Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘humor

My Workplace

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I don’t mean to boast, but for those of you who are forced to work under harsh fluorescent lighting, walk on static-generating commercial-grade carpet, or stand on cold tile or hard concrete floors surrounded by dreary walls, my experience is worlds away from yours. My workplace is the great outdoors with all the sights, sounds, and smells that come with that.

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Written by johnwhays

November 17, 2022 at 7:00 am

Who’s Boss

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These days I’m on my own in tending to the horses and we have added a third feeding at mid-day to their routine. As a result, I am singularly tasked with managing two different serving sizes among the four horses. The general routine we have tried to maintain has involved closing the upper gates temporarily to break them into pairings of Light and Mia on the left and Swings and Mix on the right.

Oftentimes, they arrange themselves perfectly after they see us coming, but not always. Although, even if they start in the desired positions, it is pretty common for at least one of them to decide they need to go check on the other pan on their side, just in case it tastes better.

Or something like that. It would not be beyond them to also be flaunting a little dominance when they are feeling it.

The last couple of days I have taken to showing the interlopers that I am the boss of all of them. For example, Mix eats slower and gets served a larger portion than Swings. When Swings decides it’s time to saunter over and nudge Mix off her pan, I have been taking the pan away from Swings and serving it back to Mix, holding it while she tries to finish.

There can be one or two more maneuvers that transpire but it seemed to me yesterday that Swings was starting to recognize my intent and accept it without protest.

When circumstance has allowed, I have also experimented with changing who gets paired or switching to three horses on one side and one horse on the other. Since Mix and Mia both get the same-sized portion of feed, I like having them together on one side. Then I don’t have to care if any of the four try to switch.

We grant these horses so much autonomy that it is refreshing to occasionally brandish my authority with enough clarity that they have no reasons to doubt who the boss is when Cyndie and/or I show up.

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For The Record: Lest there be any confusion resulting from the fact our home is located in Wisconsin, *this* John W. Hays is now and always has been a Minnesota Vikings guy. Sometimes I have been inclined to whisper that fact instead of showing it off proudly. After a performance like the one yesterday against NFL’s second-ranked Buffalo Bills, where the Vikings came from behind and then survived an overtime battle culminating in an endzone interception to win 33–30, I just wanted to make sure nobody was mistaking me for a Green Bay Packer backer. Especially since I couldn’t bear to watch the last drive in overtime by Buffalo and took Delilah for a walk and fed the horses.

[silly grin]

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

Getting Swampy

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We haven’t put out our rain gauges yet because the nighttime temperatures have continued to drop below freezing with annoying regularity. As a result, I don’t know how many inches of rain have fallen in the last few days but Friday some of our drainage ditches were flowing incredibly high so we’ve received a significant amount.

In deference to the conditions we are experiencing, I fixed the Wintervale logo.

We might as well call the place, Wintervale Swamp.

There is even a new lake that formed in the small paddock. I don’t know if it will show up in the satellite view, but if the DNR allows it, I think we should call it “Willow Lake” for the tree under which it formed.

For as much of a disaster the excess moisture is for the paddocks, the lawn above it is looking mighty happy and has greened up noticeably in the last few days.

For the time being, we are keeping the horses off the pasture grass to give it a chance to recover from winter before facing the heavy pressures of their hooves and voracious grazing. They can see and smell the greening and the growing and I think it is making them increasingly tired of flakes of baled hay.

I certainly don’t want to have things dry up to a crisp and turn into a drought, but it sure would be nice to move things closer to a happy medium. Any name changes to “swamp” are meant to be very temporary.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2022 at 8:30 am

Horses Shedding

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It’s that time of year when horsehair starts showing up everywhere. When you touch them, their hair gets on your gloves. When you rub them, the shedding hair gets in the air. With hair floating on the wind, it gets in your face. If you reach up to swipe the hair from your face, you get more hair than you bargained for.

Case in point:

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Cyndie’s brother, Steve, paid me a visit while his sister is in Florida. We stopped by a paddock gate to visit with the horses and found several of them showing interest in allowing us to give them scratches. Swings stopped by first. She stood for a bit with her nose just at the gate, breathing in our scent. I turned away for a moment and when I looked back, she had stepped forward and was reaching her head completely over the gate.

Steve and I both happily obliged her willingness and rubbed our gloved hands on her head and neck where she seemed to want some scratching action.

Upon receiving her fill, Swings stepped away and Mix moved in for her own dose of similar attention. Mix has a bit of a runny nostril and appeared to think Steve’s jacket served as a fine “tissue” for wiping her nose. Undaunted, Steve served her up a good massage around her head, coming away with two hands full of Mix’s hair.

Steve was playing in a hockey tournament in River Falls this weekend.

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I was able to show up and watch their first game on Friday night and then Steve and I visited a sports bar with live music on Main Street for a late dinner. He came back to our house to spend the night before heading back to River Falls for his second game, after a leisurely morning that included a walk with Delilah and the time with our horses.

Hopefully, Steve wasn’t still finding horsehair clinging to him while he was trying to chase the puck around in game two. I stayed home to enjoy all the shedded hair showing up in our house, and on my clothes, stuck to my boots, on our furniture, getting in my mouth, blowing like tumbleweed across the paddocks…

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Written by johnwhays

March 20, 2022 at 10:22 am

Frank Discussion

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Delilah: Wrrello, wrreveryone. Today, Pequenita-the-teaser-cat and I have grabbed the blog controls from He-who-succumbs-to-our-every-wish to share our observations of his mysterious change in behavior in the last 20 or so light and dark cycles.

Pequenita: Rrrreow come you get to go first, you tiresome bark-annoyance creature? I’m the one who sleeps in the crook of his knees and knows exactly when he gets up in the night and, well… does you know what.

D: Because I am taller than you, you wee little meowing machine.

P: Momma said you are supposed to treat me like I’m your sister, so be nice.

D: You started the name-calling, just like you usually start the chaos that gets me yelled at every time I respond to your goading from just out of their sight. You know I can’t resist my canine instincts to act like I’m going to eat you alive.

P: Oh, so it’s all about you. Everything is always about you. Meow me a river. We are supposed to be talking about the craziness around here since blog-man stopped driving off in his gas machine for hours on end every day allowing me to get decent sleep while the sun is up. Now I have to keep hopping up on the recliner to knead his belly multiple times an hour to see if he’s still alive.

D: Oh, yeah. Reading that electronic version of the good old newspaper that I never get a chance to chew on. Luckily, I don’t waste time chewing papers now that I can find a discarded deer leg or mystery scat surprises on the trails every day. For some reason, they are so much more enticing when they are frozen. Probably the crunching sound that makes it so appealing. That, and my uncontrollable instinct, I suppose.

P: It’s not like you don’t get fed twice each day without fail.

D: No different from you, salmon-breath.

P: At least I don’t eat my puke. Not that I’d have a chance, with you, in a frenzy, streaking in to happily enact “Cleanup in aisle 3!” before anyone gets a chance to blink.

D: What can I say? My nose knows… So, back to what’shisname, I gotta say this trend of acting like he’s taking me for a walk and then snapping my leash to the nearest hook while he marches back and forth to the shop and the barn or hay shed has me a little confused. They pack me up and drive me to holiday gatherings. They squeeze me beside luggage and drive to some snowy Arctic forest where I get to frolic like a puppy and then turn around and bring me right back home like nothing happened. Then he goes nowhere. Just hangs around all day like he owns the place.

P: Not even close. I totally own the place.

D: I think he might be confused. I bark and bark and bark to try to bring him to his senses but he acts like a squirrel is just no big thing.

P: I believe it is because he is tired again.

D: What do you mean?

P: I heard him tell someone he is re-tired. [prrrrrrr]

D: BARK! BARK-BARK!

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Written by johnwhays

January 12, 2022 at 7:00 am

Mouse House

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If you have ever heard anyone who owns a log home say their place is sealed tight against rodent intrusion, feel free to question their grip on reality. We could crawl around our foundation day and night, scale the walls to inspect every inch around the soffits, and climb to the peak of our stone chimney and still, I wouldn’t think we’d identified every teeny space of potential access.

We are well into the season of incoming mice and Pequenita is only doing her bare minimum to fatally “play” with the surprise toys. The other night it was hour after hour of romping around our bedroom floor, talking to her latest playmate while Cyndie and I feigned solid sleep in maximum avoidance mode. I was just sleepily aware enough in the morning to only step partway onto the cold, dead remains before catching myself and stopping.

Two nights ago, just after lights out in the bedroom, some busy rodent started making its presence known with repetitive scratching/chewing in the attic space above our ceiling.

Last night, as Cyndie was working on her laptop at the dining room table, something fell from one of the log beams in the ceiling by the front sunroom. It was a mouse.

From my position in the bathroom shower at the time, I heard muffled stomping and banging that instantly had me wondering what in the heck could be going on out there. Then, the sound of Cyndie saying something affectionate to Delilah. I assumed they were engaged in an energized activity to drain some dog energy before the end of the day.

Soon after, Cyndie pops in to announce, “I have a story for you.”

She grabbed a fly swatter and garbage bin that were right there and tried to capture the mouse. Delilah noticed what was going on and jumped up to help. It was Delilah who caught the mouse. Then, our canine carnivore wasted no time in consuming her prize before Cyndie had even a second to decide what to do about it.

I think that was the moment I heard Cyndie offering the dog a kind word.

After my shower, I came into the bedroom to find our cat contentedly curled up on the dog bed, clueless about being one-upped by the dog in the mouse control department.

Cyndie has contacted our pest control service again. “No, it’s not another woodchuck. Nope, not a nest of bees in the ground. Uh uh, not raccoons again. Not bats. Not this time, anyway. Now it’s just a plain old mouse problem.”

They won’t need directions to our house.

Is there such a thing as kevlar shrink wrap? If it came in a wood grain pattern, that would be cool. Just cover our whole house like the blue stuff they stretch over boats to winterize them.

You’d think the multiple prowling neighbor cats would do a better job of controlling the mouse population around here. Come to think of it, that could be increasing the incentive for mice to find new ways inside.

I’m sure pest control will be happy to invoice extensive time and effort to de-mouse our log house.

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Written by johnwhays

November 4, 2021 at 6:00 am

Last Last

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Honestly, even if the grass continues to grow, I refuse to mow in November. Yesterday will be the last “last time” that I mow this season. I’ve already mowed for what I hoped was the last time this fall three other times. Admittedly, the first “last time” was hopeful thinking that didn’t pan out. The rest could’ve/should’ve been the end of growing blades but warm sunshine and some rain have kept the grass happy and active.

Yesterday, I almost wasn’t able to finish what I started. Just after I got done cutting the front yard and was working my way around to the back, the mower shut down on me. I wondered if it was making a statement about also wanting to be done for the season. It was certainly the coldest air temperature I’ve been out mowing in –mid 40s(F)– so I wouldn’t blame the tractor for not liking it.

Turned out that it was a fuse that didn’t want to be forced to work on Halloween.

Now it’s November and that means deer hunting season is near. Already, the sound of gunshots is an almost daily experience as neighboring farmers are adjusting their sights and perfecting their technique in preparation for the big day. Delilah is ferocious about wanting to defend us from the sound of a rifle “carrrrack!” She rushes toward the sound until her leash abruptly hits its limit, barking all the way.

Then she barks some more. As in, over and over again, ad nauseam. Poor girl almost barked herself hoarse yesterday.

With the majority of our trees now void of their leaves, the sound of gunshots travels from miles around us, so it’s not just the next-door neighbors we are hearing from.

At least Delilah quieted down enough while on a walk that we were able to sneak up on a flock of turkeys that were hanging out in our field near the road. They initially thought about running away and then took to the air toward an unplanted field to our north, offering a gorgeous display of the emergency version of wild turkey flight.

The turkeys were probably loving that I had cut the grass short down by the road.

In case they are wondering, that’s the last “last time” I’m going to do that this year.

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Written by johnwhays

November 1, 2021 at 6:00 am

Disinformation Averse

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I assume that no one intends to become misinformed but it sure seems like there are a lot of people with a propensity to gobble up disinformation like it was candy. Speaking of candy, has it become universally recognized yet that early health campaigns by the sugar industry weren’t on the up and up when it came to weight gain?

In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat…

Those of us (me) at Relative Something do our (my) best to avoid spreading false information and always avoid using algorithms to direct my most outrageous posts to the forefront. There are no angry emoji’s added to trigger more engagement and keep eyes on these pages for the sole purpose of gorging on profits.

While I will admit to occasionally enhancing reality when it comes to tales involving our amazing wonderdog, Delilah, I strive to describe our Wintervale adventures with utmost accuracy.

Like that giant tree that slammed to the ground across one of our trails yesterday.

It must have made an enormous crashing sound that probably worried our neighbors, if any of them were out. I love that Cyndie described the location as “cow corner” when she texted me the photo. This is near the one corner of our property where four different owners’ fence lines meet and the pasture diagonal to our land is home to a good-sized herd of cows.

I try not to get tangled in the ongoing, always see-sawing debates over whether coffee is good or bad for health, or eating eggs every day, or one glass of red wine, or reading in low light or on a lighted mobile device. Should gerrymandering be allowed or not? Is pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps really a viable fix for what ails us? Does hypocrisy in a politician reveal a flaw in their trustworthiness? Is the uncontrolled urge to scroll social media apps detrimental to our healthy productivity?

It all depends on who is financing the research, no?

If U.S. lawmakers somehow actually succeed in getting our wealthy citizens to pay a reasonable share of taxes, will it be rich people who have the greatest say in where the funds will be used?

Luckily, there is no confusion about the logic of vaccinating or the risks of uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels for decades on end.

Those topics are totally disinformation averse. Yeah, no.  -_-

You can trust me to be genuine because I know how to make things up that don’t bring me political power or financial gain.

Unbelievable, I know. Like how I needed to risk my fingers prying Delilah’s jaw open to force her to give up the shard of bone she found from what was left of that deer leg as we were about to depart from the lake. Suddenly my hands –all fingers intact– were covered with a stink that triggers a gag reflex and the water had just been shut off in the cabin.

Some things I write actually happened.

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Olympic Influence

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The 2020 Olympic summer games are over but after having watched daily competitions for over two weeks, the residual influence is strong. Yesterday afternoon, I was cutting the grass beneath our fenceline using the power trimmer. Beneath ear-muff hearing protection that also has a metal mesh face shield, my world gets reduced to the ground immediately in front of me and little else.

While trimming away, there was a moment where I thought I might have heard an uncharacteristic sound. I took a quick glance over my shoulder to see if there was anyone in sight and was immediately reminded of Olympic marathoners doing the same turn of their heads as they tried to check the competition behind them.

In the split second of feeling a connection to the competing Olympic runners, I had a thought that power trimming could become one of the new sports they add in the future.

There could be categories separating light trimming around features in a front yard –similar to short distance races– and thick field grass trimming under a fence –similar to running a marathon.

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Performance can be timed or judged, or probably both.

Points taken off if you nick the fence post or leave uncut tufts around them. That would be like when divers make a splash as they enter the water.

Why stop with just power trimming? All the property management chores could become Olympic competitions. Kicking manure piles in the field can be rather sporting. Changing engine oil in a lawn tractor. Sharpening a chainsaw blade. Repairing a busted fence. Oh, pounding down frost-heaved fence posts would be a good one.

Might as well expand the focus to include a competition of commuting an hour to a day job. Fastest time without speeding more than 9MPH over posted speed limits takes the gold. Must be accident-free and can receive bonus points if no other drivers are made angry throughout the entire drive.

I’m sure televised broadcasts of the competitions would inspire kids to want to become farm chore professionals when they grow up.

I wish I could take this thought exercise of Olympic comparison all the way to the part where the hard work only lasts for two weeks and then there is a great big party with fireworks and drone-shaped patterns in the sky.

Lots of laughter and selfies, maybe a few hugs from strangers.

It’s a nice distraction from reality. My reality early yesterday morning involved a certain cat who apparently missed me over the weekend. Pequenita made a point of walking up my body to head-butt my face and knead my chest starting at 3:30 a.m. and repeated the exercise again at 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, & 6:00.

I foiled her annoying shenanigans this morning by getting out of bed at 4:30 to do my planking and stretching routine before work.

Come to think of it, maybe Pequenita just forgot that I now work from home on Mondays and she thought I needed to get up that early.

She probably thinks she’s in some cat Olympics, competing in the “Manage Your Human” event.

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Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2021 at 6:00 am

Whatever

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This afternoon I leave for my bike trip.

‘Nuff said.

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2021 at 6:00 am