Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

High Standards

with 5 comments

DSCN2684eWe have a thermometer attached to the outside of our bathroom window that is my favorite, primarily due to the large size of the digital display. Unfortunately, it is probably the least accurate indicator of the actual outdoor temperature because it is mounted to a window that is likely much warmer than the air away from the house. Still, it serves the purpose of giving me a reference for comparing readings from other days.

It has been indicating all week that it’s cold outside. Not that I wasn’t already aware. When we get down to double digits below zero, the cool spots around the inside of our log home start to become much more noticeable.

I think this cold spell has zapped some of my zest for accomplishing things. I am growing weary of the 5-minute production to get into my outdoor cold weather uniform every time I need to step out the front door. I think Delilah finds me to be a comical gymnast as I wrestle the Carhartt overalls over my pants and heavy shirt, then try to bend down to get boots on without being able to breathe. After which, my face disappears beneath a neck-warmer pulled up over my nose to just beneath my eyes, and my hat gets pulled down to cover the neck-warmer so that only a thin slit remains from which I can see anything.

DSCN2675eBy this time, she has politely waited twice as long as she wanted, making my fumbling with getting the chopper mittens on my hands, but under the coat sleeve, a painful exercise in beyond-reasonable-tolerance for her. It’s exhausting, and I’ve been doing it way too many times a day for her this week.

The only real work I have accomplished outside has been the daily cleaning of the horse stalls —my least favorite task. It tortures my perfectionist tendencies and severely taxes my urge to be frugal. We use wood shavings on the floor of their stalls. We buy them by the bale, and I keep wanting to say, ‘these shavings don’t grow on trees,’ but, of course, they do. Still, they require that I make a trip to the store and pay money to get them. I don’t want to be wasteful.

Trying to toss out the manure and urine-soaked shavings without getting any dry, “still perfectly useable” wood shavings becomes a fool’s errand. And yet, that’s what I do.

The other failed proposition is expecting to get every morsel of manure separated from the shavings and scooped up. I have this sense that the horses must experience a certain amount of frustration when they step on the frozen nuggets that I have missed. Every time I think I’m done, and sweep the manure fork across the remaining shavings to spread them out, additional poo-cicles always pop up. There is an unending supply. It is exasperating.

On a positive note, the practice I have been getting this week is allowing me to become more reasonable about the precision I try to achieve, reducing the time I spend laboring to maintain my high standards. That’s important during these extremely cold days, because I’ve been starting out already pooped just getting dressed to go out for the cold-weather work. I could do with some improved efficiency.










Written by johnwhays

January 8, 2015 at 7:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. Boooooooo!!!!!


    January 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    • Why, whatever could it be that you have written this multiple-y exclamationing “Booooo” towards?


      January 12, 2015 at 11:09 pm

  2. Ah, come on, don’t sell yourself short. You were comical to us even without the Carhartt gear!

    Lynne, one of your "fabulous" ex co-workers

    January 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    • Stop, you’re making me miss you. I think that was different. At least, it was supposed to be. I was actually working on my stand-up routine while at work, and testing it on you guys. It might have to be my next career attempt if this ranching gig doesn’t hold up.


      January 8, 2015 at 11:35 pm

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