"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Saturday, July 24, 2010


        Things have not gone well this week here at Half-Ass Ackers.  To put it mildly, it's been a week of mishaps, pain, and tragedy, not to mention that the last episode of "Lost"cleared up absolutely nothing and has left me as confused as an Amish electrician, just as bewildered as I was on episode one.  There's six-years I'll never get back.  At any rate, one can only hope and pray that fate turns a corner soon and we can begin the road to recovery around here; returning to the every day chaos we are accustomed to.
       It all started last week when the mercury began rising faster than the national deficit.  Normally that wouldn't be of any great concern so long as the swamp cooler keeps working, the air in my pick-up functions properly, there is beer in the ice box, and my wife doesn't require I get my fanny busy on her list of honey-dos that's longer than the Chinese alphabet. Quite frankly, (if I may call you Frank) I would much rather be outdoors doing something constructive, like fishing in the high country, or napping under a tree at deer camp, or searching for my escaped mules in some steep, remote canyon.  I just don't do well in extreme heat anymore, and considering it is me, it's probably just as well because search and rescue would no doubt wait until the heat wave has passed to come out and recover the body.
       As if the soaring temperatures weren't annoying enough, last Saturday, a friend and I braved the heat and left out early in the morning to scout out an area in the high country for a Back Country Horsemen function to be held next month.  When we arrived at the gate, I got out of the truck and knelt down in front of the gate locked with a chain meant to keep us out, and systematically began trying each of the five locks with my collection of six-thousand Master Lock keys dating back to the Hoover administration.  About five minutes into the operation I couldn't help but notice I was kneeling squarely atop a rather large community of red ants, perhaps a gazillion or more.  Most of the little red six-legged beggars by now had joined the festive congregation gathered on my jeans and tee-shirt, and a good number seemed genuinely annoyed at my presence.  By the time I noticed the festivities I had more ants on me than pimples at a junior prom.
       After beating myself nearly senseless, and escaping a bite from the little red invaders, I jumped back in the truck, put it in second gear-low, and four-wheeled up the narrow, bumpy road leading up to the old cabin and the nearby pond full of fish.
       About halfway up the mountain, deep in conversation with my passenger, Bob, about quantum physics as they relate to cohesive neo-nuclear plasmadics and falsonia harmonics, I began to take notice of a gnawing irritation in the small of my back that became increasingly bothersome; gnawing being the operative word here.  As the pain reached an excruciating crescendo I astutely realized that something was indeed feasting enthusiastically at the only place on my body I couldn't quite reach.
       At what was probably the most inopportune spot on the steep road I decided to do the only thing I could do; I asked Bob if he would mind driving, to keep her in second gear-low, and I leaped gracefully from the moving truck like a duckling falling out of a barn loft.
       Tearing my tee-shirt off faster than a new bride's nightie I beat my voracious attacker into submission and the episode ended; sort of.  If you've never experienced being the main course for a red ant, consider yourself fortunate because the bite is only the first of the three stages of annoyance.
       The bite, which feels about as enjoying as someone grabbing you with a pair of molten, red-hot, needle-nose pliers and leading you on a walking tour of the Barstow Piston and Crankcase Museum lasts only a day or two.
       Next you get to enjoy the itch.  The itch makes a feather shoved up you nose while your sleeping seem slapdash by comparison.  After applying enough cortozone cream to fill a feed bucket, and a couple of fifty-six hour days, the itch has disapeared.  It has disappeared because you have no flesh remaining and have scratched a hole where the itch was the size of a F-250 hubcap.  I won't go into detail concerning the third stage, but suffice it to say it involves enough anti-biotic ointment and band-aids to satisfy a playground of six-year-old"s for an entire school year.
        My weekend got even more interesting on Sunday.  I arrived home from the post office intent on grabbing something to eat, finding a cool spot, and taking a nap.  It wasn't to be.  Upon changing into a comfortable pair of shorts, I waltzed down the hall to the kitchen and along the way managed to stub my toe on a long throw rug that is out to get me.  The sinister carpet cover insists upon bunching up in the middle so it might trip me at an unsuspecting moment.  It is a evil rug I have never much cared for and I've attempted to toss it out on more than one occasion, but my wife will hear nothing of it.  "Pick up your feet, clumsy!"  I can't help but wonder if she is in on the conspiracy?
        Immediately upon contact I grabbed my foot and began jumping around like a mad ostrich on hot pavement while screaming a string of new and creative, as well as many previously unheard of profanities.  When I managed to stop long enough to survey the damage, my toe had swelled up the size of a baked potato and was redder than Hattie's barn.
       It was about this time that tensions escalated when my bride burst into the house screaming hysterically like her hair was on fire and her fanny was catchin'.  The source of her dismay was to inform me that the walk-in cooler in our meat shop had failed to come on and the temperature inside was dropping drastically.
       "The back-up compressor isn't working either, and we've got four beef hanging in there!  I don't want to lose them!  Do something, DO SOMETHING," she screamed.  "We're all going to die..."
       I'm not sure just what it was my sweetheart expected me to do?  Perhaps she thought if I went out and gave the compressors a good, stern talking to they'd begin working again?  As I rubbed my throbbing foot, contemplating life hobbling around with a wooden leg, something outside grabbed my attention like engine failure on a 747.  The mules were out!
       I'm not sure if you've ever experienced the thrill of hopping about on one foot, attempting to corral three mules and a like amount of horses who have escaped from their enclosure to what was no doubt their version of heaven; Cathy's apple orchard.  Apparently some idiot had left the pasture gate open when he went out to feed and the entire herd had slipped out unnoticed and were dining on Cathy's Wine-saps, Granny Smiths, and Macintosh.  I had no doubt there would be a rodeo trying to convince the outlaws to return, but if I didn't get them back in the pasture before Cathy found out;  well, let's just say the timing for that ensuing conversation just wasn't right.
       As of this writing, the four-legged criminals are back in confinement.  The refrigeration guy has come and gone, with a wad of money in his pocket and a smile on his face.  With the meat locker working just fine, I returned to work to rest and recuperate, and while a week later, the area surrounding the ant bite is down to about the size of a coffee table coaster.
       But you know the real aggravating part of the whole fiasco?  You guessed it; the plot of "LOST"still makes about as much sense as a pig in a ruffled blouse!