It’s time for Barbie to go get pregnant. We’re thinking of it as going off to college. Higher education. Potential pregnancy. Same-same.
Did I say that out loud?
I could bore you all with the “reasons” why I in invited myself along: never been to an AI facility, totally bored with broken ribs, fun with Daisy and Bella, want to see and take scrapbook pics of Barbie in her new digs. All true. But you know the real reason, right? Let’s see, three hours going, an hour there, three hours back. SEVEN hours!
Finally, a road trip with eating potential. That’s at least a Happy Meal. It would make a Happy Meal look downright modest. FRIES.
Daisy spends forever (the night before) buffing a mud encrusted Barbie to an other wordly gloss. No arriving at the Fancy Schmancy clinic looking like a horse cutout of The Great Salt Flats. She’s going to arrive as a show ready hunter.
Timing is tight on moving day. I volunteer to get there early for HazMat duty, in case she rolls.
This is her clean side on moving day:
Her paddock is tan bark. She had to work to find mud.
It’s a spectacular day. Bella has a gynourmous 4 horse trailer. I figure, hitched up, the whole rig is about as long as my house. Barbie steps right in, yawning. She has been to every rodeo, roping, conceivable clinic, trail ride, etc since she was a yearling, as part of her sacking out. Drunken cowboys? No problem. Loudspeaker static? Annoying, she might flick her tail. Rock music? Turn it UP.
Her opinion of the trailer: it’s her private stretch limo. She looks around for the caviar. Nice. On a shelf under her nose. She’s ready to haul.
The truck has a double cab, and 6′ tall Daisy insists she wants the back seat. It looks about wide enough to hold a laundry basket. 5’6″ Jane would be more comfortable back there. We argue. Bella breaks it up: “Broken ribs, front seat. Freakishly tall person, back seat. Get IN.”
Bella has a way with words.
I have an awkward thought: do they have to thaw it out first? Jane! Do not ask, do not ask DO NOT ASK!
Yes, they do have to thaw the semen out, and check the little wigglies under the microscope to make sure all is well before, uh, you know.
Bella drives the back roads, through the hills and canyons of the wine country. It’s stunningly gorgeous. She shaves off a good half hour by knowing all the short cuts. They are totally prepared. Bella has the address in her GPS, and a Google map printout. Daisy has the Map Quest print out. Since I’m sitting in the front, Bella says “You’re the co-pilot. Start reading when we get to the 505.”
Clearly Bella does not remember the last road trip I co-piloted. I hand the Google directions to Daisy. Bella lifts her eyebrows. “Dentist?” I say. Her eyebrows drop.
Bella glances back at Daisy, as if calculating how lost we will become. “I got it!”, says Daisy defensively. “just get us to the 505 and I’ll take over.”
Bella says “We’re stopping for fries.” Daisy and I cheer up. “But”, Bella says, “not until we’re on the way back. You two have to get us there.”
I take back the Google directions. If we each read off our own directions we might make it. It’s a good thing Bella knows how to get to the 505. We come to a zillion back road intersections. No signs. With Bella, no problem. I think she’s psychic. How does she know where to turn?? An hour or so later, Daisy and I, who have been comparing map notes, declare: “Go North on 505”.
“Uh, guys”, Bella says, pointing to a big green sign with white letters, that spans the entire freeway. Oh. It says I 505 North with an arrow pointing straight. We’ve been on the 505 for ten minutes.
Bella answers her cell. We hear her end of the conversation.
“Hi. No, not doing anything. On the 505. What’s up?”
Pause. “Sounds good. Thursday. Got it.”
Pause. “Really? I’m driving there right now.”
Pause. “No, I’m going to be like a mile from there. Sure. Call them and call me back.”
“We might be picking up a return passenger”, Bella says. Lucky Candace. She was planning to drive the exact same trip that day only to find out we were nearly there. I didn’t know Candy was getting another horse.
Daisy says “Wait, is this exit 18? Crap. We’re supposed to take exit 15. Sorry.”
I frown. “No”, I say, looking at the Google print out, “mine says exit 23.”
Bella’s cell rings. She picks it up. “Hang on,” she says to Candy. She turns to Daisy, the more map trustworthy. “I’ll get off at 19, there’s an entrance going south.” She turns back to the cell. “Sure. We’ll figure out the timing. Text me her number, and I’ll call when we’re ready to leave”.
“Who are we picking up?”, says Daisy.
“What.” says Bella, “A goat.”
We’re off the 505. Exit 19 turns out to be a two lane road with drainage ditches on either side. It stretches out for miles, with no place to turn around. “Shit”, says Bella.
A couple of miles later, Bella whips onto a tractor road in the middle some sort of vegetable field. There’s just enough room for a small tractor to turn around. We stop. Consult maps and the GPS, and discover we have two completely different addresses for two different AI clinics. My piece of paper would take us to a major stallion station, and Daisy’s piece of paper will take us to a private AI clinic near the stallion station.
“My Bad?” says Daisy. “I thought I told you it was the one near Woodgrove, not the one at Woodgrove.”
Bella shrugs good-naturedly. “We’ll get there. Minor detour.”
I know for sure Bella doesn’t want me out in the road helping back the rig by shouting “No, the other left!” I start to unbuckle my seat belt so Daisy can get out.
Bella waves me to rebuckle. She maneuvers a little, then cranks the wheel hard to the left, and we turn around, only taking out about 5 square feet of broccoli. She’s GOOD.
The rest of the way is easy. We only passed the facility 3 times. We only call for directions twice. No numbers on the mailboxes. Somehow we missed the big painted sign with a mare wearing a feather boa, lipstick, and heels. We only needed a woman in scrubs standing in the middle of the road, waving a towel, to find the place.
Daisy settles Barbie in. I take scrapbook pictures of Barbie’s dorm room. Place is quiet and spotless. Beautiful. OMG look at the cute foals!
Bella goes out to the parking lot trying to get reception, to call a woman about a goat.
Daisy is finishing up details with the manager. I wander back out to the parking lot.
“…that’s only 1/2 mile from the freeway entrance we’re taking, can you meet us there? That way I don’t have to try to turn the rig around at your house.” Bella says, “…okay. Right. 20 minutes.”
20 minutes later, Bella pulls the rig to the side of the road, which is completely unnecessary. This road hasn’t seen traffic since FDR was in office. The 505 is above us: we’re waiting at the underpass.
It’s starting to feel like a mafia handoff. Nothing for miles. Dark underpass.
“Shit” says Bella, “I don’t think Candy has paid for the goat yet. How much money do we have?” We all dig frantically through our purses. We come up with $50 in cash and slap it into Bella’s palm just as an unremarkable clunker pulls up behind the rig.
My imagination is in overdrive: $50? What? You want cement overshoes?? You think I’m gonna take fifty?
Bella walks toward the car with the cash folded in her palm. She looks back once: it feels like she’s making sure we’ve got her back. Huh. Are we all feeling how Mafia this is?
Daisy leans sideways and whispers out of the corner of her mouth “Give me the cash and you get the goat. No cash, the goat dies.”
We look at each other. “Me too” I say. And we both start walking after Bella. From our angle we can’t see who Bella is talking to, and where is the goat? In the trunk? We pick it up.
A woman leans into the back seat of the clunker and pulls out a goat. A baby goat.
Aw…A wittow itty bitty baby-wayby goat. It’s so cuuuuute. Wook at it’s wittow face!
We all know there is no way we’re putting that baby goat in the back of a gigantic 4 horse trailer. Just picturing it wobbling around back there, falling down, crying and getting bruised is horrifying.
The woman has a solution: she sends her 7 year old daughter back to the car. She returns with a disposable diaper. “I have a toddler”, the woman explains as she expertly diapers the goat, “this should get you home.”
Does anything faze Bella? We get in the cab with the goat and argue about who gets to hold him.
Bella breaks it up: “Broken ribs, no goat.”
“We have to name him!” says Daisy, “just for the trip.”