Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘day-job

Double Day

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When it’s hay season and you own horses, filling your shed with bales claims a big chunk of time and attention. After a full shift at the day-job yesterday, our priority quickly reoriented to the physically taxing effort of picking up hay bales from two of our main suppliers, one right after the other.

On Sunday evening, we hauled and then stacked a hundred bales from our first source. Yesterday, we started the last half of our “work” day with a trip to our second source to pick up one hundred of his bales. As soon as we had unloaded and stacked that batch in our shed, we headed out again to revisit our first source for one hundred more.

Once we reached home with that load, we took a short break to eat dinner. Cyndie’s brilliant preplanning to fill the slow cooker with chicken cacciatore in the morning, allowed us to enjoy an instant meal with little in the way of immediate preparation.

After some food, it was time to unload and stack the final hundred.

It was hot, sweaty, exhausting work. The hay shrapnel ends up everywhere, especially stuck to sweating skin. The dust triggers Cyndie’s allergic reactions.

The fatigue increases and the stack of bales gets higher to climb, both at the same time.

The joy of completing the task is amplified by the visual of now having enough food for the horses to last most of the year. There’s just one more load needed, and based on the time our supplier was available, we are setting out first thing this morning to do another hundred bales.

I’m not tired. You’re tired.

Last night, after we finished, Cayenne came over to offer me a nuzzle of thanks for our efforts.

The horses seem as happy as we are, seeing all these bales showing up to fill the hay shed.

Cyndie and I will be happier still, when the intense effort is behind us and we can return to our more typical leisurely pace around here.

That’s “leisure,” in a relative sense, of course.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Mental Preparation

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This morning, I am kicked back in the recliner in front of the fire, enjoying the calm before the storm. We have been warned. Our region is about to experience a narrow band of snow with a huge gradient in amounts from 1 to 12 inches. As of now, our county still appears to be sitting dead center in the heaviest snow zone.

The predictions are regularly updated, and weather service computer models will present shifts to the north or south as the time-to-event shrinks, so I am excitedly refreshing the live updates in hopes of determining if the worst is to come. I like to be totally prepared.

This will be the second Sunday in a row when the Minnesota Vikings will be engaged in the high competition of this season’s NFL playoffs and we have a distraction interfering with my ability to give the game my undivided attention.

I’m framing that as a good thing.

What choice do I have?

The forecast is ominous enough that I am already thinking I will stay off the roads tomorrow and miss a day of work. That hurts double because we are so busy at the day-job that I worked on Saturday in attempt to make extra headway toward keeping up. Missing Monday is a stab in that plan.

The Federal Government is in a shutdown mess, so my local concerns feel a little petty in comparison. The President had the gall to claim the Women’s March was celebrating “unprecedented economic success and wealth creation.” Ouch. So much ugliness.

Thank goodness I can hug Cyndie, walk outside and toss hay, stack firewood, coo to our chickens and breathe in the scent of our horses hair.

It helps me to mentally prepare for whatever tomorrow is going to bring.

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Written by johnwhays

January 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

Tuesday Monday

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It’s back to the old routine today, sort of. The holidays are over and we are back to the regularly scheduled program. I’m headed to work this morning, and will be facing the classic Tuesday Monday. It’s the first day of the work week, which for all intents and purposes makes this a Monday. Only, it’s not.

Today is Tuesday.

The incongruity serves to blur the edges of decision-making, lending a dose of fog to the workday. Catching up after a week of vacation will not happen in a day without a fair amount of purposeful effort.

Wait. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen every day at work?

Of course, for all of us in the Friswold family, there is the added complication of our minds still being flooded with memories of a week’s-worth of tropical fun in the Dominican Republic.

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One of our excursions off the resort property was a snorkeling adventure, which also included a fair amount of partying on the boat and in the water at a brief stop near shore. Cavorting with stingrays and nurse sharks, among the many other small ocean fish was almost secondary to the rest of the fun in the sun the crew encouraged.

I’m afraid work will have a hard time competing for my full attention today with distracting memories like these swimming laps in my mind.

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Written by johnwhays

January 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

It’s Curious

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For as much of my life as is now committed to caring for our property and animals, I find it curious that I can still have a series of days with very little contact to them. Yesterday, in celebration of our anniversary, we went out to dinner in Hudson after I got home from work.

When we returned after dark, I dropped Cyndie off at the barn so she could make her way to the chicken coop to close their access door for the night. I parked the car in the garage and headed inside to start my evening routine.

Tonight, I will be meeting the family at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis to celebrate Julian’s birthday. This will lead to another night of arriving home after dark, not even seeing either the horses or chickens.

During my work weeks, it can happen that I’m completely disconnected from the activities of our ranch for a few days. It’s a little disorienting for me.

Especially since the most orienting thing of all for me is when I am able to spend time with our animals.

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Written by johnwhays

September 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Two Worlds

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In the constant ebb and flow of change that has occurred for Cyndie and me in the almost 4 years since we moved from the suburbs to rural life on a horse hobby farm, there are waves of intensity that can be both invigorating and disorienting. I’m probably just tired from a pattern of not sleeping optimal hours every night, but lately things have been mostly disorienting.

Yesterday, while filling out the schedule of customer orders at the day-job, I received a new Purchase Order with a requested delivery date that I immediately perceived to be past due. Wondering how that could be, I checked the date it was sent and interpreted that as being a week old.

I marched up to the boss’s office to investigate how this could have happened, only to embarrass myself in discovering that my mind was off by a week. The order was sent and received with yesterday’s date and they were asking for delivery next Wednesday.

Never mind.

Obviously, I was not living in the moment. My calibration gets a little off when spending hours of intense mental energy trying to fit weeks of work into limited days of available labor, several months into the future. It gets compounded when trying to do so while simultaneously burdened with trying to self-teach lessons on how to properly (read that as “legally”) load and secure heavy cargo on a trailer.

My poor little brain is surfing on the crest of one of those waves of constant change with regard to the horse hobby farm gig. We have adjusted our hay plans this year to trying to purchase all of next season’s inventory and not use any of what we can cut and bale off our field. This year’s crop on our front field is growing more weeds than grass.

We are negotiating with two sources for small square bales and trying to work out movement of goods. Cyndie called the trailer dealership in town to inquire about short-term rental of a flat-bed. It just so happens that our next door neighbor, John, works there. He said they don’t rent equipment, but offered to loan us the use of one of his trailers. He’s got two of them.

DSCN4953eWednesday night, John stopped by the house to discuss details and I learned very quickly how out of my league I was. When we bought the truck, I didn’t know there was a difference between a trailer hitch and a ball mount. My rather narrow experience from years in industry is in electronics manufacturing. It was intimidating to learn the significance of details involved with trailering commercial-sized loads like the one I already moved last week, which I had done without proper knowledge.

Yesterday, Cyndie took our truck in to have the trailer dealer install a brake controller. Last night, our neighbor stopped by and dropped off his trailer in front of our hay shed.

I’m trying to shift mental gears from the day-job world to the hobby farm world, and reviewing the Wisconsin laws for securing and trailering heavy cargo. We are also trying to plot a course toward improving the crop of hay we hope to grow for ourselves.

Don’t ask me what day it is today. I’m feeling a little disoriented.

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2016 at 7:11 am

My Friday

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Since I work a 4-day week at the day-job, Thursdays have become like a Friday to me. I feel an urgency to wrap up as many situations as possible before I leave the office, and the evenings are wide open with possibility. After slogging through a bit of a difficult day yesterday at work, I rushed home to hop on the lawn tractor to mow.

The week has been one of constant rain threat, and our grass is growing incredibly fast as a result of showers received. We plan to head to the lake for the holiday weekend, so getting it cut while the sun was shining made the chore a priority. I raced through the task and finished in time to meet George and Annaliese arriving for dinner as I walked toward the house.

It being my Friday and all, having company over for the evening makes it feel wonderfully more festive and appropriate as a kickoff to my weekend.

Cyndie made grilled lamb burgers with a lavish selection of healthy side options and we had a feast fitting the occasion. Adding to the frivolity was my chance spotting of an email from our daughter that she accepted a job offer of a new position at her workplace. Another reason to celebrate!DSCN4778e

After dinner, Cyndie pulled out the CrossCribb® board for a little good-natured, but intense, competition. The boys schooled the girls. We then changed to a different card game, from which I nabbed a clear victory. I was on a roll.

Appropriate for a “Friday” night, I was up late and it felt like a party.

This morning, under on-again-off-again showers, it is too wet to pick up the windrows of yard hay that I created last night. They will have to wait a few days. We are off to the lake.

It’s Friday for real today!

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Written by johnwhays

May 27, 2016 at 7:44 am

Those Days

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It’s been one of those days lately at the day job. Several of those days, actually. So, on my off-day of the week, I’m still grinding away on the work email to address issues. Issues that come in bunches. Bunches of issues that I prefer not occur.

But they do.

DSCN4750eI looked out the bedroom window this morning and spotted a volunteer oak sapling that I staked up last year in hopes it would become well established and fill a void created by the loss of a pine. The new leaves are all wilted and sad.

It got me thinking that the same thing would likely have occurred to the new transplanted maple in the center of our labyrinth, had it actually sprouted new buds this spring.

So is it a good thing that it didn’t grow?

Maybe I’ll look at it that way. By not thriving after being transplanted, it avoided the fate of frozen new growth last weekend. Smart little tree.

It’s been one of those springs, thus far.

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Written by johnwhays

May 20, 2016 at 8:35 am