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Archive for January 8th, 2009

Because the weather has been crappy and we’ve been on vacation the horse hasn’t got much exercise over the last month. With snow still on the ground at the new barn there is no hope for riding or longing him in the arena there. Also, when it’s pouring down rain there’s little enjoyment for either Cass or the horse to exercise outside. So, we take him to an indoor horse arena in North Saanich that allows drop-ins and that Cassie and Alli like. To do this requires hitching up the trailer, loading the horse and his gear, driving to the indoor (about a 30 minute drive), spending enough time exercising him there to make the trip worthwhile, driving him back to his barn, unloading him and putting him to bed, parking and unhitching the trailer, and finally making the drive back to our home.

Making this happen on a weeknight and not arriving back at the house after midnight requires some serious logistical focus. As well, strong efforts on behalf of me and Cass to work in parallel at some stages and as a team at others are mandatory so that neither of us becomes the rate determining step for long. We’ve learned to turn this weeknight effort around so that it is possible to leave the house at 5pm and arrive back at 8:30pm with the horse having had about 45 minutes of high quality exercise.

Last night was looking to be a routine operation of this sort but it started to go sideways in an upsetting way. Those of you who have experienced sailing with me will be familiar with my theory of cascading errors… that it’s important to take stock after an incident so that it doesn’t cascade into further mistakes due to the crew getting flustered and eventually lead to a catastrophe. Last night’s trailer parking episode can’t be called a catastrophe. No one was hurt and nothing was damaged except some poor innocent lawn that never hurt anyone in its life. But the situation certainly followed the “law of cascading errors”.

Firstly, it was raining hard and very dark. The truck’s mirrors were covered in drops, as were the trucks windows. We rolled them down so I could get a better view. The public road that I was trying back in from was restricted to one lane by the snow on either side so I didn’t have very good room to maneuver the truck and frankly I wasn’t sure exactly where the drop-off to the ditch was lurking. Cass got out to spot me but, in my defense (if I have any), it was difficult to see her in the mirrors or hear her over the rain and truck engine. I backed the trailer up putting it’s wheels through a soft spot that she had specifically warned me not to drive on and then hung the trailer up on a big mound of snow just behind it. Cass came up and gave me a well deserved blast of blue language. In the mean time a couple of cars had come up and were waiting (im)patiently for me to finish fucking up the lawn of the barn owners.

I spun the truck tires in the soft spot (grimace) trying to get the trailer moving and finally got the rig off the road enough to let the waiting cars go by. A quick survey revealed that the geometry of getting the trailer back in it’s spot given my current trajectory was hopeless so I pulled it back and forth a half dozen times getting more and more confused, doing more and more lawn damage and finally getting the stupid thing more or less reasonably parked. This was a big comedown for a fellow who had considered himself a pretty good trailer parker. <sigh>

I send the owners a grovelling email and I seem to be off the hook for now. C’est la vie.

“If at first you don’t succeed, put it in 4-wheel drive and go right over the crap that was in the way.” Demented Lumpy Truck Driver

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