Monday, June 9, 2008


The Jones Nursery

Tom Tom Lives.

We ordered a Garmin Nuvi which was delivered to our door the day after we arrived home from our last trip. It is a wonderful little device. It's so simple to use that I had the basics figured out before I ever plugged the disk into my laptop and looked at the instructions. John used it in the 4-Runner learning the ins and outs of it before he left on his next trip with Mary...without Breezy and me. He had a new co-pilot for the trip, Donnie Brookshire or "Brookie" as we call him.

The Tom Tom had been sitting on John's desk since we got back from Tennessee. He picked it up a few days before he left for Springfield and asked me if we should throw it away. "No," I said, "every so often the Lexington recyclers have an electronics recycling day. I'll drop it off when they schedule another drop day."

The next morning I was dusting in the office and as I was dusting around the little carcass sitting there dead as a doornail, my little voice (which is ever so reliable) told me to dig out the charger. John had been using the remote charger to try to revive it when it died but he didn't try the DC charger. So I dug it out of the pile of chargers (the tangle of cords makes me nuts) and read the little names on the end of each one until I found the one that said, "TomTom". I plugged it into the unit and then reached for one of two power strips that hold the ridiculous number of plug in things that sit on my desk. And I do mean RIDICULOUS.

Soap box moment: I'm going to comment on a side effect of John's and my passion (some would call it an obsession) with electronic gadgets. John has two laptops. One is in Florida and one is in Lexington. I have two laptops. One serves as a desktop processor in Lexington because the back light in the monitor went out. It works once a month or so which was a little bit inconvenient. You could kind of see the display if you used a bright flashlight and eliminated background lighting. That required that you sit in a dark room with the flashlight straining to read the display. Fixing it meant sinking half of the original value into the thing so I retired it to the office and added an external monitor. And then bought the wonderful little Toshiba laptop that I'm using now (that is an endorsement). In between the blind HP and the wonderful Toshiba a Dell laptop died. It had all of the business software and records on it. So I had to seek out a computer genius to get all of the stuff off of the hard drive. Computer geniuses don't come cheap. He told me that he had to put it in the refrigerator and spent the weekend coaxing the thing to give up the information but he got it. I almost hugged him when he told me that he got everything. Before all of those I had a nice Sony laptop and the hard drive died on it and I lost everything. It was heartbreaking. Now I have a backup hard drive which requires a USB port and a plug. In fact I believe that every single peripheral that is made requires another USB port so I ran out of ports before I had everything plugged in. So I got an external USB port dock which plugs in. And every so often it goes funky and sends the blind laptop into a fit of insanity. Then I have to shut down the computer and restart it. I have an iPod and I listen to iTunes when I'm working so I added external speakers which required a USB port and a plug in. I have a scanner so that I can scan and copy things. It requires a USB port and a plug in. I have a printer which requires a USB port and a plug in. I have a calculator and two desk lamps which require plug ins. Oh yeah, there's a shredder too. And I use the power strips to charge the video camera, my Blackberry, digital camera and now the TomTom. And to add more fun to our electronic madness we just bought two Kindles. If you haven't seen a Kindle check it out on Very cool. But they plug in to charge and also require a USB port when it needs to talk to my computer. Every so often I look at the tangle of wires under the desk and the pile of little electronics on top of it and sigh. There is probably an answer to the mess and I will probably tackle it at some point. Right now I'm too busy learning how to use all of the little electronic gadgets that we have.

So I found a free space on the power strip and plugged the TomTom in. The little green light came on like it did when John plugged it in with the remote charger in Mary. I let it sit there and charge for twenty minutes or so while I did some work and then I reached over and pushed the "On" button. To my utter shock TomTom came to life! It still had the directions to the property that we went to see in Lexington, South Carolina...where I thought it died (or was murdered). I played with it a little bit and realized that it was working as well as it ever did...which wasn't good, but nothing seemed technically wrong with it.

Now I had a dilemma. I spent so much time trashing it for not getting us where we needed to go that I wondered if I should just turn it off and pretend like it was still dead. I could just send it off to the recycle center and no one would be the wiser. Of course I would know. And then I really would be the murderer.

I picked it up and started moving through the different settings. It occurred to me that it probably heard me say that I was going to send it to the bone yard so it stopped sulking over my verbal abuse and decided a life with me was better than no life at all. I reprogrammed the entire thing. I changed the voice from a woman's to a man's and I changed the look of the screen and added a compass on the display. I overhauled the entire thing and have decided to give it another chance. The Garmin is in Mary now and TomTom will serve as our car GPS.

John and Brookie took Mary and went to Springfield, Illinois to the Midwest Charity Horse Show. They left at the crack of dawn and arrived without incident. When I worked for USEF they used to send me there for the National Show Horse Finals in September. I enjoyed the National Show Horse people. They were very nice. The show wasn't the most stimulating horse show on the planet but it wasn't bad and the facility is great. The problem with Springfield to me was that it is out in the middle of nowhere. I chose to drive up there once I figured out that it would take me as long to fly as to drive (six and a half hours) by the time I made all of the plane changes. I lost track of how many different interstates that I drove on to get there. I repeatedly lost my cell phone signal out in the middle of vast amounts of corn and soybean fields, usually in the middle of a conversation with someone who was keeping me awake. One time I drove back to Lexington in a torrential rain storm. I don't think that it stopped raining all the way from Springfield until I got the the Ohio River. It is just one of those bank of memories that will probably keep me from returning to Springfield again in this lifetime. I said "probably" because I tend not to say "never" about much. Saying "never" usually dooms me to what ever I never want to do again.

So Breezy and I had a quiet week at home in Lexington. I got lots of home projects done and we walked every day on the beautiful walking paths around our area. She spent her days following me around the house, interested in every little thing that I was doing and in some cases attempting to help me. She knows that the last thing I do before I turn the lights out and go to bed is to get to dog cookies out of the jar and put them on her bed. All I have to do is take the top off of the jar after I set up the coffee for morning and she races for her bed. She really is a delight.

There were lots of stories to report from Springfield but I will relay the best one. They got up early on the first morning, raring to go, anxious to get out and see the horses work. Everything went as planned, showers, breakfast, coffee, tidying up and making beds. They got their shoes on and headed for the door. Apparently Mary was less than thrilled to be in Springfield. I didn't tell her where she was going I swear but she decided that no one was going anywhere. They pulled on the door handle and nothing happened. They tried again and again. And again. She wouldn't budge. They were locked in and the only way out was through a window. It as a long way to the pavement out the window so they kept trying. They fiddled with the locks, coaxed it gently and jerked on it. I suspect there was some cussing and possibly some pleading going on too. Finally John called Brad Bacon, who he knew would be on the show grounds, to come and rescue them. I'm not sure how he did it but finally she decided to let them out. And I'm sure that Brad will never let them live it down.

Of course John called Dennis.

Then there was the incident when they were getting ready to leave and putting the passenger side slide in. Apparently focused on something besides the slide (like maybe telling Brookie how cool it is to just push a button and have the side of the bus slide into place) while standing a foot from it with his finger on the button the slide hit the back of the navigator's seat and cracked a big piece of the cherry wood.

Of course John called Dennis. Again.

We spent a week working on that (he got a piece of cherry wood, had it cut and planed to the right length, width and thickness, I sanded, stained and varnished it and he installed it...we're a team!) and she is good as new.

Now she is resting before our next big trip. After Louisville we will be heading north to the Dakotas and then west again. Of course I'll post our adventures on the blog as we go. In the mean time I'll add a few posts about our summer. We have been in Lexington since Memorial Day with the exception of the adventure to Springfield.

I'm adding a couple of photos that Annalize van der Walt sent us from Oregon where most of our broodmares are. They have all foaled and all are healthy and happy. Thank you Annalize! We have six new babies on the ground. Time to start thinking of names!

And we will have a new addition to our family in August. I'll post on that as soon as he arrives! I hope your summer is spectacular so far!