Poem – Moving on…

Through bloodshot eyes
And heavy sighs
Struggle to fight
Against the light
Shining so bright
This day just might
End all the lies
And the failed tries

Nothing stays perfect forever
What was is no longer together
Time came and stole the joy
you once felt in your heart

The pieces of your heart you gather
Moving on to those who matter
No more a broken toy
A new life you can start

Water splashing face
Your heart starts to race
Staring into your own eyes
Granting the final good byes
To their failed attempts and lies
Moving on to bluer skies
Where there is no trace
The pain can’t keep pace

As you chase your dreams

Stress (Commentary and Poetic verse)

Stress. Funny how that word conjures up images of anxiety ridden individuals breaking down. Some lash out violently, raging against the ethereal force, or actual forces bringing out the stressful condition. Others lose all will and lie broken upon their beds. Others thrive on it, drink it in like nectar from some unmerciful god. Regardless of how you feel about Stress, it is certainly a topic often discussed the world over.

My day job as a logistical wizard at a fuel hauling company (aka Dispatcher for those that don’t get my joke), can alternate from stressful to almost boring to the point of tears. When equipment breaks down, drivers come up with attitudes about the smallest of things, or customers with unreasonable demands because they simply do not understand how to order fuel for a station they probably shouldn’t own in the first place; things can get tense. The blood starts to course faster in your veins as adrenaline pumps into the stream. Nerves start firing faster in your brain, snap decisions come to you as you solve the problems of the day.

Once the momentary crisis is over however, there is a noticeable drop in energy levels as everything slows down. This let down can lead to feelings of relief, or feelings of self doubt. “Did I make the right call? That seemed to go very smoothly, maybe I should double check my math.” This can lead to a spiraling back up. Those are the moments when you have to take a breath and trust in your knowledge and skills. Sometimes the jolt of adrenaline brought on by stress will last for hours, leading to a state of extreme mental tiredness at the end of the day. Those are the days I want to just go home, kiss my wife, hug my son, and crack open something with alcohol to drink before going to sleep.

A simple five letter word
Silly as three are the same
Chaos bringer to our world
Losing to it brings such shame

It can make you stronger
It can make you weak
Stress enough to make you weep
Or grit your teeth and push longer

Keep your chin above the rising tide
Let it roll from your shoulders son
You can beat i if you don’t hide
You will look back and say “I won!”

Bittersweet Valentine’s day…

Today is a day of love and romance for many. For me, it is also one of reminiscing for a different reason. My grandmother, who I spent most of my young life living with, was a Valentine’s baby. She was a guide and role model for my life that I could not be who I am without. She would have been 85 this year, but she was taken from us almost 3 years ago. I know in my heart there isn’t much that I could have one to spend more time with her, but I still wish I had had one more day, even one more hour. We celebrated her 82nd birthday at my home, she laughed and joked and we had a grand time. 3 months later i was camped in her room at the nursing home when she took her last breath. The emotion is raw still, especially this time of year. While everyone else is buying roses and chocolates, I think of a very special woman and all the advice and wisdom she imparted to me over the years. A few years before her health started to decline, I worked third shift and would visit with her in the mornings when I got off work. I am sharing something I wrote during that time. There are times now that I still have to fight a tear when I pick up a pack of playing cards.

Spending Time with My Grandma

There are mornings where I have a new pastime.
It involves a visit with my aging grandma.
We sit and talk and play a few hands of cards.
While I talk to her about my work and day,
she listens intently, always with a few kind words,
or a bit of advice to help me on my way.

Staying with my mom, she is right on the way
home from work. This new fun pastime
of mine is sometimes hard to put into words
what it truly means to me. When I visit grandma
she always tells me she misses me every day,
and is quick to bring out the deck of cards.

Her shaking, aged hands shuffle the cards,
everything on the table cleared out of the way.
With school and work I can only visit every few days,
but nothing can take away the joy of my pastime.
The time is precious that I spend with grandma,
and the hours spent is more important than any words.

We pass the time in laughs and exchanging of words,
shuffling, dealing, shuffling, and dealing the cards.
“I am going to beat you this time,” says my grandma,
getting three aces and clearing the cards out of the way.
I think she has as much fun as I do with our pastime.
With excitement I wait for the visits on those days.

When it is time for me to leave at the end of those days,
a sadness creeps into my heart. We put into brief words
the happiness and comfort that comes with our pastime.
The table has been reset, the scorecard and the cards
have been put in the drawer and out of the way.
With a hug I leave, saying, “I love you grandma.”

The time with my grandma on those special days,
will always outweigh the advice or the words,
or the little deck of cards of our favorite pastime.

Logistical Improbabilities – “What you need to know before you call your Supplier/Vendor”

Logistical Improbabilities, or What you need to know before you call your Supplier/Vendor

Ok, so I am a dispatcher for a fuel company so I deal with gas stations, fuel Coops and Bulk plants. I also have the unfortunate task of keeping tabs on the oil and gas futures markets.  This means I field a lot of, “What is the market doing today?” phone calls. We have a saying, “You live by the price, you die by the price.” It is mind boggling to me how someone who owns a gas station can run themselves out of fuel. I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but it only takes once or twice that a station is out of gas when I try to fill up that I am not coming back. I don’t care how good the coffee or donuts are. Having no fuel at a gas station is like a grocery store with no food. It just makes no sense.

I think, before you can be licensed to own/operate a gas station; that you should have to take a logistics course, with a heavy emphasis on truck routes and map reading. There seems to always be those people who have no idea what it takes to safely deliver them fuel, especially in inclement weather. If your location is 45 miles from the loading facility, you can reasonably expect an hour of transit with a big truck. This is especially true if you are not on a major highway. To expect a load after a market swing (Typically 6pm) to be delivered by 7pm, is just plain crazy talk. We aren’t driving DeLoreans with flux capacitors here. It is essentially 80,000 pounds of flammable liquid cruising down the highway with a bunch of little 4 wheelers who think they own the road. The lack of respect passenger vehicles give to big trucks is a whole other post however so I won’t delve into that much here. Just understand that to operate one of those trucks safely requires a lot of training, attention to detail, and a sharp mind in order to account for all the motoring public around you.

Another pet peeve revolves around the unloading area at gas stations. Whether you own the place or just shopping there, be aware of the giant manhole covers in the lot. Do not park on them and then wander off into the sunset. Though unlikely, a driver just trying to do his/her job may arrive and need to get the truck over there in order to safely drop some fuel. If you see a truck delivering at a gas station, be aware that a person is there just trying to do their job. Don’t run over the caution cones or through the delivery area just because it is more convenient for you. Yelling at the driver to hurry up does no good. Typically the equipment can only dispense the fuel so quickly; similar to the pump you just used only pumps so fast. When it comes to driving through the area with the giant manhole covers, just remember, it is only a thin ring of metal/concrete holding that cover up. If it cracks/breaks and you drive over it, expect some damage to your vehicle. I, and most anyone else, would also laugh at you.

Typically, the driver has no control over how fuel performs in the winter time. This is especially true for all you diesel drivers. Diesel, more than gas, will gel at low temperatures. Get low enough, and you are not going anywhere. As a station owner/fuel orderer, it is on you to make sure that you are either supplying additive, or purchasing winterized DSL. If you fail to do both, and end up with vehicles broke down in your lot (yes it can happen that quickly), then good luck to you. As a consumer, make sure before you push that button or swipe that card, that you are getting what you should for your vehicle. If you do not, expect some internal damage to your vehicle’s fuel/engine system. I, and most anyone else, will also laugh at you. Educate yourself about what your vehicle and fuel needs are and shop appropriately.

It is recommended to not wait till you are out of something before you call your vendor for a delivery. What would happen if you called your soda delivery company at the last minute and said, Oh, I am out of X Brand cola, I need a delivery now. More than likely they will do their best to assist you, but you could be out for a while because they are typically working into the future on their orders and now have to backtrack and push someone else off (who ordered before you) in order to remedy your emergency. Vendors are not like a pizza place, it isn’t a 30 minutes or it is free situation.  We will make a good faith effort to adjust to your lack of planning, but ultimately the responsibility for your station is yours.

If you own/operate a gas station, talk to your vendors. (Calmly and rationally please, we typically do not respond well to threats, insults, or general asshattery.) You might be surprised what you can learn from us when it comes to making things easier for you to do business.  This goes whether it is your fuel, soda, beer, or candy. We know our business, and the better communication there is; the smoother things will go.

Oh, and BUY A MAP, or take one from the shelf, and learn where your products come from so you can understand the time involved in bringing you the items necessary for your business.

A Trip to the Grocery Store

So, I was at the grocery store with my wife the other day, and I said to her, “Oh, by the way, I need some strawberry preserves, I am almost out.” I say it this way, because she doesn’t eat it so would not have noticed that I was low and put it on the grocery list. Similar to there are things she eats I would never know that she was low on if she didn’t tell me. I was just lucky that we were both off to do the grocery shopping together this week. Strawberry preserves is my preferred part of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

As we go through the store, we get to the aisle with the jams, jellies and preserves and she walks right on past it. I stop and say, “Hey, I gotta get my strawberry preserves.” She tells me to just get the strawberry jam. I tell her that they are not the same thing and I prefer preserves. She laughs and says yes they are. Well, I find my jar and bring it over to the cart, where she is laughing at me because I am so particular. Below is a post I stole from some website telling the differences between Jelly, Jam and Preserves. If you have been fortunate enough in your life to experience all three made from the same fruit, I am sure you will find your own favorite.

Jelly, jam and preserves are all made from fruit mixed with sugar and pectin. The difference between them comes in the form that the fruit takes.

  • In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.

  • In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result).

  • In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.

Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate (fiber). It is found in the cell walls of most fruit. When heated with sugar in water, it gels, giving jam, jelly and preserves their thickness.

So, yes wife, I love you dearly, but jelly jam and preserves are not the same thing. Texture wise they are very different.


Our grocery trips together always take another turn for the hilarious side of life, at least according to my wife. This happens when we get to the checkout lane. Now, having at one time in my life gone through bagger training school (yes it actually exists), I know what products go well together in a bag. I have a system based on what is in my cart in order to achieve proper item to bag ratio and to make sure that things like bread and chips/cookies end up in the final bags and do not mixed in with canned goods. Every time we go to the store, I can feel the apprehension from my wife as we approach the checkout line. She loves to try to unload things in the improper order and watch my OCD, as she calls it, kick in and I start rearranging things. It is almost a game to her. I play along because I love her, but sometimes I wonder how she manages to get the groceries home without crushed bread or broken chips when I am not around. Maybe she is just messing with me? If so, I think I just realized I love her even more.