Saturday, November 4, 2017

Well.
Got up this morning around 8, shaved, showered the usual stuff.
(though I wish getting up in the morning in a truck would also include that, it normally doesn't).
I was informed that the road test wouldn't be until this afternoon, call the dude this morning.  No hurry, tho, to call him. Get a couple of cups of coffee in me as well. But I decided while sipping on the first cup to call.

Yeah, c'mon.  Now?  Yes, now.  Okay. Ann had said you wouldn't be available til' this afternoon.  Nope, if this truck has brake problems, I don't know what it is, I want to do the road test with you and see what you think.  Okay, well it's gonna take a bit of time to get there.  No problem, he replies, I'm here all day today.

I get there.  This truck has hoops to go through to turn it on lol.  You don't turn the key and it fires up.  You have to input a 4 digit code, push a hidden button and then you can turn the key.  Okay, I get it: highly volatile chemical trucks, highly explosive chemical, they don't want anyone that comes along to just fire it up and take off with it.   Why bother with a key, tho, if you have to input a code?

Nice trucks.  I love Peterbilts.  Haven't driven one in ages.  These are newer and in excellent condition.

They also don't believe in driving around in a truck with issues.  They will do whatever it takes to get a truck fixed on the road.

Well anyway, I hooked the tractor up to the tanker, we got in and I pulled around, out of the yard.  This was their alleged first hurdle, pulling through that tight corner.  Yeah, no biggies there. The next big deal, they claimed, was pulling out onto the main road at the end of the driveway.  On both sides of it, concrete drainage ditches.  No big deal there, either, ample room to swing out and around.

Then it was railroad tracks.  Of course you have to stop and put on the flashers in a hazmat situation.  And then, a preplanned exit off the Interstate that curves around sharply and has a guard rail that if you aren't far enough over, you're gonna hit it.  Nothing that was presented to me was nothing I haven't faced a 1,000 times before.  I'm not saying I'm anything special, any good truck driver would be able to do the same thing.

We got back, instructed to back the trailer anywhere there is a hole.  So, I chose the hardest one available.  Why? Cause it was nothing compared to backing into a full truck stop where the parking spaces are narrow and you best be good enough to get the thing jacked in there or you're going to be finding yourself looking around the area for a spot to park for the night - which happens anyway when the truck stops are full, but still.

So the guy goes off on how this other driver couldn't even back in there - at all.  I'm thinking, if he can't back into a hold that big, he isn't really a truck driver.  Yes, you have to totally crank the truck around, yes you kinda have to get it straightened out in good timing, but it's not that hard.  It really isn't.  A little practice and you get good at it.  Still, the hardest part a truck driver has is backing the thing up, after that driving in rush hour traffic.

Anyway, he announced after he got off the phone with the manager that I had passed the road test, get the physical and the drug screening done and you have a job!  Alright, so where am I going to find time to stop and get a drug screening and more importantly, where are locations of their preapproved places to get it done?  I guess I'll figure that out when Ann calls me and we discuss this next phase.  Such a long, drawn out process, tho, to get a job at this place.

That was that.  Went out to eat, got a fresh haircut, did some shopping at Walmart before I headed back over here.

This is what this does for me: gives me an out if this company starts hell with me, because honey?  I fully expect the s*** to hit the fan this coming week there.  I make some statements in text messages to the dispatcher that likely isn't to go over too well. And frankly? I don't give  a damn.  This company i am at now sucks.  It was an out, to get away from an even worse company, but it's not the place I'm going to call home unless some stuff drastically changes - and those changes would have to come immediately.

I have no such expectations of change occurring over night in a  company that wants to expand at a rapid pace but doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with it.  That is their problem, coupled with the idea of bringing trucks in that need fixed immediately on the road, instead demanding they be driven back in unsafe condition, and further complicated with lies.  Trucking company lies.

You know what I did the 3 times I have been at this other place? Talk to whatever drivers were there.  I got to talk to 2 drivers that have been there 20 plus years.  Man, they had nothing bad to say about the company.  One wants out of atruck and into some other role at the place, understandable at his age. The other is retiring next year. The one that is retiring I must have spent an hour talking to.

This wasn't drive over there, take the road test and leave. This was stick around for quite awhile and get into conversations.  You have to give some credence to the idea that drivers are content there.

I'm neither looking forward nor dreading this week to come at current company. Let the chips fall where the may.  I have no truck quitting that company.  None, whatsoever.  I just chalk that one up to a reunion with lying trucking companies that will say anything and make any promise you want them to make to get you there.  My paycheck next week will be smaller, but I can deal with that.   

My only goal in all of this is to get some money saved up and get into a better position for eventual retirement.  This company has 401k matching up to 6% which you just can't pass up.  Set that sucker at 6% and then save cash in a bank account until there is enough there to invest.  I have ideas of starting a business and that is a goal I will be working towards.  Meanwhile, pay off my debt, get my credit score at least in the 700 range and position myself for a bit brighter future.  Pay the price living in a truck, oh well.  If something else comes along, great.  In actuality, this job will get me tanker experience and eventually I could land a local gas hauling job that would pay the bills and then some and have me home every night.  There is a plan here and getting that hazmat/tanker experience is only done by doing OTR.  I haven't found a company yet that is willing to give you a local gig unless you already spent the time on the road first.

There is another aspect of this that will help.  Pulling these dry vans is - boring.  There is much more appeal going into giant chemical plants then pulling into a newspaper factory that has nothing but - loading docks.  Call it strange, but I am much more intrigued by all the processes going on in plants like this.  Not to mention the stop is actually paid for, whereas Thursday, I spent 4 plus hours to get unloaded and of course, I get paid nothing for it.

Onto other things.  Rene - the lady tenant - took off for Michigan a few hours ago. Currently sitting in DFW.  We helped her out.  She is terrified of flying. I talked her into it - Greyhound buses are miserable, wretched things that belong in a horror movie.  Like riding in hell.  I hate those things.  She doesn't like them either, with a bit of coaxing I talked her into flying.  She had a few drinks after the first flight and proclaimed that this was a "small" jet that only holds 50 people. Yes, the regional flights are smaller, but there are far smaller aircraft than those things.  This is likely an Embraer 175.  They do the job.  Short hops to get you to the main airport.

Anyway, she'll like the 737 better - smoother flight.  Not that the Embraer is that bad, but I guess if you don't like flying, that thing does get a little more movement from turbulence.  I will miss her cooking and her taking care of my dogs while I"m on the road. She really loves those dogs, which is a plus at this point.  The male tenant will take care of them. They''ll at least be fed and let out for potty and roaming the back yard breaks.

I've done a lot of thinking about my current situation.  I could have averted all of this if I had simply went back to school. I flirted with the idea for years, but balked at the costs.  That was for white collar situations which I probably wouldn't fit into very well, anyway.  Then, more recently, I flirted with the idea of going to AC service school.  I would probably get into that, even if having to deal with the heat. The mechanics stuff I'm definitely no longer interested in.  But, some dude at the age of 53 going to school to start over? Sounds strange, lol.  And anyway, it's too late now.  Life is more than half over.  Well more than half over.  I hate being out on the road for extended periods, but it's the only thing I know to make good money.

Which is the biggest reason I am already wanting to switch jobs.  This current job is a pile of s*** for so many reasons that I can legitimately say no thanks to it.  Soon enough, as long as I pass physical, which I just did 2 months ago so no reason I wouldn't now - I will be on my way to Amarillo, Texas and doing 2 weeks of training.  And then, $1,500 per week - more actually - and getting back into much better financial situation.  Just going to have to invest in the stuff truckers invest in to keep themselves occupied while driving. Audio books, mostly.  Sirius radio - I love to listen to talk radio, can be very stimulating.  Face slapper - don't have to buy that. Take hand, slap face, wake up haha

Well yesterday certainly didn't turn out like I expected.  I was sitting in that truck yard (Brownsville) waiting for a trailer to show ...