Saturday, November 11, 2017

Okay then.
That took far longer than I expected.
The brakes to begin with. Driver's side was a breeze, 10 minutes or even less and I was done with it.
The other side? When the tire shop put the pretty little chrome pieces back onto the lugs last time i was over there, they used an air wrench on it.  Like, this are just for decorations, they don't need to be on there that tight. Two of them twisted trying to get them off of there.

I finally got one to budge and off, the other? Not so lucky.  I ended up having to get my torch and heat the thing up several times before destroying it and getting it off of there.  After that, it takes literally 5 minutes to get the brakes off and the new ones back on.  That's why I just laugh at the prices shops want to charge for brakes, or them coming along telling you the rest of everything is else bad and you're going to get into a bad accident if you don't replace all of it.

BS.  I've been replacing brakes since I was 16 years old. Even if the rotors are damaged from metal on metal -you can still put the pads on there if the damage isn't too bad and yes, your brakes will work. The pads will have grooves edged into them from the uneven surface on the rotor and they won't last as long, but yes, they will still work.  In this case, there was only one pad that had just started to wear metal on metal on one end of the pad, no signs of anything on the rotor.  $18 job.

So, anyway, I decided to clean out the trunk.  Lots of stuff in there, too much.  Got all of it out of there, went through all of it, threw out 2/3rds of it and only put back in tools and such for if something happens while on the road and there is a fix I can do without taking it to a shop.  Vacuumed that out, cleaned out the inside of my car, put the floor mats in the washing machine and walaah, I'm done with that.  Went to Lowe's to get more rat traps, went to Chili's for a bit of lunch, went to the liquor store for booze for the tenants. Don't judge me too harshly. They are in pain, 24 hours a day, their access to meds is limited, they are poor and alcohol does help relieve the pain.

I'm not making stories up to encourage alcoholism.  I've been watching this with them for a couple of years now.  They are truly disabled.  Anyway, came home, built a fire. Sat down and did nothing for a couple of hours.  Thinking, mostly.  Lots of thinking in these days. If I would have just done....this and that... when I was younger, I would be in a much different place right now.  Lamenting, but to myself, no one else. Well, writing about it on my blog, but it is my blog, so there is that.  Trucking is hardly the easy life. Just the hours you put in is enough in itself. 

Anyway, another load of laundry and I am done with that. Since I am taking my car, I'm taking big suitcase and loading it up.  I have no idea how long I will be gone.  I'm assuming, providing I pass whatever courses I am taught, that when I get back, I will be put in a truck and sent out.  They aren't spending this money on me to have me go home and sit and I need a paycheck so we are both in need here.  They are turning away loads to the only other company that hauls this stuff out of here locally and they want to eliminate that. In fact, they want to take over this entire portion of the industry, the only way they are doing that is to hire several more drivers. 

I'm looking forward to getting some hazmat tanker experience in, get some money saved up and eventually ask to transfer over to their local gas hauling position.  Or not.  Just don't know.  Anyway, I have to clean my room, get my suitcase packed and I'm done and ready to go.  Leaving out of here around 10:00 am tomorrow.  It's 500 miles to Amarillo here - a bit further than I first thought. But I can average 80 mph - yes I can do that and I have done that before, in fact I did it on both trips to Arizona earlier this year. That entails getting into the car and driving until you need fuel, not driving until you feel like stopping.  Monday morning will roll around and I will be at the place at around 7:30 am.  Meet whoever, get the classes rolling folks, I want to get this stuff over and behind me. 

But I really do want to learn, tho.  This isn't a milk tanker or a water tanker, this is some of the most volatile chemical that exists that is hauled in tankers.  I would rather listen and learn about all of it. And since I am getting paid $22 per hour to learn all of this, that takes the pressure off of paychecks.  Not to mention I was informed the hotel is awesome. 

Oh! I found a long lost Bible in the trunk of my car. Kind of embarrassed to say it had that much stuff in it.  It was in the very back of the trunk.  The trunk in that car is huge.  It is very much nicer now, vacuumed out and good to go.  The Bible was in it's original case I bought it, in perfect condition. 

Alright, well, that's enough I guess. I didn't get to putting the smoker together, but it's still kinda early. I might drag it out back at least and take a look at how many screws and what-not it has.  Or not.  Rene was wanting me to put it together for turkey dinner - but Thanksgiving is still 2 weeks off.  So, yeah, not big rush on that.  Well, I can see her point even tho she didn't say it.  Who knows what kind of time I might have after all of this training is over with?  They likely going to have trucks for us and get us on the road.  Cheneire is likely the first place - that is what I trained for yesterday.  It's the short run and most drivers don't like it that much.  I'm a newbie, so I'll take whatever, but please get me enough miles in to get some decent paychecks, that was the whole point of this. 

I don't know about Thanksgiving, but from what I read, Christmas Day is an off day at this place. But, before and after that? Yeah, not so much and I'm guessing new drivers will get the s*** and tenured drivers will get less.  It's cool.  I may not like it - I'm sure I won't - but I had a purpose in going with this company and I just need to try and keep my eyes on the goal. 

The last time I was making this kind of money, I was taking home $1,100 after taxes.  That's around $300 more than I was taking home for a two week paycheck at the old place  That was biweekly, this is weekly. 

I've really been just trying to get myself readjusted to life on the road. That last rat race job certainly thrust me right back into it. 

And with that, I think I'll end this one.

Error on yesterday's post. Cheneiere is not down in Louisiana, it is down near Houston, TX.  Not sure how I got that confused.  Apparently the trip is just far enough and long enough in time that a driver cannot drive down there, get unloaded and make it back up to Longview before you have to take your 10 hour break.  The other guy that was there yesterday has some friends that are working here and have been going on 2 years I guess.  They liked it so much they have been trying to get him to come over for quite a while.

Well it is what it is.  I don't care that much about being stuck in a truck, as long as it isn't all I'm doing for weeks on end. I need time off as well, just like everyone else.  It does get you back to the terminal more often, short trips like that, but that doesn't guarantee that you are going to go home for a night after making such a trip.  Home always seems over-rated - until you are away from it for a while.  Then you start missing it greatly.  I saw a driver that had come back to the terminal the other day, the manager was trying to talk him into taking another load. He was like: "I need to go hoooome".

I don't expect that aspect of this job to be any different than the last job. I'm not going into it with that mindset. I just figured, along with all the other junk that the last job was engaging in, if I'm going to do this, I might as well make money at it.  The dude I was talking to yesterday said his friends are around 75 to 80k per year.  It becomes obvious you can make more than that, but you would have to be of the "driving fool" class of drivers. The kind that doesn't care if they spend their entire lives out there on the road.

There was a day and a time when I was like that.  I was out for weeks at a time, sometimes months. There was nothing at "home", really.  I mean, there was but the allure of the open road, at the time, was appealing. Long before all the regulations and CDL licenses and rules and all the unbelievable amount of big brother junk that is what is going on now. I literally could get away with driving as long as I wanted.  Many drivers had 3 log books going to keep up with it.  But, look.  You're 100 miles from home, you ran out of hours.  You're wide awake, you're still fit to drive, but the government says no, you can't.

That's it in a nutshell.  Because of some accident at some point in time, these things come about.  You shouldn't be texting while driving, I'll agree with that one.  At least, not the finger pushing version of it.  But, blue tooth enables you to text simply by voice commands and speaking into a microphone.  Same with talking on the phone, of course.  That's legal.  Tho the feds were discussing doing away with talking on the phone at all, which would piss off a lot of drivers both company and owner operator version.

That is my argument. Some people can multi-task and some cannot.  I don't believe that truck driving is a career that is good for a person that can't. There are too many things going on in that cab that sometimes all occur at once.  In the 2 road tests I have taken now in the last few months, it became apparent to me that the person administering the test wanted to "distract" with conversation while seeing if you could do everything else at the same time and still be comfortable doing it.  I was being asked questions while told to do this and that on the road - the questions were apart from the driving. Such as the person filling out paperwork and asking your phone number, driver's license number etc.  I really think that is all on purpose, looking back at it.  Are you comfortable in this position?

Well, 2 days ago, some dude was at the terminal of extreme self-importance - that became obvious after listening to him for 2 or 3 sentences.  Every place has at least one of those.  He asked me and the other guy if we had ever pulled tankers before.  I have already stated, quite plainly and openly, that I have not, to the manager and her manager also knows this.  So, for me, I don't need to answer that question again. If they didn't think I was qualified, I wouldn't be getting sent to orientation starting Monday.  There are definitive nuances to pulling tankers, that I will agree with, but this dude was more intent on appearing to attempt to certify that we were qualified for the job.

I just sort of ignored him. The other guy was engaging him.  After they were done he looked at me.  I just gave him a blank stare back. I don't know him from Adam, he never announced his position and the manager of the manager was sitting 2 feet away from me, he was obviously the "big" dude in the house.

Anyway, tanker pulling dangers are found in stopping and going around turns.  That liquid moves around in that big tank and it's a lot of liquid.  You have to slow down in a measured, easy going fashion that doesn't get the liquid to slamming up against the front of the trailer and thusly - literally pushing you out into traffic at a stop light or stop sign. I've never seen it happen but the reports of it happening are numerous.

Now, I've come across numerous accidents while driving that were the obvious result of going around a turn too fast.  Some of them horrific. Earlier this year there was one that started into a cloverleaf turn too fast and ended up rolling 100 feet down the embankment.  Whatever was in the trailer was all over the place down there.  I dunno what happened to the driver.  Another was killed just down the road from my 12 year job.

Anyway, moving on, I can't just keep jumping around from job to  job.  I'm going to have to stick with this one for a while unless, somehow, it turns into the shit show the last one did.  I don't see that happening. I've observed how management deals with repair problems, I've seen how drivers interact with the manager and each other, I haven't heard any serious complaints.  So, if I actually start to hate it, oh well, deal with it. The only reason i would do that is if they don't let me go home on something of a regular basis.  Regular could be once a week and I'll just have to be happy with it.

It's somewhat early Saturday morning.  Just got up a while ago. Addler decided he was going to sleep with me last night, which he hasn't done in quite a while.  He takes up 2/3rds of the bed lolol.  I don't really like doing that, but the dog has had me gone for periods of time and Rene is gone now too.  He's a bit unnerved by all of this.  He'll get used to it eventually.  Rene will be back on Tuesday.  So there'll be over 2 days neither of us are here and Donny is going to have to deal with the dogs.  He'll do it, no doubt.  I'm just concerned about the man's health.

Well, I need to prioritize the day and get busy.  I think I'll get the brake job and cleaning out the car done first.  Just something I don't want to do, so letting that hang out there isn't a good idea. Get it over with, done and move onto the next thing. If they cell shop repair dude is going to be there today, 've needed a new screen on this thing for 2 plus weeks now. Just haven't caught the guy there when I've stopped in.

The rest of what needs to be done is just cleaning and a trip to Lowe's to get more rat traps. We've caught something like a dozen of them in the last two weeks. They're trying to get in because of the cold.  When I get some money saved up, I really want to have some pro's come out here and seal this place up to keep them out.   Until then, these glue traps and this bottled stuff you find at Lowe's - it attracts the rats to the trap - is working. Just seems to be an endless stream of them tho.  I dunno where the snakes are, but they need to start doing their job lol.

Short trip, got that over with. I no more than got back to the yard and left for home when I got a text from yet the newest version of a di...