Wednesday, April 29, 2009

High Speed is Wonderful...

It is wonderful for reasons like these, occasions like these, when I feel like posting a thirty second tidbit to whine to the world about whatever needs whining about.

Like the fact that I just got off a twenty eight hour shift at work and now have to go back, eight hours later, for a twelve hour. Then I have twenty four hours off, work eight hours (??!!) and then go back for a nineteen.

Wow, I feel great.

I was able to get on the internet, call up blogger, and post all this in less than five minutes. With dialup, it would have taken five minutes alone to DIAL UP.

A whining post and a thrilling post all wrapped up into one!

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My First Post From High Speed Internet in Cowtown!

Oh, the speedy, speedy glory. I can now access YOUTUBE! And other awesomeness like videos of all my friends on facebook! How cool is this?

Sadly I have no pictures to upload as I have been busy doing incredibly redneckish things around the house, like shooting and hauling around rocks. I don't know why, but every time I try to make a flower/grass/plant bed suitable for growing things, it turns out that at some point in history, my father used it as a rock pile. Excellent for the upper body workout, not so excellent for planting things that are pretty in.

Like Pear Trees! SuperNan and I purchased a Pear Tree today and I am so excited! I would have preferred an apricot tree for the jamming posibilities, but a pear tree I will settle for without fuss. It must be better than a Manitoba Maple, and cheaper than any kind of Oak.

I am naming my Pear Tree Hope, and will have photographic updates regularly on her progress.

In the throws of my redneckishness the other day, I went to visit a dear friend who said I could use his property to dump burnables any time I wanted. I was sweaty, unnattractive, and clad in my favorite John Deere baseball cap. I was half being glad of and half bemoaning my single status when he said the following:

"Amanda, you're sitting in a big rusted out pickup truck with a load of wood you picked up yourself. You're drinking a beer and covered in mud and loving every minute of it. You drive a Jeep and play with freakin' guns in your spare time. No one is ever going to date you again. No one is that manly."

Sigh. I'm not sure if I should be incredibly proud, or incredibly dejected. Either way, I took two truckloads of wood debris away the other day. I still have something tiny embedded in my right eye and a sunburn on my shoulders that will only get worse as the year goes by.

And hot damn, he is right. I'm loving every minute of it.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

A List of Updates, Bullet Style...

- High speed Internet service is coming to CowTown TOMORROW. I haven't updated my links list, or anything, since I've moved home but I hope that changes soon. I also plan to have pictures up now that it will take less than an HOUR to upload them.

- Zydeco has sustained yet another odd affliction. He has a swelling on his belly that is bigger than my fist. And I have giant man-hands, so it is a pretty big swelling. We are monitoring it and taking his temperature to see if he might require a vet.

- I just bought a friggin JEEP. I really can't afford a vet right now, and as such, I'm hoping that prayer will work wonders for my horse's ailment.

- Tia is showing outward signs of her pregnancy! Zydeco is so excited at the prospect of becoming an uncle that he is practicing for racing around with a yearling daily. Tia and Summer continue to be poor players of this game called "I Am So Happy To Be Alive That I Must Leap Everywhere I Go" but Zydeco continues to try and entice them.

- The JEEP is the source of much joy in my life. I love watching my friends climb in and ask me if I have a foot stool handy to make the process a bit more dainty.

- I bruised my shoulder shooting at clay pidgeons yesterday. Pics of the injury to follow once I have access to high speed Internet IN MY HOUSE.

- Summer has arrived (The season, not the horse. He showed up last October and has settled into a steady routine of biting my horse and his eighty five dollar blanket quite nicely). As a result of the onset of summer, I am working on my redneck tan, and in the midst of planning great things for The Ranch.

- My garden plans for this year are in the works and I'm sure that Jooms will be thrilled at the prospect of more home grown sweet corn.

- HIGH SPEED INTERNET. In less than twenty four hours. Life is worth living.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Adventures in Buying a JEEP...

I must say that now that I officially own it, I really feel that every time the word Jeep is put in print, it should be written as JEEP instead of just plain old Jeep. But all the caps would be annoying, so I'll try to refrain.

Purchasing the Jeep was thrilling yet daunting. I was sure all day that at some point, some annoying piece of bureaucratic red tape would pop up and declare me unable to buy the Jeep. The man I bought it from was wonderfully helpful and stood by me every step of the way. Too kind. We shook hands, I thanked him for all of his help and generosity, and I headed out on the open road to pick up the Precious Boy for his first ride in my new Jeep.

The ride home was something else. I hate to admit this mistake that I made to the entire Internet, but I must.

Something was wrong on the road. Merle Haggard was Sing(ing) Me Back Home when I first noticed an odd odor. I continued on my way, but could not escape the unmistakeable smell of burning rubber. I put the window down and vowed to be more gentle with the clutch, but as I continued, the smell only got stronger.

The drive home was a perfect hour long, and about half way there something was terribly amiss. I couldn't get enough speed, the burning rubber was permeating the vehicle, and I was beginning to panic. I made it to the highway that leads to CowTown, stopped for some gas and a breather, and convinced myself that I am terrible at driving manual and that the smell must be me burning up the clutch. I was super careful with the clutch the rest of the way. I was supposed to stop and pick up the Precious Boy but didn't feel comfortable to put him in a vehicle that smelled of burning rubber and that wouldn't accellerate, so I brought it to my neighbor's house.

He was outside and waved when I drove up. I was close to tears at this point and I brought it to a stop and told him that something was terribly wrong when I saw the billows of smoke coming out of the wheel-well. A friend was there and yelled that we might need a fire extinguisher and I burst into tears.

I had just purchased a flaming vehicle that wouldn't accellerate and I had spent MANY MANY dollars on. The world may as well have swallowed me whole. My neighbor very kindly offered his car so I could pick up the Precious Boy. I called my mother and wept. I managed not to cry when I greeted the Boy.

Upon return, the smoke and heat had gone from the wheel-well and my neighbor said that he should take it for a spin and see if we could make it smoke again to pinpoint exactly where the heat was coming from. So we did that and made it carefully down the road. We stopped after about three minutes and the wheel was very, very hot.

At this point I asked him if he had put the emergency brake on before driving. He had not.

And I, the moron that I am, had driven for over an hour in a brand new (to me) vehicle WITH THE EMERGENCY BRAKE ON. I would name all the surfaces that I would love to smash my head against right now, but the list would be too long and I fear that all of the Internet does not have enough bandwidth for me to create such a list.

We turned the brake off, drove a little more, detected no more heat, and decided to look for some MUD. (It is a Jeep, after all. A Jeep without mud is like a horse without hooves. It just doesn't work.)

My neighbor drove as I was exhausted from the day's events and I am entirely inexperienced in four by fouring. So he carefully took us through some trails at his house. The mud there is quite minimal, but exciting enough to make me want to learn how to drive there myself. We got the tires quite dirty, scratched one of the plastic fenders, tried out some hills, got water on the windshield, and squealed with delight the entire time. The 4X4 works great and I have to say that I love it.

After that we did some grocery shopping and there is no room whatsoever in the Jeep for anything more than about four grocery bags. Fortunately I am a single person and I hope that the Jeep's little capacity for food will prevent me from buying all of the food in the world and eating it in one sitting. I see this as a positive.

In all I must say that it was a very exhausting day, but certainly taught me a lesson I will never forget: Don't depend on little lights and bells to tell you when you're doing something stupid. The first thing I should have checked is the E-Brake and I think I might just put a little post-it on the dash that says "Turn off the damn brake, you IDIOT" until I am conditioned to turn it off.

I'm exhilirated with my purchase and I can't wait to spend more time ripping up trails and basking in the glory that is a six speaker sound system.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh. My. Word.

Ok. Here we go. I am about to tell you about the biggest purchase of my young life. (Excepting, of course, the thirty thousand dollar's worth of education I have. Sigh.)


I must mention my dear and wonderful JOOMY'S biggest purchase, which is considerably larger than mine. Joomy has a home! Where we can meet, and blog, and bemoan our single status while sipping daintily on Strawberry Zinfandel! I can't wait to see it!

My big purchase has nothing to do with where I am about to live, but rather what I am about to drive.

A 2002 Jeep TJ has been procurred.

It is beautiful. Burgundy on tan, interior to die for. Five speed manual transmission, four wheel drive, tires as big as I am, three rooftops, and a sound system that would make James Hetfield weep.

When my horse is no longer rideable, I can just drive my trusty Jeep around the ring instead. It is much funner to spin up mud with wheels than with hooves, anyways.

The range of emotions I've experienced this week are amazing. I drove home tonight thinking that it was the second last drive I would ever make home from work in the Little Chevy. And I love that car. It has never done me wrong, never failed me, never refused to take me from point A to point B. I would recommend that everyone on Earth get one for their first car.

I have high hopes for the Jeep. I'm interested to see how my first winter in a rear wheel drive goes, and thrilled to think of spinning up mud at my neighbor's house this weekend. I don't think my guitar will fit in the back seat, nor will more than two passengers. And my passengers can never be old, dainty, fearful, or unbendy, because let me tell you that getting in and out of the back seat of that thing is very, very sucky.

CowTown, prepare to see black marks all over your fine streets; around the same time you hear the blare of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, or Willie Nelson; or perhaps see a crazed young woman running through the gears of the prettiest little Jeep TJ to ever roam the Earth.

She's all mine!! AAAAUUUUGGGHHHH!

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Let The Changes Go On...

My vehicular situation continues to weigh on my mind. I have gone and looked at a vehicle that I love and adore, that I long to own. I have a desperate need to mark the streets of CowTown with black marks after every corner as I race through the gears and pop the clutch when my heart desires.

I have been driving altogether too fast with the music much too loud these days. I think it's because I'm in such a happy, happy mood. I've revived my collection of old school honky tonk music, much to the chagrin of the passengers in my car. I, personally, think that I sing quite a lovely rendition of "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA", but some may think otherwise.

I really, really want to own this 02 Jeep TJ I have found. I haven't yet gone for a test drive or to make an offer on this lovely, obnoxious yellow vehicle, but I have spoken with the man who currently owns her and I have to say that I want it. I want it so badly that when I turn a corner on the gravel roads of CowTown, my left foot inadvertently tries to depress the clutch. In the automatic Little Chevy this often turns into braking at the same time as applying the gas, which is a terrible situation to be in, let me tell you.

The financial aspects of buying such a vehicle terrify me: the insurance will be more, the gas will be more, the cost of the vehicle itself will be more. Does my desire to drive a hip and cool Jeep outweigh all of this? I guess I won't know until my offer has been accepted or declined.

School has been going well thus far. When I first started my undergrad, I just wanted to get through it. Now that I am working towards an Honour's degree, I know that I need to make straight A's because the ultimate goal is a Master's program. So far I've been having fun putting pressure on myself to fully understand the readings and to make the most of my study time. I really wonder how long this enthusiasm will last.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of all of this educational business is actually the fact that we here at The Ranch in CowTown will soon be acquiring high speed internet.

Oh, yes, that's right. HIGH SPEED, baby. (Please trust me when I say that once I have high speed, a potentially interesting blog full of pictures and wonder will arise from this site. My dial up internet has impeded my blogging life like nothing else, and this is soon to change!)

The me of when I started these educational aspirations and the me of now are quite fascincating people to compare. Before I was all like, HEY! There's BEER over there! And now I'm all like, Sheesh, I need to study and get eight hours of sleep each day. I was reading through some old journals today. I had one for planning my day (I had to laugh when I read 9:30: wake up. 10:30: actually wake up) and another for planning my life. I also kept another up of what was actually going on in my life, a random assortment of trials and tribulations I faced each day. (Howling cats and brown water, anyone?)

I've asked my mother for my 25th birthday present as of today. I'd like my first university diploma framed and hung on the wall above my newly acquired workstation. When I graduated university two years ago, I was so angry at the institution, my life, and what I had planned on getting out of my education versus what I actually got. I had wanted so badly to get this education, and once I had it, I was furious at myself for devoting so much time and money to something that I didn't understand the value of. Back then, I didn't think that my money and effort had been worth it. And honestly? I really think I was justified at the time.

But now two years have passed. I'm working in my field doing a job that I (mostly) love and my initial diploma is actually a worthwhile stepping stone to what I really want to accomplish.

So hang it up. Let the world see that I worked towards something, and then I got it. And let the world see that I will continue to work towards things because despite what this world has to throw in my way? At the very least I can continue on in a forward motion. If I've learned nothing else from horses, I have to say that going forward does wonders for the soul.

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