The ramp up to seed peak season is a difficult time for everyone involved.
January is typically the time for hope and positivity. Without failure, every year someone (myself included) says "I think we'll be right this year, we've done such better planning". And it's true, every year we do better and better planning, but planning is only as good as how accurately you can predict the future and that is never an easy task. The golden cloud of January hugs you with warm safe arms. It could never be as bad as last year, we've got it all under control.
February cruises in with solid work and there are a few phone calls to interrupt you mid thought, but you can deal with this. It's the peak season after all. It's going to be busy. You have a few hours where you get behind because of unexpected problems to solve, but you catch up by the end of the day. It's at this point you convince yourself that shit yes, all that planning is certainly paying off. No one is going to have to work overtime this year. Sweet.
March begins. Mentally you are prepared for March, or so you think. This is the big one. The mighty month. The phones stay manageable in week one. High fives all round. Smashing it. A few people take leave or take a half day and a collective, palpable frown goes around the office. Mid March is when you can see that the body is willing but the mind is not. Friction between who's working more/harder starts to happen. The mental resistance to working at a frantic pace when things have been steady. Inside you just feel grumbly and everyone else around you is grumbly. By the last week in March the overtime and weekend work has begun coupled with common conversations that go "I was thinking about (..insert seed problem..) in the shower this morning" and everyone goes to bed thinking about seed and wakes up thinking about seed.
By April you're in the zone. It's not a great zone because it's a bit frantic and everyone makes mistakes but finally everyone is in it with you. The whole team hums and sometimes fights a little but damn you are pumping seed out of every vein. Seed Seed Seed! You're on. No more friction from slugish minds wanting to stay in their comfortable cave.
Speaking of mistakes, that brings me to the severed finger. One of our guys in the plant put his hand in a moving auger last week. I was on Team Search for Fingers in the Seed because that's at least something I could do. The other workers thought his fingers had been severed so we looked for ages. It was a very strange feeling to be pushing seed through a screener knowing that if you felt a rubbery thing it was someone's finger. Turns out the fingers had stayed attached but just mutilated in a way that looked like they were missing. I don't mind gore but seeing that fear on his face is what leaves you shaken. Lucky for him he is expected to have a full recovery.
Yesterday I closed the electric window of the car on Pan's upper jaw. Somehow I didn't crush her face. She just has some bleeding on her gums. She's ok too.
I never know if I would like a job that is more steady. Would I get bored? Or is this ramping up for long periods no good for me? I don't know anything else so it's hard to compare.
So I was over the moon when Jane Elene Christensen posted another one of her perfectly handled, perfectly calm videos. I will never be Jane Elene Christensen. Not even if you drugged me could I be that calm.
This somewhat basic looking setup absolutely smashed Badger and I. We did every off course, even the off courses you can't imagine.. we did them. Quite hilarious. So this heavily edited version is the outcome.
I bet you're excited to see which way was fastest for Badger?! Yes??!! I eagerly got inside after training to chop up the video and find the amazing answers to the mysteries of Which Way is Fastest....
Very Boring Answer
One more week of daylight savings I think. I treasure each little hour in the evenings. It has been a surprisingly hot March.
We went to the whippet racing again but poor Jav was just so hot I only let him have one run. He was as bananas as ever. He really really likes it. Which is awesome. I had the only whippet who did his run, came back to me just as fast and then lay down. He did his dramatic prostrate slump; tongue lolling, head flopped and trying to resemble a pancake. I did wonder if he was having a heart attack but he came good.
I think winter coming will be a good thing.
After further googling it was even stranger. No website, no names, just a landline. That's it.
The location of Dog Pool is in a suburb that has odd signs dotted around stating something like "Warning: This area is declared for intensive dog breeding purposes". I'm not sure what you are meant to do once you have read these signs. Run? Take cover? Wear condoms? Not sure, but forewarned is forearmed or however the saying goes.
I decide to drive by and see if Dog Pool was even real. We jiggled along the dirt road until low and behold, a faded, almost illegible Dog Pool sign emerged from the bushes
Dog Pool looked dead.
But then in that green shed I could see a door open and a car out the front and a somewhat newish sandwich board if I squinted really hard. Fuck it. I'm going in.
I park and go through the doors in the dark dark shed. It takes a while for my eyes to adjust and I have that awkward feeling that if someone is in the shed they are probably staring right at me but I can't see them yet. I wait. There is nobody in the shed. Everything is old. Like 1970's old. In the middle of the shed is a very deep snake shaped pool. And it is running and pumping and cleaning and doing all the things a working functioning Dog Pool would do. I poke around. I find a Greyhound weighing apparatus from the early 16th century. I find a pot belly stove that must be used to heat up the shed in winter. I find lots of signs about rules of the pool. Whippets and Greyhounds must wear muzzles. Everyone has to be out by 7pm on Wednesdays. If you want to book Michael Bell you have to ring him for an appointment. No liniment to be applied before getting in the pool because it creates a horrible film on the water exclamation mark exclamation mark. The only thing I don't find is people. So I casually stroll out as though I totally know what the go is.
I slowly reverse out of my park and realize an odd caravan sits off to the side of the shed. Some men roll up and without even glancing in my direction say hello to someone in the caravan and then go straight in.
Damn it. I'm too scared to go to the caravan.
I'm ringing that landline number during the week.
*I launch the dogs into space with the force of my leash yanking.
From my memories the dogs were like three kites as I bolted at the speed of light to keep Javelin from trying to sniff its bum.
We are at a special Javelin day today, the Yarra Valley Social Whippet Races. This is Javelin's second time racing with a 3 or 4 year break in between.
He has come back with strong desire to eat lures.
He is going bananas like all the other whippets. Throwing himself around like a nutter, barking, being vividly AWAKE. All the things you don't usually associate with Javelin. It makes my heart smile.
He loves watching the others running, he loves seeing the lure wiz past, he loves hanging out with all the other hot whippet bums. I don't think I've ever seen him with his eyes open for such a long period.
Interpretation of whippets throwing themselves around while watching whippet races
- I found an online shop for people like me with super huge bodies called Long Tall Sally. They come from the UK. The pants I've received so far are AMAZINGLY perfect! So much pants! All the way to the bottom of my legs. Plus it means I can wear pants normally, like a normal person. It's very fun to keep getting my packages and I may go on a pant buying rampage. I can't stop. All the pants will be mine!
- Badger and I have some connection to work on over the next few weeks. We actually did pretty well at our first comp back but it's hard not to focus on the mistakes more than the good parts. We did a push back from our running dogwalk and he hit beautifully considering it is his hardest type of turn (soft left). He had a sweet low hit in another run. What would make it even better if ;-) we both get more confident with Japanese turns. We thought we were confident but it turns out we have more confidence to build.
- It has been a very mild summer this year in Melbourne. Nowhere else in Australia but I'm in a jumper down here. brrrrrr
Me and me Badge are on a walk. We thought we would share some sunshine
Hahaha globe head sun god
I was about to take him to the vet on day 4 after miraculous rice water didn't work, then suddenly he got better but sadly Pan then started vomiting so she went to the vet instead. Given how badly she went down last time and with the public holidays I thought better to be safe than sorry. Antibiotics fixed her up within 24 hours.
Bundled old lady Pan in the car (her favorite thing) and we went for a drive. We went to many places and checked out beaches and forest. It was sort of relaxing knowing we didn't have to find a big walk, only small walks for my recovering patients.
Found this gorgeous little waterfall that was tucked so far into the forest that no one can be bothered thinking up whether dogs should be there or not. I decided for them.
Doesn't Jav do a perfect job of rotating his head in this video? He is a natural for TV.
Because when we were at the beach yesterday and I was having a little paddle I looked back towards the shore and there were my dogs: Pan barking as loudly as possible at a log under the water, Badger standing dutifully beside her taking little pot shots at nipping her back legs while she is mid bark, and Javelin standing at the water's edge with the face of petulant disdain. His eyes narrowed and mightily prim.
There is only so long a person can listen to a dog barking at a log under the water so I call Pan and Badger to swim out to me. I've been noticing more and more often that Javelin and Badger have a decent amount of competition between them. It shows up in the funniest places and given they are both peace lovers they keep it to just trying to be cooler than the other one. Before Pan or Badger can start to launch themselves out to me I see the oddest thing. Javelin lurches forward and trots straight into the water that is over his shoulder. I wait for him to bail on this crazy idea of his. He doesn't. He just keeps coming. I realise at one point he is most definitely swimming. He can't not be swimming. His determined little head is cruising towards me like a little black boat.
It was the strangest day. The only other time he swam voluntarily was after that wallaby I think.