I've been gone for awhile, but I do have reasons even the parents of a curfew skipping teenager would believe.
Sunday was an awesome day, nearly 30 degrees. I left my coat hanging for most of the day. However, on Sunday evening, I had to leave my good ole hometown and head back to school. You see, I spend 3.5 days/week in Grand Forks at school and the others in Minot working/horsing around (at least until May 2010). So being the good horse-mom that I am, (I never liked the term horse-mom, I'm not his mother. I am his servant so its close, but I'd love better suggestions.) I, of course, picked all my stalls, fed them, brought everybody in, removed the stockpile of blankets from their backs (think Ralpie's little brother who couldn't put his arms down), and kissed everybody goodbye with the promise to see me on Thursday. By this time it was 9:00pm and dumping snow. I threw my clean laundry in a sack and hit the road. After 30 miles of cottage cheese falling from the sky, I finally got ahead of the weather and it was smooth sailing, or shall I say smooth speeding, from there. That's why I love ND, straight roads, mostly flat, and it seems only one Highway Patrol officer who can be easily found in Ramsey County.
On to Monday... I managed to make it to class and not die of boredom during the day. The temperature had quickly become -5 with windchills somewhere in the -20's. I of course needed to make a trip to "the beast", the most despised/loved store of all, Wal-Mart. Having OCD, I called my mom, who is handling all my chores during this spring semester, to check in on my horses. After assuring me that they are fine, and going over my near ridiculous list of checks, I informed her that I was at Wal-Mart to grab the necessities and other crap I don't need. Now, you must know that my mother is in the closet about that annoying habit that people have which causes them to drive one-handed with the window cracked a couple inches. (If she ever sees this, I'm toast) Thus, she makes near daily trips to Wal-Mart. This is when I got to hear how her life had ended because her Wal-Mart was closed. She had made the trip only to find a cart fence protecting the lowly paper sign on the door apologizing to its customers. Apparently, Minot had gotten another 5in Sunday night on top of the 12in from the previous thursday on top of all the December snow causing the need to check Wal-Mart's roof. Full story here.
Now the suspense.....drum roll... Stud pony made the trip in one piece, but not without a resulting tale of idiocy.
Said new bouncing bundle of joy was picked up Tuesday, of course with delay to accomodate the seller's schedule, around 5pm and supposed to be delivered Thursday. He arrived at the shippers farm in MN sometime on Wednesday. Well, with the predicted Thursday weather, the shipper wanted to come Friday. Fine, a day of rest in a box stall wouldn't hurt Studly. So along comes Friday, did I mention that Thursday night we got a foot of snow, a foot! I get a call wondering how the weather was. I told him it was fine, alot of snow, but weather was decent. (I figured by the time he got to me, all the highways would have had at least one pass of the plow.) Shipper was getting freezing rain and was going to wait until 11am to leave. He was 600 miles away and needed to pick up some other horses that were going to Florida. The math on 600 miles is somewhere around 10-12 hours, so I'm expecting him between 9pm and 11pm. That's not too bad for a Friday night, no big deal, right?
Well, 6pm rolls around, I give the shipper a checkup call on my way home from work, only to be informed that they got stuck in the snow picking up these other horses for 3 hours and were not even out of Minnesota yet. Yuck! Alright, fine, just get here already. The hours tick by. I sat on the couch for fear of falling asleep, which I'm sure I did anyway. 2:30am, I give up and head for bed. Just as I had shut the lights out and was climbing between the covers when my phone rings. He is 10 minutes out. Oh that feeling, excitement coupled with total disgust at the thought of getting out of my bed. I put on my coat and boots over my PJ's, what a sight. Why not, I'm just getting a horse off a trailer, putting him in a stall and handing a guy some money, 20 minutes tops, right?? Umm, no.
The shipper calls again for some directions. I stand outside directing him until I can see the rig on the highway headed for our turn. Now, I give the most important of all information...... I tell them that the turn in our driveway is very deceptive and that he will need to take it very tight to the fence because all the snow is deceptively covering the edge of the road and that the edge of the road drops off several feet into the ditch. (Can you see where this is going yet?) As he comes around the turn, I'm watching, he is doing OK. Then...vrrrrummmp, into the ditch goes his semi. (Idiot!) So I make the long walk down the road to see the problem. The Malboro man at 50 and his hired felon, whoops I mean man, are already out by the time I get there. Ok, its not so bad, just the driver's side front tire is over the edge, he at least caught the 12in of gravel shoulder supporting the pavement before the drop into oblivion. Chain smoking Malboro Man proceeds to blame his equally puffing partner, who was driving. Well lets get the stud out. So we get him out and put him in his stall. I call my dad to come help get these guys out. So without boring you with the details of (in no specific order) digging, tow ropes, 4 5-gallon cans of diesel, Ether (use your imagination), a pickup, a suburban and a bob-cat. We managed to unhook his fully loaded trailer and back it away from the semi. We then spent the next 5 hours, yes that's correct 5 hours, attempting to get this guy out as he slid further and further into the ditch and closer to a 90 degree angle (well that's a bit of an exaggeration) until at such time, the Malboro Man informs us that he has AAA! WTF dude!! So a much larger than the semi tow-truck shows up and winches that thing right on out. End of Story. Well at least an end to the PG shortened version but the lack-of-sleep-coma that ensued following the ordeal has caused such brain damage and selective amnesia that it will be a while before I can tell it right. Buy me a beer sometime and I'll let you know the tale.
So here he is, well a pic I have of him when I boarded him in 2007 anyway. PS you can see the part of the curve behind him mostly in the upper right hand corner. (more pics soon)