19 August 2017

Eclipse Plans

National Public Radio asked listeners to write in with their plans for the eclipse.
I wrote a short essay, but I'm afraid I was too slow in submitting it. Seems a shame not to share in anyways.


I shall be watching the Total Solar Eclipse from my front step.
I first learned away back in the early nineties, when I was still in my teens, that my hometown of Casper, Wyoming, would be having a total eclipse in 2017. (Astonishing how awfully far off 2017 seemed back then.) I’ve been looking forward with amazement ever since. The partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day back in 2000 provided a splendid opportunity to start collecting eclipse glasses and solar filters. Only a few years ago, I discovered that my house was but a stone’s throw off the very center line of totality’s path. That wonderful revelation has had me even more astounded with anticipation—matched only by the marvel of knowing my five-year-old twins shall have as an early, indelible memory the sight of the Sun going dark in the mid-day sky above their home.
To celebrate the day’s event, we’ve invited family and friends, near and far, to join us for food and drinks and a welcome chair—though I expect few folks will be sitting down. We’ll also have games: horseshoes, cornhole, ladderball, and instead of “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey,” we’ll award prizes for rounds of “pin-the-Moon-on-the-Sun.” We plan to revel the whole day through. Nevertheless, for two and a half minutes just before noon, my attention shall be focused entirely on the sky. To behold the wonder. To feel the shadow of the heavens cast upon me. And to witness the awe of the universe aligning before my eyes.

04 August 2017

Out of the Warehouse

Yesterday was my last day at the warehouse. Now all my focus is on my school library.

Working at the warehouse has not been just a source of supplemental income. I had been warehousing since I was a kid, when my Dad first handed me a boxknife and told me to start cutting off flaps. "And be careful, why dontcha!"
Ever since, warehousing has been my career.
Crown. Amcon. Def Tec. Wear Parts. HD Supply, The Glass Warehouse.
Then my wife finally convinced me to go to school and pursue teaching and librarianship (like my Mom and Dad tried to do fifteen years earlier). I studied, earned a degree, and landed a position as a Teacher-Librarian in an elementary school.
All through school I kept my position at my last warehouse job with The Glass Warehouse. The folks there were wonderfully supportive of my efforts at school. I actually did put in my two weeks notice right before I first started college, but they wouldn't hear of it. Instead, they were willing to work around my schedule. As I delved deeper into my studies, semester by semester, I reduced my hours to the point where I was working only half a day a week, on Saturday mornings.
I worked most of this summer, however, even though it meant neglecting my prep work for the coming school year. Turned out to be one last busy hurrah at the daily adventure of pulling orders, stocking shelves, loading trucks, and zipping around on the forklift and honking the horn like a deranged Shriner in a pallet-filled parade.

But now, my warehousing days are over. I'm changing careers.
Here I am at 40, staring down a major shift in my life. It's exciting. It's terrifying. It's joyful.
But it's also a bit saddening. I wonder if I'll ever again have occasion to operate a forklift.

Will I ever again have to cut the flaps off of a box?
Maybe when I receive my book orders.
I'll be able to cut with precision, 'cause I've had years upon years of practice.

Perhaps keeping a library really shall turn out to be a lot like warehousing. Plenty of constant shelving to be done. I've had lots of practice in that, as well.

However it goes, I'm glad to have had such rich experiences with warehousing as a career. Still, I'm ready to make the transition at last. 
Into the library...

Thanks to all the warehousing crewmembers with whom I worked over the years. Particular thanks to all at The Glass Warehouse and Decker: Curt Weston, Dan Seth, Gary Romer, Jerry Alley, Brian Sorenson, and the keepers of the books: Cathy and Patty, and of course all the rest of the crew who had such incredible patience with me and my goofy schedule these last few years. 
Don't forget to rotate your stock!