Friday, August 28, 2009

My Homework Assignment

I'm headed to a 2 1/2 day "customized consulting services, training, and personal performance coaching for sales, service, and underwriting professionals in the insurance industry" seminar next week.

Prior to attending, we were assigned a book to read, a questionnaire to complete, and an essay to write. The essay was My Life...In 500 Words Or Less. But for Pete's Sake, if you're only going to give me 500 words, you might as well only give me 50! 500 and I'm just getting started.

So anyway, I wrote the essay once, probably going over my word limit, and lying awake for awhile unsatisfied with my summary. Too dry. Too negative. Sure I've had some less than picture-perfect times in my life. Times I can be embarrassed about and ashamed of. And sure I can spin those times to show how they have naturally contributed to my personality and maturity, made me stronger, humbler, yada yada. But it isn't so much what has happened to me as who has happened. And so I wrote this instead and I was much happier:

My Life…In 500 Words or Less. Take 2

There are the events of my life story, and then there are the people of my life story. My childhood included my 2 young parents, a younger brother & sister, both sets of grandparents and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. All were nearby enough for big family gatherings and attendance at school programs, softball games and track meets. I was surrounded by a big group of loving and encouraging people.
My grandmothers were both positive influences in my life. One was the traditional sweet older grandmother, fantastic cook, gentle, and patient. The other was the younger, creative, and beautiful grandmother, who let us paint and sew and swim to our hearts content. I have an immense admiration for their faithfulness, strength, loving kindness, and down to earth spirituality. I credit their prayers for so much of the grace in my life.
My mom gave me a love for reading and quiet solitude. My dad pushed me to be a better softball player, throwing catch over the house from front yard to back. They shuttled me to practices and games and attended band concerts. When teenage angst and the accompanying bad decisions ruled my life, they patiently waited as I struggled through and they welcomed me with open arms as I returned the prodigal daughter. They are loving grandparents to my children and supportive in-laws to my husband.
My grandfather encouraged me that I had a beautiful smile and that “I could do anything if I put my mind to it.” He taught me to play pool and how to plant a garden. He taught me that tomatoes, avocados, and Hershey bars are some of the best stuff on earth. He pushed me to learn as much as I could and make the most of my mind. When I was about 10 years old, he raced me in a foot race on the beach and didn’t let me win. He told me wonderful stories of his childhood adventures and encouraged me to be adventurous, too. Just try!
My brother and sister were my main playmates at home where the small semi-rural neighborhood was scarce of other children. We played barefoot all summer. We had fun times when we were younger, but I’ve enjoyed our adult years together even more. Now I can better appreciate them for the great people they are and for the crazy sense of humor we all share.
My children and husband are the biggest part of my life and I feel like I’ve hit the lottery when I think of how incredible they all are. My husband is my best friend and my partner. He is the entrepreneurial spirit and I am tactical support. Being parents is our biggest responsibility and our biggest joy. We only need to share a knowing look to understand what the other is thinking. From large to small, they have all made me a better person: more giving, more patient, more appreciative and more humble. And I still have so much to learn!

The End.

So again, the 500 words weren't near enough, but I think I may continue the essay in the same vein adding all the folks I couldn't pack into those couple paragraphs. Give it a try yourself. I think you might like it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Post 101! And I Have To Get Something Off My Chest.

I passed 100 posts! Do I get something for that? An iron-on patch or something?

But on a serious note.

I just don't think Brad Pitt is all that good looking. There. I said it.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh, Brother.

Remember brother Greg (again)? Weeelllll, he's been livin' in a trailer down by the river. I think pretty happily except for setting himself a little on fire that one time. Those two times.

Unfortunately, last week he had a severe pancreatitis attack after his post-colonoscopy three Junior Whopper lunch binge. 'Doctor said I could eat whatever I want! Well, I think the Whoppers were just the tipping point in his Dagwood Sandwich Garbage Can Diet. Dude weighs in at a precious 300 pounds.

Poor Greg. He's been in the hospital ever since. Poor Mark when he saw not only how sick his brother was but how characteristically dirty he was. Oh, yes. Greg was a vision in his grimy white t shirt with the sleeves ripped off and his bare feet sporting toe nails that Sasquatch wouldn't dare be seen in public with. So big brother took it upon himself to give Greg aka "Cecil" a little TLC.

First stop before the hospital was the dollar store. Tools were needed. Scrubbing, trimming, and grinding tools. Exaggerating! A little. But I knew I wasn't donated my personal nail kit to the cause, so new stuff had to be got. I dropped Mark off to play beauty shop while Sam and I headed to the store for some fresh t shirts and shorts for Uncle Cecil. We also got him a deck of cards and an electronic slot machine game. Yay!

When we got back with the goodies Greg was shining like a new penny and scowling like an old wet hen. (ya, they scowl alright.) Mark said he used the garbage can to soak Greg's feet. That man of mine! Ingenious.

I have to say, Mark's one hell of a pedicurist. And a good brother, too. Hopefully, Greg appreciates his fancy garbage can spa treatment. You can't get that just anywhere, you know.

Wherefore Art Thou, Towel?

Bad Housekeeping Confessions.

There's been a lot of towelessness at our house lately.

Usually I'm pretty on top of it. Towels are my favorite laundry to do because it is more forgiving. Tons of bleach means you can temporarily forget that there is a load in the washer. It takes a looong time for the towels to get that wretched forgotten wet laundry smell.

So I know that there are way more towels than people on the property. And yet I've had to resort to emergency towelling measures more than once in the last couple weeks.

I'm the big showerer in the family. Pretty much every single stinking day I take a shower. Don't want to. But it just works out that way. The rest of the hooligans in the house? Eh. It varies. And when they do finally buckle down and scrub their butts do you think they bother to make sure there are towels for the next person? Noooooo! I'm the only one to monitor the towel levels. Sure it's only because I don't want to hear somebody yelling from the shower "Can you get me a towel!?" when I'm in the middle of something, but still. Come on. Just like replacing the toilet paper roll even if you've done your business and don't need any more, lets think ahead on the towels.

So clean towel levels have been dangerously low. I find out way too late and have to improvise. Hand towels work but I only have like 2 of those for some reason. Not sure whether to blame the kids or Mark for that. Tea towels from the kitchen would work but that's kind of weird in both directions. Don't want to rub my face with the towel that might have cleaned up spilled milk or chicken blood or something. Don't want to wipe up my kitchen counters with the towel that dried my armpits. Beach towels, of course, could be a great substitute but I have a huge problem with them get worked into the circulation. They are strictly seasonal/swimming towels. Them's the rules. So more often than not (OK, like 2 times) I've simply used a washcloth.
Ya, the washcloth that's, what, 8 inches across? Good thing I'm not a real big person. But if I was? 2 washcloths.

I think one reason this works for me is because 1.) I was revelling in the huge reduction in laundry I'd accomplished just by replacing one towel with one washcloth. And 2.) I have a preference for thin raggedy towels anyway. Those giant plush fluffy mega-towels? Sure, in theory they're awesome. Bigger is better. They're colorful. They're soft. But. I'm just not into it. Too much material, too heavy, too much room in the washer & linen closet. Also, it wouldn't make any sense to pay for fluffy plush towels when their ultimate fate is heavy bleaching, kid barf, dog baths, pig births, massive honey spills, fire, lightning, earthquakes, and typhoons?

Nope. I'm going to keep on buying the bulk pack of generic hotel towels at Sam's Club. Plain white. And I'm going to use them until I can read the newspaper through them, as my Grandmother says.
Well, I'm going to use them if someone would wash them, that is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Globo Gym Purple Cobras

My brother, Jim Jimmy Jibbets Dragonball Hitchcock, team captain of Champion Inline Hockey Team, Globo Gym Purple Cobras. Camera batteries on their last leg. Photos ain't so great.

Aww. The Fam. Before they started fighting over who gets to stand closest to Mark. And my Mom. And my SIL, Mrs. Jim Jimmy Jibbets Dragonball Hitchcock. Jim's #33.Jim about to present a commemorative team photo and the trophy to the parents of a teammate who was tragically killed in an auto accident not quite 2 weeks ago. This last playoff game was dedicated to his memory and his family.
Every bit as exciting as a Pen's game and I apparently don't have the same jinx power over the Purple Cobras. So they won! 11 to 3.
Go Cobras!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things I've Done For Money

Ya. That got your attention, didn't it? hee!

So by popular demand: what I can manage to remember from my days scrubbing toilets in a cheap motel along the interstate. Probably told in some ramshackle disjointed vignette form. With made up names for everybody. Not so much to protect anyone's identity, but because I only remember one woman's name. If you know the Neko Case song "Prison Girls," please hum along as background music.

Every morning upon arrival, report to the lawn furniture table and chairs located in the indoor swimming pool area. Kind of humid in there, so the cigarette smoke hangs extra heavy from the Marlboros and Virginia Slims. Charming plastic ivy plants dangle in macramé hangers against the back drop of permanently clouded glass windows. No uniforms in this motel, everyone wears street clothes- blue jeans and cheap tennis shoes. My tennis shoes are especially cheap and looked very much like Ernie's shoes A major score at the Goodwill. I had a penchant for Vintage Goonie from the Goodwill: sweater vests, men's zip-up ankle boots, gold lamé hot pants. I never actually wore the hot pants anywhere but I did wear the lime green thigh high stockings...

So I am the rookie. Fresh out of high school and, in retrospect, naive as hell. Everyone else is decades older than me, save for one very overweight twenty-something. And I don't think she stuck around very long. Also in retrospect, though no one was overtly unkind to me, they were always a little wary and probably gave me some of the literal crap jobs on purpose. But that would've been only fair since I was the newbie and the youngest. No hard feelings.

These women were veterans.

Dee looked like an old motorcycle mama. Wiry thin petite, long hair, and godawful giant plastic glasses. She was quick and nervous and asked me for whatever dirty magazines I found so she could take them home to her Old Man. A lot of times she worked the laundry, so she wasn't out doing rooms with the rest of us, but I think she taught me the ropes. I still fold my towels like the motel did.

Fay reminded me of my old Girl Scout troop leader. Whom I loved. Brassy cotton candy hair, a ready smile, but an underlying toughness I wouldn't mess with. I have the impression that she was a sweet woman who hadn't been treated with anywhere near the kindness she deserved. She was the one who went the extra mile wiping the carpets down to perfection.

Jem was a 50-something Korean woman. Attractive and hard-working, she was known for her signature toilet cleaning moves. Was it more efficient to use the water from the toilet to wipe the commode down? I don't know, probably not, but you tell her how to do her job.

The front desk clerk, Rhonda, also served as a housekeeping director of sorts. A giant Muppet of a woman, she was in charge of assigning us whatever rooms we were cleaning that day and following up with random inspections. She was firm. Firm but fair.

Meg was closest to me in age, also not quite part of the veteran clique. She was energetic and agile despite her size and liked to tell room cleaning war stories when we cleaned together. Her tales were along the lines of slumber party ghost stories so I don't know if they were true, but they helped pass the time. It wasn't hard to believe at least some of what she said in the farthest, darkest windowless chambers of the detached section of rooms on the backside of the property. (phew! That was a lot of "of's." My bad, but I'm not fixing it. Laaaayeeezeee!)

I don't know whether that separate building housed the less desirable guests or not, because I rarely worked in any rooms other than those in the 'back forty.' Given that the giant lighted sign towering over the motel simply advertised "$29.99 MOTEL" and not an actual name, I'd say all the tenants were probably of the same caliber.

So. Memories. Let's see....Construction workers. Rough looking men in town for work. Many times they shared the "suites" with 2 bedrooms. They could be in the same room for a week at a time and you weren't allowed to touch their stuff when you cleaned. You had to clean around it. If their stuff was on the bed, you couldn't change the sheets, etc. Ninety-Nine percent of the time they were out working but occasionally you'd find them camped out in the room. I always had a lurking fear that they were hiding in the room waiting to pounce on me. But they never gave me any real trouble. Except, riddle me this: a bar of green soap buried beneath a mound of ice in the bathroom sink aaaannddd a five dollar bill under the mattress. Was the soap a clue for me to look for the green under the mattress? Probably 100% not, but what would make me imagine such a thing? Maybe because it was so unusual for us to receive any tip at all, that five dollars was quite a fortune and I was feeling generous.

I'm pretty sure it was the same room that left me a nasty thick besprinkling of intimate manscaping debris all over the sink and floor.

I forgot to mention that this motel had no two rooms alike. Some were similar to one another, most bed spreads were interchangeable, but the majority were all different floor plans, decor, bed arrangements, etc. How this would be efficient, I don't know. It's not like there were special themes to the rooms. It was all pretty much a consistent essence of brown despair and wannabe The Shining creepiness.

$29.99 MOTEL also featured a special room on the backside with a king size waterbed. A waterbed. Can't get much more romantic than that. Which probably explains why Anonymous Dude wanted to save his ejaculate in the complimentary plastic drinking cups. King size waterbed.

Next door to that room was a large room usually occupied by some scrappy family with raggedy children. One unruly bunch in particular kept declining our offer of housekeeping services. Why they were camped out in a motel in the middle of nothing, I'll never know, but after they left it turned out they brought their cat along for the ride. Now, if you're going to bring your cat with you on a road trip don't you bring along his or her litter box? I mean, I don't know, because I wouldn't likely take a cat to a motel, but I do know that using a dresser drawer in place of a litter box is not cool. (Why are you travelling with cat litter but no cat box anyway? Did you already have this planned out?) But it did explain why they wouldn't let us in to change the sheets.

I think we've all read or heard about some exposé or other on hotel cleanliness and what not to touch and what to immediately disinfect, but here's a little anecdote to go with that helpful info. Tiny room in the back forty that I had just finished cleaning is rented out shortly thereafter. Normally I'm gone for the day by the time rooms start filling up again but sometimes it does happen while I'm still working. About an hour later I get a call in the room I'm currently cleaning to add that first room to the bottom of my list to clean again. Huh. Ok. A walk through of the room reveals a slightly mussed bed spread. That's about it. Sooooo...maybe that person or persons just needed to take a short nap and continue on their way. Ya, that's it. Maybe they were napping on the bed spread. At any rate, that bed spread did not get laundered on that occasion. None of the bed spreads got laundered daily. So if you didn't already immediately discard the bed spread upon entering a hotel room, I hope you will in the future.

I believe that room was also the sight of a major major bedwetting. I found that bed with so much pee I question whether they used the toilet at all. Just kept going back to the bed to pee. Now, I was there when they dragged the mattress away, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it wasn't actually replaced, just scrubbed and returned to duty.

Eventually I did get to work in the main building of the motel though I can't really say it was an improvement in scenery. Have you ever stayed in a hotel/motel with fake wood panelled walls? I think they main reason I got the occasional 'promotion' was because I made it to work during snowstorms when others did not.

So what were the benefits of working in the main building? Well, all the illegal recreational drugs I could get my hands on, for one. Just kidding. I only found them once. Quite the stash, too. And they left an entire dresser drawer of clothes to go with it. Bonus! But seriously, I still wonder how they made such a screw up. Too stoned? Had to leave in a big hurry? Took an unplanned detour to the pokey? Or was I being set up? Because, if I was, sorry about their luck. I wasn't much for mind altering substances at that juncture and promptly ran to the front desk clerk like a tattletale little girl. That's pretty much how that went down.

The ultimate frosting came towards the end of my stint. Just a normal day, dum dee dum, last room on my list. Nice looking older couple had checked out with their suitcases. One of the most normal looking rooms available actually. The usual routine is to first go in to collect and count all the used towels and linens so you know how many clean pieces you'll need to restock. (And that meant leaving what was unused. Not sure how you feel about that but uh, it kind of creeps me out that someone could've wiped their nose on or sneezed on a towel but didn't unfold it so it looked unused and so it was left for the next person to wipe their face on after their shower. Or something.) Anyway the walk through also gives you an idea of how much work each room is going to require. Like, in case somebody pinches a loaf on the bathroom floor. Like when somebody enters a very small bathroom where the toilet is one step in front of you upon walking through the bathroom door (i.e. handily close for emergencies,) closes the door behind them, wedges their butt into the corner and takes a big 'ole poop as far into the corner behind the door as they can.
Of course I went straight to the front desk to tattletale. But for the most part, I thought it was pretty cool. I mean, sure I had to don the thick rubber gloves and scoop up someone's giant poop, but I was kind of a celebrity for a brief moment. Everyone came to my room to see what all the hubbub was about. And I have a priceless story to tell. So thanks, Mystery Pooper!

Anyway I hope you've enjoyed today's edition of Things I've Done For Money. I know you were probably all juiced up for some serious motel craziness but all in all, it's pretty mild stuff.

Either that or I'm just a jaded former motel maid. I'll leave a light on for you...the burning ember on the tip of my cigarette.

*a smoker's gravelly cackle echoes into the night*

Aaaand Scene.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Road Trips And A Homemade Hat

Road trips!Wait. That's not what a road trip is supposed to look like.

So we took a road trip out to Lancaster, PA to pick up a van load of honey jars weekend before last. We figured it would save on shipping costs plus it would give us an opportunity to see the factory where our containers are made. Gamber Container is where little plastic honey bears were invented! Which is probably a little bit of trivia more fascinating to us than anyone else...

At any rate, we boogied East on Sunday afternoon right into a never ending torrential downpour. We finally decided to find some place to stay overnight with plans to continue on in the morning. I kept asking the GPS for places to stay, places to eat. It kept giving me stupid answers. All I wanted was a Hyatt and some prime rib. We called multiple places looking for accommodations with an adjacent restaurant. None to be found. I mean, unless you wanted to walk to a nearby Denny's.

We finally settled on a Hilton in Harrisburg mostly because it had a restaurant and partly for the novelty. Nothing like having to valet park your dirty cargo van. The dirty cargo van which will not fit in the parking garage and is therefore parked 20 feet from the valet booth. And now that I think about it, Mark parked it really valet. Just an expensive parking spot.

Anywho, it was a splurge of sorts. Not worth it except for the cleanliness and Crabtree & Evelyn shampoo, but we can chalk it up as something we did. It was only the second time in our life we've been away overnight without our children. True story.

Oh, and I did get this for my mystery writer friend Annette:

It's a picture of a blood stain on the curtain in our room. Or maybe it's wine. Let's call it "Inspiration!" So much for cleanliness.

You see, one of my very first jobs was cleaning rooms at the local No Tell Motel. No, it wasn't really called that, but you get the idea. Sometimes folks stayed a week, sometimes an hour. The bones of the place were just fine. They even had an indoor pool. But it was, well, goonie. I know you think I overuse that word, but I've just had a lot of goonieness in my life.

In spite of its unintentional retro-ness, there was a relatively high standard for cleanliness in the joint. We were a hardscrabble group of cigarette smoking broads. No, really. We were. But we knew how to clean and weren't afraid to do it. We were fast, efficient, and hard-working. Our rooms had to pass inspection. Not so much as a tiny piece of lint was allowed on the carpet under the bed. Not a drop of moisture could remain after you cleaned the bathroom.

One of my coworkers was known for her toilet cleaning technique of slopping the bleach water all over the commode, gloved hand in the bowl up to her elbow. But. It was bone dry and clean when she was finished. Another gal would finish the rooms by wiping the carpet with a clean damp rag to bring the nap of the carpet back up. Craziness.

The not so clean side of that job: pubic haircuts in the bathroom sink, using the dresser drawers as a cat litter box, a huge amount of pee on the bed, using the plastic drinking cups to collect 'fluid,' forgetting magic mushrooms & clothes in the dresser drawers, stashing dirty magazines under the mattress, and the bestest of all, turning around to face the toilet in order to poop on the floor behind the bathroom door. Those a a few of the reasons hotels will always gross me out.

Phew! Lost focus there! Lancaster! Land of suspenders and horse-drawn carriages.

I'm not going to lie. I could not get enough of the horse-drawn carriages. We stopped at a restaurant featuring food with the deliciousness of every grandma's secret recipe combined and from my seat I could see a carriage with a grey-haired couple inside enter the parking lot, park their horse and give him a dousing of fly spray before coming in for lunch. Amish!

Then after a couple of stops we headed to Gamber Container/Dutch Gold Honey headquarters. I wished we'd planned ahead for an actual tour, but it was still a neat visit. It is family owned and operated. The air smells like honey from the tanker trucks full of sweet goodness.

We placed our order and Mark sampled some of their different honey varieties before we headed back out to the van to get loaded. What a great trip we were having. Until Mark turned the key in the ignition of the van and nothing happened. Dangit! Our combined automobile mechanical knowledge is something like "Air, Fuel, and Spark" and "Is it out of gas?" So we went with the gas theory. But what are the odds that there is a functioning gas pump 15 feet away from us in the parking lot of this factory? Excellent!

What are the odds that the very owner of the whole shootin' match comes out and personally sees to it that you are fueled up and on your way? She pumped the gas herself. And so Mark got to hear a little of the history of Gamber and rub elbows with the boss of it all. Pretty sure he liked that.

So the gas did the trick. For all of 107 miles of the turnpike before the real source of the problem cropped up again--fuel pump--and left us disabled on the side of the road. But long story, um, still long--safety patrol showed up within 2 minutes, tow truck within 20 minutes, and our local mechanic within a couple of hours to tow us 128 miles home.

Then, this weekend we took another road trip clean across the state to fetch this:

It's like a cigar store Indian, only it's a bee. It's a chainsaw carving in white pine and it's Mark's belated birthday present. It's not quite 6 feet tall and weighs a couple hundred pounds. It meant leaving our house around 12pm Sunday and arriving home again at 3:30am Monday morning. Versus our plan of camping in the van with sleeping bags. Umm, so that's that story.

Let see, Homemade Hat. There was a really lovely Summer storm Monday evening. I stood in the doorway enjoying the breeze, watching the clouds roll in when Lily showed me her new hat:

It's a wire hanger bent into a pointed 'hat.' She called it her Storm Hat or some such. Basically, the single most awful hat to wear during an electrical storm. And I told her as much. Doesn't stop her from wearing it.

Aaand, YoYo caught us a mouse. But then he took it back.

There was a Big Wig at our house. Well, just a big wig. Yikes. The girls get on these wig kicks sometimes...wigs all over the damn place.

Umm...Got Admiral a new saddle pad.

It's grippy to keep the saddle from slipping. I didn't mean to get a picture of Mark with that Heineken bottle in his hand. But since I did--you know why you shouldn't drink and ride?

Because then you'll have to pee:

And then when you get off to pee I'm going to take your picture.

I'm happy to report no one fell off. Even though Nikki gave it shot bucking me off when I made her canter in the yard a bit.

Now would this sweet baby horse act like that? Isn't she shiny? Pony!
I think that wraps it up quite nicely. Over 'n Out. Ten Four, Good Buddy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mine. That. Bird!

This may be about as exciting to you as a vacation slide show presented by your great aunt Hortence, but let me tell you. I was a kid in a candy shop. And this may be one of the few times in my life I've been star struck. Kentucky Derby Winner, man!
I was invited by Annette to be partner in crime (because she writes crime novels, hardy har har) on a trip to yesterday's West Virginia Derby. Thoroughbred horse racing! Annette probably said it best when she called us Thoroughbred Groupies. When all the races were through, there we stood, grown women waiting to see a horse like it was Elvis or something. We stared into his empy stall admiring the cleanliness of the wood shavings. If that horse could write, I'd have his autograph right now.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. How did I get to meet Mine That Bird? Annette, in her novel writing research, became friend's with a professional Thoroughbred race horse trainer (super smart and a heck of a fun gal to boot) who was kind enough to get me a pass for the day into the barns. Annette is also a licensed groom at the track. Both of those things give her super awesome access to the barns. Where all the horses are! These photos all could use some captions:
None of those guys and gals were racing yesterday, but they were sweet to visit. They're so beautiful and shiny.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I'd never ever been to a Thoroughbred race in my life, let alone met the horses or seen a Kentucky Derby Winner...
So we headed over to the track. So much to see, I'll never be able to include it all. I learned how to read a racing program a little. I'm still the unluckiest and non-gamblingest person you'll ever meet.
Second funnest part of going to the races is seeing the horses come out into the paddock to be saddled. There you can see how they look, how they're pretty they are.
Neither one of those 2 were Mine That Bird, but My! are they not majestic!
And if you are a super horse nerd who has watched the reality TV show Jockeys, you will certainly recognize this guy:
Mike E. Smith!
He rode many horses yesterday including last but not least....ta dah!
The Little Brown Horse himself, Mine That Bird!:
I know. He just looks like a little brown horse. ha! But he is a lovely little brown horse. And fast. Mine That Bird and Jockey Mike Smith heading out of the paddock.

Being ponied to the gates. I want that job!
Aaaannndd...coming in 3rd place. Ah well. Such is horse racing. Ya win some, ya place some. He was awesome to watch and came all the way from last. Loved it!
And better yet, look how close I got to him!! I read his name on the brass plate on his halter. The 2 gentlemen to the left are his owners. Also cool!
The gentleman handling him (I should know who he is maybe, but I don't) also had me tickled when he slung his arm over Bird's back and just kind of rested it there like I do with our horses when they're out having a little grass like this.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about my first time ever betting on a horse race. Last race after Bird's, I decided to pick a long shot. The Eight horse because it's my favorite number and he was like 50 to 1. And actually went off at 80 to 1. Good lord. I placed my bet and went back out to wait for the race to start and started to read the program a little closer. Hadn't one a race all year. "Weary" in one race. "Labored throughout" in another. Maybe not such a great pick, huh?
So the race started and of course he was dead last starting out. But he was due for a win, right?Well, if you consider beating the 3 last horses in the pack then I'd say Yes! Fourth to last and not last! Alright! Doesn't get me my 8 bucks back but it was still fun. I even got to see him in the barns cooling down.
And so ended one of the coolest days of my life. :) Thanks Annette! Thanks Jessi!

The largest hot-air balloon gathering in the world,, Chambley, France