Friday dawned like so many other days had the past few months….completing my morning routine, followed by packing a lunch, gathering my scanner and cellphone and getting ready to head out to my pod to deliver more packages. After a post Christmas lull, volume this past week had actually increased to a point where I delivered 100 packages to 76 homes on Thursday. The word coming from the office was that all pods were going to be pulled at the end of the workday on January 12. As I prepared to step out the door, I heard a ‘DINNNNG’ come from my phone. A group text had just come in stating that all pods were being pulled and that we were all done for the year. Seeing that the temperature was only going to be in the 40’s and I was going to be zipping around on a golf cart without a windshield that day, I was pretty darned happy to read that little piece of information. 🙂
So, as promised, here is a quick wrap-up of my time as a UPS Seasonal Helper. I worked a total of 7 weeks, plus the time they paid me for to train and fill out paperwork. Four of those weeks included Saturdays, which were time-and-a-half for the complete shift. The entire time logged came in at 198 hours, so most of the workdays were fairly short. Even with the overtime, the job grossed just a little over $2100. Was that worth it? Well, given that I was able to accomplish a few things in the morning before I headed in and after I got home, I’d say yes. The job more than covered our camping cost over the time I worked, and that’s at Florida beachfront rates. Diana took care of most everything at home, so there was no pressure to do any of that when I got back from work. I never felt rushed while on my route; with that being said, it is in my nature to hustle, so UPS definitely got their money’s worth. Including time for sorting and just plain waiting for my truck to arrive (a couple of times over 2 hours, but most times my packages were there when I got there), I averaged around 20 parcels delivered an hour. So, as Amazon would say, I delivered 4000 smiles. 🙂 Every single customer I came in contact with was happy to see me, except one: the gentleman that received a case of wine. Even though he was my second stop that particular run, he was very upset that his wine case had been subject to Florida sunlight in my open-topped trailer. He accepted delivery and signed for it, but boy did he whine about his wine. As I drove away, I pondered the fact that the winery shipped its product in a jet-black box, so they must not be too worried about heat affecting their product. Even if he had purchased his wine at a local store, what conditions might that case have been subjected to, prior to him receiving it? I smiled and continued on my way, knowing full well that I’m not going to be able to complete this gig with 100% satisfied customers. 🙂
Some of you may be wondering if this job was physically demanding. From a lifting standpoint, I would probably answer that with “at times”. I’m a fairly big guy, so at no time did I require assistance from another driver…which is an option, should something be too heavy. The largest and heaviest item was the huge box containing a Schwinn Airdyne mentioned in an earlier post that I slid and tipped into and out of my trailer. In most cases where a big parcel was involved, I was able to drive the cart and trailer right up the driveway to the house. The thing that probably tired me out the most was getting on and off a golf cart in the vicinity of 80 times a shift. The body part that hurt the most ended up not being my back, but my hands. I had a tendency to carry smaller boxes in a similar fashion as palming a basketball. Once I realized that I was doing it…and it hurt…I adjusted the way I held the packages. It may sound silly, but I also had a sore ‘texting’ thumb from all of the work I had to do on the phone/scanner. With all this being said, I rarely felt totally spent at the end on my shift…either physically or mentally.
The other thing that I should mention is the weather conditions. Being halfway down the Atlantic coast of Florida, most days were perfect. I did have one day that was a torrential downpour, two days that were steady rain, and one day that was just wet enough to require me to tarp the load. I never had lightning to contend with, but my friend Rod did the year before, so I knew it was a possibility. There were several days that were downright cold. But, we have a saying in our family, courtesy of my cousin Sue’s husband John: “There is no such thing as bad weather…only poor gear choices.” John, except for the time my rain pants failed (which I replaced with a great pair from REI), I was in the proper gear and came through the job dry and warm. I even found a use for my fleece texting gloves!
So to summarize the job, I’d have to say I really enjoyed it. I plan on doing it again next year, so that says a lot in itself. I was fortunate to have a good route, although I would like one a little closer to our park. Like anything, if you come in knowing that there could be pitfalls to the job, it makes it easier to roll with it when things don’t go well. For the most part, they did go well, so I plan on being behind the wheel again next November!
In other news, our friend Rick (On the Road with Maxine and Me) paid us a visit on the Saturday before New Years Day!
He had come down from his work camping gig at Hamburg State Park in Georgia to visit us and his friend Patty, who lives south of us in Sebastian. We drove him up to show him our park, grabbed some lunch on the deck at Sebastian Beach Inn, and checked out the Barrier Island Turtle Sanctuary.
Afterwards, Patty had made arrangements for the four of us to go on an airboat ride in Fellsmere, just west of Vero Beach. She chose Capt. Bob’s Airboat Adventure Tours, which was a great choice. Our pilot, Captain John, gave a very professional and fun-filled tour. The headsets allowed everyone to communicate with each other, which really enhanced the experience.
We had a fantastic time! We saw a couple of alligators and all sorts of birds. It was really fun getting to meet Patty and being able to spend time with Rick again!
So what’s next on our agenda? We have a few things coming up, plus we are beginning to pull our spring and summer plans together. Be sure to stay tuned for that. We did want to mention that we are planning on going to the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa on Wednesday and Thursday, January 17 and 18. We are going to be bringing the rig and hanging out for a few days, so feel free to contact us if you are going to be attending the show. We’d love to meet up and say hi!