Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, everyone!

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled lifetime.

Before we were interrupted by the bad-customer-service tango, we were packing up to leave for camp....

This is a photo of my trailer tack room BEFORE I packed stuff for our week in the wilderness. Lots of stuff, but we actually use most of it.

Willy helped pack the hay. I can do it all myself if I have to (and have done it many times alone), but if there's a herky 17-year-old available, I'm certainly clever enough to ask for help!
We'll be gone a little more than a week, and the horses will be working hard, with limited time available for grazing in camp. That means we need to take THREE bales of hay. The hay takes up so much room, I've learned how to pack everything carefully so I can get to the essential stuff en route if necessary, and still pack the trailer so nothing tips or tumbles.
The camper is kept in a state of readiness, because sometimes we just toss it on the truck and go without much notice. So there's food, water, and clean sheets waiting for me.
Packing my clothes is another story.

I have to pack for two activities: trail work, and actually riding the LD next Saturday.

In addition, I have to pack for warm weather, hot weather, cool weather, cold weather, and wet weather...for both activities.

Weather in the mountains is usually hot during the day and cool at night, but it isn't always predictable, and trying to work in the wrong kind of clothing is really a pain!

Stack #1: outerwear
Hats (there's a rainhat in the camper already), vest, jacket, riding boots, working boots, and flip flops, plus the sneakers that are already on my feet.

Stack #2 : shirts

tank tops (I love the horse-head tank, got it from Kerrits a billion years ago, I wish they'd bring back that design!)

pirate shirts

ride shirts
When I first started riding endurance, I was deeply envious of people who had lots of different ride shirts, because I wanted to ride all those rides, too! Nowadays, I have plenty of ride shirts!

Hawaiian print stuff in case we go into town and I need to look like a tourist instead of a ball of sweaty dirt.

Stack #3 work clothes

a billion pairs of socks

flannel shirts

a purple sweatshirt

and Kerrits breeches (polarfleece and summerweight)

I discovered (the hard way, of course) that the Kerrits tights are made of a tougher material than the Carousel tights I use for competitions. Those black tights are probably 10 years old now, and they still haven't snagged or ripped at all, even though I wear them for trail-building every summer. I just wish Kerrits made breeches with padding, especially now that Colleen has stopped making Carousel tights!

Snuggled in with the work clothes are my clothes for ride day:

Carousel breeches (purple stripes, of course!)

and a purple tech-fabric shirt.

Depending on the weather, I might also borrow warmer or cooler layers from the stack of work clothes. Fashion is for dressage divas--endurance riders need to be comfortable!

Okay, I'm packed up and ready--it's time to hitch up the trailer and go!

See you in a week!

Friday, June 25, 2010

In which customer service is mostly underwhelming for cameras

I've put some serious miles on my camera since I bought it last August.
Still, I think this

was a little premature, given that's it's not a year old yet.

It's not a photo of a very black leaf. It's a black blob. Looks sorta like a geoduck, or maybe Mick Jagger's lips. Certainly, it doesn't look like a picture of Mimsy, who was supposed to be the subject of the photograph.

So, yes, the day before we leave for a week in the most beautiful wilderness area on the planet, my camera broke.


But, wait. I purchased an extended warranty. I'll just return it to the place I bought it and they'll replace the camera. Easy-peasy?Not.

Stand in line for 10 minutes, check.

Be told by some poor disempowered wage slave that I've stood in the wrong line, and need to go stand in another line, check.

Stand in second line for 20 minutes, check.

Be told by disempowered wage slave #2 that she can't do anything and that I need to contact the manufacturer directly, check.

Decide that "lower prices" are not enough to justify the political incorrectness and just plain bad service of this vendor, and disavow it forever, check.

(At the end of time it may be just Walmart and the cockroaches, but they will never get another penny from me!)

I contacted Kodak via their live chat. Sloooooooooooooow.




Eventually, a nice boy in the Philipines picked up the line and we figured out that they will send me a box so I can ship my broken camera to them so they can verify that it's broken and then they will eventually either fix it or send me another camera.

Are you thrilled yet? Are you ready to race out and support the vendor that sold me this camera?


So let me tell you what I did: I returned to a place where, in the past, the customer service has been outstanding.

Three years ago I broke a camera (still under warranty, I'm not always hard on cameras, I swear!) and took it back to the store:

The person at Staples took my camera, turned it on, verified that it was broken, and told me that since they didn't carry that exact camera anymore, would I please accept an upgrade? Then he handed me a new camera.

No forms. No 30 minutes of overseas computer chat.
He handed me a new camera. And he thanked me.

So today I returned to Staples. I bought a new camera, with an extended warranty. I talked to the sales person, who verified that if I break this one (unlikely, I actually am pretty careful with them, but you never know), I can bring it to any Staples store and they will hand me a new camera.

What else can I say? I know where I'll be taking my business from now on:
That was easy.
(I do have another post ready, but I'll send it out tomorrow. For tonight, I'm taking my grumpy-but-at-least-I-have-a-new-camera-self to bed!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In which we are packing for camp, and Chicken Number Twelve learns a trick

We're getting everything packed and ready to go for an early-Saturday-morning departure for the Renegade Rendezvous ridecamp, so I haven't written much (except a few posts that were supposed to be on "delay release" but Blogger was being stupid...stay tuned to see if I actually got it to work...I'm still not sure...).

Anyhow, between cleaning/mending/replacing equipment that we'll need and getting it all crammed into the various corners of the rig, there hasn't been much time for taking pictures and writing, but I promise that I'll write at least one more post before we leave into the non-electronic wilderness.

Meanwhile, amuse yourselves with some photos of Chicken Twelve. Twelve is still running wild in the yard, and has eluded all our local predators for nearly a month. We're slightly amazed, but willing to encourage her eccentricities...obviously.

The dogs merely wonder if the chicken is going to get all the good treats, ...and not leave any for them. Probably.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In which the Summer Solstice Party's guest of honor fails to show up

Celebrating the
first day of summer without
the sun: Swamp Party!

"Rain" tea, ah well. It
still tastes pretty good if you
heat it up a bit.

Jim's traditional
Solstice bonfire: welcoming
the sun with propane.

Our garden garlands
ask for peace on earth and, please,
a little sunshine?

Some folks--you might say
"the smart folks"-- ride out the rain
inside the warm house!

Outside, the rain slacks
a bit. Librarians and
horse folks enjoy it.
The Guardian Owl
is a source of concern to
some party-goers.
Librarians don't
fear the Plastic Guardian.
They are brave like that.
Most folks enjoy the
fire and food and friendly talk
even in the wet.

Cute kid with hot dog.
(Cue the ominous music.)
Dog moves in for feast!
Hoist the mainsail, ye
scurvy bilgerat! I'm Pirate
B-dog the Hungry!