I’m waiting for heart surgery. It’s not an easy wait – I wake up each day hoping that someone from the cardiac surgeon’s office will call to book my appointment, but so far I have not had that call. I get up in the morning pretending each day is just a normal day and try to follow my Normal Day routine, but I’m really only fooling myself. I go out to the goat barn and start my chores – aware that I’m shorter of breath than I used to be and that the slinging of hay now waits for my husband to do as that is over the 10lbs I’m allowed to lift. Instead I am relegated to the role of grain distributor – not that the goats mind. They clamor at the gate, happy to see me and blissfully unaware that the surgeon could be calling right now while I’m out giving them their breakfast. Goats don’t even know about phones.
I finish the chores and tidy the entry way to the barn – sweep up spilled grain, organize the brushes and implements that inevitably get left out and that really, honestly, don’t need to be organized. All is tidy. I check in the toolbox we use to keep the veterinary supplies in: latex gloves, syringes, clippers, iodine, various injectable meds… it all looks pretty organized and ready. I turn the lights off and head outside. Our barn yard is just becoming light. I can hear the dogs at the neighbouring farm baying – maybe they heard the phone ring? I walk through the snow, eschewing the path created by my husband – I’m not so sick I can’t walk in snow… I stop to catch my breath. There is a breeze that wanders around the yard scooping up fingers full of snow and flicking them disrespectfully in my direction; even the breeze knows that I’m an easy target now. I continue to the house, stopping to kick the snow off my boots before I climb the stairs into the mudroom… at least that’s the excuse I use for stopping…that snow.
I check the phone; no messages. Good. Put the kettle on, pull a mug from the cupboard, select a nice mint tea. The silence of the house is almost overwhelming so once the tea is made I turn on the TV for some background noise. I have no idea how people can stand daytime TV. The horrible over-cheerful chirpy syrupy voices and botoxed lifted and polished faces are somewhat jarring but take me out of myself for a moment. I watch two gay men demonstrate how a cookie sheet can be covered in wall paper and then small stones glued to magnets can be used to hold Important Notes and pictures on it…its ‘kitschy’… yeah. I haul myself out of my chair and return my cup to the kitchen. Wash the cup. Dry the cup. Put the cup away. Good. I stare out the window. I can see several goats at the outside feeder; don has filled it with hay and they are, in turn, filling their bellies. They are waiting too, my goats. Each is sporting a big round belly which gets bigger as we march towards February. I love that time of year – new baby goats are an amazing life affirming thing. They arrive all wet and gross, bits of straw sticking to them before their moms can get them all cleaned up. Their ridiculously long legs wobble underneath them as they stagger and fall and flail. Slowly and with great determination – more than I would have – they finally get those pins underneath them. They find their equilibrium and suddenly, as if by magic, they just know how to use those legs… off they go bounding into each other, giving high kicks and half turns until eventually they figure out how to run, how to zoom around the pen bouncing off the walls – literally – and each other. They climb on everything, in everything, over everything never pausing to wonder if they will get hurt, if they will get scared, if they will get a phone call. Oh.
I turn back to the sink… think about dinner. A good farmwife would be planning the evening meal, maybe baking something? I consider this, gazing at my Wolfgang Puck bread maker. Nope. The effort is too great. I take one last look at the goats then return to the living room tidying as I go, straightening the chairs at the table in the dining room, picking up a book and returning it to the bookshelf. I stop and look out the window… the phone really needs to ring.