Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Ariat

Dear Ariat,

I feel like our time has come to call this what it is and find the real inner Horsechick that I think I've lost.  We've been together a long, long time, and I'll be honest, you've given me just about everything I've ever needed in my professional life when it comes to hardworking footwear.  You've stuck with me since high school and my first pair of Fat Baby's, they were great!  Yeah, I know everyone made fun of them for being such a hideous shade of turquoise, but I knew your motive; no one steals ugly boots.  Thank you for that built-in hidden security measure.  Even when I got bucked clean out of them, and looked up from the ground to see them still in the stirrups on my horse, I knew we had a relationship that would last.  You had my back and rode that bitch of a mare out to win in the end, and I appreciate that.

But you see, the thing of it is, you're just not holding up to my standards the way that you used to.  I know you've done so much for our relationship in the past, but these days, I can't help but notice that as I've lowered my expectations more and more, in hopes that you'll take notice and step up, but that's just not happening.  I just don't know what else to do...couple's counseling?  Would you consider it if I found us a good therapist?

The last pair of boots I bought from you were the freshly-vomited-mustard shade of yellow Cobalt Crepe XRs.  They were so goddamn ugly even fresh out of the box (at least you were consistent on that end), and I immediately felt like I'd channeled my inner Big Bird with the ostrich print, but after a month of walking around in two pairs of socks with my feet covered in blisters in the July heat, I finally had them broken in exactly the way I needed them.

The Cobalts survived nearly two years with me.  But after those two glorious years of wearing them almost daily for barn chores and riding, (but not to work at Bass Pro, that awful shade of yellow clashed so badly with the green uniform shirt, even I couldn't make it work), time has taken it's toll.  The yellow is now more of a baby-shit-banana, and the corners on both the inside AND the outside of the balls of feet have cracked and split.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't expect you to hold up to my daily wear and tear (and probably a little of what could be considered abuse) without any love and TLC, I took care of these babies.  They were cleaned, conditioned, oiled, you name it.  But time is a bitch on ugly leather (just ask Joan Rivers), and there's only so much I can do.  The soles have worn so unevenly (not your fault, I know), that I physically can't stand up straight in them.  I loved the full crepe sole, they lasted a lot longer than some of my other boots, so props to you for that.  But here's some of what I'm talking about...

You see that GIGANTIC hole in the side?  That's not a sexy peep-hole, Ariat.  People can clearly see my sock through that, and to me, that's crossing the line of acceptability.  And believe it or not, patching it with a rubber tire patch from the outside OR the inside just doesn't work, just like our relationship can't be patched up any more.  Yes, I tried.  I tried like hell to save what I could of these boots, just like I've tried like hell to save our relationship, Ariat.  Maybe I really DO have a problem letting go, just like my friends say.  They tell me I should have dumped you a long time ago, that they never really liked you anyway.  The truth is, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, so I went out and I met someone...well...two guys, actually.

Tony Lama and his buddy Justin are really nice guys.  Yeah, they don't have all the glitz and glamor of a marketing program like you did, Ariat, but it seems like I might be a little more compatible with the two of them combined than I was with just one of you.  Call me a dirty whore, make all the gangbang and threesome jokes that you want, but ya know, if it takes two guys to satisfy me the way that you just can't anymore, than you shouldn't feel like any less of a company as a whole.  I just have needs, and you weren't getting them met.  I'm sorry.

I hope we can still be friends.  Maybe get together for coffee or something next time you're in town?  Tell your parents I send my best.  I'll always have a special place in my heart for you, please know that.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I May Have Lost The Battle....

When I first met Patrick, one of the first things to catch my attention was when a mutual friend said "Yeah, he's got an F-350."

That sentence is music to any horse chick's ears.  At that point, I decided he might be worth looking into.  Does that make me shallow?  Possibly...  The basis of our first real one-on-one conversation went something like this:

Me: "Oh yeah?  Can you drive a trailer?"

Pat: "Yeah, that's my car hauler we're using today."

Me: Silently sizing up the length of the car hauler and realizing it's very close to the size of my stock trailer.  "....Cool...."

As fate would have it, the first real date Pat and I went on was a Saturday night trip the the horse auction.  I was running late (as usual) and Pat beat me to the house.  When I pulled in with my bright blue, yes-this-is-a-girl's-car, 5-speed Cobalt, Pat had already backed his truck up to my stock trailer and was hooking up.

Good man....

Now I learned fairly early in life that if a man has never hauled livestock, and isn't willing to shut up and listen when you explain to him that stops, starts, and turns have to be taken a whole lot more carefully than they do when hauling stuff, just get rid of him.  It's not worth the fight, and the last thing I want to do is deal with a chauvinistic meathead who refuses to take notes from a girl about hauling, hurts my horse, and leaves me stuck with a vet bill.  Pat had never hauled ponies before, but never worried me once during that trip.  Plus that truck was a DAMN comfortable ride.

He was clearly a keeper.  And does that make me shallow?  Possibly....

Anyway, Pat and I spent the next year or so hauling several times a week with that old, loyal Ford, nicknamed The Blue Buffalo by his friends.  I grew a new appreciation for the 7.3-liter Powerstroke turbo diesel engine, and decided that even if it was eighteen years old, it did the job I needed it to do, and I didn't have to pay to maintain it.  All I had to do was sleep with Pat on a regular basis.  Really, it was win-win for me.  Pretty sure that makes me shallow.  ....Possibly....

Fast forward many, many moons.  The past few months have seen Pat and I growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress we've made in buying a place of our own (which is an entirely different can of worms in itself).  With the pile of down-payment cash growing steadily in the bank, the Blue Buffalo decided it was a great time to develop a few slightly-annoying quirks.  A mystery vibration in the front end that came at 50 miles per hour and went away at 55 miles per hour, a consistent indicator of a bad injector (which would have taken a pretty penny to pinpoint), a brake pedal switch that developed a part-time work ethic and occasionally drained the batteries without warning, leaving the truck stranded wherever it sat... the "little things" started piling up.

Pat started getting restless.  He started talking about selling The Blue Buffalo.

In the beginning, I fought it.  Hard.  Getting rid of that truck was like getting rid of a useful child that I never had to pay attention to or spend money on!  That's the best kind of child to have!  I liked that child!  We knew The Blue Buffalo, knew her quirks, and knew her history.  Pat owned her free and clear, and the prospect of taking on a car payment terrified me when buying a house was still at the top of the priority list.  I tried approaching it from a rational angle: "You really don't NEED another truck, we can figure out what's wrong with this one a whole lot cheaper than a new truck with a new set of problems!"

Then I tried it from the emotional angle: "You've had her for so long though....what if her new owner doesn't take care of her like you do?  What if she gets abused?  What if she gets....rusty?!"

Then I tried it from the female angle: "But we never even had sex in her!  You can't sell her yet!"

Pat won.  The Blue Buffalo went on Craigslist.

I never expected that truck to sell for what he wanted out of it.  I thought it was going to be safe forever in my driveway.  And then one Saturday afternoon, while I was down in Roseville meeting a friend to pick up some paperwork, it happened.

I came home, and The Blue Buffalo was gone.  I never even got to say goodbye.  All that remained was a license plate, a set of jumper cables, and the aftermarket center console storage system that held so many of my McDonald's cups during our road trips to pick up and deliver ponies.  Now, there it sat, alone and cold on the seat of the quad that was sitting in the middle of my garage doing nothing but taking up space along with the rest of Pat's random motorized toys.  It's a good thing I've got a big garage.

I went inside, and found Pat sitting at the kitchen counter on his laptop with Craigslist open to the Cars & Trucks section.

Oh hell....

Now any woman that's ever had a man with money burning a hole in his pocket and no vehicle to drive knows exactly how the next several hours of my life went.  I made myself comfortable and settled in for the long haul of basically ignoring Pat and hearing the constant background noise of him muttering to himself.  "Powerstroke or Cummins?  ...I really want a Duramax though.... Extended cab or four full doors?  ....It HAS to have four wheel drive...  I'd really like a manual this time...  Oh that's a REALLY nice single cab though..."

I imagine that this is exactly what I do to him when I shop for horses....

This went on for the better part of two agonizingly long weeks, during which I somehow managed to lose possession of my Mountaineer and got demoted to driving the shop truck to get me from Point A to Point B while Pat took my truck back and forth to work.  Only in my world does my man sell his truck for more than it's worth, get to buy a NEWER, NICER truck, and  STILL get to drive my creature-comfort-loaded truck in the meantime.  I'm still trying to figure out how in the hell that happened.

Anyway, Pat had mentioned somewhere along the line that a friend of his had a 2003 GMC Sierra 2500 with a Duramax diesel in it for sale that he was quite interested in.  Duramax diesel motors really do not interest me.  All of our shop's tow trucks and flatbed wreckers are Fords, and I'd like to think of myself as a "Ford Girl", although I know deep down that I really don't give a shit what it is, as long as it can haul my trailer full of horses and not leave me broke down and stranded on the side of the road.  I let him do his thing, but reminded him that since I just paid cash for this semester's tuition, my contribution to the house-downpayment fund was somewhat diminished at the moment and to keep that in mind when he finally bought something.

I've learned that some things just aren't worth fighting about as a couple.  The television remote, the radio station in the car, top or bottom in bed...if you wait long enough, you eventually get your way.  To speed up the process, simply pout.  But we're not married, and it's not like he asked me to give him money for this new purchase, so who am I to tell him what to buy when it comes to his new daily driver?  He's a responsible adult, and I knew he wasn't going to bring home some sort of Corvette or otherwise useless vehicle, so I kept my mouth shut...for the most part.  My only request was that whatever he buy be able to tow my trailer without a problem.  And I'd REALLY prefer an automatic transmission, since my knees are getting progressively worse and the idea of shifting a manual while hauling horses isn't the least bit appealing to me.  And heated leather captain's chairs would be REALLY nice since I know after driving my truck for two weeks, he got quite accustomed to that wonderful little option, and I'm not really sure how I'll survive in the new truck without it.  Oh, and power windows and locks too, please, if he wouldn't mind.  And please no green trucks, I really hate green trucks.  And could he maybe consider the King Ranch edition F-250 I found on Craigslist?  It was REALLY pretty....

That was all that I asked for...

Last weekend, Pat finally got his new truck, the '03 Duramax 4x4 from his buddy.  Which also happens to be a stripped-down, 6-speed MANUAL transmission, with rubber flooring, cloth seats, manual windows and locks, and bench seats in front and back.  I think I lost that battle.  But he loves it, and I love that he cleared all of the toys out my garage so he could park in it alongside my Mountaineer.  I also love that the joke's on him.  I have no desire to cripple myself trying to haul horses and shift that truck, and if I burn up his clutch, he'll be furious, so every time I need to haul (just about every other weekend), he's going to have to go with me and drive while I nap like I did back in the days of The Blue Buffalo.  I may have lost the battle, but I definitely won the war!

When I found out what he paid, I nearly shit myself.  But it's apparently his dream truck and thankfully, there's no truck payment, so I can't bitch too much.  And although our house-downpayment fund took a good beating, house hunting isn't going very well anyway, so we've got time to rebuild the stash.  The important thing is that he's happy...and that when he reads this, he realizes that the next thing he spends that kind of money on had better have hooves and a big red bow around it's neck for me!

Now does that make me shallow?  Possibly...

Love you, honey!