Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dog Days

It's August 17th, the first day of the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show. We are parked at the Clarksville, Indiana KOA with Mary. We seem to have made this a year of firsts. Obviously this is the first year here with Mary which we are thrilled about. No more hotel rooms! We can sleep in our own bed, cook our own food, kick back when we aren't at the show and watch the Olympics and best of all we can have Breezy with us! It is a first for John being as his business has changed from training and sales to sales and marketing so he no longer has his name on a stable banner. And for the first time he doesn't have a horse entered at the show. We are just spectators this year! Of course that won't stop him from getting up before the sun to go out to the show. Some things never change and his appetite for the energy of the competition will never diminish.

The other first is that John is being inducted into the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame on Saturday night. He is so honored to be included in the ranks of so many top professional and amateur horsemen and women. His son and daughter, Jason and Jennifer will be attending on Saturday night and he is so happy to have them make the trip from North Carolina to celebrate with us.

We arrived yesterday. John drove Mary down with the Camry in tow and I drove the 4-Runner down with Breezy after I ran a few last minute errands. When I got here John was busy putting up the privacy screen on Mary's window. We unloaded the 4-Runner and he parked it in the front parking lot and left the Camry parked behind Mary. We had dinner with the Brookshires as we do every Saturday night before the show starts and when we came back he pulled in behind Mary. We watched a little of the Olympics and went to sleep. John woke up at about 4:30 and apparently decided to get up. I heard him rattling around in the bathroom and after about 40 minutes I heard Mary's front door close. The windows were open in the bedroom and it was quiet out. We are parked between two other big coaches which leaves about ten feet between each of us. Our view is nice, thick trees and bushes directly out the front window and the place seems very quiet in comparison to some of the other KOA's that we have stayed at. So I'm waiting to hear the two little beeps of the horn alarm on the Camry before I actually attempt to get a little more sleep. I didn't hear anything. I wondered what he was doing. And then it happened. At 5:15 in the morning on Sunday morning the Camry horn alarm started blaring. I sat straight up in bed with my eyes bugging out. Immediately I thought...this has never happened to him before and he isn't going to know how to turn it off! I was about to bolt out of bed and run out the door to help when it went off. "Shit." I said and fell back on the bed knowing full well that the hearts of our two neighbors were pounding as fast and hard as mine was. Then I heard the Camry horn beep three short half volume beeps. "What the....?" I heard it again and then one more time. I got up and went out into the kitchen just in time to meet John coming in the door. "I'm so sorry," he said. I just stared at him through bleary eyes. "I didn't want to wake anyone so I put the key in the door and unlocked it," he said. I managed to make my mouth move, "If you set the alarm you have to unset it or it thinks you are trying to steal it," I said as I handed him the keys to the 4-Runner. I was unprepared to go outside at 5:20 AM and figure out why it was making the weird little three beep sound. I also knew that if we set it off again one of our neighbors might shoot us on the spot.

I tried to get more sleep but it wasn't meant to be. As soon as I would doze off Breezy would do something like drop her stuffed bone on the ceramic tile and I would bolt upright again. I finally gave up trying and got up at 6:30. It was starting to get light so I was a little nervous about taking Breezy out for fear of running into a hostile neighbor but there was no choice so out we went to the dog walk. I escaped any encounters. We came back to Mary and the second thing I realized was that I needed to get dog food out of the lower bay so that I could feed her. I had to risk another possible neighborly encounter. I grabbed my little plastic bag and scoop, took a deep breath and darted down the stairs, around the front of Mary and to the bay where the dog food is kept. I reached for the door latch. It was locked. I raced back to the door, back up the stairs to my sweet faced dog who is eagerly awaiting her breakfast. I stopped and looked at the ignition. No keys. The next realization is that John has taken the keys to Mary with him, I forgot my key fob at home and the only way I can get into the bay to get the dog food is to use the extra key that we have in the drawer. Breezy's big brown eyes are making me feel guilty so I dug for the extra set of keys and found them. I started for the door when it struck me that if I used the key without disarming the alarm I would set off the coach alarm, just like John did with the Camry, and probably wake everyone in the park. And I would probably be shot by a neighbor to boot. Of course it would be justifiable homicide.

So I made coffee and toast...two pieces so that Breezy could have something to put her tummy until John came back with the keys. As it turns out using the key won't set off the coach alarm and the Camry was making three little beeps because it was trying to tell us that it was okay to open the door. Who knew.

This is a maiden voyage of sorts for us. Due to the astronomical price of fuel and the sorry state of our economy the motor home/travel trailer industry has taken a big hit. Monaco has had to close down operations in Wakarusa, Indiana which means Dennis, our trusty, patient advisor in Wakarusa, is no longer available to us for help. We are at the mercy of the 800 number (help line). We are finding that it is a strong motivator to figure things out for ourselves. I love everything about Monaco except the 800 help line. We've used it occasionally on the weekends when Dennis was getting a well deserved rest from our fifty weekly questions. Sometimes you get someone really helpful but more often it wasn't worth the effort. We wish Dennis the best in his future endeavors. If we haven't burned him out completely he has a bright future in customer service work.

Soap Box Moment: Unfortunately customer service is something that we have mostly lost touch with in our country. Automated phone systems (that don't work and send me into a fit of anguish and eventually anger every time I have to use one), sub-contracting with people who are paid ten cents an hour, don't speak English and live in Bazeeport, Bluperzimbewa or some other obscure place on the planet, and lazy Americans with sucky attitudes who are pissed off couldn't find a better job have left us without a way to get help with the massive amounts of new technology that is pelting toward us each and every day of our lives. When I went to work at USEF part of my job was to answer questions from members. Answering a simple question with a pleasant attitude solicited such gratitude from people. Then is when I began to realize just how bad the customer service part of our working lives has sagged into something that is almost disgraceful.

Okay, back to today. So John is sleeping while I'm writing. We will be here until Sunday morning and then we will go back to Lexington for a week. Around the first of September we will begin another epic journey to the Western United States. This time we are taking the northern route through South Dakota to Wyoming where we will spend a week at a dude ranch with friends. From there we will spend some time in the Northwest and then loop back through Arizona and either to Lexington or Vero Beach depending on our timing. There will be lots to blog about I'm sure!

We have five babies in Kentucky now and should have two more here from Oregon in September. They are all so pretty, healthy and they are hanging out in a beautiful big pasture together enjoying the rest of the summer grass.

Love this colt's face marking!

When we get home next week we are making a trip to Greenville, Kentucky to the Muhlenberg County Humane Society to pick up our new little charge. His name is Ransom and he has been doing time at the Greenville Correctional Facility as part of the Death Row Dogs program. He is about twelve pounds and about two years old. When he gets home I'll post photos and more information about him!

As I look out the front window I see some leaves beginning to fall. The season is getting ready to change again. I hope you have enjoyed every second of every day so far this summer!