When Did I Get Old?

This morning I woke up a little before 7am, just like clockwork.  No alarm needed.  I got out of bed, let the dogs out, opened up the chicken coop and made my way back into bed.  It’s Sunday.  I wanted to sleep in.  I should have known better.  After an hour of laying in bed watching the morning news, I decided going back to sleep wasn’t going to happen.  So, I got up, made my bed and headed straight for the coffee pot. 

As I waited for my coffee to brew, I reached up into my medicine cabinet and took my multivitamin.  After I enjoyed my morning brew, I got dressed and headed to the gym.  80 minutes later (today was cardio day) I headed back home.  When I got home it was time to take my daily pill.  I reached back into the medicine cabinet.  I started prepping dinner, had some chicken chores outside to take care of, vacuumed and dusted the house.  At this point it was only 1pm.  I figured with nothing left on my agenda, I’d jump in the shower.  I headed to the bathroom to take a shower when halfway there I remembered that I have a lumbar injection tomorrow morning.  At that point I smiled.  Then laughed out loud.  It was also when I realized – I’m a 60-year-old woman.  When did this happen? 

Let me take you back to Friday.  Friday, my dad and I went to a Morehead City Marlins game.  It was a father-daughter date night.  On the way to the field dad told me he tried looking up someone on Facebook and he said, “They must not be a Facebook user.”  I replied back, “Yeah, this younger generation doesn’t really use Facebook.  They are more of Snapchat and Instagram users.”  My dad started laughing and repeated my, “This younger generation” in a mocking way.  Laughing, I looked at him and said, “Seriously, dad, I can admit I am not young anymore.  But my generation is probably the last that uses Facebook for social media and connections.” 

Fast forward 15 minutes when we pulled into the Michael’s parking lot.  I needed something from inside.  Dad turned off the truck and followed me in.  I went straight to the yarn aisle.  I was there no more than 3 minutes when I hear my dad yelling, “Hey old lady, hurry up and pick out your yarn.”

Well, there you go ladies and gentlemen:  My 65-year-old dad called me old.  And he got quite the kick out of it. 

Then, on Saturday, while I was at a friend’s house, her daughter wanted to show me the redecorating she was doing in her room.  We went up to her room and asked my opinion on a few things.  She sleeps on a twin bed and was trying to figure out what to do when she had guests sleep over.  As I was giving her some ideas, she looked at her loveseat, chair and ottoman she got from me a few months back and said, “Or they could just sleep here.”  The look I gave her must have warranted an explanation because she just stared at me when I finally replied, “Well, you are young.  Young people can sleep anywhere.  But there is no way I would be comfortable there.  My back would be killing me.”  After that comment I had to laugh at myself.  “Wow.  I just said that.  I’m old!”

So here I am.  35 years old.  I take daily multivitamins.  I workout every day despite chronic back problems.  And for this I purchased a $3,000 Tempur-Pedic mattress 3 years ago and receive regular injections in my back.  I go to bed around 9pm every night.  And I’ve recently started crocheting.  Personally, I think I am trendy, hip and fashionable.  But I’ve come to discover, if you call yourself “hip” you are probably old. 

Hi.  My name’s Anne.  I’m not as young as I used to be.  When did this happen?

Cheaper Than Therapy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For me, going to the gym is therapeutic.  It doesn’t matter what kind of day I have; the gym is always there for me to vent and let it all out.  I work out about 5-6 times a week (I would go 7 days a week, but I must force myself, for my body’s sake, to take a rest day).  Some days I need to get out of my head and stop worrying about things. There are also days I am mad, angry, even hulk-like.  Then, there are days when I’m on an emotional roller coaster holding back tears or fighting the urge to scream and yell.  Then again, I also have days when I’m feeling like a certified bad ass *insert Wonder Woman* and feel there isn’t anything stopping me.  It doesn’t matter which kind of day I have, being in the gym is my happy place. 

I put my ear buds in, crank up my workout playlist on my iPhone, and let it all out.

I go at it hard (minus the grunting and clanging of weights – I don’t want Planet Fitness to sound the ‘Lunk’ alarm on me) and forget my troubles.  It works.  Every.  Damn.  Time.  The best part is, I don’t have to be social.  I go to the gym to workout; Not to make friends or socialize.  In fact, when people try and talk to me at the gym, it annoys me.  This is MY time.  I don’t get much of it, so leave me alone – Please and Thank You. 

The gym isn’t my only means of letting out stress.  Sitting in my backyard watching my backyard flock of chickens is my version of meditation.  It is nearly impossible to get mad or upset while watching 18 chickens with 18 different personalities cluck, peck, and scratch their way around.  I could sit there for hours. Sometimes, I sit there imagining what it would be like to be a chicken.  I mean, hell, mine are so darn spoiled. 

I might be better off as a chicken in my next life. (hee hee)

Meditation works for some people.  I have tried it many times: you know, the whole sitting in a quiet place with no distractions, focused on your breathing thing?  It does not work for me.  It doesn’t feel natural and I just can’t seem to relax my mind. Some people are able to meditate with great ease.  I envy them and their ability to recharge in such a peaceful way.  But that’s OK. I found what works for me.  When I sit and watch my backyard flock, I can relax my mind and enjoy my surroundings.  Even, if only for a little while. 

*NOTE:  I am NOT discouraging people from seeking help.  I fully support talking to a counselor or seeking help from a chaplain and/or medical or clinical professional.  In fact, I have talked to a professional on more than one occasion since the age of 17.  However, I fully support the notion: find what works best for YOU!  There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to taking care of you. 

Just Call Me the Crazy Chicken Lady

A friend of mine has chickens.  Lots and lots of chickens – and a pig too, but I’ll save him for another blog.  Last July she offered to let one of her hens go broody* so that I could have my very own backyard chickens. Of course I said yes!  Out of the five eggs momma hen faithfully dedicated 21 days to sitting on, all but one hatched.  Unfortunately, two of them did not survive.  My backyard farm was going to start off small…. And I was OK with that. 

Chicks
Landon and his Chicks

I brought two sweet chicks home when they were about 5 – 7 days old.  Landon named them Tina and Louise (from Bob’s Burgers) and they lived in a green tote in his room.  We were in love!

Green Tote Home
Green Tote Home

Two weeks later, Hurricane Florence hit.  After the hurricane, when life started to get back to normal, another friend gave me a coop she had that wasn’t being used.  It only lasted one day at my house before my mom and dad purchased a brand-new coop from Tractor Supply for me.  Tina and Louise were now officially backyard chickens. 

First Coop
First Coop

New Coop
Tractor Supply Coop

Another month went by and my girls were getting bigger.  I introduced two more hens and a rooster to my backyard chicken farm.  After a couple of weeks, they all started to get along just fine.  I was now up to a flock of five.  But, I began to notice….. Tina started to look (and sound) like a Terry or Tim. 

Black Tailed Japanese Bantoms
Black Tailed Japanese Bantoms

There was no doubt about it, Tina was a Rooster.  It was then that Landon and I decided, it being 2018 and all, that Tina could identify however he wanted.  We kept the name Tina.  He knew his name.  It suited him well.

Tina the Rooster
Tina the Rooster

As Tina and Louise kept growing, I knew we needed more space.  The coop didn’t offer enough grazing space for three hens and two roosters.  The only time they got to ‘free-range’ was when I was home and able to keep an eye on the dogs and the chickens together.  See, my dogs are a little rough when they play.  They mean well.  But, I wasn’t ready to see a dead chicken or two. 

The week before Christmas, my dad and I put up a fence to provide the chickens with their own area. It took less than two days and with my dad’s expertise and supervision – he made me do all the manual work.  Now the dogs and chickens could be in the backyard, together in harmony…. well, sorta. 

Time for a Fence
Time for a Fence

As Tina grew into a full-fledged rooster, his testosterone was on full charge 24/7.  He was cock-a-doodle-doo-ing all day and somehow, he found time to have his way with all the hens in the backyard…. roughly 30 times a day.  I am NOT exaggerating.  And it is not pleasant to witness.

I added two more girls to the flock.  I call them both ‘Fatty Patty’ because they are perfectly round and fluffy.  Also, I cannot tell them apart.  Tina took immediate interest in them.  They became his favorite girls.  I now had 7 in the flock.  And this provided some relief for the three hens I had.  They were happy to share Tina.

Fatty Patty - Buff Orpingtons
Fatty Patty – Buff Orpingtons

Tina’s testosterone also brought out his hatred towards the other rooster.  We had an all-out war in my backyard.  I received a phone call from a very upset Landon one day.  “The white rooster is covered in blood!  MOM!  Come home!   Tina is trying to kill him!”  My workout was cut short, I went home, found a blood-soaked rooster in the backyard, carried him indoors and cleaned him up in my kitchen sink.  My heart sank.  I didn’t have the heart to get rid of either one of my roosters.  I loved them.  For the next couple of days…. maybe even a week, I played rooster referee in a robe and my rain boots with a broom in hand.  I would take my coffee outside and wait for the cock fight.  When I would see Tina getting close, I would raise my broom and start yelling.  I even hit him with the broom once or twice. 

Blood Bath - Poor Whitey
Blood Bath – Poor Whitey

Winter came and went, and the roosters learned their place:  Tina was king rooster and Whitey – I ended up naming the other rooster after the blood bath – stayed away from Tina.  There hasn’t been blood shed in a while.  Thank goodness.   

Spring welcomed three new girls to the flock.  I was now up to 10.  Wow… that happened fast.  Then, all it took was one trip to Tractor Supply to get some chicken feed when I heard the “cheep cheeps” from a silver barrel and couldn’t resist.  Five more chicks came home. 

Leghorn Pullets
Leghorn Pullets

Straight Run Bantoms
Straight Run Bantoms

Now I have 15 chickens (the babies are living in a dog kennel in the garage until they are big enough to be with everyone else). And to top it all off, three of my hens went broody.  That’s right, they are sitting on 8 eggs (due to hatch later this week). 

I went from zero to 15 in 7 months.  You know that saying about single women and cats???  Well, I have chickens.  But they have brought so much joy to my life.  I love having my morning coffee with them, listening to them talk to one another in their chicken language and watch them fight over the ears of corn I give them.  I’ve learned more about chickens than I ever thought I would. 

So, feel free to call me the crazy chicken lady.  I’ve accepted it.  I own it.  And I make it look good. 

Moral of the story:  Chickens are like potato chips.  You can’t have just one. 

*broody is a term used for hens who plant themselves on their eggs for 21 days to hatch and raise chicks

The Un-Anniversary

women wears white and yellow tube strapless dresses holding white red and yellow bouquet
Photo by Blake Newman on Pexels.com

On this day, 15 years ago, I said, “I Do.”  I was 20 years old, 4 months pregnant and dressed in white (the irony, I know) when I walked down the aisle of the Station Chapel aboard MCAS Cherry Point.  As I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, with my daddy by my side, all my little girl dreams of being a Disney Princess on my wedding day had become a reality.  In front of 150 of our closest friends, my soon-to-be husband and I exchanged our vows and promised to love each other until ‘death do us part.’

Today I wish my ex-husband a Happy Un-Anniversary. 

We were married for seven years.   We had great times, we had bad times, but we mostly had good times.  That is how marriages work, right?  You can’t have one without the other.  Over time we figured out that as a married couple…. we kind of sucked.  But as parents…. we were pretty awesome.  So, after the divorce was finalized in August 2011, we ended up becoming better friends than we had been throughout our entire marriage.  Why?  Because we were both focused on making one little boy happy.  We weren’t focused on trying to control each other.  We weren’t tired anymore from trying to salvage what was left of our relationship.  We were finally happy.  Who’da thunk it? 

Well, our friendship only lasted a few years after our divorce.  But that’s ok.  He’s remarried now and I’m enjoying living the single mom life with my amazing 14-year-old son, crazy flock of backyard chickens, and two adorable golden retrievers.    

While my marriage didn’t last, my divorce did help shape me into the person you see today; a strong, capable, smart, and educated woman.      

So, Happy Un-Anniversary to Me!