Thursday, May 26, 2016

If Wednesday can be Sundae, can it also be Saturday?

For many years, I remember Tom Carvel's gravelly voice saying "Wednesday is Sundae" at his eponymous stores. Of course, that meant (and still means) that one can get two ice cream sundaes for the price of one at his franchises.  Today, Metro North operated its trains on a Saturday schedule because of a fire beneath the tracks of its Park Avenue viaduct.

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My original plans for the day had me getting into the office, and leaving a little bit early so that I could make it to a gathering of the Whine and Dine crew in Beacon.  This was not to be.  I didn't know it when I left the office last night, that I'd be on one of the last trains to make it through the tunnel and past 125th street before the fire shut down the railroad.

This would have been the second day I'd leave the office early, as my Tuesday plans were to attend my co-op board meeting, take care of business, and have a light dinner with HWV. (As much as I'd like to talk about one of the things that went on in the meeting, I can't do so. But I can say that I have several concerns that I later addressed in private with HWV.) After the meeting, one disgruntled shareholder pestered us in the parking lot, and we told her to contact our managing agent.  (My non-official/personal opinion about this woman is that I'm glad that she never ran for the board again after being defeated once, as I feel she'd be a disruptive influence on the board, in pursuit of her interests over that of the co-op as a whole.)

We then went to dinner, and had another enjoyable and productive conversation.  When I finally got home, I found an email from a fellow board member.  She sent me a link to news about the fire, and I felt that I was very lucky to make it home that night.

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This morning, I dreaded the trip into work, as Metro North was operating on a Saturday schedule.  And I was right - the train was overcrowded, and there was almost no room to squeeze on to the train.

As you can see by the scene above, the train was packed.  This picture was taken when I changed trains for the local at Croton - where I could get a seat for the ride into NYC.  It's hard to believe that more people didn't switch to the local, as there was no way to know how long they'd be standing.  I had no way of knowing how long the trip would be, as the newscasters were informing people that they could transfer at Yankee Stadium for the subway - which likely would also be standing room only.  And I knew that a one-seat ride for the rest of my trip to NYC would be better than to stand all the way in.

Given a choice between standing for 45 minutes (plus another 45 minutes on the subway), and sitting - what would you do?  So I got on this unscheduled extra train which was supposed to run express to Tarrytown, and make every stop afterward.  Again, Metro North had no clue about what it could do.  By the time we reached Dobbs Ferry, our train was packed to standing room capacity, and was switched to an express for the rest of the ride into NYC.

All in all, my commute took 3 hours, but no one complained about me being late.  I did have a bit of work to do, and was constantly being interrupted - and was getting frustrated because of a lack of positive results.  Later on, I had a conversation with my boss, and we both looked for ways that I can improve performance.  Both of us knew that we communicated in different ways, so it was a good thing that we addressed some  issues early on, to keep things from souring.  (I don't want to go into details here. Sometimes, one needs to hear uncomfortable news - as long as it comes with ways to resolve problems.)

Later in the afternoon, I paid heed to our conversation and tried to find several ways to get a problem fixed before coming to my boss - and he took an hour out of his late afternoon time to get it fixed enough so that I could do the rest on my own - which I did.  I knew that I'd never make it to the Whine and Dine. One good thing - Metro North was treating today as if it were Saturday, and honoring off-peak tickets for a mid-week peak hour commute.

There was no way for me to know how tired I'd feel on the way home. If I didn't fear sleeping past my station, I would have let myself nap a little.  It was close to 9:00 pm by the time I got home, and there was almost no energy left for me to connect with GFJ.  I won't go into our conversation - there's no way I can remember anything in the state I'm in.  So I'll sign off for now, and hope that tomorrow's commute will allow for me to get to game night in Yonkers....

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