Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Did we open?

Um, No, and Yes. It's kind of hard to say. It's been a long 10 days since our last post. Here's much of the story. Pictures will have to come later.

My last post said we'd hoped to open February 13th provided the flooring could go in. Well, the flooring installers showed up on schedule Wednesday, found that the concrete joint sealer we'd put down Tuesday was still tacky, so they declared they couldn't put down the floor. So opening Monday went right out the window. We changed our opening date to the 16th.

Thursday the inspector from the state licensing group (Dept of Ag) came by. We'd tried to call her and warn her that many things weren't in place - flooring, bathroom, 2/3 of the kennels, etc. She didn't return our call, but aparently wasn't
phased by those items either. She said she'd be back next week to bring us our license... and volunteered that if we wanted to take a few dogs in before then, that would be fine! Cool, because David took a reservation to board 3 dogs for 5 days starting on the 15th. We changed our opening date to the 15th. (they later canceled)

The flooring people managed to squeeze us in on Friday. The plumber was here that day too so we got the bathroom in as well. Then we totally busted our butts to get the rest of the kennels in over the weekend. We'd built the two walls required for
the kennels to back up to: Essentially 12 pieces of 4x6 plywood glued together into two 12'2" x 6' walls. We glued FRP panels to the outsides, and edged it all. Suckers were incredibly heavy -- but they are very thin and, being solid wood, allowed us the freedom to figure out what kennel configuration we wanted after the fact. Looooong story short, the kennels were in Monday evening.

Monday morning the inspector was out for our final inspection, but we'd noticed late on Sunday that the boiler pilot was out. We put in a call and the plumber was due out first thing to take a look at it. Well, we still didn't have any heat or hot water by the time the inspector came, so there wasn't much for him to do. And he got a little pissy about it too. The guys wondered if the regulators on the propane tank wouldn't support both the house and the kennel at the same time - it's been unusually warm until this week. Finally they figured out that there just wasn't enough air flow for the boiler, another vent needed to be installed. Meanwhile we had to leave the garage door cracked 6 inches over night. That afternoon the general contractor guy was finishing up and started moving his gear out. So by the time we finished the kennels about 7 pm we decided to take a turn around the place to remove trash and stuff. What a difference that made! Good thing, too, because we'd gotten a call from the local paper who wanted to do a New Business Spotlight on us - and wanted to come out Monday to take pictures! I put them off until Tuesday, but even that was pushing things. (The story came out great! Will scan and post here soon.)

Tuesday the inspector came back and we got our CO! Hooray. The bathroom toilet still leaks, after the plumber has come back twice for it. And some other tweaky stuff like some more external sheet metal that needs to go up. Dave is building the last two fence gates that we need - and it's just dragging out unbelievably. We proably could have had them done yesterday, but the staple gun kept getting clogged. Today we just went out and fixed one of our big chain link panels across the gate opening so at least we finally have a contiguous fence! Hooray

Tuesday we sent out emails to all our potential dog customers that we'd decided to open fully next Monday the 21st. But in order to entice some people to come out sooner and get their paperwork in and so we could start slowly, we decided to offer doggie daycare lite on Thursday and Friday. Meaning, the dogs wont be playing all day, and might not comingle much, but they can come out and see what the place is like. And we said we'd only charge 50% of our normal price. 15 minutes after that went out we had a reservation for both days. We already have our 2 day care doggies who have been coming to us most of the month and staying in our basement, so we knew we'd have at least a small crew.

Tuesday and Wed continued to be clean up days. Did we mention we still had that huge cement pile out side? Somehow we thought that when the contractor agreed to take it away, we didn't understand that meant he'd drive it away after we loaded it in the dump truck. CRUD, CRUD, and double CRUD. We took an hour or so Tuesday night and filled the truck once. With maybe half of the pile. I suspect we may have more than one load to go, and we're all battling sore backs as it is. And the weather - storm came in Tuesday so it's been 20 degrees and blowing snow since then. This morning we had a 2 foot drift right in front of the kennel door.

So, did we open? It's still hard to say. Just this morning we removed the last of the construction stuff from the doggie play area in the kennel (that pile of metal siding really COULD NOT STAY). Once we put up the chain link panels to separate the play area from the kitchen / office areas (this afternoon?) then we can officially say our play areas are up and functional. We have 3 paying daycare customers out in the kennel now - though they aren't immediately taking to each other so today will probably continue to be segregated play times. The Licensing inspector is due back tomorrow, and by then I think we'll actually be in pretty good shape. Maybe we'll even have some time on Sunday to do something other than kennel stuff.... before the real adventure starts Monday. Cross those fingers!



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