rainbow over Mooresville

Today I drove to Mooresville, as I do each and every Tuesday — 52 weeks a year.

I drop off our paper — Coffee News — with Eric.  Eric delivers the papers for us there.  He’s been doing this for us faithfully for a few years — 52 weeks a year.

Often I’m busy.  Often Eric is busy.  So I drop the papers on his porch and boogie down the road.

But sometimes we have time to visit for a few minutes.  Today we did.

It’s always a pleasure.  Usually, like today, I yak too much.  Eric is a good listener.

I need to be a better listener.

Today, while I talked and we loaded papers, shortly before dusk, there was a soft rain falling.

He noticed a fairly impressive double rainbow.

He had to tell me about the rainbow three times.  I ran my mouth endlessly about my car repairs and it took a little repetition on his part before this registered.

I appreciate his persistence.  When he finally got my attention and I stopped talking and looked, it was worth a moment.

Sometimes I need a little help.  Thanks, Eric.

I pointed the iPhone and took a couple of pictures.

rainbow 1
rainbow over Mooresville
rainbow 2
rainbow over Mooresville 2
rainbow 3
rainbow over Mooresville 3

Want an iPad, but I do have an Eye Pad

I do have some new Eye Pads, but not an iPad.

I’d like to get an iPad and certainly will, eventually.

my iphone
my iphone

When the iPhone came out, it was too expensive. A few months after release, they lowered the price $200 and I got one then. Since then, the price is still lower, although the fee for data is higher. I’ve still got the original 2g (over 2 and half years). The 2g data costs less, and it works too well to upgrade — although I probably will get a new one if this one breaks, or, most likely, when the next generation is released, probably this summer.

Apple iPad

This is just to say that I think what we hear is true, that the iPad, and similar devices, will enjoy exploding popularity just as smartphones did — and will soon be the first choice for reading textbooks, books, magazines, and newspapers.

And I want one too.

Is it vulgar to love a company and the hyped-up products that company makes? Perhaps.  Perhaps not. Life is short. I’ve used and enjoyed Apple products since my first Apple IIe in 1982.

But money is tight these days, so I’ll have settle for a lesser but still awesome eye pad:   Visine Total Eye Soothing Wipes.

I just discovered the eye pads a few weeks ago. I don’t know if they’re selling as fast as iPhones and iPads, but the last time I checked, Walgreens was out. I had to go to Walmart, where I bought the last three they had on their shelves.

I badly strained my eyes in 2006, while editing my feature indie film, Coffee Therapy.

Since 1982, I’ve spent many hours a day staring at computer monitors, but I think that film is what really did it. Editing video is a little different from writing. The stuff is small, the changes minute, and one has a tendency to work for hours at a time without looking up, and forgetting to blink. (BTW, Coffee Therapy is, of course, available on DVD).

I also spend much of my time handling paper and ink. I often do this while using a computer — going back and forth from printing to writing — and I’ve got a bad habit of rubbing my eyes. Not a good combination.

I guess I should not have ignored my grandmother’s stern commands.  She told me, many many times, “Stop rubbing your eyes!”

Thus, I’ve got a little problem with blepharitis, and the best treatment for this is scrubbing the eyelids with a warm washcloth several times a day.

I find the eye pads more convenient than washcloths, and I can take them into my office and into my car.

But I still want an iPad.

Location, Location, Location

Like everything else, the secret to Coffee News readership is location, location, location.

The placement of the stand inside the restaurant is crucial to the paper’s readership. When a lot of people see it, some of them will grab it. If they read it once, they are likely to read it again, and again, and again.

If they never see it, they never read it.

Here are a couple of pictures I took last week while delivering Coffee News in Concord, NC.

Coffee News Location 1

Delivery 2

Coffee News Location 2

Notice how, in both restaurants, our stand has a special location, adorned by flowers. Both are located at the entrance.

I don’t want a busy-body in the corporate office to read this blog, call the local store, complain about “corporate policy,” get somebody in trouble and get our paper kicked-out — so I’m not disclosing the name of the restaurants here.

Suffice it to say that both of these pictures were taken inside major national chain restaurants — the biggest of the big.

Both of these locations were challenging at first to get into at all. Some of this chain’s locations still will not let us in now.

At first, the stands were located in much harder-to-find areas. in one case, it was on a messy window ledge full of brochures and business cards and postcards (all clean now).

Who moved them to these perfect, prime locations?

I have no idea. Somebody in the restaurant did this months ago.

How did we get such great locations?

1. Longevity. We’ve been delivering to these locations for three and a half years.
2. Consistency. We’ve never missed a week.
3. Fun, positive material in Coffee News.
4. Smile and a wave from the delivery person (one per week).

Yuck! Fat free half and half!

Tonight, I had a cup of coffee with fat free half and half.  Couldn’t drink it.

What’s the point of fat free half and half?  Wouldn’t fat free milk do the trick?

Isn’t this misleading?  The essence of half and half is in the name itself:  half milk and half cream.

The reason for using half and half is for the cream.  Cream contains fat.  I know it’s not the healthiest food in the world, but my coffee is worth a splash or two anyway.  It tastes good.

Even a bad cup of coffee can taste pretty good with enough half and half.

Fat free half and half is not half anything.  There are no halves.  In other words, it’s not half and half!

I’m guessing the ingredients in the fat free version are not so healthy either.

It should be called fat free coffee creamer — and come in a different looking box.

Counting steps while delivering Coffee News

My wife and I support the household by publishing Coffee News, a free, weekly paper — available in restaurants. It’s a franchise, and a fun business, and a good bit of work. We do our own graphics and printing, which generally takes the better part of our weekends. But we get to do this work at home, and we enjoy it.

steps delivering Coffee News on Oct. 1, 2009
steps delivering Coffee News on Oct. 1, 2009

For the past year, we’ve hired out our delivery. We’re still doing so in some areas, but times being what they are, many small business owners are watching their expenses and doing more of the work themselves.

We’re no different.

A few weeks ago, we started delivering our own papers in Salisbury — and last week we added the routes in Concord and Kannapolis. That’s getting close to 350 deliveries.

Knocked it out in two days last week. They were long days. This week, we’ll probably make it a three day job.

I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s given me a chance to see a lot of people, improve our distribution by adding new restaurants to the route, and improve the locations of our stands inside the restaurants.

I’ve also put out a lot of new stands, replacing many that were broken or dirty.

I’ve still managed to answer the phone and sell new ads.

But most of all, it’s good exercise.

My New Year’s resolution was to walk 10,000 steps a day in 2009. It’s October now, and I haven’t missed a day.

Once, I had a problem of some kind with my stomach. It gurgled and it hurt, all day. I spent most of the time on the couch, watching TV and sleeping. The walking was tough that day, but I still got the 10k.

Another day, I had a tooth pulled, took some pills for the pain, and didn’t think I’d feel like walking. I was surprised to find that I had a very nice walk in the woods that day. The weather was beautiful and I had a good buzz from the pills.

And there were those days, in the heat of summer, that I was out walking at midnight and the pedometer’s date changed to the next day — at midnight — before the device registered 10k. I still finished the steps, but it wasn’t reflected on the pedometer. I had to do a little math the next day in order to make sure I got the whole 10k and stayed on track.

In July, I got the bright idea to set the time on the pedometer two hours early. As long as I’m done with the steps by 2am, nobody knows the difference and the reading feels 100% legitimate.

Last week, both Thursday and Friday, I got well over 13,000 delivering our papers.

When I was working in the schools, as a technology facilitator, I often walked quite a few steps in the computer lab — and to various computers and printers in classrooms and hallways in the school building. I wore a pedometer then, too — and often registered between 6k and 8k steps per day.

I’ve gotten as few as 8k delivering Coffee News. Once, I challenged myself by deliberately parking a short distance from the locations and got 17k.

10k is a good number. 13k left me a little tired.

Morning Coffee

Had an interesting exchange with Michael Davidson this morning on Facebook:

exchange with Michael
exchange with Michael

Sam:  Barely moving so far today. Always been a slow starter.
Michael: me too.
Michael: on my third cup of coffee… the first two haven’t kicked in. hoping the third will.
Sam:  My first is sitting in the kitchen. All I have to do is get up and go get it. Haven’t yet.
Michael: don’t you still have kids at home, or have they all left the nest? yell for one of them to get it.
Sam:  One is still here, but 16 year old modern girls don’t appreciate such requests.
Michael:  true. guess you’re on your own.

Something I didn’t mention here is that not only did my wife make that cup of coffee for me, but she reminded me, after noticing how immobile I was for quite some time — that “The coffee’s ready!”

Moments after Michael and I had this conversation, my daughter entered the room.

“Call my cellphone,” she said. “I can’t find it.”

Well, the cellphone was a couple of feet away, on the coffee table.

“There it is,” I said. “You call it.”

She tried, then gave me the phone.

“It’s not calling. You do it.”

That’s when I seized the opportunity.

“I will if you get me a cup of coffee,” I said.

“No way,” she said. “That’s not a fair trade.”

See what I mean, Michael?

(BTW, I’m proud of my daughter)