Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘communication

This Why

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This is why we can’t have a nice paved driveway like the other folks around here whose asphalt looks incredibly well-maintained.

We have an ongoing need for dump-truck loads of lime screenings for our paddocks.

That loaded dump-truck really makes an impression on the land. As he prepared to depart, I asked the driver to NOT center his truck on the driveway on the way out, and instead to run one set of wheels right down the middle. I’ve been trying to do the same with our vehicles ever since his visit last year, but haven’t had much effect on the eruption of cracked pavement the truck left for us that time.

Household discussion last night:

John: “Should I try to spread some lime screenings tomorrow?”

Cyndie: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I pull the T-posts instead?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I move the composted manure out?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I work on dividing the chicken coop?”

C: “Maybe.”

I think she got my point, and seeing as how I wasn’t getting any help with prioritizing, I chose not to continue with the thirteen other things also deserving attention.

It’s a good thing we are so smitten with each other, or these kinds of exchanges would take on additional unstated intentions. In our case, it just added to the love already present. Her refusal to take my bait brought a smile to my face. Our current healthy communication is a return on an investment we made long ago toward a few years of couples therapy.

This is why we can have nice conversations unburdened by alternate unstated agendas.

Well, that and the fact Cyndie gracefully puts up with my endless ribbing. If she wasn’t so saintly, I’d have needed to make myself a bed out in Delilah’s kennel years ago.

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Equine Perception

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This weekend, our friends, Mike & Barb, visited for dinner. Before sitting down to a sumptuous feast, we took a walk around the property that culminated in a visit with the horses. Mike brought some apples, so I opened a gate to serve up treats from within the paddock. Being unfamiliar with horses, Barb was more comfortable waiting just outside.

When it comes to treats, the horses are never bashful. Cyndie, Mike, and I moved among the herd to assure each of the 4 received a fair share. After they’d eaten all the apples,dscn5786e Legacy walked right up to Barb at the gate.

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I commented that he was probably fond of her color scheme.

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Especially considering the color pallet that Mike was sporting.

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Hunter seemed to pick right up on Mike’s playful spirit and soaked up his smell with big yawns and an outstretched tongue.

Cyndie pointed out that as herd leader, Legacy’s role is to make sure everyone is safe, connected, and part of the group. He chose to connect with Barb as a way to include her and acknowledge her reticence and sense of vulnerability over being among such large, and sometimes unpredictable animals.

As we discussed this, I was struck by the memory that I was in that very same place of unfamiliarity with horses when we bought this place. I would never think of stepping inside a fence with such large animals.

After one weekend of lessons on horse communication, and learning to understand my energies of mind, heart, and gut, I was significantly transformed. Before the end of the very first day of that weekend, I had moved from being completely naive about anything to do with horses, to finding myself successfully interacting with a horse I had no knowledge of, alone with him within the limited confines of a round pen.

dscn5787eIt was monumental for me. It laid the foundation for everything I’ve learned since, now living as a co-owner of four beautiful Arabian horses.

I feel like I’ve come farther than should be possible in such a short time. I also feel like I still know so little. Every day there is more to grasp about the remarkable dynamics of equine perception.

More often than not, I get the sense that they know more about me than I do.

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Written by johnwhays

February 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

Teamwork Challenged

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Yesterday, I experienced a classic example of a frequent challenge Cyndie and I have been navigating to varying degrees over the 35+ years of our life together as husband and wife. Our minds sometimes tend to operate out of sync from one another, despite our best intentions.

dscn5761eIt was a beautiful winter day outside, with a lot of blue sky and sunshine, a comfortable temperature, and minimal breezes. We headed out to give Delilah some exercise by letting her run loose in the pastures while throwing discs for her to chase. We walked right past the horses, cutting through their paddock to get out into the hay-field.

On our way back in, Cyndie said she wanted to pay a little visit to the horses. While milling around with them, Cyndie decided to scoop some of the fresh manure under foot. That inspired me to grab a pitch fork and clean the edges of the large pile we have been creating during the snow season.

When she was done cleaning up, Cyndie said she would take Delilah out for one last session of running loose in the back pasture. In a very short time, I was commenting on their quick return.

“Delilah’s tired and I’m getting cold, so we are going to head up.” she reported.

I told her I would finish what I was doing and then follow them shortly. Earlier, Cyndie had asked me what shovel I had used in the past to make a winter path through the labyrinth. I told her the trick is to just walk the route wearing snowshoes, implying we could do that later in the day, after lunch.

As I walked up to the barn to put away my pitch fork, Cayenne turned and approached me for some loving. I soaked up her attention and lingered for what seemed like a long time to me, staying engaged as long as she maintained interest. It’s funny how much hot breath, wet nose, and sloppy tongue seems perfectly acceptable when a horse is choosing to nuzzle and mingle. I searched for a sweet-spot of scratching for her, moving between her ears, neck and chest.

Eventually, what ended our little love fest was Legacy, coming over from the other side of the overhang. I don’t know what reason he had to finally interrupt, but I tried spending a little time with him to see if he was just hoping for similar attention. Since he’s not as accommodating to hands-on affection, it comes across more as though he just doesn’t want her to be getting all the fun.

I finally made my way up to the house, ready for a break and some lunch. Stepping inside, I found no one there. Cyndie must have gone down to the labyrinth already, I thought to myself. Looking out back, sure enough, I spotted Delilah moving around down there. I rallied my energy and decided to join her.

First, I looked in the garage for the snowshoes, but couldn’t find them anywhere. Did we leave the second pair at the lake? Oh well, I’ll grab the plastic shovel, just in case I can find a way to use that to help. The shovel wasn’t where I keep it, either. Frustrated that I couldn’t execute my plan, I walked down empty-handed.

I arrived just in time. Cyndie said she needed my help with figuring out where the turns should be.

Imagine this, it turned out she had brought down the second pair of snowshoes and the plastic shovel, in case I wandered past on my way up to the house.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Welcome to my world.

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Written by johnwhays

February 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

Too Common

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This time of year we start to see the bountiful harvest of flies blooming around our manure factory, and it triggered our first order of the year from our online source for fly control supplies. I provided the card number for our Wintervale account that I used last year and the order was entered.

A week later I received an email and phone calls indicating that my card number wasn’t working. After checking that they had all the correct information, we decided the problem may be with our bank.

Last night I called our bank and learned my card had been placed on alarm status for possible fraud activity. The representative for my bank spoke so matter of factly about the situation that it occurred to me, this was normal activity from her perspective.

I was aghast! What!? When!?

Since I have been back at work for almost a year, I haven’t had much need to use the Wintervale account. I had been unaware of the unauthorized attempts to make expensive purchases in San Francisco in January. When the culprit wasn’t able to produce the correct code from the back of the card after multiple attempts, my bank was alert enough to suspend the card.

I’m not quite sure why they didn’t see a need to contact me about the situation.

Several more attempts were made at different locations for lesser amounts, continuing into February, all failures.

The only way I found out about it was that I finally attempted to use the card myself, and had to call to find out why it didn’t work anymore.

I guess credit card fraud is so common, the banks don’t even get riled up about it anymore. At least they are swift about disallowing questionable requests.

Maybe, since they don’t bother letting the card holder know about the situation, I should call them every month to ask if anyone other than me has tried to use my card. Especially if fraud is so common it is expected.

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Written by johnwhays

March 15, 2016 at 6:00 am

Communication

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Communication.

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Written by johnwhays

November 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

Language Barrier

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It appears that I continue to be hampered by my limitation of being monolingual, when it comes to communicating with all our animals, and none of them are showing any signs of understanding a word I have been saying.

I kind of expect that from the cats. They are naturally aloof. Although, I haven’t tried too many phrases on them. Mostly, they just hear me repeat, over and over, “What do you want? What do you want?”

Delilah sometimes responds to single syllable commands, but she is inconsistent about it, so I don’t have much faith that she is actually interpreting the words or sentences I have used.

IMG_3143e2With the horses, I know I should be trying to move out of speaking just from my head, into trying to use my gut and heart energy more, but sometimes the message feels time sensitive and my words are the quickest tool I have. Most often, it is Legacy who I find myself face to face with, and my words have been eliciting a blank-stare response from him.

He seems as frustrated with me, as I am with him. I expect he is probably transmitting his messages to me loud and clear, but they aren’t coming through in plain english, so I am at a loss as to what he is trying to say.

Yesterday, he showed up at the other side of the fence while I was cleaning the ground in the paddock. For some reason, he started chewing on the fence post above the electric wire. Now, the wire is there to discourage them from chewing on the wood fence, so I was half-hoping that he might get too close and feel a shock that would teach him to leave it alone. He may have been just trying to show me that he could, that he was that good, he could work around our little deterrent.

I didn’t want him to do it, so I was feeling peeved. At first, I tried ignoring him, so he might notice it would gain him nothing with me. My frustration got the better of me, when he continued, so I walked over and told him not to chew on the post, and I slapped my hand on the top of the post a few times, to emphasize my point. When that didn’t alter his behavior, I stepped up again and pounded on the post and then told him I was angry. I wanted him to know in his language, so I put my hands on my head, to mimic horse ears, and I pinned them back, telling him, “See? This is how I feel about you chewing on the post. I am angry!”

He didn’t show obvious signs of reacting, so I brought my ‘hand-ears’ forward, so that he might understand they were supposed to be my ears, and with that, I startled the heck out of him! He pulled his head back, and took a couple of steps backward. I pinned my hands back again and told him I was angry!

It was funny, because the part he reacted to wasn’t supposed to be the threatening gesture. Regardless, it seemed to do the trick. I went back to scooping up manure, and he went back to grazing.

Apparently I know more horse language than I realized.

Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2013 at 7:00 am