Saturday, August 11

Friday – Enroute

While I waited for Marie to return with the truck, I did the bookkeeping stuff needed to process a shipment; run the credit card charge, go to the ODFL web site and fill out the on-line form to produce a Bill of Lading and print off the required copies, print off a page of shipping labels to go on the crate, update our customer’s file with this information, and send them an e-mailed update notice. Then I affixed the labels to the crate and we were ready to roll.

Yesterday Marie and I fastened a pair of wheeled platforms under the crate so we could move it around more easily. At 425 pounds, it is not something we can just pick up and tote from here to here. One of these gave up the ghost as we moved it through the tool room door out to the dock, and left a trail of plastic wheel parts as we went. It was one I made long ago using cheap furniture casters and just wasn’t up to this kind of weight, so we dropped it off and I used the strap to make a sort of harness so I could lift that end of the crate and carry it from a standing position. Marie pushed and helped to steer the other end.

Our mission was to move the crate out the door onto the dock then turn it 90 degrees to load it into the truck. Flatlanders would have built the dock so that things could move straight out the door and into the truck, but because our shop is built on a narrow shelf carved into the slope of a mountain side, we don’t have that option. The truck must come in parallel to the workshop. Our “loading dock” is not large, we don’t have a forklift or a warehouse. But then, we don’t need these things.

Once it was in the truck we strapped it in tightly for the trip out Highway 25/70 to White Pine. Along the way we will use the Walters’ Bridge to cross over Douglas Lake. Joyce has been worried about doing this ever since the bridge collapse in Minneapolis and the media’s constant reporting on how many bridges around the country are in deplorable condition. Locally, reports have been made stating that the only bridge in that kind of shape is the one Interstate 40 uses to cross the lake; it’s in worse shape than the Minneapolis bridge was because they can’t close it for maintenance. The Walter’s bridge is fine. So we have another reason to stay off the Interstates.

Upon entering the Old Dominion Freight Lines yard we feel dwarfed by the hundreds of semi tractor-trailers parked here but we proceed to the receiving building, with which we are quite familiar by now. After processing our paperwork the dispatcher sent this large burly fellow and a forklift and operator out to unload the crate and take it up into the huge freight dock. It is now out of our hands and on it’s way.

It is our custom to celebrate a job well done by taking a little time off on the way back home. This time we picked up some sandwiches and went to a boat launch area at Douglas Lake for a tailgate picnic. The most distant mountain in this picture (right) is English Mountain. On the other side of English Mountain is the city of Newport, beyond that is the Pigeon River, and on the other side of that are Rocky Top, Big Piney, Little Piney, Stone Mountains lined up roughly parallel to English Mountain. We live and work about half-way up Little Piney Mountain.

As the sun slid down behind the trees on the other side of the lake, we packed up our picnic and headed for home. Whenever we finish a job and head for White Pine, we feel sort of like parents sending a child off to college. It’s a good thing, but a little poignant as well.

If we were to pick one or two products and “manufacture” them, we probably would not feel this way. We’d be turning out a product. But when nearly every piece we build is a custom designed, hand crafted creation, we send a little of ourselves out with each piece. Yes we are concerned for it’s safety; hoping it arrives safely, hoping Blake & Marilyn don't have too much trouble getting it into their home, but it’s more than that. We also hope that Blake and Marilyn will be pleased with their new curio cabinet and that it will become a cherished addition to their home. A part of their family. Something to be passed down from one generation to the next.

It is silly to be so sentimental over some wood and glass, but I guess that’s just the artist in me.
And that completes this adventure. Next week we begin a new one. See you then!

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