A Blog a Day Challenge – Today is Thankful Thursday

I’m joining a Blog A Day challenge that was set into motion by a fellow blogger. I’ll give the idea credit to her http://Flippyzipflop.wordpress.com

Anyways, today is “Thankful Thursday”

Hmmmmm….. how do I narrow it down? Oh heck, I’ll just make a list.

I am thankful for:
– My wonderful supportive and hard working husband that is graduating from Officer Candidate school this week. So proud!
– My incredibly intelligent and playfully quirky son
– My amazing collection four-legged animals at work and all the staff that helps me care for them
– All the awesome kids that I have the privilege to work with everyday

What are you thankful for?



Pony Finals!! The suspense is killing me

It has been a fun adventure this year for one of my students and her darling Small Pony Hunter, “Lovey”
Lovey cropped

Lovey is a barn favorite, a small pony with quite a large personality. He loves to be fawned over, brushed, bathed, and generally expects to be pampered at all times. He is a Star with a celebrities ego and he LOVES to perform for the world. Lucky for us, Lovey actually seems to always know what a good performance should entail and puts his best hoof forward, always thrilling the judges.

Lovey and his child have spent the last year climbing the ranks. He has been an amazing teacher for her and she has worked hard to compliment his natural Hunter jumping ability. When the parents announced to me “We would like to qualify for National Pony Finals this year” I had mixed emotions for sure. I was thrilled at the prospect of well deserved fame for Lovey and his girl but intimidated by the process and expectations that lie ahead of us. I also realized that while trying to help them achieve their goals I would be balancing a whole barn full of other students and horses, my family and home life, and all while homeschooling my 11 year old son. Seemed a bit daunting at the time.

Ultimately, my staff and I agreed and we set out on an incredible journey together.

Having never had the chance to attend Pony Finals before we were coming into the scene as a nobody, the under dog, and we all had a steep learning curve ahead of us.

First there was the intense training for both rider and pony, the goal being to eventually achieve a flawless course of Hunter fences. This part can be hard for some but this is what I do best on a daily basis. If there is one thing I know, it is how to bring out the best in a pony and a child.

Next, there was the ever tweaking and polishing up of those skills. As the chances to qualify grew closer we studied our competition, even right down to the trending apparel for riders in the Pony Hunt classes of 2014.
We left no detail to chance.

Second we set forth an aggressive tentative show schedule of top rated shows all over Southern California for chances to qualify in the Small Pony Hunter division. To our pleasant surprise, Lovey and his little girl nailed it at a competition in Thermal, CA and qualified right out the gate.

There were whispers in the wind that day…. Who is that pony? Who is the kid? Where did they come from? Even, Who is the trainer?
And within hours we had offers to buy our precious Lovey right out from underneath us. Everybody just HAD to have that pony!
Politely rejecting, “I’m sorry, this pony is not for sale” Yet, the offers grew in value for this pony that seem to come out of nowhere and pretty soon there were extra digits tacked on to the price tag being offered.
Yet still we rejected. For the family, this was all about the journey and they were determined to see it through to the end. I was relieved that Lovey would be staying on with us.
So we pushed forward.
Cleaning up every little detail while balancing this daily competitive routine with plenty of fun for both pony and rider.

After many months, many shows, and too many ribbons to count the day to fly out to Pony finals in Kentucky had finally arrived. The excitement around the barn was palpable and all the kids and staff gave their Good Luck wishes. Regardless of the ending outcome of Pony Finals, such a huge accomplishment was just about to take place. Our Goal was simple: To attend and represent well.

My assistant travelled with Lovey to the airport and they both endured a very chilling 4 hour flight on a jet that transports Equines. They arrived in Kentucky one week early than Pony Finals in order to properly settle in and get the lay of the land. Lovey’s little 11yr old partner was not far behind.

The first day of competition was the “Pony Model”. This would count towards 25% of our overall score.

As the title implies it is a class about modeling the pony in front of a panel of judges. Since my barn is generally more action oriented this was the class that we knew the least about. But feeling confident in Lovey, our research, and all our hard practice we approached it with our best efforts.

Lovey SHINED!! And when I say “shined” I do mean literally 🙂 after all the hours of grooming and primping and posing he also ended up,the only pony of his 12 pony group, to land a spot in which the sun beamed brightly down upon him. Almost as though he was chosen to be spotlighted by a higher power.

Lovey model

Lovey is pictured modeling in front on the far left. The only one in the sun.

He WON the Model class of his divided 12 pony section. And for the Grand Overall of 103 of the best ponies in the Untied States he scored 8th!!!!
8th of 103 in the Model, not a bad start for the unknown “under dog”

News spread fast and pretty soon everyone back at home was sharing the cheers and success of Lovey and his girl.

On the second day they have the next competition called the “Under Saddle”.
This class also counts for 25% of the overall score.

As the title implies, this class is judged on everything under the saddle. That would be the Pony themselves. But unlike the stand-still Model, this class is conducted with the pony ridden at the walk, trot, and canter. The judge is looking for the most classic “Hunter” with the best natural flowing Hunter type movement. (To go into more detail would take an entire post in and of itself, but you get the general idea)
Lovey is disciplined, fancy, classy and has beautiful classic Hunter form over jumps but falls into a more “average” category when judged in the Under Saddle class. Knowing this was our weakest class we were still crossing our fingers and urging Lovey and his little girl to simply do their best. Assuring them we would be proud either way.
Not surprising, Lovey scored in the middle of the pack. 69th of 103. Still proud, everyone congratulated each other and Lovey went back to his stall for plenty of well deserved Cookies, Carrots, and pampering love.

By the Third day of Pony finals the suspense was really building. Much like watching the last few minutes of a tied sports game, everyone at our home barn was on the edge of their seats. Excitedly waiting to hear any new news or updates from the show team in Kentucky.

The Third and final competition would be worth 50% of their overall score. The hardest of all 3 classes. It was the Hunter over fences. (The jumping course)
Being an action based barn, this was the moment we were waiting for. It was time for Lovey and his pilot to truly show what they were made of. They would be expected to memorize a course of 8-10 jumping fences and would then have only one chance to step into the arena and show everyone what this mystery duo was really made of. A whole year of blood, sweat, and tears coming down to these 3 minutes. The pressure was immense for the little girl. Every thing she had revolved her life around in this past 52 weeks came down to this one final moment. Hundreds of eyes on her, peers, her trainers, other trainers, her family and friends that had all flown in to Kentucky for this special event. Even her pony had prepared so very hard for this moment to have her pilot him correctly and he was dancing with excitement.

Stepping in to the show arena a calm and peace settled over her. She immediately focused on her job and solid as a rock, this young 11 year old piloted her pony flawlessly thru the challenging course of jumps. Once again Lovey SHINED!
Stepping out of the show arena everyone was silent, waiting for the 3 judges scores to be announced and averaged. The score that would soon become the last 50% of the overall for National Pony Finals.
First the voice announced… 80.15
(She clenched her fist in excitement)
Next…… 82.57
(Now she looked like she was going to faint)
And lastly ….. 83.99
(Starting to sway, my sister had to grab her and remind her to breath)
Everyone was ecstatic!! These were exceptional scores and she was now sitting in 2nd place with just 40 ponies left to see.

The score board with Loveys jumping scores.

With all their showing done and the hard part behind them, Lovey’s fan group hunkered down in the stands to watch the rounds and anxiously await the remaining scores.
Meanwhile, back at the barn everyone was hovered around their phones much like you would see many years ago, baseball fans all gathered around a radio that was announcing the current baseball game. We were receiving minute to minute update texts and pictures with running commentary.

The suspense was killing us!!!

Each round that would go by….. 79.10, 78.55, 76.01
Then …. 60.2, 60.3, 61.25
One after another. 17 Ponies left to see and Lovey was still in 2nd of 103 ponies for the Jumping phase.
Finally the end was nearing and, believe it or not, Lovey’s score only got bumped ONCE. Lovey and his girl ended in 3rd place out of 103 Top United States Small Ponies, for the jumping phase!!!!
Woohoo!! – the crowd goes wild –
There was so much excitement, both from Kentucky and from the fan club at home in San Diego.

Again, the precious girl looked like she was going to faint. Then with bewilderment and surprise quickly followed by joy and excitement she said “We did it!!”
“I just went in their and I pushed out any thoughts of other riders, other ponies, and scores. I pushed that completely out of my mind. The only thing I focused on was the job I had to do and I did it!!!”

Averaging all 3 scores together, Lovey ended the United States Pony Finals in 8th place of 103!!!
He is the 8th best Small Pony Hunter in the whole Nation!!

We are all so incredibly proud!!!

** Additional announcement. After many inquiries and offers to purchase Lovey; Mom, Dad, and child have decided that Lovey will remain a part of their family and will be returning home to San Diego soon. I can’t wait to give him a great big hug and a bowl of his favorite vegetables and fruits!!


Here is a picture of Lovey receiving a well deserved pat from his rider.



Ramblings from my mind

The Crazy World Around Me

There are times when I feel like I have life in the grasp of my palm.
But there are also plenty of times that life has scooped me right up helplessly into a dangerous hurricane. Furious and raging it wildly twists me, catapulting me in unexpected directions. In fact, perhaps the times that I feel grounded are merely the moments spent in the calm eye of the same beastly storm.

This post is about wondering……..
Ever wonder if you are actually the only sane person and it’s simply everyone around you that is insane?
I often feel like I need a therapist or some kind of prescribed medication just to be able to communicate and function with those close to me. A tool to deal properly with the insanity that surrounds me.
OR am I THE insanity that needs the help?
I am left pondering the thought “Is it really ME that needs the help or is it them?”
Then, of course, there is the thought that follows “Does it matter whether it is ME or them?”

I suppose you could compare it to a language barrier. If I only speak English and those that I am attempting to communicate and work with mostly speak French AND these French speaking people have no desire to learn English then; IF I want to continue to communicate with them I see no other option but to learn French. In this case does it really matter whether the dominating language becomes French or English?

Does it matter whether we are all sane or insane?

Maybe it’s simply about trying to find a common language to connect with one another.


Horse Trainers, A MUST read about CA Laws regarding Horse Sales


These are not NEW laws but I have found that they are widely unknown or intentionally over-looked laws regarding Horse Sales and Commissions.

Dear Trainers,

      Being an old and wise Appy, with extra large ears, I hear an awful lot of Barn gossip and drama. One topic that has come to my attention recently was the wide variety of practices amongst trainers when buying or selling horse’s for their clients. I might not be the most popular Appy for bringing this sensitive subject to my Blog but I’ve never claimed to be terribly PC in the first place.

      We all know that helping a client to purchase or sell a horse can sometimes lead to treading on uneven footing. Whether it is a matter of simply not understanding the California Laws or having to work with a less than ethical agent on the other end, things can get stickier than my favorite Molasses treats. Furthermore, with a Trainer’s labor intensive job that tends to be underpaid I realize it can be very tempting to accept incentives that may be offered to entice you towards a certain horse for your clients over another. This causes a “Conflict of interest” and believe it or not, IT IS ILLEGAL. (unless you fully disclose these amounts to both parties ahead of time, more about that later)

Here are some Quick Spot points for starters that Trainers and Agents NEED to know when buying, selling, and representing:

SPOT # 1. You MUST disclose your commission, IN WRITING, to your client.
This includes ANY monetary gain that you will be making from the sale or purchase of the horse.

SPOT #2. Be careful when accepting a payment that will be going directly through you because again, you need to remember that ANY monetary gain that results from that horse’s sale or purchase MUST be disclosed in writing to your client.

SPOT #3. Double dipping is ILLEGAL.
This is when a trainer or agent accepts a commission from the seller as well as the buyer. It is an obvious conflict of interest and the only way this is allowed is if both parties, the seller AND the buyer, show their consent and knowledge of the arrangement IN WRITING.

SPOT #4. Standard commission for the horse industry is 10% – 25%.
Though, any monetary compensation can be arranged so long as all parties are aware and consent to the arrangement, IN WRITING.

SPOT #5. Next, if you’ve ever been wrangled up by the law (or even watched a TV show) then you are familiar with the phrase “What you say can and may be used against you in a court of law.” This means you should be careful about intentionally misrepresenting or even being overly flamboyant about your claims of said horse. “It’s a perfect beginners child-safe horse. I’d trust it anytime” Yet the whole barn down the street from yours knows how many times it has left your arena at a bolt and come running into their property with a screaming child attached to its back. Hey, maybe it IS a wonderful child’s horse when it is in a small enclosed space, under supervision, after a 1 hour lunge and with the gate shut. I have known some great horsey friends of mine that just need to come with a few pointers from their previous humans to be successful. Just please remember, the truth is always best.

SPOT #6. Failing to obtain written consent from your client for your monetary gain off the sale or purchase of their horse can be punishable as a FELONY. (see the court cases [2] and [3] below as examples)

SPOT #7. Be smart. Protect yourself, your reputation and your client. Create a transparent contract and relationship with them. Include the sale price on the Bill Of Sale and have the Buyer and the Seller sign it themselves.
I know, I know, I feel like this may be a touchy spot and unpopular point that I am making. But if you really do not like this point perhaps you should re-read Items 1-6.

Current CA Laws:
For general purposes I will outline 3 important statutes that exist in California, Florida, and Kentucky. These are the 3 states that currently have laws specific to the sales of horses. But of course, I am not a lawyer, just an Appy Pony. So if you want up-to-date laws please search your own states laws carefully and if you want legal advice, please consult an Equine Lawyer.
1. A written Bill Of Sale signed by both parties that specifies the purchase price of the horse.
2. Written disclosure to both purchaser and seller of sales commissions (if the amount or value will be $500 or more; and
3. Written consent by both purchaser and seller if someone is acting as a dual agent.

To give a few easy examples of encounters I’ve witnessed:
I do not mean the type of padding that get’s stuffed under my neighbors shoe every 6 weeks.
You know what I am referring to….
Let’s say a trainer’s client, Lady NoLuck, asks him to sell her horse, Breakneck Bert. She tells her trainer that she wants to get $50,000 for Bert because of all the wonderful things he can do. The trainer has a friend that has a client that was searching for a horse exactly like old faithful BreakNeck Bert and has $75,000 to spend on this new horse of her dreams. The two trainers decide that it is a good match and that they will sell the horse for $75,000 but only give Lady NoLuck her asking price of $50,000, splitting the difference between them. Neither Lady NoLuck nor the daydreamy buyer are aware of this. THIS IS A NO-GO and is against the law

I recently had a common case of Dual agent in my own barn. There is a wonderfully fancy, yet entirely too egotistical pampered show pony that lives a few stalls down from me. Always prancing about and flaunting his many show ribbons up on the tack room wall. We will call him “Mighty Might” for this discussion. Anyways, Mighty Mights young child rider was sadly outgrowing him and facing the inevitable possibility of having to sell him. Being so impressive he quickly attracted the attention of other children in the barn and was purchased right away by another client of the same trainer.
No surprise there, sometimes I feel like he is all they can talk about. <rolling my eyes>.
The point is that the trainer acted wisely. She made sure that both parties understood that Dual Agent was unavoidable and that she was obviously representing both sides. She chose to act with complete transparency, discussing the merits of the pony, the pro’s and the con’s and made sure that all vet records were open for the sharing. She also let them know that there would only be ONE commission in total. This would be a 10% commission to be paid to the trainer, which would be split between both parties. After the buyer was satisfied and sure that they indeed needed to have the famous “Mighty Might” for their child rider then all parties consented to the arrangement in writing and the transaction was completed.
Now, you do not have to only accept one single commission of 10%. In fact, the law doesn’t even care if you charge BOTH your clients 110% each BUT it will need to be in writing and consented to by BOTH parties prior to the transaction.

Okay, last example but a very common mistake. Desperate Duey cannot pay for his horse, Two Buck Chuck, anymore and sends it to a trainer to take “on the cuff” to sell for him. “On the cuff” means that the trainer will incur some or all of the expenses for a time while selling the horse. They make an arrangement that Duey expects to get $15,000 for the horse even though the horse is worth more. He tells the trainer to sell it for whatever more he can get and that he is welcome to keep the rest. Sounds like an amicable arrangement given the risk and burden that the trainer must take to keep the horse while for sale. Also, so long as it is in writing, the Trainer is on the up and up with Duey and all is fine. However, here comes the sticky Molasses part. You see, Silly Sally rides at this same ranch and falls in love with Two Buck Chuck. She is a client of the same trainer and has just started looking for a horse of her own. She has $25,000 to spend. Silly Sally is relying on her trainers expert opinion and knowledge as to whether to buy this horse but the trainer stands to gain additional monetary value from representing the seller, Duey. So this is also a conflict of interest and falls under Duel Agent. It is a common and likely scenario, after all, the trainer must have liked and believed enough in the horse to be willing to take him “on the cuff” in the first place. Probably even more so than a monthly paying sales horse. Ultimately the trainer sells Sally the horse for $25,000 and pockets the $10,000 difference. Maybe the trainer is even feeling that the moral thing to do is not to charge Sally a commission at all, since he was technically making one from the seller.
But without disclosing the profit to Sally this is still ILLEGAL.
WHY? Because as Silly Sally’s trainer, the trainer owes the client something called “fiduciary duties.” Duties described as Loyalty, Good Faith, and Fair dealing. The trainer should not profit from the transaction without full disclosure of the profit to Sally.
You are probably thinking “WHAT? How am I suppose to make money in this business legitimately?”
Never fear, Appy Pony is here.
A solution to this would be to disclose your arrangement that you have with Duey to Sally. Add up the training, board, extra feed, advertising, transportation, grooming etc etc that you have put into Two Buck Chuck and that Duey now owes you out of the sale. Count that as reimbursement for services owed by Owner. Make sure this is carefully documented and true. Then let Sally know that Duey will be paying you a ___% commission for taking the horse on the cuff and selling the horse and this is why you do not feel the need to charge her an additional commission. It is not necessary to disclaim the low ball amount that Desperate Duey was willing to take for his homeless horse in his time of need, that is completely between you and Duey. Your discount for being in the right place at the right time and for being trusted by Duey does not need to apply to Sally. BUT it is necessary that Sally understands the profit, if any, that you are making from Duey to represent a horse that you are now selling to her.
Just like any other Duel Agent circumstance.
If we worked thru this it would look something like this:
Fair market Value of horse is estimated at $25,000 (and please be sure that this is the true approximate fair market value, after all you are negotiated a deal that is a conflict of interests. It is smartest to be fair to all parties involved) Maybe Duey owes you $5,000 in back expenses on Two Buck Chuck and is paying you a 20% commission on the sale price.
20% of $25,000 is $5000.
(20% – 25% or even higher is a common arrangement for a horse taken “on the cuff” because it can be risky for the trainer and is essentially a favor to the Owner as well)
The Trainers calculated “Profit” would be $5,000, that is the commission. 
This is what needs to be disclosed to Sally.
Sally is likely getting a great deal. She is buying a horse that she loves, for the right price, a horse that her trainer believes in, and she is saving a big commission off of it because it was in-house. Duey is getting a great deal because he couldn’t pay for the horse any longer and so would not have been capable of promoting it for sale himself. He would never have found Sally if not for you being willing to take the horse on the cuff. $15,000 is better than giving it away due to hardship at the end of the month.
Finally, the trainer has made a fair amount of money to reimburse for expenses and the leap of faith he took in the horse.
A win win for everyone and completely legal.

Courtesy of my Owner and the internet, here are some Example court cases for you to look at that show the gravity of ignoring these laws:

[1] Neal v. Janssen, 270 F.3d 328 (2001) In 1997, internationally known dressage trainer Sjef Janssen was commissioned to sell the Neal family’s horse, “Aristocrat”. In their agreement to one another the Neals were to pay Janssen a 10% commission on the sale price. A typical commission for the Horse industry. Once finding a buyer, Janssen told the family that he could only get $312,000 for Aristocrat. Janssen actually ended up selling the horse for $480,000 but did not disclose to the Neals the difference in price. Jansseen profited $168,000 plus his 10% agreed upon commission for $31,200. Later, the Neal Family learned the true sale price and sued Janssen for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.  A jury awarded the Neal family $250,000 in compensatory damages AND $250,000 in punitive damages. This was not only unethical but ended up being a $500,000 mistake by Janssen.

[2] United States of America v. Kenneth Berlin, U.S. District Court, Richmond Virginia, Case #3:03CR0042-001 (2004) and
[3] United States of America v. Joshua Cardine, U.S. District Court, Richmond Virginia, Case #3:03CR00424-001 (2004)
The federal government successfully prosecuted criminal cases against Kenneth Berlin [2] and Joshua Cardine [3] in 2004. Both were Hunter/Jumper trainers located in Virginia.  Mr. Cardine and Mr. Berlin were alleged to be involved in numerous horse sales schemes in which they sold horses on behalf of their clients and then remitted only a portion of the proceeds to the clients, and in some cases remitted none of the proceeds. Both trainers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and swindle of livestock in interstate commerce.
This is a felony.
Josh and Kenneth were sentenced to 18 and 21 months in federal prison, followed by three years of probation. The court also ordered the trainers to make restitution to their clients, or victims, in the amount of $94,300.

I hope my Horse Trainer friends found this helpful!!

Love and Carrots,

Appy Pony

I would like to give credit to the following websites which helped me in my thirst for more knowledge.
– Equine Legal Solutions: BTW, they have some great contracts that you can purchase, if needed.
– Alison Rowe: Equine Law Blog
– HG Legal Sources http://www.HG.org

The Nothingness

 Dark Poetry from another life

The Nothingness……………………………

I can actually feel my heart sink lower, shudder and retreat
It crawls desperately deeper, searching for a blackness
so far, that no one else can reach

I see it cowering
I feel it shrinking
It seems so small now
So deep, I’m not even sure that it’s still there

I am not angry.
It must protect itself.
I must protect me.

I know that it is not healthy that I don’t shed a tear
but to cry now would require my heart and it has abandoned me

I am emotionless.
I stare.
I write.
I breathe.
These things do not hurt.

My shoulders are too heavy to stand
yet when I lay, my chest feels as though it will collapse.
A hideous darkness has pinned me down.
I have trouble breathing.

I am numb.
I am shock.
I am empty.
I am gone.

Nothing to write.
Nothing to feel.
Nothing to say.
Nothing to hurt me.

Here in this darkness, I simply exist…………..

Finally, My Very Own Pony

         When I was 7 years old I overheard my Mom speaking to a friend in the entry way of our house. The friend was looking to re-home their beloved outgrown pony. I stood with my back to the wall and my ear pressed as close to the hallway corner as possible, not wanting to be caught eavesdropping. The lady explained that her daughter had outgrown the pony many years before but that they had been unsuccessful finding a permanent home for her. She explained that the pony was talented and educated but that she was testy with the children and could be difficult to ride. After failing to work out as a lesson pony at one of the local competitive barns the pony had been put out to pasture to be used for breeding and had sustained an injury to her left eye by a stray piece of wire on the fencing of the pasture. The vet had proclaimed that she had lost most sight in that eye with the exception of possibly seeing vague foggy shapes. For these reasons the Owners were only looking to sell the pony for $1.00 to the right permanent home. That word permanent was all I needed to hear. I sprinted to my bedroom to grab the allowance I had been saving. This was my chance to have my very own pony, a pony that my Mother COULD NOT sell. I didn’t care how hard she was to ride or what her eyesight was like or how old she was. All I cared about was that she would be MINE and stuck in a deal between friends to never be sold, a deal that my mother would HAVE to honor.

      Perhaps I should explain. You see, my mother was a Horse Trader. This means she made her meager living from buying and selling horses. She would often pick up unwanted or untrained horses for very little money and turn around and sell them later for a profit. My sister and I were part of this family business, whether we liked it or not, and were used to train the horses in whatever riding discipline suited them best. Our small ranch did not have any staff but us. We cared for them, fed them, groomed them, bathed them, cleaned up after them, and tamed them. 7 days per week. If Mom saw a profit to be made in a horse, she took it. Time and time again my sister and I would break these young horses, tame them, hit the dirt, hit the dirt some more, and hit the dirt again until they began to come around to become gentle riding horses only to come home from school one day and find their corral empty because they had been sold. And of course, each time they were quickly replaced by the next wild animal. With 21 horses in the back yard you would think that I would not be excited about adding another but now you can understand why I was sprinting for my allowance to buy myself a pony that I could keep forever.

9 dimes and 2 nickels.
I ran back down the hallway and abruptly interjected myself into the conversation. Just in time to interrupt my mother’s polite rejection to the Owner. Cutting her off mid-sentence I confidently proclaimed “I’ll take her!”. Then I reached out my hand and dropped the $1.00 in change into the ladies palm.
My mom looked at the lady and the lady returned her glance quizzically. Then after the brief silence was over the lady must have clued into my desperation because disregarding my mother she bent down to my eye level, placed her hand on my shoulder and said “I believe you will give her a very lovely home. It’s a deal”. Standing back up she asked my mom when the pony should be delivered. My mother exhaled and waved her hand in the air, “Fine, fine. Whenever is convenient for you.”
I was so ecstatic that I almost forgot to ask her name. Not the ladies name, of course, because that was of no consequence to me but I needed to know the ponies’ name. “What’s her name?” I asked excitedly and the lady replied “Springtime”.

“Springtime…….” I contemplated for a second, “that’s beautiful”. Little did Springtime know it, but this was going to be the beginning of a very incredible relationship, I could feel it.

        For the next 2 years Springtime and I had many amazing adventures together. For instance, Springtime thought it was very fun to watch me run around the pasture for 45 minutes chasing her to catch her. I believe she thought it was particularly entertaining when I would throw the halter and lead rope on the ground and start stomping up and down on it or when I would collapse exhausted against the tree for a break. But never once did I give up and eventually Springtime would take pity on me and make the clear decision to stand perfectly still after the 45 minutes allowing me to halter her. Each time I would be so excited to ride her that by the time I lead her up to the barn to tack up I would have completely forgotten about the past 45 minutes of chaos and all was forgiven.
She was MY perfect pony.
Riding proved to be fairly interesting at times as Springtime would often decide that she no longer wished to go anywhere I wanted to go or even go at all. Yet, on other days, she would get a wild hair and decide to go everywhere I didn’t want to go and go there very fast. The blindness in her one eye often took a bit of negotiating on her riders part because it caused her to be spooky on that side. It was also important to pay attention if the trail dropped off on the blind side because Springtime would not know of the dangerous terrain to her left. One of the many things Springtime did not care for was mud. I remember one trail ride with my sister where we came to a mud crossing that we could not go around and I was determined to get Springtime through it so we could enjoy the rest of our trail ride. After many determined attempts I came to the conclusion that if she refused to walk thru the mud, then I would simply make her jump the mud. Getting far back for a running head start I galloped her towards the mud crossing with all the confidence I could muster. Springtime must have felt my sheer determination because upon reaching the mud crossing she decided that I must surely and truly want to get to the other side so she assisted me in my conquest by slamming on the brakes and catapulting me into the air to cross the mud all by myself. As luck would have it the inertia was not quite enough to propel me clearly across and I landed in a swan dive right in the center of the mud hole.
“Now you’ve done it Pony!!” I said spitting out mud.
I angrily pushed myself up and spun around to point my finger at her but to my surprise she was gone. My anger was immediately swept away and replaced with horror. I thought to myself “oh no, I lost MY pony” and I desperately searched the horizon. To my relief she was only about 100 feet away happily snacking on some luscious field weeds. “it’s a good thing she’s a pig or she might have been miles from here by now.” We then played our customary 45 minute keep away game while she picked new places to graze always just beyond my reach until I finally caught her. This time she had had enough playing around and walked right thru the mud and we had a lovely rest of the trail ride. I returned home covered in mud and couldn’t be more pleased with MY perfect pony.

       Soon I began to attend horse shows with MY perfect pony. I entered her in Hunter/Jumper events. My family did not have much money so I didn’t show often and mostly I wore hand-me-down show clothes from others and borrowed tack but I still remember the day that we finally beat “Foxy lady” in the walk-trot division. And later when my all illusive and diabolical competition “Cherry Berry Soda Pop” finally took 2nd place to “Springtime” in the Short Stirrup division. Onward and upward we moved thru the divisions together becoming a flawless team. I had my dreams set on one day competing in the Pony Hunter division like my older sister but I was willing to be patient and work towards that goal at the rate that Springtime would allow.

      There was a rule in our family that you had to be 8 years old before you could take off into the hills trail riding by yourself. I couldn’t wait. As soon as I was 8, Springtime became my solace. There were many chores that were mandatory on the ranch but one of them was keeping all the horses on your string exercised. I used this to my advantage. Springtime and I would take off into the hills together just her and I. Best friends on countless adventures into the safety of our solitude together. There was also a rule that we had to wear our helmets. So I got into a naive and dangerous habit of wearing my helmet off the property, once out of sight, I would promptly ditch it in the bushes until I returned. Of course, because Princess’s do not wear helmets, neither do Cowboys nor do Indians. So no matter which adventure I was on for the day, ditching the helmet was the first item on the agenda.   Hair flying in the wind, galloping over hills and meadows I had found my freedom. Sometimes I imagined myself as a Runaway Princess leaving my corrupt Kingdom behind to find my own freedom, other times I envisioned myself as Cinderella escaping my duties. A common favorite was to play “Man from Snowy River” (a movie I had seen about an Australian Cowboy). I would find the biggest and steepest hill I could and try galloping carefree down it to recreate an epic scene from the movie. Of course, no one told me that they actually killed a horse in the filming of that movie because it was such a dangerous stunt. Whether it was Cowboys or Indians, Princess or pauper, Springtime was part of my adventure and the key to my escape. She was always there for me to listen to everything I had to say, carry me around on my adventures and of course, to keep me humble with her comical antics.

       In turn, I was always there for her as well. Feeding her morning and night, cleaning her corral, endlessly bathing and brushing her white coat. I even soaked her bit in Strawberry soda the night before shows. Strawberry was her favorite, I was hoping that she would love it and work extra hard for me the next day at the horseshow. I listened to her, I respected her, I was dedicated to her and above all I loved her.

      One day, a few months after my 9th birthday, Springtime fell ill and my world started to crumble. We had the vet come out immediately to take a look. He was very perplexed with her symptoms at first. She had strange swelling around her groin area. After some blood work it became apparent that Springtime had contracted a very rare disease carried by flies. She had sustained a bite to her utter which is where the swelling began but once in her bloodstream it soon spread to other areas of her body. I asked the vet if he had seen this before and he stated “only two other cases.” I then asked him “how did they turn out?” and his demeanor immediately changed. He struggled for the correct words and finally he said “Both horses died.” He must have been feeling the complete desperation because he quickly followed it with “but they didn’t catch it as soon and they didn’t take care of their horses nearly as well as you do.” At this point I did not realize that he was simply trying not to crush a little girls dreams and was giving me hope where there was none to be given. I nodded in understanding, for I was absolutely positive that I could do it. I could be the one to take such great care of her that she would pull through, unlike the other two horses. The vet spoke with my mom in private. I could tell she was not very happy but the only words I could pick up on were “I understand, but I also can’t afford to have you here everyday nursing her for who knows how long.” My heart felt pained and sank into my stomach. I couldn’t speak past the large knot in my throat, my legs became weak and I felt as though I might lose my lunch. Up until now, I had been able to provide for all of my ponies physical and emotional needs but I did not have any money to pay a Doctor for her necessary medical needs. I knew money was tight in our household, and realistically paying a vet to make a house call everyday was out of the question but still I did not want to hear those words come out of my mother’s mouth. We had animals in the past that had “cost too much money medically” and had been euthanized. Sometimes without even giving us notice first to say goodbye. I instinctively stepped closer to my pony providing a protective barrier between the adults and her. Not this one, not MY pony.

       When they were done speaking the vet walked back to me and he kneeled down so that we could speak eye to eye. Not an adult to a kid but one concerned person to another. He said “Your pony is going to need everyday care. In fact, she may need around the clock care and I am too busy to make it by here everyday. So you are going to need to be my assistant and take care of her when I am not here. I will teach you how and you will need to be in charge. Can you do that?” I sucked back the tears and quickly nodded, Yes. I was still emotionally a wreck that Springtime was sick so seriously but I was definitely relieved to have a chance at saving her.

      Over the next couple of days the swelling increased and expanded forward towards her lungs. The Doctor taught me to administer Springtime’s twice daily Intra-muscular shots myself for pain and inflammation. He explained that if the swelling was allowed to harden that it would make it difficult for her to breath and soon hot compresses were prescribed to be applied to the edemas every few hours, 24 hours a day. As it travelled nearer her throat it became difficult for her to swallow and a food substitute with warm bran mash had to be prepared for every meal and hand fed to her. Luckily it was summer time and I did not have school to attend. At the tender age of 9 years old I stepped up and committed to an around the clock caregiver routine. MY pony needed me too. I stuck by her side all day and all night. Applying hot compresses, administering shots, listening to her heart rate and taking her temperature. I prepared all her meals and fed them to her myself. Always encouraging her to keep fighting the disease. I sang to her and I read books to her to pass the time.

       Soon I was allowed to move a cot into Springtime’s stall to sleep in at night. Her breathing was becoming raspy as her lungs were filling up with liquid. I became accustomed to the sound as I would sleep and knew that if she stopped breathing it would awaken me. I applied the compresses even more often and I made them so hot I would burn my hands while holding them against her coat.
I was determined to save my best friend.

       Time blurred after a while of care and I am uncertain if it was merely 2 weeks or as many as 6 weeks later that my Mom announced the family would be taking a trip to see my grandparents in Oregon. I was shocked and confused.
“But I can’t go anywhere right now!!” I shouted pleadingly. “Springtime needs me. There is no one else that can care for her like I do”.
My Mom sat me down at the table and said “Now, now, calm down Wanda. The trip is only 1 week long and I have hired the young lady that use to own and ride Springtime before you did. She is going to move into the ranch temporarily and house sit for us. She is the best person I could think of to take care of your beloved pony.”

       I took some time to contemplate this. My mom was very clear that this trip was for sure happening and as much as I hated leaving Springtime, I also knew that it was not an option for the family to leave a 9 year old home alone. I was however, pleasantly surprised that my mom had found an acceptable solution. After all, if this was the last little girl that had experienced the same kind of relationship that I had with Springtime then there was really no one better to take care of her in my forced absence and until I could return. Reluctantly, I attended the trek to Oregon.

       It took two days to arrive in Oregon but it was just as beautiful as I had remembered it. My Grandparents have 40 acres well off the beaten path and in the middle of a luscious forest. There are Blackberry bushes that you can walk right up to and pick off fruit to your hearts content and plenty of magical places to find yourself alone and happily lost in an imaginary world of adventure. It was so nice to step out of the camper and take in a big breath of fresh forest air full of scents from all kinds of trees, plants, grasses, and the smell of damp earth after last night’s light rain. It seemed to wash away part of the dark cloud I had been living under for the past few weeks. The nature around me lightened my spirit and began to make me feel like a kid again.

       On the third day of our trip, just a few hours after we arrived at my grandparents, the phone rang. I remember it sounded alarming because it was a very old phone with a loud clattering ring to it. As usual, my grandmother answered it. But less usual, she shouted across the porch “It’s for you Mary”(that’s my mothers name). Instantly, I was ripped from my new adventure and my gut told me I should be filled with dread. I sprang from my dreamy state in nature and ran quickly towards the house to eavesdrop. As I reached the house I moved stealthily inside. My mom sat at the phone with her back to me, nodding. With a sad tone but lacking any shock value, my mother said “uh huh,…. uh huh,….. okay then, it’s done?” Now admittedly, that phone call could have been about anything. But somehow I knew. I knew in my gut and in my heart what that phone call was about. And in that very same moment I realized that I had been set up and betrayed. This vacation was a ploy to get me away from Springtime so they could end it.

         I gasped, causing my mother to spin around suddenly realizing that she was not alone in the room. All I could think to do was run away and that is exactly what I did. I ran out the door and off the porch. I ran into the thick welcoming forest and kept running. I didn’t want it to be true but I didn’t need to wait and listen to know that it was true. I ran down to the creek that runs thru their property and back tracked a bit along the edge of the creek until I came to the old wooden bridge. Tucking myself up into a nice hiding place underneath the rickety old bridge at the creeks edge I collapsed in a heap of despair. My body was convulsing and heaving with each sob that it let out and I struggled to catch my breath between the out pours. My tears streamed down my face and fell into the mud around my knees. Eventually I curled up on my side drawing my knees to my chest and my body fell silent.

       It must have taken them a while to figure out what to say and who to send to do it, but after some time passed I started to hear my name being called from somewhere near the house. For fear of punishment, I was typically a well behaved child but I had no desire to answer their calls today.
I remained silent.
After failing at attempts to call me out from the house I began to hear more than one voice calling for me and soon the voices were coming from different directions of the forest. I suppose I had been missing for a pretty long time by now and it was getting dark. By the sounds of it they were sending out a search party. Yet still, I could not bring myself to my feet to retreat back to my betrayers nor could I muster up any kind of answering call from the distance.
So I remained silent and hidden.

       When the sun was almost completely down I gave in. I crept out of my hiding place and climbed up the bank of the river to the roadway. I could not find the strength to walk myself all the way into the house but I figured I would meet them halfway. I walked back into reasonable view and sat down in the swing that hung from a tree just 50 feet from the front porch.

     My father was the first to find me and he softly spoke to me in an attempt to explain. Apparently I was not meant to over-hear that phone call and they both wished I could have had a wonderful vacation first. They planned to inform me on our way home or once we arrived home.
This infuriated me.
I wanted to scream “But our hearts are connected!! You don’t think I wouldn’t feel when hers stopped beating? Do you really think that I would want to go a week in ignorant bliss while my pony was already dead?!” but instead I stayed silent just staring at the ground beneath my tennis shoes. I was so caught up in my own head that I could only hear some of what he was saying. Of course he spoke about the suffering of the pony and pointed out that it was the only right thing to do. And deep down in my heart I knew he was right about that but after everything I had been thru with her I felt that I deserved the respect of being present with her when it was done.
I wanted to hug her, tell her I would see her on the other side.
Explain to her that she wouldn’t hurt anymore.
I needed to be there when the light went out in her eyes. I owed her that.
But that was all ripped away from me in a well-intended decision to spare me the pain.

       Most of that week was a blur of tears but I was grateful to be able to retreat alone into the beautiful peace of nature each day. Upon returning home I realized that my mom had not saved anything related to Springtime. In an effort to avoid drudging up feelings there were no more memories to be readily found of her. Her corral and been cleaned spotless and her tack was already packed away. Had I been given the choice, I would have kept hair from her tail to look upon when I missed her.
This “cover-up” was exceptionally painful for me.
Instead of honoring her memory it felt like everyone was trying to erase her.
Trying to make me just forget her.


       Reflecting back as an adult I realize that my parent’s intent was to spare their nine year-old daughter what they deemed to be unnecessary pain. As parents we all hope to be able to shelter our child from many of life’s great tragedies. Often times we look for the quickest way thru it or around it so we can continue on with our lives pretending it doesn’t exist. But I can honestly attest that even from my young 9 years of experience I knew better with regards to what I could handle. My parents unknowingly created more discord in my heart and between my relationship with them then if I had been allowed to take the tough decision that needed to be made into my own hands and met it head on.


A typical Monday with ADHD

Warning: This is a lengthy one but hilarious if you have, or know anyone that has, Adult ADHD.
(Then again, if it is you that has adult ADHD, you likely won’t make it to the end of the story anyways. LOL)

The Story of My Mondays – Told by Me, an ADHD mother, wife and business owner

First, you need to know that Mondays are my days off. In fact, many weeks they are my only days off and I generally feel a great deal of pressure to make them count.

Next, this is not a story of a particular Monday so much as it is simply an example of a typical Monday for me. Pieces of this story have been collected from my memory and I write them down as they pop up. Then with a lot of effort I took these stories from several different days and arranged them together to make an entire day. On a relative scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst Monday in history) this story will represent a more typical yet slightly drama filled type of Monday for me. I will rate it a 7 or an 8. The rest of this Prelude section will include a detailed “Real Time” running narrative of what’s going on while I am trying to even put this story to paper.

Mondays are typically…
– (forgot to open Cockatoos cage, get up and open, talk to bird, return to computer, “Where was I?”, Oh yes)
Mondays are typically my only day off. As each week progresses my “Monday To Do” list grows and grows.
– (my dog is so cute, look at him running circles chasing his tail that he doesn’t even have. “Back to the story Wanda”)
By the time Monday comes around my To Do List is a mile long…
– (Omg, its Monday and this story isn’t on my To Do list, which means IF I finish it I will have nothing to cross off and feel proud about. That would be a shame. Pick up my phone, Add to To Do List, see that I have email and get sidetracked with email for about 30 minutes)
… Anyways, I feel like it may be impossible to complete the Monday To Do List but if I don’t get it done the next week will only add more and more to it.
– (Beep Beep, oh look someone texted me……….. 15 minutes go by)
– (“Where was I?” Re-read Paragraph that I’ve written and I find that I’ve skipped words or letters so I correct it)

So every Sunday night I set my alarm early for Monday morning because I am determined to FINALLY conquer “The Monday List”.
-(Speaking of that, I can’t believe I slept an hour past my alarm this morning, that was NOT productive!! ….. proceed to think about all the things I could have done during that hour instead of sleep in…. some time passes, I’m not sure how much because I wasn’t paying attention)
Even though the ominous “To Do List” has never been fully conquered on a Monday in the past 20 years, nevertheless, I am hopeful today will be the day.
-(There… I managed to get the opening paragraph completed…… I better re-read it)

Okay, now that you get the idea of how hard and/or time consuming this has been to write I will continue through the Monday story skipping the “Real time” Narrative. But you can pretty much assume that this pattern has been going on throughout the entire story.

6:58AM I beat my alarm awake. Good start. It’s Monday morning and as soon as my eyes open my mind is swirling with all the things I need and want to accomplish today. This is the day that I am going to get EVERYTHING on the list done!!! At the end of this day that list will be EMPTY!!

7:00AM I grab the phone to turn off the alarm but there is a message from Facebook. So I log in and read the message, then I browse the News feed, update my status, chuckle at a few things…..

8:00AM I look at the time. YIKES!! I’ve been on Facebook for an hour, now I’m late. I jump out of bed. I start getting dressed and notice my favorite pants are dirty. I need to do laundry, that’s on the list, so I might as well start. I grab up a bunch of darks, head to the laundry room and throw them in. Looks like there is more room. So I head back to the bedroom for more laundry when I see my unopened Ice Tea on the counter in the kitchen. I’m going to want that cold later so I put it in the refrigerator. But while putting it in the refrigerator I notice the week old Pizza box. That’s right! I need to clean out this fridge before I go grocery shopping. So I start by grabbing the pizza box and taking it to the garage trash can. Except teetering on the top the trash can is the shopping bag with the Hamster food in it that I bought yesterday. Well, I better take that into Jacob’s bedroom and put it in the container since they are almost out of food. I leave the pizza box on the ground and grab up the food bag. I’m pouring the Hamster food in the fresh seal container I have next to the cage when the refrigerator starts beeping because someone left it open. I run back to the refrigerator to close it and stub my big toe on the way there. I manage to close the fridge but now I’m bleeding so I carefully head to the bathroom for a band-aid. As I’m applying the band aid I notice the ring around the bath tub. “Yuck!, I better add that to The List”

9:00AM I pull out my phone to add something to the list but I don’t remember what it was………. Stare at phone……. I need to go potty. While doing this I see the ring on the bathtub again. “Ahh Haa, that was it” I quickly whip out my phone and add it to The List. While on the phone I see that I have an email so I open my email and get lost in email for some time.

9:30AM My legs are numb…… well, that’s because I’m still sitting on the toilet. Silly me. “Back to work!” I walk into the hallway and try to remember what I was working on….. no problem, that’s what The List is for so I open up the phone again and pick something from the list. I pick “Bills”. Okay, I walk to the living room and sit down in front of my laptop to pay some bills. The laptop is not on so I turn it on. Always the over achiever and not wanting to waste time I say to myself “Well, while it’s booting I might as well multi-task and get something else done that’s real quick”. Just then the dog whines. “That’s it, I’ll take the dog out for a quick walk to go potty” heading to the door I realize that I’m not even dressed yet. “Well that will certainly give the neighbors something to talk about” I chuckle and head to the bedroom to finish getting dressed. As I start to get dressed the same thing occurs to me about my favorite pants being dirty. “That’s right!! I was going to start the laundry!!” Opening the two laundry baskets I realize that it needs to be sorted so I began throwing the clothes out of the basket and onto the floor into piles of lights, darks, and delicates. “Eeeek!!!” A spider in the laundry. I run into the kitchen to grab the Raid. I see all the dishes piled up in the sink and say “Shoot, that’s not on my list but I better add it, it’s starting to smell. Well if I don’t add it now I will forget. So Mr. Spider will just have to wait to meet his demise” I set the Raid on the counter and began to look for my phone. Where did I put my phone? Walking around the house.

10:00AM I spot my phone on the couch next to the Laptop which is now booted and waiting for instructions. I sit down with the laptop and somehow I did remember to add “Wash dishes” to my To Do List. “Time for bills.” I say to myself. I start to organize the bills when I notice I have received another email, might as well check it. I get lost in email for a bit.

11:00AM -DING DONG – The doorbell rings. Dog is now barking and the bird is squacking “Who could that be?” “Oh, it’s the end of the first quarter. That’s probably Fed Ex with my quarterly reports for the business that I have to sign for” I get up and head to the door when I realize I’m STILL not dressed!!!! I can’t answer the door and sign for something without any pants on….. Argh. I run as fast as I can to the bedroom to grab some sweats and trip on the first pile of “sorted” clothes I come to near the bedroom door. I am now flailing through the air falling face first towards the ground. Luckily the second pile of dirty clothes softens my landing but before I have time to feel greatful about the second pile of clothes I come nose to nose with Mr. Spider that has been lurking around the laundry pile for the past hour. “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!” I leap up and backwards. Feeling foolish I say “Stupid little Spider, I’ll teach you” I grab my nearest shoe and promptly take care of the problem. Then I think to myself “I wish THAT had been on The List. *Kill stupid Spider* I would love to be able to check that off”

11:02AM Quickly I get back on task and grab a pair of sweats and throw them on. Trot back down the hallway and open the front door. There is no longer a postman there but instead I see a little yellowish/tan card stuck in the door. I read it: “Sorry we missed you. This is our second attempt. Your package will be available for pick up…….etc etc” I sigh. “Dang it. Now I have to make a trip to the post office this week” Closing the door I shrug “Well, better add that to The List or I will forget” At this point the bird has climbed down off the top of her cage for the third time today and I am very annoyed with her. If I put her back inside her cage she will just scream and carry on so I decide to take her to the bedroom cage where she can safely be put inside and I simply will not hear her from the living room as she screams and carries on. While in the bedroom I see the sorted piles and remember that I still haven’t even started the first load of laundry yet. Talking to myself humorously I say “Oh Wanda, what am I going to do with you?” Scooping up the rest of the darks I take them to the laundry room and add them to the load that has been waiting. I put the soap in and set the dial. -RING RING- Whats that? Oh, it’s my phone AND it’s not only my phone but it is the ring tone specific to my loving and adoring husband who I have been missing since this morning. Not wanting to miss the cherished and rare call I rush back into the living room and answer the phone.
(I did not realize that I had not yet pressed the “Start” button on the washer)
I walk around the house talking on the phone for a bit. My husband had called to remind me about something………. It was pretty important….. but I don’t remember it now. But don’t worry though, because it’s on The List….. I think.
Nearing the end of the conversation he casually invites me to meet him for lunch. I immediately become frustrated. Inside I’m feeling like I would LOVE to run off and meet him for lunch but I can also feel the stress quickly building like a storm.
All these questions like: How much time is that going to waste?
How am I possibly going to finish The List if I’m out flitting around having lunch and idle conversation?
This is the ONE Monday when I was finally going to get it ALL done! I ONLY get one day off a week, I can’t waste it on things of pleasure.
-5 seconds of swirling conflict go by-
My husband says: “Wanda? Are you still there?”
I finally respond in some version of emotional vomit: “Lunch? How do you expect me to go to lunch with all the stuff I have to get done? Do you even realize how much stuff I really do on a daily basis? How can YOU go to Lunch? Aren’t you suppose to be busy? Why am I the only one that’s so busy all the time? If you have so much free time why don’t YOU do the laundry? (sarcastically I continue) Sure…… I would LOVE to go to lunch with you and blow off the rest of my day. But I just can’t. You wanted to know how my day was? Well that’s how it is, I don’t even have that much time, that’s how busy I am.”
My surprised and caught off guard husband says shortly: “okay, sorry I asked. I’ll let you go and talk to you later.”

Somehow it’s now 12:00PM and I’m pacing.
I head back to the couch with my laptop waiting for me. I pause….. “Damn it, there was something I was going to add it to The List…….. what was it?” More pacing. “Damn it, Chris made me forget! Damn damn damn. I wish he hadn’t called.”
– A period of time passes while I reflect inwardly –
Well actually, I don’t know what I wish. I am so glad he called and it was great to hear his voice.
I really wish I could have gone to lunch with him.
I wish I could go to lunch with him on any Monday.
That would be really nice.
I don’t know why I lost it on him.
I didn’t even tell him thanks for reminding me about that thing.
Now he probably thinks I never want to go to lunch with him.
He probably won’t even want to invite me again….. or even call me for that matter.
I’m sad.
But if he just hadn’t upset me so much the conversation would have gone better. I mean seriously, doesn’t he even get a clue of how busy I am all the time? He lives with me for Christ sake, shouldn’t he know?
But I really miss him today.
I really wish I could have been sweeter on the phone to him.
Snapping out of it I say to myself out loud “Your wasting precious time, get going”

12:30PM Upon sitting down I see the Yellowish/tan notice. “That’s it. I was going to add a ‘trip to the Post office” I quickly added it to The List. Then, knowing it might get overlooked and being the responsible person that I am, I even took it a step farther and I added a calendar reminder in my phone to alert me when it is available to be picked up from the Post Office.
Proudly I say “There, done.”
Settling into my computer I begin working on Bills again. In an Amazing turn of events I COMPLETE all the bills through Online Bill Pay. I say to myself “Well, there’s something I can cross off my list”

1:30PM I’m hungry. So I fix myself something to eat. While eating I think “hey, I deserve a little bit of ‘me’ time. Maybe I don’t have enough time to drive over to Chris and go out for lunch but I should at least get a little ME time. I think I should be able to watch one of my pre-recorded TV shows on my day off without feeling guilty. What’s an hour of free time in a whole day off? Can’t hurt. Right? In fact, if I fast forward through the commercials it will only be about 40 minutes. That’s good display of proper time management right there. I’m going to do that.” After 15 minutes of debating the pros and cons I switch on the TV. Engrossed in the TV screen I forget the fact that I can fast forward through the commercials and proceed to watch the whole show from start to finish commercials and all. Although somewhere near the end of the program one of the commercials reminded me of something annoying a client of mine did the other day. I stewed over this annoying act for about 15 minutes looking at it from all different angles and dreaming of all the different ways I would have preferred to handle it including some pretty comical and completely unrealistic solutions. As my show is wrapping up in some sort of devastating “to be continued” next twist I realize that I have missed some of it and don’t completely understand the ending. “Well, that just won’t do. How am I suppose to understand what’s going on in next weeks episode? Let’s just rewind that real quick and take a quick look.”

It is now 3:15PM I am done eating and watching my show.
Feeling a bit guilty and very much behind I pick my chin up and say enthusiastically “Don’t let this set you back. Must get back to working on The List.”
– Beep Beep –
Email notification on my phone. Exsaperrated I say “You know, that is like the 10th email alert in the past hour or so.  know I always say No Emails On Monday but those emails are going to stack up quickly if I don’t just get to it now” Curiousity wins out and I open my laptop again and dive into my emails to find out that I have received the most ridiculous email from an innocent client.
“Are you serious?” I say aloud. Heated and anxious about the email I call my sister to share it with her. Then after she whole heartedly agrees and takes my side I decide I need a second, less biased, opinion so of course I call my best friend. “I know your probably busy but can you believe this?” After she agrees my fire has been fueled. “Well then, I’m just going to have to respond immediately to this foolishness” I begin drafting the reply email educating them on how unreasonable all their outlandish ideas and requests are. yada yada yada, etc etc. The email quickly grows into a lengthy wordy emotional retaliation for every dumb question or request that anybody has ever waisted my time with.
Then, as I always do…… I calm down and re-read the email. I re-read and re-read and after I am satisfied that I have thoroughly expressed myself…………… I delete most of it.
After much time the final draft is much shorter. I have supportively and careful answered their request in a very diplomatic and professional tone. I have light heartedly responded and probably compromised on a couple of points to help keep us both smiling.
I press send.
(Not even realizing that I have basically given them instant gratification and information on my sacred day off, a Monday. And I wonder why everyone expects me to answer on Mondays?? All the while taking up an hour and a half of my precious and ever important TO DO List time.)

4:45PM Moments after hitting send I realize the computer is “stuck”
What is it doing now?
I impatiently strum my fingers on the edge. Is it going to send the dang email or not?
My email disappears and a smaller rectangle window pops up accompanied by a dreadful short audio alarm buzz. It says “Could not complete the task…..something or another… bla bla….. network failed…….” I’m not really sure what it said through the red haze that now covered my vision. It might as well have been greek to me. My husband is the computer savvy guy and I can’t rely on his assistance because for all I know he is still out to lunch somewhere having fun or since he has so much time on his hands maybe he even left work early and is fishing down at the shore. I throw my hands in the air. Great!! Now my email is probably gone. I glance at the time: 4:50. Almost screaming in my mind I think “What? Where has the day gone?” What followed this thought was a string of explicatives which I will spare you. Once again my head is swirling. All the chores, all the important things to get done, so much to do, so little time.

The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland flashes through my mind, scurrying down the dirt corridors in his little plaid vest. He whips out his time piece to check the time and desperately proclaims to whoever will listen “I’m late I’m late I’m late”. And now for a moment I am that little white rabbit. Hurriedly and frantically rushing through a fantasy world of nonsense. Fairytale creatures, bright swirling colors of poka dots and stripes. As I hurry, I rush by the Cheshire Cat who is pompously grinning at my failures. Funny looking trees pass by, an oversized mushroom with a crazy looking Catapillar sits wisely on top smoking his hooka. Maybe I should stop and partake? Maybe it will chill me out? NO!! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. Funny looking cottages and a Tea Party with Hats. All the while fanatically worrying about an agenda that I can’t quite remember but know in my very being is just oh so important.
But now thoughts change to The Great Nothingness that is swallowing every dream ever created. A boy riding his Dog Dragon through the Never Ending Story trying to save what is left of this dream land. But this mythical world is crumbling all around him. Rocks are tumbling down, trees are getting blown out of their roots as the Nothingness continues to gain speed and swallow everything in it’s path.
Will the hero save it in time?
Or will the world fall and crumble into the great Nothing and become nothing?
“Oh stop being so dramatic and snap out of it Wanda!” I say firmly scolding myself.
“Organize your thoughts.”
“Call Chris”

5:00PM I’m calling Chris.
No Answer. Well, either he has had enough of me and doesn’t want to talk to me ever again or he is out fishing having a grand old time while I am trying to salvage my last 2 hours with this email mess. Because of course, those are the only 2 possible scenerios. Now I am mad at my computer, I’m angry at myself because it is so late, I am steaming at anybody that dares to email me on a Monday when they know I’m not going to answer, and it’s all Chris’s fault because he is the computer guy!!!
So there.
I thrust myself backwards deeper into the support of the couch and fold my arms defiantly over one another.
I pout about it.
And with a frown I say “What a terrible day!”

5:15PM Wait a minute……
what is that noise? I unfold my arms and tilt my head.
Sounds almost like water running onto the carpet behind me……….
Well that’s just impossib……..… SHIT!!!!!
I leap off the couch screaming at the dog “MAX!!!!! NO!! BAAAD DOG!! STOP!!” The dog tucks his butt in fear and takes off down the hallway leaving a trail of unfinished business in his wake for the entire 20 feet. Now to truly understand the gravity of this situation you must first understand that my husband does not like the dog in the first place. And second, this is our first home together that we actually own and he is very protective over everything in it. This especially includes the condition of the carpet. Third, my husband may not have the best hearing but he has an incredible super sense of smell. This realization hits me and insues another stream of explicitives which I will once again spare the reader from.
In my anger I search the house but cannot immediately find the dog.
Smart Dog.
Then as I have a chance to take a couple deep breaths I remember that it is all my fault because hours earlier he whined to tell me he needed to go out and I got distracted and never took him. Feeling like a terrible dog mother (LOL, I guess that makes me a bitch) I slumped down to the floor. Sitting cross legged on a non-soiled section of the floor and picking at the carpet fibers I started talking to Max. “I’m sorry buddy. That was all my fault. You can come out now, I’m not mad.”
Mustering up a little cheerier voice I said “Come here Max. Come here. I still love you.”
Dogs being the over achieving people pleasing loyal and forgiving animals that they are…. Max soon came cautiously out of hiding and tentatively climbed up into my lap. Within seconds he was offering me to rub his tummy and happy to be receiving pats and praise for the peeing on the carpet incident.
(It’s a wonder I ever I got him potty trained at all)
“Let’s go for that walk I promised you earlier. I will clean up the mess as soon as we get back” I don’t have shoes on but I don’t even care at this point. I can manage barefoot. Also feeling like a bad bird mother, I give in and retrieve the bird from the bedroom cage and place her on top of the living room cage where she loves to be to watch over everything and play with her toys. I’m feeling better now about calming down and doing the right things. At least my animals are happy. Max and I head out for our walk.

5:30PM We are coming back in the house from a short happy walk when I see the clock. “Oh no!! I have to get Jacob from his Extended Studies after school program by 5:45.” I quickly take off the leash and promptly step forward into the wet squishy spot of carpet with my still bare foot. Speaking mostly to myself but somewhat to the dog too: “Damn it!!. Chris is going to be home soon and you peed all over the carpet!” I quickly grab paper towels and throw them down over the mess. Then I use up most the rest of the roll following the trail down the hallway. “Well, that will just have to do for now. The towels can soak it up while I’m gone. Once again I’m out of time and I’m late.” Grabbing some shoes I jump in the car and leave to pick up my son.

6:15PM When I return home my husband has not yet made it home. It turns out he had a quick stop to make. I think to myself, maybe this is my break and I can try to clean up and salvage the situation as best as possible. I’m feeling pretty sheepish about the potty accident and have to figure out how to explain to Chris that it is actually my fault. When I walk into the living room my jaw drops and I am now frozen. When I left in a hurry to get Jacob I broke a cardinal house rule.
Never leave the bird unattended outside her cage –
In the 25 minutes I was gone she got bored and climbed down off her cage. Piecing the wreckage together I figure she must have headed first for the paper towels that I had left. She apparently had a wonderfully entertaining time shredding them into tiny little soiled pieces and leaving them strewn about everywhere. Next she climbed up on the couch, pulled some keys off my open laptop and deficated in a number of different places along her path. Lastly she was currently enjoying a game of “Chew all the buttons off the $150, difficult to program, and hard to find Universal remote control.” Knowing her freedom was soon coming to an end she was working on all of it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Following the initial shock I experienced a brief moment of comical jealousy as I thought:
“Geez, If only I could get that much done in just 25 minutes.”
Just then I heard the sound of the Garage door opening and my husband was pulling in the Jeep. I didn’t know whether to run and hide like Max had previously done or throw my hands in the air and waive a white flag. At that moment I was a jumbled up mess of every emotion one could imagine. Not sure whether to laugh or cry.
My loving and ever supportive husband walks through the door and says: “Hi Honey, I’m home. I’m sorry if my called interrupted you today. Did you get it all done?”
I remained silent. I couldn’t even begin to recall what “it” even was. Let alone whether I had done it or not.
Heading from the garage through the kitchen he continued “Honey? Did you get a lot done today like you hoped?” Still I remained silent. He finished his entrance into the living room and upon observing the mess said “Oh my…… umm, how was your day?”
And that is precisely when I lost it!

Just Call Me Crazy

The next hour is a little blurry but I know there was ranting and raving, pacing and sitting, plenty of crying and sobbing, and there were many times when even I didn’t understand half the words that were trying to come out of my mouth. It was my fault for being stupid, it was his fault for being a computer guy, it was the business fault, the emails faults, the computers fault, Max’s fault, the bird, my mothers for raising me. In fact I was pretty convinced the entire world is out to get me and make sure that I fail. My husband was mostly at a loss for words and when this happens he just stays quiet and still. I guess he figures he’ll just weather the storm. As usual, his lack of participation launches me into a monologue of how poor of a communicator he is and now my bad mood is all his fault for being such a poor communicator. “And now that we’re on that topic…..” I suddenly feel the need to continue this train of thought at 100mph pushing it straight into a full blown fight. Something deep inside wants to just let it go and hug him.
But NO!! HE should be hugging ME!!
As I stoke the fire some more…… “Whats wrong with you anyways, just sitting there? Don’t you even care about what I am going through? How can you be so silent?” “Fine.”
To myself, I think: He wants to play the silent game, we can play the silent game. I can be silent and irritating too. So I cross my arms and hunker down for the silent game. Glaring at him. But the water is boiling up inside, rising higher and higher. Reaching a critical point of combustion. Steam is coming out my ears. It has been hours that we have been sitting here like this. Well, I’m not so sure about that. Maybe minutes, maybe seconds, but that doesn’t matter! It feels like it has been hours. Fine. “You win!!” I say breaking the silence with more ranting.
My husband is probably sitting there thinking “Win what? What the hell is this crazy woman talking about now?”
Telling himself “Just don’t talk dude, you’ll only make it worse.”
Again that little part of me somewhere deep inside whispers “This is the man you love, adore, hell… you practically idolize him. Just take a deep breath, let it all go, walk over there and give him a hug. I promise you will feel so much better.”
NO! I just can’t!! I don’t know why I can’t but I just can’t!! I want to….. but I literally cannot. My brain will continue to find any piece of long buried kindling to throw on that fire to keep it going.
In fact: “look how much time this whole argument has taken!! I could have been productive working on The List this whole time but instead I am having a one way fight with you! Now I’m not getting anything done!!”
Why is he looking at me like I’m Nutts?
I am not crazy!
I wish he would just say something….. I think to myself “Boy he is lucky he didn’t grow up with MY mom. Now SHE was CRAZY!! When she was on a war path nothing and no one was stopping her. Any transgression was up for grabs. It didn’t matter how old it was, if you had already been beaten for it before, or even if it was completely imagined by her. She would use whatever she could get her mind wrapped around. Best to just flee at the first signs of the storm. No one could stop the storm once it started. No one that is but dad. He had this way of intervening if it got real bad. He would calmly and quietly walk into the room, wrap his arms around her and lovingly remove her. All the while she’s kicking and screaming.”
Seriously, if he wants to sit there and tell me, with his eyes, that I’m crazy he should have met my mother back then. Just then breaking my train of thought that little voice in my head sneaks forward again and says in secret to me “I wish he would get out of that seat and come here and hug me.”

That’s all I can say after re-reading and reflecting on this chapter to myself.
Guess who the crazy one really is? ME!!

The facts of that Monday were that I did NOT finish the Monday List.
I didn’t even come close.
I couldn’t even really give you or anybody else a list of the stuff I HAD done. All I know is that I was very busy ALL day. I had started the day excited that this would be the day that I got everything done and I had every intention of working very hard to do it. I Never “slacked off” or got “lazy” and other than the 1 TV program, I didn’t even engage in anything fun or recreational.

Ironically by the end of the day the scene looked like this:
Clothes strewn all over the room into haphazard piles.
My Ice tea still in the fridge, unopened.
The Fridge still not cleaned out.
The dishes still not done.
There are un-used band-aids all over the bathroom counter.
A pizza box now randomly lays on the floor of the garage with old Pizza in it.
A Hamster food bag is half emptied and sitting on the night stand next to the fresh seal container that’s lid is not even on.
Paper towel remnants are everywhere.
Very little paper towel left.
Half the buttons missing from the remote control.
Dog pee still everywhere.
One very confused and less potty trained dog.
The first load of laundry in the washer with soap seeping into it but no one has pressed start.
My favorite pants are still dirty.
A dead spider smushed into the bedroom carpet.
I missed the mail though I was home the entire day.
The dirt ring is still around the tub.
I’m sure I probably used all the toilet paper and didn’t replace it when I spaced out in the bathroom.
My “To Do List” grew by quite a few items.
My email response to my client is probably stuck in cyber space somewhere.
My computer needs fixing.
The remote needs to be replaced.
I didn’t do whatever “it” was that Chris had called to remind me about that I’m sure was very important.
AND I got in a big fight with him when He actually didn’t do anything wrong.
Just think……. I was only trying to be Super Human and do everything right that day.

After re-reading and revising this many times, leaving it and coming back many times, I have learned a lot about myself and about this Monday. All I can do now is laugh at myself. With a big sigh I say “Well….. After 12 hours of rushing around at least the kid got picked up from ESS and the bills got paid.”
Panic strikes.
“BILLS?…. OH CRAP!! I forgot to run to the bank to deposit the checks.”
That was item #22 on The List.
Quick, check of the watch.
“Damn, It’s after 6:00pm. Banks are closed and I do not currently have enough money in the accounts to cover all those bills. “


-Update: Since originally experiencing these typical Mondays and deciding to write about them, I have now received 8 months of Neurofeedback for my ADHD and I am very proud to say that I do not suffer through my days off like this anymore. I have lower anxiety, lower stress, and I am also a MUCH better communicator to my husband. Hooray for Neurofeedback!!! I am very very thankful.


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