Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

I feel as though I should introduce my animal crew. The newest member of the family is Java, a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever mix. I got her from Pleading Paws Pet Rescue (PPPR) last September. She was about four months old then. PPPR picked her up from a dog pound that was going to put Java down if the rescue group didn’t take her. Thank goodness they rescued Java in time! She helped to put a smile back on my face after my dear Willow dog died. 

I am so thankful for organizations like PPPR and all the people out there that foster and adopt rescued animals. They do such great work. 

Then there’s Shy, a barn cat that came with the place my husband and I bought. I named her Shy because it took many months before I could get near her. The front paw she’s holding up in the photo has buckshot in the elbow joint that’s probably been there since she was fairly young. The bone healed and fused in an awkward bent position, but she still can move pretty fast. The leg seems to hurt at times, especially in the winter. Which is why she winters inside the house now.

Lastly, there’s Luke and Murphy. Luke’s in the forward right of the photo. I bought him as a 3-year-old. He had rain rot and was skin and bones. But he’s nine now and doing fine. He’s supposed to be a Tennessee Walker but I think he has more quarter horse in him than anything.

Murphy (in the left rear) is a Missouri Fox Trotter who I believe successfully bullied his previous owner into never riding him. Murphy tries to intimidate people but if you don’t let him, he can be a nice horse to ride. Very smooth.

So that’s the crew. I’ll be telling you more about them as we go along.

I’ve been dancing around this horse trailer driving thing for years. But I swear, this is going to be the year that I become an expert at hitching, backing, and all around maneuvering this monster.

I actually have driven a two-horse, straight load by myself before. It took numerous repetitions of backing-up to the hitch, getting out of the truck, looking, pulling forward, backing up, looking, forward, backing up, looking – you get the idea. 

But I’ve never been able to back up the trailer once it’s hitched. Instead, I always make sure I pull into a space that I can pull out of forward — no backing. But that does limit where you dare to venture.

And now, I have a three-horse, slant load trailer that is a lot bigger, in my opinion, than a two-horse. I had this crazy idea that I would join this trail riding organization and load up my horse and maybe a friend’s horse (I’m still working on finding a friend), plus some hay and supplies and go on these weekend horse camping trips or even a week long trip to someplace like the Black Hills.

Okay. So I’m downsizing my trail riding goals to being able to hitch and drive the trailer to a park about seven miles from my home, which has about three miles of trails, and going trail riding by myself. I’m hoping to meet someone there that will be my trail buddy.

So if I can learn how to hitch the trailer, back it up, I just have the final hurdle to jump — our driveway — which is narrow and doesn’t have much room at the mouth to swing onto the street, or vice versa, to swing back into the driveway. If I don’t do it right, the trailer wheels will go off of the hardtop and I’m in danger of tipping the trailer into the creek. No problem…

I’m a grinder and it’s catching up with me. Clenched jaw during the day; blackboard scraping, tooth-to-tooth action at night.

I wear a mouth guard at night, most of the time. It’s kind of a turn off in the sex department so I have to leave it out every month or so. Kidding!

But I cracked another molar. I say “another” because this is the second one that I’ve had to get a crown put on. Monday after work, I went through two injections of Novocaine and spent 90 minutes getting a mold prepared and having a temporary crown put on. I spent another two hours waiting for the fat, lazy tongue effect to diminish.

Until I get the permanent crown put on, I have to avoid chewing on the left side of my mouth. I’m already missing the complete, surround-sound tasteability of normal chewing. 

I agonized over the decision of whether to have a gold or porcelain crown put in. Porcelain is pleasing to the eye but can chip, damage other teeth, and requires that more of the underlying tooth be removed. Gold is a TOTALLY superior material, but sticks out like a sore thumb. Okay if you’re a rapper, but not so good if you’re not. 

I chipped my two front teeth in 5th grade and spent about four years with silver teeth. I became an expert at smiling without unlocking my lips. But since this is a lower molar, it should only be visible when I’m having a nervous breakdown, as I do every once and awhile. 

Besides, being so near Valentine’s day, I’m trying to look at the gold crown as an accessory,
a little gold bling for the big heart day.

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