Snow and Queso


A picture from yesterday. The sun and snow combination is blinding and exhilarating. I love it.

This is what happens when two mildly impulsive people marry each other. You find yourself in the salsa aisle of the grocery store buying queso and a huge bag of tortilla chips (down the chip aisle- why are these not together? Come on!). I’ve never bought queso- something about processed faux cheese has never appealed to me. But there I was this past Wednesday, picking out a decent sized jar of the Newman’s Own Salsa Con Queso (it was at least kind of natural) and preparing for a meltdown.

 I worked my first 7-7 shift at work last Sunday. It was my first time manning the office (also in a trailer, funny enough). The company is new, (what isn’t, out here) and handles oil field waste. There’s lots of typical office work to do, but the fun part is preparing meals and treats for our clientele- tired truckers who really perk up when they are offered some homemade fixin’s. Just in case you didn’t notice the last phrase there, I would like to point out that I am picking up popular terminology from our friends in Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Minnesota, northern Michigan, and Louisiana. Over here it isn’t too hard to figure out which states are struggling with unemployment. Besides those states above, Washington and Idaho are heavily represented here as well. There are plenty of people from other places I’m sure, but those are the states I’ve heard the most.The story is always the same; people are here to maintain what they have back home, keep their family going, or rebuild what they lost. Some guys who’ve been out here awhile are even buying the house they’ve always wanted in their town but could never afford (sounds hokey but I’ve heard that same story at least three times this week). Families are all back home, and that’s where they’ll stay. Life is there, not here.

Sunday being his only day off, Sam had of course, spent the day building shelves in the mudroom. When I saw Sam and the shelves I forgot about being upset I missed his day off and rejoiced in chatting away about the organizational possibilities! And now, we come to the queso. All because Sam and I are two mildly impulsive people that didn’t call their mothers for advise before making a big decision.

“What do you think about getting a cat?”, Sam said in perfect seriousness.

“Are you serious?!” I asked, unsuccessfully trying to act neutral to the idea. Sam explained he was concerned about mice getting into our trailer, and I immediately interjected TWO stories I had heard in the past two days about other trailers and even trucks having mice invasions. One of those trailers is just a few over from us. In 30 seconds it was settled. The cat would live mostly in the mudroom (there’s a heater under the trailer so it is quite livable), occasionally hang out in the trailer and I would enjoy having some company on my days off.

I did have three days off, and because we just couldn’t wait to get our new kitty we planned to get one the next day. It was more challenging than we expected, but I ended up finding a pet store 2 1/2 hours away that had what we were looking for. They had two short-hair, girl kittens- one gray, one black and white. I called Sam, thrilled that I was going to get the all gray kitten I had envisioned! Before I could mention that little tidbit, he was all about the black and white kitten that looked like a cat he had as a kid. Oh… Which to take home?

Thinking about a life decision in the oil patch isn’t too difficult if you work on a good crew that gives you their opinion whether you want it or not. I got a text from Sam, which said something to the effect of, “The guys say we need to get both”, which I promptly responded to with “Well, at least the kitten would have company while we’re at work”. This is where Sam made the fatal error. “Haha, your call”, he wrote. I really misunderstood this as, “YES, let’s get both!”, but Sam meant “Pick the one you like best”. This was lost in translation and before we could think through it, we had decided to get both.

The kittens are super cute, mostly sweet, very loved, and VERY, VERY HEADSTRONG. Dash, in particular, is more like a new puppy than a kitten. She gets into everything, howls and howls if she’s put in the mudroom and loyally follows me EVERYWHERE. Skitter is a little more toned down, but she meows incessantly at random times throughout the day, to the extent that I have no choice but to pick her up like a newborn and cradle her till she stops.

There’s always that point of no return, when you know you are one step away from a meltdown that’s going to require some serious brownies and buttered popcorn. Not even a full week into parenting kittens and I knew I was close, thus the queso purchase. I didn’t even have a chance to unload that precious faux cheese before Dash put me into full meltdown mode. I brought in the last load of bags to find her tail-deep in a grocery bag, chewing on the rump roast I’d JUST bought! Out she went to the mudroom. I popped that queso in the  microwave and started chowing down.

Dash howled so dramatically I had to let her back in- I couldn’t take the hysteria anymore. I was in the middle of cooking butte pasties, which are little pies with beef, potatoes and onions (I had to cut off a nice chunk where Dash had ripped through the plastic, which was probably overkill but I’m a germ-phobe).  Instead of being grateful, she took this as an opportunity to snatch a large chunk of the roast fat off the counter. Yes. And she ran under the table, and I had to chase her down. Back out to the mudroom, more queso. Skitter remained calmly seated throughout the entire escapade, which I am eternally grateful for.

Meltdown in full progress, the only friend I have out here (who lives a few trailers down) stopped by. I couldn’t hide my crazy and neither could Dash, who escaped from the mudroom and started prowling around. Mid conversation (about the events leading up to this meltdown), Dash jumps my friend’s leg, claws out. I whip out the spray bottle and go Rambo on her, spraying down my friend’s jeans in the process. She was so incredibly calm about it. Skitter had tried one of those flying leaps on me the day before, and my verbal reaction was less than restrained. In fact, it was really humbling because I was in the middle of devotions. Thank God for His grace, gracious friends, and husbands who come home, take one look at you and know better than to ask how your day was.

For some reason, in my life experience, everything calms down when it snows. It has been snowing off and on the past couple days, much to my delight. I mean that in all seriousness, because I love snow, no matter the driving hassle. I love it even more now because  the kittens are sort of behaving, and even though that probably has more to do with a diminished spray bottle than the snow, it is completely wonderful timing. The queso is almost gone, but I don’t really feel like eating any today.  🙂

ImageDash and Skitter sleeping angelically while I do my makeup. If only they were this precious all the time.

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