Hello Ranchers family! Been nigh onto 10 years since I found this original form of social media. Now I do most of my posting in short bursts over on Twitter. @mytfarms is my handle, no surprise there! Here's my copy and paste of our New Years letter and update. Spoilers, the dog is alive and well, and we are very blessed. Hope all you folks are found well in 2018.
The Christensen 2017 from the Rearview
Friends, family, Twitter acquaintances, and anyone else who may stumble across this writing. Blessings to you and yours from our little clan.
I have been very hesitant to share our year in review. Some of it sounds like a bad, late night commercial meant to guilt trip you into feeling sorry for us. That is the very last thing we want. I simply wish to share the facts of our lives so that everyone can fully understand that we are blessed and joyful, but must make some hard decisions and sometimes deal with less than rosy circumstances in the coming months of 2018.
Last January, my wife and I rung in the New Year at a local bar in Amarillo, toasting to good health and our newly began married life. Israel, my dearly beloved wife, was working as a waitress at Texas Roadhouse, and frankly killing it. Bringing home the pork belly. Paying the bills. Wearing the financial pants and still being an amazing wife that didn’t cut off her hubby at the knees. I should likely just write her praises for the entirety of this update. I’ve been blessed with an amazing, strong woman. I was halter breaking, feeding, rinsing, blowing, doctoring, and picturing calves for a few gentlemen in the Canyon area, putting some spending cash in the jar and enjoying my show jock self immensely. Come the end of the month, we realized that the money we earned was more like just flowing through our account and back out again. In event of a major financial event, we would have been pickled.
So I got the brilliant idea to move back to Colorado. A little skunk infested bunk house on a place my parents leased could be remodeled in trade for rent payment. So I left my wife in Texas for a month, and spent February tearing up carpet, vacuuming mouse poop, scrubbing, caulking, priming, painting, and reflooring. I sealed up the crawlspace with the help of my dad, and we were set to go. After my wife got up to Colorado in the late part of the month, we spent March cleaning, moving in, painting cabinets, and putting things in ship shape. She did an internship with a travel agency through April, and at the end of the trial period, decided to pursue other things. I started working for the same dirt moving outfit I am still with on the 5th of April, and began learning about how to build a lot of different things with dirt. Namely, parking lot, road, and sidewalk prep. I screwed up a lot, still do, but I’ve got a boss who keeps chewing my butt and helping me improve. He deserves a great deal of credit for continuing to push me and giving me the opportunity to become more valuable and earn a good living for my family.
May was about 2 weeks of working in muddy parking lots and 2 weeks of fighting snow, freezing rain, and dummy calves, trying to make 100% calf crop. Neither Dad nor I kept them all alive, but I only lost one and had a good F1 cow raise me some baldy twins instead. So I ended up at 100% after all. If you call it coincidence, I’ll just suggest I don’t have enough pride left to not give God his due or look outside of myself for blessings I don’t deserve.
June, July, and August. We worked a lot on the ranch, I worked a lot in Denver on a big jobsite. We branded, had good times, and got a little Mini Aussie/Blue Heeler pup named Lacey. My wife loved her 1st anniversary gift of a puppy, and she turned her into a great little ranch dog that minds well. In August my wife started working for D49 school district as a sub, and she rather enjoyed it other than the days she felt sick and weak. We soon figured out how come she struggled some mornings.
August 29th, 2017 was the first day of work in Burlington, building a new cell for Kit Carson County landfill. In early September, I came the 2 hours home from work to grab a shower and a beer and kick off my 2 day weekend of rest and working on cow stuff. Instead, I got the news I was going to be a daddy. We realized why sickness was the new normal for my poor wife, and we made her let up a little on work and do more napping, walking, and hydrating. Not to worry, I made sure to drink all the beer she no longer could. I would hate for my actions to have affected supply and demand. (I typed as my wife gives me a massive eye roll.) That same month we saw our baby’s heartbeat, strong and fast. She’s due the first week of May.
October was a good month. We were happy, heard the little one’s heartbeat, and work was steady. I had bumped up $3/hr since the start of the job, and was driving a 627 scraper like it was a sports car. But I was making dirt move, and the bosses stayed happy with the performance as I lived and learned. November, we had gotten used to good natured kidding about our kid. “Save a couple grand, get ready to lose some sleep, and be prepared to look forward to getting out of the house and going to work!” We’d chuckle, josh back, and generally feel tickled that it would be fairly cheap and easy to have a little one in the 21st century. We planned a gender reveal, announced pregnancy to close family, and were fairly giddy about being mom and dad of our own little family growing in Israel.
December. This is one of those months that makes you grow up. Really fast. And a month where a bad attitude would crucify your marriage and joy. On the 4th, the mother of the bride came up to see the first full ultrasound of our baby and sneak a peek at the gender while we closed our eyes so as to be surprised. We got all sorts of photos of the little mover. Then, we went for our meeting with the OB so I get confirmed on the good news and head to work for the afternoon. But, Dr. Weary walked in and told us he didn’t like what he saw in our baby’s heart. Tears began to flow. There was a lot we didn’t know. My wife begged to know the sex, and the good doctor said to her mama it would be best to give her that comfort today. It’s a little girl. I was strong to that moment. I figured it’d be a tough little boy like me. He’d have some heart trouble, sure, but I’d pour my own strength into him and he’d grow to be invincible like Dad, prepared from birth to overcome adversity as men are meant to do. But a little girl? I wanted to protect her. Take it away. Mercilessly destroy the dark forces that felt so strong in the room. But I couldn’t. I just shed silent tears and shakily asked the doctor for details he didn’t have. We met with a specialist. She recommended another specialist, but said in utero, our baby girl should be safe and sound as a normal baby. That was a small comfort that we could at least hold on to. Two days later, my wife was on the phone with me as she smoked one of my dad’s yearling heifers a few hundred yards from our house. I was scared, and so I screamed at cars to slow the you know what down, swept up smashed plastic, and told my sobbing wife to get the piece of s*** to the house before it died. I regret a lot in my life. Never anything more than showing hardness to my girls when they needed tenderness. But the car, after a new battery and some lights, kept going. The heifer healed. We got better news from the other specialist on the 11th, but I had to work all day and had a mess of a time with blown tires and frustrated employers. Distracted is the word I think. But we got on the same page, my boss and I, and my wife and I began to have hope that with surgery and care, our baby girl could live a fairly normal life. Things calmed down. Then I ran over the dog. Just another thing to deal with, heal over, and laugh over. I have a full Twitter feed on where that lands in the skunking timeline. Then Dad shot the skunk. We don’t hold it against him, but the house is making a VERY slow recovery. I’m headed back to work on sealing up the crawlspace better this afternoon. We’ve realized how thankful we ought to be to have fresh clothes, a roof over our head, and family and friends to lean on. But I hate leaning on people. I’ve got my own family now, so I ought to be doing everything to take care of them. Blessing or curse, the events in the last 30 days have beat me down to the point I realize I can’t do it all. So, we’re staying with my folks, we are accepting a small amount of financial help via a “GoFundMe” on getting some ruined things restored in the house, and to my chagrin, we are qualified for and using Medicaid for the astoundingly expensive ultrasounds and echos. Yesterday, the fifth, we spent the day at Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital touring. We have our own personal nurse, essentially the planner and translation between us and the specialists/surgeons. What a blessing she is. I’m doing my best to get the stink gone and the house back to functional. But we’ve got so much, living in a land of plenty. I’m learning what it feels like to get humbled, and realizing that it’s best to be thankful and smile while you’re down. My dear wife is miles ahead of me on that journey, but shares the sentiment. We are not pleading or complaining, because there is honestly no need. We just wanted to share that it has been a learning year, we are better people for it, and we are grateful to have folks in our lives, local and far away, that care enough to know the low down. God bless you all in 2018.
With great thankfulness, The Christensens.
Cade, Israel, and soon-to-be Little Girl
Short grass, short cows, short life. But I'm in tall cotton.