Archive for May, 2005

Flat Stanley

28 May 2005 at 7:36 pm
by Jonah

Flat Stanley came to visti us last weekend. Flat Stanley is a classic children’s book (Mardel carries it) that Berck’s cousin Brian was reading in his third grade class, which sent Flat Stanley to visit 50 States. Here’s the report we sent back with Stanley. (Pictures are in Photographs.)


State visited: Oklahoma
Date of visit: May 21, 2005
Person visited: Berck and Joanna
Stanley’s Adventure:

Stanley visited us here in Norman, Oklahoma. Norman was named after Abner E. Norman, who had been hired by the U.S. government to survey the Indian Territory (which later became Oklahoma). Norman is the third largest city in Oklahoma, and it is just south of Oklahoma City, the state capital. Norman is home of Oklahoma University.
The permanent population of Norman is about 96,000 people, but it grows during the school year by the 30,000 enrollment of OU.
OU has one of the most successful college football teams (they lost last year’s Rose Bowl after being only one of three undefeated teams in the country). College football is like a religion here. Under the American flag, businesses fly the OU flag instead of the state flag. People all over town have red and white rock gardens in their front yards spelling out “OU;” at Christmas time, there are lots of roofs with “OU” laid out in strings of red lights on rooftops. The team is called “The Sooners,” but no one knows what a Sooner is, so instead of putting pictures of OU’s mascot (a covered wagon) on their cars, people put on upside-down Texas Longhorn insignia (they are OU’s biggest rival team). (By the way, a Sooner is someone who settled in the Indian Territory before the U.S. government officially opened it to settlement.)
We are living here in Norman because it is also the home of the cheapest and fastest flight school in the world. Berck is studying to become a pilot. Oklahoma is one of the best places to learn to fly because this state is so flat with few trees or mountains to crash into. The weather is usually very clear (though it is usually also very windy). When the weather isn’t nice, we tend to have very severe thunderstorms with lots of tornadoes and hail.
Because it’s so windy here, one of our favorite things to do is fly our stunt kite in a park near our home. We took Stanley kite flying during his visit. He wanted to ride on the kite to get a better view, and since he’s so flat, he flew with the kite quite well.

State Troopers out in force

27 May 2005 at 7:12 pm
by Jonah

We’re trying to figure out what to do for my three-day weekend. Berck announced last night that we were going somewhere, and I had to figure out where. I was exhausted last night, so I told him we’d go to Colorado…where, specifically, I’d figure out when I got home from work.

I was so exhausted because I’d just worked an eleven-plus hour day starting at 6 that morning. See, when Barry told us all to go home on Wednesday because of the fire, he instructed us to plan on everyone coming in at 7 a.m. and pulling orders like crazy. But we were to call his voicemail beforehand to make sure the warehouse was actually open. So I called at 10, right before I would have headed to bed if I had to be at work at 7. The voicemail told everyone to come in at SIX. Six?? So I went straight to bed after setting my alarm for 5 a.m. Berck took forever coming to bed even though he said he would be right there, and then I couldn’t fall asleep until long after midnight.

As it was, half the people didn’t show up till 7… they’d called right before the time they were leaving for work to make sure to come in, but by then it was too late to get the message. The voicemail also told the college kids to come in at 10:30 or as early as they could. But Barry had told all of them the day before to take Thursday off and call to find out what time to come in Friday.

Even so, we got several store orders pulled in record time. The couple of college kids who called early enough to know they could come in on Thursday stocked all day. I finally went home at quarter-to-six. I was tired.

I got more sleep last night, heading to bed before it was even dark yet. Worked from 6 to 4:45. Got home and hit the Internet right away to tell Berck where we were going.

“San Isabel National Forest,” I announced. “The Spanish Peaks. It’s the nearest interesting part of Colorado.”

That was when Berck said he didn’t want to go anywhere. He was too tired.

I’m thinking a weekend staying off the roads, relaxing and watching movies, maybe using our new grill that Berck’s mom bought us, would be really nice.

Actual Fact: About 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is made up of glacial ice. And if you had to replace it all, you’d need 60 years of the entire globe’s rainfall, and then you’d have to figure out a way to freeze it all.


25 May 2005 at 12:04 pm
by Jonah

Well, something exciting finally happened at work today. And I wasn’t even clocked in yet.

We had a bunch of stuff that we listed on E-Bay last Wednesday because they were having a ten cent listing special. So, of course, all the auctions ended last night. We grossed over $200, which is better than we expected. Anyway, Berck had a pile of packages ready to go out in the mail this morning, so I took them, since he’s got to be at the flight school for flight instructing ground school early all week. I’m always anally worried about being late to work, so I left an extra 20 minutes early to stop by the post office.

That put me getting to work 20 minutes early. Oh, well. I have a book I read during breaks, so I got myself a cup of coffee and started reading.

Just then the fire alarm went off. Our fire alarm is so loud and obnoxious that it MAKES you want to leave the building as soon as possible. So I put my book away in my locker, grabbed my coffee, and headed out the door with all the corporate people fleeing the terrible sound. Out in the parking lot, I heard sirens and saw two firetrucks heading around the corner toward our building’s entrance. Wow, that was fast. And that proves this is not a drill.

The warehouse people came out next. It takes them longer to make their way outside because they have to walk so far. The rest of my moving crew started showing up. One of them was text messaging someone down at the Hobby Lobby end of the warehouse where the firetrucks had ended up. She reported that there actually was real fire. Later we heard that a transformer blew in or near Hobby Lobby’s accounting department. The whole warehouse was going to be without power for the rest of the day.

So Barry sent us all home with instructions to call his answering machine to find out if we’re coming in tomorrow. We’re all supposed to come in at 7 a.m. and pull all day. He told the moving crew not to come in at all.

So I get the day off. Yay! Of course, this may mean I’m going to have to work Saturday.

This is my team leader’s last day before leaving on vacation for a week, and she was supposed to go over with me all my responsibilities while she’s gone. But she told me how to get to a computer document where she wrote up detailed instructions for me. I already know it all anyway, but that’s okay. I had to drive her home because her husband was supposed to swap cars with her, and she didn’t have the keys. (She wasn’t going to need them till that night.) She lives just around the corner from the warehouse.

I’m “helping” Berck pack up E-Bay stuff to ship today. He’s trying to get as much stuff done as he can before his lesson this afternoon. We’ve got to go to Sam’s and get padded envelopes to mail out all the political buttons we sold.

Anyone want an “America Needs Nixon” pinback button?

Actual Fact: Which Western European country has the lowest population growth in terms of births-per-person? The Vatican.


22 May 2005 at 7:29 pm
by Jonah

Well, Bishop wants to know how work is going. So here goes…

Every day I rack my brain for something interesting to tell my husband about my day. And his usual response is, “That’s the most boring thing I’ve ever heard.”

The most interesting thing that happened this week was moving big rows of warehouse scaffolding-like shelves together. These are metal racks 16 feet high and half the warehouse-width long. They’re big. We wanted to move two of them together to make three narrow aisles into two wide aisles. How do you do this? Well, you take 2×4’s and put them under the cross pieces, then put pallet jacks under the 2×4’s. I think we had about seven pallet jacks going. Then everyone pushes, and the whole thing moves. Sorta. We also try not to scrape up the floor (it’s concrete but painted smooth so carts and stuff will glide along nicely). I still don’t believe the scheme worked. Then the warehouse people come and drill bolts into the concrete to anchor the shelving in place…so it won’t go wandering off, I guess.

There are three of us fulltime people who shepherd a bunch of college students hired for the summer. Apparently, we’re going to move everything, not just the stuff that has to empty out of the aisles on one side and into the aisles at the other end. And we have to move stuff when the pullers aren’t pulling. So we build shelves in the morning, then when the pullers are through with the section we need, we start moving things. But we can only move for so long because new tags have to be printed and stuck onto the product in the new location…otherwise the pullers won’t know where to go to get their stuff the next day. And in the case of the actual shelves we moved, we had to move stuff off of them to a temporary location, take all the particle board off them, put the particle board back on, and move everything back.

Anyway, flying in circles has got to be a lot more interesting than reading about this. In any case, work is going well. It’s getting hot, but at least I’m not timed like I was pulling.

And now it’s hot.

20 May 2005 at 1:54 pm
by Berck

It’s summer here, now. Fortunately, it took its time getting here. It’s currently 96.8F. I’d really hoped that I’d be gone before it got hot, oh well. Yesterday was warm enough I finally hard to turn the air conditioner on. And now it will run until September, or we move out, never cooling below 75 degrees. This is the part about Oklahoma I don’t like.