OLD AGE AND TREACHERY WILL OVERCOME YOUTH AND SKILL.
And on the eighth day God said, "Okay, Murphy, you're in charge!" ~Author Unknown
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
You Call, We Haul (Ass) Returns
Back home, safe and tired.
Job involved taking a digital control component to a mine in interior British Columbia. Airline to Seattle, rent a 4 wheel drive, pick up the component, and drive some 800+ miles to deliver it. Simple job, so it seemed. Turned out, Murphy was the project manager.
Frontier had mechanical problems. After an hour, we deplaned. Another hour, they decided to put us on another aircraft. Go on board, retrieve carry on luggage, walk from the East end of DIA A Concourse to the West end, and get on the second aircraft. That one they did get to Seattle. Cost? Four hours.
Now to pick up the component in Seattle. Sent Small Package Express, not air freight. The Small Package Express is in an obscure corner of SeaTac with intermittent staffing. Of course, the proper documentation was missing. Another two hours of phone calls, faxes, more phone calls, and more faxes finally generated the proper paperwork.
Next challenge, Canadian Customs. That took an hour. Think all those agents, including the French as first language agent, took the Sgt. Hartman school of public address.
Once over the border, it was a simple task of driving. Very good roads, snow packed but plowed and graveled. Not sand, gravel. Total of seven rock chips in the rental windshield. Low overcast for the entire trip. Gasoline in Canada was about $4.30 per US gallon.
Happy campers when I called the customer from the nearest town. They came to the town rather than me trying to find the mine. Worked for me!
They told me this component was failing. If it went down, the entire mine operation shut down. They immediately set off with the new component to get it installed.
Some forty years ago in college, we studied Critical Path Analysis/Critical Path Management. One sub component dealt with inventory levels of replacement parts. Now the cost to deliver this component was nearly equal to the cost of the component itself (per shippers invoice). Why the hell not get two? The incremental cost, vs. the potential loss from shutting down the mine, is minimal. What happens if the delivered component wasn’t properly tested? Remember, Murphy is the project manager. Of course, I said nothing to the customers.
Drivers in interior British Columbia are like damn sheep. All plodding along at precisely 99 kph, mile after mile. The exceptions all seemed to be in four wheel drive pickups with a snowmobile in the back. They go like the hammers of hell. In the entire trip, saw not one marked police car. The only wildlife spotted was one moose. After a few moments, he decided he didn’t need to stand in the middle of the highway and trotted off towards the shoulder of the road allowing me to proceed.
Coming back, the border crossing went smoothly. Per norm, the booth agent was surly and rude. Ah, home.
Able to have dinner in Seattle with my oldest son (which is why I took the trip in the first place).
I only fly when someone is paying me. Window seat going out, aisle seat coming back. I prefer to nap and can’t in the aisle seats. Goes something like this:
She wheels her wheelbarrow
Through streets that are narrow,
Her barrow is narrow, her hips are too wide.
So wherever she wheels it,
The neighborhood feels it,
Her girdle keeps scraping the homes on each side.
Semi retired road warrior, car salesman, occasional repo man. Father of three fine sons. Once a Blue Dog Democrat. Once a soldier; once a pilot. Rolling along life's highway proving there is no fool like an old fool.