The life of a small business owner can never be dull. Add the beauty of life on a farm and mother of 5 children 13 and under and some weeks feel like we could be featured as one of the many watched reality shows or sitcoms. Maybe that is why I don’t watch tv, I live it. I had one of those weeks not long ago. It started Monday morning with one employee calling before 8 AM to let me know he was just a few blocks from work but felt like he may pass out at anytime. I spent the morning wondering if I was taking him to the emergency room. He tried to stand up and work for a few hours while he waited for his wife to pick him up not thinking it was safe to drive. That morning I felt like a school nurse not accomplishing much as farm to market coordinator. The following day I filled in for the absence by working the kill floor. I told everyone to make sure that no one let out that I greatly enjoyed peeling beef livers for the morning hours as I didn’t want to encourage employee absences. The morning reminded me of my freshman Biology class at Purdue University. That evening, Tuesday, Erick and I met with another employee who put in her notice as she had some reoccurring medical problems that needed tending to. It is always hard to lose an employee but this one was especially close to the family and hard to see go. At this point I was hoping the week was nearing completion but I wasn’t even half way there. Wednesday morning my cell phone rang again right before 8AM. While I love caller id the majority of the time, this time I wish I had not known who was calling. Now, you need to realize we had had a few weeks of rotating illness including the employee from Monday who had in the mean time been diagnosed with Lyme disease. (Our wellness plan now includes staying away from ticks.) But this employee that was calling had not been one to ever call in sick yet had called in to say she was going to be a few minutes late on occasion. So when I picked up the phone I answered it jokingly saying we did not allow anyone to call in sick any more. I really did think she was just calling to tell me she would be 5 minutes late. I still am hoping that those were not tears I heard on the line as it would be just awful to know you made an employee cry because she had to call in sick. Now I might think that was enough for one day, but the afternoon ended with more excitement than I had had since having my 4th child. I had spent that morning filling in on the floor yet again. This time learning to wrap meat which I had not yet done as it generally means I would be unavailable to help customers. Nearing noon, our butcher had expressed some discomfort that he said was just like the last time he passed kidney stones. By that afternoon we were headed to the same emergency room I had avoided on Monday. It is probably not a good idea to find amusement in someones pain but looking back it is ok to admit that it was hard not to laugh, right? I only say this knowing that through many of my labor pains I would strongly say, “Stop smiling at me!” They say passing a kidney stone is like having a baby and I now believe that to be true. The trip to the hospital had this unnamed employee in interesting positions yelling at me, the boss, to go faster. We won’t mention anything else he said en route to the hospital. I will say it was an interesting position to be in checking an employee in to the emergency room while waiting for his wife to come. The pain meds were intense to the point where he had to be reminded to breathe but he still felt like he needed to give a list of items that needed to be completed before I could leave the hospital and return to the processing facility. He insisted he would be in the next morning and he was. Yet the remainder of the week had its ups and downs where it seemed like a repeat of Wednesday afternoons trip to the ER was going to be repeated at any moment. I really was wondering if I was a small business owner or a school nurse. The pain of those kidney stones was just not subsiding. By Saturday it was obvious we needed outside help to catch up so we had a fill in butcher show up to get us through after I told our current butcher he would be fired if he touched the saw after taking pain meds. Fingers are more important than getting meat out in my opinion. Amazingly by Sunday, the adventure had seized and a day of rest was had. Wow, what a week. and I didn’t even mention any of the pig antics…………… Life on the farm is oh so good! We still managed to produce healthy, local meats.
Needless to say by the next week I was interviewing. It seems once you have a handful of employees you are always going to be one man down and need a fill in. Now we have hired two new employees and are gearing up to do even more processing including deer as the hunting season approaches. Give us a call, we love to hear from you!