Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘relationships

Incidental Accents

leave a comment »

I suffer to imagine how plain my world might become if I lived alone. Once again, I am tending to the day-to-day alone while Cyndie is away from home. My meals have become embarrassingly simplified. I don’t change sheets, I wash the ones I just slept in and put them right back on the bed. I move from one chore to the next methodically, practically.

Too often, I take for granted the myriad enhancements Cyndie bestows upon our surroundings. Incidental accents that subtly enrich my environment, not only visually, but energetically, too.

As much as I like having alone time, the void created by Cyndie’s absence greatly impacts the cost/benefit ratio.

Where do the magical flower blossoms come from that are scattered along our pathways? I don’t have anything to do with them. That’s all Cyndie’s effort.

I usually walk past all the places she stashes them without noticing, but the other day, I spotted this one that looked like it was reflecting the expanse of starry space, light-years beyond our planet.

That priceless morsel wouldn’t be here if it were left up to me at this point in my life.

I might fail to pay worthy attention to the flowers, but I will never fail to appreciate that the compliment of Cyndie’s and my way of doing things is so much more than just the sum of two parts.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2021 at 10:03 am

Co-Favorite Place

leave a comment »

For all of my adult life, Cyndie’s family vacation home on Round Lake near Hayward, Wisconsin has been my favorite place. As I wrote yesterday, my affections are now split between our paradise of Wintervale Ranch in Beldenville and Wildwood Lodge Club up north.

I now have co-favorite places.

It is wonderful to be up at the lake again.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

As always, the special feature of the lodge club is communing with the other families and we received an early dose of camaraderie when the next door Whitlock clan showed up just after Cyndie and I arrived. Much love ensued.

There is a lot to do around the property to make it look less neglected as the ravages of winter appear to have wreaked havoc on anything left out in the elements.

Case in point: The front steps to the Friswold “cabin” for which I was so proud to have repaired a single paver block last summer are now failing en masse as the foundation underneath appears to be giving out.

Entire rows are tipping forward. I suppose it’s unfair to blame one winter for this, but it sure seemed fine last year.

I can’t blame the extreme state of the smoke clouded doors of the living room fireplace on anything but neglect to tend to the task of cleaning them in a timely manner. When Marie asked me to build a fire, I figured it wouldn’t add much to the ambience if we couldn’t see the flames. It took a lot of ash-soaked newspaper to rub off the insanely thick baked-on accumulation of smoke on those glass doors.

At least I had the joy of trying to ignite unseasoned firewood that had been supplied for our fire-building pleasure. No wonder there was so much gunk on the glass of the doors.

Maybe, if I love this place as much as I do home, I need to more equally split my attention to maintenance chores. Is the building of a lake-place woodshed in my future?

I would sure appreciate the luxury of selecting dry wood for our fires. So would the chimney flue.

The more immediate concern will be cleaning the beach today. The lake ice pushed a new berm of sandy leaves about a foot high along the full length of our beach shoreline.

What a wonderful location for putting in a day’s work.

My co-favorite place, in fact.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2021 at 8:52 am

Chicken Thoughts

with 2 comments

It was a good question. What are we going to do differently to protect our new chickens this time? When I heard myself answering, I realized how little in-depth thought I have actually given the subject.

Are we doing them justice by raising them amid the same risk of predation that decimated all our flocks before? I’m not sure.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Cyndie has dubbed them the Buffalo Gals and the Rocketts in reference to their origins.

My primary reason for wanting our chickens to free-range is for the service they provide in controlling bugs. I’ve also discovered how much fun they are as companions and that they convert the things they find to eat into amazing eggs.

I’m not against considering ways we might dissuade such frequent attacks on our flock as we recently experienced. I will put renewed effort into staging my trail cam in locations where I might capture evidence of visiting predators to give better confirmation of what we are dealing with.

It feels a little like our efforts to constrain water runoff and control erosion or prevent excessive sediment where we don’t want it.

Nature does what it does. Our best successes will come from finding constructive adaptations instead of entirely stopping things we don’t desire from happening.

Imagine the predation phenomena from the perspective of the flies and ticks that try to survive on our land. They are under constant assault from chickens.

Our chickens face threats from their natural predators. We’ve decided to not confine them to fenced quarters that would make it harder for the fox or coyotes to kill them.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Today, we hope to clean up the coop and try making some modifications to accommodate housing more birds than ever before. The Buffalo Gals will be moving to the coop soon. That will allow us to get the Rockets out of the basement bathroom and into the larger brooder tub in the barn.

We will give our chickens the best life possible for their time with us. Past demonstrations have shown their natural instincts help them control their own destiny up to a point. Their life here will not be risk-free.

For the time being, I guess we are demonstrating we are choosing to accept that.

.

.

Strong One

with 4 comments

We all have different strengths, don’t we? Yes. Yes, we do. But I am not sure about the comparison of muscle strength between my precious wife and me. This occurred to me yesterday after I got our lawn tractor stuck and needed to go get Cyndie to help.

Despite the more than three inches of rain that had fallen the previous 24-hours to thankfully soak our parched land, I was attempting to mow before things began to adequately dry. I was literally cutting between the trailing scattered showers.

Mow the front yard until rain started falling, park the mower in the garage.

Mow by the barn until it started raining again, park the mower back in the garage.

When I tried traversing the recently re-landscaped dip where Cyndie and I had rolled up the sod to dig out accumulated dirt, the tractor became hopelessly wedged in the muddy turf. I was stuck.

I was also in a hurry because a few drops were starting to fall again. I hiked around behind the barn, past the empty chicken coop, around the back pasture to the labyrinth where Cyndie was rearranging sunken stones and pulling weeds. She happily obliged my request for assistance.

Then, the woman who asks me to use my superior strength to open jars for her in the kitchen proceeds to pick up the back end of the tractor and move it over so my push from the front can roll it around the rocks bordering her perennial garden.

In my whiny sad voice, “Honey, can you come lift the tractor out of the mud for me so I can keep mowing in the rain?”

I know who the strong one is around here.

I’m pretty sure she lets me open jars just to prevent my ego from starving to death.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2021 at 7:00 am

Typical Exchange

leave a comment »

This is a classic example of a typical exchange between Cyndie and me. To set the stage, it was business as usual around the house last night when I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth while Cyndie stepped into the garage, focused on a task of her own.

Through the white noise of my activity and whatever self-talk was flowing around in my head, I thought I heard a shrill little distant shout. I paused for a second and my creative mind raced through possible scenarios, including the concern Cyndie was shouting in distress about something. The most likely conclusion I came up with was that she had probably sneezed.

As I finished dabbing toothpaste on the bristles of the brush, I heard the door to the garage open.

I said, “Did you sneeze?”

Cyndie replied, “What?”

“Did you sneeze?” I repeated.

When I heard her say, “Yes” I turned on my electric toothbrush.

Over the hum of the motor and with the sound vibrations of the rotating agitator polishing my teeth and resonating through my skull to the bones in my ears, I detected additional distant mumbling that could only have been Cyndie still talking.

I kept brushing. But I thought about the fact that she most likely would assume I heard every word she had said. I wondered to myself whether it warranted stopping my toothbrush to ask for a do-over on that added detail I had missed. Honestly, it probably involved descriptions about her sneeze or what triggered it, both of which I suspected weren’t critical for me to know.

In contemplating all this, I realized this sort of thing happens all the time between us. I tend to hear the first part of an answer, but the colorful addendums tend to get drowned out by whatever else is going on at the time.

If I don’t point out the fact I haven’t clearly heard anything beyond the initial speaking, there arises a falsehood of a common shared reality. Cyndie will assume a point has been communicated and I won’t have any idea that I’ve missed something that might have been significant.

The thing is, nine times out of ten it turns out to be a spur-of-the-moment colloquial expression of silliness or pleasantries. Both welcome enhancements when palling around with a companion, but neither very costly if not fully deciphered. At that, I must admit to being guilty more often than not of letting my ignorance go unnoticed.

A nod and an auditory “Mmm-hmmm” augment the facade of my feigned grasp.

I’m afraid if I were given a test about each day’s conversations, I might score embarrassingly low.

When I told Cyndie this story about not hearing anything beyond the fact she had, indeed, sneezed, she said the added comment was, “…and it was a Lollapalooza!” or something to that effect.

Mmm-hmm. Yes, dear.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 21, 2021 at 6:00 am

Unknown Connections

with 4 comments

There is so much music that I feel connected to, a lifetime’s worth, really. More to the point, the songwriters and performing artists. They have shared their creative visions and I have absorbed their renditions, on repeating rotations for years and often decades. Some of the people whose work has resonated for me draw me to want to know more about them.

I am an unabashed fan.

Their music is the most listened to in my library. They become connected to me in the unique way of celebrity, in that they have no idea who I am, but to me, it is as if we have become friends.

Upon fantasizing about how things would go if we suddenly found ourselves hanging out together with no agenda or time constraints, I wonder, would the artists of my liking honestly show any sense of connection with me?

My cat seems to like me in a way that hints at a connection. She also will just as quickly demonstrate total disdain. I guess, in reality, that combination of feelings is mutual.

That creative artist who penned lyrics that trip my trigger of perspectives, curiosities, emotions, longings, or visions of the world probably also chews food with their mouth open or has some other odd characteristic that would sour my attraction.

I could get all stalker-like and make my fanaticism known to them to find out for sure, but it makes much more sense to me that I leave the connection unknown, other than my anonymous contribution to their financial success by buying what they are selling and listening to the product of their genius.

The secret to connecting with an artist, in my opinion, is by not knowing anything about them when you meet. If a connection clicks, it isn’t a result of the preconceived perception one would have in mind. I have been curious to know how celebrities feel about meeting people who have no idea about their fame.

I would guess for really famous people, it would be refreshing.

In this scenario, I hope I wouldn’t end up dissing the person like the way my cat disses me.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 25, 2021 at 7:00 am

Starting Big

leave a comment »

In the beginning, I was asked to build a terrace wall for Cyndie to have a produce garden. Seemed like a good idea to me. We talked about creating two levels in the space she wanted to use, but decided to focus on just the upper level to start. We have never grown our own food before, so I suggested we start small and learn what works in that location.

Just a suggestion.

The other day I saw no less than 21 different names listed in a text where Cyndie described what she has planted.

So, that one terrace I started building has been dwarfed by subsequent construction Cyndie undertook on her own. Fencing and netting, all hers, three different locations.

Plants are in the ground and awaiting some mulch. Woodchips are something I can contribute to her new project. The rest has spun up so quick it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

When Cyndie bursts headlong into her projects, I tend to get out of the way. I am inclined toward sequential thinking and prone to plotting each step in advance before taking action. Cyndie operates more randomly and takes action simultaneously to figuring out a plan.

I guess we serve as a classic example of the attraction of opposites.

Here’s hoping she meets with an incredible success that exceeds imagination come harvest time.

I’ll be watching to see if my terrace does its job. The rest will be gravy.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

Special Aroma

with 2 comments

Imagine walking in the door after a long drive home through heavy traffic on a day when the roads are a mixture of snowy and not, and being immediately greeted by the intoxicating aroma of fresh-baked buns just out of the oven.

Such are the hardships I am forced to endure again and again living with a woman who creates magic everywhere her energy gets directed.

Guess what I ate for an afternoon snack. Mm, mmm, good.

If this isn’t living a blessed life, I don’t know what is.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2019 at 7:00 am

Like Ships

leave a comment »

It’s funny how it can feel like I’m in a relationship with another vehicle on the drive home from the lake when it travels the same speed and direction as I am going. When they finally went straight through a roundabout that I turned south from, I felt as if I should send them off with some acknowledgment of the road miles we shared.

I arrived home yesterday around 11:00 a.m. and watched Cyndie prepare for a trip of her own. She left for a seminar in California, so I am on my own this week. We are like ships passing in the night lately.

Or, like cars on a drive home from the lake.

When she returns home at the end of the week, the plan is for us to head back up to the lake for the weekend. That will make three weeks in a row that I have been up there. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

It’s a treat, for sure, but it does require that I do the lawn mowing after work in the middle of the week and interferes with ever getting back to the lumberjack projects that linger in our woods unfinished. Small concerns, both of them, compared to the glorious beauty we get to enjoy up in the Hayward area.

I have a sense that a day is going to come when I will be facing long hours of labor with a chainsaw this fall. Too bad the hours of daylight get shorter as summer wanes. But, it’s the summer sunshine that is giving us all the more reason to be up on the water while the going is good.

You could say, the lumberjack projects and my attention to them are a little like ships passing in the night.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 5, 2019 at 6:00 am

Zooming In

with 12 comments

You know me, I like to make full-framed photo art on occasion by zooming in on certain features. Here are three I captured on Saturday up at the lake.

We enjoyed some fabulously accommodating weather over the weekend, which came to a dramatic end just as we arrived back home to a powerful downburst of wind and rain. A tornado warning was issued for that very storm cell in the moments after it moved past us to the northeast. Thank goodness it didn’t form any sooner. As of this writing, I haven’t heard any damage reports from neighboring properties further along the path.

If I were to zoom in a little bit on our immediate family, it might reveal some exciting news that was shared at dinnertime on Saturday night. Julian and Allison announced they are now husband and wife. It wasn’t entirely spur of the moment since the couple, who have been together for seven years, applied for a license in advance and prescheduled an appointment with a judicial officiant, but the result is equally surprising for those of us who love them.

The deed was done Tuesday and they went to work like usual the following day.

Ain’t love grand!?

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2019 at 6:00 am