Published on March 31, 2010, by admin in Pieces of my Mind.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about commenting on the comment. At the end of every post there is a section devoted to the purpose of capturing a few thoughts by the reader. It is a place where we express our impressions, offer up an opinion, and often ask a question that probes deeper into the story. There is nothing that compliments a good post more than a few well thought-out comments by the reader. But on the other hand, bad judgment and incompetence from the commentator can ruin a post, leaving an embarrassing place no one wants to return to.

Sometimes you can tell by the comment how much we enjoy renewing connections with each other. I think most of the time family members are just hungry for news and we tend to ask a lot of questions in order to keep the dialog going. Especially for me, having lost so much time from the family, I enjoy reading your posts more than I can tell you.

For the writer, feedback we get from a comment can be encouraging. Everyone likes to think that his or her stories and essays are interesting for the reader. Those of us who are beginning bloggers have that deep-down fear that what we write isn’t very good, and it always makes us feel better after an encouraging comment or two. Writing becomes easier when we know the reader cares enough to respond to our thoughts.

Once in a while the comment section turns into a forum of debate. This usually happens when politics enter the discussion, but it can also involve preferences for various electronic devices and mobile phones in particular. It’s usually lighthearted and takes the form of kidding more than anything else. (Did I hear today that Apple will soon release the iPhone to Verizon?)

For me, the art of commenting is not my strong suit. All too often my comments have taken an underlying twist of meaning. I try to be cute and it comes out degrading; I try to be funny and it has undertones of sarcasm; I try to be witty and it turns out silly. Honestly, it’s never my intention to say anything that would hurt anybody’s feelings; it just comes out of me and I can’t control it. I know I should never write anything late at night and hit the send button before I’ve had a chance to proof read in the morning. To show you how twisted and warped my sense of humor is – I was thinking of posting this with comments closed!

Published on March 11, 2010, by admin in Pieces of my Mind.

I just purchased a Verizon wireless USB760 modem for my laptop. It is super fast, portable, and easy to use. When I had the browser on my Blackberry it seemed to be slower than dial-up at times, occasionally it would sit and wait for what seemed like an eternity before it would catch again. I was a little bit reluctant to go this configuration after a disappointing experience with the phone, but I’m very pleased with the performance I’m getting on my laptop.

It actually runs faster than DSL and I can attest that it is far superior to the wireless performance I was using previously. The only drawback is the access fees: $39/mo for 250 megs, $59/mo unlimited. I thought I could get away with 250 megs but they were gone in two days so I switched up. Streaming movies gobbles up bits by the carload, and if you go over, the fees are astronomical. The lady that called from Verizon said that at the rate I was going, I could end up with a bill of $600.

I’m not sure how this would compare to a satellite connection. If you are way out in the desert in some remote area between Arizona and California, you may not get a good signal, but it sure would be easier to set up!

Published on March 8, 2010, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

Jen and I recently moved to another apartment and as luck would have it, no free internet. I’m at a wifi hot spot right now and even having trouble connecting to my mail. I thought this would be an easy way to let everyone know that communication may be spotty at best. I will try to let everyone know when I get connected again.


I have been told by many of the people that I work with, “You thought the grass was greener on the other side.” I humbly admit that they were right. For the last three months my old Lockport route has never become permanent home to either driver or pharmacy, continually bouncing back and forth with substitute delivery and unhappy stores. Several drivers had tried the route. They always came back with stories of too many miles, large loads, and horrible traffic out of town. The pharmacies were upset with late deliveries and rude drivers. I thought it over and decided to see if I could get the Lockport route back.

There were several reasons to change back: The South-Town route was longer than the Lockport route by twenty miles. Every day I had to pay tolls on the NYS Thruway. My first stop didn’t open before 9:00 am and on the days when I did get an early start, I found myself waiting for the store to open. And don’t even get me started on the weather systems off of Lake Erie!

All in all, both routes have their pros and cons. The South-Town route passed through the Indian Reservation where I could get gas cheaper. I had made good friends with the people I met every day and it would be hard to say good-bye again. And every time you make a change there is a little uncertainty and skepticism that you are doing the right thing.

I knew the management was desperate to find a permanent and responsible driver for the Lockport route. The South-Town route was located where it could be split with other deliveries in the area. With that in mind I went to them and pretended to reluctantly agree to take my old route back if they gave me more money – It worked! They were hesitant to agree at first but after several days of complaints by unhappy pharmacies, the route was mine.

My first day back was filled with awkward hugs and questions. There was a lot of catching up to do. I tried to be friendly but still not linger too long. A few minutes lost at each stop can add up when you have 14 pharmacies to go to.

One week after I took back the route north into Lockport, the area was hit by a freak “Nor’ Easter’” that swirled in across Lake Ontario, dumped several inches of snow, and brought high winds with it. As I write this, it is still sitting in the same place swirling and snowing away. Sometimes you just can’t win.


When I first took over this new delivery route to the South Towns, I was somewhat puzzled by the way I was treated.  It seemed that the pharmacy workers I met had an attitude of distance, mistrust, and coldness, almost conveying to me the feeling that I was not even welcome in their store.  The technicians responsible for checking in the order would sometimes ignore me or make me wait on some paperwork detail I needed.  It was a disheartening feeling and I was saddened that I had even changed to a different route.

On my last route into Lockport, almost everyone I met greeted me with warm smiles and inquisitive talk of my well-being.  We would chat about the weather, how our day was going, and later after I knew them better what our children and grandchildren were up to.  I introduced one person to Geocaching – which became our prime topic of conversation – and another has a golf tournament as a memorial to her father, and I have played in that the last two years.  I always left their stores with a warm feeling and friendly good-byes.

As I began to gather information from my fellow workers and new customers, it became apparent what was happening and how it had happened.  The driver on the route before me developed an attitude that the store personnel and he were always in conflict.  If the workers in the pharmacy were busy and couldn’t check in his order immediately, he would get mad and threaten or leave without completing the delivery.  He always thought everyone was out to get him, make him wait, or somehow make his job miserable.  It became a competition about who could mistreat whom the most.

There is an old saying, something about ‘flies’ and ‘honey’, that really is true.  After I was on the new route for a few days and once I got to know them and they got to know me, the job became immensely more satisfying.  I always have a smile and a friendly greeting for everyone I meet during the day.  If there is anything I can do to make their job easier, I try to do it.  If they are busy and can’t get to me right away, I tell them that I understand and it’s all right.  And I always leave by saying their name in a sincere  thank you and a friendly goodbye.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m a pushover and subservient in my job.  Everyone can have a bad day.  Sometimes things go wrong and something happens that’s just not right.  They know when I’m not happy with a certain situation, and I make sure they realize that a delivery person’s time is important too.   But mostly now they can’t do enough for me.  A lot of the time it seems like they fall all over themselves just to help me out.  When I roll in with my dolly, I hear “Dale’s here”, and they rush to check in my delivery.  The ladies at Wegmans always give me a coupon for coffee and an independent pharmacy offers me candy and drinks every day.  I can now say that I am friends with everyone on my route and happy to see them everyday.

I’d like to think the world would be a better place if we looked more for the good in people instead of the bad.  I guess both sides of politics would work better if we…opps, that’s a topic for another post.


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