Thursday, May 14, 2020

So, getting up early this morning - 9:00 am lmao - I got about the day's business. Hook up the boat and drag it 42 miles to the repair facility  Guy came out, wrote up a work order, didn't give me a timeline for when they'd get to it, I didn't care and left. 

Over to the yard. It's only 2 miles away from the boat shop. I didn't know this boat shop was there because it's 2 miles west of where I turn to go to work.  But, I wanted to discuss with the new manager in person what exactly I am doing and when exactly - if he can tell me - I'm going back to work. 

He had forgotten to tell me what my hourly wage was yesterday, he picked right up on that lol.  The guy is a bit overwhelmed, he's been dispatching for 15 years but this isn't anything like most normal dispatching jobs.  So, we got started there.  Turns out I'm now making FAR more money per hour on vacation time than I knew.  They started me out at a low wage. The number goes way up after you've been there long enough for them to determine the number.  It helped dramatically and it also helped that I was part of the original company that was bought out. 

The amount is determined by your yearly earnings divided by 2080.  It came up to almost $42 per hour.  That's more like it! Elated at hearing that and also the idea that I won't need to use near as many vacation hours as I originally had thought we went onto the next deal.  Since you're doing us a favor, I'm giving you back to back Brownsville runs when you come back.  Yessss.  I still don't understand how anyone uses up their entire year's worth of vacation hours before we even get half way through the year, but to each his/her own. 

That was the deal, people weren't going to be working for at least 2 weeks if I didn't give up my spot and  they had no vacation hours to back up on.  Ok, I can empathize with not getting any work, I cannot empathize with not having some extra hours tucked away in case you need them.  That's really on them.  But I didn't say any of that to the manager, lol.  We talked for an hour and  a half beyond work. He's an avid boat enthusiast and just boat a new pontoon boat. 

Yup, I'm going to do my best to get on this dude's good side. And also make myself appealing to the company through him because right now? They are laying off even more drivers. Other divisions, we haven't been hit yet but there's no guarantees.  I was shocked to find out we only have 13 drivers now.  Down from 21.  I know one was fired, others were shifted out, some moved last year to other divisions (I'm guessing they are regretting that decision now), and some just quit the company entirely.  All the trucks I see in the yard? 4 or 5 of them aren't in use. 

Although I don't want more permanent drivers brought in, it also screws us if we get busy.  I then got into a long discussion with the lead mechanic. He obviously knows more than he lets on.  He gave me kudos for being a "good driver" and we discussed the fact that we all have to do our best to make ourselves as appealing to the company as possible to keep us from getting a "hard look" if/when they decide our little division should be hit.  It's not likely to find as high a paying job as I have now anywhere, the economy is tanking and so is trucking in many sectors.  He stated the company can look at everything you do - I already knew that, the amount of info accumulated and recorded on the Quaalcomm is amazing, you can bring up the read out on it.  Even the time you spend in each gear is recorded.  How long you idle - I have no choice on that one, my truck doesn't have an APU to keep it cool or warm depending on what season we're in.

Long story short, everything that I had suspected was true.  I didn't want this time off but now that I'm in it? I'm going to enjoy it even if it means staying at home. The mechanic and the manager both stated that the facility I took the boat to is the perfect place to take an older boat - but - don't expect it to be done in less than two weeks.  EVERYONE is boating right now, everyone wants their boats fixed/in working order.  Oh well. I just found out about this place, not like I could have taken it in any sooner.  Just sucks that I may end up not being able to go on the lake the entire time I'm off work. 

But, if they get back to me and say yes, we can fix it for X amount of money, I'm good with that, then I'll add to the list - all those old boats out there they have? They strip them for parts. Maybe one of them has a ladder they can put on it.  And fix the fuel and transom gauges.  Speedometer would be nice but not mandatory.  All lights as well.  Might as well get this all dealt with in one fell swoop.  James wants to use the boat whether I'm home or on the road.

James spent the entire day on Sunday and part of Saturday cleaning the thing.  He even went out and bought a shop vac to clean all the leaves out of it. He's a good guy, I trust him to take care of it.  So he has that permission, tho he can't drink too much beer out there, they stop boats all the time on the major lakes and do "inspections".  You can drink, but you better not be over the blood/alcohol limit.  Passengers can basically drink as much as they want.  James really like to fish, I didn't know that until we got out there on the lake.  He spent the entire time fishing, we got very few bites and no hits, but I expected that at that lake. It was just close by. And I wasn't sure about the operation of the boat.  I figured a less used boat ramp would be better to be at if it had problems getting it back on the trailer.

I was wrong about the "less used boat ramp" Part. The entire parking lot was full of trucks/boat trailers and people coming and going off the single ramp.  And yes, we had some problems getting it back on the trailer. but mostly because James is new to this and he was backing the trailer into the water.  He completely submerged the trailer, including those side rails that help guide the boat in!  Uhh, James? You are too far in lol, pull up a bit.  Well, that caused us to have to back the boat back into the lake and then make another attempt - but by that point the thing was having trouble starting. I just asked everyone waiting to please be patient, I'll get us out of the way quick enough.  They all just said no problem! I think when you ask, people don't get upset or impatient, not as much anyway.

But if they don't know why you are taking so long - which I explained, this motor isn't idling properly - people tend to get irritated that you are taking so long.  Especially with a single boat ramp.  Anyway we got the thing on there and out of the way without delaying others too much.

My manager said it's probably the carburetors, btw, that's wrong with the boat. Ethanol - that additive they put in gasolline - is really bad for boat motors.  Whatever is wrong with this boat, I'm going to have to use ethanol free fuel. I don't "have" to, but it's much better on the fuel system.  And there is a place that has is available in town. 

After the boat place and the shop, I went to the store.  We're back into a meat shortage.  The grocery stores are all but empty of it.  They said this was coming - tho for us this is the second time around.  I was looking for pork chops, that's what Taylor wants for dinner.  I was also looking for a pool - she desperately wanted a swimming pool, but Walmarts everywhere are sold out of them.  You can't even get them online.  They are sold out.  Maybe other areas of the country have them, I have no idea. 

Anyway, Kroger's had no pork chops - they had almost no meat to speak of. The Walmart over there, same.  The Walmart in my town? Had one package of pork chops left, snagged that.  And then stopped at Super 1 grocery on the way home, their meat supply is fully stocked - for whatever reason I couldn't possibly explain considering what's going on everywhere else. 

Back to the house, finally, after half a day out all over the place. 

I'm going back to work on the 23rd, "guaranteed". He already had me in the slot for 2 runs in a row, he showed me on the computer screen.  This week's paycheck totally sucks, only an Oklahoma run on it - but next week is 2 brownsville runs and the week after that will be vacation hours and then after that, back to normal.  And given the possibility that if something comes up before then, do I want it, such as a Brownsville run? Uhh, yea, if there's a Brownsville, I want it!  Okay, I am definitely not going anywhere until Wednesday at the earliest of next week if that happened.  The point is that the chemical plant may not need all 5 days to reopen, they usually don't. They just give that number out in case things go south. 

Oh, my paycheck this week? $284 net pay! lmao.  Oh well, they aren't all great all the time. The new manager was like, you really think you're going to make the same money you did last year with everything slowing down like this? The lead mechanic jumped right in: Yup, this division is up and down. It will go back up. I interjected, yes, it will go back up, unless Covid-19 does some bad stuff to our division as well.....

Well that's it.  A 5 year old just ran into my room wanting a hug lol. 


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...