FTF: You Dirty Rat

This espisode of French Toast Friday brought to you by Friday the 13th.

I am not superstitious.  It just happened to be Friday the 13th, and the toilet just happened to break down before I went out to the barn, giving me a lovely afternoon of shopping for toilet parts.

I exasperate Shaun with my lack of superstition,  I can’t seem to get it in my head that saying, “Isn’t this nice…traffic is light today, we might make it in under an hour!” is a jinx.  Now we’ll never make it on time.

This is the first Friday-the-thirteenth I’ve ever had a problem.  I may be a convert to the world in which Jinxes exist.

After buying toilet parts, I go to the barn.

Exihibit A: my clean-it-every-time and keep-it-covered dressage saddle…


Okaaaay…and this is a problem why?

Because it’s an ID photo I sent to the saddle repair shop.  Followed by more detailed photos of the damage.  I’ll spare you all the pictures, and post the one that made my heart stop, after I’d flung the saddle up on Hudson, and went to attach the girth.


It had been 4 days since I’d used my saddle (doesn’t fit every horse I ride, naturally)  That gray stuff isn’t mold, it’s chomp marks.  The rat chewed through the one billet, and then went on to the other three as if they were ears of corn, going up one side and down the other.  HOW?  Where the saddle is stored, a rat would have had to stand on the western saddle below, on its tippy toes, and then, it would have to lean out and try to snag a (covered) billet without falling off the western saddle.  Great.  No one has ever had a problem there, including me, with rodent damage.

I am kissing the ground it did not touch any other part of the saddle.  This is all repairable.  As Lillie says, as problems go, this one is gold-plated.

I bring saddle home, photograph it, and make some calls before…the power goes out.  Nice sunny day, no wind.  Power comes back on.  Computer doesn’t.  Repeat the whole hyperventilating thing.  Thankfully the backup surge protector did what it was supposed to do: it blew up instead of the computer.  Have to go get a new one.  Might as well stop and take the dog for a walk at that park over there.

Christmas wrenches the leash out of my hand.  We’re currently on a sidewalk next to a very busy street. He’s chasing…a black cat.  I helpfully hyperventilate again.  TRAFFIC!  Once Christmas is caught, thanks to two incredibly wonderful pre-teens who thought he was cute, I mentally duct tape the leash to my hand, and I keep a wary eye out for ladders and sidewalk cracks.

I text Daisy, thinking this will calm me down: haven’t talked to her all day.  Wonder how she is.  Barbie has a cold.  We also have a mutual friend who is in critical care in the hospital.

Jane:  How  r U doing, how’s Bob?  Barbie still have a runny nose?

15 minutes later…

Daisy: Just got out of surgery, at home, doing GREAT!!!

Jane:  (in a complete panic) YOU WERE IN SURGERY???

No response.  I call.  How could she be in surgery and not tell me?  Finally Daisy picks up.

“What happened??” I say,  How could you be in surgery and not tell me!?!  I should have been there, I should…oh”.  I sigh. “It’s Bob, huh.”

Daisy says, confused, “You thought I was talking about me?  Didn’t you ask just me about Bob?”  Pause while she figures out how ridiculous this is.  “Yeah…I got off work, had a little surgery, drove myself home, and now I’m doing great!”  She’s laughing so hard I can barely understand her.  I think she’s making up the kinds of surgeries you could have done  in the hour between getting off the bus and having Jane call you in a panic.

I also think I just became a character in the novel she’s writing: “Moments of My Life That Have Been Wasted by Others That I Will Never Get Back Again.”

Groan.  Can I have one firing brain cell?  Please?  I’m hoping she won’t remember the hospital incident.

It’s Friday the 13th.  Of COURSE she remembers the hospital incident.

“Remember when you came to see me in the hospital and they wouldn’t let you in, because I was pre-op?”  Daisy says.

“Yeah”, I complete the story, “…and I insisted you were my sister and I had to see you RIGHT NOW.”  They’d delayed her surgery by 4 hours that she had to spend waiting as if she was going in sometime in the next 2 seconds, incredibly stressful, if understandable: they had emergencies, and thankfully, Daisy was not an emergency.

“And…” Daisy says.

“And”, I say, “They asked me WHICH Daisy I came to see, and even though I was your sister, I couldn’t remember our last name.”

“And…” Daisy says.

“And I made up this whole long story about  having different last names as kids, us both being married, and you just got divorced and I wasn’t sure which name you were using but I’m so stressed I can’t remember either of them, until finally the nurse said:  “You can’t remember your own last name?  You must be a really good friend to want to see her THAT bad, go in.”

“We didn’t learn much from that, did we?” Daisy says, trying not to snort as she laughs.

“No.  We didn’t”  I quote myself:  “She’s my sister!  Her last name…her last name…uh I don’t remember her last name because…”  we both burst out into hysterics.

“Feel better?” Daisy says.

I feel much better.  Friday-Schmiday the thirteenth!

Wait.  Did I just jinx myself?  Ahhhhhh.


18 thoughts on “FTF: You Dirty Rat

  1. Pingback: The Good Spook « The Literary Horse

  2. Michelle

    Aha! Here was the belly laugh I’ve been looking for! LOVE the hospital story…somehow this makes me feel justified in my dorkiness, because this is totally something I would do (and probably have and just forgot in the overwhelming number of ditzy things I do per week)! Actually, this year my Friday the 13th was relatively uneventful…..hmm..

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I have to admit, funny as it became, it was pretty humiliating to:
      A) be asked *which* Daisy (her name is not common, it was definitely a test.)
      B) Have no clue how to answer, even though I see her last name 50 times a day.
      C) Make up the most ridiculous story imaginable and actually think the nurse might believe me.

      It’s totally me: I can’t lie worth a hoot, and yet I continue to try even when I know I sound like my straight jacket accidentally came undone.

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I did flip out. I had to really dig in the junk drawer to find some perspective. Y’all got this post after I sent out the Jane All-Purpose Wail to everyone I knew, and before I got over it.

      (sorry guys!)

  3. Andrew

    I saw that picture and immediately thought “Ninja Shetland strikes again.” It feels weird to say, but I’m glad it’s probably just a rodent.

    I don’t know about jinxes, but I am still trying to find my new ‘lucky hat’.

    all best

    1. Jane

      You know you guys are right, I have to count myself lucky the rodent stopped where it did.

      The saddle repair guy said “you keep this saddle up really well” and added the rodent was probably attracted by the leather cleaner…in other words I put a gourmet sauce on my saddle just for the rat.

      I inherited my dad’s lucky hat, so more luck there, huh!

  4. Winter

    You know, it may have been good luck that you got to the saddle BEFORE the rat climbed higher. Maybe you were, in fact, lucky.

    See? It’s a curse being an optimist.

    That story in the hospital is one for the ages. Have a great lucky day!!

  5. Marissa

    Hilarious story — though I’m so sorry to hear about the saddle, that really stinks. My secretary recently told me, “Don’t ask yourself what else can possibly go wrong, because you’ll find out.” For fear of influencing the jinx I won’t say another word about it though. . . .

    And now on to my shameless Jane-worshipping: I have to tell you, I get so excited when The Literary Horse is on my little blogger dashboard with a new post! Every one of your stories is great. Love ’em!

    1. Jane

      I will be taking your secretary’s advice to heart. Yeah it stinks about the saddle, but new strong billets aren’t the worst thing in the world, right?

      In the meantime, you may get more stories out of this. I’ll be riding Hudson…bareback.

  6. greyhorsematters

    Great Friday the 13th story about your sister and the last names. I’m really superstitious but I can understand people who aren’t. You just weren’t brought up in a superstitious house.

    That’s a shame about your saddle, maybe the stuff you use to clean it smells so irresistible it should be renamed rodent ambrosia.

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Ha ha ha ha!!
      New leather cleaner “Rodent Ambrosia”
      You totally cracked me up, thanks Arlene!

      (I use Leather New spray cleaner, and then LN saddle balm to condition…nothing that can soak through to the flocking!)

  7. Kate

    Very fun – I love the sister story where you couldn’t remember “your” last name! Sounds like a Friday the 13th to remember (and not repeat)!

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Given that I see Daisy’s last name every single day from her work emails automatic signature, you’d think it would have been right there. Not. *sigh*

      Nurse was funny though. She walked back with me, jerked her head in my direction and said to Daisy “Sure you want to see your sister? She can’t remember who you are.”

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I’m new to this Jinx thing so you all have to help me. If I say today went well, then am I creating a Jinx? If I don’t honor the fact I didn’t get jinxed today, will it jinx me for ignoring that wonderful fact and get me tomorrow? Not that I’m saying that happened…


      (BTW, thanks for stopping by! Your blog is FUNNY. Uh-oh you may have another convert.)


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