Hat tip to MuskegonPundit.
I recently had an unavoidable expense. Shit happens.
Being Adaptive and all you’d think I’d handle it with grace and dignity. Riiiight! I was more like Red Foxx than I’d like to admit.
A good hunter can expertly “field dress” big game in a matter of minutes. Using a sharp knife and a careful eye they’ll remove the entrails leaving a clean carcass which will cool faster, is easier to transport, and is prepared for the eventual butchering process. Years of experience have taught them precisely where to cut for a minimum of hassle. It takes only a few minutes from shooting big game (antelope, deer, elk, moose, mammoth, etc…) to a field dressed carcass jauntily hung from a tree and a hero’s welcome back at camp.
I am exactly unlike like what I’ve described. Once the animal is dead, I turn from cunning predator to a klutzy moron. Apparently I can operate a rifle but shouldn’t be anywhere near a sharp knife?
It’s not like I haven’t done it before. I can and have field dressed plenty of animals. Nor do I screw up the end product. I’ve never ruined the meat. Slow and gruesome but no wasted meat? I guess it’s a success?
Maybe I’m so paranoid about cutting into something I shouldn’t that I wind up spending twice as long as most hunters? Whatever the reason, I struggle every damn time! I move in fractions of inches. I noodle around with a knife here and there; pondering connective tissues, fat pockets, and oh dear God what the hell is that thing? (Trust me on this. You’ll see some scary shit poking around inside an animal!) It takes me forever. Other hunters seem to go at it easily; “snip snip we’re done”. I go on a horrific voyage of discovery. My back aches, my knee freezes to the snowy ground, I work up a sweat, my hat falls off, I lose a glove, it’s pathetic. I wind up arm deep in a steamy disgusting smelly chest cavity wondering how in the hell people make it sound so easy.
Eventually I finish and look around. The horror scene I’ve created is epic. There is blood everywhere. On my boots, on my knees, on the tree next to me, in a pile of leaves five feet away. It’s pretty much everywhere within a surprisingly large radius.
That’s just the start of it. I probably scratched my nose and now it’s all over my face. Plus how did I get slime on my eyebrow? Oh hell no! Once I gut a deer I can think of nothing else until I get a hot shower and become human again.
I’ll drag the carcass out of the forest mumbling that I should take up a hobby that doesn’t involve entrails. At least twice I’ll trip over a log while pulling the heavy load and face plant. This aids the transition from bloody and sweaty to bloody, covered with leaves, and iced up with wet snow. I suck!
I emerge from the forest looking like that guy from a horror movie.
It happens every time!
This year was even worse than usual. I trudged in from the forest only to realize that I’d worn (and therefore ruined) a perfectly decent pair of jeans. They looked like I’d slaughtered a dozen moose and tossed them in a wood chipper while dancing around in circles. I was the guy that gives PETA nightmares. Why hadn’t I worn a crappy pair of pants that was already stained from painting or working on engines? Idiot!
After I got the deer in the bed of the truck I paused at the truck’s door. If I sat in my beloved truck dressed in this mess I’d ruin my interior. I don’t mind dirt and stuff in a truck… but organs? No way!
I was halfway hypothermic but my truck deserves better. I stood in the snow and stripped off anything that was gruesome or soaked in something I couldn’t readily identify as snow melt. Within seconds I was down to a pair of heavy socks, long underwear, and a t-shirt. I threw everything else in the truck bed. Good for me. I’d done my very best to preserve my vehicle!
Then, because I’m an idiot, I climbed up in the bed, past the deer, and made my way to the pile of nasty clothes. Two minutes rooting around for the truck keys I’d left in the pocket were the longest two minutes of my life. No vehicles rumbled down the dirt road while I was performing this maneuverer. We should all be happy that humanity was spared my potential moment of indignity. During my adventure in the truck bed, the thermal underwear somehow brushed against something and… screw it, they were tossed in the truck bed too. The socks were more ice than insulation so I tossed them too.
It took a long time until the heater was doing it’s thing but once the blessed heat came on everything looked a lot more reasonable. I wondered what would happen if I got picked up for speeding. Is driving while smelly, shivering, naked, and stupid looking a crime? I drove carefully.
But I’m not here to talk about my failings. I’m here to endorse a product that rectifies some of the chaos.
I got home after an uneventful drive and tiptoed to the laundry room with jeans that were not quite frozen and more or less trashed. (Thankfully Mrs. Curmudgeon wasn’t there.)
Here were perfectly decent jeans that now could never be worn anywhere but around the homestead. (Or possibly Wall-Mart… those folks will wear anything.) Mrs. Curmudgeon, presumably because she’s a genius, had left something above the washing machine. What voodoo was this?
I’m not sure what’s in this stuff but I sprayed it all over my jeans and washed them with regular detergent too. Then, because I simply assumed they were a disaster, I threw in more detergent and ran the washer again.
End result? Good as new!
I have no idea what amazing chemical miracle is in that bottle but I heartily endorse it. You should get a bottle right now! You won’t be sorry. It’s perfect for clueless hunters who wind up covered in far too much blood. Or perhaps serial killers; I wouldn’t know about that.
P.S. I get no money from the sale of this product. I don’t give a crap whether you buy it or not. For that matter, I’m not even sure a detergent company would want an endorsement from someone who looks like a walking crime scene.
Today I decided to post one of Normal Rockwell’s less famous Thanksgiving images. “Refugee Thanksgiving” was released in 1943; around the middle of World War II.
Me: “Curmudgeon speaking. If you’re a telemarketer prepare to die.”
Friend: “I tried to call you earlier. What’s wrong with your cell?”
Me: “I was broke but I fixed it.”
Me: “I hit it with a screwdriver. It seems to be working again.”
Friend: “Have you noticed that it’s rather quiet lately?”
Me: “Yeah I have. I’ve had a lot less calls coming in lately. It’s been nice but I…”
I paused. The infernal cell phone had been extremely quiet and, moron that I am, I’d missed the obvious. I flipped it open. Dead…
Friend: “Have you figured out something?”
Me: “Dammit. The POS isn’t working!”
Friend: “It’s time for a replacement. How long have you had that phone?”
Me: “I dunno. Maybe twelve, thirteen years. It’s one of the last non-GPS phones. Got it for free. I’m gonna’ miss it.”
Friend: “Do we need a wake like when your station wagon died?”
Me: “That’s not funny. The station wagon was a good car.”
Friend: “I thought you were going to Wal-Mart to buy a replacement.”
Me: “I tried. But…”
Friend: “But what?”
Me: “It was Wal-Mart. So much stupid. It burns.”
Friend: “Sixty different phones and they didn’t have what you want?”
Me: “I’m particular. Plus I wanted pre-pay. They mostly deal in gadgets that are merely the physical point of contact for a cloud based payment plan.”
Friend: “Did you use that terminology at the store?”
Me: “Are you kidding? I might as well explain physics to my cat. However, I may have mentioned that I wouldn’t take on a monthly payment for something a silly as a phone if a supermodel begged me so I sure as hell wouldn’t do it for the turd in a shirt working the electronics counter.”
Friend: “This is why you should stay in the woods. But why fight it? There are people at Wal-Mart who’d use a payment plan for a candy bar.”
Me: “I didn’t fit in. So I left. Give me twenty minutes to solve this. The Internet will provide.”
(Twenty minutes later.) Ring. Ring.
Me (exhausted and mentally drained): “Hello. If you’re a telemarketer… Oh hell I’ll buy it.”
Friend: “So did you order a phone?”
Me: “I’m so embarrassed.”
Friend: “What did you do!”
Me: “I ordered a smart phone.”
Friend: “Bwa ha ha ha ha!”
Me: “Now I’m going to have to buy hipster glasses and start eating gluten free bread.”
Friend: “Throughout history there have been turning points; the battle of Thermopylae, the fall of Rome, the siege of Stalingrad…”
Friend: “The battle is over and now you have a smart phone.”
Me: “There were so many choices. I…”
Friend: “I suppose you got Obama to pay for it?”
Me: “Hey now! Line. Cross. Don’t.”
Friend: “OK I take the last part back. How much did you pay?”
Me: (Choking up…) “Almost a hundred bucks…”
Friend: “That’s nothing. Don’t you drop that much on a tank of fuel for your truck?”
Me: “Yeah, but the truck does work.”
Friend: “A hundred bucks… for a lot of people that’s a monthly phone bill. Be glad you don’t have to foot the bill for a teenage daughter.”
Me: “I am thankful for that every day.”
Friend: “I’m just glad you’re not on the roof doing semaphore.”
Me: “Semaphore has its points. I even considered HAM radio. But…”
Friend: “…but resistance is futile!”
Me: “I agree. Now I’m in the market for a Faraday cage phone case.”
Friend: “The NSA is not going to like that.”
Me: “I sure liked it more when spying on citizens was just a theory.”
Friend: “Get with the program; load up Facebook, keep the GPS on, Twitter hourly….”
Me: “I miss my old phone.”
Friend: “…take lots of shitty blurry pictures and post them. Start creating a running log of your every moment so that it’s all stored on the NSA’s cloud. Anthony Weiner could give you some social networking tips.”
Friend: “Sure sure, Mr. Off grid. Are you going to post this on your blog?”
Me: “I’m doomed aren’t I?”
Friend: “Yep. It was a good last stand but it’s over now.”
Friend: “By the way, did you keep the same number?”
Friend: “You going to tell me the new one?”
Friend: “No worries. Caller ID will out you!”
Friend: “The new world order is going to be interesting. Join the crowd.”
Me: “I give up.”
Friend: “Everyone does. Good luck now.”
Today I’m trying to do nothing. What a novel concept!
Someone smart, probably Gandhi or Yoda, once said “all things in moderation”. This makes perfect sense. Someone else, apparently a Roman poet, said carpe diem (“seize the day”). I like the latter and tend to ignore the former.
We each get a limited number of days on earth. I endeavor to seize the ever lovin’ shit out each one. Life is too damn much fun to sit on your ass so I don’t. Many of my readers agree. I know I’ve got a higher than average index of hard working folks tuning in; homesteaders, travelers, hunters, preppers (I miss the term “survivalist”), builders, fixers, doers, and zombie hunters. Even those who’ve gone Galt are busily attacking whatever non-taxable endeavor interests them most. All are welcome and all are seizing their day.
The problem with “seize the day” is that it’s exhausting. Seize too many days in a row and you’re toast. Eventually you’re hungover, limping, sleep deprived, and passed out in a gutter in Tijuana. It happens to me all the time. (I’m speaking metaphorically dammit. Don’t ask about the Tijuana thing. Also, I deny everything.)
Obviously a balanced life requires a certain amount of down time. Today I decided to rectify my imbalance in the ass sitting, doing nothing, department.
It’s not easy. I had plans. I’d scheduled a day to do some “recreational logging”. It’s brutally hard work but I simply love cutting firewood. I had my sights on a particular patch of swampy ground that’s just aching for some cutting. It’s an ideal moment right now. The ground is frozen and the snow isn’t deep. (Southerners can be forgiven if they don’t recognize the immense utility of “impassible” swamps that are flat as a pancake and freeze like cement.) The snow could drift at any moment. The time to strike is now! (A wise man tries to work on nature’s schedule instead of against it because doing the opposite will get your ass kicked faster than you can say “sunk in the mud”!)
I was up at dawn (not my favorite hour) but at the last minute decided to take a genuine day off. I left the tractor in the barn and poured another cup of coffee. Sure, I did a few chores, washed some dishes, fed the chickens, etc… I suppose my “ass sitting” is a whole lot more kinetic than most ass sitting. Even so, I promised myself I wouldn’t move a damn inch until the coffee was gone and I’ve done relatively little after that.
Frankly it seems weird. (Also it’s confusing my dog.) Why is it so hard to chill out? I’m not sure. I have a theory that the ants in society are a little more jittery than usual. Feeling all alone in a sea of grasshoppers will do that to you.
At any rate it’s one of those moments when I see that religion had a good idea and I should pay more attention. I’m talking about Sunday. Being non-religious I don’t “do” Sabbath. (Note that I said non-religious. This is not the same as “militantly annoying atheist nutbar”. If you think you’re doing good by getting the vapors over a Nativity scene you’re just being a dick. ‘Nuff said about that.) It occurs to me that taking one day in seven to rest your bones is just common sense and I need to do it more often.
I’ve decided to reserve a weekly day of rest. (It doesn’t have to be Sunday. I don’t think God will get pissed at me if I stack wood on Sunday and then kick back on, for example, Wednesday.)
Unfortunately, I can’t go cold turkey. Maybe doing the bare minimum on one day of seven will be my New Year’s Resolution. (Unlike most, I actually take a serious shot at “resolutions”.) That gives me a little while to break myself in to the idea. I wonder how one integrates an iron clad “day off” into a lifestyle? It’ll be interesting. There’s always pressure and I’ve tended to jump on any job that needs doing without looking at the calendar. (I wish there was a word for “Sabbath” that would work in my instance. Maybe something like “back off”?)
This isn’t going to be easy but I’m going with it. I’ll start seizing the hell out of 1/7th of my time by doing jack shit. So long as I’m busting ass the other 6/7th I don’t think it’s too risky. (If I wind up watching too much Oprah until my only outside activity is wandering around Wall-Mart in sweats I’ll know the idea failed.)
Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
I was minding my own business when a shiny black Dodge roared up to the house. Before the dust settled an earnest, well dressed, youngish fellow jumped out. He was apparently in a hurry. He hoofed it for my door.
It is my long standing practice to greet all newcomers in a relatively menacing manner. They came to my house. It only seems natural to make them question their logic.
I grabbed my dog and slipped out the back door. I like to get a good look at anyone venturing on to Curmudgeon Compound before engaging in the dreaded yet inevitable misery of human interaction. Also I’ve found that people who suddenly discover that a dog the size of Philadelphia and I are precisely where they weren’t expecting… well lets just say it has a wondrous effect on their personality. Salesmen, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and politicians alike suddenly wish they’d stayed in their natural habitat of the suburbs. (I note that folks arrive to take my money, save my soul, or tell me they’re saving my soul by spending my money. It’s nice that people are looking out for my soul but have you ever noticed that nobody ever shows up to hand you a beer and talk about fishing. There’s a lesson in that.)
As usual, the guy didn’t see me until I got a good look at him. Just one guy. (No compatriot in the truck or elsewhere.) Well dressed. Driving a righteous truck. A newish 4×4 clearly owned by someone with the presence of mind not to turn it into a chrome mess. (It’s fleetingly rare to see a good truck withoutout gobs of ill fitting fluffery bolted to it. It was aesthetically marred by the fact that it was a shortbox but other than that a fine machine.) The guy looked as shiny and nondescript as his truck.
Coming alone meant he wasn’t there to convert me to a religion. God’s self selected chosen ones travel in pairs, for entirely logical reasons. Also, for logical reasons they tend to drive rustbuckets. Similarly, salesmen drive pieces of shit. This is all you need to know if you consider selling anything door to door as a career. Tellingly, politicians drive nice cars. On the other hand they tend to drive trendy abominations like a Prius or hybrid SUV. (Any citizen who’ll change his vote based on the carbon footprint of a leased machine deserves what they get.) There were no signs on the truck so it wasn’t a utility worker. Also no tools.
He looked like he was in a huge rush. Like virtually everyone, he had no idea I was there.
I crossed my arms and adapted my body language to radiate hate. (Which, even when I’m in a good mood, seems to come naturally.) My dog, apparently a better judge of character than me, sat happily and showed no inclination to do one of her patented growls. (Such a shame! I love her growl. It should be recorded and incorporated into heavy metal. It’s low and dark and tells you that something from the deepest pit of hell has awoken. It makes you really really wish you weren’t in her territory. It makes you wish you weren’t even in the same time zone. It tells you that demons, wraiths, and the spirit of the Navy SEALS are considering a course of action from which there is no return. Should she turn the growl into action I’m pretty sure the ensuing mayhem would be exciting and short for whomever is on the receiving end.)
Alas she growls when she wants and doesn’t when she doesn’t want to. The only one to growl today would apparently be me. Bummer.
I cleared my throat; “AH HEM!”
Usually at this point people whirl around, decide they’re going to die, and shorten their sales pitch by 95% while sidling toward their car. This guy, apparently a lunatic, stuck out his hand and tromped right over to me. His smile was a foot wide. More like a lottery winner than a normal person. My dog started wagging its tail. Damn dog was ruining my theatrics! All the while the guy was talking.
Whoa, slow down there auctioneer. It took me a minute to process that many words. Meanwhile I’d shaken his hand and he was petting the dog.
Obviously he was looking for .243 ammo. (A side note: there are people to whom “two forty three” means rifle ammunition and those to whom it means nothing. It tells you plenty about who you’re talking to. He had not mentioned that he was talking about ammo and I hadn’t asked. It was obvious.) My only question was why he thought my house was a good place to go to get it?
I took a deep breath. So today’s was the day. Haven’t we all been waiting? It had finally happened. The zombie apocalypse had gone down and the looters were coming from the cities to the country; intent on stealing our supplies. I’d never expected them to be well dressed and smile so much. Kinda’ a letdown. What happened to the rioters from central casting? But life is like that. If the zombies are friendly and talk fast, so be it.
I took a deep breath and prepared to launch into a soliloquy: “Sure you’d like some of my ammo but I’m afraid you’re going to die alone in a snowbank. You should have read ‘The Road’ when you had the chance. Being a sporting man I’m going to give you three steps toward the truck before me and my dog get Medieval on your ass…”
But it wasn’t to be. He was talking again. Fast. So many words…
Following a suitable lag time while I processed his words I got the point. He had consulted with Mrs. Curmudgeon about my ammo supply. Why would the lovely and intelligent Mrs. Curmudgeon be giving out OPSEC on the phone? For that matter she probably doesn’t even remember the calibers I (we!) stock. (She’s mostly interested in pistols, beyond that it’s all up to me). As far as she’s concerned, I might kill deer with either a cannon or a deathray. So long as I get it to the freezer the matter of caliber is irrelevant to her. How could she know how much .243 I’d stashed? Why would she offer it up to some schmuck with a shortbox and freshly pressed shirt?
He was talking again. Fast. How many cups of coffee had this guy drank?
Slowly the truth dawned. He was still talking but I’d given up on parsing out independent words. I interrupted him.
“Wait. You called my wife on the phone?”
He nodded. He was still petting my dog, who was in ecstasy.
“Did my wife sound like a sweet grandmotherly type who might bake you oatmeal cookies?”
His foot wide smile got even bigger.
“You were talking to my neighbor’s wife.” (Note: sorry for the sexist connotation. Obviously my neighbor’s wife is also my neighbor. But I wasn’t about to get into semantics with a guy that talked like he needed to switch to decaf.) Meanwhile the guy was practically jumping up and down; happy that he was getting through to the rube with the pretty dog.
“You’re at the wrong house. Madge and her husband Frank run a gunshop out of their house. I’m sure they’ve got .243.”
He beamed. Then, regrettably, opened his huge mouth.
“It was wrong.” I interrupted. “But you’re close.” I proceeded to give directions. Contrary to common opinion, country folk will sometimes give simple directions that aren’t intended to get you lost in the hinterlands for our own amusement.
With that he stopped petting the dog (to the dog’s immense disappointment) and started jogging toward his truck.
He paused in mid stride.
“Take your time. They live there. It’s not like they close at five or something.”
He slowed a bit; still smiling. My dog wanted to follow him.
“Tell ‘em I said ‘hi’. They’re good people.”
His smile, already epic, expanded to galactic.
“Good luck with your deer hunt.”
The smile got broader; started forming it’s own gravitational pull.
Then, in what must have been a particularly difficult effort for him, he pulled out slowly and carefully. My dog whined, disappointed to be stuck with me. (There are cookies to be had at the neighbors and I’m convinced she’d telepathically bonded with the visitor.)
For once I’d met someone who didn’t make me want to shout “get off my lawn”. I guess I’m getting soft.