Profile For Mr. Curmudgeon

Mr. Curmudgeon's Info

  • Location:
    Cordes Junction, AZ

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Curmudgeon's Bio

I joined this profession after 28 years in another profession. Knew it was getting time to retire, and started a skills assessment. What did I do daily that I could do when I grew up? Well, sarcasm and profanity aren't really marketable skills in the private sector, but DRIVING? That I did pretty much all day, every day. Didn't hurt that I had a brother doing this for over a decade that said "Hey, you could always drive a truck. I mean, if I can do it... "

Worked about a year and a half doing OTR regional, home every weekend for 32 hours (add in one hour each way to terminal). Learned. A lot. Missed my family. A lot. Got paid by the mile, NOT a lot. Ended up finding a gig with a company that hired me for local driving, home every day, paid by the hour, tractor and trailer shop on site for prompt and effective repairs. Jumped at the chance and haven't looked back. After two years of local work, I climbed back into a sleeper, and am running OTR Regional Midwest pulling intermodal and dry van loads. Happy as a clam again.

I do dabble a bit in training drivers that come over to our company, as a polisher / finisher for folks that need some extra one on one training time to get them fully smoothed out and ready for solo.

The outfit I work for is G&D Integrated, based in Morton, IL with terminals in Joliet, Morton, Champaign, Decatur, and Montgomery, Illinois, with additional footprints in Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina. No job or outfit is perfect, but I've been with these folks for long enough to know it's where I will finish out my career, as they're a good outfit.

After about 8 years in the driver seat, I was forced to retire from driving. Three titanium spacers where disks used to rest and a sensitivity to vertical vibration resulting in gradually increasing nerve pain in the left arm resulted in my Neurosurgeon telling me I should find something else to do, as the vibration was going to hasten the degeneration of the other disks in my cervical spine. Paralyzed / lack of control of the arms vs. doing what I really like to do? I opted to give Mrs. Curmudgeon her due - and not intentionally cause injury to myself so that I could keep driving.

We moved out of Illinois to Arizona, and are happy living in the country.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 3

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Posted:  2 days, 2 hours ago

View Topic:

What do you call it when you stump the "Pros from Dover"? (long post)

LONG post: It has been almost 3 months since I updated. I still pop in and read the posts here time to time.

The meetings with the Rheumatology staff at Phoenix Mayo have been enlightening. There is another inflammatory arthritis, very akin to RA and PA, called Reactive Arthritis (RA² is what Im calling it because it is too long to type). I will post the Mayo link to it, suffice to summarize that it is the body's systemic reaction to an internal infection - usually salmonella or other gut based food borne kinda things. 20% of RA² cases become chronic.

Mayo Clinic Reactive Arthritis

The MD's Are slowly weaning me off of prednisone. I take meth (methotrexate 🤪) one day a week, 20 mg on that day, to stave off the inflammatory effects of whichever arthritis I have. Last week I had endoscopic carpal tunnel relief surgery in both hands, minor incision, clip the tendon that holds pressure on the nerves, and recuperate. Already I have significantly improved feeling in the tips of my fingers and less stiffness in my digits. The worst part of the recovery is figuring a way for personal hygiene. Mother Nature's gifts to humanity "Hot water, hydraulics, and gravity"

I will be lurking here, with occasional input, but have come to realize that being out of the Profession for 16 months kind of puts me in the position of not being as relevant as those who are Theodore Roosevelt's "(Wo)Man in the Arena". I miss, in the very core of my being, sitting in the cab working the majik of the 14, the zen of the solo road, and the satisfaction of making commerce happen. It will always resonate with me as the second best career I ever had, second only to 28 pushing a partrol squad.

I will still hang around here. If any y'all find yourself on a 10 or 34 along I17 between Black Canyon City and Camp Verde (the casino at verde has a massive gravel lot that you can free park in) feel free to drop a reply note and Ill get the notification. I'd join you for a cuppa and a bite if you care to.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

What do you call it when you stump the "Pros from Dover"? (long post)

George, if this helped one driver by possibly giving something to consider for themselves, then my task is completed. Thanks for your kind wishes. Every day that im above ground and breathing is half the battle, rest is up to me. Good fortune to you as you navigate the issues you have.

Wile E: ya, my experience is pretty similar what you described... sneaky Because we don't want to even think about the possibility of an auto immune disorder. Funny thing is, I knew my mom had RA for a long time, but didn't realize that her onset was at 61 years old. Guess how old I am dancing-dog.gif

BK, not on the G plan yet, and thinking life was all rainbows, unicorns and glittery poop, I signed up for the High Deductible plan last year when we moved out of state. I get my hc through my former employer, paid from my pension. Leaving the state of Taxinois triggered plan changes, and the high deductible was the least costly. (Now I know why). The good thing is that all of this stuff is now remarkably affordable, but getting the MRI approved was a 5 week process.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

What do you call it when you stump the "Pros from Dover"? (long post)

I've not been very active here, trying to stop in time to time to see what (if anything) is new in this psycho-girlfriend / guyfriend / Sigot of a career choice we have gotten into (and out of for some, albeit not always willingly). Over the past three months (starting in February) my physical condition began to worsen, figuring the broken screws from the spinal fusion were coming back to bite me. Finally got an MRI of the full spine (to the tune of well over $2k out of pocket). Turns out there is only minor narrowing anywhere in my spine from top to bottom, which considering my age and the jobs (and damage) done over the past 40 some years is not unusual, but there is NO impingement of any nerves. Good news, some would say. Myself included.

However, from March 3 through May 6, I became basically non-functional. Hands couldn't fist, no feeling in tips of fingers or in feet, massive pain in the fronts of the hips and the knees, and both shoulders and arms were unusable. It was so bad I needed assistance to get out of a chair, and sitting down was basically line my butt up and flop down. I lost almost 40# of body weight, and there was little to no muscle tone in my arms or legs - atrophy in a big way. On May 6, I went to Mayo here in Phoenix, and was given the most thorough med exam I've had in my life - even more thorough than at Chicago MEPS when I enlisted in 1982.

Turns out the whole thing is (apparently) rheumatological - either Rheumatoid Arthrits, Psoriatic Arthritis, or something Mayo calls Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance or MGUS (which is NOT to be confused with ROUS, which are massive ugly furry things only found in the Fire Swamp between Florin and Guilder). MGUS is apparently of undetermined significance to them, but I can tell you how significant it is to those that have it. Anyway - I am the new poster child for BLTMC or #BetterLIvingThroughModernChemistry. Steroids take care of all but a small amount of the pain and inflammation, but taking prednisone for the rest of my natural days is not a viable option due to the side effects on blood pressure, water retention, bone mass and brittleness, and (of course) any effect it may have on my otherwise charming personality.

My rheumatologist is responsive - I keep a daily journal of the effects of the meds, the progress of pain levels, photos of my hands (had to take my wedding ring off for the first time in almost 32 years because the pain from the pressure was becoming too intense) and body weight to stave off any surprises. They still don't know what the definitive diagnosis is - apparently one can have RA for a couple of years before the markers show in blood work. And PA is even more insidious, there isn't really any specific blood marker for it, it is diagnosed symptomatically apparently. Sausage fingers is one of the big ones, as is any amount of psoriasis on the body. I have a small (.5 x .75 inch) psoriatic patch on my right knee. Nowhere else, and I mean NOWHERE - full on MEPS examination for that as well.

So, since some have asked in the past, I share this. I wish I knew what to say brought this on, but my symptom onset occurred over two weeks. Late February stiffness in my arms shoulders and hands, and by March 3 I needed my wife's assistance to get out of bed, stand, walk, etc. If there is a take-away for drivers in this, I would say "If you don't feel right, especially in the joints, don't just wait for Dr. Ibu to take care of it. If you have ANY family history of this stuff, at least call your primary and ask what to look for." I didn't. I should have.

My prognosis at this point is uncertain, but I'm pretty certainly not getting back into a CMV. I started working at Fry's behind the service meat counter and loved it. What better job for retired cop that missed human interaction and a former CMV driver who loves to cook and talk? I chose to resign because I could not, in good conscience, hold a job open for an undetermined length of time while the guys and gals I worked with had to pick up my slack. I will go back there (hopefully) once the MD's can give me a (even moderately) definitive diagnosis, a long term plan that isn't steroidal, and enough physical therapy to be able to lift and hold 50# (a double wide tray of chicken breasts in the meat case weighs about 48#).

If you made it this far without passing out from sheer boredom, know that my thoughts are with all of the Professional Drivers out there. Keep doing those things which elevate the Profession, and please accept no excuses for not being a safe component of the Profession. There are some of us in 4-wheelers that appreciate and respect what you're doing, and count on y'all! "When the trucks don't run, the bread won't come, have a hard time finding petrol."

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Staying regular OTR

Jose, intriguing idea. A few Q's from practical use: 1)how much space off back of cab. 2) how much width Is left for air and electric lines, and maintenance of same. 3) is this intended only for day cabs? 4)How much carry capacity are we giving up on our drive axles? 5) How much knee room when taking a heaver in our winter gear - are we packed in there like sumo wrestlers on a southwest flight? 6) what services are required to off load our off loads and how do we get.there in a cmv? 7) what impact does this have on 5th wheel slide to facilitate contai er chassis hauling?

Thanks

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Passenger seat laws

Answer simply put? "YES, it must be secure so that the full range of USDOT (not just FMCSA) rules regarding occupant safety are met. A loose seat will not properly positiin the lap shouler seat belt assembly in a wreck.

Failed inspection.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain revisited

Anne- thanks for asking about my status,on the 15 year old CMV driving thread.

I'm still struggling, it's a continuing plight. Looks like The Gahds are speaking in ways CRYSTAL clear. Going back to CMV driving doesn't seem near. C-spine shyte, not sleeping at night, getting a neuro and mri appointment an ongoing fight.

As I told the ER nurse (thru *almost* tears of pain and frustration) "Peripheral Radiculopathy? Don't be ridiculous. There's NOTHING radiculous about this ****e at all!!!" She was NOT amused, apparently never worked ER or around public safety folks who deal with shi**y news with dark humor views. The radiculopathy, apparently, causes pain and general weakness through nerve compression in the cspine. The ER trip was triggered by excruciating pain, and inability to use either hand. The Crappiest part is that it is intermittent.

I have not taken any of the prescribed narcotics for pain or to help me sleep at night, fortunately Tylenol and the Nerve Anti-inflammatory gabapentin have been moderately effective. Last night I actually slept through the whole night ( with dreams that I was an Iranian computer hacker, working directly for the Shah, and was working in a US based CIA safe house hidden behind miles of barbed wire and miles ofconcrete walls. )

confused.gif

Who says I'm not taking narcotics?

rofl-1.gif

I was fervently Hoping for a non-surgical resolution, but my cousin, a Neurosurgery OR Nurse for Barrow Spine in Phoenix says "Ya, their gonna fix the broken hardware". Maybe in a year or so the bottle gas outfits up around chino valley will be seeing my shining curmudgeonliness on their doorstep like a bunch of Cancun street urchins at the restaurant window, sans the boxes of Chiclets.

For now, I have taken non driving employment with a semi-local fry's grocery store, part of the kroger chain. I'm working in the meat department at the meat-seafood service counter, enjoying the customer contact, high volume pace and being part of a team that is incredibly, incredibly positive. I have never heard people thank their coworkers as much in any of my previous jobs as I do here. I don't think I'm gonna make it a career, but I can see myself being there a couple of years while everything gets worked out medically, if they'll keep me.

Learning a crapton about different types of fish. My other passion, cooking and especiallly smoking, is paying off. My trainer has told Multiple customers, "tj is the guy you need to talk to about the best way to cook that" so I am getting a vibe of usefulness that I have been missing for about a year or so.

I have not given up on getting behind the wheel again, but have put that aspiration on hold for a while. I will still stick around here, as I enjoy the discussions, and being able to offer what small bit of knowledge And perspective I have to people considering this career, which I dearly miss..

Oh, and didja see what I did there.. ?

Good Day and Joy beto you all!!!

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Returning to OTR

Hey, KID, not sure where you are in relation to the Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Lexington SC or Greer SC areas, but my former outfit needs guys and gals for OTR. I have nothing but good things to say about my time at their IL region, and from what I hear from current drivers and my TM, their SE region is mighty busy and robust as well.

I don't know what their pay structure is, i've been gone for almost a year, but I do know they want 6 months CMV experience. I would give you my employee ID number for the referral bonus, but they already told me I don't qualify any more.

smile.gif

Take a look - if it's close enough it may be worth a look.

G&D Integrated Locations

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

Funny Reply to my 2 Week Notice

Stevo, best wishes to you and your gal in the next phase of life's journey! Tell her, and the rest of your loved ones, how you feel about them. Often

Good fortune and fair skies to you, sir.

Posted:  5 months ago

View Topic:

3 years in and starting to look at the neighbors green grass.

Well, Anne, DDD it is, and I'm not referring to the Holy Grail of 13 year old boys.

Called. Emailed. Texted.

/\__________________________________________________________

This is what THAT particular employment possibility EKG looks like. Giving up. Got employment completely out of the cab, but keeping the CDL until we move in about a year. There are a slew of bottle gas outfits in our new location that have told me that a three day driver would be GREAT, since most of what their business is check and fill of residential 1075 tanks. I'm keeping the med and HME, so finding work won't be difficult. The new home will be over an hour from where I am now, and the bottle gas places are all within about a 20 min drive from there. Patience will pay off.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Endorsements

The HME requires the digital fingerprinting and TSA approval. It doesn't take a long time to get the answer, usually you get an update email within about five or seven days, and the letter comes in the mail about two weeks after the fingerprinting. That has been my experience the past two times I've gotten it. Be aware that if you get your license and HME endorsements in one state, things can get FUBAR if you move to a different state. I escaped from IL, taking my CDL and Haz/Tanks/Double-Triple endorsements with me to AZ. AZ put all the stuff on my HARD copy, but when I went back last month to update my MedCert, the guy at ADOT told me I didn't have any record of completing the HME in their system.

Keep copies of EVERYTHING related to your HME, including the letter and proof of payments. I was able to get AZ to contact IL and get the information, but it was a pita.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Still alive out here

Adam. thanks for updating us. You've sure made a lot of positive statements about a job and a company that many say is the worst thing in the world. Congrats for being one of the survivors. No - one of the ones that have excelled and mastered a career choice.

Stay safe and let us know what the next chapters look like, even if they are in the same book!

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

3 years in and starting to look at the neighbors green grass.

Thanks for touching base, Anne. Four weeks to the day that we had our last convo, I sent her a message (her preferred contact method as she informed me in the first contacts) asking if there was any kind of update on the zone position. Still waiting for a response. Friday AM will see a phone call - I suspect that there may have been a changing of the guard, or I was just ding-dong-ditched.

rofl-3.gif

In any event, still looking, but may wind up taking a different kind of driving job. Anyone that was ever in Basic Training knows the old "Which of you Privates has a driver's license with you?" Drill Sergeant trick. The ones that got all excited, thinking they were gonna get to drive the Post Commander's late teen aged daughters around post got their rude awakening "Good - then you, you, and you go drive those lawn mowers over to the parade field and mow it. Make sure you don't miss any places." while pointing to three ratty-arsed push mowers. I may start driving the grocery carts out of the building to the curbside pickup location... :)

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Western Express Non Compete Contract

How many of your contact attempts were made via the in cab communication system with dispatch in addition to email / text? If all you used was phone calls and voice messages, you have no paper trail (except possibly your phone bill to show numbers called).

If this all happened a year and teo months ago, did you reach out to them whem you got home? Are you driving for anothef outfit now, and what was their take on the separation?

Sounds like a civil suit. Good luck.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Far West Texas O/O Researching Pro-2A Carriers / Brokers

wtf-2.gif

That was certainly a unique conversation.

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Endorsements

An additional reason, aligned very closely with Old School's response about available time, is that having your double, triple tanks and HME when you are applying makes outfits realize that you are already certified, they don't need to get you trained and tested. While it's a matter of your available time, it reduces the post employment costs to them as well. And the HME is a complete pita to obtain - make the online appointment, drive an hour or so to the only place in the area that does it, and sit and wait for an hour while the power monger in charge sits in the back room playing CandyCrush and making you wait, before taking the digital fingerprints that requires all of about three minutes to complete. Because they can...

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Dry Bulk

Sand Box, that's the name of the outfit he was talking about! Thanks, Bush Country!

He was really looking forward to getting on running those, as his down time was killing him on the pneumatic tank runs.

He spent a lot of time in the Permian running sand, and loved it. Miss his story time calls with leading off with "You're NOT going to believe what I saw out here today..."

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Supernatural or Spooky encounters on the Road

This isn't supernatural, it's fully explainable by PTSD.

Long story short, ended up doing first aid on a guy that got stabbed outside of Medford, WI on my way to a post-load scaling. Two dudes ended up in a Beetle Bailey ball in the middle of the road in front of my unit. I had to stop because it was a two lane county road and no way to get around. I leaned on master blaster to clear the road, and the guy on top jumped up and stepped back. The dude on the bottom stands up with a combat knife at the ready.

The guy that had been on the top, let's call him Stormy, comes over to my truck (i kept dropping cell signal and the 911 calls wouldnt go thru, so I'm locked in waiting for a local to call) holding his side, I can see the blood running between his fingers, and knocks on my door. I lower my window about 2 inches, and he says "I need help. I got stabbed and I feel like I'm bleeding out" Surreal. Meanwhile the stabber is sitting in his tinted window SUV about 80 ft away. Separation from stabber, got Stormy on the ground and used his body weight for direct pressure onto a few rolled up t-shirts from my clothing bags, all the while waiting for ol' Stabby to come back and finish the job. A medical type was in one of the cars that finally stopped because that damned tractor trailer was blocking the road, and took over management of Stormy. Finally got thru on 911, one really ****ed dispatcher from all the 911 hangups... Took forever (seems like) for Taylor County to get there. When i finally got cut loose, and ended up at a small independent for the evening I went to sleep. I woke up at 3:11am when my truck door opened, and Stormy climbed into the cab and sat in my driver seat, looking pale as the Nine Horsemen, and looks over his shoulder at me. I started yelling at him to get out of my truck, and kicking at him. When my toe hit the storage locker behind the passenger seat I woke up. Most vivid nightmare ever. I was certain that Stormy had kicked off at 3:11 am by the way he looked and his actions in my dream. Turns out he didn't, but I didn't get that info until two days later when the investigating officer called me back. My message left for him at about 325 am must have been pretty unusual, I can say that for sure.

I was completely in white when the incident started. I was not able to manage the scene because I was running solo, had no 2A component, and no one to watch me while I gave first aid. I was a for-shi* witness, couldn't remember things, wasn't sure of things. It was two sleep cycles before the memory started to coalesce. I used this later as a discussion point for friends that were still on the job.

So, freaky? Yes. Spooky having a dead guy climb into your locked truck? Yep. May not be what you're looking for, but it is my only thing close to paranormal...

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Help A Potential Restaurant Owner That Has Never Cooked A Meal Ever :-)

Chief Brody, your response was amazingly on point. You might be surprised (OK, maybe not) at how many young men and women I encountered in my previous life, post arrest for a felony or serious misdemeanor (drugs, burglary, felony theft, weapons violation, stolen autos, etc) that said "I always wanted to be a cop. Do you think this will hurt my chances?" I usually was kind of blunt, "Hurt your chances? Nope - I don't think you have any to hurt." Fortunately, I retired before the world turned upside down and felonies were derated like a DEF starved Freightshaker, and my sarcastic but honest reply could very likely be viewed as inaccurate.

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Let's hear it - what do you guys think about the Canadian Truckers?

Victor, just a question, no flames necessary... from a hypothetical perspective which of the first articles in the Bill of Rights should we allow to be trampled first?

First? Tenth? Fourth and Fifth? Second? Third?

I gave over half of my life defending YOUR Rights, and the rights of every other person in this country, both sides of the aisle - Tramp supporters, Hollery and Barnie supporters, Westboro Baptists, family of service members killed in the sandbox, bikers, Birkenstockers, Vets, War Protesters, et al. All of them. Proudly.

Your premise does have me wonder which RIGHT should we allow someone with a different opinion to trample, while we advocate trampling theirs?

This is the spiky underside of the Republic we live in. Worthy of discussion in a purely academic, non-partisan "Those Who Shall Not Be Named" type of discussion. Not about the personalities involved, but about the civil liberties involved.

YAMMD. Probably does. Still respect you as a fellow brother or sister on the road.

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Dispatching training

Packrat "Locator to see where a post originated"? Is that a moderator thing? I only see GPS tracker stuff, but nothing post specific...

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