Monday, November 27, 2017

Well here we go. Got to the yard, no-one there.  Gate closed, fortunately had the gate code.  Got out of car, sat on a patio chair and waited. One of the other drivers showed up half an hour later.  Well, Ann said that they had moved the pickup time up to 3:30.  I had been told to be there at 1:00 to be in Tyler by 2:00 to get the truck.  Well anyway, we get out there, the 3rd driver, who lives nearby, had already been and gone. 

So, 2 trucks. I didn't get to choose my truck - and thankfully so.  There was an older Peterbilt and a much newer one that they said was for us.  Okay.  Dude comes up to me: are you so and so?  Yup, well that's your truck over there.  2016 Peterbilt, perfect condition, excellent interior, had been freshly cleaned inside and out.  Okay! I'll take it!  Huge sleeper, plenty of space for my stuff.  Even a portal for a refrigerator if you so desire.  Maybe some day I'll "so desire".  Right now, time to get my feet wet.

I"ve never seen so much paperwork for one load in any other venue in my entire life. There are fully 7 different forms that have to be filled out.  Amazing.  Anyway, this other guy gets stuck in the older truck. Glad I didn't make the decision.  He was like, I have no idea where we're at. Well get out your GPS.  Old school, he doesn't believe in smart phones.  I've met several people in recent days that have never owned a smart phone and don't want one.  I don't wonder if life is a bit better without one, for all the social media stuff.  Huge distraction, I'm guilty.  But for GPS?  Lifesaver.  The different between prerouting a trip and simply plugging in an address and taking off.  I've got enough paperwork to deal with as it is, I'll take advantage of the technology available, thanks. 

Well, he followed me back to the yard.  The truck developed a power steering pump problem between the rental place and the yard, gag.  I get back to the yard and the head mechanic is like, will you hook up to that trailer and nose it in here?  To the shop, that is.  Sure.  I'll open up that door so you can just drive it straight in here.

Yeah, right.  The door was angled too much, I had to pull out, pull down to the end of the yard, flip a U-ey, come back around wide and get the truck and trailer into these narrow doors. This is a very small yard.  Not much room to do much of anything.  Anyway, that trailer had a broken pressure gauge, and the new driver that had already gotten there was assigned to that trailer for tomorrow. 
Get that done and go inside and start asking a lot of questions.  Sorry, but orientation ended 11 days ago and frankly, some of this paperwork is as clear as mud.

Hold on a sec, she says, I'll make copies of a driver's completed forms for a cheat sheet to go by.  Very helpful.  But I had umpteen other questions.  Cones, what about the cones? Yes you are supposed to use them any time you back up. But these trucks don't have any.  Oh, well you can't use what you don't have.  But, you see, I got that from the manager, so covering my ass. Boots, we are supposed to get boots. Yup, well, they aren't going to hand out vouchers til next month.  Okay, well I have this pair of steel toed boots, will these suffice?  She didn't care.  The company is failing her in her view, do with what you have and that's that.  Again, covering my @$$.  I mean, we got very specific training on PPE and the requirements.  We got all of it at the orientation - except the boots.

Admittedly, we could have gone to a local supplier in Amarillo, but none of wanted to stick around that place any longer.  We were told when we got back our manager would be able to get us vouchers.  Our manager, however, was getting pissed at her management because they wouldn't just send her vouchers right away. 

I have ample experience in these plants and other sides that are safety conscious: you aren't coming in there without steel toed boots on.  My newest pair is in Jackson, Mississippi.  And I can say that on my way back home, I might just stop by and pick them up since the Recruiter hasn't bothered to send them back to me.  I offered to pay for the shipping. UPS comes to their yard. It's only a matter of shoving them in a box, putting a label on it and walaah. 

Anyway, I was handed my run for tomorrow. Be at the plant at 6:30.  Meaning get to the yard by 6 to get the truck hooked up to the trailer and get it over there. Meaning - get up at 5.  20 minute to get up and get out, 40 minutes to get there - more than enough time but these first runs I'ma be safe not sorry on time, for these appointments are solid, they want you there at the time they say they want you there.  So, go to bed at 9 or 10 tonight.  Good enough.

I did the math. With stop pay and mileage pay, this 30 hour run will be worth around $650.  For the driving time there and back it comes out to around $36 per hour.  That doesn't include loading or unloading, but the driving is what gets paid though this company also pays for each stop.  And detention, which allegedly happens frequently. 

Anyway, after all of those questions and being given my first load package, the mechanic was like, can you move the trailer back out there? lol.  Okay.  Be nice if I were getting paid for all of that (didn't say that, just thought it), but I did it without grumbling.  I at least am finally in a truck when I was before today wondering if I was going to have to start looking for another job. 

Not to mention this dude invited me to the River Run this coming month.  Its the weekend of the 15th.  Ok, that sounds fun, I said, but I don't know if I'll be off.  Well, if you get a 34 reset during that time you can come down for an overnighter.  They're down there for 3 whole days.  Nice invitation.  Another group of cops, lol.  Been around them enough now to know how they behave in a crowd of them.  They're cool when they're in their own element away from the public. Different world, for sure. 

Well, if I do get the reset during any of those days I will likely do it. Having been riding in forever. 

Anyway, this stuff isn't over yet.  I still have to learn how to unload one of these trucks.  I'm guessing I can learn watching these people at the plant.  Oh, no I can't. they don't let you stand around watching, you have to go to a shack and wait for them to get it done.  Oh well.  I would like to stand and watch the entire process and take notes.  And video for that matter. These trailers are loaded with valves and I just have head knowledge at the moment how to do it.  Doesn't exactly translate into actually knowing how to do it. 

I asked Ann about unloading.  Yup, they are unloading you. Cool.  Cause' if they ask me to do it, I have a card that specifically states that I am not authorized to unload a trailer.  Yet.  I'll get there, they're going to have to get an experienced driver to show us how to do it, which likely means going out with one of those drivers.

Yes I'm definitely more upbeat having all of this starting to roll.

I got home, ate some leftovers - delicious smoked prime rib roast - sat down, went through all of this paperwork, filled out as much of as it as possible without having more information - which means I got 85% of it filled out and ready to go.  I would like to hope that I can sleep tonight, I am guessing it will be fitful at best. 

Spent a good portion of this morning attempting to decide whether to upgrade computer.
Finally came to the conclusion after looking at countless ads that it isn't a good idea right now,
wait until I have a good solid flow of income coming in. 

And speaking of income, I texted the manager this morning who eventually texted me back: can you be over her at 1:00 to go to Tyler to pick up a truck at 2:00? Oh yes I can.  So, finally, they have something going here.  But there are only 2 trucks, I don't know what they are going to do about the third driver.  Not sure how that is fair, but perhaps something else was already worked out. 

Regardless, I will go get the truck, drive it back to the yard and then they have to install whatever they have to install on it before it can be taken out.  I am only going to guess that I am either leaving out somewhere tonight or tomorrow morning.  Whichever the case, let's get this going, as much as I don't feel like going anywhere, I'll get over it. It's kind of the effect of not doing any work for 10 days besides doing 2 hours of training on Friday from home and 6 hours at the shop last Monday and accomplishing much of nothing. 

Basically nothing different than coming back from an extended vacation at my old work for 9 days and the first day truly sucks.  In fact, sometimes the first couple of days aren't all that wonderful.  In this case, I have had all that time to start slipping on much of what was taught.  They really needed to get me out the next day or couple of days after orientation so all of that info would sink into real life use.  Now, I have found that I need to go through a bunch of paperwork to refresh my memory.  I am more of a hands on learner.  Repetition is how I learn things. I can learn head knowledge but it really doesn't apply until after I do the real work and get used to it.

So that's it for now. Will check in when I next have a chance - tho car is loaded with everything I need, if they send me out today, I am more than ready.

Happy Independence Day to everyone! Beautiful day in northeast Texas. Well, it's hot and humid but oh well lol. Good day to re-read th...