Sunday, May 21, 2006

Not again.......

Although I am knitting on the third version of the collar of the sweater-coat, I did pick up another project to work on for awhile as a break. This garment is also going to be another "coat-like" deal. It's going to be kind of like a "Joseph's Coat of Many Colors" garment. I'm using really nice quality cotton yarn, working it in flat pieces, treading carefully as working fair isle in cotton is always a dicey endeavor. After knitting half of each front panel on the bias, I cast onto their edges to complete each front by knitting towards the center in a side-to-side fashion. After finishing the front pieces I started on the back and I've got it about 3/4 completed.

I need all the knitting-relaxation I can get. It's been a stressful week and I had yet another encounter with a bull--way too close for comfort. I think I'm going to have to ask for combat pay....

Speaking of combat, here's a pic of some of the stuff that I sent (when it was colder) to some of my friends' boys who are in the war. I tried to use the desert camouflage yarn for the socks but I'm disappointed it turned out stripey instead of pooling (when camouflage looks best.) It all depends on the stitch number, but I wasn't going to rip out at this point since I'd gotten the size right. I did some in the green camouflage that turned out perfect (but didn't take a pic.) I used to participate in operation ToastyToes way back when. (Pattern for the worsted weight socks is on my web site--see links section).

Anyway, what happened this past week is that the other day one of the new nurses, Bonnie, arrived back at the office to tell me that she couldn't get up to the Rickenbocker Ranch to see a patient because "the gate was closed", which irritated me no end because that is the second time she has left that ranch without seeing the patient. The first time she was assigned there she left because she said nobody answered the door--which I told her is because everybody is out on the ranch working with the cattle. (Our understanding with that family is to just go in and make your way to the back bedroom to the see the patient, the elderly mother of the Rickenbocker clan.)

So I made the decision that I was going to take Bonnie out there myself, to show her ONCE and FOR ALL, that it's not that difficult to make a visit to the Rickenbocker Ranch.

So off we went, she following my Jeep in her Rav4 as we drove the 23 miles to the ranch. I got mad all over again on the way because we had the misfortune to get behind a slow-moving tractor. As we wound our way over the hills and down the gullies of the farm country behind that darn tractor, that silly song "Over the River and Through the Woods, to Grandmother's House We Go!" got stuck in my head and I got irritated all over again. I didn't want to sing that song. I wanted my Jeep to have taser guns like the "Millenium Falcon" space-ship had in the movie "Star Wars" so that I could blast that tractor out of my way and into a new galaxy.

Finally the tractor got out of our way and I speeded up, thinking that now we could get somewhere. We hurtled along, finally reaching County Road 2340 where we could gain access to the Rickenbocker Ranch. And then suddenly we were forced to come to a screeching halt. And I couldn't believe my eyes.

At least 25 cows were standing in the road. And they all had Rickenbocker brand-tags hanging on their ears. What in the hell, I wondered. A bunch of Rickenbocker's cows were out! And I couldn't believe it. HOW had so many cows gotten out of a fenced ranch? The main gate had a serious cow-guard built into it, so I knew they hadn't gotten out that way. So I deducted that Rickenbocker's fence had failed somewhere, letting these cows walk to freedom, right onto a public road.

I tried to call the ranch on my cell phone but only reached their answering machine-- and I didn't know the number to the main barn. Now I was in a quandary. I couldn't reach anybody by phone and the cows were blocking the road, making it impossible for me to drive up to the ranch in person. Deep, rock-filled gullies on either side of the road prevented me from trying to 4-wheel it around the cows. I sat there, idling the Jeep, watching the cows, wondering: "What's a Road Nurse to do?"

And then a possibility entered my mind. Ahah! I thought to myself. How hard can it be?....

I decided to herd them back to the ranch with the Jeep. I knew that near the main ranch gate there was a smaller gate, and that the cows could use that gate to get through since that particular gate did not have a cattle guard under it. And I knew that if I were able to get them up there, that I could simply walk through the main gate and then up to the ranch house to let the Rickenbockers know about their errant cows.

I started beeping my Jeep's horn and inching forward, knowing that Bonnie was probably having a hissy fit behind me. But she followed along bravely, helping to herd the cows. Sure enough, the stupid cows started to run down the road. Yes, they actually RAN. Brown cows, black cows, big cows and calves--all running down the road, mooing--towards the Rickenbocker Ranch entrance.

Wheeee! I was herding cows!

In fact, as I herded the cows, I started to feel a self-satisfied thrill. I, Road Nurse, was making the cows run. I, Road Nurse, Master of My Jeep, was herding Texan cattle just like the real cowboys. And I didn't even have a herding dog, I thought gleefully--I was doing it MYSELF!

I even allowed myself a daydream or two while I drove....

I imagined myself in a Marlboro TV commercial, cigarette dangling from my lips, cowgirl hat perched on my flowing, butterscotch-colored hair, saying to the audience something "rugged" like: "Yep, folks, it ain't easy being a Marlboro Nurse, but sometimes a cowgirl's gotta do what a cowgirl's gotta do....."

But soon enough my "rugged" Marlboro Nurse daydreams gave way to "LOOK AT ME! YEE-HAW! I'm herding cows! YEE-HAW! If my friends could see me now!!" (I may have even yelled a "Yee-Haw" out loud, but thank God Bonnie couldn't hear this from her vantage point, following madly in her Rav4.)

I was thrilled no end when the cows turned obediently onto the dirt road leading to the Rickenbocker Ranch's main gate. The cows "came home" I laughed to myself. And then I saw the main ranch gate--and it WAS closed, just like Bonnie had said, dammit. No matter, I thought stubbornly. I could simply slide through the fence to get through. Mr. Rickenbocker did not electrify his ranch's fence. It would be an easy matter to step through the wires and then walk up to the ranch house.

I pulled over to the side of the road and motioned for Bonnie to do the same. She pulled over and parked by me as the last few cows ran by. Soon the entire herd was gathered up by the main gate, mooing and shuffling, trying to get into the ranch. They knew where they belonged. I got out of the Jeep and went over to Bonnie.

"Look," I told her. "I'm going to slide through the fence and get on up to the house to let the Rickenbockers know they need to come out here and get these cows back in. You stay here and beep the horn at them if they try to head back towards the main road."

I walked over to the 6-foot high fence and bent over, stepping over the bottom rung of the wiring, trying not to get my shoes and pant hems too muddy. I was wearing the dratted pinks and I knew they'd look a mess after this whole episode was over. And then my pants caught on a wire. Dang it. I gently tugged on the spot that was caught, trying to pull it free without ripping a hole in the fabric.

Stupid pink uniform, I thought. I tugged a little harder and accidentally ripped a hole in my pant leg. Cursing, I stepped back from the fence. Oh well, I sighed. I would simply pick another location to slide through the fence. I stood there in the hot sun, pissed off, wondering: Could this day get any WORSE?

Yes... it could.

All of a sudden I heard a familiar bellowing.....

NOOOOOO I thought with dread. Oh no no no no.....not again........

Sure enough, a big, black, mean bull emerged from the center of the herd of cows which were milling around the gate, directly ahead of me about 25 yards away.

What in the hell?

Where had he come from? I hadn't remembered seeing this bull while we were herding them all with the vehicles. My confusion was interrupted by the panicked realization that I was a sitting duck, standing right in front of him--this time with NO steel fence to protect me!

The bull stood there eye-balling me. Then he bellowed again, loudly. Female cows answered his calls with obliging moo's. Oh Jesus, I thought, now he thinks he has to protect the females. So I began to slowly, ever so, back away, wanting to reach the safety of one of the vehicles. I knew I had to move slowly and not do anything that would spook this bull, because I knew that anything might aggravate him and cause him to charge.

Unfortunately, he WAS aggravated. He continued to bellow, lowering his head into "attack mode", and began to stomp the ground, throwing dirt into the air. He was working himself into a lather. And in a flash I knew why. Bonnie's Rav4 is colored a bright red---and it was right behind me!

Suddenly the bull charged. I turned on my heel and tore-ass towards the passenger door of Bonnie's vehicle, the bull thundering towards me. I stumbled and almost fell into the dirt, my pitiful life flashing before my eyes, a sobering realization dawning that I was going to DIE by being mauled by a pissed off bull on the Rickenbocker Ranch.

And let me tell you, of all the ways to go, I sure as heck never wanted it to be Death-By-Bovine on County Road 2340.

If I had to be killed on the job, I always wanted it to be something glamorous.... like where I selflessly and bravely enter a prison to take care of dangerous felons and am taken captive by the felons in a prison-riot whereby they offer to exchange me for a fueled jet to Cuba or something......and then I get saved by Dog-The-Bounty-Hunter or something......and Dog-The-Bounty-Hunter is single and asks me to marry him or something....and in this daydream I'm really skinny and I'm wearing an attractive, cleavage-revealing, sequined-bedecked western rodeo outfit instead of my pink uniform.....or something.....

(Hey, I happen to LIKE Dog-The-Bounty-Hunter, okay?).....

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.....

(Get it? Really, get it? I always wanted to say "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" for real....)

Anyway, meanwhile, back at the ranch, the stupid bull was after me! I had to get to safety!

I tore-ass towards Bonnie's Rav4, hollering for all I was worth: "BONNIE OPEN THE DOOR BONNIE OPEN THE DOOR BONNIE OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A stricken Bonnie reached over and shoved open the passenger door just in time. I dove in and slammed it behind me just in time. The bull stopped short and stood there panting and snorting, eyeing us, continuing his stomping and bellowing at intervals. Tiredly, I realized that we were still not out of danger--this bull could very well kick the vehicle. We were both trapped in this vehicle by a mad bull. I forlornly wondered how ridiculous this episode would look on an "on-the-job injury report":

LOCATION OF INJURY: Rickenbocker Ranch, County Road 2340.

METHOD OF INJURY: Bull Stomping.

COULD THIS INJURY HAVE BEEN PREVENTED IF SAFETY MODES HAD BEEN UTILIZED PROPERLY?: Yes, if Rickenbocker could keep his damn fence repaired better so his stupid bulls can't get out and terrorize brave and selfless Road Nurses who should be bravely and selflessly tending felons in prison riots instead of eating dust on this stupid ranch...."

Wondering why Bonnie hadn't done it sooner, I grabbed her cell phone and dialed the only other number I could think of that could help us--the Sheriff.

"911, what's your emergency?" the operator answered.

I stuttered for a few seconds, wondering what on earth to say, and then I simply started babbling incoherently: "HELP! We're home health nurses and we're trapped by a pissed off bull on Rickenbocker's Ranch because his stupid cows got out and we tried to herd them up by the gate with the Jeep and I tried to go through the fence to go get the Rickenbockers but I got stuck in the fence and tore my pinks and then this stupid bull tried to kill me.. and...and...we are TRAPPED IN BONNIE'S RAV4 and would you pleeeeeeze come help us??!!"

"Do WHAT?" the operator replied.

I breathless tried to explain it more coherently. She said nothing for a moment. Then I could hear her put her hand over the phone and yell to someone: "Hey, Frankie Joe--would you go on out by the Rickenbocker Ranch? Some idiot nurses have got themselves into a tangle with one of Rickenbocker's bulls. And do me a favor--bring me a Peanut Buster Parfait from the Dairy Queen on your way back. Jimbo just wants a hamburger."

So the sheriff deputies came and saved us. They did get ahold of the Rickenbockers and they came, too. They all ended up waving the stupid cows through the side gate with their cowboy hats. The Rickenbockers had brought their herding dogs, who rounded up the mean bull without further mishap. Most of the men were laughing so hard that they couldn't hardly speak a full sentence without breaking into peels of laughter again. Harrrumph, I thought to myself. Bet they wouldn't laugh if they found me stomped to death by that damn bull, my pink uniform hanging in tatters around his horns.

After the situation was under control, I tried to regain my former composure. "Heh heh," I chuckled weakly at Bonnie. "Told ya it wasn't so very difficult to get into the Rickenbocker Ranch."

"Whatever," she replied. "Did you know that your pannies are showing through that hole in your torn pants?"


Knitting Doula said...

I really needed that laugh today. Thank you SO MUCH!!!!

Lisa from Socknitters said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! What a great story! You are a wonderful writer :) I can just picture it.

Dawn said...

Oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is hilarious!! I am an RN as well and have done home health and can TOTALLY relate!! You are now part of my favorites!

Anonymous said...

That's about the funniest thing I have ever read. My daughter is also a 'road nurse' and has a wonderful sense of humor. I was picturing her in your place the whole episode. Would you care if I make a copy and give it to her?
Charlotte in Arkansas

Crazy Southern Knitter said...

Thanks! Bless your heart hun! I am forwarding this to my mom. She is a travelling nurse also. She would love this and can totally relate!
We used to have to herd my grandfather's cows back into the fence every morning because they'd get out the night before.

Claudia said...

So. You give your life AND your dignity for your patients. TOO FUNNY! Thanks for the laugh, I mneeded that today.

EllyMae said...

ROTFLOL! I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Thank you for taking the time to share your "escapades" and of course your beautiful knitting.

Anonymous said...

Keep blabbing nonsense cause I'm listening. Who woulda thunk I would find another virgo, 12 stepin' nurse living in a rural area who has acutally knitted a camo baby sweater. I did booties to match. ;-)

Brewgal said...

You have a true gift for humor. Just what I needed to start the day!

Maggie said...

Love it, having been a ranch kid, a ranch wife, the free labor after the divorce, having a cow pin me in a round tub..when we were trying to help her calve...oh, ya, I can see the whole thing..the question is..will Bonnie ever check the patient without you there to deal with the cows???

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