One Step Forward... ...two steps back!! Each time I think that John Ferguson Jr. has earned my respect--like signing Kaberle to a long-term deal, refusing to trade Steen, picking up Raycroft, and dumping Belfour and Domi--he does something stupid like RE-SIGNING WADE BELAK!!!
I don't know if all the intelligent wheeling and dealing in the world can make up for re-signing Belak not once, but TWICE when faced with an excellent opportunity to dump him.
Maybe JF Jr. feels like he needs an enforcer type player now that Domi (who was playing a much reduced role anyway) is gone? But surely there are more skillful "grit" players out there than Belak, who's such a defensive liability for the Leafs, by rights their opponents should be paying for some of his salary!!
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH... I don't know if I can take another season of Belak.
Another Signing, and My Adventures with FedEx So I got a call from UpperDeck at around 2pm (EDT) yesterday asking if I'd be free to do a signing today because they needed the cards back tomorrow. Being the obliging person that I am, I agreed, even though it's month end and work is really busy and I should be planning on doing lots of overtime there rather than rushing home to do contract work.
But yes, I agreed, and asked them to FedEx the cards to my workplace instead of my house because I didn't think anyone would be home to sign for them. That turned out to be stressor #1. We have a mailroom and all the mail is supposed to go through them to us so I was worried that the package would get there too late in the afternoon for anyone to want to bother bringing it up to me, and then I'd be screwed. So my co-worker kept calling the mailroom to see if the package had arrived yet, and I kept checking FedEx.com to see where the blasted thing was.
Actually, that was also a bit of a pain because I had forgotten to ask them to email me the tracking number when they called to see if I'd take the job, so I had to call my Upper Deck contact to get the tracking number--LONG DISTANCE (California) on my CELL PHONE. Did I mention that I'd stupidly left my calling card at home?
Anyway, right when my coworker was calling the mailroom for the 10th time, the FedEx guy walked in around 2:45pm--just under an hour before my usual quitting time. *Phew*
As I said, it's month end at work, and a heck load of stuff came in right at 3pm so I stayed until 4pm (1/2hr of overtime) but I had to rush off to catch my 4:30pm train. Everyone else was staying for at least another half hour of overtime. Did I mention that I had to rush off at 4pm yesterday as well (when everyone else was staying again until 4:30pm) to catch a movie with a teacher's college friend?
Caught the 4:30 train no problem. I figured I should be at home by around 5:15pm so I could go to the bathroom, grab packing tape and scissors (so I could drop off the box at FedEx on my way home rather than coming home first and then going back out) and just have some breathing room before heading out for the scheduled 6pm signing. Well, the train was delayed about 15min at one station because they had to go out and manually switch the signals (or something) for the tracks, so I actually ended up getting home at 5:30pm instead. Considering that the guy only lives a 15min drive away from my house, you'd think I'd be cool with the delay, but being the worrywart that I am, I actually got more stressed. I'd planned to leave at least 20-25min before 6pm in case there were any traffic problems (although I was going against the flow of rush hour traffic, so I really needn't have worried) so I actually still had enough time, but I just felt stressed because I didn't have that 20-25min break between getting home and heading back out as I'd planned.
Anyway, I got to the player's house maybe 5-10min early, and the signing went very smoothly, no problems. Oh, and he was probably the nicest guy out of all of them (and that's saying a lot, considering how nice Anthony Stewart was!). I met his dog (who drooled on my black work pants! =P) and we chatted easily throughout the signing. The only minor problem was that included in the box was 2 copies of this form that both he and I were supposed to fill out (separately) and return for tax purposes. At first he wasn't sure if he had all the information, and I KNEW I didn't have an American taxpayer identification number (i.e. a social security number). So I had to call my Upper Deck contact again (long distance, on cell phone, NO calling card, *sigh*) to ask about that. I got lucky though, since he didn't pick up when I called initially, so he called me back instead (hopefully meaning I avoided the long distance charges?), and in between the time that I tried calling and he called me back, the player figured out that he did actually have all the information. I was told that I could just use my Canadian SIN (social insurance number) on the form, and the player was able to ask about getting some of his cards for his dad (a big collector).
*PHEW* So everything worked out very well, and the player even said "good job" and smiled at me as I left!!! WOO HOO!!! Quite the most appreciation I've ever had, and after all the stress, I'd had, it was particularly encouraging.
Oh, but my adventures didn't end there!! Since they wanted the cards back tomorrow if possible, or Saturday at the latest, I had to go to the main FedEx shipping centre in Brampton to drop off the package before the 8pm pickup. Not a problem in terms of timing, since we finished just before 6:30pm, but of course, I had some minor issues finding the place.
First of all, when I Map Quest'ed it, Map Quest didn't actually give me directions to the specific address (6895 Bramalea Road), it just gave me directions to Bramalea Road!! For some reason I didn't notice that when I printed out the map, and of course I needed to send the Map Quest maps with everything else so I could claim my mileage, so even if I'd noticed it before I left for the FedEx, I wouldn't have been able to go home to print off a new map AND make it to the FedEx on time.
But that was a moot point since I didn't notice until I was on the highway and trying to determine where to turn off. Map Quest told me to turn off on Queen Street and to to left (north) onto Bramalea Road, but as I was on the highway, I remembered that the FedEx site had said the nearest intersection was Bramalea and Derry Road--which ended up being a good two or three exits BEFORE Queen Street! So I goofed in following the directions to exit the highway at Queen Street, but luckily I had sufficient sense to go south on Bramalea instead of north (as directed). But as I was driving down Bramalea, I was trying to see building numbers, and as I neared Steeles I saw that I was at number 17 Bramalea, and the numbers were going down!! I freaked a bit and turned into a parking lot to park and call FedEx to confirm that 6895 was indeed at Derry and Bramalea, and not north.
I selected the option to find a FedEx location, but I could only select by postal code, and of course the only postal code I knew was my own, decidely non-Brampton one! So it gave me info on the closest one, and then offered to let me hear about the next location or to choose a different search method. I listened to two more explanations of Mississauga locations before I waited for the ENTIRE option selection spiel and found out that I could simply press '0' to speak to a customer service agent!! D'uh!! So I spoke to someone who very kindly confirmed that I could drop off my package for an 8pm pickup at Bramalea and Derry and that it'd be on my left and I couldn't miss it. With that reassurance, I continued heading south on Bramalea on did indeed manage to find the very clearly and obviously marked FedEx building. (It was about 7pm at this point.)
But that wasn't the end of my difficulties! I saw a sign that said "FedEx pickup and drop off" so I turned in, but came across some barriers so I turned around. Then I remembered that the FedEx customer service lady had said that I should go to a small building and I saw that the entrance for that had been before the entrance I turned into so I circled out and went there. I pulled into the parking lot, brought the box and headed to the building when I saw a notice that said the customer service area had moved to the building behind that one, a little west (the direction I had just come from!). At first I started walking around the building, but then the only one I saw was the big one whose entrance had the barriers which required ID to get through!
Luckily I saw a FedEx employee sitting in his car with his window open, so I asked him where I could drop off my package and he said I should go back out and turn left (indeed! exactly the way I'd come from!) and there'd be a parking lot and I couldn't miss it. So I went back to my car, headed back, and saw a place where I could turn left and park. Naturally, I did so, and then I went up a small slope and there was this covered bridge type thing to the building, so I went there. When I entered the building, I saw that they had a metal detector/security check point so I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place yet again. But the receptionist guy was on the phone, so I wasn't really sure what to do. Luckily one of the security guys manning the metal detector came out and gave me directions to the customer service centre.
So I left, when back to my car and went all the way back the way I'd come, but this time I went past the entrance I'd entered the first time and saw a smaller driveway that led to the parking lot for the customer service centre!! At last!! By this time it was about 7:25pm, so I was heartily relieved to stick the shipping label on the box and to drop it into the pickup box (which reassured me that the 8pm pickup had not yet occured--thank goodness!).
Oh, but before my travails for the night were over, as I was leaving the FedEx, I started going east for about a block before I realized that I needed to go west to get back to the highway, and I had to make a U-turn at a light. *sigh* But at least my sense of direction IS getting better! In my earlier days of driving I wouldn't have figured out my mistake for at least five to ten blocks! And I probably would have blindly followed the (erroneous) Map Quest directions north on Bramalea to the middle of nowhere before turning south, and thereby missing the 8pm pick up! So all in all, despite the stress and bad directions, I feel quite accomplished!! =P