Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘exhaustion

Nothing, Really

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Nothing. But that didn’t stop me from trying. This is what I think happened. I drove home from the lake alone, leaving shortly after I woke up. Upon my arrival, Cyndie served a delicious slice of quiche for a brunch meal. After unpacking my things, I just wanted to relax. I turned on some of the Olympic coverage and let sleep nibble at the edges of my consciousness.

The nibbling failed to become a complete bite and I squandered the rest of the afternoon and evening accomplishing very little of productive value. Not even a respectable nap.

I think it was a result of getting too little sleep the two nights prior, compounded by going out two days in a row to tax my lungs in the smoky air by biking to exertion. That resulted in sleep deprivation and lung congestion that left me uncharacteristically lethargic.

Left me with nothing, really.

This week’s adventures should be much more interesting. I will be home alone because Cyndie is taking Melissa and her two girls up to the lake for their annual summer getaway week at Wildwood. She is taking Delilah with her, so that will simplify my responsibilities here significantly.

No dog and no chickens. It’ll just be the horses, Pequenita, and me. And hopefully, a lot less smoke in the air.

Wouldn’t that be something?

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Written by johnwhays

August 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

Trail Riding

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It has been a very long time since I have ridden my beloved hard-tail mountain bike. So long, in fact, I forgot how much more work it can be compared to my road bike. I bonked yesterday in a 16-plus mile ride with my life-long friend, Paul Keiski, whose biking condition is much stronger than mine.

Luckily, I was still close enough in contact with him to enjoy the spectacle of his slow-motion crash as he let out a little laugh over the predicament of tipping in the direction of the down-slope into the scrappy growth, wheels up, and on his back for a second.

The Makwa singletrack is a hairpin winding hardscrabble trail of big roots and jutting rocks that frequently will bring momentum to an abrupt halt where I would find myself in an unwelcome pedal stand and needing to muster the gumption to somehow kick the bike forward over the obstacle on the incline before me.

Yeah, I got tired. If I was on my road bike, I would coast for a while and catch my breath, but there is little time for relaxed coasting on this kind of trail. Arms constantly flexed, absorbing the concussions with obstacles and desperately working to hold the bike on the trail.

We chose to circle back to our starting point by way of a gravel fire lane road that had been re-graded not too long ago and was softer than preferable. I was already exhausted, but being well aware of the mostly uphill grade we needed to accomplish to get back to the pavement added a psychological burden that caused me to walk up more hills than I care to admit.

I was in the company of a generous friend in Paul, who was very patient and smart enough to have some energy supplements along for the ride which relieved my fatigue for a bit.

The last leg back to our lake place was on the pavement which felt great for the comparative ease but I was acutely aware of the fact this bike lacked the better geometry and larger wheels of my other bike.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my trail bike. It is wonderfully responsive to my moves in the woods and probably saves me from calamity despite my lack of experience on more occasions than not. I only inadvertently wandered off-trail several times when I failed to control my momentum and negotiate a turn, twice successfully carrying on anyway and riding back onto the trail without interruption.

That quick response of the bike made my soft gravel road riding a little squirrelly which only added misery to my fatigue, but overall, I am grateful for the way this old refurbished Trek performs for me.

It deserves to be ridden more often and my skills and conditioning improved enough to do it justice, but I am afraid being on the upper side of 62-years-old has me more inclined to just settle for hopping on the road bike and coasting down paved roads.

Many thanks to Paul for inspiring me to join him in the adventure and adding one more precious trail riding memory to our shared life experiences.

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Protest Exhaustion

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Night after night, we who aren’t out violating curfew instructions just can’t get ourselves to stop watching the uninterrupted live coverage of what is happening in our communities between people protesting police misconduct and the battalions of police and the national guard who are tasked with enforcing regulations. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s one of the points the protesters would be happy is being made. Imagine how exhausting it is to be “living while black.”

Three nights ago in Minneapolis, the drama on our television screens was hours of media coverage revealing overt vandalism, looting, and arson in the unbelievable complete absence of police action. Two nights ago, the scenario changed dramatically in that the freeways around Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed early and a very heavy police and national guard presence showed up within an hour of the curfew to control outcomes.

There were a lot fewer fires.

Last night, there was hope that a full day of peaceful protest would end quietly, but then a maniac driving a semi barreled toward thousands of people crowded onto the 35W bridge, and chaos ensued.

Even after a full night’s sleep, I still feel exhausted by it all.

When can we get back to just worrying about the contagious virus for which we have no vaccine?

When can we get back to concerns over how the millions of people facing financial calamity resulting from the pandemic will keep from going hungry or losing what little possessions they have?

Which came first, the angst of racial oppression or the angst of the pandemic?

One foot in front of the other. One deep cleansing breath at a time. I think we are going to need to figure out the trick of carrying on with everyday life even while exhausted, because the change we need to happen is going to take more time than just a week of overnight riotous protests.

Afternoon naps make a lot of sense in times like this.

We could also work on the visualization of planting our love to the world like a seed in the ground that we feed and nurture and watch as it sprouts and grows into a towering tree. Make it a time-lapse visual, so we don’t have to wait a hundred years for the love to get to its maximum height.

<yawn> I’m going to do my visualization while lying down. With my eyes closed. For a couple of hours. Couple-eight.

Oh for a full night’s sleep again…

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Exhaustion

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

April 30, 2019 at 6:00 am

Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

Exhausted

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Words on Images

Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 21, 2016 at 6:00 am

Inspiration Fades

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It happens. Inspiration will wax and wane. My enthusiasm for this adventure we embarked on at Wintervale is ebbing away.

It has been a tough week for me. Where we once seemed to be enjoying a charmed life here, with progress advancing in surprisingly magical ways and solutions flowing with unexplainable ease, our situation of late has become a lot less mystical.

Have we gone off track somewhere? I don’t know. It’s life. Sometimes there are more problems than solutions for a while.

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for businesses to fail. Ours is simply failing to get started.

Full disclosure, I am writing from a state of overworked exhaustion. Why? Hay. Again. And the thought of facing today’s task of manure management, again.

DSCN4976eI threw 100 bales, 200 times yesterday, loading the borrowed trailer and unloading it. Carrying bales up and up to stack them in our shed. It is an endurance exercise where the climb gets higher as the fatigue grows ever more debilitating. At first, the bales seem light, but at the end, they feel a lot heavier.

Today, I need to move the compost piles to make room for more. Since I returned to the day-job, I haven’t been tending the piles in the daily manner I did when I was home all day. Once, every other weekend, is not cutting it.

It’s a buzz-kill.

Meanwhile, there are dangerous trees that broke off and are hung up in surrounding branches over our trail that I need to get after. And siding that needs to be scraped and stained before winter. On Monday, it will be August. Projects that should happen before winter arrives are beginning to loom large.

And we have yet to get our hay-field cut even one time this summer. It has become a field of weeds that are gleefully sowing their seeds for further domination. That is probably the biggest discouragement. It is why we have needed to trailer in more hay than before and it is the exact opposite direction from growing desirable hay ourselves.

It will go a long way to improving my outlook when that field finally gets cut and the weedy debris removed. We have decided to take a full year from hay production and plan to cut it continuously to stop the cycle of weeds growing to their seeding phase. We may also add some recommended soil enhancers and then plant a custom mix of grass seeds in hopes of achieving our goal of getting good quality hay to grow right at home.

That gives me a year of something to look forward to. More mowing. You know how much I love mowing.

Oh, by the way, our lawn tractor is not holding up to the abuse I put it through. I need to shop for something else. Maybe if I do it right, I’ll end up with a machine that I like so much it will change how I feel about cutting grass.

That’s what it is all about here: grass hay and lawn grass. Who knew I would find myself so fixated on a task to which I held such disdain in my previous years?

No wonder my inspiration has a tendency to fade every so often.

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2016 at 8:18 am

Seriously Tired

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I gotta tell you, this not-working-at-the-day-job thing is incredibly exhausting. Between the shortage of sleep every night and the mixture of home chores and lake place entertainment, I am operating under the influence of some serious tired.

Our departure from home yesterday was late enough that I had a chance to finish all the fence trimming I needed to do before we left. The drive up seemed more laborious than necessary due to several traffic hindering repaving projects underway. We ran into a section where the highway crew had laid down oil on the existing surface in preparation of whatever the next step was going to be, and they then directed traffic to drive on it. What choice do you have at that point?

Shortly after that, we met congestion created by workers painting the lines down the center and shoulders of the new asphalt. It seemed as though we were slowing down as soon as we accelerated out of a previous delay.

With little hesitation after arriving to Wildwood, we donned our swimwear and made our way down to the beach. One sure-fire way to reach serious tired is playing a game of “Last person standing” on the floating RAVE Sports Water-Whoosh. You can’t touch the other competitors as you do everything possible, beyond touching, to knock the other participants down.

Much of the exhaustion comes as a result of the non-stop laughter induced by the game. The rest of the exhaustion is caused by needing to repeatedly climb back up on top of the floating platform. Cyndie captured some fun shots of young Marco and me in action:

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DSC04912eCHIt is a good thing that I am away from home for a couple of days, so I can rest. NOT!

Having a blast can be a lot of work, you know.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

Exhaustion Accumulates

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It happens every time I have been up at the lake. For a week following, my mind is pulled away from the here and now, continually yearning to return to that precious body of water. Our lake has a special allure that is definitely lacking from the otherwise idyllic surroundings of Wintervale.IMG_3832e

It has been a tough week for me at the day-job. I’m so exhausted that I struggle to stay awake during the commute, and my mind has noticeably lacked focus. Poor Katie has had to repeat things multiple times for me, and even then, I’m not sure I’ve properly tracked the pertinent facts.

The added responsibility while Cyndie has been convalescing from her hip procedure has definitely taken a toll on me, and I’m noticing that the effects have been accumulating. I am so looking forward to my vacation of biking and camping with my cycling clan in a couple of weeks. I will be more than ready for the refreshing reset that will provide.

After work yesterday, I was taking care of some mowing. It was a simple enough task, but I found ways to complicate it. The grass is growing so fast now that it had gotten too tall between mowings and I ended up with unwanted rows of clippings laying on top of the grass. I have been long overdue to figure out the sweeper attachment that the seller included in our purchase of the lawn tractor, so I decided to give it a shot.

It actually seemed to work pretty well, until I got stuck when trying to force the tractor over some of the deep ruts that still haunt us from the skid loader tracks left by the fence installers. I had to get off and disconnect the sweeper and then push the tractor out of the ruts. When I went to re-attach the device, I didn’t have the clip that locks the pin through the hitch.

I have absolutely no memory of where I put it when I disconnected it. In a pocket? No. Dropped it on the ground? No sight of it. It vanished into thin air.

As I pulled the sweeper forward over the ruts to bring it up to the tractor again, it dumped all the grass clippings that had been collected. I decided to laugh at the absurdity of my situation and forge on.

I connected the sweeper without the locking clip. At the first jarring bump, of which there are so many they are practically continuous, the pin jumped out and the sweeper fell behind as the tractor got stuck in another rut. I left the sweeper there and drove back to the garage to get a trailer to haul away the grass. That done, I came back, with a borrowed clip, to retrieve the sweeper and bring it back to the garage. In front of the garage, when I disconnected the hitch pin, two metal bushings that the pin passes through both dropped to the pavement. I picked up the one that landed in plain sight and began searching for the other one.

It had vanished. Did it roll? I hunted far and wide. Did it land on the mower deck? Not that I could find. Where the hell…?

Exasperated, I threw in the towel for the night. Simple tasks had gotten just too darn complicated for me.

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2014 at 6:00 am

Practicing Exhaustion

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I am plum beat. Late blog post this a.m. because I went out to feed the horses in a spectacularly beautiful snowstorm and ended up wrestling with gutter and ice problems that I had let accumulate on the drain side of the barn. I was able to easily knock down the drifts and ice buildup on the edge overhanging the gutter that runs across the shelter area for the horses, but the tub we had placed under the downspout on that melty day last week had turned into a pending disaster. Oops, I forgot about it.

There went a couple good hours, donated to draining my strength at a time when there is about two days of plowing and snow clearing facing me. Then it will be back to work full-time next week to cover for my vacationing assistant. It would be a fine time to practice living in the moment, but I am finding myself repeatedly working on mentally psyching myself up for the coming effort.

Sad, because I know better. Alas, I put myself through double the work by focusing on it before it gets here, and then also when I am actually involved in it. Funny how that works.

I think it is related to already being drained by the day I spent getting Cyndie to her surgery and back, and then mentally trying to stay ahead of her trying to do things while she is supposed to lay down and rest. I failed to get the vacuuming done in time and she was ensconced in that chore plus some laundry by the time I got back to the house this morning.

No wonder I’m tired.

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Written by johnwhays

January 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

Posted in Wintervale Ranch

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