Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘behavior

Behavior

with 3 comments

.

what is going on
around here
this year
that makes any sense
discernible sense
to informed people
or last year
for that matter
last six years
last hundred years
ask the planet
how it’s going
wait
don’t bother
it’s been telling us all along
but we don’t listen
or we do
but don’t respond
adequately
we muddle
brilliantly
word salads as art
successfully sprinkling love
on happy occasions
helping hands
in times of disastrous need
forgetting to follow the money
that is driving calamity
shortsightedness
wrongheaded fears
and basic human shortcomings
weaving a fabric
deleterious to the very society
societies wish to preserve
to be anti anti-something or other
becoming a fashion statement
lacking logic
seeking a forest without the trees
assuming the sun is spinning around us
because it looks like it does
day after day
hateful behavior becoming acceptable
because
why not
it’s what’s been going on
around here

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 4, 2022 at 9:17 am

Opposing Forces

leave a comment »

What triggered the thought in my head to ask, I do not know. My mild compulsion to seek order and repetition in my daily activities leads me to reset some things while often completely ignoring others. Really, the majority of my efforts for order are preemptive, enacted with the intent of easing future tasks.

One example of this is rinsing pans, dishes, and utensils instantly after use to avoid foods drying to the surface and becoming more difficult to clean later. Another version is clearing snow to a distance beyond the edges of the driveway or walkways to make it easier to clear future accumulations.

However, not all my impulses are entirely practical. This one is probably more aesthetic.

Recently, I noticed that I have repeatedly been adjusting the entryway rug inside our front door to pull it off the sill. I figured normal traffic or possibly an exuberant dog was causing the rug to slide up against the door, so I kept moving it back.

Then, for an unknown reason, I experienced a vivid moment of intuition that led me to ask Cyndie if she moves the front rug up against the door sill.

“Yes,” she said. “I do.”

Aha! We have been unknowingly operating at cross-purposes, doing battle back and forth with opposing intentions.

She was thinking about catching debris from dirty boots on the rug, so she surmised there should be no space between the rug and sill. I said we could just step onto the rug when we come inside.

Something in me senses the rug should be spaced away to avoid possible interference with opening the door.

Cyndie and I are very different in many ways, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we were working against each other in this regard, but it is always humorous to discover little details like this when we have been living together for over 40 years.

Our opposing forces may be part of our mutual attraction and balance the many ways we are alike. There is something to the adage that “opposites attract.” It’s rather magnetic, isn’t it?

.

.

Drying Firewood

with 4 comments

For the record, drying firewood shrinks. I have yet to devise a stacking system that stays upright for a full year of shrinking. First, it starts to lean, and then it pushes against an adjacent stack. Eventually, they tend to topple over into a scrambled pile of split logs. I have resigned myself to simply climbing in there to pile firewood back into an orderly stack, regardless the odds it would probably just tip over again later.

I used to strive to push the stacks back into balance before they tipped over, but now I accept they are going to lean. My odds of causing it to tip over the other direction by pushing it upright are high enough I have forced myself to get over being annoyed with how it looks and just leave it be.

Yesterday, we moved half of a stack of the oldest logs onto the wood rack on our deck for premium proximity to the fireplace. It’s interesting to be handling wood that I stacked two years ago. In that amount of time, some impressive rodent nests get built, probably chipmunks. It would be reasonable to assume the critter activity in the stacks contributes to destabilization.

As I am splitting logs to refill the right side of the woodshed, it occurs to me that I could just toss them all into a big pile and forego the tippy stacks.

Why is that such a difficult decision for me?

  • I believe it wastes less space to stack the wood tightly.
  • I can better gauge how much firewood there is when it is stacked.
  • I can easily tell how long each stack has been drying.
  • Stacks appeal to my sense of order.

At the same time, I know from past experience how much we use per winter season, so the volume of a pile filling one half of the woodshed would give us two years. I could stuff a jumbled pile to fill the space to a greater extent than I achieve with individual stacks.

Since I already started a new stack on the right side of the shed yesterday, I’m now thinking about doing a bit of both. I could put down a base layer of individual stacks to cover the space on the right half and then switch to just tossing split pieces on top of those short stacks.

If only I can convince myself to follow through with such a random-looking storage choice.

It would be something of a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” solution of intentionally tumbled drying firewood.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2020 at 7:00 am

Clutter Kept

leave a comment »

Honestly, there were things within the first drawer and over the top of my dresser that have been there for years. When we made the move almost five years ago, I poured everything that had accumulated in the top drawer for the twenty-five years prior into large ziplock bags. Upon arrival to this home in October of 2012, I pushed those bags right back into the drawer to be dealt with later.

Or not.

I have actually found myself digging through the contents a couple of times in the ensuing years, in search of some phantom item from a vague recollection –which I never, ever find– and had the thought that I should probably sort through the bags and bust some clutter.

Over the weekend, Cyndie made a sweeping pass through the house to prepare for a showing to a potential client. Her magical ability to make things disappear from surfaces always excludes my dresser, but this time my mess really stood out to me.

On a whim, (was it connected to the celestial show to come?), I took my shot at Cyndie’s sweeping magic and waded through the clutter on top.

Inevitably, there were a few items to which I couldn’t part.

I slipped them into one of the bags in the drawer. Soon, I realized the bags had to go. I needed space in that drawer for currently active items that had been laying on top. The bags were so full they completely filled the drawer.

Full disclosure: The clutter isn’t busted yet. To save time, I moved the bags into a box, instead of processing the treasure of collectibles contained within. However, in the interest of not totally giving up on the ultimate goal, I set the box –too full to even close– on the floor beside my bed where it would be out of sight to the casual viewer, but where I would trip over it every day until I deal with it.

Any bets on whether I can do five years, stepping around the obstruction?

While I have a hard time parting with treasures, I am getting better at spending a little coin to replace things that wear out. When it comes to my cherished threadbare Carhartt Double Front Work Dungarees, it took an email spam ad touting half-price irregulars to wrench open my wallet.

The three primary pairs in heavy rotation for dirty-work around the property have gotten so ratty as to be entirely fashionable, although not completely safe for public display by anyone with a little modesty. The crotch where Cyndie had sewn patches is now vented around her handiwork.

The kicker last week was when Cyndie came up from the laundry with a six-inch stick about half the diameter of my little finger and asked if I was keeping it for any reason. It was now a clean stick, as it made it through the wash inside the rip of the first layer at one of the knees.

Pequenita put my new replacement pairs through some serious testing as soon as they arrived yesterday afternoon.

Now I will look a little more presentable for the multitude of workshops Cyndie and Dunia are holding in the days ahead to kick off Cyndie’s return to active duty following this summer’s shoulder surgery.

Hopefully, no one will wander into the bedroom and stumble over my treasures that are no longer on the dresser.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Different Cat

with 6 comments

When we first saw Mozyr at the feline adoption center, he was demonstrating some amazing athleticism and intelligence in his play. He also gave me the impression he had good confidence in himself. That all seemed to change when we got him home. His preferred spot for a long while was as far under our bed as he could get, up against the wall. Meanwhile, Pequenita, who is half his size, proved to be as bold as he was shy.

For all I know, she contributed to his apparent loss of confidence. There was a brief spell when she seemed to take control of him, banishing him from the bedroom altogether. At the same time, he would bully her off the food, so it seemed like there was an exchange of the dominance roles going on.

He was skittish about receiving affection, and resisted being picked up. He behaved very shy around visiting family and friends. I found myself referring to him as being a chicken, and had begun to think he was just going to be a distant cat that tolerates people as a necessary evil in order to get fed morning and night and have his litter box cleaned.

After a long period of these behavior patterns, he surprised me with a change, suddenly deciding to show up in the bathroom during my evening routines. He would often jump up beside the sink to check out what I was up to, and several times he even laid down right in the sink I was trying to use. He seemed to be indicating that I was his choice for a buddy, but it stayed entirely on his terms. If I tried to pick him up, or give him attention at a time of my choosing, I got rebuffed.

That all went away these last few months, when he seemed to get out of sorts around the time we had company, and then throughout a couple of his recent illnesses. He gave us a scare last Wednesday, when he appeared to be really sick. A quick online search turned up several instances where his symptoms were listed as having potential to be serious, but also could be something simple that a cat can get over in a day. We are lucky that it appears to have been the latter.

We made it very clear that we were trying to help him, and he seemed to respond overnight. He continues to seem better everyday and not only is more like his old self, he is that and beyond. He is a changed cat, as if this illness did something to him. I’ve never had him sit in my lap before.

Yesterday, as I was reading on our couch (and Delilah was outside in her kennel), Mozyr showed up –that in itself being a rare occurrence lately– and proceeded to lay on the book in my lap –an unprecedented occurrence! These last two days, he has met my gestures of attention with greater acceptance than he has ever shown before. I pulled the book out from under him and continued to read. He laid in my lap so long that I decided I should get a picture.

IMG_iP0498eIMG_iP0505e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Never assume your pets won’t change their behavior toward you, especially if you base that assumption simply on how they have behaved with you for the year prior.

Change happens.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

Costly Neglect

leave a comment »

I have done it again. For whatever reason I have yet to fully grasp, I have grown complacent about adhering to my prescribed daily regiment of walking 1/2 hour per day, and doing repetitions of a few simple strengthening exercises. Along with that neglect, I have heaped on a variety of risky behaviors like lifting things that are heavier than I should be lifting, raking and tilling muddy clay, or, as I discovered yesterday, bending over to entice one of the cats with fresh catnip.

I have degenerative disc disease. In the morning at work yesterday, I noticed a twinge that alerted me to be cognizant of my condition. I took note, but only superficially. As in, I will do something about this later. It didn’t take long to really get my attention, and cause me to change my behavior, after the phone in my pants pocket began to ring, and I tried to quickly get up to leave the area and answer the call. That focus on quickly getting to another room overlooked the part about getting up out of the chair first, and my body abruptly nabbed my attention with a searing pain in my lower back that caused an immediate abort, and sat me right back down in that chair.

I got the message, or so I thought. I took some ibuprofen, and did a few bendy-stretchies after lying on the carpet in the boss’s office for a time. When I got home at the end of the work-day, I took a second dose of ibuprofen and laid on the floor to rest. After a while, I felt a significant reduction of pain, and was able to do a few of my exercises. I figured I could renew my walking routine before the day’s end.

With the pain now subsided, I absent-mindedly began moving around the house. (How quickly do I forget?) I was showing Cyndie how the cats appeared to have only minor interest in the fresh catnip I brought home from work, and leaned forward, dangling it for Pequenita…

BAM!

I think a disc blew out.

I know an expletive flew out.

That is the weirdest pain. It is like getting punched in the kidney, but not really. There is no external sensation of the blow landing. It is what it must feel like to have your innards punched. Whatever that nerve is, running along those discs, it sure doesn’t like being pressed. The muscles of my whole body seem to recoil. They want to all give out, and drop me to the floor, except, the nerve doesn’t like that either, so then the muscles have to flex. Suddenly I find myself locked in a precarious position where I can’t go up, and I can’t go down.

It’s comical, really. Unless you are the spouse standing right there, in full alarm mode, trying to figure out how to help. That part isn’t so funny.

In truth, I have learned that the body tends to over-react, in attempt to protect me from doing something that might lead to pain. At the first hint of trouble, it tenses up, pulling me back from doing anything brash. I end up walking like a little old man, taking little baby steps.

I’m grateful for that protection, actually. I’ve explained what happens when I get too nonchalant. It’s tricky, but somewhere in there, I would like to find the happy medium.

By the end of the evening, I was able to get myself walking again, albeit gingerly.

I am back to practicing being mindful of my actions, and have renewed motivation to resume the exercise routine I have been neglecting. Let’s hope.

Written by johnwhays

June 14, 2013 at 7:00 am