"Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" Thoreau
I saw this short film and was reminded of another day, many years ago.
July 2, 1997
We were just kids, excited, apprehensive, headed to the maternity ward to have our second child. The elevator doors opened and a young man stepped off pushing a woman, apparently his wife, in a wheelchair. Their expressions were grim, her face ashen and devoid of emotion. As we were getting Tina set up in her room and wondering aloud what had happened, the orderly filled us in. They had just left the maternity ward. She had had to come in to deliver her almost full term baby who had died in utero. For a moment I gazed into a chasm of empty hopelessness and was very afraid. Then the moment passed, and we were back to the business of preparing for the arrival of our little one. It has haunted me for years. Their child would be 16 this July.
Our Samantha will turn 16 this July 2.
I'm a storyteller. When I was an over the road trucker, the rare treat was the evening when, after I had parked my truck and showered, I moseyed over to the truckstop bar, ordered some dinner, and found that the group around the bar was personable and talkative. Many truckstops don't serve alcohol but have a large bar anyway, because men who have been alone with their thoughts for hours on end, like to sit around and talk with other, similar men and the waitresses at dinner. Most nights would start out with everyone eyeballing the menu or looking down at their plate and eating, 'til one guy would get up the nerve and open with an innocuous question, "Smokeys everywhere today, huh?" or "Good Lord, is this winter ever gonna end?". Then the dam would break loose. Small talk at first, with everyone giving just enough to make sure there weren't any real nut jobs present. The stories would start to flow, and with the general male competitive nature, coupled with their desire to impress the waitress, be she young and pretty, old and personable, or just as mean as a rattlesnake, the one upmanship would guarantee better and better stories until the calculators started whirling in our heads and we reluctantly admitted we would be pretty useless at 3 am if we didn't get back to the truck for at least a little shuteye soon. The best part about those evenings was that while the other guy was telling his story, it would get the get the gears going in everyone else's brains, and he would be lucky to finish his story before someone gave a little laugh and, "You're not kiddin'! That reminds me of the time when...."
If you think about it, that's how our kids learn a lot about us, as well. Last night Rebekah fell off her scooter and ended up needing stitches, and the whole evening we talked about various things that have happened to us. Things we might never again have spoken of if her mishap hadn't prompted the memory. "There was that time when I was delivering a load in Atlantic City and cut my finger. I talked for days about how efficient that ER was. They got me in and out in 45 minutes, stitches and all. Then I got the bill for $1,800, and I've had nothing good to say about them since." "When I was a little boy, I was hanging upside down from a tree when Mom called us in for dinner. It startled me and I fell and landed headfirst on an orange crate. You know what an orange crate is? (the explanation followed) Anyway, my head was killing me, but I went in and sat down to dinner. We said grace and started to eat, and at one point, I reached up and held the top of my head to ease the pain. A few bites later, I happened to look at my hand as I prepared to take another bite, and saw that it was splotched with a lot of dark, clotting blood. Took me a few seconds to figure out, it was from my head."
I'd like to do some posts that tell stories, and I'd like to hear your stories as well, so here's my proposal. Using something you've read (or seen) either in my blog or someone elses' as a prompt, write a post telling us a story from your past. Then tag me and/or whoever provided the story that prompted you. It should provide for some good reading and enjoyment. Doesn't need to be long or fancy, just give us a little glimpse into your life. I will enjoy your stories and will remember things otherwise forgotten that might prompt me to write even more stories from my life. You might be surprised at the fond memories that can be dug up by this little exercise. Anyone in?
It has been one of those weeks. Rebekah, finally big enough to ride one of the racing bikes, was practicing in the neighborhood behind us, and fell, getting several nice scratches from the teeth of the sprocket down the inside of her thigh.
^This is a pic we took when we were fishing on a windy day when the family was up for Granny's funeral.
Below are Rebekah's battle scars. The stripes on the right leg are from the chainring on her bicycle and the bandage covers her recent stitches.
I worked Wednesday and Thursday, chipping off a piece of one of my molars during that route. I interviewed Friday morning, then had to go back in to learn to route the next day's trucks that evening. I had a nice bicycle ride around BWI airport after routing. The trail around the airport is just over 10 miles, but I continued riding for another 8 and was rewarded just before getting back to my car with a very rare sight, an almost completely white deer. I used the iphone to get a pic, so I couldn't zoom in, but it was an amazing thing to see, and he stood there and let me take his picture. I rode off and he was still standing, eating grass from the meadow.
The little white speck is the white deer about 50 yards away.
I slept in one of the trucks at work Friday night and headed out on my route Saturday morning, only to find that a filling had fallen out on the other side of my mouth. Already had an appointment with the dentist for this coming Tuesday, so no worry. I made two uncharacteristic mistakes on my route, and I had to go back and fix them, adding over 100 miles to my route, but the bosses prefer that to having to send out another truck, so they typically give you a pat on the back for finding your own errors and fixing them. I rolled back in to our yard just in time to do the routing for Monday's routes, then jumped in the car and headed home. Today, as evidenced by the bandage in the picture above, Rebekah fell off her scooter onto a piece of metal which scooped out a nice little divot of skin, so it was off to the urgent care to get stitches, then out to Cracker Barrel for dinner with just she and Tina and I, just as a little comfort for all her trouble this week. (She, too, lost a filling yesterday, and will accompany me to the dentist tomorrow.)
Now, it is a waiting game. I have to continue to practice routing the trucks two days a week and cover my regular routes until they hire a new team leader within the month. I'm sort of hoping that team leader is me, but either way I'll at least know where I stand in the company and what my chances are of moving up. Also, when the process is over, I'll be back to doing just one job, either learning to run the transportation department or being a delivery driver. This waiting is killing me, though. I'm really trying not to get my hopes up, but the team leader job would mean not only steady pay but also most weekends off, so it is a difficult thing to suppress the rising tide of hopefulness. As with any other endeavour in life, time marches slowly on, and the process will end whether in my favor or that of another candidate. Though I will be disappointed if they hire someone else, the process has been a real joy. I have loved the challenge and the intense effort of learning quickly how to write a resume. Enumerating the things that would make me a good leader has been an enlightening exercise and if nothing else has given me a confidence I did not earlier possess. Also, the interview process is a huge challenge to me and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. When your turn comes, you have one chance to get it right. Every word and expression counts and can't be undone. It is a heady experience.
Yes, times are exciting at our house, but we will be glad for them to calm down a bit. How is spring 2013 treating you?
Several days of hectic resume preparation. Two weeks of waiting and then the call, "Can you come in this Friday for an interview?" So I spent the week preparing for the interview. Digging around my "sources" for information to give me a leg up. Going to the back of the closet and the local Jos. A. Banks outlet for stuff to put together a suit. When you work every weekend at a blue collar job, you find you very seldom use formal clothing. Getting through the nerves all week, and then you park the car and you're on!
What do you expect when you walk into an interview with the administrator of the facility where you work? How about, "Hey look at this! Dan's wearing a suit! Wow Dan, you gotta go show XXXX!" Then down to business. I'm applying for a job managing 50+/- drivers, three office staff and all the company's deliveries to the surrounding states. (NJ,DE, MD, PA, and some of WV and VA.) The interview was conversational and a little odd, but more like what I was expecting thana traditional job interview. Odd questions that had a correct answer, but more concerned with the process of getting to the answer than the actual answer. I came out feeling more confident than when I went in, and with a little better perspective on what I'm up against. This was the first round of interviews. There were 4 internal applicants and 3 external. It appears all the internal applicants were given a shot at the first interview, and the 3 best were selected from the outside applicants. I'm more worried about the outside guys than any current employee I can imagine would have any interest in the job, but today's job was to get into the top 2 or 3 of 7 and I came away with the feeling that I did just that. Guess I'll know more soon. The last interviews are next week and then we'll be notified as to who made the selection, so until then it's back to work.
One good thing about going through this process. I had to sit down and enumerate the things in my past that qualify me to lead a transportation department and having done that, I find my confidence increasing. I'm the guy some company is looking for to lead their transportation department. I hope it's the company I work for, but if not, it's just a matter of time.
I have been off Xanga for a while. Haven't even had a chance to sit and read blogs. Through a series of unfortunate events we lost our team leader and an assistant team leader (that's what they call our transportation manager and his assistant.), which left our department's management team at one assistant manager and one secretary. After a couple weeks of holding down the fort, they called to see if I would come in and train to be able to provide some relief when it was needed. Meanwhile, I spoke with our facility director to see if it would be worth my time to apply for the team leader decision. He replied neutrally (as would be expected considering there may be other in house applicants), but recommended that I apply.
I went home and proceeded to attempt a resume. As DOT regulations indicate the information necessary to apply for a truck driving job, most truckers go their whole career without ever needing a resume, and up to this point I was no exception. I proceeded to scour the internet for ideas. Meanwhile, between working in the office and running my scheduled routes, I was on the road two days at a time for my normal routes twice a week and then in the office the other days. Today is the second day off I've had in the last fifteen days, so researching ideas and creating a resume was pretty difficult, but I finally got it submitted last Monday. I have been trying to keep it on the down low in the office, but today in a phone meeting with the facility director I spilled the beans not knowing that he had me on speaker phone and the rest of the management team was in the room. It's going to be a little awkward, but I'll just have to deal with it.
Tina quit her job recently to have more time at home and (this coming autumn) to have a crack at going to college, so now that I finally got a day off, we got all the kids off to school and took our time getting ready, then headed off to Easton to get some lunch at Panera and run some errands. I had to drop a bicycle off at WalMart. Whoever built the bike had cross threaded and completely stripped one of the pedals and while Rebekah was riding it the pedal fell off, so I'm trying to get it fixed or replaced. We had to pick up some supplies for the pool, too, so we ended up making a day of it. After we got home and the kids got off the bus, we were sitting in the living room and my phone rang. It was the human resources lady to inform me that they'd like to schedule me for an interview for the team leader position! I'm still not sure if it's just a gesture, "Well, he does work here, so at least we should give him the courtesy of an interview" or truly an interview based on my qualifications as laid out in my resume. I guess it doesn't matter. I've got a few minutes of the boss's time to convince him that I'm the man for the job, and that's more than a lot of people who applied have at this point. I'm very nervous, not knowing what to expect, but I know I have the experience to do the job, so I think I have at least a long shot. I'll definitely keep you posted. On a more practical note, I'll be glad for the selection process to be over, no matter how it turns out because it'll mean I can go back to working a regular schedule and see my family regularly again. Hope you all are well. When I get back to normal I'll catch up on all your blogs.