Aug 29, 2009

Third Time IS The Charm

TGIF..... Yeah, I know it is Saturday, but Friday is the day that I get my customary phone call relaying the condition of Frankentruck. Whether he is ready to roll, or to be confined to the infirmary.

"So, do you want the good news, or the bad news?"

Hmmmm, well, might as well get this over with. I asked for the good news. The exhaust leak that is roasting my floor has been identified and repaired.

The bad news, I have developed a new coolant leak....AND

drum roll please......

The shop has no clue why my Air Conditioning will not blow cold air. Multiple components have been replaced. It is fully charged and the lines have been checked. Therefore, they are going to send it to our Atlanta Shop....

That means.....I will head into work here in a few hours to swap out of my truck. I will be placed into a Tennessee truck that just had some injectors replaced. After I make my deliveries, I will be heading to our Tennessee plant to return the borrowed truck. At this point, I will jump into a Georgia truck (the one borrowed from us, so the injectors could be replaced in the TN truck) I will bring the Georgia truck home and then HOPEFULLY get my little Frankie back, complete with a/c. I hope.

Yep, I sure hope the third time is the charm...or at least the 34th time....That is how many times I have jumped from truck to truck during the past 2 years... 32, 33, and 34 to happen this week.

Aug 28, 2009

Gentlemen, Place Your Bets

Whew, I made it through the week without yelling at too many people. It was nice and warm, but I did get a few cooler nights, so I tried to do alot of driving after dusk. With my route, that is nearly impossible.

The floor drain was repaired, so my socks are nice and dry, but there seems to be an exhaust problem developing. I wouldn't be scared to say the flex pipe under my sleeper has a split in it somewhere, because after a short time driving, my entire sleeper floor is as hot as Georgia Asphalt. I have noticed that the floor does get a little warmer in hot weather, but I am referring to such intense heat that you cannot stand on it without shoes on, and even with shoes, you risk melting the soles! Seriously, the little strip of metal that separates carpet from rubber is too hot to touch. I burned my little foot!!

Oh well. I think I maintained a good attitude throughout the week, unless you consider the stress I deal with each and every time I fly through South Carolina. Out of all the states I travel through, SC gives me the biggest headache and my temperament for this stretch of road elevates to the level of (see blog title) anger! I loathe it with utter disdain.* We (SC and I) have a long sorted history. I am working to not this scenario get to me soooooo much, so this week, a friendly little wager was placed . I was to attempt to drive the 150 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Georgia border without losing my cool. First you must understand, I HATE this corridor. The rules of the wager included that I was to not make a single gesture that resulted from the way the idiots around me were behaving. Whether they (the others) were aware of it or not. No fingers gestures, no flashing lights, no horn blowing, no muttering insanity over the CB (yes, the truck drivers here are afflicted too) and no grumbling under my breath or at the top of my lungs.

I could have very well lied about my behavior, but I owned up to my failure. Within 31 miles, I smarted off to an idiot on the radio. And a mere 17 miles later a four wheeler got the best of me. Both incidents were reflex, and I alerted Shadow immediately. I have failed miserably.

For my payment, I will be required to wear a certain article of clothing while driving through the state, until I can rein in my reactions and somewhat adjust my attitude. **

And just for the record, I only hold contempt for this short passage. I can face NYC gridlock with a song in my heart and kind words abounding. I suppose I expect traffic to get a little nasty up north, after all, they only have 3 lanes in each direction... Other Cities, where the interstates can get up a total of 16 lanes wide, there is no rhyme or reason to the madness.

* I am not saying that people who live in South Carolina are idiots, just the people who drive there!!

** The shirt is PINK, not my favorite color!!

Aug 21, 2009

The Lesser of Two Evils

I just received a phone call from Moe (repair shop supervisor) as in Moe, Larry and Curly. I was informed that they had found the drainage problem and assured me that my floors would no longer be soaking wet. That is wonderful news, because there is nothing worse than putting on a clean pair of socks, only to have them get wet almost immediately. However, the smell factor being eliminated does not hurt my feelings either!!

The bad news...oh yeah, there always seems to be bad news now doesn't there? After replacing the compressor on my air conditioner, it was deemed that this was not my only problem. The compressor was not working, so it was immediately replaced, but something else is awry. After searching high and low, the parts needed to fix the secondary predicament were not to be found. An order has been placed and the parts should be in next Monday or Tuesday.

But here is the dilemma. I was told I could take the spare truck, but I declined almost immediately. Yes, I did make an executive decision to ride around in New England next week with no air conditioning. Am I crazy? NO!! You may remember the small amount of complaining I have done recently about how my legs and back were screaming bloody murder. Well, the only spare truck we have available is Maggie, and she is the current vessel that houses Frankentruck's old captain's chair. I would much rather be a little moist, than to suffer the set back that would so obviously befall me if I chose to ride around in the devil's seat. My legs and back are finally back to normal, and the pain with that chair would begin within 100 miles. So, NO, I will not be commiserating with Maggie next week. Yes, I will probably be a little irritable, but that is my final decision. After all, I can tolerate a little heat better than I can endure even more leg issues.

Aug 20, 2009

Just A Matter of Perception

WOW, what a week.

After all the good tidings of great joy I experienced over the weekend, I was really put through the ringer during the work week.

Not only did my air conditioning give up the ghost long before I ever made my first delivery, but it does not matter how many showers you take to feel fresh again, it ain't gonna happen. Within an hour of hosing off, I can assure you, 92 degrees inside the truck is enough to make any one feel no so fresh.

Company policy dictates that we must get permission through our local shop for any outside repairs. I called in to mention my dilemma and was told they would fix it when I got in after the load was delivered. Yes, I probably could have raised hell and had it fixed out on the road, but that would have cost me time and money, besides, it was not so bad to clean the ol toxins out of my skin driving down the road. Well, except during the rain storms were I inevitably had to roll up the side windows. And, I will have to wash all of the bedding again, just because of the odor.

Oh, no!! Not my odor...You see, while the AC is not functioning properly, the auxiliary air conditioning is working like a charm, except it is not draining properly. That in conjunction with the condensation, has left my carpeted flooring a sopping wet mess. So, therefore, my floors are now reeking to high heaven. Did I mention the auxiliary unit only works if the tractor's motor is not running? So while I am nice and cold during the night, I wake up to a wet floor, which then heats up during the day and even though I have the windows opened, the flooring still stinks. I can only imagine what it will smell like after sitting in the hot sun for 4 days with the windows closed....Yuck!!

And to make matters even more pleasant.... Did you see the trailer I picked up last week.

I had no doubt in my mind that these temporary repairs would not make the entire journey, and needless to say I was correct. After 1867 miles, I suddenly hear some strange noises and notice the tarp is now billowing outwards up to five feet. GREAT!! I knew it was going to happen because I had only ventured about 200 miles before the patches started to lose adhesion. So for the last few hours of my journey, I had to pull over every so often and tie a pretty ribbon around my not so pretty package.... Industrial size Zip Ties are even better than duct tape!!

But you want to know something amazing. Even after all the minor pitfalls I endured this week, I can honestly say that I have not been in such a great mood in quite awhile. Nothing could deter me from being happy this week!! And the icing on the cake?? I managed to get a 4 mile run in this evening in a slow steady rain, and it was the best run I have had in weeks!!

Aug 17, 2009

Today's Hot Topic

This post actually starts on the previous Saturday, but with all those ecstatic emotions of wondrous events, I forgot to include this. And , well, I did want to publish at least one Truckin Post that did not include whining, crying, or feelings of hopelessness.

You see, when I arrived at the plant to head out on this week's journey, the FIRST thing I noticed was this.....

That, my friends, is the exhaust collection pipe from the front of my engine. My first reaction was dismay, because I found it laying under the front edge of my hood. My first thought, "Oh no, something has fallen off of my truck." and yes, I would not doubt something falling off on its own. I pulled the hood and saw that the part laying on the ground was the original, and a replacement part had been installed. Obviously it fell to the ground during the job and the mechanic forgot to retrieve it. No worries!!

BUT.....I am wondering if when the part fell to the ground, could it have possibly done some damage to other necessary components. The AC components, for example. That's right, boys and girls. I have NO TRACTOR Air Conditioning this week. I do have my handy dandy all in one Tripac unit with climate control, so I am good as long as the motor is turned off. But during business hours all I have is a 2/68 unit. And that makes for not only a very hot little trucker, but also leaves my hair looking Marge Simpson. I also noticed that I have NO insulation under the truck cab, and the sleeper floor is extremely hot after several hours of driving. Almost too hot to stand on.

You know, I am beginning to think ol Frankentruck is just an Attention Whore, and I have given him more than 15 minutes of fame.

One last thing.......

I am definitely stylin and profilin this week...

Oh Happy Day !!

It is about time, but I think my truckin luck has finally turned around.

After spending a fabulous Friday getting pampered, I made a quick visit to see my nephew and help celebrate his birthday.

Did I mention that I also swapped out my mattress? In conjunction with getting the alternate seat in the truck, I seem to have eliminated ALL sources of pain. No more back, leg, knee, sciatic, swelling, numbness. All of it gone without so much as a trace.

On Saturday, I decided to leave out early to meet up with a friend. When I got to the yard, I inspected Frankentruck and noticed that he had a new set of shocks all the way around! But I also noticed that there were new airlines running from the valves to the bags !! I made my way through a very ferocious storm in South Carolina, and it did not take me long to realize that the truck was no longer slipping and sliding around. I went through several storms that day and never broke traction one single time. I am happy that I have the new shocks, but honestly I don't think they were the answer. I had mentioned checking the lines for debris, and waaalaaaaa, I got new lines. I think that is what solved the problem, whether it was debris or just crimped, I am not concerned. It is finally repaired.

So, I left out Saturday to meet up with a friend, as I said before. Someone I do not often get to see, so that was a nice distraction.

As for today, I am running a different route, so I do not have the hectic pace of the New England run bearing down on me. I was finished with deliveries at 12:30 and will not resume them until 8:00am tomorrow. With only 200 miles between stops, I have managed to enjoy a quiet afternoon reflecting on the wonderful weekend, the wonderful repairs and the wonderful lack of tension I feel in my shoulders.

Watch Out. I am on the verge of once again becoming irritatingly happy!!

Aug 14, 2009

Because I'm Worth It

I had a very lovely surprise fall into my lap today. Well, I actually knew about it yesterday, but did not know the details.

I was issued a cryptic message, " Be at this address, at this time!! or else!!"

Okay, maybe it was not quite so foreboding.In fact, it was a actually a gift from a friend. I spent two luxurious hours at a local day spa. Something I have never done for myself. I was treated to a 20 minute soak in a hydrotheraputic mud bath. Oh boy, when those jets hit my shoulders, it was bliss. Next I was pampered with an hour long full body massage.

I could get use to this!!

Everything was taken care of and all I had to do was relax. It was the nicest gesture I have received in a very long time. No strings attached, just because......

It was so enjoyable, in fact, that I intend to make regular visits. The lady who was working on me discovered some very intense knots around my shoulder blades, and I nearly jumped off the table when she began to work on them. I think after another dozen visits ( now, I am just getting greedy) I could get all those kinks worked out.

Thanks Shadow!!

Aug 13, 2009

Same Old Song and Dance

As you may have guessed by now, I did not get the Seattle run. It ended up loading on Monday at lunch, and with a Thursday morning delivery, there was just no way I could pull it off. 3200 miles in less than 72 hours. I am just not that ambitious anymore.

As for the rest of the story, it is truly the same old song and dance. Quick run up to New England this week. Home by Wednesday. Now that the seat has been changed out, I am no longer have leg problems. I also changed out my mattress at home, so all of my aches and pains should be a thing of the past.

I still have an ungodly amount of tension built up in my shoulders, so I bought a HoMedic Massager. Now if only I could find someone to use it on me. Oh , it works great, but it is difficult to truly relax your shoulders if you are using them to operate the device. I have even noticed that when I am running, I tend to draw up my shoulders into my ears which causes more discomfort and I have to literally remind myself to push them back down. You would be amazed at how a simple tension can zap you of your energy. As long as I push down with my shoulders, I can run fairly well, but if they climb upwards, I am noticeably more winded and less likely to meet my goal.

I have determined the exact cause of this particular phase on anxiety. In case you were not able to figure this out for yourself. ( I always seem to be the last to catch on, so I am sure you were already aware..LOL ) The latest malfunction with my truck!! The one where I lose traction. Yeah, still having those issues. I do fine until I hit the rain, or the construction zones with grooved surfaces. I hit a storm on Sunday, and after doing a little sliding around, I was overwrought with emotion. Enough is enough. But by then, the little things were setting me off.

For example, there is a certain YouTube personality that I was suppose to meet several months ago. He lives fairly close by, but after a few conversations and some very offensive emails, I discarded the notion of ever befriending him. He disappeared for a few months, then out of the blue, he sends a few text messages. I suppose because of my lack of response, he then felt the need to begin insulting me. I really could not care less what he thinks, my only concern is that he does live in the nearby vicinity. This is the type of personality I would fear. Someone whom might require a restraining order. He is just that weird. Surprisingly, I am not the only woman he has behaved in this manner with. There are several other ladies on YouTube who have been the object of his insane jealously, resulting in very offensive and insulting remarks. So, I am keeping my eyes open. This one is a fruitcake!!

but back to anxiety......

On the way home, I hit a few more areas where the truck began to slip and slid. Having driven trucks for 12 years now, I am very aware of how a truck should be behaving. Not much would make me excited or put me into a white knuckle panic mode. This particular circumstance pretty much ruins the whole trip for me as I am constantly fearful for my own safety. All it takes is one little slip and I am nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers.

This week, the solution is to order new tires and new shocks. Let's hope this helps, but I do not think I will get the new items until after next week, but I could be wrong. Just so you know, we do not stock supplies, so every repair is made after placing an order for parts.

Oh, now I am just rambling......

I do have a few potential positive elements to blog about in the very near future.....So all is not lost!

Aug 6, 2009

Waiting to Exhale

Yesterday, I stumbled into a situation that just might be a the much needed change of pace I am craving. If only for a moment, as it is a once in a blue moon opportunity.

We have a customer who has 3 loads of metal that are needing to be shipped to Seattle, Washington. Because we are not a "trucking" company, it is almost a fluke that this opportunity even presented itself. But, because it was our metal to begin with, well, that gives us the option to haul it, even though it is being fabricated elsewhere. Two of the loads have already shipped. There is one more to be loaded, and I have been offered the chance to run it cross country. The only stipulation is that if the load has too tight of a deadline, well, naturally, a single driver would not make the deadline.

I was supposed to find out sometime today, if I will be heading to the Pacific North West.

The phone rings, it is dispatch. It is my turn to bid on next week's deliveries.

WHAT?? What about Seattle?

Still not enough information to make the final decision as loading has been pushed back until next Monday. So for now, I am set up to head to New England, but......hopefully in the next 24 hours, I will get the call. If everything works out as I hope, we already have someone set up to cover my route so I will be freed up to make the NW run.

Until then, I am holding my breath. This would be like a two week mini-vacation for me. OMG....Rocky Mountains here I come....I have not been west of Interstate 35 in ten years....And I have already been told I would be able to do some sight seeing while I am out that way. Because it is soooooooo hard to find return freight to fit on a 93.5 inch wide Conestoga, I would inevitably have plenty of time to do some visiting.

Keep your fingers crossed.....This will be even more exciting than the $1500 trip I took through Manhattan on my birthday.

Aug 5, 2009

Have You Ever...

*Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted. Just trusted?
Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said ' I just dont care' ?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove your not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently, you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself,
will it ever get better than tonight?

Have you ever felt stagnant? That is how I am feeling right now. Stagnant, and well, as if life is just passing me by. I want to go. I want to see. I want to do. But mostly, I think I want to, er um.... I mean live.

I have numerous conversations with people this week about getting stuck in a rut/routine. One fellow has moved frequently and always returns "home". The other packs up all his belongings and moves every 3 years. I wish I had this kind of courage. Because right now, I just feel like I am living the same week, over and over...

Sorry folks, just going through a mild depression.....

* "Glitter In The Air" written and performed by P!nk

Aug 2, 2009

Gone to The Dogs

I really don't have too much to contribute at this point. So, just a quick update because I am at work, and tired of driving at the moment.

I am back in Frankentruck. I should not tell you this because it makes Shadow worry about me, but I do not believe the new leveling valve fixed the problem. Truck is still way too sloppy...I will inquire about the shocks that were ordered but not mounted, when I return this week. This also means I am in the only seat that does not hurt my booty, legs, hips or knees AND, so far so good. Nine hundred miles into this trip and not an ounce of pain.

Okay, maybe I do have an one thing to contribute. I did something very nice for myself this weekend. And yes, I did this for me. I volunteered at the local pet shelter. Walking dogs, grooming, cleaning, whatever was needed. I had such a good time, and of course, they were glad to have me. I am looking forward to spending more time doing volunteer work. But, I could not believe some of the dogs who have been abandoned... There was a gorgeous 2 year old Alaskan Malamute. I would have taken her home in a heartbeat, had I been able. All the dogs, except 2 , had very lovely dispositions and temperaments. There was one adopted out while I was there. His name was Hiway, and he was found by a trucker on the side of the road a few weeks ago. He was also adopted by a trucker just after being walked and groomed by a trucker. No, I did not adopt him.. I bet he will make a good trucking dog, though!! LOL

So that about wraps it up. Heading to New England.....Oh yeah, and I did manage to get 2 good runs in this weekend, after last weeks tearful fiasco....What kind I say, sometimes I get a little emotional, I am after all, just a girl!! Run Terry Run.....