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Still February.. With A Splash

Rick Santorum is a jerk. No surprise. But I still couldn’t believe my ears on the radio this afternoon about his bashing Obama for encouraging a college education. — that the more they go to college the less they go to church. Declining as a world power is one thing, but Santorum jumping up and down demanding a quick decline is just creepy.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about what happened when I got home to read more about this insanity.

I spoke too soon about this month. February took my kind words as a sign of weakness and handed me a hearty blow, or two, since my last post.

I ended up in my Doctor’s office, with a Z-pack, in bed for two days; shivering, aching, wheezing and coughing up enough phlegm for 5 Februaries. It was painful and super gross.

After no sunlight and not having showered for 4 days, wearing the same t-shirt, same grim mindset, I looked in the mirror on Sunday, while the glamour of the world walked down the red carpet for the Oscars, I realized that I should change my attitude.

After a rest from seeing such a frightening sight in the mirror, I vacuumed, dusted, washed the floors, put away the dishes, smiled, and took a shower. I applied the usual toenail polish that I’ve been wearing for many years. Yoga has always been more fun with painted toenails.

But this time, in honor of my vows to move into the next chapter of this life, I did something that I hadn’t done since high school, in hopes of becoming attractive to the opposite sex – I applied finger-nail polish.

Monday morning came and I had good meetings (yes, coughing, but so is everybody else in Aspen).  A beautiful 3rd grader named Jenny, came over  to Owl Farm with her mom and little sister. Jenny is doing a report on peacocks. Her mom saw Jesse in the grocery store and we exchanged phone numbers.  I’m a sucker for 3rd grade research projects.

Afternoon appointments went very well down-valley. There was no study Hall today so I was looking forward to the Woody Creek Planning commission meeting regarding the new owners of the Gravel Mine, and new machinery that we’ll be living next to…

Came home with enough time to run Athena in the field. As usual, Jesse trotted under the shooting table to dig in the dirt. The way peacocks stay clean and perhaps stay amused, is to lie in dirt and kick with their mighty clawed feet, dirt into their wings. It’s a funny-looking ritual, but it keeps them health and happy, and, ahem, attractive to the opposite sex.

The weather has been exceedingly warm, and even the adult males are growing their trains at a disturbing rate. The ski slopes are lacking, and the warm weather melts what little snow we do have into puddles.

After Athena tired out, as usual, we walked back into the house with the cats following and Jesse to dig a few minutes longer.

While I was logging on to see this nonsense for myself about Rick Santorum, the corner of my eye registered Jesse strutting in as he does every day. But with the sunlight shining off the floor behind him, only an odd silhouette of what looked like penguin, wings and tail dragging on the floor with a proud look on his face.

Well, it turns out the February melt ended up as puddles under the shooting table. It wasn’t dirt he was kicking, but serious, hearty, red-earth-of-Owl Farm mud packs into his feathers.

Not computing fast enough what Jesse was bringing in, I way-too-slowly turned around as waddled to the counter. He was too weighed down to hop up onto his assigned corner perch, so he tried to make a jump onto Hunter’s chair. But instead he splat a huge maroon mud pie onto the chair, drawers, wall etc. and landed back on the floor with more sloshing.

“Oh My God! Jesse!” I grabbed him in my arms, yes, sacrificing my sweatshirt, and put him in the sink for a rinse (something I’ve done a million times as he has comes in with dirt in his claws). he weighed a ton, and I realized this was a bathtub job.

Like a fool in February, I picked him up again, out of warn sink, as if I were the only creature in the room capable of being pissed off.

What I remember is a feeling of claws on my sweatshirt, the warm muddy water draining through as he clamored to get to my shoulder. Then, suddenly, what used to be cute baby wings 4 months ago, were now flapping pterodactyl projectiles that seemed to stretch the entire length of the kitchen.

The mighty, sloshing and pounding of wet beating in my face and shoulders, hearing somebody’s voice yelling “noooooooo!” (surely mine), happened in earthquake time — seemed like 20 minutes, but truly about 20 seconds.  

We made it to the bathroom shower spritzer. This bird had not soaked himself in a mud-pie, but more like a gritty chocolate multi-layered wedding cake.

Peacocks are not water birds, and they don’t have the gland by their tails to drag oil across their feather to waterproof them, like many other bird species. And peacocks are emotional.

So, after pissing him off by removing this wonderful clay that he had worked so hard to pack in, and never having tested his stress threshold, I didn’t want to freak him out any more. So after a quick power-wash, I put him by the heater to run back into the kitchen to get a role of paper towels that he loves – he is intimidated by towel in the hand. Not to mention that I didn’t want to burst out laughing in front of him.

Then, creaping back into the kitchen, I saw what looked like a horror scene. That famous red earth of Owl Farm splattered not just across the sink. The shrapnel reached from Hunter’s typewriter (thank god I put a cover on it years ago) to the refrigerator, both windows, ceiling and floor. Nothing was spared. Not even the cats.

The kitchen is difficult to DUST: Hundreds of little pieces of paper, photographs, plaques, pins, gadgets, etc. everywhere… Me? My skin and hair will surely shine after this involuntary mud treatment.

Good thing I painted my fingernails for this event. Right?

Jesse began his splattering at Hunter’s chair,  so do I assume this is a kick from February or a kiss from Hunter?

Anyway, Jesse is now dry and sleeping, the cats are clean, I’m clean, and the kitchen is drying and I might not get out of bed until march 1.

Goodnight from your oh-so-attractive, earthy, painted friend, who, to Rick Santorum’s chagrin, finally finished college,

Anita Thompson



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