Country Living Series

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Husband of the Boss (and current nursemaid)

First off, we seem to have received a very nice mention from over way.  If you're coming from that direction and haven't been here before - Welcome. Sit down and take your shoes off. Don't even think of checking your guns at the door, we prefer our guests remain armed.

Now then.

Howdy all. Patrice seems to be dealing with a touch of the flu. As you can imagine, this means that much of the house and barn work, while still being performed, isn't going as smoothly as usual. the spirit of keeping things here on the blog happening, I'm going to post a humor piece I had published some time ago called:

What? Me Worry?

I am a Adverse potential prognosticator. Some of you may be scratching your heads (But be careful! Its possible that you might damage your scalp and cause an infection!)  Others of you have worked out the proceeding sentence and are dismissively saying to yourself, "Oh, he's a worrier. Big deal! Everyone worries." Au Contrair! (Gee, I hope I spelled that right. If I screwed that up, the readers might think I'm a dummy and won't read anymore. They might even write or call the magazine and complain. Then the magazine will no longer purchase any of my articles. They probably talk to the other magazines out there by way of some secret magazine email list and will tell them not to buy my stuff either! My career as a humor writer could be snuffed by a single miss-spelled word!) 

Anyway where was I?  Oh yes. We members of the Professional Adverse Potential Prognosticators (PAPP) smile uneasily at those who think that we are simply "worriers".  PAPP members are to worriers as Babe Ruth is to ahh...(Oh Lord! I can't think of a good analogy! disaster!), anyway, we are big time worriers.

As any big-time worrier can tell you, there are 3 levels or degrees of worrying. A Level one (or simple) worrier concentrates on single worries at a time. As an example, a Farmer might think, "oh no! the cows got out of the pasture, now I have to round them up". Actually that isn't the best example, because there is no such thing as a level one farmer. The most laid-back farmer is at least a level two, or compound worrier. Oh Geez!, the cows got out of the pasture, now I have to round them up. Wonder where they got through? Lord! There goes the rest of the day, fixing d--ned fencing!" (A side note of interest is how we farmers are able to swear with only a few letters and extraneous hyphens.) 

A level three worrier, operating at the highest level of worry, or Fret Level as we professionals call it, is an exponential worrier; to wit, "Oh no! The cows got out!......We're all going to die!!!!" 

So as you can see...Whats that?...Well, Yes, actually I did omit a few steps between the initial fact and exponential conclusion, but we PAPP Grand Master FussBudgets usually save time by skipping all the extraneous stuff in between. This is actually very easy, since the final conclusion for any level three worry is almost always total destruction.

So anyway....Huh?...Oh all right.  Just this once I'll diagram the complete worry chain. I will also make commentary along the worry journey, pointing out some of the subtle maneuvers that separate the world class worrier from the amateur.  Let's see, we begin with the cows getting out of the pasture. (Interestingly, many of my days and not a few of my nights begin with this scenario.)

1. The cows got out.

Just what does this mean? And why should I worry? Well, it means that a rather hefty portion of my net worth has left the safety and security of the pasture and is now roaming far and wide across the countryside and forests that surround our modest homestead.  Naturally, cows being, as H.P. Lovecraft so perfectly puts it, Eldritch Demons from the outer dimensions of time and space, the first thing they will do is stomp out mysterious and complex patterns in my neighbor's soon-to-be cut oat field. This is done so as to send a long awaited signal to the mother cow ship that the time for udder world domination is at hand. (I think that we can now safely put paid to the mystery of crop circles. Obviously farm fencing in Great Britain is substandard.)

Ah you say to yourself, thus the: "We're all going to die!" conclusion. Don't be ridiculous. No self-respecting world-class worrier is going to spend more than a few hours, a day and a half tops, fretting about such an improbable occurrence. Its too easy and besides, how could a cow wield a light saber or fire a  laser rifle without opposable hooves? Instead, we move onto the second level worry:

2.They are heading for the highway.

They always do. The nearest highway can be 60 miles away, but modern cows, equipped with GPS and some variety of bovine On-Star, will always head for the nearest main road.  Once there, the cows, displaying  the cunning usually associated with state highway workers, will spring (a truly ghastly sight, springing cows) out just behind a blind curve directly into the path of a unregulated tanker truck carrying unreported nuclear waste causing it to swerve across the center divider, directly into the path of a freight train filled with high explosives and highly refined liquid fertilizer! (oh the irony!).

By the way, sorry for the run-on sentences. Most really good worries depend more on commas and exclamation points than on periods.

Now, if I'm in a hurry, I could end my worry chain at this point since the requisite WAGTD! has been reached. But why stop now? I mean, I still haven't caught the cows, so I'm free to add new layers of worry over the others. So lets say that while running after the cows, or as is the case after the first mile, staggering, I might accidentally trip on the rough gravel road that leads to the highway. Unlikely you say? True, its only happened a half-dozen times or so.  If it does happen (and I worry that it will of course), I gain even more time for fresh and exciting worries.

How so?  Why its the result of the supernatural compression of nearly a month's worth of time into the 10 or so seconds it takes me to complete my 50 yard fall.  A 50 yard fall doesn't mean that I fall 50 yards, (or at least it doesn't mean that assuming I don't go off the road and over a cliff.)  No, it means that for the next 50 yards or so, the upper part of my body will be trying with great success to assume the horizontal, while my flailing legs are hopelessly, but heroically trying to maintain the vertical.

Oh the incredibly vivid and colorful worries I can generate in this zen-like state of suspended (I wish) time! Why, anxiety about nuclear explosions and flying cow parts practically disappear behind the swirling mosaic of dreadful potential inherent in a well executed (perhaps not the best choice of words) 50 yard fall.  And if THERE is a cliff ahead... Well, you have enough additional worry time available before impact to; marry poorly, raise ungrateful children, divorce, go bankrupt, and die in the shoot-out between the driver of an unregulated tanker truck and the Highway Patrol as you try to herd a bunch of springing cows away from the imminent explosion!

Whew! That was exciting. And naturally, at the end of your 50 (or, if you go over that cliff, possibly many more) your face rapidly approaches the gravel of the road or a dry river bed as the case may be... your final worry is of course, "I'm going to die", thus completing the chain of a really great level three complex worry.

The Purists among you might now be smugly noting that "I'm going to die!" and "We're all going to die!" are not the same thing. Well I say, if I'm dead you can d--n well do your own worrying.


  1. Oh My Gosh! I'm laughing so hard, I forgot what I was worrying about.
    Please let Patrice know that I hope she feels better soon.

    Judy V.

  2. Don't worry, be happy. ;-)

  3. Your worrying is, indeed, on a higher level than most people achieve, but there is yet ANOTHER level.
    The next level is the Zen Worrier, a status I achieved when my own children were small.
    Instead of the mental gymnastics you put yourself through as in the example shown, a Zen Worrier goes through a much simpler exercise, to wit:
    1) The cows got out!
    2) What's the worst that can happen? We will all die!
    3) Ah well, everyone is going to die sometime, might as well get the cows back in.

    The simplicity may escape some, but the beauty in being a Zen Worrier is that when you expect the absolute worst in every situation, it rarely does have the absolute worst outcome, thus leaving you pleasantly surprised.
    To become a Zen Worrier, you must be resolute enough to act on each situation as if the worst IS going to be the outcome.
    A child or loved ones every stomach ache MUST be appendicitis and should be responded to as such. Now, this will annoy health professionals to the utmost, BUT (in my case, anyway), when that stomach ache DOES turn out to be appendicitis, your over-reaction to worry will be justified! (That happened with a loved one--an adult--who complained to me about a stomach ache while they were several thousands of miles away in Iraq! I INSISTED they get examined by their company medic post haste until they agreed rather than listen to me fuss about it anymore. It WAS appendicitis!)
    My worry on your example of the cows would go thusly:
    1) The cows got out!
    2) What's the worst that can happen? We will all die!
    3) Ah well, everyone is going to die sometime, might as well get the cows back in.
    4) The cows are now back in. I didn't break a leg chasing them, nor did any of them manage to derail a freight train carrying 45 cars of toxic waste. No one died.
    5) Bliss..........

  4. Don, good luck with all the chores (house and barn) and hope "the boss" feels better soon. Funny post, although I had to read it twice to get the full meaning



  5. Don,
    Make a warm buttered honey toddie and add two crushed zinc tablets to it and serve to Patrice in a hot tub bath. There's nothing else to do if it's an influenza... except worry of course that she won't shake it before you also collapse from having to do the inner house, and outside chores all by yourself!
    I'm praying for a speedy recovery for both of you.

    Great story!
    Oh, and if you run out of worries, let me know, I'll let you borrow some of mine for a spell.


  6. The escaping is a covert plot on the cows part to make sure that you put your brain to overextended use by considering the worrisome options of their escaping.....

    Cow humor, yeah you THINK they just stand/sit there and chew all day, but there's so much MORE going on that remains hidden to us mere humans......

    P.S. I'm surprised you don't have multiple ulcers by now.......

    Hope The Boss feels better soon :)

  7. I love the idea of a Zen Warrior! - That's me in a nutshelll. I tend to think the worst possible outcome and then most everything else is a nice surprise (and I do appreciate it as such). If the worst outcome does happen I'm totally mentally prepared and not surprised. I don't think of myself as a pessimist, but I do think optimists must be let down & disappointed ALOT!
    P.S - Hope you're feeling better Patrice!


  8. Funny, funny!

    Thanks for the light moment this afternoon and please tell Patrice I hope she gets feeling better soon.


  9. That was sooo funny! Don has a knack for humor as long as he has the right audience. Don't cry for me I'm already dead. Sorry Barney. Nice work Don, I hope Patrice feels better soon.

  10. My sympathies to Patrice. YOF and I are just getting over the nasty flu bug and it's been nearly two weeks! I hope you and the daughters escape the bug altogether.

    : )

  11. See? SEE??? You let the woman go to town and she came back with cooties!! And they're ketchin'! Good grief! Now you'll all prob'ly get sick and Matilda will get mastitis and the chickens'll get 'et by coyotes and the pump will quit workin' and the girls will drop out of homeschool and the book won't sell and then the dang cows WILL get out and then WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!

    Good God man!!! What were you thinking???


  12. Oh, and it's probably not even worth doin' 'cause we're all gonna die anyway, but a couple of drops of oil of wild oregano in a big mug of chicken broth can sure help knock down the flu and make things more comfortable. It's especially helpful with congestion.

    I'm not glad Patrice is sick, but I am glad to get to read something by THOTB. Always a hoot.


  13. I don't get the flu very often. Last time was a couple of years ago, and that was the first time in many years. I have type 2 diabetes and I couldn't keep anything down. Thought I really was gonna die! For some odd reason I got a craving for fresh-squeezed orange juice. We had a bag of oranges in the fridge and my hunny squeezed 'em for me. It was the only thing I ate or drank that didn't come back up! No doubt the natural sugar in the orange juice kept my blood sugar level from getting too low. It also settled my stomach and made me feel 100% better!

  14. Hmmm, writing humor instead of caring for the boss?!!! Shameful!!

    The flu is nothing to sneeze at. At her age, Patrice needs plenty of tender attention. She's no spring chicken around that farm, y'know, HotB. She's probably got Swine flu (except you have no pigs) or it may be Avian flu because you have all them dang chickens. Or it could be Bovine Fever - something people get when they photograph the underparts of a lactating cow. She could have definitely contracted that because she's recently spent more time under the cattle than above them. If Patrice has contracted Bovine fever, she will have very sore feet, her tail will be dragging, and her cough will resemble the sound a cow makes when it coughs up its cud. Yep, she could be off her feed and her stomachs could be quite upset. Poor Patrice, Bovine Fever could make her so sick that the vet might have to make a trip out to the farm.

    OK, seriously now, the flu that has been going around this country is very bad and affects the upper respiratory area and lingers there. Once her stomach calms down, I suggest some hot tea with honey and a squirt of lemon juice (if you've got it) and a small dash of whiskey. Keep supplying this to her until she sleeps. It may help loosen the gunk so she can cough it up (like her cud!) and clear out her lungs.

    Here's hoping Patrice gets well soon and that Don can deal with all the chores without getting sick himself. God bless you both.

    Anonymous Patriot

  15. Hi Don & Patrice,
    Have you done any research on Colloidal Silver? I am fairly new to this area of homeopathic health but I bought a bottle from Emergency Essentials to give it a try. Apparently it is a powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antiflu, antimicrobial 'silver bullet'. I was quite skeptical but I kept hearing about it from trusted sources and read a lot on the internet, so I gave it a try. Since I have an autoimmune disorder I can no longer take Big Pharma antibiotics so I needed something to take its place. I get the flu very badly every year and I always get a bad sinus and lung infection at the same time. Well, no flu this year but I did have a raging sinus infection so I gave this stuff a try. After 2 days I felt really good. No more sinus infection, just some minor congestion. On the 3rd day I began to feel an allover sense of health and energy. I suppose that is how a healthy person feels and I haven't felt it in a while... Anyway, I have been reading lots more about this stuff and I will continue to use it to ward off the flu, etc. Just something to consider.
    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  16. Don,

    Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. I'll see your apprehension and raise ya. You're talking to an over-the-top veteran Olympic-gold-medalist world-class professional men's-freestyle-division best-in-class champion been-there-done-that-got-the-T-shirt worrier. I'll tie half my distress behind my back and spot you a semi-trailer of general anxiety, and still whup you best two outta three panic attacks. And thanks to the "wonder of ADD" I can worry about twelve things simultaneously!


    Don't worry (dang it, sorry, just an expression) if I ever find a way to make money with it, or figure out why God "blessed" us with this "gift" I'll be sure to let you know.

    Jeff - Tucson

    P.S. Patrice, hope you feel better. Also hope you milk it as long as you can get away with it. :)

  17. What a welcome post and comments!!!

    I'm sitting in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (aka our army hospital here in Germany) where my youngest son (almost 6) will hopefully be diagnosed today. It looks like it will be either rheumatic fever or HSP (Henoch-Schonlein purpura). Will it be handy to have a German-named disease while living in Germany? Will his treatment be better? Or all we all gonna die? (Don't worry - I know I'm not funny, but I do try!)

    I was pretty impressed that the unregulated tanker was going to hit a freight train - I was expecting a school bus full of children. Obviously I didn't get a full night's sleep with the noises of a hospital!

    Hope all is well soon in LewisLand.

  18. Yeah. What AP said.

    And if she don't straighten up by Wednesday week we're comin' up there and whip her with a peach tree switch.

    That'll fix 'er.


  19. Please let Patrice know I am praying for to regain her usual robust health. And I thought I had one the title "The Most Paranoid Mom on Earth" bestowed upon me by my lovely children who seem to think nothing...nothing ever bad can happen. Maybe because I have worried about most of it and tried to figure out a way to prevent bad stuff from happening or a way to make the bad stuff not so bad. Any way. Thanks, I laughed lots about this. When our cows got out, we always got a call from our neighbor up the road, our bull Vernon was very enamored with the neighbors wife. He would follow her around when ever she came to visit and whenever he got out he would lead the cows to her house. Keep worrying.

  20. Love and prayers to Patrice (and the rest of you holding the fort) Since "laughter doeth goood like a medicine", after hearing your latest, assuming you read it to her:) I expect she's feeling a mite better:)
    Mary (Ft. Laud)

  21. Good luck with that KatieJ. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I hope the boy will O.K.