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Showing posts from October, 2014

Day 24: A New Low

Tonight’s winnings: $18.45. That is a new epic low. As my wife just said, sometimes it’ll be slow and I’ll make a lot. Sometimes it will be busy, and I won’t make much at all. Tonight was the latter.Delivery #1, I made my way to my mark. There was a chain-link fence. Leaves littered the path. I heard a rustle. I saw a tail. I assumed it was a cat. I continued forward and walked smack into a gaze of raccoons.Fun nerd-delivery-man fact: a group of raccoons is called a Gaze. Did not know that.I think I heard them talking about what hot dogs are made of. The owner of the home assured me that they were not domesticated. They lived in the sewer near his home. He snapped a picture and gave me a dollar tip. I thanked him and left. At the end of the night I didn’t have enough money to pay what I owed in mileage. The shift manager bent over backwards trying to figure out where she came up short. She found it. One of my customers had cancelled his order, requesting his money back. I walked out w…

Day 23: Fights

I made $46 on Monday night. That’s good money for a Monday. Man. I know everything about money. I know what it looks like. I know what it smells like. I know how to count it. I know what it represents. I even know a few of the Presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. There’s another Prez on a different bill that looks like Michael Jackson. Another looks like an extra from The Patriot. The guy on the $20 looks windswept.If you can wrap your head around money in any way, I’ve got you covered.This is why marriage is so interesting. My wife knows, too. But she also feels. She feels the reality behind the knowledge. I’ll give you an example. I know that money is exchanged for goods and services. My wife is the family Exchanger. She asks me what I want from the store. I tell her: Kit-Kats, cream soda and lunch meat. Oh and vegetables. I kiss her on the cheek after putting in my order, grab my keys and head for the door, confident that I will see at least vegetab…

Days 21 & 22: Numbers and Anecdotes

Friday night and Saturday were both lows. We were hopping. Deliveries were going bonkers. Dishes needed done. Prep was heavy. Low-ness was in tips. $40.50 Friday and $36.29 Saturday. I’ve decided to refer to my big coworker as Merc. You say it like “murk”. You see, Merc is a Yu-Gi-Oh nerd. Self-proclaimed. As in, started a deck club in High School that thrives to this day. Angels sing and little pasty-white boys start to fawn when he walks in and throws down. He was furious today. Total meltdown. Dropped pizzas. Ripped his pants. He was embarrassed and felt humiliated. Things were not going well. At one point he yelled, “I quit!” and headed toward the front. I got out of the way and kept busy. He didn’t quit. A manager helped him out. He was morose after that. No more outbursts.Merc is also a talker. A couple of hours had passed from the outbursts. I was unleashing the Dishwasher on millions of unsuspecting bacteria and food chunks. He was making the next batch of deliciousness on the…

Days 19 & 20: Shelter

Monday and Tuesday were slow delivery days. I made over $35 each day in tips/mileage. I had a good time with the people I work with. I try to work hard. I try to appreciate hard work. It pays off in spades. OK, not spades. Money and stories. It was my first or second delivery Monday night. The receipt said 2301 S 15th St. I found the spot and saw what looked like a college dorm. I readied my clipboard with the purple-sparkle hairpin. I got out of the car and moved toward the front lawn. That’s when I saw the crucifix on the outside wall. There was stained glass. The construction was a bit older. Lawn ornaments of the catholic variety smiled at and/or blessed me from the stoop. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I waited. I looked through the side window. There was no one there. I knocked. What was this place? A nunnery. I was delivering pizza to a nunnery. Or maybe it was a church office? I looked to my right. The letters “WS PAPER” reflected what little light they could back at me from …

Day 18: Our Evening Out

The babysitter confirmed. We were ready to go for Sunday afternoon at 4:30. Amazesitter is one of my Sunday school students, so confirming was easy. She was excited. I was stoked for the Sundate. Things were in place. As is customary, I didn’t tell my wife the details until a few days after she would have liked to know. That translates to several hours before the event. “Oh, I thought we could go at night when the babies are in bed or calmed down a bit. Like, 6:30 maybe?” she said. “No problem! I can text her. I’m sure it will be fine.” I was confident. I was hopeful. I was speedy in my texting. No response. The princesses were about the business of ruling the outside kingdom with pink iron fists. Amazewife chilled on the couch. Some time passed. I texted again. No response. I tried to call. No answer at Amazesitter’s home. I felt worried. I’d heard something had come up for her family. I hoped it wasn’t serious. I also felt the Sundate being threatened. “You know, maybe we could hit …

Day 17: Quiet is Good

It was a quiet Saturday.“Hey sir, there are little square signs by the road with numbers on them. Make sure your car matches those numbers! Wait, where’d he go?”I heard the comment as I came into the back of the restaurant after a delivery. It was the coworker that had given me the look when he handed me the clipboard with my daughters’ hairclip attached. The look on his face now was happy and playful. The comment was still a bit tangled. “Ha! Why do you say that?” I asked with a smile. I stepped up to the dispatch computer. He had disappeared back into the prep area to my left. “Because he thinks you’re a fast driver!” My manager said. She was perched on top of a pop crate unpacking two liter bottles of delicious carbonated diabeetus juice. She handed them down to a greeter who stacked them in a cooler.Several deliveries earlier, the same coworker had given another complement. “You should open every morning!”“Oh yeah? Why do you say that?” I feel like I ask that a lot after I get a c…

Day 16: Strange Sights

My Friday evening started off on a great foot. I loaded up two medium, delicious smelling pizzas and noted the address. It was an even-number home, so north side of the street. There was a note.“1/2. The light is on.”When people specify 1/2 addresses, you can bet it is either a ground level apartment or an added room on the back. I arrived near the destination. This was an easy one. A light was indeed on. It was a basement apartment in a over-under duplex. A wide gate stood open in the customer’s chain-link fence. A rough retaining wall crept along the path to her door on my left. Succulents and dormant phlox covered most of it. It was beautiful! To top it off, cactus, with it’s small red fruit, ran along the cinderblock wall of the foundation along the left side of the door. The inside door was wide open. I knocked on the outside one and counted. One one-thousand. Two one-thousand. Three one-thousand. At ten, I glanced inside. I saw a little old lady sitting on a couch watching TV. S…

Day 15: The Warrior

Last night was a good night. I took home $41 and change. I headed toward the dish sink after a delivery. I chatted with a few people on my way back. I grabbed a dish bin, executed a controlled drift around a manager desk and pulled out of my curve in the middle of prep work. Several people were engaged in various tasks. The smell of Food Release was heavy. The Warrior passed me on the way. He was headed back to his current post near the front of the store.The Warrior appears to be a young man. With the amount of vegetable oil and salt, who knows? He’s quiet. He’s skilled. He is always busy. I feel we are growing a quiet, mutual respect. He does his job well. I look up to him.During a previous week, I was doing dishes. It’s a simple process. Flat trays with protrusions at regular intervals for dishes are loaded as full as possible, then shoved in the Dishwasher. With a capital D. This thing is intense. Dishes go in. Doors come down. A sea monster blasts water from the roof of this magi…

Day 14: The Long Why

$1,104,218.21I want you to think about that number. How big is that dollar amount to you? Do some comparisons. How does it compare to your current bank balance? To what your home or car is worth? To how much every home your immediate family owns are worth combined?How does it compare against your annual salary? Smell the bills in your mind. What do they smell like? I hope they don’t smell like body odor and cigarettes. If they do, take them back… to wherever you got them in your mind. Then go to your mind bank. But not just any mind bank. Go to the bank where they spritz the money with Chanel No. 5 or something. Maybe they cook bacon near your money. In my mind-bank, the teller people keep Warm Vanilla Sugar scented spray in one of those squirt bottles with the fan. I admit, some of you may prefer body odor and cigarettes. Stay with me. Let’s get more tangible. If you were to take that many one dollar bills and line them up on their sides, it would make a line of money ten miles long

Day 13: Sundates

I’m a Mormon, in case anybody missed it from the Intro. Find out more about us here. I don’t intend to represent the Church in what I write or say. I represent myself. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe the canon of Scripture is open. Every single stanza of it shouts the truth of the sacrifice and resurrection of the Savior. It does so with loving light and power through every written word. The Word doesn’t stop there, either. Modern Noahs, Abrahams, Peters, James and Johns reveal direction to all of us, Mormon or not. They do this at least twice a year. This flood of light, love and help is intense.“But RI,” you may ask, “what does this have to do with delivering pizzas and killing debt?”Everything. What I have learned about family drives me. Fellow Christian Dave Ramsey quotes Scripture on a constant basis. His experience is rooted in how poor money management was destroying his family and marriage. But he changed. He decided he was going to manage money like God wanted him to. Mo…

Day 12: A Shave and a Hairclip

Friday’s are my pizza-Mondays. That makes it kind of nice. There’s no feeling that I’m overwhelmed. There are rest periods. I get at least two evenings off in a row every week.I got home from job #1 at 5:20. I made sure to bring in my acrylic 4”x6” receipt clipboard. My wife was busy being amazing. The baby was busy being adorable. My older daughters were outside playing. I chatted with Amazewife for a little while then went and got ready for work.A few minutes went by. My uniform was on. My non-slip shoes were tied tight. I was tasked with bringing in the princesses from their outdoor kingdom for dinner: homemade, much healthier pizza. My soon-to-be four year old came in first.“Hey dad! Where’s your hairclip?”I had anticipated this important question. Eva had gifted me an Anna/Elsa Frozen princess hairclip a couple of days previous. It is bright purple. It sparkles. It went straight to my hair that fateful night. I blinged it for about an hour before putting it on the computer desk. …

Day 10: Fear and Gratitude

I was on my third-to-last delivery last night. Something struck deeper than it has before. Omaha is a racist town.Bold words for a white, middle-class, bilingual pizza-delivery man. Let me expand.The United States is a racist country.Phew! Now I feel better. Maybe by blanketing my declarations over a wider group of people, I won’t offend the individual Nebraskan racists that read this. Just kidding. Please, be offended Nebracists. And while you take offense, read on.From just south of Leavenworth, east of I-480 and on into the north and east of Omaha are sporadic housing projects. Yep, those kinds of projects. The ones so often complained about by those crazy liberals as hell-holes. The conservatives complain about dropped property values. Also known as slums. Oppressive-housing. Main contributing factors to those “ghettos” black people talk about in that rap music that offends the ruling demography so much.Those projects.Anyway, I, another Nebracist, had delivered to a couple before …

Day 11: Judgments

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:Stop it!-Dieter F. Uchtdorf I hereby judge Tuesday night to be a nothing night. I mean, there’s always something. The tips were great last night. I took home over $40 and beat my average on number of deliveries. What I am trying to say is that Tuesday nights are simple. No stocking truck. No late close. Just, work. Down time is interesting. People are starting to talk. Maybe it’s my tenure. Maybe people are used to me. Maybe I’m just now picking up on stuff because I’m not having to focus so hard on learning. As I get to listen more – and people open up more – I can see trends and threads and relationships and tensions with more clarity. There was a disagreement on the correct temperature of water for mixing pizza sauce. Should it be warm? Should it be cold? Does it matter? A coworker …