Friday, January 31, 2014

You Should Know Me By Now


Two months post hip replacement surgery, I'm happy to report all is going well with my husband's recovery. When Greg started misplacing his cane, I took it as a sign he didn't need the thing much. It also brought back memories of my grandmother, when her doctor first consigned her to using a cane.

She'd sit down, prop it next to her, then get up and walk away. Fifteen minutes later, she'd say, "Oh, darn. Where did I leave that cane?" And then we'd backtrack through every room in the house until we found it. Right where she left it, oddly enough. And always in the last place we looked, too.

I'd been away at college for a few weeks and was home for a visit when she gave me a disgruntled scowl. "Did you see I'm using a cane now?"

"Nope," I said. "Been here two days, can't say I've noticed you actually using it at all."

The key point in my husband's recovery—from his point of view—was the day he was able to get into his tractor. This allowed him to follow Dad and I around and 'help' us do the chores, otherwise known as constructive criticism. Luckily, tractors are loud and there is a limited amount of communication possible, so he was easy to ignore.

He could also drive the pickup, which was great because we could make him drive to town for parts and the milk I forgot when I bought groceries. Wasn't like he had anything better to do. The physical therapist was less impressed when he delivered himself to his first appointment.

"Have you been cleared to drive?" she asked.

"Was I supposed to stop?"

Probably best I don't repeat her answer here. Family show and all that. 

One of his first errands was to pick up feed for our newly weaned heifers and bulls. It comes in forty pound bags, fifty to a pallet, so each pallet weighs a ton. At the feed store the pallets are loaded onto our flatbed with a forklift. If possible, we unload them at home with a tractor that has a pair of metal forks attached to the front of the bucket, but some of the places we want to store them cannot accommodate a wooden pallet, so they have to be hauled off bag by bag.

Such was the case with the bull feed, which we keep in an old two horse trailer parked next to their pen. The bags are slippery plastic-coated paper, so I bear-hug them around the middle, stagger to where they need to be stacked, and heave them onto the pile. Yeah, it's a picture of beauty and grace.

On this particular morning, I unloaded and stacked two pallets of bull feed. Then we moved on to the heifers. The first pallet had been loaded into our old four horse trailer at the feed store, but hauling another could've popped the bald tires, so the second came home on the flatbed.

Putting it in the horse trailer was tricky, because in addition to the straight forks carrying the feed pallet, the tractor bucket has a grapple fork mounted on top like massive salad tongs. If Greg tilted the bucket wrong, he could punch holes in the roof of the horse trailer, which sort of negates its value for storing feed.

He eased up close, attempting to line up with the narrow door of the trailer while also keeping the bucket at the exact right height and tilt. Dad and I helped by making a whole bunch of completely contradictory hand motions.

The grapple fork ripped a chunk of chrome off the roof.

The project sort of went downhill from there, with all of us growing increasingly frustrated. Finally, the pallet was inside the trailer, flush up against the first pallet…and sticking out six inches too far for the door to close. Greg revved up the tractor for a mighty shove. The whole trailer moved, but the pallets didn't budge.   

More arm waving, another chunk of chrome torn off. Greg paused long enough for me to climb up and open the tractor door. "We're gonna break something if we keep this up. You'll have to take it somewhere else," I said.

"There is nowhere else," he declared. "Just toss the bags off by hand."

Given that I'd already 'just' unloaded a ton of feed, I may have gotten a bit huffy and suggested he toss them off himself.

"I would if I could," he snapped. And then this man who's known me for over twenty years looked me straight in the eye and said, "Fine, then. Where would you like me to put them?"

You'd think he'd know the answer to that one by now.


1 comment:

Cynthia D'Alba said...

HAHAHA Those silly husbands! They already know the answer to that question, don't they?