Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Ch 5 ~ Finally Picked One

Also during the time we were working on the arena I was car shopping. I was very close to just settling on a Honda Accord, but couldn't find quite was I was looking for available at a price I wanted to pay. And I still wasn't thrilled with that choice. I've had 2 other Honda Accords, a '91 and a '00, both coupes and I loved them both, but for whatever reason, I just couldn't get excited about them this time around.

Then I started looking at the Acura's. Man, those are some cute cars! So I started doing some serious shopping for an Acura. We took a break from the arena one day to run out because they had significantly dropped the price on one that was exactly what I wanted. Of course, by the time we got there, it was sold. *sigh* We stopped at another Acura dealership that was close by and they had a few options, though most were a little more expensive then I really wanted. One, a charcoal TSX with fairly low miles was a decent price so we went to take it for a test drive, but apparently there was someone trying to buy it already. Figures. The sales guy took us over to a different one that was just a few grand more, but had WAY lower miles and was a newer model that they had made some pretty good changes on. I was in love. It was pearl white with beige leather interior, wood grain dash, nav, every option, 18k miles. It was GORGEOUS! The sales guy went in to get the keys so we could drive it, but the jackass gentleman inside had changed his mind and wanted that one instead. We had other obligations that day and could not wait around for him to make up his mind so I just took it as a sign and we left. I was a bit bummed. But after sleeping on it realized it was for the best. It really was more then I should have been spending. I really was trying to be practical, a word that isn't generally in my vocabulary.

Anyways, long story short(ish), another TSX caught my eye at a dealership a little ways north. They actually had several options that were what I wanted and mostly in my price range. We got there and test drove the one that I had my eye on, but it was a bit rough. The interior had some scratches and dents and broken pieces (stuff that drives me a bit nutty) and the exterior had not been well cared for. I decided it just wasn't floating my boat for being barely in my price range. I looked at a couple other cars that were on my list and one didn't have all the options I really wanted and it had black interior instead of the light interior, but they had dropped the price significantly on it so I had to take a peek. Boy was it clean. The miles were a bit higher then I wanted at 100k, but it's an Acura. My first Honda had over 210k miles on it when I finally got rid of it. The exterior of it was very nearly perfect and the interior had one tiny little scratch on the arm rest, the seats looked like they had hardly been sat in, every thing was clean, it smelled good, even the metal plates in the door jams still had the factory plastic covers on, by far the nicest and cleanest car we had looked at. It was a very basic TSX, but still had plenty of bells and whistles and I was able to check off all of my "must haves" and most of my really, really wants.

We took it for a drive and it even ran better then the other TSX's I had driven. It was a nice car! Of course, comparing it to the TL's (V-6's, vs 4 cyl TSX) or other cars on the lot that were my favorite colors or had other options that I really wanted, it was hard to really appreciate the little silver TSX. But I just told myself that I would be perfectly happy with it once I got it by itself and wasn't comparing it to everything I COULD have. And I was right. I love that little TSX! And the best part...out the door, we came in right AT our "wishful thinking, but never going to stick to it" budget. Man, I felt so practical!

So I finally picked a car! And found a good one and bought it! Wow! That's only been 3-4 years in the making! lol

This car also marks the first time in my life I've had a sedan. Which I guess is appropriate since I'm now 30 and all. ;)

2011 Ch 4 ~ The Project

After selling my truck I had some dough to play with. Being me, I couldn't just be responsible with ALL of it, so I decided we needed to knock out one of our lingering, much anticipated and dreamed about projects: the arena.

Of course, being February, the timing wasn't great, but we lucked out with a very nice dry break in the weather and we were able to get it done. And of course when I say "we" I mean mostly the boyfriend. I pretty much just wrote the checks and cheered him on. I did run the roller for an hour or so one day. That was an adventure.

We rented a big (to me, boyfriend wasn't real impressed) roller and dozer for the project. First we (he) leveled the pad off with the dozer and got it to slope the way he wanted for drainage.

After he had that right, he rolled it pretty good so it was solid.

When that was ready, we brought in a few truck and pup loads of gravel, leveled and rolled that. Because the weather was so nice for us we actually spent a lot of time watering the gravel so that we could get it compacted enough. Who'da thunk that it would be too dry in February in Washington?!

The boyfriend spread the gravel out with the tractor and the TR3 rake, to make it all even and nice before we rolled the crap out of it.

That was the part I got to run the roller on and since I was actually working, there are no pics. Those things are pretty weird! Needless to say, my passes across the pad were not all straight and perfectly lined up like his were. Mine looked a little drunk. Maybe a LOT drunk! lol

The whole time we were working on this project we were checking the weather reports constantly. Hoping that it wasn't going to freeze too bad or rain or snow. Like I said, we really lucked out. After the base was about as good as it was going to get we started getting sand in. The dump truck driver was really great to work with and realized that we needed to get the base covered up before a storm rolled in and made it happen. He was so considerate of how he pulled in the driveway and drove nicely across the base so he didn't mess anything up and left as little evidence of his being there as possible. The extra care he took was definitely appreciated!

We got the base mostly covered up just in time for a big storm to roll through and the rest of the sand was delivered in the snow.

Once the weather cleared up a bit, the boyfriend got the sand all spread out and drug it a few times and we were ready to go!

We don't plan to put rails around it. Right now all of our horses are broke enough that we don't need fence and we've got portable panels we can put up if we do end up needing them. Plus, this way we can expand it later when we get tired of loping little circles.

I got my first ride in the arena on March 2nd! So far it's been a fabulous arena! Even with the massive amounts of rain we've had this year there were only a couple days that it was too wet to ride in. It drains great and has been excellent all weather footing! And let me tell you, having an arena at home so we can just tack up and ride is the most fabulous thing EVER!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Ch 3 ~ Week 3

So after how fabulously craptastic the first two Wednesdays of the year were I have to admit I was feeling a tad bit paranoid about the third Wednesday. I try not to be superstitious and paranoid, but you know bad things *always* come in Threes, right?

I was a bit jumpy that day. If I could have bubble wrapped all the animals and stayed in bed all day I probably would have. But I could not, so I went to work and tried not to look over my shoulder too much. We did all survive the day totally unscathed. Yay! I convinced myself that one of the other minor (and too insignificant to even remember now) "bad" things that had happened over the weekend must have been The Third. And life went on. The third week was fairly uneventful. Whew!

After that things really got going, though thankfully they were on the more positive side. Like I said, this has been one heck of a year. We fell in love with new horses, posted old ones for sale, the boyfriend and I duked it out at the last winter series show for the buckle and we got a very exciting property project going.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

2011 Ch 2 ~ The Second Week

So the second week of January 2011. One I certainly could have done without. Exactly one week after I was rear ended I came home from work to find the boyfriend more upset then I'd ever seen him. He could hardly even get the words out. Cletus had been hit by a car, killed instantly.

It was surreal. I couldn't believe the words I had just heard. My Dude Man. I did not want to believe it. The boyfriend had already buried him, picked the prettiest spot on the property under a little fir tree and marked his grave with a nice rock.

It was an extremely rough time dealing with his loss. It's amazing what a gaping hole one dog can leave in your life.

Everything reminded us of him. The house was soooo quiet without the two dogs wrestling and playing and barking at the neighbors.

Of course it didn't help they Cheyanne was feeling the loss too. They had been such good buddies. They played hard and constantly. Wrestling in the yard, chasing the horses, picking through the frozen poo, the most interesting thing around when everything was covered with snow.

Chey didn't eat for a couple weeks, until I started hand feeding her and basically forcing her to eat. She just laid around, looking forlorn. That was just as hard to deal with.

The Dude was my buddy. He was the sweetest, friendliest, most affectionate and goofiest dog I've ever had. We had gotten in the routine of snuggling in the evenings when we were all stuck inside because of the winter weather. I would sit on the floor in front of the heater (my favorite spot when it's cold) and he would come snuggle with me. I would scratch his belly and play with him. Then when I would curl up on the couch and read, he'd put his head on the couch right by my leg (he knew he wasn't allowed on the couch) and stare at me with those big brown eyes and I'd scratch his ears and pet him while I read. His eyes would half close and he looked so content, just to be close and have a little love. He always chose sitting at my feet with his head in my lap over laying down to sleep or chewing on his bone.

I still miss him like crazy and would give just about anything to have him back. I do believe everything happens for a reason, but I'm still having a hard time figuring out why this had to happen. I am so glad to have had him in my life for the short time we did though. He was just a damn cool dog.

2011 Ch 1 ~ The First Week

I was determined to make 2011 a big year heading into it. My motto for the year was just "Get Sh** Done!". No specific new years resolutions, just "Get Sh** Done". Do something. ANYTHING that will get me closer to accomplishing my goals. Even little tiny baby steps are progress and get me that much closer to being finished. Anything helps. I was getting tired of having deja vu every time I looked at my project list and saw the same things again and again. I wanted to "Get Sh** Done" and checked off that blasted list so I could move on to bigger and better things.

First up - the truck situation. Fuel prices were already high and just going to get higher. Every time I looked at how much we were spending on diesel every month I died a little inside. I had just paid my truck off and was reveling in not having that payment every month, but still, it was getting older. It was still a diesel 4x4 truck and nothing about those suckers is cheap. Not fuel, not oil changes, not brakes or tires or fixes. And we had 3 diesel trucks, all getting up there in miles. It just was not practical. At times I'd just shake my head at the stupidity of it, but other times I could totally justify it. We're country people and really USE those trucks. And it's Blue. I love Blue.

This has been a pretty constant debate for me for years now. Getting a gooseneck trailer and not having a hitch installed in my truck was the beginning of the end for Ol' Blue. Since I couldn't haul the horse trailer with her I was having a much more difficult time justifying keeping her. The prospect of getting her paid off and having one less payment every month spared her for a little while, but in the end, I just couldn't do it any more.

My main hold up had been that I didn't know what I wanted to drive instead. Nothing was appealing. Anything I wanted wasn't practical enough to justify selling the paid off truck. Anything practical just wasn't floating my boat. I test drove car after car after car after car after car (and so on) (and on and on, seriously, it was epic) and nothing spoke to me. My commute isn't exactly short and I do love driving so I "needed" something that I would enjoy being in. I just couldn't find something that struck that balance in practicality and fun.

At some point in December in occurred to me that we had 3 vehicles. I didn't HAVE to replace her. I could just drive the haulin' truck until something spoke to me. Not ideal, since the haulin' truck isn't my fave to commute in, and it sure was nice not having to hook and unhook the trailer every time we wanted to ride, but certainly doable. And so the decision was made. Blue was to be sold. Right after one warranty issue was fixed.

Of course with the holidays and busy schedules it was a couple weeks before we could get her in at the shop, but we got her in and January 5th I went and picked her up, planning to head home and clean her up for her photo shoot. But alas, it was not meant to be. On my way home I was rear ended by an old guy in a Buick. It was dusk and raining and they came out of no where. I had been sitting stopped at this light for a while with no one behind me when I saw an odd flash of headlight in my side mirror. You know the flash...when you know something's not right and crap this might hurt? Ya, one of those.

Luckily he was able to swerve and only hit the corner of my truck. And of course his Buick was way worse off then my truck. He couldn't even get his door open. But still, I was not happy. I had plans for this truck and this was not helping things! Plus, you know, accidents and dealing with all the insurance crap afterwards is not great either.

I had a few weeks of chiro apts and got the truck fixed and then, finally, was ready to post her. I slapped the ad up on craigslist and went to bed. The next morning I had an email time stamped less then an hour after the ad was posted. This guy wanted her. Bad. I had the boyfriend call him to "talk truck" and, after working through some issues, the guy bought her and I put her on a barge to Alaska. I cried when I dropped her off. Then realized that I left my gate clicker and favorite cd in there. Doh!

I got a picture from him a week later. She was safe and sound in Alaska, happy trudging through the snow with icicles hanging off of her. She always did like the snow. :-)

So the first week of January I was rear ended. Ugh. Never a great way to start off the year! But I still got the truck sold. After 6 1/2 years and 100,000 miles, Ol' Blue was gone. One giant milestone for me and one happening I could have done without.

But, everything happens for a reason. Selling Ol' Blue was one of the "for the greater good" things. I didn't want to, but in the grand scheme of things, it made more sense to. And without asking or anything, I got a small settlement out of the accident for my troubles. Nice!

The second week did not turn out so well...

Friday, September 9, 2011

2011 Thus Far

Wow. I can't believe it's already September! We'll just skip over the whole "I'm a sucky blogger" thing again, cuz really...seems like every post from me for the past year or two have started out that way.

I've had so much to write about for so long, but I've just been busy and the story that I felt needed to come first was not one I was ready to write so the blog just sat. With the exception of a couple random posts.

But now it's September and I am really inspired to write and document this year and all that has happened. Boy do I have a lot to get caught up on. 2011 has been quite a year! There have been many exciting things happening, some really big bummers, some sad endings and fun beginnings. It has overwhelmingly been a year of change and progress. Most of it good. Or at least for the greater good. Certainly a couple things I could have done without.

So, if there are still people out there that haven't given up on me yet, I hope to be back this weekend with tales of our 2011 adventures.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Funny Story...

I just have to share this story because I think it's funny and hope you'll get a chuckle out of it too!

I decided that with all the pots I'm planting this year, the seeds that I started indoors and need to bring out to harden off and my bad luck with pots/plants and the dogs in previous years, it would be best to block off the porch area to the dogs. I figured it would be temporary and one side already had a gate that we could close so there was just the stairway to worry about. I was just going to see what kind of baby gates they have available and stick one on there, easy peasy. But after a day of running errands and no baby gate and really needing to get it blocked off so I could get to work, I decided to just scavenge stuff we have and see what I could do.

This is what I came up with...

A roll of fence that we took down in the back yard when we bought the house. I was too lazy to cut a hunk off, so I just brought the whole roll over. Yes, I realize that the effort "saved" in cutting the fence was negated by the effort expended in moving the entire roll. After wrestling with that thing for a while I was really wishing I had just taken the time to hunt down a pair of wire cutters!

So after getting the fence in position I fastened it in place with none other then....

Yep! Baling twine! Any horsey person knows that this stuff is almost as good as duct tape. And there is ALWAYS some around! But, I have to admit, it was maybe just a smidge ghetto looking. I reassured myself that it was free! And temporary! And easy to get the job done! And did I mention it was free? I figured I'd look a little harder for a baby gate later, but for now, I could get to work on what I needed to do.

That's when I heard the Boyfriend banging away in the garage so I went to see what he was working on. Apparently, he'd had a very bright idea for the gate issue. I thought he was busy with other things, so I'd just gone ahead and done the ghetto fence.

Well, 10 minutes later, he had this hung...

He had stuck two of the garden border panels together, one on top of the other, then used some hinges and a latch that I had gotten for another project that we hadn't used and voila! We have a nice swinging, latching wooden gate that coordinates with the garden border all the way around the front of the house and doesn't look completely ghetto. LOVE it! And the best part? It was also free, made with things we already had laying around the house.

And really, with all the time I wrestled with that darn roll of fence, it probably didn't take any longer to get done either.

I try. But I probably don't have to tell you that my ghetto fence was taken down shortly after that gate went in. lol