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Low Ink

November 21, 2007

Today I received payment for a pair of Bucs tickets that I sold on eBay (for less than face value, I'm embarrassed to admit), which meant that I needed to get to the post office before 4:30 to mail them off. No problem, right? Guess again.

Typically I would print out a self-mailing sheet here at the house, but unfortunately our printer downstairs is very low on ink. Consequently, that meant that not only would I have to pay out of pocket for the Delivery Confirmation (which is complimentary when you use, I would have to wait in line.

It was rainy when I left the house around 3:30 p.m. Enon Springs Road, the shortcut to get to the Smyrna Post Office, had road construction that limited the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, but under the conditions I didn't mind driving at the glacier-slow pace. Better safe than hydroplaning into a concrete barrier, no?

I made it to the facility and saw a long line ahead of me. Luckily my father played tapes from motivational speaker Zig Ziglar for me when I was younger, and from those tapes I learned the art of having patience when waiting in long lines. Still, it was frustrating; there were two spots open at the front desk, but one was used for the duration of my wait there by a guy who had easily 25+ packages going out. I'm not sure what took so long for him to get them all processed, but it was one of those incredibly annoying situations that, in life, you sometimes simply have to deal with.

Maybe that's karma for the times when I brought in a ton of boxes to the Tampa post office when I worked for Bubba the Love Sponge, though at least in those circumstances I had my stuff together to make it go as quickly as possible.

There was a side booth set up for quick stamp sales and "small boxes", which gave me some hope. Unfortunately, an elderly woman and a woman I presume was her daughter were there obtaining several money orders. It's too bad they don't have Amscot around here; they may be sharks when it comes to their payroll check advance business, but they offer free money orders. Normally in life there's nothing more expensive than free (i.e. there's a catch), but not with Amscot, which offers the money order service to build comfort and familiarity with potential customers. But that's in Tampa, not here, so it's immaterial.

In typical elderly person style, the woman took forever to get her money orders set up, obtaining them for what appeared to be all sorts of bills. It's called free checking -- look into it. But first come, first serve, so I was patient.

When the money order slow boat finally ended, I thought that I might get to jump over and mail my envelope off, pronto. Guess again, muchacho. Almost as quick as the transaction was completed, the guy working the booth flung up a "Please Use Next Window" sign; apparently he was in a hurry to get this Thanksgiving Eve started. Meanwhile, the line snaked at that point almost to the door.

As the guy with the 25+ boxes made conversation with the chatterbox clerk, I did my best to stay cool. Getting mad does nothing to speed up a situation like that.

The people-watching aspect was interesting; a plain-faced blonde woman left her keys at the desk, and it took half of the line calling out to her to get her attention. The guy two spots in front of me left his wallet in the car (d'oh!), and he had his young child go to the car to get his wallet. But then she couldn't find it, so once he reached the promised land of the counter, he sprinted out to the car to find it for himself.

By the time I made it to the front, I had my cash in hand and was ready to go. Luckily the woman working the line was competent, and she had me out of there in no time.

In all, I wasted more than 30 minutes waiting in line. Live and learn, I suppose. At least the tickets made it out today.

Naturally, this came back to bite me later. By the time I finished up the latest Draft King article and headed to the gym, it was 7:50ish. No biggie, as Fuel Fitness stays open until 10 p.m., and I specifically checked with the clerk at the desk yesterday to confirm that they'd have normal hours tomorrow.

You may already know where this is going. I arrived at 7:55, and the older man who works there gave me the bad news: the gym was closing in five minutes. "But the guy here yesterday told me it'd be open normal hours today!" I exclaimed. "Yeah, we tried to make some phone calls..." he said, trailing off and not making much sense. I began to leave, but then the guy said, "Well, you do have five minutes." So, taking him up on that, I jumped on a Precor machine, put the resistance up to 10 (uncomfortably high), and did a sprint session with what little time I had to use.

Such is life, eh? The people who work at Fuel Fitness are very friendly and I like it there, but the information breakdown annoyed me. Oh well.

Harlaxton Manor
I spent Thanksgiving 1998 here, at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which for me will be the first Thanksgiving that I won't have to travel home for since 1994. 1994! That was 13 years ago. I've missed a few through the years, between my semester at Harlaxton College, TV news obligations (I almost always agreed to work Thanksgiving to maneuver to get Christmas off), and not living in Nashville. So, this year, I am thankful that all I'll have to do to enjoy the feast at my parents' house is take a short drive down I-24.

I'm also thankful for the great football lineup this weekend. An NFL triple-header on Thursday, LSU/Arkansas on Friday, Kansas/Missouri on Saturday (in arguably the most important game in the history of *both* programs), and then a full NFL slate on Sunday. I suppose that, from a prep work standpoint for Draft King, that will mean I'll be "working" on Thanksgiving, but I'm certainly not complaining about it.

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