mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

My Worst Nightmare May 17, 2014

There are things that happen to people.  Bad things.  Things that test the limits of their sanity.  Things that can break them.  That can push them over the edge and change them.  Things that cause people to lose themselves.

One of these things happened to me.  And I knew that if I didn’t conquer it, I would never be the same.  And while it may not be easy for others to understand, for me it was real.  Very real.  I knew it was a battle that I had to win or it would defeat me.  It would define me for the rest of my life.  It would rule me.  If I didn’t finish that bologna sandwich…if I didn’t force myself to eat the entire thing…if I didn’t consciously choose to chew it up and force myself to swallow it…I’m quite certain there would have been permanent damage in my mind.  I was on the verge of being broken.  Yes, my battle was a bologna sandwich.  I’m not proud of it, but we can’t control these things, can we?  Stay with me.  I’ll explain.

To set the stage, I need to share just one tidbit of background information:  I’m terrified of frogs.  Boy, it feels good to have that off my chest.  Yes, I’m scared of frogs.  I’m scared of frogs!  I know that by disclosing this, you may never look at me the same.  You may think of me as the weird woman who is scared of frogs instead of as me, an otherwise normal individual who functions just fine in society.  But I had to share.  You had to know this in order to understand the sandwich.

So, it all started, well, let’s be realistic, this story started somewhere back in my childhood.  But we don’t have time for that.  We’ll skip over the traumatic frog experiences of my life (did you know they scream when on fire?  did you know they pop when run over?) and get right to the events leading up to the bologna sandwich.

It was a dark and stormy night (seriously), and we were camping.  I thought I would take the dog for a little walk even though it was wet outside.  After all, we were camping anyway.  So, I leashed the dog, and we took off.  A girl and her dog.  Off for a little walk in the rain.  In the dark.  I know, I know – what was I thinking?  I was practically begging for a frog encounter.  But, honestly, I thought I had my fear under control.  I thought I could handle walking in the general vicinity of croaking amphibians without losing it.  And I probably could have.

Until it happened.

My worst nightmare.

I’m not exaggerating.

This is something I have obsessed about ever since I was a little girl.  Something that has been in the forefront of my mind every single time I walk outside at night.  Something I have lain in bed at night an contemplated, only to give myself the shivers and force the thoughts from my mind.  Literally, my worst nightmare.

I stepped on a bullfrog.

Remember, it’s pitch black dark!  It’s raining.  I can’t see a thing.  But I felt that bulbous mass under my left arch and I knew right away what it was.  It was a hideous feeling – worse than I imagined.  But, I had a lightening fast reaction, and I rolled my foot to the left to get my precious foot off the beast.  And something worse than I ever could have imagined happened.  The frog jumped up the leg of my pants.

I immediately flailed and kicked until I caught a glimpse of the reflection of the moon off his grotesque white belly as he flew spread-eagle through the air.  And then I was frozen.  I couldn’t move.  I mean, how could I?  I couldn’t see anything, so I didn’t know where that villainous creature was or if he had an army of cohorts nearby ready to attack.  But I knew the longer I waited, the greater the chance that I was being surrounded, so I began a panic-stricken shuffle back to our campsite.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was doing some sort of high-pitched moan that didn’t quite sound human – certainly not something that’s ever come out of me before.  I couldn’t think.  It was the longest 100 feet of my life – just trying to reach safety.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my panic attack.  Let’s just say it was ugly and leave it at that.  It took hours to stop crying, to calm my racing heart, to stop shaking.  Hours of laughing and crying and laughing while crying.  I was not in control of my emotions, to say the least.

And when I finally calmed down, I was hungry.

Enter the bologna sandwich.

I sank my teeth into that sandwich, and all I could think about was the striking resemblance between the cold, clammy, moist skin that was pressed up against my left leg and the remarkably similar texture of that cursed bologna.  Every time I chewed, I felt that frog on my leg.  I felt it like it was really there.  And then I tasted it.  I felt that amphibian skin in my mouth.  I looked at that slice of bologna between two slices of bread, and I saw that frog looking back at me with his ugly little froggy eyes and his arms and legs overhanging the crust of my bread.

I had to finish that sandwich.  Don’t you see what was happening!?  If I didn’t finish that sandwich, the frog would have won.  My mind would have never been the same.  I would have been broken.  I had to force myself to overcome those temporary pangs of insanity.  I had to eat a bologna sandwich made out of a frog.

And I did it!  I gagged my way through it.  I concentrated.  I dug deep and fought to keep myself.  I chewed that sandwich.  I ate that sandwich.  I finished that disgusting, froggish, nightmarish sandwich, and I was victorious!!  I WON!  I will not be controlled by my fear.  I will live a normal life!  The frogs will not rule me!  I will not make accommodations for amphibians.  I will live my life to the fullest!  I finished the sandwich!!!

But I will never wear boot-cut jeans again.  I mean, skinny jeans don’t look good on me, but let’s be realistic – they are much safer.

And I will always carry a flashlight.

Oh, and I’ll never eat bologna again.

 

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Why I am Late for Work – Excuse # 76 September 30, 2012

It was already “one of those” mornings.  I was running behind schedule and nothing seemed to be going right.  I still needed to pack lunches, feed the kids breakfast, get them both ready, and I hoped to have time to fix my hair and put make-up on for the day…

Kendra ran into my room with a terrible look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t want to tell you because I’m afraid you’ll be mad,” she answered with a trembling bottom lip.

“No, I won’t,” I said, even though I knew there was a distinct possibility that whatever she was going to say could very easily make me mad.  I started running through possible scenarios in my head.

“My hamster DIED!” she wailed and immediately started bawling.  “I.  went.  in.  to.  feed.  her.  and,” she explained in between dramatic sobs, “she was DEAD!”

RIP little guy

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”  I pulled her into my arms and tried to comfort her as she cried.

Then, Max walked in.  He looked at his crying sister then at me then back at her.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “You should have been more responsible.”  I glared at him as fresh howls came out of Kendra.

“Maxwell Trenton!  Get out of here!” I yelled.

“It’s all my fault,” Kendra kept crying.

Arg.

I tried to comfort her and still get things done since we did have school and work to try to get to on time.  I sent her to brush her teeth.

I rushed around the house like a wild woman, throwing lunches together and banging things around.  I could hear Max singing in the back of the house, but it didn’t register exactly what song he had chosen for the morning.

Then, when I heard Kendra start yelling, I realized what that little rascal was singing at the top of his lungs.  That’s right.  None other than “Another One Bites the Dust.”

How fitting.

If that’s not a reason to be late for work, I don’t know what is.

it was fun for a while…

 

At least lightning doesn’t strike twice…Right? July 31, 2012

It all started with a lightning strike…

Our dogs are contained by an invisible fence.  When the lightning struck, it fried the fence, so obviously, it didn’t work any more.

This meant the dogs could now get to the garden that contains the rabbit hutch, and the dogs seized the opportunity.  I barely saved the rabbits from becoming a snack, and I moved them temporarily to the garage until we could repair the fence.

The fence is finally repaired.  The dogs are back where they belong.  The rabbits are back where they belong (and are enjoying weeding the garden for me again).

However, in the meantime, one of the chickens crossed from the back yard where they are safe to the front yard where they are closely observed by very interested dogs and then to the driveway where they are in the territory of dogs who have felt unnecessarily teased by the presence of chickens just out of their reach.

A dog ate the chicken.

We learned that hamsters are nocturnal.  Ours enjoys running in its ball all night long.  Not that it keeps me awake or anything.

Meanwhile, the goats got sick.  Very sick.  They had awful diarrhea and we had to sanitize everything and nurse them back to health.  “Poop” is not a strong enough word to describe what I scrubbed from their bottoms.  I straddled them backwards while Ronnie held their heads and comforted them while I cleaned caked-on sh*t from their behinds, legs, and tummies.  It. was. disgusting.

They’re better now.

But, Sparkles, our cat, is missing.  We haven’t seen her in several days.  Kendra is out looking for her right now.

So, currently, we have two dogs, six five chickens, two rabbits (thank goodness!), two goats (that was a close one, too), four toads, a tree frog, a hamster, and a missing cat.

Why do we have animals again?

 

 

Why we will always be okay June 5, 2012

Sometimes it’s not really worth talking about a bad day.  Especially when both Ronnie and I have had one.

Max is spending the night at Grandmom’s tonight.  Kendra went to bed early.  Ronnie got home really late.  When we both finally got to sit down tonight, we both started to tell each other about our days.  But we decided there just wasn’t a point.  Some days are going to be hard.  We only get a little bit of time together tonight, so we spent it relieving stress instead of dwelling on it.

I asked Ronnie to go outside and catch lightning bugs with me.  I grabbed a jar, and he opened his truck doors and turned on “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, one of our favorite songs.  We ran around the yard together, catching lightning bugs and singing and dancing.

When we had the jar full, we did something I’ve been dying to try with the kids – we put the lightning bugs in Max’s frog habitat in his room.  I always wondered if a frog would glow if it ate a lightning bug, and you know what?  They do!  Ronnie and I laughed and laughed as we watched those frogs gorge themselves on bugs and then become blinking frog lanterns as the bugs lit up inside their stomachs.

I can’t wait to do this with the kids this weekend.  They are going to love it!

And Ronnie and I feel much better.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  Maybe not.  But we’re going to be okay.

cutting our anniversary cake

 

Roxy and Zeke, meet your new little friends. May 14, 2012

I’ve already made it pretty clear that I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to animals (or much else, for that matter).  If you missed Welcome to your new home, little goats, you may want to read it before reading this.  It explains a lot.

Ronnie and his dad (thanks, Papa Sherm!) built the fence for the goats on Saturday.  Up until that point, they were in a dog kennel – a less than ideal situation, to say the least.  I never realized how baby goats cry.  It’s loud.

Anyway, we worked all day getting their new pen ready.  As we were finishing up, my parents stopped by.  Add my sister who lives next door and my two kids, and we had enough characters to produce a true comedy.  Of course, that’s not we had planned.  It was strictly business – moving the goats from point A (the dog kennel in the back yard) to point B (the new pen in the woods) while avoiding the obstacles named Roxy and Zeke (obviously, the dogs).  Kind of like a covert operation…or an episode of American Gladiators.

Of course, this was complicated by the facts that the goats were wearing collars entirely too big for their necks and that they go crazy if separated from each other.  I hooked them both to leashes and had Max entice them forward with a bucket of food.  It kind of worked.  A little.

Then, my dad’s mind flashed to the nativity my mom displays every Christmas and what were those Biblical shepherds holding?  A broom!  Well, not really, but that’s what he used to scoot them along.  So, we had Max and my mom shaking goat food in a bucket calling them, me trying my best to pull them while not allowing the collars to slip over their heads, and my dad (still in his arm sling from recent shoulder surgery) bumping their butts with a broom and sounding very shepherd-ish.

We made it!  We put the goats in the pen and closed the gate, and that’s when the dogs went ballistic, barking and lunging at the fence.  Whose idea was it to put the dogs in there to “get it over with”?  I’m not sure in all of the confusion that was going on.  But, that’s what I did.  I put Zeke on a leash first (I thought his natural instincts would take over since he’s an Australian Shepherd mix) and brought him in.

He walked over to the goats and tried to nip at one.  That baby goat put his head down and deflected the dog with a swift upward motion that introduced Zeke to what those cute little horns are for.  Zeke quickly got the idea.  He walked over to the feed bucket and ate some goat food.  Weird dog.

Next was Roxy’s turn.  What.  A.  Disaster.  She immediately lunged at a goat in attack mode (of course, now I realize what a stupid idea this was.  I never would even consider putting Sparkles the cat in the chicken yard.  I amaze myself sometimes with my stupid ideas).  The goats fought back.  I tried to pull Roxy off but she was so strong the cable I was restraining her with slid and blistered my fingers.  I think I almost lost my pinky.  It was bad.

And then it turned worse.  She slipped right out of her collar.

I screamed for Ronnie, who happened to be about two hundred feet away.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that both my dad and my dad-in-law were right on the other side of the fence.  They both barreled into the goat lot to help.  Papa Sherm blocked the goats and my dad picked Roxy up (remember, he only has use of one arm) by the nape of her neck and threw her out of the gate.

I won’t go into all of the polite conversation between my husband and me that happened at this point.  I was a little worked up.  And he was slightly perturbed with me.  Slightly.

Well, the goats are in their lot.  The dogs can not get in the lot.  Ronnie and I are still married.  My family thinks I’m a fool.

I’d say it was a successful day.

 

Welcome to your new home, little goats. May 11, 2012

What in the world am I thinking!?  I am NOT an animal person, and I just spent the better part of the morning wrestling with two baby goats that we brought home last night.  Goats are strong, by the way.  And stinky.

Why do I have two goats in a cage?  That’s a good question.  Let me begin by sharing how we acquired our other animals.

The day we got our dog, we were not even considering a puppy.  I took the kids to the pet store just to look at the animals.  Then I saw her.  She was sitting in that pitiful little pen.  Just sitting there looking at me with those big sad eyes.  Begging to be rescued.  Then I noticed the sign on her pen – CLEARANCE.  I knew I had to have her.  So I paid the slashed price and asked the shopkeeper to hold her while I ran to Wal-Mart to buy the things normal people purchase in preparation for a puppy.  And to call my husband to inform him of the new addition to our family.

Who could resist those eyes?

I was guilted into our next pet acquisition.  Kendra really played me on this one.  How could I not buy her the little kitty when her brother had a puppy.  After all, she had always dreamed of having a kitten for her whole entire life.  So, we bought the kitten and then went back to Wal-Mart for kitten stuff.

Sparkles the kitten.

The dog and cat were enough for a long while.  Until one day, the kids really decided they absolutely couldn’t live without pet rabbits.  So, we bought them.  They had to live in a dog kennel in the garage for a few days while Ronnie built them a hutch.  Why?  Because, once again, we were unprepared.

Pleeease, Mom and Dad, pleeeease!?

Well, after that, we tried fish, but that didn’t work so well as you remember if you read my post To Flush or Not to Flush.  Moving on.

Time went on.  We went through several rabbits, and my sister added a dog to the mix, but we pretty much stayed the same for a few months.  Then, my son started really taking interest in frogs.  Since I’ve always been very determined not to pass my irrational fear on to my kids, I helped him build a habitat in the unused fish aquarium, and we put four frogs he captured in it.  I have to concentrate on not letting it bother me that there are frogs in his bedroom.  I don’t go in there much.

Then, Ronnie decided to get chickens.  Fresh eggs, teaching responsibility, all that good stuff.  I went along with it because the baby chicks were so cute.  However, since we were – you guessed it – unprepared! – the chickens lived in a container in my kitchen too long for me to end up liking them.  And, honestly, now that they’re older, they scare me to death.  They’re like frogs with feathers.  And beaks and long claws.  Terrifying.

So, that brings me to the goats.  We knew we were going to buy them, so we bought all the supplies to build a fence for them.  We even started on it.  Good, huh?  Unfortunately, that’s all we did, so when we went to get the goats last night, we brought them home and had nowhere to put them.  Typical of us, really.

I was supposed to put collars on them this morning, and tie them to something so they could be out for the day until we finish the fence tomorrow.  Good plan, huh?  Well, it was a failure.  Goats don’t like collars.  Goats don’t like being led on a leash.  Goats make a lot of racket, poop all the time, and jump around like bucking broncos.  Who knew they’d be kind of like little donkeys?  Not me, that’s for  sure.

So, Max and I managed to get them to the backyard, but the collars I bought were too big, and everything that could go wrong went wrong, and they probably hate me already, and they’re only 106 days old and now they’re probably traumatized, and I’m afraid they’re going to bite me, and the dogs are barking at them like crazy, and the goats are bleeting at the top of their little lungs, and I have goat pee and poop and hair all over me, and I’m not really sure how I feel about goats now.

We’ll build the fence tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ve heard a rumor that someone we know has a pot-bellied pig they don’t want any more…

 

 

Confession: I’m not the Mom you Think I am April 12, 2012

Filed under: Confessions,family,parenting,pets — mandyholbert @ 7:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

Somehow, unintentionally, I have given some people the impression that I have it all together. I appreciate the compliments – I truly do. But, I feel a little hypocritical in accepting them.
Let me tell you why.
I washed all of our bed sheets on Saturday. I finally put ours on our bed this morning (today is Thursday). We’ve been what we call “camping out” all week. That really just means we’ve been sleeping on sheetless beds on top of and under whatever covers we can scrounge up that are actually clean.
I have done an additional four loads of laundry this week, and all of the clean clothes are piled on a couch unsorted, unfolded, and un-anything else that is responsible and motherly.

We have eaten out every night this week – not because we love eating out but because I never made it to the grocery store to buy ingredients for proper dinners. We also are down to the last roll of toilet paper. I really need to get to the store.
My son’s favorite meal is macaroni and cheese from a can. Most people don’t even realize macaroni can be bought in a can. I actually feed it to my child.
I forget to feed the dog sometimes.

My poor husband had to dry off with a hand towel after his shower this morning.
The kids’ rooms look like disaster zones. I only care when I go in them. And I only go in them to tuck them in or to put their laundry away (obviously, a rarity).
The thing is, nothing is perfect around here. Actually, nothing is even remotely close to perfect. I feel like I never have it together. If I get the house cleaned up, the outside is a wreck. If I get outside presentable, then my car is a mess. I don’t think I’ve ever had it all done, and I don’t think I ever will.
I am a working mom. I have to remind myself constantly that I leave my house between 7-7:30 in the mornings, depending on the day of the week, and I get home sometime after 6 and usually before 7. When I get home, I have the family and animals to feed, laundry to do, a house to clean…I could go on naming the mundane tasks that keep a household running, but I won’t. More importantly, I have a family to love and take care of. I have projects to start and try to finish. I have a garden. A tree house. Bunnies. And a dog.
I am so blessed to have a husband who doesn’t demand a spotless house and meals on the table when he gets home. I have a man who doesn’t mind helping me search through the mountains of clean clothes and maybe the drier too to find two matching socks to wear to work. We decided together that we can’t have everything perfect and still have time for our kids, our projects, and fun. So, we compromise. We keep things presentable, but not perfect. When they start to get out of hand, we all work together to get it decent again.
I’d so much rather drop my kids off at the garden on the way home so they can play in the tree house. I’d rather go inside and take off the uncomfortably professional attire I have to wear to work and put on my holey jeans and my Crocs so I can go join them.
I’ll get to the laundry eventually. It can wait.
My family shouldn’t have to.