When Theo is Gone: The Deer

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done a “When Theo is Gone” post.

I started writing this little series because I had learned to laugh at the absurdity of being a #firewife. I kid you not….it seems like everything exciting/adventurous/awful that has ever happened to me has happened when Theo is gone on a 24 hour shift.

Perhaps it’s the length of the shift. Perhaps it’s the fact that they really can’t just leave work and come home. Perhaps it’s the fact that since they are a fire department, what they label “emergency” is not the same thing that most 9-5 workplaces would consider an emergency. Anyways, it always seems like the craziest things happen to me When Theo is Gone. I’ve written a few stories about this, and the things that have happened include (but are not limited to):

Yes, my friend…all those things have happened to me while Theo is on a 24 hour shift.

I posted this story/saga last week on Facebook and Instagram, but I figured I also had to record it on the blog because it has to be included in these “When Theo is Gone” stories!

Warning: This post involves a dead deer. Like, sadly dead. And then gutted. If that might bother you, I suggest that you skip this one.

I have been quite sick for a few weeks, stuck in the horrible first trimester of a rough pregnancy. Theo was at work (of course), Tera was running like a wild banshee around the house, Little Miss was sitting on the floor alternately playing contentedly with her toys and fussing loudly for hours on end. I was laying on the couch when I heard a loud thud.

I thought someone was in our driveway and had just slammed the trunk of their car closed. I sat myself up and looked outside but there was no one there.

Strange, I thought, and laid back down. Tera climbed onto the couch and began crawling all over me. I heard sirens and in a desperate effort to distract Tera, I sat up again and instructed her to look out the window at the approaching sirens. The sirens never passed our window, though, as they stopped one street up. I sat up a little farther to examine which neighbor needed 911 assistance, and that was when I spotted it.

A deer. Half on the road. Half in our yard.

I suddenly realized that was what the loud thunk was. I still hadn’t connected the hit deer with the 911 responders, but I grabbed my phone and called Theo. I mean, there was a dead deer in our yard. What was I supposed to do with it? Since it had been hit five minutes earlier, I knew Theo would want it, but I didn’t want to do anything with it.

Theo was super excited and told me to go stand outside by the deer so no one else would stop and take it. I ran outside and stood by the deer, examined it from a safe distance, still talking on the phone with Theo. My two children were inside unattended, and I assumed they were either dead or alive. One or the other. Theo told me I was going to have to drag it down our hill so that it was obvious we wanted it. I was just standing there, by the side of the road, trying to get up the courage to drag a dead deer into my yard, when the ambulance approached me.

Just then the men in the ambulance (which is actually called a medic, just fyi) pulled up. The paramedic in the passenger seat told me that I should step back from the deer, as it was potentially still alive and could jump up at any moment. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but I gladly took two steps back.

The brilliant lightbulb moment then occurred that I connected the dots and realized that these first responders were all there because of the person who hit the deer. And I then realized that technically they were responsible for it. So I asked what I was supposed to do with it.

“Call all your friends and ask them if they want some deer meat” was his response.

“Are you kidding? We want it!” I responded.

Since it was around 5:30, the paramedic then asked me when my husband would be getting back from work. I chuckled and said, “he works the same job you do…he’s not coming home anytime soon.”

His eyes lit up with that understanding that comes from just knowing what it’s like. I bet he had a wife at home who frantically calls him when the water heater floods and the kids are literally needing to be peeled off the ceiling, but she’s not tall enough for the job. He offered to move the deer for me, and he and his buddies got out of the medic, pulled on their gloves and moved towards the deer. He gave it a gentle kick and then a few taps on its hind-end just to be sure that it wasn’t still alive, then pulled it across the yard for me. He then explained that I had to have a permit for it and a police officer would come by to give me the permit.

At this point, my two children have been inside for about 20 minutes and I’m suddenly very aware that the dead deer at my feet is secondary to the needs of my (unsupervised) toddler and infant. I ran inside, and lo and behold, they were perfectly fine. Tera stood on the couch and watched out the window the entire time, and Little Miss sat on the floor and played with the toys. She wasn’t even crying. Maybe I should go outside for 20 minutes at a time more often. Just kidding.

A few minutes later, the police officer pulled up and asked for my license. He returned to his car, wrote me a “ticket”, as proof that I didn’t hunt the thing down and murder it myself. Just as this was happening, my friend stopped by with a look of concern and curiosity. It’s not everyday that you pull into someone’s driveway and park behind a police car, after all.

Before leaving, the police officer thanked me profusely for taking the deer. I guess it’s his job to get rid of it? I’m now kicking myself for not saying, “Anytime! Please call me if you have another one!” Haha.

After doing some research, Theo and I found that the deer would be just fine by itself out all night, and Theo could deal with it in the morning after he got home from work.

The next day, Theo sharpened his knives and went to work on the deer. He had never done it by himself, although he has helped his Dad do it many times before. He worked throughout the morning and got a lot of meat from this deer.

We looked up some information about grinding and storing the meat ourselves, but eventually decided that it would be more beneficial to take it to the butcher. We ended up having the meat ground into venison and got some steaks made out of some of it. In the end, the total came to 42 pounds of meat. The total cost? $50.

Well, I should be totally honest and say that the total cost of the whole fiasco was $250. Because this:

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In order to store 42 pounds of meat, I decided that it was finally time to spring for a chest freezer!

And that, my dear readers, is the story of the deer.

If you want to see more graphic pictures of the process, feel free to email me and request some. We made some fascinating scientific discoveries that I would love to share with you if that type of thing doesn’t make you squeamish! But I decided that I would keep the graphic off of my public domain and stick with a few more pleasant pictures.

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