I know, I know, and I do mean, I know... believe me, some of you are super good at reminding me that there have been no blog posts lately. That's going to get better!
Partially because, as you may have noticed, the webstore has been closed and will likely be closed for much of January. There's a note on the Supplies for Sale page, and the webstore link on the navbar has gone bye-bye. Naturally, some people will still figure out the link to the webstore and will still order... and the link is elsewhere on the website. Some people have a direct link saved in their favorites, not their fault... others have told me over the years they've figured it out so they can "get around" the closed webstore. Here's the thing. I love you all and appreciate your orders... but it's still only me doing 98% of everything here. Maybe you met Joel, who helps me clean. Or maybe you've run into Mitchell and Liz, who have been helping out lately. I appreciate them more than anyone could possibly know, but the other 98%... still me. And that's fine, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I just have had some people patiently waiting for their orders, and I would like to get those out... but every time I see another one come in, especially lately when I have so many around the holidays, I've been having an "ugh" moment. Add that to the 4" stack of paperwork on my desk that needs to be dealt with, and the books that need to be finalized for the year, and the orders that need to be finished so I can refund whatever excess shipping there is... and you can see why the store needed to be closed for at least a little bit. I'm pretty sure I had it open all of 2015, which I feel was awesome, as it was closed much of 2014. I do need a bit of time as things have gotten busier, but it will be back open soon... and if you just can't wait, and find yourself a link to the webstore and order something... I will personally add it to the back of the order list, and will get to it sometime...
Anyway. Moving along onto new stuff. We had some new rescues come in. Chappie, Chippie, Little Chappie, Little Chippie, and Legume. The non "little" versions are the parents, a black velvet and standard grey, and the little ones are the daughters... a black velvet and a standard grey. They came in because the owners said that once the female had the babies, she turned bitchy and started spraying. Then, apparently, the male started biting. The babies they said are fine. I was told that the male couldn't be separated from the female or else he'd bite... but as these are rescue chins and, according to the previous owners, sound like they could take some effort to get adopted, I told them they would be separated. And I did, with no bites, no sprays, no nothing. Yay for that. We shall see how things continue to go.
Legume (pronounced Lay-goom... is that really how you pronounce it? That's not how I've ever pronounced it) is a large white rabbit... with eyeliner and some black specks on her. Everyone loves her, she's super sweet. They brought her by, because... she was eating too much and I think the thought was they couldn't afford it any longer? The same people brought in the four chins and the rabbit, and they all seem well cared for, just needing to find new homes. Legume does eat quite a bit... but she's at least a 5-7 pound rabbit, if not larger... they do that. So she'll just eat us out of house and home until she finds her new one. :)
We have another chin coming in today. Don't know much about it other than that it was the daughter's chin, she went to college (I think? maybe she's in high school... same difference) and now doesn't have time. Which is sort of one of those things, I hear that and want to send a sideways glance into the chin room... they don't have time for one, but I can manage to care for how many? Anyway, we get to meet this chin today at 3 pm.
But anyway.... the topic of water bottles has come up. We already are DONE cleaning water bottles for January! Who-hoo!! Water bottles are cleaned once a month. If they start looking grimy or if a chin is sick (or other such circumstances), they'll be changed out more often, but for the majority of chins, they get a new water bottle once a month. Most chins are on the glass ryerson bottles, so they're not a good breeding ground for bacteria or anything of that nature. They stay reasonably clean. The reason we only change once a month? I counted yesterday... some of the cages (especially like the rabbit and guinea pig ones) have multiple bottles, but most just have the one... we have 88 bottles in use right now. Just keeping a few spares washed (among everything else that needs to be done) can prove to be a task... much less having that many spares.
Let's see, what else. For anyone worried about the pigeons in the small cage, they have been upgraded to a 40"+ cage. They are going outside at some point, but since we made a jump from the 60s to the 20s in about a week, I'm not sure now's quite the time. But they have been upgraded to a larger cage and water bowls hanging off the sides of their cage (to keep more of the shavings out.. they still get some in).
Oh! We adopted out Carter! He went home to someone who had been checking our website and saw that he was available. So now we just have the two rabbits (Legume and BunnyLove) and all the chins. The prairie dogs Spoon & Winnie (if you happened to stop by and see them in the short time they were here), went home to a family that has several of our chins and a prairie dog of their own.
Ok, two more things before I get back to work. First, shipping costs. In general, the shopping cart is set high. I would rather refund shipping than eat the costs when it doesn't cover shipping. For example, I have an order going out tomorrow for a jar of supplement. The jar is $8.50, shipping came out to $7.50. This person is in California, so actual shipping? $9.97. Yikes. I paid it and I'll ship it and just eat the cost. But here's the thing... that $2.47 that I just lost on shipping? By the time I pay for the jar, and pay for the herbs that go in it... I'm probably paying this person to take the jar. We just don't make that much money on this stuff that we sell. I would LOVE to make $2.50 on an $8.50 item, but that's just not how it works... and of course, that's not counting the box, packaging materials, tape. None of which is expensive -- I usually add ~ $0.75 to each order to cover these costs -- but I do still need to somehow pay for them. So more like a loss of $3.22 just on shipping, plus cost of everything that went into it, and my time, and so on. So, starting 2016 (and I added this in one of the policy notes to the webstore), if the actual shipping comes out higher than the charged shipping, people will have a choice to either paypal additional monies over to cover the cost, or they can get their order refunded. This doesn't happen often, maybe a few times a year, but I need to make sure this gets addressed and this is how we're going to deal with it.
And lastly, with the shop. The wood shop is in my basement, next to the chin room. I had someone text the other night at like 2 am, wanting to come later that day (say, 7 am) to get a chin and cage and everything. Ok, here's the thing. Again, I appreciate the business, the orders, I really do. However, Hammond has a noise ordinance. Past a certain time at night and before a certain time in the morning, you can't make loud noise. Most of the neighbors here are wonderful, but the few pricks ruin it for everyone and they will report you. I've never been reported, but my one neighbor has been multiple times, before they moved. I'm not going to upset the neighbors because I appreciate them when everyone goes to the wrong house and they kindly point them to the correct house... I don't need them to tell my people to get lost because I keep them up all night. Now, this of course is not to say that I have never cut wood or power sanded or something when it's late (*looks around innocently*). I try to keep it to an absolute minimum... say, if I forgot someone's coming for their order and realized late at night, they're coming first thing in the morning. But I won't abuse it for the people who absolutely cannot wait another hour or two, or day or two, to come get their chins. If this has been you, you know I'm not mean about it or anything like that, I'll just come out and say, hey, noise ordinance, I'm not going to cut this late at night and I can't do it at 6 am either, so either come later in the day, or I can see if maybe I have a piece of wood already cut that might work for you, or something. But please don't get offended when I say that I won't cut 20 shelves for you at 11 pm. It's nothing against you. I just want to continue to do this in the future, and the best way to do so is to keep the peace with the neighbors. And whichever ones reported my neighbor are still out there... so let's all keep the peace.
Happy New Year!