Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Open Front Door

Coming home to an open front door can elicit a variety of emotions. In the city, coming home to a gaping doorway might bring the following to mind: Have every one of our valuables been stolen? Was this a gang hazing ritual or an even more sinister breach? Is someone still in there, lurking in a darkened closet? If I call the police, I'm telling them the place was viciously ransacked; I'm not copping to the fact that it looks like this. Always.

Coming home to an open front door in the country fosters a whole different set of responses: How long have those doors been open? Am I the idiot who left them open? Dang it, I am. Is there a chance on this Great Green Earth that the animals didn't notice?

To the kids I was ferrying home from school, scouts, Grandma's and Grandpa's, I said, "Do you see something standing there in the doorway?" It was dusk. I wanted to believe the black shape about 2.5-feet up from the floor was simply a shadow. Then the shadow moved, and the kids started chiming in, "Yep, that's a turkey." "Oh, there's another turkey." "Is that the duck? Yeah, do you see her behind the tom?" "Where's the 3rd turkey?" Oh, don't worry she was there, too.


I weakly asked, "I don't suppose Gertie is in there with them?" No sooner had I uttered that last syllable then her little white horns popped up behind the black turkey backs. "Yep, there's Gertie," stated Captain Obvious (I'm not sure which kid it was, but their declaration was an unwelcome addition to the conversation.)

I kid you not, each one of those animals was craning its neck to see who had just pulled up; Gertie the Goat in the back, standing on tippy-toes to see over the tops of the turkeys heads. The duck finally had enough of the crowding, vista-blocking poultry and squeezed out between the turkeys to get a better view. It seems at the very same moment they all realized they were busted and slunk out of the house in a cluster, just as Mia came bounding up behind them from somewhere deep in the bowels of the house, ready to gaily greet us. It didn't occur to her that bringing up the rear behind a bunch of gate crashers is the walk of shame for a guard dog worth its salt.

By my calculations, those dang doors had been open since I got the call from the school nurse at 2:47p to come pick up a sick kid until our arrival home at 5:25p. Roughly 2.5 hours they could have been in there. I wasn't ready to face it. I resolved to stay in the car and just text Mike all about it.

The kids went in to inspect the damage and Tanner came out to report the results. "It's bad in there. You probably don't want to go in," he said as he dropped into the passenger seat, shut the door and fiddled with the heater vent. So, I didn't. It was warm in the car. I was disinclined to move.

Tanner and I sat there a good five minutes before I silently turned off the car, turned to look at him and said we'd better go in. Tanner was seriously surprised. He said, "Aren't you going to have us clean it up? Really, you're going in there? Mom, I don't know if you realize how bad it is."

Oh, I was so tempted. There're 4 strong yahoos around here that I'd labored to carry a total of 40 months (we may address the 9-month pregnancy fallacy at a later date) and who were responsible for my stomach looking like a cantaloupe rind - they owe me; I'm fighting the crud; it's been a long day - I can let them clean it up. But, then that stinking sense of fair play raised its perky little obnoxious head. I'm the one who didn't check that the security door was shut when I know darn good and well that our dogs Mia and Sadie can't resist their 'Starsky & Hutch' kick-in-the-front-door routine. It was my fault. It was my mess to clean up.

In case you were wondering, 3 turkeys, a duck and one goat can produce a colossal amount of poo in 2.5 hours. Eleven piles of bird poo and 2 smatterings of goat berries, to be exact. Of course, to make it all extra special, the goat will do one pile of bidness on the living room rug. I spent 45 minutes taking care of the 11 piles of poo and one goat deposit. Then, Macy and I rolled up the living room rug and took it outside. I have my limits and there was just one pile of poo too many.

I truly love our life in the country. I do. But, it just isn't right to have the farm critters greet you at the door. From inside the house. It's just not right. I have no profound or clever manner of wrapping this one up. It's simply not right.

Tepid affection from the farm,

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