Monday, September 23, 2019

There's nothing like Monday.  It either makes you or breaks you.  You don't plan or want trouble, but often times it comes at you, especially if you're at work.

And so it was today.  Everything went smoothly - at the plant I was out of there much faster than normal, so fast so, in fact, it threw up warning flags.  Hmmm, how is this day going so great? I loved it tho, figured I could get to Brownsville much earlier than I normally would.

I got south of Lufkin, going through a small town named Diboll when one of the super single trailer tires blew out. And when I say blow out, I mean this one was a real doozy.  The entire tread came almost all the way off from the tire, slapped the tire and wheel in front of it, breaking an air line, smashed the air line on the wheel it was on, tore up the mud flap, damaged the rear strip on the trailer with the tail lights in it and destroyed all 3 tail lights on that side of the trailer.

When I say destroyed, I mean it ripped the lights right out of their sockets, pulled out the wires and stripped the wires themselves.  I was stuck on the side of the highway, there was no hobbling down the road to a safe place to pull out, the trailer is loaded and the whole thing leaning to one side because of that huge tire all but gone.  Super single tires are those huge tires that are over 2 feet wide. You only have one in place of duallies.

Ridiculous nonsense.  Yes, I did a thorough inspection of the tires this morning, but they've been getting these retreads lately and they don't last long.  A waste of money and now a waste of productivity.  My company - also ridiculous.  I had to call the tire hot line through Michelin to get the tire replaced, I had to call a repair hotline to get the lights and other damage fixed.  Michelin ended up having Love's come out to replace the tire and then the repair hotline also called out Love's - excepting - Love's wouldn't be available for another 5 hours.

The dude said well we can fix this if you come back to the shop.  The hell you say.  You are the company that is supposed to fix this, but not for another 5 hours!  Yup, it's first come, first served he said.  I knew that, I just didn't want to sit in this little town, I wanted to get on down the highway and get this portion of the trip over with. I informed him I would not be driving 20 miles to the Loves without any brake or turn signal lights on that side of the trailer no only not working, but not even there!

Dangerous and this area is loaded with State Troopers, city cops - yes Diboll as small as it is has it's own police department and sheriffs everywhere.  I'd be a sitting duck target for them if they saw that.  I told him to make sure he looks at that mess and get everything written down that's needed so that whoever ends up coming doesn't have to make a trip back to the shop or a parts store.  I then told him  I was driving down to the nearest truck stop 2 miles down the road.  It may be dangerous to drive it without those lights, I deemed it far more dangerous to be sitting right on the side of the highway with traffic zooming past a foot away at 60 to 70 miles per hour with a trailer loaded with 8,000 gallons of Ethylene.

I figured if I did happen to get pulled over in those 2 miles I'd easily talk my way out of it, even if I couldn't, my company would back me in such a move and at least try to fight any tickets or out of service s***.  But. I waited before taking off from there until I could see that the highway was free of any traffic coming - I could see back about 2,000 feet - and took off, got here and have been waiting ever since.  This ordeal started at 10:00 am and it's now 3:35 pm.  Love's called about half an hour ago - we're getting the paperwork ready and getting this paid for before we come out there, do you have a phone number or know how this is getting paid for?

Yeah, I have no clue how they are paying for it and not my problem, gave them the phone number and wished them luck trying to get through to those people.  I haven't heard anything back, but at this point, I don't care.  I won't be leaving here until probably 3:30 am, that is if they even get this nonsense ever fixed.  Would have been faster to just send our mechanic down here to fix this stuff.

I have 4-1/2 hours left on the 14 hour on-duty clock.  By the time they get done here, I figure at best there will be 2 hours left on it.  That means I could drive 2 hours and then have to stop.  Guess what's 2 hours away? Yup, Houston.  Screw that.  I went off duty almost 4 hours ago, 6 more hours and I'll have a fresh 14 hour clock.  I see absolutely no good reason to leave here with only 2 hours left on the drive clock and be in Houston during rush hour traffic and trying to find a place to take a 10 hour break. Makes absolutely no sense to me at all so I made the decision about an hour ago after seeing it really is going to be 4:30 before they get here to just spend the night here.

I've made $125 sitting here and I suspect I'll make minimum $50 more before it's done. Maybe even longer if they don't bring the right parts. They actually have to get a wiring harness for all of those lights, the connectors were stripped off the wires. The wheel hub covers have to be replaced as well as air lines and the mud flap has to be replaced as well.


I made the decision after the Love's mechanic finally showed up.  Note: I could have fixed all this stuff myself if had had access to the parts to do so.  I looked in the truck stop here but they didn't even have the lights much less the wiring harnesses to go with them.  Anyway, the northern part of Houston being 1-1/2 hours from here and having 3 hours left on the clock, I simply decided to stay put.  Rush hours - not hour - goes on for a while in Houston and I would have ended up smack dab in the middle of that nonsense and then attempting to find a place to park for the night - no thanks. I"m parked.  I'll drive this route out tomorrow.  The driver behind me will be ahead of me now. He should get there tonight.  Anyone sitting over the weekend should also be there or gone if trailers show up. 

But I am now placed last in line down there when I arrive and I just got almost 7 hours of breakdown pay, if I can stay down there until Wednesday add 14 hours of detention pay (at least).   The only downside? There is another Massachusetts run going out on Thursday!  I'm going to have to ask my manager about that run, when did we acquire it and how many loads per week or month are going there? I'm not the biggest fan of 7 day runs but it's good money.  At the same time, the Brownsville run is just as good as those long runs if there is a wait period.  Even if only overnight, it's guaranteed 14 hours when there's no empty available.

Ok, honestly, I just want to go to Massachusetts! When it isn't snowing, haling, the roads aren't covered with ice and snow and there aren't any white outs like there was when I was doing that LNG gig quite a while back.  That was Amherst at the Amherst University. I got a written notice that I had "falsified logs" after that 2 weeks of icy cold hell.  They said I didn't spend enough time at the fuel aisle dumping diesel into the tanks!  A freaking blizzard, with the wind blowing it almost horizontally into your face, you are not going to waste any time fueling up that truck.  I didn't care, either and told  my manager as such. 

That was then, this is now. The more time I have invested in this company, the less likely I am driven to leave it.

Well, that's it. The boat mechanics wife I contacted hours ago never replied.  Shocking. Not.  It's just going to the shop if I don't hear back from them before I get back to the house.  I could have already had this thing fixed from a shop,  just didn't want to fork out the dough I know it will cost.  At this point? Don't care. 

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, ...