Dale Sackrider turned 40!

What’s special about 40? I have never really made birthday’s an important event in my life. But turning forty seemed like an important one. I understand some of the hype. I’m twentish years into my working life with another twenty years left (I hope)… So half way through my career. Most of us don’t live to be 80, so I’m likely more than half way through my life.

I knew I would change the world when I was twenty. At the very least I would get rich and famous by the time I was as old as 40, right? Then the thirties come and I spent the entire decade with my head down, working, raising kids, buying houses and a couple cars, and paying bills. Then before I realize what’s happened, I look up and bam! I’m turning 40.

I’ve never considered myself to be an ambitious man, but I find myself asking ambitious questions: what have I done with my life? What impact have I made on the world? This is when many others seem to settle into the things they have accomplished. I have a good career. I’ve been married over 18 years to a woman I love deeply. I have three beautiful kids with another on the way.

Oh yeah, some of you may not know that…yup, we’re pregnant!

But is that enough? Working and raising a family. It’s ordinary. There’s nothing wrong with ordinary, right? Many might even call it extraordinary when “grading on a curve”.

Ambitious men don’t grade on a curve and they are not satisfied with ordinary. But I’ve never considered myself to be ambitious. So what am I looking for in the number 40?

I honestly don’t know. I am more ambitious than I care to admit. I want more, but I’m not certain what I want more of. This feels like the stuff of midlife crisis. I don’t care to buy a sports car. I’m not looking to quit my job and finally “chase my dream” of joining the circus. But still… I want more of something.

I have no clever end to this post. No conclusions that grant you closure as you read this post. Just a sense of wonder maybe… What’s next?

I honestly don’t know.

Why I’ll never use PODS again

My wife and I just closed on a new house last week! Its an exciting time for us and we used the PODS service to store our belongings and move them to the new house. But yesterday, when the PODS were delivered – things went south fast.

Our drive way isn’t big enough for both PODS, so the drivers told me they had to put one on the street. I said OK and went inside to tell Stephanie that the PODS were here. When I came back out, they asked me to sign a waiver of my rights because one of the PODS were being left on a public street. Basically the form said PODS wouldn’t be responsible if the POD itself were damaged while on the street. My neighborhood is still under construction – trucks come in an out all day. I wasn’t comfortable signing the waiver and said no. I asked what my options were and the driver said they would have to take one POD back.

Ok – that’s not a big deal – but I didn’t want to pay for a second delivery fee. The driver said he would talk to the second driver (apparently the senior guy) to find out what the situation would be. I went inside to tell Stephanie that one of the PODS would have to be delivered later.

When I came back out, the senior driver was on the phone with his boss and the first driver told me I wouldn’t be “double charged” for delivery, but that I would have to pay a cancellation fee. When I asked how much that was, the senior guy gets off the phone with his boss and was visibly annoyed.

He said the POD was “heavy” and he believed it damaged his truck. He continued saying that if my POD was over 10,000 lbs, that I would be liable for the damage. I said “I don’t understand – its just boxes and furniture.” I felt like he was creating a new issue because I didn’t want to sign the waiver of  my rights and I asked him, “Are you f-cking with me because I didn’t sign the waiver?” The first driver chuckled and gave what I considered to be a head nod in acknowledgement that I was right.

The senior driver replied, “No, I have to go weight the POD and if its over 10k lbs, you are liable for my truck. At this point, this isn’t about the waiver – if its overweight, this isn’t going to happen bro!”

Bro? I’m not his bro and he is clearly upset. I replied – “I don’t understand. What does ‘this isn’t going to happen’ mean?”

He said, “you aren’t getting your POD.”

What? Like, period? Is he threatening to keep my family photos, clothes, and kids bed frames? Now I start to panic. “How did you guys pick it up without an issue if its overweight? Seriously, is this because of the waiver? What do we have to do to make this right?”

He asked me to look at the bed of his truck and pointed to something – but it just looked like a truck bed to me. He said “that’s because of your POD”. I came to the conclusion that I’m not getting my stuff (at least not that day, maybe never?). “Ok – I guess I don’t have any options – drop off the one POD and go weigh that one.” I said, hoping that a PODS manager would contact me afterward with a calm head and reasonable options.

I went inside to tell Stephanie we weren’t getting the second POD. I waited for a few minutes, hoping they were dropping off the POD and leaving before I went back out, but when I stepped out my door, they were still there and the senior driver yells to get my attention, “Hey!”

He jogs up to me with a clip board in hand. “Listen bro – I don’t feel its safe to drive the heavy POD back, so we are going to leave both here – but you have to sign the waiver.”

WHAT? Seriously – I felt like the entire weight thing was just to strong arm me into signing away my rights, but at this point, I’d be happy just to get my stuff and be done with PODS. I sign the waiver under duress that I would never get my stuff if I don’t because of his comment ‘this isn’t going to happen bro”.

They leave both PODS and I unload them both over the next few hours. In hind sight – I shouldn’t have been concerned – I had 57 boxes, three kids beds, a treadmill and a heavy bag with stand and a couple small book shelves. Even if the boxes weighed 100lbs each, I wasn’t over 10k lbs. I’d guess the average weight of one of the boxes was about 30lbs.

At this point – I’m thinking that the whole ordeal is just an unpleasant exchange with a driver – but then my wife gets a call from PODS. Apparently the driver told his manager that my POD damaged his truck and we would be liable. He told his manager that I begged to have him drop off the POD because I didn’t want it weighed. He clearly didn’t say “oh and I threatened that he would never get his stuff back if I left with his POD”. I was out of the house when this call happened, so the office staff told Stephanie they would call back when I was home.

First – my POD wasn’t over 10k lbs. Second, how do we know the truck wasn’t damaged before he picked up my POD? Why did he agree to drop off the POD without weighing it? I had already gone into the house after he said he was leaving – I never asked him after that to leave the POD – I had already considered it a lost conversation.

The PODS are both empty and waiting to be picked up – scheduled for Saturday. If and when I ever move again and if I need portable storage – there are several companies that provide that service. I won’t use PODS ever again.

If they pick these things up with no further contact – then I’m leaving this behind me and moving forward, but I have a feeling this isn’t over.

Hi… I’m still here, but changed.

Its been a long time since I’ve actively used this blog. But I’m still here. Most of my non-work related online time is spent on facebook. I’ve changed a lot of my views over the years and there is a tendency to remove old content that I’ve created that I no longer believe or agree with. I’ve decided not to do that.

We don’t get to erase our past. We don’t get to undo our actions. Even if I could remove the posts and facebook updates and emails and IMs and  text messages that I’ve sent over the years, I can’t undo the impact I’ve had on people with those communications. I’m not suggesting that any of my prior communications require apologizes however I have changed and evolved my thinking on politics, social issues, and even my faith (still Christian).

I believe those changes are typical of the human experience. As we age, we find ourselves examining our assumptions and our thoughts from our youth. The one reflection I have been rolling over in my mind lately is how the digital age has made the documentation of those changes common place for many more people than ever before.

I believe more people interact on social sites like facebook than previously kept journals or diaries. And having those thoughts made public, interactive even – impacts the content creator’s thoughts in a way a personal diary never could have. What impact does that have on us?

Its been said that youth is wasted on the young. Anyone my age certainly begins to understand that phrase in ways we never could in our twenty’s. Our experiences shape us and now due to social media, our inner thoughts are no longer alone, but joined with hundreds, thousands, even millions of others. Can social media have a disruptive effect on the natural process of acquiring wisdom through time and experience?

And when I say disruptive – I don’t mean it negatively (or positively). If you change the course of a river, that is disruptive to the natural order, but depending on that change, the results could be fantastic or tragic.

Has social media changed you? Have you ever deleted content you created because you no longer think as you did when you created it?