Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Daemon Infiri Inquery

Hello, all.  This will be very brief.

As I am gathering my thoughts for Mike's Eye, I am still wondering what everybody thought about Daemon Infiri (aka, New Life?)

     Daemon Infiri came to me in one night, where as Mike's Eye has been a long time coming.  The difference is that some inspirations come fast and short, where as others come fast, then slowly simmer.  I have had a million thoughts on where to go with Mike's Eye (of which some of you got a tiny peek at the first chapter, when I thought I was going to finish it, many, many months ago,) yet I am crafting it very slowly.

     I hope everybody is doing well, and I that you enjoy your family/friends, and take time to enjoy your favorite beverage, music, and food!  Peace out, y'all!  Take care of yourselves!

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Hello, all.  This is going to be a PSADS (Public Service Announcement for Delivery Services).  As I am back to working as a local delivery driver, for food, with an expected delivery time to be met.  I want to get to your private domain as fast as I can, I really do.  However, there are things that the general public can do to help every local, county, state, interstate drivers, every day, and night (night being when I am generally delivering, hence my rant...)

1.  Visible Numbers:  During the daytime, delivery drivers can usually see the tiny numbers on houses, and businesses.  When the sun sets it gets incredibly difficult to see them, if they even face the road at all.  My personal favorite is the houses that have the two inch tall numbers mounted above a hooded porch light, effectively turning them invisible.  I ask everybody reading this to consider that for a minute, unless you already took care of that problem when you started ordering delivered foods, or love Amazon a little too much, or anything that brings delivery drivers to your door.

     If you have a curbside mailbox, do your numbers need replacing?  I see a lot of faded and/or curled numbers on mailboxes.  I, as most delivery people do, want to deliver your food to you as fast as I can.  Sometimes things get backed up in the store during a rush, but the easier it is for us to see numbers on mailboxes and houses, the faster you will get your food.
2.  Working Porch Lights:  Some people are wise enough to turn on their porch lights when they order food.  An alarming number of people don't.  I understand that apartment dwellers rarely have any control over that, as they don't usually have porches.  Houses usually have them, but not all.  All I ask is, if you have one at the time of ordering, turn it on after you hang up/log off, it's not hard to do, and it does make a difference in how fast we find your house (which may or may not have numbers, but I beg you to get new ones, and place them below the porch light, by at least six inches.)  If you don't have a porch light, you can probably find an electrician to install one, unless you're a DIYer that hasn't maimed themselves too bad, and it won't cost you as much as you might think.

3.  Mailbox Numbers:  I've already mentioned this, but let me drive it home.  If you have a curb side mailbox, make sure it has big, bold, reflective numbers, on both sides.  Some of you might already, and I thank those who do.  No, really, I do.  Said large reflective digits can be purchased at any hardware store - big box, or mom 'n pop.  They are fairly inexpensive, so say you have three digits for an address it should only cost you six dollars (at about $1 per, for two sets), and if you need four per side, it should cost around $8.  For a long term investment in warmer food deliveries, that is a cheap and wise plan.  Also, even if you you can only afford one set of numbers, please place them on a side of the box, not the front (thank you.)
4. Online Order Etiquette:  This is something that has only been around for about six or seven years, and though some people get it right, a lot of people don't.  Not the food options part, but in address info, apartment numbers, telling the online ordering system that you live in a private house, when in fact you are at a business, or live in an apartment/townhouse/condo/upper. etc...  If you are aware that there are multiple different doors for a driver to choose from, when you get to point in the online ordering, which will typically ask for "special delivery instructions", put them in, please.  I am not, nor has any delivery driver I've ever known, in any driving job I've held, psychic.  I don't know when you're living in the attic, accessible via the staircase at the back of the house.  Or, when you're hanging out in the backyard, while I'm ringing the doorbell (if one is actually installed, and working) and pounding on your front door.
5.  Basic Tipping Information/Education:  A personal rule of mine is to never order for delivery if I can't afford a tip.  It's cheaper to go grocery shopping, generally.  That said, I feel I need to explain the whole "delivery fee" v.s. tipping.  No driver, with the exception of independent semi/straight truck/HD pickup drivers, ever get anywhere near whatever delivery fee you're being charged.  Expedited drivers get a puny amount in reimbursement for their labor, your local food driver rarely receives even half of your delivery fee.  I've worked for as low as $0.25 per delivery, for fuel reimbursement.  That meant I had to deliver four orders to make a dollar.  Meanwhile, people were forgoing a tip, because they had to pay a delivery "fee".
     If you ask me, any time you hear the word fee, it implies corporate profit, period.  And, fee does not rhyme with tip.  Tipping, by its nature, is reserved for people who provide a personal service to you, right in front of you (except for bank tellers, because face it, they all work for major corporations, aka giant financial institutions), in less than an hour.  Also, if you're dealing with a waitstaff, or a delivery driver, you are dealing with people who make way less than the federal minimum wage per hour, and when it is the drivers, we are usually driving our own cars, on our own dime.  

     In closing I will hazard a guess, and say that less than 1% of any tipped employee has ever written in their own tip on a credit card receipt.  Hell, I check them every time, and when I find that somebody took the time to fill in the whole thing (on a receipt there is a Subtotal line, TIP Amount line, and finally the Total line, which has been standard for decades, mind you) and did the math wrong, I will simply fix it.  I am more insulted when people take the time to write out $0.00 on the tip line, and don't tip me in cash currency.  I do appreciate the people that put a dash through the tip line, and actually tip me with cash.

    End of rant.

I hope everybody is doing well.  I am still trying to plug away at Mike's Eye, though I've been on a roll doing more reading than writing.  Yup, writers block.  Anyway, don't forget to let the ones you love know that you do, and enjoy time with friends and family, in whatever sense you care to.  Enjoy some good music, some laughs, some of your favorite beverage, and take care of each other.  Peace out, y'all.

Monday, 19 January 2015

I Don't Know, Do You?

     Hello everybody, and happy belated new year to you all!  I recently got a new job.  Well, by new I really mean I went back to working for the first company I ever worked for, when I first started paying taxes to Uncle Sam; Pizza Hut.  When I was fourteen I took a night job as a cook.  Fast forward twenty years, and now I'm working for the company again, as a driver.  What can I say, some people tend bars, some people wait tables, I drive food around.  Ask anybody in the service industry what they've seen while working, and they will undoubtedly have stories to share.  I've seen all kinds of things over the years I've been a driver in any form, but delivering food to peoples houses leads to all kinds of strange, and sometimes frightening situations when doors open.  One delivery I had on Saturday night falls in the former category.
     It was just about 8 p.m. when I was checking a delivery ticket before taking a run, and I saw a special instruction.  It stated that I should not knock, or ring the bell because of a sleeping baby.  That's not unheard of.  A lot of people will ask that the driver calls upon arrival, or en route.  For various reasons, typically due to dogs that go ballistic when somebody dares to ring the bell, or the customer may not be in the house, or not in an area of the house where they'd hear a knock, etc..  After double checking that I wouldn't show up missing an item, I departed.
     The part of town I was heading to is in the farthest northwestern point of the area, that most of the drivers I work with hate going to.  For no reason other than the fact that it takes a while to get there, and the chances of being able to take a double are slim to none.  Simply put, you miss out on the chance to take a couple of more runs during your shift.  I don't much mind.  First off, I'm from Chicago, so I'm used to traveling longer distances than most people here are.  Secondly, there is a fifty fifty chance of getting a good tip when you go there, as it is the monied part of the community residing there.  We're talking waterfront properties, and $750,000+ homes.  The only real downside is the chance for deer.  There is minimal lighting along the main road, and even less on the side streets.  Let alone the fact that there are a lot of trees, a blind curve, and rolling hills to boot.  It's not so bad when the sun is up, and the roads are dry, which was not the case Saturday night.
     I found the house I was looking for without encountering any dark eyed herbivores, or predators for that matter.  I slowly turned into the driveway (which we are not ever suppose to do, but hey, sometimes you just have to) hoping to let the light from my headlights stream through the glass at the front of the house.  Then I grabbed my phone, and dialed the number on the receipt.  It looked like a cell phone number, and I figured new mothers might keep their phones silent when a baby is sleeping.  It rang and rang, finally giving me the option to leave a message, so I did, simply stating my arrival.  Then I got out of my car and waited at the front porch, where a green post-it note was hanging on the storm door, announcing the hours that people were not suppose to knock or ring the bell.
     After about a minute of standing there, resisting the sudden urge to make some noise, I heard a baby start crying from within the house.  Not my fault, I figured, and set about contemplating knocking.  Just before my hand could contact the door, I heard the deadbolt turning in the main door.  The door swung open, and standing on the other side was a young girl, maybe 13-15 years old, holding a swaddled bundle to her chest.  It was not making any noise, was my next observation.  My first thought was, Oh, no.  Another teenage mother?  What I did was smile, and say hello.  She said hello back, then said, "My name is Meghan." which matched the name on the ticket.
      I said, "The total came to $21.48"
     She said, "Okay, can I ask you a question?"
     "Um, do you accept twenties?"
     I nearly laughed, but managed to contain it.  Really?  The order came to more than twenty dollars, I surely don't want that total in nothing but pennies.  "Yes, yes we do."
     "Really? Great!  Here, hold this!" she said, thrusting said bundle at me.
     Not wanting to let a baby drop, I quickly put the hot bag on the porch, and went to gently take the small bundle in my arm.  Yeah, it was a baby doll.  All I could think of was maybe it was a school project, and I have no desire to ruin somebody's school project intentionally.  So I stood there, with a fake baby cradled on my left arm, while the girl disappeared, presumably to gather money.  She came back, and handed me $24.  She did not show up alone though, a new girl accompanied her, plainly not of kin.  I handed Meghan her doll back, picked the pizza up, and completed the transaction.  I don't know what was said between the two girls as I was walking back to my car, but they starting giggling, which wasn't creepy at all.  I simply left.
     If it was a school project, it was very light.  I know some schools use eggs.  My high school made us use flour bags, mainly to inflict pain on the student body, I think.  As I made my way back along the dark road, I started reflecting back on that semester of school, and the class Marriage and Family (which was really just another way of saying Economics 101.)  I did great in that class.  So did my faux wife, for that matter (we got the highest grade for the project in our class.)  How it worked was pretty straight forward.  We were all given income levels at the start of the semester, and we had to budget for things like rent, food, and gas, as well as read the stock section of the real newspaper every Sunday, and make fake investments.  When the so-called marriage happened, we had to go buy rings, and make a fake bridal registry, and so on.  We were also taught how to manage money, and credit.  The number one thing they tried to drive home was when we turned 18, we should apply for a gas station card, since they are the easiest to obtain.  I've never been accepted for a gas card, and that was nearly eighteen years ago!
     I digress.  So I've made a little more progress on Mike's Eye, but it's still not quite finished.  I've got some things to wrap up, and am considering whether or not I want to make it a start of a series.  Once again, you'll all just have to wait and see.
     I hope everybody is doing well in this new year.  If you've made an attempt to alter a diet, good luck, and may you still find a way to eat well, enjoy your favorite beverage, spend time with friends and loved ones, listen to your favorite music, and try to laugh now and again!  Until next time, peace out, y'all!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Another One For the Books

Hello, all, and welcome to a new post.  I've been trying to make up for the months I couldn't work on my current book.  Five months of not writing because you have no predictable schedule, and are away from home for days at a time creates quite the bout of writers block.  I am back at it though, averaging 1,200 words a day.  Although today I wrote nearly 3,000.  It's not done yet, and I plan on doing a much more thorough editing job this time around.  What I need for that is a new printer.  My old one had crapped out, and though it still works from time to time, it is not compatible with Windows 8.1, so a new one is needed.  That said, with no actual funds in my bank account, it would be great if more people would buy Daemon Infiri.  It's still available on Amazon, at only $2.99!

     With that out of the way, let me get to what's eating at me.  The last couple of months have been hard, trying to find work in this tiny town.  All I want is a full time, first shift, non back breaking job.  Unfortunately, being a small town based on on nothing but retail and failing industry, trying to find something that isn't going to make me want to commit a rash act of homicide isn't very easy, as most jobs are 2nd or 3rd shift, and in crappy working conditions.  Though I'm not the murderous type, I just can't bring myself to go back into retail.  I spent enough time working in a mall where I grew up.  Especially during this time of year, I refuse to get into retail, since 24/7 XMas muzak is enough to drive any sane person over the edge.  It's one thing to spend about an hour in a place shopping.  It's quite another thing working an eight hour shift listening to the same 45 minute loop of strangled holiday music 10 times a day.  Anybody who's worked in an environment like that knows what I'm talking about.
     Then there are temp agencies.  In a major metropolis, temp agencies can be a blessing in disguise, as there are thousands upon thousands of jobs they fill as either temporary, or temp to hire.  In a town this size (less than 70,000 people) those temp agencies really only serve an average of 10-20 companies.  In this economy, all the online job searches I do link me to jobs that one temp agency or another is handling.  Mind you, I have a bad back, and I've been told by several places that they'd never be able to place me in a job because of that.  When I've told them that I have a lot of office experience, and managerial experience, they basically laugh at me, and tell me that they only ever put women in those openings.  I'm all for equality for women, but what a joke to be told that I can't possibly be put into a "womans" job.
      One day I found a fire/flood restoration gig online.  You guessed it, through a temp agency.  I'd applied as a carpenter, as I also happen to have a lot of wood working experience, but I got the job as a cleaner instead.  Well work is work, so I took it.  That lasted a whole three and a half days.  I showed up to work on the fourth day, only to be told that the job was nearly completed, and the crew had been cut in half.  That was it, as I never got called back.  So I went back on the job hunt, and came across exactly the kind of private sector job I've been looking for in the four years I've been living here.  And, it wasn't through a temp agency!  I applied, got called, interviewed, and had a really good feeling about it.  I'd be working with my hands again, building custom things, and making decent money again.  I was told I'd hear back the next week, as there were still many people to interview.  So one week later, I called back, just to remind them that I was still alive, and looking forward to working for them.  I had to do that via cell phone voicemail.  When I didn't hear back by noon the next day, I went back online.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the job posting again, clicked on it, and found that they'd edited it, adding 'Any applicant who calls the company unscheduled will be immediately disqualified from the application process.'  What the hell?  So there went that chance.
     So here I am, back in the holiday season, completely broke, and trying to hang on to hope.  Hope that I'll ever make it out of here.  Out of my parent's house (at least I don't live in the basement!), out of this tiny town, and out of this state.
      Well maybe I'll find a job before years end.  Maybe I'll even finish Mike's Eye before years end.  Though that seems doubtful, as I intend to do an edit and rewrite.  So, maybe that'll be done before next Easter.  I guess you'll have to wait and see on that one.  If you're really looking forward to reading a new book by me, please let me know in the comment section!
     Until the next time, I hope you enjoy(ed) turkey day, and had good eats, listened to your favorite music, enjoyed your beverage of choice, spent time with family and or friends, and didn't forget to laugh at least a little bit!  Peace out, y'all!

Friday, 3 October 2014

October Blues (again)

     Hello, all!  Just so you know, I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands again, so I expect I will be finishing Mike's Eye sooner than later.  With that said, October has once again brought me misfortune.
     This year it started at 8 a.m., on the first of the month.  I had been called on September thirtieth, and was asked to show up the next morning to take a delivery down to Naperville, IL.  Being from Chicago, and never wanting to miss a chance to go back there, I of course said yes.  I was told I would be driving a cargo van, which made me happy because that meant that I could stop wherever I wanted for lunch.  Since I used to deliver in Naperville from 2000-2005, as part of my delivery route when I worked for TriComm BPI (office supplies company,) I knew where I wanted to get lunch.  A place in and around Chicago called Portillos.  I even knew what I wanted to get.
     So I showed up on Wednesday morning, feeling almost giddy from the thought of a Portillos cheeseburger with a side of their amazing cheese fries.  Only I never made it to Naperville, or Portillos (which has a Naperville location.)  Instead, I was told that the safety director wanted to see me for a minute.  Five minutes later, said director fired me.
     I did not see that coming, to say the least.  The reasoning was that I had twice "burned" the dispatchers.  The first time had been months earlier, when I turned down a run because I'd gotten just over three hours of sleep in a 48 hour period, and I simply was in no condition to be driving.  The second time was last Friday.  I'd made plans to see a movie long before I got the job.  Only I thought it was on a Saturday night, when instead it was on Friday.  I informed dispatch about this, with hours to spare before I was supposed to show up.  The dispatcher I talked to seemed non-pulsed by this, simply saying "Okay."
     I was a bit surprised when the safety director told me she was going to play the phone call back to me, from the previous week.  She played it through her computer, and not surprisingly the call went exactly as I remembered it, still concluding with the dispatcher's almost cheery "Okay."  It was immediately following the play back that I was fired.  So I said "bye", then got up and walked out.
     Those of you who have been following my blog for a long while may remember what happened in October, four years ago.  That time when I went down for corporate theft over a $3 box of latex-free gloves (which I was not actually stealing) at Gerber Collision and Glass.  That was the catalyst that landed me in Oshkosh, WI.
     As a double whammy, which is the way of my life, a couple hours later I decided to take a drive over to a local park.  Menominee Park is a great place, located on Lake Winnebago, in Oshkosh, that features a very nice walking path.  Most people use it for running, or biking, but I use it for walking because I can't do impact sports anymore, which rules out running, a thing I loved to do as a kid and as a teen.  Anyway, when I walked out to my car I discovered a giant puddle of coolant underneath the engine.  Turned out that the hose which allows coolant to flow into and out of the reservoir tank picked that day to develop a crack.  Luckily, the local VW stealership had a replacement on hand, and they didn't charge me an arm and a leg, just an arm.  Of course having to spend money you weren't expecting to, on the same day you just got fired, does not make for a warm fuzzy feeling.  
     Last year I was also on the job hunt throughout October, because the temp job I'd had was in limbo.  That allowed me the time to write Daemon Infiri, or as my blog readers will remember it, New Life.   So maybe this same time, one year later, I can finish the book I've been working on for many months now.  I do intend on finishing it, though as I've been writing it, new ideas and twists keep popping up, which has slowed my progress down as I work to redesign story progression, and work in new characters that I hadn't planned on at the beginning.
     I just hope it doesn't take as long to find another job as it has in the past.  I'm not particularly used to being fired.  It happened once, when I was in highschool back in the nineties, and again in 2010, and now once again in 2014.  The one thing that keeps going through my mind is who fires somebody on a Wednesday?!  Really, that is poor management practice.  Everybody knows that you fire people on Fridays, not Wednesdays.  Sheesh.
     In other news.....I've got no other official news.  I promise to keep you all posted on when my new book will be released.  Until the next time, don't forget to spend time with family and friends, enjoy a good laugh or two, enjoy some of your favorite food and beverages, listen to some good music, and take care of yourselves.  Peace out, y'all!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Old what's his name, that's me.

     Hello again, and welcome to something new to read!  I know I've failed to keep up with this blog once more.  I've been traveling again, you see, and when I leave for a run at 2 a.m. I tend to forget to grab my computer.  Mainly because I didn't grow up with this widely portable technology, and grabbing an old fashioned paperback book is higher up on the old mental list of travel accessories.  The other reason is that I drive a large straight truck (28 feet, 26,000 lbs), and pulling into a McD's or Starbucks parking lot, just to grab their wifi signal is not always an option for me.

     With that explained (even if it's a weak excuse), I'd like to move on.  I seem to live with two names.  It used to be more.  The whole mistaken identity thing started at the end of my freshman year in high school.  Back then, I was bequeathed the nickname of 'Goofy', by a senior who had already laid claim to said nickname.  For him the name had been given because he was truly an odd duck (dog).  In my case it came down to a family vacation to Disney World, Florida, when I (for whatever reason) decided that of all the iconic Disney characters, Goofy was for me.  Then, shortly after getting back from that vacation a television show called Goof Troop came on the air.  That cemented it for me, and I (my mom) got myself Goofy t-shirts, sweatshirts, and various other Disney licensed Goofy swag.  Then, during my earliest experiences of high school, classmates took note of this and started giving me a lot more Goofy paraphernalia (pens, yoyos, etc..)  I shared a hallway locker with the senior Goofy, and he noticed all of that accumulate, so he dedicated the nickname to me.

    During my third year of high school my nickname unfortunately became Deep Throat.  This was merely because my voice had deepened, and continued to deepen.  It was not some reference to porn, or to the Watergate scandal. At least I'm fairly positive I've never been involved in either of those things, anyway.  And finally, during my fourth, and last year of high school, my nickname became Dabr.  That was simply because my fellow gym mates couldn't figure out how to say my last name, and shortened it to the first four letters.  For a brief while it stuck.

      Fast forward about four years, and all of that changed.  Now, as it sometimes seems to me, my parents gave me one name, but the universe gave a handful of people the wrong name.  When I was 21, I was working for a small office supply company as a route driver.  One of the accounts I picked up was at the Motorola Main Campus, in Arlington Heights, IL.  The original location mind you, where the entire company started, and still bases itself.  You'll have heard that it's a company started in Chicago, and it was, but the name of the Chicago suburb is Arlington Heights.  Now that that's cleared up, I will get back to the point.  The first day I pulled into the drive I had to stop at the security fortress.  Once I got past the moat with live midwestern crocodiles, and managed to evade the cascading boiling tar, I met a security agent, and was lead to a waiting area.  When I won the random number lottery, I had to fill out nearly a dozen pages of security questionnaires.  When I finished I handed the forms back, and my drivers license, and Social Security Card to the guard.  The sentinel took my info and ID, and began to type all of the info into the computer terminal.  It took about ten minutes, and when my new, laminated ID badge was handed to me, my name had changed from Dave to Dan.  For the following five years, every time I delivered to that campus, which was at least once a day, Monday through Friday, I was called Dan by the people (thousands of people are employed there, and I dealt mainly with about a hundred of them) that worked there.

     Over the years following that I've been miscalled Dan by several people.  Fast forward again to today, and that name is back.  My current job has three people who regularly call me Dan.  And just today, when I'd gotten back from a run, I went to a local coffee house/deli named New Moon to get lunch.  I walked up to the counter, and a new guy started to take my order, when a regular employee (Molly) hip-checked him out of the way.  The first words out of her mouth when she took over my transaction were "What'll it be today, Cowboy Dan?"

     First off, I'm from Chicago, and I am not a cowboy.  Secondly, my name is not Dan... or is it?  No, no it's not.  Third of all, I thought she may have been joking around and quoting a Modest Mouse song (Cowboy Dan), but when I followed up with "was a major player in the cowboy scene", I got a blank stare in return.  Maybe I will have to legally change my name, but I think I'll try to stick with Dave as long as I can.  

     That's my so-called rant for today.  In other news, I have gotten back to writing Mike's Eye, and I hope to get it done before the end of the year, as I've promised.  Additionally, now that I'm making a real paycheck again, I might just pay an actual editor for Daemon Infiri, so keep a look out for a slightly reworked version of that book in the future.

      I hope you are all doing well, and that you can still enjoy time with friends and family, and are still enjoying good food as well as your favorite beverage, laughing, and remembering to smile at random strangers.  I need to get some sleep now, so peace out y'all!   


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

I'm Still Here!

Hello all, and welcome to a new day.  Well some of you have probably been up for hours, and are properly caffeinated by now.  I, for one, have been.  Though last Thursday could have been quite disastrous, and I wouldn't be here to do a bit of a rant on this here blog.  But I am, so here goes!

      For the last month I have been enjoying a new job.  I am back to doing what I love to do for money, as I've found that prostitution is not for tall skinny white guys such as myself, so I've gone back to being an OTR driver (that's over the road, if you were confused).  The company I work for now is slightly different than the last company I drove for.  For one, they offer me a lot more work than the last company did.  For two, I am not assigned one truck to drive.  Instead, the vehicles are assigned per order.  For example if it's just a few small boxes that need to be shipped, a car is used.  If it's one or two pallets, a cargo van is used.  Larger and weightier orders go into a straight truck, and so on.  As a non-CDL driver (which will change eventually to being a CDL driver) I get to drive the straight trucks and smaller vehicles.
     As one might expect the fleet vehicles have quite a few miles on the odometers.  Though for the most part they are all well maintained, as we, the drivers, have to fill out pre and post trip inspection forms.  Checking for things like tire wear, lights, brakes, oil and coolant levels, making sure that nothing is broken, or about to break, etc..  These reports happen at least twice a day, on every single vehicle.  I know somebody sees said reports, and things are generally fixed in a timely manner.
     Since I'm one of five new hires they've been trying to keep me local to make sure I'm not going to wreck any of the vehicles.  They chose to ignore the fact that I have quite a lot of OTR experience.  That's fine, I get it.  Though I think the dispatchers forgot that at the end of my first week, when I had a follow up meeting with my safety manager, at which point I supplied her my shiny new FedMed card, they were informed that I am certified for long distance travel.  That changed last Thursday.
     I was called at 9:30 a.m., and asked if I wanted to go to South Boston, Virginia.  I said yes.  I was told to show up at 10 a.m., and that I would have a team driver.  Which simply means that it'll be non-stop driving, one person sleeps while the other drives.  Kind of like cross country road trips that many of you likely went on in your late teen years, or early twenties, or still do for all I know.  What I didn't expect was the truck we were given to drive.  Mind you, from where I am, to where South Boston, VA is, is a thousand miles one way.  The truck the gave us had 970,459 miles on the odometer, and is by far the oldest truck in the fleet.  I'd been driving that thing for the last week, on local runs (less than 150 miles from the hub), and I had reported all the mechanical issues on every single trip inspection sheet I filled out.  I joked with my co-driver as I was pulling out of the lot about how ironic it was that the oldest truck in the fleet was the only one that didn't have any warning lights on the dashboard.
     We bounced through Wisconsin, through Illinois, and had made it about 90 miles into Indiana when I heard a weird metallic snap, then some scraping, and my co-driver told me that we were sparking.  I managed to maneuver the truck onto the tiny little shoulder, turned on the flashers and killed the engine.  I opted to climb out on the passenger side, as anybody who'd familiar with I-65 in Indiana will tell you is the way to go (it's a major truck route, and all trucks are required to use the right lane), and I was a little surprised by what I found.  The lower control arm had snapped off from the drivers side front wheel, swung around and slammed into the diesel tank, where it got jammed underneath it, and had been causing the sparks my co-driver had reported (right under the damn fuel tank!!!).
     I'll spare you all the details of my dispatchers failing in dealing with emergency road side incidents.  In short, it was a 6 hour delay, and we hit the road in a borrowed truck, which has 900,000 less miles on the odometer.  I'm just glad that it happened on relatively flat land, and not in the mountains in the Virginias.  That would have been truly disastrous. 
     On the plus side, in case you were wondering, I have gotten some good inspiration for my latest book, and have started to incorporate them.  I'll admit to a lengthier than anticipated down time in writing, but fear not, I'm back to it!  For anybody reading this, who hasn't read the first chapter of the new book, go back to my post listings, and check out Sneak Peek.
     Well that was my rant for the day.  I hope you are all doing well!  Don't forget to eat, laugh, spend time with friends and or family, enjoy your favorite beverage, listen to your favorite music, and smile once in a while!  Peace out, y'all!