcing him to gallop on that painful leg. 4 hours of crisis management a day sounds about right for me too.

Mikey said...

Oh my gosh, I didn't know you'd gotten laid off. I'm so sorry! And I hear you on all the stuff that has to get done. The painting, lol. I need to paint my house, but I expect it to take AT LEAST a week and I can't seem to find motivation to do that.
The flies, don't know what to tell you. I was just bitching about them this morning! They're still here and I can't stand it. The only thing I haven't tried is the fly predators, and I'm going to get some!
Hope things get better for you and you get caught up. It's frustrating, isn't it? Hugs to you and keep your chin up. They say it gets better.

duffylou said...

I've had good luck with Pyranha Fly Spray. I know you've tried a lot, so I figured you've already used this but it was worth a shot to mention.

SWAT is so goopey I give you kudos for using it. It was a pain in the butt just in small places. I can't even imagine having to use it all over. That would be a mess. Good luck.

Andrea said...

Well gee, you've had a lot go on since I've been here last! I'm so sorry about your job. That suck, but on the flip side, a photography studio!! How exciting! I'm jealous! I don't have a studio. I wish I did!!! Someday...sigh. I am glad the horses are still handing in there. Poor Bombay, maybe that personality needs to come visit me for a bit! I love that horse!!

achieve1dream said...

I feel for you! I'm feeling the same way with my husband out of work with a back injury. It's scary not being certain of your financial future.

I hope the horses get better fast. I've been using Ultra Sheild fly spray with decent success over those annoying leg flies. It has permethrins so it's bio-degradable and it works great. I use it more often than it says I do, but I coat Chrome's legs in it because he stomps a lot too. Luckily he doesn't kick his belly like that but I was worried about damage to his legs. I hope you can get some in your area and it helps. If not just look for something with permethrin.

I'll be sending good vibes your way. Hope things get better soon. I somehow missed the news about your being laid off. :( Hope you can find something else soon (if that's what you want). Hugs!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yikes! When it rains it pours! I hear ya on being so busy, even without a full time job now. I'm the same way and can't keep up with the blogs now that school has started and we have such a full schedule all week with the kidlets and all their classes, lessons and field trips.
I have to laugh when people claim that homeschoolers are unsocialized and spend all their time at home, because we are rarely home and I have to actively stay on top of over-scheduling our social activities or we won't be able to get our daily book work done.

Poor Bombay. Most of our flies are gone and the biting flies have all died off, thank goodness. But I can't ever use fly sprays on Apache because I found out this summer that she is severely allergic and sensitive. I used Pyranha on her just one time and she had a horrible reaction and lost patches of hair on her sides and then oozed serum from her bald skin for a week. It was awful.
I didn't even post about it because I felt like such a horrible horse owner.
But since then I've discovered that the pyrethrins in most fly sprays can cause severe toxicity in horses...and even humans for that matter.
So be careful, k?
I think you know of Cactus Jack Splash's blog and how badly he has suffered from exposure to fly spray, too.
I do like Swat, though and Apache seems to be able to tolerate that, though I've only applied it around her belly where the flies were biting, and around her face. Too bad they don't sell larger tubs. haha!

I hope things calm down for you soon. Here's to more peace in our lives.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention that Dobbie does the same thing with flies...snaps at them and tries to chew and spit them out. lol!

I think Dobbie and Scrappy are related. :)