Apr 25, 2009

Blue Skies

"Blue skies, smiling on me.....nothing but blue skies forever I see...."

or something like that....

Hey Kids... I am really excited to report that I will be playing Over The Road trucker next week. Well, okay, maybe not anymore than I normally do already. I am however, venturing out into uncharted territory. Um...yeah, okay so it is not so remote, not even to me. The girl who thrives in the North Eastern United States, and yes, I have ventured west of the Mississippi River a few times here of late.

This week, I have chosen a route that will take me back "home". I am making deliveries in Alabama, Memphis, Louisiana, and Texas!! The way it is set up, will actually take me longer to deliver than I am normally accustomed too. I have usually completed my deliveries by lunchtime on Tuesday, but I foresee myself to be lingering in Texas well into Thursday.

You know, I am beginning to feel a little restless, but have no fear, I tend to get this way every so often. I think a nice vacation would do the trick. Maybe a beach trip!  

But alas, I am feeling better about things, although I do have some excessive energy I need to burn off. Mentally and physically, perhaps due to the restlessness. But things are looking up emotionally..You cant fight this stuff forever!

Apr 24, 2009

Blessing In Disguise

Oh where was I??

Sorry Folks, I had to take a bit of a break from even thinking about all of the worries that were weighing on my mind, and heart for that matter...as I do love my job.

 After spending 40 hours in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I was finally set free. All issues had been addressed and for the most part, rectified. Well, there is the one trivial matter of the inverter not working, but all in all, I felt as if I was in a new truck. One with no worries. 

After a short weekend stint at home, I set out for 2 back to back turn around to Southern Florida. I do not know if I have ever emphasized how completely mundane I find the Ronald Reagan (Florida) Turnpike to be, but it lures me into a trance like state and although I am not a napper, it is all I can do to not pull over multiple times and doze for a spell. Don't get me wrong, I love Florida, as long as I can get some sand in my crack and enjoy a few cocktails near the ocean. In a truck, however, it drives me mad.

The first trip was almost uneventful. Full load of extrusion to deliver in Pompano Beach. I requested directions from The Mayor (mistake number one) and he was more than willing to oblige. The only problem with getting directions from him is that he tends to repeat and reword instructions so many times, you can never be sure if you are making 1 left hand turn or 5.

I arrived at the customer around midnight, not exactly sure I was in the correct driveway. I was supposed to back in from the roadway onto a concrete drive...It was asphalt. I was supposed to be at 915, the address showed to be 912...Hmmmm, I hopped out of the truck, to have a look around and after noticing how much foot traffic was about, I decided to wait until the morning to determine if I was indeed at the correct location.  I was..but if I had followed the instructions I had received, I might have been tooling around for another 30 minutes, trying to find 915 with the concrete drive.

Made it back to the plant Monday evening, after bumping into a long ago co-worker. He was heading south, and we agreed to meet up the next day to have a cup of joe and catch up on old times. So, Tuesday, I pulled into Cordele, Georgia to say hello. The Mayor was also coming south, and I was bound and determined to stay one step ahead of him...It was not to be.. He had phoned saying he was 2 hours behind me, I thought I had a good hour to visit with Doc Holliday, but after only 30 minutes, the Mayor pulls into the truck stop!  Jiminy Crickets!!!!  Guess he is on to me bag of tricks. 

Needless to say, the rest of the trip kind of irritated me. I do not like to run with any of our other drivers as they tend to stop way too often, and kill too much time. Besides, it rather restricts me  in other aspects too, as I cannot just be myself. They do not understand my sense of humor, so I just keep my mouth shut and ride. Blech.....I encouraged him on several occasions to strike out on his own, but he would not budge. I travelled long distance with no breaks, hoping he would have to exit for a rest stop..Seems he is pretty good at controlling his bladder. I thought perhaps he might get hungry, but he felt compelled to starve... There was no shaking him.. One of the reasons I detest running with him, is his poor driving habits...He is either on top of my trailer, or running off the road. He cannot maintain a constant speed without the help of his cruise control, and will deliberately set it low so I can keep up..Um, yeah....I tried to lose him that way too!

Boy, am I rambling.....I finally lost him at the end of the second day. We had our trucks washed (horrible result) at a place he was just raving about, and I feigned sick. Took him awhile, but he managed to pull out shortly thereafter, alone!!

Surely, I have not digressed from the point of this post too far to recover....Yikes!!

So,back to the beginning,  after sitting in Tennessee for an eternity, I found out that Volvo had actually paid a visit to our yard on the same day. They had made some computer adjustments to all of our trucks...They had left the truck cabs in complete disarray and infuriated several of our drivers in doing so. Thankfully, I was sitting in a motel while mine was being done at a shop. Everything in the place I had left it, no dust and dirt trampled into the flooring..  This is why I spent so much time in Chattanooga. To have the same process completed in my truck.  Do you realize how extremely upset I would have been if mine had been done at the yard and left disheveled..Along with everything else I was dealing with..

Indeed, it was a blessing in disguise.

Stress Relief

This is a video I put together to illustrate exactly what I do when hauling scrap..I seemed to gotten a little creative with this one!!   Hope you enjoy!!

Apr 16, 2009

Schedule Of Events

Last night, I attempted to write a blog post, and after 5000 words and a few more tears, I realized that I could not find the words to clarify what was happening or my emotional state of being. Instead, I offered a few sentences to try to alleviate my mental torment. Neither worked. I erased the long diatribe and fell into a confused stupor as to the "how's" and "whys" this was happening to me.

My best friend offered as much solace as was possible, but encouraged me to just sleep on it. Tomorrow will take care of itself and worrying about it another night would do me no good. 

This morning, the course of action was to be as follows.  Allow my favorite company mechanic in Tennessee,  to go over the small issues and hopefully make a few repairs. Then head over to Volvo for the major issues. Finally, I would drive down to our Local Big Company Shop to have the remaining trivial tasks attended to.  I could not get all repairs completed at any one shop. The first shop deals with day cab units and I assume would not be capable of helping with the issues involving the inverter (as they have no sleeper trucks with inverters) I was fine with letting him do what he could. The Volvo shop was to only handle the warranty work and computer issues. The big Company shop would have to pick up the remaining slack.

So, this morning, I awoke to find out that my favorite company mechanic was on vacation this week. I almost immediately felt like just throwing  in the towel, but I was encouraged to head on over to Volvo and at least get started on the road to repair.

Upon arriving, I immediately felt the dark clouds begin to part and could sense a little relief in sight. Nothing happened, just started feeling relieved that this would all be over soon. I had made the comment to several people this week, that I would be willing to stay in a motel for as many days as it took to just be finished with all of this. So, after 6 hours, I was informed that I had 2 choices......Take the truck somewhere else to have the work completed, or camp out while they ordered a part.

I am sitting here at the HOJO Inn and drinking some really horrible coffee. BUT....I should be rolling again by noon tomorrow. I sincerely had no intentions of spending my personal time in a motel, guess I should have kept my big mouth shut. The boss did offer me several options, but I remarked that the sooner this is over, the better. I do not want to swap trucks, I do not want to drive a day cab, I do not want the local monkeys retrieving my truck. I do not want to wait any longer.  I want this finished.  

The best news of all......I have been given permission to let Volvo repair everything.....Seeing as how they were going to have Frankentruck overnight anyways.

I have the utmost confidence that when my beast is returned to me, I shall be able to perform my job with no more dilemmas for awhile. Truthfully, this is the closest I have come to having some sort of breakdown. Even my best friend remarked that they had never seen me this down for this long....And over a truck.....or three.....

I just want to thank a few of you for the emails and support you have offered to me. The virtual hugs and such, if you will.... Just think, your kind words may have spared a mechanic his life.....But seriously......Gabby, John, Ian, Doug, John, Andy, Paula, Billy, Eric,  and any others I may have forgot to mention.............. THANK YOU!!

Apr 15, 2009


I was going to write up another post about the situation that is currently dominating my life, in order to give, you the reader,  a little more clarity...But, I am not thinking straight, and cannot make sense of it in writing. My brain is numb. My emotions are ragged, and after writing a 5000 word diatribe on the current conditions...I was left feeling so anxious and distraught that another round of tears have fallen from my eyes...Maybe I will get it published after the visit to the 3 shops I have planned for tomorrow....Yes 3 shops!! Each with an explicit purpose. 

I just cant become detached enough right now...So, I will leave it......because I can actually feel my blood boiling at this moment.

Apr 13, 2009

Read At Your Own Risk

Seriously.......I am losing it. There is absolutely nothing about this post that is intended to be cute or funny..I could fill 500 sentences with nothing but curse words, and would feel no remorse for doing so, but I know several of my readers who would find that very offensive, and of course, I always try to think of others first...So.....the extent of my emotional rage will have to be read between the lines....

Last week, I declined 2-3 days of work with the intention of giving the mechanics ample amount of time to fix my truck. Kind of selfish, in a way. I just did not want to sit at a shop for 2 days while my truck was being repaired. Instead, I opted to let them take it to a shop, and allow me a normal weekend at home.

Well, that did not happen. The stupid idiots tried to fix it themselves, but left me a message to go by a Volvo shop to let the real mechanics finish the job. Great..not only did I sacrifice income last week for the failed repairs, but now I also have to give up more personal time , that I do not get any compensation for, to have the job finished.  

Brake ABS, still malfunctioning, along with the traction control now  acting up as well!! Valve on dash still leaking air.

Marker lights do not work at all and there are open electrical circuits somewhere in my truck, which I am constantly reminded of by the display screen on my dash.  The blinkers no longer have an automatic shut off after you complete your turn..The truck can no longer gauge how many miles per gallon it can travel, and the fuel economy reading is completely inaccurate. The last reading said that on 89 gallons, I should be able to travel 9974 miles. On top of that, with the electrical current free flowing, my hair has been standing straight up for 3 days now. and everything I touch shocks me.  The spot mirror on the nose of the tractor has mysteriously lost all the screws which keep it mounted in place. So, it is flopping around because it is mounted on to a ball joint. The fucking mechanics lost all the screws to my dash when they got into the fuse panel, so the top of my dash is no longer attached which means my radio is also flopping around.

And my inverter just burnt up. AGAIN...

Isn't it amazing how all my problems have followed me to 3 separate trucks.  The only thing I have added to any of them is a ground wire for my antennae.  But yet, the same things keep happening..

Every time the truck goes in the shop..it comes out in a worse state......

Let us review the common denominators...Me..........the mechanics.......three separate trucks....same problems after the mechanics get a  hold of each one........

I am so tired of this..I was actually in tears a few moments ago....I love my job..I love my plant location, but these stupid idiots are going to force me to leave. I cannot continue facing the same fucking issues every week....My nerves are frayed and I have had enough...

Last week, the only problems I has were the ABS, and the marker lights.....Amazing how that works!

Apr 10, 2009


There IS something to be said for consistency. Sure, I would like to substitute that for accuracy. But, with consistency, there leaves very little room for doubt.  For example, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that every time I have my truck diagnosed, it will be not be repaired for the problems that are present. I also know that half of my problems are manufactured by the mechanics themselves, due to laziness, ignorance, or the fact that my chest sticks out a little further than the other drivers.

I think perhaps, I should invest profusely in Duct Tape..No, not the stock! I mean load up the truck with it, so every time I have to report an issue, I can tape down the girls so that they will no longer distract the mechanics from what I am telling them.

This week, I needed to have my ABS looked at. The brake failure was becoming a major issue, as the mechanism did not know how to behave. It is frightening to realize your brakes have just released even though you are still applying constant pressure and the light in front of you is red, and although you did have more than enough sufficient room to stop,  as long as the brakes keep up the cycle of grab and release, that comfort zone is rapidly diminishing because the damn things are not grabbing........So, the sensors were changed out. We shall see if that fixed the problems. Until I know for sure, I will continue to slow for each and every green light, and stop 100 yds before the actual red ones..Grrrrrr.....Oh yeah.. the little flashing light on the dash is kind of annoying as well....With or without....Either way is fine, but I would like a little consistency in my brakes performance.

As for the other repair. Well, I mentioned that my marker lights were flashing like a disco inferno while driving down the road. People were cutting me off left and right, but thanking me at the same time. That is when I discovered the strobe lights. It would only happen when the parking brakes were released, therefore I never noticed it during my pre-trip. I also mentioned that there was a loud electrical popping noise coming from out of my fuse panel. I had disconnected my radio to keep from burning it up, because it is hard to pull a fuse panel apart at 65 mph. I suggested the two instances were related, and perhaps they should check my fuses, relays, and control modules.

Here is where consistency comes into play.

My boss called to inform me that the only thing wrong with my truck, was the ground wire I had run from the frame to the fire wall. It was supposedly reeking havoc on the electrical system..

WTH??  seriously??

I disputed this accusation and after a short time later, the boss called back to confirm that the ground wire had absolutely nothing to do with my problems. That after further investigation, I indeed had a malfunctioning light control module. It has been replaced.

Had I not inquired as to how the beast was behaving, I would have most likely returned to a truck, minus one ground wire and the perpetual rhythmic styling of one disco duck!  I mean, my marker light problem would have not been corrected. But , because of consistency, I once again doubted the skills of the mad scientist, and pushed harder for a correct diagnosis....YAY ME!!

Apr 9, 2009

What's In A Name

I know I said I was not going to do it.  I was not going to name the new/used truck.  I was not going to get attached to him at all. But in my defense, well I am a female and we do tend to name our inanimate objects, even though I said NOT THIS TIME.. But seriously, the truck was begging for a name, and was deemed appropriately enough through no fault of my own. In fact, the reason this truck has a name, is entirely the fault of some mechanic who could not pay attention to simple instructions.

When my truck was to be serviced, I mentioned that there was an annoying sound coming from outside of my truck. I pinpointed the location to be at the end of the fender, under the driver's door. There was a clip that was stripped out,  enabling the fender to flop around just enough to give off an extremely irritating vibration once the wind got underneath it.  I shared this information with the mechanic, but did not take him by the hand and show him. I trusted that  saying "at the end of the fender, under the driver's door" would be adequate enough. Obviously, it was not. Not even with the included adjectives of loose, stripped, flopping,  or slack...Nope,  none of it registered. Because the repairs made were not anywhere near the door..Well, not the driver's door. Tool Box door perhaps, but that was not what I had said.

This is a picture of one of three repairs made to my truck. You will notice several rivets. These rivets are holding a piece of fiber glass to the under side of this crack. This split is a direct result of the previous driver shoving the fuel nozzle too hard to get it into the tank, because the tank is turned almost completely upright. A major inconvenience to fuel, but this was not the source of my annoyance.

Here is another repair. This time the fiber glass is placed on the exposed side of the truck, over another crack..Once again a direct result of pushing too hard on the skirt to get the fuel nozzle in the tank, but also once again....not the end of the fender, under the driver's door, either.

This is perhaps, the best repair in the series!  

Six rivets holding an 8 inch strip of fiber glass over a factory seam at the back of the cab.A FACTORY SEAM.....one that did not rattle, vibrate or have any additional flopping sounds coming from it.  Definitely not the cause of my conundrum...I am just absolutely stupefied as to why they could not figure out just where exactly the " End of the Fender, Under the Driver's Door"  is.

Thankfully, the night shift mechanic was willing to assist me. He mig welded the clip back into place and tightened everything back down into a snug position, therefore eliminating the risk of the complete loss of my sanity, for at least a little while longer. And, with no extra parts left exposed like little scars. No rivets, no nothing...Just a repair made, as I had requested.

Oh yeah, my new trucks name?  N0w that he is a scarred beast, I think he is best suited to carry the moniker of.......


....and I am it's Mistress.  The Bride of Frankentruck!!

Time To Go Back To Work

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, it has finally happened. After 2 very long months, I am finally going back to the City that I love so dearly.

I have had a delightful time on my "vacation" driving entirely in the Southern States, with the exception of that one route that took me into Illinois. But truthfully, my weekly excursions down to Miami have been a bit of a minor struggle for me. I personally find the Florida Turnpike to be inexcusably mundane and often causes me to struggle throughout the journey. I have to set goals for myself, to even complete the 400+ mile trip through Florida.  Mini goals include stopping at Fort Pierce for my first coffee, then again west of Orlando for Popeye's Chicken, next I hit the Pilot north of Ocala for another shot of java. Silly, I know, but these mini goals are the only way I can make it out of the Sunshine State without stopping for a nap. I begin to feel slumber calling my name only an hour or two into the  northbound journey, and that is after I have just started my day a few hours before. I do not know why Florida does this to me, but I can assure you, one of my dearest friends is probably just about sick of me calling to have them keep me awake to the state line..It is that bad.

So, this Saturday, I will once again mount my trusty steed and gallop towards the magnificent entity that is New York City!
side note: my New England customers have been calling me every week, wondering when I would make my return....This will be a sort of homecoming. I cannot wait to see them!!

Apr 4, 2009

Part Time

Here I am , living the life of Riley. Isn't it amazing how some things just miraculously appear in your life and seem to lead you into new directions.

A few weeks ago, an opportunity became available in which one of the Aluminum drivers was needed to assist in a dedicated furniture route delivery. Because I had low miles, the opportunity was given to me. I will admit with much fear and trepidation, I reluctantly agreed. As a matter of fact, I think the only reason I agreed is because the route would get me and the Truck within 15 minutes of my home, thus eliminating a very long commute in the Pony Car.  I managed to sail through the route, completing 10 deliveries to small discount furniture stores, while hand unloading every single piece. 

The next week, the same opportunity was offered but I was in Miami at the time, and could not return in sufficient time to make the run. Alas, I had low miles again. So, the next week, I was contacted again. This time it was cabinets, which was actually a little more difficult. But once again, I completed the task. I even managed to get a half of a day ahead of the schedule, and that was after starting 8 hours late.

I have already mentioned that I actually enjoy the labor aspect of my job. I think I would become disgruntled if all I did was drive. I look forward to the work, the interaction with so many customers, the feeling of completion as the trailer becomes empty. This is perfect for me. Another angle which I consider to be an amenity, is the fact that this account delivers to many out of the way locations.

On my second route, I actually delivered to a storage facility ( as in U-Haul ) and the customer met me with a little box truck. We transferred the product literally bumper to bumper.  The parking lot was tiny and it was a challenge to maneuver through. But even better than that, was the residential delivery I completed in Jackson, Mississippi.  While following specific directions, I started to get nervous as the trees and power lines began to creep lower and lower. I am sure I broke a tree limb or two, but luckily I had just enough clearance to pass under the overhead lines, of course I did have to travel at about 5 mile an hour and zig zag down the street to avoid them,dumping my air bags to gain that much needed extra inch of clearance. But, any clearance is good clearance!!

On my final load of cabinets, I had an even more precarious delivery. Once again, the site was residential. I was given directions which led me astray. Wrong Exit!! So, I made the return trip to the appropriate exit and once again set about on the correct course. Except, when I got to the neighborhood, which was located on a tiny little two lane road, I realized instantaneously that I would not be making this delivery. At least not here.  I mentioned the tiny road I was traveling on, well, it was indeed only about 18 feet wide. I was literally taking up half of the road surface. To make matters worse, the entrance to the community was not a typical residential street entrance. No! This one had pretty stucco walls and a gate. Plus immediately inside there was a huge garden complete with massive ornamental fountain.  The gate clearance was about 10 feet. There was no way I was going to fit, not all 60+ feet of me without doing some remodeling on this entryway.  

The contractor met me at the gate. I had been parked in the road for at least 5 minutes and was feeling very uncomfortable, fearing someone was going to have a head on collision due my obstruction of the road. After much senseless debate, he finally agreed with me that is was not worth the risk. He thought I should be able to make it. I adamantly declined the offer to try, thus is was time to make a u-turn. I spent the next 20 minutes meandering down tiny routes, over weight restricted bridges, and finally found a parking lot I could pull in and back out of, thus changing my direction. The contractor had suggested I use an apartment community, but I declined that offer too!  There are just some places a big truck does not need to be.

The contractor then told me that the delivery site had a construction entrance and they were trying to get the lock off of it. It seems the Fire Department has the key to the lock. But our appeal was declined. The construction entrance, is actually an emergency entrance, used for the sole purpose of allowing the fire trucks access. WHY?  Because they cannot fit through the main entrance. 

Hey Buddy!! neither can I.  

Finally, the contractor agreed that delivering to the house was not going to happen, so he sent me to another parking lot to wait it out, until he could find alternate means of unloading the cabinets. Twenty minutes later, I was instructed to meet him at a Truck Rental Facility about 20 miles down the road. He would rent a small box truck, we would transfer the load, and he would make the site delivery himself.  Good Luck!!  This was the second time I would tailgate to a tailgate!

Now, it may seem to you , that perhaps I have been complaining throughout this post. I assure you, it was not meant that way. See, this is the stuff I love. I would become stagnant if all I ever did was dock , highway, dock.  I need complications. I need adversity, I need a good challenge.

Hopefully, there will be more more cabinets/furniture in my future!!

Oh, and just a side note. I have not been to NYC in 2 months, and honestly, I do not think I have missed it that much. Well, maybe a little! But I have had so much fun doing these other tasks, that I have not thought much about it.  Who knows where this will all lead.

Apr 3, 2009

Schnitzenkrugen !!!!!

I cannot win for losing.

Maggie is no longer...

The newly acquired truck supposedly had no problems...

Schnitzenkrugen  !!!!!

The good news is that this truck, who shall remain nameless, indeed has absolutely no signs of any type of exhaust leak.  

Schnitzenkrugen  !!!!!

The bad news, you ask...Well, the bad news is as follows. If I leave all lights burning indefinitely, there is no problems. However, if I extinguish the headlights and trailer lights, the front markers/running lights will blink in a chaotic fashion as long as the brakes are not applied.  And there is no rhyme or reason. Just continual blinking...Off....Normal....off......bright......normal......offfff....noooooormallllllll..........I thought it was extremely odd that everyone who cut me off, was courteous enough to flash their lights at me...Trucks, Campers, autos....Everyone, who cut me off .... because my lights were flashing which is a universal  signal that "You now have enough clearance to retake the  lane in front of me" A signal I was not giving, but this newly acquired workhorse has been signaling like crazy, and because it only does it when the parking  brakes are not applied....Well, I can not see it happening. I only noticed it one night hauling scrap when I had to approach a glass wall in order to back underneath a trailer. In the reflection, I noticed the pulsating chaos of my own personal disco lights.

Schnitzenkrugen !!!!!

I am not sure how long this has been an issue, but it only was noticed by myself the day after the mechanics installed a new power supply to run our electric tarps...Hmmmmm? Coincidence?  I could only hope.

Also, my tractor ABS does not work properly. It alternates its efficiency. The problem I have is,  you never know when the brakes are going to work properly, or do a grab.grab, grab, grab, release. The first time this occurred, it felt as if I was pulling a tanker with no baffles....( Oh Yeah, in English....Um...It felt like something behind me was shoving me forward every time I tried to slow because the brakes would work, then, they would not. Causing a temporary surging before they would reengage.)

Schnitzenkrugen !!!!!

Sooooo, I bet you can guess where I will be heading next week. 

Double Schnitzenkrugen !!

I think I might try the Miami shop this time.

In case you are wondering, the only way to keep this post safe for the kiddies, was to use an alternate word to replace all the four letters words that are begging to fly out of my mouth. I think my choice is a delightful one......