Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vanishing snow

Yesterday's plans for riding lessons were interrupted by snow. We woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and more coming down. It snowed pretty hard most of the day but within 30 minutes of it stopping it was all gone. I didn't even get a picture since it disappeared so quickly. It was the oddest thing, it abruptly stopped snowing and then vanished.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week changes by the hour. They can't decide if it's going to be sunny, or rainy, or if it will snow for the rest of the week. Lorna's riding instructor will be calling us later in the week to reschedule since the changing predictions make it difficult to plan more than one day in advance.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Change of Plans

We never made it to the doctor's appointment or IKEA because the I-5 was closed due to snow. It was closed all day with no plans to reopen and then we got hit again last night. Since they are expecting a huge amount of accumulation over the next few days we are going to postpone our Sunday plans as well. Waiting one more week to go to church won't be the end of the world but it's still a little depressing.

Since we made it all the way to the closed section of freeway we spent the day in Bakersfield shopping. Most everything was horse related but still fun. We went to 3 different stores that sell tack and still came away without a new blanket to match the purple tack Lorna picked out. It took all of 5 minutes online to find exactly what we were looking for and at a price lower than I expected. Sometimes I think we would be better off shopping online exclusively. I also got some ideas about how to go about making our own colored nylon tack. I can't seem to find a complete set in a color that Lorna wants but I found all the components needed to make it myself. It's something I want to look at doing in a few months.

The best news of the day was that the kids' insurance was renewed for another year. I've been fighting with the state since the beginning of October. We faxed 5 different proof of income documents only to have them deny us. Since we did qualify I appealed and they finally reversed the decision. This is the last year we need to do this since we will be able to add the kids to Paul's employer plan at the end of the year, it's not a great plan (65% coverage after the deductible is reached) but at least we won't need to use the state plan any longer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inside projects

I'm still plugging along trying to get things cleaned up around the property but the weather has turned my focus inside yesterday and today. I managed to get my room straightened up. You would think that a small house and bedroom would mean that it's easy to keep things picked up, but that's not the case. We have a table in the corner of our bedroom that had become a catchall. I finally got everything from the table either put away or thrown out. I'm hoping to get at least one scrapbook page a week done now that I have a place to set out my supplies. I just realized that I didn't get one single page done in the last year so I'm hoping to change that. I've got pictures everywhere that need to be put in books and no lack of supplies.

Today we cleaned all the baseboards and floor moldings around the house. Since we have laminate flooring there is a quarter round that sits in front of all the baseboards. Dust and dirt seem to gather in all the little cracks and it makes the floor look awful even when it's just been mopped. We each took a section of the floor and had it done in 5 minutes. Since these projects are so easy the kids are more than willing to help and have actually been asking if they can come up with some!

I got a bonus project done this morning while waiting for the kids to finish up their schoolwork; I was able to clean out the top drawer of our file cabinet. That drawer holds all the files that we access on a regular basis. Instead of having to force things in the files now everything just easily slides in place. Since we will be gone all day tomorrow for a doctor's appointment with the surgeon who will be working on Lorna, I'm glad I got an extra task done. We plan on going to IKEA after the appointment and now I don't have to feel guilty :)

I also wanted to share our great news; Paul will be back to working only one job by the end of next week. At the end of last year Paul's day job rolled out a new compensation plan for the sales staff. The promises were big and exciting, but having been disappointed by previous employers we were skeptical. We both were optimistic but wanted to wait for the first paycheck to really see how things would go. Now that we have seen that all the promises are true, Paul was able to give his notice at McDonald's. We are so excited that Paul will be home every night!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Outside clean-up

I don't really set myself goals for the year but I've decided that I need to start working at getting the property cleaned up some more. Lorna's riding lessons and gymkhana shows have really helped me be more positive about the area we live in. I still run across lots of rude and unhappy people but I've been able to find others that more than balance them out.

I seem to be coming out of my funk of just reading and have decided to try doing one small outside project a day. Yesterday we cleaned up junk in front of the house. It seems that this is going to be a task that needs to be done every month or so since the wind brings stuff onto the property. Today we moved all the firewood into the holder and under the carport. It seemed like the perfect thing to do since it may rain tonight and tomorrow. Doing just one thing every day for a few minutes makes it easier to motivate myself to keep going. It shouldn't take more than a few weeks to get everything outside completely cleaned up and organized. I figure I might as well do the same thing inside on days where the weather won't cooperate with outside work.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January Gymkhana

Today's show went great! Lorna rode Ginger for the first time in a gymkhana show. She received 4 1st places, 2 second, 1 fourth place, and the Hi Point Award for her division. Her new instructor told her she did incredibly and thought that both Ginger and Lorna looked relaxed.

Malachi spent the day picking up manure again. He's such the little businessman,he came away with $22 from the riders. Most of the riders are very happy not to have to worry about cleaning up after their horses.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New trailer

Paul and I have spent the last few months talking about getting a new horse trailer. The trailer we have is a 1963 front load where one horse stands in front of another. It served it's purpose of moving Ginger from CO to CA and is fine for twice yearly visits to the vet but really won't work for the 3+ trips a month we will be making to lessons and events.

As I was looking at what we could realistically afford I stumbled upon a promotion for a local dealer. They were offering to pay all fees and taxes, which can be substantial. After visiting the dealer and looking at the trailer we wanted, we decided to take the plunge. The dealer even took our old trailer on consignment so we don't have to worry about selling it ourselves. Paul towed the new trailer home for me and said it was amazingly quiet to pull. Our old trailer was loud and made the truck shake at times. I keep thinking about all the neat features like 4 wheel brakes and a tack room.

Of course nothing can go entirely smoothly, we found out that the wiring harness on the truck isn't working properly. The blinkers won't work, we think that when they replaced the fuel tank the dealer might have nicked the wires. But even with that little problem I'm really excited to try the trailer out this Saturday!

Monday, January 14, 2008


We decided to change instructors for Lorna's horse lessons. There were plenty of reasons including money and flexibility. The new instructor is not only cheaper but willing to work with Lorna and her horse, the previous instructor would only do lessons on your own horse if it was boarded at that facility. This morning was the first lesson and it went really well.

They spent the morning working on the events for the upcoming Gymkhana show on Saturday. Instead of just running through the events the instructor talked about leg position, how to get better control on the horse, and gave her some things to work on at home over the next 2 weeks. Her goal for Lorna and her horse is that they learn to trust one another and to have Ginger listen better. I'm happy to report that Ginger did not even attempt to throw Lorna off. The only time she got uppity was when the instructor was making her work in the round pen without Lorna on her back. I think this particular instructor is going to be a great match for Lorna and Ginger.

Just in case you are wondering the pony on the right of the picture, the one the instructor is riding, is a Chincoteague pony.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I so sick of hearing about the Presidential Primaries that are currently going on. I'm even more tired of reading different things about the 2 main parties, as if there is really much of a difference! I'm saddened by the number of people who feel that voting your conscience is wasting your vote. As long as people continue to think like that there will never be change. Since I'm sick of hearing and reading about it already, it's going to be a long 10 months until the November election!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lack of motivation

I've spent the last few weeks hiding behind a book trying to ignore the mess around the house. Now I'm trying to convince myself that it's time to get things back in order so we can start school again next week. I just cannot get motivated to do much of anything. My lack of motivation seems to get worse the more Paul works, he's spent the last 3 days working both jobs so nothing has gotten done around here. The house isn't filthy just extra cluttered. Since we spent so much time away from home the past 3 weeks it was easy to ignore but now it's staring me in the face. All this junk lying around has made me realize that we need to go through everything over the next year and weed through our possessions. I think it's safe to get rid of movies and toys that haven't been touched in months or years. I'm really shooting for getting rid of half of our possessions, it will make living in this tiny house so much more pleasant.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Day

We spent our day at a ride put together with the gymkhana group Lorna belongs to. I didn't get any pictures because I was too preoccupied with trailer problems.

We left the house in plenty of time to get there for the breakfast potluck but we barely made it in time for Lorna to ride. When we got to the bottom of the hill I go out to check the trailer, as I always do, and I found the trailer wires pulled out of the plug. One of the tight turns coming out of the driveway most likely pulled them out. It took about 45 minutes to get it put back together enough to drive it the 15 miles to the ride. Once there I played with the wiring a bunch and at least got the breaks working but nothing else, that will be a project for next week.

Lorna had a good time until about half-way through when Ginger threw her off. She got back up on the horse but spent the rest of the ride nervous. This was after having tack issues that caused her saddle to slip. Overall it wasn't the best ride. The head of the group suggested we consider getting another horse and selling this one. We've considered this numerous time over the last year but we really feel she is getting better. It's been over a year since the last time she threw Lorna off and she's really only been worked with consistently for the last 5 months. She's never been on a trail ride before so we figure something spooked her. Besides there is never a guarantee that the next horse won't do the same thing or even something worse. If we had a lot more money it's possible we could buy a horse that would never do this sort of thing but those types of horses cost as much as a small new car!

I really want Lorna's lessons to start including the horse too, that way we can see if it's the way Lorna is handling the horse or a training problem. We are considering changing trainers because the one we work with charges an additional $20 to bring your own horse. She also has rescheduled 5 out of 12 lessons. The last lesson was cancelled with no make-up day in sight so right now we have no idea when her next lesson will be.