Friday, December 21, 2007

saving the world one box at a time: a recap of the week

number of days i was excited to work as a runner: 1
number of days i stuck to my exercise routine: 1.5
number of days i did the dishes and cleaned our house: 0
number of cities we worked in: 5 (orem, payson, spanish fork, cedar hills, pleasant grove)
number of trucks we worked in: 5 (3 different budget rentals, 2 different ups trucks)
number of snowstorms we delivered in: 1 (yeah--the storm with ice pellets whipping at you with 20mph winds)
number of times i bit the dust (ice): 1 (boy was that painful!)
number of times we got stuck in the snow: 1 (david was backing down a driveway and accidentally went off the driveway a little bit, which got us stuck on an incline before dropping off into a shallow ravine...we tried shoving weeds and our jackets under the tires to get us out, but that got us further stuck...good thing the owner of the house got home and let us use his chains to get out!)
number of milligrams of medication: 4320 (3000mg ibuprofen, 1320mg aleve)
number of times i had to catch myself from saying a bad word: mmm....probably 15-20
number of times i emphatically said "i hate boxes!": 1 (but i thought it a lot more than that!)
number of a's i got last semester: 5 (an a in all my classes!--my gpa raised from 3.85 to 3.91!)
number of dogs i encountered: 3 (all were nice)
number of times i washed the clothes i wore all week: 0 (don't worry, i did change my socks and underwear every day)
number of showers i took: 9-10
number of blisters: 2
number of boxes delivered and doors knocked on: no clue
number of times i will willingly and happily run for ups again: 0

don't let anyone tell you being a ups driver is exciting and fun and an easy job! i've learned firsthand what david goes through on a daily basis--at the end of it all, i have two things to say: 1. i am never doing it again, 2. whatever david wants, david gets. if i can make his life that much easier, i'm going to.

*amendment: david and i make a really good team, and we work really well together. we like each other and love each other, so we love to do things together. although i may not have completely enjoyed being a runner, i loved being able to hang out with david and work together.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

mr. and mrs. ups

my semester ended last week, and this week i'm on call at the pediatric office just friday night and saturday morning. so david suggested i be his "runner" this week, and i agreed. i mean, how many wives get to go to work with their husbands in a ups truck?! to give some quick background: around christmastime the package volume seriously increases. to help the drivers be more efficient, ups hires part time driver "helpers", or runners, during this peak season. the runner's responsibility is to run the packages to the doors while the drivers prepare the other packages to go. it really expedites the process quite a bit. i've run with david for 3 days, and i have learned so much! so here it is--the complete inside look at the day of a ups driver.

first off, let me say my husband works so hard to provide for us. i mean, i always appreciated him and knew he worked hard, but let me reiterate, david works so hard. i have walked (somewhat) in his shoes, and i understand more about his job now. my love for him has exponentially increased, and i have a much deeper appreciation for all he does for us.

day 1: david and i worked out of a budget truck because there were more packages than there were ups trucks. ups rented nearly the entire budget fleet for the month of december. i started out dressing in many layers. i wore my running leggings, then jeans, and a long-sleeved shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, then my coat liner, then a ups brown jacket. i also had gloves, a scarf and hat, thick socks, and new water-proof shoes. david picked me up at 10am and by 11 i had stripped down to just jeans, the short-sleeved shirt and the ups jacket, and my hat. (david was nice enough to lock me up in the back of the budget truck to take off my leggings while he kept watch.) i've been having issues with my knees since the last triathlon i did at the end of august, so my knees were beginning to bother me by 1130, were seriously hurting by 2, and were debilitating by 4. i made david drop me off at home while he continued the route. i had cindy (my friend who conveniently happens to be a massage therapist) give me a pressure-point massage, to loosen up any tight tendons or muscles around my knees, which helped me feel better.

day 2: we had a real ups truck! i felt so much more official. david said it was a really, really good truck, too. it had only 5,000 miles on it, was a diesel, and was an automatic. the ride was pretty smooth. i also brought the ibuprofen with me to help out, but even after 1800mg, i was still hobbling and in tears because of the pain at the end of the day. we finished our route around 6 and then went to help another driver, so we got home around 8pm. we don't have a tub, just a standing shower, so i stood there with hot water on my knees, then crashed on the couch with a couple of ice bags. as david puts it, he carried the limp, zombie-like me to bed around 9pm. i slept for 10hours, but it only felt like 3.
here's the beginning of the day with the truck fully loaded:

here's my seat--a pull down seat nailed to the wall. my feet literally hung down the truck steps, but i was high enough up that my feet didn't touch the steps. we always kept my door open because it was faster to run in and out of the door that way, so the view for me was the asphalt rushing by.

here's david running a package for me because my knees couldn't do it. doesn't he look awesome?! here's me running towards the end of day 2--see me wincing?

day 3: we started out the day in a budget truck again, but then they brought a ups truck out to us and we reloaded the packages on that truck and kept going. our truck today was a little older, with 357,000 miles on it. it was also a gasoline manual, which david said are much harder to drive. i also brought prescription-strength ibuprofen with me, and had 1600mg. i was in pain, but not in tears, so i looked at that as an improvement. we also finished delivering 197 packages around 430, averaging 40 stops per hour, which is pretty good, according to david. it was overall a very light day for the whole plant. this year's peak doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as last year--i remember david didn't get home before 9pm last year.

ok, so i've learned a few things:
1. i've packed lunches for us, and lots of water, but i come home craving sugar. your body uses every glucose molecule and glycogen storage from every square inch of your body, so that even though we've eaten sandwiches, apples, granola bars, carrot sticks--all i am really wanting is a bag of oreos with a glass of whole milk. i know now why david comes home asking for "snacks," and when i tell him to have a healthy snack, it just doesn't cut it.
2. i know why david has huge callouses on the sides of his big toes. after day 2 i had football-sized blisters on my toes, and i am sure they will become callouses by the end of the week. today i got smarter and bought the "corn cushions" at walmart before we started delivering, which helped me feel a lot better.
3. staying warm is not an issue. nor is food. you don't really cool down unless you slow down, and slowing down is out of the question. we could squeeze in bites of food here and there, but your body is so hyped up on adrenaline and getting the job done that you just really aren't that hungry. but always have water nearby!
4. if you work in some sort of retail store and a ups guy comes in for you to sign his little diad verifying you received the boxes, will you please take the 2 seconds away from the customer you're helping and sign the dumb thing?! the customer wants you to hold their hand and walk them to the exact aisle or shelf looking for the item they desire, and that takes way too much time. i've asked the customers, they don't mind, trust me. they know ups guys are in a hurry, why don't you, retail people?!
5. while signing the diad, please just write your name. no drawings of trees, hearts, kitty cats, dogs. just your name. fast.
6. avon ladies, will you please go to wherever you need to go to to pick up your boxes of avon magazines instead of shipping 10 17-pound boxes through ups and making the ups people carry them across your frosty driveway and into your carport? honestly.
7. please do not gawk, stare, whistle or wink at, or call the blonde ups runner babe, honey, gal, dear, etc. i'm doing a job, just like the rest of the people dressed in brown. thank you. (although i must tell this story, as it's pretty amusing. when we went to help the other driver, we took about 15 packages off his truck to deliver for him. we were passing the boxes from truck to truck and the other driver said, "hey, david, does your wife know you're running with someone this cute?" we all had a good laugh when i told him my secret identity.)
8. do not call us the "chocolate santas".
9. why in the world would you order a 50-pound microwave in the mail? just go to target or walmart!
10. before calling and complaining to ups that you never received your package even though it's been listed as delivered, please search the entire premises. that includes your closet. today david had a follow-up ticket on a house that complained they never received their package. when david got there, the old lady told him she had forgotten she had indeed received her package, had brought it into her house, put it in her closet, and then draped towels all over it. she'd ordered another package from the store, so we had to take back the one she'd stored in her closet. thanks.
11. i love automatic opening doors. they are a great help when carrying 3 boxes at a time. i also love people who are courteous enough to hold the doors open for you. that really makes my day.
12. sometimes the computer is wrong. the computer told us to deliver a package at a certain address. david tried to find it, but here's where that house would have been: maybe the cows ordered something off qvc?

well, i've got two days left hanging out with david and running for him. wish me luck!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

welcome to adulthood

david's 26th birthday was on tuesday (dec 4th)--he's officially an adult (isn't 25 the cut off for young adults?)! chris and jenny's little girl leah turned 2 on sunday dec 2nd, so we had a mini-celebration together for the both of them! they fixed us a wonderful post-thanksgiving dinner and we had pies and cheesecake for dessert. it was a fun evening! then for david's real birthday he requested a birthday breakfast for dinner, so i made pumpkin pancakes, grilled sausage patties, eggs over easy, grapefruit, and soy milk. yum yum.
then time for the presents! this year was pretty fun--chris and jenny got him a pedometer for work, his mom and dad got the mountain bike derailer he's been drooling over, and i gave him a painting by arnold friberg he's been admiring (it was over 50% off on black friday!!!!!--so i splurged!!). even tumnus got into opening presents! the minute he saw wrapping paper he knew just what to do with it.
i love david so much and feel lucky to have him be a part of my life. we have so much fun together--we make a good team! now he can't make that much fun of me for being older--welcome to being an adult, babe!