|Listening to Spirit|
View from the parking lot of the Broadway Dock (said dock to the left out of the picture). Looking south to the Ore Terminal and mountains behind. Just beyond the conveyor for the ore terminal is the Ore Dock where cruise ships dock.
It is no wonder I am tired! I thought it was age -- which is likely. I thought it was just getting used to working again--it is. I thought I wasn't going to make it--I WILL damn it, I WILL. Greg had me pull up the year to date tour sales from 2011 and compare them to the year to date tour sales for 2012. Last year at this time $10,000. This year--$30,000.
WTH? We have sold 3 times as many tours as 'normal', whatever normal is any more. Greg and I looked at each other, both thinking that this couldn't possibly be right. But how could it not? Greg is thrilled of course. I am relieved. I am choosing to believe that we are much busier than last year at this time and it is the extra work and effort and stress that is causing the tiredness.
I woke up with a slightly upset stomach after having a so-so night of sleep. I once again did not hear the alarm! I woke up at 6:45a, 45 minutes late, and skipped the treadmill. I was not in any mood or condition to hurry through the preparations to get myself costumed to go to work.
As the day progressed, I became increasingly distracted and stressed by the financial woes. I vowed that I would come home, sit down and parse the figures to see if my earnings come close to covering expenses, just ordinary living expenses, for the year. By 10am I was dang near bat-shit crazy. I took a break and went outside to regroup. I called Hub seeking inspiration only to be met by a listless and awfully down response.
I said "I just called to tell you that I am ready for us to get into the truck and drive it off the dock."
Hub said: "But you know I can't swim."
I said, "Well, you don't have to go. But I have made up my mind that I am definitely driving or jumping off the dock and I didn't think it would be right to leave you behind without some warning or choice."
Hub said "Well, in that case, I'll drive."
I could feel Hub waiting for the giggle, the gag, the hook, the funny, the indication that I was fooling and would soon be laughing hysterically at my 'trick' as I usually do. I did not. Hub got very serious and told me that we will absolutely be okay, absolutely, without question. I fought off tears and told him untruthfully that I knew what he said was true.
I dragged myself back into the shop to resume my duties with a heavy heart and teary eyes.
We got busy, crazy busy. At one moment I was trying to ring up a tour sale, Greg approached me to say that I needed to call the Ocean Raft people, tell them these 'guys' had 14 who wanted to go and see if they would reduce the price for the group. I asked how much these guys wanted to pay and the reply from the guy in charge was "$50." I looked at Greg like he had lost his mind. He said "Call them, see if they will do $75." I once again gave him the "are you crazy stare?" and Greg said "Just make the call."
Sigh. So, I am calling Ocean Raft, they are not answering. I am trying again, then leave a message, then return to trying to ring up the tour sale for these two nice ladies. Meanwhile, Michelle is calling from the Tour Outlet to ask for seats, I have a woman frowning at me holding jewelery in her hand wanting to pay for it, Ocean Raft is beeping in returning my call and I cannot answer and cut off Michelle, and the "Let's Make A Deal" Pakistanis are waiting for their information!
I took care of the 2 tour ladies, sent the jewelery-holding woman over to the Fairytales side to pay, asked the Pakis to wait right outside, wrote down information on Michelle's seats, and returned Heather's call. Heather could not hear well as they were out on the bay on the Ocean Raft Adventure, but asked her husband what would be a deal for 14 people. The 'deal' was that the Coast Guard Zodiac raft holds 17 people, they would sell 14 seats as a private tour and leave the other 3 seats empty. Good enough for me.
NOT for the Pakis. They were disgusted and outraged that they couldn't get $125 seats for $50. Bye-Bye! Later Heather came in to get more info and see if we were good and all. I explained the Let's Make A Deal going on and told her they only wanted to pay $50 for the seats. I believe the look she gave me was very similar, if not identical, to the one I gave Greg TWICE! I laughed and explained further and asked if Greg's $75 would have done it. Nope, Heather said absolutely not. Oh, keep calling with deals to present them, but they weren't that hungry and knew just how much they needed just to start the boat and run it! We laughed and everything is OK.
Greg is constantly 'hungry' and discounts seats, sometimes too much IMHO. That's his deal, his business, and that is fine. But, not everyone will make deals--especially when they have no competition. There is not anything like this Ocean Raft Adventure anywhere in Southeast Alaska. Greg's tours--there are 5 or 6 companies in town who sell the same tour.
Anyway, to compound the work situation, Kara was still sick, Eric drove a noon and 2:30p tour, Nicole worked from 10am to 2pm and Madame came in around noon to work Fairytales. She was distressed to know that Eric would not be relieving her after his noon tour, he is a great retail salesperson. But he is being paid to be a driver and the wage for a driver is higher, so that can't continue much as we all (except Greg) would like that.
So, finally the seats were almost all filled, Greg left at 1, Eric and Colin drove noon tours, it was Madame and me and a continuous stream of customers milling around, asking questions, buying stuff. I could direct all tour inquiries across the street. Yes, I could have sold those seats for the tour company across the street and taken 20%, I didn't have time!
I have about 15 minutes of calm, begin to relax, and start thinking I can make it through this day.
Then Joe came back from his 10:30 tour around 1:30pm and was dropping off his people. He radioed me asking if he had pick ups for the 2pm tour at the Ore dock--yes, I gave him the names. He then asked about the Railroad Dock, I gave him those numbers and names, Then he came around for his list. He radioed asking if he had XX to board at the Railroad dock. Yes...I had left those 2 off his list! Sigh, sorry...
Now I am getting Colin and Eric ready for their 2:30 departures. I distribute lists, switch buses so Eric drives 2 people out to Dyea in Colin's bus (he can do this fast and get back to relieve Madame of retail) and Colin drives 18 passengers in Eric's bus.
Joe radioes, 1 woman brought neither her driver's license or passport. DAMN! Joe absolutely positively has to be back at 5pm, he has passengers onboard who have to get back to their ship by 5:30p. If we take this woman and are the bus that gets pulled aside randomly by Customs for a close look at ID's, it could be half anhour or so delay. I told Joe to drop her off at the office and i would refund. Luckily it was a woman and her husband who have been to AK 9 times and were going with 4 friends who had not been. The lady apologized for forgetting her ID and cheerfully assured me that it was not our fault.
So Joe is off...in come two people with a ticket from M & M, I don't have their names on my list anywhere. I radio Joe, find out he is at the cemetary, tell him to hold until I can get 2 people out to him. They hadn't paid for the 2.5 hour tour, but I knew I had 2 spare seats to send them up the pass...I radioed "All drivers, hold positions, don't move, I need to do some quick figuring."
I get back, "Roger, holding" from everyone.
Colin radios me that he cannot shut his bus door. CRAP, around I go to 3rd Street with these people following me. When I got there, Colin said he had everyone but 2 people onboard and needed to pick them up at Centennial Park. AHA! I forget now what those people's names were, but I wrote down Ford because that's what it sounded like---it was the people that presented me with the ticket so I am OK there are 2 seats for them on the right bus under the wrong name!
I radio Joe, to tell him to go, no response, again, again, finally I call his cellphone. He answers and I tell him to GO!
Eric has checked the fuses in the coach, they are good, I toggle the switch to the door and instead of clicking up and back, it just wiggles around! Sigh.
Greg got called and here is what he did...He called Heath, new owner of Southeast Tours and arranged for a driver and bus to do Colin's tour up to the summit. Colin gets back in his 14 passenger bus to pick up 2 passengers for Dyea (and they are tour broker customers and Mike there is radioing me every 2 minutes that these passengers are still waiting!) I told him twice we had a mechanical and were getting there as quick as we could. Oh, and while waiting for the Southeast bus to take over, Eric went and picked up 12 people from Michelle's location for that summit tour.
AND, I have left Madame in the 2 stores all by herself without even telling her I was out and she should watch both!!!
Okay, everyone out on tour, all passengers present and accounted for, Eric is taking the broken-switch bus to Hub then comes back and takes over the Gallery for retail sales. I stumbled out of the Gallery, worn out, bleary eyed, stunned. I got into the van, drove to the bank to make 4 days of deposits. Then I went to the market and did grocery shopping. I came home, carried bags upstairs as Hub was busy with the bus, put groceries away, changed clothes, sat staring into space on the potty for I don't know how long with no thoughts, just staring into space.
I came upstairs, got an iced tea and a book and plopped my dog ass down in the lawn chair on the deck in the partially cloudy/sunny air, read 2 pages and fell asleep. I woke when the sun went permanently behind the clouds, came in to lay down on the bed and slept for 3 hours.
Hub and I ate around 9:30pm, ham sandwiches, and he is now asleep and I will soon join him. It is 11:30pm.
I am getting much relief and relaxation from writing all this here. Reviewing my day, validating that it WAS hectic, chaotic, confusing, demanding and challenging allows me to let it go. Tomorrow is our first big ship day with 10,000+ passengers possible. I will make it through tomorrow too!!!
Oh and the GLORY HALLELUAH!!! moment of the day? I opened a letter from unemployment to find that they are continuing Hub's unemployment benefits, able to access his 2006 wages which were available for UI, and we will have an unexpected extra $3,000 over the next few weeks coming in.
I am just not patient enough with the Universe. I was dwelling on the dark side these past few days. It is a very dangerous place for me and today was proof of that. Once again I sing :
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him ye people here below
Praise Him above ye Heavenly Hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.