Friday, May 24, 2013

Messy Thursday

So, Tuesday afternoon, after the fabulous BFIA board planning session, I went home and got completely badass on my horse trailer.  My daughter and I pulled out the three (heavy, filthy, unwieldy) rubber mats that cover the floor.  My son hooked up 100 feet of garden hose.  I swept the aluminum floor clean, then used muriatic acid to get rid of the corrosion spots.  For the record, that's just another name for concentrated hydrochloric acid, so yeah, there I was in a horse trailer in 80-degree heat, wearing nitrile gloves, rubber boots, my "sheep" jeans (so-called because I wore them shearing sheep, hence the jagged cuts in one leg), a t-shirt I planned to throw away, and a respirator.  Because the acid reacts with the corrosion to form chlorine gas. 

After that I semi-power-washed the whole outside of the trailer with some sort of anti-mold soap spray I found at Lowe's.  The trailer had been looking a little green in some places, and I figured green = mold.  Anyway, it looked so much better when I was finished--all sparkling in the sun.  I left it all open to dry out.  My plan was that once the inside of the trailer was completely dry, I'd spray the floor with sealant (it's mostly covered with sealant already, but in some places the sealant had chipped away, and that's where the corrosion was setting in), put the mats back, re-bed with fresh shavings, and rejoice in one lovely clean trailer.

And then it rained for the next three days.

This would not have mattered at all if I hadn't needed to ship my daughter's horse up to the middle of nowhere, Virginia, to an experienced eventing vet, on Thursday.   (I know you're thinking, "What is an experienced eventing vet doing in the middle of nowhere?" The answer is, people have stashed a whole lot of horses in that particular nowhere, unlike, say, the nowhere in which I live.)  Anyhow, I did the math, and decided that my daughter and I would need to be on the road by 9 am.  On Wednesday night, watching yet another thunderstorm, I decided that on Thursday morning I'd wake early, alongside my husband who had to get up before 6.  I'd toddle out to the barn, to the trailer which would surely have dried off by then, and spray the doggone floor.  It would dry by the time I finished breakfast, and I'd throw the mats back in and we'd be golden.

But then I overslept.  When my husband got up I mumbled something incoherent and rolled over.  I didn't worry much, because I knew he'd kiss me good-bye when he went downstairs, and I'd get up then.  Only he didn't.  So when I finally did wake up, it was past 7:30.  Also, it was raining.  Pouring.

I shook my daughter awake and explained the situation.  The lovely thing about raising girls on farms with horses is that they don't fuss over a little dirt.  Now that the mats were wet and slippery my daughter and I could barely manage them between us, but she heaved and shoved and pounded them into place.  Our shavings bin out back, tarped against the rain, stood in a thick sea of mud we couldn't imagine getting a wheelbarrow through, so my daughter shoveled unused shavings out of the corners of the horse stalls, and shoveled that into the trailer.  She put the horses into the barn, fed them, and put the shipping wraps onto the ones going with us.

Meanwhile, I was hitching the trailer.  It's a known fact that when hitching, you either get the ball lined up correctly the very first time, or you have to try one thousand times, until you're so blindingly frustrated you smack the trailer with your fists and it bounces sideways an inch and drops onto the ball.  Since it was pouring, and I was running late, you can guess how the hitching went.  Uh-huh.  I started to sweat inside my rain jacket to the extent that I fogged the truck windows, which didn't help my hitching at all.  I stripped the jacket off, pounded the trailer with my fists, attached the breakaway chains, and stalked into the barn, where my daughter was singing a made-up song to her horse to the tune of "My darling Clementine:"  "Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my dar-ling idiot, you are driving me-e crazy, why can't you just stand still."

Then the horses (we took my mare up, too) didn't want to load.  Because, you know, it was raining, so it was a lot more fun to make the humans stand and get wet and wave their arms around.  But eventually they climbed in, onto the freshly-bedded mats on the floor, that I'll have to strip and wash and dry and seal whenever it does stop raining.  I took off my muck boots and put on my muck shoes, for the drive.  My daughter took off her hat and flung her wet hair over the back of the seat.  I turned on the truck.  I had no idea what time it was now--I wasn't wearing my watch, given the rain--but it felt like the morning so far had lasted three hours, maybe four, maybe seventy, and whatever else happened we were sure to be late.

The clock in the truck came on.  9:01 am.  My daughter and I laughed, high-fived, and hit the road.