Amazon Prime & You

Other than being extremely delinquent with my blog (watch for my updates on Divorce is Not for the Weak) I meant to post a 2017 Holiday post a bit sooner, so while y’all were shoveling turkey down your gullets with one hand while searching on your smartphones for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with the other I took a much need break away from the kitchen and my job. Yes, I have a JOB. It keeps me busy while I try to figure out if I am going to throw all care to the wind, change my name and move to a tropical island and live off my writing talent , otherwise known as 365 Ways to Lose Weight Effortlessly or find a real meaningful career at almost 50, cause being the Good Wife didn’t pay much.

So this gig is Amazon Flex, and I deliver your Amazon Prime orders to your door in the Hampton Roads area. I thought I would help you the Amazon Customer, and us the Flex drivers have a smoother holiday season, by sharing some tips for your Amazon Prime orders, to cover before you check out and hit that button. You will get your packages faster and drivers will be able to complete their blocks of delivery efficiently. This is a total Win-Win for everyone.  If you are a 1-Click person, check your account for these details. I will assist by posting visual aids as I go along.

 

Flex driving

Answer your 206 area code cell phone calls!!! Amazon HQ is in SEATTLE, Area Code 206 (see my hat?). When a Driver can’t deliver a package, we hit a button on our app that says “Call Customer” and Amazon uses their phone exchange in the magic app, to call you, only you don’t answer. So we call again. No answer. We call Amazon Support, and ask them to call you, they will even search in your account for previous access codes or delivery preferences for the PRIME customer. They even call YOU for us, again, and if we can’t make the delivery, the package has to be returned to the FC.

Make sure your account is updated. Example, you’ve moved from the garage apartment to a beach side condo with access codes. Double check and make sure in the notes for your delivery, you have put the access code to your new crib. If the new crib has a gate code AND building code, you need to put both codes in, just putting the numbers in 1234, doesn’t help, not all access boxes are the same, some are *1234, some are 1234# and others are #1234*. Be exact. Delivery drivers do not want to take your package back to the Fulfillment Center for access code issues. We want to deliver everything, because driving back to the FC, takes extra time and we are paid for a block of time, nor more or less. It also can cause a very late delivery for you the customer.

Amazon Delivers on the weekends and at night. By 6pm, it’s completely dark outside in the winter. The only people I know who are experts at delivering in the dark, deliver your local newspaper. I had this job once about 20 years ago and finding 102 Maple Ave, when it has no visible house numbers, on the house, on the mailbox, or at the curb, is excruciating, when you have a time limit. We know how to count, by ones, twos and fours to deduct an address, but sometimes it is not that easy. Example I live in a historical district of my city. My street starts at 601, 605, 609, 611, counting by fours, so my house should be three more houses down at 621, but it’s not, it is the next house. WHAT? And the next house is 701! Yep. Don’t ask me I didn’t number the houses, I just live here. Even Google doesn’t have my street correct in their mapping system. Play a game, drive through your neighborhood and try to find your neighbor’s house numbers, then do it after dark…it’s not as easy as you think.

Amazon uses their own GPS delivery mapping system. Yes, our app tells us we have arrived at our destination, however if you have zero property lines, or a house set way back off the road, or you bought the house, behind another house, it’s difficult to find you. The GPS is not always accurate to the inch, sometimes not even to the foot, or yard. If you live in new construction development, chances are your street isn’t even in the GPS yet. Drivers follow the GPS because, we don’t know where you live. We don’t get the same block routes everyday, and deliver in unknown neighborhoods to us. We double check the delivery with GPS, the address on the package, and good old fashion “do the house numbers match the package.” Some days playing the “find the house” game is not fun. Apps aren’t perfect. They assist. We rely on visual confirmation we have arrived at the correct delivery point.

Delivery Area

Worst house numbering systems, apartment/condo complexes, old neighborhoods (like mine). If you know you have a funky address, in the note section on your Amazon account for your order, you can give a little direction. And you KNOW if you have a funky address, if you have to give your visitors extra details to find your holiday party, it’s funky. “Okay, so Sue…stay to the left when you enter the street, don’t follow your GPS, the place is numbered weird. Yes…I know it is 3305, but you will see 3360, then 3340…park between the two buildings, follow the path all the way around to the back, then up the stairs, I have the garden apartment…with a view!”  A little help goes a long way for your friends, it would assist us greatly as well. Add a note.

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Oh yes, and you are reading this, saying to yourself well, my house numbers hang right under my mailbox, yes you, with the lovely garden, with all those beautiful flowers that vine up your mailbox, and posts on your porch, you are guilty as well. I had no idea where the house numbers were on this delivery….somewhere there I’m sure…somewhere

Vining House

“Leave at Leasing Office” or the classic “Buzz Everyone, leave at apartment door” doesn’t always work, because it’s Christmas, packages are going out as fast as they come in, and Leasing Offices aren’t open after 5pm, or weekends, and the day I “buzzed everyone” at your apartment section, to gain access because I don’t have a KEY to the hall door, and no one buzzed me in, then upon asking a gentleman in the parking lot if there was a leasing office for the complex, I was told it was downtown miles away from the customer’s front door. Well, this package couldn’t be delivered at all and I took it back to the FC. Buzz everyone isn’t access. Neither are leasing offices, some leasing offices out right reject our deliveries and WILL NOT accept them. My suggestion is an  Amazon Locker delivery close to your home. You have 3 days to pick up your package, it’s safe, secure, and you can retrieve it at your convenience. If you live in a large complex, suggest to the Leasing Office obtaining an Amazon Locker system. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone.

Amazon Flex Delivery Drivers want you to GET your package. I delivered the Sunday before Halloween, I took a block of time to deliver, loaded my car, got two miles down the road and got sick, thought, okay this has passed, and only made it two more blocks before having to make a mad dash to a 7-11. My delivery neighborhood was four cities away from where I was located, and it was pouring rain. I took the ramp onto the interstate only to encounter a traffic jam due an accident and managed to find a cut through in the highway to head the other direction. This took me through a toll tunnel (cha ching), and I was desperately in need of a bathroom again. I scooted through the tunnel took the first exit, found the first drug store with a bathroom, bought medicine, and waited a solid hour for the meds to kick in before I could drive the 15 miles to my delivery neighborhood. I made it through 90% of my deliveries then my app crashed, I had 9 more packages to deliver and no app to direct/confirm deliveries. I delivered the last 9 packages via the address on the package using Google Maps, and calling Amazon Customer Service for each delivery to make sure it was marked as delivered. It took extra time but seeing as I live 45 miles from the Fulfillment Center, and this neighborhood was closer to my house than the center. I was delivering it the rest of the packages and going home to bed. I probably made $5 an hour that day, but you know what, I drove home smiling, miserable sick, but smiling, because I delivered a package to a home where the Dad answered the door with an astonished smile (it was Sunday), then called his son downstairs, to receive, what I could guess what his Halloween costume. That made my day…that and a hot toddy in a warm bed.

I love this job, no job on earth let’s you view all these beautiful places. You’d never see them in your ordinary travels in your city. As my BFF’s granddaughter says “you get to deliver Christmas packages all year long.” And we do. We are Independent Contractors, not employees. We don’t get medical benefits, 401Ks, no guarantee of hours, and no tips. All we ask is for a little more info from the Amazon Customer, so we get your package to you in time for the big reveal day.

Peace and Love to All, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah from our home to yours.

Christmas 2017

 

Here’s some images from my travels around Hampton Roads so far this year. I hope you enjoy them. (Yes I took pictures of your gardens, cars, and animals.) 🙂

 

 

 

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My Mother’s Cure All…

It all started the day after I drag my ass in from my all expenses-paid-by-friends-trip to Chicago, (lots of staying up late and bourbon to help ease the trauma of divorcing after 27 years of marriage…thanks to my fabulous PA Demetra Shelton and others).

My mother pops in downstairs and asks if I want to leave, (18 hrs after my arrival home) to head to Homestead to finish packing out her storage unit. “We can miss all the traffic if we drive all night.” She proclaimed at 5pm. I had just finished a 1800 mile road trip and wasn’t jazzed about another one. None the less mom prevailed and we were packed and out the door.

And this sunrise driving down the road made feel as if this trip would be promising…IMG_20160420_071654329

After some morning traffic around Miami, we HAD to drive to my favorite Cuban Bakery and trust me, if you haven’t had real Cafe Cubano con Leche and Flan Cheesecake you haven’t lived.IMG_20160420_095823715

I couldn’t afford one of everything but I did end up with the best breakfast in 50 states.IMG_20160420_100928235

A quick ten mile drive from the bakery and we arrived at my mother’s friend’s Dolores 13087764_10209562364042515_2872892998179983480_n

Little did I know I had arrived in Paradise. Dolores Fugina, has spent her life traveling the world collecting rare and tropical blooming plants and trees. She has a small nursery in the Redlands and I was completely honored to make a new friend, be hosted in her lovely home. Imagine every morning getting up and gazing up this view from the back patio with your coffee.

 

This was Paradise, and yes that is my morgue white foot, as Dolores called my skin color, this coming from a Canadian…sadly I’m one of those vampire writers, avoid the sun and find my Muse ready to sing about 2am. Now Dolores, she is brown as toast from cultivating her Tropical Blooms and decades of Florida living. I do look like a snowbird tourist and was off to explore her Garden of Eden.

The Orchids are amazing and no…I don’t know their latin names but Dolores does, she is a bonifided business and you can find her in the yellow pages and on facebook Bloomin’ Good Nursery

I walked the paths and was in wonder of the beauty…

All my cares and woes seemed forgotten while standing in the midst of heavenly blooms.

Then I happened upon the this flagstone and it seemed to say it all…

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Our hostess was a charming as her pets. It seems it is a never ending adventure with four dogs, two parrots and the feral cats. Go Dog GO was the theme, from the tiny teacup Chihuahua to the elder Lab, who was used a personal sofa by the Teacup.

Every day we were there, it was a never ending discovery at Bloomin’ Good Acres. Orchids galore, Cup of Gold, Angle Trumpets (which bloom at night and smell amazing) and so many flowers and plants I can’t remember the names too. Something bloomed a new and tried to capture the beauty she has spent 20 years since Hurricane Andrew destroyed everything, to recreate.

Here’s Dolores, busy on the phone with another customer. She was also a woman after my own heart as every day at her house is “Wine Time”. Wine and all natural mosquito repellent are all I needed to enjoy the evening as I waited for night to fall.

 

Of course, I had to break away from the Tropical Paradise on occasion, there was still bits and pieces of a storage to go through (in 90F heat) but we soldiered onward and achieved our goal of getting the largest painting my mother has created to date in the back seat of my CRV…but before I show you the final result of our packing TOO many things into a TOO small of space, we went to visit friends…in Islamorada, another slice of heaven.

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Catherine and Rob Fordyce filming for The SeaHunter

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There is nothing better to soothe your soul than to see lifelong childhood friends. Kristen and Catherine…awesome sisters. It was a day of good food, cold drinks, a fabulous view and GREAT FRIENDS.

Of course this Pisces couldn’t stand it any longer…and I had to put my feet in the water, soak up the vibrations and just be for a few moments in time.

Eventually though, Mom and I had to take the stuffed to the gills CVR home. A feat that took us three days in the hot Florida sun to achieve. We said good bye to our hostesses Dolores but I couldn’t leave without taking a picture of this incredible blooming tree that towered over the yard and the tiny flowers it was showering all over everything.

Then there was this clicking noise…against the glass of the back window, which we had to leave open due to the fact the canvas painting barely fit in the car. Tink tink tink tink as I drove up I-95. It was driving me nuts. But the traffic was thick and the quickest way to remedy the Tink Tink Tink was to keep driving until we were out of the city. We finally stopped to adjust the items slinking out of the cracked window.

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Yes, this is my mother Melody of Birdsong Publishing (check out the poetry contest) and my car…the Franklin Hillbillies were finally on their way home. I hope you enjoyed my working vacation, like and share, visit my friends. Leave comments.

George’s Bar & Grill in Milton

Many have asked where I got the concept of George’s and quite simply if you visited the city I live in. Franklin VA. You will find a restaurant in the old towne by river called Fred’s.

George’s in the Braxon Carter novels is Fred’s. Down to the brick walls erected in the 1800’s, the worn oak floors, the bar with the big screen which unfortunately shows more Redskin football than should be allowed and a patio with with a lovely alcove and wrought iron gates and chairs.

Fred’s in Franklin is a bedrock of our community. It been around for 70+yrs. It’s where locals congregate for coffee, talk farms, city politics, and in our little town all the downtown business do really close from 12-1pm for lunch. You will find those people at Fred’s. This iconic business was too much of lure for this author not to weave into my stories.

And now you know the back story…

Fred'sPhoto credit Douglas W. Reynolds, Jr

Confidential Secrets Sale $0.99

Confidential Secrets 0.99 Sale

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Confidential Secrets (Braxon Carter Book 2)Fall had arrived in Milton with cooler weather, less mosquitoes and a reprieve from the humid hot summer. Braxon Carter was surrounded by family, aunts, uncles and many male cousins, a buzz hummed in the air from the many voices as he studied the group from a distance. Every conversation and activity stopped as his Aunt Macie and her son Gov. Ian Carter Morrison arrived at the Carter Family Harvest Party. Family members swarmed to greet them. Braxon caught Sean’s attention through the crowd of family and waved him over to the patio table.
“What’s in the box?” Sean asked as he got to the table.
Braxon opened the top of the box to reveal thumb drives and a cell phone.
“Is this what I think it is?” Sean made a low whistle sound and ran a hand through his wavy auburn hair.
“Yes.” He had two ideas on what to do with the information his cousin Clayton and wife Selah, had delivered to him. The family side of him wanted to chuck it off the dock into the river, dispose of the information that had caused deep divides between them. The cop wanted to dive into the data for clues to who killed Stacy Sutton and bring the culprit to justice. As the Police Chief of Milton where Stacy’s body was found, it was his responsibility to ensure every stone was turned to solve her case.
He felt as if Stacy had a hand in directing him from the grave, opening and closing doors. He’d never had to surmount so many obstacles, personal and professional piece together a case and an unsettled feeling fell over him. “This isn’t going to be good,” he confessed to his best friend with a heavy voice as they stared at the box.
“What did Selah say when she gave it to you?” Sean raised an eyebrow with a curious gaze.
He looked up from the box. “She said to find who killed Stacy and put them away or drop them in the swamp to rot.”
Sean gave a small laugh, “She gave you two choices. I’m on board with the last one. I’m sure Paul Sutton is too.”
“Has the good Governor gotten back with you?”
“No.”
“Well, he’s here…” Sean trailed off and shrugged. “The devil arrives,” he muttered under his breath as Ian walked up to join the men.

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Vape Famous Sneak Peek

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Chapter One

VapeFamousTameTeaser-small  Carly Hart trudged down the sidewalk of the strip mall. The heat was beating down the on the pavement, cooking her and her shoes. She popped in and out store fronts with her red portfolio tucked under arm. Her job was impossible, selling advertising for a Vibe magazine and their website. One of her bosses decided it was time to put the personal touch to their offerings and tagged her to be the gopher.
She quoted statics, the viability of print ads in the day and age of the internet, but there was no swaying the management. Now she was pounding the pavement. And as she predicted every shop owner declined to purchase an ad, even though the magazine was given away free all over the city.
It was almost five, quitting time and she pulled open the door to the sub sandwich shop. After getting a no from the owner she smiled and slipped into the restroom before hitting her business in the strip mall. One glance in the mirror gave another reason for the slew of declines from business owners. Her makeup had faded, her blouse was sliding out of the waist band of her skirt and her hair was starting to curl up even after the hour she spent straightening in the morning.
Disaster was the only word to describe her image. She swiped hot pink lipstick on her pouty mouth, touched up her eyeshadow and blush then decided to toss her hair up in a clip. Swearing she was going to cut it all off soon, as her dark blonde locks had grown past her shoulders. She was absolutely miserable with the long hair in the heat as well as the high heel shoes.

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Invaded Privacy Sale

Invaded Privacy Sale

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Invaded Privacy (Braxon Carter Book 1)“Clayton, can we stop at my parents on the way back to my place?” Selah asked as they neared the city limits. Her cell phone starting chiming with missed messages as soon as they hit civilization. She answered texts, listened to voice mail the last one from her father.
“Sure, I’ll wait in the truck for you.” The last thing he wanted to do was chit chat with the Judge while his daughter was standing next to him in her pretty blue dress with no panties on.
“Killjoy.” Selah chided as she set her phone down in her bag. “Honestly I don’t want to go either but my father left a message,” she lowered her voice and added a heavy southern drawl, “of utmost importance.” She mimicked as he laughed at her antics. “I have an appointment with him later in the week for business, so it must be urgent or he wouldn’t have called. Besides you’re not sitting in the truck.” She stated emphatically, “my mother would torture me until I came out to get to you. So you can charm my mother with those dreamy eyes of yours, while I talk to my father, then we can make a clean get away.”
“You have this all planned out already, don’t you?” Certain her parents wouldn’t be overjoyed at another Carter man in their daughter’s life.
“Oh yes, whenever it involves my mother, having a good escape plan at hand is essential,” she reached for his hand and gave it a squeeze of anticipation.
Clayton parked behind her family’s big Victorian mansion that took up the center of the block between two city streets. “You know, I’ve never been here before.”
“You’re kidding me? Right?” She asked with a small groan.
He grabbed her hand to stop her forward momentum and turned her to face him. “Selah,” he assured her. “I can hold my own with Lilianna Jones and the Judge.”

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Coming Soon…Vape Famous

Vape Famous

He put his large hands on the table, leaned in and stared at her. Holy shit, she could see the width of him and it was all she could do to keep from licking him. Anywhere. She held out her hand, tossed off some of the alcoholic haze and smiled in her best ad saleslady manner. No one had to tell her this was the owner, his name fit him to a tee. “Carly,” it was all she could say as she gazed in his intense dark eyes. “Steel,” his deep voice caressed her as he shook her hand gently as an electric shock flowed through her.

Vape Famous Tame Teaser

Writing the First 3 Braxon Carter Novels

When I decided to write a series I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote and wrote. Four weeks later I had three novels and had created a fictional city, family and characters which overtook my life. The more I wrote, the more indepth this series became.

 Invaded Privacy was the first book written in this series and do due a series of fortunate or ‘unfortunate’ events, a very down scaled version of the original story was published. It was not a bad version, but it was devoid of the voices I wanted to bring across to the reader. I went back to the original draft, edited and rewrote.

A new “updated” version of Invaded Privacy was launched. It includes Clay and Selah’s romance in it which was deeply edited from the first publication. I hope you enjoy it and continue to read onward and follow Braxon and his Carter family through the trials and triumphs of Milton.

Covering Hope (Carters of Milton Book 1)

Purchase Covering Hope on Amazon

Welcome to Milton.

Covering Hope (Carters of Milton Book 1)Bryson Carter is smitten with Hope. Determined to learn more about her he seeks her out. His first private encounter with her ends in disaster but he can’t let her go. Now he has to take a leap of faith, to save her, to find love and to cover her with unconditional love. The only question is will Hope let him?

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