Work Life Writing

Winkling the Week

Broccoli Seedlings

Sunday afternoon I felt a bit dizzy.

I assumed it was the long day, split between two farms, getting tired after making 57 trays of soil blocks.

As I placed the last tray of 72 blocks on the table for cucumber seeding, I washed my tools and headed for the car. Something was up.

It took three days to winkle it out: I caught some kind of bug that kept me from working at the home, farm and auto supply store.

On Monday morning I was dizzy and nauseous. I brushed my teeth, shaved, showered and dressed, then headed to the car for the drive across Mehaffey Bridge. Just after I crossed the south arm of Lake Macbride I stopped, too nauseous to continue. I called off sick and turned around. Near the old barn north of the lake I stopped again and vomited twice. I spent most of the rest of the day sleeping. I did pick up our vegetable share at the farm — probably not my best decision.

Determined not to take a second of my five annual sick days today, I woke, got dressed and tried it again. I made it to the parking lot, went in and found my supervisor. After preliminary pleasantries told him I felt too sick to work and went home and back to bed.

In all I clocked 25 hours of sleep in a 36 hour period.  As the sun moves lower in the western sky I’m on the mend. I don’t recall much about the last 48 hours.

I woke this morning about 9 a.m. just when Governor Terry Branstad’s hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was beginning. Branstad is President Trump’s nominee to become ambassador to China. The Des Moines Register live-streamed it, so I watched on my phone in bed. He looks to be a shoe-in because of his service as governor of Iowa and his long relationship (since 1985) with Chinese President Xi Jinping. I posted on Twitter, “Branstad seemed present, cognizant, schooled and mannered at his hearing today. Much different from person who nominated him.” It was a sign I was feeling better.

This week is the anniversary of President Nixon’s 1970 invasion of Cambodia and the protests that erupted around the country. At Kent State four students were killed by national guardsmen during the protests. My reaction to the news was to participate in my first-ever protest march. I carried one corner of one of four mocked up coffins to the National Guard Armory on Brady Street in Davenport. I felt participation would raise awareness about the war. When our photo appeared in the local newspaper, it confirmed my belief.

This week’s hope is that the ground will dry. The farming community is waiting for the ground to dry to begin planting. After a Rip Van Winkle style nap, what I winkle out is the need to focus on today because we never know what tomorrow will bring or what may disable us.