May 21, 2009
Other duties as assigned
At approximately 11:00 on Thursday morning, my Director called to tell me and John that she thought it would be a good day for us to go get the free pallet of paper we have waiting for us. Might as well put my HEMI to use, right?
John and I get the hitch from one of the clerks, then head to the hospital to borrow their flatbed trailer. Although I have towed my 30-foot travel trailer a few times, I am in no way anywhere close to knowing what I am doing when it comes to trailer manipulation. We asked the guy at the hospital to get the truck and trailer out of the tight-squeeze gate. Done.
Since we were told that we could not pick up paper between 12p-1p, we opted for lunch. After lunch, we had to take some parking lot shortcuts, runabouts in order to get ourselves in a position that I felt comfortable getting into traffic. Having to cut across 3 lanes of heavy congestion while making a left turn with a trailer is not my idea of fun, thanks.
Getting to the paper mill was uneventful, but once we got there, the antics kicked in full swing. Our first stop? The guard shack. as soon as I saw the guard's face, I knew that she knew we had no idea what we were doing. She was polite, though, and guided us to the main entrance. Evidently, the large sign reading "ENTRANCE" was not meant for us.
I pulled the truck around to the main entrance and had to go to the security desk. They verified that I did have paper to pick up. Once the inspected our vehicle, they opened an electric gate and we pulled through. I had no idea paper was so security-weary.
Now, I was told to "Make a right around the building. Drive passed the trailers, then turn right again." I was told I would see the shipping office and then could turn in to get to the front door. So, I drove around the building, drove passed the trailers and turned right. Nothing looked like a (or said) Shipping Office, so I kept on driving. Oh, I forgot to mention John and I were handed a fluorescent jersey and safety glasses. Yeah, totally rockin the fashion there. So, I drive... I pass several buildings, hoping to see a 'shipping office' sign. Nope. I eventually come to a stop at a warehouse where a guy is on a forklift. I get out, don my cool uniform, and head for the warehouse. When he spots me, the guys says, "You're lost." There was no denying it. "I'm looking for the Shipping Office." He smiled, shook his head, and said, "You missed." Then he gave us directions back the way we came.
The woman inside the shipping office was very helpful and directed BACK the way I had just come from! UGH... I have never done so many u-turns in my life, let alone while towing a trailer. We waited. Eventually, a guy with a pallet of paper and a forklift came down a ramp and loaded the paper on the trailer. The forklift could not get the paper close to the middle of the trailer, so the driver grabbed another pallet and pushed the first one closer to the center. As he did this, he set the second pallet on the trailer and the back of my truck nearly came off the ground! we thought the trailer would pop out of the hitch for sure, but it never did. Eventually, the paper was set and we put ratchet-straps around the pallet to keep it in place.
Rather than take the paper down the interstate, I opted to go down the old highway that runs along side. It's like driving Route 66 instead of taking the Interstate. And we bounced the whole way back to the office.
Once at the office, the Keystone Cops showed up and we all unloaded the trailer using a myriad of carts, dollies, and brute strength. I remarked to my Director, "This is why I got my Master's..." I don't remember her reply, but I would venture to guess it was something like: "Yeap!"