Saturday, June 16, 2018

I'm so tired that I can't sleep.  This started yesterday when I went to the plant to load the trailer, waited an hour and a half for another truck in front of (I was at the appointment time as scheduled) and then found out a valve isn't working on the trailer. 

This led into a 6 hour visit with the plant and a repair shop to get the trailer fixed.  Skipping over the details of that, I drove straight down to Pasadena to make the delivery, try to at least get the trailer offloaded and partially drive the way back before I ran out of hours, drive back to the yard early and get home for a mostly full day.  This because I knew in that I have to get up at 3:20 am Sunday and be back at the plant to get loaded yet again and drive down to Brownsville. 

Ann is always trying to dump me with that first load. I am always saying no if she asks, pretty much every single time unless the options are garbage.  The only real way to deal with that first load and not have it affect me so much that day would be to drive the truck over to the plant, park in the parking lot and spend the night there.  Then I get up at 4:45 am instead of 3:20, I don't have all the rigarmaroo to deal with in getting up here, at the house and dealing with the dogs and everything else, getting to the yard, hooking up and getting paperwork done.  Plus I could enter the plant off duty and not have so much time on the clock already taken off before I even leave the plant, leaving me extra time on the road to stop and rest if necessary.

Back to the story, I'm told they "have to make another batch" from the plant operate in Pasadena.  I had no idea what that means but I did know what his next sentences meant and he concluded them with, "hurry up and wait".  I knew it would be hours before they got to me.  I got the truck parked and waited - for hours.  Nothing.  I went to bed around midnight, waiting.  1 hour and 45 minutes later, at almost 2 am, they come banging on the door. Are you ready to unload? This dude is all bright and chipper as if it's 12 pm, not the middle of the night. 

I suffered through it.  3-1/2 hours of it.  I was dying, at least it felt like that at the time. I was having trouble staying awake. I had to constantly monitor the pressure on the trailer and keep it within their desired limits.  When it was done, I was on the scale, got the truck weighed, I asked about parking the truck somewhere, I'm out of hours I have to finish the mandatory break.  This is the shit that truckers get that is a total load of crap. Uhh, technically no. Then several people got into a discussion of whether I could stay on the property.  I can tell ya and I did tell them, I am not going anywhere.  You find as place for this truck that meets your company standards. 

Forgot to add, the batch they had to run? They had too much Ethylene in their giant tank. Not enough room for my load.  Weird that they're ordering product that they don't need. I ended up with about 15 hours of detention pay on this run, I can't complain about that, it was the being up literally all night long that I simply can't even deal with.
They finally agreed at the end of all this nonsense that I could park in a parking space they have, outside of the gate, off the immediate property.  Simple enough.  This is the trucker's life anymore.  Everyone wants what you've got but get you and your trucks the hell out of here.  What a crock.  I truly wish enough truckers could unite, shut down for a week and shut down the US economy.  Even Congress would bow down to us after enough time expired, grocery store shelves emptied out, etc etc.  Imagine anything that trucks bring - which is pretty much everything - gone.  I'm not sorry for such sentiments, towns and cities treat us like shit, I'm very tired of it.  But even the place that you deliver to? 

I'm home.  Not much time here before I have to go back out, but I got the dogs anyway on the way back. 

I have a job offer from another company. It's one that I looked at previously. I hadn't heard back from them but then again, they didn't have any openings at the time near me.  Now, they have numerous openings and as most companies, are now desperate for drivers.  The good side effect of all of this is that wages are coming up, substantially actually. I have no idea what I will do, it's just there.  I don't have to do anything. Stick it out here for a year and see what happens.  I refer back to a bit of advice my dear dad gave me decades ago: when you think to commit to something, promise yourself that you will do it for at least a year.  If it doesn't work out after that, fine, but do it for a year at least. I have really found that to be excellent wisdom throughout my life.  I have applied it in several situations with great outcomes.  I feel like if anything, I could honor my now passed father and try it where I'm at.  I hate some of the things going on with this company, but I could certainly survive on the money I'm making. 

I tend to do nothing when met with a situation of not knowing what to do. Nothing, that is, until a viable plan and a realistic way through whatever comes to me.  In other words, don't make brash decisions, life will not end if I do nothing to change a current situation and many times it's better to just be patient than to rush into things. Or not rush into things but do things that you aren't certain about.  Yet, there is still that thing about humans taking risks and stepping out. It keeps life interesting.  Getting into this field of trucking was one of those steps.  And there have definitely been some interesting situations. 

Okay. Vehicles. Car starting to make a noise.  I think it's an accessory, not the engine, but it's coming from the engine area.  Unless cheap fixes for any mechanical problems, the car isn't worth fixing.  It's got 186000 miles, it's worn out. I've driven that thing until the wheels are falling off, as car dealers will tell you about your old car to try and talk you into buying a new one.  I've gotten a good life out of it, it's served me well, but it's time to move on.  I know it sounds wishy washy, my vacillating back and forth about things like this, but I have to talk myself into such things.  The thing that bothers me is this: if I do get into a vehicle with payments, I want something nice.  It's likely going to have to be another 10 year vehicle, I don't want something that "works", I want something that works and  is nice at the same time. 

Well, to do that, you have to be willing to pay more money.  And probably a longer payment plan than you want. That's kind of where I'm stuck right now.  I want the bargain of a lifetime, I probably won't find it anywhere.  To settle for something less simply means going and buying another cheap car with 2 years or less payments or even finding one I can by outright for cash and be done with it. 

What to do.

So much for a nap today.  I'm just going to try to go to bed around 9pm and hope I can get to sleep and stay that way long enough to get at least 5 hours in.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Some people.  This dude, I've known him since missionary days in the 80's.  He came up from El Savlador, a refugee from a land that was under revolt, he had been cut up with a machete and had the huge scars to prove it.  Regardless, this guy has always been brash and mouth.  He gets on my Facebook and starts making outrageous accusations against me last week.  Yesterday, I see him at it again on someone else's wall and made a comment to him - which in turn had him direct messaging me on Facebook, coming out with even more ridiculous accusations. Such as "How many women have you slept with since you got divorced" and on and on and on...

I finally blocked the dude.  The fact that this guy claims to be a pastor - he lives in Mexico now - is disconcerting.  How do you come out against people like that and be a pastor at the same time?  I know numerous pastors, none of them act in this manner at all.  Made me wonder what, exactly, he is teaching his flock?

Moving on.  My kit to test DNA to find out what my heritage came in.  It's sitting on my computer desk.  I'm not doing it until I can take it direction to the post office and get it sent out, which I don't figure I'm going to have time to do this morning. I'm heading out to Pasadena and I have to be at the yard at 8:00 am to get to the plant by 8:30 am.  So yea, that doesn't leave time to stop at the post office. I suppose I could take the kit with me and stop at one along the way since it's only Friday. 

Nah, I'll wait until next week when I have a chance to make sure I'm not rushed and do it right.

The news is abuzz with all the fallout of the IG's report.  I'm rather skeptical that anything will become of it.  Obvious bias in the FBI, intent is a bit less clear.  It's interesting to watch the double talk and hypocrisy of the left who brushes all of this stuff off, including another IG report about Clinton and Obama having communication with her on her unauthorized email server - when Obama said he didn't know about it until he saw it on the a bald faced lie, obviously.

Meanwhile, I was driving home and had this itch to stop at a car dealer in the next town over. So I drove over there on the way home - I had just gotten back from the Brownsville run - got to the lot - and kept driving haha.  What can I say.  My car is falling apart, yet I can't get myself to go and get into payments lol.  I know what will happen. I'll get on the lot, they'll show me something I like, I'll buy it, bam, stuck with payments for 3 to 5 years, drive off the lot and wonder what I have just done.  I've got quite a bit of debt going no as it stands after getting my teeth done.

Oh, yea.  Teeth! My new front teeth are in, crowns.  My smile looks normal now.  I was looking at the before and after pics and just gag.  My teeth were so bad!  They looked nasty!  I didn't realize how bad the looked until the doc texted me the pics.  This was something I have wanted to get done for many years.  I hate debt, but the alternative was eventually having no front teeth. They were chipped - several of them half way down - they weren't going to get any better that's for sure. 

Ok. Well next - I think anyway  - on my plate is a trip to Phoenix. I haven't been back in 2-1/2 years?  I think that's how long.  No, I forgot about my trips to see dad and then be at his Memorial last year.  That was a very short trip to Phoenix, tho.  Then I saw my mom up at her place in the mountains.  Took steaks up there and we had a beautiful steak and potatoes breakfast.  Anyway, I really could just make a 3 day trip via plane leaving out  of the airport 2 towns over and just do a quick trip to at least touch base with everyone that I am wanting to visit.  It's too hard to judge when I'm going to have several days in a row off. I either have to take the time off or hope that on one of these weekends I'm not getting sent out until a Tuesday. 

Hmm, a bit pricey leaving at last minute.  Used to be you could find some deals for empty seats at the last minute, not anymore!  About $135 more than what a normal ticket out of there would be.  I have no umption to drive clear to Dallas in that old car tho.  If something happens to it, I don't want to be 150 miles from home.  At least if I drive to the towns in my area, I can have a tow truck take it to the shop in town that I use without paying a fortune for the tow.  Tho likely if the car broke down that bad I would have it towed to the house, get the Jeep ac fixed immediately and start driving that instead.  Well, cheapest airfare is $450.  Not bad I guess for last minute and flying out of a small airport to connect at Dallas. 

Okay enough searching lol. I get caught up looking for flights and I'll be sitting here for an hour wasting time on something that I'm not even going to do right now!  My trip today could be a day trip, but I'll guess it won't be. If anything goes wrong at the plant to load or if they take too long to unload at the receiver, toast.  I'm planning on an overnighter but hoping for a day trip lol.  It would be lovely to have a weekend off, but I suspect I'll be sent out either Sunday or Monday somewhere.  I really like the Brownsville trip simply because it's good miles for the amount of time out - many times only 2 days and almost 1,200 miles round trip.  5 of those in a pay period would make for a very nice paycheck. Or 4 of them with ample detention time.  But I only had 3 options for today - Chenier, a place I love to hate, a plant in Houston that I haven't been to yet or this place in Pasadena.  I would have done the Houston trip because Ann stated it's definitely a day trip, but it was the early load.  Meaning right now I would be either at the plant or more likely leaving it already. Yeah, I very much dislike the 3:20 am rise time so I passed on that one.  Maybe some other time I'll try that one. 

Okay, better get moving : )

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Didn't finish this post but, starting another.

I had started to put buying a truck out of my mind, or at least put it on hold until I noticed they put the price of that pickup I had been debating over down another grand.  I was still on the fence about it, but I thought if I could talk them down another thousand, I would take it.  Well, they emailed me today, I emailed them back and then they informed me someone had bought it.

No love lost, no let down at all, it's just a truck. It was a nice one, yes, but it was also 9 years old.  Pretty hefty price tag for something 9 years old.  I'm likely never to fall in love with the cost of a vehicle being that high and being that old at the same time.  I'm glad it went, actually, just a temptation I don't need.  I'd like to get into the 2011 or up range.  Or, I'd like to do nothing. Or whatever, lol, I just don't know.

I don't even remember when I started this post, kind of got distracted with things going on around here.  Last night, there was a party here. They were all getting drunk, frankly, which doesn't bother me, I just didn't partake in that particular activity.  However, as drunkenness goes, things got out of hand.  To the point a man that was invited over - single man, wasted drunk - decided he was going to kiss my friend on the lips, right in front of her husband.  That's my friends I live with.  I wasn't outside at the time where they were hanging out, I was making some buffalo wings for everyone to munch on.

I quickly found out tho. The man ran off after he was engaged, is how I will put it.  Never saw him again, assuredly never will.  Really strange stuff tho.  How do you go kissing a person you don't have that kind of relationship with and right in front of her husband? Wasted drunk, that's the answer.  I heard a lot of "well I wouldn't do that even if I were that drunk" type of stuff, but I know what a person is capable of being stone drunk.  I spent most of my teenage years around it and several occasions in my adult life.  I'm not excusing it at all, it was wrong, the guy got away before any physical altercation took place, which was good.

I have heard nothing back from the dealer that was going to sell me that truck. They have other trucks there, some of which are in my category of a truck I would want.  But I"m not going to go chasing after them, a truck or anything since I'm not fully sold on the idea and had all but given it up until they brought the price down yet again on that one and then sold it.

It's Sunday.  Lots of cleaning to do today.  That's cleaning up the aftermath of a rather wild party, laundry, clean my room, etc etc etc.  Oh and I'm cooking a pork roast.  Not smoking this though, it would be really hard IMO to slow cook a fat roast in a smoker without burning the meat.  I found an interesting recipe and I'm well on the way to trying it out.  The roast is dressed with the dry rub and in another hour or so I'm going to dump it into a roasting pan, put all the rest of the ingredients in and see what happens. I will probably add Dr Pepper injections to it, tho, for better flavor.  It really works.  Inject it slowly into the meat in several different places.


Okay, cleaning done.  Roast in the oven. Laundry in the machine.  Dogs content.  Back yard a lot of junk from partying last night but I expect them to do that.  I am not going to do everything.  I intend on spending sometime kicking back and watching TV today.  Tomorrow morning I have to be at the dentist early, I expect Tuesday morning to have to be on the scales at the plant early and off to wherever.

Yes, great day to sit around doing nothing.  The jist of the work is over.  The roast will be nothing more than pulling it out of the oven, making some sort of puree out of the juices and serving it.  Hopefully this recipe was worth the effort it took. Lots of ingredients, lots of slicing and dicing, measuring, pouring, finding stuff, etc.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Here we are Wednesday. I very much expected to be sent out today, in fact, I wanted to be sent out this morning. I was on a 34 hour reset but that was completed last night.  I have this feeling the way my manager was talking that she went on another vacation.  Since I am not hearing back from her, I just texted the lady driver - she is always in on the loop on everything - asking her if Ann went on vacation.  If she did, my next text will be to Sheila, who left me hanging for 6 days last time this happened which wasn't all that long ago.  I wanted to be sent out today so if it's a 4 day run, I could be back Saturday morning at the latest and partake in the party they are going to have here.  I could still get sent out on a 3 day run and get back in time.

Meanwhile I've sent out a few more applications.  Only really looking at tanker work.  Probably don't have enough minimum experience to be looked at by most companies, but worth a shot.

I have no grand aspirations for today. I was casually looking at local pickups, prices high unless high mileage, then they are still too high for having over 200k miles.  Not sure how they came to the conclusion in these parts that a used, older pickup is worth as much as they want for them.  I guess the market and buyers will pay it.  But if you are getting into an old truck with over 200k miles, you can expect at least a top end job, alternator, water pump, power steering pump, front end parts to go out sooner or later.  You  will end with nickle and dime stuff on a constant basis - tho these days, it's not nickles and dimes,

I saw one truck that was mildly luring because it had 40,000 miles on it. It was a 2011 but in excellent condition.  I think it was 18k.  See that's what I'm saying. The truck is 7 years old and still worth that much money?  I just can't embrace that notion.

Rene asked me for money to go to Michigan again.  I've got expenses and I've got dental work to pay for. If I don't get a truck, I'm fixing the AC in the Jeep and start driving that, perhaps get rid of that old car.  I like having a backup but we've got a lot of vehicles sitting here.  I dunno. I might donate to it but pay for the whole ticket I don't think so. She needs to find other sources to help her out.  She can take a Greyhound bus round trip for $180.  Airfare is around $320 - but that's if she buys it soon.  She says she wants to see her dying friend, that may be true, but the real story is she just wants a trip out of here.  She really needs to come up with some other people to tap for such things.  I have things I want to do with my money, this isn't a loan. It's called that but I know I'll never get paid back so if I give money towards it, it's a gift, that way I wash my hands of it and don't expect anything back, ever. She is on very limited income.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I actually slept very well in that sleeper last night. The vibration of the engine running and the sound of the air coming out of the sleeper vents kept me asleep much of the night.  I got up a little early but certainly a full night's sleep.  I had just decided that the truck would be taken into the same shop that had done the repairs in the first place.  They are a competent shop, they just didn't get this one right.

After getting to the yard - and not finding anyone there, which I thought strange considering Monday either the Safety Officer or the manager should be there - I unhooked the truck and took it over to the shop.  My car was parked there so not even an ordeal.  It was a bit uncomfortable when I walked in there. Uhh, did anyone call in from (my company)?  They just looked around and I said, no, probably not.  And went into the problem with the turn signal.  The owner of the company, very nice gentleman - was very apologetic.  Started explaining it was an electrical issue. I had already come to that conclusion after trying a different bulb and checking the fuses.

But, I didn't have a light tester with me, I could have figured the problem out myself otherwise.  He indicated the front running lights hadn't worked because of a short in the wiring.  I said that's great, but the turn signal isn't working. He started getting apologetic and wanting me to go look at what they were talking about. No, no, I believe you, I have no issues, I just need it fixed : )  No need to start trouble with them.  Is that all you need done then? Uh, no, they wanted a "minor inspection" and grease everything.  Y'all didn't have time for that the other day.  Oh yes, okay, we'll get it done!  Thanks, I don't think I'll be working for 2 days (I need a 34 hour reset) so plenty of time.

Oh hey, the owner says, could you do me a favor and take the truck around back and line it up in front of the trailer? Oh, do we have a trailer here too?  Yes, I need to move it.  No problem, do you need it hooked up?  Well no I can do that, I just need it lined up to hook it up.  Uhh, yeah, I just went out there and hooked the truck up and left.  They have the much trouble hooking a tractor to a trailer,l I have no problem doing it. Takes maybe 4 minutes including backing under the trailer, tug test, hooking up airlines and pigtail, checking connection and cranking up the landing gear.


Okay,  now Tuesday.  I kept to my word and did much of nothing yesterday. Today will be different, just normal stuff I need to get done.  Texted my manager yesterday about taking the truck to the shop and never heard back from her - which is pretty normal.  And also very irritating.  She is an extremely busy person, yes.  Probably overworked - yes.  Probably more on her plate doled out by the company than she should have to deal with on her own - yes.  But, she has to at least be able to find a few seconds to communicate with the employees that are entrusted to her care.

I found a job opening with Cardinal in Shreveport and have fully filled out the application.  They are supposedly a very good company.  I'm sick of these companies that don't want to repair their trucks, don't have sufficient resources to deal with it and put it off.  Today starts the Roadside check, I'm just glad I'm not driving today and the truck is in the shop.  There are 10 check stations on the way down and back up to Brownsville, I wouldn't be surprised if every single one of them is open - when most of them are normally closed.  Oh, I have an app that will show it.  Well then. Only 2 of them are open.  Oh, now I see, it's raining lol. 

I haven't actually made my mind up about leaving this current place, but as I have stated before, priority on keeping trucks well maintained is a huge sticking point in my book.  The fact that I have to go through what I do to get a truck fixed is ridiculous. I have a written statement from a senior manager that states that if there is even something as minor as a lighting issue - which current truck has - it should be fixed before it leaves the yard. That's near impossible without a mechanic working there.  Yes I could have figured it out, I do some minor stuff on the truck, but I am not being paid to do mechanical work.  And I didn't have my tools with and and  I don't feel inclined to do such work for free.  This isn't my truck, I'm just paid to drive it and get it loaded and unloaded. 

By the way, the current job I'm looking at is "specialized tankers", home daily, whether there is weekend work or not is unknown.  Average $1,100 per week at 2,000 miles.  2,000 miles is fairly light for a truck driver.  On a 5 day work week that's only 400 miles per day.  It would be a pay cut but I'm perfectly willing to accept that, it's still far more than I was making at Ferguson.  In fact, it's not much less than what I was making with OT at Ferguson. It isn't awesome money, but I can live with it. 

Well whatever.  Weighing a pickup truck, the prices out here are just plain too high.  A 2005 Chevy 2500 HD for almost 20 grand? I understand HD is popular,, but there is nothing in my little world that tells me that a 13 year old pickup is worth that much money.  I emailed the salesman back and laughed, then asked him to take me off his email list.  Another pickup for almost 20 k, 8 years old. Not even HD.  Or 2500.  I just don't get where they think these old vehicles are worth so much money.  Apparently others think the same, the latter one just mentioned has been on their lot so long they have a "manager's special" of $18,895. Bring the thing down to 12k and I'll do business lol. 

I've looked all over the place and I am just saying no.  Unless some super deal comes along, I'm not going to take the bait.  I have found much better deals in Phoenix for used trucks, which is an option I could definitely take if it comes to that.  Same trucks for thousands and thousands less.  2017 and 2018 models still way up there, but going back to 2012 or around that year, the prices are 4 and 5 thousand dollars less, at the least, than anything I'm finding around here.  I also don't have to think about rusting frames and such in Phoenix, any truck that was bought there and stays there isn't going to have that problem.  And finding some with 100k or less mileage with those prices..

Well sitting here on the internet isn't going to get anything done today. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

After all that with trying to get the truck fixed, especially the AC in the sleeper, I drove over to the shop where they had done the work, parked my car there, got in an drove.  When I got to the yard to hook up the trailer, doing a pre trip, I noticed the front right turn signal not working. Upon further inspection, who knows what they did. They fixed the marker lights only to make the turn signal not work?  I swapped out bulbs from one side to the other, no go.  I checked the fuses, none of them were bad. 

Fuse box poorly illustrated for what's what, so I checked a bunch of them.  After that? Well, I don't have a light tester with me so I can't find out whether there is even power going to it or not.  I couldn't find anywhere where they might have messed with the wiring.  Now, why they would call their work completely and not check it out? No clue.  Fixing one thing only to break another is not a finished product, it's shoddy mechanics.  If I get pulled over by Troopers, the first thing they check is lights. Any lights out, they write you up.  I've gone to the trouble to make the company aware of the situation.  The shop closed early yesterday, I couldn't take it back to have them fix it.

Anyway, I just went ahead and drove the truck.  Got to the plant, only to find out that the pump had quit working to pump the ethylene into the tanks.  Well, that had happened earlier, the pump came back online, but now they were behind. So, I sat there quite a while waiting, my turn finally came.  He got me loaded and I was about to leave when I noted the weight.  Huh?  Turns out he had taken the word of the driver before me about the weigh master telling him my weight on the phone.  Why he asked that dude for MY weight I have no clue.  It was WAY off.  This is a heavy trailer.  I had my weight written right on the ticket that I give him, which he always checks.

So, I had to sit there and wait even longer to get the excess unloaded from the truck and then, finally get out of that place over 4 hours later.  I was already 5 hours on the clock, no chance I was going to make it to Brownsville, not enough hours. But I drove that thing for hours and hours without stopping anyway, just to get some miles between me and the plant and also to ensure that I was going to get through Houston, I didn't want to hit morning rush hour traffic. But thinking about it, lol, it's Sunday and there won't be any rush hour traffic.  I have it stuck in my head that it's a weekday for some reason.

Turns out I made it much further than Houston.  I drove 463 miles before stopping. I still had an hour left on the drive clock but it was 11:00 pm and I was wasted tired.  No thanks.  It just stinks not to make it straight down there because if there is no trailer available to pick up, the detention clock starts the minute you drive into the yard and start waiting.  Nothing I can do about it, sometimes that happens on this run, fortunately not too often. At this point, I won't mind finding a trailer down there, turning around and just start heading back up and get the crux of the driving down on a Sunday instead of a weekday. I'll find that out later.

Meanwhile, I'm stopped at a Love's with a "mechanic" shop.  But they don't do much mechanics there.  I asked anyway, told them the situation, "We don't do electrical work here".  Yea I didn't think so but it was worth trying.  The thing is, there is an inspection station about 20 miles south of me.  It's always open during the weekdays, sporadic on weekends.  I always get the pass to not stop - my truck has pre-pass and it always gives me a green light meaning blow by the place and c'ya.  Hopefully it's closed today and I won't have to worry about it. There's a TA down south, it's out of route but after I get a trailer I may just drive the 25 miles out of way and see if they can fix it. They have a real mechanical shop with real mechanics. 

Look the real problem is the International Roadside check that fires up for 3 days starting on the 5th, which is 2 days from now, Tuesday.  You can read about it here:  Their main focus this year is electronic logging devices and do you have it properly filled in.,  Yes, I think I do, but I guess I'll find out.  I can't remember any year where I didn't get pulled over.  Well maybe a few, but your odds of getting a level 1 inspection are good, it's likely going to happen, you need to be prepared. They check the lights on any level of inspection. So, it is what it is. If worse comes to worse, I'll drive the thing back to that shop - providing I even make it there without getting pulled over, they do inspections year round, just during this annual event, they have sites set up EVERYWHERE and pull over as many trucks as they can - and have them fix the damn thing and perhaps give them a small piece of my mind for giving me a truck back that has a mechanic created problem. 

They also did check the brakes, I'll give them kudos for that, I can tell when I hit the brakes it's much tighter.  That's another focus, brakes. A level 1 inspection has them checking the truck from front to back. They even get on creepers and get underneath the truck.  Cracks, oil or air leaks, loose wires, anything and you get written up.  Anything really bad and they will put you out of service. 

That's kind of going to possess my thoughts until it's over and more importantly, until this light issue is fixed. 

I had a fitful sleep last night. Too many thoughts running through my brain.  It's the next morning now, but I got up 2 hours before my 10 rest reset was over.  I did that to at least ask them if they could look at it, but they admitted they can't fix electrical problems. 

Onto other things. I"ve really been weighing this idea of getting into car payments again.  I have that Jeep, it's old but it runs good and mostly in good condition. A few body issues and the headliner needs replaced and fix the AC, but other than that it's really in pretty good shape.  Gas guzzler, but even with that still cheaper than a truck payment and higher insurance to have full coverage.  I don't pay full coverage for old vehicles.  If I get in an accident that's my fault, oh well, send the thing to the recycler, get a few hundred in scrap metal out of it and move on. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do and therefore, I am going to do nothing about it.  Yet anyway.  Actually, if I could find the right deal on a truck, I would go for it.  But, they want a lot of money for old trucks with high miles.  Why would anyone pay 17k for a pickup that has almost 200k miles on it?  How long before it starts having all kinds of mechanical issues?  Alternators, water pumps and injectors don't last forever.  And that stuff costs a lot to replace if you take it to a shop.  I don't want someone's leftovers at a ridiculous price.  I want something at or near 100k miles tops.  These aren't semi trucks made to last hundreds of thousands of miles, millions of miles even, they are pickups and they simply don't last that long.  I'm just in awe that they ask so much money for such high mileage vehicles.

I'm not doing it.  I don't even think the financing I have will allow high mileage and for good reason.  I've seen some high mileage trucks going for 3 grand cash that still look good. That might be doable, then if it needs work you don't feel so bad about it.  You only paid a few thousand for it, what's dumping another couple grand into it? 

Well, my friends have bought an above ground pool.  Getting it this week sometime.  And already having a party this coming weekend.  I was, of course, invited but my manager has a penchant for sending me out on weekends. Of course she does, longer tenured drivers that have the apparent privilege of demanding no weekend work.  It just irks me because it's part of this company's deal: you agree to work on weekends.  Well, that should go across the board, not just for new people.  I have gotten some weekends off, but not that many.  I couldn't commit, of course, but here's to hoping that I can get it off.  I already had to ask for a day off on the 11th to get most of my teeth work finished.  That's very important to me and I would have pushed the issue with my manager had I needed to.  I will have to remind her because she doesn't seem good at keeping these dates on a calendar. 

I probably sound overly negative.  Just everything that's going on right now.  There are always positives in life.  I still have decent health, I have 2 beautiful dogs that love me, I have a wonderful son and a lovely mother still alive and kicking and even driving.  I'm responsible for the bills of 3 houses but they are mostly paying for themselves. I have a job that pays well if nothing else about it seems good.  I just get hung up on broken down trucks and companies not immediately getting them fixed.  And also, a company lying about giving you a new truck to lure you in.  That was a lie, there is no getting around that. 

I just need a good vacation and go somewhere.  I was digging through my stuff looking for my passport.  Can't find it but I know it's in one of those boxes. I want it out and be able to look at it. It motivates me to think about flying over the ocean and seeing a new land.  I dunno how it is going on a vacation alone, but I'm quite content being by myself as long as I have at least intermittent contact with real humans (in person, social media is interesting but it doesn't replace personal contact).  I think I got that from my mother.  She is content to sit up at her property, alone, for weeks at a time. She goes to meetings here and there up there, but most of her time is spent reading books, putting together puzzles and just enjoying the outdoors.  She does have a goofy dog with her tho.

It's not that hard to strike up conversations with strangers anyway.  I'm probably more on the outgoing personality side of things when it comes to that. 

Well, 25 minutes and I can take off. Think I'll do my pretrip and get ready to get rolling. 


Friday, June 1, 2018

I'm at the "I can't do this anymore" phase.  The job has it's pros and it's cons, most of which I can deal with even if I don't like it. But there is one sticking point that I will never get used to: broken trucks.  If a company won't fix their equipment, they don't deserve good drivers driving for them.  And so it is coming to that point with this company.

The AC stopped working in the sleeper over a week ago.  I put in a request to have it fixed. I was told that I was needed on another run and that it would have to wait. I very reluctantly agreed to it, knowing that sleep would be evasive.  And sure enough, 3 nights in that thing and sporadic sleep.  I'm freaking wasted tired now, hard to get anything done at home when you haven't slept. 

Anyway, on this last trip, the trailer also had problems.  These are new trailers, like 1 to 2 years old. They are very expensive.  They don't mind spending the money on these trailers, it's the trucks they seem to have an aversion to.  Anyway, I noticed one of the air gauges moving up and down rapidly and hearing the air passing through the valve to air up the trailer.  I mean, that needle was moving up and down - down being the bad part - very quickly.

After checking, I found the air system for the tires on one of the hubs was the culprit.  Air leaking out of the hub at a massive rate, you could hear it 20 feet away. So I informed the fleet manager (not my terminal manager). I was already at a TA truckstop, their preferred place to get trucks repaired on the road, but after inquiring, they said there would be about a 6 hour wait.  No thanks.  I drove down the road to the next TA, who quickly "fixed" the problem.

But, 10  minutes down the road and the same thing happened again, except even worse.  Upon checking, yup, their fix, didn't work.  Well, I had to stop for the night - another half sleepless night in a warm truck in that sleeper - got up early and drove to yet the next TA outside of Memphis.  They wanted to argue about paying for it, I said no, this is your company, it's a nationwide account, please fix it, thanks. 

The fix didn't work.  Then they tried replacing seals. That didn't work either and then they decided that the mechanic who had put on the new hub at the other TA had over torqued the fitting and had cracked it.  This set a 4 hour wait for them to go to Memphis, get another hub, bring it back, find out they had the wrong one, back to memphis again, back and fixed.  Over a 2 day span I wasted a lot of hours on that "project".  Near the end of getting it fixed, this fleet manager texted me saying he was on the phone with my manager and his manager and that his manager said to get the truck greased.  Why did they wait almost 5 hours to tell me that?  I inquired, no, you'll go to the back of the line and it will be 4 hours.

No way am I waiting in that veritable hell hole another 4 hours.  I informed the fleet manager about that and offered to take it into Peterbilt down the road in Little Rock where we could get the whole truck fixed and have the maintenance done. I received no reply.  I never received a reply from this dude.  But, after about 10 minutes, I shrugged my shoulders, go in the truck and drove.  I called my manager near Little Rock who had already gotten into it with numerous members of management and proceeded to tell me about it lol. 

The problem is we have no mechanic, they haven't been able to find one and there is all kinds of issues needing to be addressed in the entire fleet at our branch.  It's all being neglected and she wasn't being given any of the paperwork to alert her to what maintenance needs to be done on whichever trucks.  I don't know if it's a shortage of mechanics or if they just aren't paying anything.  It creates headaches because you have to take a truck in somewhere for simple maintenance or minor repairs and either wait or get a ride back to the yard.  I mean, look at it: you have the truck at the yard, the mechanic pulls it into the shop, walaah, it's fixed there and you don't have to wait. 

Anyway, yesterday, it was left at the idea that my manager was going to call this fleet manager and have him call around to find the best place to get the truck fixed right away instead of having to wait.  I asked her to please call me back and tell me what the plan is, take it in yesterday or take it in this morning?  I heard nothing from her yesterday and it's after noon today and still nothing.  So, I sent her a text message.  I refuse to drive that truck until/if/when it's fixed.  Etc etc etc.  If that doesn't set well with management, please let me know and I will start putting out applications. 

The trucking industry doesn't lure drivers in with old trucks.  They promise you brand new equipment and nowadays alot of the large carriers actually follow through with that promise.  This company did the same thing: we are getting 10 brand new trucks, one of them will be yours. Great! that promise was made at least a dozen times before, during and after orientation.  When the trucks were ready to be delivered, they gave them to another division with team drivers instead, told me that I would have to drive that old piece of junk Volvo. It was truly a take it or leave it proposition.

I made mention of the new trucks promised, but they ignored that.  Well, they aren't ignoring it anymore.  I was quite serious about that text and I have already started putting out applications.  I don't know why they think I would be happy sleeping in a hot truck?  And other issues that I sent to the fleet manager, including front running lights not working.  I could have figured that one out, probably, without a shop but the thing has to go into a shop anyway, so why bother?  The thing is, Roadside Check 2018 starts in a few days. It's 3 days of law enforcement pulling over commercial vehicles all over the nation. If you are driving on any major highway, it's almost guaranteed you will see them out there somewhere with their camps set up.  They do level 1 inspections and they will put you or your truck or both out of service for flagrant violations.  I dunno if they would put a truck out of service for the front running lights not working, but I would definitely get written up for it.

It looks poorly on your record for having that kind of stuff on there.  It makes you look like you don't do pre and post trip inspections and that you don't take care of the equipment.  Another trucking company seeing that would have to consider whether I am worthy of being put in one of their brand new trucks. Of course, there is a documented, legitimate truck driver shortage going on now, so probably a person with no accidents or tickets on their record would get hired just about anywhere.

I dunno, but I"m putting out applications at hazmat tanker companies offering local positions. No guarantees of course, but it's all fuel trucks that go to gas stations and fill up underground tanks.  0


2 hours later and I get a phone call.  She, Ann my manager, was like, okay, let's get this truck fixed right now.  She had completely forgotten about it, but hadn't forgotten a load she wants me to do tomorrow?  A bit ridiculous but I didn't push the issue.  I drove over to the yard, took the truck to the shop and supposedly they will have it done today. 

Tomorrow I guess I will leave me car at that shop and pick up the truck and drive it back to the yard, get the trailer and then head to the plant.  I expect to not have to go through this crap again if the truck has a problem. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, hours later and I'm finally back home.  Not really feeling all that great with the lack of sleep in the truck for the last several days.  I slept for several hours earlier but I need more.  At least I don't have to be to the plant until 11:00 am tomorrow - but that's not really all that great either because it takes 10 hours to get down there.  That would put me at 1:00am at the earliest arrival time and that ain't gonna happen.  I take that back, I might be able to make it as early as 11:00 pm, it really depends on the plant and how long it takes.  But that's a long day.  I hate driving that late.  I dunno, guess I'll play it on how I feel.  I figure to make at least 500 miles tho, and if I do make 500, I'll just finish out the rest of it.  It's better to get down there as fast as possible in case there isn't a trailer there. Then you get to start the detention pay clock the minute you pull into the yard. 

Oh, this is the Brownsville run, lol.  I do like this run because of the potential detention pay, I got quite a bit last time.  Oh, and I stayed at a hotel I remember now.  That was a truck load of detention pay and the hotel was great for the price.  So, I hope I can do that again.  The weekend I have more of a chance of getting down there and not being a trailer there. 

Well, bed time. 

I'm so tired that I can't sleep.  This started yesterday when I went to the plant to load the trailer, waited an hour and a half for...