I owme my customers, especially those who have pending orders that should have been filled, an apology. Looking back over the last couple of years, it seems that I always get behind sometime in late fall. Lazy Dog Engineering’s backlog of email builds until it seems overwhelming, and for a while I can’t bring myself to look at it – for a while. Then I catch up. That isn’t a good way to do business, so I last year I promised myself I wouldn’t let it happen again.
Then something happened that I hadn’t foreseen. Over Labor Day weekend a consulting opportunity that was too good to refuse dropped out of the sky. To make a long story short (or at least shorter), a placement/consulting firm spotted my resume on Dice.com. A client of theirs needed a C++ developer (one of the things on my resume) for a few weeks, possbily longer. I get a pretty good hourly rate for that type of work, enough to make the 100 mile (2 hour) daily round trip worthwhile and then some. I figured I would just take care of Lazy Dog in the evenings an on the weekends.
I started the assignement right after Labor Day. It’s IT software development in C++ for a manufacturing company. The client has a large IT department, but only one C++ developer. Two, counting me. I’m a consultant, not an employee; the other C++ developer is an employee. Like I said, the client is located an hour from here, so I spend two hours a day driving. My Jeep Liberty (a great car, and I love being able to say “I drive a Jeep”) gets about 18 – 20 MPG on the highway, so I ride my motorcycle (48 – 50 MPG) when the weather is dry and warm enough that I know there won’t be any icy patches. The motorcycle is a touring bike with a full fairing, as well as heated seats and handgrips, so it’s comfortable well into the 30′s. Still, a 2-hour roundtrip plus an hour for lunch (sometimes) makes for a 10 hour day, from the time I leave until I return.
On a typical day, I get up at 4 or 5 (depends on Anne’s work schedule, on the days when she has to leave at 6, I get up at 4), shower and get dressed, feed the dogs (very important!!), feed the cats and kittens (also very important, and more time consuming) and leave for work about 7. I usually get home between 6:30 and 7, and have dinner. At that point, I should go to work at Lazy Dog, but I’m usually pretty tired mentally, and tell myself I’ll get up early (earlier than normal, that is) and do some work in the morning. Right. And yet, I tell myself that, night after night.
Weekends aren’t much better, at least they haven’t been up until now. This weekend, I WILL get caught up! Writing this post is the first step; I’ll also email everyone who has a pending order, and fill all pending orders. They’ll be shipped Monday. I’m very sorry for the delay. I won’t let this happen again!
Now, a few other things: About a year ago Anne and I bought 10.5 acres of undeveloped land a few miles north of Fort Wayne with the intention of building a house on it. It’s half of a 20 acre wooded tract, the other 9.5 acres was sold to a very nice couple who built a beautiful house (and geothermal pond) on it. After months of planning, we’ve finally broken ground and are building a very nice house, much smaller than our new neighbor’s house, but also very nice. We had about 1/2 acre cleared, and we’re planning to leave the rest mostly wild. We think it’s quite beautiful that way. I’d post a few photos, but they simply don’t do it justice. One day as I pulled into the driveway (longgggg driveway, I’m planning to get a plow kit for the Jeep) I saw three deer crossing it. Our new neighbors have seen as many as eight deer drinking from their pond at one time. Yes, I like venison. No, I won’t be shooting “our” deer. I will looking out the window and occasionally seeing them. So will the dogs and cats!
Our new house will have two rooms devoted to Lazy Dog Engineering. One will serve as the office and “clean” lab, and the other will be the assembly shop and lab. Anne designed the house, along with the contractor’s draftsperson, and the design takes our cat breeding hobby into consideration.
In fact, our cattery is one of the reasons we started looking for property outside Fort Wayne. A few years ago the city adopted a new ordinance to control animal breeding, and some of it’s provisions are a little over the top. It prohibits us (as “minor” breeders” from having more than one “unaltered” animal over the age of 4 months. Unfortunately, 4 months is too young to spay a Siberian kitten. Five or six would be more like it, and the City does know about us because we have a breeder’s license from the city. Four months is also borderline at best for neutering males. We just had Dushenka spayed yesterday, to comply with the law, so we’ll have to get another female after we move. We considered having Boris neutered, but his bloodline is just too good to loose.
The city also prohibits any one female from having more than one litter per 12 months. That’s a good idea, if you love your cats you don’t want to wear the breeding females out with litter after litter. For that reason, we retire our breeding females after five litters or less. Limiting breeding females to one litter per year really means keeping males and females separated most of the time. Litter after litter for as many years as possible is bad for the females, but keeping males and females separated seems cruel. They really don’t like it, they’re much happier together even when not being bred. Our cats like each other, a lot.
I think the city council meant well when they adopted the ordinance, but it seems as if they didn’t consult any small breeders. The law doesn’t seem compatible with common sense. Legally defining a “breeding female” as any unaltered female over the age of four months (six or seven would make sense, not four) is like passing a law saying the fruit which is called an orange is legally an apple. The law says it is so but can’t make it so, yet the law is the law.
Anyway, we decided to leave the city instead of trying to comply with the ordinance. We will continue to comply until we have moved, probably around the end of the year. After that, we will no longer be subject to the city’s ordinances.
Interestingly, our HOA also has rules about pet breeding. Hams aren’t the only victims of HOA tyranny. When we began looking for property outside the city, we decided that we also didn’t want to deal with another HOA. That meant buying uneveloped land, and doing all the things the developer normally does. That means paying per foot to connect to the sewer (which was just extended far enough to reach us), electric utility, and gas. It isn’t cheap, but I think it’ll be worth it.
No, I haven’t decided what kind of antenna to put up yet. I’ve been pretty satisfied with my magnetic loop, but we’ll see.
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