Update

Originally published at rookblog. You can comment here or there.

Hm… an update.

Well… the route I normally work, labeled 2B3, was put up for auction. What does that mean? It means those on part time (ie. me) can bid on it to try and earn it as their permanent full time route. My manager Bob pointed out it was available if I was interested. Which… kinda hit me. It’s one thing to decide to give being a courier a try, and another thing to find I have some kind of affinity for the job… but this would be kind of like deciding it’s a… career.

Yes, I know, I can still quit and try something else, but applying for it full time… it’s a perception thing.

One of the other couriers, a single mom, occasionally chats me up and has mentioned on a number of occasions how she’d started the job out as just something to do during the interim. That was over a decade ago. And her story isn’t rare. A number of the other couriers, including one who trained me near the beginning, admitted that they’d looked at the job as something to do while preparing for something else. The guy who trained me wanted to train to be a cop. Not sure how he’s getting along with that. I still see him working there.

But a decision had to be made. The deadline for applications was coming quick. So I asked Bob how to apply for it and he pointed me in the direction. Did more, in fact, as they’d run out of application forms and he had to quickly get more copied. I definitely got the impression he was pushing to get me to apply for it right away.

Well… I got it. He texted me yesterday that HR was offering the route to me if I wanted it. So I told him I’d take it… while at the same time mentioned that, btw, I’d need a week off in January to fly to cancun with the wife. So my first act after being offered a full time position was to ask for time off. Trust me, the irony is worth it.

The week has been… rough, for a variety of reasons. Not the least was work itself. I averaged anywhere from 80 to 90-some deliveries a day. My best was Friday at 94. Add to that over twenty pickups a day and you’ve got 100+ stops from 8:30 am to about 5:30 pm. Works out to about a dozen stops an hour. Five minutes per stop, on average. No, I didn’t get a lunch… except Friday, oddly enough. There I was so wired I actually managed 94 deliveries by about 3:15pm. I attribute it to caffeine and Advil. By Thursday I needed the Advil just to keep my legs moving normally. On Friday I pounded back three extra strength before noon. I haven’t pounded my body this heavily since, well… early summer.

On the personal front… well, on the personal front a lot is not for public discussion. What is up for public discussion is… pretty sparse. I do need to get out with more friends more often. But then that’s probably going to have to wait until the new year… and then probably after we get back from Cancun.

Part of me is really looking forward to going to Cancun. Well, most of me is really looking forward to it, in fact. The temperature down there was 29 degrees C the other day. But a small part of me is already wincing at the shock of coming back not only to the coldest month of the year but having to work outdoors through it.

But I’ll try to not dwell on that.

Today has been a day for doing a whole lot of nothing, something I haven’t had the opportunity to do in quite a while. Far too long, in fact. And that has made this Christmas feel the least like Christmas of any other Christmas in my past… if you can follow that at all. To me Christmas was always about the slack. Time off from work and what work there was, was pretty slack in itself. Nobody wants to work hard during the Christmas season. So working the hardest I’ve ever worked at any job during this period has all but erased the feeling of Christmas from me. Even receiving gifts from some of my clients hasn’t alleviated this feeling at all. (we now have more chocolate and baked goods than any two people can possibly eat in one month. We’re freezing a lot of it) Monday will be the worst. Christmas eve and I’ll be delivering all the last minute Christmas packages.

Julie’s wish has finally come true… I’m forced to play Santa in spite of myself. At least I’m getting paid for it.

About Cancun… Ronya and I will be gone from Jan 5 to Jan 12. We will be out of communication. I’m packing my cell phone solely for the purpose of calling for a cab when we land back in Calgary, if that. I’m not even sure I’ll be checking e-mail. (I’m not even sure if we’ll be ABLE to)

So, yeah, as out of communication as I have been over the past year, I’ll be even further out of touch in January. Just FYI.

Um, what else…

I guess that’ll have to do for a while. Have a Very Merry everyone.

Nontrad 2007

Well another fantastic and successful Non Trad. The 21st, in fact. Sadly I don’t have the time to do a full coherent journal entry about it, but you can check out the photos on flickr… all 256 of them. Sorry, Julie, no video. I meant to give it a try but somehow found myself rather drunk and forgetful rather early on in the evening.

And, yes, there was an excellent picture of Ronya’s wardrobe malfunction. No, it won’t be making it’s way onto the internet. In fact I doubt she’ll let me keep it at all.

Thanks very much to everyone who came. My friends are amazing and they make the most amazing parties for me.

Sunday slog

11:15 am. Been up for about three hours now. Still in my housecoat.

At least I made myself breakfast. And it wasn’t even cereal.

Guess I should go shower and dress, maybe do some stuff for the day.

I need to buy a spoke wrench for my bike. I need to sand down the wall where I covered up the hole I accidentally made with the front door’s doorknob. I should probably mow the clover. (some people might call it a “lawn” or “the grass” but I’m going with the name of the plant that holds the majority of the ground cover) I’ve got one load of laundry done an dried, another ready to dry. Should probably fold that up and put it away.

It’s strange how, even though I miss so many of my friends, I still look forward to Sundays as time to spend primarily alone.

And off I go. The shower awaits.

Long story short…

The weekend before last I rode out to visit Ronya in Kananaskis and bring her some lunch. On the way back I got caught in torrential rain storm… twice. Why twice? Because I missed the turn in Turner Valley, drove through the storm, wound up back in Kananaskis country and had to drive back through the storm to get back to Calgary.

Throughout all this my weather “resistant” pocket on the left side of my jacket wasn’t quite sealed properly and my phone was in it. By the time I got home the pocket was a swimming pool. My former cell phone is now a tiny little fish bowl with it’s screen half filled with water. You can turn it over and watch the water slosh around if you like. That’s about the only thing it’s good for these days.

So I went out and bought myself a new cell phone… yet again. This time I bought a Blackberry.

It sucks. It sucks horribly. It sucks so horribly I immediately went out and bought a different phone again. This one, however, works wonderfully, even if it does run on Windows. I try to overlook that as best I can.

The gist of this whole entry is… I no longer have anyone’s phone numbers. Well, I do have Ronya and Diannes’, but that’s it.

So, if you want me to have your phone number please leave me a reply here. All comments are screened so I’ll be the only one to see them.

Hopefully I won’t be doing this again for at least another year or two. *crosses fingers*

long day

Kind of a long day…

Started off with my regular sorter calling out to me in the parking lot.

“Good Luck!” he yelled, and I groaned. He only says that when my load is “interesting”.

Well, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was definitely challenging. Six different 9’s that were spread across half my south route, so I knew that would be tight, and several large and ungainly boxes that were going to be damned annoying to work around until I got rid of them. I’ve learned, though, from past days like this that tying down your freight can make a world of difference. I’ve gone through a couple of packages of cheap bungie chords, losing them each time I get assigned a different truck, but the expense has always been worth it. I lash down some of the bigger boxes, securing them in place, and sort my mail. I pull out all mail common to the 9’s so as to save myself extra trips if possible and still managed to leave the depot by 8. Problem is, it rained this morning and every worrywort in Calgary was crawling extra carefully on deerfoot, like they were driving on ice or something. I didn’t get to my first nine until 8:30. Still managed to get them all done in time, although the last really squeaked under the wire.

Then I arrived at the CP Rail yards to find out I couldn’t go in because they’d had a derailment. I just shrugged and resolved to try and come back later in the day. Yeah, well… that never happened.

The day progressed much as can be expected, except that I was getting kind of behind. Just as I was pushing to catch up, late into my Forest Lawn run, another challenge struck. Turning in to the Zellers loading dock my signal indicator broke off in my hand. This is the second time this has happened to me with these trucks. I don’t think I’m using them too hard, but… whatever. When the handle broke off it also managed to twist just enough to turn the wipers on. With the handle broken I couldn’t turn them off.

So I parked the van and called dispatch. I would have texted them but the scanner network had been down all day. Their advice? Do what I could using hand signals. Joy.

The network was up again and other couriers were informed of my plight, a number of them offered assistance. I handed off some of my pickups to one of them and decided to just finish the rest, all while the wipers kept going wree-ronk, wree-ronk across the dry windshield.

I never realized just how automatically I signal until I found myself waving my hand through empty air at every turn and intersection.

I made it to one building where I normally have three pickups only to find crowds milling outside every doorway. At first I thought it might be a very late stampede party, but as I pulled up I finally heard the fire alarm over the constant wree-ronk of my wipers. No way I could do the pickups then… nobody would be let into the building until the firemen arrived and determined the building was safe. I moved on.

I finished all my pickups, gritting my teeth, and barely managed to keep my sanity as I crawled down deerfoot back to the depot, all the while listening to my wipers going wree-wronk, at this point leaving melted rubber smear marks across my windshield.

Back at the depot I separated the late freight from the fresh pickups and prepared to leave the depot. Packing my stuff away I discovered the bento box Ronya had made me. I’d never found the time to eat it, so it had waited in my backpack, slowly broiling through the day. Broiling and, I discovered, leaking. I think it was the coleslaw.

I wiped the bag out as best I could and finally headed for home. On the way I barely dodged a massive traffic jam on deerfoot by taking the 16th ave exit… from there I dodged down to 12th ave to avoid the backup caused by all the people dodging onto 16th from deerfoot… then wandered down to memorial and on to crowchild… crawling my way through the horrific construction delays at glenmore and crowchild I debated whether or not avoiding deerfoot had been any advantage…

It wasn’t until I arrived home and emptied my bag, preparing it to go into the washing machine, that I realized I’d forgotten the bento box in the truck.

*sigh*

1074

Posting at Tammy’s request:

A birthday party for Chad is being held at his parent’s place on Sunday, April 15th. It’s going to start at about 2pm. No need for gifts but if people want to bring food they’re more than welcome.

I’ll post more details as I get them, including the specific location of Chad’s parents’ house.

For more details on how Chad’s doing, if you don’t already have on your friends list then definitely add him.

Sick, therefore an update

Typical. Third day of my new job and I wind up sick. I’ve got a head cold and sore throat. I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into the full bronchitis that Dianne has. I really don’t need that.

I am making use of this day, though. I’m not totally incapacitated so I can still get some stuff done. Like a fingerprint check.

The company handed me a massive wad of documents to fill out yesterday. I got a few of them filled in last night before bed but when I became so tired it was almost impossible to see straight I opted to finish them later. “Later” turned out to be 3am when I was up and scrounging for medication, swilling buckley’s as a preventative measure. (Open bottle, swig from bottle, swish around mouth a bit, swallow, then breathe in deeply through the mouth. If nothing else it’ll stun you lungs into compliance for a few minutes.) Since I couldn’t sleep anyway I figured I might as well fill in whatever I could. Man there’s a lot of paperwork when you start a new job.

This afternoon I’ll be heading downtown to get a fingerprint check from the police. I had this done two years ago when I was a security guard but I somehow doubt they’ll accept the old check.

So, yeah, unless my absence due to this cold has them changing their mind I’ll be working for Purolator Courier. So far I’m just doing ride-alongs and helping out whichever driver I’m with. And, so far, the hardest part of the job hasn’t been all the moving around and lifting (which is tough enough on this aging former office worker) but rather the fold down chair the cube vans have. Those are decidedly NOT comfortable. Imagine sitting on one of our high kitchen chairs for nine hours. At least I have frequent opportunities to get up and stretch the legs.

But I’m really hoping this will work out, which is in itself notable. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any kind of real enthusiasm for a job. The position has much of what I’m looking for. Eventually, should I get my own route, I’ll be working alone (which I prefer) but not spending the entire day alone (which I do not prefer). I’ll meet numerous people with whom I’ll gain some passing familiarity (which the social side of me likes) but will not be working with any one of them day in and day out for the entire year (which the solitary side of me likes). I’ll have something of a routine in that there will be regular route of drop offs and pick ups (which is reassuring to my innate fear of too much change at once) but with enough incidental and seemingly random pickups to keep it from getting too routine and boring (which the thinking / analytical part of me likes). It’s physically active, but not necessarily physically challenging. I’m already fit enough to do the job, and working it constantly will get me physically fit enough to do it quickly.

I’d be in constant contact with management via the scanner / pager device they use, which is good for support and feedback, but I’ll also be entirely out on my own without management watching over my shoulder. I’ll have demands made of me but the ultimate decision as to whether or not those demands can be met will still rest with me.

And there’s a good chance they’ll help me get my class 1 license somewhere down the road.

Right now I’ll be earning a little less than what I was making at my previous job, but after the four month / 60 day probationary period I’ll end up earning more than I used to. Then it just goes up from there.

Anyway, like I said, I’m just really hoping this works out.

In other news, we’ve got a new cat.

Connie’s grandmother, who some of you know passed away just a little while ago, had a cat named Cali. Apparently nobody else in the family could take her in, so we volunteered to take her. She’s insanely affectionate, to the point of nearly assaulting you with head rubs, and apparently different enough to scare both of our other cats into avoiding the basement… where the kitty litter is. *sigh*

So far I’ve had one pee incident and one big, big pile of poo obviously stored up for more than a day. But since Carmen and Gargoyle have been going outside from time to time, I think they’ve been taking advantage of the Big Outdoors.

There really isn’t anything I can do to get them used to each other. It’s just going to take time. At least Cali has the curiosity of a young cat (she’s only 4) and so has been gradually exploring the full house. The other two are just going to have to eventually suck it up and get used to her being here.

Unfortunately it looks like Cali has had very little discipline. She appears to be a plant eater and I also have to keep shoo-ing her off of the kitchen counter and other “off-limits” areas. And as much as I disapprove of the practice of de-clawing I’m still grateful that she can’t claw up the furniture.

More life updates as time permits.

Test Two

Second test for last week’s job interview is set for tomorrow in the early afternoon. Wish me luck. Hopefully I’ll be capable of enduring this “high pressure” job.

This month seems to be destined to be one of lots of learning, testing, and nerves.