Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The things I do to save $50...

Given: Horses are expensive.  Expensive might not be the right word... perpetual money vacuums? black holes of 401ks and all things "saving"?  Whatever the correct terminology is I know we all agree that unless you are moderately mindful(/obsessive) about controlling costs they get out of hand rapidly.  That's why I usually opt to not sign up for "extras" at my boarding barn or try to do somethings myself to offset cost.

(Anyone choosing to remember how much money I blew on boots last week is encouraged not to mention it at this moment)

One of the a la carte items at our current barn is trailer parking.  Parking my trailer at the barn is an extra $50 a month.  I was so horrified at the brashness of this charge when we moved in that I firmly put my foot down and refused to keep my trailer on site.  My company is 5 minutes from my house (sorta between the barn and home) and has a 4 acre yard filled with pipe, valves and fittings, surely I'd be able to stuff a trailer back there somewhere without having to pay for it.

Turns out space was at a premium at the shop too, so I had to forfeit my parking spot for the trailer, but god dammit, for $50 a month I'll do it.

Usually I'd say this arrangement works well.  The trailer gets parked for free, I have keys to the yard so I can get at it anytime I want... mostly.  That is to say I can get at it anytime the rest of the parking lots isn't full since I don't have enough room to hitch up if everyone is still at work.  The Boy remedied this situation by making a forklift attachment that allows a forklift to zip in, grab the trailer and pull it out someplace with more room.... This is a brilliant solution for week day horse trips aside from the fact that I try to... not hide necessarily, but be mindful of how obvious it is that I am off playing hookie with the horses instead of sitting at my desk - and asking a warehouse guy to stop his work to "fetch me my trailer" doesn't come off so fabulous sometimes.

This means that I usually try to pick up the trailer after hours and park the rig in front of my house so that I can just zip home, drop my car off and zoom off to the barn. 

Since Prairie has a lesson off site today, last night I made my attempt to "go grab the trailer real quick" which I approximated to take about 20 minutes (5 minutes to work, 5 minutes to hitch up, 10ish minutes home (there's always traffic headed back toward the city).

20 minutes, no big deal, I ran out of the house without taking the dog out to pee or giving myself a snack.  Both decisions ended up being a mistake.

 I hopped in the truck, saw that I only had 1/4 of a tank and pulled off for fuel.  But the only station near my house with diesel is always crazy busy and the fact that this particular station only has one pump with diesel makes maneuvering to it a bit tricky - especially when said pump is occupied by Prius. But after a delay and some serious backing skillz the truck slurped up a full tank.

Then I saw that there was an accident on the freeway that was impacting the (literally) 300 yards of road that I needed to get to work.  So I changed plans and went the back way... which usually adds about 5 minutes to the trip but this time the detour added 20. 

Finally at work, I pulled up to the back gate and saw that it was locked - good, that means everyone's out of the parking lot, but bad because I had forgotten my work keys at home (which was back through the traffic hell).  There was one lonely car parked outside the gate and some lights still on in the office, so I hopped out of the truck, pounded on the doors for 5 minutes hoping to garner attention but failed miserably.  Just as I was resigning myself to crisscrossing traffic again I saw a side gate still unlocked and snuck into the yard. 

Then, it started pouring.  Perfect.  So glad I opted to stay in loafers and not boots (ps, trailer parking spot is muddy).  The rain made my mirrors useless and it ended up taking me like 10 tries to line up the ball. It never takes me 10 tries.  two, max.  Very annoying.

Then as I was getting soaked doing up the hitch in the bed, I realized that while I was fumbling around trying to unhook the safety chains from the storage spot that I had 100% shoved my head/hair into the GIANT SPIDERWEB that is somehow always on one side of the trailer nose.  That prompted a total freakout-run-around-spastic episode that ate up another 10 minutes while my arachnophobic self was convinced that spiders were everywhere in my hair and coat.  If anyone was still in the office, I can assure you that display ensured no one was going to come out to say hello.

Once convinced that I was thoroughly spider free (or at least stripped of all potential spider covered clothing, I continued to hitch up the trailer (in the rain) and made it home (through traffic again) without cause for alarm.

Since most of you haven't seen my house, I live in a very typically suburban neighborhood.  I get weird looks for driving a truck around (let alone a truck and trailer) and the trees really aren't trimmed for trailer clearance so I usually smash my way through the streets.  This also means that we have no property, ergo - no place to really park a trailer.  except for a (very) small strip of pavement right in front of our gate (read, two on street parallel parking spaces).  Our street is windy and on a hill so there aren't really any places to just "pull over and park" the full rig except for the small strip of space right in front of our house.  Convenient, so long as no one else parks there while I'm getting the trailer and also assuming that my parallel parking skills aren't totally fried with nerves.

For the record, it was still pouring and my snack-less stomach was protesting loudly, and all of the delays on my trip meant I was getting home in the dark and needed to back the trailer without any helpful lights while trying to avoid my fence and several mail boxes in the process.

Normally I'd brag like WHOA about my parallel parking skills, but that is when I'm not driving a massive fricking truck and trailer.  Parallel parking trailers is something I have a husband for.  He's very, very good at it.  I.... am not.

BUT never fear, 15 minutes and a million adjustments later (also, why is Maroon 5 on every radio station.  DEATH)  I nailed the parking job, locked everything up and ran into the house for some food.  Carefully slipping off my very cute, but now very muddy loafers only to step in a puddle of dog pee as I walked in the door.

$50 a month might just be worth it... 


  1. You know this all will be very a year or two :)

  2. I think it's worth it. Imagine trying to do all that while your horse is back at the barn colicing and needing to go to the clinic? I think it is always safer to keep your float where your horse lives, then it's always on hand.

    1. It's a good point. And one I agree with. Fortunately the trailer is usually only a 10 minute detour to the barn, or a zero minute detour if I have an emergency and am at work. In those situations I'm less sensitive to asking for help in getting my trailer out :) but a move might be in the future...

  3. I cannot stand the idea of paying for trailer parking at a boarding barn. I don't understand why I have to pay to park my trailer... do I have to pay to park my saddle in the tack room? At a previous barn, I had to pay $25 and I hated it enough to move to a new barn. Moving seems silly and a bit over the top, but I think it's crazy to have to pay to park. So I feel your pain!

  4. That was a great story, but I am sorry that it was also true. What a fiasco!

    I hate extra barn fees. I get charged to have my horse's supplements dumped and it costs me half as much as the actual supplements. It just doesn't seem fair.

  5. I'm going to take a bit of a different perspective on 'extra' fees, but in fairness my barn is all inclusive (hay soaking, turnout boot, extra feeding all inclusive) so I'll admit that I'm talking the talk without walking the walk.
    Making certain parts of your board 'add ons' has a few benefits: 1. It allows people who may have otherwise been unable to afford a certain level of care or type of facility to keep their horse in a better/more appropriate situation
    2. In some cases, it allows barn owners to make a little extra money. My BO works for approx $3-$5 oer hour Canadian, on e all the barn costs are paid... and that's not per horse. So your BO probably isn't getting rich off your 'extras' but if 're lucky,

    1. Oops, comment got cut off. The ending was supposed to say 'if they're lucky it may bump their salary up to minimum wage'

    2. I get it, and I empathize with the fact that NO one gets rich boarding horses (breaking even is a nice goal), but at my current place (which is on the spendier end of our local spectrum) we have absent owners who manage the cap ex projects from the east coast, but leave all the daily work to 4 full time employees. Now I'm sure they aren't making fabulous money, but mentally I just always prefer "all in" pricing (even if it's actually more expensive) and it irritates me when it's a large enough farm that the actual parking space isn't an issue. At a smaller facility, I get it, rent is rent. But grrr. When my monthly check exceeds $2,000 to the farm, I wouldn't mind parking my trailer without feeling nickel and dimed.

      I do give my barn credit in the sense that they are not stingy with bit investments (new lights, new fencing, etc). Mostly I just get cranky when I get wet, cold, and spider covered. :) it'll pass.

  6. You're hilarious and I love you, but WHEN DID YOU GET A DOG???? There are no fb pics, which I know because I just stalked you. Less time "working", more time posting cute puppy pics. :p

  7. I'm with Sprinkler on dog pics. :D

    The spider scare alone is almost worth it LOL! *shudder*

    I'm cheap. I'll admit it. I don't think I could pay $50 to park a trailer..... but I'm cheap and I keep my horses at home.... so yeah who am I to even try to share my opinion LOL!


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