Thursday, June 26, 2008

What a Silly Question!

The horses graze on the back three acres which leaves the front 1 1/2 to 2 acres to mow. As I said, I am using a 15 year old MTD Huskee and the thing is just not enjoyable. I like mowing grass but not with this mower. It is 88 degrees and the mower blows hot air at you while you mow, it also spews out black smoke. The gas pedal is just far enough out of my reach that I have to twist at an angle to reach it and even then it only goes about 2 miles an hour.

So the thing about me is that I think life should be fun. If I have to do something that is not fun, I find ways to make it less boring. Hence the Mickey Mouse ears. Yep, I have still not gotten to go to Disneyland but when times get tough and I have to do a chore that I am not particulary looking forward to, I break out the ears and put them on. It adds humor to my life. My grandson got them for me when HE went to Disneyland.

So I am out mowing, ears in place when a black pickup truck pulls up and stops. "Excuse me", I hear from the truck. So I stop the mower. "My husband and I were driving by and noticed you are wearing Mickey Mouse ears to mow the grass, can I ask why?"I can hear her husband laughing from the driver seat. What a silly question. I smiled and thought to myself, "Tomorrow, you will be the view from my horse". I said "These ears?" Pointing to my big black ears. "Yes", she said. I simply answered..."Because I couldn't find my Elvis sunglasses." Her husband laughed louder and she simply said "Oh". I told her to have a nice day and continued mowing the grass.

Life is hard sometimes and you have to remind yourself to have fun with it regardless. If you have to stop your big black pickup and ask, you will never get it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cow Hunting

I have never been a big fan of hunting. Yes, the obvious reasons apply however I really don't like the wild gamey taste of hunted meat. This especially applies to the taste of deer meat. My husbands aunt and uncle raise beefalo in Colorado. Beefalo are cattle bred to buffalo. They tell me it tastes really good but I have yet to see or taste proof of this. I know that horsemeat is a delicacy in several countries but eat a horse? NEVER!

The economy being what it is, I will admit that I really miss a good steak now and then. Give me a T-bone or a porterhouse with some Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce and I am in heaven. So this is what led to the conversation between myself, my husband and a couple of clients the other day. We decided that there ought to be open season on cows. Now I am just asking for one day. One day where it is legal to hunt cows. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I would be the first one to pick up a gun and go sit in my neighbors pasture and bag me a freezer full of meat. I don't mean to sound cruel but come on, think about it. I couldn't hit the side of a big red barn with a rifle but sitting on a bale of hay along side of that pasture full of cows, I could probably eat steak for an entire season! Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Ok so cows are really cute. I get that, I do. But they taste good too. Ok, so I am a redneck and proud of it. Ok, so you might be a vegetarian and don't eat meat at all. Thats all right, you can eat a salad on the new open season on cows. It's just a suggestion and nothing more. The view from the back of my horse is the twenty acre pasture of cows nearby that slowly graze and soak up the sun and have no idea what I am suggesting. Tasty view. Stock up on Sweet Baby Rays!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I just want to mow my grass!

As you all well know, today is the third week of June. In the summer of 2006, I purchased a TORO LX460 riding lawnmower from D and R Equipment in Maumee, Ohio and it broke down shortly thereafter. They were very kind in coming to pick it up being I had my daughter and husband both in the hospital at the time. They fixed it and sent it back only to come get it again for the same issues. I mowed a couple times and put it up for the winter. Come spring of 2007, the deck would engage and disengage by itself. Very dangerous, right? It was also chewing up belts so they came and got it several times over the summer. I believe they have had my mower in their shop more hours than I have actually used it to mow grass. So guess where my mower is? You got it. D and R Equipment in Maumee!

This time it was engaging and disengaging at random and one of the blades went clean through a piece of metal causing it to break off and shoot across the yard where my grandson had just come out to tell me dinner was ready and missed him by inches. So I call Toro whom I have spoken to several times about the fact that there was a problem with the deck that was never recalled but apparently there was a kit to fix it. I pointed out the danger of metal pieces flying off and they proceeded to give me a lecture about having children nearby while mowing. Ok, good point, he should not have come outside while I was mowing but metal pieces flying off their mowers and blades engaging and disengaging at will is much more dangerous, right?

Liz from TORO tells me that I should not mow grass more than six inches long and their mowers are not designed to mow more than 1/2 acre. Their dealer knew that I had two acres to mow when he sold me the mower. Michael Hoffman, CEO of TORO, are you listening by chance? Well if you are, you're going to love this one. I am now told that because of the deck issue, I have to choose one level in which to mow my grass even though I purchased a mower with five levels. She told me that if she were me, she would sell the mower to someone else and let it be their problem. They even tried to tell me that my warranty has expired while it has been in the shop for almost a month now. Is this the way Toro takes care of their customers and stands behind their mowers? If so, I want a John Deere.

So as I said, D & R Equipment picks up the mower again on May 23 and since that time they have been telling me that they are "waiting for parts". It has been almost a month and they are still waiting for parts. Today, I call to see if the parts have come in and they answer their telephone, "YEAH!" with attitude and the most unprofessional manner that I have ever heard. Not becoming to a respected toro dealer. What is their answer to my same old question? You guessed it, waiting on parts. They have sold me a really bad mower, have attempted to fix it several times, have had it in their shop way too long and too many times, have tried to blame me for the problems, now both them and TORO are treating their customers with total disregard.

Mr. Michael Hoffman, Liz and every other person at Toro, you are the view from my horse today because I just want to mow my grass and it is getting too long to see anything other than from the back of a horse. In todays economy, I say we need to put our hard earned dollars in the pockets of those who appreciate it enough to treat us with common courtesy and let the rest of them just go out of business. I suggest we start with buying a John Deere from the Andersons or another competetor and the people who claim to know how to repair mowers, go back to mowing grass for a living. I have made 27 phone calls to date to Toro asking for help and I am still mowing my grass with a 15 year old huskee while my "new" mower is sitting in the shop.

I will give you all an update if this problem is ever resolved but for those of you in the market for a new mower, take my advice and pass on this mower, this company and this dealer. If you stop by, I might not be able to see you through the tall grass so whistle and I will come out and play marco/polo with you until I find you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Bucket List

I watched the movie The Bucket List and it got me thinking of where I would like to go before I die. If money were no object, here is where I would like to go. Any Sandals Beach Resort because they are so beautiful, I would like to walk the beaches of the outer banks in North Carolina, I would like to fly to Miami and rent a convertable and drive to Key West one more time and Disneyworld because Ive never been there. When my travels were over and my time was coming to an end, I would then like to lay in my own bed in the arms of the man I love and sleep. Oh if money were no object. Just a beautiful thought on a perfect summer night with a sky full of a million stars. Life is good and we have today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Dragonfly

There is a chapter in The Horses We Love The Lessons We Learn that tells a story of my childhood fear of dragonflies. This came about after my mother told me to be careful of them because they would sew my eyes and mouth shut.As a young girl, I found myself in a field with a torm approaching and dragonflies swooping everywhere around me and I was terrified. That was until a friend of my dads found me, rescued me and told me that they were spirits that watched over me and guided me through life.

I was reminded of this story early this morning when I went out to vaccum the pool. I created a garden near the pool with a small pond for the animals and insects to get a drink of water on hot days. This beautiful blue winged dragonfly decided that the swimming pool looked more refreshing and as a result, I found him lying on the surface of the water struggling to fly. His beautiful wings were wet and he couldn't take off. I got the skimmer and attempted to reach him and the harder I tried to rescue him, the more he fought me and the further he would drift out of my reach. He was frightened and in his fear, he resisted my help.

You can't help someone who is too frightened to help themselves.

Horses are fear and flee animals by nature. By this I mean their instinct tells them to flee from what they percieve as a threat. When they are frightened and in trouble such as when they are tangled in a fence or cast against a wall in their stall and can't get up, the fear takes over and often times when you try to help them, they panic.

You can't help someone who is too frightened to help themselves.

People are the same way in that we sometimes get ourselves into a bad situation and out of fear, we sometimes get in so deep that we can't find our way out. When someone tries to help, we panic and fight their help and we continue to get in even deeper. That dragonfly this morning reminded me of someone in my own life and I am sure each of you have tried to help someone that is in trouble. If this describes you, you are the view from the back of my horse today because I know how difficult that can be. Be patient, be persistant and no matter how hard they fight you, be there for them. Do make them accountable for their own recovery but try to lessen the fear. Do be honest with them in what you see but remind them that you love them. Do make them understand that you will be there no matter what but you can't do it for them.

You can't help someone who is too frightened to help themselves but you can be there when they stop struggling long enough to recognize that they need help and you are their soft place to fall.

I moved the dragonfly to the garden and when I went back an hour later to check on him, I was happy to see that he was no longer where I left him. He may have flown away and gotten out of his bad situation and there may come a day when he comes back to the pool and will drown because I wont be there to help him but for now, I was there. Be there for those you love and continue to rescue them if you can. We all need help sometimes.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Swanton Storms

The tornado warnings of friday night were incredibly frightening for me. As I explain in one of the stories in The Horses We Love, The Lessons We Learn, my family suffered a direct hit from a rather large tornado when I was quite young. The fear of that experience has stayed with me.

I have a routine. The sirens go off, I quickly gather all the animals in the house, my favorite blanket, a flashlight and my cell phone and sit on the bathroom floor. This has been my routine since we built this house 18 years ago. However, we have recently replaced the large sturdy tub with a standing glass shower. Now I am surrounded by glass and I am sure it isn't as safe as it once was. It is familiar to me so there is safety in familiarity regardless of how dumb it might be. So here is the thing. A new client was supposed to bring his dog at 3:00 in the afternoon. We close at 4:00 on friday but I waited. He was three doors down all day and never bothered to call to say he would be late. 6:00 rolls around and still no word. So I called a client on the waiting list and rented his run to them. Cut to 8:30 pm on a firday night and the tornado sirens are blaring and I am sitting in my safe place and my cell phone rings. Now he is telling me that he is a little late but would like to come now. I explain that is not an option and ask if he sees the funnel cloud in the field across the street that my hubby is describing to me. He says no. I say good bye and hang up the phone and he continued to call me back four times! I finally turned off the phone.

I am willing to go the extra mile for a client however this was about 20 miles and it had been a long week. I told him he could come in the morning at 8:30 when we opened and we would make some changes to accomodate him. He was a no show.

So after the friday night storms, I mowed the grass and finished yard work thinking that more rain was coming and the lawn would look wonderful for the entire week. Wrong! More storms blew through last night and mother nature decided that the large maple tree would look lovely on my fence, our big cherry would be better on the neighbors fence and our sassafras tree fit perfectly across our driveway. Trees take up less space when they are standing upright, don't they? So the view from the back of my horse (and the neighbors horses who were enjoying the leaves off the downed tree) is whomever invented the chainsaw because ours is going to be used a lot over the next few days. Oh happy days. I hope everyone survived the storms.


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Triple Crown and Big Brown

Like so many of you, I love horseracing. I always have but lately it seems that the tragedy that comes with the sport has been more at the center of our focus than the excitement. It has been so long since a horse has won the coveted Triple Crown which consists of The Preakness, The Kentucky Derby and the Belmont. It would have been nice to see Big Brown run his way into the history books but alas he fell short. He was beaten by a horse that in a previous race, was left 38 lengths behind when BigBrown passed him. It just goes to show us that nothing is a sure bet. I think in part, thats what makes the sport so appealing.

After Barbaros tragic death last year and then Eight Belles breaking both of her front legs and having to be euthanized, we now sit with a knot in our stomachs during a big race praying that these beautiful athletes come out of the race in one piece. Horses are no different than any other athlete in any other sport in that they give their all in their bid for a win and running is in their blood. Most owners and trainers truly love their horses and would never do anything to cause them harm but there are always some who would do anything to win. These are the ones that give racing a bad name. It isnt as though a horse breaking down on the track is a new thing, certainly not. It happens all the time however not all races are as publicized as the triple crown.

I am not a big fan of PETA and their radical tactics I will admit however that the sport needs to be monitored because it is driven by money and money makes some people do things that they would not normally do. From everything I seen, Big Brown ran a clean race and I was pleased to hear that he didnt lose due to any physical issues but the Belmont is the longest race of the three and he was just not up to the challenge in that sweltering heat. My admiration to the jockey for recognizing this and pulling up the horse to avoid injury.

So the view from the back of my horse is Big Brown and his jockey, both true athletes in every sense of the term. Maybe not the winners of the triple crown but winners in my eyes. What a race!