Friday, February 28, 2020

So with all of those wonderful runs going out this weekend, I got one of the worst ones. : (
Another Oklahoma run.  No Illinois run, no Ohio run, no Brownsville run - there were a large number of those available.  I don't get to pick and choose what run I get, unfortunately.  It's better than the Airgas Houston and the La Porte run that was also in there.  Not much better, but a bit.  I was ready for a 3 or 4 day run and get something going towards the next pay period.

Anyway, I'm well on my way towards learning this Railroad material. It's not the involved examination I thought it was going to be.  That test is for managers.  The test I'll take is for drivers and it's an open book test.  I suspect I'll be heading to Austin soon enough.  They want me to take that junky shop pickup.  Old pile of trash, I'd rather drive my own vehicle but if that's the way they want to do it, so beit.  It should just be a day trip. Leave early, get there, take the test - pass hopefully - and drive back.  So it's over 500 miles of driving pay as well. 

Meanwhile, I think I've found a person to rent the room. Maria wanted me to run the ad this time, which this lady messaged me early this morning, said she's on disability and would like to come look. Sure!  With all the conversation we've had, she at least sounds like a normal human being. 

The house in Phoenix. They must have lost a renter because the deposit was short $500.  No clue what's going on there, will be calling them later - when I feel like it.  Nope, I don't feel like talking on the phone right now.  I need the rest of that rent money, that's what I know. Pay for the house the bills of the house and usually a bit extra during the winter.  There is $500 plus on the card reader now because they know I'm watching it.  I don't care if they're late putting money on it, but there won't be any getting away with lying to me again about it. 

I'm kind of excited about hauling LNG.  I'll get the same pay, but I'll get different routes.  Instead of being stuck on the same routes every single time, those horizons will be expanded.  Ok, going to west Texas is hardly an exciting trip - there is a run that goes over there near where I-10 and I-20 meet in some dinky little town literally out in the middle of nowhere.  I've been wanting to do some west routes ever since I started with this company.  The only route going west is up to Washington and they only order our product once per year - luck of the draw if you actually get that run. LNG isn't much different than the Ethylene in terms of hauling it.  It builds pressure over time the same as Ethylene and you have to monitor it - but in vacuum jacketed tubes, the product doesn't heat up very fast.

The trailers also have pressure builders on them.  In fact, Ethylene and LNG trailers are the same thing, they can haul either of those products.  The pressure builder is used to unload the product. Build the pressure in the vessel up to around 85 pounds, hook up to the plant and discharge the product.  The real difference between the two is that LNG is much colder, I do believe, than Ethylene.  It has a much lower boiling point as well -259 (yes, that's minus) degrees it converts from liquid to vapor.  It's much easier to build up pressure and keep the pressure up than Ethylene. 

Anyway, the rent issue is cleared up. It's a leap year, an extra day in February, rent isn't even due until Sunday, they had just deposited early payers - early because they don't like having that much money around the house.  Indeed.  And then, Mark was saying he didn't realize the homeless problem in Phoenix.  Yup, it's been that way for a while, what I didn't know, however, is that real estate in Phoenix is becoming more and more expensive as more and more Californians move to Phoenix and snow birds buy up homes.  Rental prices for houses are also starting to skyrocket.  Mark was suggesting raising the rents on everyone - but I think not, not yet anyway.  As long as I get all 5 rents paid up from that place, I'm in the black every month.  Even during the hot summer months, I'm at least breaking even. 

The reason I don't want to sell the place - my house value has done nothing but go up and up and up.  A far cry from the 2008 housing bubble where home values plummeted literally overnight.  My property is worth around 230k - give or take 10% for Zillow estimates - that's a lot more than I owe on it.  Realistically, I could really stand to have that money right now as a hefty down payment on land, but I see the upside in simply holding on to it.  My mortgage is relatively cheap.  I really would love it if this arrangement with Mark and Lynnette would last - another 20 years.  Probably unrealistic but the house would be paid off. 

As it stands, a thing I was going to do that I forgot all about - start taking whatever is leftover after all bills are paid for that house and dump that money into a savings account.  I need to start saving for a roof and probably an AC unit.  I shouldn't need a roof for another 10 years - but having a roof replaced is quite costly and I dont want to have to go into debt when that time arrives.  I'm afraid it's a bit late to just now start saving for an AC unit, I doubt that thing has much more life left in it. 

Well, off to Walmart for ink for my printer so I can start studying the Railroad material. 

They are talking about moving.  James and Taylor I am referring to. And when I say moving, I don't mean down the street and around the corner.  Some of the places mentioned were Colorado, Missouri and - wherever else.  To be honest, I think I could get used to living in Colorado as long as it's near where the Rockies literally spout out of the ground, such as Colorado Springs.  They're bummed because of the job situation here.  They think they can find better paying jobs in green pastures.  I dunno, I doubt I'm going to find a better paying job than what I have going right now anywhere else.

But right now it's just talk.  Still, when Taylor gets a mind to do something, it's not going to be shocking if she eventually does it.  She was asking me if I were moving with them?  Well I dunno but I have a few other friends around here, but nothing extensive.

Speaking of the job, I met the Director of Operations today.  Over the entire company actually. He was in filling in now that Ann is gone.  I had heard his name before but never met him.  We get into a very long, involved conversation about the industry.  `It was interesting, they are planning on expanding the terminal, as some rumors have been floating around. Basically having some other operations coming and going out of there as well.  So my question eventually came out: if that happens can we do some cross training of other product and get involved in delivering that too? Because we go through these slow periods with the Ethylene.

Yes, in fact I have to turn down loads now.  Of what? LNG.  He was, actually, inviting me to haul LNG right now.  I can do that.  That is what I hauled in PA during that blizzard to Amhurst college.  No training whatsoever, just haul away! He got a shocked look on his face when I told him I had hauled the stuff without any training at all.  不不不不不

However, in order to be able to do that in Texas, you have to take a test through the Texas Railroad Commission.  Don't ask me, I have no idea why one would have to take a test through the railroad commission to haul LNG in a truck.  Well, the study guide is fully 175 pages long.  Gag.  Here's the real kicker: You have to go to Austin, TX to take  the test. He said there was one in Dallas as well. Well whatever, 275 miles to Austin, 155 miles to Dallas. Why not go to Austin? I'll get paid by the mile to go there in my own vehicle.  But the 'scary' part is, what happens if you fail? You can try one more time in the same business day.  But, I can't be just driving back and forth to Austin if I happen to fail the test and have to go back to studying more.

I tried to find practice tests online for it - couldn't find any.     

But I'll figure it out.  Going to Walmart tomorrow, getting new ink cartridge and printing out the 175 page book to study.  Or do it online.  But that much content I'd rather read on paper.

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...