Diesel.

I’ve driven a hybrid car .. oh, probably 6 years now.

It takes regular unleaded, like every other car I’ve ever driven.  While it gets great mileage and has been a wonderful car for us, the Prius doesn’t do all that great on ice.  And the warmer temperatures, melting snow, sleet and heavy fog recently have made for some slick rural roads.

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So I’ve been taking the truck.

……………

“Hey,” I said to the Cowboy over the phone .. “Diesel 1 or Diesel 2.  I can’t remember.”

“Make sure you’re not at the pumps for farm fuel!” said the Cowboy, somewhat in a panic I was at the wrong pump and may have already started putting gas in the truck.

“Don’t worry, I’m not,” I replied to him over the phone, not knowing what difference that would make.  (I filed the question in the back of my mind for later)

The Pumps

I had called to ask again, which Diesel for the Dodge.  Usually the Cowboy makes sure there is enough gas in it.  But as I have been the one to use the truck versus my Prius the past couple of days, I wanted to be sure to return the favor and fill it up.  Only the second time doing so on my own, I knew there was a method as to what went into the tank and why, I just couldn’t remember what it was.

What’s the weather supposed to be like, he said to himself out loud.

“I think it’s supposed to be nice,” the Cowboy continued.  “I guess you can go with Diesel 2 for now.  It’s not all that cold out so you shouldn’t need number one.”

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Diesel 2, he explains to me as I sit down to write for the first time in a very long time, apparently gels up if it gets too cold.  He let me know, I would most likely get stranded alongside the road if the wrong diesel is in the tank and the temperatures plummet.

Sincerely good to know.

…………

Also good to know why it mattered if I was at the Farm Diesel pump:

– Farm fuel is good for tractors and other farm related equipment.

– It is the same diesel, it just isn’t taxed.

– The Cowboy says there is about a $ .50 tax on every gallon of gas we buy.  I ask, are you sure it’s $ .50 and he says, pretty close.  (May differ by state.)  I don’t feel like fact checking this morning so I’m going with it.

– There is a dye in farm fuel and if you get picked up, police can check your tank.  If you have farm fuel in your truck, it is at the very least, a $1000 fine.

………….

The things we’re learning .. living on a dirt road.

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First of (hopefully not) many to come?

It is a peaceful morning at the Cowboy’s ranch.

The sun is shining.  There is a slight breeze blowing.  No tv or music playing.

It is just quiet.

My daughter and I a few minutes ago, sat down to the coffee, bacon and waffles the Cowboy made for us before leaving for an appointment.

We had slept in, rolling in early this morning after a much later departure than I had hoped for last night.

………….

This is the start to our spring break this year ..

Well, I wish this were the start.  I like this start better.  We are instead going this morning, with .. the ‘do-over’ I wrote about a few posts ago.

…………

“Mom, can I have a hug,” my daughter asks as we were still lying in bed this morning.

She’s lying on her side, looking at me with one eye.  The other eye is buried in her pillow.  We are mirroring each other in that respect.

I give her a hug.  “I love you, honey..” I say.

The hug rounds out one of the first big fights we have ever had.

Well, actually, that she had with me last night as we were trying to get the car packed and actually get out of town.  I had a long time on the drive here last night to think about what set it all off.  And, we’ve talked about it since.  But ..

This was truly the first, and quite honestly, impressive (not in a good way) rant I’ve seen from her.

Normally we might have some pouting.  Some name calling.  Some assertiveness and being bossy.  She hasn’t been terrible about that.  She’s usually a pretty great kid and under control.  But this was a no good knock down drag out throw every nasty name in the book and do what I can to hurt mom kind of fight.  That was before the threats to throw yogurt all over the car (I almost doubled over laughing about the thought of that one as she threatened while I put gas in the car), dump my coffee (gasp! she knows my weak spot) and pinch me as hard as she could.

The “I don’t love you anymore I just want my dad the rest of my life and I wish you were never born,” kind of fight.

And it all started with me simply asking her to clean the cats litter boxes before we left.

“I tried,” she fussed at me, as I went to pour in more fresh litter and discovered there was still a lot to be cleaned.

I went to look for the scooper.

It was hiding in a corner, freshly snapped in two.

“Child (insert name)?” I ask .. “How did the scoop get broken?  Did that just happen?”

“No.  And .. It just broke,” she replied.

“It didn’t ‘just break‘ honey, what happened?  We have others coming to care for the cats and now the scoop is broke?” I say, increasingly frustrated at this point.  Frustrated my child (my fault at this point) isn’t better at handling a few simple chores.  And that we’re not already on the road.

“Why are you being so mean to me,” she asks.

I try and take stock of how I’m talking to her .. thinking, uh oh, did I push her too far?  Am I that frustrated trying to get out the door I’m taking it out on her?  Or, is it that I’m holding her accountable for one of two relatively simple tasks she’d rather not do, that’s has her so upset.  But it’s too late.  She’s in a full fledged rage, screaming bloody murder as she scoops the last of the clumps out of the litter box with half a scoop saying she doesn’t want to go with me now, and just wants her dad.  I keep doing what I’m doing, trying to stay focused and let her have this moment, hoping meanwhile that the neighbors aren’t getting concerned something else more traumatic is going on.  Next thing I know she’s unpacking all of her things from the car.  And on the phone.  To dad.

Now.. thank goodness he and I are in a place where .. even in divorce .. this no longer even remotely pits the two of us against each other.  If anything, her growing up and trying to play either of us has us talking and getting along better than we perhaps ever have.  And he knows she has called me at the slightest point of upset on his end.  It’s good to know we’ve got each others backs here.

(If I have learned anything important to pass along through my own divorce, it’s that .. if there is even a chance as a mom or dad you can present a united front .. despite separate homes, it makes a huge difference.  Not always in the moment, but in the big picture.  That’s for just about anything that may come up.)

But it was brutal.  For quite some time.  I let her keep going with it and ignored her for the most part, wondering how long she might keep it up.  And I was generally impressed with the steady stream of insanity that flowed from her healthy vocal chords.  I didn’t realize she had that in her to be honest.  At a few times I had to hold back a smile.  Which upset her even more.

It only ended as we were finally on the road about 20 minutes from home and she was furious I hadn’t started to cry.  My 10-year-old took off her seatbelt and threatened to open the door and jump out because it would be better than staying in the car with me.  And then she went for the gear shift and power button.  (Yes, my car has a power button.)

It was time to put this to an end.

She begged me to stop so that she could go to the bathroom and I told her that was perfect because she had gone on long enough and I was concerned now about both our safety.  And lucky for us, I knew that State Patrol headquarters was right next to the string of restaurants and gas stations we were heading for.

“If you can’t get this under control for yourself,” I said .. “perhaps we need to go and talk with the police.  Because I’m worried you’re going to hurt either yourself or both of us and  can’t let you do that.”

Snap.  She’s out of it.

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

We pull up to Culver’s and get out.

“I’m so sorry, mommy…..” she says as she walks around the front of the car toward me offering her arms for a hug.

“I think it’s puberty.  I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m doing this.  Can I have some ice cream?”

………….

I pray this is not a regular occasion.

But I also know, I gave my own parents a few doozies when I was her age.  Probably not to the extent I got last night, because I knew there would be a hand on my face at the first utter of some of the words she chose last night or a hand mark on my behind.  But I’m sure my words at that time, cut close.

I’m not proud of that.

In fact, and my daughter and I have talked about this already this morning.  If I have any regrets from a life otherwise well lived .. it is that I ever said some of the things I did to my parents.  That I know had to have stung .. just a bit.  In particular, to my own mother.

She used to say .. “I can hardly wait until you have your own kids…” with a smile on her face.

I am learning, day by day .. what she meant..

…………

It is still quiet here at the ranch this now Saturday afteroon.

The dishes are cleared and put away after a late brunch..

And I’ve had a few wonderful moments to sit and write again after a chaotic week…

I can hear the truck coming up the drive ..

The Cowboy is has returned.

And we’re going outside to learn how to ride a bike ..

Which, she also doesn’t want do.

Let’s see how this one goes..

The South Shore …

We had planned this weekend for months.

Had it not been on the calendar, I would have still needed a getaway.  My dad’s .. quiet, calm and as far away from the chaos of my everyday.. at least as far as I could get in the state of Wisconsin, was the perfect getaway.

“Wish we could be there,” said the Cowboy, several times as we talked on the phone.

He had the kids this weekend and the hope was we’d all meet there.  But, the drive is just too much for the short time they all have together on any given weekend.   Some other time, we agreed … soon.

……

The temperatures on Sunday had warmed up to a balmy 20 degrees..

So before leaving to head back home… we decided it might be fun to hit the beach.

Explaining chaos of the ice

With half of Chequamegon Bay near Bayfield still open, the ice where it was frozen, was spectacular.

Even more precious, to me anyway..

As I grabbed a few things from the car, to look up and already see my dad, explaining to my daughter, why the ice was all chunked up along the shoreline versus what she might be used to seeing on the lakes at home.

Sandy Shores of Lake Superior

We spend time on this shore as often as we can during the summer, this was our first trip during the cold months of winter.  (The water during the summer, doesn’t seem like it is much warmer than it would be to take a swim at the moment, either.)

With the open water from the rest of the bay, seeping where it can under the the ice..  there is this low, eery but beautiful, constant growl.

“Can you hear that, mom?” shouted my 10 year old.  “Did you hear that?!  What is that?” she asks from a distance as she pokes at the shoreline with a stick she’s found.  Dogs in tow.

Who needs a tennis ball. New game of fetch ..

Looking at this photo, I think its time my dog had her nails trimmed.

Sorry, sidetracked ..

Wish we could have stayed longer.  At the beach.  And at my dads.  I know my daughter felt the same, because she made that very comment, as we began the drive back home.

Had the dogs had a vote, I’m pretty sure they would have agreed.  At least before crashing in the back seat, exhausted from a weekend of running around.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing other than spending total down time with two of the people I love most (only wish a few others, including the Cowboy and his little people could have joined us).  And am refreshed, ready to face the beautiful chaos of a new week.

The road home …

Its not often we get to ride together in the car.  Well, actually today, its the blazer.  Normally one of us is heading to see the other and flying solo, passing time between phone calls and the Cowboy anyway, likes to watch/listen to a few shows on Netflix.

The road home

But we’ve got the blazer pretty packed up (the Cowboy really misses his big ‘ol truck, we were lamenting that just a few miles back.  It was a sexy truck.  It really was.  But as part of the divorce he gave it up over some relatively humorous and unrealistic financial demands from the ex.  So he sold it.  And, because we’re both trying to be frugal these days and downsize more than upscale, he bought an old blazer he could still shoe out of .. that would be a solid vehicle for he and the kids .. and that he could pay cash for.  We promised we’d start looking at a truck again later this year.)

Tired after a morning run

We’ve got one of the dogs along as well..  Settled in amongst everything in the back seat.

And, a lot of conversations happening in the midst of it all.

One of which, is me…. fussing at the Cowboy for his driving.  He wants me to tell you, “The Cowboy is a great driver.  And I am a terrible back seat driver.”  But he tells me that as he’s drifting off onto the shoulder of any icy Minnesota highway.

Another conversation is…. do we feed the dog the burrito bowl leftovers from our lunch stop.. which is a mix of black beans, rice, chicken and guacamole?  Or will that make for an extremely long, stinky ride the rest of the way to South Dakota?  Sorry.. but you know its true.

Its been a relatively insane, far too busy week.  All good things.  Work stuff.  Mom stuff.  Trying to fit exercise back into my daily routine after being out sick a couple weeks.  We drove through the snow last night to have the most wonderful evening with some of my best friends in this life, from college and now from all over the world.  Truly an honor to be among those around the table at the Capitol Grille in Milwaukee.  I adore my friends.  And I adore the Cowboy so I’m glad they’re all getting more time to know each other.  Plus it’s fun to see him dressed in a suit coat once in awhile.

But the busy days, late nights, work in-between and not to mention.. the awesome company have me thoroughly enjoying the downtime today in the passenger seat.  (Even if he isn’t the best driver that ever lived..)

Riding shotgun...

Especially because the Cowboy and I have a big week ahead … and the road this week will take us to Pierre.