Too many balls, not enough hands.

I was in my supervisor’s office yesterday, spouting off circus analogies. As one does.

“I’m juggling an awful lot these days!” I said. “I’ve got too many balls and not enough hands.” Only later did I realize a comment like that could have earned me a visit with HR.

Work is super busy right now. I’m a pretty even-keeled guy, but I’ve been feeling the pressure of competing projects and tight deadlines. A looming vacation doesn’t help (though it’s sorely needed and very welcome).

At that point, she said, “I’d be happy to take something off your plate, but I wouldn’t do this brochure justice the way you will. You have a true gift, Mark.”

Maybe she was just buttering me up so I wouldn’t run screaming out of the building in frustration, but that was a very nice thing to say and great for the ego. One of the best professional compliments I’ve ever received. And it gave me the motivation to dive into the project with renewed vigor.

She really earned that manager badge yesterday.

Fortunately, it hasn’t been all work and no play. We’ve had houseguests since last Thursday. When a friend told me to enjoy my visit with the in-laws, I said, “No in-laws this visit. It’s Tara’s sister and her fiancé.”

“A sister-in-law is an in-law,” she astutely pointed out. Duh. I’ve always thought of in-laws as parental figures, but of course, she’s right!

I took Friday off to hang out with the in-laws. We did a slew of touristy things, including Mount Rushmore, Needles Highway, and the Cathedral Spires. While a tad warm, the weather was otherwise ideal.

We had the most fun feeding the infamous begging burros in Custer State Park.

Fun was had even when we were just hanging out at home.

Sisters. You can’t take ’em anywhere!

Our guests have been very impressed with South Dakota in general, and Rapid City in particular. Even after getting rained on during dinner at the Firehouse.

The weekend was fairly low-key. It actually turned downright chilly (but has since rebounded into the 90s), so Saturday we introduced them to our favorite pastime: cards, records, and cocktails in the basement. Sunday afternoon, the three of them headed to Pierre. They’d booked a guided fishing trip on the Missouri River Monday morning; I had to work (see above: busy AF), so I stayed behind. Well, plus, I’m not really into fishing the way they are. But I’m into eating fish—especially walleye, hands-down (or fins-down, I suppose) the best-tasting freshwater fish. I was hoping they’d return home with a cooler full of ’em and was not disappointed. Tuesday night, we fried up a batch and had some amazing fish tacos.

This is the circle of life right here:

All in all, it’s been a great visit. Turns out Maggie and Israel are pretty fun to hang out with. We don’t see them very often since they live in Las Vegas, but we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this trip.

Tomorrow night, they’re headed home and we begin our road trip to Wisconsin. We’ve got reservations in Chamberlain, three hours east, and then an eight-hour drive to Madison on Friday. We should arrive just in time for a good old-fashioned Wisconsin Friday night fish fry! And a good old-fashioned. They’re the cocktail of choice in the Badger State.

My kind of people, those Sconies.

No blogging from the road this time. I’d rather enjoy my vacation without the pressure of writing every day.

Have a bang-up 4th, y’all!

37 thoughts on “Too many balls, not enough hands.

  1. Lovely post, Mark. All good stuff. 🙂

    Brevity b/c I’m behind on blog reading AF, with no manager to tell me, “No one can read blogs the way you do, Betsy. I wouldn’t do it justice,” so, you know, moving along… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my goodness, I love this comment thread so much! The juggler – good one, EW!

        That’s an action packed post, Mark! Hope you have a great time in Wisconsin. And if there’s a circus, burros, fish fries or any other stories, I look forward to hearing about it when you’ve had a nice time off and are back.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I said infamous because they are a well-known tourist attraction around here. You should see the line of cars that stops to feed them all day long. It’s a wonder they don’t more closely resemble hippos with all the handouts they get!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooooo quality managing displayed there 🙂 But also, great to have your skills appreciated in that way, especially when you’re up against it. One of the drawbacks when managers are just people who got promoted because they did the work well, rather than having to skill (or being trained) to manage people.

    Enjoy your fish fry & the old fashioneds!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you had a fun visit, but yeah, that is packing a lot in. Busy at work plus hosting, then getting ready for a trip? I’m stressed just recapping it all for you. Wait, let me take a sip of my G&T… ok, that’s better. Now tell me – why oh why did I think you had a Wisconsin vacation planned in the fall, like around October? I’m a getting senile?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, you’re not imagining things. We initially planned a trip out there (here, as I’m in Madison now) in October, but didn’t want to wait that long. Plus, we were in need of a getaway!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m in total agreement with your boss; you do have a gift in writing.

    The visit with the inlaws does sound like fun and I think just ‘being together’ is always the best; no matter what the activity.

    I need to visit with the begging burros myself. (one day!)

    Liked by 1 person

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