The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

The lazy farmer is actually lazy nowadays...

It is hot...

It is never hot in Oregon this time of year. 

It is going to be 90 degrees at 12 midnight tonight. I should have been hooking up lights on all the tractors. Years ago we had similar weather and I just basically switched to working at night. 

Now I have this job as a groundskeeper and when I get home I am so tired from the heat I just don't feel like doing much. Pretty sad. I really am becoming the lazy farmer.

Last week I turned down a better job. It paid $2 an hour more. I suppose  I had good reasons.

1. It would have cost me $1 an hour to drive the distance. The reason this is a big deal is I live close enough to my current job that I could drive home for lunch. Switching to a 40 minute commute on a highway I hate was daunting.

2. They made me an offer. I asked for 45 cents more to meet my goal. They said that HR had a computer program to determine pay equality and after working for my current college I understand the codewords. The code word is F... You. They are coating it in Jesus language instead of social justice and diversity. Actually I think at the new job I would be getting a double dosage of both.

3. The President of my current college invited me for coffee to discuss my mental state. I went to his office. The ladies in the office acted weird like I should not be there or I was getting fired. Turns out he was on vacation. I was invited to his house.... 

I really felt I should go to the back door as it is the president's mansion on campus. He calls me in and his lovely and gracious wife brings me coffee. We have a great chat, the cheers me up. We agree on a strategy. I ask for what I want, which is pretty reasonable and based on the wages of local groundskeeping companies. If they don't give it I walk. I have a job.

And that is what I did.

I am still a little depressed. I just cannot seem to boost my motivation. It will be a long summer.

I have been driving dump truck in the evenings. It gets me more behind with fixing farm equipment but $30 an hour is pretty nice. Plus, they are so happy for my help. The excavator guy has a truck load waiting for me at 4:05 pm. I haul it to the farm where I am dumping it and try to make it back by 4:45 pm. He quits at 5 so that gives him time to load me. Then I try to get two loads in myself. I am down to loading in 20 minutes. (I am getting better with the excavator. )

I try to make it home by 7:30. So far I have only ran the stacker one evening. I worked till 10 p.m. and thought I was done but didn't realize there was another field. The problem with this is that while it is nice in cool in the stacker, the next day I can't stay awake on the lawnmower because of the heat. 

I am afraid I am getting old. I have no idea how to deal with that problem...

Sunday, June 6, 2021

I am reflective

We had a different Pastor in Church this morning. I enjoyed the sermon. I needed it. I am too uptight.

He quoted TS Elliot, "The Hollow Men," and reminisced about reading "On The Beach," many years ago. Then he quoted Dale Carnegie, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living."

I wanted to call/text my daughter and talk about it. "On the Beach" is an awesome movie. (Having never read the book) plus TS Elliot. "The Hollow Men," is interesting in so many ways just as a poem but the Pastor's Biblical references and the "On The Beach," reference made it all so much more interesting to me. There was a time when I thought talking about things like that with my daughter was the most amazing thing in the world.

But alas, that that time has past. It is a different world now.

I went to my nephew's graduation yesterday. Him and his three other classmates seem happy and positive. It is Child Abuse to put your kid into the public school system if you have any values at all. 

I often question my decision to work off the farm. I question even more my decision to get my daughter to attend the Young Writer's Conference at Sweet Briar college. I am not a particularly good parent.

However, when I decided to get an off the farm job I felt I had to make a decision. My dad had to go to a rest home. If he would have lived another year there would be no farm. This would have probably been a good thing for all involved, but that is another story.

I did not want to be a 50 year old truck driver, it is a tough life. I often get confused at what gear I am in. It is an 18 speed. Traffic is a little scary on HWY 18 on a Friday with 12 yards of gravel. I think it would be worse with a set of doubles or a 50ft trailer. There has got to be a niche for me...

But... That is what I was last week.

The company doing the steam line project at my college needed truck drivers and they hired me for twice my hourly wage. I took a week of vacation time and drove dump truck. Saturday, my supervisor told me I could just work by myself if I wanted and I should just use the excavator to load myself. 

The bucket is quick attach, it rotates and tilts independently. It is really amazing to run. I am not good at running it but I have observed the real excavator driver using it and he is awesome.

JRT Mechanical seems to be a great place to work. I sent a photo to my supervisor documenting that I anciently broke the top board on the dumb truck with the excavator bucket. (The controls are opposite what I am used to and I was trying to learn new controls instead so switching the lever). I said he could take the cost of a new 2x10 out of my pay. He said it would be cheaper to just buy a new dump truck...

I probably should have turned the lever that changed the controls but I am so bad at running an excavator I thought I might as well learn the other system. I did get better...

I kind of hope they offer me a full time job.

My supervisor from the Grounds Department at the University I work at brought me coffee Saturday. I offered to let him run the excavator but he declined. It was kind of funny...

I don't think I can work at my daughter's college. It pays another $2 per hour. They have amazing facilities. People seem to love their jobs. That college is NOT going broke.

But.... The secret to happiness is controlled access. 

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