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!!!