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I went road-trippin’ to White Sulphur Springs, Montana, this weekend to have a little quality time with the sistahs before they get too old and brittle to have fun. It’s the big 5-0 for them next month … oh, wait was I not supposed to say that? Well, I’ll keep their weight a secret.

Because I don’t know it.

Along the way I saw weirdness that wasn’t me — and it wasn’t even the sistahs — it was just random stuff, and me without a camera in hand to record it.

Weird-a-moment #1: The four of us who had gathered for the celebration were on the way to a horse auction because, well, who doesn’t want to go see horses, and we stopped at a rest area because, well, that’s the down side of staying hydrated. As we drove into the very busy parking area we saw a couple from out of state unloading a couple of chickens from their car. To take them for a little stretch of the legs and scratching in the dirt and grass. On leashes.

Chickens on leashes.

I had pet chickens as a kid, but by comparison, mine were feathered creatures of the wild that merely panhandled for food in my yard. I was, apparently lucky not to be attacked and eaten by those savage, uncivilized fowls.

Chickens on leashes. It was awesome, actually.

Weird-a-moment #2: On the way home, neither drunk nor hungover, I stopped for lunch. No, that’s definitely not the weird part. While I was standing at my car door juggling food and drink and keys to get the door unlocked, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and pretty quickly it registered that the movement was (a) odd, and (b) aimed straight at my head, so I ducked in that graceful way that clearly indicates you’re freaking out a little bit around the edges because it’s a large bug.

Despite the creepy almost-got-a-bug-in-the-face mini-panic, I immediately realized that there was a not-quite-rightness about the offending bug, so I whipped my head around and saw that the weird bug was a wasp/hornet/bee of a buzzing bug and it was struggling to carry the limp carcass of a yellow butterfly. At least I’m pretty sure it was a limp carcass, though I would entertain an argument for the bee acting as mercy flight for a badly injured butterfly vs. car victim.

I suspect the bee was not trying to get me, but rather was struggling so hard to stay aflight that it couldn’t fathom going round me, though I’d just stepped into it’s path.

I was normal by comparison for the weekend @ pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

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I’m definitely going to keep him.

Oddly, I have two posts in a row about my husband … I’ve been too busy with the roof and the other outside stuff to slow down, but this is just too, too, well, see for yourself:

I had to race home early from work yesterday with a malady of GI tract proportions.

John and Cooper met me happily at the door exclaiming their excitement that I’d come home early, but I rushed past them to through my purse, keys and papers on the floor, saying “I’m sick, bring a garbage bag to the bathroom!”

And he showed up to empty garbage from the pale, and put a clean liner in it and set it within reach in front of me, and asked if I needed anything more and left me to my misery, all with the efficiency of a nurse.

Later, as I flumped into bed and burrowed under the covers, I put in a request for Gatorade and ginger ale, both requiring a trip to the store.

I fell asleep.

He went hell-on-wheels shopping for mega-groceries.

When I woke up later he brought me a Gatorade and listed off a few more things he’d purchased — comfort foods to help comfort me in my hour(s) of intestinal distress/dead-asleepness.

I wandered out to the kitchen later to see heaped on the counter: the largest container of Gatorade mix available outside of the commercial wholesale marketplace, a 2-liter diet ginger ale, a 12-pack of regular ginger ale, a bag of triple-chocolate cookies, a bag of mint Oreos (“sorry, they didn’t have them in double-stuff”), bananas, two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (we tried to buy them on sale at Walmart Saturday, but somehow they didn’t make it home with us, I was terribly disappointed, but not anymore), string cheese (“and look,” he said, “it’s Cheesehead cheese.”), four Ramen noodle packs, five apples (because that’s his rule), tropical fruit trail mix and Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos.

At the time, I just smiled, which was more than I thought I had in me.

But this morning, as I was telling the story to a co-worker, I imagined John rushing through the store, grabbing every comfort food he could imagine me, or him, wanting, worrying about whether I would want regular or diet ginger ale and searching the aisle frantically for both, and being so obviously torn between buying good for me foods and all the not-so-good for me foods that I like. … Honestly, though, two bags of cookies and spicy hot Cheetos for a person in intestinal agony? I laughed so hard I cried.

My guts won’t be right enough for Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos for a while, but by-gawd, I got ’em.

And a few cookies didn’t kill me none at all today at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

(Author’s note: I’m pretty sure the problem was too many days of mild dehydration = total dehydration and a core system meltdown. Is it totally weird to not like water?)

Author’s note: Readers of delicate sensibilities and refined social graces, who have obviously wandered here by mistake, should read forth only with courage intact and the understanding that there is no shame in turning away.

I was sitting in the office alone last night, typing away at the computer, when the fast food dinner kicked in, causing a wee bit of gastric activity. It was not of a degree that could be considered gastric distress in any way. My digestive tract simply required a little, shall we say, ventilation of accumulated pressure. Also, the released non-fuel gastric fumes were not, shall we say, of a quantity or a quality that suggested I needed to retire to another room for over-the-counter pharmaceutical attention nor for, shall we say, an expulsion of detrimental solid matter.

Right after I allowed, shall we say, the biological pressure-release valve to kick in, John walked into the office to, I assumed, work at his computer. Whilst this would place him on the side of the office space which is in the direction that my biological pressure-release valve faces, I was confident that given the relatively benign nature of the gastric fumes, the size of the space, the fact that he would be seated facing away from said valve and toward a separate fresh air intake portal (commonly called a doorway, FYI), we would encounter no problems.

He did not got to his desk to sit down.

In a, shall we say, quirk of fate, he approached me from behind, leaned over to place a kiss on the top of my head and gently hug me. He paused briefly to look at my screen, repeated the kiss and hug, then, as he turned to leave the room, said sweetly; “I forgive you.”

Yeah-wha–? “What?” I said, eloquently, as my mind broke from its work-related revery. “You forgive me?”

Yeah, for farting on me.” Wha–I?

No way,” I countered. “I farted before you even walked in here, so I guess I’ll have to forgive you for interrupting my private gastric moment.”

Men, acting like he’s never hiked his leg and, shall we say, let one rip while we’re confined in a car in the dead of winter when you don’t want to have to roll the windows down.

Of all the nerve at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

We replaced our front door last weekend, the short, non-holiday weekend. We had planned on it taking two days because of the repairs to water-damaged wood around said entrance. It took three days – with a blanket stapled over the door opening for the two thankfully-good-weather nights we spent sans door.

Even after three days, we only had the door in place – not completely sealed, no trim, no latch and no window.

It also didn’t close really well. The upper corner on the latch side was rubbing hard, but try as we might – and judging by the hellacious arguing involved, we were trying very hard – we couldn’t get the door to sit squarely in our cobbled-together, uneven, exceedingly rough rough-opening. Go figure.

In the end, we decided that this door fit better than the previous door (which we also installed and which also stuck in the same corner. Whatever). I figured I could use a rasp to shave off some of the offending wood.

All troubles aside, after three days we were satisfied we had a real door that blocked the elements and the flies (with many thanks to the makers of plastic sheeting and duct tape for the temporary window, which wasn’t classy but was impervious to flying pests).

Over the week we got the exterior sealant, the door latch and and the window in, and we even did all this before the big storm hit with high winds and driving rain, so there was that saving grace, too. Or it was dumb luck – I’ll take it either way – but I’m still calling it grace.

This weekend, I intended to seal the space between the jamb and studs with spray foam insulation and put up the interior and exterior trim boards. Having a plan was probably ill-advised, the best laid plans being all blah blah blah and making the gods laugh and all.

Turns out I didn’t have white paint for the exterior trim. The holiday weekend prevented purchase of more and my damn guiding morals kept me from breaking into the store, but no big deal, I got the boards primed, and I could spend the rest of the allotted construction time getting the interior just right. Uh-huh. “Lol,” the gods said.

I got the wood shaved down until the door fit well enough, and figured I would finish it after we got done sealing the jamb etc. – on the off chance that things would shift around.

We applied the spray foam insulation, without a huge mess … until it swelled considerably more than we figured, thus making a mess on the pristine door and jamb, both of which would now need to be sanded down and re-primered. And as awesomely crappy as that sounds, it wasn’t as bad as the fact that the foam that squirted out into the open air dried first, creating a seal, but the stuff between the jamb and studs kept swelling just enough that the door got wedged shut.

Aaargh! Let’s just pretend that that is what I said.

So, before the foam completely cured, I used a knife and long screw driver to rip it out. More mess, yes.

However, this is where we get to a cool part of the story, an unprecedented stroke of good fortune. I ripped and tore at the foam only on the latch side until the jamb was free, and before tearing into the other side, I opened and closed the door only to find that it worked smoothly – like a door installed by someone who knows what they’re doing. That smooth.

It was a miracle, and the best kind of miracle: It didn’t come free and clear. There was work and anguish. There will be more work, probably more anguish. It all makes the door working properly seem that much sweeter.

And if “Miracle of the Single-wide Mansion” status doesn’t make you feel good, there’s an entry from the “could’ve been worse” department messaged to me by a friend whose husband manages a ranch south of our place:

“The last hired man (the one that went to jail) redid the door in the trailer they were living in here. He put the door in upside down and then spray-foamed it shut. … [He] had ‘carpenter’ on his resume.”

I still don’t have the trim boards up, but …

hell, yeah, I’ll accept “awesomer by comparison” status at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com