Sometimes morning routines don’t work out

I freely admit that I am not a morning person. Over the years, I’ve become better at getting out of bed and making it to the coffee maker without leaving massive destruction in my wake. I can also manage to get the kids up, dressed, and out the door to the bus with no casualties.

Heck, some mornings we’re almost cordial to each other. After a brief stint as toddler morning people, they now match my temperament in the AM. In order to keep reasonable order around here and cut down on possible meltdowns, mornings usually follow a pretty predictable routine, with few deviations.

Except for one morning a few weeks ago. Darling Daughter came thumping downstairs, strangely wide eyed. Since she was early and remarkably awake, the hackles rose on my neck. “Mom,” she said, “the horses are in the backyard.”

I immediately had horrifying flashbacks to the last time my horses had made a break for it. Every time we seemed to get closer to them, they decided to run farther away. We eventually caught them several miles away and hours later after some kind neighbors helped us get them in our trailer. I had absolutely no desire to repeat the experience.

Several prime examples of profanity wandered through my mind as I frantically dressed and rounded up the family to help get the critters back in the pen where they belonged. Darling Daughter, having sounded the alarm, took her precious time finding and applying her shoes to her feet. Dear Son went out back to keep an eye on the mares, lest they make a break for it. Super Hubby headed out to make sure the proper gates were open and waiting for what we hoped would be an easy operation.

As many farmers and ranchers know, buckets are one of the most important farm tools a body can own, and indeed, one can never have too many buckets. This particular day called for a large bucket, with plenty of resonance and volume, since our horses seem to be incapable of resisting the sound of apples bonking around in a bucket. Aware that time was of the essence, I went in search of a suitable bucket, pausing only to send Darling Daughter down to the barn for a halter and lead rope.

Apparently buckets possess the ability to teleport themselves into another dimension when they sense that they are needed. Every place that I remembered seeing a bucket was suddenly bucketless. Of course, the ice cream buckets just wouldn’t do, and I could find plenty of those. Finally, I located a somewhat suitable cat litter bucket, and headed out to the apple tree as hubby made sure I was on the job.

Remember that I’m not a morning person. I found that the apples that remained on the tree were just out of my reach. In desperation, I was leaping up to grab any branch I could reach, hoping to grab an apple, or even to shake one loose. After one literally fruitless attempt, I looked up and found Hubs staring at me with an odd look on his face. “I couldn’t reach any on the lower branches,” I explained. “Why didn’t you just pick up some from the ground?” he asked, in the tone one usually reserves for talking to crazy and/or homicidal people. Looking down, sure enough, there were apples down there. I had been jumping on them.

Sheepishly, I put some in the bucket, only to find that Dear Son had led the horses almost all the way back to the pen, seemingly with only the force of his personality and an apple or two in his hands. Darling Daughter and the halter was nowhere to be seen. Sure enough, the mares ambled back into the pen and happily munched not only the apples Dear Son had enticed them with, but the slightly tenderized ones from my bucket. Incrediboy even went charging off through the pen to help lure the horses away from the part of the fence that needed mending.

As I stood there slapping mosquitoes and watching Super Hubby mend fence, I breathed a massive sigh of relief. As if on cue, Darling Daughter made her appearance just in time to let the chickens out and watch the school bus arrive. All told, the ordeal probably lasted fifteen minutes, not counting fence fixing. Much, much better than hours spent traipsing the country on foot. Have some kids, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. And it is, mostly. Especially when we can work as a team to get the job done.