Friday, March 7, 2014

The Bawling in the Basement

Not so long ago, there was a birthday party. It was a warm spring day, and our little girl was turning four. We had about 30 people in our house, minus three at the time, as a calf was being born across the road, and not only was the calf struggling to keep his (or her…I can't remember) footing in the mucky spring ground, our truck was stuck. So, Joe, his dad, and his grandpa (who were both attending the party, but just "happened" to have muck boots in the trunks of their cars) were out there, pulling the truck out of the slime, and trying to warm up the calf.

As we watched this unfold, amidst kids playing with new presents and disposing of cake plates, my mother-in-law joked, "You know, Emily, you might have to have that calf in your bathtub."

What the WHAT?

No. Way.

You see, we have this house…one that we happen to live in, as people, and I am the type of person who struggles having a goldfish on my kitchen counter, let alone a calf.

In my pristine, white bathtub.

Fast forward five years, and our little girl is now nine, and we're still calving. However, this time, it's not muck we're fighting, but cold, and while our bathtub has never been christened by a calf (yet), our basement has.

Now, before you get all, "What the WHAT?" like I was, remember, we have this house…and although it's been remodeled, the basement of our 1871 farmhouse was NOT and will NEVER be a "fun basement" as my girls call their friends' basements. You know, the ones with pool tables, carpet and couches. Ours is one that before we remodeled, could only be reached through a trap door in my grandma's kitchen, which we promptly closed up and now can only access from the outside. It has a dirt floor, low ceiling, and smells kind of funny about 75% of the time. Think Silence of the Lambs, and you'll get the picture.

Despite the fact that this entity of our house will NEVER be inhabitable, I still am weirded out by the fact that as I type, there's the low, slow bawl of a calf in the basement.

However, not as weirded out as I used to be, so there's your personal victory for the day.

Regardless, it's not my comfort we're after here (I know. Shocker.). It's the calf's…because this is not the first little friend to be in our basement this week. We had a day earlier this week with FOUR calves rotating in the Hannibal Hotel (funny huh?). Each calf had a different story, but all were linked by the simple fact that even though we're in Illinois, it's ridiculously cold for March, and calves born in sub-zero temperatures need a warm place to get their life started out right.

This place just so happens to be around my Christmas decorations.

Fortunately, we watched the forecast, and there was a 50 degree day in the week's outlook, so I'm hopeful our hotel for cold calves will close up shop soon.

Until then, I will enjoy the sounds of our friend in the basement. That means he's still alive, thriving, and that's another personal victory for us.

That and keeping all animals out of my bathtub.

Small goals, people.


  1. I'm just sitting here smiling after reading this! I love the 'fun basement' reference... :) Let's keep our fingers crossed that we're just about done with the nasty winter weather and we don't get the predicted snow tonight/tomorrow!

  2. Ha ha! I love this. And it clears up my mental picture!!

  3. Are you ok? It's been a while since your last post, I miss reading life on the farm.