Friday, April 8, 2016

Okay.  I wrote this on my FB wall but I am defintely writing this in my blog as well.  I went to bed last night at 8:30, that's early even for me.  I finally dragged out of bed after 7:00 am. Got Addler outside, got myself some coffee, came back in here - my bedroom - sat down and contempleted things.  WHAT am I doing? Yeah, going OTR solves the financial problem but it does nothing to solve the problem of finances and having a life outside of work. You live in a truck.  Those trucks are nice nowadays, the OTR version of them, but they are small boxes and they can be as nice as all get-out and still, you are living in a box.

I sat there and just prayed. Lord, what am I supposed to do now?  I have NO clue.  I don't want to live OTR.  I know I could probably handle it for a couple of years but even that is really a lot.  Yes, I could save up a lot of moeny, definitely.  But isn't there another solution to this?  It wasn't really an extended prayer time, I just lifted that up and then, my head started getting full of this notion that I should study for a tanker endorsement and a hazmat endorsement.  But that's going to take a long time, that doesn't help me right now.  No, just do it.

I didn't look up the handbook, I just looked up tests online for tanker endorsement and hazmat.  If I can answer enough sample tests, I can pass the DMV test.  Tanker had it's variations, but I quickly learned that and was passing every test I could find easily.  I mean, it isn't rocket science to know that going around curves, you slow down initially and then speed up a bit to reduce side to side surge.  It was something I had never really considered that stopping at a light quickly could get that forward surge to pushing your truck out into the intersection.

I did that for an hour and a half, I think.  I just kept looking up different tests from different sites and finally I started getting all the answers right.  Okay, let's move on to hazmat - which I knew would be much harder - and then come back to tanker and take a few more tests as a refresher. Well, my first hazmat test scored 40%. Well I didn't feel bad about that at all, I expected it. I have NO knowledge of hazmat, just used common sense but a lot of questions you need knowledge, common sense doesn't rise up to the occasion.  Second test was 60%, 3rd - on and on - and on - and on.  I posted on face book at least 30 tests, but thinking about it, 2 plus hours of 24 to 45 question tests that I was poking out on the keyboard in rapid fire succession? More like 50 of them.

It took QUITE a while to get to the point that I could actually answer all or most of the questions correctly.  There is a lot there to learn.  But, I thought, well, this is a go-for-it situation.  So, I went back to tanker questions, aced all of those and then back to hazmat. where I found even more tests that threw curve balls at me.  Good, I thought, I want everything they can dish out, I don't have time for classes, handbooks and studying. Just get past the initial testing and I'll get the rest of it done by hands-on experience if I can find a place that will give me the opportunity.

So there it is.  I drove to the DMV office - which was completely void of people. I commented on that when I went in there.  Yes, the lady at the desk stated, and that's a bad sign because my co-worker here is about to leave for the day.  Ohhhh, well I'm here now!! lol.  A LOT of paperwork to fill out, especially for hazmat.  Wow.  She informed me that I would pass the tests easily.  I took that as a good sign and didn't bother to tell that I had spent all of 4 hours this morning studying for it with nothing else and no previous experience.

Sat down at the computer and started in on it. I reminded myself to stay calm, don't get anxious, that's how you make mistakes and give wrong answers.  Keep in the same mindset you were in earlier when you were doing all of those tests and yes, it hopefully will be okay.  I will point out now that I had my doubts.  How do you just study for a few hours and then show up and take the tests?  I figured if I passed those tests, another sign from the Lord that there is something better on the horizon.

Curve balls.  Trick questions.  I knew they would be on there, I didn't honestly know if I had answered them correctly or not.  But I didn't waste any time with either test, I was done in 10 minutes.  I don't ever waste time on such things, you either know or  you don't know, sitting there thinking too long is actually a detriment in such things, I have found. If I don't really know, take the first thing that came to mind.  It might not be right but it's what you thought is right.

Tanker? 19 out of 20 questions right and that test replete with numerous trick questions.  Even the lady at the counter admitted that such types of questions were in there.  When the hazmat test came up on the screen, I got a bit nervous.  I stopped for a few seconds and redirected my thoughts.  NO, I am going to remain calm and I am going to have enough confidence to get through this.  If I get too many wrong, then so what?  If God is in this, though, I'm going to pass these tests.  Now, the reader can argue with that all day long and say that is simplistic thinking or stupid or falling for a fantasy or whatever, but remember: I just started studying for this stuff today and I have no experience with either tankers or hazmat.

I did sit there for several seconds on probably 5 or 6 questions.  Because those questions weren't asked in any of the tests I had taken.  I thought through, made a decision and clicked on it.  I was nervous at the end of the test because I had  no idea whether I passed or not.  When I saw 27 out 30 correct, 24 correct needed to pass, I was elated!  Yes! I has listened to all these  other drivers for years saying how incredibly hard it is to pass the hazmat test.  That is really what had thrown me off about this.  Endless drivers saying how hard it is. Well wth.  I wonder now if they every really even tried versus what they said?

If you want the truth of the matter, making it through Homeland Security's background check and subsequent decision is more of an unknown to me than a test with definitive answers.  That's next.  Appointment Monday to have fingerprints taken at a seperate, private business (but given out by Texas as the sole company to engage in such) and see if I pass that for the hazmat.  Tanker is done, I have that endorsement and could haul food products or whatever else is available without hazmat.  But hazmat is the money. It really is.  People with hazmat thar are engaged in positions that haul hazmat materials always make more money.  There is risk, of course, especially with certain types of hazmat - well all of it really but some worse than others (think: radioactive).

I don't even know if I will be able to find a job with all of this! LOL that's the funny part. I am just acting on what I felt the Lord impress upon me!  Well it's not like laughable funny, I take the Lord seriously, but He does have a way of injecting humor into situations.

Meanwhile, that company in Tyler?  That has the 4 days on 3 off but occasionally 5 days on and 2 off? That is driving all night? Yeah, that one.  "Please call as soon as possible so we can schedule a road test".  A road test means they are hiring you, it's not if, it's when?  Why couldn't I take a local position that might be hell for a while but get this hazmat through and jsut do it? Or even stick with my present company until it is through - though that is, admittedly a dicey proposition - and see what I can find?  I dunno.

I just can't make up my mind because I am not really comfortable with anything yet.  I mean, I like the PTL company, I think they would treat me right but it's still out 12 to 14 days at a time.

I have a weekend to contemplate all of this, at least.

Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...