Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘humor

Rare Find

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Very few people ever get a chance to see the rare skunk tree in its natural environment. I was taking a shortcut through our woods now that the leaves are down and snuck up behind this specimen before he was able to hide his stripe.

Actually, I think it may have been a Halloween costume. Ever wonder what the trees in the forest are up to when no one is around?

The woods did seem a little spookier than usual last night.

At least it didn’t smell like a skunk outside.

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Written by johnwhays

November 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

Other Mother

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When I married Cyndie, I officially gained my other mother, Marie. At the time, I had no idea what that was going to be like, but my sense was that it would be good. For the prior seven years when Cyndie and I were dating, I had enjoyed time with her family almost as much as with her alone.

Now, thirty-six years later, I can report that my mother-in-law experience has been infinitely better than I could possibly have imagined.

Cyndie’s mother, Marie, is celebrating a milestone birthday today. This morning we are gathering for breakfast at a restaurant to honor the occasion. This is particularly fitting, because family breakfasts under Marie’s skillful direction have been a priceless treat over the years.

If anyone ever happened to express a preference for something, maybe commenting about how they like their eggs prepared, Marie would notice and remember, serving up a perfect variety of versions every year after to assure everyone always gets what they want.

Marie’s balance of being exceptionally adventurous while also nurturing an organized routine of most activities have added depth, and provided stability, to my life as an in-law. We share enough traits to be in sync often, and clash only rarely.

Probably best of all for me, Marie has a keen sense of humor. She is ever so gracious in allowing herself be the target of jabs, while also being wily enough to play along with ever-present silliness and get in a few of her own pokes along the way.

It’s considered bad manners to reveal a lady’s age, so I will avoid blurting it out in public, but let’s just say it’s a good round number that just might have an 8 in it.

Happy Birthday, my other mom. You are terrific!

Keep up the good work.

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Clutter Kept

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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.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Three Chicks

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With John and Cyndie still up north, the chickens will take their turn at guest-blogging for a day. Hold your applause until you’ve actually read their scratching.

Still Surviving

Barred.1: Is this thing on?

Buff: We are typing this out silly, not clucking.

Barred.2: Run away!

Barred.2: Oh. Never mind. Thought I saw the dog.

Barred.1: Please don’t keep doing that. You trigger memories of the massacre.

Buff: Do John’s blog readers know about six/sixteen? Oh how we miss our lost sisters.

Barred.1 & 2 at the same time: [unintelligible]

Buff: But we still have each other.

Barred.2: And we have our safe tree over John’s compost piles, despite their efforts to convince us otherwise.

Barred.1: Why won’t they let us roost there over night? It saved me back on six/sixteen!

Buff: I think they are afraid that snazzy coop John built might go to waste if we don’t sleep in it overnight.

Barred.2: Seems like as soon as you convinced me to join you in that tree they started knocking us out of it with brooms.

Buff: I heard John and Cyndie talking about getting more chickens. I’m not sure what I think about that. She raised us since we were a day old. How do we just accept a flock of strangers into our space?

Barred.1: But maybe they will know how to lay eggs. Then maybe Cyndie would take out those neon plastic ones from the nest boxes that she thought would help us figure it out.

Barred.2: Eggs! Do we have to? I thought we were just supposed to eat bugs. Lord knows, they have enough of them.

Buff: OMG. I can’t eat enough to give those horses a break. The biting flies were harassing them something awful the other day. Legacy almost squished me when he was stomping to shake them loose.

Barred.2: Well, Cyndie has been trying to coax us to the coop at dusk with so many raspberries, I worry about my figure if eat insects all day too.

Barred.1: [squawk!] Hah! I know! But she’s so cute with her sweet little-girl cooing voice, I can’t resist.

Buff: Were we supposed to be writing something for the blog?

Barred.1: What’s a blog?

Barred.2: Some relative thing John does in his spare time, I think.

Buff: They are supposed to be home tonight. We can ask him then.

Barred.2: Can you wait until Cyndie serves up  bedtime treats before you ask?

Barred.1: You’re such a chicken.

Barred.2: Takes one to know one.

Buff: [buc booaaaack!]

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

Dog Speak

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John is out of town for the weekend and has asked the animals to fill in for him for a few days. Today, Delilah gets a chance to “bark,” and to do so without John or Cyndie hollering, “NO!” at her every time she does.

I Didn’t Mean To…

First, I just need to say, that joke about, “Squirrel!!,” …it’s really getting old. I’m sorry if we canines have a heightened sense of chase instinct. Other than that, hello! and consider this my face-wash of a happy dog greeting! There is so much to tell you about now that John has given me this unprecedented access to his blog thingie.

Did you know he asked the cat, Pequenita, to write for today before he asked me? I think he was just trying to be nice to her, because he sees how smitten she is with him. He absolutely knows I totally own her. That’s why he always feeds her first, trying to show me how high and mighty the little meow machine is around here. I see right through him. I can drape my paw over her back any time I want to and she just sits there with a stupid cat expression on her face.

She thinks she’s all that because she gets to roam free all night when I am imprisoned in my crate. Whatever.

What can I say? Dogs and cats. We are what we are.

Now, dogs and chickens… That’s another thing altogether. I didn’t mean to end that chicken’s life when I raced up and grabbed her with the soft grip I’m so practiced at using. When I do that to the baby rabbits around here, they never seem to have a problem with it.

I think the bird probably had a weak heart and couldn’t survive the excitement of seeing me up close. I’m a lot to handle, I know. I get that.

Hold on a second, I need to go bark at the window again. There’s nothing out there, but I still need to do this regularly to make a good impression. I mean, what if there was a rabbit/bird/squirrel/deer/cat/another rabbit/raccoon in the yard and I missed it? What would that do to my reputation?

I’m sorry if I’m panting too much. It gets to be a habit in the summer, between this thick coat I wear all the time and the pent up energy from confinement. Yeah, I brought that full-time leash rule on myself. I admit it.

A girl’s gotta run, you know. And when you’ve got legs like these… combined with my nose! Oy! I don’t blame John & Cyndie for their precaution. <yawn>

Squirrel!!

Dammit. Pretend you didn’t just see that.

I was doing so good for a while there, too. You should know, it’s taken all I can muster to paw out these human-like word sentence things and not just type, “Are they home yet, are they home yet, are they home yet…”

It’s a dog’s life, I tell ya. <bark! bark, bark!>

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Neighing In

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John is out of town for the weekend, and he didn’t want to bring his computer –in order to keep his travels light for flying– so he has asked the animals to fill in for him for a few days. It’s the least they could do, in the face of all the loving care he bestows on them day after day…

The Herd Makes Themselves Heard

Hunter: I’d like–

Legacy: I’ll do the talking, thank you very much. [The three chestnuts instantly defer.] Since John is gone again, we are happy to cover for him on this crazy blog thing he is always pondering on. We can hardly get a word in edgewise through his busy brain when he is toiling away among us because he is constantly ruminating over what wild, exaggerated story he can make up about our behavior.

What? You didn’t think I knew the word ruminating? Flbbblllbbbbhh. Excuse me. I had something in my nose.

Hunter: Can I–

Cayenne: Pardon me, but are we going to graze out in the pasture soon?

Legacy: As I was saying, the stories John writes about us are all blown way out of proportion. The man has no sense of scale. If he would just quiet his mind long enough to recognize the simple intricacies of what we would like to teach him, the tall tales he spins would come back down to earth and finally speak to the wider audience we think our messages deserve.

Hunter: Don’t you–

Dezirea: I just noticed some movement up on that hill beyond the neighbor’s outbuildings. Are any of you concerned?

Legacy: If John would spend a little more time making sure our hay was out here before we want it, and not after, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time staring him down when he walks by. And what the heck is it about his fascination with our feces? But enough about him. I can’t say enough good things about Cyndie. Imagine the things we could accomplish together if she would stop asking all those doctors to do surgeries on her joints. I worry that she might run out of limbs to repair and decide to start in on my aching knobby knees. <cracking sounds>

Hunter: I–

Legacy: Honestly, I’m not the complainer this is starting to make me seem. It’s been a while since I had access to such a wide audience and some of those issues hadn’t been purged for a while. I guess it’s time I should get the herd back to grazing. This place really is a paradise. [Nickering of agreement from the chestnuts.] If you ever have a chance to visit here someday, we would love to meet you. Wintervale is radiating with love and affection. We, the herd, are thrilled to be a part of this great adventure John and Cyndie have going.

As John might be heard to mutter on occasion, Namaste. If I could bring my hooves together in front of my chest, I would. Just picture me nodding my head up and down at you, with emphasis.

Hunter: Bye!

Legacy: I heard that.

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Written by johnwhays

July 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

This Why

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This is why we can’t have a nice paved driveway like the other folks around here whose asphalt looks incredibly well-maintained.

We have an ongoing need for dump-truck loads of lime screenings for our paddocks.

That loaded dump-truck really makes an impression on the land. As he prepared to depart, I asked the driver to NOT center his truck on the driveway on the way out, and instead to run one set of wheels right down the middle. I’ve been trying to do the same with our vehicles ever since his visit last year, but haven’t had much effect on the eruption of cracked pavement the truck left for us that time.

Household discussion last night:

John: “Should I try to spread some lime screenings tomorrow?”

Cyndie: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I pull the T-posts instead?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I move the composted manure out?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I work on dividing the chicken coop?”

C: “Maybe.”

I think she got my point, and seeing as how I wasn’t getting any help with prioritizing, I chose not to continue with the thirteen other things also deserving attention.

It’s a good thing we are so smitten with each other, or these kinds of exchanges would take on additional unstated intentions. In our case, it just added to the love already present. Her refusal to take my bait brought a smile to my face. Our current healthy communication is a return on an investment we made long ago toward a few years of couples therapy.

This is why we can have nice conversations unburdened by alternate unstated agendas.

Well, that and the fact Cyndie gracefully puts up with my endless ribbing. If she wasn’t so saintly, I’d have needed to make myself a bed out in Delilah’s kennel years ago.

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