It is one of those days where I am fighting the urge to throw a bunch of  memes here that sometimes express thoughts and feelings in a far quicker and funnier way than a paragraph of words can.

Yesterday Cindy continued the work in the new chicken area, laying a bunch of sod along the fence line where the ground was low.  Of course new sod needs consistent water so we have been dragging a hose out there to try to do the work.  I am considering relocating the one sprinkler we have near one front corner of the fence to the middle of the new fenced area to make that job more automatic.  The idea of doing more excavation work at the moment doesn’t sound appealing as I am still trying to heal up form the fence work.

One of the weirdest injuries I incurred during the work was to the big toe on my left foot.  Being in my rubber boots all day on Saturday somehow managed to push the toenail back and up, leaving the toe in a very tender state.  The area around the nail is all red and I am assuming the nail is going to fall off eventually.  I have to be very careful putting on socks and any sort of footwear that compresses the toes in any manner are off limits.  My dreams of being a foot model are over.

I officially listed one of my electric unicycles for sale the other day, the MCM4.  This is the wheel I originally bought for Cindy for Christmas but it turned out she liked the style of wheel that Katie has better. The wheel is practically new and I went ahead and put larger pedals on it several weeks ago.  It’s a much smaller wheel than the Msuper and has the coolest LED light configuration of any of my wheels.

The reason it is for sale is I am interested in a new 84V model of a Gotway wheel and although I could outright just buy it but I am forcing myself to get rid of a wheel before getting another.  You know sort of like Trump’s brilliant executive order that if you add a regulation you need to get rid of two.  I like to follow his lead wherever possible.

I listed the wheel on the electric unicycle forum and our local FB yard sale group but have not gotten any bites yet.  It is a unique item that is not going to have mass appeal so I am prepared to be patient.

 

 

Yesterday was the last day of my four day weekend, the first three of which had been almost entirely consumed by fence construction.   So although the chickens are now secured within their smaller confines there is still more to do.

Cindy and I wanted to do some things to the area to offer the chickens some more protection, shade and entertainment.  Cindy and I did a run to Home Depot in the morning to get a few palms, top soil, and sod.  Unfortunately they had absolutely no sod so that part had to be put on hold.

When we got home we went right to work.  I spread the top soil along the portion of the fence line that was a little off the ground because of low spots.  We will then drop sod on top which will eventually grow through the fencing to lock it to the ground.  We also used a combination of left over fence posts and left over lumber scraps to make a “chicken deck”.  I did not spend much time leveling or squaring corners, I sort of wanted the structure to be haphazard looking.  Cindy had the idea of putting some of our old tires down a rail in the middle to give the chickens something to go under and/or through.  We planted palms around all four sides which will hopefully provide a nice shady hang out spot as they grow. I took the other three tires we had and buried them halfway in the ground to give the birds something else to hide in on jump onto.

Early in the morning I put my Mavic up in the air to get some aerial shots of the end result of our three days of fencing labor.

Mid-afternoon, despite still having a very sore back and other fence building ailments I got the idea to go take my Msuper to the swamp to ride around.  Cindy, Katie and I had talked about doing it at some point and I thought it would be cool if I went and scouted it out ahead of time to see how suitable the path is for one wheel riding.

I drove the Tacoma there instead of riding to the swamp. Very early on I ran into obstacles on the boardwalk.  Someone strung some pink caution tape across marking a huge foot or more section of decking that had fallen out.  That boardwalk is in very, very bad shape.  I won’t be surprised if they close it down for awhile so they can replace all of the decking sometime soon.

So as I exited the boardwalk and onto the walking path for the first time ever on an EUC.  I was VERY cautious at the onset and it was necessary as the compacted trail had a ton of exposed roots, waiting to knock me off.

My original idea was to maybe go a couple miles into the swamp, just as a test.  However I was enjoying the ride, despite the additional complexity of the terrain.  I found myself at the portion where the trail becomes one big loop.  Once you head in it’s a long time until you come back out.  I decided to go for it.

So up until that point I had really not seen any wildlife outside of birds.  About 10 minutes into the loop that changed.  I saw a long black obstacle half on the path.  Of course I knew it was a gator.  I have experienced this before when I rode the trail on mountain bike with Randall.  At that time we just gave the gator as much room as possible and rode by as quickly as we could.  I decided to use the same strategy although I felt more vulnerable being on a single wheel instead of two.  I accelerated past the large gator without it flinching.

Within another few minutes I encountered another large gator and this one had me more concerned because there was a much smaller gator next to it.  I theorized this could possible be a mother gator with one of it’s kids.  This scenario held more danger in my eyes because I have heard how female gators can get very aggressive if they feel their kids are endangered.  I stood there for a minute or two weighing my options.  Even though the gators had their heads facing the water, I was imagining a scene where one or both of them suddenly flailed, knocking me off the wheel.  I was genuinely scared when I took a deep breath and launched myself in their direction.  I zipped by them without either moving a fraction of an inch, whew…..

What followed from that point was pretty surreal.  I rode by at least a couple dozen gators on the path and saw many more in the trenches and water by the path.  The ride around the loop seemed to go on forever.  It went from exciting to ridiculous eventually.  Not only did I have to deal with the gators, I was dealing with terrain that was beating the hell out of me.  The ruts and roots were taking a toll on my already sore back.  At one point a hidden rut threw me off the wheel right by another large gator.  Luckily the sound of the crash scared the reptile into the water.

As I was deep into the swamp I did think repeatedly how it was not the smartest of things to make this trek solo.  If I hurt myself or the wheel died for some reason I was on my own and depending on spotty phone service in the area, out of reach of help.  I knew at that point my only option was to keep moving forward.  There were a couple areas of the trail that were washed out.  One point was really treacherous with the only path across the water being a couple small logs haphazardly thrown across the ditch.  I carefully walked across the logs while trying to balance the 45 pound wheel in my left hand, freaking out about the possibility of me falling into the muddy water with my expensive electronic unicycle.

Finally I found my way back to the feeder path that lead back to the parking lot.  I was very relieved to return to the truck and resolute that I don’t need to ever do that entire loop again on a single wheel.  Once was enough.  I highly recommend you set a half hour aside to watch the video of the ride.  You get a good sense of just how nuts it was at certain points.

It has been another one of those “vacations” that I am glad to get back to work from.  My body feels like it was thrown into a grinder.

 

So as soon as I woke up yesterday the first thing I did was pop two Advil.  I knew the only way I was going to be able to get through a third day of fence labor was medicated.  My back, knees, arms, and hands were all killing me. Cindy had two classes to teach in the morning so that left me in the back yard solo to attach the 100 foot rolls of 4 foot welded wire fencing to the posts we spent two days erecting.

So once again my prior experience with doing a fence helped me out as I did a lot of the backyard fence myself as well.  I basically would roll out the spool of wire along the fence line and then haphazardly stand it up against the posts.  I then would hammer in a shitload of fence staples into the far end corner post.

I then position my Tacoma off the other end which I used as my pulling point.  I attached my fence stretcher to the tow hitch on the truck and the other end to a pipe I threaded through the fence.  I had a steel cable that was attached to either end of the pipe to give me a more or less even pull from the top and bottom.  I then started to ratchet the fence stretcher which would slowly take the slack out of the fence and get it nice and tight.  I then would go back to the far end and start hammering in staples in each post while the fence is still stretched to maintain as much tension as possible.  When I finally got back to opposite corner post I again sunk a ton of fence staples and then cut the spool of wire.

Even though I had not done this work in a long time things went pretty smoothly.  Cindy was amazed that by the time she got home I was just finishing up the third side.  She helped me do the front of the fence line which was split in two halves by the gate.  We actually had to splice together the one side because I did not have a long enough piece left over.  I was really happy how we managed to make the seam pretty much invisible unless you were looking for it.

Finally the last small section was stretched and attached.  It felt great to have my three days of intense labor at an end.  I spent close to an hour cleaning up all of the tools, parts, and left over materials that were scattered around the yard.  Of course there is more labor to come to “furnish” the backyard to offer the chickens more protection, shade, high ground and fun.

So after clean up we were able to lure the chickens into their new area.  They seemed a bit confused and sad to not have access to the entire back yard as they have their entire lives.  I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty but I knew in the big picture this was going to be a good thing.  Not only do we have to work on the chickens new area but we also have to work on cleaning up and repairing the rest of the yard that they have systematically ripped apart in their chicken sort of way.

Last night I was so tired and sore I just wanted to veg out.  Today I hope to do at least something fun although I know a trip to Home Depot in the morning is on the schedule to at least get a few basic things to get the chickens rolling in their new yard.

I was up and outside early Saturday morning ready to begin hopefully my last fencing project in my lifetime.  Things got off to a slow start as Cindy and I had some confusion about the layout I had outlined with rebar and mason line.  Even though to the eye it looked like a pretty even rectangle the measuring tape showed otherwise.  It was showing such a difference that I went back and measured twice to make sure I didn’t misread it the first time.  Even after we were done tweaking the numbers didn’t totally match up but it looked good to the eye which is all I cared about.  We weren’t fencing the Taj Majal, just our 10 chickens.

So finally I broke ground on the first corner post.  I decided I would start in the rear of the fenced in area.  I figured I would rather “practice” my technique in the back and have all the rust knocked off by the time I got to the front which we will see everyday.  My plan was to do all of the corner posts first as they are the most important and most grueling to dig since each one requires a three and a half feet hole to be dug.

The posts I got from Jack and Ann’s were far from straight. Most of them had bends in them which made leveling a pain in the ass.  We would just do our best compensating for the curves.  I guess it makes the fence look more “rustic”.  Cindy and Katie helped me some as well, digging some of the smaller holes for the line posts as well as back filling them.

We took a break during the afternoon to run to Rural King for a couple things I needed, most importantly two 8 foot posts to frame the front gate.  We brought Bowser and Elsa with and took Katie’s Dodge Ram, the only vehicle in the house that would hold three people, two dogs, and have room to carry fence posts.  I drove, my first time behind the wheel of a Ram, it is a very big vehicle.  This was Bowsers first time in RK, he was VERY excited.

When we got home I was ready to go full tilt back into fencing.  We all worked until the sun was setting.  I had all corner posts in the ground as well as having all of the line posts in except for one side.  I felt good about what we accomplished.  I took Katie and Cindy out to dinner Saturday night to thank them for their hard work.

I awoke Sunday morning sore but popped a couple Advil to mask the pain.  The fog kept the temps nice and cool early on which I took advantage of to get the rest of the line posts in.  It felt good to know I at least had dug my last hole.

I then started on the next phase of the corner posts, installing cross members and using brace wire to lock it all together.  If you have ever installed wood post fencing you will know this is not a very fun job.  I again started in the back since it had been probably close to 10 years since I last did post work.  The technique came back to me quickly.  I had the left rear corner done before we took a mid-morning EUC ride break.  We went down to North Collier Park to ride around.  It definitely felt good to do something fun amidst all of the unfun work the weekend had been filled with.

Once again when we returned I was full fence mode.  I was so focused I forgot to take another dose of Advil which really hurt me later. It took me the rest of the day to get the cross posts and brace wire installed everywhere it needed to be.  I thought I was going to run out of brace wire and actually had Cindy and Katie run to Rural King to get me more.  It turned out I just had enough with a couple feet to spare.

My body was absolutely destroyed by the end of the day.  My left big toe felt like the nail was coming off, my hands and forearms were paralyzed from all the gripping and twisting and my back  had jolts of pain radiating through it if I tried to do anything beside sit still.  My body just can not hold up to this type of work anymore.

I took a shower before sitting down to watch the Super Bowl, the first year I have not had an official Super Bowl party in a long time.  Ali and I used to have them as well.  This year the circumstances just didn’t seem conducive to holding a party and by the time we even took a breath to think about it, it was a week ago, too short of a notice.  Of course the fencing project would have made being a party host even more of an impossibility.

It was different being able to just sit and enjoy the game instead of dealing with all of the ancillary party host things.  It turns out that if there was ever a year to be able to pay full attention to a game this was it, probably the most amazing game in Super Bowl history.  Early on it was crazy because the Falcons were dominating, something nobody would have expected.  At one point they were up 28-3.  I believe I saw a stat that no team has ever come back from more than 10 point deficit in Super Bowl history.  I, like most others assumed the Patriots were done.

Well the comeback was nothing short of miraculous.  There were so many things that went the Patriots way, penalties against the Falcons to keep a drive alive, Matt Ryan taking a stupid, massive sack to knock the Falcons out of game icing field goal range and of course THE CATCH, where Edelman gets his fingers under a ball that was bouncing off three Atlanta defenders, a fraction of an inch from the ground.  The Patriots had to convert on two two point conversions just to force the game to overtime.  It was just an unbelievable series of events.

After driving the team down the field in overtime to score the Patriots their 31st unanswered point to win Super Bowl 51, Tom Brady pretty much locked up his title as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.  Love him or hate him, the guy delivers in the clutch like no other QB I have seen in my lifetime.  To put on that sort of performance in those conditions was just insane and something I doubt will ever be replicated again.

It wasn’t like Atlanta went into some soft prevent either, they were still applying pressure throughout the entire comeback, Brady just made plays anyway.  Falcon fans must feel like they were told they had a winning lottery ticket only to have it blow out a window in the middle of a hurricane.

So today I begin day three of the fencing project.  To be honest going in I thought I possibly would have been able to get it all wrapped up in two days.  As is often the case, my estimate was not accurate.  I am just hoping my body, heavily supplemented by Advil is up to the task.

So I left work about an hour early in order to head out to Jack & Ann’s in Immokalee, the place I planned on buying my fence supplies from.  When I installed the fence around the entire back yard years ago I went there as well.  The store is extremely old school.  The back of it looks it has literally been untouched since it was built 40 or 50 years ago looking downright dilapidated in some parts.

So I had a list of things I should need.  It added up to a lot of stuff, more than I thought my Tacoma could hold.  I asked the guy about delivery as before they did deliver the supplies to the house.  He said they could deliver it but he was pretty sure I could get it all in my truck.  I trusted his judgement so I pulled over to the fencing area and started loading up along with one of their lot guys.

The 45 posts, 300 feet of welded wire fencing, brace wire, and four foot gate did indeed fit.  I just used one of my ratchet straps to hold the gate securely on top like a fencing material sandwich.  When I got home Cindy helped me dump the materials around the chicken coop.  The chickens were quite curious about what all the items were.  If they knew they would be used to reduce their free ranging territory they probably wouldn’t be very happy.

Speaking of chickens, Peaches made me laugh out loud the other day.  I was trying to bribe the chickens to go into the coop early so the dogs could run free.  I was in their run refilling a container with dried meal worms.  As I poured the bag into the container a few meal worms dropped to the ground which the chickens ate quickly, except for Peaches.  Instead of waiting on the ground like your normal chicken she quickly ascended the four levels of the center perch in the run so she was up to my shoulder level.  She then helped herself, grabbing worms directly from the bag as I poured them out.  She is fearless and relentless in her pursuit of her fair share.

So for many, many years I have been battling toenail funk on some of my toes.  I have tried endless remedies without success and instead have just tried to keep the problem nails trimmed back hard.  A week or so ago I found something on Amazon that supposedly worked very well based on the reviews others had left.  It was an oregano oil extract.  I was surprised when it arrived yesterday to see it shipped directly from Greece. You are supposed to apply the stuff to the affected nails twice a day and let it dry.  Before I even opened the bottle I could smell it, the papers in the box had already absorbed the scent.  Although oregano on food is normally a good addition, the smell of the oil is not pleasant.

So after my shower I opened the bottle and applied the oil generously to the funked toes.  The smell was even stronger of course but I figured in 10-15 minutes once it dried it would dissipate.  Well it never really went away.  Cindy was more bothered by the smell than I was.  She brought in her oil vaporizer to try to counteract the smell.  I could still smell the oregano this morning when I got up.  Hell I smell it right now while the foot is in a sock and sneaker.   I can only hope the smell is worth the end result.

I have a four day weekend lined up thanks to burning two vacation days to complete this fencing project.  I will be going at it non-stop until it’s finished which will hopefully leave some time during those four days to do something other than fencing.

Last night after dinner Cindy, Katie and I drove out to Ave Maria to ride around for a bit.  We had hoped to grab some desert but the place we targeted had already closed.  Ave Maria is a pretty sleepy town, almost everything is shut down by 7PM.  Cindy and Katie wound up going into Publix to grab us something that we enjoyed in their outdoor seating.

Both Katie and Cindy were feeling quite cold riding despite being bundled up significantly more than I was.  Katie was actually riding one of the Minipros instead of her wheel to mix things up.  It didn’t take long for her to miss the extra speed and agility her EUC has.  She was very lucky to not faceplant at one point when she accidentally went down some steps on the Minipro.  She was able to bail without hitting the ground.  The self balancing magic in the Segway kept it upright as it crashed down the steps. Because of the girls feeling cold we didn’t stay all that long but it was better than nothing.

Earlier in the night I took one of the side panels off the Msuper to check some connectors used in the motor wiring.  There have been some reports of these connectors in some cases not being soldered correctly, causing them to come apart.  If they would happen to come apart while riding the end result would be the wheel shutting down and sending whomever was riding it flying in some direction.  You have to love Chinese quality control.  Luckily my motor connections appeared to be intact and secure.

Tonight I am hoping to pick up some of the fencing supplies I will be needing this weekend.  I would not be able to get it all in one load anyway so I figured I may as well get the first load out of the way so on Saturday we can use my truck and possibly Katie’s Ram to get whatever else is left.

Last night was not a fun one in the dog household.  When Katie and Daniel split the original thought regarding their two dogs was an on and off thing where the dogs would stay at the two households on alternating weeks, hence why Tank and Bowser  have been living with us for the last week.

Well since that initial agreement there was more discussion how long term it makes more sense that one dog permanently lives with each of the “parents”.  Trying to shuffle dogs back and forth between two people no longer in a relationship is normally not a great idea despite me doing it since I was separated. I can attest that it complicates things. If neither person is agreeable to letting the other keep both dogs then this is really the only option.

Of course there are a lot of sad consequences as a result.  After some oscillation back and forth it was decided Bowser would be staying with us while Tank would live with Daniel and his family.  Cindy was especially sad.  She loves both dog’s but is very fond of Tank whom was the first dog Katie adopted.  We had Tank in the house for two weeks last year while he recovered from surgery which gave Cindy more time to bond with him.

Then there is the impact on both dogs whom have been side by side most of their lives.  Splitting them up is going to be difficult on both of them.  Luckily for Bowser he has Elsa to help keep him company.  I have a feeling Tank is going to have a much rougher road.  In general our household is going to be a healthier environment for either dog to be in long term.

Of course the impact on Katie is extreme, it’s almost like having to decide which kid you want to get rid of.  Katie loves both dogs obviously.  This is just the latest of a series of hard decisions she has had to make and come to terms with in the last few weeks.  I’m proud of her for making them. In spite of the impact on the household, I would actually prefer if the dogs were able to stay together under our roof.  So we loaded up Tank’s stuff in Katie’s truck last night before she drove him to Daniel’s place.  Cindy was teary eyed through most of it and although I was not quite so emotional, I understood it’s origin.

I wish this week was over.  When I have a large project on the horizon like building a fence I just want to get started on it so I can get it done.  I have been running through mental checklists of all that I will need to make it happen.  It’s a big list.

When I got home last night Cindy and I headed into the back yard to do some preliminary mapping of the new fenced area we plan to put around the existing chicken coop and run.  It looks like the area should be roughly a 60 foot square, giving the chickens 3600 square feet of dedicated real estate.  I have taken two vacation days Monday and Tuesday giving me a long weekend to complete the construction.

I then turned my attention to the leaking pipe in the master bathroom after the faucet installation.  There was a large puddle of water that Cindy discovered yesterday.  I immediately had a a good idea where the leak was from, where the new drain pipe connects to the existing house drain.  When I put it together the fit between the two seemed not like it should be.

So I did some test fills of the sink and verified that joint was the source of the leak.  The pipes just did not seem to fit correct, it seemed like the pipe from the new drain was too small.  After futzing around for awhile I took a closer look at the inside of the house drain pipe.  I saw something inside the end that looked odd.  I dug in there with my finger and fished out a washer, a washer designed to go over the new drain pipe, lol.  Once I installed the washer and screwed it all together the leak was gone, imagine that.

We got to sleep a little late, close to 11.  I did not expect to be awakened a couple hours later by a steady beeping sound out in the great room.  We evidently lost power and the sound was the UPS alerting me.  Random power outages are not abnormal where I live but they are normally quick, measured in seconds or minutes.  I laid in bed hoping the power would kick on shortly to address the problem.  It did not so I had to stumble out into the main living area while using my phone as a flashlight to shut down the three UPS’s in the house.  I laid back in bed assuming by the time I woke back up the power will have kicked back in. It didn’t.

I woke up around 5:30 and realized the house was still dead as a doornail.  The fact that power has been out for over 5 hours meant it was pretty serious.  I called into the LCEC number and got an immediate message indicating there was currently widespread outages they were working on, great.  Well with a well system, no electric means no running water so I knew I had to try to get us some base level of power.

I marched out into the brisk 40 degree air to survey my options.  To run my well equipment I need 220 volt power.  I was hoping my small Yamaha generator had a 220 output but after checking I saw it only had 120 volt outlets.  That left my only option to be the large, 12 year old generator that has issues running for prolonged periods of time.  I dragged the big unit out of of the small shed, a task made more difficult by the two flat tires it had.

I got the generator up onto the patio blocks next to the water equipment.  I plugged in my 220V adapter and then flipped open the door covering the outlet cover for the well pump.  I was startled when an active wasp nest fell out of the cover and onto the ground.  Luckily the cold temperatures had the wasps in a very sluggish state and I escaped without a sting.  I fired up the generator and then plugged in the well pump.  I heard the generator RPMs drop as the well kicked in, just like it should.  Cool, we at least will have water pressure.

I was just in the process of considering additional actions to get us by short term like running the small generator with extension cords to power crucial things like the fridge.  Just as I was ready to take the next step the floodlight by the water equipment flipped on.  Utility power was back, incredible timing for sure.  Cindy had heard the generator fire up and thought the entire house lit up as a result.  I told her nope, it was just a cruel coincidence.  I didn’t have time to undo everything I dug out since I had to get ready for work.  I’ll attend to it tonight.

On Saturday night I got an email from my Toyota dealer asking for feedback about my recent service experience.  They asked for it so I gave it to them, pretty much outlining the stuff I talked about in the video.  The email said customer feedback was very important to them so I expected to hear back some sort of follow up regarding my response.  I was very clear and strong in my response but polite as well.  If I hear nothing back from my multi-paragraph response it will just be reinforcing what I was complaining about in the first place.   Below is what I sent with names changed to protect identities as I am not looking to smear names or reputations.  I just want service and communication that is reasonable, thorough and proactive.

I received an email from Joe Shmoe regarding my service experience at your dealership with my 2016 Tacoma.  I have not been happy with it both times I needed to have issues addressed.  The core problem has been the interaction with my service advisor, Leonard Leadfoot.  Leonard seems like a nice man in person but he has repeatedly dropped the ball when handling my vehicle service. I have to repeatedly call and leave messages asking for information about what is going on and those requests are often ignored.  

With my latest service incident I was told on Thursday the part was unavailable but I would be able to have the truck back as long as I signed a statement acknowledging a problem with one of the airbags.  I was told I couldn’t get the truck Thursday because it was still apart.  Leonard was supposed to call me Friday to get me a better eta for the part availability and to let me know when on Friday I could get the truck.

I waited patiently until 2PM Friday and heard nothing.  I called and left a message on his voicemail saying I was looking for info as I needed to know to plan accordingly.  I heard nothing so I waited until 3:30 and called again.  This time a woman told me she would make SURE to tell Leonard directly to call me right back when he was done with a customer.  He didn’t call.

Finally I was about ready to leave work so I needed to know what was going on.  I called back at 4:30 and again Leonard was unavailable however I told the woman I would wait on hold until he was because it was obvious I could not count on Leonard to call me back.  After roughly 10 minutes he finally picked up the phone.

He said he JUST talked to the “manager” and he said the part would not be available for four weeks.  He said as long as I signed the statement they could release the truck to me.  Ok great, I told him I would sign it and come over to pick up the truck.

Leonard said I couldn’t pick it up, the truck was still not put back together.  This made no sense as the techs knew on Thursday the part was going to be unavailable.  Why would it sit taken apart all day Friday?  It seemed to me like Leonard actually only addressed the issue at 4:30 when I called for the third time although he said he was “working on it all day”.   I didn’t understand what there was to work on, the part was not available, I wanted the truck back in the interim and everyone involved knew that.  It should have been ready to go.

So Leonard said I now had to wait until Saturday to get the truck.  I had to make a special trip with a round trip of roughly 40 miles on Saturday to return the loaner vehicle to get the truck (instead of getting it on my way home from work Friday)  

When I saw Leonard he assured me that he would call me when the part arrives.  Based on my past experience, I have little faith this will occur and instead expect that I will need to be the one to call to find out if the part is there or not.  As icing on the cake, when I dropped the truck off on Thursday morning Leonard asked if I wanted the staff to wash the truck which I agreed to.  The truck wasn’t washed but I did not have the time to sit around Saturday to wait for that to happen.

My previous service experience with Leonard followed much the same script with ignored voicemails and messages for a period that covered more than 24 hours.  Oh and the promised car wash did not happen that time either.  

I am formally requesting that I am permanently assigned a different service advisor.  Like I said, I am sure Leonard is a nice man but his follow through, communication and execution with the customer just are not to a level that I would expect.  

I find the system the service department uses to have a fatal flaw.  It seems like nobody else can or is willing to help you other than your service advisor. When I have called and talked to other staff in the department I have been told repeatedly “all I can do is look in “the system” and see if the truck is done or not”  It seems insane that if your service advisor is not on the ball you basically get no information.

Maybe Leonard is literally that swamped that he can’t find 90 seconds to listen to his voicemail or return a call.  However if that is indeed the case then the dealership has a staffing issue.

I’m sorry to have such negative feedback but I appreciate your dealership seeking out comments, positive and negative to improve services moving forward.

So I had another frustrating day on Friday trying to get answers from my dealer about my truck.  It was supposed to be ready for me to pick up while they wait for a part that will take a month to become available.  Instead after leaving multiple messages for my service advisor to call me back for status, I had to call right before I left work and wait on hold to talk to the guy for 10 minutes only to find out nothing was done and the truck was still not put back together.  There was no sensible explanation for why this was, only that I couldn’t get the truck till Saturday.  I explain the entire interaction in this venting video.

When I got home Friday I was already annoyed as shit by the dealer bullshit.  I got home before Cindy so I was bull rushed by four crazy dogs.  Perhaps because of my state of mind I made a poor decision to let all four dogs in the back yard while the chickens were out.  The chickens were on the other side of the yard so I thought the dogs could pee quickly and I would take them right back in.  Well the chickens spotted me and came running over to see what sort of good stuff I had for them since they associate me with good stuff.

Well Bowser, the big catahoula mix spotted the chickens and started heading that way.  I went into full emergency mode, forgetting my aching knee and sprinting after Bowser as he started running towards the birds.  The chickens are used to being in the yard with Sadie and Elsa without issue so I don’t think they realized at first that Bowser was a threat.  He got dangerously close to several of them as I was sprinting after him while screaming at him to stop.  I finally chased him away into the back yard.  He ignored my screams as I chased him.  He finally stopped and got into a submissive position, knowing he was in trouble.  I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and used my voice of God tone to reiterate how bad that was.  I walked him to the door holding the scruff.

Now of course the ultimate fault in this incident was my own.  Having him out there without a leash or at least the buzz collar was just a dumb thing to do.  We really would like to make Bowser understand the chickens are off limits.  Tank seems to be getting the idea as he did not approach the birds.  After the incident I was a bit frazzled, thinking about just how awful I would have felt if something happened to one of the chicks.

Saturday morning I was up early with Sadie to go participate in the Run for the Paws 5K, my first year doing so as a participant.  I got there with time to spare, arriving before 7 for the 8AM start race.  This was the first time I saw a number of people in the running club, some of them since last January when I timed the event.  Many handshakes and hugs were exchanged and it was nice to see all of the friendly faces.  Sadie and I mostly stuck with Ali leading up to the race helping her attend to a few minor details.

So I had very low expectations for Sadie with the event.  She is a good 20 pounds overweight so running is just not her thing.  She is no youngster anymore either.  I had totally expected we would be walking the race and I even expected to cut the course so we didn’t go the complete 3.12 miles.

So the race started and I began walking at a brisk pace.  Soon I realized Sadie was sort of pulling me a bit so I started into a slow jog.  She seemed very excited and happy with all of the other people and dogs running by and she wanted to be part of it.  She ran much further than I expected and even after we slowed to walking we would pick up running after a bit.  So not only did she complete the entire distance, I bet she ran close to half of it.

For a good portion of the last part of the race we were running/walking with Ali’s boyfriend which was cool.  He and I get along very well.  When we got to the last few hundred yards I started again with a very slow jog, encouraging Sadie to finish strong.  I could tell how exhausted she was at the end, I was practically pulling her along.  Ali was at the finish cheering us in which was very cute.  Once we got through the finish chute I sat on the grass so Sadie could rest, she was so, so tired.  I told her how proud I was of her.  Somehow it seemed like she felt proud as well.

When I got home I had to waste an hour and a half driving the loaner vehicle back to the dealership to pick up my Tacoma.  On top of the run around I was given I had one last annoyance, the car wash the service advisor said would be done was not.  The last time I was there they “forgot” to do the wash as well.  Later in the afternoon I just washed the truck myself.

Despite having a pretty busy morning I had a work filled afternoon.  I weeded the property, did a few odd chores and mowed the grass.  The good news was the cool temps made outside work not all that unpleasant.  Late in the afternoon I even found a little time to go take my Gotway Msuper out for a 5 or 6 mile cruise.

On Saturday night I was home alone with the four dogs while Cindy, Katie, and our friend Kim went to a country concert at the fairgrounds down the road.  I am not a country music fan in the least so I was quite happy to just dog sit.  I was going to play WoW but the dogs were carrying on.  Bowser and Tank figured out how to use the dog door and were barking constantly out by the pool.  I came storming out and opened the slider while yelling “What are you doing??!!”  Well all of a sudden I hear a splash.  Evidently Elsa was out there as well and I startled her enough that she fell in the pool.  I ran over to the deep end and was ready to jump in and grab her but she somehow managed to get out by herself.

So after that incident I spent the rest of the evening watching the new show I am trying to catch up on Man in the High Castle on Amazon video.  It seemed like the dogs calmed down if I was in the great room with them, all four of them were snoozing away while I laid on the couch.

The weather Sunday morning was pretty miserable, raw and wet.  The steady light rain combined with temps in the low 50’s made EUC riding a non-option.  Cindy and I wound up running to Home Depot mid-morning to pick up a new bathroom faucet, a sort of impulse move.  The old faucet was sticking a little when used and was low quality builder grade stuff.

We picked out a nice Kohler replacement along with some plumber putty and teflon tape.  Since the weather was still shitty I figured I may as well dig right into it.  It’s sort of hard to believe with the various home repair/maintenance tasks I have done over the years, replacing a bathroom faucet has not been one of them.  Of course I figured this was yet another opportunity for a YouTube video.

Getting out the old faucet was not too difficult although the hot water feed side was much more corroded than the cold side.  The old faucet used solid copper feed pipes.  The new faucet uses modern braided feed lines which are much more forgiving.  When we bought the faucet I thought we were replacing just the faucet, I had no idea you normally swap out the drain as well in this scenario.  Cindy helped me with a good portion of the swap out.  After maybe an hour of work it was done and looked good.

There was a pretty bad puddle of water in the cabinet this morning despite things being leak free in our initial test.  I think I already know where the leak is from, where the drain is inserted into the existing pvc pipe.  I probably didn’t let the water run long enough in the initial test to fill that pipe to the point where a leak could be detected.

Cindy and I did some more discussion regarding fencing and the chickens.  I have come around to the idea of creating a sub-fence for the chickens that would enclose the coop area and extend behind it considerably.  It would allow us to contain chicken damage while protecting them from untrained dogs.  If we want to allow them full access to the backyard some days we can simply leave the gate open.  It will not be an easy job.

In addition to constructing the fence I am going to need to put some additional bushes/trees in that area for cover.  I also am thinking about building a deck that the chickens can hang out under since they love to hang out under the large shed a good portion of the day. The other issue is laying things out in a way that compensates for the flooding that can occur during wet season back there.  I may try to raise some of the ground with top soil and sod.  I don’t want the chickens wading in a pond all day long like ducks.

So President Trump has certainly been making a big splash with his statements and executive orders thus far.  His latest brain fart was ordering a temporary ban on entry to the country from certain Muslim countries creating a firestorm of backlash, even more so than him floating the idea of a 20% tax on Mexican goods.  The guy just has no clue and zero comprehension of the big picture on any issue he thinks he is addressing.   This circus comes as no surprise to me and I wonder why others seem to be so shocked by these ill advised actions.  He got to where he is by being loud and appealing to the lowest, dumbest common denominator.  Why would anyone think he would be different once seated in the White House?

 

So I didn’t receive any word back on the truck from the dealer by 3PM so I gave them a call.  They said they identified the cause of the airbag warning light.  It has to do with a wiring harness connected to the passenger side curtain airbag.  They said they did not have the part in stock nor did they have an eta for how long it will take to get it.  The truck was still apart so they said I should just keep the loaner for the night.  Today they will get more info on the part availability.  If it is going to be a considerable delay they said I can pick the truck back up but I would need to sign a waiver as driving a vehicle with any airbag issue could be a liability.

It certainly isn’t an ideal scenario as it sounds like I will have to take the truck back again once the part becomes available.  I’m not really worried about driving with an airbag issue as it first showed itself back around 6000 miles.  I recapped the situation on video as anything Tacoma related seems to have a lot of YouTube interest.

This weekend will include Ali’s Run for the Paws 5k, a race I have been involved in since it’s inception 11 years ago.  The first 10 years I was involved as an organizer and race timer.  This will be the first year I will be a normal everyday participant.  Ali is sort of excited to have me there with Sadie.  With my bum right leg I don’t plan to run the event but instead walk it with Sadie.  I don’t even know if we will do the full 3.12 mile distance which may be too far for Sadie but we will give it a go.  Ironically this was the last running club race I was involved with last year and will be the first running club event I have attended since.  It will be nice to see some of the familiar faces that I spent so many early morning hours setting up events with over the years.

I am doing some planning and thinking about some additional fencing in the backyard to accommodate the addition of Katie’s dogs to the mix.   Tank and Bowser do not yet know the chickens are out of bounds.  My thought was to create an additional large dog run area down the one side of the back yard.  Cindy came up with the idea of instead creating a fenced in area around the chicken coop to restrict the chickens instead of the dogs.

My knee jerk reaction to Cindy’s plan is yes, it would be nice for me to not have to deal with the chickens ripping up various sections of the property and scattering chicken poop far and wide.  However the crazy compassionate animal lover in me hates the idea of taking away the freedom the 10 birds all have come to love.  The other problem is the chickens prefer to be more or less hidden during a good portion of the day and they use the underside of the large shed and the bushy areca palms around the pond to accomplish that.

However if I fenced the area around the coop there really is no cover available other than the coop itself.  The other problem is the area behind the coop that would likely be fenced is flooded out badly through a good portion of the summer. Of course the cheapest and least labor intensive option is for us to train Tank and Bowser that the chickens are part of the family.  Cindy actually has some training collars that she has used a little bit to start that process so we will see how that goes.

I am sure the weekend will include some EUC riding.  I have the idea of heading down to the hilly area of Marco Island to ride for something unique.