Champion Climbers

I’ve completed my annual Excursion of Terror up and down our almost-big-enough aluminum ladder to place six strings of gigantic old energy-burning Christmas lights at the peaks of our gables. Each year another handful burn out and I replace them. Each year I think about the falling-off-a-ladder injury and death statistics for men in their ’50’s. Apparently we are oblivious to the rules of ladder safety, which for men in my age group, starts with “Stay Off The Ladder!”

One of the enlightening statistics regarding ladder safety is that around half the falls happen because the ladder user is carrying something in one or both hands while trying to climb. Yes, of course this is foolish but if I didn’t have to carry something there’d be no reason to go up there in the first place. Next year I’ll try telling the lights to meet me at the top for installation.

My nervousness about taking objects up the ladder helped me appreciate the fine work of some of the local rodents.

After every Halloween I find wrappers in the yard. Bits of candy too, sometimes. When you’re candy-rich, shoving a handful of M&M’s in your mouth as you leave the door means you don’t have to go to the trouble of putting the treat in your bag. So what if some of them hit the ground? You’re a sugar mogul on Halloween night!

While installing the Christmas lights I noticed a gap in the siding about 12 feet above ground level – there seemed to be a passageway to get under the aluminum and up against the softer, more chewable building material that makes up the outer shell of our home. Concerned, I got a screwdriver and started to dig away at the debris that had collected in the opening.

Out rolled a malted milk ball.

I was appalled, but also appreciative. That’s not an easy climb, getting a malted milk ball 12 feet up. A mouse takes serious risks lugging such an awkward object to such a high point, only to discover it’s too big to get into the house. Bummer.

I thought for a moment about leaving it there as a testament to a monumental achievement. But only for a moment.

When has your hard work gone unrewarded?

56 thoughts on “Champion Climbers”

  1. great story dale, thanks for the mainline to your brain while doing chores. ladder climbing is an interesting guy thing. i have a broken couple of things form related guy stuff. a ladder assist tool for getting stuff to the top while climbing may be on the horizion for new proiducts development.
    when do my efforts go unrewarded? most of the time. i was reminded of a story the other day where the salesman and the engineer went to a dance and each agreed to ask 100 girls to dance with them. suprisingly each asked 100 girls and each got one positive response. the engineer spent the rest of the night trying to figure out why the 99 said no to his offer. the salesman celebrated and proclaimed ” i got one”
    that is my life. i keep trying and celebrate the ones i get. if i focused on the ones i didnt i may get discouraged,. my wife is always wondering about the items i didnt get done and i have to remind her of the ones that i did.
    i have helped build a number of companies and when it is time to look at the rewards i usually find the beneficiaries over there in the corner counting their money without me.
    it is interesting that in the new age of the internet and virtual everything and techy wonderland i hear so often that idea guys think their ideas are worth something but the ideas arent worth anything until the techies make them happen.
    sounds like the piracy issue in china to me.
    go ahead techies make that software dance. but to what?
    i have 5 new projects underway at present and i am in my glory. i have a feeling all 5 of these will go well. i get better and better at this every day….. i get better and better at this every day….. i get better and better at this every day……..

    Liked by 3 people

  2. hey dale are there 2 realease times on the blog? i come in at 430 and there is nothing and when i come in a 530 there are6 or seven likes for places where the clock starts earlier. just wondering. and welcome ro all you foreigners

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    1. tim, I scheduled this to post at 2 am, but forgot to tag it properly to make it appear at the top of the page. So unless you scrolled down, you didn’t see it until I remembered to mark it “featured”, which happened this morning at about 5:30.

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  3. I can’t help myself, I have to weigh in with the thought that something bigger than a mouse got that milk ball up there. Yes, I’m thinking squirrel.

    My apologies to the turbo-mouse if I am not giving credit where it is due.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Every night when l’m laying in bed upstairs (directly under the attic), l listen to the pitter-patter of small footsteps moving about in the floor above me. l contemplate live traps, but would have to crawl the length of the attic which doesn’t allow for standing up. l then try to imagine what l’d do with an angry squirrel in a live trap and how many l’d need to catch. l could never do something as inhumane as poison them, then have to gather rotting bodies. l imagine them chewing through wiring and starting a fire. Then, l think about how miserable it’d be for them without shelter from the bitter subzero weather and fall asleep.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Good morning. I have received requests for information by email and provided the information without getting any message indicating that the information was received and appreciated. I don’t care about being thanked or shown appreciation. A thank you would be nice. However, what I really want is an indication the information was received.

    I am mostly talking about requests that came by email and which I answered by email. In most cases I would be happy with a very short reply. They could say “Got it” or something like that. I suppose some of the failures to reply might have been due to the messages not getting there. However, I think people who don’t reply usually do get my messages.

    If I think my message was important and i don’t get a reply, I will follow it up with a phone call. Once I followed up by visiting in person when my phone calls were not returned. That didn’t go well. The person I visited was not happy to see me and thought I was being rude. I guess you should let people ignore you if that is their preference.

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    1. Jim when you receive a request for information and respond to it and then failed to get information that your information requested was received more do you if you received information from them respond to them with information that you had received the information regarding your information?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Should I send the information that I have no information that they got the information I sent to them and if I get no information from them about that should I send them more information about not getting information about information?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Many years ago, when l first set up an email account, l adopted the user name “catlady”. l’d email friends and rarely get a response (which, of course, hurt my feelings). Finally one day, l asked one of these friends why she never responded. She said, “Oh – l thought that the emails were porn!” This floored me, but l immediately changed my user name.

      l’ve had the identical experience more recently of not getting responses from those l email and, again, move myself from “Maybe they’re mad at me for something l did” onto summing up the courage to inquire. This time, l learned that they had indeed responded THROUGH texting me. The problem here is that l don’t have texting and apparently there’s no way for them to know this!

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  5. I assume hard work goes unrewarded more often than it is rewarded. Once again I think of single moms who mop hospital floors or stand at cash registers all day (or maybe they work both jobs each day) and never get much money or any recognition in the form of thanks. The single moms who do this usually have to reward themselves by understanding they love their kids and have done the best they could to feed and care for them another day.

    tim’s monologue is a poignant expression of something different, the failure to reward the special efforts of creative people. Those who have ambition and talent and originality strive to create things that have never existed before. And by and large, they have to reward themselves by taking pride in their work because society is not going to do that for them in most cases.

    My dad was a creative person–an artist–and his particular field of effort was designing adorable stuffed animals. He got recognition at odd moments from various people who experienced his accomplishments, but mostly not. He had to be his own cheering section, much as tim describes. My mother had a way of describing this, a way that was both loving and funny: “George is like one of those seals in the zoo that performs a trick, like he balances a ball on his nose, and then barks and claps for himself!” And my dad, hearing this, would smile in ironic agreement, saying nothing, knowing she was right. He knew he clapped for himself and blew his own horn, as it were, but somebody had to do it because creativity is a precious spark that must be nourished.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. What is work
    What is hard (difficult, rare talent, sweat)
    What is reward (honor, recognition, $, satisfaction, survival)
    Are pay and reward the same thing
    Look at awards and medals: why do we keep handing prizes to the famous? People who give out prizes and awards want to be rewarded themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suppose, Clyde, it is just in the nature of Life that much worthy work goes unrewarded and much trivial work gets fawning adulation. I suppose societies must differ in terms of how badly balanced they are. In our society i am struck by how much unwarranted attention goes to ordinary people who do their jobs on television. And by how little deserved attention goes to teachers and farmers. Something you would know from experience.

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    2. The medal of Freedom was given out but none were given to all the cops who patrol in dangerous areas or are called into a dangerous situation and who have a split second to decide if what they see is a threat to them and wait that second to decide and not shoot. That’s how some cops risk their lives for us, by not shooting. We don’t reward that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Painting the garage door this summer has certainly been under-appreciated. It was a pain in the neck getting all the peeling and curling paint off and then took about 3 coats to fully cover spots on my aging overhead door. I did get a “thanks” from Husband – and it is hard to fully appreciate the labor involved – but gosh, a “swell job” or “atta girl” woulda been a nice bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In one of the theaters here in town, getting an official “Atta-boy” is the highest compliment possible. (A quick template made from a Word document with a border around the page is seldom done but makes it a bit more permanent…)

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Sandy for many years did 100% of the meals. Other than a holiday, I doubt I ever said thank you.
      Then I did 10%. she would always thank me for the meal and I never did her.
      When it got to be about 50-50 I started thanking her. Now it is about 95% me. She still thanks me for every meal I cook and I thank her.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. OMG, Dale, don’t let BSO Rafferty see this post!

    I always dreaded having the 20-odd guests on Thanksgiving, the years we had it here. This is a small house, and I would fret about it for weeks, get anxious and in a snit at the drop of a hat the days preceding. All of Husband’s sisters who had other gatherings at their homes seemed to just waltz right through it, no problem. No amount of thank yous seemed like enough. (Last few years we had T’g at a nephew’s house. I thanked them profusely.) This year we’re having it again, but for just 8 people including us. I’m hardly even nervous.

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  9. Back to Dale’s malted milk balls, now that my fingers have become manageable, relatively speaking:
    20 feet from my patio is the top of the ravine I watch. Right beside it is a field, planted this year in corn. The man who does these fields does a minimum job of farming here. The result is that the corner right by my field is rough and weedy. (I will take the weeds over chemicals sprayed that close to me.)
    When he combines, he skips that corner and does overall a slopping job. Right now my squirrel colony is busy doing their own harvest. One squirrel stands out because he/she is beautiful, has a coat of tans and golds with black tips down his back. His belly is white but edged by gold (He often comes up and looks in the windows at us.) I can track his efforts. He hauls off a lot of cobs of corn, never a full-length one that I have seen, but I think he sure could. I bet he has buried a couple dozen cobs. But of course, they all fight over the cobs, when there are so many to be had. He seems to win the fights. But he, and the others, in their fights, often carry a good sized piece of cob up a tree with no effort.

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    1. This is actually Crystalbay’s post, but WP won’t let her post it today:

      l’m sure full of untold stories today, but l can’t help it when some of your posts trip my wire! There’s a huge old Hackberry tree right outside my window which has a 4″ wide hole halfway up the trunk. Every single day, l have to tolerate the non-stop squealing of several squirrels fighting over who gets to go into the hole for shelter. l can just hear it; “lt’s MlNE cuz l got here first!” or “l’ll show you who’s boss” or “Get the hell outta here!” Their constant bickering is loud enough that it even disturbs my clients.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I was watching one squirrel this morning carry in his teeth something that looks like rust-colored shoe leather, and I can’t quite imagine what it is. He seems to have left it up in one of the branches of our ungainly box elder tree, and I think I can see it from here. They are very busy today, and the rabbits have been playing tag again – fun morning.

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  10. Ha– pretty much my life.
    Being self employed whether farming or theater (or knitting or starting businesses or digging basements) is all about trusting yourself and knowing you’re doing the best job possible. And then you have to just fully appreciate knowing it’s valuable in some way shape or form.
    The compliments are few and far between. But I’m OK with that.
    For me personally, I do it because I enjoy it – not because I’m looking for compliments.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you have it right, Ben. Trying to do the best job possible is the key. That attitude makes work more enjoyable. You can feel good about doing a job well without getting any reward from anyone for doing that.

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    2. if i never had to talk to anyone about how i do or what i do id be ok with that. the reward is in letting you feel pride and being able to feed your family, be of service, fix the world or whatever you choose to do with yourself. i hope i can pass on a way of life to my kids or more likely just and understanding that i figured out a way to make something work and can encourage them to do the same. i go to a lot of eetings on people trying to figure out how to get something done and it is amazing how they go about it. its almost a lost art. the kids today are so used to doing the video games that the process from start to finish is follow the instructions. if there is an open agenda with no charted territory they seem to be lost. i tend to work it backwards and decide what i want for an outcome and then go backwards to figure out how get to where i want it to be. i always tell people who say it cant be done that if you pretend that your life depends on getting it doen the options become more varied and the ways they come to you is kinda fun. next time you are stumped .just say i know this is possible and go through the excersize and see what pops up.

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  11. My work as the editor of an outdoors magazine makes a good case study in unrewarded effort. I threw myself into that job passionately, working maybe 60 to 80 hours a week to make it a good magazine in spite of terrible management. While I got some attaboys, nobody but I knew how much of what was good about the magazine was due to my efforts. That was okay. I could live with that. I alone knew what my contribution was, but the end product was pretty nice. That was cool.

    But my boss, the publisher, had a different response. He hated me because I was always nagging him to pay the good folks who wrote or took pictures for us. He considered me a pain in his butt, which I was proud to be. He decided the magazine was good because it was regional. Why? Because he styled himself a shrewd businessman who was one of the few guys in the country who knew how good it was for some magazines to be regional. The quality of the magazine, in other words, was due to his insight rather than the almost desperate efforts of his editor.

    One day he rolled out the concept, creating four more regional outdoor magazines like ours. It took about a year and a half for him to learn that regionalism wasn’t enough to insure success. The new magazines didn’t have talented editors, so they all failed. As did my magazine, for he had by that time driven me out of it so he could replace me with a more tractable guy, a drunk from Arkansas who didn’t insist that we pay our contributors. It all collapsed in an implosion of ill will and negativity.

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  12. Opposites of whining:
    In my 11 years as a pastor I was always given expressions of appreciations in many ways: gifts, thank yous, speeches in church. I had only one alligator, and she was so over the top she was easy to ignore most of the time. And when I resigned she was furious with me for leaving. My favorite: one little old Norwegian man who came to church every Sunday in outfits we all waited for because they were him. Stripped sports coat, check pants, plaid shirt, diagonal striped tie. He would sit and stare out the church windows during my sermon. At the door every Sunday on the way out he clasped my hand, looked up at me with warmth in his eyes and said, “Thank you for today, Clyde.”
    As a teacher I wrote my own textbooks, for which I was reviled by the lazy old guard social studies teachers. Those textbooks were used for almost 20 years after I left. Every so often I would get a thank you note for the books (just copies pages, really) from parents or even students when the parents were aware of who I was and how to write to me. Or we would be back in town for some event. A young person would hear my name or be introduced and that young person would thank me for the textbooks. Who thanks someone for a textbook?
    In the last few months I have had four students seek me out to thank me, including two who are English teachers, one of whom had me when I was a second and third-year teacher and had no idea what I was doing.

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    1. some of the best teachers i ever had were second or third grade teachers who didnt know what they were doing. i got frustrated with teh ones who knew so well they didnt even really show up other than to take attendance and put the assignment on the board.
      i was an educational experiment who came out of catholic school (see my knuckles() and went into independant study with teacerhs who believed in the late 6’s early 70’s that minds could do amazing things. by the tiem i got through that 6 years of experiment ation the teachers were so tired of hearing the parents of these students ask to have them retrned to the standard 6 hour day tahat mst had given in and gone back to status quo. too bad. my education was wonderful someties in spiite of the oldsters who just showed up for work. i had a couple of teacher who i think of as i would guress clydes students remember him but only a couple del holz george vasillioyu tom thomas mr wolfe me wood. 5 is a few but thank goodness for those few.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I just received an email from a cousin who, while sitting outside a gift shop she was visiting in Dubuque, talked with some people who, as it turned out, were from Marshalltown (my home town), IA. They knew my folks, and had this story about their kids: “Apparently, the younger son… was quite upset because the year he was supposed to have Hope’s class, she had retired”. They also “just gushed about how your mom could get even the boys out dancing and singing.”

    Sometimes if you wait long enough, you get thanked. I can hardly wait to tell her tomorrow when I visit. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. A chronic lack of appreciation has given me a somewhat surly attitude about work. I’ve been better paid and better appreciated since becoming self-employed, I’m still sort of wary, though, out of habit.

    I try to remind myself to thank people in a genuine way for their work. As Clyde suggests, the motivation for acknowledging is my own desire for acknowledgment.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Nice photo of the malted milk balls, by the way. At first I thought the post was going to be about the rumored chocolate shortage. I am hoarding in the softer parts of the building material…like Dale’s squirrels or turbo-mice or whatever.

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  16. I am very happy-Daughter managed to drive home from Fargo in really bad weather and icy roads. She is happy, and determined to become an ace child protection worker.

    Out here, if you work hard and do a good job you are punished with unlimited work and the expectation that you will work hard and as well for everyone who asks for your services.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Toughest drive I ever made was Fargo to valley city on ice in the wind during a white out
      I hear you about hard work be getting more of the same
      Bless your daughter

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