Boredom on The Cheesewagon

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My six-year-old is gunning for an iPad to play on the bus. Hahaha! Good one!! I usually pack him colouring books or mazes but “it’s too dark!” He’s lamenting “I’m sooooo bored!” Boo-freaking-hoo, buddy boy!! This morning I told him growing up we were always bored out of our skulls on the bus so my buddy Squeaker and I had to invent our own fun. “When I was a kid we would always be on the look out for this one really smelly, old truck that would come rip roaring out of no where and pass the bus. It was like ‘Where’s Waldo’ but with a smelly truck. We called him Stinky Rubber Tires. Another time we watched a deer run across a field from about 3 miles away. It was coming and coming and the driver never saw it or slowed down. Then BOOM!!! Deer explosion. That’s the kind of thing we did for fun. If we were on iPads we would have missed all that!” The boys looked at me with glassy eyed expression like they had just received confirmation of what they’d always expected – Mom is a stark, raving lunatic. I think my parenting lesson may have missed the mark.

This prompted a cheesewagon reminiscing session with my mid-bro-Mo “You haven’t lived until you’ve shivved another kid with his own orange peeler. Or done the loogie hork out the front window into the back window trick. Or the bloody prison riot-style “playing” we would do with the other kids? We all learned the utility of a swift kick to the nads.” The school bus was an unsupervised Lord of the Flies free-for-all where, for 45 minutes twice per day, we got to experiment with new choke holds, write with pudding on the windows, whisper death threats through clenched teeth and marinate in the comobo of fumes of overripe bananas, eachothers farts and tuna sandwiches.

Good times, good times.

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One of my fondest memories from our days on the cheesewagon was the day our Grandpa Gordon rear ended our bus at a stop sign. At the time he was driving a massive boat of a car. The kind of car that got about 0.00000002 miles to the gallon and could comfortably transport 12 people while towing a camper trailer. This car was aptly named The Mad Cow. Granpda had feet of epic proportions that were housed in boots of an even more impressive size. Upon rolling up behind the school bus at a stop sign Granpa’s gigantic foot slipped off the brake and slammed down onto the gas shooting The Mad Cow into the back of the bus at impressive speed. All of us whipper-snappers felt an unholy lurch forward on impact and swivelled our giant melons around to see what had happened. Upon laying eyes on our Grandpa sitting at the helm of The Mad Cow that was now lodged firmly beneath the bus, my siblings and I burst out laughing hysterically. What are the odds!! Some of the other kids on the bus muttered “How embarrassing! I wouldn’t admit it if MY Grandpa hit the bus!” further confirming my suspicions that those twits actually gave two shits what the general population of weenie heads on the cheesewagon thought.

Grandpa switched The Mad Cow into reverse and attempted to pull away. No luck. The car was the perfect height for the hood to be snugly nestled beneath the bus’ undercarriage. Our driver had to put the bus in park, come around back and climb up onto the hood of the car and jump up and down repeatedly while Grandpa attempted to back the car out. Finally the car was dislodged, chuckles all around, slap on the back and we were off on the road again. Those were the good old days, when ones Grandpa could drive a tank of a car into the school bus and everyone could drive away unscathed and no worse for wear.

Feral Five: 5 Times My Kids Humbled Me

5. Upon noticing that I remove my bra when getting ready for bed: “Mama, why do you take your boobs off at night?”

4. Remarking on the color of my teeth: “It looks like you chewed a green glow stick”. 

3. Loudly in a quiet public venue “Let me see you pig bites. LET ME SEE YOUR PIG BIIIIIITES!!!!!!!” (You know you are a farmer when you actually have pig bites). 

2. Remarking on my impressive size: “Mommy is the big boy one.”

1. Demanding during diaper change: “Show me your penis.” “Mommy is a girl. I don’t have a penis.” “Ohhhhhhh. Show me your big mommy penis?”

TBT – The Land of Milk and Honey

I originally wrote this blogpost in March 2007. Its a gooder though, and today feels like the kind of day we could use a laugh. I still can’t believe that I was crazy enough to bring a Jersey cow home with no idea what I was doing. Thankfully we all survived!!

The stoic Sunflower Gentrice GRJ Buffy and her calf, Clover, my most recent nemesis and object of affection. Or is that “infection”?

I used to imagine a magical land, the proverbial Land O’ Milk and Honey. Oh, what a wonderous place that must be.

I now know better.

For starters, bees are bastards. Sure, sure, they do a little hiney dance to communicate with hivemates as to the locale of delicious nectar. They are eons ahead of the fashion industry with their contrasting yellow and black wardrobes. Their work ethic is commendable. Not many creatures hum while they slave away tirelessly for the good of the community. But lets face it. They are bastards. Just ask my brothers who have been on death’s door several times due to an unpleasant transaction with one of the cranky critters. Recently my midbro, Mo, sported a hand the size of a baseball glove after being stung by a bee. In a hotel. In November. See, they are bastards.

That clears up the misconception that honey could be anything but vile refuse from malicious, vengeful bugs.

Now onto the milk part of the equation.

Cows are not bastards. I will say that first and foremost. They are docile, calm, and reflective. People that own cows, however, should have their heads examined.

Firstly, who was the first genius to look upon the lowly bovine, with her big wet eyes, drooping “sad clown” nether-regions and swollen mammary system and thought “Mmmmmmm, I’d like to have a drink of that?” I’ll admit, dairy is delicious. But whoever was warped enough to consider the possibility of ingesting the excretions of such a humble and dowdy beast?

Secondly, who, in the year 2007, when milk is conveniently available at any corner store at any hour of day, would own their own cow?

Sadly, I must admit that I am guilty.

It began a few months ago. I began dreaming of a simpler lifestyle. I envisioned my Dearly Beloved, Peanut and I sitting around the table at night, enjoying a meal of homegrown veggies, fresh, homebaked bread, tender pork chops, fresh, creamy butter and a dessert of ice cream. Who could imagine a more serene country scene? I want to stay home and mother up lil Peanut. What better way to contribute to the family and flex my BSA muscles than to jump feet first into our own agricultural endevours?

First came the goats. Ahhhh, the goats. Those intelligant, quizzical little nymphs. Joy turned to sorrow and misfortune a week after their arrival when 21 dead deformed goatlets arrived on our doorstep, the victims of a nutritional deficiency.

On to “Big Fat Idea #2″. I began searching for a lucious milk cow. Our very own “Lil Lady” who would gladly produce gallons and gallons of mammary excretions in exchange for meager room and board. Off I trotted to search the countryside for this wee lass. Time after time I came up disapointed and disgusted as we visited one horrendous wreck of a farm after another.

Last Sunday my perseverance finally paid off. After driving 2 hour I stood face to face with my brown eyed beauty. “Sunflower Gentrice GRJ Buffy” was her name. A big name for a diminuitve little cow. She was all eyes and hip bones wrapped up in a rough coat the colour of a mud puddle. She posesses a certain air of mystery with her black bandit mask. She knows things I dare not ask her about.

Sunday evening she settled into our humble little pasture which is basically my front yard. I enjoyed gazing out at her lovingly from time to time, warming up to the idea of cow ownership.

It wasn’t long before the honeymoon was over. A mere 2 days after her arrival she birthed a firecracker of a calf. A little doe-eyed heifer calf, the size and colour of a fawn. She’s been christened Clover…as in “Blow me over in the clover…that @#*&% cow calved already!”

And with her arrival Clover brought the shattering blow of reality. Its time to wake up, Princess. Your career as a milkmaid begins NOW.

So with very little time to reconsider or prepare, I found myself face to face with the biggest set of tits I’ve ever seen.

Day 1 – A little uncomfortable with the thought of manhandling the mammary system of another living thing, I grimace and squat on my haunches near the cow’s hindquarters. How in the devil do you get milk out of these things? The method for procuring nourishment from these teats is not self-explanatory. Years of cartoons have not served me well. Simply squeezing them does nothing. One must sort of pinch off the top of the teat to stop the milk from backflowing, then close your fingers to coerce it to squirt out of a wee hole in the tip. The tough part is that the cow must actually cooperate and allow this to happen. Convincing a cow that this form of violation is in her best interest is an artform in itself.

One of the largest hurdles to overcome was the discrepency in teat size. You could say she is an A-cup in the hind teats, and a Double D in the front. The front teats require a full hand and a firm squeeze whilst the piddly back end requires two fingers in a delicate squishing motion. Neither is particularly difficult when performed on its own, however, when one tries to do a full-hand-firm-squeeze with the left hand whilst convincing the right to feather-light-two-finger-squish it is akin to rubbing your tummy while patting your head. The result was comical at best, and depression inducing at worst. My mammoth man-hands have never been at such a disadvantage. The end result was that I gave up on the two-handed traditional milking I’ve seen time and again on TeleToon. I milked the beast one teat at a time, concentrated fiercely on technique while biting my tongue.

An hour later I finally had approximately 1 litre of life giving fluid. That may sound pretty impressive…until you hear that the cow produces 30 L at her peak lactation. That means there are technically not enough hours in the day for me to milk this damned cow. The other sad thing is that after a full hour her udder was no smaller or softer than at the outset of our journey. The poor beast was still sporting a giant, hard, hot medicine ball between her back legs. Dud Milkmaid – 0, Cow – 1.

Day 2 – Morning Milking – Determined to make more a dent in the poor girl’s bountiful bag I enlist the help of my father. He’s a dear old Dad, but I am coming to see that he is basically an older, male version of myself. This can lead to some interesting times.

7:30 am rolls around and we position ourselves on either side of the cow. We will surround her and tag team her. This mental intimidation will surely coax the milk out. There is nowhere to go but OUT into the bucket. We prayed our strategy would work.

We huddled against the bovine’s thighs, shivering in the -13C weather. Our breath frosted up the hair on her bag as we cussed and tugged at her chilly, shrivelled teats. The metal pail began to ring out with the telltale “ting-ting-ting” as streams of warm milk shot into it, freezing against the sides. It was going better than before. Maybe there was hope.

Suddenly out of left field Clover came barrelling towards me, determined to have her breakfast. I pushed her aside, assuring her that she’d have access to the milk bar as soon as I was finished. The calf was not interested in waiting. She backed up and rammed again, this time her rock hard skull butted me in the face. I reeled in pain, screaming obscenities I didn’t even realize I knew. Not the soothing, relaxing environment conducive to milk letdown, I fear. My Dad chuckled on the other side of the cow. At least someone was enjoying this. He tries to lighten the mood by shooting streams of thick yellow milk at me, a cow-powered-milk-gun. I fail to see the hilarity, and later will curse him when my winter wear reeks of rotten milk.

The ruckus unsettled Sunflower Gentrice GRJ Buffy. Her hips started to sway and she slowly lifted up a hoof in protest. In anticipation of her literally “kicking the bucket” both Dad and I instinctively reached for the metal pail at the same time. The warm milk that had been running down our fingers froze our hands to the metal pail, leading to a harrowing few moments as we realized we were stuck on either side of an angry mama cow with a metal pail holding us in a precarious position underneath her. Luckily we both managed to escape unscathed, aside from a little flesh missing from our paws where we pulled off the bucket in a helluva hurry.

We finished the milking in 1/2 hour procuring 2.5 L between the two of us. Defeated, I returned to the house to price out automatic milking machines (more than the cost of the cow) and toyed with the idea of selling her and cutting my losses.

Day 2 – Evening Milking – It was dark by the time I tied Sunflower Gentrice GRJ Buffy up. With some anxiety I sidled up to her now familiar thigh and took a deep breath. I grasped two teats, cranked my left-and-right-brain on at once and vowed to DO THIS THING. I was amazed when both hands began to harmoniously tug milk out of her udder. I’m amazing! I’m a prodigy! I am unstoppable! But wait! I am tugging both sides siumltaneously in a rammy fashion, similar to an orchestra conductor’s spastic arm movements at the exciting climax of a very emotional piece of music. In embarrassment I apologize to the old girl for my over-exuberant-16-year-old-boy-esque teat tugging and resume, this time with a measure of patience and timing. Soon the milk is “squirt-squirt-squirt-squirting” into the pail rythmically, alternating between the tiny back teat and massive foreteat with such precision you’d never guess I was dealing with anything but the finest matched teats. Confident in my newfound skill I dazzle her with diagonal milking, then just the fore teats, then just the hind teats. I am the Harlem Globetrotters of the milking community.

Pain and numbness start to creep into my hands, arms and back. I feel fatigued, yet the bottom of the pail is barely covered in milk. I begin counting, vowing to get 100 squirts of milk before I take a break. With the manageable goal of 100 squirts I press on, the end in sight. The first 100 are monumental. I start another 100 squirts, driven on by the raw power that is my capable milking manhands.

The cow sighs and relaxes into the new rythmn. I hum to her, I count to her in a singsong voice “-31-32-33″. I sing “She’ll be coming around the mountain,”, I sing her the Pussycat Dolls. I sing her Christmas Carols. She starts humming herself, emitting soft “mmmuh-mmmuh” cow love sounds, the same she’d give her calf. She starts chewing her cud. I am the friggen cow whisperer.

I breathe deep, inhaling the earthy cow smell and take in the dark sky. The only sounds are the reassuring “squirt-squirt” of the milk hitting the pail and the deep, fume-laden rumble of my pickup truck shedding light on this serene scene. Every once in a while my aim is off and there is a “ping” as the stream of milk bounces off of the side of the pail, or nothing at all, as I accidentally squirt milk down her furry hind legs. When I am finished I have a total of 4 L of milk. I’m getting better!! It will only be a couple of weeks before I can master the 30 L.

Yes, I can do this.

I can master the cow.

Now if only I could master my lactose intolerance, we’d be laughing.

The Roaming Dragger

If you are a Saturday Night Live fan, you no doubt are familiar with the glorious Stefon. One of my favourite episodes was where Stefon used the term “roaming draggers” to describe “that thing where an old dog has short legs but a long penis”. It immediately dawned on me that we are fortunate enough to share our home with our very own roaming dragger: Max!

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Max the obese Jack Russell and his BFF, Fetchy la Rue, world’s most beautiful Boston Terrier.

He first entered our family when he was a wee tyker of 6 months. I was running a dog behaviour consulting biz and he was brought to us for help with his house training. He was a star student and learned quickly, but when it came time for him to go back home his owners didn’t want him. I guess I kind of inherited him. At this same time my Dad had to put down his beloved dog, Franny, who was 21 years young. Max went to live with my parents and everything was groovy. Max looks like a cartoon caricature of a dog. He has tiny short knobby legs, a rotund belly, Dr. Suess-esque polka dot coat and big brown eyes. You can’t deny he is a cute lil rotter.

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Yes, that is Max sniffing a pig wearing zebra print inside our house. That’s a tale for another day, I’m afraid.

Fast forward 8 years. I have developed a real love-hate relationship with Max. We live on the same farm land as my parents, but they are away at work all day. Max decided our house is a lot more fun than sitting home alone all day. There is always someone home and with 4 little boys in the house he can usually find someone to throw a ball for him. He began his infiltration of my defenses by arriving at our home as soon as he was released for his morning pee bright and early. He would stand outside the door and shrieking “IPE! IPE! IPE!” repeatedly til someone relented and opened the door for him. Eventually he decided to adopt us as his new full time residence and stopped going to his actual home at night. I’m less than enthused about this arrangement. He is prone to farting, wheezing and snorting. Constantly. He is like living with a chubby, gassy geriatric man. That is, if that geriatric man like to burrow right under your head while you are sleeping sending up fumes that could choke a donkey.

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Real incognito, Max. Little bastard crawled right INSIDE of my pillow case.

Max has always battled with maintaining a sleek physique and a trim waistline. He has lightning fast reflexes and will inhale anything that hits the floor (edible or not). He is especially thrilled that the twins are now eating baby food. He parks himself right under their highchairs and cleans up like a tiny furry Roomba. This amazing “pounce-and-swallow” reflex once resulted in him gobbling a massive gob (read: lethal) of horse dewormer paste that my dear old nag spat on the ground. My poor mother had to induce vomiting by feeding Max spoonfuls of salt. Ahhh, never a dull moment.

"i. Have. Come. To. Clean. Your. Floor."

“I. Have. Come. To. Clean. Your. Floor.”

Max has been thoroughly examined for a medical condition to explain his girth and found to be fit as a fat little fiddle. His ability to inhale (sans mastication) any substance in front of him (ie. crumbs, cookies, dog food, cat food, horse food, horse manure, chicken poop, stolen eggs from the coop, garbage, varied carcass bits, cow placenta, calf scours, horse hoof trimmings, fresh cows milk and I am 98% sure he will eat mud) has led to the loss of his girlish figure. He is currently on a prescription diet akin to “cardboard without calories” and my dear old Pa even bought him a life jacket so he can do some aqua aerobics in the jacuzzi. Bless your lil rotund belly, Maxi.

In our travels we even came upon a children’s book series that celebrates fat, farting dogs just like Max! Walter the Farting Dog even kinda looks like Maxi.

walter

fat

The “dragging” part of the roaming dragger.

Evaluation of Max’s Qualities:

PROS

CONS

Kinda cute Farting
Large endearing brown eyes Wheezing
Absolutely lovely with kids Snorting
Not hyper or jumpy Groaning
Cleans up after the babies Shrill, shrieky bark
Exceptional mouser Lays his belly on carpet to rub his weenie
Cleans Fetchy’s bulgy eyeballs Low clearance of undercarriage means usually muddy
 Will fetch a ball non-stop  Will not stop fetching

All in all he is a pretty lovable fellow and we are blessed to have him in our lives. I finally resolved to welcome Max with open arms into the fold. If he has decided he likes to live amongst the wild beasts that are my offpspring, more power to ya buddy. I gave him a bath (and a very thorough scrub of the undercarriage), got a step stool for him to use to waddle up onto the bed and made him a nice cozy blanket. He heaved his mass up on the bed, had a spectacular reverse sneezing fit, let a big S-B-D* loose that burnt my eyes. Welcome, Max.

Another of Max's less-than-endearing habits: crawling inside of odd things to sleep: clean laundry basket, baby carseat, the sleeve of a sweatshirt.

Another of Max’s less-than-endearing habits: crawling inside of odd things to sleep: clean laundry basket, baby carseat, the sleeve of a sweatshirt.

*Silent but Deadly

Feral Five: 5 Ways to Jazz Up Your Easter Celebration

angelbunny

(AKA How to turn your inability to clean up the Christmas decor into a kick ass spring fest for our Risen Lord)

5. You ordered Chinese take out instead of wasting the day sweating in the kitchen.

4. You have an Easter nativity complete with Headless Wise Man. Baby Jesus much prefers chocolate to lame frankincense or myrrh.

nativity

This is actually a priceless family heirloom and I caught some shit for beheading Balthazar. I tried to explain that in the spirit of Easter it was the servant who lost his ear when the soldiers came to take Jesus from the garden. My explanation was not well received.

3. The dog drags his muddy belly across the carpet so you blame it on the Easter bunny thereby gleaning 3923 bonus points in the “Magic is Legit” section of the parenting awesomeness evaluation.

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2. You buy the infant members of your household a metric shit tonne of chocolate (to be fair!) Guess you’ll just have to take one for the team and eat it so they don’t choke.

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1. You have an Easter tree. NOTE: People will actually ask you if you purposely PUT UP a tree just for Easter. My answer?? AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

eastertree

Wishing You a Memorable VD

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Remember when VD (Valentine’s Day to common folk) used to matter?

No? Me neither.

Well, that’s a lie. There was a brief span when we were dating/newly married when we put forth an effort. You’d covertly buy some overpriced fattening chocolates and battle crowds to have an intimate meal at a slow, packed expensive restaurant. Ooooh fun! Romantic! Nothing like remembering why the majority of the human race annoys the living hell out of me to remember why I’m with YOU, my love.

My most memorable VDs to date:

1) 2000 – Our first VD together and newly dating (as in 2 weeks) Hubs* presented me with a picture of the two of us (we look 12), roses and a stuffed duck wearing rabbit ears. He also bought me tickets to the ballet for the first (and last) time. Sooooo romantic. Oh, to be young and in love!

AWWW! We are babies!

AWWW! We are babies!

2) 2002 – Newly engaged and all lovey-dovey Hubs and I ventured out for a romantic evening. Our destination? MONSTER JAM!!!!!! Nothing says “love is in the air” like watching Gravedigger annihilate the competition whilst hollering amongst a sea of rednecks. This was such a hit that we did this every year while we lived in Saskatoon. The most memorable part of that VD was a) getting rear ended by a hippie on campus followed by b) getting rear ended by a drunk driver that evening. Happy Valentine’s, dear, here is a new tail gate.

I can do a wicked Monster Truck impression. My fave is Jurassic Attack!

I can do a wicked Monster Truck impression. Ask me sometime.

3) 2013 – Married 10.5 years with 4 children, I spent the day dragging the rugrats to the dentist while the eldest whined of an earache. At 4:30 pm I couldn’t bare the thought of one more second in the Party Bus so we stopped at Boston Pizza for some solace. It took me 20 minutes to wrangle my brood inside and wait for service. I was then informed that we would not be seated without a reservation even though the entire restaurant was a ghost town and it was 4:30. Really? A lady with 4 kids (2 of which are infants) is really gonna laze about and savour a nice, long meal? Asshats. We ate burgers in the van on the way home and I got mayo and onions slopped all over my jacket. I forgot it was Lent and ate some chocolate, thereby solidifying a permanent place for me in Hell for all eternity. Hubs got home in time to shovel chicken goo into the twins while I coerced the older two boys into bed. Our eldest was now jacked up on Tylenol I’d given him for his earache and chewed those stupid purple pills you get from the dentist to tell if you are brushing adequately. He frothed the purple dye all over his chin and dyed his face. It won’t come off. The Bigs wanted to watch Wallace and Gromit for movie night and it turned out to be a freaky one about a serial killer (WTF kid’s show?!?!) so the 4 year old was terrified and couldn’t sleep. The twins stayed up til midnight because they had spent the day napping in their car seats while I was chauffeur to the stars (or the Bigs I should say). Hubs was pissy because he missed beer league hockey. Hubs and I passed out watching TV in a very unromantic, unceremonious way. He was snoring with his glasses on and I was in my clothes. We were both covered in various baby goo substances and forgot to turn off the light. When the babies started crying in the wee hours for their night feed I stepped in a pile of cold dog vomit. I awoke this morning to the telltale “haaaaaawruck-haaaaawruck” sound of the dog vomiting ON the bed. Ahhhhh, marital bliss.

Thanks for letting me get NO sleep last night, assholes.

Thanks for letting me get NO sleep last night, assholes.

You know what? My VD wasn’t half bad. It wasn’t beautiful but it was legit. Its not those early-days romantic VDs that I will remember. The ones when we were nicey nice to each other and got dressed up and bought each other some trinket. Its the days where you have oatmeal gluing the hair to the side of your head and a crazy look in your eyes, your nostrils are perpetually flared in an attempt not to gag at the dead-mouse-smelling-baby-poop-fog wafting from the backseat as you repeat “I will not eat my young. I will not eat my young”. I believe that a strong relationship isn’t built on the nice/fun/wonderful times. Its built on the slogging-through-the-shit-and-I-still-choose-you kinda days.

*not his given nor legal name