Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Story

Once upon a time there was this boy, let's call him Johnny. Johnny's Dad was a big time level 24 postmaster. Johnny said, "When I grow up I want to be a postmaster too."

When Johnny was old enough he got an entry level job at the post office as a part time clerk (level 5--a long, long way to 24). Johnny knew he did not want to stay a clerk, so at the advice of his father, he searched for a temporary postmaster substitute job (level 11). He found one in a teeny tiny post office within a year. You wouldn't think he could do much damage there. Customers questioned his ability. Some of the customers who had been buying longer than he'd been selling, were not sure of his slight of hand with the calculations.

Johnny set his sights on his goal of becoming a level 17 supervisor. He spoke to the big boss and was told the post office doesn't let you jump from 05 clerk to 17 postmaster. Johnny was sad. He knew that it would take years to reach his goal. He was not a patient person.

Within a couple of months, Johnny heard of a level 13 post office looking for a temporary postmaster. He went for it and got it. You might be thinking, "You go, Johnny." Well, no. Johnny continued his incompetent ways and angered the customers causing them to call consumer affairs on numerous occasions. The other people he worked with knew that he wasn't balancing the books correctly and they worried about that. They even drew it to Johnny's attention and he told them no to worry about that and basically to mind their own business.

Now this temporary job was available for a permanent job. There were at least three applicants, two were clerks who wanted the job at this office and they probably would have stayed there for a long, long time. They really wanted that job.

Johnny talked to the big boss and told him, "I want to be a supervisor when I grow up."

"Well, Johnny, I'd love to do that especially since I know your dad," said the boss. "But people watch and there are rules. I'll tell you what, you take this postmaster job at level 13 and I can then get you into a level 17 supervisor job and I know one that is going to be available. Let me just interview these other poor slobs who think they might get the postmaster job and then I can officially do that for you."

Johnny was thrilled. Sally and Jody who really wanted the job were very sad. Mark who had to work with Johnny was sad too. Johnny did not treat him too kindly.

Mark found a temporary postmaster assignment for six months that he really wanted to do. Johnny was mad because then he couldn't go on his assignment as supervisor. Now, rules are that Johnny could not stop Mark from bettering himself. So, Johnny looked for a replacement for himself and he found this wonderful new employee who had been with the post office a couple of months. Johnny thought she could run the office all by herself (how would he know otherwise since he had never correctly or aptly run an office). Mary went in there and in less than two weeks threw up her hands and quit. She said it was too much work for one person.

Well, there are some more underhanded and sneaky parts to this story, but let me just bring you to the end. Mark had to go back to his office, but he would be temporary postmaster there and Johnny happily got his temporary supervisor job level 17. Now, it is only supposed to be temporary, but rumor has it, as has happened before in the post office, Johnny was a postmaster for two months at his office and he will never come back. He will be on the records as postmaster for a year and after that Johnny will become supervisor and live happily ever after. Oops. Sorry that Sally, Jody and Mark and customers had to be stepped on to get there and who knows what other poor person wanted the supervisor job.

Moral of the story: To get ahead in life, it doesn't matter how much you screw up, it is definitely who you know and the best credentials are membership in the GOBC (Good Old Boy Club).

Sadly most of this story appears to be true. Names have been changed to protect the guilty. And no, I am not one of the victims or guilty ones in this story. I am just the sympathetic ear. I know, life isn't fair.

Price of Gas

Yahoo! Today I paid less than $4.00 a gallon for gas. Par--tay!! It was $3.87 in Southwick, MA.

That's all. Just had to say that. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Respecting the Rural Mailbox

I don't know if it's the warmer weather and more people are out walking or what, but at my post office, many people are breaking the law and I bet most don't even know it. One of my missions has been to make people aware of this. It is illegal to put things in people's mailboxes--notes, something you are returning, or an invitation--nothing. Here is the official rule from the postal Domestic Mail Manual Section 3.1.3 "no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matters placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the same postage as would be paid if it were carried by the mail."

I've taken some grief from the public for enforcing this rule. I am just doing my job. The immediate reaction is that this is just a way for the post office to make more money. Well, it is true that this cheats us out of money while using our system, but this is not the only reason for this rule. Please keep reading.

The minute that we allow anyone access to your mailbox, you are being put in jeopardy of someone tampering with your mail. That is why we do not allow strangers to put in advertisements, or neighbors put in notes, or anyone at all to use the mailbox without going through the proper channels. This protects them too. If you are missing a piece of mail and know someone put something in or on your mailbox one day, they could possibly become a suspect. Also, do you want your neighbors seeing what doctor bill you are getting or what magazines that you subscribe to? This law helps protect the sanctity and security of the mail. If we let this practice continue, the mailbox loses its respect. If it were common practice to use mailboxes as one pleased, this would compromise the safety of the mail.

I am here to bring back the respect that a mailbox deserves. Feel free to leave a note in someone's front door or on the windshield of their car, or even in the newspaper tube, but don't let me hear of you putting notes in a mailbox. I have harped on this subject for years. I'm surprised that someone hasn't told someone else, "How dare you open my mailbox?" It is a presumptuous thing to do and it is illegal. Protect your own mail, don't tell someone to put something in your mailbox. Keep your privacy.

Well, my rant is over.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Traffic Report or Squirrels, Rabbits, Turkeys, oh my!

I am so fortunate. I don't have to listen to the traffic report each morning. My commute consists of no traffic lights, two stop signs, two left hand turns and two right hand turns. That's it. It's only 5 1/2 miles. Having worked at the post office, I know that it is preferable to eliminate as many left hand turns as possible. I actually could change one if I went out of my driveway the other way, but I chose to live dangerously.

Anyway, I could write my own traffic report...

As you leave your driveway look out to the left for the squirrels that sometimes play in the front of your yard. A few houses down there is always a rabbit or two eating in the grass. They usually go off into the woods but you still need to slow down should they go the wrong direction.

After leaving your street, on Route 179 in the vicinity of Barkhmasted Firehouse East beware of the turkey crossing. (I think DCF should check out this mother as she is always letting her baby turkeys (chicks?) play near the road or cross the street in a long slow line.)

From then you are on your own. It is guaranteed at least one more squirrel will do his "do I go this way, do I go that way?" game in front of you. You could encounter a deer, though extremely rare. Even rarer is the supposed bear sightings. Everyone on this side of the earth has seen the bear except George and I. I think everyone has conspired against us and made up this legend to fool us. He is just as real as Big Foot to me.

So, putting up with those possible commuter interruptions is not so bad. My dodging animal ratios is pretty good considering the thousands of times they have crossed my path. Though George often says that I can spot an animal ten feet on the side of the road, but I can't see the ruts in the road which I inevitably hit.

The only time I don't like my commute is the winter. I can get up our steep road without much problem--if I take the less steep and less curvy of my two options. I don't worry about that. It's when I get to the junction of Route 179 and Route 219. You can see the plow always turns onto Route 219 and all of a sudden you are in a less plowed, often rut filled road. You try to go in the last person's tracks. If you break down, there is no one around for help. Though, personally I pray on those snowy days that I don't see a car because they make me nervous--will they skid into me or will they tailgate me? I don't mind driving in the snow so much if I am all alone. Often in the snowy winter evenings by 5:30pm, most people have left early and I am alone. Slow and steady I make my way, concentrating on how the car is handling each movement. I am glad my way is basically straight, but I do have hills.

Here it is July nearing 90 degrees, humid and I end up talking about snow. I don't want either. Give me 75 degrees and a breeze.
Well, that's my traffic report today. Sounds better than a tractor trailer turnover or a five car pile up!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Cracked Windshield

We were driving around this weekend minding our own business when a truck driving from the opposite direction kicked up a stone and hit smack dab in the middle of our windshield. Either two stones hit or it bounced because there were two little holes with tiny cracks protruding from the sides. That put a damper on our Sunday ride, but we knew we had full glass coverage and actually called the insurance company from our cell phone and it will be repaired while I am at work in a couple of days. How convenient.

The interesting thing was that after driving a little, the cracks got a little longer. While I was talking to the insurance company, I told them the crack was getting bigger as we spoke. It went from the two little holes to a line that takes up about 3/4 of the length of the windshield. Now that the car is parked at home, I personally think it's done growing, but my husband says that you never know and he suggests I don't drive it. Good advice, I'm sure.

The whole thing made me think of an analogy of a lie. A tiny little fib doesn't look like it will hurt much--a tiny spot in the windshield. However, then there's the little crack that you have to cover up and then it spreads and spreads getting bigger and bigger. Horrible ones can cause shattered glass and much damage. It was a good illustration of how a little lie can cause so much trouble.

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."--Romans 5:19-21.

So, Jesus is like our car insurance company. We can call our insurance claim department 24/7. They will forgive us and because our premiums are paid, they will replace our windshield for free. We don't even have to take it anywhere. However, we did have to call them or they wouldn't know it needed fixing.

Likewise, we all know that Jesus is available 24/7, He will forgive us, and in His case, He even paid our bill. He will come to us when we ask and make us whole again like the windshield. He also knows ahead of time when our windshield needs fixing, but He wants us to recognize the need and to ask Him. How comforting that whatever the sin, He has grace to cover it if we ask Him. How's your windshield? Any cracks? Is it even shattered? Jesus has it covered, if you put in a claim to Him.

Lessons in life are everywhere if you just open your eyes.

Holiday Weekend Blues and Breakfast Review

Okay here I am. I've been sick AGAIN. It hit me hard and fast. I thought for sure I had bronchitics (being quite familiar with it since I used to get it every year). Knowing that the long weekend was coming and I couldn't get hold of my doctor, I went on Wed. She said I did not have bronchitics (yet). Aches, pains, chills, fever, deep cough, wheezing in chest--yikes, not yet? Well, long story short, I am on the mend but I demand a do-over. What happened to the 4th of July? I allowed my husband to drag me to the local parade, which is about 20 minutes long, and we bought pre-made salads at the grocery and cooked in. Nothing tasted good except the corn on the cob.

It was a nice 3 day weekend and I missed it. On the other hand, I guess I could say that I had the 3 day weekend to re-cooperate. Actually, I've been out of work since Wed., but it doesn't feel that long. I imagine because I am getting better--except for my imitation of a seal barking--that it probably wasn't bronchitics, but for two days I felt awful and just stayed in bed. I'm sure the cough will be lingering a while, but let me tell you that Mucinex is a great OTC cough medicine. It really loosens things up.

So, enough about me. This morning we went to the breakfast buffet at Bobby D's in New Hartford. We have been before but I want to let those of you know who haven't been what it is like. It is my favorite breakfast buffet in the area.

It is a quaint little buffet but the variety is just right for me. I love the eggs Benedict, the fried potatoes and the apple cobbler. That's good enough for me but they have scrambled eggs, hash, bacon, ham in pineapple sauce, sausage, Belgian waffles, pancakes, fruit and many pastries. There are strawberries and cream for the waffles or syrup. Now I'm sure there are a couple of things that I left out, but they are not things that I eat, so I don't care. The price is $9.99 and beverages are not included. They only have the buffet on Sunday mornings. Did I make you hungry? We've tried a few other breakfast buffets, but I like them best for the quality and choices. So, give them a try and tell them I sent you. (You can, but they don't know me and they would probably look at you funny.)

If you try it, let us know if you like it. If you don't like it, where do you like better? Eating is one of our great pleasures in life.