It has taken longer to bathe our beautiful, all white Gypsy this morning than we anticipated. We are taking 9 llamas, a record for us, to a show in Kentucky. As the weather is quite cool, we opted to wait until late in the morning to wet down Gypsy, as we do not have an indoor wash room for llamas (yet.) As a veteran of many shows, Gypsy has learned to stand quietly beside the garage door while we pour on warm water and various concoctions to bring out the beauty in her shiny white fleece. Scrubbing knees and toenails are accepted by her easily. We cannot take the credit for her well trained behavior, as we only recently purchased her. She is obviously a veteran of these affairs.Gypsy_face
Once finished, we moved Gypsy back to the barn where a kerosene “salamander” is running. Fred begins the task of blow drying Gypsy. The metamorphosis from “drowned rat” to gorgeous, woolly llama is a slow one. The total process consumes about 3 hours. And this is after starting with a relatively clean llama before washing!
In the mean time, I finished packing the jeep and trailer. I also had to do some last minute grooming on the other llamas; most of which got no more than 15-20 minutes each! Fortunately, several had been at the Regional show just the previous weekend, and so they were in pretty good shape. Fred however had to do some serious work on a couple, which began to back up our departure time seriously.
We were now into middle afternoon, and the realization that we would hit Louisville at rush hour; on a Friday evening before the Breeder’s Cup! Our patience was running thin by the time we started moving the llamas into the trailer. Five in front, four in back, and they were a tad crowded; but they only had to put up with each other for a couple hours. A last minute trailer check, and then I thought we should check the oil first. Sure enough, it was down a quart, as was the antifreeze level. By the time we added fluids, the llamas had crossed paths and began spitting in the trailer. Images of our beautiful white Gypsy covered in slime was raising my blood pressure! We needed to be on the road, so the llamas would kush down and quit vying for precious territory in the tight quarters.
Suddenly I recalled that the right rear tire on the jeep had been low; once checked, at 24 pounds, I began to check all the tires; and they all needed some leveling out. We brought out the portable canister, and squeezed out the last breath of air from it as we finished topping off the last of the 8 tires. More spitting sounds could be heard from the trailer, and droopy-lipped llamas could be spied between the slats.
Fred got in the driver’s side, and I went back in the house for one last check. A round of turning on lights and closing drapes, and Fred was back in; he announced, “you must have left the lights on. The battery is dead.”
I knew better than that! But I did recall leaving the hatch open, maybe since this morning; could that have pulled the battery down? Fred got the charger from the barn, hooked it up, and we went inside to twiddle our thumbs while the battery charged. The llamas had been in the trailer for almost an hour before Fred tried again to start the car.
And guess what? Now the alarm system had shut off the fuel pump! Thank heavens the horn was not sounding, but the lights were flashing, and there was no way to start the car. He tried disconnecting and reconnecting the battery, and even resorted to reading the manual; to no avail. We simple could not start the car! At this point, I was ready to unpack the llamas and stay home. It seemed this show was not to be.
(Of course, gentle reader, you realize by this time that all these things are my fault, don’t you? With two engineers running this charade, either one could have checked out the rig long before we loaded up. Since I was packing, obviously this was considered MY job. And of course, it MUST have been me that left something on to drain the battery. And I am sure that somehow it was even my fault the alarm system was now going off! Enough said, you get the idea….)
If all this was my fault, then it might was well be me to fix it. In a flash of inspiration, I grabbed the keys from Fred and jumped out of the car. I walked to the driver’s side door. I reached in, and pressed the lock button, then shut the driver’s door, with Fred inside. I used the key to open the door, and was able to do so without the alarm sounding. I gave Fred the keys, and he tentatively tried the ignition. Presto! We were running!
“How did you know how to do that?” Fred was incredulous.
“Sometimes you just have to think like a car,” I said matter of factly.
Someday I will explain to him all the times, usually at the local post office on main street, that I have bumped the lock button with my knee as I reached for a stack of mail on the passenger seat. I have found myself locked in my car, with the alarm set. Have you ever done that? Embarrassing, isn’t it? I found that I had to open the door, setting off the raucous alarm, exit the car, close the door, and unlock it with the key. Imagine doing this in public next door to the local-yocal police station and fire department.
At long last got on the road, and made good time (finally!) We hit only one major snarl in Louisville. We got set up at show, and found that Gypsy had escaped most of the spit battle; her nifty show cover had helped. A couple of the younger llamas fared worse, but they were quickly spruced up and all was well.
Reunited with old friends at the show, and making new ones that stopped by to chat during the weekend, we soon forgot the hassle of “getting there.” Sometimes things don’t work like you planned, Murphy’s Law and all that, but it was worth the trouble. The best part for the llamas, of course, was returning home. Even our newest gal, Gypsy, was glad to be back in her newly adopted home Sunday night. She raced to the barn, where she enjoyed a “victory roll” in the sand once she returned to her home pasture!