Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whatta Week

Greetings all:
Well, I'm excited. Booked the flights for my vacation in June. Will be nice to thaw out!

For those of you who do not know, my son Terence is in the Army stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia going through his Advanced Individual Training (AIT).

Tanya (daughter), Robbie and their daughter Trinity will be driving down from Akron, Ohio to Atlanta and picking us up at the airport, and we will go over to Augusta to see Terence on Saturday, June 5th. Then on Sunday when he has to go back to camp, we will drive down to Florida to see my Mom (her birthday’s on the 9th), Sister, and Nephew and his wife. Then back to Colorado on the 10th, and back to work on the 11th.

I am SO glad this past week is over. It's been hell. Had a NASTY cold. Ok, I don’t know of any cold that’s not nasty, but as the Late Great John Morris used to say: “Don’t confuse the issue with facts.”

I don't get sick often, but when I do... WOWEEEEEeeee! Look out! Glad I've got a good constitution and don't get sick often. Pity those that do. Thank God for our health. So, anyway, I should be good for another 2 years. That’s about the way the cycle runs.

But Brad, one of my bosses, the one who does the dispatching, is right about one thing: you can be sick and miserable at home, or you can be sick and miserable at work. At least if you're working you are making money, and in some cases the work can take your mind off of your misery. If you stay home, you miss those days of work, the $$$$, and focus on the misery which can make it worse, or at least seem to. Plus, being a very small company, my absence has an effect beyond my paycheck. So, looking at the big picture, I have more to think about than just me. (Hi Linda!) I gotta do what I gotta do to help keep the company afloat.

Oh yeah! As of the end of March, I’ll have been with this company Six (6) years! Longest run for me with any company. Hmmm… I wonder if the following is coincidental…? Last week, Friday, I had one helluva day. Granted I was sick with a cold, and the weather was crappy, but the people on the highways were stupid to the Nth degree. Yes, more so than usual. I had six, count ‘em, SIX (6) close calls that, by the Grace of God, didn’t end up with paperwork.

Ok, I have to interject a note here. That was six situations that I had to take major evasive action with my tractor-trailer in order to avoid an accident. Twice while loaded, four times while empty. A concerted effort on my part, not just an instinctual reaction. Driving in the purest sense of the word, taking the vehicle to the MAX and KNOWING its limitations.

The one was a dumb-ass that cut between me and a LARGE pile of snow at our store in Avon. After I got parked I went over to said young lady and asked her: “Are you stupid or drunk?” She proceeded to get lippy with me, and I informed her that if she wanted to, she could explain to the local law enforcement personnel why she was stupid. End of conversation. The local law enforcement personnel and I get along VERY well. Then a female got out of the back seat of the car and calmly say to me: “Don’t yell.” I got in her face and yelled at her: “I yell at stupid people!” That made her jump back and she smacked her head on the edge of the roof! Vindication! Oh, I was not mad, I was LIVID! So much so that I was ready to put my NEW size 11.5 steel toed Red Wing boots up their asses! That would have been an interesting set of snowshoes! Oh, the visuals…! I can use that in a comedy routine… (Randy, can you help me here?)

Of course, there are those that believe I have NO sense of humor (or any sense) let alone be able to have a comedy routine. Proof of my sense of humor is this: you’re my friend, aren’t you?
For reference, one day a couple of years ago I counted the number of incidents (that I knew of) that I believe I was spared paperwork (by the Grace of God) that did NOT require major evasive action on my part, such as deer on the highway, rock or snow slides, etc. BTW, that number was 17! I figure that’s an average day!

Running the hills (translation for you flatlanders: mountains) is inherently risky, and those of us who do it daily are somewhat inured to the stupidity of the slope dopes (translation: skiers). But this day tested me to the limits; more so than usual.

I wrote about that in the Prairie Times magazine. I prayed to God to put me in a job that challenged me both physically and mentally, and realized one day that hauling fuel in the mountains did just that. I was already there! If you have not read that article it is the previous post on this blog.

I have been told by many that know me that “The Company” does not appreciate me for all I do for them, and the extent to which I will go to do my job. As the “Ask” article points out, it’s the challenge. But Brad, bless his heart, has been good to me. A better boss a person cannot ask for. Now if we could do something about his sense of humor…! You want to see him light up, ask him about Conoco! But that’s another story.

Had an epiphany the other day:
God is my co-pilot.
He has to be: Brad is my dispatcher!

Well, that’s all for now. This week has been so wrought with challenges and excitement that I could literally write a book about it. But, probably like the first one, I wouldn’t have the time necessary to properly market it. I am working on a couple more. Stay tuned.

This Blog has been brought to you by:
Slope dopes
The Rocky Mountains
Brad Schreiber and Linda Robinson (of)
Precision Fuel Haulers (and)
Crown Royal (Damn good stuff! A gift from a GOOD FRIEND! But that’s another story.)

Final thoughts:
Thank God every day for what you’ve got, and be content with it. For as it has been stated by many, you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Because if you don’t appreciate what you’ve got, God can show you in a heartbeat how good you had it!

Tell the people around you how much you appreciate them, no matter who they are or what they do. The kind word you say may be the difference between them having a good day, or not. It only takes a moment, and can make all the difference in the world to them. You know me, and know that I go out of my way to talk to as many people as I can. I’ve gotten in trouble because of it, but in the Grand Scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for the betterment of mankind. I figure that if I can make a person smile or laugh, that’s one less grump the next person has to deal with! But, that’s another story.

Y’all take care and God bless. Eh?

Damn! That Crown Royal is good stuff! I don’t know which is better: a few shots of that, or hyperventilating! Oh God, I’m having WAY too much fun here! G’nite all.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Pray for our country. As the article I forwarded to my E-mail list states, Obama is the best thing that has happened to this country in a long time. Pray that we regain the country our Forefathers created. I believe God put Obama in office to drive this country to its knees. He’s succeeding.

God bless y’all.


P.S. Damn! That Crown Royal is good stuff! No, wait, I erred. It should have been:
Dmna?LLA;2#L the at Crown rohoul is good shitl2!..


I kill me!


Originally published in the Prairie Times, "Wish Granted", November 11, 2009

Ask. There’s an olde saying: “Be careful what you ask for.” Oh how I know that’s true!

My primary occupation is driving. As varied as my resume’ is, I can almost say “I’ve done it all!” with a few exceptions. I’ve gone from hauling rocks to being the truck driver for a CART Racing Team. They’re the ones that had the races in downtown Denver.

A few years ago I got tired of driving, and started praying to get out of trucking. An incident at a company granted me my wish. Not wanting to be unemployed for very long, I went looking for another driving job, to no avail. Soon enough I found a job working at a gravel pit. I wasn’t driving, and I wasn’t happy. It was a job, but it didn’t pay the bills. I got my wish.

That job tanked and I got on with a construction company, switching between driving the dump truck and hauling all the heavy equipment, or Tonka Toys. It was a good job, almost paid the bills, but the boss was not too keen on safety or maintenance. After a year of his testing my patience, the Good Lord saw fit to send a new position my way.

I now drive a fuel tanker and have been with this company for over five years. What I do is load the fuel at the refinery or pipelines and haul to gas stations and truck stops in Colorado, with the majority of my deliveries in the mountains. I even deliver to the station in Elizabeth.

When the weather is nice, it’s a great job. When Mother Nature decides to throw her worst at us, one cannot help but ask one’s self “What in tarnation were you thinking?” There have been times going over Loveland Pass that the only way I could tell I was still on the road, was to lean out the driver’s side window and watch for the little white dotted line! Just this past winter one driver got disoriented and literally drove off the side of the mountain. He survived, thank you for asking.

This past winter (’08 – ’09) was brutal in many respects, especially in the high country. Because of it, once again I got to praying for God to put me into a job that would challenge me and pay the bills. I have to admit, I was tired of playing in the snow.

Then one night after a storm had passed through, the moon was full, the mountains were clear, snow was still hanging in the trees, and the road was in rather good shape, that it hit me: this was it! This is what I had been praying for.

At first I didn’t comprehend, then slowly the realization sunk in. Driving a fuel tanker in the mountains was the ultimate challenge! I drive an 80,000# guided missile, loaded with upwards of 8,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid sitting not more than five feet behind me. I deal with mountain roads, snow, ice, whiteout conditions, and crazy drivers, every day as a routine part of my occupation. Mentally and physically, it is a daily test of skill, patience, timing, and by the Grace of God, luck.

I started asking some of the Olde Timers why they have hauled fuel for so many years. They all stated that the pay is good, camaraderie is the best, and they like the autonomy. But the one outstanding point that all of them made is: The Challenge.

I’ve got what I asked for!