Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Recycling, Screw Ups, and the Two Sides of a Rock

So far the barn chore reminder list hasn't gone so well.  The first day I completely forgot to read it, and forgot to take the ointments from the house to the barn even though they were right by the door.  The second day I remembered the ointments, but overslept and did not have the time to read the list.  Of course, the point of the list is to save time, but I was more worried about getting back inside to give the dog her insulin after she ate since I was already giving it to her late as was.

I got the horses in their stalls, distributed their hay, applied ointments, and just when I was finishing up wiping stuff on Bombay's face, I heard the roar of a truck coming up our street.  My mind was going, "What day is it?  Horses need fly spray.  Midge needs insulin.  What's that sound?  I'm forgetting something.  What was I supposed to do today?  There's something on my calendar, but I forgot to check my calendar."

The roar got closer and then it hit me.  It was recycling pick up day, a day that only comes twice a month, and I had forgotten to set the can out for the last two pick ups, so our can was filled to the lid.  I had been fretting about this all week, literally losing sleep because I knew I was going to forget to set the recycling can out again.  It's against ordinances to leave your cans by the curb all week, so I can only drag them to the curb the morning of the pick up, but if I happen to oversleep or be extra busy that morning, I get screwed.  So, sometimes I put the can out the night before, but that requires a good memory too.  I'm thinking I might just go ahead and put the cans out when I remember to do so, even if it is several days early.  One neighbor has commented to me that it bugs her when another neighbor leaves his trash cans at the end of his driveway, but I figure if that's her biggest problem, she's got a pretty easy life.

I could hear the truck approaching my next door neighbor's house while I was down at the barn.  I felt there was no possible way I could reach the truck in time, but I had to try.  So, I sprinted as fast as I could up the hill waving my hands above my head hoping the driver would see me.  I pointed at this alcove where I needed to go to grab my recycling can.  I ran into the alcove and heard the engine of the truck speed up and thought he didn't see me and was passing my house.  I grabbed the can anyway in hopes I could stop him after he turned around at the dead end.

I came racing around the corner dragging the recycling can behind me, and it turned out the driver had seen me and was stopped and waiting at the end of my driveway with his claw out.  I shoved the can in the claw, backed away and waved to thank him.  I was amazed I pulled that off.  I'm sure the driver will keep an eye out for me in the future now that he knows I'm a flake.  I always forget to put the trash out on trash days too.  He makes all these trips to my house and there's nothing there.  I was so drenched in sweat that I had to peel my wet clothes off to get into the shower after giving Midge her meds.  The horses never got their fly spray, but I'll put that on later when they don't have their heads buried in hay.

In other news, it took being on the phone all day, but I finally did enough detective work to track down the missing insurance check for the water damage in my kitchen.  When I had called the bank's customer service department to ask for an address to send the check to for an endorsement from the bank, the lady gave me the wrong address.  Upon speaking to a second customer service rep, I was told that she had no idea what the address was that I was given, and she wasn't even sure if it was affiliated with the bank.  She also said she had no record of my insurance claim report despite me giving it to the first rep over the phone.  I was suspicious that I didn't hear any typing when I was reading off information to the first rep.

Of course, now I wondered if the first rep had given me her personal P.O. Box to send the check to.  The second rep told me to call the insurance company and put a "stop check reissue" order out.  The insurance rep told me he could not do that because the check had already cleared.  I said, "How is that possible?  I whited out our signatures.  Someone would have had to scratch off the white out or forge our signatures."

He said I would have to call the bank back and get them to track down where the check was cashed or deposited.  I was flipping out thinking once again my life was going to be turned upside down and I would have to spend months or years dealing with criminal proceedings.

Long story shorter, I found a form that had the same address on it that I had sent the check to.  It turned out to be the stub you would send in with a payment on your mortgage.  So, I got online and viewed my record of mortgage payments, and found two large installments that added up to the amount of the check.  Despite me writing a letter along with the check explaining that I needed the insurance check to be endorsed by the bank and mailed back to me, whoever received it did not read the letter and just considered the check a payment for the mortgage.  So, I had to shift some money around to cover the cost of our auto-pay bills because of this mistake.  I swear, I could have asked a monkey to endorse that check and there would have been a better result.

That was one whole day down that drain that I didn't get to do anything I enjoy.  So, I made a point of riding our new horse Rock the next day.  Of course, the sky started dripping raindrops the second I got out there to do so.  I had to wait a bit, and then while picking out his hooves I discovered that he had a bloody lump on his coronet band, and the hoof was separating from the skin.  I figured it was either a concussive blow or an abscess blew out the top of the hoof.

Then I remembered one night when he was having difficulty moving sideways when I closed the gate.  I meant to investigate his lameness, but then got distracted and forgot about it.  He didn't seem lame now, so I decided to ride him, but only at a walk.  I lunged him at liberty in the round pen and then rode.  I was happy with how responsive he was.  I just barely picked up on the rein and he turned and kept turning until I dropped the rein.  He stopped when I sat back and exhaled.  He moved forward when I clucked.  I didn't have to use my legs for anything.  I thought, "Holy cow, this is a polished horse."

He could have fooled me, because he's been really difficult to work with from both the ground and the saddle.  I thought it was a lack of training, but now I was beginning to believe that he's just a stubborn horse.  Then I realized that he was on the side of the round pen closest to his girlfriend Gabbrielle.  I thought, "I wonder what will happen if I ask him to perform the same maneuvers on the far end of the round pen?"

Sure enough, all he wanted to do was to get back closer to Gabbrielle, so if I told him to turn left and he thought turning right would get him to her faster, he'd turn right while I was literally using two hands to pull his head around with the left rein.  I'm not kidding you.  I didn't have the strength to pull his head with one hand, so I moved both over to the left rein and leaned back while pulling.  It's a good thing his snaffle bit has a really big O-ring to keep it from sliding through his mouth.

I learned from the ground that fast yanks on the rope will get him to respond when steady pressure won't.  So, I started yanking in fast pulses on the left rein and that woke him up.  He brought his head to the left and turned for me.  He's an interesting horse, because the way in which he "runs off" with you is that he just keeps walking wherever he wants to go and completely ignores any rein or leg cues to get him to turn.  He's like a bulldozer with no steering or brakes.  As long as we were on the side of the round pen closest to Gabbrielle, he stopped on a dime, but if we were on the far side and I asked him to stop, he'd walk to the other side first and then stop.

So, I wrestled with him a bit and made myself a big enough nag that he had to pay attention to me.  Eventually, I got him to stop at the far end with his back to Gabbrielle, and I wouldn't let him turn his head to gawk at her.  Then I petted and praised him and things got better from there.  The trick is going to be making him want to be with me more than he wants to be with her.


Cut-N-Jump said...

Repeated tugs work far better than steady pulling on the rein. If you pull, there is something for the horse to lean on and pull against. Tug and release- there is nothing there to pull against, no way to brace against it if it isn't there and 'no battle to be won' with the horse.

It's no use getting into a tug of war as they are stronger and will easily out muscle you every time.

Snipe said...

It's astonishing how incompetent people can be, especially when it comes to simple instructions. It's good that you were able to sort out the business with the check, but situations like that are the reason I like to handle as much of my own business as possible. I may have my flaky moments, but at least I'm not dispassionate about my own affairs.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Snipe - Yeah, I thought I was handling it myself short of getting on a plane and flying out to the address with check in hand. If there's a 1% chance that someone can screw something up, they do, especially when it comes to paperwork and finances.