Warning! It’s slightly possible that this may come off sounding a little judgy.
So, Mark called me at work the other day and asked if I wanted to go up to Steedman with him after work. Steedman is pretty close to our place off the grid. He’s always looking for a reason to go up there, but this one was relatively legitimate. He had to deliver a huge TV and he needed my help to lift it in and out of the truck. I told him I’d go. He was explaining where the house was and that it was probably going to be fairly disgusting inside (we’ve driven down that road thousands of times and 90% of the houses are truly dumps), but that if I’d help him get it out of the truck he wouldn’t need my help getting it set up in the house.
We found the place without any trouble at all and since the air conditioning was broken in the truck we had all the windows rolled down. We pulled in the drive and I crinkled up my nose, “Ewwww. There is a pig sty somewhere.” We glanced around and didn’t see any pigs, but there were chickens. I’ve never known chickens to smell so bad.
The couple lived in the basement of a house so when we got there Mark went and knocked on the door while I began unstrapping the TV from the bed of the truck. A really scrawny, camo-wearing guy came to the door and he and Mark rolled the old TV out and we unloaded the new one. After unloading the new one, we loaded the old one up in the truck. Mark recommended that I tie it down while he went in and got the new one all hooked up. Off they went and left me to my own devices. Probably not the best idea.
After tying down the TV I thought I’d go check out the chickens. The shed/coup that they were in was a six by six building. Two thirds of the inside was wired off, leaving enough room for you to walk into the front part of the shed and feed the chickens. There was a small window on one side and a little larger window on the other side, giving a little bit of circulation inside the shed. I could see quite a few chickens from the open door and I was thinking that they were all hanging out on one side of the shed so that they could see me. They seemed quite interested in me and what I was doing. As I got closer I clearly saw that I was way off in my assessment. There must have been about 30 chickens in this small space. They were all standing up, rather crowded together. I may or may not have put on a pouty face. Pour things. I walked away from the coup because I couldn’t take the sadness of what I was seeing, and I was bombarded with biting flies. I walked up towards the road looking for a breeze.
As I turned to leave the chicken coup area the scrawny camo-wearing guy came out of a room with a chain saw. Weird, I thought. I watched him for a moment because his unexpected appearance startled me a bit. I jumped a little when I heard a grunting noise behind me. I turned to see a pig staring right at me. My day was getting too strange. I knew I had smelled a pig when we pulled into the drive, but I couldn’t see it. Well, that’s because it was hidden in the shadows. I walked a little closer to get a better look and the thing just stood there staring at me. I wondered for a moment if he was stuck in the foot deep mud that he was standing in. He was making a weird, pitiful grunting noise and I was fairly certain he wasn’t well. After staring at each other for a bit, he finally moved. Kind of climbed out of the mire and into another muddy section of his sty. The only thing giving me consolation at this poor animal’s living condition is that I know they don’t sweat and they need to hunker down in the mud to stay cool in the stifling weather that we’ve been having.
It has been so overbearingly hot the last few days and after riding in an unairconditioned vehicle and helping load and unload the TVs I was desparately looking for a place where I could find a breeze. I stood up by the road thinking that was my best shot for it when I heard the chain saw fire up. Well, now! I just knew that scrawny camo-wearing dude was in hacking up my husband to bits because people who keep animals in those conditions are capable of anything. Am I wrong? So even though I knew in my logical brain that my husband was not being dismembered in the basement of a backwoods house, my heat-riddled, delirious brain was screaming at me to go save him! This may come as a huge surprise to you, but as I rounded the corner of the house Mark was walking out the door totally unscathed!
I don’t know why my brain does that to me. But it never fails. I can be in a perfectly peaceful environment and my brain goes to these bizarre places. For instance, when I’m riding the wave runners up the river towards the dam I will suddenly begin wondering what would happen if the dam broke. I figure that I can go more than 60 mph on the wave runners so if it occured to me soon enough that the dam had broken (do you get the same “withdrawal of water” thing like you do with a tidal wave??) then I could probably whip around, race down the river and hang a left (upstream) at the Missouri River. So, yeh…maybe I could get out of the way, but would Mark follow me upstream on the Missouri River? That river kind of freaks him out. Perhaps I should tell him what the plan is in case the dam breaks while we’re out there.
OR, when Mark works out of town and I’m home alone in the evening, I have it planned out in my head how I would get out of the house and let the dogs up in case of a home invasion.
OR, if the furnace were to explode I know how I’d manage to get the dogs out and save my scrapbooks before fire engulfed the whole house.
OR, if the giant oak tree were to fall onto our house, I know the exact safest place I need to be to not be injured.
OR, if a tornado comes, I know where I have to gather the dogs, cats and husband in order to not die.
There are more escape routes circling around in my little pea brain. Give me a scenario and I could probably tell you without batting an eye what I’d do. Where I’d go. Because believe me. I’ve thought of them all. I can’t help it. I’m a chronic “plan for the worst case scenario” type person. See. I wasn’t kidding. I’ve got issues.