A birthday party, social distancing style

It’s a troubling thing to have to explain to your little girl that she probably shouldn’t have any friends at her fifth birthday party.  And beyond that, in answer to her second request, no, we probably won’t be able to swim at a public pool for a long time either.

I wanted to make Marsi’s fifth birthday yesterday really good for her, not only because she’s my baby girl but because, well, thanks to Coronavirus we couldn’t do the extra-special stuff we usually would do for a celebration.

Unfortunately, the day kinda got away from us.  I had so many good birthday intentions for yesterday… but it was thoroughly a Monday.  A scattered, hectic, naughty Monday.  Over the phone I told our niece, Tay, who happens to be one of the most faithful readers of my blog, that yesterday was a crazy day.  She answered wryly, “Aunt Tam, aren’t all your days crazy days?”

Touché.  I have yet to figure out whether, because of my love of telling tall tales, I tend to exaggerate the craziness of our days… or if they’re really that crazy.  In my defense, I do have four kids.  And we homeschool.  And then there’s the ranch.  All ingredients for crazy.  But I digress.

Here’s a breakdown of our day yesterday.  I’ll let you readers judge where, exactly, I took a wrong turn and allowed the day to lose its focus:

– I spent about an hour first thing in the morning worrying over the blog I’d written the night before, hoping I hadn’t said anything that would make somebody mad.  Worrying is senseless, I know, but sometimes I can’t help it.

– 9-year-old Asher made chocolate chip pancakes for Marsi’s birthday breakfast.  (He maybe measured a little – or a lot – long on the flour.)

– Throughout the course of the day Marsi FaceTimed with the kids’ grandmother Mim and with Uncle Matt from Alabama.  Also with family from Miles City.

– The kids and I spent most of the morning straightening up and doing schoolwork.  Beau ran a water-belly yearling to the vet clinic.

– I put out a spread of leftovers for lunch but didn’t have time to eat because…

– … Beau had arranged for Nathan (the summer help who’s here now because his school is out due to the pandemic) to help me do some stuff.  Beau doesn’t usually have time to help me with my big ideas, which means that sometimes my ideas go nowhere and other times he arranges for someone else to help me.  Because it fit everybody else’s schedule (hey, beggars can’t be choosers), yesterday Nathan and I attacked the vet shack:  he hung blinds and coat hooks while I cleaned the bathroom (the gal who usually cleans hasn’t been able to make it out for a couple weeks, again because of the pandemic).

– Meanwhile, Beau had to head to the pasture we call Kimball’s to move those cattle into another pasture because a well had gone down.

– After the vet shack project, I raced back to the house and put the baby down for a nap, then turned on Marsi’s birthday movie request (The Croods; one of the best cartoons ever!) for the big kids to watch.  Next I raced to the bunkhouse, where Nathan helped me clear off the lawn in preparation for mowing this summer.  After clearing the lawn, we had to drive around headquarters distributing the debris (pallets, cinder blocks, t-posts, trash, etc.) to various piles.  I’m pretty sure my novel idea of “a place for everything and everything in its place” will catch on with Beau and crew any day now.  Ha!

– I was loading Fish in the bumper-pull horse trailer hooked to the flatbed when Asher called my cell phone and said Muggins was awake from his nap.

– I sliced apples for a snack, loaded the kids in the pickup, and we drove across the river.  I pulled in at The Bauer Place to turn Fish out on grass with the other horses… and upon parking discovered our 12-year-old dog, Swoog, had survived the four-mile trip perched on the tongue of the bumper-pull trailer, between the trailer and the pickup.  (She loves to go for rides but is too old to make the jump onto the pickup flatbed.  She commonly jumps onto the tongue and Beau lifts her up onto the flatbed.  But I hadn’t even thought to check for her before I pulled out of the yard!  Thankful she was okay.)

– We continued on to the vet clinic in town.  Since Swoog was along for the ride, I went ahead and had her vaccinated.  Dr. Cunningham loaded the water-belly yearling steer on the flatbed of the pickup (dead) and in the trailer he loaded something pretty special:  a little red calf.  Dr. Cunningham and his wife, Dana, have extended a great offer for Asher to raise the orphaned calf as a 4-H project.  (More on the calf tomorrow!)

– Beau had asked me to swing by the hardware store in town to pick up a hot water heater element the store had left out on the sidewalk for pick-up.  I did that… with the dead yearling on the flatbed of course.  *Cringe.*

– Meanwhile, my parents were expecting all of us for supper to celebrate Marsi’s birthday.  I called Mom at six to tell her we’d be there soon.  The kids and I made it home, we unloaded the bum calf, Beau made it home from moving cows, I mixed up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough for the birthday dessert…

– … and we visited with at least eight random people as we attempted to drive out of the yard…

– … and we finally made it to my folks’ house about 8 p.m.  Grammy had made mac-n-cheese for the birthday girl, and I took along steaks, but we all decided we were too stinking tired to cook and eat steaks!  So we just baked the cookie dough (in cast iron skillets and served it with big scoops of vanilla ice cream, restaurant style) and Marsi blew out candles.

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– Though Marsi seems pretty content with the day, I’m guessing she won’t remember this as the grandest birthday ever.  But my kids always start planning their next birthday as soon as this one’s over, so I guess there’s always next year!

© Tami Blake

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