On the Road Again…

Yesterday, I drove the car for three-hours straight over 212 miles of Interstate-90. Today, I drove the same trip backwards. Six hours of driving, 400+ miles of highway, and countless obscenities over two days. Motivation (“energy”) to drive to Butte from Billings after a long-shift came from a wicked combo of fruit-punch Powerade and Monster M-80. On the drive back, I mixed things up with an 8.4 oz. can of Red Bull in lieu of the Monster M-80 (driving on minute sleep required more caffeine). The chairs in the car felt comfortable yesterday, but today they seemed incredibly uncomfortable. My legs were incredibly cramped and stiff by the end of today’s trip, whereas yesterday I didn’t feel any cramps at all.

I’m going to drive the same trip again in two days. Alone.

Driving for that long, without any company, is going to be intense. I’m excited to go, but I am also a little apprehensive. I don’t want to get bored on the way up, so I’m making mix CDs. I don’t want to get hungry either, so I’m buying some good snacks for the road. I don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel, so I’m going to get a good night’s sleep the day before and drink some coffee on the way up. I don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere if the car were to break down (very unlikely), so I’m thinking about bringing some tools along with me. I’m also going to change the oil in the car and check the tire pressure. I might buy a car charger for my phone too…

I have a lot of stuff to do in a short amount of time. I work from noon to nine tomorrow, and then noon ’til eight on Monday. I’ll have to buy most of the stuff I need in the morning on Monday, and maybe make a quick run to the store after work. I want to have everything ready on Monday night so I can leave early on Tuesday morning.

After just completing the drive today, thinking about doing it again seems daunting. A few days of rest from the highway will hopefully make the trip more enjoyable on Tuesday. I’m still excited to hang out with my cousins and check out Evel Knievel days though, so the trip will definitely be worth it.

I’m going to sleep now. It’s nice to be back in my own bed after sleeping on the couch…

– Will

The Next Time You Buy Socks…

The next time you find yourself buying socks from a major retailer, notice the way the socks are arranged. Notice the little tags behind the socks. See how the socks are neatly organized with each style of sock placed in a specific area. Count how many hooks are sticking out from the shelf in front of you. Count the socks too, if you’re so inclined. Then take a step back.

Somebody went to all the effort to put every single sock on those hooks. Someone put all of those hooks on that shelf. Somebody placed each of those tags behind the socks on the hook, and they also printed out the little pieces of paper for those tags. They also placed each individual sock in its correct location, carefully noting where each style goes. They followed a planogram to place each sock where it belongs, and they spent serious time placing every single hook, sock, and sticker on that stupid shelf. Remember that the next time you go sock shopping and feel tempted to completely destroy the sock section.

I had to complete another sock POG today. Actually, I completed two and a half sock POGs today. I finished the planogram I started last time, then I shifted an old one to a new section, and then I started and finished a new one. I was supposed to complete four sock planograms today in six hours. I was originally scheduled to complete five POGs in two hours, but because I never finished them the last time, I had to play catch up. Corporate expectations for associates to complete all of these tasks are insane. Each planogram takes at least an hour to complete, and that’s if the associate working on the task is uninterrupted  in their work and they don’t have any equipment issues (the handheld “workstation” dies, the printer battery dies, the handheld won’t connect to the store’s network, the printer runs out of paper, the planogram is messed up, etc.).

I guess I don’t really care about all that right now. I’m 200+ miles away from work, I have tomorrow off from work, and in three days I’m going on a five-day vacation. They only have two more days to torture me before I leave.

…assuming that they approved my vacation request…

I really hope they did. I put my request in more than two weeks in advance (two weeks advance notice is the minimum requirement for requesting time off) and I’ve been looking forward to this trip for about a month now. My cousins are also excited for me to visit them.

And yet, I’m already in Butte. I had to drive in today for the funeral tomorrow, and then we’re driving home tomorrow. A few days later, I’m driving back. That’s a lot of time on the road in a very short period of time. I should have a nice trucker’s gut by the time my vacation is over. 😛 Right now, I’m sitting on my grandpa’s couch, listening to my dad and my grandpa talk. I should probably rejoin the conversation.

Keep reading, commenting, and spreading the word! 😀

– Will

4th of July Parade= Failtastic.

Every year that we visit Butte during the 4th of July, we watch the Butte 4th of July parade. Over the years it’s gone from somewhat enjoyable to “is this f***ing thing over with yet?”. The floats never change, the firetrucks always blare their obnoxious horns at deafening levels, corrupt politicians walk by and kiss babies, and the Shriners ride around on tiny vehicles… It’s always the same.

After the parade, we began the drive home. Multiple hours of sitting on one’s ass is not healthy, or fun. Traffic was better though, so I wasn’t completely stressed out of my mind like I was on Friday. I’m still not a fan of driving the Tank, but I’ve become slightly more comfortable driving it.

I still love driving the Focus though, and I’m glad that I will be driving it up to Butte in a few weeks when I go there to visit my cousins from North Carolina. It’s going to be my first solo extended trip, so I’m kind of stoked. I’m going to get up super early so I can beat traffic and get to Butte in the morning. (HURRAH ROAD TRIP! :P) Another benefit of driving up to Butte is being able to drive around Butte without a chauffeur. No more being stuck in Walkerville– the cousins and I are going to tear Butte up block by block on Evel Knievel days.

I’m really, really, really sleepy right now. So I’m going to end my typing here and instead fill the void with a lot of pictures. Here we go:

The stuff that made the list of “Stuff to Bring to Butte”

The stuff that didn’t make the list.

Yeah… This was taken on Friday @ 2:00 A.M.

Poor kids. I hope they’re getting paid.

ZAMBONI!!!!

Mario didn’t want his picture taken, apparently.

PIZZA FACE!!!

Hippie Van…

For some reason, I don’t think this bus would make it through Baghdad today in one piece.

One guy in a Volkswagen truck= the Libertarian Party in Montana?

This float is always in the parade.

I was so bored, I took a panorama shot of the bridge.

Well, that’s all. I’m super sleepy right now. Keep reading and commenting.

– Will

Surprise!

Today was the main event of the entire trip. The surprise birthday party/family reunion was today. It was interesting to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, and it was also nice to meet some new family members. I think the best part of the day was seeing the look on my grandma’s face when she entered the room full of her friends and relatives. We all ate lunch together and then watched a video compilation filled with random pictures and video of her and the rest of our family from years past. The video was very well made and the background music was also well-chosen. At the end of the movie, there was a “family tree” displayed in a credits-style format with the names slowly moving down the screen. This was one of the more dramatic parts of the movie, because at the end of the list of names, my Uncle David’s name slowly moved across the screen (he died several years ago in a car accident, a couple of years before I was born). After the movie, we all kind of sat around the room and talked for a couple of hours. The party broke up at around six, and everyone split up for dinner. After dinner, everyone went over to my grandma Helen’s house to watch the fireworks. My family bailed and went to Walkerville to watch the fireworks at my other grandma’s house. After the firework show, we went back to the hotel and passed out. We started the day pretty early, and it was around midnight when we finally got back to the room. It was a long day, to say the least.

That’s all for now. Remember to check back daily for new posts, pics, and podcasts.

– Will

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Note: This post was posted on thefinalsummer.com website 
on July 4th, 2010 @ 10:42 P.M.

Day 25:

The thoughts running around my head are yearning to be released, so I’ve decided to post them here.

  • It’s hard to believe how fast time passes when you don’t have anything to worry about.
  • It’s hard to believe that already 24 days have passed since I first began updating this blog daily.
  • It’s hard to believe that June is almost over.
  • It’s frustrating to realize that the plans I dreamed of during school for this summer are beginning to slip away.
  • It’s frustrating to suddenly realize that you’ve spent more time at work and at home during the first few weeks of summer then you ever imagined possible.
  • It’s frustrating to be an impatient person who is stuck between getting something he really wants and somewhat needs very soon or waiting and getting it much later.

…and finally…

  • Life is frustrating, hard to believe, and confusing at times, but there’s always light on the horizon.

I’m lost in a sea of mixed emotions about everything. I’ve basically made a solid decision about which college I plan to attend after Senior year, but I’ve yet to make a final decision on a major, or whether or not I would like to double major in two completely different topics. My SAT scores and GPA are well above average and easily meet the admission requirements. The tuition for this college is very reasonable in comparison to other schools, and I won’t end up in a massive sea of debt after I graduate. It’s the perfect distance from home; far enough away from home that I will feel independent, and close enough that I’ll be able to visit home at Christmas and during the Summer. It seems like the perfect choice…

At the same time, it seems too perfect. My SAT scores are pretty good, but I know I can do better, and I’ve already exceeded admissions requirements… That seems a little strange. I did some research, and my writing and reading scores on the SAT were higher than the middle 50% of current students (so I scored better than at least 75% of the other students who attend this school) and my math score falls in the upper area of the middle 50% (this means I probably scored better than around 60% of the school’s current students). This college is nationally recognized for having an excellent journalism program, a major I’m still considering. The dorms actually look fairly decent too– at least on the website (haha).

I guess the only thing left to do is visit the school to see if it’s right for me. Perhaps I’ll check it out when my dad and I go on our road trip…

Speaking of road trips, I’m going to Butte on Friday afternoon. Posts will be added to the site as usual, but I cannot say how the amount of content will be affected during this trip. I may have only short periods of time to write a post, or I may have long periods of downtime in which I can write long, thought-provoking posts about the curiosities of life. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

I will definitely be tweeting while I’m in Butte though, so check the Twitter Feed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for updates from the Hill.

I’m going to go get some sleep now. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

– Will

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P.S. I’m also going to be in Butte during Evel Knievel days! That should spice up the blog a little bit. 😉