Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Season of Suffering

When it comes to protecting my Christmas Happiness no measure is too extreme. Booby traps, alarms, vicious dogs... a moat. I have a very ridged formula as to what constitutes Christmas Happiness, and it will remain that way at all costs.

Step 1 to Christmas Happiness: Buy a tree.

Not cut one down, and not open a box... only freezing cold in a parking lot with flood lights and numb fingers. The only acceptable tree, Noble Firs, are hard to come by in farms, and fake Christmas trees are child abuse. This sounds a little natzi... but I have very specific Christmas Happiness.

Eric is "allergic"* to trees. I love Eric so I was willing to break the first commandment of Christmas Happiness: "Thou shalt not have a fake tree." The idea made my stomach hurt but I agreed to shop around. To make a very long, painful, tear filled story short, I couldn't find anything acceptable under $300. My Christmas Happiness was on a ventilator in ICU... it couldn't take much more.

Finally I decided that I've had Christmas Happiness longer than Eric has had these "allergies" and maybe like in Rock Paper Scissors, Christmas Happiness beats "allergies."

I called my mom and told her I was getting a tree. She told me Eric couldn't handle it, it wasn't right, it wasn't fair to him... to make this his "Season of Suffering." Well we all have to make sacrifices.

So Eric agreed to come, and I made sure he was in with the Christmas Happiness spirit. You HAVE to have the spirit or the whole thing feels wrong and cheap. So all spirited up we headed out to the lot for Eric's first Christmas tree shopping experience. Once again I will spare you the gory details... but about 1 tree in Eric wanted to go home... and by the 8th I could see annulment in his eyes. As other families found their perfect trees all around us, every one we painstakingly cut open and unwrapped was lopsided, had bald patches, was crooked... not Christmas Happiness acceptable.

I did my best to keep the spirit alive but Eric had already run a stake through his and had a knife to the throat of mine. I knew I had maybe one more tree unwrapping left in him and thank the lord we found the one in that bundle.

My home now smells like tree and although it was touch and go for a while there... Christmas Happiness prevailed. Oh and I erased Eric's memory so he won't remember the misery when the last week of November rolls around next year.

And as for the "allergies," Eric has shown no signs... Cori: 1 Eric's "Allergies:" 0

I think the moral of the story is that if someone loves you enough, they'll do anything for you... even change their biological makeup.

*I don't believe in allergies

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Comeback Kid

This weekend was my first rabbit show in over a year and a half. Most people have no idea what to expect when I say rabbit show. Ever seen Best In Show? Well the rabbit world is not so different. Everyone knows everyone & are very competitive. Even though I have been doing this for 13 years, I'm a relatively small fish, so I fall under most of the drama radar.

Breeders are ranked by district (the US is divided into 9) and then an overall national ranking. My name was finally creeping up the District 2 charts, which is not easily done when #1 in the national ranks is in your district. When I left the scene I was showing almost every weekend & making quite a name for myself. I left completely without warning, but when I was ready to return, I decided to return in the same way.

I have two breeds. One I've had for 7 years, the other I'm completely new to. I decided to only enter the breed I have experience with, my Mini Lops. I had no idea where I'd place in the mix, but at 5am on Sunday morning I loaded up the best of what I've produced this last year & headed to the show.

I didn't have anytime to socialized, my breed was called soon after I got there. I got my stock to the table (we have tables, not rings) & stepped back, eying either end to view my competitors. Three of the breeders there have been in the breed for over 20 years, 2 have national standings, & 2 I didn't know. I wondered if anyone who I knew knew me would say hi... but they didn't til I did, whatever. I'm here to compete anyway.

And compete I did. I couldn't believe my eyes, I'm not sure anyone else could either. First I won 3 of the 5 classes I competed in, and then got 2 Best of Varieties, and then Best of Breed! Seriously, this was amazing... I had rarely done this well when I was at the top of my game 2 years ago. I guess spending all that time in my barn breeding and culling paid off!

But that wasn't the end of my day. I had a new breed and I needed to get to know the other people who are in this breed. Now this is one of the highest priced breeds, with most animals going for between $100 & $200. I bought the best stock I could afford. Instead of buying 10 $30-40 animals and hoping to improve them through breeding, I only bought 4 $100 animals. I brought my first baby that I have produced to the show... to see what the "big hitters" in the breed thought. I was so scared that I'd place my little girl in front of them & they would nod & smile & send me off with a few nice words & a "keep at it, we'll see you later."

I brought up Fizzlybear & set her infront of the highest ranked breeder I knew of, introduced myself, & asked if she had time to give me an opinion on my first rabbit. I couldn't believe her responce! She said that this was a rabbit that I could not buy... she was that good! I asked if she had a buck for sale that would compliment her, & she said nothing she had to sell was as good as this rabbit! She showed her to all the other breeders & everyone cooed over her & congradulated me. The editor for this breed's guide book was there & even had a photographer take a picture of her for the newest issue! Yeah, my FIRST Netherland Dwarf will be in the guide book as the ideal for her color... a huuuuge deal!

So... all in all the weekend was better than I could have hoped. I have 4 shows the second weekend in December. I will be showing my Netherlands for the first time! I'm a little nervous... but excited more than anything. I am hoping that if I am focused & make all the right moves I will be competitive enough to attend 2008 Nationals in Kentucky... we'll see. So wish my Nethies and my Mini Lops luck... we're out to conquer the world... or something like that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fantasy Baseball

My cell rang late last Monday night: "For closure on San Angelo, 1700 sf, only $495,000. Here is the number, I know it's late but maybe it's the realtor's cell and he can get you in tomorrow, it's technically not even on the market yet. Jump on it."

This is how Eric and I are house shopping, a full out ninja blitz on the market. I have Salinas set up like a battlefield grid, and I carefully map when potentials in our target areas (Maple Park of course, Woodside, Spreckles, and River Rd) pop up. I'm honestly surprised how good we are at this... we've already scoped some killer deals that I really think most 1st time home buyers would miss, but I think our main advantage isn't just our smarts, but our attitude. The best warriors are the one with the fasted hand and calmest head... like Chuck Norris.

A lot of people are so stressed and rushed when buying a house, they make countless mistakes in the chaos! Partially for myself, partially from my slightly skittish husband, I came up with the concept of this being like fantasy baseball or Ender's Game. Even though Eric and I are totally stoked, the whole meeting with mortgage brokers and putting up with pushy realtors can be intimidating. But we started to go through house print outs like playing cards, and push our assets around like monopoly money, and the whole experience has become so fun! My husband and I cruise the Salinas, critiquing and comparing, and having the best time! Our mortgage broker even picked up on our relaxed attitude and complimented us, as well as on our preparedness and astute eye on the market (seriously, call me the Chuck Norris of real estate).

We are taking our time in this, but everything has really been falling together. I'm not sure what we'll find... but just like finding each other, I'm sure it'll be the easiest, most obvious decision ever!