Saturday, January 10, 2009


I guess I was conspicuous by my absence online last weekend, at least to some of my closer friends and readers. Well, now there's a reason for that and the reason was that I was absent -- from home that is. Yep, forced to stay on the road for two straight weeks again -- a prisoner to the whims of my trucking company. And also a victim of that Mad Irishman, Murphy, and his crummy Law once again. 

That law states that, if it can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time, to boot. And so it did. Actually, I benefitted some from being held out, but there were equal drawbacks, as always. I really needed to be home, ASAP, to take care of a pressing personal financial matter. I also had a doctor appointment which had been lurking in dispatch's computer files for a month. Both got blown out of the water last Friday, when I was dispatched some 350 miles northwest, back to the area around my company's terminal, to pick up a load.

Huh??!! I was incredulous, wondering just what in the exact hell was going on in that dispatch room! Had they lost their minds?? I was in Western Kentucky, near Fort Campbell, only some 50 miles from Nashville, plus or minus, and that made it less than 300 miles to my house from there. Good grief (to put it mildly)!! Message to dispatch followed swiftly:  If you can deadhead me 350 miles to East Peoria, why can't you deadhead me less than 300 miles to the house and let me pick up a load on Monday?? The answer came twenty minutes later:  Short on trucks at the yard. We need these loads picked up and delivered and you're one of the closest trucks. In spite of my aggravation, I had to laugh. I started to reply by pointing out that the tractor yard at Star Central was sitting chock full of trucks the last time I was by there -- whatta you mean, "short on trucks?" However, being an adult, I resisted the urge to act like an adolescent smartass and sent no return comment at all. Figured they've already got enough immature younger drivers who give them those kinds of observations. 

"Ah-ha!! Got caught with your panties down, didn't you?" I was thinking. The company had laid off some 200+  drivers a short time ago and now it looked like that executive decision was backfiring on them. Apparently one of our biggest customer's subsidiary outfits was having a load explosion and my company was totally unprepared for it. This was confirmed when I got to the shipper some six hours later and found their lot filled with our loaded trailers. Me and two other trucks there at that time and at least ten loaded boxes left over. Well, hell -- now the new year's looking better already, ain't it? Or did I dare think such a thing at all?? This might just be a fluke, so I refused to let myself get too excited about it right then. All I knew was that, adding in the deadhead miles I had already run on the trip up there, this load was going to net me a little over 900 much-needed miles and $$$$! That was the beneficial part of the deal. I dumped my empty box, hooked up to the loaded one and headed for Morgantown, West Virginia. 

But ol' Mr. Murphy was tapping me on the shoulder -- "Hi! Remember me??" he said. Yep, there was still the blown doctor appointment and weighing even heavier than that on my mind was the financial matter; something I desperately needed to take care of ASAP, lest they come to take away my nice Chevy pickup truck that I've paid on for more than five years and have about fifteen grand of my hard-earned money invested in already. Two payments behind that I can't make up, because of too many other bills and lowered pay, due to lowered mileage I'd been running the past three months or so, all due to an economy that's in the toilet. My only salvation would be to cash out an old insurance policy, take that money and pay the loan off early. But, I have to be home on a weekday, in order to go to the insurance company's local office and surrender the policy. The doctor's appointment would have put me in town on a Monday. But, thanks to Murphy, it was not to be, last week anyway. Call the lending bank and plead with them to hold off repo-ing my ride for two or three weeks; that's all I could do. I'm a victim of circumstances beyond my control. Could/would they understand that? Golly, I was sure hoping!

I got into Ohio the next day before I stopped to take my 34-hour reset and then it dawned on me that I'd left my laptop computer at home, sitting on my dining room table. Oh, great!! Now I couldn't pay any other of my bills, either!! Wonderful!! I had been just so sure that I'd be back home for New Year's and the doc appointment that I hadn't bothered to bring it along. Now I couldn't even get online to blog, or read my e-mail!! I wanted to kick myself in the butt, but my leg won't bend that much anymore, in my middle age, so I just called myself various names the rest of the day. 

And that's why I got stuck out last week -- because I'd left that laptop at home. Ain't that always the way things work out, after all? How many weeks have gone by when that thing just sat on its shelf in my sleeper, collecting dust, while I was at home? Most of the time. So now, of course, when I don't have it along I get stuck out and it's 550 miles away! Might as well be on the moon, for all the good it did me! Yep, that sure had Murphy written all over it. 

My God, what a BORING weekend I had to endure!! Absolutely nothing to do, but sit, read, and play the radio. I did watch a little TV in the truckstop driver's lounge, until some knuckleheads changed the channel to some crap I don't like. Three of them and one of me -- I'm outvoted, so I left. I told myself that laptop, by God, was going to go back in my truck the minute I got back home!! I never want to suffer another weekend on the road that dull again. 

I got to the customer, got unloaded, found that there were no backhaul loads until the next day and predicted to the dock foreman that I'd be assigned one of them. Another moment of clairvoyance for this Dawg, because that turned out to be exactly what happened. Sat overnight, then loaded the next day and went back to the Morton area again. Got there, dropped the trailer at the customer, then sat at our yard till the next morning before  they assigned me a load to South Carolina. I'd told them I had a crucial dental appointment Monday for a root canal (again) and I HAD to make this one, due to the tooth being abcessed AND I also had vitally important financial matters to attend to. So, at last I was headed south, toward home. 

I got a load in Carolina that delivers in nearby Morristown, Tennessee Monday afternoon. I no sooner got in the door this morning and set my things down before I had my laptop packed up and tucked in my truck on the passenger seat. I AIN'T leaving it at home this week -- not on your life! So, that explains why there hasn't been an entry or e-mail from me for almost two weeks. No computer = no internet. Do the math. But I'm back again, finally.

Now, if I can just get the dental appointment over with Monday and get that policy turned in to the insurance company, I might even get through this economic sewer with my sanity intact!! At least some of it. 


Nancy said...

I hope you get everything straightened out this week... sending prayers your way!
Nancy :-)

M88 said...

Good Luck Man. Your one of my favorites. I learned alot from you. I read you back when you were on AOL and I now I read you on blogger. I check every day your the only guy who has a blog like this or so I found.