Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy
Sometimes - The Thousand Word Thursday takes several pictures:

While traveling around the state a couple of years ago, we came across this berry farm that had goats.  Since goats like to climb - the owners created a single lane ramp with elevated stopping points for the goats that actually went over a working road.  They don't fall, and head-butt each other to move to get out of the way.  Fun, fun, fun to watch!  Wanna check it out?  VisitWestmoreland Berry Farm in Oak Grove,VA. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hurricane Aqua Sports

It's been two weeks since I was blindsided with news that the manufacturer of the kayak that I've had problems with, wasn't going to honor their word.  The full (and I do mean FULL) backstory can be found starting HERE, then HERE, onto HERE, and then finally HERE.  Don't want to take the time?  Here's the short of it:

  • Boat Defect
  • Boat Sinks
  • Manufacturer sends temporary fix
  • Boat Sinks again
  • Vice President offers new boat for free
  • Vice President reneges offer 11 days later
  • Vice President offers to sell me a new boat PLUS shipping

I had held off during the last post mentioning the manufacturers name, because I was hoping that they would step up and do the right thing.  They haven't.  It's been several weeks.  And what recourse do I have?  It's my word against theirs.  

So now, I must say, that I would not suggest anyone do business with Hurricane Aqua Sports.   They don't sell directly, but you'll likely find their kayaks at your local kayak dealer and at demo days.   Their trademark is producing kayaks out of a material called Trylon, a durable but lightweight plastic.  Apparently not so durable.  

Their site claims them to be "a small group of kayaking industry veterans".  Then these veterans should understand how it would feel to be without a boat.  Not because they damaged theirs, or not because they couldn't afford one.  But because their boat failed.  Miserably.

I bought the Hurricane Phoenix 120.  A small, light, sit-on-top.  I really enjoyed the boat.  But due to a manufacturing defect, it took on water and sank.  With me in it.  In any other situation than what I was in, it could have had a much worse outcome.

It's so terribly disappointing, this change in customer service.  I never asked for a new boat, they offered it.  And then took it back.  They used the "warranty period" as their excuse, but didn't take into account that I first contacted them while it was still under warranty, and they sent a tube of epoxy that didn't fix it.  How sad is that?  The VP even admitted to me on the phone that they knew there was a problem with this!

I have no idea what changed his mind in the 10 days between our pleasant phone conversation, and the follow up email.

Is this the kind of company you would do business with?  One that offers to make it right, then takes it back, then nothing.  One that doesn't stand behind their product.  One that doesn't stand behind their word???  

I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment here for me, (and for the little guy everywhere that gets the shaft!).

PS - I'll be shopping for a new kayak soon.  Anyone have suggestion on good manufacturers to deal with?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reality Show Wrap-up

Wrapping up the shows that started in February, last week and this week have been very busy with finale shows.

Amazing Race - Wasn't disappointed that Tammy and Victor won.  I would have loved to have seen Margie and Luke win it though.  They did great!

The Bachelor - This one was finishing up in February.  Most of us were thrilled to see Jason pick Melissa, then heart-broken when he dumped her on National Television.  I have no doubt that she's getting the last laugh on....

Dancing with the Stars - Hadn't planned on watching this one, but when Melissa (of jilted Bachelor fame) was named as a last minute replacement, I was hooked.  She's done fabulously!  

Biggest Loser - I was glad that Mike and Ron didn't win the whole thing.  I wouldn't have minded if Mike had won, but Helen beat him out.  I only wish Tara could have pulled it all off in the end.  That girl was a MACHINE!

American Idol - This one ends this week with Adam and Kris in the final two.  Love Adam, but kind of rooting for the underdog on this one.

Survivor - YEAH JT!  JT played an almost flawless game.  One of the best game-players I've seen.  But Coach????  Ugh - give me a break!

Hell's Kitchen - Again - thrilled to see the underdog (Danny) win this one.  This kid has an amazing amount of potential.  Although Paula was pretty impressive too!

Celebrity Apprentice - Over the top!  Joan Rivers won.  But these celebrities are just over the top....  Except Jesse.  How in the heck did he marry Sandra Bullock??!??!

Deadliest Catch is just starting, and tonight is a new Bachelorette that I may just have to tune in and see wassup.

Not sure what will coming up for the summer, but I've got the DVR ready to go!


Saturday, May 16, 2009


Wow!  That's about all I can say!  Is WOW!

Thursday night, we went to the the Broadway Across America traveling production of Wicked.   Don't know what Wicked is?  Here is a description from Wikipedia: 

Wicked tells the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and her relationship with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. (In the album notes, Gregory Maguire explained that he derived the name "Elphaba" from the initials of L. Frank Baum.) Their friendship struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, their reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace. The plot is set mostly before Dorothy's arrival from Kansas, and includes several references to well-known scenes and dialogue in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz as a backstory.

This show was amazing!  I can't even begin to describe to you how great this show was.  It was certainly a comedy.  It was also dramatic.  It did an amazing job of giving you insight to the Wizard of Oz.  

The theatrical details were stunning, from Glynda coming and going in a "bubble", to the over-sized "wizard" of oz, to the flying monkeys!  

The lead actresses voices were unmatched in their clarity, strength and control.

The supporting cast couldn't have done a better job.

I can only image what the production crew must have gone through to pull this show off as well.  The scene changes and the special effects were superb.

Although our local run is here for 3 weeks, it's nearly sold out.  I can certainly see why.  But I highly recommend if you ever get the chance to go, DO!  It will be worth everything you pay for the tickets!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Final bowling update...

No more bowling, until next fall!  Here is the final update for this league:

Our team tied for 36/37th place!  I predicted 37th.  Ok, that's just really sad....  I predicted we'd be 37th out of 39th.  Well, at least we weren't last???

Ok - here are a bunch of random figures........

57 - the number of games I blogged about
19 - the number of weeks I blogged about (yeah, this is pretty low of the 32 weeks we bowled.  But don't forget I was out with an ankle injury, and a couple weeks were just too bad to blog.)

103 - my entering average
111 - my exiting average
109 - my average most of the year

25 - number of games above my average (the 109 average)
30 - number of games below my average
3 - the number of games exactly my average

82 - the lowest score I blogged
155 - the highest score I blogged

For our efforts, and for coming in at 36th/37th - each member of our team got $90.  More than I thought we'd get, so no disappointment there!

I'm really, really going to get a couple games in this summer!  Really.

Until next year....

Thousand Word Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy

I thought the concept of the "Thousand Word Thursday" was cool.  So, I'm gonna try to do it here.  You can click on the box for more info.

Here's my first:

This is my Casey doing what she loves the best!  Laying on the front porch, watching the world go by.

(PS - If I timed this right, this is my 100th post!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Shit, Cheap!

We're getting ready for a yard sale this weekend.  It's a lot of work, when you have a lot of crap!  My biggest concern is that the weather will hold out.  My next biggest concern is that we get rid of a lot of stuff.  

It's scary how much stuff can accumulate over time.  And stuff you don't use.  Ever.  And when it's your stuff that you've had, you've paid for, you've become attached to, it's easy to think it's worth more than it really is.  

Is it really good to be a part of a neighborhood yard sale with 100 other houses participating?  Or does it hurt you?  Do more people come out to these sales?  Do they hold off on buying things until they've been to a few blocks?  What do we do with all the leftovers?  


Someone suggested a sign to us:

Good Shit, Cheap!

That about sums it up...


The porch

If all of you regulars haven't found you way over there yet, don't forget to check out the Porch Blog.  Lots going on over there with a psycho squirrel, baby cardinals, the finch nest on the porch, and much more!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Well, that just sucks...

Here is yet another update on the ongoing kayak saga.  If you're not familiar, click on the tab on the left that says kayaking.

Last we heard, I had emailed the manufacturer, and was waiting to hear back.  That was on a Monday (4/27), and the Vice President called me on Friday (5/1).  He was pleasant, was sorry to hear about all of the trouble, and was sympathetic.  He explained that they knew of the problem with that particular model, and had taken the necessary steps to correct it, so it wouldn't happen again.  He offered to replace the kayak, free of charge, and have it sent to the kayak store where I purchased the damaged one.  I could return the old one to the store, and pick up the new one when it was made.  He even went so far as to tell me that they would make if from scratch, and he would inspect it himself to make sure it was right.

Fast forward to today, 5/11.  I get an email from him that simply says:

Hello AMW,
After considering the circumstances, and the fact that the kayak is
now outside of the warranty (3year). We will in good faith offer you a
replacement for 350.00 + shipping.

Thank you,
Xxxx Xxxxxx
XXX Manufacturer 
(Yes, I'll leave his name out of it for now.)

Huh?  What???  You tell me you'll replace it for free, then 11 days later, send me an email.  Telling me it's outside of my warranty???  Really?  Even though I called your company LAST YEAR when it was still in warranty and you sent me a TUBE OF EPOXY to fix it?  That didn't hold.  THEN the warranty expires???

Tell me....  WHY would I want another boat from this company?  They had almost restored my faith in them.  Almost.  But now, not so much.

I emailed them back:
Hi Xxxx - 

It's unfortunate that this is different than what we talked about on the phone.  Although we talked only a few weeks ago, I brought to your attention that the first issue I had with my kayak was last year.  I believe that would have fallen under the 3 year warranty. I contacted Hurricane Aqua Sports at that time (May '08) and your company only offered a tube of epoxy to fix the problem.  This evidently only fixed it temporarily and then the warranty expired.

I'm disappointed in this turn of events.  I'm going to have to decline your offer, and find another company to do business with.

This was much, much nicer than I wanted to be.  And I'm pretty sure I know how this will end.  They'll actually be glad I declined their offer.  They won't have to make me a new boat.  They lose one customer.  End of story.  

And I'll be out a boat.  And that just sucks!

Maybe, just maybe, they'll do the right thing.  We'll see...


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bowling's over...

Bowling is actually over for this season.  I'm kinda glad, and kinda sad.  I'm gonna miss these folks over the summer, so I hope I get to hang out with them all a bit...

Last night's bowling was just odd.  

1st game  - 155
2nd game- 133
3rd game - 99

My first game was the highest game I've bowled this season, and I think possibly the highest game I've bowled.  So that was nice.

We won two of the three games, and took total pins, too.  This was position round, and I think we went into in 37th place (out of 39), but last night should have moved us up into at least 36th???  We'll find out at the banquet next week.

Stay tuned for the final update next week, as I'll announce our final standing, and have a post for all you "number lovers" out there.  I've assembled some interesting number statistics......


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PFTB - A different perspective

Last year, I blogged about an event that I had participated in before, but that didn't end so well for me that year.  It was Paddle for the Border.  The link to that post is HERE.  This year, I volunteered.

Paddle for the Border is an annual event (this was the 6th annual) that is a 7 1/2 mile paddle on the inter-coastal waterway along the Dismal Swamp Canal.  In the past, it started at a boat ramp off of Ballahack Road in Chesapeake, and paddlers made their way to the NC Welcome Center, where hot dogs and hamburgers were served for lunch.  For the past few years, the trip has been reversed.  You start at the NC Welcome Center, where volunteers are there to help you unload your boat, walk around with free biscuits, and help get you in the water.  You then paddle to Chesapeake, VA to the boat landing at Ballahack Road, where volunteers help you out of the water, carry your boat to a staging area, and help load them on your car after lunch.  Lunch is now catered, and they set up tents, tables, chairs, and such with your meal consisting of Fried Chicken, BBQ, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, and Hush Puppies.  (This is included in your registration fee).  Also included in your registration fee is an event T-shirt, a very nice hat, and a bag full of swag.  They have a cap on how many boats they allow to participate (230, I believe), due mostly to the lack of parking on both ends.  Registration had completely filled up before the deadline each year that the event has been going on.  

After last years snafu - I decided to volunteer this year.  It was a completely different experience seeing what all goes on behind the scene while we're paddling so long to make it to the end.  Those in charge are keeping a close eye on how far out paddlers are, making sure that lunch is ready, getting all the volunteers lined up, and so on.  I guess I took it all for granted.  I stayed at the south end until all the paddlers were in the water, then made my way to the north end.  I was able to watch things from a different angle until hungry paddlers started making their way through the chow line.  

They got rid of the cheesy political speeches this year (last year was a first for that), and kept things running smoothly.  It appeared to be a great event.

From what I heard, no one fell in this year, but there were some large sailboats that were causing trouble.  They were speeding through the canal, and wouldn't slow down when asked by the fire department.  They were verbally abusive to the kayakers and even tried to swamp them.  Finally, the fire department boat went past them, and then got in front of them and slowed to a crawl.  Since the sailboats have to stay in the middle of the canal due to the depth of the water, they were forced to slow down.  

I stayed working the chow line from 10:30 to nearly 1:00.  I was pooped, but it was really fun to watch everyone come through the line.  

This year for the first time, I was able to take some pictures.  Here ya go.....