Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Swarm of Complications

I'm learning that sometimes it's not the really big problems that bring you down. Sometimes its the multitudes of insignificant complications and disappointments that swarm around you like biting insects that end up being the things that break through your composure and sap your fortitude.

The past couple of days, that swarm has been hard at work here.

My computer still isn't fixed, so I'm still using Ken's computer, while Ken is stuck doing his work sitting on the living room couch with his laptop.

Now our truck has broken down again too---the same problem it's had a dozen or more times before: it's fine one day, and then the next day you go to start it and nothing happens. Sometimes it cures itself the following day without our doing anything to it. Sometimes Ken fixes it by jiggling some of the fuses. Sometimes we tow it to the repair shop, only to have it start up fine for the mechanic. Sometimes the mechanic replaces something that seems to solve the problem, only to have the problem reappear the next day or the next month. Most recently, we replaced the ignition, which seemed to solve the whole problem, until yesterday, when the issue reappeared just as it always has.

So now, without any immediate funds to fix the truck (not that anything ever seems to fix it permanently), we can't continue our project of mucking out all the horse paddocks. So, when potential horse buyers come to look at horses, the place literally looks like crap. Plus, we have to move each day's supply of hay up the hill in several wheelbarrow loads instead of one truckload. And we no longer have the option of going to pick up a couple of days' worth of hay ourselves if our hay supplier can't deliver on time. In other words, many of our farm tasks are crippled.

Although we got the vet out here in plenty of time to do the Coggin's tests on the various sales horses, one of the vials of blood broke in transit to the lab, so now the vet has to come back out again on Friday and take the blood again. We don't have to pay for this second trip, but it still delays the paperwork for that particular horse. Lucky for us, it's one of the horses that isn't leaving until next month, or we'd be in trouble!

Ken got paid yesterday, including his Xmas bonus, which was a relief. I had been getting stir crazy here, since I had not even left the farm for the past month. So we decided to drive into Charlottesville and do a bit of minor shopping. We have no money for real Xmas shopping this year, but we thought we'd get a few things we needed at the pet supplies store and it would at least give me the chance to get out for a few hours.

Because we were mainly going to the pet supply store, we thought it would be fun to take our Pomeranian Leeloo with us. And it would have been fun, except that on the way there in the car, she got carsick all over me!

After driving to three stores and still not finding the item I was looking for, we gave up, picked up dinner at the Burger King drive through and headed home.

When we got back, we found that our electricity had been shut off. Ken knew it was overdue, but his paycheck had arrived and he knew we had money to pay it now. Unfortunately, he didn't think to call the electric company to pay it before we left for the afternoon. So when we got home, Ken phoned in our payment---plus a hefty fine---and we had to sit around by candlelight waiting for the guy to come reconnect the power. Kind of put a damper on my "big" afternoon on the town!

While we were waiting for the guy to come turn the power back on, we moved my big, room-divider sized candle stand downstairs next to the couch. Because it holds 39 candles inside individual glass cups, it produces quite a lot of light, so we could see while we waited.

But this morning, our Pomeranian Leeloo and one of our cats, Echo, got scuffling in the living room and upset a couple of our other cats, who crashed into the candle stand and knocked it over, breaking two of the glass cups and scattering shards all over the floor.

Another cat peed on Senter's horse blanket that was lying in the laundry room, waiting to be washed. This is only about ten feet from the cat door through which the cat could have gone, to pee outside, but apparently that would have been too much trouble.

Then, what was supposed to be good news today turned out to be another series of complications. The payment check arrived from the person who is buying our mare Bonnie. Only the person made the check out to our farm name instead of my name. Since our bank account is in Ken's name and mine, we can't deposit a check made out to the farm.

At first we thought we would just go to the bank and change our bank account to include the farm name too, so if this kind of thing happens again in the future, it won't be a problem. But it turns out we can't add the farm name to a personal account, so we would have to open a business account, and we can't open an account in the business's name unless we go to the county office to fill out a "doing business as" form.

So we went to the county office. They gave us a form, but said that we had to fill it out online. So we went back home to fill it out. I don't know what happened to the "doing business as" form since last time I filled it out, but what I remember as being a very simple, one page form that took only a couple minutes to fill out, today was this endless, convoluted array of contradictory web pages that asked for the same information over and over in slightly different ways until I had no idea whether I was even answering any of the questions correctly.

Finally, some of the definitions on the questionnaire were so vague and confusing that Ken called the "help" number for clarification. Of course, there was no one there. He left a message, but no one ever called us back.

By this time the day was pretty much over, so we just gave up on the whole stupid process, and I emailed Bonnie's buyer to ask her to send another check, this time made out correctly. So it'll probably be another week before we can get this much needed money.

Oh... and here's another irritating complication: What the heck happened to my blog header? For months it has been perfect, showing the full photo of my horses in the field, with the pale sky over their backs being the backdrop for the blog title. But suddenly a few days ago, with no editing from me, the whole header is a different size, the photo no longer fits, and the blog title is illegibly squished down onto the horses' backs.

I suppose I'll have to figure out how to fix it eventually, but sheesh, it took me long enough to get it right in the first place. What's the point if Blogger is just going to randomly rearrange stuff without my permission?

All these stupid problems are not so overwhelming individually, but when they all just keep piling up like this, it saps my drive and energy. I get so frustrated and tired. I'm just trying to do a simple, decent job. I'm not asking for the world. But some days it just seems like it's impossible for anything to go right.


farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Have the "farm" sign the check on the back over to you---then sign and deposit it to yourself. It will be third party and they will hold it ten days but it saves spending money to open another account or to get a business license. We have done that without problem before. Hopefully your bank will do it too. If they won't---change banks :-)

markmc03 said...

Hmm. Excellent advice from Monica and sounds logical.

What a time from Hell you've been having. The truck sounds like an electrical short somewhere in the system. Ugh.

I hope things turn around soon. Check the yellow pages for a Gremlin Exterminator.