Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Good Wednesday morning to you!  I'm finally back at the computer after being held captive on the couch for more than a few days.  Aren't you glad I had the Blackberry?  The last two days' stories were done completely via Blackberry.  What I'll do for my audience, even if I'm sick!

So, today is an auspicious anniversary.  Today is the third anniversary of my first date with Bart.  Why is that auspicious?  Well, three years is the longest relationship either of us has had outside of marriage.  We were each married about 20 years.

Maybe having a three year non-married relationship is a good thing?  After the divorces we each had, maybe it's at least a sign that we still believe relationships are possible?  I will say, I'm a lot happier three years into this relationship than I was three years into my marriage.  Geez, why'd I hang around that loser for another billion years?  I'm sorry another 15 only seems like a billion.

People always ask how Bart and I met.  I assume it's because of the age difference and thus, no one thinks we have anything in common.  I always say it was through mutual friends.  We know several people in common.  My cousin-in-law worked with Bart.  Several of my riding students parents or grandparents worked with Bart, too.  Suffices to say, someone out there thought we'd get along.

We talked first via IM after a few emails.  This is where I thought it would end.  I thought he was quite handsome from his pictures but, I thought he'd think I was wackadoo.

Being a horse farmer only sounds romantic.  When guys figure out what the job is really about, they are much less enchanted. In fact, when I was dating Harry, he told me he could never live at the farm with me because he didn't want to smell like horses all the time.

I think Harry was exaggerating.  No one has ever told me I smell like a horse.  Besides, what's wrong with that?  I love the smell of horses and a barn.

See, this is why I think most folks think I'm a little loony.  Relax folks, showers and clean clothes are always in order before I leave the farm.  I don't run around smelling like a barnyard, I promise.

When Bart and I were IMing one day, he asked me what kind of animals I had.  I thought, "Oh no, this is it.  When I finish listing off this menagerie, he'll think I'm nuts."  I started my list, which was bigger at the time.  I had more horses, more cats, and another rabbit.  Of course there were Spot, Coffee, and Killer, too.

Then I asked him, "Do you have any pets?"

The list was long and diverse.  That's when I knew, friends.  That's when I knew we'd get along.

He started off with, "Well, right now I just have two dogs.  But, I've had...."  (Yes, the older dog has since passed away.)

And, the list went on and on.  Bart had made a deal with his sons when they were little boys.  They could have any pet they wanted except for a snake.  Sounds good to me!

When he made that deal with them, they lived on a farm in another, very picturesque state.  But, when they moved to suburbia, that didn't stop them.  They actually had a pig living in the back yard of Bart's house.  The house where he lives now--in a subdivision!  His neighbors were a lot more understanding than most subdivision neighbors!

There was also an iguana, a ferret, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs...a slightly diverse assortment.  What surprised me most is the majority of them came to live with Bart's family after they moved off the farm!  The farm was a 200 year old property that Bart fully restored.  Maybe he was too busy working to get too many odd pets then?

Bart tends to withhold information a bit.  He tends to only share with a purpose.  I did not know he had owned a farm until several months into our relationship.  It probably wasn't purposeful withholding.  It was very different and he didn't see how it applied to my kind of farm.

From a maintenance point of view, all farms are pretty similar.  There's tons of maintenance!  And, fortunately, Bart knows how to do it!  You've already heard about how he taught me to drive my own tractor.

Bart enjoys farm life.  He loves all kinds of animals.  He has a thirst for learning.  He doesn't believe he knows it all.  He doesn't rush in with my animals before I've talked him through their handling.  That is a huge plus!

Most men rush in.  They want to show me they "know."  They want to be "in charge."  Well, that doesn't really work around here, folks.  Back away from the animals!

People who work with animals, any kind of animals really, know there's a certain way to handle them.  They understand that each animal has a personality.  They understand what you need to do to stay safe around them.

Rushing in to grab an animal is really not the right thing to do.  Bart understood this from the beginning.  This actually makes him much more helpful on the farm. When I said this to another old engineer, he nodded, knowingly, as if to say, "Yes, of course that makes him more helpful."

Bart isn't always rushing into a situation he doesn't understand to "help."  Those kind of people, I'm always trying to save from themselves.  That kind of behavior around animals will get you killed.

When Bart and I have talked about this "positive aspect" of his personality, he says, "Well, what do I know about horses? Why would I just go in there with them?"

That's also an old engineer for you.  They are calm, observing, measuring, collecting information.  Old engineers don't rush in.  Younger engineers, well, let's say from my experience around the farm, they are a lot more likely to be stupid and overwhelmed with testosterone.

I've had a couple of them almost get in trouble with either the dogs or the horses or both from rushing towards them to show me what they "know."  One of Dod's favorite stories is the time a young engineer kept coming towards Spot.  It was the first time this guy had been here.  Spot was in front of me "guarding" and barking ferociously.

I kept telling the fella to stop and wait for me to put Spot inside.  He kept coming.  I said Spot would bite him if he got closer.  Stop.  He told me it would be fine.  Gee, I love it when people who've never seen my animals "tell" me about them.

Here's the part Dod loves.  I said, "Let's not test your theory."  And, scooted Spot inside.

Bart would never do something like that.  Maybe it's the engineer in him.  Maybe it's all the animals he's owned.

Maybe it's that he was a foster home for one of the local animal rescue organizations.  Fostering abused and neglected animals will teach you something.  They are a different sort.  You definitely don't rush with them.

See, you love him more now, don't you?  Rescued animal foster dad.  He's not all slide rules and measurements, folks.  He's not only very handsome under his "Elmer Fudd" wear, he's also pretty darn sweet.  Ok, I can almost see him turning 18 shades of red from his desk at work...which is several miles from here.

I can go on and on about the "magic" that makes our relationship work, but the animals play a huge part.  I simply cannot be involved with a man who is afraid of or allergic to animals.

I also can't be involved with a man who expects there to be some division between my work and my life.  The farm is my life.  How can that stop for me to have dinner on the table by six?

Bart gets all of that.  If he didn't have a basic understanding of farms and animals, it would have never lasted this long.  Heck, it wouldn't have lasted three months, much less three years.

My hope tonight is that we get to go out to dinner.  I think I'll buy tonight.  Why?  It's our anniversary so he should buy?

No, I've been sick since Friday.  Sick, as in, I can't move around too much or I'll pass out.  That doesn't work out well on the farm.  And, the staff has to go home eventually.  So, Bart has pinch hit for me around the farm.  He did evening chores for me last night, in fact.

Remember, Bart and I aren't married.  We don't live together.  He gets no money out of this farm.  He has no motivation to do all of this thankless labor for me.

He told me from very early in our relationship, "I'll show you how I feel with these," and held up his hands.  He shows love by doing.  He shows love by fixing, by helping.  Bart does not show love through diamonds, gold, or other fancy gifts.  He doesn't show love through words.  He shows love through action.

And, he'd be squirming in his chair to read all of this.  You know he hates to be the subject of a blog. Too bad.  Besides, he won't know if I don't tell him he was today's topic.

I'll make it up to him by buying dinner.I only hope I'm feeling well enough tonight to actually go to dinner.  Well, I'm sitting up at the computer today, so that's a good sign!

Thanks for reading folks.  This may not have been one of my wittiest entries. Like me and Bart, it may not always be quick and witty, but it works.

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