Best seat in the house

My job when gathering cattle yesterday was to get the cattle going in the right direction by trailing the pickup.

I think I jinxed myself.

Yesterday my husband needed help gathering the leased cows and calves at our house to wean the calves. He'd explained to me his plan for the afternoon, and honestly when he calls me at work I tend to be a little distracted. Plus there's usually no fewer than 14 things going on in my brain at any given moment, and I tend not to remember every little detail.

He told me to wait until he let me know when he'd need my help. So by 2:30 when I hadn't heard from him I texted and asked, "what time?" His reply, "Now." So I wrapped up what I had going on in the office and packed up my computer, eventually hoping to work at home at little bit during the evening.

When I got out to where he was at trying to move some panels I knew he wasn't having a good time. I tried to help and stay out of the way as much as possible. He's usually the levelheaded one and stays pretty calm; and I appreciate that because I'm the opposite. I’ve written about it before and after yesterday I'm beginning to think I jinxed myself by saying how calm he is/was.

So boys and girls if you ask your wife/husband, boyfriend/girlfriend, significant other, Mom/Dad, etc., to help you gather cattle, work cattle or help you on any farm or ranch project, try to remember a few things.

For me, when you ask for my help, tell me your plan. Reiterate it a couple of times. I can't read your mind when you decide to throw in a last minute change. And remember, your wife has more things going on in her mind at the moment you decide to tell her the plan. Count on her to forget something.

Please be nice. You asked for my help, and remember I’m not a superstar cow-catcher, calf sorter or fence holder. I sit at a desk mostly and write about things we’re doing. I have limited experience, and thus lacking confidence in my skills when it comes to cows.

I don’t like to screw up. I especially don’t like to screw up in front of you. Lord only knows if you gripe about my lack of skills as part of the cattle crew to your cowboy friends. I shouldn’t care, but it’s hard not to.

You may have forgotten my screw-ups by later in the evening, but this girl holds a grudge. I can beat myself up for days for not doing the right thing in the heat of the moment. I'll try to do better next time. Well, at least after I get over being yelled at.

Ask, don't tell. Normally I'm pretty successful when I'm asked to do something. However, the moment you start barking orders, I get a little crabby. Now that I'm thinking back on it, I wonder if my own kids feel the same way when I'm trying to get out the door in the morning? Too bad I can't use the same tools of "encouragement" we use occasionally on the cattle on the boys! Kidding.

In the heat of my upsetedness last night I thought to myself, "next time he's going to find someone else to help him when its weaning/shipping time." But at this point in the operation, I know he can't afford one. So by default I'm it.

Finally, appreciate the help you do have. Tell her, "I'm glad you were here to help." Even if she screwed up and cost you some precious time. Everyone survived, the cattle got moved/worked/shipped and no one lost a limb or life. That’s a win in my book. A few words can prevent her from smothering you with a pillow in your sleep for at least one more day.

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