Need a Summer Re-Start

My kids have been out of school for less than a week.  Wait, is that really possible??  (Consulting calendar)  Yes . . . the youngest “graduated” from 8th grade a week ago today and the oldest finished up 10th grade last Thursday.  So we’re just one week into summer break.

And it hasn’t been an easy week.  I’d like to re-wind and start over.

The first weekend of summer (last weekend), we scheduled to have a few of my Scouts “camp” here so they could knock out a bunch of their cooking requirements.  By Saturday afternoon everyone was tired, crabby, hot, and definitely didn’t want to do their required cooking.  By 9:30 Saturday night, we had slogged through the cooking and a few other requirements and kids went home early.  But not before we had tears and me swearing I was done with Scoutmaster-ing.

However, it wound up being a great thing that kids went home early because Sunday morning, we were awoken by our beloved 6 year old, yellow Lab having a full-blown grand mal seizure.  It was terrible.  Absolutely awful and terrifying.  We were all hysterical.  Then, it got worse.  When he stopped seizing, he was completely disoriented, didn’t recognize any of us and became extremely aggressive.  He was snarling, growling, barking and definitely would have bitten.  We finally got him outside without anyone being bitten.  But having their best friend lunge at them sent my kids over the edge.  And left me wondering how on earth I was going to get my snarling dog in a crate and to the vet.

Thankfully, he returned to himself within about 15 minutes, let me put a leash on him, got in a crate (which he never, ever goes in) and off to the emergency vet we went.  Since then, he hasn’t had any more seizures.  We followed up with our regular vet yesterday and started medication, which he’ll have to have twice a day for the rest of his life.

The vet said that, should he have another seizure, the extreme aggressiveness will likely be his pattern.  So  now we have a “dog seizure protocol”.  Its been traumatic.

And finally, my oldest has decided to change Scout troops.  This decision has been building for a few weeks and it hasn’t been easy.  We’ve had a lot of conversations about it and last night, there were a lot of tears over it.

So, that’s been our first week of summer.  Fabulous, right?  I suppose it can only get better from here!

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How Am I Going To Get Through This?

“This” is being unemployed.  And don’t read too much into the title of this post.  Its not a “How on earth am I going to get through this???” in a hysterical or depressed way.  Its more of a “Huh . . . what exactly am I going to do???”

Because, let’s face it, being unemployed with teenagers leaves a person with a whole lot of free time.  I have the sneaking suspicion that I need to structure my time and activities somehow.

My “Plan for the Day” spreadsheet is working to a point.  But since, for example, I just canceled my house cleaners, I need some scheduled housecleaning time.  My horses aren’t getting worked (again) so I need to schedule that.  I need to get my kids to do something productive this summer.  And, of course, I need to look for a job, which, according to my husband, should take up at least 4 hours of my day.

But how do you make these decisions in a vacuum?  Obviously, it doesn’t matter what day I clean the bathroom.  Looking for a job should likely take priority.  So that needs to be in the morning because otherwise, I promise you, my day will just roll on by and I’ll get involved in other, far more interesting, things.

This is hard!!!  And I don’t like it.  Not one little bit.

And what time do I get up in the morning??  During the school year, which ended yesterday, I have to roll out of bed by 6:30 at the latest to get my high schooler to school by 7:30.  I kind of loathe getting up early.  But now, the idea of having some quiet time to myself in the morning to get a few things done, is sort of appealing.  I could get up, have coffee, and do a good chunk of my 4 hours of job searching before the kids get up.  That would give me most of the day left for fun things.

Hmmm . . . that’s something to consider.

Scouts is on Wednesday, which makes the whole day feel compressed.  So maybe that’s a good day for housecleaning and not worry about getting other stuff done (besides the necessary job searching, of course).

But otherwise . . . well, I just don’t know.  I just know that I’d better come up with a plan.

Don’t Have Experience . . . Can’t Get Experience

I’ve been looking for a new job for 3 months now.  I’m finding it incredibly frustrating.  For the past 12 years, I was a court-appointed defense attorney in juvenile criminal court.  I’ve spent 12 years in front of judges, defending minors.  I’ve spent 12 years analyzing evidence.  12 years negotiating good outcomes for my clients and going to trial when necessary.  12 years dealing with difficult kids and their (sometimes) difficult families.

Apparently, all of this counts for nothing.

Why?  Because I don’t have experience in any other type of law.

So the fact that the past 12 years have given me the skills to do, admittedly, with a learning curve, other types of law, that doesn’t seem to matter.  I can’t even get an interview.

Are there just too many attorneys out there?

I’m in the midst of doing the training to be a court-appointed attorney for minors in family court.  I just learned today that there’s an experience requirement – having represented minors in six contested custody cases.  I don’t have that experience so how am I supposed to obtain it??

Sorry . . . I know I’m venting here but I’m incredibly frustrated.  I’m smart, organized, professional, good interpersonal skills, good written and verbal skills.  And I can’t find a job.

Trying to Get My Week Together

Yep, its Friday and I’m still feeling like I’m just trying to get my week together.  Its been a week with a lot of interruptions . . . Mom-type things like orthodontic wires stabbing cheeks, sore teeth from braces tightening, “Mom, can my friend spend the night?”,  “Wait, no, I don’t want her to spend the night.”,  teenager studying for finals, blow-ups in my son’s Scout troop (for which I, happily, am not the Scoutmaster), and so on and so on.

On top of all this, we have our (last) annual swim party tomorrow, daughter’s 8th grade “promotion”, friend’s son’s high school graduation, Scout events at my house . . . it just seems to go on.

Sound familiar?

I’ve tried my best to get a few things done.  I signed up a new Scout for my troop of girls (Yay!!!).  I’ve written a few blog posts.  Mostly, I’m being gentle with  myself.  Not beating myself up for not getting more done.  Focusing on what I have accomplished versus what I have not.  Because, realistically, its all stuff that can be done next week (not that I’m advocating procrastination).  Everyone is healthy, clothed, fed, and gets to where they need to be mostly on time.  And that’s what’s important.

Its ok for me to take the time to write blog posts, sit here with my coffee and watch birds out the window and spend a few minutes too long scrolling through Facebook and looking for a horse to buy my daughter.

Yep, its ok.

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Slewy’s Saddle-Fitting

My trainer came out yesterday to check Slewy’s saddle fit.  Last year, I had my saddle “re-flocked”, which means they open up the saddle and redo the padding and stuffing in it to make it soft again.  I also had it widened a bit.

But, because of how my life goes, I had never put it on Slewy so we didn’t know how it fit.

At the saddle-fitters advice, I also bought a Mattes saddle pad, which is perhaps the most expensive piece of tack I’ve ever bought.  It has its own bag, which it will return to after each use!

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Its white and fluffy and oh-so-soft and beautiful and I intend it to stay that way!!!

The Mattes meant that I also had to buy another saddle pad to go under it, between its snowy whiteness and my horse.  Horses are never-ending . . . buying one thing leads to the need for another.

Anyway . . . we went super slow with Slewy, letting him give each new saddle pad and the saddle a thorough sniffing over before putting them on him.  He’s a super anxious horse so slow is the only way to go.

He was super good!  He probably hasn’t had a saddle on in nearly a year.  But once things were completely sniffed, he was fine.  It took him a minute to remember that he can walk with a girth on but that’s ok.

My trainer gave the thumbs up to our new saddle pads and saddle fit.  Yay!!!

But, here’s the not so good news.  Slewy is still super skinny.  And his back is sore, which is weird since he hasn’t done anything much in the last year.  She said I could ride him but I’ve decided to wait until he puts some weight on and gains some muscle.  As inpatient as I am, it wasn’t a hard decision to make because I want to do this right.

So, I’ve sentenced Slewy and I to more boring lunging.  But, Slewy also now gets all the hay he can eat and that makes him a super happy horse!

At least with all good pads and a properly fitting saddle, I feel like we’ve made some forward progress.  Now, I just need a fat horse!

Its a Good Idea to Label Your Garden

We plant a garden every year; usually at least four tomato plants, some lettuce, carrots, lemon cucumber, potatoes, and whatever else.  I’ve given up on zucchini.  Everyone around here plants zucchini, it grows like crazy, everyone always has too much zucchini and is trying to give it away, and, at least in my house, no one really likes it.

This year, I bought a ton of seeds for cool, funky, heirloom vegetables from the Baker Seed Company catalog.  I made the mistake of assuming most of them wouldn’t grow.  So, to start my seeds, I dumped a whole bunch of seeds into my little seed starting containers.

Surprise!  The majority of them popped right up.  Then, I was faced with the problem of root tangle.  So, I just transplanted them in clumps.  Now I have a clump of tomato plants, for example.  None of which are getting very big.  Hmmmm . . .

But my bigger problem is with the seeds I direct sowed into the garden beds.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t keep track of what I planted in any way.  So now I’m faced with this:

20190530_112754  What are baby veggies and what are weeds??  I’ve got no idea!!!  I planted a couple of different things in each container so I’m not even sure what veggies to look for.

Yesterday, as I was studying  my budding garden and this problem was dawning on me, I tried to look for patterns . . . like, similar looking plants in a row.  That helped in a few containers; I think I identified some baby beets.  But overall, its going to be garden surprise!

So, folks, remember to label your garden!!!!

A Week or So of Lunging

First Slewy update:

I’ve managed to lunge him for several days now (consistency is one of my challenges).  He’s done pretty well!  But then, he’s typically good on the lunge line.  We’ve been lunging at the same time my daughter lunges one of the minis.  Occasionally Slewy forgets which person he’s supposed to listen to but, for the most part, he’s paid attention to me and remained focused on what we’re doing, rather than what the small ones in the other half of the arena are doing.

I gave him  yesterday off because on Monday, he really just wasn’t having it.  He obliged me by trotting and cantering around but, when we changed directions after about 15 minutes, he said he was done.  So, after a few decent circles, I let him be and turned him out with his buddy.

I am concerned that he trips quite a bit.  And that he drags his right hind toe.  If I lunge him over a trot pole, 95% of the time he clonks his right hind toe on the pole.  I’m hoping that either 1) he’s just being lazy and / or 2) this will improve as his conditioning improves.

Our other problem is that, let’s face it, lunging is boring for both of us.  Everything I’ve read says that ground work is of the utmost importance.  But, honestly, I know zero about it.  I really want to try double-lunging or long-lining him but I’m kind of scared to.  He’s so sensitive and I’m scared I’ll screw him up.  I just ordered the book, “Schooling Horses in Hand” by Richard Hinrichs.  Hopefully that will be helpful.

Tomorrow my trainer is coming to check saddle fit.

Minis Update:

I just finished reading “Step-By-Step Guide To Training a Miniature Horse to Drive”.  Its super helpful.  Very clearly written with lots of pictures.  The author makes the whole process sound super simple.

We’ve been lunging the minis as well because everyone needs to get back into shape.  But I think we can undertake some of the exercises in the book as well to try to keep things interesting.

Sorry I didn’t have time for pictures this morning!  Next time!