I had a rough start this morning just getting out of bed. My back has been bothering me, and my shoulder started giving me trouble this afternoon. I’m sitting here with coffee and my old friend the TENS unit right now.
I left the house at 7:00 and was on my way to being right on time to work when I took my second major turn, and the truck started shuddering. It didn’t want to pull, and my stomach just sank.
I left on time to be on time. And now, I was late.
We’re getting ready to go on our anniversary weekend trip soon. I do not need to put more money into Bruce right now.
Bruce is my truck. He’s green and temperamental. Marvel fans will get this.
Sometimes you need the right tools to fix a problem. But first, you need to define the problem.
My tool of choice for this situation is the OBDLink MX+. I have had it for a couple of years.
If you ever go to an auto parts store and have them figure out what’s making your check engine light come on, they are using a piece of equipment that does the same thing. This is a simplified version of that equipment that connects to my phone through Bluetooth.
I’ve deciphered more than a few problems with Bruce because of this piece of equipment. Today it was saying that the ignition coil had gone bad. But the ignition coil is only a couple of months old!
It turns out that wasn’t the problem.
It was too early in the morning for something complicated, so we always K.I.S.S.
KISS is an acronym; the letters stand for “Keep it simple, stupid.”.
And simple it was. On the ignition coil is a plug that carries the power to the ignition coil and allows God only knows what to happen in the engine. I can fix stuff on a simple level. I don’t even pretend to understand how the magic happens.
The plug has a small retention clip. This being a twenty-two-year-old truck, that clip had broken. This kept the magic from transferring to the ignition coil, which transforms the magic into something else. I know, pretty technical.
Now, I’m a terrible half mechanic. I don’t always have the right tools with me. My toolbox has work stuff in it. I don’t half mechanic for a living.
What I do, quite effectively, is troubleshoot at life. You can fix most anything just by getting your head to a place where you can think through the problem calmly.
Two fictitious characters from the 80s brought me to this, Hannibal Smith and MacGyver.
Troubleshooting is all about imagination. You have to be able to, and I actually hate this saying, think outside the box.
“Imagination is the most important thing the human mind has.” – MacGyver
I always have three things with me.
1. Duct Tape. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a liberal application of duct tape.
2. A Swiss Army Knife. (Thanks, MacGyver). Incredibly versatile tools that can be found in almost any configuration you want.
3. Zip Ties. I use these a lot at work. Fast and easy to secure a wide variety of things.
The simple fix was to use a zip tie to secure the plug to the ignition coil. Problem solved.
I had called Mags, and Dad had told her he’d come to me when she was dropping off the kids at his house for the day. I told her to have him call our guy with the flatbed before I got my head straight and figured what needed doing.
By the time he’d shown up, I was getting ready to fix it, but since he came, I let him get under the hood. And this was all about respect.
I’ve spent no small part of my life holding the flashlight, getting yelled at while he turned the wrench. But I’ve learned a lot from him. At 72, he’s still a formidable man. Arms like tree trunks and one of the best shade tree mechanics I know. He has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about an engine.
All of this went down within forty-five minutes. And just like that, I was back on the road.
And that was this morning. It wasn’t the plan, but it was what happened.
A twenty-five-cent zip tie saved me a 150 dollar bill on a flatbed ride.
And at that point, Hannibal Smith steps in.
There’s a plan in everything, kid. And I love it when a plan comes together. – H. Smith
I got to work at 7:30 this morning. And I jumped right in.
I’m not going to let the attitude of the people around me get to me this week. I’m by myself. I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to knock it out.
Attitude is everything.
Fun things happen during the day. If you aren’t having fun at work, there’s no reason to be in that line of work.
Unless you’re a mortician, no, that wouldn’t be proper. Although I always wondered how morticians keep from smiling, what with all the money they make.
I was in the freezer retrieving a product today and someone left a pallet in front of the door. Freezer doors are thick and the backroom is loud. I resorted to throwing small containers of Häagen-Dazs out the crack in the door until someone noticed them on the floor. It worked.
It wasn’t so bad. It’s extremely hot here.
So, my sick part-timer is going to be out for a while. And as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t do four stores alone, not with the distance between them.
My boss has reached out for help from another district, seeing as much of our district is short-handed as well and he has gotten me help for a day.
I’ll take it. A little help is better than none. I’m grateful.
I’m still going to shoulder most of the work though, slacking back ain’t my style.
Back at it tomorrow morning. Three stores, one hundred and fifty miles on the road.
This isn’t an easy day and if be lying if I said I was looking forward to it.
I’ve had some time alone at home today. It’s been a while since this has happened. My nieces are here visiting mom and dad, so the kids are there with them.
I messed up skimming Facebook and ended up on the Green Goose Club page. Presently I’m a bit homesick.
Right now, I’m listening to The Sisters of Mercy because a picture reminded me of dancing with some folks.
Time slips away.
I feel like an old man. I remember my time at the Goose like it was yesterday. I miss it. But that’s not my thing anymore.
Time changes you.
Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!
Eric Jerome Dickey
I first heard this a couple of years ago, and it has stuck in my head. It’s an excellent saying. It speaks volumes.
I’m having a slight problem with a good employee thinking it doesn’t matter what time she comes in.
Once in a great while is okay. When you’re late three times in one week, and it’s only Wednesday, we have a problem.
(Now I’m listening to After The Fire Der Kommisar.)
We have early morning activities that we run in support of other companies. When we say we’re going to be there, we will be there.
This morning it was only that employee that needed to show up for a snack cake reset. Easy but early. And she was fifteen minutes late.
It might not sound like much, but vendors run multiple stores, and it’s just common professional courtesy. I don’t like being the reason other folks are put out.
It’s not just a poor reflection on her. I’m proud of my team, I talk them up to other people. I will brag about their work sometimes. When they don’t show up it’s a poor reflection on all of us and the company.
If my people are on the floor early, so am I. I didn’t have to be at that location today, but I still got up at 4:30 and went to my site early, twenty minutes away, just in case she needed me.
I can see when my people are onsite and saw that she wasn’t this morning. It bothers me when one of my team doesn’t do what they say they will.
Time is important.
Our anniversary is coming up soon. It’s only a month and some change, and we will have been married twenty-three years. We’ve been together since our first date twenty-six years ago.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
Longfellow, Voices of the Night
The adventure of the first half of my life is now over half my lifetime ago. And that bit, while exciting, has been nothing compared to the last twenty-six years, two kids, a home, and several well-loved cats.
That’s what the clock said when I rolled out of bed this morning. I couldn’t sleep anymore, too much going on in my head as it’s the beginning of the week. I always have my “50-60% completed by Wednesday” in the back of my head.
That makes for lousy sleep sometimes.
That said, I don’t mind being up early with my coffee, standing on the driveway, looking up at the stars. It’s a peaceful time of the morning with a few of the early rising birds doing their warmups before a hard day tweeting.
If I hurry along, I can get to the store I’m going to before the sun rises.
Not that I mind the sunrise, it’s the glare in my eyes driving to work. I wouldn’t say I like that.
I’ll be up early again tomorrow and headed to one of my outlier stores. Not my favorite ride, but at least I start getting paid in my garage due to the distance. Mileage and hourly wage rack up nicely for that ride.
Two stores and a long day coming. I suppose I’ll be at before dawn without the alarm. It’s become the norm that I dismiss the alarm before it goes off more often than not nowadays.