Saturday, May 12, 2018

Getting run pretty hard here.  On my way back from this trip today, I was given a run to the place I have been to in West Virginia 3 times now?  It's a good run.  A bit over 2,000 miles. No detention pay unless the plant screws up. I'd rather the plant get their stuff right and get detention pay at the other end. The plant makes you wait in very uncomfortable chairs in a 40 foot modified container (like they use for shipping).  It gets very boring. You aren't allowed in your truck, you can get in there if you need something, but really, it's no fun. 

Anyway, that's Monday - early. The first load type of thing, you know, the one I hate?  Yeah, that one.  I was able to at least hook up to the trailer I'm taking and get my paperwork ready so I don't have to be doing that at 4:00 am.  Which means an extra 20 minutes to sleep lol.  The first day of any of these trips on the first load is misery for me.  I just pay for it all day long. There is nothing I can do about it. I would have to go to bed at 7 pm, I can't do that.  Well, I can but I'd wake up at midnight and never get back to sleep. 

As long as I'm working here and getting up this early, that will likely never change.  I don't consider this a permanent job.  Whether that changes in my mind over time, I dunno, but at the moment, it's something like a 2 year gig - providing I don't screw up badly - and move on to something in the loca work realm, which is, of course, gasoline or diesel fuel.  Screwing up badly would be something like rolling the tanker over, pumping the Ethylene into a tank that doesn't have Ethylene in it, stuff like that. Pretty much impossible to pump it into the wrong place, everywhere I go, the plant operates the plant side, I don't have to deal with that. If they pump Ethylene into the wrong tank, that's on them.  I ask anyway, tho, just to cover my @$$. 

I've gotten very much more confident with operating the truck side of the equation. Much more than even the last time I said this on here. I've been through a bit already with this job, even tenured drivers look at me funny with the stories I already have to tell. What gives me confidence is finally understanding what I am doing.  With zero training on unloading trucks - which is appalling - I've come a long way. It's really consumed my thinking in the last - months, many  months.  C'mon. Anyone reading this for a while understands the nature of this chemical.  You don't just haphazardly do - anything - with it.  The first leak in Massachusetts - which was LNG - was terrifying.  I didn't show it tho, lol.  You aren't going to solve a problem by freaking out, jumping up and down and running for your life.

Likely you don't keep your job and more likely, you could have sat there and figured it out eventually.  The thing I have always kept in mind: whatever happens, stay calm.  Don't panic. Be afraid? Sure, but don't let it paralyze you.  I've been afraid. I'll freely admit that. LNG pouring on my head and down my arms? Yeah, that scared the s*** out of me to be honest.  259 degree boiling point?  Explosive? Volatile?  Highly flammable? Wouldn't that freak you out a bit too?  I had all kinds of garb on, I never felt it on my skin, it never got that far. 

Anyway, I'm home now.  I have tomorrow off  I have plans, just chores and things to get ready for a road trip.  Unfortunately it's not a week day. I love weekends but I need to get my dental work done. That ain't happening tomorrow.  I'll be home - if it goes as normal of course - early on Thursday.  I can't call them and make an appointment tho. Not until Thursday. I'll ask them if they have an opening.

Tomorrow Mother's day. Flowers sent and then found out she isn't home. So they are sitting in front of her door, probably wilting in the heat : (  She'll be home tomorrow but I have low hopes that they will survive AZ heat.  Well I don't know, it's not as hot there as I thought it was.  Maybe they'll be okay? 

My son.  I'm not necessarily in the dark with him, I just don't hear from him often. Precious moments when he does call.  Almost as good if he replies to an email.  I know his life doesn't revolve around me, don't expect it to, just nice to hear from him whenever he does call. 

I'm planning a trip to Phoenix. No date, just in my mind. Something that I need to do. See mom, see Caleb and his wife, visit friends, check out the house.  Really a cheap trip, even if I fly out of the local airport 2 towns over.  The flight will be the most expensive thing, Uber the next, eating after that, housing will be provided. I could afford to go tomorrow. In fact, I could fly over the ocean, a thing I have always wanted to do, tomorrow as well.  Visiting family and friends takes precedence.  I think it will be a marathon trip - out 3 or 4 days and get back home and get back on the road. 

Funny having money and not being able to use it the way you want to.  I knew that would happen with this job.  I'm not complaining.  I'm not broke anymore and that's a very nice thing.  I can afford all my bills, have almost 20% in various savings ccount;  medical, dental and vision insurance and still have money left over? That never occurred at Ferguson.  Well, it did in Phoenix. Not to this degree but I wasn't perpetually broke there.  Leaving that company was a no looking back deal. I pretty much burned my bridges there.  I didn't go off like cussing and telling people where to stick it, but I very candidly stated my views on an abusive manager and his management not giving a s*** about it.

I'm kinda thinking next month to Phoenix, but June is historically the hottest month there.  Guess that shouldn't matter that much. Everyone has AC and one of my best friends has a pool he has invited me to come partake of. 

Life is interesting right now.  Not necessarily stimulating, but interesting. 

Hmm. Think I'll watch a movie. 

Okay, so i was sent up to Barnsdall today.  It's in Oklahoma, on Indian Reservation I believe. Or surrounded by it, or something like that.  All I know is they actually have an ATT cell tower out here in the middle of nowhere, so I have 4 full bars of service! Woohoo.  Good thing too, because I changed my plan today in coming up here. Instead of going to Bartlesville nad parking next to the bowling alley and eating at the Mexican Food restaurant, I drove straight up to the plant.  They are no allowing us to drop the trailer at the unloading rack. Unhook the tractor and go sit out in the parking lot until morning.  Considering it's 12-1/2 hours from now until 8 am - which is the appointed unload time, not so much fun.

But the problem here, well there's a couple of things.  First, if I don't get up here as early as possible, someone else might and probably will come up here, drop their trailer and then, when I show up at 8 am to unload, their trailer is already being unloaded.  So, even tho I am supposed to be the first to get unloaded, they just do the trailer that is sitting there first.  They don't care about who is who in line and the other drivers don't care either.

Now, that gives me some detention pay, yes, but not enough to make it worth sitting up in this place all day long. I'd rather get the run over with and get back to Texas.  I only really find 10 hours minimum of detention pay worth the waiting, if it's any less than that, well, I'd rather not.

The other drawback is since I'm waiting, I don't get to go home.  This is Friday, the weekend has basically started for most people.  If that trailer is sitting there, I have been told they will start unloading it as early as 6am since it's sitting there. They'll come wake me up, but they will have that thing hooked up and draining.  They've changed their method up here, they now reuse the vapors that they used to just flare off.  It takes much  longer for their system to absorb those vapors versus what used to be simply turning on the flare, burning it off and sending us on our merry way. The only way to get out of here at a decent hour, now, is to get up here the day before, drop the trailer and wait in the parking lot.

Fortunately there is a convenience store directly across the street and a restaurant next to it.  If I get hungry or need anything, it's just a stroll across the street. But I brought food up here. I might have breakfast over there in the morning, but otherwise I'm good.  Anyway, I fully expect another one of our drivers to show up tonight sometime or a driver from another company that comes up here to show up, go in, drop their trailer and come out and wait.  I beat them, I have my trailer in the number one slot, so, I will sleep better lol.  I was just sent my next load after this one: West Virginia on Monday. Everything going well, that's a 4 day trip and coming back on Thursday, that means that trip will go on the next coming paycheck.

Next paycheck? I am expecting at least 5k.  I'll have amassed at least 40 hours of detention pay and probably more like 50, a whole lot of stop pays and a whole lot of miles.

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...