Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flood and Escape

Several years ago, I was telecommuting part of the week in my capacity as the Director of a medical writing service located in Central Wisconsin. Shortly after Angel's foal had been born, I received a request for a work-related progress update from my staff via e-mail.

Progress Update? I wish! Let me describe my week by letting you read some communications:

May 3, 02

Subject: Absence
Sent: 5/1/02 7:20 AM

Dear partners,

I may or may not be in this week. Right now I am in a BIG DOG HOUSE. When I was putting up our mare last night, she bolted back through the stall door as soon as I took off her halter. She and her foal ran out of the barn, straight down the driveway, around our perimeter fence and into 500 acres of Consolidated Paper forest/swamp land. Trying to spot a pure white horse and a small black foal in a flooded black forest full of patchy snow cover is no holiday. I don't know how the foal will fare being cold and wet and prime fresh coyote bait. Anyway, I'll be in as soon as I finish pumping out our basement that flooded in the night with a foot of water.


From a staffer:
Subject: Absence
Sent: 5/1/02 9:50 AM

Boy I hope everything works out okay. I know the feeling of having lost animals out there somewhere. You didn't say if the mare came back. I'll try not to bug you because I don't want you getting crabby (I notice men have this tendency when faced with problems such as you are facing).

Sent: 5/1/02 10:12 AM

Me? Crabby? @#!^%&"~`!!!!!

This morning, we found a satellite map of the area, and had four people out in the woods and swamp, along with a friend with an airplane topside. For three hours there were many sightings, but the mare and her foal would not be caught. Period. End of story.

We try again in a few hours. This time with a bale of hay and a companion horse in hand.



From a staffer:

Sent: 5/2/02 9:36 AM

Did you get lost in the swamp land too now?


Sent: 5/2/02 9:36 AM

I am back working today. The mare and her foal are back in the barn.

We spent all day in the swamp Wednesday. Angel still would not be coaxed with hay or grain. Finally, we took our 35 y.o. gelding, Roany, out to see whether Angel would follow him. In the process, he bolted and was loose, too. Fortunately, he is a real grain hound and was fairly easy to catch again. Finally, my wife, Deb, led Roany out of the swamp and Angel and her foal followed ... for a while.

Just when we were coming up to the access road home, Angel and her foal bolted ahead and turned the wrong way, straight out toward the state highway. At that point I followed the mare and foal. Deb took the gelding home, and called the neighbor to get his deer rifle. The neighbor did as requested.

In the meantime, Deb's mom (a devout Catholic) said three Hail Mary's to St. Anthony, which she is convinced always helps when something is lost. Well, all I have to say is that St. Anthony must be a regular patron of May's Bar on the highway, because it emptied to come help chase the mare.

Shortly thereafter, I had to do some fast talking to our neighbor with the deer rifle that it really wasn't me that Deb wanted shot. I shouted, "Honest, Roy. Deb wants the mare shot before it causes a fatal collision on the highway, not me!"

"I don't know. Deb's animated body language and subtle demeanor seems to suggest otherwise. I could have sworn it was you I was gunning for. Where are the horses anyway?"

Well, by that time the mob had chased the mare and her foal back across the highway and into the swamp again, but for some reason Angel ran back out onto our access road and headed home with everyone following. When they got to our place, Angel turned right into our yard and started grazing. When I finally caught up, Angel let me walk right up and halter her like it was no big deal. Aaaargh! The best thing that I can say is that there were no mosquitoes in the swamp yet.

So yesterday, we turned our attention back to our flooded basement. We rented one pump .... and the water kept rising. Rented a second pump .... and the water kept rising. I guess that we not only brought the mare and foal home, but the swamp, too.

When we re-plumbed the entire house two years ago, the plumber yanked out a brand new sump pump and disconnected it. "Aw, you don't need that. It's just for the gray water from the washing machine. Now the washer runs into the septic field." That original pump was nowhere to be found. So I went out and bought another sump pump. The new pump had the water drained by last night, so I turned it off. This morning the water was as high as ever. I said to heck with it, I'm going to work! So this weekend I face even more fun.

Still Grumpy


Maybe next week I'll have better writing progress to report.

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