Monday, February 19, 2018

Well that was fun. Got up early, go up here to near Chicago, got into the plant, the plant operator walks up and says:  Well, go get a hotel.  Huh? Why?  My mind was filled with "get this thing unloaded, get as many miles back as I can get in with available that's left".  Not, gee, I think I'll sit up here for 2 or 3 days doing nothing.  Well, grin and eat it. I dropped the trailer there - they said they would monitor the pressure on it - started to drive out of the plant and the transmission on the truck started failing.

Yup, third break down in this same truck.  I sat there for a while trying to figure if I was doing something wrong, but after watching a few youtube videos on this particular transmission, I came to the conclusion that I was doing everything perfectly, as I had been since before I got up here.  I finally called my manager, after fooling with it for a while.  I was able to get it to go into manual mode, but only up to 5th gear.  And reverse. So, this dude calls me from wherever from within the company, trying turning the battery switch off for 15 and see what happens.

Tried, no go.  He said he would call a tow truck but had to go pick up another guy with broke down truck somewhere. Uhh, ok.  Off the phone, I tried turn the thing off again and leaving it like that for 30 minutes.  Back on, no go. Tried running it in reverse and forward in the manual mode but nothing. I would go above 5th gear and it wouldn't manually switch gears while it was moving.  So I parked the freaking thing.  Had it in neutral and the parking brake on.  Sitting there playing on the phone, the damned thing went into gear on it's own, in neutral and the whole truck started tilting sideways.  A foul odor came up into the truck, I turned the truck off.  Turned it back on, and then off again, etc. 

Then, magically, after an hour of this, the thing started working normally again. So, I called this dude back up, told him the stupid thing went into gear on it's own.  I end up taking the thing to a shop, A Volvo dealer who didn't want to look at it because they are booked up til Thursday. This guy tells them our company has a contract and they have to at least do a check on it. 

So, the trailer is sitting at a plant until sometime tomorrow - at the earliest they said, there was no guarantee they would even be able to unload it tomorrow - and the truck is sitting at the shop for unknown length of time and unknown issue.  Electrical, sensors, the shifter? No clue. 

My manager got me a hotel room at Holiday Inn.  I drove that truck to the shop, took an uber over here and playing the waiting game now.  Though, I admittedly got into bed and got a long nap.  I'm worn out.  This job is really pushing me to the limits.  Long hours, long days.  The first load - the earliest load of the day - is killer. That forces me to get up at 3:15 to 3:30 am, depending on whether I want to put on coffee or just blow it off and get coffee on the road and be at the plant by 5 am.  The rest of the day after that is a fight to stay awake.

Trucks breaking down like this, though? Really just drains me.  I just hate it.  There is nothing like about a broken down truck except the fact that I am getting break down pay and I am at a hotel for free, and, I am getting paid separately an hourly wage for about 30 hours (minimum) to wait for them to get the plant up and operating again so they can take the delivery.  That literally could be days.  I mean, it could be tomorrow, but I've seen these plants shut down for a week and longer.  I have no idea what my company would do then.  The contract forces the customer to pay for detention pay if the wait is their fault, which in this case, it definitely is.

Well the plant isn't broken down, they just decided that they needed to recalibrate a half million gallon tank that the stuff in my truck goes into.  They have to empty that entire tank and then what they do after that I have no idea.  Apparently it's emptying the tank that is time consuming.  A process I literally know nothing about, I just asked the plant operator a few questions about it, simply because I like to find out about things lol, not because I need to know.

Geeze that nap made me even worse off. I'm sooo tired.  It's a bad idea to take another nap this time of day. I'll just force myself to stay awake until around 9 pm and then I'll crash for the night.  Several decent restaurants within walking distance. 

Well, anyway, that's my current dilemma.

Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...