A Hairy Situation: How My Husband Almost Destroyed my Washer

Three important facts you need to know before I begin this rant:

  1. The Dairy Man has a habit of leaving dirty towels around the house.
  2. The Dairy Man cuts his own hair.
  3. I love my husband.

Let’s begin, shall we?

As the wife of a farmer, most household tasks fall to me. This was one of the first things I had to accept when we got married. It’s not because I’m a guileless victim to my gender, I just happen to have more time. And frankly my standards are higher. If left to his own devices, the DM would live in squalor and eat nothing but Frosted Mini Wheats. At least that’s what I suspect.

One of the Dairy Man’s more irksome habits is leaving a trail of items—socks, flannel shirts, shoes, towels—in his wake as he putters around the house. I always allocate time on laundry day to collect these wayward articles.

I was on such a mission on Monday. After tracking down all of the dirty towels in the house, including an innocuous green towel balled up next to the washing machine, I started a load of wash while I made dinner. I was feeling good. Productive. Like a modern day Marsha Brady with a full-time job and a college degree. When the washing machine timer dinged, I headed to the back room to throw the towels into the dryer.

As soon as I opened the door, I knew something was terribly wrong. The inside of the machine looked like a bunny had exploded, leaving little piles of brown fur everywhere.
______________________
Before I go on, let’s back up.

A few days ago, the DM decided to give himself a haircut. He laid a towel on the bathroom floor and went to town on his head with an electric shaver. After he was properly shorn, DM rolled the hair clippings up into the towel and headed to the back room.

MFW: Babe, make sure you shake out that towel outside before you put it in your hamper.

DM: I will!

MFW: Well, it’s just that last time you balled the towel up in the bottom of your hamper and I washed it and hair got everywhe…

DM: (Interrupts) I got it! I’ll take care of it. ______________________

Fast forward to the next day. Me. Standing in front of my washer. Horrified.

The DM listened; he didn’t put the hair-filled towel in his hamper. He rolled it up, placed it next to the washer, and thought “I’ll take care of that later.”

Except he forgot.

I spent the next 10 minutes wiping piles of brown hair from the washer drum, filter, and rubber seal. The hair-covered towels were thrown into the dryer and I stopped their tumbling every few minutes to empty the filter. When all was said and done, it looked like a small furry animal had taken up residence in my trash can.

Kids: marriage is always glamorous, logical, and grown-up. Wait, no. I lied. It can be messy, frustrating, and silly.

But thankfully, even under all of the hair, there is still a lot of love.

XOXO,

MFW, chinchilla wrangler

Wallowing, Vegging, and Dogging

All right, friends. I’ve failed you.

I’m sure you’ve noticed. All of the people who read this blog faithfully (there are at least two – thanks, Mom and Dad) have undoubtedly noticed the lack of cow, corn, and canine tales. I’ve still been posting plenty of pictures of Jersey the dog to my five lucky followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but I have neglected the written word.

“Not cool, MFW,” you might say. “Man cannot live on ‘Omg! Lol! What a cute puppy!’ alone. He needs cows. Machinery. Detailed farming explanations.”

That’s not going to happen today. I blame corn harvest and self pity. Plus, I’ve already donned my sweatpants. Nothing productive can happen while wearing sweatpants.

I shouldn’t complain too much. At least I’m not the one out there farming from 6 a.m. to midnight. My Dairy Man amazes and exhausts me. I would be a terrible (and excruciatingly whiny) farmer.

During corn harvest the Dairy Man leaves at sunup and doesn’t crawl into bed until I’m long asleep. I’m a lone wolf for a few weeks and this phenom plummets me into bachelor-like behaviors. I eat cereal and hummus for dinner, walk around the house in my skivvies, and watch an embarrassing number of Say Yes to the Dress episodes (Netflix streaming will be the death of me). There is no one to judge me or the socks I haven’t picked up yet. A few husband-free weeks would make some gals hyper-productive, but I tend to go the other way. Rather than write about corn, I grab a giant container of Greek yogurt and a large glass of wine, plop in front of the tube, and feel sorry for myself.

I also blame my writer’s fatigue. I write (and write and write) at my snazzy new job all.day.long. Press releases, articles, web copy, marketing copy, tweets. I love it. It’s challenging, frustrating, exhausting, and invigorating. But when I get home at night, the thought of hunkering down at my computer to do more writing makes me twitch. It also makes me eat a lot of salsa. Or maybe that’s the guilt.

Speaking of guilt, I’ve got a depressed puppy on my hands. Jersey the dog has been spending a lot of time in the house these past few weeks. He usually goes to work with the Dairy Man, but not during corn harvest. Jersey gets carsick in the tractor and DM doesn’t like to have him around all of the heavy machinery. When I should be blogging, I’m giving the furry child my undivided attention. We walk, we play fetch, we learn new tricks, we take naps on the couch, we guffaw over dog-shaming.com, we eat a lot of peanut butter, we ogle at the neighbor’s heifers.

Between wallowing, vegging, and dogging, when’s a girl to do anything productive?

Next week I will drop some thrilling corn knowledge on you. I promise. For tonight, there is a furry fellow and a glass of red calling my name.

Thank goodness harvest is almost over.

Two Years of Love

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been married to the Dairy Man forever.

Easy now, I mean that in a good way! It’s like “I wish the summer could go on forever,” “I could eat chips and salsa forever,” “This Glee marathon is going on forever.” It’s a positive thing. I feel blessed to share each day with my best friend. Things like college, dating, and awkward AIM chats seem to be eons away from this grown-up married life.

Even our wedding is becoming a distant memory. It’s this old brain of mine. But, believe you me, it was a great day.

Today is a great day as well:  our two year anniversary. I’ve shared an abundance of mush on days such as our one year anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and the dairy man’s birthday, so I’ll keep things succinct.

I love that man desperately. I’m so happy to be married to him. He makes me better and our lives are full of joy.

So for today, let’s look back on those two crazy kids getting hitched. (A.k.a. I lured you into my living room with cookies and suddenly pulled out the wedding album. You look for an exit, but the cookie is so, so good. Maybe just a few pictures…)

Here’s our wedding day in 10 pictures.

We got ready.

We saw each other for the first time.

We polka-ed with our bridal party.

We realized why people use skinny candles to light the unity candle (thick candles = you’re just dripping hot wax into the unity candle. Curses!)

We shared our first kiss as husband and wife.

We drove away in the Dairy Man’s flashy yellow Chevelle.

We spun.

We ate five courses of delicious tapas.

We enjoyed cupcakes.

We danced and started a life together.

Happy anniversary, Dairy Man. I like you.

Happy Birthday, Dairy Man

Today is the dairy man’s birthday. On this special day he sojourns forth at the ripe old age of 27. I’m just glad he’s older than me again. I always liked older men. Wait … that came out weird.

Anyway.

It’s already been an eventful birthday for my poor farmer. A severe thunderstorm rolled through our area last night and wreaked some havoc on the dairy. A mere hour and a half after the clock struck midnight (happy birthday!), the DM was out on the dairy getting the generator started.

In addition to losing power, we had a puppy that decided his lifelong fear of thunder should transition from terrified cowering in the closet to furious barking and running in circles. Incessantly. For hours. We tried putting Jersey in our room, in the kitchen, in his crate, out of his crate. He even donned the snazzy Thundershirt we bought a few weeks ago.

But to no avail. We soothed, we yelled, we ignored, but when all was said and done, Jersey barked himself silly and we lost at least three hours of sleep.

Did I mention DM also had to get up before 6:00 to deal with our bulk tank? Oof. Needless to say, he’s going to be dragging on this birthday. Oh, farm life. How you torment us.

Despite my bleary semi-conscious state, it’s important to make the dairy man feel special today. In that vein, I’ve written him a little note. Feel free to peek over my shoulder.

Dear hubs,

I’m not always the best wife. The laundry can pile up. I sometimes cook more chicken than beef (the nerve!). I drink skim milk (the horror!). I don’t always accept the dairy’s prominence in our life with grace. I can be stubborn, opinionated, and impatient.

But on this day, your birthday, I want to thank you. Thank you for taking the dog out when it’s raining. Thank you for rubbing my shoulders when we watch TV. Thank you for saying that my new recipe “definitely isn’t terrible” when you don’t like it. Thank you for caring about the weeds in our yard more than I do. Thank you for filling my head with thrilling cow facts.

Thank you for blearily waking up long enough to tell me which shoe looks best with my outfit. Thank you for biting your tongue when I go overboard at Target. Thank you for your levelheadedness and your faith. Thank you for killing spiders. Thank you for working so hard to build a life for us. Thank you for being kind, hilarious, inspirational, patient, ambitious, and wise.

Thank you for being my best friend, partner in crime, and confidant.

You are my love, my family, and my dashing karate kid.

Happy birthday, dairy man.

I like you.

Hey, I’m going to Indiana

Texts between a Dairy Man and his wife:

Dairy Man (9:31 am): Hey, I’m going to Indiana. Might stay overnight. Ok?
Modern (9:32 am): What?!
DM (9:34 am): Is that ok?
MFW (9:37 am): Uuuuh when are you going?
DM (9:39 am): Now.

MFW picks up phone and dials.

DM: Hello?
MFW: (incredulous) You’re doing what!?
DM: Brant and I were talking about visiting his uncle’s dairy in Indiana and we decided this was the best day to do it. So we’re leaving in like 10 minutes.
MFW: Um, ok. And you’re staying overnight?
DM: Yeah. We want to stop in Shipshewana tomorrow to look at some heifers and machinery. Is that ok?
MFW: I guess. It must be nice to be a farmer, eh? It’s all loosey goosey over there. “Sure, I’ll leave the state today.”
DM: Yup! Living the dream. Are we good? I’m already late.

So, um, apparently the Dairy Man is gone for two days. Only in farm life do you wake up in the morning with a husband who isn’t going to Indiana and, by 9:30 a.m., it can all change. To be fair, I should mention that my particular farmer is always a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. It drives me mad. I’m organized, deliberate, and decisive. The Dairy Man is spontaneous, impulsive, and flexible. Our marriage works because we are able to meet somewhere in the middle. I would spend days on a trip to Indiana: packing a suitcase, Mapquesting the best possible route, grocery shopping so that the Dairy Man wouldn’t starve, doing laundry, making lists. The Dairy Man spent 10 minutes: he threw some things into a bag and hit the road.

Farm life is all of the things I am not. It can change in an instant. One minute you’re making a milk production spreadsheet, the next, you’re in a truck on the way to visit a dairy in Indiana.

Baffling, really. I just hope he brings me back a souvenir. And not the mooing kind.

On Real Love

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

-from Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda

Even on this highly commercialized and overblown holiday, I don’t mind being reminded of my promise to love. I am grateful my husband makes the same promise.

I also thank God for love in all of its forms: familylove, friendlove, and puppylove. These selfless expressions make any day, even one drowning in fuzzy bears and pink macaroons, a blessing.

Personally, I believe that love is a choice you make every single day. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a decision. The dairy man and I choose to love each other despite all of our imperfections. We choose to trust, forgive, and sacrifice. We made an irrevocable promise to spend life together and we continue to affirm that choice every day. This love isn’t based on infatuation or perfection, it’s based on acceptance. It cannot be earned or forced.

Each morning, I choose this man all over again. I choose his wonderful habits alongside those that drive me batty. I choose his steady protection alongside his frequent absences. I choose to be on his team, on his side, in his corner, until the day that I die. I choose to sacrifice myself and trust that he will do the same. In a way, there’s something terribly beautiful about real love.

Now that I’ve gotten the obligatory mush out of my system: Go forth and accept love (in all of its forms) with joy!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I Talked to Your Dad, Go Pick Out a White Dress

The Dairy Man and I aren’t the kind of couple that celebrates every little relationship milestone. We don’t exchange gifts or Facebook statuses to commemorate things like “the day we first kissed,” “the day we went on our first date,” “the day we said I love you” (though I can remember the circumstances), or “the day we first ate pizza together.”

Who has time to remember every little thing? When you’ve been friends for five years, dating for four, and married for one and a half(ish), who has time to recognize each wonderful first? Not us. We’ve got blogs to write, cows to milk, you know the drill. That’s not to say we don’t like to reminisce about that first date, that first kiss, that first slice of pizza (just kidding). We love to look back on our history and savor those little moments. But we don’t have enough space in our brains to remember to celebrate our first jog together.

That being said, today is one date I’ll always remember. In 20 years, it won’t rise to the height of our wedding day or the day we have our first child, but it will be a date I won’t forget.

What’s today you ask? Well, it was exactly two years ago that my bashful Dairy Man knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was undoubtedly one of the most pivotal days of my life. This day marks the moment I fully committed to farm life, to Michigan, to him. It’s also the day I got to start wearing something sparkly and practice writing “Mrs. Folkema.”

It was Tuesday, December 22, 2009. I had just returned to my apartment after my last day of work before the holidays. The Dairy Man had called from his home (an hour away) and said that he was going to drive down to make me dinner. Which, frankly, was suspicious. But I did what all girls who helped pick out their rings do—I played dumb and waited. The Dairy Man showed up with grocery bags, candles, a tablecloth, and a bottle of wine. We chatted awkwardly while he cooked up some shrimp tortellini (what I ordered on our first date) and sat down to dinner.

After dinner, he suggested we head downtown to go ice skating. When we parked, he said, “I’ve got something for you in the back of the truck.” Wouldn’t you know it: two brand new pairs of ice skates! We carried our skates to the steps of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and sat down to lace them up. Strangely, the Dairy Man wanted me to put mine on first. He handed me a skate** and hovered over me while I put it on.

MFW: “Um, don’t you want to put on your skates?”

DM: (Shifting from foot to foot) “Uhhh I will in a second. Ready for the other skate?”

As I pushed my foot into the second skate, I felt something hard in the toe. I pulled out a ring box and wahBAM Dairy Man was down on one knee.

He said amazing things.

I cried.

And then there was some light and joyful snogging.

Unbeknownst to me, a friend had popped out from behind the building when DM’s knee hit the ground and started taking pictures of the whole thing. I treasure these pictures. I still remember the elation, the love, the hope of that moment. I also wish I hadn’t tucked my pants into my argyle socks, but what can you do?

**In regards to the awkward hovering? Later, the Dairy Man mused: “If I had been thinking, I would have handed you the skate with the ring in it FIRST, not second.”

I remember telling a friend a few weeks prior that I really hoped the Dairy Man didn’t propose on Christmas. It was too cliché, it wasn’t us. Rather, I said, “I just really want him to propose on some random Tuesday!” And it was. The Tuesday before Christmas. My man knows me well.

Even though we don’t celebrate today, we remember it. I get warm fuzzies when December 22 rolls around. This day is symbolic in so many ways. That December 22 marked the last year I celebrated Christmas in the city. It marked the last year I celebrated Christmas as a Bareman. It marked the start of a new adventure with a handsome man who milks cows.

Two years later, these recollections still cause my breath to catch in my chest. It’s easy to get swept up in the normalcy of work, marriage, no-longer-pending adulthood. But today I will look at my Dairy Man and remember those two bright-eyed kids, shivering in the cold, agreeing to start a life together.

And really, somewhere in the distant hills that night, I think the cows agreed too.

Merry Christmas!