Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

The third week of July was a mess – Silly needed to be confirmed in foal, and I needed to do a few things, namely, finalize the lease on the additional pasture land, move a new boarder in, pick up a new-to-us barn fridge, take Secret and Venus down for lessons with Scott on Wednesday, and, the biggie, I had to find a truck to replace Big Blue before I lost my rental truck on Friday, July 22. My birthday.  Great. Everyone asked what I was doing for my birthday, and my reply was the same—wipe out my “to-do” list.  I figured if I survived the week, turning 40 wasn’t an issue at all.

Monday I called several car dealerships, to try to narrow my list. Tuesday, after I moved the new horse in, I test drove several trucks (and scared one salesman by describing the repairs the truck needed…yea, I know I am female, but I know what failing ball joints sound like, and failing struts. No, you don’t need to talk to my husband).  Every time I got in a truck, I wondered, “Will I feel comfortable pulling the horses in this truck?” A few of the trucks had features I liked, but none were really ideal. I called my mechanic uncle, and he managed to systematically rule out just about every truck on my list.  Meanwhile, the clock was ticking.

Wednesday, I interrupted truck shopping for my monthly trip to Hassler Dressage.  Linda, Kelsey and I loaded up Venus and Secret. I had several questions about Secret’s training path, and was eager for his eyes on Venus’ progress.  Both mares feel significantly more balanced and Venus has been more willing, but working on my own, I wanted to make sure they looked as good as they felt.

The answer, for both mares, was “yes.”  Scott was very complimentary of the improvements in both horses, and gave me tons of homework for Secret in particular.  Up until now, Secret has followed Eclipse’s training path with stunning accuracy.  But now her path diverges, and with his help, her next few month’s training plan is now mapped out.  

By Thursday I had given up on finding what I wanted, and was trying to decide what I could settle for. Then Doug found my truck on the internet. It was exactly what I was looking for. Just before I left for the dealership to test drive the truck, Leslie, from Trevelyan Farm, texted with the happy news that Silly is expecting.   I headed out to see the truck, and yep, it was exactly what I was looking for.  I negotiate the price, and arranged to get the rental returned and the new truck picked up on Friday.

Then Doug and I went to dinner. I let our favorite bartender pick my traditional birthday beverage, a tasty Belgium beer, and a friendly couple picked up my last beer.  The musician started playing a Jimmy Buffett cover, and I was feeling quite fulfilled. 

I don’t expect people to make a fuss over my birthday, so I really didn’t notice when no one did.  When Berks County Pony Clubbers asked for lessons late on the following Friday evening at Vue de Lue barn, which incidentally isn’t where I normally teach them, I honestly wasn’t suspicious at all.  I started to wonder a little when Wendy said there were 8 or 9 students at 8 pm on a Friday, and when I was told not to eat since there would be food at the Pony Club meeting, but I still arrived in full teacher mode.

I finally caught on when everyone came out of the barn yelling “SURPRISE.”

Yea, I can be kinda slow……

The party had a circus theme.  The Derrs had gone all out decorated their barn, and Doug had photoshopped my face into circus posters.  Dawn, Alexa’s mom, put together a scrap book with photos of students with their horses all circus-ed up.  I now knew why Kelsey’s horse, Buzz, had huge yellow stains on him for a week (he was tye-dyed in the photo), and why I wasn’t supposed to ask about the sparkly garland on Cheryle’s helmet or knotted glitzy stuff into Karison’s forelock.   Seems strange is kinda normal around our barn…

I wish my legs were that long!!
The sheer amount of time and creativity offered by everyone completely blew me away.

Thank you all very much, for the most amazing, memorable party I have had since Mom dropped my birthday cake in Jr high.  I’m not sure when, but sometime in the last 10 years, Pennsylvania has become home, in large part because of my amazing family of students. You guys rock my world.