Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: Trucker Style

December 19, 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is here and you and your brother have finally settled out of court over that ugly turkey drumstick incident. The house is filled with holiday cheer. Everyone is happy to be together while they snort chocolate shavings, smoke cookie dough, and mainline eggnog.

But what about those truckers who didn’t make it home on Christmas Day? Well, I’ve written a poem in their honor. I hope it puts you in a Christmasy kinda mood. Here goes nothing. Pick your poison. You can listen to me or read it yourself. Enjoy!

Click here to listen

‘Twas the night before Christmas: Trucker style

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the truck,

the only thing stirring was a case of bad luck.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

but thanks to my job, I wasn’t there.

The nephews were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of Modern Warfare 3 danced in their heads.

With The Evil Overlord at home in her teddy (hey, it’s my poem) and I on the road,

We had both settled down to take off a load.

When outside my truck there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bunk to see what was the matter.

I reached for my clothes, knowing I was certain,

Prepared for the worst, I opened the curtain.

The moon in the sky gave off such a great glow

It made the parking lot look like it was covered with snow.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a flatbed loaded with big green John Deeres.

With the driver outside looking at my truck,

I knew right away I had more bad luck.

As I jumped outside to check out my bumper,

Something flew over my head and then took big dumper.

My luck continued as I took it in the eye,

It was such a huge load it almost made me cry.

As I looked to the sky I swore I heard a jingle,

I took cover and prayed it didn’t need to tinkle.

Alas, I did not see what dumped on my head,

But I thought I glimpsed something that might have been red.

I thought, “Could that have been good old St. Nick?”

Nah, couldn’t be. My eyes had just played a trick.

So back to my problem, the wreck, not the poop.

I called my Nazi safety department to give them the scoop.

We exchanged information and he went on his way,

I guess he was too embarrassed to back in and stay.

Next thing you know I was getting a call,

The Evil Overlord sounded like she was about to bawl.

It seems that some fat guy had squeezed down through our roof

He didn’t seem too happy that he burned his caboose.

He was all dressed in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all covered with ashes and soot.

She said, “Why would a man be wearing so much fur?”

“I bet he’s one of those drag queens, Do I call him sir?”

“His eyes-how they twinkle! His dimples how merry!”

“This dude must be wasted, I’m guessing it’s cooking Sherry.”

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the Sherry had stained his beard, like a dead deer in the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And she said, “Holy cow, I think that’s weed!”

He had a broad face and a big ol’ gut,

Every bit of him was fat, yes, even his butt.

He was chunky and plump, a right jolly old guy,

She said, “I’d be jolly too if I was that high!”

A wink of his eye and a shake of his head,

“Are you kidding me, perv, not even if I were dead!”

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings with Doritos and beef jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh and they lurched into flight,

As she leveled the shotgun, she had him in sight.

As he started to exclaim, she squeezed off a shot,

“That’ll teach you to let your reindeer poop in my husband’s eye!”

The End.

Merry Christmas

*If you enjoyed this little ditty, please give this post a good rating and tell all your friends to check it out. If you didn’t enjoy it, keep your rating to yourself and your trap shut.*

Truckers vs. Cops vs. DOT vs. Carriers

December 21, 2010

Photo by davidsonscott15 via Flickr

There is a constant unseen battle going on in the trucking industry. It’s like the movie “Alien vs. Predator,” only with two more factions that rear back their butt-ugly heads and roar. Perhaps someone should make a massive online video game about it.

It could be called Truckers vs. Cops vs. DOT vs. Carriers. I’d ask all the geeks to play as the Trucker faction. That way the proper groups would receive the bloody slaughter that they deserve. Let me explain what brought this blog post to fruition.

I was sitting at a truck stop in Birmingham, Alabama when it all started. I had arrived there on a Saturday night and was still 150 miles away from my delivery location. The load didn’t have to be there until Monday at midnight.

I could have had the load to the receiver by 9 AM on Sunday, but I was planning on delivering it by 9 AM on Monday. Now why would I do that? My trucking readers already know the answer, so let’s get the unwashed masses of non-truckers up to speed.

Truckers can only work 70 hours within an 8 day period. This is called the 70-hour rule. This includes driving, loading or unloading, fueling, inspections, dropping and hooking trailers, etc. Anything that takes up time to do your job goes against the 70 hours. Enter the 34-hour rule.

The 34-hour rule says that if a trucker is down for 34 straight hours (either off-duty, in the sleeper berth, or an uninterrupted combination of the two), they can reset their 70-hour work week. But why is this a good thing? Because after 7 days of driving, we only get back the hours that we ran a week ago. So if I only ran 3 hours last Wednesday, that’s exactly how many hours I would have available to work this Wednesday (providing I max out my hours every day). It’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the gist of it.

Every trucker and dispatcher knows that the week before Christmas is busier than a Las Vegas pimp. There are lots of dropped loads, relaying with other drivers, and cancelling or switching of loads, all in the name of getting the driver home for Christmas. Seeing as how this all happened the week before Christmas, I wanted to be able to run as hard as possible that week. And that’s why I elected to do my 34-hour restart instead of delivering ASAP.

That’s when my Qualcomm beeped at me (that’s the satellite communication thingy-ma-bop; yes, that’s the technical name). Weekend dispatch had a preplan for me and needed me to call in. After viewing the load on my Qualcomm, I figured up my logs and realized that I couldn’t finish my 34 hours and still deliver my current load and pick up the preplan on time. I’d have to leave at about the 32 hour mark to do it legally.

I called in and asked if I could finish the 34 hours and pick up the preplan 1-2 hours late. Some customers allow late pick ups, but of course, this wasn’t one of them. I was told that the 34-hour restart is a luxury, not something that is required. He was right and I knew it. Still, most dispatchers would work with you. He said I was the only one in the area that could do the load. Yea, I know drivers, we’ve all heard that a million and one times.

I accepted my fate and figured I’d go ahead and deliver ASAP instead of waiting. That way I could deliver, drive to the pick up point, and get in a 10-hour break before my appointment time. Once loaded, I’d have a full 11 hours to run. That was my plan anyway.

After driving 3 hours to deliver the load, I heard another beep. Assuming it was my load information for this all-important, cancer-curing, God-ordained preplan, I eagerly read the message, only to find out the load had cancelled. I mumbled something not print-worthy, took a few deep breaths, and called in again.

I was told that the load had been double-booked. This means that two drivers had somehow managed to be issued the same load. When I expressed my frustration of being pulled off a 34-hour restart to cover the load, all I got was, “Sorry.” Being the completely unselfish guy that I am, I asked why I was pulled off the load instead of the other driver, to which I got the intellectually-stimulating answer of, “I don’t know.” Good answer, Crap-for-brains.

Now to find a parking spot. There was only one tiny little truck stop with no real parking, and it was already jammed with trucks. I pulled out of the lot, hit my flashers, and pulled onto the edge of the road. Keep in mind, this is a side street, not a major corridor. Seeing as how my Qualcomm doesn’t work when the truck is moving, I had to stop to send a message relaying my intention to drive to the next town to look for parking.

I had been there for approximately one minute (no exaggeration) when a car pulled up with its headlights pointing at me. As I hadn’t blocked the driveway, I figured the guy was just being a jerk. I went about typing my message. When he continued to sit there I began to wonder if it was a cop. No lights or any decals were visible, but just in case, I held up my keyboard to show him what I was doing. He continued to sit there.

Just as I was ready to get out to see if it was a cop, he pulled around to the driver’s side, got out of the car and yelled, yes, yelled at me, “You’re parked in the street!” I said, “My keyboard doesn’t work when the truck is moving. I was just sending a quick message and I was just getting ready to leave. I’ve been here less than a minute. My brake isn’t even pulled.” He yelled yet again, “Why didn’t you move when I was sitting there?” I said, “You were pointed straight at me with your headlights on, you’ve got no lights on the hood or on your dash, and no visible decals. How was I supposed to know you were a cop?”

That’s when he got the look. It reminded me of Martin Lawrence as he’s about to go into his, “Is this because I’m a black man?” tirade that is present in everything he does. I don’t mean this to be racist, but that’s exactly what it reminded me of. Again, a yell. “Give me your license!” I was waiting for a “boy” to finish out the sentence, but it didn’t come.

I handed it to him and he got back in his car. He immediately got back out and yelled again, “Get out of the street!” “Where am I supposed to go!” “I don’t care! Just get out of the street!” He followed me as I pulled around to the fuel bay and within 10 minutes he was back at my door with a ticket in hand. Once I figured out I was getting a ticket, I figured, what the heck Todd; give him a piece of your mind.

In a calm voice I said, “You know, I have a lot of appreciation for the job you guys do, but clearly you don’t have any appreciation for what truckers put up with. I’ve got all these guidelines to follow and no one cares as long as I’m following theirs at the moment. My load unexpectedly cancelled and I was looking for a place to park. As you can see, there aren’t any spots here. Since I can’t drive around without telling my company what I’m doing, and I can’t use my satellite unless I’m sitting still, I pulled to the side of the road. Yes, I know I should’ve pulled back into the fuel bay, but I was just going to be there for a minute or two.”

He said, “That’s not my concern and as far as the rest of these truckers, I’m fixin’ to go move them too.” What a set-up he had just provided. I said, “There’s another thing. DOT has regulations too. If you wake those drivers up and make them move, most of them will be violating the DOT rules. But why would you care about that? If they get caught driving illegally, it’s their license and money that’s in jeopardy. But again, that’s not your problem, is it?”

By this time, he was getting quieter, but he managed to say, “That doesn’t change the fact that you were still breaking the law.” I responded, “Yes, I admit that. But you could have just as easily considered that I was only there for a minute and let me off with a warning. But no…”

He handed me my ticket and told me there was a small place to park about a mile up the road. Being the snarky kinda guy that I am, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say, “Gee. Would’ve been nice if you’d told me that BEFORE giving me a ticket. I would’ve been happy to move. That’s all I was looking for was a place to park.” I confess that I was overjoyed when I managed to kick up a bunch of dust on his car as I left.

So that’s the battle. The Cops, the DOT, and Carriers all have guidelines that Truckers need to follow. Each thinks theirs is the most important. As long as the driver is complying with their rules, the world is a happy land of fluffy bunnies and chocolate streams. And why not? The driver is the only one taking the risk. Things are just as they should be.

To end this on a somewhat happy note, I called the Chief of Police the following morning. I explained that the officer hadn’t identified himself until he pulled around. I then relayed the rest of the story and asked if I was supposed to be able to read the officer’s mind. He chuckled. The chief realized that I had a good point. He apologized for the incident and asked if I would mind paying court costs if he could have the ticket reduced to a non-point violation. Of course, I agreed. Nevermind that the court costs on a $30 ticket are $101.50. Sheez Louise. Are these people cops or robbers?

*Please leave your stories of your battles with inconsiderate Cops, DOT, and Carriers in the comments for all to enjoy. And don’t forget to give a star rating at the top of the post.*

No Guarantees in Trucking

December 23, 2009

The trucking industry might offer you a lot of things, but guarantees aren’t one of them. There’s plenty of “we’ll do what we can’s” and “let’s see how it pans out” type statements, but nothing is set in stone. I think “set in pudding” is closer to the mark.

As I write this post, I’m sitting 200 miles away from my house. It’s December 23 and we are due home  by noon. At least that’s what we asked for. My company doesn’t guarantee home time. Furthermore, I’ve never worked for a company that has. The Evil Overlord and I delivered a load at 5 a.m. and are now eagerly awaiting word from HQ as to whether we’ll be dead-heading (running without a load) home or whether they’re going to try to cram in one more load. If they give us the nod to head home, sorry, but the rest of this post is gonna have to wait. But for now, let’s move on.

As truck drivers, Christmas is about the closest thing we get to a guarantee. Most companies that we have worked for have had policies to get all drivers home on Christmas Day. Not Thanksgiving. Not 4th of July. Not Labor Day. Only Christmas, and only Christmas Day at that. So far, they’ve been successful, but to varying degrees.

Some years, you get plenty of time before and after Christmas Day. Other times you might get enough time to eat your 10 pound quota of mom’s chocolate chip cookies, then it’s back out on the road. One year, we got to the house in the early morning hours of Christmas Day, then had to leave at 6 a.m. on the 26th in order to deliver a load on time. Heck, I didn’t even have time to, errrr, “process” my Christmas cookies. We were sooooo freakin’ tired the entire time. The upside is that now we know what a zombie Christmas would feel like, if zombies cared about anything but eating brains that is. Clearly, they don’t. Okay… that was a weird little tangent. Nothing like the birth of the Savior of the world to bring on the zombie talk. Continuing on that line…

Last year was another of those zombie Christmas’. We had about four hours to wrap a dump truck load of gifts for the nephews and get over to their house to set up before the little spitfires woke up and kamikazied down the stairs. After that, it was over to my mom’s house where we walked around in a stupor for the rest of the day. Lucky for them, we didn’t have any weird craving for brains.

This lack of guarantees doesn’t just apply to Christmas though. The same thing happened this year at Thanksgiving. We got in with enough time to grab a couple of hours of sleep before we were due at my mom’s house. A couple of months before that, we completely missed a Halloween holiday that we had been planning for over two months. There have been many similar situations over the years.

Holy baby Jesus!  Is that blasphemy? Hope not. I mean, he is holy and all. Anyway, we just got told to deadhead home. The rest will have to wait. Wow! Home on time AND no load, which means that we don’t have a deadline that will cut our time short. We’ll have to see how long we can soak this thing for. Finish up later.

On second thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to give you a Christmas gift that you’ll cherish throughout the years. A gift so unique and unheard of that you’ll be telling all your friends and relatives about it for years to come. What is this special gift?

A blog post that’s less than 1000 words. Merry Christmas.


%d bloggers like this: