Saturday, August 15, 2009

"This is his Cape Cod..."

Someone once said that they'd learned never to invest too much emotion into one thing, because it's just a set up for the failure of losing it. Which is true, if you think about it. It's far easier to make your way in the world without investing too much of your emotions into people because sooner or later they will exit your life as soon as they've entered. And for someone who is now sitting alone in the vacant Ranch lodge, having just said goodbye to four people I spent 3 months with, it makes sense.
But there is a snare in that one little piece of advice.
On one hand, you could take that advice and forgo the heartbreak in goodbyes and come out perfectly unscathed. But you would not have changed. You would not have grown. And that is why we let people into our lives even if we know we're going to turn around and watch them exit; because new people bring inevitable changes that make us reevaluate our current circumstances. They challenege us.
And that is what I've learned from watching a total of 5 cars and a couple of planes take off into those Tetons. I've grown.
I have many layers, and living here has allowed me to recognize and accept those layers. I can be southern, artsy, and western all at the same time. I can love Lilly Pulitzer, but hate those annoying "Carolina Girl" bumper stickers. My cowboy boots can be both for visiting chicken coops and heading to a frat party. I can love both Dave Stamey's music and Akon. I'm not one way or the other.
Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm sitting here perfectly happy without everyone. Because I'm not. Nameless mail cubbies in the EDR seem to mimick that empty void I feel. But-- everything is much more beautiful to me now, knowing that I will miss these things.
And I will miss things.
I will miss the sound of spurs jingling down the hallway
I will miss watching the horses being wrangled to the pastures.
I will miss the cold at night and the heat during the day.
I will miss bear spray.
I will miss bonfires.
I will miss the sound of diesel trucks on the road.
I will miss juke boxes at togwatee.
I will miss rodeos.
I will miss the smell of that plant that is still unidentified.
I will miss watching shooting stars.
I will miss the ducks.
I will miss snake river lager.
I will miss the smell of a saddle.
I will miss the smell of a wrangler.
I will miss my camping chairs.
I will miss gravel roads.
I will miss jackson hole
and most off all,
I will miss the Tetons.

But I say all this knowing it's not the last time I will experience all of those things. Which, brings me to the title of this blog--Amy once explained Zach's love for Wyoming as an analogy to her love for Cape Cod. Cape Cod is her haven, her escape. This is Zach's haven and subsequently his Cape Cod.
This is my Cape Cod.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Today Marlin offered (threatened) to be the nanny for my unborn children. He said this with a cigarette in his mouth right after he offered me a beer...on the job. When I refused, he asked if he could be my pool boy. I reluctantly agreed until he remarked about how he could now put those speedos to good use. Granted, Marlin is a balding 50 year old man who's beer intake has exceeded his incentive to exercise. He laughed. I walked away.

My story for the day is about the rodeo. I have decided that I do not want to be a bounty hunter anymore. I want to be a Rodeo Star. When I told some of the Wranglers this, they laughed...until they saw I was dead serious, and it turned into more of an awkward cough. Let me tell you about the Rodeo. Sparkly jackets, matching saddle pads and horse leg warmers, huge belt buckles, and little 7 year olds who can out ride some of our wranglers. It's awesome. Anywho, usually some of our wranglers participate in the rodeo, so Luke decided to do some nonchalant bull riding (did you catch the sarcasm there?). Now let's remember, this was my FIRST rodeo. And at my first rodeo, after sqwaking loudly (Luke's trade mark is a seagull call), Luke took off on the Bull. And by that I mean the Bull took off on Luke He lasted about 4 seconds until the Bull knocked him off, knocked him out, and knocked out his two front teeth. That's a lot of knocks. But it was EPIC. In fact, Luke landed on his back, out cold for a minute with his right hand sticking straight up in the air. Oh yeah, and he ended up with a black eye. Needless to say my first rodeo left a lasting impression.

Now I have to be honest with you--that previous story was started back in...oh July? And I just now finished it (it's August... in case you live in a cave somewhere...although I don't know how you'd get internet in a cave). The point is--it's on to more recent stories, but I have to skip A LOT of stuff. There's just not enough room. SOOOO here we go with a recent story from last week.

It is God's gift to college students working in Jackson Hole. Ok, more like Cutty's gift, which is the bar/restaurant where all this takes place. Whiskey Wednesdays is that glorious event, in which all things whiskey related are two dollars. That's right--TWO DOLLARS. And this is Jackson Hole where everything is ridiculously expensive. So, let me set this scene. The gang is all at Cutty's after one of the Rodeos, and we're sitting at a table outside just laughing and enjoying ourselves. In walks our Ecolab man! Now, many of you may be asking yourself "What the hell is an ecolab man?" Well, let me tell you. The ecolab man (PJ) is like a representative from one of the companies our kitchen buys food from. He comes every week on certain days, AND he's from South Carolina!! We all think he's a nice guy (apparently until you get some whiskey into him...but that will come later), so he saw us and sat down and chatted. After a couple (like 10) drinks in, our very own Ecolab man was disastrously drunk. He proceeded to swing (throw) us around the dance floor, invade our personal space, and then make comments like "oh you ladies are going home with me tonight." Um....FALSE Ecolab man. Stay away. Well, two days after the incident (I mean this lasted all of Cutty's) he shows up on his normal to day at kitchen, and was met with awkward stares, laughter, and cold shoulders. It was very comical to watch him squirm in an estrogen kitchen of pissed off college aged girls. Serves you right Ecolab man, serves you right...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Number one: My advice for the day is never (NEVER) ask a wrangler (cowboy) about his life story. He will talk to you for hours. Especially if his name is Denis. Denis will take days. Don't do it. Just don't.

Second, I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, SO this post is going to be EXTRA long. Wow I really like using the all caps today.

Now to my epic story of last week. Last Wednesday the weather was nice (as in it didn't rain) so the staff decided to have a bonfire down by the river (our usual spot). Well needless to say, it got a little crazy (give cowboys a keg and...) at one point I looked up and saw one of the wranglers, Luke, had climbed up to the top of a the pitch black darkness. He then proceeded to stand out on the tree limb and make pelvic thrusts toward the tree trunk. While making pelvic thrusts he proceeded to shout "Hey look at me! I'm a hippie!" (get it? tree ______ fill in the blank). As the bonfire continued, I got a lesson on how to pack dip (Skoal to be exact). Now here's where I pause for Susan and Dickie. Parents: I am in no way shape or form dabbing in harmful substances. I just now know to do that cool flickie thingie with the Skoal can. ANYWHO as midnight neared, we decided to head back. However, apparently it is customary that on the way back from a bonfire, everyone stops their cars on the road and has a spontaneous dance party. Well we did. I was flung about by a drunken cowboy. Oh fun. But I digress. When we got back--a nameless intoxicated wrangler (he was over 21 mom) shouts "HOT TUB!!" Well, I had the wonderful sense to say to myself "Dear Findley. It is freezing. It is late. Do not get in that hot tub because you will come down with the sniffles." SO a couple of us girls just decided to watch (laugh) at these wranglers stripping down to their skimmies and jumping in the hot tub. APPARENTLY sometime while I turned around to walk back a wrangler had gotten out of the hot tub and behind me. He then had the brilliant plan to throw (not pull, push, shove, drag, carry) but THROW me into the hot tub. Fully clothed. Brilliant. I woke up with a cold the next morning.

Now onto my second epic story. Susan, please don't be angry with me for not mentioning this earlier, but it's a lot easier to tell you I was thrown off a horse via internet than phone because you will ask zillions of questions. So there it is. I was thrown (ok more like fell) off a horse Sunday afternoon. The story goes: we decided to take a long trail ride on our day off on Sunday. Denis, one of the wranglers, took us through this absolutely BEAUTIFUL trail where we were on top of a mountain on a field with flowers, etc etc (at one point I started to spin around like in the sound of music. I got to "the hills are ali--" until I tripped on a rock). My horse was called Bridger. Bridge and I had gotten along pretty well. He was pretty pokey going up hills so I figured aww I don't have to worry about anything with him. Apparently not. As we neared the end of our trail ride, we rode through a meadow with other wild horses. Bridger got a little spooked (that was an understatement). He took off galloping. Now, I have learned to gallop, and I'm actually pretty good. But this horse was booking it. I could have controlled him, but unfortunately there was a tree with pointy branches that was getting ever so closer by the second. Bridger did not respond to my multiple and furious attempts at reigning him, so I did what I do best: fall off things. According to everyone else, it was a graceful fall. I disagree. Or at least, I know they're being nice. Because I heard them laughing. Needless to say, I'M FINE. The only bruise I walked away with is my ego.

And now lastly, my story of the day:
Kids are finally here (hooray). We are not Karen's bitches anymore (ish). So, Amy and I decided to take some of the kids to play with the kittens around the barn. It was beautiful day so we took them out on the barn steps to watch the horses as well. As we got settled and the kids began observing the horses, Amy and I noticed something a little strange. And by strange, I mean that the two (and the only two horses) in front of us were CLEARLY in heat. Read between the lines. After exchanging awkward glances, we decided to nonchalantly take the kids back inside the barn until one of them decides to point out his (and our) observation to the rest of the pack. He simply asks "Why are those horses acting weird?" Here is where I calmly and collectively thought about my options. I could not divulge into the whole birds and bees talk, so I was prepared just to give a talk on horse behavior blah blah blah. However, Amy (under the intense stress of the question) responds (blurts out ) "They have Swine Flu!!".............
...................Swine flu? Swine flu?!!? That's what she came up with?! Geez. There was lot of explaining left to do after that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Howdy folks. Since I last posted there have been many-a-things going on. For one, I'm starting to speak with a Minnesota/New England Irish Catholic dialect (an interesting mix, I know). Amy is Irish, Catholic, and from Cape Cod. the ca(r) in the ha(r)bard ya(r)d. Anywho, on Sunday we went hiking on a trial through the Tetons called Bradley Lake. It was absolutely PERFECT except for Sarah decided to point out that those "soft dirt piles" I'd enjoyed trumping through were actually Moose poop. Lovely. Our bonfire on Saturday kind of failed. We had the brilliant idea to go camping that night until we set up the tent and realized there was no rain guard. Feeling adventurous, we said screw it...until it started to pour...and snow. That's right...SNOW. LAAAAAAME. On the way back, we had a spontanious dance party that lasted all about 5 mins. EPIC.

Last night (as it rained), Tod, Amy, Zach, and I decided to play Disney edition Sorry. Amy won. Then we played BS. I won. Clearly, the extent of a cowboy's talent ends at the barn. After our epic success, more people (Myles, Eric, Laura, Jessica, "Duck," "Tod," etc etc) decided to play the DVD version of Scene It. Surprisingly, cowboys actually know their movies.

We now have two guests staying with us. Guess where they are from?
That's right...GVEGAS

Now here's to my story of the day. I was actually not present for this, but I heard it when we all went to a pizza/bar place. That's right parents, I went to a bar with some cowboys...and sober drove home. Here it goes:
Last year, some of the wranglers (cowboys) put on a "parade." AKA they went through the riding trails pulling/riding mules, using an old plumbing pipe as a batton (they twirled it), and Myles tied shovels to his feet to make stilts. They marched through the riding trails singing and cheering. What was the occasion? Skoal. That's right. Someone was coming back from town with Skoal. Now you know I'm here with some legit cowboys.

Today I came in covered in stain from staining a deck. Marlin said my new nickname was "Spotted horse." Or at least, that was my Indian Name. He then threatened to drop me off at the reservation with the Reds. I'm treated so well here.

More to come later. We're having another bonfire.
or, Spotted Horse

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Split Pants

Toto we're not in Windfall anymore. (that was a W&L reference for all of you non-generals). I am a Southern, white girl who sticks out like a sore thumb among these seasoned rodeo stars, cowboys, and ranch hands. And it's AWESOME. I came here thinking I'd be a Kids Counselor, which technically I am, but the kids don't get here until later on. far I've put up a fence, stained a deck, painted rooms, looked after horses, feed ducks and kittens, gardened, hammered things, carried screw drivers around in my back pocket (which looked totally badass), and drank cowboy coffee. It's only been 3 days. Suck it. By the end of this summer, I'm going to be a seasoned ranch hand. One with nature. A cowgirl. Horse whisperer. Weilding princess. Mrs.- I-know-how-to-rope-a-horse-so-don't-mess-with-me-crazy...person. Good one, I know.
This place is beautiful. The tetons are much different from east coast mountains because they're much more jagged and snowcapped. Which is breathtaking. And I saw a moose. And an Elk. And a buffalo. Or Bison. I'm telling you--nature girl. The reason why this is titled moosen is because of Brian Reagan's joke. If you don't know what I'm talking about--look it up.
They have bonfires here. Like real bonfires. Like as in Cowboy bonfires. Ok that didn't really distinguish anything. Point is, I feel like I'm living in a real life western. Let me give you a run down of the people:
Jesse and Karen (the owners, bosses, ranch people extroardinaries).
Keith (creepy old man who pretends to be "head ranch." although he is)
Marlin and Pete (our chiefs. their goal is to make us gain 40 lbs..they are succeeding. Marlin also likes to make up nicknames (mine is finny))
Lynnae and Dan (Head of the flyfishing guide department. I don't really know what they do)
Luke, Denis, Andrew, "Duck," CJ, "Tadpole," Myles, Laura, Sara, Matt, Zach (Cowboys and flyfishing guides. Mmmmm)
Amy (kids counselor with me. we are Karen's bitches. )
Audrey, Jessica, Macey, Sarah, Tiffany (kitchen staff and house keeping).

OK now to my story as to why this post is called Split Pants. Today, I went trail riding on a horse with a group of people (this group of people included real life cowboys. attractive ones). Anywho, as we saddle up our horses, I'm trying to hide my southern inexperience and act like I know what I'm doing. BAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok sorry. Everything is going well, until I go to climb on the horse (See? Climb? I don't even know the proper terminology.) I think to myself, "Oh don't worry Findley. You're a graceful dancer who is flexible and has impeccable balance. Throw that leg over the sadde." FALSE. I put my foot in the stirrups, swing my leg over, and....RIIIIIIIIIIIIIP. Damn it. Cute cowboys in line of vision and favorite jeans gone. Epic fail. I still enjoyed the ride though. More to come later--this cowboy coffee is wearing off. And I want to go hold the kittens. Big Wyoming love.