Friday, January 10, 2020

Well, I posted a day and a half ago's post - just now actually.  Got busy when an empty trailer showed up - I get distracted at that point. Put everything up, let's get moving.  That was around 4:00 pm yesterday (Thursday). I figured to drive to south of Houston and stop for the night. It would have been a 3 am night if I had tried to drive straight through and there wasn't any need to do that. 

100 miles into the run, I got pulled over yet again by a Texas State Trooper.  No rhyme or reason, she was wanting to do a roadside inspection.  I didn't bother to tell her it was less than a week since I got inspected last.  I figured I was good for an inspection, let's do it.  So, that passed, the only drawback is how much time it takes.  Even a short inspection will take a while because they have to do a lot of inputting into their computer in their cruisers. 

After that? I stopped at a place in Robstown - maybe 50 miles down the road - another driver told me about it in Brownsville, it was worth the stop.  It will become a regular stop from now on, actually.  Just incredibly good food!

After that, I figured the time to get to the truckstop just south of Houston.  And then, a 10 hour break and then what time I would be heading out. Ummm, no. It would have been around 8:00 am, just when things are getting shi*** for traffic in Houston, so I decided to drive through Houston and find a place north of there.  It was quite the drive north of there before I found a place. Midnight I was done, but better than 3:00 am. 

After arriving at the terminal, I heard my manager yelling at the top of her lungs, in very emototional manner, at someone on the phone.  She had the door shut but it was quite clear she was very unhappy with someone. I figured a higher level manager, because one thing I heard clearly was: "I give you my input on what we need to do but you never listen!!!". She was crying and screaming at the same time. 

She had texted me before she went in there about my next load - a worthless Houston run, which only helped that I could back under the trailer and get it ready for Sunday. It's either a whole day wasted - starting early morning to get there in time or 2 days wasted - get there the day before and not have to get up at 2 am.  It will be 2 days wasted for me, I'm not getting up that early in the morning for this run. Sunday I will go over to the plant, get loaded, head to Houston, stop a truckstop near the plant and head over the next morning. Avoid rush hour traffic as well. 

Well anyway, after that I had walked into the office, some other drivers were in there, we were all chatting when all the screaming started.  Ouch.

After getting home? She texted me asking to confirm I had received the dispatch for the Houston load. Yes ma'am, are you okay?  She was like, huh? I explained we heard her "talking" to whoever, it was carrying through the door. She called me and we had a lengthy discussion.  I'm on her side, tho, I don't have to like some of the loads I am getting to understand that she does her best.  It could be better if she could keep better track of what drivers are where and when they are getting back and dispatch loads accordingly. I don't say anything to her about that anymore, it doesn't help anything. 

It turns out they were wanting to get rid of 2 trailers.  She was standing firm on the point that we don't have enough trailers as it stands.  She said we can get rid of one trailer - it's in very bad condition - but the other one? We are not getting rid of.  Another interesting piece of news is that the Mapleton run is coming back, as early as March, maybe even sooner.  That run, when added with everything else, helps keep us all busy. Without it - and another run in Illinois that we probably will never get back as they switched to getting their product through railcars - we aren't near as busy as we used to be.  Now, it turns out, there are 3 trailers - old ones but in good shape - that are sitting somewhere that could be converted to ethylene - that was a product of her call today, they are going to work on doing the conversion and getting them into our yard. 

I learned alot of things today that I didn't know, actually.  Not going into all of it, just too much information and not likely that interesting.  But one other thing are drivers that take too long of breaks.  3 or them, or more maybe, that are close to retiring.  One foot out the door, they don't really care if they get back with trailers quickly, which hurts the rest of us.  I like a day off between runs. If I've been running hard for a while, a couple days is good. But 3 or 4 days?  No thanks. 

So, it's Friday evening. I have the rest of today, all of tomorrow and not needing to be to the plant until 1:30 pm on Sunday off.  Bad weather coming in a bit here. Likely tornadoes and preparing for power outage.  Why? Because every time a bad storm comes through, the power always goes out.  So at least get the candles out!

I'm now in Brownsville, Texas.  Got here late last night, around midnight.  I had a late load yesterday morning and didn't get out of the plant until almost 1:00 pm - but I was bound and determined to get down here regardless and get some detention pay if available.  Sure enough, no trailers here and now it's the next day - Thursday, they're saying trailers won't be here until around 3: 00 pm.  That's great, Ill have my 14 hours of detention pay in, I can drive 5 or 6 hours, spend the night somewhere south of Houston, get up tomorrow, finish out the trip and have a decent paycheck next week.  I only got paid for 2 trips for this week's check - but that was 2 Brownsville runs plus holiday pay plus $75 for getting pulled over by Texas State Troopers and getting a passing report on the inspection. 

The company is not, obviously, so fond of non-passing reports, it assesses points against the company and the driver.  So, they incentivize making sure your truck will pass an inspection at all times by giving you both some money on your check and some credits towards their catalog.  I must have a lot of points by now, I haven't used any of them in a long time and they keep accruing.  I don't need an incentive from the company, however, to make sure the truck is safe and really, those troopers are looking to ensure your truck is safe when they do inspections, not be some sort of demons from hell that are solely there to aggravate you.

But, some drivers get extremely aggravated, angry and even hostile towards troopers when they get pulled over for safety inspections.  Pretty dumb, IMO, to let your emotions get the best of you in a situation like that.  The trooper will find something wrong with your truck when you are acting like an ass towards him/her.  However, other driver reaction to troopers is not my problem, they want to pile tickets on themselves, be my guest.  

So, it's almost noon here and I just got word that 2 trailers will be coming in around 3:00 pm.  Since none of the border tractors have left the yard yet, that is probably correct.  They hook up to other types of  tankers and take them across the border and then bring our tankers back across.  I assume these trailers are en-route from Altimira and they are simply waiting until they get here or get close.  Hopefully not too late, I can leave out of here, drive 5 or 6 hours, spend the night somewhere just south of Houston, get my 10 hour break in and leave in time to miss Houston rush hour traffic.  I will not try to make it all the way back if they don't get here before 1:00 pm. I simply have no need to be driving til 2 or 3 am or even later.  It messes up my internal clock.  I got 8-1/2 hours sleep in today, but that doesn't mean I want to drive all night long.  Last night I pushed it got get down here so I could get that coveted detention pay.

As for other things, the drama in the other house - not really subsiding that much, because that lady really doesn't understand the idea of respect for others and not being so selfish in their living with other people. So, we continue to press it with her. The latest is taking food into their room and not bring dirty plates, dishes and silverware back out - and more pointedly now - silverware disappearing never to be seen again.  I agreed with Maria to tell them if they can't/won't bring out their dishes, no more eating in their room.  They're down to 4 spoons because apparently they "accidentally" threw them away.  That kind of stuffs annoys me greatly.

I'm finally starting to feel better after - 9 days? - of being sick.  The coughing is still there but not near as bad as it was and the runny nose and headaches and such are all but gone.  I really could go without getting sick again for a long, long time. This is the second coughing cold in a few months time. I'm considering just making sure, when anyone in the house gets sick, to simply stay away from them and keep to myself in my room when home. I guess that's not very likely but the older I get, the worse the effects of any kind of sickness seem to have on me.  I still managed to work/drive but it wasn't fun at all.  It's during those times when 2 or more people are sick in the house that I wish I was out on the road on some long roadtrip, like to Stryker, Ohio or perhaps West Virginia.  

As it stands, this week's schedule is light on long trips and  heavy on shorter ones.  There's a Brownsville run every day this week through Monday, but just one per day.  The rest is Oklahoma runs, one Stryker, a Houston Airgas and I think there was a West Virginia in there somewhere.  I'll take any of them, I guess - except the airgas, a completely worthless run that just wastes time.  

As for politics, Pelosi has far overstepped her authority, is still attempting to do so and I'm aghast at the powers she believes she has.  

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...