Saturday, January 24, 2009

Straight from the horse's mouth: an hour with a travelling equine dentist

I always wanted to be a dentist from the time I was in high school, and I was accepted to dental school in the spring of 1972. I was planning to go, but after the Olympics there were other opportunities. Mark Spitz

Unlike Olympic medalist Mark Spitz, I never had an aspirations towards dentistry.

In fact, thanks to my mom's great genetic contributions, I can successfully avoid dentists for years at a time without suffering any adverse effects. When I do (finally) show up at the dentist's office, (usually following some sort of horse-related gravity-test that impacted my mouth) I am heartily scolded by the receptionist, the hygenist, and the dentist because they haven't seen me in the office since the last time a Democrat was President. However, since none of whom can ever find anything about my teeth that actually requires FIXING, I tolerate the scoldings and then wander away for another few years. The dentist must make his boat payments without my help.

Fiddle and Hana, however, are not given a choice. Today was their appointment with Dr. Sarah Metcalf, DVM. Hana had been here before, and recognized Sarah and her rig...but Fiddle was mystified by the oddly-appointed trailer and the strange smells inside it. However, thanks to tons of practice loading in every trailer
I could find last summer, Fiddle walked in confidently and got her first dose of sedative.

Then Sarah went to work.

Fortunately for me (and the checkbook that will be making farm mortgage payments in just a couple of months) Fiddle's mouth is quite uncomplicated; lacking my mom's great "teeth" genes, Fiddle still has terrific teeth.

Sarah uses a gigantic speculum
to help her in viewing inside a horse's long, dark mouth. She not only peers inside the mouth, she makes sure the owner looks in there too--so that I fully understand the minimal (but important) work that my horse needs. Fiddle had some "hooks" on her upper back teeth, which created dime-sized sores inside her cheeks. Hooks are a part of the tooth that has been ground down unevenly, so that the part near the tongue is flat (like your own back molars), but the outer edges near the cheek are pointed--and sharp!

Sarah removed the hooks with a special power drill--similar to my dentist's drill, but about 2 feet longer. Then she filed everything flat and pronounced her 1,000-pound patient ready for the "recovery room": a flat patch of sunny parking lot where Fee could walk in big circles while I sang Drunken Sailor and laughed at her sedated amble.

The sedation wore off quickly, and within 15 minutes the mares hopped in the trailer and snoozed all the way home, ready for another year of happy eating.

Friday, January 23, 2009

WAHOOOOOOOOO! We have our approval at last. Now the real work can begin!

Phone calls often happen at awkward times.   I was halfway through hitching up the horse trailer to the truck when I got the call from our realtor Jodi, who told me that our house financing Plan C has been approved by a lender at last!

Cell phone coverage at my horse's current home is spotty at best--my phone can ring almost anywhere on the property (as long as I'm not in a building...or near a building...or standing in the shade of a building...or looking at a building...or thinking about looking at a building) .  To actually hear and be heard on the phone requires cell phone users to stand in one of two 2' x 2' square pieces of grass that, for no apparent reason, have cell phone coverage.  

Of course,  neither of these "cell receiving areas" are any kind of convenient to anywhere a person might actually want to stand for any other reason.  

When the phone rang, I grabbed it and raced towards the green spot in the middle of the outdoor arena to answer.

I'm pretty sure Jodi thought I was just really excited to hear from her.  Well, yes.  

Also, I'd just done the 500-meter dash before I could say "hello."

So, we're approved!   

The sale is scheduled to close on-or-before February 27th, barring both Hell and High Water, both of which have already happened in the last 30 days so maybe we're due for a break.  We can only hope...and continue to keep the fingercrossingcandleprayers going.  Just in case.

After the sale closes, we'll have a little more than a month before we can move in, and we'll spend that time getting fences built, and (weather permitting...there's always that Hell and High Water provision) possibly getting a start on the barn.  

Right now we will start collecting moving boxes, and we will also start collecting stuff for the new barn.   Our friend Paul has unearthed a stack of unwanted T-posts and a big water tank that he plans to sell to us for cheap.  We'll start haunting FreeCycle and Craigslist and garage sales for barn gear...and of course, we'll be getting rid of our "city stuff" on those channels as well.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

still no banking news. yes, i'm getting impatient. no, that isn't news.

Due to a series of "bad technology" incidents, we still haven't heard back from the credit union.  

Tomorrow will be better, and we will have more information then.

Which does NOT help me calm d

Let's just all agree that "waiting" will never be a skill that will make me famous.  

Not in a good way, anyhow.

So, here are more haiku cartoons to pass the time, this time courtesy of my friends at Overdue Media.  Y'all never believe me when I tell you that libraries are funny places;  maybe you'll believe these incredibly talented
 cartoonists (one of whom works -- under another name -- for my library system).

Lemme tell ya, if the staff doesn't make you laugh, the public certainly will.  

And laughing is a good way to pass the time while we're waiting for, you know.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Would a haiku by another name still have seventeen syllables?

I am a syllable-counter. For me, the exercise of summarizing my thoughts into blocks of exactly seventeen syllables is good discipline. It's not about pretty words all the time, it's about being concise with details.

So for tonight, since my brain is all tangled while I wait an extra day to hear ANYTHING from the bank (because tomorrow is a holiday!), here are some translations of my favorite haiku. The poem was written by Basho, the great 17th century wandering poet. His original, 17-syllable poem is this:
Michi nobe no mukuge wa uma ni kuware keri

Unfortunately, I don't speak Japanese, so I depend on translators to assist me However, translating poetry, especially haiku, appears to be one of the most difficult of human endeavors, akin to rocket surgery and cat herding.

Therefore, I'm including several different translations of th poem.

Along the roadside
blossoming wild roses
in my horse's mouth

The farmer's roadside
hedge provided lunch for
my tired horse

Roses grow
in a hedge beside the road
my horse eats them.

Mallow flower
by the side of the road
devoured by my horse

Each of these translations delights me, mostly, I think, because Basho's life was a lot like mine: full of poetic and contemplative landscapes which are frequently trompled by my hungry horse.