Yesterday was a very difficult transport. First, we were carrying several tethered males (riding without a crate, though they come up in crates from the shelter). One of the males, was a young, un-neutered chocolate lab named, Huck.
Huck on his own had enough energy to to power a small city. Another dog, part chow/shepherd, though incredibly sweet, was a chewer. He chewed through two tethers. One while hooked to my car. Thankfully he jumped back in the van.
I was driving a double leg from from Richmond to Springfield. In the initial loading, Huck was in the back seat, jumped in the front while tethered. We elected to let him ride shotgun. He would have ended up there no matter how he was tied in the back. My other tethered passenger was a lovely little girl, Lil Bit. Also, I had two crates with 3 puppies among them and a crate with a pair of sweet, stoic cats.
I spent the entire drive stiff arming Huck to keep him from bouncing around. Even a short tether didn't help. As if that were not enough, he had an excited, high-pitched bark that he let out with machine-gun alacrity. I called one of my fellow drivers and said, "I've died and gone to hell." A couple of times I had to get very rough, both in vocally and physically (grabbing his collar hard and jerking to get his attention-no hitting). He did quiet, but continued to take advantage of any softness in my grip to lunge (at me for my lap, to get the back seat).
Now do not misunderstand, this boy was a loving good boy. He would have liked nothing better than to have ridden in my lap. In fact, he knocked my car out of gear 3 times. He was just excitable. In looking over, I could see that he was excited in other ways, and I remembered that I had transported a Airdale who was in heat. No doubt her scent was suffused, maybe infused, perhaps both in my car. I realized then, that this poor boy was just overwhelmed with thoughts of sex. I should have recognized this behavior!!!! Fortunately (and due to my expert driving skills!) we all arrived safely. Though I vowed I would never again transport a high energy + sex crazed dog without a crate again!. I have a "Popeye" arm-my right one from the 2 hours of one armed wrestling. Later that evening, I learned from the rescuing shelter who had received Lil Bit that she was going into heat.
In retrospect, I remember a few dates where I had to stiff arm a guy a time or two!
As I was driving home mulling over the fact that I still need to shop for provisions, my SIL called me and asked me the most wonderful question, "Do you want to come over for dinner." Symphony!!!!! My cereal, combined with the pack of fig newtons and ginger ale that I bought at the gas station while refueling my tank did not fuel my internal tank very well. So the thought of a dinner that I did not have to cook was tantalizing indeed. It also meant that provisions could be delayed another day.
The drive home is directly due south. So the streaming sun had soporific effect on me. Outside of thinking about dinner, my thoughts turned to a date with winkie-land. I literally came home, and crawled into the bed exhausted. Daisy and Macey came up and took a little nap too. I wished I had gotten out of my clothes, for I would come out of my slumber a bit and smell the institutional shelter smell on my clothes.
After a shower and a change of clothes, I was ready for a meal. Before leaving, I had some e-mail correspondence to set up for an exchange of a brother/sister pair of Airdales for today. (Yes, I'm driving today!) This pair is going from PA to be adopted by folks driving up from Wake Forest. I called one of the transporters, and I had a phone call beep in. After completing my call and gathering my stuff to walk out the door, I checked my phone and saw that my daughter had called me. I called her back.
"Mom, what are you doing?" This question is standard fare, and it is difficult to know if it is a pleasantry or a preamble to something more. I did detect a bit of strain in her voice. I told her that we were on our way out the door for BIL/SIL's home. And then I said, "What are you doing?"
The next words out of her mouth were, "I'm so afraid." --no they were not words, they were sobs. The Mom meter pegged in the red zone. First, I didn't even KNOW where my daughter was. I pictured her immediately stranded on the side of the road in some scary venue. As it turns out, she was baby sitting. She is caring for a newborn on a part time basis while she attends college locally. The mother is very flexible, and it does not interfere with Hannah's studies. The couple have an apartment in town which is their permanent residence, but also a place they call their country house. The answer to my "Where are you?" question was, "I'm at the country house."
Fortunately, the country house is about 10 minutes from where I live. I really didn't know a thing about it until last evening. The country house is called Marl Hill. It is adjacent to St. Peter's Church. In fact, the original owner of Marl Hill, a man by the name of Jackson, was the grantor of land that gave birth to St. Peter's church. If you are not familiar with St. Peter's Church you can click on the picture and view the link. It's distinction is that it is where Martha Dandridge Custis (a widow at the time of her second marriage) and George Washington were married.
Here's another snippet:
Virginia's General Court confirmed the establishment of St Peter's Parish on April 29, 1679. In the summer of 1700 the vestry ordered that a second Lower Church replace an earlier, structurally weak building known as the Broken Back'd Church. The new church, begun in 1701, was in use by July 1703. To-day it is the oldest parish church in the Diocese of Virginia and the third oldest in the Commonwealth.
Beautiful Marl Hill. You can see it to the left. If you click on the picture, it will take you to other images. Marl Hill is the first left past the St. Peter's graveyard. That should be a preamble for any horror movie!
I'm sure during the day, this place is all sweetness and light. I hope to see it in the day time. But as I drove last night to quell my daughter's fears, I could certainly see why she was apprehensive. You dead end right into the church's graveyard--it has either a stone and iron or brick and iron low fence. It was dark. It was also creepy. Just beyond the church to wind up a long drive to get to the plantation. The house was built in the 1700's, though the stairs have 1692 on them. Perhaps there was another structure, but the registry does not note this structure to be of that time frame.
Hannah met me at the door, with sleeping infant in arms. The moment you walk into the home, you are transported back into time. Hannah settled back down in a wing chair with the sleeping angel, and we talked a bit to get her settled down. I then took a brief tour.
The structure is narrow and tall--as the picture portrays. There is an entrance hall with the stairs immediately to the left. The floors are random width heart pine. You can see between the floors in some places. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a bath. The downstairs has a sitting room and an office on either side of the hall. The kitchen is downstairs in an English basement. It's a slate floor with low ceiling--I could reach up and touch it. You can see the rough hewn rafters.
Both the stairs going up and down creaked with every step. Even the floors creaked. My daughter described the basement as a 'dungeon'. The brick walls, slate floor and low ceiling with a bit of an earthiness in the air did not make it an inviting place in the pitch black of night. The house is in the process of being renovated, so there is a barrenness about it that contributed to feeling. Once finished, this will be a cherished and place.
I rejoined my daughter. She was clearly more relaxed. As we talked, the movie Amityville Horror came up in conversation. I told her I had not seen it. She was lamenting that she had. Aside from the obvious isolation and age of the place, I tried to probe what was really troubling my daughter aside. Remember, I'm hungry, and my stomach is beginning to digest itself and looking ravenously at other organs that I know and love and wish to keep.
It wasn't so much the isolation (and they home is equipped with an alarm with rapid police response), but rather the noises--the floor creaks when you walk on it; the stairs creak when you climb or descend them, and the whole house creaks when you are sitting in a chair!. Also, kraft paper that covered parts of the floor fluttered when the heat kicked on. Moreover, much needed care items were in far flung and creaky places: the bottle warmer was upstairs (creak, creak), the bottles were downstairs (creak, creak, dungeon). And the final straw was that while the radio was playing it started to fade in an out. That is always a premonition for danger in the horror flicks. It was at that moment that she called me.
To eliminate further creakiness and creepiness, I went upstairs and secured the bottle warmer. I went downstairs and secured a bottle and an icepack. Now every needed thing was right there on the comfortable middle floor--no more creaky traversing of the home. The couple was due back soon, my daughter was settled, and my stomach was in the process of digesting itself. I told daughter that she could call me if she needed me--as I was really only a few minutes away. She had her phone, was text messaging friends--so easy, friendly contact was close by--to include the "easy button" to summon the police!
Confident that she was safe and her anxiety abated, I left. I walked outside. It was a beautiful clear evening, with every star visible--most particularly by beloved constellation, Orion. There was a dim pole lamp that was not quite lit. But I could see the barn in the back and the white rail fence to secure horses if one were to have them. In the distance I could hear a lone dog barking. Very serene, very pastoral. No mad men with masks and chainsaws waiting to rampage.
As I drove out to meet up with my dinner and dinner companions, I did not look in my rear view mirror when I passed the graveyard.