My return to work has not been the smoothest of roads this week. Started out Tuesday morning with an awesome run on a favorite route, hilly & on a tree covered dirt road. First one in a while that I didn't have to take a walk break. My thought afterwards was how can it be a bad day with it kicking off so well?
Yeah, jinxed myself there...I get to Mt. Juliet with the Arlington load that I'd picked up off the N. Little Rock yard--unsealed by the way, which is a huge nono for there now--and I don't have the appropriate paperwork... Get on the phone with my dispatcher who transfers me to the dispatcher that handles the Arlington GM loads...this guy is an ARSE!! He gives me a number to call saying tell whoever answers that they need to fax the paperwork. The woman who answers is very nice, tells me that the driver probably kept it and to call 'Bill' back and have the driver fax it. Bill then proceeds to yell at me over the phone telling me that his driver had been on his board for years and was a very hard worker, blah, blah, blah. I'm stunned since I didn't say anything to the contrary, just calmly ask him again how do I get the proper papers. Again yelling at me about how I'm just gonna have to sit there all day...sigh....I'm past frustrated but still calmly asked him where does this leave the load because the Tennessee place is NOT going to accept it. That's when he starts saying well I'll call them but they aren't going to like it....I don't care if they like it or not, I'm just trying to do my job here in a much more professional manner than he is.
This had me so flustered that I ended up crying out of frustration about an hour after the fact...I'm not a fan of being yelled at :-(. And it does reinforce the fact that I have an awesome dispatcher (odd, eh?). Immediately after being yelled at I sent him a message telling him thanks & that I very much appreciate having him as my dispatcher.
Wednesday goes well, get to Laredo before dark, make it through the queues at our yard and Penske in record time only to find the drop yard packed full...3 laps around and I can find no open spot that can be backed into with a conventional tractor and I'm dodging other trucks left and right. Fortunately one of the yard drivers takes pity on me and let's me drop it to the side so that he can move it for me. Pays off being a somewhat cute female in these instances, lol. Next trailer is one I had 3 weeks prior so everything worked on it and I'm off to Pearsall in near record time.
Thursday again starts off with a nice run around town with no walk breaks again (2 in a row, yay). Get showered, acquire some yummy coffee & egg & potato breakfast tacos, and manage to bang my knee with my hammer while doing my walkaround, lol. Yes I am a klutz....I was looking at getting to my home terminal by 2030 where my truck was going immediately into the shop so that the clutch could be replaced....best laid plans & all.
My day starts going to hell again after a stop at the Schertz rest area. Start to leave out, hit 5th gear and the truck won't shift up or down. The 5 is flashing & warning buzzers galore. Pull over to shut the truck down so the clutch can cool off and make the call to road rescue to let them know what's up. Clutch cools down, truck starts (oh yeah, once you shut the engine down it won't restart until the clutch cools) and off to the races again.
Then there comes Waco....I have to slow down for traffic and the transmission hits 8th gear & the trouble starts all over again...8th is flashing but truck shifts to 9th, then 10th, each number flashing & warning buzzers...If you're familiar with Waco then you know there are very few safe places to pull over, I manage to get off exit 339 where I know once I get off the frontage road I can pull over on a wide shoulder. Coast to a stop, shift to neutral, set brakes, shut engine off. No problem, let it cool then we're off again right?
WRONG!!! first off it's over 100f and my apu is not working because when shop replaced the 2 batteries fried by International (the mechanic left radio & overhead lights on and when they came out with the charger they got in a hurry & turned the power up too high. Batteries aren't supposed to smoke by the way) they forgot to hook the apu power cable back up. So truck won't start and nonworking APU = no air conditioning. Temperature out there on the asphalt got up to 114f.
The heat brings on another issue, I'm parked on a tilt and the engine water temp sensor thinks it's outta coolant. Pop the hood so the engine can cool....it cools down...eventually....but truck still doesn't start....clutch has given up the ghost completely.
Next step, get road rescue to send a wrecker out, the driver of which is as a big an ass as 'Bill' the dispatcher. The guy assumes I'm a new driver, starts badmouthing me, the automatic transmission, and my company. Sigh....I tell him that I'm sure he's having a bad day but it surely isn't as bad as mine at the moment. Whereupon I get told that he could just leave me sitting there on the side of the road. Yeah...lovely. I'm polite but tell him that's his choice but he was coming off a bit rude. He chills out after that...then during the ride down south to Temple he finds out that no, I didn't just start driving in the past year and mellows out even more. Ugh, that shouldn't matter anyway, no need to immediately jump to conclusions and treat people less than respectfully with no reason.
I spent last night in a hotel room and upon arrival found that the USB cable for my phone had screwed the pooch with less than 50% charge. Yikes!!! I changed into my running gear & did a run/walk to find a store where I could buy a wall charger....that served 2 purposes, got to sweat out my frustrations, lol. I did call a taxi back to the hotel--it was getting dark & I had come through some very rough neighborhoods. White kids that like to pretend their gangster make me a tad nervous. They think they've got something to prove & I would be an easy mark at that time of day.
Today? Well I'm currently sitting in the very sparse lounge of the Temple International shop....betting tonight will be another hotel stay. This is frustrating because while I can run anywhere, my last long training ride for the Hotter 'n Hell was scheduled for tomorrow.