Wednesday was a crazy day. It was all over the place. We didn't get any calls for concrete till 11am so we spent the rest of the day moping about trying to look for things to do. When I finally decided to clean my truck, the boss pulls in and says I can knock off whenever I want. It was only 1:30pm! I had only had lunch half an hour ago. Whatever. 'At least if I leave work I will be occupied', I thought, so that's when I decided to make an impromptu trip to one of the stations I have day-worked on. When I pulled in no one was around. The purpose of this trip was to pick up a dog. In particular a dog for Damian. I decided long ago that part of his Christmas present this year will be a dog since he's always whinging and griping that all the dogs have all been mine. He won't be able to say that now! I brought a bag of working dog food with me in exchange for the pup which I then sat on for nearly an hour waiting for my friends to come back to the homestead after the days work had finished. I was just about to give up and organise an alternative means of transport for the pup when I heard a toyota rattling down the driveway. And didn't I scare the life out of Mal! Only Kylie was expecting me and that wasn't till tomorrow!
The initial pup I chose was sadly not available due to crossed wires but that's fine because the alternative is as sweet as pie. His name is Lightening! The couple loaned me one of their dog cages since they were a bit concerned the pup would go about his business on the backseat of Damian's rodeo. And too right they were because the moment Lightening went in the cage he relieved himself. Mal tied down the cage for me and pumped up my slowly leaking tyre. After chatting for a while I headed off to my old stomping ground.
Time was running out when I drove in to the town. I had a CWA meeting at 5:30pm and it was already 4:30pm. Me and my big ideas! I'd be pushing it to make it on time. I showed my friend, Sarah, the pup and her verdict went along the lines of "Awww, he's so cute!", no opinion on Damian's potential reaction. Next stop was the pub to show Warren. He just laughed in his less-than-sober state that Damian will now be regularly visiting him so that they can go pig hunting together. Not on my watch! But I hope that was all he was laughing at.
I lead-footed it all the way back to town at I don't know what speed because the speedo doesn't work in the rodeo. But I got there in about less than 45mins. It's 105km between the two towns so I'll leave the maths to someone else! Only 15mins late to CWA. I had one of my friends young daughter check on Lightening halfway through the meeting to make sure he was okay.
When the meeting ended I headed back to the town house where Lightening got an introduction to Yum Yum. It took a good half hour for the two to see eye to eye but soon they were lying on the tiles together like they had been friends forever. I tricked Lightening into being tied up since he'd previously only known cages and when he realised he was tied up, that's when the barking started after I had gone to bed. Afraid of keeping the whole neighbourhood awake I unclipped him and let him have the yard to himself since old Spencer was tied up due to the new addition and Yum Yum sleeps inside. I checked on him twice before I went to bed, just to make sure he was okay and he (as far as I could see because it was dark) was behaving beautifully, even when Spence did try and assert her authority. To this point, all signs have shown me he will be an intensely loyal dog especially since he has come up to me with a smile on his face.
The working week went by as slow as a snail on valium. Friday came and finally it was time to take Lightening to the vets for vaccinations. I had already had to re-book an appointment twice with the vet over the last two days to then be left to rock up near on closing time with the uncertainty of even being seen. Thankfully the vet was quite obliging and happy to see this sook-eyed pup. He behaved so beautifully as everything over the last three days has been quite a shock to him. After the vets it was another leadfooted drive home to the station with the dog in the cage.
When I pulled up at the house paddock gate I put a big red ribbon on Lightenings' collar and prepared myself to face the fact that I may have to spend the weekend standing between the dog and the gun. Lightening doesn't lead so I picked him up and when I got to the edge of the house, hidden by various bits of outdoor furniture, I asked Damian who was smoking on the verandah "Are you ready for the first half of your Christmas present?". I gingerly stepped up the stairs to reveal to Damian his new pup. I didn't receive anger, I didn't receive a guilt trip, I received a sigh of disbelief "A dog?".
"Well, you are always complaining that every dog has always been mine so now you have your own!"
It didn't take long for Damian to warm up to Lightening but it also didn't take long for me to warm down. Trying to learn his place in his new family, Lightening had a go at Lacey who had been placed on the top of the outdoor table for introductions. If he makes a habit of this it will be Damian standing between the dog and the gun! But punishment for his behaviour followed which momentarily divided Damian and I. Lightening had another two go's at Lacey on Saturday but by Sunday they were right as rain though Lacey was still reluctant to be around him and was cautious when she was.
Not only with the official arrival of Lightening, this weekend was the most happiest return to Providence I've had since I first begun my stint in town. I had many moments which brang a wide smile to my face from cuddling up to Capone whilst getting headbutted by him to riding my horse through a mob of soundly sleeping poddies to playing with Lacey and Lightening to shifting the chooks at midnight to their ignored enclosure for fear of Lightening making a meal out of them. The chooks in their pen did not last long and when the sun rose, so did they to the top of the shade cloth and free to the outside world after a bit of sea-sawing in between.
Saturday was spent mowing the lawn on the ride-on, waving at Damian who sat on the front verandah each lap because I'm a dag like that and going on a water run. It was so good seeing all the paddocks lush with fresh green grass, even around the troughs and seeing all the fat, rolly polly calves dance and buck about between drinks from their healthy mothers. Even a cow that had a year old weaner sucking off her looked like she was holding her weight well. This time of year is usually nasty on cattle and their condition so it was a welcome sight to see them all doing so well. A vast contrast from every other property I've been on over the last 7 years during the Build-Up. The early rains have been quite a blessing. The rest of Saturday was spent doing laundry including a desperate dash to pull all the dry clothes and linen off the line when the sound of rain hit the tin roof to only stop the moment I got inside with the laundry basket.
I started off Sunday gathering motivation to trim Charger's feet. My back was already killing me from driving trucks with seats that couldn't go all the way forward and shovelling aggragate. I prepared feeds for Charger and Diamond (the horse who wouldn't be found who is now finally found) and got down to trimming Charger's front, offside foot with the nippers. He didn't make things any easier for me by swishing his head around every ten seconds to shoo away buffalo flies. I was angry at myself that I didn't think to treat him before I got stuck into doing his feet. Nevertheless I got on with it. Nippers done, time for the rasp. I really need an old-man-stand for this part of the job so I gave up doing it the orthodox way and did it a way that I had to learn due to dealing with a very difficult horse. In this instance, instead of bring the foot forward, you kept the hoof between your knees with your back toward the front of the horse. Everything this way (my way) is done purely on feel and generally for me has come out with the same result and I also find it a little easier. But still, I want an old-man-stand. Hint! Hint!
After finishing Charger's front feet and letting him polish off his breakfast I put a bridle on him, lined him up alongside a feed trough and hoisted myself up onto his back. Halfway up he decided that I didn't require anymore patience from him and he started to walk off. Anyone who has seen me try and get on bareback knows how awkward it looks and due to my lack of coordination I can't pull him up when he walks off like that (something I need to improve on!) so I just hung in there with my right foot resting on his rump as he lumbered along with me wiggling around till I'm finally sitting correctly on his back. 200 metres later and I had got to my destination, the gate. I got off (not near as awkward for me) and let him go through the gates. And he just stood there. He wants pats? Gave him pats and cuddles. He wants the flies shood away? Shood the flies away. Still standing there. Maybe just my company? Nup. Hmmm. To be back with Diamond? Sook me opens the gate back up and he walks through it back into the house paddock. "He knows he'll get fed if he gets to stay in here," Damian-often-the-voice-of-reason. Whatever, your problem now! Hehehe!
The rest of my Sunday was spent relaxing, getting a start on my Secret Santa gift for a group I am part of on Facebook and reading my Stephen Fry novel. Oh, and of course sleeping. But four o' clock came round all too fast and after checking the car over and getting the usual grilling from Damian for NOT regularly checking the car over I made my unwanted journey back to town with less of a leadfoot.
At least when I arrived back at the townhouse I was greeted by four wonderful women who were celebrating two of their birthdays. Maybe this week won't be so bad? Maybe.