Well boys and girls, we did it. After fourteen months of appointments with no less than four different realtors, hours of painstaking searches on the internet, hundreds of “Hey! Have you looked at (insert address here)? It has a sign out front!” phone calls from well-meaning friends and family, dead-end offers, back-and-forth negotiations with listing banks, and many realtor-less visits to properties that I’m fairly certain was legally considered breaking and entering, we bought a place. Bye bye, Landlord. Helloooooo home-ownership! Woohoo!
Now this news in itself warrants extensive celebration, but as any horse-owner knows, the absolute best part of this whole event is one simple fact: I am no longer a boarder. My kids get to come home! As a complete control-freak (some would call it bordering on OCD) when it comes to the care that my animals receive, this news could have not come soon enough. I’m not cut out for boarding barns, I have a true inability to play nice with others, and I believe that there are very few people in this world that can care for my horses properly. Simply put, I am a pain in the ass. And now, that is no longer a problem for anyone other than Patrick.
When it comes to the perfect man for a girl like me, I could not have asked for a better guy than Pat. Since closing, he has worked tirelessly for weeks to design, plan and construct Tyler-proof fencing that proves effective at containing the Ungrateful Bastard, yet doesn’t give the appearance that we’re operating a prison on the property. This is not an easy task to accomplish, and not to say that I have not helped during the process, but I learned early on that the best way to get something of this magnitude accomplished is to give Pat a general idea of what I’m looking for (a fence that will effectively contain a small horse with the willpower of an angry buffalo), and pay for whatever he decides he needs. I make sure he is never hungry or without a beer nearby, and let him do his thing. He will ask questions, I am to provide simple, concise answers, and I should ask only what I can do to help beyond providing food and drink. It may sound slightly chauvinistic, but there’s a perfectly practical reasoning behind this: I couldn’t keep Tyler in my own fencing, and I’d prefer to not have him end up in traffic and hit by a car. Pat is a brilliant man, and has had over a year to come up with a plan. I trust him. And I know how infuriating I can be by asking a million questions.
When the final pasture gate was hung the Saturday before Labor Day, it was like Christmas Eve for me. It was better than Christmas, really. Sure, I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on supplies, and probably even more on beer, but who cares? Now, I have the joy every morning of looking out the kitchen window to see my ungrateful, overweight heathens demanding that I get out there and feed them before they waste away to nothing. Also, I now get to buy and transport my own hay and grain again, wrestle blankets onto uncooperative horses, hunt down destroyed halters in the field, and try and explain to Pat’s adopted American Bulldog that yes, the fence WILL bite you, and no, the pony is not your friend and is not playing tag when he chases you. All of which I get to do in rain, sleet, snow, hail, sub-zero temperatures and the occasional sunny day….while Pat laughs at me from the comfort of the couch…until he has to put out a new round bale.
I know I’m a lucky girl. Not only because at 26 years old, I seemingly have my shit together and am working on this whole adulthood thing quite efficiently. But because I’m also very aware that not too many of my friends can say that they’ve got a man who, while he barely understands the concepts of cribbing, colic or why in the hell someone would voluntarily own a horse when man invented the four-wheeler, he supports me. If I need something, he’s got it taken care of, and for that, I will always be appreciative and grateful. I know I could never replace him. In turn, I try my best to do the things that most pseudo-housewives do to make things easier for him. This recent domesticity has not come without a significant amount of trial-and-error though, especially with Pat working second shift and not being home during the majority of the time that I am in a week. I really think I’ve learned more in the last four months than I did during my entire college career. For example:
- It took me 45 minutes of sitting in the dark to come to terms with the fact that that the circuit breaker wasn’t going to reset itself, and that the fuse I blew was going to stay blown (and consequently disable 75% of the house in the process) until I marched my happy ass down to the basement to figure out which one it was.
- The basement is scary. It is even scarier when you are home alone (except for the dogs). But taking the dumb rescue dog with you for protection is a really bad idea. Despite his size, it is still very possible to trip over a 100+ lb Bulldog while rushing up a flight of stairs to try and escape the basement-monsters that reside in every home and try to grab you by the ankles as you’re climbing basement stairs (let’s be honest, that’s just one of those things you never really outgrow).
- God made men taller than women so that they could hang curtain rods. This is also apparently because I should never ever do anything that involves power tools and a step ladder and a straight line.
- Furthermore, if you want anything done in the house and are not going to be present to whine and nag, make sure there is ready-to-eat food in the refridgerator at all times. Guilt and a full stomach will get your list accomplished.
- Always throw the receipts for any horse-related purchases in the trash immediately. If he asks if that blanket on So-And-So is new, it isn’t. And you traded some other “horse junk” with a friend for it.
- When you are strictly forbidden from using the gigantic pole barn for your horses, slowly allow your tack and equipment to bleed out of your designated 10x10 space over the rest of the barn. Getting a “horse barn” will work its way closer to the top of the priority list.
- A penny saved is a penny earned. A pocket full of pennies saved also makes a hell of a lot of noise in the dryer at midnight. Which sounds nothing like what someone trying to break in sounds like, so the dogs won’t give a damn while you’re in bed with the covers yanked over your head, having a heart attack and wondering where he put the shotgun when you moved in.
- Don’t ever lie on the couch and look at the walls. You’ll just end up disappointed with every minute imperfection in your paint job and it’ll piss you off until you repaint the entire room.
- If he wants to spend eight hours in his barn over a weekend playing with his man-toys, let him, and don’t even think about bitching. It’s a very small price to pay considering the amount of hours in a weekend that you’re off doing horse-stuff.
- When you get the text at work reading “When did we get seven horses? My last count was six…” there is a very simple response:
- It is always better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Also, it is better to show him the cash from a recent horse sale than the pile of bills accumulated by said horse.
- Men are visual creatures. If you did something bad, wear something revealing when you tell him.
- Any tools not locked away from your reach are fair game for quick repairs of tack, fencing, or other random horse-related usages. Putting his tools back within a 5’ radius of where you found them is generally sufficient. Just don’t leave them outside.
- When in doubt, blame the dog.