Ferrets… the Fyfe Bee Gees specifically… masters of bamboozlement!

Webster’s dictionary says the word, bamboozle, is:

“to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery, or the like”; or,

“to perplexmystifyconfound.”

The first definition definitely suits the ferrets. They are always trying to get away with something (usually sneaking into a carpeted room they aren’t normally allowed in) and they’re cute and loving about it. I liken that to flattery.

But the second definition is a bit like my life right now with all careers continuing to hit on high between two large states during a global pandemic.

I managed to carve out a few days and buzzed back to Bismarck this month. Apparently I was buzzing there a little too quickly…


I think I actually passed him and another car, totally unaware it was a cop. I had the PGA tour radio on and it was the last big weekend tournament before the FedEx Cup Playoffs. This is big stuff! And the road is straight and I’m “ten-and-two” and I have a lead foot.

There. I’ve said it and I’m glad.

Thrilled to see that it was a male trooper (whew!) I thought about trying to flirt my way out of a ticket. Its been a long time since I’ve been pulled over and I knew I had to be close to 90mph but what the heck, right? Fortune favors the brave!

Turns out he clocked me at 86mph (speed limit is 70) so my chances of no ticket were slim. Still, I owned my speeding and told him it was the intensity of the PGA tour and the fact I know the road that led to me flying across MT hwy 200. We got chatting and he plays golf but he just moved here from Illinois and he doesn’t like Chicago and is more of a small-town guy, which is why he lives in Stanford, MT. I did sneak in the fact I was flying to ND to see my doctor hubby who had been on the frontlines of Covid since it began and the fact I’m a veterinarian. I may drive too quickly but I’m not stupid!

Amazingly, he let me off with just a warning! He actually said, “you’re just so nice… plus, you owned it.”

I don’t feel so much that I flirted with him or was even trying to get away with something. I think my curious life and my chit-chatty ways are more bamboozlement than anything.

Fyfe ponies in ND!

I got to see Fumie, Shilo, Penner, Frankie and Zeus again at our peaceful prairie farm in Bismarck. With Jake and Maggie in Montana with me, we are down to a collective head count of seven horses. Amazing, really. Other than Jake these are all our foals from mares we loved for many years.

We had close to thirty horses when we moved out to Montana and those were busy years. Keeping a stallion healthy and separate from the herd was a chore itself, not to mention feeding enormous round bales with our big tractor. I loved anticipating what each Paint foal would look like but I don’t miss the sleepless nights and anxiety trying to catch the birth to make sure nothing went wrong.

Frankie and his half-sister, Fumie.

Despite some smoky skies thanks to forest fires all over the place I still had a wonderfully relaxing week. Ridiculously hot temps (in the 100s for a couple of days) and poor air quality didn’t stop us from hitting up Painted Woods Golf Course, where we have our ND membership. Its a completely different course than our home course in Montana with its own challenges and risks. We laughed with “the boys” who work there every day and the hours spent on the road and the intensity of working on real estate and the sometimes-pressures of tending to animals who need my help melted away after the first round.

And we played well! Like any sport, more consistency leads to better performance. I’m not saying the LPGA should be watching me (wouldn’t I kick that tour up a notch in hilarity?!) but I really shot some decent golf. (I shot crappy golf here and there, too, but as each round went on I shot less and less of it.)

I re-connected with one of our former hockey players from our Hazen days (1997-98, I think) and he invited me to his course in Bismarck. I had never played Hawktree so I was a little bit nervous but Mitch was a great host and, other than the 10th hole (seriously… So. Much. Trouble….) I hit ’em straight and had some hot putts! You never know on a brand new course how its going to go. We also had a boat-load of fun and once again I’m reminded of how fun it is to know my students as adults, too.

Me & Mitch Haugan, Hawktree golf course

Before, during and after my ND trip I have been working on a real estate transaction that has had its challenges. I met the buyers 3 years ago on Floor duty at the office and we have been friends ever since. They live in Arkansas, though, so that coupled with our ridiculously low inventory has made finding them a place in Seeley Lake somewhat challenging.

They planned to come & just hang out here this summer and not put any pressure on themselves to buy because there wasn’t much to see but, holy smokes, we got a cute place under contract and we are hoping to close early this coming week! I’m thankful that they have put their trust in me with this project. It minimizes the stress but it doesn’t eliminate it altogether.

I did a final walk-through for them yesterday in the afternoon sun and we texted back & forth a few times.

Yesterday at the cute log cabin my friends are hoping to close on in the next day or two!

And veterinary medicine has me in Deer Lodge a few more times than normal right now and through September with one vet off for mat leave and another having to have been on Covid quarantine thanks to a positive exposure. I was there Friday and there the next 2 days, as well. We’ve had a few difficult, bamboozling cases that came through and ones that didn’t end in any ways the owners would have liked.

I know I’ve wrecked the entire last 2 weekends for 4 separate families. Its not my “fault” so I’m not carrying guilt or anything inappropriate. I do carry some sadness because I didn’t get into this gig to euthanize young animals. Healthy, vibrant animals with horrible fractures that leave only 3 humane options: surgery ($3500-$4000); amputation ($1500 and an eventual bad ‘other leg’ thanks to the pet’s huge size); or euthanasia.

And we veterinarians have to give permission for owners to consider/elect euthanasia. Its a horrible, terrible, very sad, very permanent option but sometimes it really is the only clear choice for some families.

And we veterinarians have to give permission for our team members to talk or cry it out because they, too, are sad and frustrated that we couldn’t save that one.

And we have to give permission to clients who have been friends for 14 years, whose little dog I’ve known since he was a puppy, to come to Deer Lodge and let me help him and hold them as we all said our tearful goodbyes.

2 weekends ago. Wrecking an older couple’s weekend by truly saving their less-than-2-year-old dog by helping her cross the Rainbow Bridge with peace and dignity.

And I gave silent permission for the family I worked with last Monday to try to save their dog and her confusing case. They drove her to a specialist in Missoula the next day to try to save her but it looked like her cancer had come back. Or maybe it had been in her spleen the whole time since we removed skin versions of the tumor in March.

It was a bamboozling case but not because the cancer was trying to be tricky. In this particular case it was perplexing. Cancer can be like that. Cancer can be a dick.

We will likely get the splenic aspirate results back in the next 2 days when I’m in Deer Lodge but it won’t matter because my patient crashed through the night on Thursday and, immediately after crying with my assistant while the broken-leg dog took his last breath thanks to me, I went outside to talk with my family.

I brought the box of Kleenex and that sometimes feels like it is a permission slip to grieve and let go.

Veterinarians aren’t there to judge. We are there to advocate for animals. We are their voice.

Its up to us to try to make sense out of the bamboozlement of word soup I lay at people’s feet trying to explain reticulocytosis with or without anemia and why both of those can be critically bad.

Last weekend’s patient. Reticulocytosis without anemia. And an abdomen full of this.

Sometimes words aren’t necessary. A syringe with the wrong colored fluid that came out of a pet’s distended abdomen is all that is required to make the case for a controlled transition.

There are days when its important to remind the team around you to take care of themselves. I don’t know if everyone has a support group or partner like I do, or if they have coping mechanisms. Alcohol is certainly one mechanism but it can never be the only one.

Fun coping mechanism early this past week!

And hey, truly I’ve been smiling way more than I’ve been sad lately. WAY more.

The golf course helps, for sure.

Alistair and I got to team up with Kyle & Lee Huestis for a fundraiser here in Seeley Lake. It was a 4-person scramble which means you don’t have to be a rock star with every shot. Its a great way to keep people together so you can visit more and chill-ax.

We didn’t start the 17th hole spectacularly and then all 4 of us blew our drives on 18 so we decided liquoring-up was going to be our only hope. Thankfully, the bar cart appeared (like magic!) and the 3 Canadians and 1 wanna-be Cannuck got the bevvies going.

We didn’t get drunk or anything- can’t have it affect the game like that- but we had a fun, light, golf-supporting buzz and the round whizzed on by. Can’t wait to tee it up with this foursome again!

First round of the day for Lee and me!!!!

(The canned red wine isn’t horrible. I mean, its not what sits in our wine fridge but it wasn’t bad.)

My last self-bamboozlement is spending today as a writer.

Clearly, I’m back to the blog. Its been far too long but I’ve been far too busy being in far too many roles in houses far too far apart.

I also wrote my next newspaper column that will go out to 4 newspapers for September. I enjoy that writing but its definitely different. Its non-fiction, for starters, so I have to do some research beforehand. (I research the Hell out of my novels, too, but I can be loose with dialogue and, come on, I write about modern-day dragons in western Montana… there is a bit of leniency there!) I also have a 500-word cap on these columns and that bites. I’m verbose (no kidding, you mutter under your breath) and I like detail. But you can’t be detailed in 500 words or less.

I’m always chopping up sentences and cutting words without cutting out what I’m trying to convey. People seem to enjoy the columns and the topics have been varied. I tackled Wellness Exams today. It sits at 510 words and that’s the best I can do.

Team Fyfe last week. Each other’s support system!

I’ll wrap up and head into the local golf course to join Alistair for a few holes. He’s played the esteemed “Salmon Bake” 2-day tournament this weekend with one of the members whose normal partner isn’t golfing this summer. Its more serious than we normally play and the course pro somehow gave him a 4 handicap yesterday which affected their scores… seriously, a 4. We’re both thrilled if we can keep a round to 100. Which most definitely is not the scratch golfer a 4-handicap would imply.

Still, he’s all smiles and we laughed a lot about it during our Aloha hot tub last night and I’m sure we will laugh a lot more today.

And we’ll laugh some more when some member today asks me why I wasn’t in the tournament. I love telling them all I’m not old enough. šŸ™‚

Time for some cute golf clothes. My outfit, alone makes me smile. Maybe I can bamboozle the golf ball with sparkles and glitter?

My drive home from ND following Alistair in Arnold for 11 hours.
Hung out with all sorts of friends at last week’s Charlie’s Helping Hands golf fundraiser!
My therapy puppy on Friday after 3 euthanasias and low team morale in the morning. If there was ever a way to wrap up the day, this was it! xo

4 thoughts on “Bamboozled

  1. Loyd ā€œNā€ Gail Isbell

    We friends of 14 years want to thank Tanya for being the one to help our Pipp cross the bridge! You are so great and passionate !

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