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Advisor

What comes first?

Suey's reply to my Valentine's Day query below echoed a conversation I had with a friend last night.  We got on the subject of generators (I know, farmers, right?) and how crucial having one is, both for the welfare of our pigs and powering the crucial incubators at the waterfowl park, where they raise many endangered species. 

I commented that we'd finally, after sixteen years, put our household on a level footing with the hog houses, installing an automatic-transferred genset with LP tank fuel supply last spring.  Until then, we had gone with NO generator for a couple of years. 

In 1996, after Fran, I had guilted Mike to the point that he hauled the PTO-driven one here from VA, and set it in the yard near the panel, but not attached...so, basically something for a vine to climb up onto, but too much trouble to use to be really useful.  By the time Floyd killed our grid power for over two weeks in 1999, we had decided to wire the thing into the panel permanently with the required transfer switch, and installed it under the garage shed, with underground wire back to the house.   

That old generator died during Isabel, and we replaced it with a larger one of similar specs...still had to have a tractor backed up and running to have any power, though and that was overkill.  So, when I asked Mike to go along with a really useful one last year, he agreed at long last...we finally got on a par with the pigs.  May only need it once a year or so, or really need it to survive here once ever four or five, but when we do, we can live comfortably and safely now.  No more sitting in the dark, thirsty, hungry and filthy, while the pigs play in their comfy houses. 

So, my question to my friend last night was the same as the one I'm asking you this morning:  We all say our families come first, but when it comes to decisions like this one, do we REALLY prioritize our resources that way?

Of course, the animals in our care are dependent upon us for their welfare, so that is not going to be allowed to suffer, but why did we wait so long to treat ourselves as well?  The issue was not money...this genset and its installation was not that expensive. 

Sometimes, it isn't even a matter of money, just moving things around a bit.  I've been going out and climbing into a frost-covered car for 16 years, too.  Just thought recently to ask Mike to let me have one small portion of the equipment shed nearest the house and office this winter to park under.  We did just pour one load of gravel to minimize mud, but $250 is not a lot to spend to have this luxury at long last.  He was all too happy to do that for me, and he got to take over my old parking space right at the side door, so win-win.  Why have I been scraping glass/roasting in a hot car for so long, with a nice, clean shed sitting there for at least ten years?

We say we put ourselves and our families first, but we live with so many silly inconveniences and irritations that could be eliminated easily, if we'd just take a few minutes to figure out a better way. Now that I am not in nursing school anymore, I think my goal will be to work out as many of these cricks in our necks as possible this year. 

Can't hurt, and ought to help.  I did this on the farm many years ago, and very simply solved a lot of nagging problems there...but, stopped short of the house and yard.   Will be looking around to make things better here for both of us this spring as I start to stir about outside.  Have a couple of ideas already in mind indoors for the rest of the cool days. 

Off the top of your head, what is the one thing you can think of that would really improve your family's life at home? 

  

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11 Replies
Veteran Contributor

Re: What comes first?

What would improve it, or what do I want? We have the generators also, ready to go for the poutlry houses, but the one for the house would only take about 5 minutes to get going. We had all of them on stand by this week during the blizard. It was 12 Thursday night and this afternoon it is 61. I really can't think of anything that would make our life more comfortable. I have always had a cover over my car, even when we were in our mobil home for 5 years I had an addition on it. I never was one for carrying groceries and children in the rain from the car to the house. THe only thing we really need is a shed in the back yard. We need one big enough for the tractor to go in, and DH has so many things he needs a shed/office for. We have a farm shop, but would like to have a nice one behind the house for certain tools that you do not want to share with everyone. What happened to being a nurse? I know you were very excited about it.

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Senior Contributor

Re: What comes first?

I have a very long list. First we had to decide which house we wanted to live in once his parents move/move on. We decided we will stay in our smaller one story house. #1. Add an attached garage and place for the washer and dryer. I'd also like to add a Master bathroom. #2 CARPET. New carpet is no longer a want it is past a need. #3. High Speed internet. #4. Vacations. #5. My husband needs and deserves a heated and insulated shop. I have mentioned this several times. He loves fixing equipement and even inventing wasys for his machinery to work better. I want him to have a heated shop. If he does not have a heated shop he'll drive me crazy when the hogs are gone. We have so many things we want to deal with once we are not tied to this place because of the hogs. I'm afraid his parents will keep us tied here for while. Although they have said this will be their last winter on the farm, I'm afraid that my MIL is probably getting close to the point she will be unable to accept the move to assisted living. With FIL 86 and lots of "pain issues" I'm afraid he will not be driving much longer. The POA might be put to the test before long. My FIL is trying to figure out how my husband can build a hydraulic lift to haul is 300+# body up to the combine cab. My DH really does not want to tell him we do not want him in our new combine, he's afraid the truth will kill him. I say if he wants a lift he can write the check for a factory built one. That will proably put the brakes on it. Life will probably not be getting alot easier for us.
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Advisor

Re: What comes first?

I never thought so much that I'd "be a nurse." I wanted the skills and knowledge that nurse have, so I could take better care of us as we age.  I've got all the basics, and feel good about what I did get to absorb. 

Last fall, on my hospital rotation, I got pretty sick with bronchial problems.  It took 5-6 weeks to get over it, and I'd just gotten to really feeling good, when we rotated back there again in late January.  Thsi time, I got suddenly sick in a very bad way...fever, lots of congestion, and tightness in my chest that truly frightened me.  Flared up even when I went to a different hospital for a chest x-ray...and I think it was the fumes from some disinfectant they were using. 

Family physician and my husband both caught onto the coincidence, and told me to stop going to the hospital for my own health...if you cannot rotate on clinicals due ot yoru own illness, you cannot complete the program. February 10th was the last day I could drop the course in good standing, with my GPA intact.   

I could not see any reason to drag it out, get sicker, and end up with a failing mark, which seemed inevitable if I kept repeating the exposure.     

I am still taking my A&P class, and am considering just taking a class along here and there to stimulate my mind, perhaps search out different path, find a passion. 

The pulmonologist I saw this week says I have got some sort of respiratory chemical sensitivity.  He did rule out the emphysema my GP was rumbling about.... The chemical link was no surprise to me, since I have been unable to walk down the cleanser aisle in the grocery store for years,  and have to avoid the pesticides in Lowe's and Home Depot.  Paint is a big problem, too.

Know what you mean about the tools you want to isolate from the rest fo the farm.  Mike keeps a small set of things in the garage, plus his carpentry tools, which he does not like to share.  My tools are in the backroom/workroom of the house.  He snitches a screwdriver every so often, but at least he is trained now to put it back when he does. 

We've got one more section of yard barn to complete this summer, hopefully.  Son will have to hire a couple of friends to help frame it, so a pretty stiff labor bil;. It will be worth it to have room for everyone's vehicles near the house, and plenty of room for the week's supply of firewood and my tiny Kubota and loader to stand out of the weather.   Probably the last barn I'll ever build....

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Veteran Contributor

Re: What comes first?

Sorry you had to give it up, but its not worth your health. There should be many different fields if you do want to keep going. I know on our farm with all the different caps we wear, I would not have the time. Good luck with what ever you decide to do. I thought one time about going to do  ultrasounds, I think that would be a great job, but after so many in a day it might also get boring.

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Senior Contributor

Re: What comes first?

When you are dealing with a control freak in the family, he or she has to be satisfied first or life just isn't happy. There are lots of wants that would make my life easier, but severing the string to the control freak would be the first real "need."

After the needs are met, wants tend to look more like needs. Then it becomes a cost:benefit issue.

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Advisor

Re: What comes first?

We had a friend who trashed his knee right before harvest last year due to a bad fall.  His brother, who he farms with, was able to pull the front end loader on one of the tractors (suppose you could use a bobcat, too) to lift our friend up to a level where he could step right into the combine cab.  Of course I know you don't really want to find a solution to this problem but I had to share how they managed a bad situation. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: What comes first?

Sometimes, ultrasounds can be very sad events, too.  I do not know if I could be the one to let young, prospective parents down, for example.  It is heartbreaking. 

I have figured that healthcare settings will probably be off-limits for me.  As Mike says, I do not need to work away from home.  As you say, there is enough to do here -  and I had not really planned for this to be a career path in any event.   

I do enjoy mental stimulation, though, and had hoped to put the effort into an organized curriculum path for a while.  Not meant to be.  Something better will come along...that's been the course of my lifetime thus far.

You cannot see opportunities ahead if you are looking back over your shoulder, right?

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Honored Advisor

Re: What comes first?

If you haven't laid out your floor plan yet, consider putting the laundry in the master bath...ours is that way, which I saw in a friend's very nice house once, and it saves many miles of steps here. 

Will you be salvaging the heaters from the farrowing and nursery for his shop heaters?  Does he already have the building, and just needs to heat it, or do you folks need a shop built from scratch?  I've seen people gut their old hog buildings and turn them into nice equipment storage space. 

Tell Dad that you are afraid that anything less than a factory-built lift may void the combine warranty, or look into agribility for help, if he is too insistent. 

Start the forward momentum as soon as you can for their move to assisted living.  After bad weather, the waiting lists at those places can stack up quite a bit, as elders realize they are ill-equipped to deal with it anymore.  That is what it finally took to get Mike's mom to move into her retirement home. 

For high speed internet, you may want to look into using a WiFi card through your cell company, or even adding a plan to a smartphone.  That is my backup system now, and it is way more reliable than Hughesnet. Data plan is more limited, but it depends upon what you use it for, I guess.   Should be able to let it travel with you on vacations, too.  Just a thought. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: What comes first?

Control is a funny thing...the more I have been occupied elsewhere for the past year, the more Mike has gotten nitpicky about things that never seemed to matter to him.  Not just my observation, but one I hear a bit from our daughter who works here.  I've noticed it more about things around the house and with the pets, too. 

I think that sometimes, we blame people for being controlling, when in fact, we've placed a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.  I know I feel that when you make it my job, then it needs to be accepted  that I will do it my way.  That seems only fair to me, so when Mike took over some of my usual errands and such for my schooling demands taking up so much time, I had to say, "Do it your way." 

When the balance of this workload shifts back, I suppose I will be considered more controlling again...but, I really don't care, as long  as he and I are on the same page about  it. 

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