One sunny summer Saturday at the barn, Daisy said “I gotta take the girls to the dentist.”
If you’re picturing two cute little kids in pigtails and head to toe pink Hannah Montana outfits…you are SO wrong. The “girls” were Daisy’s two fillies: a 3yo and a yearling.
Barbie, the TB, was developmentally equal to a 15 year old girl going through that bratty, sarcastic, mom is SO lame stage, and Lucy, the yearling warmblood, was the equivalent of bratty’s younger sister: wants to be just like her, steal everything she has, but hates her guts. And they were going in a little metal box on wheels…together.
“You wanna come?”
Of course I wanted to come!
I’m insatiably curious when it comes to other barns , veterinary facilities, and horse care. You can learn a lot visiting other facilities. Um hmmm.
Real reason: ROAD TRIP. That means, besides rolled down windows , warm air, and loud music, road trip food. I was already stocking up in the junk food aisle in my mind. Maybe we could stop at Burger King. FRIES.
Perfect late summer Saturday. I could already feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my window arm and the potato chips on my lips. Daisy knows me too well. She snaps her fingers in front of my face.
“Helloooo… It’s only seven miles from here. No Doritos.”
“What about…” I say.
“NO. No donuts, no chips, no candy, NO BURGER KING.” Daisy says.
“Not even some…” I say.
“NO peanuts!” Daisy says. “We’re getting in shape, remember? We can split a turkey sandwich , no mayo.”
“Can we get it with pickles?” I ask.
“Pickles. Jalapenos. Whatever. The works.”
I’m back on board. Half a big old stuffed to the gills turkey sandwich…life is GOOD.
Daisy plugs her iPod into the dash. Whoa. New technology. I ignore it hoping this will make it seem like it’s not the first time I’ve seen an ipod plugged into a vehicle. I dive into the oozing white paper wrapper that is my half of turkey with EVERYTHING.
“Have you been here before?” I say conversationally around the vegetation in my mouth. Oddly, this comes out as “Haff yu binere bahfur?
Daisy waves a mapquest printout at me in answer. Unlike me, Daisy doesn’t talk with her mouth full.
K. Got it. I’m the co-pilot. I pick up the printout and immediately finger paint yellow mustard around the edges. Ooooo…that’s kinda pretty.
Focus, Jane, focus!
“Wendy said we can’t miss it. It’s off Range Rd, first dirt road at the end of a really long hedge.” Daisy says.
“Range Rd? Where is that?” I say, helpfully.
“Printout?” Daisy says.
“Oh yeah.” I say. “Okay you’re supposed to turn right, no left, onto Willow ave. It’s .6 miles.”
We drive .6 miles. No Willow Ave. No biggie. We drive .7 miles. Then .8, .9, and 1.5 more miles. Still no Willow Ave.
“Shit. We’re going to have to turn around, we musta missed it.” says Daisy.
We’re on a typical rural road. Arched in the middle, two lane, no shoulder, drainage ditches on either side. 50 miles per hour speed limit. Hauling a BIG 3 horse trailer. Daisy is a Hunter/Jumper rider. Tall horses.
Sure. We’ll just turn right around.
Amazingly, WE DO. Daisy finds an intersection, I get out to direct non-existent traffic, and she whips that puppy around like a pro.
I hate Mapquest. Willow Ave is a figment of it’s electronic imagination.
“Well I know sorta where the dentist is.” says Daisy. “I think it’s over by the Ocean Highway, you know, past that cow place but before the town? Maybe we can cut over on another parallel road, like Mitchell?”
Mitchell? Where is Mitchell? I need Doritos. I’d be a much calmer, more remembering co-pilot with a bag of Doritos in my hand. I fake it.
“Sounds good to me.” I say.
Daisy looks at me sideways.
“You don’t have a clue, do you?” she says.
I’m indigent. I’d HAVE a clue if we had stopped at Burger King.
“Stop thinking about fries!! I need some help here.” Daisy says.
How does she know what I’m thinking!??
“Because everything you think goes across your face, okay? Not only does everything show, you are the worst liar I ever met.”
Okay. This is getting spooky. I haven’t said anything out loud.
“You don’t NEED to say anything!” Daisy says, “Read me the map!”
We turn off the highway, and find the correct road. We find the really long, 12 foot tall hedge. We pull into the narrow dirt driveway at the end. We’re facing a garage. House two feet to the left. No barn.
We just pulled a giant truck with 3 horse trailer into someone’s driveway. Backing out is not an option. You don’t back a horse trailer out onto the freeway.
I knock on the front door, muttering please don’t be home…please don’t be home. We’re in luck, no one is home! There is a very small T at the end of the driveway, just big enough for a Toyota to easily make a 3 point turn. Must be how they avoid backing out onto the freeway.
I toe/heel walk the length of the driveway T, and then walk the length of the rig. The T is 3 feet longer. Theoretically, this means we should be able to turn around. Both babies are already old hands at hauling, and other than a few get on with it kicks, remain unfazed, and in fact start trying to nip each other, like bored kids fighting in the back seat of the car. Daisy yells at them to knock it off. They quit, but eyeball each other over the divider.
I move all the homeowners stuff: the trashcans, the wheelbarrow, and miscellaneous junk , trying to make as much room as possible for the rig to turn.
What follows next is 45 minutes of the most minute maneuvering imaginable. 45 minutes is a long time when you are trying NOT to smash a garage, take out a tree branch, or sideswipe a house.
The last time I hauled on my own was 20 years ago: this makes me super helpful, standing behind the trailer shouting:
Turn the wheel so the trailer moves to the left…no THE OTHER LEFT…wait STOP…pull forward, back up…turn the wheel same way but less sharp, no more than that…no LESS than that…THERE…STOP. Go forward.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It may have been 45 actual minutes, but it was 4 hours on the emotional time-scale…especially since we were both worried the homeowner would come home and find this giant THING inches from everything they value, trying not to jackknife. I held bushes back, pushed the shed doors inward, lifted tree branches, whatever we could do to buy inches.
Daisy got the dang thing turned around with my, uh, “help”. It’s amazing she still speaks to me.
Our 15 minute, 7 mile drive turned into a 2 hour, 7 mile drive. Once we finally pulled into the other long dirt driveway at the end of the other long 12 foot tall hedge, I remembered something important.
I look at Daisy. She looks back at me with a question mark over her head.
“I didn’t put anything back”, I say.
Someone was going to come home, and their trash cans, wheelbarrow and yard equipment would be weirdly displaced, partly hidden, stuffed into whatever openings I could find.
We couldn’t exactly pull over on the freeway on the way home so I could put it back.
“Okay”, Daisy says, “You win. Next time, Burger King.”