Monday, January 31, 2011

3 A.M. Wakeup Call Awaits

It sounds like I'm going to be moving snow again. They're saying 4-6 inches here, which isn't too bad. The 30-40 mph winds are not going to be much fun. Good thing the heater in the tractor I run works well. I'm ready to not do this job anymore. I'm thankful that the guy that runs the operation offered me the job and that it pays well, but I'm not a fan of the hours. I also hate leaving Shay home alone. Luckily, if it snows as much as they say, it should only be a 10-12 hour shift. Weather man is saying there could be zero (0) visibility at times, so that could be exciting.

Grandpa and I were supposed to sort cattle tomorrow, but luckily that's been postponed. I would've done it if we absolutely had to, but the meat packing plant said we could bring them in Friday instead. I'm hoping they weigh 1,300 pounds, but it's always a crap shoot with the first load of fats. I'm guessing 1,150 pounds. It will still be a good payday. For what we're getting for them, we should gross at least $1,200 a head. Here's hoping. 

For those of you who are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, Grandpa and I feed a few head of cattle every year. We buy them when they weigh about 600 pounds and feed them until they weigh around 1,200. There's a meat packing plant in Grand Island, so we sell direct to them. About this time every year, we sell the ones we've been feeding, then buy some more 600 pounders and feed them until May, when we put them in the pasture for the summer. We bring them home in September, then finish feeding them out. I usually buy 20 head and Grandpa buys 40-50. Dad supplies the feed for my cattle as part of my payment for working for him. Grandpa usually feeds, since the cattle are on his place. And because he really likes feeding cattle. I think going to the sale barn is one of his favorite things in the world.

Hope everyone is stocked up on food and firewood. Could be in for a rough couple of days.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I Love Winter

It gives me the opportunity to say "suck it winter, we made it" on the first day of spring when I no longer have to wear a jacket to work in the morning. It refuels the fire to go play in the dirt and grow something. When it's hotter than hell in July and August with 147% humidity, it reminds me that it's probably better than snow and -30 degree wind chills.

I'm getting excited to get back to farming. By the end of harvest, we're all usually pretty drained and ready for some time away. About this time of year, we start getting ants in the pants. By April 1st, I'll be chomping at the bit. By June 15th, I'll be bitching about how tired I am of being in the tractor. By July 5th, I'll be bitching about irrigating. By September 1st, I'll be bitching about picking up irrigation pipe. Then the fun stuff will begin, but by November 1st, I'll be getting tired of harvest. Winter will come and I'll enjoy it for a little bit, but by this time next year, I'll be pretty bored again.

I have no idea how people can sit in an office and do the same thing every day. I need variety. And there are plenty of opportunities in my career field to say "Huh, I've never seen that before." Although I'm not really my own boss (Dad and Grandpa always have something for me to do), I still get to basically set my own schedule. Actually, the weather sets my schedule. I'll be bitching about that, too.

I really don't know where this rambling is going. I like farming.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Good Morning

I've been away a couple of days. Sorry about that. I don't know what I was doing Wednesday that I didn't write. I meant to write last night, but I didn't get home until 11:45 from a meeting, so after waking Shay up so she could move from the couch to the bed and taking Hannah out before I put her in her kennel for the night, I went to bed. Hannah had to get stitches in her paw, so she's been in the house with us. I think she's going out of her mind with boredom. Charlie has already had hip surgery and a broken pelvis. Now Hannah has stitches. I hope we have good health insurance by the time we have kids. 

Today, I'm going to ask for some more prayers, because I believe that prayer is a pretty awesome thing.

The reason I was so late in getting home last night is that I am on the board of directors and Heartland Lutheran High School in Grand Island. I graduated from there, and besides coaching JV basketball for a year, haven't had much to do with the place. For a lot of reasons my heart was hardened towards that school. A few months ago, I received a call from the school board president asking if I'd like to be appointed to the board. I'm not smart, but I know when God is nudging me somewhere. 

Or hitting me with the holy 2x4, as my high school English teacher, Mrs. Blake, would say.

We're talking about a private school that hasn't been in existence for very long. I think this is the 12th or 13th school year, but I could be wrong. I know it's less than 15. This means a lot of struggle. There were a couple of issues that came to a head last night, which was good, but at the same time, it's a little heart breaking for me. It frustrates me to know that the school is no better off now than it was when I graduated 7 years ago. 

It's also frustrating because I don't really know what to do about it. I don't know why God placed me in this situation. Either I'm too dense, or it hasn't been revealed to me yet. I'm a man. I'm not good at waiting. I like to fix things. Now. I don't want to sit and talk about possible solutions for 4 hours. I want to find the solution and get after it.

On the other hand, there are a couple of things I'm excited about. The first is the fact that there are going to be 35-45 kids in our Sunday School class this Sunday. Worms is hosting a basketball tournament, and some families are hosting basketball players from visiting teams, so they'll be in class. I'm pretty pumped and a little nervous all at the same time.

Secondly, I'm excited about the discussion pastor and I had yesterday about the youth group at Worms. When I was in high school, our youth group was pretty large. We had youth group every Wednesday night, went on mission trips every summer, had a bunch of kids in Sunday School every week. The pastor that started that left, we had a vacancy pastor for awhile, then another, then had 7 calls turned down, then had a pastor that had no interest in youth group. It's been dormant for awhile. Pastor and I have been talking for a couple of years about getting it back on track, but until yesterday, nothing concrete had occurred. Now, we have a date on the church calendar for the first youth group event, and I have a letter ready to go out to parents so we can have a meeting concerning youth group direction. We're going to meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, or Sunday afternoons if we have to. 

This is where the prayer requests come in, if you're so inclined. I ask that you pray for Heartland Lutheran High School, that God's work continue to be done there in this frustrating time. I ask that you pray for me, that I might be able to proclaim God's word on Sunday for a larger group than I am used to. Finally, I ask that you pray for our youth group, that it can get going again and provide a place for the young people of our church to gather in their own community to study His word, and pray for me that God would give me the knowledge, discipline, and speech to lead the group.

You don't have to pray these things. If you want to, though, I would appreciate the help. Thank you for your support and love, friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spiritual Leadership

Shay was raised Methodist and I was raised Lutheran. After much discussion, Shay has been taking steps to become a member of the LC-MS (Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod). We have been going to classes at Zion Lutheran in Worms for the past couple of months every Monday night so that Shay can learn exactly what our denomination believes. It's been great review for me also. The main reason we are doing this is because I had a good friend in college who came from a home where the parents were different denominations, and he seemed like a pretty confused fellow when it came to God. Shay and I don't want our children raised in this kind of confusion, so we're planning on becoming united on this front. I'm not here to say the LC-MS is better than any other denomination, because all people who believe that Christ has saved them by grace through faith with His crucifixion are going to heaven. There are many reasons we've chosen to go this route, and to be honest, those reasons really shouldn't be up for conversation outside of our marriage, and I don't want to bore you with the details. Simply put, I feel that Shay is learning quite a bit and seems really excited about what she's learning, and I am definitely having fun relearning and reviewing all that we are discussing.

Last night we were discussing spiritual leadership within the family. The husband is to be the spiritual leader of the household, which honestly, can be an overwhelming task. I turned my thoughts inward for awhile and I wasn't exactly sure I was happy with what I saw. I know I can do a better job in many areas - prayer, devotions, support. Shay and I should be doing a devotion together, but we don't. That's my fault. We don't pray together very often, if at all. That's my fault. When we're having a hard time getting to church and start making excuses, that's my fault. Honestly, I'm failing pretty badly in this area. I need to man up and provide a better Christian environment in our own home. I would love to have family devotions someday when we have munchkins running around. I need to start this change now. In times like this, I remember what our Bible study leader, Ethan, used to say - you reap what you sow. If you want a change to occur, you have to start planting those seeds now. Change doesn't come overnight. I pray that I can sow those seeds so that my family can reap the rewards down the road.

Another thing I was thinking about last night was how much I miss being in a Bible study. In college I had the privilege to be invited into a group of young Christian men in Lincoln. My good friend Andy called me and asked me to come, and the rest is history. It was interesting to be surrounded by so many different backgrounds and denominations, and the best part was everyone supported each other. No one was looked down upon because their church may have had different views than another. I should say it was a very tolerant group. I think it was also a rare group. Many Bible studies come from church, meaning you meet with like minded members. This group was a Bible study stew. I loved it. I miss it very much. I miss the fellowship, the support, the prayer, the understanding. I'd like to start a group study for young couples in our area. The problem? Not many young couples. My cousins and their wives are about it. I'm not sure what steps to take. I feel like without a group, I don't spend as much time as I should in the Bible, and I'm not held as accountable as I should be as far as being a Christian man is concerned. It's a lot easier to lie to yourself than it is to lie to 6 or 8 other guys that are in your shoes. 

I ask your prayers, that I would become a better Christian leader in my own home and in my own relationship with God. I know that Christ has given me all the tools I need to become this man. I just need a little help from my friends in getting there.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

First Caramel Milkshake

Shay made milkshakes tonight. I didn't want strawberry and chocolate didn't sound too enticing. What did I find hiding in the door of the fridge? Caramel sauce!

Oh. My. Dad. 

It was pretty awesome. I never would've thought to have a milkshake, but since my wife is the coolest, she thought they sounded like a good idea. And they were. Being married is pretty sweet. Literally and figuratively.

In other news, I had to play vet today. For some reason, any chance Charlie gets, he runs off. Hannah always follows, because that's what dogs do. After stopping at the neighbors and driving around for awhile, I finally found them a mile or so from home. Since Hannah didn't do anything wrong, I loaded her in the back of the pickup and headed for home. Yeah, I made Charlie run. If he can run off, he can run back. Anyway, I had forgotten that I had a corn knife in the bed of the pickup. Hannah must've cut her paw on it. I had to wash it and bandage it. She didn't whine or anything. Instead of a sucker, I gave her a deer stick at the end of her visit. 

Of course, an hour after I wrapped it, she ripped it off. By then it was done bleeding, so I think we're ok.

Hannah sends her best:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Saturday of Nothingness

Shay and I did nothing today. It was marvelous. It was the first Saturday we've had in a long, long time where we didn't have something to do or somewhere to be. We went to Prime Time in Chapman and had an awesome dinner. This place has prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights. They grind up the leftover prime rib and make 12 oz. hamburgers out of it and sell them for $5. Yeah. 5 bones.

When we got back home, we hung out in the cave. I read guitar magazines while Shay messed around on the interweb. All the while Lucero was spinning on the turntable. We watched Pulp Fiction. We went into town for supper. We stopped on the way home at Mom and Dad's and ate their ice cream.

Now I'm going to bed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Unexpected Friday Night

Why does beer always taste better in a bar?

Thomas and I went to the Nitecrawler in Worms tonight (I know). It's only a couple of miles from my home and we didn't feel like sitting at the house. Forget that I had beer in the fridge. Besides, who can argue with $2 beers? I like bars like the Nitecrawler. The music isn't so loud that you can't talk. The bartender basically hangs out with you. There aren't any annoying drunk people to deal with. It's just the regular(s) and you. The Coors Light and day old popcorn mixed with old stories and new, which resulted in much laughter. A bad time was had by none.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Suck At This Challenge Thing

Sorry, friends and neighbors. I know you all anxiously await my ramblings every day, but I've come up short on many occasions. In my defense, I had to move snow last night. That was a good time. I shouldn't complain too much, though, because it's paying the bills. Bills. I remember when I didn't have any of those and I was making $300 a week waiting tables. 16 year old boy + $$ = dumb. Those were the days.

I'm starting to get tired, but I don't feel like going to bed. I like to hoard my time. It's supposed to snow again Saturday night, so I want to spend as much time in my leather recliner as possible before then. 

I just remembered I didn't get a chance to run a "regular" feature of my blog on Friday. It's called: A Piece Of Farm Equipment I Think It Would Be Neat To Have. I think that's what it's called, anyway.

This is a Geringhoff corn head. What's so special, you ask? These are chopping corn heads, which means they destroy the corn stalk as you pick corn. This eliminates a pass through the field for us, as we run a shredder after harvest/in the spring to do the same thing.

Here. This is what corn stalks look like when we get done picking with our corn head:

You can see that they stick up out of the ground pretty far. Now, this is what a field looks like after a Geringhoff head has picked corn:

Pretty cool, eh? I think it is. Like I said, it's really cool because it eliminates a pass through the field for us as we would have to come back after harvest and shred stalks down to this same length. It would also eliminate a piece of equipment (stalk shredder) and would save us fuel. The downside? They're expensive. I believe they're about $80,000 new. A John Deere 894 corn head like we have goes for $20-30,000. A shredder like we have goes for about $10,000. You'd have to save a lot of fuel to make up for it. Dad and I have talked about buying one but can't convince ourselves to do it. So, yeah, I think it would be neat to have. Not going to happen, though.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rocking In Our Chair

"You wanna rock with me?"
"You never wanna rock with me."
"That's 'cuz you always ask at inopportune times."
"That's 'cuz you're always on your computer or reading."
"I haven't been on my computer since you got home."

"I have a headache."
"You are?"
"I thought you said you were getting a headache."
"No, I said 'I have a headache.'"
"You think I'm a headache?"

"You want to know a pretty name I thought up today?"
"It doesn't sound so pretty when you say it."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Well, Hello

I'm back. The stock show in Denver was pretty awesome. Sorry I didn't blog. Our hotel charged $10 a day for internet, so I decided I could live without it in pretty short order. I know I promised some pictures, but we couldn't find the charger for our camera and of course it died after one picture, so...

I was going to blab about something else, but I ran across this website on another farmer's blog and thought I'd rather talk about it:

This is a group of young people from California that are trying to raise awareness in our generation concerning food production in the United States. It's very refreshing for me to see people my age that understand where their food comes from and that it's not easy providing it. It's something I've struggled with for a long time. People genuinely do not care where their food comes from as long as it's readily available and cheap. And, of course, many people think that farmers are rich. Some of them are. Not as many as you'd think.

I guess what excites me most is knowing that I'm producing food for people that really do care. My beef and corn might not go to California, but it's the idea that makes me feel good. I know that you might be thinking "Ben, you're in Nebraska. People know where their food comes from." You'd be very surprised, actually. According to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, the average consumer is three or more generations removed from the farm. Even in my part of Nebraska, there are kids that honestly have no idea what it takes to raise a bushel of corn or a 1,200 pound steer for market. The not knowing isn't what upsets me, it's the not caring.

If consumers want cheap food, they can get it. Food could be imported and sold cheaply, but at what cost? If you know your fruit or vegetables were produced in your home country, under pretty strict regulation, wouldn't it be worth the peace of mind to pay a little more for it? As an example, I would much rather pay more money for an American made guitar, pair of shoes, or appliance, because I know I'm supporting someone's family, and customer service will be readily available. Why would you want food, which is more necessary than any of the above to survive, to be any different?

I know all of you that read this already support farmers, or are a farmer, but on the off chance that someone is reading this for the first time, I ask you - please do your research. It's not easy and it's not cheap to provide food. Don't believe that everything you hear about farmers and food is true. Look into it yourself. You'll probably learn something.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello, Parks

We are currently in Parks, Nebraska, which is Shay's home town. We're going to Denver tomorrow with her parents for the weekend to check out the National Western Stock Show. I've never been before, so I'm pretty pumped. Apparently there are cattle shows, exhibitors, vendors, a rodeo, and countless other things I don't know about. It's also supposed to be 50 degrees in Denver this weekend, so I'm really excited about that. 

My parents went to Washington DC this weekend to see Mom's best friend, so this means Sam and Caiti (youngest siblings - 19 year old twins) are home alone. This also means Sam has to take care of our dogs. Yikes. I'm glad there's some snow in their kennels, otherwise they may not get any water this weekend. Just kidding. But seriously. 

I may be blogging sporadically. We hope to take many pictures, so you might be flooded with a bunch of crappy pictures, which would mean I took them. I wish I could take cool pictures, like my friend Teagan, but I have no idea how. Maybe I should upgrade from a Kodak disposable.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Playlist Day

I've spent all morning surrounded by coffee and music. It's been pretty neat, I must say. I was playing guitar, and for whatever reason, I started playing a bunch of old country music. Well, old to me, anyway. See, JJ and I had this idea to cover these old songs and go to nursing homes and VFW halls and the like and play for the old fogeys. We still discuss it from time to time. In preparation of this, I've learned a bunch of songs over the years - Tennessee Ernie Ford (or as JJ calls him, Kentucky Ernie Chevy), Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Don Williams, Conway Twitty, etc. I was playing these and remembered how much I love these old tunes. Much much better than the new crap out there. I was texting JJ and he told me to check out a song called "Clyde" by Waylon, so I did. Which caused me to go on a trip concerning my favorite Waylon Jennings songs:

1 - "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" - Tell me you can listen to it without bobbing your head or tapping your feet and I'll call you a liar.
2 - "Wurlitzer Prize" - A heartache/jukebox song done better than any. And it's only 2 minutes.
3 - "Omaha" - I'm not a fan of Omaha the city, but it's a cool song. I play it on my gitfiddle a lot.
4 - "Black Rose" - I still don't really know what this song is about after 4,391 listens.
5 - "Lucille" - Actually, I like Mike McClure's cover better, but Waylon still rocks it.
6 - "Clyde" - Go watch Waylon's bass player rip it up on YouTube.
7 - "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand" - Um. It just rocks.
8 - "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean" - "I've been travelin' these highways/Been doing things my way/It's been making me lonesome, on'ry and mean"
9 - "You Ask Me To" - "Let the world call me a fool/But if things are right with me and you/That's all that matters and I'll do/Anything you ask me to"
10 - "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang" with Johnny Cash - I like songs about guys that go to prison. I dunno. I'm weird like that.

Of course there are plenty of other Waylon songs I love. This is my personal top 10, though. This caused me to think about my classic country top 10 list. Sheesh. That might take awhile to wade through. I'll give it a shot, though.

1 - "It's Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer" by Charlie Pride - This has always been one of my favorite songs, period. I don't know why, really. I just love his voice. And I like the fact that he's telling people that he's not going to get over her in a day the way they think he should.
2 - "Amos Moses" by Jerry Reed - Dude can sing and play guitar like nobody's business. And he played Snowman in Smokey and the Bandit, my all-time favorite movie.
3 - "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" by Waylon - We already covered this one, but I didn't mention the guitar solo that fades out in the end of the song. Maybe my favorite guitar solo ever.
4 - "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" by Kathea Mattea - Probably doesn't count as "classic" to some, but I don't care. I really, really, really like this song.
5 - "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard - "I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole/No one could steer me right but mama tried" Another prison song. 
6 - "(Turn Out The Light And) Love Me Tonight" by Don Williams - Great song and one of my favorites to play and sing. And Don's voice is amazing. Do yourself a favor and check out this song.
7 - "The Auctioneer" by Leroy Van Dyke - He was actually an auctioneer, which is apparent when you hear this song. I like auctioneers.
8 - "Rock Island Line" by Johnny Cash - It makes me smile and it's fun to sing. Check this one out, too.
9 - "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line" by Buck Owens - "I got the hungries for your love/And I'm waiting in your welfare line"
10 - "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford - Makes me think of going to Omaha with JJ in the tour bus (that's what we called his Ford Explorer) and hearing this song for the first time. 
Honorable mention - "Big Ball's In Town" by the Texas Playboys, "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train" by Guy Clark, "Living With The Shades Pulled Down" by Merle Haggard, "Stay A Little Longer" by Willie Nelson, "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass" by Buck Owens

I know most people don't like this old music. That's ok, I guess, but I'm here to tell you you don't know what you're missing. This was when people actually had talent and you couldn't fix crap in the studio. And they played music that was relevant to actual country living. So. Check some of it out. If you want a recommendation, let me know. I'll steer you down the path.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thank The Lord For Tractor House

Since I cannot farm at the moment, I'm relegated to perusing the latest Tractor House. For those that don't know, Tractor House is basically a large classified for farm equipment in magazine form. There are lots of colorful pictures, but mostly lots of things I can't afford. I did see that Ord Equipment has an 8 row 36" Buffalo stalk chopper... My ears went up on that one. I need a stalk chopper with double units and Buffalo makes such a beast. The ad didn't say if it was a double, though. I'll have to give them a call. That's actually where we bought our Monosem planter, so maybe the guy will work with me. I think his name was Randy.

Also for those that don't know, a stalk chopper is a piece of equipment that we run over the top of our old ridges. It knocks the old stalks out of the ground and flattens the ridge so we can plant on top of our old ridges. This eliminates the need to disk our ground every year. We had a hard time keeping our Monosem on the ridge last year, except for where we stalk chopped twice. Our current stalk chopper only has single units. I think one with double units would eliminate the need to chop twice. Therefore, I am looking for one with double units. This is basically what I'm looking for, except it will have one more row on each end.

I also wanted to say congrats to Heartland Lutheran High School's boys basketball team. Concordia University in Seward held their inaugural LIT this weekend (Lutheran high school tournament) and my alma mater won the whole dang thing. They're a class D2 school and they beat Lincoln Lutheran for the championship, which is a C-1 school I believe. Anyway, good work kids. My senior year we went 0-18 and didn't have our own gym. Now they have an awesome gym and went to state last year, and seem poised to do so again. They play the number 1 team in the state Monday night (Hampton). Good luck the rest of the season, boys.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

Shay makes fun of me because I'm always looking forward to the next thing. Example - "He says 'I can't wait to get into the field and start planting'. Then he says 'I'm tired of planting. I wish we were cultivating.' Then it's on to 'I really hate irrigating. I wish it was harvest.' That leads into 'I wish harvest was over. I'm ready for winter.'"

She's right. I apparently have a short attention span.

And man, am I ever ready for spring. It's been 2 months since harvest ended. I'm getting bored. Of course, as I write this, 20-30 hours in the tractor are looming, as it looks like I'm going to be moving snow in the next couple of days. That's not much fun, though. I get a lot of tractor butt when moving snow (tractor butt is a condition that occurs when you sit in a tractor for many hours without moving. Basically, your butt starts hurting, along with your lower back and knees.)

I also want it to be spring so I can take some pictures and start this blog on the course I want to take it, which is some type of agriculture advocacy. So what if only a few people follow it? I like talking about ag and I like taking pictures of the equipment we have and the ground we farm.

So. Spring. Anytime you want to get here, that's just fine with me.

I'm starting something today that I might or might not remember to do every Friday. It's something I'd like to call:

A Piece of Farm Equipment I Think It Would Be Cool To Have

Or something like that. Help with the name is appreciated. Today's nominee is the John Deere 6030:
Yeah, it's old. I don't care. These things were the beast of the day. Deere produced them from 1972-1977. According to, they produced 175 PTO horsepower and 148 horsepower at the drawbar. This at a time when a 100 hp tractor was pretty good sized. Whoever owns this one moved the exhaust components, and I think they did a nice job. I would love to have one of these to drive in parades. Goosing the throttle would provide copious amounts of black smoke and a marvelous sound. It'd be fun to use in the field for about 10 minutes, I suppose. I'm used to cabs and air conditioners. Practical? Probably not for me. Cool as heck? Yes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I'm bored waiting for the boss man to call me to tell me he's awaiting my labor, so I thought I'd relate some of the lyrics of songs that have been floating through my brain lately.

From "Poetry" by Walt Wilkins:

Now somebody made everything
From the soul inside out to Saturn's rings
How my baby smiles
And how Ray Charles sings
Of course we were created

And part of the chorus:

I can't explain a blessed thing
Not a falling star or a feathered wing
Or how a man in chains has the strength to sing (Like a bird)
Just one thing is clear to me 
There's always more than what appears to be
When the light's just right I swear I see

I was in this mood a couple of days ago:

Mike McClure - "Light On My Hands"

I don't wanna go down to the grocery
Afraid I'll see somebody I know
Then they'll ask me how I've been doing
I just wanna get my things and go

And for whatever reason. I just love this song. I think it's a clever take on a familiar country song.

Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers - "Tell Yer Momma"

Tell your momma your daddy done quit his drinking
Tell your momma your daddy done found the Lord
Tell your momma your daddy done quit his cussing, his fighting, his carrying on
But don't you tell your momma goddamn your daddy's bored

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Now What?

I was all set to write about grief today, but then I realized that that's probably a really self-serving thing. There was a time in my life where I was consumed with it, but that's over now. And in typical man fashion I spent a lot of time smoking and drinking and crying in the shower so no one could hear me. I still drink once in awhile, shower most every day, but usually without the crying. 

So now what? What replaces that grief?

Babies. A wife. A couple of loving dogs.

Right after Fish died, one of my cousins and his wife had a baby. The first time I held Ethan, a lot of healing happened. Not that Ethan was born to conquer my anguish, rather, God used this new child to show me that the hole can be filled. The love I have for that little guy now fills part of the place where love for Fish was. 

Shay came along about 6 months after that. I was determined I didn't want anything to do with someone who had just broken up with a boyfriend, telling a mutual friend that "I've been through that shit before." After Fish died, I challenged myself not to give up time with friends for silly reasons, you know, work, getting up early, lack of funds. This caused me to get my ass on the road at 5:30 pm to head to North Platte. Tee time the next morning? I'll make it back in time. I didn't want to miss a good night with my friends JJ, Kelli, Tiny... and whoever else was there. And what did I find? The woman I would marry. Now, I can't claim to recall all of the night - Shay will attest to that - but here we are a year and a half later, married for 6 months already.

And of course, dogs. Shay loves the buggers. I, being the dumbass that I am, thought I should show her pictures of a couple of Aussies. The rest is known to you, noble readers. That's ok, though. I love those dogs. I love taking Charlie for rides and listening to him bark in the bed of the pickup for the first five miles. I love playing fetch with Hannah and hearing her growl when I try to take her ball from her.

Friends - the ones I had have grown even closer, and the ones I've made I don't want to lose. My family counts here as well. My siblings and parents are friends now, more than they ever have been. I'm closer to a few of my cousins than I ever thought I would be.

And memories. I honestly still think about Fisher every day. Every. Day. I doubt that will change. And, yes, I still cry in the shower every once in awhile, because I miss this man. Sometimes when I'm in the shower I see the tattoo I got in memory of him in the same way I saw it the day I got it. It's been 2 years and 2 months since his death, and 20 months since I got the tattoo, and sometimes it gets smothered over. That's how life works, I suppose. There are days, though, where I see it, and it hits me all over again. That's ok. I don't want to forget. Thanksgivings in OKC, pushing his pickup out of Troester's pasture with my pickup, camping, playing video games, gyros at Jim's after school. The way he answered the phone - "Bennnnnnyyyyyyyyy". And his laugh. I think if you polled all of us who love him, we would all say that's what we miss the most. These things no longer make me sad. They make me smile.

Why would I want to write about grief? God has surrounded me with all I need to fill that hole. It'll never be filled the way it was, though. Have you ever dug a hole in the ground? When you throw the dirt back into the hole, it never seems to fill up the way it was. It's softer, and the hole never fills up completely. That's how it is now. I'd rather have that than the emptiness I had when he first died, though. And I'd much rather write about the gifts that God has showered me with since that time. You know why? Because that's what Fish would want. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Post #40

The big 4-0. I can hardly believe it.

I've been having a great time the last couple of days blowing my nose and coughing the few brains I have out. I sneezed so hard a couple of times today that I almost blacked out.

This does allow me to read copious amounts of literature and watch Casino, so I guess it's not all bad. I've been reading some Jonathan Tropper. I wasn't a fan at first, but he kind of sucks you in, if you like books about self-loathing guys that like to screw up their lives, that is. Well, that might be a little harsh. In the one I'm currently reading, How to Talk To a Widower, Doug's wife dies in a plane crash. I guess it's not really his fault that his life sucks. Anyway, he talks about grief a lot (obvi, Ben) and I relate to a lot of it in some ways. I'm not really in the mood to write about it all right now, but maybe tomorrow I will. Consider this a preview, I guess. A trailer, if you will. 

In other news, Charlie seems to have already forgotten that he's been neutered. He's marking his territory and barking at everything that moves, just like the old times. 

Speaking of old times, JJ and I texted back and forth about a lot of our old times today. The time I didn't eat all day and went to Uncle Ron's with him, only to drink myself silly over a dumb girl and get kicked out of the bar. The time I had a few too many and wouldn't let him go to McDonald's because "I just wanted to go back to his dorm" and he got mad at me, which resulted in him not loaning me a toothbrush, gum, or mouthwash as the evening progressed. The time Ted (Shooter Jennings' bassist) "shot" us with his bass, and Leroy (Shooter's guitarist) got so drunk/high that he fell down on the stage and played guitar sitting down for a few songs, only to get up and spray the crowd with a fire extinguisher. And I remembered the time that we went to see Mike McClure, and I told him about Fish and how "Yesterday Road" reminded me of him, and Mike played the song and dedicated it to Fish and I can remember JJ clapping one of his huge hands on my shoulder, probably calling me a "sonnymabitch." We had some times. Now we're all growed up - he's going to be a dad soon. 

Life moves too damn fast, you know?

Monday, January 3, 2011

What a Pair We Make

Charlie and I aren't feeling so hot today. Of course, he has a reason to feel crappy - he became a eunuch today. I merely have a bad cold. 

Before I made the decision to call Charlie a eunuch, I researched the word. Eunuchs were castrated (usually without their approval) to perform a certain role or job. One of these was to protect harems. Charlie lives with his biological sister, so I suppose we could say we got the job done so he could protect her. Then I researched the word harem and came to find out that that is a place where women rest or live, usually in a Muslim household. 

Well, since I'm a Christian, we can't be having any harems around here. 

I guess I'll come out and say it - we didn't want Hannah and Charlie making babies that were brothers and sisters and cousins all at the same time. 

I guess Charlie isn't really a eunuch, then. He's just a poor guy who is missing some of his manhood. And I think his pain killers are wearing off.

Bob Barker told me to do it!

Sorry, pal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Turtle Pants

My brother got me some sweet Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pants for Christmas. They're pretty comfy. I generally don't wear pajama pants, usually opting for a pair of shorts, but these are nice. I could get used to this.

Adventures in snow moving: 

I got to the shop around 9 Friday morning and returned at 11:30 that night. My only "break" was to walk into Wal-Mart long enough to pee and buy a bag of beef jerky and two bottles of water. This actually wasn't the longest day of my life - I've had a few 6:30a.m. to 11:30p.m. nights doing field work when rain was coming - but this was different. Field work gives you an opportunity to get out and wander around a little bit, and you're usually only going 5-6 mph. Moving snow is a lot different. You're going as fast as possible all the time, dodging curbs, light poles, parked cars, and Mexicans that think it's fun to climb on top of the huge pile of snow you're building. Yes, I understood your sign language. No, I'm not going to stop so you can take a picture. I have shit to do. You would think the people walking in and out of Wal-Mart would stay out of the way of a 40,000 pound tractor, but no. They apparently don't know that tractors don't stop like cars. I was told that usually it's not this hectic, as we'll usually work late at night/early in the morning, but this snow came at a weird time. It sucked missing New Year's eve and messing up our weekend plans, but the money is nice. The jury is out on whether or not I'll do this next year. I guess I'll give it more time. 

We took down our Christmas stuff today. It made me extremely sad. I didn't want to take the tree down, but I suppose it was time. It was something about our first Christmas together - I didn't want it to end. I thought about saving a sprig of the tree, but dismissed it. Setting the tree on fire was kind of hard. Shay was so happy the night we got it, then I had to use a bread knife to trim it, which made her laugh, which made me mad, which made her laugh even more. I don't know. I'm such a softy about the weirdest things. I felt bad leaving the tree in ashes. I wish we could've planted it in the yard somehow. I started wondering what next Christmas will bring. Will we be parents? Homeowners? Landowners? In the poor house? In the dog house? Most likely the nut house. I can't wait until next Christmas. The tree will go up the weekend after Thanksgiving next year.