Pushmi-Pullyu

 

 

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That’s a poorly taken picture, but it demonstrates something I think about often. Ever notice how two parts of team can have a totally different approach to a situation? Take my husband and me. I consider us a team. We share the responsibility of having horses somewhat equally, but how we actually do our daily chores can be light years apart.

I like an organized barn, which is odd because I’m not exactly what I’d call a Tidy Tess. In other words, I can overlook a fair amount of chaos. But it really bugs me when it’s my turn to feed the horses and I go out and find the barn a mess. How hard is it to put things away, shut container lids, throw hay twine in the trash, close cupboard doors and rake the barn floor? Clearly, my husband and I have a different method of feeding animals.

We also have an ongoing dialogue about the electric fence. I think it’s inadequate at best, he thinks it’s fine. Fortunately, we don’t have horses who are intent on getting out because if we did, they’d have very little trouble accomplishing their mission. I’ve mentioned (several times) that the hot box isn’t giving as high of a charge as it should. There’s a fairly idiot-proof method of knowing if your fence is working properly. A Geiger counter-type needle spikes each time the fence pulses. There are different zones on the front that show you how “hot” your fence is. Red = no charge, Yellow = low charge, Green = normal charge. Pretty simple, right? Well, our fence has consistently been spiking only as high as the middle of the yellow scale, which means we’re not getting the Full Monty.

So this¬† is how it goes: a.) I mention the miserly fence charge. b.) he goes out and taps on the face of the gauge a few times and pronounces it “Fixed.” A few hours later I look out and see the horses practically crawling under or over the fence in search of green grass, and we’re back to where we started. Again. Yes, we have a little charger-tester-thingie. You know what I’m talking about. It’s a box with a couple of wires hanging out of it that you hook up to your fence like jumper cables.¬† From what I can tell (because I’ve never used it), it either shocks the crap out of you if you attach it wrong, or it tells you how much juice is going through your line.

After we’ve gone through the A-B cycle above at least four times, the engineer (Oh, did I mention that he’s an engineer?) gets out the charger thingie and checks the fence. Now it seems kinda obvious to me that you’d want to test your fence in a couple of different places, but typically he doesn’t. Sometimes he’ll announce that the fence “is fine” and other times he’ll say the charge is “maybe just a tad low” (translation: dead), which usually means something’s grounding the line somewhere. It’s impossible to see all our fence line from the barn, so if there’s a ground then someone has to walk the line and try to figure out what and where the problem is.

Sending my husband out to check the fence is a little like asking a toddler to fill out a TP report. I’ve watched him from the house as he wanders aimlessly back and forth, tossing sticks for the dogs, checking the pines for roosting hawks and watching hikers and bikers on the AL trail. He pretty much does everything but check the fence. An hour later he’ll come back and when asked if he found the problem, will report that he thinks he did. When asked what the problem was, he’s usually not very clear about it. “Well, there were a couple of small branches touching the line in a place or two.”

Come Monday it’s back to my shift. I go out to the barn and the first thing I notice is that the fence charger is STILL only charging somewhere in the yellow zone. So I get the horses fed and start walking the line. Usually I find the problem in a matter of minutes, fix it, and go back to the barn. The charger is now pinning in the green zone.

So back to the picture above. My husband is obviously the horse on the left. Steady Eddie. Mr. Slow and Easy wins the race. And I’m the horse on the right, the one all fired up and no place to go until the other half of the team decides to get his ass in gear.

How about you? Do you sometimes feel like you’re a part of a Pushmi-Pullyu team?

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