Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good Wife, Bad Wife

I absolutely love this whole farm wife gig I have going on. But sometimes I wonder if I'm really cut out for it.

Apparently loving something doesn't equal being good at it.

Today is full of examples of how bad I am at this job.

1. Good farm wives usually make a meat and potato feast for all of the men at lunch everyday. And during busy times, they even go the extra mile of packing it up and taking it down to the field.

I, on the other hand, steal my husband's debit card and make a bee-line for town and head straight to fast food row.

But in my defense, Wendy's now offers Natural Cut Sea Salt Fries. That sounds pretty gourmet if you ask me.

2. Good farm wives can drive big ol' wheat trucks to the grain elevator. They handle those beasts like a boss.

I still can't figure out how to drive this silly old farm truck in town. Remember last year's disaster? Today was even worse.

Since I have no shame ... never have and never will ... I'll give you a brief synopsis:

I had to go into town to get something for a tractor. And while I was on fast food row (my second home), the car in front of me stopped -- waiting for traffic to pass so it could turn left into KFC. I don't know if you remember, but I avoid stopping on inclines at all costs when driving a 6-speed. This involves blowing through stop signs, going 5 miles out of my way to avoid a stoplight on a hill, etc... But there was no way around this one. I was ambushed.

Once the car pulled in, I put the truck in gear and tried to drive on --- it stalled, of course. And again, and again, and again. I won't go into detail about how many times I killed it. We'll just say I had traffic backed up all the way to the horse track. And anyone in this town will tell you that there is a considerable distance between the hill at KFC and the main track entrance.

Finally, two guys got out of their truck and walked up to my window.

Are you broken down? We'll push you into the parking lot if you want.

Nope. I just suck at life. And at starting out in first gear on a hill.

Just feather the brakes a little.

Huh? Feather what?

Blank stare. They look at me like my lights are on but nobody's home.

And I'm pretty sure they're right.

Much to my embarrassment, they had to push this big ol' 4-door dually up and over the hill so I can get a drift start.

Fan-flippin'-tastic. There go my cool points for the day.

I'm so glad 25% of this small town just witnessed my humility from their cars.

And thanks to the 10% who were honking their horns like possessed maniacs. You're awesome.

Of course you know this isn't my fault. Nothing ever is. It's my husband's fault for making me drive the truck into town. So when I got back to the farm, you can imagine the calm, rational conversation I had with him.

He looked at me like I was the dumbest driver on the face of the Earth.

Then the waterworks came out.

That's when he started laughing. Don't ever laugh at a crying woman. That's like telling a mad woman to "calm down." Big mistake. Mass hysteria is sure to follow.

3. Most farm wives dress sensibly. That way, when they are asked to help on the farm, they don't ruin $200 jeans or break a heel.

I've never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

But you better believed I'm going to be the best dressed chick on this farm. (I may have no other female competition on the farm, but it still gives me great pride to hold this self-awarded title)

My husband asked me to take the 4-wheeler on a couple of little errands around the farm today. With all of this rain we've been getting, the well is bubbling over --- creating Lake Michigan right in the middle of my 4-wheeler path.

Thankfully, I suck just bad enough at this farm wife thing that I am behind on laundry and didn't have designer jeans to wear today.

But I did sacrifice my favorite Express jeans to that yucky old mud.

My whole body is polka dotted in dirt clumps right now.

And Clorox wipes just are cutting it.

To add insult to injury, I am the presenter at my homemaker's meeting tonight. This group is full of perfect little farm wives. I'm pretty sure they aren't buying my act. I'm a total fraud.

Here's to hoping I have time to run to the house and take a shower first.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ken and Barbie

Five years ago my dad, brother and I planned a surprise trip to our Colorado cabin for my mom's 50th birthday. ((Sorry mom, I'm giving away your age. But with hair as white as yours, you aren't fooling anybody.))

We also surprised her with a photographer so we could take our first family photo in about 15 years. A much needed upgrade from our last professional pic --- taken by Olan Mills at church. Nothing against Olan Mills but ... well, yeah, I guess I am slammin' on Olan Mills. I mean, have you ever seen a good Olan Mills portrait?

I digress. As usual.

Anyway, we have always joked that one of the pictures we took that summer at the cabin looks like an engagement photo.

It's totally gross. I actually have my hand on my brother's shoulder.

A couple of years later. Enter Ken and Barbie:

Same guy. Same location. Different girl. This time my brother has a girlfriend at the cabin.

The obvious new joke is that now this looks like an engagement picture.

A much more suitable couple. Not to mention legal in all 50 states.

But the poor girl would have to wait another couple of years after that before she got her official engagement pictures.

These two are just too glamorous for words.

It's a match made in fairy tale heaven.

The NFL cheerleader and the successful lawyer.

((By the way, I know I should be crediting some fabulous Kansas City photographer for these engagement pictures, but I have no idea who. So kudos to you -- anonymous photographer -- and please don't sue me.))

She is the sophisticated city girl.

And he is the small town boy who left for the big city.


Just kidding.

I left too.

Both have hearts of gold and just want everyone around them to be happy.

My brother and I became pretty close in college. When I would frequently visit his college town we would tailgate together with my uncle on Saturdays and go to lunch together on Sundays before I left. And then when he went to law school at my university, we lived together my last two years of college. Believe it or not, we never had a single argument. We took turns cooking and cleaning, went to church together, even went to the bars together.

When I graduated and left for New York he would call me about once a week to chat.

So when the calls abruptly stopped, I knew something had to be up.

You guessed it.

Big brother got a girlfriend.

Ken found Barbie. Which left no time for annoying little Skipper.

I have to admit, at first I was like 'who is this chick?'

She almost seemed too perfect.

But despite the fact that she is a size 0, her hair is always perfectly coiffed, and she forever looks flawless ... I just couldn't hate her.

Isn't it my little sister duty to instantly hate the barbie doll girlfriend?

Problem is, she's just too dang nice.

And she is perfect for my brother.

She loves the outdoors as much as he does.

And not only will she put up with him wearing the same kind of ridiculous aqua socks my dad wears, but it appears as if she wears them while rafting now too.

That's love if I've ever seen it.


And I'm finding out through our once a year meetings, occasional phone calls and now daily e-mails that she is the sister I never had.

And in a little more than three weeks, she will officially be my sister.

In law.

That last part is just a legal technicality.

She is a total glam star.

And I look like Raggedy Ann.

But I'm pretty sure we could still pass for sisters.

On another planet.

Where the aliens don't have eyes.

And scales don't exist.