Saturday, April 21, 2018

The City showed up yesterday after taking the water meter reading. I didn't get the personal attention, James did.  Just letting you know, y'all are using 28,000 gallons of water per month, which is a huge spike from the 5,000 you normally use.

I knew what it was right off: the toilet in my personal bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, the thing had been leading the entire time Rene was in here. She turned the water valve on and off instead of asking me to fix it.  Well, anyway, I was looking at it yesterday. The flapper valve was very bad, but the seal below it also no good.  Meaning taking the toilet apart to fix it.

Nix that.  I'm going to replace the entire toilet, hopefully today.  I'm off for a second day, which I'm definitely not going to complain about.  That will be the extent of my goals today besides minor things.  I fully expect to be sent out somewhere tomorrow, likely a 3 day trip.  So I'm not going to wear myself out doing stuff around the house.  James is still...


Got completely sidetracked. That was days ago.  I got a phone call writing the post - can you please run down to Houston?  I had a last minute load thrown at me.  Uhhh, I guess.  I was not in the mind frame of going to work.  It persisted throughout the day.  I got up to Tulsa area late, so i didn't do my bowling and mexican food restaurant thing, I just found an abandoned truck stop that I knew about and parked there for the night.  It really sucks, tho, getting a call that you are needed to go out that same day, in a few hours at that. 

But went I did, got up the next morning, headed up to the plant from where I had been parked and waited. And waited. And waited some more.  2 trucks ahead of me, but it shouldn't have taken 10 hours to get them unloaded and then to me. They changed how they deal with the pressure after unloading trucks. Instead of burning it off on a flare, they send it back through the system to recompress the vapor back into liquid. It is a very elongated process that takes hours to accomplish.  I had no idea I would be sitting there literally allllll day long. 

By the time I got out of there, it was 5:15 pm. I had 4 hours left on the clock to drive, so i took off, hoping to at least get beyond the Indian Nation Turnpike and not have too much left to drive this morning.  Well, I ended up at the Choctaw travel center near Durant, Ok.  And low and behold, right next to it? A rather large casino, this right near the state line. I got the truck parked and debated with myself whether to go in and play a few rounds of blackjack.

Haven't been in a casino in what, a couple of years?  I couldn't resist.  I got $200 out of the ATM, sat down as a lone player at a $5 minimum bet table and went to town.  I was having great fun just playing against the dealer, a thing in the past I never really liked.  This went on for an hour and I was up $400 before 2 people showed up at the same time, sat down, and yes, ruined the table.  Bad choices, but I still was winning enough to not lose everything I had just won.

They eventually got up and left, I stuck around, got my winnings up over $600, went on a losing streak, down to $400 and decided I wanted to leave there with more than I walked in with, so I cashed out.  Walked over to Chili's - it's right there, in the casino - had a nice salad and then went back to the truck and went to sleep.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable visit and i was glad I had gone. The place didn't reek of cigarette smoke, either, as many other casinos do, even tho plenty of people were smoking in there.  Just denotes that they invested in a good system to take out the smoke. 

Whatever the case, got up just before my 10 hour mandatory rest break was up, got myself in gear, got the truck in gear and drove back to town. Just in time for another driver who was looking for that trailer - I should have been back last night but obviously that wasn't happening.

I went to Home Depot, got a new toilet for my personal bathroom  - a pretty decent one with good flushing power for $119 and tax - then headed to Starbuck's to get Taylor a Frappucino, back to town. Lots of running around later and I'm sitting here laughing at the old toilet. The new flapper valve I put in there apparently decided it was going to conform itself to the seal it goes into and now it isn't leaking lol.  I'm not regretting getting a new toilet.  The old one doesn't flush very well and doesn't, therefore, clean out the bowl very well.  But, I am not going to do that today. I do have tomorrow off and I have a run going out on Monday down to Brownsville, a run I very much like because it's good miles and at least half the time good detention hours, tho admittedly the last two times I've been down there, there was a trailer waiting for me and I didn't get any detention hours out of it.  Still, the miles are good and it keeps it  2 days.

No dinner planned here.  I got in too late to think about defrosting something. But lo and behold, there is still a bunch of that Ribeye roast left and after having a couple bites, it's still just as wonderful as the day I smoked it.  So I'm going to have that an veggie for dinner and then pull out some ribs for dinner tomorrow. I intend on smoking them and still adding some BBQ sauce at the end of the smoke. 

It's 2:30 now.  Undecided whether to carry on with productivity or relax.  Dogs want to relax, lol. Got them shortly after I got home, gave the drink to Taylor and unloaded the toilet.  Addler about jumped over the fence when I showed up over there. 

A few other things.  I'm thinking about taking an ankle deep wade into the stock market. Plenty of apps to help with that, Ameritrade has one for starters.  A few others as well.  You don't have to start out with  pumping a lot of money into it, just get my feet wet and see if i can learn about it.  I think there are online courses I can take. I dunno. Not looking to be a day trader but definitely looking to broaden my horizons with investments.  Now that I'm making a lot more money that is.  Savings are good too, yes.  That's going full blown all out at the moment.  In total I'm having around 17% of my paychecks going into either 401k or savings account.  I am not missing the money. I'm thinking of upping it to around 25% and see if I can live without it. 

Rental properties are still on the goal list, but I'm kinda starting to get old.  I'm still working on getting my credit score up.  I've noted that it's going to take about 15 more months before most of those late mortgage payments go away and my late payments are down to the point that I'm at a high percent of on time payments.  Currently it shows 90%, they want it at around 96 to 97%.  I'm still paying down debt, that will take a while too. 

I am also planning a trip - no date yet - to Phoenix  I wouldn't mind including a trip over to California on that itinerary to visit the beach.  Or even take off from phoenix to Ireland.  Pricing is pretty cheap right now, 3 or 4 days visiting over there wouldn't hurt me : )  I got that passport for a reason, I'd love to put it to good use.  I've got money now, a helluva lot more than that loser job of 12 years was giving me.  There are tradeoffs in this job, but I'm slowly getting used to it.  The tradeoff being no being home every night and weekends no longer sacred. 

I was approached this morning at a truck stop I had stopped for fuel at in Paris. Not France, lol, but I laugh every time I drive through that town.  No fake Eiffel tower anywhere, either, haha.  Anyway, he points to his truck parked in the parking lot - i was in the fueling lanes - and I immediately recognized it.  One of our parent company's other divisions.  He was asking about our division.  He said he had just bought property in lakeport and talking about having to be out 3 weeks in a row and how bad it s.  Lol, I laughed, no I'm not out 3 weeks at a time after he asked. I get home after every trip. The longest trip I've been on was 3 nights/4 days.  Most of them shorter. Even if I have to go on a trip the next day, I still go home that night. 

I told him they were looking for a few more drivers and had actually borrowed a few trucks/drivers from your division to keep up with the workload.  He can make the same amount of money or more at our division and get home FAR more frequently.  But, that's up to him to pursue it, I just gave him the info.

Anyway, I can take solace in the fact that I could have it much worse in terms of work schedule.  And I'm making more than double what I used to.  Quality of life has improved without having to worry about paying bills and buying the things I need to buy, such as this toilet.  And being able to buy some things I want. 

With that, I'm ending this one. Still haven't decided what to do with the rest of today, lol. 

I have an absolutely horrible headache. But I'll get to that in  a moment. After discussing today with "people in the know", ...