Monday, December 15, 2008

A Bit About My Job

So I come into the office, and I look on Drivers World to see if I have any shifts. If I do, I confirm them and remember what time I have to come in. It will also to say what the shift will be, eithere a shuttle to and from Denver International Airport, or a shuttle to Eagle Regional Airport, or a charter to or from those destinations. Sometimes you will express one way and have guests the other way.So you come into the office at your showtime, get the manifest and paperwork for the vans and van key, find your van, and do your pre-trip inspection. If you have guests to pick up, you go through your manifest and find thier locations in your mapbook, and plan your journey. Unless you're expressing, then you just head on down to Denver or Eagle. You pick up your guests, help them into the van, load their luggage and move onto the next one. When you have all your guests on board then you might want to say how long the journey will be, if there's any stops, and just ask if there's anything I can do to make your journey more comfartable. Of course as you pick up each guest you call in to confirm with dispatch that you have picked up your guest and are en route to the next pick up. When you have picked up all guests you call to dsipatch to confirm that you are all clear for Denver/Eagle, where they will say yoy are and wixh you a safe journey.
Then you drive.
A drive to Eagle is nice, about 40 mins tops on a nice clear day.
A drive to Denver is longer, a bit over 2 hours on a nice clear day.
A drive to Denver can be pure hell.
Actually, what I mean to say is a drive from Denver can be pure hell.
When it's snowing so you can't see clearly 5 metres in front of you.
When the guest in the back won't shut-up and wants to inanely prattle on for the whole trip.
When a 2 hour trip drags into something closer to 4, and you still have to drop guests off.
But that's a story for another time.

So where were we?

Oh yes, so let's just say you express down to Denver, that's cool, you get to listen to the new Bob Dylan CD you just bought on the car stereo, you get to sit around for an hour, an hour and a half in the commercial vehichle holding area at the airport and wait to get called up to pick up geusts, but you don't mind, cause you get the chance to read and eat and go to the restroom, but you do miss out on any tips due to no passengers. So if you do have passengers, you go into the commercial vehichle section of the terminal and you try drop your geusts of in an appropriate order of their departure and where their gates are. Then you check your van to make sure no one has left anything behind and call dispatch to say you are all clear, where they will probably tell you to wait in holding till it is time to pick up your geusts.
So then you get the call to door 510 where you are picking up your geusts. A porter brings out the luggage and the guests either beat him or trail after. You need to check that each guest trying to board your van actually is on your manifest, and if they are, allow them into the van. Then you load the luggage. Then you give your spiel about the journey, the policy on seatbelts, the fact we'll be stopping at the halfway point to refuel, if there's anything you can do to make their journey more comfartable, please ask. Then you call dispatch and say you have x number on guests on board, am I clear for Vail? Where thay will most likely say, sure, have a good trip, unless there's a last minute addition. So then you drive back up the mountain, stopping at Downeville to refuel, but mainly to go through your manifest and work out where you have to drop people off. It's best to do that inside maybe, because it's freezing out there. You get all your guests back on board, you travel up the mountain. When you reach the valley, you call in to dispatch to say you're back in the valley with how many guests on board and you'll call when you're clear. They say welcome back, and if you're lucky, they'll have organised a support driver to come and take a guest or two of your hands. So you drop of your guests, hoping each one gives you a tip. Once you are clear of guests you check your van to see if anyone has left anything behind. Then you call dispatch and say you are clear of guests, is there anything else they would like some help with, crossing your fingers you can just go home. They say no, thanks for your help, you can bring it in and wash the van and do your paperwork. So that's what you do, you drive back to base and fill up the van with gas. You go around to the washbay and depending on the time of day either wash it yourself, or help the washers clean the van. Vaccumming, washing the outside, emptying the rubbish, making everything neat, checking the oil, refilling the washerfluid. Then you go park your van. Then it's time for the paperwork and computer log. You fill out what run types you had, the hours, your showtimes and dpeartures, the number of guests, if there was any collects or vouchers. If there were, you put them in an envelope and fill out the details, get dispatch to sign it and stick it in the safe. You do the same on the computer log, you put the van location on a map, make sure you give back the key. Is that it? Well you better check your schedule again, because maybe they've changed your showtime. Hey, look at this, you are working tomorrow now, and what's this, they've put you down for friday, even though that's your day off. Well, maybe you could use the money, and it's just an Eagle, so it won't take all day. Why don't you just ignore and confirm it tomorrow when you come in for your shift.
What's that? Oh yeah, I'll catch the shuttle, just coming, just need to stick the paperwork in the thing and I'll be right there.
And that's my job.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Things That Make Me Happy

-Continuing on from the cinema, they have Root Beer on tap! Delicious.
-And Root Beer that costs ridiculous amounts back home is cheap as here, I bought a 12 pack yesterday for the price of about 5 cans back home. Cool.
-You know there really is some magnificent country around here. It's really been the canyons I've responded to, driving through them. I wasn't able to take photos of some of my favourite parts because I was driving through it or I was on the wrong side of the van, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be in a better position, though I think I may actually be going in the opposite direction. Also, when it snows, alot of this place really does look magical. You could see why people would want to live here, it's quite beautiful. I'd still rather have the heat and a different kind of beauty, but I can appreciate it.
-I like walking back to the office after the movie, it feels free.
-When I found some graffiti and a stencil under the train bridge, that made me happy. I hadn't seen any and it wasn't beggining to make me a little stir crazy, thinking "How small is this place it doesn't even have graffiti?", but then I found some and it felt like civilisation. Not that I'm condoning graffitti, but I needed that stencil.
-Redaing The Stand and Twilight. I wanted to re-read The Stand because alot of it is set in Colorado, and while I haven't been to Boulder, there where other Landmarks and towns I recognised or have been to or live in and near, so that was cool. And Twilight was interesting because the narrator of that story goes from a sunny hot climate she loves to a cold cloudy enviroment, and I understood how she felt. Also I'm a sucker for romance with Vampires in it.
-Naruto. Wal Mart sells Naruto cheaper than cover price. Now I'm up to date except for Vol 33 which comes out this month. Naruto rocks! Also I can get Shonen Jump which has the latest installments of Naruto in it, so I'm really going to be up to date.
-Sleeping in and sleep. I finally acclimatised a week or two ago, not really sure how long I've been here, but it's nice to sleep the whole night through and not have to get up early.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things That Make Me Happy

I realise that perhaps I've been sounding a bit glum, so I wanted to write a little bit to even it out. I was going to do it yesterday or the day before, but had a really frustrating day and was instead trying to work out how I was going to change my plane ticket and come home, get a job to pay off my debts, and put all thoughts of Colorado behind me. But then the next day I got my social security number and have worked lined up for Teus-Thurs, so now I feel better. So now I'm going to try focus on the positive and write a list of all the things I like over here so far.
-I really like making myself a Ham & Salad sandwich and then eating it. There's something really positive about the consruction of a sandwich, the layers, the putting it together, level by level. And then it just tastes delicous.
-I found a really nice mild cheese I like, first one I tried. It was the cheapest and comes in a re-sealable ziplock bag. It's a horid colour that seems like a fake plastic cheese, but it tastes delicious.
-Wal Mart has a whole bunch of DVDs really cheap (which I haven't bought yet, but will soon), like Hard Boiled, Fist Of Legend, the Tremors Box set (all 4 movies!) for $14 and multiple others. I think I'll buy Tremors and Hard Boiled tonight.
-My comic shop. It's not really a comic shop, it's actually a music shop with comics in the back corner, but the owner's a comic geek, and very helpful. He's been great at giving me stuff for free, like old Previews and a whole bunch of promotional stuff, which admittedly is free anyway, but he went to his back bit and pulled out a whole bunch of older promo posters for me so now my room feels a bit more like my room. He also gave me a couple of free badges, so it's just nice to know that there's a comic store there.
-The Bookworm. This is the bookstore I found early on, which saved me a little back then. Actually, saved me a lot. It's nice and warm and comfartbale and they sell books and magazines and comic trade paperbacks and when I get my computer, they have free Wi-Fi so I plan on going there and enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate and free internet. They also put me onto the music shop where I get my comics, so cheers to them.
-I might complain about the lack of variety, but at least there is a cinema. Granted it's just a 4 screen, and it's not showing everything it could be (example: the new Punisher film was released yesterday but it's not showing here yet), but at least it's here and showing movies. I guess if I'm patient, I'll get to see most things. (Since this is meant to be a positive column, I should stop here, but it's a little annoying that one of the advantages of coming to the States is actually not available to me, getting to see all the films I can't see back home, because this palce is jsut too small to have an alternative cinema or get all the first release movies.)

I might sign off here, because I want to catch the next shuttle, but I'll try return with some more positive thoughts soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Latest News, (Which Is Not Much)

I'm not really sure what I've done since I last wrote. I see that I still had three days of training to go when I signed of last time, so I've definitley done that. I haven't really felt much of an urge to write anything down since it seems like there's nothing to really write about. I'm in the office now using their internet, and as I look out the window over the snowswept landscape the sky is as overcast as my mood. There is nothing to do here. Of course that's not toally accurate, there seems to be plenty to do for those who want to ski etc., but I hate winter and the cold, so I'm not as thrilled as everyone else seems to be at the snow.
So what have I done since I last wrote? I finished my training. I've had my qualifying run and passed that. I've gone to Denver airport ot get my access security badge. I've twiddled my thumbs and read and tried not to spend money I'm not yet earning. I've looked at the snow and seen it is beautiful but also realise that it just means it's too cold to rain. Tomorrow I go to see if I can get my social security number and get a Colorado Drivers License. Then I wait five days until I actually have a job lined up. That is what it's been like for us here. Do something, then do nothing, do something, then do nothing. I'm not the only one going stir crazy. They told/tell us soon we're going to busy we won't have time to sit around doing nothing, but until that happens, I'm just getting bored and more broke.
I didn't want to just sit here and complain, another reason I hadn't written sooner, but there's really not much going on for me here. We had a trade show last night and I've got my ski pass now, so maybe soon I'll get myself a lesson or two and give this snowboarding a go, but I need money for clothes and rental at least.
Today I took a go around on the local bus to see what I could see. I'm going to go back on it later and go to a muisc shop that sells comics and get the latset Daredevil, so that's something to look forward to, but it still spending money I'm not earning, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do. I finished reading Twilight last night and The Stand this morning, so I might pop across the road to the thrift shop and see if there's any cheap books there I want to read.
One positive note is that maybe I've found a church to go to. This has been a slow process. I first tried looking on the net, but found it difficult to gauge what was what with what I found, especially since one address on the site wouldn't match up with what I thought I clicked on, stuf like that. Also not knowing my way around I had no real way of knowing where things were. Another problem was not having sundays free the first few weeks, so I couldn't get to a church even if I knew where one was. My first attempt at locating one turned out not work out so well. Near the Wal Mart our employee shuttle drops us of at, I could see a church a block or so away. On one of my half days or days off I walked down to check it out, see what times its services were on. Turned out to be a Church of the Latter Day Saints, so I decided to give it a pass. As we drove around more I would spot different churches, but none seemed particulary close. In our map book we were given I spotted a church that seemed not too far to walk to. Last week I made the trek to it to see what church it was. Seemed like a church I could go to, but didn't see any service times. I timed the walk back, it was half an hour. The prospect of walking for half an hour in the cold didn't thrill me, but it was best prospect so far, so since I kew it's name, I could look it up on the net. Then later we drove along a road and I spotted a church that I'd seen before, but had a much better idea of where it was now. It seemed in walking distance, so a day or so later I made the walk and timed myself. Ten minutes, much better, so I decided to give that a go around. Unfortunatley it started at 10am and that's when the shuttle leaves home, so I was going to get ther 20-25 mins late, but I thought that was better than not going at all. So anyway, I finally got to church this sunday, and it seems like a pretty good church. Not everything's the way I'm used to, but it seems like a bible believing gospel focused church, so I guess I can live with practices that are different, American if you will. I've asked for sundays off, so hopefully I won't have any work conflicts. I found it hard to concentrate, because I was busy looking around to see how may single females I could see, but I'm going to try harder to focus on the sermon in the coming weeks. On my drive around on the public bus this morning, there was another church further away which I can access, and also there's a stop much closer to the othere one I walked to, but it's still further travelling distance. The bus will drop me off at the one I'm going to as well, so I'll have to spend money, but I'll get there on time at least.
Anyway, I'll think I'll walk across to Riverwalk and see what's palying at the cinema and go to the thrift shop. Till next time.