Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘memory

Completely Forgot

with 2 comments

My poor brain can’t keep up. I expect it must be dropping old information out the back each time I try to stash something new in the front. I was just blessed with an opportunity to discover that I had forgotten entirely about a very valuable lesson learned through experience. I even blogged about it at the time for good measure. Granted, this was from 5-and-a-half years ago, but still…

In a humorous message exchange yesterday with my friend, Rich Gordon, I thought he had me mistaken for someone else. He had asked “What’s the best stuff to use to lubricate my garage door springs? I saw you had a repairman over recently.”

No. No, I haven’t had anyone here recently. I guessed that he had me confused with someone else. My response was to answer with a smartass quip in jest, figuring he would notice he meant that for someone else.

When he came back to ask in all seriousness, we discovered the miscue. Rich questioned his sanity for thinking he had just read about this in my blog and that triggered my scouring the “Previous Somethings” archive for the time our door spring broke. I confirmed that I did write about it, just not recently.

I’m guessing the old post from November of 2014 probably showed up as an auto-generated link of similar post suggestions that Rich inadvertently clicked without realizing he was delving so far into the archives.

As I reread my old writing, I was embarrassed to see I had clearly pointed out the need to lubricate the garage door spring, but soon after, I completely forgot anything about it. Out of sight, out of mind, even though I use our garage doors almost every day.

The icing on the cake of this whole memory failure appeared in the comments under that original post. Way back then, Rich and I already had this same discussion about what to use for lubricating the spring.

Guess what just moved up near the top of my home maintenance “to-do” list?

Garage door springs are not something that should be included in the category of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” chores. Somehow, I spaced this one out entirely. It’s nice to have gotten a laugh out of it, but there’s an element of nervous laughter threaded through it. The power of those springs and the amount of weight they are counter-balancing is not something to be trifled with.

Now, if I could somehow figure out what important detail just dropped from my memory after bringing the door spring back to the front, that would be just great.

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Living History

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With the onset of this current global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial repercussions underway, it is becoming obvious the incidents and impacts of these days will be noted in historical records for future reference. What is it like to live through national or global newsmaking events as they are happening?

I don’t really know.

And I’ve lived through plenty of them.

Life just seems to go on. People who don’t lose their lives or family members and friends find ways to adjust to temporary impacts on normal routines and employ a wide range of coping mechanisms to get on with doing whatever needs to be done. In the moments, it often doesn’t seem quite so historic on the personal level. It’s the collective impact of large segments of a population and the subsequent mass media accounting of details that tend to provide a bigger significance to things.

Even with that, being alive during historic circumstances never seems to feel as significant in the moment for me as I expect it should.

In my life, the impacts of newsworthy events haven’t been particularly acute. They are often shocking, such as the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster or the terrorist attacks against the United States in September of 2001, but none completely life-altering. Even for Cyndie, who was flying frequently in 2001, the change to her routine was short-lived with respect to the immediate grounding of flights for a time and then only minorly impacted after flights resumed.

I remember the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee by followers of the American Indian Movement and feeling like it was a significant event at the time, but it was really just a story on the news from where I lived.

As the 444 days of the Iran hostage crisis played out between 1979-1981, it felt awful to carry on with my activities as if nothing was amiss, but there really was no noticeable impact on my life beyond seeing a lot of yellow ribbons tied around trees in symbolic support of the hostages.

In 2008, there was what is now referred to as “the Great Recession” which just might end up comparing to the current financial “correction” in the markets. It’s possible we are about to experience the recession of 2020. Maybe it won’t be as “great.” I somehow plodded through the years surrounding the Great Recession with minor suffering. My net worth wasn’t so large that I had all that much value to lose and we were lucky enough to be in a position that our homeownership wasn’t threatened.

Somewhere in my collection of family history, I have the original “Quarantine” sign that was attached to my father’s home when he was [I believe] 12-years-old and contracted polio. That seems like a significant event for my father and his family, yet I don’t recall him ever mentioning it. The amount of subsequent paralysis he experienced from that was virtually imperceptible. Without my mother having mentioned it and giving me the sign the family had saved from his door, I wouldn’t have known.

I don’t really know what it’s like to live through historic events, even though that’s what I’m doing right now.

Maybe it’s simply like living the life that I’m living.

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Written by johnwhays

March 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Happy

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would you do me a favor
and loan me that smile
for as long as I can remember it
deep into the darkness
of hours and days
away from the laughter
that lights up your eyes
when we are happy
and in love
stupendously in love
but more importantly just
incredibly
happy

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Written by johnwhays

October 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

More Boards

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Are you sick of reading about our deck yet? I’m afraid this do-it-yourself project isn’t one we can conquer quickly, so the subject drags on. Yesterday’s weather allowed us to get back out there and drive a few more screws, but working in short stints like this will result in the end achievement coming in weeks instead of days.

Today I’m back commuting to the day-job, so decking is on hold for a while.

Yesterday, Cyndie and I ran into a few hiccups that kept our progress from soaring ahead into brag-worthy results, but we are both perfectly satisfied with what we accomplished in the time we were able to be out there.

On the plus side, the battery charger that seemed like it wasn’t working on Friday lit up yesterday with a perfect flashing green LED. I don’t know what made the difference, but my drill driver was very happy to have two chargers feeding its batteries again.

The biggest hassle was losing one of the three spacer boards we had been using. It suddenly disappeared and despite searching for too long, there was no sign of it anywhere. I finally gave in and we walked to the shop garage to hunt for another spacer.

Fifteen minutes later, after dropping yet another spacer under the deck, Cyndie found the first one we had lost was hung up down there behind a joist.

At least that made sense for where it had disappeared to because I was starting to worry I had absentmindedly set it down somewhere when I stepped inside the house or thrown it down on the pile of old rotten boards without realizing it.

I have forgotten enough things lately that this seemed like it could too easily have been another lapse by my feeble mind.

Since that wasn’t the case, I’m giving myself a clean slate and ready to assume my memory is sound.

My body, on the other hand, will be happy to have a break from the weekend of hard labor. Now it’s back to trying to stay alert on the long commutes to and from work for a few days.

Instead of focusing on more boards, I will be managing becoming more bored with the hours of driving.

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Written by johnwhays

October 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

Mental Mixups

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I’m not sure how a person can know when they are actually at the top of their game, but I have a pretty good idea when I’m not achieving peak performance out of my mind. The shortcomings have come in series for me lately in a repeating pattern that is becoming difficult to miss.

Although, missing things is one of the shortcomings I am noticing. The thing with that is, it makes me suddenly wonder if there are other things I missed when individual errors pop up. It gets my mind all mixed up.

Is any of this related to the song stuck in my head since Sunday morning? While making breakfast that morning, I heard Kris Kristofferson’s version of “Me and Bobby McGee.” Later in the afternoon, while I was mowing the lawn, it was Janis Joplin’s voice “ear-worming” over and over in my mind.

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…

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I found it interesting that my mind jumped to Janis’ version, but not that surprising. It’s the one I’ve heard the most. What seems odd to me is how long it has hung around.

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I’d trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday…

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Then my poor brain got stretched into next year. Did you know 2020 is a leap year and Christmas will be on a Friday?

(Just to emphasize my point, while writing that, I asked Cyndie if she knew 2020 is a leap year. She said, “You already asked me that an hour ago.”)

One of my challenges with the day-job is the need to function far from the immediate moments and plan the future. Yesterday I was forced to print out a calendar for 2020 to assign dates into January. No wonder my mind gets mixed up.

It’s a wonder I ever know what day it is.

On the way home from work yesterday, I forgot to get gas in the car.

I sure hope I haven’t forgotten anything else important this week.

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Memory

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2019 at 6:00 am

Sad Laughter

with 4 comments

It wasn’t funny, but we found ourselves laughing over the absurdity. I feel a need to rationalize this tale of Cyndie’s-and-my-collective-failure, with more detail than is probably necessary. For those who prefer a “too-long; didn’t read” synopsis: Cyndie sold our ATV trailer, but I had no intention of letting it go.

The confusion between us goes back in two phases: to last year, when I sold our old lawn tractor, and to our current “passing in the night” level of connection lately.

I will give her credit for remembering that there was a trailer I told her we didn’t need anymore. That would have been last fall, when I sold it, along with the old Craftsman lawn tractor. Unfortunately, last week, when she was preparing to sell anything that wasn’t permanently affixed to the barn, she came upon the ATV trailer.

She thought it was the one I didn’t need.

I wrote that she converted the barn into an equine boutique, but among all the horse care products, saddles, and tack, there was fencing equipment, pitch forks, a 100 gallon stock tank, …and a trailer. I didn’t notice it at first.

So, the day after she gets the barn all set up, she flies to Dallas for a conference, notifying me that I had two appointments to cover, for people interested in our sale. I described this at work: My wife went out-of-town, leaving me home alone, and scheduled two appointments for women to come over and give me money.

The response was, “Isn’t that illegal?”

The first customer arrived Thursday night and spotted the trailer that I hadn’t even noticed was there. I told them that wasn’t for sale, and we joked about my wife selling things out from under me. Later, while pouring through multiple printouts of items and prices that Cyndie put together, I found that she did  list the trailer for sale. I was flabbergasted.

She got home in the middle of the night, Friday, and as I wrote yesterday, the morning was all about the weirdness of the fraudulently purchased packages. (One more arrived in the mail yesterday.) While Cyndie was in the middle of frying eggs for breakfast, there was a knock at the door. It was a shopper for horse stuff.

I stayed in the house, grateful to no longer be responsible for trying to price Cyndie’s sale for friendly strangers who want a better deal. A short time later, Cyndie returned and I good-naturedly asked if she sold anything.

There it was.

She sold the trailer, among other things.

“WHAT!!”

I blame myself for not moving it out of the barn immediately when I discovered it. But, it was wedged behind a table of items and I didn’t want to mess up her wonderfully arranged displays. I should have put a sign on it that said, “Sold.”

I should have brought this up for discussion the moment she got home. While we cursed, whimpered, and laughed over what had just happened, I could see the moment she figured out the trailer I didn’t want was the other one. Understandably, she feels just awful now.

That trailer would have come in handy for a couple of chores I did yesterday.

We’ll probably use some money from her horse stuff sale to buy a replacement for the trailer she sold.

I’m trying to laugh about it, …to keep from crying. Sometimes, life imitates sitcoms.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2019 at 6:00 am

Drip

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

Visiting Horses

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Yesterday we made the drive west to reconnect with our horses in their new (old) location. For me, it was my first opportunity to see them since the day they were relocated. It was wonderful, …and a little heartbreaking.

I was beginning to adjust to the void left by their absence. It was a treat to hold them again and breath in their smell, but it also touched a sensitive nerve.

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Dezirea looked great. When we arrived at the far side of the big pasture, we weren’t sure how the groups of horses had been arranged. It was the middle of the day and the horses were looking ready for a nap in the sun. There was a group of seven horses in the big field, most of them far enough away that we couldn’t make a positive identification.

After we started approaching the closest group, two geldings made a point of coming to greet us. In an instant, we made new friends. Slowly, others wandered near, but without crowding us uncomfortably. Meanwhile, one horse stayed against the far fence, focused on horses in the paddocks below.

None of the six that had come toward us were ours, so my attention was on that last horse. We kept walking. Eventually, we spotted that freshly trimmed tail. It had to be Dezirea, but, surprisingly, she didn’t turn around to show us her face until we had gotten very close.

Once she did, it was an emotional rush to see her reaction of recognition.

After spending some time with her and her posse of geldings, we headed off to check on Cayenne and Hunter. I think they are who she was fixated on as she stood against the far fence. The younger two horses had been moved down to a paddock by the barn.

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Hunter approached us right away, but soon decided he was more interested in some hay on the far side of the paddock. We soaked up as much of Cayenne as possible in the time we had.

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Finally, we headed across to pal around with Hunter. He was very much his old self, showing us the yummy hay was just as valuable as our surprise visit.

It was really great to see the three of them again, despite the renewed pangs of loss we feel over their absence from our place. I’m glad they had this chance to know we are still connected to them, even though won’t see each other every day.

I very much appreciate their ability to live in the moment. They accepted our time together without concern for the past or the future. It made for a very precious visit.

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Written by johnwhays

April 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Looks Wrong

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This just looks wrong for a mid-January landscape in the Northland. When the sun came out for our afternoon walk, I was struck by how uncharacteristic the view was. I have only needed to plow the driveway once this season. It feels very strange.

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When Delilah and I were surveying the pasture for hazardous ice on Saturday, we instead found artistic ice formations.

I love these lines.

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One last thing that looks wrong this year, the white horse is missing from our herd.

In loving memory…

            LEGACY

7/18/1996 – 1/14/2018

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Written by johnwhays

January 14, 2019 at 7:00 am