Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back To The Grind Stone

Today was my first day back, since summer started, of doing the garbage route. Our driver R.W., is now done for the summer which is what we agreed upon in the beginning. At first we weren't even sure if we could afford him, with paying all the taxes, and unemployment insurance and all that but, we took a leap of faith and hired him anyway. As it turned out we managed to get by even with the extra expense and hassles of having to jump through all the hoops the government throws in your way.

Of course my first day back would have to be the day after a holiday. It's always heavy after one of those. First off, because of all the get togethers people have, cook outs and so forth, and secondly it's one extra days worth of trash built up. Makes a big difference and adds to the work load for the day by having lots more garbage to pick up.

R.W. our summer helper, set a hard act to follow. The kid was fast, flat out fast, did the routes in record times. Even with the heavy summer loads. Before, when our friend Michael was helping I thought we couldn't do it any faster. I thought with me driving and him jumping out it couldn't be done any quicker. I was proven wrong with R.W. You'd never guess it by looking at him since he seems a little on the skinny side. He might be thin but, he's certainly wirey. Far stronger and athletic than he appears. And quite the driver.

I knew there was no way I could compete with the times he was posting but, I wasn't prepared for being almost two hours slower. Of course today was tough and probably even for him I would have gone out to help in the other truck, which I did do a number of times when he was working.

Our little packer truck was maxed out today. When it gets like that you have to do alot of what I call of "cramming and jamming". Cramming and jamming is tough work. Hard on your body, because you run out of space and have to physically squeeze the bags in and most of the times the bags are such that they just plain don't want to be squeezed. They rip open or won't stay put and you repeat the step over and over until it stays in and you somehow by shear will power get the door to shut. It's physically and mentally exhausting to wrestle with garbage for hours on end. Plus you have to deal with, trying best you can, of keeping all those unpleasant sights and smells off of you and your person. Especially when the nasty stuff is just millimeters from being smack dab in your face. You kind of squint your eyes, hold your breath and definitely keep your mouth shut. Usually the first thing I do when I'm done for the day is take a long hot shower.

One thing I could have done without during the last hour of the route today was the fact that we forgot to put a new customer on the route sheet. He came over a week or so ago and signed up, even paid through the end of the year. It was nice dealing with him it was all cut and dried and he was more than willing to pay up front. Those are the kind of customers we like. Good payers are greatly appreciated after having so many that you just about have to write the check out for them in order to get any money. We get burned too many times because of that. Give them the benefit of the doubt and the next thing you know they skip town owing you a chunk of change. Alot of hard work for nothing. So when you find someone like this guy you're glad to sign them on.

Well, with all the farm stuff going on here, somehow, and I can't believe we did it, we forgot to put him on the route sheet.

Of course, it was later in the day from when I indicated we'd be by and then he saw me drive right on past without even slowing down. He called the house and talked to Kelli and was rather perturbed that I didn't stop. Kind of acted like he was going to drop us. So I stopped where I was on the route and ran back to his place. Apparently he'd been waiting for me to get there because he wanted to make sure he packaged everything correctly and his wife had some plants she wanted to give Kelli and was irritated from waiting so long. After I loaded up his garbage he had to add a jab and said, "are you going to remember us next week?" I indicated yes we would and that he was now written in on the route sheet. I thanked him for calling us.

But, it wasn't really something I needed to add to my day that was already taxing me to my limit. And it was probably one of the warmest days we've had this year. Over worked and over heated so little things like that can undermine your confidence. So I started thinking "man, he's going to be one of those kinds of customers, always watching the clock and if your 15 minutes late they're calling on the phone". We have a number of those. Old folks who have nothing better to do than watch for the garbage man and if he's late they worry they've been forgotten. And some of those are so particular that if your EARLY they complain as well. Because they just barely got their trash out and what if he'd come by and they didn't get it out yet. Oh my! Horror of horrors....... Good grief, get a life! So we've got ourselves another particular senior citizen with nothing better to do. But, at least he's a good payer. That'll go a long way. Hopefully he'll stay with us long enough to realize that we really are reliable. We actually pride ourselves in that because some of the other haulers even the big companies aren't very reliable. We hear it alot from people who switch to us.

Days like this I'm tempted to become a hermit. Forget all the hard work and dealing with difficult people. And there are more difficult people in the vicinity than I care to admit. I confess that the thought of becoming a hermit is sometimes more than just a passing idle whim. Mind you, it's not something I consciously ponder though. It just kind of comes on, without any thought at all. Kind of like an urge or a feeling.

Well, not to worry, I highly doubt it would ever come to that,,,, just cashing it all in and heading for the hills, just me and a back pack, a warm sleeping bag, a good rifle, a few packages of seeds and maybe even a good dog. Oops, there I go again!

Until Next Time


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