Saturday, June 29, 2013


I'm in an odd mood right now. I think part of it is the fact that Ace and I finished the Harry Potter series on Wednesday and I'm not reading anything new currently. We'll be going through The Lord of the Rings trilogy next, but we don't get back on the road until Monday at the earliest.

Part of the issue is that the future is back up in the air again. Ace doesn't want to leave his current company while he is mad, so we've not talked to the company we think we want to go with next. I totally understand, and since we did get off the truck mostly on time I'm not going to try to argue the point.

On the plus side, we have enjoyed our time off. We got new glasses and prescription sunglasses. We replaced some clothes. We bought some toys. The only thing that would have been nicer would have been if I could have gotten the book I wanted (Good Omens, some day I will own you!). Well, that and our mail not getting lost in UPS's system (which has lead to one uncomfortable phone call to listen to already, and will probably lead to another).

So, I'm calling this vacation, the first we've ever taken, successful. Over all. And that's what matters.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Unnamed Trucking Company Letter

Dear Unnamed Trucking Company,
I am sorry that my existence seems to be troubling your lives lately. I know that it's frustrating that I want my husband to actually have some time off. I mean, in your eyes, he's had time off as recently as April and what does he need more time off for anyway?

The thing is, he hasn't really had time off since March. When we took a few days to visit some friends. In April, we were trying to get the truck fixed. And that didn't really happen until we were back on the yard and supervising the fixing ourselves. Even then, we left with one of the main problems still unfixed (unbeknownst to us at the time).

However, it is our 10th anniversary in just over a week. I have demanded only one thing: not to be on the truck (or in a car, really) on our anniversary. It's really the simplest demand possible. I'm fairly sure most wives demand something more impressive for their 10th anniversary, but my desires right now are fairly simple. We even gave you at least most of June for notice that we wanted time off around then and where we wanted to go.

The fact that this notice did not seem to be enough for you is hardly my fault. My husband cannot go back in time to change our anniversary for you. And he wouldn't even if he could.

While we are off the truck, we will be talking with another company. They seem to treat their drivers better, and that appeals to us right now. How things go from there partially depends on their answers and partially on how close to our anniversary it gets before we get off the truck. There are a few other factors, but those are some of the stronger ones right now.

So, Unnamed Trucking Company, maybe in the future you should remember that your drivers are people. They have lives outside their job for you. And if you keep treating them badly, it's not going to go well for your company in the future. After all, truck drivers are smart enough to know when they are being shafted and to ask drivers from other companies how that company treats their drivers.

M.A. Smith

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why We Are Considering a Change

One of the reasons we are considering a change of places of employment for Ace is how much he's being annoyed by, well, frankly everyone but his driving manager and about two other people (one of whom he hardly ever talks to, so there's that).

Case in point: On Wednesday, we get up at 2 am to deliver a load at 7 am. We finally get to leave with an empty trailer at 10:10 am. By the time we're done with sending off our load sheets (so we can get paid) and doing a post trip inspection (or PTI), it is about noon. When we get done with our trailer being unloaded, we have to send something off via the Qualcom (basically a computer with very limited things it can do) to the company to tell them what time it is, when we will be available for dispatch, how much unloading was, all that fun stuff. We wanted a day and a half to just relax and not deal with anyone at the company, so we put in Friday (today) at 8 am for when we would be available.

Somehow, the system didn't show that we had a trailer, despite one being put in on the unloaded message. That is potentially a glitch. That is only minorly an issue in this story.

So, the planner, doing his job, re-entered stuff in for us having the trailer. Only he didn't pay any attention to when we said we would be available for dispatch. So he sent us a load yesterday and called to let us know. Then he proceeded to interrupt Ace every time he tried to talk after Ace told him that he was planning on taking yesterday off. He proclaimed that Ace had had a day off Wednesday (since when is a 10 hour day a day off?) and that he had hours he could drive.

Nicely, Ace's driving manager was able to go talk to the guy, get us back off that load and point out that he was the reason he was seeing us as available when we had originally said we wouldn't be. A few hours later, we got a different load assignment, but before Ace could accept it, he was sent a message saying that it was for a different driver. This morning, after leaving us waiting for a while, he sent a message asking if Ace was ready yet. We are both annoyed with that planner, as he seems to barely be doing his job (The last time we had him planning something for us, he didn't send us a plan until after we dropped off a load that we had all day to deliver, so we wanted to know when we would pick up and where as we could wait to deliver until close to pick up time. We ended up wasting quite a few hours that day sitting around because of that.).

So, with the diminishing respect for anyone who works in the offices, it is not very surprising that we are considering a change. Preferably to a company that we haven't heard any complaints about thus far (in fact, we've only heard good things about them, even by their own drivers).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Anniversaries and Changes

Ace and I have our 10th wedding anniversary coming up. We're taking a week off. My only demand has been that we be off the truck by roughly 10pm the night before. (All right, I've also asked for cheesecake, but that is a request, not a demand.)

Ace has never had quite that much time off. At least not since his first break during training.

While we are off, we're going to talk do a different company. We've had a few too many problems lately with the current one. We sat from 7 pm Friday until 1 am Tuesday on Memorial Day weekend. We got paid $270 in compensation for that. None of that actually saw our checking account for various reasons.

We are not amused. And we are tired of Ace being called for favors and getting messed up financially for doing them, with no one willing to help us out in return.

It's coming up to being time for a change.

So, change we are looking for.

(I am still frustrated and tired and overwhelmed by some things. But I'm better, knowing we have a plan.)