Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 7

by rbradyjohnsen

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I talked to Randy 3 times today, but they were not happy conversations. He isn't really liking OTR trucking and I absolutely hate it! To make matters worse, he's beginning to have doubts that they'll let him come home to help me move. Seriously, 2 months is my LIMIT on how long I can live without my husband. They PROMISED him some home time after 60 days, and I don't think that's too much to ask.

Plus, I'm already doing things I shouldn't be doing with my MS and it's making me sick. I accidentally tipped over a bookcase today and nearly injured myself, I've almost fallen down stairs trying to carry around boxes, and now I have to figure out what to do about an approaching snowstorm (the 2nd, the 1st was "wimpy"). I just cannot handle this stuff by myself. I'm lonely, I'm depressed, I'm in pain and I'm angry. I'm really beginning to wonder if this was a horrible idea. It seemed like a good idea when we were going to do it together. We knew it wasn't going to be ideal, but when he lost his last job we felt like we were out of options. It still feels like that, and now it feels like there's no escape from this Hell for at least 5 months and maybe longer.

If he is given the opportunity to actually earn enough money for us to live on, that would help a little. Having him gone for a week or 2 is totally doable, I even like a little time to myself. 3 or 4 weeks is pushing it. 5 or 6 weeks is miserable. 7 or 8 weeks is almost intolerable. Anything longer than that IS absolutely unbearable. And trucking companies should realize that...it's human beings driving those trucks, not robots.

I can't wait until Randy has enough experience to get a different kind of driving job. OTR should really just be for single people.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Randy started out his day by nearly jackknifing on an icy off-ramp near Cheyenne, Wyoming, the same as the 2 trucks in front of him. They all managed to come safely to a stop and a Highway Patrolman came by and shoveled some sand under all their drive tires. It was lucky nothing happened, and it was a good experience that taught him he can't "coast" on icy roads, which he was not aware of. The conditions improved and he made it back to Salt Lake where his trainer's wife made them a pork chop dinner. And he spent several hours studying and taking more tests, barely passing a general knowledge test for which he was mostly unprepared. He'll be sleeping in the truck in the trainer's driveway, and they leave for Ohio in the morning.

I talked to him twice, and both times ended in arguments about money. I am determined that I won't allow that to happen anymore. I don't want to waste my time fighting when we have so little, precious time to talk. I just won't do it. I know he feels guilty, he knows what he's doing and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I can only control myself. And I will just have to accept that he is not really in "recovery" mode right now, and maybe we will have to go lower to hit "rock bottom". Personally, I felt like we were there a while ago.

Anyway, I swore to love him no matter what. I have talked the talk, now it's time to walk the walk. Meanwhile, I have paid my rent through March, we still have some savings, so I have some time to brace myself for the worst.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Poor Randy didn't get much sleep last night because he didn't want to turn the truck on and idle, he nearly froze himself and then he had to get up before 6 am. While going up one of the usual mountains, a herd of sheep got loose and were in his way. I wish he could have gotten a photo of that. Later, he was surprised by a sudden (literally out of the clear blue sky) super-thick fog bank when the temperature dropped over 20 degrees within just a few hundred feet (in Wyoming). It took him a while to figure out how that happened, but now he'll be prepared for that possibility in the future and keeps his eye on the temperature outside the truck (besides everything else).

Later, they stopped in Nebraska and he sent some of his previously finished tests over the Qualcomm. Then he sent me some photos he took this morning. Sadly, he deletes them as he sends them but, since he STILL hasn't figured out his new phone, I only get about 1/3 of them.

We didn't argue at all today, and we both agree that this lifestyle will not work for us over the long term. He said he's been racking his brain trying to figure out something else he could do and so have I. But neither one of us can come up with anything so we're stuck for now. That's o.k., at least we're in agreement about it.

He told me he's being extra-careful with money this week, and he told me to "treat" myself to something special. I'm not so good at that. I went to get a prescription filled and got myself some socks, a belt (I'm losing so much weight that I ran out of notches on the old one), a couple of bras and undies (TMI?) and some sterling silver earrings that were on clearance from $39.99 down to $3.99. Is that a treat? It will have to do. ;)

His trainer wants us to make him some graphics for his truck. Now Randy will HAVE TO come back for that. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I am sad to report that although there was no arguing today, there was also no speaking. That is because I discovered that the paycheck I've been waiting for (the one that was already too small to cover the bills) will never arrive in my account because Randy has siphoned it off yet again. I am stunned, especially after what we've been discussing for the past week and ANYONE would be shocked to know what he's spent in the 7 weeks he's been gone.

I don't know what else to say. I almost wonder if he's trying to screw things up so he can just quit. Or did he need that money to buy his own bus ticket home? I have no idea what's up with him. In a few days we will have been together for exactly 29 years, and I have not yet figured him out. I guess I'll find out soon enough.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

by Brett Aquila

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