Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sitting at a truckstop for the night in Cleveland, Texas.  Took the plant way too long to load the trailer this morning and then another hour and a half for paperwork (which usually only takes 10 minutes).  No worries, I get paid for all that waiting.  Then, down to La Porte, Texas - just outside of Houston to the east of it - to make the delivery. 

I was pretty amazed at this operation.  Not because it was so great, quite the opposite, because they lacked even the most basic of safety protocols (hard hats, fire proof overalls, even steel toed boots and eye protection apparently not mandatory).  These people were in regular street clothing.  The real surprise, however, came at the end.  I had to unhitch the tractor - this is the only protocol they have in place here for safety - so I went all the way around and parked so I could watch what they were doing. I wanted to be ready to hook back up and get out of there and get as many miles as I could before my time ran out. 

Well, the pressure apparently was too high, so they just started releasing the vapor right there, at the plant!  Like what?!!  Every other plant I have been at, they have sensors installed. If the product gets near those sensors, alarms go off, the plant automatically shuts down and there is a lot of trouble ahead.  In fact, that happened up at UMASS after I left there. A driver from our company let the pressure build up wayyyyyy to high - to the point the safety valves went off automatically when it passed 70 PSI.  Sirens, automatic shut down, police and fire automatically called through some system they had set up. 

Well anyway, I got out of there just in time to hit Houston traffic, so I lost about an hour's worth of driving time.  I've still got almost 3 hours of driving to get back up to Longview.  Even so, I should still be able to get there by around 9 am and have a whole day at home for the most part.  Unless my manager sends me out on another run as soon as I get back, which I hope not cause I forgot some stuff for this - truck.

You see, they got rid of my rental truck while I was gone and had this old behemoth brought in from where ever. It's got 500k miles on and the worst part, it's got an automatic transmission  I like them in cars, I despise them in trucks. The last time I drove one, which was 15 years ago, the thing was an abomination.  Well, I had to change my tune a little with this thing.  It is quite clean in side - much better than the other trucks I have been in recently. It still needs a good vacuuming and the carpet is dirty, but not near as dirty as that thing I was driving up in PA/NY/MA.  It's in good condition though. The paint is good no body damage, the interior is mostly intact.  And, it doesn't even have a hint of cigarette smoke smell that I can detect.

But, the thing was a pain to figure out how to drive.  In fact, this morning, I backed under a trailer and it wouldn't budge.  I went over the lines, the hookups, the truck and valves 5 times before finally coming to the conclusion that the cold must have something frozen up in the trailer brake/air system.  I got under another trailer and - sort of took off lol.  Pretty much took me all day to get used to driving this thing.  I just wished I could have had enough time to get at least another hour down the road.  But, these trucks have Quaalcomm and that means everything you are doing with the truck is visible by corporate safety department.  You just don't get away with stuff like you used to be able to long ago with 3 or 4 or even 5 log books.

Anyway, tomorrow is payday, meaning it comes into my account tonight. I'm a bit nervous about this one.  I just didn't get the miles like I did on my last paycheck.  I have no idea what it's going to be, but I am quite sure it will be nothing even close to last paycheck's numbers. Plus, health insurance is going to start to be taken out, so I think it was $150 per paycheck. Speaking of miles, this run I am on now is pathetic. Round trip it's not even 500.  Wouldn't be bad, I guess, if you could do it in one day, but the time it takes to load these trailers and unload just eliminates that possibility. 

Moving on.  I had 4 full days off. I didn't really want that much time off, but I had to get the car and the Jeep registered and they were closed all the way up until yesterday at noon, same with the bank. Bad weather here shut down schools, government and even a lot of businesses shuttered their door and had employees stay home. 

When I left this morning, Addler knew exactly what was going on. He just sat on is bed giving me this extremely pathetic look lolol.  Gave him a hug but this trip isn't going to be that long. 

And, I got a call today from my friends in Georgia. They have been chomping at the bit for some time now to get out of Georgia and get back home - home being where I'm living.  So, last week they were saying they were planning on coming back in August if it were at all possible. Today, they are applying for a loan and hoping it will go through so they can move back in two months.  That was a bit surprising.

I thought I had at least til' August to get used to the idea of switching things around that drastically. From 2 older people to 4 younger people, 2 of which are a baby and a toddler, one of which has a very healthy set of lungs.  I'll have to move back to my old room - which isn't that bad but it needs some things.  Namely, a window ac/heat unit and new carpet. I intend on getting a new queen bed here very soon.  I would have already done it but time and motivation have held me up.  I have had so much other stuff to do that I just haven't had time to hook the trailer up to the Jeep and drag it over to Longview to see if I can find a deal . 

The thing I have really gotten used to is Rene's cooking. She cooks every day.  This is something she wants to do. We don't really do much on the cooking realm, she does all of it.  So, obviously, I'm going to miss that.  She also takes care of my dogs.  So, I'm going to ask them if they are going to get a place with a fenced yard, cause if they do, I can drop them both off at their new place, wherever that may be, on the way to work and then I know the dogs are well taken care of - versus being left outside for 10 to 12 hours per day to get into trouble.  That's pretty much what dogs do when they are left alone for a long time, they get into trouble. 

Well, I'm starting to get sleepy and I want to get up as soon as my 10 hour mandatory break is over and get rolling.

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...