Sue showed up at my house right on time and we drove to Kendrick and had an early lunch. I think we spent more time in the restaurant that we did actually on site. But we did do some work at the restaurant where we had a nice table to look at paperwork.
We parked at the road and walked in rather than drive the government car across the hay field. I opened the place up, showed her around. She took some pictures, I explained some nuances in my record keeping to her. She said it all looked fine and we drove back to Moscow. She said she was happy to finally be able to visit the Taj Mahal it was nice to see how much I had improved things since the last time she visited (about six years ago I think).
We spent more time talking about kids, spouses, grade school teachers, people at work, her ex-husband, my old job at PNNL, and books than we did about ATF and Boomershoot stuff. She said she wants to attend Boomershoot sometime. She asked if we blew up anything interesting recently, like pumpkins maybe? She already knew about the pumpkins. It’s actually in my file. They think it’s fine and kind of a fun thing to talk about. I told her about blowing up the toilet this year and we did a laptop computer once. She asked how far the pieces of the toilet went. I told her we found pieces a 100 yards away but that we were a minimum of 375 yards away.
She told me that my file had a few notes in it about “concerned calls” from the ATF in the Seattle office. Apparently someone will hear about Boomershoot and the Seattle people will contact the Spokane ATF office to “check up on things”. The Spokane people will have to tell them that I’m one of the good guys with a license and everything is in order and they aren’t worried about me. That hasn’t happened for a while and she thinks maybe they have the Seattle people educated now.
She told stories of explosive magazines built high into the side of mountains where when the snow melts in the spring things get very wet (not acceptable as per ATF regulations). And having to open up box after box of blasting caps to verify the contents because they had so many partial boxes. Another story that was interesting was about confiscating cigarettes that had not had the tax paid on them–a barn stacked FULL of them. It took two semi-trucks to haul them all away and the ATF people had to inventory and put evidence tags on everything. A real pain. My take on that is that someone was being so stupid they deserved to get caught. If you are going to get involved in the black market for a product you want to keep the minimum quantity of product on hand at any one time. There were all kinds of clues in the story that made it clear these people were just stupid. They made a LOT of money but were too stupid to hold on to it.
The only thing that was a downer was that she confirmed what I already suspected about the renewal. They don’t have a special form for renewal like the Orange Book section 555.46 says. I have to fill out the original application complete with fingerprints and picture just like an original application. The only thing that is different is that I pay the $100 renewal fee instead of the $200 original application fee. She started to sort of apologize for it saying she it didn’t make a lot of sense but I cut her off and said something like, “It doesn’t have to make sense. It just the way it is and I have to do it. I understand and I’ll comply. I’m just a little annoyed because I’m pretty sure my fingerprints haven’t changed recently.”
All in all it was a very pleasant drive and an enjoyable time talking. Assuming I don’t goof off too long and get the renewal form back in time there will be Boomershoot 2009.