So last week I called the temp agency – partly because in working from home, I was hardly ever in the world, the only person I really dealt with was my husband, and I felt like a cheat since I never really applied what we’d been learning under real world conditions. Would my happiness and optimism hold, if surrounded by negative people? Could I maintain my equanimity when interacting with the angry and bitter? If I never tested myself, how would I know?
I was scheduled for overnight shifts on Monday and Tuesday at a local food packaging plant, from four PM to two or three or possibly four AM. Monday morning, I got a text from a friend:
And I was torn, I truly was. I didn’t really want to go back to work in the regular world, I didn’t think it would be a good, productive use of my time, though I really did need to, to test what I’d learned at the very least. And I had agreed to the two shifts; in effect, I had given my word. But, oh, the lure of more pictures… some of which might work as stock photos and earn moola for us… and ice formations don’t last forever.
So I called my mastermind partner, to help me hash it out. The question I asked her was this: Which would do me more damage in the long run, failing to fulfill a committment, or failing to take an action that would further my DMP?
Her train of thought, bless her, very closely mirrored my own. In the end I decided to go with my first instinct and call the temp agency to tell them I would no longer be available for the shift that night, and meet Ivan between 2:45 and 3:00 with camera and tripod in hand. And there were no negative consequences from the temp agency; they understood completely and appreciated that I would still be in to work on Tuesday.
Mike drove his own car, and Ivan and I followed him in the pickup. Mike was as excited as a kid over the chance to show us this sight, and wished that he would be riding with us so as to see the expressions on our faces when we caught our first glimpse. (Mike’s an awesome fun guy. His passion is collecting documents. He specializes in the Civil War, but has others, several of which would not be out of place in the Smithsonian. I love to listen to him talk about his documents – what he has in his collection, the history of each, how he acquired them.)
We drove down the Wisconsin side of the river, past a couple of small towns, and then Mike turned up a county road. Ivan was telling me about the road, and how fun it is to drive on the motorcycle – all curvy and twisty, with the great scenery you would expect of limestone bluff and river country – when we came around a corner to see giant whitish-blue mounds to the right of the road. Our jaws dropped; I said, “Holy crap,” and Ivan said, “Wow.”
Turns out the man who owns the place is a plumber, and hooked up pipes and hoses to the artesian wells that are so prevalent in southwest Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota. He does this every year, just letting the water run, so that wind, water, and winter weather create enormous towers and ripples and tunnels for people to enjoy, as a memorial to Nick Bayer, a local fellow who died in an accident in 2009. I don’t know the whole story yet, but I will soon, and then the story will go up on my website for other people to find and enjoy.
I can’t wait for next year, when I can go out to watch the sculptures forming, and to see them lit up at night!
And if you were wondering, the shift on Tuesday went really well. I’d forgotten how fun line work can be – the sheer physical nature of it, playing the game of how-well-can-I-do, how-fast-can-I-go, getting to know new people. I couldn’t use my left hand at all the next day and my sleep schedule got all messed up and I needed to take sunset pictures on Wednesday instead of sunrise because after getting home at three in the morning and soaking in a hot bath to try to soothe aching muscles and then deciding to take a quick nap before heading out the to bluff I could not force myself to get up two hours later and hike up that hill… and even if it wasn’t a good use of my time, I wouldn’t trade the experience. I found out what I needed to know, I laid some old ghosts to rest, I am a better person for the experience… which I guess makes it a good use of time after all.
And apparently I impressed them at the packaging plant; the temp agency called the next day and said they needed people that night and had asked for me specifically.
And in taking the sunset pictures, I met more people up on the bluff – including three young highschooler-age kids who were up there for pretty much the same reason. I offered to take their picture with the one girl’s phone so that all three of them could be in the photo with the fiery sunset in the background; they were pleased and grateful, and who knows? Maybe that was part of the reason I ended up being up there at sunset instead of sunrise on Wednesday.