Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 6

by rbradyjohnsen

Monday, October 5, 2009

Randy called after they went through Kansas City and their A.C. went out in the nice truck. I can't believe they need it, it's freezing cold (high in the 40's) and pouring rain here, like it's been for a while now. Apparently they're getting to their destination way early so they'll have time to get it repaired before they head back to Salt Lake. He had to hang up when he went through a weigh station. I guess they had to slide the tandems forward after the axle weight was wrong at the previous weigh station, and he thought that's why he didn't get the green light this time.

He had a little "incident" today when he pulled into a Petro station and went "in" the "out" driveway. Well, that's what he gets for "needing" to get Arby's...he's spending like twice as much on food as I did to feed both of us and it's really beginning to annoy me. Especially because I've lost 14 lbs since he's been gone, and his paychecks are ridiculously small!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Well, this is the first time in 44 days that I have not spoken to Randy, and I have no idea what happened with him today. I figured he would be avoiding me, since I found out today that he has emptied our checking account. I can't believe all the restaurant, truck stop and fast food charges, it's absolutely incredible. I don't eat out that much in 2 years. He has spent up all that we budgeted to last him for the entire 8-9 weeks, but I know he has some cash besides. So, he knows I will be mad, he's feeling guilty and he sent me a text message saying he doesn't want to talk about money. Really? Well, neither do I and I wish we didn't have to. I am so angry I don't want to talk to him anyway. Last night, I actually ate a 2-month old potato because I'm trying to save money! Oh well, at least I'm not going to get fat. ;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

O.k., we hashed out our disagreement about the way Randy's eating and spending money. He hung up on me again, he's so emotional now. I suppose he'll just keep doing it anyhow because he's had a problem with that for a long time. But I believe he's trying to do better. I think it's not helping that his trainer keeps telling him he'll be making better money soon, but there's no guarantee of that and I would be more comfortable playing it safe.

Anyway, the trainer dropped him off back at the school in the early afternoon while his truck was having the A.C. repaired and he was supposed to pick him up at midnight. Well, Randy left everything in the truck...his phone charger, coat (it got cold there), wallet, everything. He seemed absolutely exasperated with everything today. He still hasn't figured out his phone (I usually do that for him) and, for the 3rd time, I had to give him his trainer's wife's phone number. And, since he can't remember to bring a pen with him, he once again had to scratch it into the dirt with a stick (my idea). ;) He's so funny when he's not making me angry!

Since he wasn't sleeping there, he didn't get a "room" and he basically wandered around looking for the truck all day and night. He later found out it was at the Freightliner place up the road. And he called me a lot, finished the last of his safety tests and, eventually, had a little nap in the movie room. He called me at nearly 4 am (3 am there) and they were just going to leave for South Carolina again.

By the time they get back, Randy will be out of hours and he won't be able to drive again until after his 30 days is up on Tuesday. So, hopefully, he will spend a few days testing for his upgrade to phase 2 and then he will FINALLY be able to come home for a while!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Randy found out today that, after he's done with the South Carolina run, he will be back at the school briefly and then has to do a trip to Ohio. He miscalculated the "out of hours" thing, but he will be going beyond the 30 days for sure. Then, when he completes the classroom and driving tests for his upgrade (fingers crossed!), his trainer told him he will be responsible to figure out and pay for his own way home! Well, that seems really unfair since he HAS to come back in order to switch his license from Utah to Minnesota. They told him he would get a bus ticket home. I hope he can catch a ride with a driver, because we can't afford to lose even more money at this point. And it would literally eat up nearly 2 weeks of his net pay. I wasn't too happy to hear that news, especially since they keep messing up his paychecks and they're always short lately (he's trying to fix that). I'm a little disgusted with that school right now. :(

And I barely get to talk to him when he's on the road, the calls are really short and weird. At least he sent me a couple of nice photos.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Today was not a good day. Randy called me briefly from Illinois, where his trainer had stopped to chat with someone about football. He told me he was awakened by the trainer yelling at stupid drivers, and they witnessed 4 accidents in MO. I literally only talked to him for a minute, and he said he'd call me later.

Meanwhile, I had a horrible day. My grandma had breast cancer surgery and it was not good news with her. Plus, there is all kinds of other drama and complications going on here. I REALLY needed to talk to Randy today. He called after 3 am but, when I calmly mentioned that his last charge to the debit card (I told him that account was empty days ago and he should have PLENTY of cash still) is going to cause an overdraft, he freaked out and hung up on me again. Well, then I freaked out when he refused to answer his phone or call me back to discuss it like an adult.

This is absolutely ridiculous....if he doesn't get a grip, things are going to get ugly here very quickly. Why can't he understand that he cannot spend half our current income eating out??? And he needs to be able to deal with our life, on the road or not. We're not even through with the first phase and it feels like we're falling apart here. :( I am so depressed.


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

by Brett Aquila

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