Sunday, January 29, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

New ban on Cell Phones for Commercial Drivers

In November U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a new rule "specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles".  I have not seen any press or announcements about this new rule but it affects many companies including a-fabco.  

The rule goes on to state: "The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial drivers would be affected by this final rule."

While I agree with the ban it will definitely affect our deliveries.  It will require us to always have two people on deliveries at all times.  Most of our customers request a 30 or 60 minutes heads up before delivering to their jobsite and if we only schedule the driver with no helper that will mean he has to pull over every time he makes that phone call.

I am curious if anyone else heard about this change?  If so are you making any changes to your current delivery policy?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It is Invasion Weekend!

I moved to Tampa, in January, 16 years ago.  Imagine my surprise when after just a few weeks of living here I was told we were going to be invaded by Pirates!  And quite the invasion it was...and is.  Pirates seem like a bizarre source of celebration, at least to me, yet for Tampa it works.


Gasparilla started in 1904 when a group of Tampa businessmen dressed up as pirates (left over from Mardi Gras) and rode through the City on horseback to celebrate May Day. They named themselves the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla after the famed pirate Jose' Gaspar.  It was so well received that next year "all of Tampa's 60 cars" participated.

This year Tampa celebrates Gasparilla with parades, a pageant, running (from the pirates I would assume) & truly one of the best Art Shows I have ever attended.

     2012 Events

Though it seems to be all about beads, parties and parades there is a serious side to the more than 50 Krewe's who participate each year.   Each Krewe has a mission and the majority of those missions are about helping others.  In 2004 Ye Notorious Krewe of the Peg Leg Pirate was created and their mission is to "assist amputees, their families and organizations that work with amputees".  I hadn't realized we had so many soft hearted pirates in Tampa but we do.

If you are in town this weekend or any of the dates listed above I would highly recommend donning an eye patch and joining in the fun and frolic.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Part of my Job

I received an interesting phone call last week from the job superintendent (JS) that was in charge of the Winthrop school project that I provided doors, frames and hardware on last Fall.  If you don't remember the blog post here is a refresher.   At the time the GC was building two schools concurrently and had given the doors, frames and hardware scope to two different distributors.  The JS called me because he was receiving several phone calls from the school I didn't get that the levers on the locks were breaking. Was the same thing happening at Winthrop?  No it wasn't.  The JS wanted to know why.  I asked him to email me the Hardware Schedule from the other school so I could review what type of locksets were supplied.  After some investigation the hardware distributor supplied exactly what was specified.  I had not however.  

When I originally quoted the project I felt the Grade 2 lockset specified were not a good fit for a school application.  This is the description from the manufacturer's website: cost-effective performance for entrance doors and interior passages where heavy duty levers may not be required. This keyed lever lock is especially designed for both light/medium commercial and multi-housing applications.  Based on my experience a school is exactly where heavy duty locks are required and to be fair the manufacturer specified offered heavy duty locksets.  I quoted & submitted a different Grade 2 Lockset with a lifetime warranty and had the free wheeling clutch built into the lever.  Pricing didn't come into play either as the locks I submitted were actually less expensive than the locksets specified.  I made sure to take a sample of the lock I wanted to supply with me to the first jobsite meeting so the Architect could physically look at it and hold it to better understand why I was requesting this change.  He approved the lock and that is what I supplied.  

I am not writing this post to bash architects either.  I admire architects and wouldn't want to do their jobs.  The knowledge they need to know to design a building and meet all the codes is overwhelming to me.  In my opinion part of my job as a supplier is to communicate to the GC and/or Architect if I see something on the plans or in the specifications, for my scope, that doesn't make sense.  We all have the same goal - to provide a safe building that meets code with good longstanding material that the end user is happy with.  

I am disappointed that the other distributor didn't step up.  At this point I have provided a quote to change out all the classroom locks at the other school.  This will entail extra expense, time and a major inconvenience to the school that could have been avoided.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Half a Century - Really?

Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic. This week LetsBlogOff asks the question  what would you change if you could turn back time? 

This year marks a milestone birthday for me and honestly I am having a bit of a time wrapping my brain around this number.   I am currently the age my mother was when she was diagnosed with lung cancer after smoking all of her adult life (don't smoke!).  In a few months I will be the same age as my mom when she died so I have been thinking about the past a lot recently.  

I think we all have had moments when perhaps we acted less than honorable and wish we could take back the hurtful words flung in anger or hurt.  It is part of being human and though I can't change my past actions I certainly can analyze those reactions and change my future actions.  But would I change something major in my past life?  Not really.  Love, money and people have all come and gone but I wouldn't be who I am today without experiencing all those good and bad moments.
I can take those lessons and begin each day anew.  I can make the time to work on my creative side.  I can choose to capture that big voice of fear and work to make it nary a squeak.   I can choose to see myself as my friends see me.  My wonderful caring friends who wouldn't keep me in their lives if I wasn't also wonderful and caring.  I can encourage other women to be their best.  I can relish in the amazing technology that has transpired in my lifetime that has allowed me to meet new people across the globe all via Social Media.  I can look at the lines on my face and know I came by them honestly. 

"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it"  Golda Meir

Please take some time to read what the other participants in LetsBlogOff shared about looking back

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What do you see?

I took this photo of a glass globe yesterday.  What do you see in it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mobile Hot Labs

I know I have talked about architectural doors & finish hardware before on this blog since that is my main biz but a-fabco actually offers the non lead doors as a compliment to all the lead products we manufacturer.  I want to share with you one of our coolest - a mobile hot lab which can be installed in either vans or trailers.

This is the marketing blurb on it:
Many heath care facilities have stationary hot lab work stations for radioisotope / PET unit dose usage and storage, but did you know we can put wheels on it? That’s right we can build a mobile hot lab work station to allow you to take the medicine to the people who need it most.

PET Trailer 
Van Mobile Hot Lab
 Our mobile hot labs are ideal for handling unit doses of high energy radionuclide for PET pharmacies, Gamma and Beta radiation. Our lead brick cave walls are made with an interlocking design to prevent leakage and assures stability. The casework can be shielded on all six sides with up to 2” of lead and can accommodate shielding for flood phantoms and low & high energy decay storage.  The sharp containers are designed to stand on or recess into the countertop and are a construction of steel and up to 2” of lead with a lockable option.

All hardware meets or exceeds heavy duty specifications and all interior casework and drawer exposed surfaces are covered with plastic laminate or stainless steel for easy maintenance.

This is amazing technology that is taken on the road.  The trailer typically parks near a hospital and would use an extension cord to run off the hospital's power.

I admit this technology is beyond my expertise but if seems to me we could do so much more with this.  In my head I keep asking myself what if we modified the design to make this a mobile doctor's office with an x-ray machine to be used in challenged areas of the world.  Would Doctors without Borders or AmeriCares somehow be able to use?  This type of custom medical office on wheels wouldn't be cheap I know but then I think about grants.

I don't have the experience or knowledge to be able to get there and maybe my idea wouldn't work at all but I just wanted to put it out to the universe.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I don't know if it is the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 or just a spurt but I have been doing a lot of de-cluttering.  Going through my drawers, cabinets and closets to make a conscience choice to keep or not an item.

There are a few items that I will never get rid of because of their sentimental value to me.  I thought I would share them with you . If you have some of those same cherished items in your house please share in the comment section below.

Great Aunt Nola

My mom's mother had two sister who I never knew well but loved their names:  Mazie and Nola.  In their later years they lived together and I would chat with them from time to time.  I don't know how it came about but at some point Aunt Nola offered to make me an afghan if I would pay for the materials.  I sent a check and several months later I received a beautiful afghan in the mail.  I don't have a lot of items that have been handed down generation after generation but I cherish this afghan and every winter it goes on the foot of my bed.

Merilyn and Marcia
 My mother-in-law was an amazing woman and I was so blessed to have had her in my life. She was a knitter and decided to make each of her daughter-in-law's a beautiful throw.  She finished my sister-in-law's and had started mine when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She worked on it on and off over the next year but died before she could finish it.  I didn't know much of this until the Christmas after she had died.  It was naturally a tough Christmas but when I opened that box and heard the story that her sister took the throw and completed it I just cried.  Anytime I am sick or sad I wrap this throw around me and feel both their hearts and arms around me.

This crazy item is a candle holder.  My mom would make them for the church bazaar. She would save the tops of spray cans, baking soda cans & jars and turn them into candle holders.  I love it because she made it.

What is in your home?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Teachable Moment

I had an incident happen last night that could have turned very ugly.  Even though I wasn’t one of the two parties involved or was even a witness to the event I was the common denominator.

I offered to help a friend move the files from the old desktop to the new laptop.  I had done it a couple of years ago so felt reasonably confident I could handle it.  Well I couldn’t even get her monitor to turn on.  The green light would be lit for just an instant no matter what I did.  So I texted a person, whom I have known for 10 years and is an IT guru.  I explained the issue and he offered a few different suggestions than I had found online but none of them worked.  IT guru then offered to come out for an incredibly reasonable fee to look at it.  Well it turned out the hard drive wouldn’t even turn on.  The desktop was at least 6 years old and had been sitting on the floor.  It had a lot of dust inside and as my brother constantly tells me dust is the death of an electronic device.  IT guru offered to take the hard drive to his work to see if he could retrieve the information.  At this point I was feeling pretty bad because what was supposed to be a simple job was turning into a lot of hours for all involved.  

During IT guru’s time in desktop friend’s house her dog had given him a sniff and I watched her nip him.  I naturally took the dog away from where IT guru was working.  The dog loves to herd and had on a few past occasions herded some other guests.  The dog wasn’t being aggressive nor did her nip break the skin.  However IT guru shared he had been bitted a few times in the past and wasn’t very comfortable with dogs any longer.

After a few hours IT guru called and said a deep scan seemed to be recovering some of the files but it would need to run for several more hours.  We all were tired and had things to do on Saturday evening.  I was heading about 20 minutes north to enjoy game night at some friend’s home whom had stopped by during the day and was privy to the whole desktop hard drive issue.  IT guru naturally wanted to get paid and I had the money so we arranged to meet at the northern friend’s house because it was on his way home.  I should mention that he was riding a motorcycle with full gear and helmet as was his wife. 

It was dark at this point and my dear northern friends live in a rural area and on a private road.  I had been on the lookout for the motorcycles and when I saw one drive past I immediately headed outside.  I thought I must have been wrong because the 2 motorcycles were down at the end of the cul-de-sac for several minutes but I stayed outside looking at the beautiful moon and getting a lesson in planting pineapples from my friend, the owner of the house.  The two motorcycles head back out and one sees me and stops – it was my IT guru and his wife.  The wife was upset and said a homeowner at the end of the cul-de-sac had threatened to call the police.  The IT guru pulled up and then explained that the homeowner’s dog and come up to him growling and he was very nervous.  Here is where the teachable moment comes in.  He told the homeowner that she should be more careful with her dog and he had a concealed weapons permit.  I paid him and they left quickly.  As my friend and I were walking back toward her house I commented that bringing up even a hint of a gun isn’t a very good idea it will always escalate a situation.  Before we reached the front door the homeowner at the end of the street hailed us.  I wasn’t going to let my friend deal with this alone so we headed down the street.

The homeowner was furious and afraid.  I told her I knew the people on the motorcycles and to please vent to me, not my friend and her neighbor.   What she heard from the IT guru was “I am going to shoot your dog” and I perfectly understood that.  I let her vent through me for several minutes until she calmed down.  I apologized many times.  She ended up hugging me and apologizing for taking her anger at the situation out on me and I told her I was glad she did.  I didn’t want her to have this experience in her head all night long.  When I finally got back into the house I had a phone call from the IT guru apologizing also.

I understand both sides of this situation.  Dog owners forget sometimes that not everyone is a dog lover.  Some people have a real fear of dogs and when a strange dog approaches they do not see it as a cute let me sniff you event.  They think of it as a threat.  I also understand that if a stranger, in front of my house, in full motorcycle gear told me he had a concealed weapons permit I would take it as a threat.  I would have probably tried to clarify the intent before getting that upset but still I get it. 

People are extra stressed these days.  Sometimes they over react to a situation and in my opinion anytime a gun is mentioned the situation has just gotten out of control.  Yes there are some crazy people out there ready to do you harm.  However if someone is overreacting toward you take a breath before you respond.  It might save a life.