Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Pequenita

Managing Well

with 2 comments

We managed to survive the coldest weekend so far this winter without too much trouble. Our heated waterer for the chickens didn’t fare so well, though. Cyndie brought it inside to thaw and tried a second time, but when it froze again, we put the backup unit into use.

I took advantage of the brittleness of frozen firewood logs and busted a bunch of them open on the manual splitter.

Full disclosure: That graphic wasn’t from this weekend. I keep my hat on when the windchill is minus-25°(F). Still, the exercise generates plenty of body warmth. Another reason I don’t need a gym membership for working out.

The ol’ Norwegian Smart-Splitter® is ideal for making kindling. Snaps off little bite sized pieces with one stroke. I push the limits a little bit and use it along with a separate wedge to split full-sized logs. Takes a few extra throws of the weight to coerce the more stubborn logs. If you look close, the once-yellow wedge is stuck in the wood beside the green wedge of the Smart Splitter. I’ve got a maul in my left hand and I switch back and forth between the two to increase expansion pressure until the wood finally gives.

Even though the wood was easier to split, I was less interested in being outside long enough to get it all done. Truth be told, I had a greater urge to lean back with my feet up in the recliner under a snuggly blanket.

Happily, Pequenita felt similar to me about spending the rest of the day on the recliner.

That’s what I call managing well to deal with a crazy, bitterly cold day.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 15, 2021 at 7:00 am

Humorless Grind

leave a comment »

Here’s the thing. Given a choice between being serious or having a laugh, I choose the laugh every time. Unfortunately, a year into a deadly pandemic, I’m finding it harder and harder to encounter the amount of funny that I prefer in a typical day.

I suppose part of it is a natural result of Cyndie and me shutting ourselves in at home weekend after weekend. Laughing at ourselves gets a little old after a while when that’s the only humor we are finding. I should probably scour our bookshelves for something written by Dave Barry or my anthologies of Berkeley Breathed’s “Bloom County” comics.

Despite some people’s best efforts, jokes about facemasks or social distancing don’t quite satisfy. Any humor about the good old days “BP” (Before Pandemic) just tend to make me sad.

We were watching a movie over the weekend that included a scene in which someone made a wish and blew out the candles on their birthday cake and it made us cringe and yell at the screen to tell them to throw away the cake.

I got a little chuckle last night when Cyndie set down an open soft-cover book with the pages down and Pequenita became obsessed with pawing at the glossy cover like she was trying to move all of her kitty-litter completely out of the box.

Even when we find something funny and surprise ourselves by laughing to tears over it when it didn’t really deserve that extreme, the pall of pandemic misery is still stuck on everything like an oily film.

Making it through a full year of pandemic restrictions should be its own reward and the “light at the end of the tunnel” vaccine distribution is supposed to be fueling hope, but the stark reality of many months more of it all still ahead of us is quick to extinguish the best of laughs.

You’d think I might appreciate getting tickled by my face mask, but it just triggers sneezing and then I get the sniffles.

I don’t find sniffling to be very funny.

I’m pretty sure I know what’s really bugging me. My friends make me laugh and socializing has long been discouraged. Wisecracking banter loses all its charm through the clumsy video-chat apps. Makes me just want to put on my best mittens, cross my arms and legs, and slouch back curmudgeonly in my chair, I tell ya.

News reports are announcing that SNL is returning from their holiday hiatus this coming weekend with the first new show of 2021 being hosted by John Krasinski. Something to look forward to.

All I have to do is survive the humorless grind of reported new cases and more deaths for another five days.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 26, 2021 at 7:00 am

Cyndie’s Helpers

leave a comment »

While I was outside clearing snow, Cyndie was inside doing some housekeeping. She reported that Delilah and Pequenita were both putting themselves front and center in whatever she was doing.

In the kitchen, no matter which way she turned, she needed to step around Delilah.

In the bedroom, Cyndie turned away for a brief moment before putting fresh pillowcases on pillows. Upon her return, Pequenita had already settled in place and was sound asleep on the pillowcases, holding the tv remote.

Although I didn’t have such friendly company helping me outside, I decided I was happy to be free of this kind of assistance while I worked, despite the obvious cute factor.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2021 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , ,

Good Intent

leave a comment »

Think about it. Even people who plot illegal action have in mind outcomes that they see as being good. Admittedly, maybe just good for them, but it provides a perspective from which one can begin to appreciate how something motivates them.

Imagine if humankind were able to reach agreement on an outcome that is good for all of us. Wouldn’t that be lovely? It would.

What if corporate greed didn’t exist? What if power was always willingly given and never forcibly grabbed? What if ice cream was a healthy food to eat?

As long as I’m dreaming, might as well go big!

While debates over the latest dramas across the globe play out, the focus at our home this weekend has centered on clearing the increasingly hardening slop of wet snow that fell Thursday and Friday. I’ve posted frequently about the antics of our chickens and Delilah the Belgian Shepherd shows up frequently in snapshots from our walks, but our indoor cat, Pequenita receives much less press.

Yesterday, she decided to make herself comfortable while I was reclined in my favorite perch beside the fireplace.

She shows nothing but good intent, even when it involves inciting reactions from Delilah. She plays like a cat.

There is a jigsaw puzzle in reach of completion this afternoon and a couple of NFL playoff games available for viewing on television. It will be a challenge to equally share time between splitting firewood and power-lounging indoors today.

My primary intention will be to soak up enough comforts of home to sufficiently carry me through the week ahead.

May all people open themselves up to recognizing probable cause in the actions and behaviors of those with ill-intent and hold them appropriately accountable. Then, let’s get on with envisioning nothing but the best of intent for all.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2021 at 11:10 am

Attitude Adjustment

leave a comment »

I’m not sure how much the weather forecast for today, Tuesday, of “Snow, mainly after 10am. The snow could be heavy at times… New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible” contributed to making my Monday such a mental slog. Of course, that wouldn’t be living in the moment, would it?

Guilty as charged.

We are probably more prepared for the oncoming winter season right now than most other years, but that hasn’t served to assuage the typical hesitation long commuters feel about the arrival of snow.

That wasn’t the only stressor that yesterday, a classic Monday, presented, all of which accumulated so that by the time I arrived home, I was exhausted. Cue the kitty.

Pequenita offered me a little feline focused attitude adjustment. If you have a cat, you know the drill. After a little meow and some purring, while she rubs against me from every direction, Pequenita often settles down on my shins to convince me that we’re good. She’s got me, and I’ve got her.

Let it snow.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 20, 2020 at 6:00 am

Last Cut

leave a comment »

I know this cat named Pequenita who is highly skilled at showing up for scratches at the precise time that I want to use both of my hands to type on my laptop computer. She seems to know that I can’t resist her demands for attention.

Today, we head to Edina for the weekend to participate in Friswold family activities surrounding a graveside memorial service for Fred on Saturday. Please keep Cyndie and her family in your hearts and beam your love when you think of them.

In preparation for being away from home for the weekend, I jumped on the lawn tractor as soon as I got home from work yesterday afternoon to tackle the project of cutting the grass shorter than normal for the late-season mowing session. The short cut left a lot of grass clippings behind that I am going to need to sweep up.

In addition to the excessive clippings, the early cold snap and noticeably shorter daylight hours brought on dew that had me cutting some wet grass before I was through. The amount of grass stuck to the bottom of the mower deck was epic. I disconnected the mower from the tractor and struggled mightily to lift the deck for cleaning. It weighed a ton!

The whole project was a little too much for the short time I had available, so the finishing touches will come later. I still may end up needing to cut some areas another time before winter, but I’m hoping most of the mowing is now done for the season.

I’m at that point of wanting to use up the last of the gas in the mower before parking that tractor for the winter.

When I was cutting down by the labyrinth, I had to work around a couple of rocks that had tumbled from one of my recent precarious balance installations.

It’s all good fun until you neglect to pick up the fallen rocks. Those two have returned to ground level and interfered with grass cutting in the vicinity. Far be it from me to stop and get off the tractor to move them. I just forged ahead, cutting around the obstacles to keep going uninterrupted.

During our work down at the labyrinth last week, I took a picture of the center boulders and the miscellaneous additions scattered around them.

It wasn’t getting much attention during our sessions of adding rocks to the path borders, but it is the center point destination of the journey inward, after all.

The future star of the labyrinth garden, that maple tree we transplanted to the middle, will someday, long after I’m gone, tower over the paths.

Maybe by that time, the shade it will provide can dissuade the grass from growing so fast beneath its branches.

I will be happy if we’ve already made the last cut of labyrinth grass for the season. We will be making tracks in snow down there again before too long.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 11, 2020 at 6:00 am

Russian Technician

leave a comment »

I finally figured it out. Our cat has a gift like that Russian sleep clinic technician and now everything makes sense. I now understand her crazy obsession of pummeling us with kneading paws in the early morning darkness when we least desire her affectionate attention. Pequenita is the Russian sleep tech from Cyndie’s tales of being tested in a sleep lab years ago.

First, she was told to stay awake for ten minutes while wearing the cap of countless wired sensors. Cyndie describes looking out a window and around the room to pass the time. Looking at a magazine. How hard is it to stay awake for ten minutes? Then the grumpy countenanced Russian technician’s voice came over the speaker and told her to wake up.

“I’m not asleep.” she claims to have said.

But, she was. He saw her fall asleep in about 30 seconds. He made her try again. Multiple times over the 24-hour period of testing, they played that little game. She says she failed every time. What startled her was that she felt like she succeeded every time. She didn’t think she was falling asleep.

This discrepancy of perception worked both ways with her sleep cycle. The objective is to have the patient stay awake when it is time to be awake, and stay asleep when it is time to sleep.

In the morning, Cyndie describes her battle with the Russian technician’s voice over the intercom.

“You need to get up now because you are awake.” His words grabbed her attention.

“I’m not awake. I’m still sleeping.”

“No, you’re not. I can see your brain waves.”

This guy knows what sleeping brain waves and awake brain waves look like. It’s what he does. He could clearly see when her brain woke up.

I don’t think Pequenita is perceiving our brain waves, but I think she detects that same moment when our brains wake up, yet we think we are still sleeping. That is why her treading paws on our heads is so annoying. We are trying to remain asleep. She knows that we are not still sleeping.

I think it is our breathing that she detects. Even though we have no intention of waking up yet, there are moments in the sleep cycle when we transition out of deep sleep to what I would describe as semi-conscious. For me, it is often occurring when one of my arms has fallen incredibly numb and I need to switch positions. There is also the very obvious situation of a full bladder, which I am extremely grateful to be alerted to so I can remedy while maintaining dry sheets. Sometimes, it is a result of a vivid dream experience.

My first guess is that Pequenita hears the change in our breathing as our brains wake up. I expect our body movements are another easy clue.

When she steps on our heads in the early morning hours before we want to wake up, I now think of her as our own little ornery Russian sleep technician letting us know our brains are no longer asleep.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

All Cat

leave a comment »

It’s not enough that Pequenita has established her dominance over our bed day and night, she was recently spotted making her royal self at home on Delilah’s bed.

They do not have a cuddly relationship. Seems to me they get along like cats and dogs.

I expect Delilah was occupied at one of the windows in the front sunroom, barking at squirrels at the time this photo was taken. Pequenita wouldn’t be on that bed if the dog’s toenails were clicking the floor anywhere in the house. At that sound, the cat makes a mad dash for the “safety” of our bed, either beneath it or on top of it. That maneuver is not out of fear, but as a show of her dominance.

While I was writing this, Pequenita was hard at work in the foot attack zone waging war against my blanketed toes.

She is all cat.

We know who’s boss around here.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 28, 2020 at 7:00 am

Pet Fatigue

with 2 comments

Getting up at zero-dark-thirty, driving an hour to work and another hour home upon completing my hours of day-job duties leaves me a little drained for the full-time dog and cat duty that I’m faced with while Cyndie is away. When I walk in the door, Delilah is all fired up to get her pre-dinner jaunt around the property and guard the barn while I check on the chickens in their coop. At that moment, I’d prefer to get off my feet and close my eyes for a spell.

Luckily, the fresh air rejuvenates me and we have a good outing, but back in the house after that excursion and I am even more exhausted than I was when I arrived home the first time.

Cyndie’s been gone almost a week, with a second week left to go before she is scheduled to return, and I’ve been experiencing a contrasting mix of reactions to my return to solo (sort of) living. Having the whole bed to myself is a bit of a luxury that I am enjoying but it comes at the expense of missing another warm body to ward off the chill of cold toes. Stretching out at every possible angle and not feeling like I am bothering anyone is sumptuous, though, I just have to say.

I hate to admit that only half-way through this current assignment of tending to the animals had me wondering yesterday if there might be someone young and adventurous who would love to have a dog like Delilah live with them.

After Delilah repeatedly bothered me for attention the other night, I finally just stopped what I was doing and sat down on the kitchen floor to interact at her level. In no time, I had drooped to completely laying on the floor and she settled on one of her favorite spots under the table.

The thing is, when I get up, she does too. No rest for the weary.

I breathe a little sigh of relief after securing her in the crate that is her den for the night, but the respite is short-lived.

Pequenita recognizes the instant the dog is confined to quarters and happily steps up for her dose of undivided attention. If I am upright, she reaches up and sinks her claws into my pantlegs and if I am reclined, she begins delivering the headbutts.

She is not subtle about asking for a little of her own undivided attention.

I feel like the mother of infants who never gets a break from constantly having a child clinging to them. At least children eventually grow out of that phase.

I dare say, if I end up living alone someday, I have a strong suspicion I would end up choosing to do so without pets, much as I love the ones we have acquired in our years here.

This becomes significantly more obvious to me when Cyndie is away for extended amounts of time. Thinking back, the year she lived in Boston while I stayed home in Eden Prairie, I don’t remember needing to care for any pets. I don’t think I realized how easy I had it at the time.

Although, I wonder what I would end up writing if I didn’t have dog/cat/chicken tales to blather on about anymore.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2020 at 7:00 am

Hays Siblings

with 8 comments

Yesterday we made the surprisingly easy drive up to my sister, Mary’s house for a post-holiday gathering of the Hays siblings. North Branch wasn’t as far away as I expected. These are my peeps. I always find it refreshing to discover how special it feels to be with my brothers and sisters again. No one else in the world can match the connection we share with the people we lived with during our formative years.

Thank you David, Mary, Judy, and Elliott for all the years!

You are the best.

Here’s to a bigger reunion of our relations this summer. We’ve got a date!

Somehow, the Vikings pulled out a victory while we were half-watching. Cyndie and I tried to listen to the end of it on the drive home over a radio signal that was only barely discernible.

There was no question that Pequenita was happy to have me home again. She made haste to claim one of her favorite perches when I settled down to see who was getting recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press on the Golden Globe Awards show.

She is so not a Hays sibling.

We did not have a cat when I was growing up. Judy or Elliott can correct me if there was a barn cat on the farm before I came along.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

January 6, 2020 at 7:00 am