Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘foibles

October Realities

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There is a feast underway over the decaying roots of the tree we recently removed from the small paddock.

If any of those mushrooms are edible, I don’t think they interest the horses. Our horses chew wood, but not so much the squishy fungi that feed on wood.

We are enjoying a summery October so far. I tried mowing the grass one last time yesterday. That’s the second time this fall I hoped I was cutting for the last time.

It’s a pain because I want to cut the grass short in preparation for the coming snow season but then it keeps growing and gets so long it is hard to cut short again. I took extra time to avoid excessive clippings laying around and also cut at an odd angle to offer the turf a break from the natural ruts forming where the tractor repeatedly rolled throughout most of the cutting season.

It looks pretty good today. Now if the growth would just go dormant, that’d be just great.

Just to push the universe in that direction, I drained the oil from the engine after I was done mowing. I’d love it if I could also drain the gas and park the machine until next spring.

I was hoping to be fastidious about the oil change and was very pleased to be able to drain it while the oil was hot. With pan in place, I attached the extending hose to the not-very-reliable plastic drain apparatus and pulled the piece open. A little oil leaked onto the frame and then the extending hose came loose and dropped into the pan of hot oil.

While rushing to try getting the hose reattached, the entire plastic piece pulled off and oil got all over the frame and ran along the edge to drip almost beyond the pan below. That had me racing to wipe oil while adjusting the pan while inadvertently getting the rag in the primary stream of draining oil.

Fastidious, it was not.

It didn’t really wreck my mood because that had already been smashed by having gotten the rubber clipping deflector on the end of the deck caught against a fence post on an incline and wrenching it out of position. If I would have simply stopped to get off and reposition the tractor, calamity could have been averted. But, no, I forged ahead and suffered the consequences of my bullheadedness.

Maybe all the bullheadedness of so many people refusing to accept reality is rubbing off on me.

I’m going to be able to clean up spilled oil, I’ll figure out a way to fix the clippings deflector, and I will strive to be open-minded about the possibility our grass will continue growing in October 2021.



Picture Stories

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How much of the story can a picture convey? That depends on many things, but in this case, I have to say this image fails to depict all of the pertinent details.

I expect it is obvious that some painting occurred here. The deck of Cyndie’s parents’ house was redone recently and as a finishing touch (which wasn’t in the job plan) the contractor added a new baseboard. The guy made a run to a lumber retailer to purchase the wood, installed it, and left the task of painting it to the homeowners.

Cyndie and I are spending the weekend here so Cyndie could accompany her mom to an outpatient appointment, and then battle mightily to persuade Marie to convalesce long enough for an incision to heal. There was no sign of any slowing down upon their arrival home yesterday. Her mom was lifting things and bending over to reach into low cupboards as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

For my part, and relating more to the image above, I was able to contribute by tending to this minor nuisance of unfinished wood. I learned about the project at breakfast, when Fred checked on my availability and announced he had masking tape and the spray paint at the ready.

I’m not really a spray paint guy, but how hard can it be? I ruffled through the bag of meager clothing I’d packed for the weekend to find a shirt I wouldn’t mind getting paint on and opted for shorts and bare feet to tackle the job. Unfortunately, I failed to consider that the composite boards would get as hot as beach sand in the beating sun while I was out there.

I thought it would be a nice “present” for Marie if the job happened while she was unaware, so I started as soon as possible after they departed for her appointment and strove to push my pace in hopes of making quick work of the job. Despite the occasional breeze. While keeping one eye on the day-job email account. Stopping to take a call from the pest control guy who was searching for our window well back home.

After I gave out a credit card number authorizing the plan to trap a suspected woodchuck in Beldenville, it was time to commit myself to my own entrapment on the deck. The new baseboard ran beneath the sliding door to the house, so when I applied tape and paper across that opening, I was stuck until the paint was applied.

About that point, my back muscles started to twinge. Then, my feet and knees started to burn. Then, the spray paint started to drip around the nozzle. I’d not prepared properly for dripping from the can. All I had available was some of the used newspaper to try wiping up.

I didn’t think about what accumulating paint around the nozzle would do when following the instructions to continually shake the can throughout the painting.

I didn’t know it would be hot enough that I would start dripping sweat.

Alas, I survived, everything was cleaned up before Marie and Cyndie arrived home, and the deck looks appropriately finished.

There are pertinent details which that image above definitely does not convey.



Written by johnwhays

September 7, 2019 at 8:14 am

One Second

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What is the shortest memory span possible? If I am remembering this right, I think I may have just experienced it.

Honestly, I forgot something one second after it happened. How is that even possible? Multitasking, I guess. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember exactly what may have distracted me while I was putting wood on the fire Saturday morning.

Two logs. That’s as complicated as this task was. I opened the fireplace doors and tossed the first one on the remnants of glowing coals. On contact, a red-hot ember popped out and landed right in front of me on the stone hearth.

Without hesitation, I chose to place the second piece of wood before sweeping up the errant ember.

I leaned forward to place the second half-log on top of the first, balancing myself against the heft by reaching out and pressing my hand firmly onto the hearth.

The searing pain of the glowing ember stabbed through my finger as my mind instantly realized what I had just done.

One second earlier, I had watch the hazard appear. In the time it took for me to switch to thinking about placing the next piece of wood, I forgot about the ember? Seriously? Is that even possible?

It’s embarrassing. Luckily, it is also a little funny, albeit painful. So, I’m laughing over the insanity of it, and sharing it for your amusement, too.

If ever there was a “D’oh” moment, this was one.

I have no idea how I succeeded in getting burned in two places on that finger, as the ember was about the size of a single blister. Somehow my reflex reaction, after I was able to shift my weight back off that hand, must have caused a double contact.

The involuntary curse that erupted was equally a result of the pain, as it was over my having noted, and then forgotten, the ember in such a ridiculously short span of time.

Color me easily distracted.



Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2018 at 6:00 am