Thursday, December 2, 2010

Assembly Fail

Some people really seem to have a knack for building things, repairing things, and do-it-yourself projects. I am not one of those people. In the fall one of my big projects is getting the blankets cleaned, repaired and ready for use. The main thing we need out of a sheet or blanket around here is it needs to be waterproof. We don't typically blanket just for cold weather (although we do sometimes), that's what the horses grow winter coats for, and we are in the south here so not known for our harsh winters. We mostly use sheets and blankets for rain and wind. When the horse is wet or there is a lot of wind their coats lose their ability to insulate properly.

More than once someone will make the comment that we have shelters in the pasture so why blanket? Because they rarely use the shelters, and when they do use them it is usually when it is 75 and sunny. If is is 40 degrees and pouring rain they're usually standing outside, often in the woods, butts to the wind. I don't know why this is and can offer no explanation. I just know what we observe year in and year out. And as much as I advocate a natural lifestyle for a horse (and really how naturally can any domesticated horse live?) I am as guilty of anthropomorphism as anyone else. I can't stand to see them standing outside when it is 40 degrees and raining, wondering who might be shivering. So they wear their portable shelters instead and I am much happier.

So what does this all have to do with being a handy person, or not as the case may be? As part of the big blanket/sheet prep I spray some more waterproofing on any blankets that I think might need it. My hands get really tired squeezing the spray trigger on the bottle over and over so a few weeks ago I went to Home Depot and bought myself a little sprayer. Of course I take it out of the box and it isn't completely assembled. Great.

I read the very confusing directions, complete with pictures. I looked at my handful of parts, and I continued this cycle a few times - look at directions - look at the parts. It took me almost 40 minutes to accomplish the minor assembly required for this stupid little 2 gallon sprayer. Jason would have put the thing together without even glancing at the directions in about 40 seconds but I was determined to not ask for help.

I finally get it assembled and I am quite proud of myself. I go to spray my first blanket and stuff starts spraying out of the wand in every direction and I managed to waterproof myself. Not the result I was hoping for. I go back and look at the directions. I did not skip any steps. I turn the box upside down to dump out all of the packing materials to see if I missed anything. A tiny little nozzle that fits on the end of the wand falls out. Someone with a sick sense of humor didn't even mention the nozzle in their stupid directions so I never rummaged through the box to find it.

Even *I* don't need directions to figure out what to do with this nozzle but the person in charge of writing the directions could have at least mentioned its existence in the diagram of parts. Isn't this their job, their profession, what they get paid to do?? Anyway, I secured the nozzle on the end of the wand and went for take number two with spraying the blankets. This time I met with success. I'm thinking the next time it rains I'm going to wear the jeans and polo shirt I was wearing that day since I'm pretty sure they are waterproof now.

I have no future in repairs, do-it-yourself projects or anything that requires mechanical aptitude or power tools. I can barely whip the 2 gallon sprayer into shape. Nothing puts more fear in Jason than the sight of me with a power tool in my hands because he knows the odds are good that it isn't going to end well. He's probably right.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Murphy, Dutch and Wiz with Chili hiding in the back

Darby and Ogie hanging out; I like the matching ears at half mast

Noble, Spike and O'Reilly

Teddy was having a rough day snoozing over the fence


Cuff Links and Harmony

Tiny and Johnny were playing

Rampal. Jason always says "call me anything but don't call me late for dinner." This is Rampal coming for dinner and I'm pretty sure he's saying the same thing.

Romeo was rolling

Chimano was rolling too but by the time I had both of them in the frame he was already up.

Toledo, Tiny and Rampal

Norman and Cinnamon, two cute ponies

I thought Sparky, Lexi and Cinnamon all had cute expressions for this picture


Lauren said...

What do you use to waterproof?! (Can you maybe email me? Because I know I'll forget to check back here...)

cheyenne jones said...

We rug here for the rain and wind too, our horses have fantastic coats, but as you so rightly say the wind and rain plus the cold soon melt away any condition.

lytha said...

This is why I went into technical writing - to help people by creating clear, concise directions.

Sadly many firms cannot afford a publications team and they have whoever volunteers write the user guide. Often the people are not native english speakers, so you end up with software installation problems or waterproofing sprayed all over you.

I sure do love tech writing and hope to do it again someday.


Anonymous said...

I send my few (but still a number) of blankets out for washing and rewaterproofing - less wear and tear on me! (and no sprayer assembly required!)

Blanketing/sheeting for wind/rain is a good idea - particularly for senior horses who have more trouble maintaining their body temperature and may lose weight if they have to shiver.

amy324 said...

One of the boarders and I assembled a sprayer the other day (probably the same one!). With pretty much the same results. We both got sprayed and were in tears laughing. The non-instructions were just as helpful, and neither of us had our reading glasses. Deciphering a word in the instructions was cause for joy, and accomplishing that step was cause for celebration. We finally beat it into submission.

Funder said...

Hahaha, I'm laughing with you, not at you. Bad instructions will lead anybody to an epic fail!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Gotta love the extra unhelpful instructions / directions. (not) It's often easier if you never even look at them lol :)

What do you use for re-waterproofing?