Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘routine

Reclaiming Normal

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For all the times we look forward to holidays and time off from work, it feels wrong to be so interested in having things get back to normal. I am a big proponent of staying open to variety and change, but at the same time, I have a very strong comfort with routine.

This weekend, we brought a return to normalcy in a variety of ways at home, not the least of which involved the taking down of Christmas decorations and returning furniture to the usual arrangements. I will be lobbying for a return to our artificial tree next year.

Getting back to my routine of days commuting to the day-job, and (full) days home without travel holds a surprising appeal now that we are a week into the new year. I’m guessing one of the reasons it seems so appealing to me today is because my health has also made great progress toward normal wellness again.

I spent much of the weekend lying low in quest of recuperation. It seems to have produced desired results.

Here’s to the rare phenomena of feeling good about the arrival of a typical Monday morning.

Hah!

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2019 at 7:00 am

Epic Normal

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Some days are just days. The simple steps of tending to basic maintenance and chores that happen every day can become so routine they fade to obscurity.

Yet, living it feels anything but obscure. Each simple accomplishment brings huge satisfaction.

This weekend, having our son, Julian, visit to pick up a package that Fed-Ex delivered here, and recruiting his help with some compost distribution and wood splitting, were particularly rewarding.

We used the Grizzly to pull trailer loads of wood, and with him driving, I gained a perspective of the squeaky brakes that helped to push me toward finally taking it in to professionals for service. Julian helped me get the ATV secured in the bed of our truck and I dropped it off in River Falls.

It could be several weeks until I see it again, so we are hoping there won’t be significant need for clearing the driveway of snow until well after that.

Maybe in a sympathetic response to Delilah’s painful condition, I experienced a return of degenerating disc symptoms as I leaned forward to pick up a piece of firewood, which brought a quick end to the delightful progress we were accomplishing. I’m on limited duty once again.

Luckily, that presented no disruption to a planned visit from a co-worker and her husband. She wanted to surprise him with the trip because he has a big appreciation for the majesty of horses, despite little access to them. Cyndie was wise enough to guide some time inside the fence for them, a step that is reserved for very few visitors.

As always, Legacy proved the consummate companion for the interaction with his herd-leading confident calmness. Dezirea couldn’t spare but a moment to accommodate us, as her attention was otherwise fixed on something in the distance that I couldn’t see.

Regardless the obscuring nature of the inherent normal-ness of the weekend, it all felt perfectly epic.

Given the right perspective, living in the moment can provide that result.

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Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

New Routine

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After spending the 3-day weekend as guests at a place we’ve never been before, getting home to the familiarity of the daily chores associated with caring for our animals can be a comfort. This thought led me to consider how I perceive the old routine, especially from the fresh perspective of the fabulous weekend we just enjoyed with the Walker family.

DSCN5133eTraveling anywhere involves living with a limited selection of your clothes and devices, and getting oriented to a bed and bathroom other than your own. Back home again, places and things return to a level where you don’t have to think. Every thing just “is.”

When I went out to turn the compost piles and fix a flat tire on the wheelbarrow, it had a feeling of our old routine. Even though I saw that as a good thing, it occurred to me that “old routine” or “returning to the old grind” of the work week after a holiday weekend is more often framed as a negative.

I turned that around in a blink of mental gymnastics, choosing instead to consider our activities as routine, but new. We have done these things before, but never on September 6th in 2016.

Every day is a new day, even if we are doing something similar to what we’ve already done before.

This week is a time when school starts for a lot of people. We put the vacations of summer behind us and roll into another year’s routine.

Enjoy the familiar, but frame it as a brand new version.

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

Very Wet

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DSCN5081eYesterday was a beautiful day and we spent the middle hours of it in moderate traffic driving home from the lake. I don’t know why it didn’t bother me more to have driven up to that beautiful place and then experience most of the time confined indoors due to incredibly wet weather. When it finally turned nice, we were packing up and driving home.

For some reason, I didn’t mind one bit.

Just like that, we were home and it was back to the regular routine. I finished the day mowing our grass. The ground was completely saturated in many areas, surprisingly so in the back yard, to the point that the mower left muddy tire tracks in its wake. There is standing water in multiple places, which I needed to navigate around instead of cutting.

I’m looking forward to the few days of dry weather being forecast for the beginning of this week.

The signal booster I ordered last week is scheduled to arrive Wednesday. Getting it installed and calibrated will become my primary objective on Friday if the weather permits.

If it works as intended, it should significantly reduce the time it takes for me to load photos and program my daily posts. I’m hoping to convert the precious freed up minutes into added sleep time.

Getting more sleep will be a welcome change to my daily routine. I’m hoping my posts will begin to reflect it with a little bit less sleep-typing going on during the processsssssss.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2016 at 6:00 am

Breakfast Served

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I’m posting a little later than usual for a weekday, but it’s a weekend day for me, since I work a 4-day week at the day-job, so that’s my excuse. The actual truth is that I am busier than usual tending to tasks because my ranch partner is on vacation. Cyndie is lounging by the pool at her parent’s home in Florida for a couple of weeks.

I know! She deserves it, make no mistake.

She threatened to pay me back by taking care of our place and George’s for a few days so we could go up to Hayward, WI and do some skiing. That’s nice, but sounds like a lot more work than lounging by a pool, to me.

I am back in the old routine of waking up alone and giving all the animals the morning attention they require. The first task is cleaning up after the horses in the area of the barn overhang. Then I serve up their breakfast cereal in a dance that has become very routine for them when I am doing it. I love how apparent it is that they understand what I will do, and they wait patiently, for the most part, for me to mosey through the steps.

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You may notice in the images, we are being treated this morning to a picturesque “snow-globe” snowfall that is adding a magical feeling to this winter morning. It doesn’t hurt that the temperature has warmed considerably, bringing more than a magical feeling, it is a very real sensation of being much more comfortable for a winter day.

On the way to the barn, Delilah has already taken care of her first order of business, and then she busies herself in the barn by searching for mice or barking annoyingly at the horses or some distant other dog that is inevitably baying for attention. Delilah is more than happy to oblige the neighbor dogs, regardless the anxiety it creates in me and the horses.

If she would be quiet, that morning time can be incredibly serene. When she’s not, her harsh hollering is exceptionally grating. It usually earns her a short leash in the middle of the barn, after which, I close the doors on her. There. Take that, Ms. Barksalot.

When the hay boxes are topped off and the immediate vicinity is poo-free, Delilah gets what she has been waiting for. I take her for a walk. This morning’s was a shortened version, because when we reached the road, there were empty garbage and recycle bins ready to be returned to the garage.

Delilah is usually more than happy to have a short a.m. walk, because returning to the house means she will be presented with her morning meal.

After all that, the master of the house finally is served. Well, not really served. I have to get it myself. Time for my breakfast!

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Written by johnwhays

January 22, 2016 at 10:38 am

Rinse, Repeat

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February is beginning to feel like a lot of the same thing over and over again for me. It’s all good, so I don’t want to complain, but I’m finding myself increasingly thinking that a little more variety in the weather would be nice. I need to be careful what I wish for, or I could end up facing the kind of epic weather that Boston has been enduring.

To keep things interesting, I have taken to purposefully trying to widen the trails Delilah and I walk everyday, by tromping down the edges on each side so it becomes about 3-times wider than just a single person walking footpath. Most places that is pretty simple to do, but out in the open the trail keeps getting obliterated by drifting snow. It’s like starting over each time when I run into drifts, and it packs down on top of the previous path, so the trail gets higher and higher instead of deeper. If you step too close to the edge, it becomes a dramatic drop through all the unpacked snow to a level much below the packed trail.

Delilah doesn’t like to walk in the drifts, so when we come to them she will move over to a nearby ridge and trot along easily as I bullheadedly try to forge my way straight through the deepest part. I’m sure we make quite a sight.

The later sunsets are becoming very noticeable now and even though it is still very cold, the added light seems to be enticing the animals toward shedding already. Information about Delilah’s breed, Belgian Tervuren Shepherd, suggests she should be brushed weekly, which I don’t come close to achieving. We prefer brushing her outdoors because it creates a blizzard of dog hair, but it isn’t much fun in the extreme cold.

I tried to do just a small bit inside, grabbing hair off the brush at every stroke, but soon the air flowing through our heat vents was carrying stray hairs aloft in spectacular numbers. One of those comical disasters.

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Can you see Legacy’s breath in the cold air?

Unlike this picture, the horses are currently wearing their blankets. I think Legacy’s blanket is really bugging him. I keep spotting him trying to scratch his itches and he hooks the blanket on everything possible, making it look like he is trying to rip it off. He rarely tolerates me putting hands on him, but the other day he leaned hard into my hand as I scratched his neck and chin for him. There was plenty of hair floating loose, so I think the horses are on the verge of changing their coats.

Other than issues of shedding, our routine is on repeat from the day before, and the week before that. Walk the dog, feed the horses, clean up after the horses.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

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Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2015 at 7:00 am

Morning Routine

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We are in the third weekend since Cyndie’s surgery and things are going really well. Struggles have been minor and triumphs have been many. This morning I am experiencing a bit of a longing to be able to sleep in. Normally, weekend mornings are Cyndie’s chance to greet the horses she has been missing during the week, allowing me the opportunity to wake slowly, linger in bed, and compose my weekend blog posts.

I’ve long heard stories about dairy farmers who needed to get up early every day of every week, without exception, to milk cows. I am feeling an increased appreciation for that commitment.

My morning routine has normalized for all of us and is flowing very comfortably of late. Delilah has pleasantly announced her waking with soft mutterings, remaining stretched out on the bed in her overnight crate after she hears sounds of me getting up. I switch on the kitchen light and she lolls in place luxuriously while I get myself dressed and ready to take her out and feed the horses. It is a very soothing pace to start the day.

We step out and locate the horses during our stroll to the barn. It takes the herd no time at all to sense our approach, whereupon they begin something of a controlled stroll toward their morning feed. It is as if they don’t want to appear too eager.

The one variation in the pattern happens as they select who gets which feed pan. Some days it is very straight forward, and sometimes it becomes a complicated exercise of gamesmanship as the chestnuts take turns flaunting domination by driving each other off one pan to another.

If it is windy, or something else has them already on edge, feeding under the roof overhang is fraught with multiple emergency response drills as they all erupt in a hasty dash out from under cover whenever any one of them even flinches at the slightest thing. Just as quick, they seem to figure out it was a false alarm and come right back, but that doesn’t stop another panic from happening 20-seconds later.

It’s interesting that my presence is sometimes a contributor to their alarm, but more often completely ignored. I need to stay alert to be out of the way when they panic, and they surprise me that they don’t react at some of the clanging and banging noises I make when I am fumbling about.

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While they are focused on the feed pans, I wander over to the hay shed to fill the wheelbarrow with flakes that I distribute to the two feeders. As soon as the horses have licked the feed pans clean, they come munch hay. Hunter most often chooses to wait until the other three dive into the first station I have filled, then he chooses the other one. Sometimes another horse might meander over to join him, sometimes not.

After horses are fed, Delilah and I head out on an exploration of our trails. I will often let her choose the route, and I just follow along, stopping wherever she chooses to linger, examining the source of some scent that has dramatically grabbed her full attention.

Once back to the house, both she and Pequenita are served their breakfast, after which there settles a wonderful calm over the house.

When Cyndie gets back to full mobility, and we get back to the old weekend morning routine, that calm moment will be about the time I think about finally getting up.

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Written by johnwhays

December 7, 2014 at 11:12 am