Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Well that was an interesting trip. Got to the plant at 4:30 am, checked in, to the scale, checking in again, to the loading rack - problem with the trailer.  That was the start of a long day. My birthday to boot. And, I was exhausted because I didn't sleep well - nothing new there but trying to run 14 hours on 3 hours of sleep is pretty nightmarish, actually.  I finally get another trailer over there, started heading down to Brownsville.  But sleep was calling. I guess an I can say fortunately my 30 minute break was coming up already because it took so long to get that ordeal taken care of.

I passed out and woke up 20 ,minutes later. Can't say I felt like heaven, but it was enough to push me through the rest of the day, getting down near Brownsville,  but not enough hours to actually get there.  I'm paper logs, I could have cheated but, no.  It's not worth it.  New company, good pay, great immediate manager.  I'm sticking around if they'll keep me.  Corporate managers, however, different story.  No, change that: the same story irrelevant of where you're working if it's a large, publicly owned company.

So, I get down there the next morning, which was yesterday, give the paperwork to the yard dude, drop the trailer and wait. I see one of the other drivers that went through orientation with me and we talked for about an hour.  He was both happy and unhappy. Huge paychecks, but a lot of bs.  After listening to him for a while, I came to understand that he hadn't gone through near the ordeals I have been through, but I left that alone.  He had been waiting there for 2 days for a trailer to show up.  Well, you get paid an hourly wage for doing nothing.  He's like me, tho, he wants to get home.  I'm getting a bit less attached to that tho. I need the money, being out on the road isn't wonderful, but it's not going to kill me either.

Well, unless I get into an accident and the trailer blows up, or I get covered in the liquid and instantly freeze to death, or around the liquid pouring out of the trailer and suffocate.  Lol, this is what a long time driver informed me about this chemical a few days ago.

Finally, a trailer comes in, he takes that one, of course.  Another showed up 2 hours later and that was mine.  But, you see, I do pre trip inspections on any truck I get into or trailer I'm about to haul. I'm not going to just not see damage to something and then - later on - get blamed for it. Screw that.  So, I slide the 5th wheel under the trailer and locked it in.  Got out, took a look.  Kingpin locked, but what is this?  A huge gap between the 5th wheel plate on the tractor and the plate on the trailer it snugs up against.

I unhooked, pulled out.  The plate on that trailer on the passenger side bent down.  I mean, how does that even happen? We're talking about thick, solid steel.  The rest of the truck may be lessor with steel thickness, they aren't playing around when it comes to the trailer plate, the king pin or the 5th wheel.  There is a lot of weight and torque when taking off and slowing down in that little area. I was perplexed at that, but the trailer comes up from Mexico. Who knows what they did down there. I took photos and sent them to my manager. I want this documented and I want management to know this is the situation, how would you like to proceed?

Cause' honey, I have never seen anything like that on a truck, and I have been driving since 1985.  Conventional wisdom is that the entire mating surface of the 5th wheel should be snug up against the trailer plate. No gaps and certainly no portions where you can see daylight through the other side.  I was worried about stress on the kingpin.  I contacted my manager who asked another driver.  Ugh. I don't need another driver's opinion, he doesn't know anything more than I do, and I probably know more than he does because I did trucks mechanics earlier in life.  He's telling her: Oh, yeah, I had one like that. Get under it and bring it!

I informed my manager of my trucking experience and my knowledge of trucks and that this isn't normal, is probably unsafe and what to do next.  Well, I got it from her to go ahead and pull it back. Not too worried because it's not under load, no liquid in it, light trailer.  Got back to the yard.  Had a great conversation with her for at least an hour.  But, she called several people and eventually this dude is on the phone on speakerphone.  She's talking to him and he immediately comes to the conclusion that the driver is at fault. Me.  Oh no, it's not him.  He contacted me while he was down there.  I told him to go ahead and pull it up here.  Oh.

THIS is exactly why I go through the trouble of documenting this junk before I pull anything, anywhere. Because you will be automatically blamed, doesn't matter if someone else did it, unless, you take pics, send them to your manager and understand that you have permission to pull the thing back.  If something happens, point to management.  Tho that doesn't excuse me if something did happen.  I didn't think the thing was going to break off of there, the kingpin that is, not being under load.  But, I was sure to try and at least get a mechanic with knowledge of this stuff out there to take a look and either give an approval or say, uhh, no, this needs to be fixed.

I'm guessing the latter. No mechanic in his right mind is going to say, yeah, that's cool.  He's going to say, no, this is unsafe, could eventually cause a crack and then a break, it needs to be fixed. That kind of repair is huge.  I mean, a lot of man hours put into it cutting that entire plate out of there and installing a new one.  But that's not my problem.  I don't care what it costs them. I didn't create this and more importantly, I'm not going to absorb the blame for someone else's bs.  If I break something, I will own up to it. Rare, far and few between and always something caused by the road (rocks, tire treads that I didn't see at night driving, etc.).

So, that dude got off that kick and my manager, thankfully, fully backed me up. In fact, when she was outside on the phone with them - I stayed inside to finish paperwork as I already knew what it looked like and had thoroughly explained it to her and 2 different people on speakerphone - she told me she had told them she wished she had 10 drivers like me.  : )  That's a pretty good compliment : )  I'll take it.

Anyway, they are having a mechanic come out to take a look at it and I have washed my hands of it.  Meanwhile, I got home and Donnie texted me the number for the dog groomer he takes his dog to. Yes, I had asked a few days ago.  So I called them.  Honey, when do you want to bring him in?  lol, I can't say I don't like it when strange women talk to me like that haha.  Anyway: Do you have time today?  Oh yes sweetie, bring him in.  : )  8 minutes later, we're there. Didn't expect the kenneling stuff tho.  He has never been in a kennel, I have never needed to. He's a good doggy. He'll sleep all night long in my bedroom, alone, in his or my bed - whichever he chooses - while I'm gone.  He won't chew the entire room up - which Danes are well known to do when left alone like that.

Well, the entire place erupted into dog barking.  I didn't understand at first those dogs weren't barking at Addler, they were barking at me.  I mean, some of them howling, others really upset that I was in there.  Lady that runs the place explained without my asking they aren't used to being around men. I kinda wondered if men hadn't abused them to make them so terribly unhappy with a male human walking into the place, but I kept that to myself.

I left him there, comfortable with the place after inspecting the back yard and it's fencing. Solid, 6 feet tall, one gate with solid metal, he's not getting out. And anyway, he was standing at the door, wondering why the hell I had left him out there.  After going home, a call an hour and a half later: We got him alllll cleaned up : )  I could feel the smile over the phone.  Okay, I'll be there in less than 10 minutes.

Went straight over there, he was laying on the floor, one of the ladies was using a dremel on his claws.  I knew he would love it after seeing the entire place is run by ladies.  They immediately reported a big gouge on his hind leg.  He doesn't like baths. I knew this before taking him in there. But, I gambled that if these nice ladies were doing it, he would fall in love with it.  Well, when they got him in the bath tub, he jumped out of it - Addler is very agile, considering his size, you wouldn't think he could do such things - and scraped it up.  It's an open wound, yes, but it isn't bleeding and considering the situation I left him in, I didn't really think it that big a deal.  They were swooning over him tho. "He's such a sweet doggy".  And other statements like that. Made me feel good that the dog behaved himself and acted his normal self at a strange place with people he doesn't know, didn't try to bite any other dogs and behaved himself.

Well, but he's not used to being bathed, is he?  Uhh, no.  I've bathed him with a garden hose and he doesn't like it.  I figured to try bringing him in a place like this with loving people and warm water and people that do this on a daily basis and see if it works out.  Did he behave, can I bring him in again?  Oh yeeeesssss.  That's when I learned about the instant taking they had to him haha.  Well how much do I owe you? $25.  I was taken aback. The bigger the dog, the more they charge, everywhere else I"ve been.  I gave them $10 extra for putting up with his initial bs of jumping out of the tub and really, it's going to take longer to wash a larger animal, right?  I just thought they deserved more than that.  I was thinking at least $60 to be honest, I never asked them how much they charged, I just knew this dog stinks and NEEDS a bath, haha.

Well that's it for me.  I got back at 10:45 from the run this morning. spent an hour and a half visiting with my manager.  Got home, took the dog to the bathhouse and now? I'm just chilling, as the younger generation likes to put it.  I have zero plans for the rest of the day.  I haven't been sent the info on where I'm going tomorrow morning, tho it sounds like Brownsville again, I just know that it's probably going to be an early start and I will want to go to bed early.  Brownsville - enough of those runs - equals a very healthy paycheck.

I may have sealed my fate with doing run after run, but we did talk about my living situation and my need to make as much money as I can right now to get my peeples into a decent place.  I really do need to get some serious money up to pay for that and still be able to get ahead. I want to be able to afford that without it leaving my finances drained.  And then, get some money saved up and starting making payments to pay down credit card debt.

Anyway, I think I'll mosey out to the living room and see if there's any good movies on.  I was going to have it turned on in this room, like this week I was going to do that, but now that my friends are moving back, I'll be back in my old bedroom and it already has a satellite receiver in there, so I'll just wait. TV isn't that important to me, but I really like to watch the news.

I think that's it.  Oh yes, called today about rolling over 401k. Not really happy this company uses Wells Fargo. I'm not a fan.  I like Prudential where it's sitting now, but I obviously can't dump money into it being with a different employer.  It would be a waste of time starting from scratch with a different employer, the power of whatever money I already have in there pays off for dividends.  So, I"m going to transfer it.  I'm not hearing that I am going to be released after 90 days, I am NOT happy that I am in an old truck, neither are the other 2 drivers that are about to be dumped into even worse trucks than the piece of shit that I was in until this rental truck, but going to back to that abomination soon. I don't count myself lucky, either.  We were promised at orientation that we were getting new trucks. We were then told that maybe some of the new drivers would get the new trucks and we would get their "old" ones. I would HAPPILY take one of their "OLD" trucks over this shit they are putting us in.

Well word is in for tomorrow's run. Going up to Oklahoma. Return the rental to it's proper place, lol and get the fixed truck that I'm apparently being stuck in forever and then make the delivery up in Barnsdall. Or, if not open, make the delivery and then come back and get the truck. Whatever the case, the days of living in hotels is over for now.  I love hotels : ).  I can't say they're better than home, but they are sure as heck better in most ways than a sleeper in a truck.  However, this particular truck doesn't have an APU, so I have to run the engine all night long and I can tell you, the vibration of that engine puts me right to sleep : ) 


Well enough of that - the previous post that is. Excepting that I found out the hard way this morning that there is ammo hoarding going on, ...