Sunday, January 31, 2016

January. The Shit-Show.


Happy Belated New Year! I have not had time to scratch my butt, let alone update our blog, for months. So, here is what I refer to as a smattering of all things Collins thus far in 2016.

January, now that it is over, could be referred to as nothing less than a shit-show. We all have them, those weeks or months when one problem just follows another, and eventually you just have to scream, then laugh. Indeed, it was our turn.

After a series of challenges at D.T Collins Associates, including Eric replacing two sinks and two toilets, associated sub-flooring, a leaking roof, fluctuations in work due to the economy and some truly unrelenting ice, we feel like we have weathered the worst of the shit-storm. After working six and seven days per week, he has finally managed to get most of the ugliness behind him. Owning a business in a little tourist town is a righteous experience and not for the faint of heart!

I have it easy. My company has no infrastructure and no staff members. Thus, and in contrast, my business is going very well and I am busier than ever before! Referrals from clients and physicians keep the pipe full and my retention of existing folks stays quite high. Needless to say, the busiest time for a Trainer, is the first quarter of every year, when resolutions are at there height. Therefore, I will make hay while I can and let other things slide for awhile.

Scouting is keeping the whole family busy. Gavin is working on his Webelo requirements, Eric is Leading Gavin's Den and curriculum and I am orchestrating the Pack. Between planning projects, helping my Den Leaders, managing paperwork and planning field trips, there is rarely a dull moment. I am soooo grateful I have several dedicated families with whom I can depend upon to follow through on assignments and favors. All the Cubs are growing into who they are meant to be and honestly, it is such a joy to watch. The shy ones, spring from their skin, the rowdy ones find time to be calm and those lacking practical project time at home, are getting exposed to carpentry, use of tools, science, music and song.

In addition to working with the Cubs (younger kids), we will be helping with the Boy Scouts throughout the spring as well. We will be leading several long hikes to prepare them for their much anticipated trip to Philmont Scout Ranch this summer. Many of our Saturdays will be dedicated to them for most of the upcoming months in an effort to get them physically prepared for their backpacking adventures while at camp. Gavin will be looked after by friends, as the distance of the hikes and sheer number of Boys (responsibility) make it difficult for him to join us. Eric and I will no doubt have our hands full.

Gavin's most recent sketch
PBS Building Big Project at School 
Gavin is rocking his way through 4th grade. I have found it to be a tough year for children in general. The workload nearly doubles from 3rd to 4th grade and hormones begin to play a role. At home, Eric and I would love to be able to offer him a neighborhood of kids to play with in our next housing purchase. In the meantime, his self-administered drawing lessons are really paying off. The dog pictured is his latest work of art. He continues to thrive at building, the more complex, the better. Piano is also a growing skill. He plays beautifully for someone who has only 2 years of training.

Pictured is Gavin and his class, finishing prototypes of dams, the conclusion of a three phased project, Eric and I led at Gavin's school. The project included presentations on a local dam, it's building blueprints, recent fixes to substantial leaks and a field trip INSIDE the dam itself. The kids learned alot but were having such fun, I doubt they even noticed! :)  I got a workout hauling all the substrate materials in buckets to the school (rocks, topsoil, crushed granite, water and sand) and then cleaning up! Eric had the inside scoop on our local dam as he was one of the key contractors hired to make repairs. We had all the original blueprints, changes and contours for teaching purposes. For our next enrichment activity I would like to talk Eric into covering his latest efforts associated with relocating the Villages ENTIRE sewer line currently residing in our river. Eric will begin working on Phase II shortly and will have the inside....Poop/Scoop!

Wild mustang herd
Our driveway has been a block of ice for nearly 5 weeks so we are working with our realtor to plan a big spring launch placing our house officially on the market. We have finished a huge list of big projects and it is looking brand new. Eric finished off our 400 square foot, unfinished workshop, I have painted and cleared every closet and drawer and Gavin is doing his part to discontinue the collection of further crap! More items need to be sold, but we will handle that when spring bursts. If you need furniture, a tractor or a vehicle, keep us in mind!


Gavin and Smokey cuddling
The wild horses have dropped down to our elevation (7000') given their normal locations are under several feet of snow. We have been blessed with a killer winter thus far and our ski area has more snow than any other in New Mexico. Not bad for the high mountain desert.

After fifteen years of drought, it's a sight to behold. Eric and Gavin have enrolled in the Ski School Discount Program and are enjoying skiing every Wednesday, ditching half day of work and school to hit the slopes with the locals.
Gavin's snowboarding has really improved and he is enjoying the time with friends and his Dad.

Puppies and I have been running and hiking in the snow and enjoying all the beauty of the season. Smokey is growing fast as he comes upon his one year birthday. We tortured both he and Bandit at Christmas with these lovely handmade hats a friend crocheted.

In closing, I think this smattering of information concludes the latest and greatest at our house and in our lives. Stay tuned for a Shit-Show event near you! Love, Ness