Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My fairy tale...except it’s true, Part 3

For those of you joining this story in progress and wanting to catch up, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

We join Rancher-woman as she’s leaving city life behind and heading west to her new life in New Mexico.

She had plenty to reflect upon during the couple-thousand-mile drive to Albuquerque, but not being a particulary deep thinker, she chose to live in the moment and just sing real loud. The trip was pretty uneventful, except for a stop along the way at Graceland. She was more interested in Elvis’ barn and horses than in the mansion. Looking back now, perhaps that was a sign.

The Mayflower van arrived at her new house about the same time as she did, and every box was unpacked, every picture hung, and every detail organized by the end of day 3. Ok, now what do I do? She had three primary goals for her new life: get a dog, buy more than one bag of groceries at a time, and learn how to program her VCR. (Fifteen years later, she can report that two out of three ain’t bad and she doesn’t really need to timeshift her favorite shows anyway.)

She enjoyed doing nothing for a few months, but it finally occurred to her that she would need to find some sort of gainful employment to buy more than one bag of groceries. So she signed on to be a temp and filled in for awhile as a secretary at a Japanese-run company. She went to work totally overdressed for the part but had a good time. The Japanese executives wanted to hire her on permanently, but she said sayonara to that.

Then she decided she wanted to try the bartending thing, so she enrolled in bartending school and graduated with high honors after two gruelling weeks of memorizing the ingredients for “Singapore Slings” and “Sex on the Beach.” Like most educational experiences, the real learning came in the trenches. She mixed martinis and manhattans at the Albuquerque Petroleum Club and slung beers and margaritas at the Coronado Cantina. Then she got sucked right in to bar management. What was she thinking?? This was not Cheers, Norm and Cliff were infinitely more entertaining than her band of regulars, and she was going to die from second-hand smoke if she didn’t get out of the business as quickly as she got into it.

So after a year of coming home smelling like an ashtray, she got a job in human resources at a Caterpillar tractor dealership. Boring. But by now, she had a dog, a very active social life that revolved around two-stepping and cowboys, and she was loving everything about New Mexico, so what did she care?

Then after a year of being the personnel queen, she went to work as a secretary to some big shot at a healthcare organization. Boring. But her work life was so at the bottom of her list of important things that it didn’t matter. She had time and energy to finally do something other than work.

After two years of living her new, carefree life in Albuquerque, she got an idea in her head that she needed to buy some land, get some animals, and live in the country. So she moved to the other side of the mountains and suddenly had a new house and two whole acres to call her own. She begin filling it up. Another dog, a pig, a couple of goats...but what she really wanted was a horse.

She decided that in order to properly care for a horse, she would need to be home more often, so first she had to convince her boss to let her work from home. A job opened up in the department next door for a graphic designer. She thought I could do that! She convinced the right people, they gave her the job, and they let her telecommute.

Great! Now she could finally get a horse. And the fact that she knew nothing about horses or caring for them certainly didn’t stop her. She would learn. Just like knowing that leaving her big-city life behind was the right thing to do, she knew that getting a horse was the right thing to do.

She had a barn built, found a wonderful 11-year-old mare to buy, and became a horsewoman. She survived a broken leg at the hands of the farrier, the birth of the mare’s foal, and the death of the mare. She learned how to train a colt and retrain an older horse. And every day along the way, she realized how lucky she was to have discovered her true place in life, her role in the grand scheme of things, her raison d’etre - scooping horse poop.

To be continued...

p.s. I swear I thought this would be the final installment, but even Reader’s Digest couldn’t condense 15 years into 10 paragraphs. I’ll try to wrap it up next time.

Click here for Part 4.


  1. I'm on edge, can't wait for the next installment!

  2. Wow, what an adventure! Looks like you really explored the job options before finding the right niche. Wish I could work from home! Love the bartending story. Bet you met lots of good cowboys! I need to go back and catch up on the old stories, I'm curious about that broken leg at the hands of the farrier!

  3. Okay, this is still in a different place than your ranch where you are now, right? Sounds like you were on the right track- can't wait to read what happens next. Congratulations on your award, by the way - You deserve it!

  4. A very interesting fairy tale so far, I will be looking forward to the next post.

  5. We left everything to move from the Northeast to the South. We're still kind of recovering (ha ha!), but we're happy we did it!