A day in the life of a wool mill operator (Ben) - where did my day go?

…. 5:15PM – I found my cup of coffee from this morning sitting next to a sewing machine I had sat down to try and fix earlier today and wondered to myself “what happened to my day”

Sometimes I wish for a life where I have my day planned, things go according to schedule, I start the day with a task list and I end it with all those items crossed off…. But that doesn’t seem to be my reality so lets rewind….

10:00PM (night before)– wrestling with anxiety about many tasks I need to do tomorrow.  I’m hoping for a 2am waking from slumber feeling very rested (I do this weird thing where if I wake up early in the morning feeling very rested I just go into work and then come home for breakfast getting a great 4-5 hrs of un-distracted work done but I rarely set an alarm as life with kids presents plenty forced wake ups as it is… therefore if my body is rested and I wake up great!... if not then either the sun or the kids will do the job for me)

5:30AM – lying in bed thinking about going to work but the house is still really quiet and I think to myself… maybe today the kids will all sleep-in if they don’t hear the floor boards creaking as I tip-toe out the door to go to work….

6:30AM – they are still sleeping!  Yeah! But….. my mind is racing with the dozens of tasks I have at work and I decide to make the brave (or foolhardy) attempt to sneak past the kids’ bedrooms

6:32AM – I hear a small stampede of footsteps on the floor above me…. Surprise! Everyone’s awake and my 4 yr old says with a smile “Dada I heard the stairs creaking and I came downstairs to find you!” My 2 year old is still rubbing sleep out of her eyes and my wife (pregnant with #3) sleepily smiles and slumps onto the couch obviously feeling more tired now than when she went to bed the night before

7:30AM Chickens are fed, garden is watered, and I leave the house with lots of blown kisses from little hands at the side of the driveway.  Whew! Morning routine went better than normal 😊

7:40AM I’ve arrived at work and preparations for day 1 of post-COVID retail store opening begin in earnest and I tackle a couple key production questions for the day ahead before things get crazy.

9:30AM respond to Thursday/Friday emails from the previous week that remained unanswered and read a blog from a rancher we work with who suffered a severe brain injury falling from a stack of hay when feeding her sheep.  A good reminder that sometimes our troubles pale in comparison to others. 

9:50AM – first customers arrive and are asking for our brand new (COVID friendly self-guided tour)…. Only problem is the self-guided part isn’t quite ready…. I tell my employees I’ll take care of guiding the “self-guided” tours today.

10:10AM – whew… I have a lot of work to do to truly make the tour self guided and I have a whole new appreciation for museums that convey great information via signs/displays/etc. 

10:30AM – I have a bunch of wool masks to make and the sewing machine used to finish the ends has been acting up…. Maybe now I’ll get a chance to implement the solution I was thinking about all weekend…AND maybe I’ll get to sip a cup of coffee in the process 😊

10:35AM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…..

11:15AM - ….”thanks for coming in Rancher A”…. “oh hi Rancher B what brings you in today”…..

12:30PM – …”well Rancher B thanks for coming in”

12:31PM – “oops….. I told my wife I’d be home for lunch at 11:30…I better get going”

I’ll just say this about the 2 hrs from 10:30-12:30… I hope that someday I will continue to operate with the principle that our time is the best gift we can give someone and to be hospitable to the unexpected guest is a key aspect of recognizing the dignity in each person…. But I’ll admit… sometimes it makes me a bit stressed about the dozens of things I had to push back till later

1:15PM – I sit down and immediately standup as another “self-guided” tour has arrived

2:00-PM – my dad arrives (he does most of our construction projects) with supplies to make our stairs safer for visitors (handrails etc)

2:05PM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…. another unexpected visitor (parish priest from neighboring city).  …. It is good to be fully present to those we meet in person and so I am grateful for the opportunity to practice that.

3:00PM – hurriedly tackle some urgent email correspondence needed to coordinate the logistics of some exciting new machinery being delivered

3:35PM – Ben…”someone is here to see you”…. another unexpected visitor (well at least I knew the visit would be this week).  A wool delivery from a great rancher we’ve worked with for years and some good visiting about updates on life since the last time we met (a year ago). 

5:15PM – sipping some cold coffee – tidying up the email correspondence on the machine delivery – and thinking about the things I need to do tomorrow…fix that sewing machine… 😊 

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