Slave drivers

2009 August 29

Gads, TWMNBN must be seriously going on a rampage of rate-undercutting to have drummed up so much excess freight in the last month or so. They are killing us! And that’s why we haven’t been blogging of late.

It was so bad the other day, after such a tremendous amount of boobery that we both thought if we had our fingers on the presidential red button we would be fighting one another over who got the honor of pushing it, that I actually was extremely bitchy to Uriah and other incompetents at TWNMBN.

I am, in general, very polite to these people, even when they are driving me the nuttiest, simply because my mother taught me you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. And I’ve found this to be good advice. Sometimes, though, you’ve just gotta whip out the cruet, pull off the fancy top with your teeth, and madly fling around the sour stuff.

After spending over 15 hours on some jacked-up load that didn’t pay us what we spent at Subway for lunch, they wanted to jerk us around even more by making us drop the trailer we had just spent five hours trying to get loaded (but which would eventually bring us 1300 fairly leisurely miles) at a yard, so we could do another endless empty trailer hunt and then pick up a crappy 125 mile load for them, rapidly followed by another load of 1000 miles at timed-transit. Not a good thing to do to women who have had only four hours of sleep in 36 hours.

I don’t really remember all I said to Uriah, which is probably just as well. I do remember that at the end of the one-sided conversation, I told him that in four hours, the truck would be parked and we would be asleep, no matter what they decided to do about their crap loads. He buckled. Or I thought he did.

He just passed the buck. In five minutes we had a call from a load planner trying to sweet talk us into doing what they wanted, giving us some sob story about how they don’t have the teams to run the timed-transit haz-mat loads, and blah blah blah, whine whine whine. We were doing enough of our own whining and sure as hell didn’t need any of his.

By this point, it was Hedon on the phone (what with me looking near apoplexy at this point), and she pulled out the coup-de-grace — “Sorry, dude, but we don’t have the hours to run those loads.”

The truth is, we really didn’t have enough hours. But … well … there are ways around things … uh … things that could have been done to enable us to squeeze out enough hours from our log books to have made it happen. We had no intention of doing any of those things.

I’m sick of TWMNBN burning our hours with solo and local runs and yet expecting us to keep going 24/7. If you’re gonna run us like that, then we’ve got to have time to sleep with the truck shut down. Period. Cause there ain’t no way I’ve found to get any sleep while your co-driver is bouncing around the pits of Chicago and being loaded and unloaded and stopping and going and banging and door slamming for 10 straight hours. So TWMNBN can suck it.

We wound up keeping the leisurely load, because no one at TWMNBN can overpower the “not enough hours” weapon. The load allowed us to sleep twice, and has brought us here, to Laredo.

It is here where Hedon pulled out our second coup-de-grace (yeah, yeah, I know, you can’t have two coups-de-grace — I’m not even sure you can pluralize it — ech — whatever).  What was I saying? Oh yeah, the second coup-de-grace —  the truck needs work. We’ve had “check engine” lights for a few days, and what sounds like a loose belt or possibly something wrong with a pulley for weeks, so we decided we’d get this work done in Laredo, since we really hadn’t completely recovered from all the earlier boobery of the previous eight days.

And that’s when we went to the local Freightliner shop and (play triumphant choir music here), discovered they aren’t open on Saturday or Sunday. We will have to wait here in Laredo until Monday! Hurrah! Time off! Too sweet.

You know, back in the old days when I worked a normal office job, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, I looked forward to weekends. But I never really appreciated them the way I should have. Getting two whole days off out here on the road is such a rare occurrence, that when it happens, I’m as excited as if I’d gotten a week’s paid vacation to Bermuda.

Not that I’ve been to Bermuda, so I can’t say exactly, but Bermuda is my best guess, since it’s hot and I don’t like being hot, and tourists spend a lot of time on the beach, and I’m too fat to be frolicking about in public in a bathing suit without serious psychological repercussions for my fellow beachgoers, so therefore Bermuda would be a nice change of scenery but I would spend most of my time in the cool a/c of my hotel room, lying around on my bed watching television and harassing room service. So, yeah, I’m about as excited as I would be if I got a paid vacation to Bermuda. Which is pretty damned excited … but not as excited as I’d be with say, a paid vacation to Florence, Italy.

I hope I get to go to Italy someday. Maybe I’ll daydream about that for a bit — and I can do that, because I’m not tired, or pissed off, or being tossed around the truck over city streets. I can do that because I have two whole days off. This is where a little vinegar will get ya.

13 Responses
  1. 2009 August 29

    Well, it’s hellaciously hot in Laredo this time of year but the great thing is if you don’t have a trailer on it’s a very truck friendly town. Just remember that stop signs and lights are optional to the locals. The HEB on loop 20 rocks–has a sushi bar, fresh fruit bar, olive bar, etc…..

  2. 2009 August 30
    limericc permalink

    Welcome back.
    The week sucked not hearing what was going on with you two.

  3. 2009 August 30

    I suspected that something similar was up.

    When I’d had it with Werner I would use the paperless log book against them and get some sleep. When they bugged me I turned down the keyboard volume and put some pillows over it. Idiots.

    And I had plenty of those long loads that I shagged from Phoenix to Winslow for team drivers (while I got paid 23 cents a mile on their long trip). Several times I dropped the trailer in front of the dumpster at the Flying J there because there was no other place to put it…I know, I know, not the fault of the team that was picking it up, but it wasn’t mine either. Better off by the side of I-40? Maybe yes, maybe no.

    My favorite trick was staying on line 4 until I ran my 14 out. Can’t do it with a team, but it worked for me. Drove my dispatcher crazy…but hey it is a two way street. Glad you two are hanging in there – and Hedon will always get the last word with “not enough hours to get your load there”.

  4. 2009 August 30

    Oh My God! You’re here! It’s a sunny Sunday in Detroit and the first thing I did when I woke up was check your blog….and here you are!! Joyous celebration to ensue…

    I love the “sorry, we’re out of hours” trick. It *does* happen – even with teams. And it’s such a great ace card.

    I’m so glad to see you’re back – even if it’s for a short time. And I hope you totally enjoy your weekend off – even if it IS in Laredo!

    Crank up the A/C and just lounge.

  5. 2009 August 30

    welcome to our world, girlfriends!…we’ve been living the same stupidity here too…..glad you’re having a little downtime tho, enjoy it!….we’re loadin later today and headin for ft. worth, so if you come up that way, keep a watch for us!….be safe

  6. 2009 August 30
    Belledog permalink

    Yippee that you are back. Bummed that you are so tired and getting run into the ground; hoping that translates into mucho $$$ for the work.

    Now: off to stalk a trucker. Someone parked an absolutely beautiful International Eagle a few blocks away. Left a note, but biking back to stalk from the shade. I am going to see if I can score some “fingertip shifting” practice.

  7. 2009 August 30
    Belledog permalink

    Weird; I thought you had a later thread up, but this is what shows.

    NYTimes on teachers letting their students choose novels and other reading material.

    Passing it along to fellow readaholics/listenaholics.

    Anything to hook the next generation on something beyond video games and the boob tube.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/books/30reading.html?em=&pagewanted=all

    PS: Diane Ravitch comment: who is going to pick up Moby Dick on their own?

    Exactly. Did any of you ever read MD? Hear it’s both worthwhile and very hard to get through ….

    • 2009 September 4

      I have “read” Moby Dick, meaning I listened to it on audiobook, unabridged. I had always felt that I should read MD since so many people consider it The Great American Novel. So when it went on sale at Blackstone, I snatched it up.

      There’s really not a lot of story to it, with most of the book taken up with essays on aspects of whaling. I actually did enjoy where the narrator argued that a whale is a fish, not a mammal.

      Fish/mammals aside, by about a third of the way through, I would have preferred to poke out my eardrums rather than continue listening. I did continue, though, and eventually finished it. Then I promptly took it to the library and donated it, since I knew I would never, never, NEVER read that book again. Ugh. It was torture.

      But that’s just my opinion. :-)

  8. 2009 August 31
    Anonymous permalink

    Your Bermuda plan is very much like my “Hawaii Get Away” dream. There’s a web site somewhere online that features palm covered fancy tourist huts on a blinding white sand beach, with more eye searing blue water in the background. I showed this to my oldest daughter who insanely thought I was thinking about paying for a family trip … to “make up” for the college vacation present that I should have been able to reward her with upon graduation. Anyway, while she was busy on her laptop, poking around the site and telling me all the crap that tourists get to do … I was examining the room shots, daydreaming of hours upon hours of hammock, icy drinks, sort of healthy snacks, and book time. …no beach… no bikini… no family in tow …just me.

    aw the life …. oh BTW, happy to hear about the double/triple luck you girls had, hope Laredo was good to you, I’m sure it was, have heard great things about the area, and now am remembering the the words to “As I walk down the streets of Laredo …as I …” lol the teacher made us sing that in grade school choir practice. It would make a good song to howl away (I mean sing) in a semi truck to pass away the hours … OK, take care, I’m sleepy.

  9. 2009 August 31

    Me no likey anyone putting too much on the Hags. But I also know you can totally handle yourselves.
    P.S. Just had to come back up here to reort that my ‘Captcha’ words are “doody lime”.

  10. 2009 September 1

    At any rate, enjoy whatever time you have off. Isn’t Laredo very dangerous? Or do I watch too much tv? lol

  11. 2009 September 4

    We certainly did enjoy ourselves, though the enjoyment lasted much longer than expected — our truck just got fixed last night! Are back on the road today, though.

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