Category Archives: Business

HUH!?

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Down by the barn is a small, 75 gallon water tank with a tank heater in it. And by ‘Tank Heater’ I mean it keeps the water just warm enough to keep it from freezing. I’ve never tested it, but it might be 34 degree’s for all I know.

I’m doing my chores one morning. And while I’m doing my chores, I put the chickens water buckets that have frozen, in that tank and leave them for a few minutes.
Then usually the ice around the edges has melted just enough that I can knock it out of the buckets.

This one particular morning while working I notice a smell from the tank. Kind of stinky, like sewage. And I thought to myself, “Huh! That’s odd” and I go about my chores. A few minutes later I’m back with another bucket of ice that I put in the tank and then I go around back to the pole barn and get a bucket of straw for the egg boxes. And when I get back, this bucket of ice has melted about half an inch all the way around and I thought “Huh! that’s interesting.”
And I dump out the ice and refill the bucket and continue my chores.
A little bit later, I’m in the tractor working down there and I notice the tank is steaming more than usual.
And I think “Huh! That’s weird.” And I go about my way.

Ah–  but then I come back and take a second look. And I put my hand in the water and it’s like a hot tub! A dirty, stinky, hot tub but still; way hotter than it should be.
Evidently there is something wrong with this tank heater.

Got a new one and all is well. And I thought to myself, “Took ya long enough to pick up on those hints.”

What’s the last thing that made you say “HUH!”?  

Sensory Processing

I  frequently run into children in my psychology practice who have issues with how things feel, taste, or sound. These children do not have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (although many of those people have significant sensory problems).  No, the children to whom I refer are just really irritated and bothered by things in their sensory worlds.  They have problems with the textures of foods, with seams in their socks, and with dirt on their hands. They crave tight clothes and heavy blankets, or else they don’t like wearing clothes at all.  Some can’t abide loud noises.  Some can’t bear to have anything like a tooth-brush in their mouths, or else they have an intense need for oral stimulation and need to chew on things.  I refer them to Occupational Therapists who do all sorts of mysterious and wonderful things with them to reduce their sensory stress  and make them less irritable.

I, too, have some sensory issues. I remember as child that I wouldn’t wear any article of clothing that had a tag in it. Mom had to cut them off. They were itchy and scratchy and I couldn’t stop thinking about them if they were still inside my clothes. I also remember wearing what are called “rumba pants” as a very little girl. They were  decorative panties with lace on the backside.  They itched like crazy and it was impossible to sit down without having them scratch my legs.

I prefer loose clothes to tight clothes.   I never liked it when my mom would wash my bedding, since I liked things soft against my skin, and the freshly laundered  sheets were scratchy.  I can’t stand to feel that there is anything under my fingernails. This partially accounts for my unbreakable bad habit of chewing my nails. My son tells me that whenever he touches cardboard with his fingertips, it is like hearing nails on a black board for him.

I don’t know why I am seeing so many children with this issue.  I think  other children had sensory issues when I was young, but that no one asked the right questions to find out.  Perhaps life wasn’t quite as complicated  then and it was easier to learn to cope.  Perhaps we are doing something environmentally  or in our child rearing practices that is causing more problems like this. I don’t know the answer. I just know I am glad there is help for all that sensory irritability now.

What sensory issues do you have? Do you know someone with sensory issues?

Good Value

An update from my home town: The Rock County Star Herald reported last week that the arts, defined as the Tri-State Band Festival, the new Rock County Historical Society Museum, the Herreid War Museum, the Brandenburg Art Gallery, the Green Earth Players (a local acting company that performs at the historic Palace Theatre), the Beer Fest, and various performances at the high school and at other venues, brought $2,000,000 into Luverne’s economy last year. I think that is pretty remarkable for a town of 4500 people so far from the Twin Cities.

If the arts can have such a big economic impact, why are they often viewed as expendable?  How have the arts impacted your life? What good news have you heard lately?

A Poverty of Imagination

My agency,  like most of the  Human Service Centers in my State, is understaffed.  We can’t seem to find any psychologists or psychiatrists or other mental health professionals  to come and work for us.  The problem is state-wide, even in the more urban areas.  There even is a paucity of private-sector mental health professionals in the western side of the State.

We certainly have tried to attract people, what with student loan forgiveness, great benefits, and competitive salaries.   No one wants to work in a rural state. My husband and I think people seem to have a poverty of imagination of what life could be like here.  I turn to the Baboons for suggestions.

How would you entice people to move to a remote, rural area to live and work?  What do you think are people’s misconceptions about rural life?  How would you speak to the realities of rural life?

Dieter Substitution

I didn’t have the television switched on too much today but I think I saw Marie Osmond at least three times. It occurs to me that I haven’t seen her hawking her diet system since before Halloween. Interesting that the diet ads start up right away on January 1.

Weight loss is the number one resolution in America these days (and has been for decades). And I read something recently that says most folks have blown through all their resolutions after six weeks.  I’m guessing that means we’ll have plenty of Marie Osmond until Groundhog’s Day.

I also saw recently that PETA wants to replace Puxatawny Phil with an animatronic groundhog. This seems absurd to me; would we really be able to program it to recognize its own shadow and forecast the end of winter? Of course, we could always program it to monitor diet ads; once spring and summer arrives, the ads drop off. This made me wonder if we replaced Marie Osmond with an animatronic dieter, maybe SHE could tell us when winter is ending and save PETA the trouble of replacing Puxatawny Phil!

What robot would be useful in your life?

 

 

Cyber Irony

I think we’ve pretty much determined that most of us aren’t big shoppers, so I’m assuming that if we didn’t give Black Friday much due then we would have the same attitude about Cyber Monday. At least there were fewer commercials.

Imagine my surprise to come home from work on Cyber Monday to find my mailbox FILLED with glossy catalogs. Every couple of years I fill out the No Junk Mail registry but clearly this is a task that needs doing a little more often.  Of all these catalogs, I have only purchased from two of them and one of those was over two years ago.  I haven’t even HEARD of a couple of these companies.  It was particularly disturbing to get TWO catalogs from one company on the same day.

The irony of getting a box full of catalogs on the day we should all be shopping online isn’t lost on me and it’s a little frightening to think of all these catalogs filling up our landfills at this time of year.

The chances that I might glance through some of these before they hit the recycling? Maybe 50%.  Chances that I will order anything because I got these catalogs?  Zero.

What irony is striking you this week?

Slogging Through

In a comment yesterday, Renee mentioned slogging through War & Peace and being glad she had seen a film version first.  So now I have to tell MY War & Peace story.

I worked in the book industry for many years, in the now defunct B.Dalton chain. Back then (and I assume now as well) publishers did not want to pay to have mass market printing (small paperbacks) returned to them.  It was cheaper to reprint than to pay for the shipping.  In order to return mass markets we stripped the front covers off the books and sent those to the publisher for return credit.  The strips (books with their covers stripped) were then disposed of at the individual stores.

Although strips were routinely destroyed, it was a perk of working at the bookstore that you were allowed to take strips home for free, as long as you didn’t get caught selling them or even giving them away. For many years, most of the books I read were coverless.  Once when really purging the shelves, we ended up with strips of several classics, including a few copies of War & Peace.  I took one home that day and after a few months, put it in the bathroom with my various magazines for casual bathroom reading.  Since the strip was never going to go on my bookshelf, after every 10-20 pages, I would rip off the pages I’d finished and toss them.

It took me almost a year to read War & Peace this way and as the year went by, the book got skinnier and skinnier!

What reading material do YOU have in the bathroom?