Friday, October 15, 2021

They Might as Well Hitch The Pony to a Wagon

The Pony could be more efficient if he was harnessed to a buggy. To a surrey (fringe missing from the top, of course). Or in keeping with the current newness of the post office vehicles, an Oklahoma Sooner prairie schooner kind of wagon. At least it would be dependable transportation for The Pony and his mail. 

The LLV (Long Life Vehicle) that The Pony was issued on Tuesday must have been on its 10th life. I got a text from him at 11:51. It was a picture:

"This is a problem. Gear shifter came off."

Well. Yes. That IS a problem. The lever came right out of the column. The Pony said he could put the lever back in, and change gears, but that lever would not stay. It kept falling out. The Pony called back to the post office, and the manager sent a mechanic. Not a USPS mechanic, but the local guy from the shop that always has 2-3 LLVs in the driveway, near the Sis-Town Casey's, cattycorner from the pawn shop where Hick does business.

The mechanic put the lever back in, and used some kind of bolt thingy to hold it on, according to The Pony. So I don't have the technical specs, due to Pony-speak. So he could continue his route. However... another pitfall awaited.

"Somebody put barbed wire by their mailbox! I think I know which one it was. I had made a stop, and before I got very far, I heard a noise coming from my back tire. When I went around to look, there was a coil of barbed wired wrapped around the axle twice. It took a while to get it off--"

"Didn't that cut up your hands?"

"Not too bad. I got it loose. I kept watching that tire, and it was going flat. Not all the way flat, but not full. Before I clocked out, I left a note on the steering wheel for the lady who usually drives that LLV, telling her she should probably check that tire, because I thought it was going flat from running over barbed wire."

The Pony was thrilled on Wednesday to get one of the two new mini vans to deliver packages, and not for foot delivery house-to-house. It had AIR CONDITIONING! And, I'm presuming, a working gear shifter, and a working horn, and four inflated tires. PLUS, The Pony only worked 10.5 hours! Not 12. It's the little things, people. The little things.

Anyhoo... The Pony said that on Wednesday, he saw the LLV's regular driver, and mentioned that tire. She said that she'd been having trouble with it for a while. That it kept losing air. So she didn't think the barbed wire wrap-around had much to do with it. She said she was going to report the tire, and have the mechanic pull it off and see if it had a slow leak.

I think The Pony has 54 hours so far this week, with one more day left before the next work week starts. He has not mentioned a day off... At least he had the Monday paid holiday off, which some people did not. Although for The Pony, a regular 8-hour day is a pay cut.


  1. Pony is a workhorse. That fellow needs a repreive from MUVs, messed up vehicles.

    1. The Pony acts like it's Christmas morning when he's given one of the two new vans to drive for the day!

  2. I am confused. Why IS Pony working for the Post Office?

    1. The Pony graduated from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!) in Spring 2020, when all the lockdowns and VIRUS hysteria hit. In fact, his graduation was changed to a VIRTUAL graduation at the last minute.

      After nine months of job-searching for a position utilizing his degree in Chemical Engineering, The Pony garnered only two interviews, both virtual by ZOOM or something.

      We got a mass mail postcard from the USPS, advertising rural carrier positions. The Pony applied online, to pacify Hick and me, who said ANY job while looking for a career was better than NO job. He was hired, sight unseen, and uninterviewed, with only references, a driving record, and fingerprints. Not for a rural carrier, but as a City Carrier Assistant. Entry-level work, but guaranteed a conversion to a regular carrier after a max of two years. Most CCAs in his office make it within less than a year, due to turnover.

      I know the current pace will eventually slack off, but The Pony worked 69 hours THIS WEEK. Such a rate would put him making 1.5 my annual teaching salary at the time I retired with 28 years experience. He's still searching for chemical engineer jobs online, when he has time...

  3. Broken shifter, flat can't keep the Pony Express down.

    1. Okay, now you've got that Alabama song in my head:

  4. I'm still extremely shocked at the condition of those LLV's, the Post Office, a Government Department, is willingly putting lives in danger.
    I am glad The Pony had a newer air conditioned vehicle this week, perhaps they have recognised his value as a worker.

    1. If I remember right, what The Pony found out during orientation: the LLVs are from the 1980s, and were planned to last for 20 years of service. So they've gotten double that out of them, and it shows.

      I guess there's not enough time to keep them in great shape, since The Pony says sometimes his schedule depends on whether there's an LLV available. His office is overworked and understaffed. If it rolls, it goes out on a route!

      The Pony is near the bottom of the workers pecking order. He gets the dregs of the LLV pool. I don't know their scheduling logic. Sometimes, an LLV is designated to a certain route, and whoever covers the route gets that one. I think The Pony was 9th on the seniority list of CCAs when he started, and is now at #4, due to a promotion, a firing, and some quits.