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GrumpysLady has contributed to 28 posts out of 3926 total posts
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20 Most recent posts:
YIPPEE!!!! At 4 pm yesterday, I got a courtesy call from the clinic stating that they had received all necessary paperwork and I was okay'ed on the medical end. They informed me that they had e-mailed that approval to the recruiting office at SMX and that I should expect a call from them soon. As of this posting, I have not yet heard from recruiting, but I can't leave until after the 12th anyway, so it's not that big a deal. I'm busy as a long tailed cat today, so if I don't hear from them by then I will be calling tomorrow. But I expect to be attending orientation class on the 14th.
Keep those fingers crossed, it seems to be working.
Well, here it is, going on 3 months since I got sent home. I am currently waiting for confirmation that the final piece of paper has been transferred and received. I got a call about 10 days ago from the clinic doctor saying that they had received my FCE report and it looked great, but they needed an official statement from the neurosurgeon stating that I could return to work with NO restrictions. I've made 3 calls to that office and have received 2 additional copies of my FCE report, AND a statement (written in the doctor's own hand, so we had to have it deciphered) saying I could go to work as far as he was concerned. But so far not what they need. I made the last call yesterday and explained very carefully, using small words, what I needed, so I'm crossing my fingers again waiting for confirmation.
I have not yet contacted recruiting, figured that would be a waste of time, but I hope to be able to finally call them by the end of the week. Now if I can just get the problems on the homefront taken care off, I'll be good to go. Nothing serious there, but I can't leave with 3 cars in pieces in the front yard, Grumpy's brand-new pick-up with no tags, and a daughter and granddaughter packing to move to Hawaii that would leave my place empty and open, and I still have to arrange reliable pet and lawn (3 acres) care, since that new truck payment will leave us both running our buns off and none of my children can be depended on.
So keep those fingers and toes crossed.
Edited by GrumpysLady on Apr 1, 2008 at 11:30 AM
Just a quick oddball observation here...I know at least 3 male drivers that would like to have "more than one" lounge area as they aren't into the sports nuts, loudmouths, DA's that hang out anymore than "we" are.
And as far as the rude comments from the knuckle draggers...you should hear the crap they come up with they see me slinging chains...at least I don't have to worry about "them" hitting on me. LOL
I'm not disputing the fact that we should run legal, I would dearly love to see it happen, but, tell me, just how do you deal with the hours and hours sitting at the dock (or in the yard) waiting to be loaded or unloaded?
Let me outline a typical day. I wake up in the Home Depot parking lot where I am scheduled to unload at 10 am, but they don't want me taking up their precious parking area, so they wake me at 6 am to tell me to move. After a short discussion where I explain that the closest truck parking is more than an hour away in the opposite direction from which I came, the closest in the direction I came from is my home 4 hours away, but my company requires I be within 10 miles of my destination when I take my 10 hour break on Sunday night, they allow me to stay where I am (at the far end of the parking area away from the store) while they determine if they can squeeze me in to get unloaded. BTW, I am the only truck in site and I don't see another one the entire time I'm there. I notify my FM that I am on-site and ready to unload, then sit and wait. Around 9:30 the receiver comes to tell me to move to the unloading area and my day technically begins, although I untarped while I was sitting and waiting.
I finally see the first forklift at about 11, and even though they have 3 working on the unloading (18 stacks of shingles) I am not unloaded until 2:30. At which point I send my empty call, and 30 minutes later, get my pre-plan for the next load, 280 miles away, which delivers at 7 am tomorrow morning, 380 paid miles. I arrive there at 7:30 pm, spend another 30-45 minutes finding paperwork, hooking up, checking tarps and straps, doing pre-trip, sending my loaded call. But now, I've been up for 14 hours, have not have a meal and need fuel.
And tomorrow is pretty much a repeat of today as is every day this week (and every week for that matter). So tell me, how do I run legal and make money and keep the company happy so I keep making money?
I'm not trying to be argumentative. This is a real scenario, not mine, but real. The driver in question averages 2300 miles a week and spends an average of 40 hours a week sitting "dock-time", unpaid. His company employs over 300 drivers and 90% of them work like this. The last driver that ran strictly legal ended up quitting with the complaint that he wasn't getting enough miles to cover his expenses. And just so you know, that other 10%, they are the company stars and average 3500+ miles.
I had dearly wanted to take my beloved dog with me after I completed my training at SMX, for company and security. Just the sight of his ugly mug is enough to scare most people...LOL. Unfortunately, he weighs 71 pounds and the company only allows DOGS up to 50 pounds. Cats are not allowed at all.
Their pet deposit is $500, deducted weekly, in $50 increments, from payroll and periodic cleanings are required and charged against your deposit after which you are required to bring your deposit balance back up to $500.
Wow, it has been a long 2 months! For the new members and those who haven't caught up, I went to school and received my CDL back in September of last year. It took some time to get accepted for a job, due to the fact that I didn't have a recent work history. But we overcame that and got invited to attend orientation at SMX where all was going well until it was determined that the physician who did my back surgery in 2003 had listed me as disabled. Um, maybe that was why I was getting that SSDI check?
Anyway, I was told that if I got a new FCE (Functional Capacity Evaluation) and did well enough on it, I would be reconsidered for a position with SMX. And they sent me home on January 9th to get this all worked out.
Being who I am, I dedicated myself to making this all work, but the delays and waiting nearly drove me out of my mind...and still is. But I am closer that I have ever been and am now suffering from the anxiety that I am so prone to.
So, first I had to wait until nearly the end of the month (Jan) to get into see my doctor, who listened patiently and then gave me a referral to a neurosurgeon. This neuro requested a new MRI and a set of X-rays, which I had done on the 4th of February. Then I sat and waited until it was time to go see him, which wasn't to be until the 26th of February! I went to pick up my films to carry with me, since they don't e-mail this stuff, and when I saw the reports, I nearly had a panic attack. Seems I have a couple of bulging disks, but I'm not feeling anything from it. So I was sure this neuro would tell me NO WAY!
So, I finally get to make the trip up there (only 120 mles) and meet the doctor and do all the bend and stretch and reach and answer all of the questions...and he asks over and over about pain levels and I answer repeatedly, I have normal 46 year old woman back pain and I'm not feeling any discomfort from the activities. To which he responds, that if I'm not in pain, then I should do whatever it is I want to do and writes me an order for an FCE.
It took me two days to find a Physical Therapy clinic that would accept both my husband's insurance and my Medicare and administer the test. So the morning of the test, I'm all psych'ed and off I go to Nevada to do what I got to do only to find out that I'm in the wrong place. Seems like they have more than one of these clinics (isn't everything corporate these days?) and we, myself and the receptionist, failed to realize we weren't on the same page. So, after some fast talking and faster driving, I arrived at the right location and proceeded to do my test.
I was aware that the US government has a set of educational standards relating to job descriptions, I used to be a welfare to work program teacher and it was my responsiblity to bring my students to a prescibed level in certain acedemic areas as well as to teach them vocational skills necessary for their chosen careers. I was not aware that there is also a set of standards relating to physical requirements for these same job descriptions.
According to the US government, most of truck driving is rated at a medium physical requirement level. Exactly what all this entails, I have no idea and haven't been bothered to look it up. I did discover that at least one classification of trucking is considered sedentary, and one or two are considered heavy, but for the most part, trucking is considered medium.
So, I stood, without moving my feet for a half hour, then I walked on a treadmill, at 2 mph for half an hour. Then I did some balance and stretching type stuff, then on to the lifting, I can repeatedly lift 40 pounds and "one-time" lift 80. And the pushing (250+ lbs.) and the pulling (250+) and all the while I was getting more and more tired...geez, I am so out of shape. But the final test was to sit in a hard chair for another 30 minutes, so I handled that okay...lol.
Anyhow, the result of all of that is that I am qualified to work in any job with a rating of heavy or less. Which tickles me because the only jobs that I saw that rated as heavy were the ones that end up "fingerprinting" and I am not going to do that...lol.
So, now it's just wait until all the paperwork ends up back at MY doctor's office (I love red-tape) and she will send it all on to the clinic in Fort Dodge and they will review it. Then hopefully, when I call them next week, I can start the whole application and interview/orientation process again.
I guess the point of all of this is to say...If you want something badly enough, you just have to buckle down and work for it. Don't let anything stand in your way. I have fought for more than 30 years to get this done, through the chauvanist "man's job" crap (although I'm not done with that part), through raising my children as a single mom, through this back injury and surgery and so much more. Through the arguments with Grumpy (he really wants me to drive, but not flatbed) and nothing will stop me from being the professional driver I have wanted to be since I stood on the seat in Dad's Mack and watched the flames shoot from the stacks.
Good luck to you all, may your roads be dry and your trips be uneventful. Keep the shiny side up.
A quick answer to your question...NO! I will not be running with Grumpy...lol. The current plan is for me to get a job and get my year in, then if I like my company and wish to stay with them Grumpy will come over to join me.
For further details, find my update post, posted today. And thank you all so much for the encouragement.
Oh darn! It's my own fault, I didn't think things through completely, but I'm counting it as a lesson learned and will share it with you, just in case...LOL.
I graduated school in September. I immediately began the job search process and get getting "we're sorry" letters. Ummm, what am I doing wrong? Come to find out, it was a lack of work history since I had been a stay-at-home mom for several years AND wasn't able to account for my time. Eventually, I found a company that was willing to accept letters from non-professional type people in this regard and I was invited to attend orientation.
So, get on the bus, ride an hour, sit for 9, ride some more, I finally made it to my destination. Do the road test, I failed, but no biggie..they have a refresher course and I didn't do that badly! Do the UA, I passed, no doubt in my mind. Start the company physical...oops! I put down on the form that I had had back surgery several years ago, I was afriad that the doctor would ask about the rather large scar on my back and question why it wasn't listed...so I told the truth. Since this company follows the letter of the law (DOT), they decided that they needed to hear from the doctor that did the surgery that I was good to go. I haven't seen this man since the surgery and we didn't get on all that well as it was (he kept harping on me about finding a more lady like career). I HAVE been under the care of a very good doctor, who has handled all of my medical issues and has helped me to over-come the issues I had relating to the injury and surgery.
I explain to the company doctor all of this, and they explain they have to follow procedure, so I relay the contact information needed. And guess what!! This surgeon, who by the way, no longer practices at the same clinic, stated in my file that I am permanently disabled and have weight restrictions of 20-25 pounds with no bending, twisting, repeatative motions. Funny, he never told me that. In fact, he sent me back to my job with a note that said I was able to lift 30 lbs frequently and 50 lbs infrequently, with no other restrictions...I have the note! The only reason I'm not still at that job is because we gained custody of my step-children and they needed some hands-on care. Anyway...
I got a bus ticket home but also a reassurance that, IF I can get this worked out, I can come back. So now I have to go see my doctor, who has a schedule so tight it takes 2 weeks to get an appointment (in a town of 8,000 with 25 doctors!) and begin the process of documenting my abilities. Which means having a FCE (functional capacity eval) and getting an orthopedist to sign off that I am able to be a flatbedder...oh I can see the explanations now. And the funny part about the whole thing is...I have been throwing tarps for a year while hanging out on the truck with dear Grumpy!
Okay, so I needed to blow off some steam here...I'm so frustrated, but even more determined to get this done. Wish me luck.
I'm for all of the above sayings on the shirt. My personal preference is for t-shirts, but it would be very nice to have a long sleeve collared shirt with the WIT logo...maybe 2 styles, light and heavier weights as I wear a long-sleeve over my t-shirt most days. As a wanna-be flatbedder, I prefer darker colors.
And can we keep the prices down? Us newbies aren't making all that much just yet.
And as long as we are on the subject...how about a ball cap? I use mine to keep my long hair out of my face and off my neck when I'm working (I'm just not the ponytail type and the wind plays havoc with it anyway). Again, darker colors.
The lapel pin makes a nice hatpin, but mine broke, and it's annoying to have to move it from shirt to shirt...LOL.
Just my opinion, but I put off going driving until my children were grown and I'm very glad I did. There is so much that happens, so many firsts; walking, first day of school, puppy love, dates, proms, etc. Not to mention school plays, teacher conferences, science fairs, and the like. And trucking is so unpredictable, you can have holidays whenever, but can you reschedule a school play because you got snowed in somewhere and couldn't make it home? I can't begin to count the things my father missed, and my husband has missed...I've heard both say they barely know their children. Now, I'm not saying you can't make it work, but your children only have one childhood, how can you put a price tag on that?
It will be much easier for you to learn to drive the big truck if you don't already know how to drive a stick. Less stuff to have to unlearn. Good luck!
I'm not trying to start any trouble here, but it seems to me that if he is going to be jealous during training, he's going to be jealous period. Unless of course, he is going out on the road with you when you finish your training, and that can be pretty hard on a relationship, too.
As far as how long to become a trainer, I've heard some companies will put you to training with as little as 6 months experience. And there is one company that puts 2 newbies in a truck and expects them to train each other for 6 months.
I second that, Lady Godiva...I would also love to see those automatic faucets go by the wayside...I sure miss washing my hands with hot (or even warm) water after being out wrestling tarps in the cold.
Edited by GrumpysLady on Jan 3, 2008 at 10:45 PM
In the 30+ years I have been around this industry, I have NEVER had a situation I couldn't handle. I've dealt with lot lizards, with receiving dock cads, with old time drivers who believe women belong in the kitchen, and with drivers who believe all women are just dying to crawl into their sleepers. I do my best to treat all with respect, to do my job to the best of my ability, and to help when and where I can. But the world has become a scary place and some people have no respect for the rights of others and I know I need to do all I can to protect myself (and others) from them.
I have to say I love the fishing line idea, I think I will implement that one. Thank you.
I hate break it to you ladies, but all of the companies I have talked to do shut down their orientation/training for the holidays. I'm told that, in most cases, the teachers are hourly employees and the good trainers are more senior drivers and therefore have the option of taking the time off. There are benefits to seniority in trucking, too.
In fact, all this is why I'm still sitting here at home. I had the option of going to orientation and then coming back home to wait out the holiday and then back to undergo training on campus then out with a trainer...or just wait and do the whole thing at one time. I chose to stay home because I don't want to ride that bus the first time, much less twice. But I'm not driving my car up there to sit for who knows how long either...now, if I drove what everyone else drives I might, but my little red rocket will be much safer here at home (you can't get insurance to leave your classic hot rod parked outdoors away from home for an extended perod of time). And how would I ever get it home?
As far as schools that promise anything...that's just nuts. I know a guy that was pre-hired and then sent to school...he was promised 6 weeks of school and a job making $700 a week. Last I heard he was trying to find a lawyer to sue the company...he never got the job because he flunked his drug test the first week of school. BTW, my hubby is a driver, his first year he averaged all of $300 a week, it's taken him 6 years to be able to make that $50K they all promise, but he's had to learn most of his lessons the hard way. And we've learned, unless it's on paper in black and white, don't believe ANYTHING your recruiter tells you.
Personally, I tell everyone I know, if you are doing this for the money, better find another way to earn a living. The first year or two of this really sucks...money-wise, and it costs a fortune to boot.
Here's something you may not want to know, but as a lone female driver, we need to be aware of.
Most fleets are single key. One key that opens the doors, the side boxes and starts the truck. This means I can take my key and open any door of any truck in my companies fleet. Conversely, that not-so-nice guy that drives a truck just like mine can open my doors and steal my radio or laptop or worse. I don't know about you, but after a long day of driving and two to three hours of tarping, I'm not confident that I will wake up clear headed when my truck rocks or the door opens, or when I crawl back in my truck after dinner.....I'm sure you understand what it is I'm saying here.
My hubby, also a driver, heard a tip that sounds like it may be just the ticket. Take one of those 1 inch ratchet straps, with hooks, and loop it through your door handles and cinch it down tight. This will prevent anyone from opening your doors. I know there is a safety issue here...what if something happens and they NEED to get in? Well, if it's an emergency, they will break a window...and if it's not an emergency and they break the window, well, I'm sure I'll hear that. And I'd much rather pay to replace a window than to have my spouse try to replace me.
As to not leaving the truck in the dark hours...well, that's a good rule, but in the winter when it's dark so much of the time and being a flatbedder, which are by necessity "solar drivers", I find this impractical. So my solution there, again prompted by my spouse, is to carry my large bag. My wallet is in my hip pocket, but I love the bag for being able to carry purchases and keeping my hands free and not advertising. In the bag is a can of Raid wasp and hornet spray, the kind that shoots 10-12 feet in a single stream. It's legal to carry (Mace isn't everywhere), hurts like hell, but won't permanently disable, and gets the job done. I hear it will drop a guy to his knees long enough for the PD to arrive and give me plenty of time to get to safety.
Oh, and if you see me in the truckstop, can't miss me in my Peterbilt cap....please say hi, I'll even pay for your coffee.
I have to ask, why are you insisting on a female trainer? I know that some feel it is safer, but most companies are very aware of the liability involved here and take great pains to place females with "safe" trainers, regardless of gender. Personally, I don't care about the gender of my trainer, as long as they are professional and we can tolerate each other's habits, but if asked, I prefer male, but only because I understand males better than females (but I'm odd anyway). I also acknowledge that my likelihood of finding a female trainer will be slim to none as I intend to be, and have signed on with, a flat bed operation.
Best of luck to you.
Nope, can't help with that one...but how about a husband and wife who both drive...for separate companies? We are both OTR and both flatbedders and both out for several weeks at a time, but his comapny wouldn't hire me and he's not willing to leave them at this point.
Bosselman's!!! I love them. Good food, the prices are right and the choices are wonderful. The showers are clean, roomy and they have hair dryers...LOL. The store has a good selection of products and clothing sizes for "normal" people and they even have gloves that fit my not-man-sized hands. Too bad there are only a few of them across Iowa and Nebraska.
Well, I have to say I would agree with all of the above. I have been paying attention to the products offered to women in the places I have stopped. Most places I go that carry womens' garments (and there aren't that many) believe we are all one size. XX-LARGE!! I am, but not THAT big. And try to find a feminine care product in most of these places...geez! And the food, I would love to just be able to sit down and have a salad, but who wants to pay $8.99 for a plate of old lettuce and a very limited choice of veggies? Okay, so I'm a fussy eater, but what happened to a plain old garden salad? And could someone please teach these people how to make a baked potato? They are not supposed to be crunchy, are they?
And I have a problem with the attitude of some of the fuel desk people. Three times now, in the past two months, I have gone in to get my scale ticket or fuel receipt only to be "redirected" to the "public" desk. Example: I walk in wearing my Peterbilt cap, my Paul Transportation t-shirt, jeans and boots. I stand in the line for the scale ticket and as I approach the counter, the WOMAN looks up and says "you pay for gas over there" and points. To which I say, "but you get your scale ticket here", to which she mumbles something and turns her back. Or the time I went to buy our cigarettes (at the fuel desk) and the WOMAN ignored me and waited on three men behind me (they had to reach over me) and then said "sorry, hun, we have to get the drivers back on the road"...I got a free pack when I showed her my CDL...but I was still PO'ed.
I know there aren't a lot of us out here, and it's not good business to cater to such a small portion of the clientele when space is so lmited, but a little respect would be nice.