In her younger days, my mother was often her own “handyman.” I used to cringe when she would be changing some electrical piece without turning the power off. She always had good, practical ideas that actually worked. Mom never bragged about her education as a chemical engineer. . . part of her training was to design a sugar factory, so she knew how to create blueprints for contractors. As a matter of fact, she designed my home, and it was built from the blueprints that SHE created.
My mom participated in all the additions to my home and other projects, and when her health prevented her from swinging a hammer, she alternated between cooking to make sure I had strength to finish the project, and “supervising.” Her sentences most frequently began with, “Why don’t you . . . ”
So I very much inherited my mom’s persistence and determination to get things done.
Last year at this time, I was bracing for the onslaught of blizzard Goliath . . . I count my blessings that I and all the precious souls in my care survived.
This year, thanks to the generosity of kind-hearted donors, I was able to purchase enough kennels to basically make a comfortable and secure set-up inside the barn, and as with everything in my life these days, it all came with adventures.
It began with ordering the “Lucky Dog Kennels” from Amazon. A friend saw my post and sent me a flyer from Tractor Supply . . . nicer and roomier ones on sale for less. To make a long story short, after much haggling with the manager of every Tractor Supply within driving distance, I had to accept that the kennels’ sale price of $175 would not be honored. But at $249 for welded wire kennels (after a discount of $100) it was a good deal, so I ordered 2 and got a rain check for the third.
The next episode was with the 10 by 10 kennel covers via Amazon. I ordered 4 at the sale price of $103 (regular price was $157) I was thrilled. I received two, and the remaining order for two more was canceled due to “seller (third party) pricing error.” Once again, wasting time haggling with customer support and insisting that the original price should be honored. Since it was a “third party seller”, it was not under Amazon’s control. So I am still short a cover or two.
Then came the fun part. I was able to get the large professional panels that I purchased from Tractor Supply in place and set up . . . not in 2 hours as I expected, but in two days due to “complications.” The other kennels from Amazon were delivered by UPS who in their wisdom, stacked these huge and heavy cartons against the gate instead of opening the gate and putting them inside. I could not even open the gate to drag them in without getting a ladder so that I could climb the fence to the outside and moving the huge boxes away from the gate.
The dragging and the lifting took the longest and a week of gusting winds made it difficult to put the covers on the kennels. I also kept misplacing (or dropping) the one wrench that fit the bolt nuts, so I bought a tool belt and another wrench. I used to keep some tools in the pockets of my pants, but they are a little loose and more than once, a happy dog pulled them off.
This past Saturday was a good work day, but in the night, the wind gusts woke me up and upset the dogs . . . most of the time we all sleep through it. When I looked outside the next morning, I discovered the good and the bad.
The good news was that all the covers stayed in place and there was no damage to the outside kennels. The bad news was that the wind had lifted one of the smaller gazebos over a 6 ft fence and dropped it in the middle of the horse pasture. I was counting my blessings that the wind took it AWAY from the house and not towards it.
So, I had to regroup some of the little ones because it was their gazebo. The panels were sturdy enough to not be too damaged (door doesn’t work well) but all the connecting plastic pieces are broken.
I could hire someone to help with all of this, but I value every cent that is donated for whatever campaign or purpose, and the cheapest labor is my own. I sometimes drop the wrench or pieces because I don’t have as much hand strength as I did when I was younger. But I believe that doing things like this will keep me fit. I’m also realizing that I tend to underestimate how much time it takes to complete something. Since all of the stuff is manufactured in a foreign country, the instructions are poor translations. It’s more than once that I had to disassemble something because the directions didn’t state what the “hole” was for until the LAST STEP.
Of course, the dogs are all at my side and everytime I bend over to pick up something I dropped, I’m showered with doggie kisses, and as I’m maneuvering things and working on these projects, I can hear my mom still, “why don’t you do it this way.”
To all of you who have contributed to “these projects”, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Every bit of it, and more that I could afford, was used for the comfort of the dogs, and the least I can do is work as quickly as this “not such a spring chicken body” allows to get things done. In the evening, when all are tucked in and I’m mulling over the adventures of the day, good or bad, I find myself laughing and wishing my mom was here to share my stories and my laughter. Sometimes as one project led to something else that needed to be done, she would quietly say, “Well, you’ve just created more work for yourself.” Yep, Mom, just like you.
When I can still laugh over “catastrophes” and get up and move the next morning, life is good, and my heart is full of gratitude.
We are ready for any arctic weather, blizzard or not, that will head our way, and I will be posting more photos as things get into place.
I thank you again for being on this journey with us.
Our current campaign is for dog food so that we can keep from being in “crisis mode.”
The mission of Extraordinary Dogs Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit/public charity, is to provide rescued “death row” dogs with the skills and training to help them become extraordinary canine friends/partners/helpmates for life to their adopted family.