Boobery at the Baltimore Port

2008 December 5
by Hedon

So it’s been a damn week chocked full of boobery. Most of it spent at the port in Baltimore. Let’s just do a little run down of the Baltimore Boobery so it doesn’t slip my mind in a few weeks:

DAY 1

11:00am >>  Arrive at port to pick up load. Finally find our way to the correct guard shack. Show proper id proving we’re not terrorists — or at the very least we’re terrorists with valid commercial drivers licenses — and actually get into the port itself. Drive back to main shipping office.

11:30am >>  Go into main shipping office with both drivers licenses, truck registration papers, load pick-up number, baby pictures of Maggie, and a list of everything eaten by the three of us in the last 24 hours. Check in with shipping clerk. Fill out a bunch of paperwork. Get handed a big number to tape in windshield of truck and a map to the warehouse where we will be loaded –  which is somewhere else on the port grounds.

12:15pm >>  Drive around aimlessly for a while then finally find warehouse where we are to be loaded. Wander around in giant empty warehouse for a while before realizing that all the dock workers are on their big old teamsters lunch hour. Go back to truck and read information given us at main shipping office which includes “Once you have checked in with shipping office you will not be allowed to leave the port for any reason until loaded” and realize we should have had lunch before we came to port. Take a moment to thank god for massive quantities of body fat which will ensure our survival.

Sugar Baby Doll and Princess Poopy Pants

Sugar Baby Doll and Princess Poopy Pants

2:20pm >>  Finally find some dock workers and give them the paperwork sent over by shipping clerk at first office we visited. Instructed to tape large number on windshield of truck and wait to be told when to hit the dock. Hedon taken aback somewhat by being called “Sugar Doll” several times but shrugs it off.

5:30pm >>  Still waiting. Various body fat starting to cry out for replenishment but none to be had. Hedon starting to covertly eye Stace and Maggie, wondering which would taste better with left-over Panera’s bagel. After so many years together, Stace instantly catches the drift of Hedon’s thoughts and casually points out how “firmly meaty” Maggie’s thighs are. Hedon decides to take nap instead of resorting to cannibalism so early in their captivity.

8:15pm >>  Finally told to hit the dock and prepare to be loaded. Hedon hits dock in expertly efficient manner rarely seen outside of a trucker’s rodeo competition and settles in to wait for the loading. Dock worker is immediately at Hedon’s door saying, “Hey there, Baby Doll, if you wouldn’t mind we need you to sweep out the trailer for us.” At first Hedon is confused, thinking dock worker must be talking to someone else, but finally understands he means her and goes to sweep out trailer. Sweeps trailer. Then dock worker tells Hedon, “I’m sorry, Sugar, but we’re going to have to reject this trailer. It’s got too many nails in the floor.”

8:35pm >>  Hedon contacts Those-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to let them know the trailer was rejected and asks for instructions.

9:15pm >>  TWMNBN messages us back and sends directions for a place in the area to go swap empty trailers. We have to go check back in at main shipping office to get gate pass before being allowed to leave port. Fill out much more paperwork. Tell them what happened with trailer being rejected, what we’re doing about it and that we’ll be right back with a different trailer to get loaded. Hedon is informed the port is closed for the day and we will not be allowed back in.

9:45pm >>  Drive 45 miles round trip to swap trailers.

11:10pm >>  Finally get a decent meal and head to our secret hidey-hole parking place in Baltimore to sleep for the night.

Boobery Recap: Twelve hours and ten minutes

Day 2

9:00am >> Show up at port with fancy no-nails-in-floor trailer, cooler full of lunch meat and diet coke, and cabinet full of snacks. Same check-in procedure as yesterday. Drive over to actual warehouse, greet dock workers, Hedon gets called “Sugar Honey Bunch” by someone half her age, tapes giant number in windshield, and settles in to wait to be called to hit the dock.

3:24pm >>  Still waiting. Hedon suddenly remembers that they bought a camera a while back and starts taking pictures of crap around the port. Stace becomes concerned that the port people will think they are terrorists and makes Hedon quit. Hedon makes whiny OMG I’m SO BORED sounds.

6:28pm >>  Still waiting. Will the never-ending horror drive Hedon mad as she watches other trucks come, get loaded in thirty minutes, and leave? The jury is still out.

7:56pm >>  Finally told to hit dock. Sweep trailer. Get loaded!! Drive back over to shipping office to get paperwork and discover load is 45,000 pounds. Make innocent passing comment to shipping clerk that I sure do hope we can scale that out legal. Clerk says to go to nearby truck stop, scale load and if there is a problem come back with scale paperwork and dock guys can rework load to get it legal. But she adds that we need to be back before 9:00 tonight because if we have to come back tomorrow they will put us at the end of the line.

8:12pm >> Haul ass over to truck stop. Scale load. Load is so ridiculously illegal it’s actually funny. Laugh. Haul ass back to port as quickly as possible. Shit! Maryland DOT has the south-bound interstate on-ramp closed for construction. Follow long winding detour and finally get on interstate. Head south. OMG!! Off-ramp to port is closed, too. Start off on long winding detour toward port, check watch, shake head sadly and point truck toward secret Baltimore hidey-hole to sleep for night two.

9:23pm >>  Contact night dispatcher and let him know what’s going on, that load is illegal and we will not be able to get it reworked until late tomorrow night. Night dispatcher says he will leave message for day dispatcher so everyone knows what’s going on since load is now late for delivery in Kentucky.

10:40pm >>  Go to sleep. Grind teeth. Wake up after horrible foreclosure dream involving dancing purple elves and Will Smith. Lay there in the dark a minute petting Maggie and being grateful that we live in a crappy trailer down by the river — it may be a shit-hole but it’s our shit-hole. Go back to sleep.

Boobery Recap: Thirteen hours and forty minutes

Day 3

9:00am >>  Wake up to three voice mails and five messages from day dispatcher wanting to know what the hell is going on and why we aren’t headed for Kentucky. Call and explain situation since night dispatcher obviously didn’t explain jack shit. Head over to port. Get through security gate and back to shipping office. Take bills and scale ticket and explain that load is seriously illegal and will have to be reworked. Hedon is somewhat disgruntled by an unseen voice on other side of shipping office window suggesting that the shipping clerk “tell the bitch to just shut up and take the load” but Hedon doesn’t say anything rude or crank-like. Hedon considers it a personal victory. Clerk sends us back over to where we loaded in the first place.

9:20am >>  Head back over to big old warehouse, find dockworker, and explain scale problem. Guys at warehouse who over-loaded us don’t want to fix problem. They make a couple of calls. They stare at Hedon in hostile manner that makes it clear Hedon is no longer their “Sweet Sugar Baby Doll.”  Then they send us to another warehouse to get reworked.

10:00am >>  Hedon walks in second warehouse with bill of lading and overweight scale ticket. One inbred dock worker takes paperwork and, standing less than three feet away from Hedon, tells another retarded-looking dock worker that “this is that woman Mike called about who has the overweight load. Stupid bitch. There ain’t nothing wrong with that load. Probably just needs to slide her tandems. I don’t know why they even let women drive trucks anyway.” Sputtering mad and on the verge of saying many things that will get her fired immediately, Hedon marches back to the truck.

10:05am >>  Hedon calls day dispatcher, tells him everything that has been said to this point at port, and informs him if one more word is said to her “we will drop this trailer right where it stands” and drive out of port. Dispatcher says he will get with Customer Service Representative for this account to let them know what has been going on cause “you don’t have to take that crap” which is code for “I’m blowing an awful lot of smoke up your ass right now. How does that feel? Would you like more or less smoke?”

10:45am >>  Sheepish-looking inbred dock worker stumbles out to truck and apologizes. Informs Hedon that the trailer was not loaded correctly the night before and that he has fixed the problem. Our heroes head back to truck stop to scale load again.

11:45am >>  Oh Glorious Day! After sliding tandems, load scales out legal. Send all-clear message to dispatch and head toward Kentucky.

Total Boobery for entire load — 28 hours and 35 minutes

And people wonder why truckers are so surly.

19 Responses
  1. 2008 December 6

    Damn! I could never do your job without causing bodily harm to someone. I cannot stand people who drag their feet and get paid all day to move as slow as frickin possible. Arghhhhh!

    I don’t know HOW you do it all the time but you should get a prize!

  2. 2008 December 6
    John permalink

    Your patience level is astounding. I doubt I would have had enough to wait around and jump through so many hoops just to get the load. Good for you.

  3. 2008 December 6
    Belledog permalink

    Still need to read your blogpost, and will. Pic was nice, though!!

    Will catch up on the angst later today.

    Cautionary tale out of the Charleston SC paper.

    Be careful who you fly with.

    Probably applies to driving too.

    http://charleston.net/news/2008/dec/06/crash_cause_unknown_jury_says64257/

  4. 2008 December 6

    wow. how does your head not explode? love your writing btw :-) adding you to the reader STAT. (sorry, i know that was ridiculously corny).

  5. 2008 December 6

    You have my complete sympathy. Especially for the crack from the retarded dock worker – nice. I never had to pick up at that port, but since 9/11 it is soooo excellent that truck drivers are scrutinized so very thoroughly before being put through a giant time waster like that. I kid.

    Boobery, boobery indeed.

  6. 2008 December 6

    Sheila and John (welcome John)and Decorina,

    Patience is seriously a prime requirement if you’re going to be a trucker. Seems like every group out there is sitting around trying to figure out how to get more hoops lined up for us to jump through.

    Funny thing is that the Coast Guard has decided that from now on nobody can enter any of the Ports in America without applying to get this special pass called TWIC. The Baltimore Port was supposed to start enforcing this new rule 12/01 but enforcement was being delayed until 01/01 so we just slipped in… goody.

    My understanding of the TWIC process is that you have to go to a special law enforcement office, fill out this huge questionaire, and get finger-printed. Then you wait a couple of months and they send you this special official badge that looks like an employee badge used at many companies. Cost around $90 to get it. My thought is screw that — I don’t want to go to your stupid ports anyway.

    Wonder if freight is going to be backing up even worse at some of these ports?

  7. 2008 December 6

    Belledog,

    Wow! That article is kinda scary — I’m going to have to start keeping a closer eye on Stace. :)

  8. 2008 December 6

    April,

    It comes close to exploding on a regular basis. Glad you’re enjoying the Hags, and don’t worry about being corny here as I am the ORIGINAL doofus.

  9. 2008 December 6

    Damn! All that boobery makes me want to find somebody to randomly bitch slap. Oh, and eat fried stuff from a cooler in my car so our dogs will think more highly of me.
    You guys rock. As in – you are way more Zen that I am.

  10. 2008 December 6

    Mongoliangirl,

    Hey! Welcome! I wanted to say “hi” over on your comment re “Atlas Shrugged” in Stace’s “Shrug” post but I’m trying to restrain myself since I know she has more to say and I don’t want to be butting into her conversation and all…so anyway… Hi!

    And dogs do think you’re uber-cool if you eat out of a cooler. Maggie will get her nose right up against the lid of our cooler and look up at me like, “I don’t know if you remember it or not, but I’m pretty sure there’s some left-over fried chicken in this noisy cold box thing… I’m just saying.”

  11. 2008 December 6

    ha ha! No kidding about the dogs. Ours think I’m the best person on earth every time they year a crinkly paper sounds. And the horses? Just rattle a bucket and become a star!
    Love your blog! I’ve put you into my google reader and will be keeping up.
    Thanks!

  12. 2008 December 6

    The port pass thingy sounds like the Haz Mat crap part two. Pay $90, get fingerprinted, fill out a big old questionnaire, stand up, sit down, fight fight fight, sorry I get distracted. Yes, patience is really a big part of driving – and you just can’t let it get to you because it will make you crazy. Crazier. Insane. Et al.

  13. 2008 December 6

    You must have the patience of a buddhist monk.

  14. 2008 December 6

    I often debate with myself while driving down the road if I’m more like a buddhist monk or an old time christian saint. Jury is still out.

  15. 2008 December 6

    Hello! I am just loving your blog, Hedon & Stace! I found it this afternoon and will be adding it to my frequent reader list! I was blown away by these people you had to deal with. Especially what that idiot said about you at the port. I work for a Kenworth dealership and any woman trucker I’ve come across seems to know a heck of a lot more than any of the male truckers! Plus they smell better, ha!!

  16. 2008 December 6

    Hey Jennifer!

    Nice to meet you. Glad you found your way here and are liking the place.

    Yeah that idiot at the port… numbnuts.

    He’s not alone, though. About five years ago I was looking into buying a Volvo. Went to the dealership near our house to check it out. The salesman actually told me, “well for a lady to buy a truck by herself we require seven years experience before we can finance her” just after he had told me they only required one years’ experience when he thought I would be buying it with my “driving husband.”

    You can bet if we ever do buy a truck it won’t be there!

  17. 2008 December 7

    Hey there, found you through ‘Ask’ and absolutely love your blog.

    This post was great, and to think if the two of you had just showed up at that port with a fancy no-nails-in-floor trailer in the first place, it wouldn’t have existed.

    I’ll definitely be peeking in on you again.

    And by the way, best word verification I’ve had to type in by far…’decision daniels’…real words for a change.

  18. 2008 December 7

    3699,

    Thanks! It is true that if I had checked the trailer before we got there none of that particular Baltimore boobery would have happened. But that’s one sure thing about trucking… if it’s not one boobery it’s another. :)

    I love that recaptcha thing. What they are doing is really cool. Carnegie Mellon University is trying to protect the entire history of the written word by scanning it all into digital format. When they scan in these old books, there are often words that the computer can’t read. They use these words as ‘Captcha’ words. Then, once enough people agree on the proper spelling of a word, it is inserted back into the digital file of the original text.

    I figure if we have to bother with proving we’re human on every comment, at least we are helping to save literature at the same time. So hopefully it’s not a total waste of your time. Besides, some of the combinations can be quite funny.

  19. 2008 December 8

    Good point about the trailer. But we both know that it would have been something else they objected to.

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