First, from my 10 January 2013 lesson: Jumping an Oxer: The Ugly, The Bad, The Bad, The Bad, and The Good. The first time over was a complete disaster, then it was merely bad, bad, and bad. Finally, I got it right because I turned sooner: I wasn’t preoccupied with straightening her in the strides before the fence, so I was able to focus on getting a good canter from her. (Yes, that makes a world of difference!)
Second, from my 22 January 2013 lesson: Two Fences with a Tight Turn. These tight turns are difficult for Lila and me. If I don’t have her very collected yet still powerful in her stride, they’re a disaster. Here, we did okay.
Earlier this week, I had my first lesson since January 22nd… and it was so much fun! Alas, no video.
Paul and I were married 14 years ago. That’s amazing and awesome. I can’t believe we’ve been together — and happily so — for so long. Frankly, we’re doing a pretty cruddy job of suffering through the loveless sham of a marriage that we often joke about.
Happily, I just remembered that I have a video of highlights from our wedding! Paul’s brother recorded it without our knowledge. It’s not great quality, thanks to the primitive technology of handheld recorders of the time, plus degradation of the VHS tape over many years. But I love what he captured on it… and it’s far better than nothing!
Naughty kitty Merlin loves prosciutto ham so very much — and he’s completely unconcerned about my unwillingness to let him assault me and me my plate — that I have to eat it standing in the middle of the room while holding my plate in my hand. Even then, he begs and wiggles and wiggles and begs from the nearest perch, with eyes as wide as saucers, like this:
All cats are weird… just in different ways. Here are our three cats on cuddling, in a nutshell:
Cuddle? Never! That’s just another of your secret plots to kill me! I will satisfy my need to cuddle by sleeping on your chest when you are not a threat — namely, while you sleep.
I have an intense desire to cuddle you for the next five minutes, and you are required pay full attention to me and only me. After that, I will treat you with the scorn you so richly deserve… until I desperately need another cuddle, that is.
OMG, I missed you while you were gone for five minutes! Can we please cuddle on the sofa for… um… two hours? Yup, just flop me into whatever position you prefer. Of course, I’ll purr the whole time!
Alas, Merlin is often too busy being naughty for such delightful cuddling!
Back in November, I snapped a few pictures of my super-awesome farrier, Chad Tuttle, at work shaping Lila’s shoes. By such “hot shoeing,” the farrier gets a better fit than he would otherwise.
I vastly prefer to allow a horse to go barefoot if possible. The horse’s hoof still needs to be trimmed by the farrier every eight weeks, but that’s a much faster and much cheaper process than shoeing. Plus, if the unshod horse kicks man or beast, that might hurt, but it’s not likely to do any serious damage. When the shod horse kicks man or beast, that’s likely to require medical attention.
However, sometimes the horses do require shoes to protect their feet, despite those downsides. Last summer, Lila’s soles were sore. The moment that we put on shoes, she became a vastly better horse — far more forward and free in her movements than she’d ever been. I put shoes on Elsie then too because she’d worn her feet down and gotten quite sore. We just pulled Elsie’s shoes off last week: her feet had grown out, the ground is reasonably soft now, and I’m not riding her much. Still, if she wears her feet down too much, she’ll be back in shoes when the farrier returns at the end of May!
On Friday, just before I woke up, I dreamt that I was to go foxhunting for the first time in ages, but I was delayed because putting on my snowboarding boots took forever. The hunt left without me, but I was still hoping to catch up. Then my father, who turned out to be some evil fairy-tale king who’d organized the hunt for his own devious purposes, bombed the surrounding countryside, including the two major cities, to rubble. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to go foxhuting after all that work of putting on my boots.
A few weeks ago, when I was frantically re-assembling the house to prepare for SnowCon 2013, I hung up our various works of art. Most were just simple jobs, and Merlin “helped” with those by batting around nails and being his usual naughty self.
However, a few hangings required the laser sight level. Silly me, I’ve never played with the laser with Merlin. It was a bit too much fun… as you can see from this fully accurate pie chart that I made:
Today, I found this delightful tidbit from the Manager Tools Newsletter (free to registered members) in my inbox:
Sitting at my computer this morning, I wished for one of those movie montages. You know the ones where the cool music plays, and several hours or days or months pass, and magically the protagonist has written a book, found love or become fit enough for a marathon.
If there was a montage of my office this morning, 300 words would magically write themselves, with a quick intercut scene of me tearing out my hair and drinking more coffee. Then, we’d switch to my screen, where windows would open and close as I add the different elements to the newsletter. And in 2 minutes, it’d all be done, and I’d be out with my friends in a bar celebrating the amazing open and clickthrough rates.
Ah, real life. Real life entails of consistent action. Day after day I collect ideas. Day after day I write something, anything, to practice writing effectively. Day after day I start with a blank page and wait for a combination of inspiration and perspiration to write.
We’d all like montages. But as Manager Tools says about management, it’s boring. One on Ones every week. Feedback every day. Consistent Coaching. Persistent Delegation. Career success is relationships, relationships, relationships with results and transitions. What gets results? Day by day minor progress.
Benjamin Franklin famously had a list of 13 virtues which he worked on from age 20 until he died aged 84. Every week, he worked on one of the virtues. Sixty years is a long time to think about (and definitely requires a montage). But if you spent one week, and every day worked a little on that project you’ve been meaning to get to, how far would you get?
Wowee, I desperately want a house repairs montage… you know, the kind with snappy upbeat music and where the video sped up so that everything happens in a few seconds. I can’t do that — the whole process involves an unbelievable amount of decision-making, coordination, and little tasks. The good news is that I’ve been able to effectively use GTD to manage the work… and tons of progress has been made in the last few weeks, as you can see here:
Alas, in repairing some warped baseboards in the laundry room and exercise room, we discovered a whole lot of wet and mold, thanks to water coming from the boiler room. At first, I thought that our boiler might be leaking, but then I recalled that the kitchen sink backs up into the floor of the boiler room. That’s sheer insanity, on so many levels, but apparently that was common in the 70s. (I blame drugs.) That happened once before a few years ago, and the water flooded into the office immediately, and it took the plumber hours to figure out what the heck was the problem. This time, the clog was partial, so that area had been flooding just a bit… for many weeks, I think. UGH.
The result was that the drywall under the baseboards was sopping wet and moldy. I’ve been spraying the drywall on all sides twice per day for the past few days, and it seems to be drying out and clearing up nicely. However, after SnowCon, I’m going to cut into the drywall under the baseboard to see what’s behind the wall. We might need to tear out the drywall and reconstruct that area. Let me tell you, I’m not looking forward to doing that, so I hope that’s not necessary.
But, if necessary, I know that I can do it given all that I’ve done already. Plus, once SnowCon is done, I won’t nearly as stressed as I am now. Still, I hope that everything dries out nicely, so that we can just slap the baseboards back on. That would be really lovely.
A few months ago, I did a major update to the fencing on our five-acre property, including adding a “Mighty Mule” automatic dual-gate opener to the driveway gates. They work great, and Paul and I enjoy just pressing a button rather than manually opening and closing the gates, particularly in inclement weather.
However, we’ve also had a major problem with these gates, namely that they’ll beep very loudly every 20 seconds all night long after a cloudy day. I kid you not. The beep can be heard clearly from a few hundred feed away, inside the house, with all the doors and windows closed. Honestly, I’m surprised that my neighbors haven’t taken a baseball bat to the device. That beeping is supposed to be the low-battery warning. However, the gates have never refused to open, even after beeping all night long. So the battery doesn’t seem to be actually low.
My fencing peopleguy has done his best to fix the problem. He returned once to add a second solar panel. (We don’t have any electric lines on that side of the property, so solar is the only option.) That lessened the problem somewhat, but not enough. So he came a second time. He tested the output of the battery, which seemed to slip just slightly low when the gate was opening, but nothing that should cause such all-night beeping. He was on the phone with Mighty Mule for quite some time, and the tech support person assured him that adding a second battery to the unit would solve the problem. I was hopeful… but disappointed yet again.
After our recent foot of snow, the gate opener was beeping loudly every 20 seconds, yet again… and I was feeling very, very stabby. So I trudged down the unplowed driveway at 10:30 pm to try to plug up the speaker hole with glue. I didn’t want to just cut the speaker wire because the gate does sometimes emit useful beeps, like as a warning before it starts to close. I was so angry that I took video, just so that others could hear just how loud and annoying the beeping is. (The beep at the end, when I’m standing near the opener, is ear-piercing.)
Unfortunately, my glue job didn’t work: I could still hear the beeping from inside the house. So I trudged down again through the snow in the middle of the cold night to tie a rag to the bottom of the device, over the speaker. That made the noise tolerable, even though still audible outside.
Yesterday, I called the tech support of “Mighty Mule” yet again. The person that I spoke to was infuriatingly unhelpful. First, he lectured me about how much sun the opener needs. Well, I live in Colorado, where we get 300 days of sunshine per year, and a single cloudy day will set the device beeping all night. That’s not normal. Plus, we’ve already added the extra solar panel, and the last tech support person assured us that an extra battery would solve the problem. Then he told me that I could ship the device back to them, and they’d check it out. I wouldn’t have to pay shipping. However, as I told him, I’d have to pay my fencing peopleguy to come out twice — once to uninstall the opener and then again reinstall the opener. So that seems like a major waste to me. Plus, after being told that the second battery would definitely solve the problem, I just don’t trust this company to actually fix the problem.
At the very least, Mighty Mule should have offered to ship me a new device, and then I’d ship them back the defective model. That way, my fencing peopleguy could come out just once, and hopefully the problem would be solved. But that wasn’t ever offered. Alas, I didn’t think to ask, but I’m pretty sure that offering such solutions isn’t the job of the frustrated customer. Moreover, I should add, the beeping is a ridiculous design flaw, and it ought to be fixed.
To add insult to injury, the tech support guy never seemed to acknowledge my problem. He just kept saying “Yes, ma’am” in a monotone voice. I’m sure that he would have said the same if I’d told him that pigs were flying past my window.
So if I can’t find a better way to block the speaker, I plan to cut the speaker wire. I hate to do that, but I don’t see that I have any better options.
As I’ve done these house repairs, I’ve been really impressed by the customer service offered by the various companies I’ve worked with. These companies know that they depend on word-of-mouth recommendations, and they’ve worked hard to go the extra mile. I wish that I could say the same about Mighty Mule and its parent company GTO.
So consider this post a word of warning… If their product goes wrong, don’t expect any useful assistance. I expected better from a product that costs a few hundred dollars. I’ve been nothing but frustrated and disappointed.