Once i had returned to work i knew i needed to go pick up my items at tractor supply. They were holding them for me because i had been on quarantine. I needed to get the chicken coop, a dog kennel, and a dog kennel roof. For that, i needed a truck. I began my quest for a pickup at uhaul. they informed me that the nearest uhaul that stocked pickups was in San Antonio and i would have to drive there to get the truck and drive back to return it. I wasn’t doing that. Instead, i headed over to enterprise. I rented an F-150, left my car in their lot, drove over to tractor supply, picked up my items, drove them back to my little town, unloaded the truck one piece at a time, flipped the tailgate up, drove back to town, turned in the truck, retrieved my suv, and drove home. Enterprise was happy with the condition i returned it in and told me not to hesitate to call on them again if i needed to borrow the pickup to retrieve an order. I said, “i’ll probably see you once or twice before the year is over. I got a few more things i want to build.”
I had actually done it before; rented a pickup from enterprise, that is. Not for the purpose of picking up an order that wouldn’t fit in the suv but as a birthday present to myself. During previous years i had traded in my car for a truck and spent my birthday driving around town running errands in a pickup, happy as a clam. See, my entire adult life i have been 5 ft 0 in and near 100 lbs. Frequently new colleagues or patients asked me questions like “Are you a student here?” or “Are you somebody’s grandchild?” When i spoke people did not listen with the same attention they paid to others of taller stature who actually looked the part of an adult. They often talked over me or seemingly didn’t hear me at all. I pretended it didn’t bother me because there was no sense in doing anything else. But in actuality i was a professional in my field and an adult woman in my thirties. It did bother me that i was constantly perceived as something new, wide-eyed, hopeful, and naive in the world. I wasn’t taken seriously and my words held no weight. If i identified a medical problem that a patient appeared to be having, we had to wait until someone who was not me came to the same conclusion to entertain the idea. Of course not everyone was like this. Some who knew me did take me seriously and my word held weight with those few. However, i found years ago that a pickup truck spoke a universal language that everyone seemingly understood; “mine’s bigger than yours so move.” I loved it. For the first time in my life i knew what it was like to be tall. I could see everything! No peering over the dashboard and sitting up as high as i could in the seat to try and tell where the turn lane was painted on the asphalt. I could see everything i needed to and more. What a view! I also suddenly knew what it was like to be taken seriously, as nobody minded letting me in when i wanted to merge or flipped me off in an angry rage if i wasn’t speeding as fast as they thought i should, because my car would win in an accident. I’m smiling now just thinking of it. So for a few years, i treated myself to a rental pickup every time my birthday rolled around. I would have loved to have owned one but i couldn’t justify the difference in gas mileage with the amount that i drove on a regular basis. It wasn’t a smart purchase. So i stuck to dreaming and birthday rentals.
I didn’t have any trouble backing it into the space between the house and the well house. It was actually fairly easy to drive, even in reverse, because for a rare change, i could see where i was going (short people problems). The part i had trouble with was the strap that fastened the cargo to the truck bed. The guy that had loaded the bed with a fork lift tightened the strap for me and apparently tightened it really good. For the life of me, i could not get the thing to release. I figured i was probably doing something wrong so i grabbed the box and fished out the instructions. They said to do exactly what i had been doing. Push down on one piece while pulling up on the other. I texted my friend a picture and said, “What am i doing wrong?” He told me to do all the steps i had just run through. I told him i already tried that. He said, “and it wouldn’t budge?” I said, “nope.” He said, “then you probably tightened it too much. Just get a knife and cut it.” That was all i needed to hear. Two seconds later i emerged from the house, knife in hand, bam. Problem solved. The remainder of it was removed from the truck and repurposed as a door stop for the extension shed.
I had to unload the truck, which would have been a workout on a regular day but in my weakened and fatigued state at the time it seemed near impossible, which didn’t stop me from giving it my all. I had been told to chill, to focus on my health, and get ahold of the property later. Everyone who said that to me did not understand. A homestead had to be maintained. If the grass grew too tall one would have a problem with snakes, jack rabbits, and ticks. If the blades surpassed 3 to 4 inches the 5 blade reel mower wouldn’t even cut it. If the chickens grew too large in a small space they would begin to injure one another and i’d either have bloody chickens or no chickens in the end. If the salt chips for the water softener weren’t hoisted into the barrel when it was empty the laundry machine would become clogged with sulfur gunk and never work properly again. Also, my clothes would turn yellow. If the dishes were not washed, there was nothing to make food with. If the garden was not planted, the window for the growing season would be missed. If holes for new trees were not dug, they would whither in the pots where they stood. I couldn’t afford to “take it easy”. I had a homestead to run so the moment i parked the car and tore my scrubs off it was time to get back to work of a different kind. Normally i would have been able to lift each panel with a moderate amount of effort and i would have stacked them methodically against the wall in the shed. Instead, i found myself stumbling around the yard trying to make my way towards the shed door without dropping each panel. Every single action took a world of energy from my bones and lungs. I found myself easily winded and dragging as exhaustion crept in.
I did eventually manage to carry all the kennel panels and the roof into the shed. Then it was time to unload the chicken coop. I tore into the box and began pulling out pieces.
I finally got each piece of the chicken coop into the shed.
I stashed the packaging in my tool shed to be broken down and disposed of bit by bit each trash day.
Finally i was left with just the palette the box had been sitting on. I backed the truck up to my brush pile, lowered the tailgate, climbed into the bed of the truck, used every last bit of my residual energy and hoisted the palette off the tailgate and thrust it onto the pile. I then closed the tailgate, got back in the truck, and drove towards the gate. The job was done and it was time for me to return the truck to town. With a twinge of sadness i tuned the radio one last time and set out down the winding road back to town in the tall white pickup. The mission was accomplished. I had moved my order out to the property. I had retrieved my items from town. I had secured them safely in the shed. Now there was nothing left to do but enjoy the air conditioner, the view, and the sirius radio stations one more time.