Sunday, September 25, 2011

I can see clearly

I had to get glasses when I was in sixth grade.  Before that, I guess I couldn't see very well for awhile.  I remember that I had to squint my eyes in order to see.  I can remember a family trip to a drive-in movie.  A drive-in movie is where you drive your car into the movie lot and stay in it and watch through the windshield.  We had to park so far away from the screen that I couldn't see very well.  I remember how tired my face got from all of the squinting.  It was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Clough, who called me up to her desk one day and asked me if I was having trouble seeing.  I guess she could tell that I was having trouble seeing the blackboard at the front of the room.  She sent me to the school nurse who gave me a vision test and determined that I was probably near sighted.  Near sighted means not being able to see things clearly that are far away.  My parents took me to an eye doctor and I got a full vision test.  Sure enough, I was near sighted.  The doctor determined the correct prescription for my glasses and we ordered a pair. 

It was at this vision appointment that I also found out that I am red-green colorblind.  The nurse gave me a series of pages to look at that had a lot of dots of different colors.  Sometimes I could see that the dots formed certain numbers, and sometimes I couldn't see any pattern within the dots.  Being red-green colorblind means that when certain shades of green and red are side by side, I can't tell them apart.  It is something that is inherited and only affects boys.  Those of you who are sons of any of my daughters (Jared, Porter, Reid, Sam, Luke, Brig, Dodge (and any boys that Abby has)) have a chance that you are colorblind like me. Don't worry, its not that bad.  Those of you who are sons of my sons (Xander, Jess) probably won't be colorblind.

Anyway, I remember when I finally got my glasses how clear everything became.  I guess I had just gotten used to not seeing things very well.  It is definitely better to see clearly.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer Jobs - Bread Delivery

The summer before I started my Ph.D. program at the University of California, my dad got me a job delivering Wonder Bread in the Bay Area.  Dad worked for Wonder Bread for his whole career and was able to pull some strings to get me this sweet job.  My particular job was to drive the vacation routes for all of the Salesmen in the Redwood City, CA depot.  The people who deliver the bread are called salesmen because they work with the grocery store managers to try to get as much Wonder Bread in the stores as possible.  During the summer, the salesmen schedule their vacations one after another.  My job was to learn all of the routes and then fill in while they were gone.  I would drive one route for two or three weeks and then switch to a new one while the next driver was on vacation.  I think I ended up doing about eight different routes.  Here is what a Wonder Bread delivery truck looks like:
The logo on the side says "Hostess Cake" because Wonder Bread also made Hostess Cake products, but I never delivered any Twinkies or cupcakes, only bread and buns.
Each morning began with loading the truck with the different types of bread that would be needed that day.  Then we would leave the depot and drive to the first grocery store on the route.  Once at the store, we loaded the right number of loaves onto a hand truck and rolled them into the bread aisle.  Depending on the day of the week, we would begin by taking any unsold bread from the shelves, and then replace this with new fresh bread.  A loaf of bread only stayed on the shelf for three days at most.  We wanted the bread to always be fresh.  On Fridays we would also deliver lots of hamburger and hotdog buns for the weekend.  After completing the delivery to the first store, we would then drive to the next store on the route and repeat the process.  This continued all day until all of the stores receive their new fresh bread.
Driving the vacation routes was a little challenging because I would just barely get to know a route well and then have to switch to a new one.  Because the salesmen were part of the Teamster's Union, I was able to get all of the benefits of the Teamsters including dental coverage for Kathy and I.  I remember we both had some expensive dental work done that summer.  The pay was also very good and we were able to save up for the coming school year.  It was also cool to drive one of those neat Wonder Bread trucks.  I am grateful to my dad for helping us get this job.  Though it was interesting and challenging, I wouldn't want to do this all the time for a living.