Friday, September 11


Everyone knows by now that I am not a fan of the place people call “outside.” It’s too big, and there aren’t enough walls. Truth be told my very favorite thing to do is waste a perfectly good day sitting on the couch watching Lifetime,Television for Women. Before you judge, I challenge you to watch the entire Betty Broderick saga (A Woman Scorned and Betty Broderick: Her Final Fury), and then tell me if it wasn’t the most entertaining four hours of your life. However, since Piper came into my life, she’s really cut into my couch/Lifetime time.

Piper loves to take walks. Piper likes to climb stuff and pick up icky things. She likes to chase bugs and jump in puddles - the kinds of things that I really, really hate. But, I figure that escorting her into the yard occasionally is much more cost effective than say, all of the therapy she will need later in life because Mom wouldn’t let her out of the house or physical ailments due to Vitamin D deficiency.

So, when a beautiful sunny Saturday dawns, I usually curse a little and then force my dead ass up and out of the house. Between the slowness with which I move in the hot sun, my huge sunglasses and my coffee cup, I am pretty sure that our neighbors think that either a) I have a drinking problem, or b) I am part Nosferatu. 

As usual, I digress. Normally on these nice days when Piper wants to escape the confines of the house, we go and visit the horses next door. It’s a pretty safe bet that she’ll want to go and I don’t have to walk far, so everyone’s happy. Our neighbors that own the horses are super sweet people who have a ton of grand kids and apparently don’t mind when we come barging into their barn, which is a huge plus. Actually, Piper usually enters the barn first followed by me yelling “Piper don’t go in there!” You know once, in desperation, I had her hearing checked and unfortunately, everything is OK. It seems that the kid takes after her Great-grandmother Margaret and has what I like to call “selective hearing.” Piper can’t hear things like “don’t run in the house,” but she’ll stop dead in her tracks for “would you like a cookie?”

So while Piper demonstrated her stubbornness, I dodged the horse poo and barn swallows that inhabit the place. The weird thing is, once in the barn she ignores the horses and heads straight for the cats. I have to admit, they're cute and much nicer than the fat, lazy a-hole cat that actually lives with us. Plus, I have to give those cats credit, they don’t claw her eyes out while she’s “petting” them. If there is one thing that I’ve tried to instill in my child it’s this: claws beat skin every time.

The last Saturday that we visited the barn, I spent the usual 10 minutes chasing after Piper and saving her life from gigantic animals that are about 200 times her size. I mean, horses don’t really take kindly to loud noises, like screams of “mommy horse!” from a little girl. As I got wrapped up in conversation with our neighbor, who was busy trying to pawn all of her tomatoes off on me (who can eat that many tomatoes – really?), I caught a flash of Piper heading around a corner. Soon she was out of eyesight. Now, I leave her to her own devices in the house a lot, but in no way am I comfortable doing so in a strange place inhabited by strange animals of all shapes and sizes (in addition to the horses and cats, they have a goat and an awesome farm dog name Charlie. I love that dog, and no, it’s not just because when I see him I get to say “good morning, Charlie.” OK maybe just a little). I tried to excuse myself from the conversation, but like many senior citizens, she didn’t really take the hint and kept talking. Finally I just said “I need to go and find my kid.”

I was too late.

Apparently the kitty she was petting tried to escape the love and headed into the pasture. Piper decided to follow by crawling under the gate. Technically, it was big enough for her to fit under, but in her lack of experience, she made a huge mistake. Instead of pulling herself through the gate head first, she’d decided to go at it feet first on her belly, pushing herself. Well that might have been OK, but for some unknown reason the child had her mouth open when she did this. I got to her just in time to see her standing there with a mouth full of dirt. I mean, it was a huge clump in her mouth and all over her teeth. Then the thought dawned on me. This is a barn. There are horses. That’s not just diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrttttttttttttttt!

I couldn’t get to her fast enough. I couldn’t use my shirt to wipe her mouth out fast enough. She kept saying “icky, icky,” and all I could think was “no, it’s shitty, shitty.” I finally cleaned her up well enough to leave and by that time she was more than ready to go home and wash her mouth out. Then, as we said goodbye and made our way out of the barn, a bird shit on my head. I’m never leaving the house again.

In the days following this post the following has happened: I killed three funky centipede-type bugs in the house. I knocked down the largest spider web that I've ever seen because Piper ventured into the yard only to come back screaming, "the spider is coming, the spider is coming," yeah he was THAT big. Oh, and then there was the garden snake in my mud room. For real.