Thursday, December 22, 2016

I'm getting too old for this...

I am beginning to see a theme on this blog. As I start to feel my age I am surprised by how surprised I am to experience the side effects of old age. I mentioned not so long ago (here), that I knew from observation what it was like to grow old, but I expected some sort of a flag that would signal to me that I am now old and should stop doing things that were perfectly manageable 30 years, or even 20 years, ago.

Recently I was very excited to sign up for a program that my employer offers every year coming up to Christmas. Santa's helpers. Our facilities become horribly busy and those of us in the office, particularly in engineering, are not so busy; so we can volunteer to help out at our local facility.

The newest facility in San Marcos is enormous. This photo taken before it was completed, gives a good idea of the size.

Thursday morning I set off at a ridiculously early hour; as is my normal habit no matter where I am going. Get ahead of the traffic and do not be late. That is my mantra. It was a seventy mile drive ten days before Christmas. Of course, I was going to give myself lots of time (I always do).

I left home at 6.30 a.m. and took the longer, less busy route. Traffic was heavy but not so heavy that it couldn't keep up a steady eighty miles per hour. Fifty miles of that, in the dark, was not fun. But I got to my destination safely and an hour early. As I waited for the rest of the team to arrive I had an opportunity to watch the facility at work.

Once my colleagues arrived we were given basic safety training, a tour of the facility and deposited on the loading dock. We were going to help load trucks. For some reason, I had expected to be doing something gentile, if somewhat boring, like Christmas wrapping. No, I was loading packages on to trucks. Seriously BIG containers approximately 40ft long x 8ft wide x 8ft 6in high, like this one:

Because I am not sure how much I can or cannot say about the inner workings of the facility, all I will say is that myself and one other of my fellow office workers spent the day with one of the facility workers. He showed us the correct way to stack packages to fit the most in, in the fastest possible time. Let me tell you, it was some sort of a workout! One thing for sure, I will be a lot more tolerant if I have a delayed delivery ever again.

Between the lifting and loading, and all the walking around that huge facility just to get anywhere, I was shattered by the end of the day. And before I could get to the end of the day I had that crazy long drive home.

The following day I was stiff and sore all over. I made a mental note to be very careful about volunteering in the future. On the other hand, I did have a feeling of satisfaction at a job very well done, despite my great age and I really did enjoy it. As I said goodbye to the nineteen year old facility worker who had so patiently tolerated my help, he told me that I was a very hard worker.

Someone please remind me, next time I think of doing something like this, I am no longer young. In fact, I am most definitely old - I will raise that flag myself, just as soon as my muscles stop aching.

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