5:30 am The squirming and snuffling at the foot of the bed tells me the dog has to go outside and take a wiz. I realize I do too. But not outside.
5:35 am Cat and dog both fed. Cat eyeballs me playfully from under a chair like she's about to swipe and blasts upstairs to hide. Dog follows; bed needs more warming up.
6:20 am If Mom works early, I take her to town so I can have her car later. Otherwise, I'm back in bed, but probably not sleeping because my brain is full.
7 am get up.
7: 07 am Get the boy and the girl out of bed. I know the boy's been working hard driving tractor and the 4 wheeler and stuff, cuz he is hard to wake up. In town he was always awake before me.
7:10 am Take dog out, tie him up, put the fly masks on the horses and open the gate to let them out into the pasture.
7:12 am The dog and I go for a run around the yard, along the hay field, around the bottom of the south side, and up the hill by the pasture field. We both run. Him, almost all of it, me just the hay field stretch. The downhill part.
7:20 to 8 am Eat, move the kids through the bathroom while finding time for parents to use it, then getting them through the kitchen ensuring something in the vege/ fruit category goes in the lunch bag.
8:10 am Git in the car!
8:10 to 8:40 Drive through the country and gawk at all the farms. There are so many farms around here. They're everywhere. Farms everywhere you look. Only one was for sale, too much land, too much money, and it's already sold. But there are more!
8:40 drop kids off at school, wish luck, tell boy not to ignore his sister when he sees her, see you at 3 etc.
8:45 to 9:15 tell myself I put them in the right school even if a different one would have sent a bus to our place to pick them up.
9:15 am to 2:30 pm Depends who's home here. Sometimes help mom with groceries or help Dad with whatever project he's working on involving machinery and the great outdoors. Take Mom to work if she works late. I always call my husband when I get home. I miss him. I'm used to him not being around during the day; I'm used to going to bed alone and telling myself to sleep and not wait for him to come home. I sleep here with one ear open and can't tell myself he's not sleeping where I am. I miss him in the morning. This is hard.
So I make the phone calls and sweep the floor, do laundry, clean the barn, move the pile, walk the dog, remind myself to eat, play with the horses, vacuum, sort through stuff nobody wants anymore, and wonder where the hell the day went and wonder what I got done, because mysteriously, it never looks to me like I did anything.
2:30 pm Go get the kids. Drive through the country thinking about how much I kinda like my Mom's Alero with its big General Motors body and half decent stereo and power seat and A/C that works. But I drive with the window down, elbow out, too fast on the dirt road. I wave at all the guys on tractors. They all wave back.
3 pm I bring a book since I'm usually there a little early. Try not to watch kids leave the school and wonder who will be friends of my kids soon.
3:05 outta here
3:30 home, or at least, home we're at now. If Mom works early, go straight to town to get her.
4 pm tell the kids they really need to get their lunch bags out, do they have homework, the internet's too slow for facebook right now and let's get outside to see the horses before it gets dark.
5 pm hopefully I'm outside, with the Pug on his tether-rope watching me do my horsey thing.
6 pm Mom's got supper ready to go if she's home and we all migrate to the house. It's gonna be good. However, if she's at work and supper's up to me... it's gonna be canned. What? Pretty hard to train a horse and cook supper at the same time. Just sayin.
7 pm to 8 pm Either getting Mom, or checking off my To Do list, or trying to get in a quick ride before it gets dark. Oh, and likely doing laundry.
around 9 pm Barn. I love this part of the day. I take my scoop of cat kibble from the cellar, carrying it to the barn while Larry and Moe trot across the corral, meowing and already purring. I pour it into two bowls so the brothers don't have to fight. You know how siblings can be.
Outside, Phoenix and Copper stomp and snort, pacing the back wall of the barn, but they are not wildly impatient. The grain goes into the feeders, and I lock the door shut after I return to the scoop to the bin. Then I open the back door. Phoenix walks in first, calm and easy, turning the corner into his stall. The Little Lady is close behind, walking briskly to her stall. They both know it's rude to trot down the barn aisle. I lock them into their stalls as I putter around, picking their hooves, sweeping up the aisles, stopping for ear scratches and pats.
When they're done munching (Phoenix has to lick out the feeder before he considers it done) I unlock their stall doors. They ease their way out of their stalls and back out into the dark. I check to make sure all the doors are shut tight, turn off the lights, and give them their last pats of the night.
10 pm Bark my kids into bed. Send the dog out for one last wiz of the day. Tell him he's a good boy because he listens to me when I yell at him to not chase the barn cat. Hug my kids, pat their backs, tell them gently to get their carcasses up to bed right now darnitall. Try to keep track of bathroom traffic. Find the feral house cat rubbing her back against a doorframe, pick her up and coo to her in a baby voice. Let the Pug back in. Refill their water bowl. Clean out her litter box. Say good night to parents and yell up the stairs to git in bed would ya already. Charge up there like I'm real good n mad and instead give them hugs and goodnights. Promise them I'm going to bed too, I really am.
11 pm Sneak back downstairs, get cordless phone, call husband. Coo at him in a sweet voice. Tell him I miss him, tell him what happened today, who each kid ate lunch with, how they're doing. Hear about his day. Find something to laugh about. It's never easy to hang up.
11:30 Sneak some dial-up internet time. Get frustrated and give up.
11: 45 Realize while brushing teeth that holy crap I'm tired. Have been for a couple hours.
11:47 pm Find a kid and a Pug snoring in my bed and a furry little cat on my windowsill. She mews at me. I pet her and whisper to her. The moon makes the trees look silvery. I shove the kid over, because there's no point moving a kid at this time of night. There's room for all of us.
Late o'clock Give myself heck for getting to bed so late, but remind myself that I actually get a lot done in a day. It just doesn't look like it.
5:30 am Pretty kitty shows up on my pillow purring and brushing her fluffy tail in my face. Pug whimpers and squirms and tells me it's time to get up....