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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Pizza Delivery Tip #2

Avoid road rage by hitting it head on.

Along with the many hours of repetitive experience driving to and from the restaurant comes a familiarity with every detail of virtually every possible scenario of the placement of other vehicles on the road and their variable speed of travel. In other words, you become what others may decide is an "aggressive driver", but really you're just a calculating and controlled master of driving efficiency. These calculations may lead you to make driving maneuvers that others find unfair, dangerous, or at the least, impolite.

When I left the restaurant and was turning right (east) out of the parking lot it wasn't uncommon for there to be no one coming. The grassy area between the store and the road left ample room to see if any cars were coming while approaching the road and if none were seen there was no need to come to a full and complete stop before entering the street. After all, it's a parking lot and no stop signs are present to require such a meaningless usage of the brakes.

On one such occasion, I pulled out without stopping and watched a small Mazda pickup start to leave Sonic's parking lot and then abruptly stop upon seeing me coming. As you can see from the satellite image on the right Sonic is located just east of Pizza Hut and by my pulling out without stopping, the driver of the Mazda chose to feel like I had cheated him by pulling out as if it had not been my turn to do so. He began to tailgate me even though I was doing almost five over the limit, so I decided to teach him a lesson. No, I didn't brake check him. That's not safe and it can get people hurt. I slowed to about 10 miles per hour and let him stew for about a minute. Then, I made my turn and took off back to a normal pace.

My turn was to a back roads shortcut to a neighborhood that is only reached otherwise by a slight double-backing of street choices. Few people took the back roads even though it was slightly faster and always less busy. I popped out on McCracken Road about 150 yards ahead of the Mazda who was apparently going the same direction.

I suspect that the driver of the Mazda, after having gone a different route than me, must have started to get the "shoulda" regrets. You know? "I shoulda told that guy..." or "I shoulda taught that guy a lesson by..." Remorse had set in and maybe even some embarrassment received from his friend in the passenger seat, but when my car entered the road in front of him for the second time he wasn't going to let this good fortune pass him by without acting on it. He closed the substantial distance in a matter of seconds and was back to riding my bumper and even more aggressively this time obviously expecting some sort of confrontation. I payed him no mind and continued making my turns toward the customer's house.

I found my destination and after pulling in the driveway the truck stopped across the street. I couldn't let a drama play out in front of the customer so I decided to just deal with these guys first. I remembered my friend, Dustin's, advice about being the first to make a move and therefore controlling the situation so I went for it. I walked fast and purposefully over to the truck and calmly but with some force asked, "You guys have some sort of problem?"

The driver looked like he was debating on whether or not to get out but I made it to his door first and with both hands on the open window frame, I put my face down near his and told him he needed to quit his tailgating, start his truck back up, and leave. While saying this, I smelled the beer on their breath. They appeared to be a couple of construction workers and from what I gathered had probably been drinking most of the day on the job site. The driver started to say something about me not stopping, but I cut him off with, "You better not be here when I come back." With that, I went back to the car and started getting the pizza bag without actually bringing it out of the car. They left.

This situation could have gone much different. So, I, in no way, am advising anyone to use this method. However, it turned out to be great advice to me for the particular confrontation that I had.

In conclusion, realize that efficient, calculated driving can bring about some unwanted rage from time to time. Not everybody appreciates your skill. Maybe, if I had just simply waved an apologetic hand, the entire scenario might have been diffused from the start? In all likelihood, yes.

Successful Marketing

The other day I was in Walmart picking up a few items. We've almost completely cut Walmart out of our shopping practices, but still go there for certain things like hygiene products and randomly needed items like copy paper. I was picking up some tortilla chips when I spotted this bag of Krunchers. A new flavor!

I immediately said in a very excited, not so quiet voice, "Ooh, I bet these taste good." I would have typed an exclamation point on that quote because the first part of the sentence definitely deserved it, however I started to fade out on "good." I had suddenly become keenly aware that there were three other shoppers in the aisle with me. All of whom, I might add, turned my direction right as I was finishing my sentence. I dared not look anyone in the face, but knew from my peripheral vision that single eyebrows were being raised while simultaneously the eyes just below them were traveling down and back up me looking for other evidence that confirms that I was truly a dork.

You must understand my excitement, though. I'm not a big chip eater. I rarely ever eat them. But, I love Krunchers. Mesquite BBQ, Original, Jalapeno, I don't care. Just give them to me. I also love onions. I put them in almost everything I cook. What a great vegetable!

I don't have any real preference to any Hawaiian flavor that I am aware of, but it sure does sound good for some reason.

I didn't buy the chips. I have my reasons. But, I would like to commend their makers for the wonderfully packaged product that caught my attention and got me so excited that I even embarrassed myself.

Pizza Delivery Tip #1

Introduction: The other day I remembered a funny story from a long time ago that I thought that I better write down before I forget about it again. And, what better way to help me remember than to write a blog about it so that everyone else in the world can help remember it for me. Upon deciding to write about it, though, I realized that I have a bunch of crazy stories from those days and that it might serve better as a beginning to a short series of blogs in the format of suggestions to pizza delivery drivers. I hope you enjoy them, whether you aspire to the pizza delivery industry or not.

TIP #1 - The way to a pizza eating person's heart (wallet) is through their dog.

In my many years of experience (two) of delivering pizzas, I tried many different tactics to woo my customers into being more and more generous with their gratuities. One of my many profitable tools was memorizing dog's names. See, dogs always come to the door when a guest arrives. Especially when that guest just so happens to be carrying several pounds worth of steamy, cheesy, saucy, meat and vegetables all held together by a crust baked to golden perfection. Immediately, you, the pizza deliverer, become the dog's newest favorite person. Why not capitalize on that new friendship?

Imagine being in the customer's shoes for a second. This should be easy to do. We've all ordered a pizza before, right? Well, now imagine that you love dogs and that you love your dog who you've named Charlotte, but affectionately refer to as Charlie. You ordered a pizza. You expect to pay the driver when he arrives and you even plan on giving a reasonable tip as long as the pizza arrives on time and is in one piece (or eight, get it?). The door bell rings. You open the door. A quick exchange of greetings happen between you and the driver. Your dog runs to the door and stops by your side as the driver unexpectedly says, "Oh, hi there Charlie! How are you tonight? Ready for some pizza?"

Suddenly, a camaraderie takes place as the driver seems more like a friend of the family stopping by rather than some random employee. Time and time again, I watched as the dog's owner would go grab another dollar or two to add to the tip they already had ready and waiting for the average delivery driver.

This tip seemed foolproof. But foolishness has a way of rearing its ugly head despite overwhelming odds against it. Allow me to give an example. I delivered a single pizza to a residence somewhat early in the evening one night at work. A lady probably in her late fifties or so opened the door and out bounded a little gray and white dog I recognized and addressed adoringly by it's name. I, then, looked up to see the lady's face turn quizzical, then maybe a little confused, to somewhat suspicious. I was wondering why she was looking at me like that when it occurred to me that I had never been at this particular house before. So, I started to apologize for having mistook the dog when she interrupted me to ask how it was that I knew her daughter's dog. I was still confused about whether or not the dog was who I thought it was or not. So, I didn't immediately respond.

Finally, I explained that her daughter must order a lot of pizzas or something, but it was clear that my hesitation combined with my lack of a likely story failed to convince her that it was an innocent situation. She had to write the check out still because I had caught her off guard since it hadn't even been twenty minutes from when she had placed her order. So I had to wait there awkwardly for a minute while she explained that she was dog-sitting her daughter's dog while her and her husband were out of town. I couldn't help but notice a slight emphasis on the "husband" part. It all just got really clear to me, suddenly. She thought that I had something inappropriate going on with her daughter. Rather than trying to diffuse the situation I just remained polite, took the check made out for the exact amount (no tip), and left.

I can't imagine that this situation could ever be recreated, but just for safety's sake it might be helpful to not only remember dog's names, but also the home in which you saw them at.

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