Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The mad dash

Wow, this past week has been just a blur.

Last Wednesday Mom and Dad arrived. We went out to the kennel immediately and tackled a few of the kennel panels. We got 10 or so up, and felt good because they included several which were unique and more difficult than the rest. Thursday I stayed home from work and so Dad, Dave and I dove in head first. Ginger ran around trying to take care of all the check ins and outs, and the horses, but there was so much going on we had a lot of distractions pulling us in many directions. Friday I had to go back to work, as it was my last day and I figured I really ought to at least make an appearance. I came home early and jumped back into kennel assembly mode, for a few hours, until we went out to a very nice dinner in Loveland to celebrate my new job.

My mom, meanwhile, was recuperating from knee surgery (from earlier in the week!) so she was manning phones and then we set her up to call all of our customers with reservations over Thanksgiving to confirm times and such. She had my cell phone so she'd call me when a question she didn't know came up. I said we'd have to hire her to continue this for us, since she was so well trained.

Saturday was even more disruptive from the kennel stand point because Ginger had a full day of lessons. Not only that, but our Thanksgiving checkins were beginning, and in several cases we were counting on some of the new kennels to house those dogs. What with all the multi-day reservations we have, it becomes very difficult to switch things last minute, but in a few cases we had no choice. In a few cases I just put the after burners on the guys and got targeted kennels complete enough to hold pups. Well, these pups were a special case -- Jasper is SOOO huge, and with his moon-collar on he really needed one of these super large kennels, of which we don't have any in the original set of kennels. So, we managed to set that kennel up and then continued to build around them!

That was another long day, and we were thankful that Roger was able to join us for a few hours. We did take a break at one point and went out to work on installing the gates in the cross fence in the yard, and got one and 1/2 gates installed. That night we even managed to quit early enough to both have dinner and watch a movie! Sunday my parents headed back to Albuquerque, Ginger did more horse lessons, and Dave and I finished the gates in the yard and all but 2 kennels. We were really nearly ready for Thanksgiving week!

What with more dogs checking in all weekend, Monday morning arrived with 18 dogs in the kennel, and 11 checking in that day. Dave, Ginger and I worked it together until mid day when I had to leave. That afternoon, Marshall had some time to come over, so he and Dave finished the last of the kennels and got many of the gates adjusted. Upon first install a great number of gates are so tweaked that you really have to wrestle with them to get them open -- something that isn't very easy if you have a dog in one hand already.

Unfortunately this time around we had several rather major issues with the kennels. I don't know why it was different than back in January, because we were working with the same reps. But fairly early in the process my Dad diagnosed that 1/2 of particular type of fitting they had sent us were faulty. We called them in a panic Thursday night and Friday first thing the kennel manufacturer agreed to overnight us some more. Then, over the weekend, again my Dad recognized that a good number of the gates they sent us (9 out of 29 actually) were hinged wrong -- they were backwards. This is super annoying. Not disastrous, but super annoying. Of course we went a head and installed them because I knew they couldn't overnight us gates. But then I fretted over the weekend that they'd try to claim that we'd signed off on the final documentation. Ah - HA, it wasn't until about 4:30 Sunday morning when I was awake and dwelling on this that I remembered that all they had ever sent to us for approval before had been drawings, and the drawings were all correct. Indeed, they admitted the error and will be sending new gates to us next week. I told her that I would need a few days after that to switch out the gates and have the others ready for pick up. No problem, she said that was their standard procedure, but that she would note that on the order.

Uh huh. And FedEx still showed up at our house on Tuesday to pick up the gates.

No kidding, though -- we are very grateful that Mom and Dad came up. What with all that continually drags each of us away from projects like this, we may well not have finished at all without Dad plugging through without us. In all we got the 29 kennels installed taking us from 23 to 52. And Mom making all those calls has been a life saver!

Tuesday broke with 24 dogs in the kennel (our previous max had been 23), and this morning, Wednesday ,we had 38 with a whopping 19 more checking in. Ai yi yi. These two days have been very long, very trying, and very busy. But I think you'll have to stay tuned to get that story. ;)



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