Shaun is hunting through receipts, looking for the one on which we bought Micah’s video game. The game doesn’t work. Reach, scan, put down….reach, scan…pause.
Jane, sensing the pause: “Did you find it?”
Shaun, shoving glasses down her nose: “Bleach? Why did you buy bleach?”
This is not spending surveillance. I’m allergic to bleach. Bleach on our household receipt sticks out like a raw steak in a vegan household.
I shove the milk into the fridge, reach for the eggs, and say, “It’s for Hudson.” Didn’t I buy hamburger? Please don’t tell me I bought only chicken again. I rummage in the bag.
HA. Hamburger. I hold it like an Oscar. Trust me, it’s a major achievement that I came home with something besides chicken.
Shaun is still staring at the receipt. I am suddenly aware that we’ve crossed the cultural divide between horsey and non-horsey. She’s sitting there wondering why Hudson needs bleach. I can see the thought bubble over her head: laundry? No. Of course not, horses don’t have laundry…
Um. We’ll break it to her later, that horses have laundry. Shaun believes in inside dirt and outside dirt. Outside dirt doesn’t go into our washing machine. I may be a teensy bit guilty of letting her think I wash my riding clothes separately, then scrub out the washer.
Um. We’re going to have to break her in a little at a time. She doesn’t need to know about saddle pads, blankets, polos, etc.
Jane: “He’s got thrush. I mixed up a solution to kill it.” For the horsey, this is basic, no big deal, throw away conversation.
For the person who is horse-clueless, this is MAYDAY.
“I bought a SICK HORSE?”, Shaun says, panic creeping into her voice. The dollar signs representing vet bills start rolling up in her eyes like a cartoon character’s. “HE’S sick ALREADY?!?”
Great. I handled that well. I have to head this off before she works herself into a (completely needless) panic over Hudson’s imminent death from thrush.
“Bella wouldn’t do that, right?” she says, trying to calm herself down, “No, she wouldn’t sell me a sick horse…right, honey?”
I grab her by the shoulders, forcing her to look into my eyes. “No, she wouldn’t. I’m sorry honey, I didn’t say that well.” I pause. “Listen to me, okay?” I have to scramble for my horse to non-horse translator book. She’s fraying around the edges.
“Honey, stay with me here. Hudson has…athlete’s foot.“
“Athlete’s foot”, Shaun repeats, without comprehending.
“Yeah”, I say. “The itchy stuff between your toes, it’s no big deal.” I reach for an understandable explanation: “Bleach is…cheaper…than a tiny tube of athlete’s foot medication, and it works well on horses.” She doesn’t need to know the dilution ratio, or about scrubbing with antibacterial dish soap first.
“Oh.” says Shaun, brightening. “Okay. It’s just athlete’s foot, for real?”
“For real”, I say. “There’s no way Bella could have known….”, I mistakenly descend into gibberish again, “…He had a false sole that peeled off and there was thrush underneath.”
Shaun’s eyes regain their pre-panic glaze. “False sole?”
Mayday, Mayday. I repeat, “Athlete’s foot” in firm and soothing tones.
Wait until we get to worming rotations.
Note to self: leave out any phrasing involving parasite loads.