June 2019

Saturday 1: For a change, a nice easy day, catching up with the little stuff.

Sunday 2: I picked up the work at the Port of Everett again, with the team who were selling parking tickets. This time, I was on the lead position, bringing traffic in and directing it to left and right, as well as clicking the counter. For the record, I reckon we processed about 1,000 vehicles in a little over 5 hours. I figured I could wear my own safety shirt, which looked rather impressive until I realised that my left arm was getting badly burnt.

At one point, I managed to capture the huge portable lifter as it transported a boat across the road. The guy walking behind it with a remote is operating it.

Even after switching to wearing my long sleeve jacket, by the time I got home, it looked like this. You can certainly see where my watch was.

Monday 3: Orientation Day on the new full time job at the company’s home base in Kent consisted of half a day of admin stuff and working through some Amazon essentials.

Tuesday 4: A day for pulling out a lot of the things we still have stashed in boxes in the apartment and figuring out where they should go.

Wednesday 5: Day one of two, training at the Amazon Fulfillment Center here in Everett. I might just enjoy doing this.

Thursday 6: Day two of the training. We all passed the final test.

Later in the day, we had a short hail storm come through.

Of course it was captured by the webcam. It’s very handy to be able to download the whole day later, and then extract the relevant segment.

Friday 7: At work, straight into it with a ride along with Monte. Much of the day was a blur of moving from one stop to the next in the NorthEast Seattle area. One issue with the routing system is that that invariably makes you perform a u-turn to get to the next stop. We concluded on the return trip that on Monday, he would instead go round the block every time, and see whether it makes any difference to his time for the day. I’ll text him on Monday morning to remind him.

We were late getting out of the load out, and along with a full route and him having to spend time training me, we were forced to finish the day without delivering every item. It was a bit disappointing, but as I frequently say to April these days, it is what it is.

All of the Delivery Force routes are in the area just North of Seattle, plus some in the downtown area.

Saturday 8: A ride along with Yousif today, was along the Sand Point area, some of which consisted of dropping down to water level and then back up again. The Mercedes vans apparently have a super charged diesel engine, which tends to kick in at exactly the wrong moment when trying to start on an uphill grade, resulting in some very interesting tire spin situations. I got to drive some of these for a short time, and then drove us back to base at the end of the day.

We start at the very civilised time of 08:45 at the location where the vans are parked overnight, and line up at the Amazon location by 09:00 for “load out”, which involves everyone driving their vans into the load zone, locating the the carts containing the items to be delivered on the day’s route and stacking the containers and oversize boxes in the van in such a way that the next available one will be where you expect to find it in the van when you need it. This takes about half an hour, and in theory, we all roll out at 09:30. Sometimes it works like clockwork, sometimes it doesn’t. Return when your route is complete, anywhere between 17:00 and 19:00. Check in, return the containers, clock out, return the van to the parking lot and go home. Great in the current weather and Daylight Saving, but it will be a struggle in the Winter.

I now have two days off, after which I will be out there on my own, hopefully with a 65% route to start with.

Sunday 9: We hung out with April and Duncan today. First stop was the Everett Farmers Market, where thanks to Julie’s ADA parking pass, we drove right up to the market area. Then it was a visit to the apartment to install the Internet and phone hardware, to find that the line hadn’t been activated yet.

Monday 10: It’s been a nice two days off, although the line hasn’t been activated and I did call in briefly to work, to ask some of the questions that have been running around in my head. A good day to get lots of little stuff done.

Tuesday 11: I’m sure I’ve had better first days at work than today, although to be fair, I can’t remember any of them anyway. For future reference:

  • 1. Take a dolly for moving large, heavy or multiple boxes.
  • 2. Take your phone when you leave the van.

On just my second destination, I must have wasted an hour getting between the van (parking was atrocious), the parcel destination and the leasing office. In the middle of the day, I got a partial rescue from a colleague, who took one of my containers. By then, I was in a reasonable rhythm, which then fell apart when my work supplied device decided to act up, and I was ordered back to base. Even so, of the nine containers I left with, I returned with one and a bit, which means I did process six of them (maybe).

Wednesday 12: I got rescued twice today. It’s where the dispatcher asks another driver to catch up with me and take some of my route. The first was just one container, and the second one later in the day was two containers. Imagine my surprise when I finished the third last container to discover that my route had finished. The other two were not mine! I finished the day an hour early, and we joked that I hadn’t needed the second rescue after all.

It seemed to me that there is an awful lot of items being returned each day, but then I realised that when compared to the huge number of them that go out, it’s only a very small proportion that don’t get delivered.

Thursday 13: I got into my rhythm early on and managed to keep it going for most of the day. At one point, I was having trouble finding a house in one of those areas where the road drops sharply down to the water. Never did find it, and almost didn’t make it out of there. It took me 5 attempts to escape out of a steep curving driveway, by taking increasingly longer run-ups at it. The best part was that I finished everything else. Got back half an hour late, grinning like an idiot, with just 6 packages to return, some of which were again not mine.

Late in the day, while I was still out there, I took this. Confused? Yep, so is everyone else. In the Seattle area, avenues run north-south and streets run east-west. Then there are meridians somewhere which determine the North or South, and East or West components. As you can see, this place is North-East of somewhere.

Friday 14: I finished the route, without major incidents!  At one point, I was on a relatively major street where there is parking on only one side and the route was going in the “wrong” direction, which meant that I was constantly doing a double right hand block to get to the next location. The “highlight” was arriving in University Village at the end of the day, with people everywhere, no parking and businesses closing. Still, I did manage to get 2 deliveries done successfully. After 4 days of this, I’m definitely going to need some time off!

My step count so far for the month very clearly shows which days I worked.

My back, and therefore my left leg, are for the most part, doing OK. I have a huge hot/cold clay pack that lives in the freezer, which gets applied to my lower back every morning, so that I can start the day without feeling crippled. And in other news this week, I now have Medicare. Not sure how, because I don’t qualify for much else except unemployment benefits until I have been here permanently for 5 years. Strange.

Sunday 16: I came across this in my travels today.

Buddy takes charge at the front door.

On that note, Julie is becoming a little stronger every day. She can now walk unassisted for one or two steps, and generally makes her way around the apartment by holding onto solid objects along the way. We now have weekly visits from a PT Trainer, who has taken her out into the street for walks on the footpath.

Monday 16: I took April to the Mariners game, where Duncan’s choir sang the National Anthem. I did get a video of it, but it wasn’t a particularly good capture. I took these though.

Thursday 20: This was my lunch break today, sitting under a tree with the I-5 freeway in the background, with LOTS of pillars holding it up.

Friday 21: The start of a new day.

Some days, I get see a view like this one. I actually walked in a few paces over an area where someone had hacked the blackberries out of the way.

Meanwhile, at home, Buddy had a visitor. As far as we know, he lives nearby. They had quite a long friendly chat (note the matching body language).

Saturday 22: My first full route. I got home about 10 pm.

Sunday 23: We spent a chunk of time with April and Duncan, doing some shopping first, then going to lunch to celebrate a belated Fathers Day and an upcoming birthday for Julie. She ended up walking a LONG way (for her) and is now enjoying the opportunity to put her feet up.

Wednesday 26: I get into some really “interesting” situations in this job. The customer I had just left actually lives in a rear cottage and the alley is the only way to get to her place.

Saturday 29: This place has become my favourite lunch spot, where I can sit in the shade under a tree to eat my lunch. It also has a rubbish bin for the salad container when I have finished.

This bee took an interest in what was in my salad.