Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘decisions

Making Decisions

leave a comment »

With everything around here growing at warp speed, now would be a really bad time to lose the services of our Stihl power trimmer. Isn’t there a law of probability about this?

While Cyndie was making headway against the grass jungle taking over the gazebo on Monday, the trimmer became “wobbly.” She discovered the main drive shaft tube had suffered a metal-fatigue fracture.

That’s not good.

I dropped it off for repair in the evening, but their backlog of work is running at two weeks. It’s scary to imagine not being able to trim for that many days.

Cyndie thinks we should buy another one, and I am hard pressed to argue. There have been many times when we both could be trimming at the same time.

Pondering this. Something about it doesn’t feel right. I’m driven to balance the logic of a cost-benefit analysis, a crystal ball vision of what our future is here, and that unsettling gut feeling about the expense. Then I need to deal with the fact there is no right or wrong answer in the end.

You know me and decision-making. It’s not my favorite thing to manage.

One thing that I’m glad that we weren’t relying on me to decide, yesterday we got the details from our neighbor about his plan for the hay-field. It makes total sense to me now.

While he was cutting on Monday night, he was listening to the weather forecast. The outlook for rain all day Thursday was holding strong, so he smartly stopped cutting any more than he thought he could get dried and baled by the end of today.

We received encouraging news from him about our fields. He said the grass is real thick underneath, likely due to the mowing we did all last summer. In addition, he clarified that the tall grass going to seed was not Foxtail, as Cyndie feared (which is not good for our horses’ mouths), but the premium horse hay staple, Timothy.

We still have a long way to go in our transition from suburbanites to Ag-wise country folk.

(Brings to mind my stuttering pause into the phone when I was asked what kind of cows were trampling our property a couple of weeks ago. Um, big ones?)

Amidst the angst of dealing with equipment failures, it is refreshing to learn some good news about the outcome of our efforts to improve the quality of what is growing in our hay-field and pastures.

Despite all the challenges that continue to arise (and decisions thus required), Wintervale continues to evolve in an encouraging way for us.

Hurrah!

.

.

Test Results

with 2 comments

Our veterinarian called with results of Hunter’s blood work. High levels of glucose and insulin suggest equine insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. I have a feeling we have slowly been building to this over the last few years of under-exercising and over-feeding our horses.

We’ve had hints of the situation before and made some loose attempts to moderate things over the years, but it appears our efforts have fallen short. The prognosis now is calling for a shift to an extreme that we are struggling to reconcile.

There is a high likelihood that Hunter will need to be confined to the paddock and fed a tightly measured amount of hay that needs pre-soaking to reduce the sugar content even more. It is no way for a horse to live, as far as I’m concerned, but it may be what we have to do.

I can’t imagine what it will do to Hunter’s spirit to confine him to the paddock, surrounded by acres of lush green pasture in the summer.

Honestly, our heads are not in a good place right now to frame this with oodles of positive possibilities. In fact, this news just serves to expose how little I have moved from the cloud of grief that descended upon us on the day Legacy died.

This week the horses are spending most of their time in the barn. Well, Hunter has spent ALL of his time in the barn, and the mares get a little break outside each day while Cyndie mucks the stalls. Even this routine feels so wrong, but it is the immediate treatment required to get him beyond this situation of extremely painful hooves.

They are tolerating it well enough.

Everything here seems to be hanging in limbo. I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just let Wintervale have a break for a year, like we did with our hay-field last summer. Let things rest while giving it a chance to become re-energized for a new season of unseen possibilities after some reflection and re-planning.

We are seeking peace with all the new developments, and making time for reflection is going to help. Despite my inclination to want to immediately escape it all in order to put the challenges behind me, I am trusting in the logic of staying put to discover where this all leads.

For our own good, it is best that we not make any rash decisions in the midst of grief and uncertainty.

Now would be a really good time for me to practice some of that procrastination I’m always bragging about.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 7, 2018 at 7:00 am

Decisions Aplenty

leave a comment »

By the end of the weekend last night I was mentally exhausted. The chicken coop project was an exercise in repeating waves of cascading decisions. It was giving me a headache. Or maybe that was coming from the muscle fatigue in my neck and shoulders from all the power tool use overhead and at odd angles.

Over and over again I found myself trying to determine precise dimensions, proper positions, ultimate functionality, potential environmental stresses, and likely physical pressures the structure will face.

dscn5273eHow high should this be? What support should this have? Will this withstand stormy weather? How will I attach the next board? How will we enclose all the odd openings of our panel roof design?

If all that weren’t complicated enough, by the end of the day yesterday, when I couldn’t get the roof framework equally centered on all the walls, it occurred to me why all my calculations had me constantly confused. Building with scraps of salvaged lumber means working with a lot of warped, bowed, and twisted boards.

It was a great exercise for tempering perfectionistic tendencies.

“Close enough” became a common refrain that grew increasingly easy to accept.

There were so many little steps involved in finalizing the framing of openings in each wall and securely fastening the 4 walls to each other that I ran out of time for the ultimate reward of screwing the panels onto the roof. We got close, but finished just short of that milestone.

Guess what I can’t wait to work on when I get home from work today.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2016 at 6:00 am

Unexpected Result

with 4 comments

DSCN4541eI suppose you could say this about most any day, but yesterday did not turn out anything like I thought it would when I woke up in the morning. One thing just led to the next and I ended up driving home in a new car. I credit the wise advice of my sister, Mary, who found several opportunities to urge me toward taking action, combined with Cyndie’s unwavering support.

The ultimate decision happens to be a sure-fire way to fix the check engine light that kept coming on in the old WRX.

The curious trigger that set the whole unplanned chain of events in motion was an exploding tire on the wheelbarrow we use more than any other tool. It is the key weapon in our arsenal for managing manure.

I was turning and reshaping one of the compost piles when Cyndie arrived with a fresh contribution. I took the wheelbarrow from her to dump it on the pile and she noticed one of the tires looked curious. She asked if it might be flat, so I reached down to check it with a squeeze. It burst!

Boom! It was flat now. Guess I don’t know my own strength.

That was going to need repair without delay and forced an unplanned shopping trip. After a brief debate over eating lunch first or heading out immediately, we settled on the fateful decision to eat at home. During that pause, I received a call from my auto repair shop confirming the new exhaust sound I reported on the WRX was because the catalytic converter had busted.

That news quickly confirmed it was time to take action on a plan I had mulled over for months. We altered our destination for finding a replacement tire for the wheelbarrow to a store in the same town as our safe deposit box, so I could get the title of the WRX. That car is now for sale.

It just so happened that I had applied for an auto loan at our bank a few hours earlier in the day, to see how much new car I could comfortably afford. I talked Cyndie into driving a bit beyond the bank and Tractor Supply store, so we could test drive the next Subaru I was considering buying.

DSCN4543eAt the end of the day, I was driving home in a current model Crosstrek. It has been over 2 decades since I had that new car smell.

For a guy who drags his feet making decisions, that was a flurry of significant ones in a single day, one after another. If it weren’t for that exploding tire on the wheelbarrow, I would have likely spent the day wondering what to do about that WRX.

Now that problem will become someone else’s opportunity. I’ve moved to higher ground clearance, so I won’t be busting a performance bumper on critters that jump in front of me at highway speeds, and I won’t be dragging my undercarriage on snow as often, when I leave in the mornings before roads get plowed.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Embrace Change

with 4 comments

Is it possible to fully understand the vast number of worlds and details of lives to which we have, at best, limited exposure? Not that we are supposed to. How often are decisions made, despite an honest comprehension and acceptance of how little we are actually aware?

What can one individual really expect to grasp of the full range of issues and disciplines at play in the world? Let me see how many I can leave out by failing to mention…

Starting nowhere in particular, …medicine. Pharmacies. Hospitals, patient care, insurance, finance, facility maintenance, emergency management, legal advice, illegal gambling, addiction, recovery, psychiatry, academia, higher education, childhood education, reverse mortgages, home construction, plea bargaining, coupon shopping, fuel additives, auto sales, product placement, advertising, manufacturing, shipping, travel, cultural sensitivity, political ambitions, mathematical odds, gravitational waves, electron microscopes, archaeological mapping, district boundaries, city planning, manure management, religious zealotry, emotional manipulation, theater production, recording industry, music licensing, athletic training, team building, volunteerism, broadcast journalism, pain management, nutrition supplements, insulin, scar tissue, therapeutic massage, skin grafts.

Demolition, trucking, forest management, bear hunting, bird migration, traditional celebrations, sleep deprivation, common misconceptions, in-depth investigation, maintaining confidentiality, healthy intervention, interior decoration, retail product purchasing, industrial scale food production, buying fabric, spinning yarn, nailing crossbeams, laying foundations, paving highways, recognizing symptoms, healing psychological wounds, making amends, raising children, caring for elders, predicting the weather, creating complex spreadsheets, coding software, upgrading hardware, saving lost data, creating historical records, storing precious documents, managing a bank, growing wealth, affordable healthcare, establishing a fair tax.

Proper shoes for walking, insoles both firm and cushy, camping gear, college years, immigration, negotiation, land management, proper drainage, flood mitigation, product liability, instant gratification, adequate illumination, mineral rights, engine displacement, performance enhancing drugs, commercial sponsorship, codependent relationships, legal guardianship, adoption, acting, directing, angel investors, screenplay writing, sky writing, stunt flying, flight instruction, ground rules, ruling parties, parting ways, space exploration, deep-sea diving, grant writing, non-profit organizations, managing foundations, educating the masses, bullshit detection.

Historical re-enactments, religious interpretation, traditional hymns, learned behaviors, family bias, class divides, social acceptance, criminal negligence, healthy confrontation, anger management, pet care, pest control, toilet training, Oedipal complex, renal failure, clogged arteries, plugged drains, drain fields, debt manipulation, cosmetic dentistry, animal husbandry, oral history, re-framing history, flagging industries, recycling precious metals, fabricating complex machines, publishing magazines, controlling military spending, black-market weapons dealing, lifting economies, deep sea fishing, car racing, long distance putts, fire protection, lumber harvesting, crop raising, hospice care, librarian, business consulting, museum curation, sculpting, designing, choreography, judge, cook, baker, candlestick maker.

If you chose to read every last word of those paragraphs, you might consider serving in government somehow. I also think you’d make a good editor.

I shudder over the number of instances when I have heard political arguments or strong opinions expressed with fervent finality, when there are so many more pertinent details worth considering in the world than can realistically be included. No one person can know everything there is to know.

I feel like the general population of the United States is looking for a person who does know everything, when they think about electing a President. Others are just looking for a candidate who will constrain decisions to a narrow band of specific interests.

I’d prefer the kind of leadership that is allowed to be flexible enough to respond to the latest information available and make decisions based on a combination of historical reference and what is known now.

Since the world is constantly changing, it makes sense to me to embrace the change, rather than struggle in resistance against it.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2016 at 10:34 am

Decision Averse

with 13 comments

Starting with my recent unsuccessful battle to solve a problem with my car that has the “Check Engine” light repeatedly coming on, I have developed a nagging urge to update my transportation. This is no simple thing. There is a reason I have only owned 2 cars in the last 25 years.

I don’t like the process of buying them.

Even the shopping portion of the overall ordeal is a burden for me, and that should be the easy part. I am known to be decision-averse. Shopping brings up nothing but choices which complicate my decision-making process.

My current car is getting on in years, and it is decidedly lacking in features that have now become pretty standard technology. I would appreciate having extras like a backup camera, controls on the steering wheel, connections for mobile devices like my phone or iPod, and most importantly, higher mileage. But, I have lived without those long enough now to be satisfied that I can get along just fine without them.

How do I decide a change is justified? And not just any change, but a very expensive one. And one which will require loan payments like I haven’t had for a long, long time.

Whatever it ends up costing to solve the current issue that is triggering my “Check Engine” light, it will be a lot less than what I am contemplating spending on an upgrade.

I struggle deciding because there is no obvious right or wrong answer. It’s all possibilities, feelings, and wants. It is possible the current car will not cost a lot to maintain after this current problem gets solved, or something else on it could succumb to age and drain even more dollars out of my pocket. It’s hard to say.

A little research revealed my car is worth a lot less in trade or direct sale than I imagined at this point in its life, so that makes me think I should just keep driving it as is. There is more value in keeping it than trading it away. I’ve come this far with it, why give up now?

DSCN4420eDSCN4419e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The old beast is a sad sight under the constant spray of chemicals coming off our treated winter highways. After only 2 days of driving to work and back, that is the coating that results, giving my car a two-tone look. It’s disgusting.

I wouldn’t want to subject a new car to such abuse. I should keep this car and avoid the need for a loan.

See how this works? A great way to help the decision-averse process things is to have them write out the pros and cons of the issue at hand. I find myself contemplating the importance or weakness of details I am writing out, as if playing the role of a reader who would be a devil’s advocate, offering an opposing view.

It often helps me write my way out of a stalemate of indecision.

I wonder what it will take to resolve my persistent “Check Engine” light. It appears the fuel filter was not the final fix, after all.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 10, 2016 at 7:00 am

Horses In

leave a comment »

Last night we brought the horses inside the barn overnight for the first time this fall. It was a decision we struggled with a couple times, because the conditions weren’t extreme enough to help make it an obvious choice. In the end, we tried giving the horses equal say in the decision, and their timely arrival and behavior at the door of the barn helped to seal the deal.

When Cyndie came back from turning them out this morning, her report cast some doubt over the satisfaction of at least the elder two horses about being confined all night long, regardless the chilly, blowing precipitation that fell.

Yesterday started with us moving the horses inside to their stalls first thing, before even serving them the morning feed, because they had a date with the veterinarian for their annual fall check up. It is a time when their teeth get filed, if needed, and the geldings receive some assistance with personal hygiene. Both procedures involve a bit of sedation to facilitate cooperation from the patients.

After enough time passed for the horses to recover their full senses, we put them back out in the elements. It wasn’t exactly cold out, but the thick grayness of the October sky and periods of rain and wind were enough to put a chill on Cyndie and me. It sapped most of our motivation to do anything constructive outside and tugged on my eyelids all afternoon, begging for a nap.

When darkness fell, it was 50/50 over bringing the horses indoors overnight, but Cyndie felt it was something the horses would want. We puttered in the barn under lights, to prepare for the possibility, and when the horses hustled up to the doorstep out of the damp darkness, we brought ’em in.

DSC06107eCHAt dawn this morning, Cyndie found the two younger chestnuts, Hunter and Cayenne, happy as could be. Legacy and Dezirea were another story.

The elder two showed every sign of wanting to be back outdoors immediately. Cyndie said that Dezirea almost ran her over in her haste to be out of that stall. No surprise though, as it sounded as if she had made a complete mess of her space.

The weather this morning isn’t any more inviting than yesterday was, but the forecast offers hope, and at least the temperature is well above the freezing point at the start.

We’ll be spending some extra time doing barn stall cleaning today, and I (and a couple of horses) will be gladly looking forward to having them stay outdoors overnight again, and hopefully for a long spell before the next dose of cold overnight rain.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2015 at 9:38 am