Monthly Archives: February 2012

Did it, I did.

So this is how it normally goes- you train for and receive your CDL and within the first 30 days (while the training is still nice and fresh) you get swept up by one of the big-boy longhaulers and you spend the next several years criss-crossing the nation and Mexico and Canada and after you’re burnt out and you’ve gained some experience and seniority you hopefully land a job driving a local or regional route for FedEx or WalMart or UPS so you can get home at night- assuming your wife still remembers who you are and wants you there.

I wanna drive a big rig but I need to sidestep all that.

The only way to do that is to either a) be born into a trucking family or 2) become an owner/operator. I wasn’t born into a trucking family so I had to go the owner/operator route. The problem with that is that even though trucking companies and brokers nationwide are clamoring for owner/operators to haul their loads, they want owner/operators with at least 2-3 years experience.

Shit. What’s a girl to do?


One of my CDL instructors told me that EAGLE SYSTEMS was starting a pilot program to attract newbie owner/operators in the hopes of infusing the container trucking business with a new breed of driver which is basically me all over the place. Hello? ME?

I just needed a truck.

And a driver.

(I’d tried to talk about it with Miss Carol who didn’t want to talk about it and it ended up being something like “you ain’t drivin’ it and ain’t drivin’ it. Or something like that)

So I lucked out and got hooked up with a seasoned driver who has port experience and he and I started looking for a truck whose initial cost, maintenance record, and overall mileage would work within the narrow profit margins of container work and newbieness and still satisfy my need for tractor trailer coolness.

Last week we found her.

She’s an ’04 Freightliner Classic XL with a great maintenance record and 787,000 miles on her and on Friday I drove down to Colfax NC to test drive her and put a deposit down on her sleek red glossiness.

She’s awesome and I love, love, love, her.

I think I’ll call her Trixie.






Really, really, really?


OMG, really?


No, I mean it- realllllllllyyyyyyyy?


No shit, really?

Yup. Really.


Holy crap.

How’d we let this happen, people?

I mean, really?


I’m running down so many different things right now, scampering wildly after each and every one of them in the damply dark tunnels of me and chasing their maddeningly glowing eyes and razor teeth and grasping claws that I think I may need a pause. 

Relax, dude. I say to myself.

Breathe deep. 

Cox and me.

All representatives are still assisting other callers. Please continue to hold for the next available representative.

Miss Carol and me woke up Sunday morning surprised by snow and no cable. Actually, we’d been out at a bar on Saturday night in the snow so that wasn’t as much of a surprise as seeing our cable laying curled up and dead in the middle of the road. 

I gritted my teeth and girded my loins and called Cox cable ’cause honestly? I think I’d rather have my eyeballs tattooed.

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I don’t know if it was the storm or a truck that blew through and snagged the cable but I suspect the latter because of the way everything was ripped from the telephone pole. 

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The first coupla minutes weren’t too bad. Cox’s auto attendant cheerily stepped me through some asinine troubleshooting nonsense- Is the TV turned on? Are ALL of the TV’s in the house experiencing the same problem? Has anything been changed or added?

This is after the same chirpy auto attendant had asked for my name, my address, my 10-digit phone number, and the last four digits of my social security number as if the data base caller ID hadn’t already downloaded all of your pertinent data.

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After about 10 minutes though, shit starts to fall apart and I began to get annoyed. I started to wonder if I really NEED cable TV. Or even really want it.

But then I remembered that our sweet internet access is riding on the same piece of coax.

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It was around the 20-minute mark that the seething anger started creeping in. I was mumbling and cursing when I saw Cutter and Tug and Miss Carol staring at me sadly and realized I had to go and start my day, which, since it’s Sunday, includes the ever-pressing Little House of Horrors and her constantly demanding prerequisite trip to Home Depot.

So I waved bravely, iPhone still crammed to my head, and air-kissed everybody goodbye.

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At 30 minutes I was hoping that everyone that works for Cox Communications and all of their families and friends would die some kind of hideous death too scary to even imagine. Something disgustingly terrifying and hopelessly insidious. I pictured all of their dead and ruined bodies hung dripping from tree branches, crows pecking at their sightless eyes while their children wailed and screamed mommy mommy. Or maybe, daddy daddy.

It was with these happy thoughts dancing in my head that finally, just as my iPhone battery and temper were about shot, just when I’m thinking that taking a rifle up into the tower might not be such a bad idea, a human answered-

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-Good morning and thanks for choosing Cox he chirped cheerily. Before we get started can I get your name, address, 10-digit phone number, and the last four digits of your social security number?

I sighed and gave him the same information that was on the screen pop in front of him.

Then he asks what problem I’m experiencing. When I say that a speeding truck has torn my cable drop off the telephone pole and that it’s laying curled up and dead in the street, he says OK, but before I can dispatch a service technician, I need to ask you a few questions-

Is the TV turned on? he asks.

Are ALL of the TV’s in the house experiencing the same problem? he asks.

Has anything been changed or added? he asks.

When I tersely answer each question- No, the cable is laying dead and curled up in the road- he finally says OK, I can have a service technician out between the hours of 5 and 7 pm on Monday.


So I say thank-you, silently hoping that he and all of his suffer excruciatingly, and hang up. 

And then I turned MR.GREENE. around, went back to Home Depot, bought the coax connectors, and fixed it myself.


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There are things that can happen in a decades-long, centuries-long life together that’ll coalesce into stuff that clumps together and solidifies into the kind of immovability that leads to unrelenting sternness.

Miss Carol and me have never had one of those things.

Until now.

This whole trucking thing seems to be threatening our innocently bright-eyed doe-like view of the world.

Things are happening at hyper-speed. I’ve been approached by a transport company to come on board as a newbie owner-operator (something unheard of in the trucking industry-most want 3 yrs experience) so I’d started the finance part of buying a truck and I’d scoped out several tractors and driven a few and maybe even decided on one.

I started to lay it all out to Miss Carol tonight when MR. OBDURATE waddled his fat ass into the room and plunked down all wheezy and sweaty between Miss Carol and me.

He farted and grinned and that was it for that.

Things splintered and the splinters were things totally unrelated to what we’d been talking about.

But the splinters became more important than the issue and MR. OBDURATE sat happily picking his nose and flicking it at us.


I’m rewriting my book.

I know that sounds presumptuously over-reaching and probably overbearingly boorish, but I am and honestly? it was something that I thought I’d hate more than chores, more than work, more than winter.

But I don’t.

I flippin’ love it. Luurrrrve it.

The fast-paced blazingly stripped down first draft that I wrote during NaNoWriMo in November was one thing. That was a sprint. Every night was a hell-bent-for-leather wild-eyed gasping run to the 1700-a-day-word finish line.

But it was fun. It was like the lust of new love what with the constant pounding and eagerness of freshness.

This rewriting stuff is being something waaaaay different.

It’s fuller and slower and rounder. Kinda like sitting in a dark bar with an old friend slowly sipping or maybe spending a long afternoon cuddling in warm sunlight-something like that.

It’s cool.

I’ll cry if I want to.


Oh jeez.

It’s happened again. 

Come closer.

Ever have one of those days that when you wake up you think are gonna go one way but then they bitch slap you and spit you out and become a totally different day from anything you could’ve possibly imagined?


Too bad. ‘Cause Monday was one of those days for me. I woke up thinkin’ I’d be doing one thing and instead, did something wholly, completely different.

Let me add some backstory -driving back and forth to work on The Little House of Horrors I’d noticed a Peterbilt tractor that just sat, going nowhere. Trucks are expensive and expensive to let sit so I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and stopped on Monday morning between trips ferrying gasoline and generators to Phabulous Phil to see if it was for sale or what.

A curious little old man who spoke a language I couldn’t understand showed the truck to me, indicating in his feral manner that it seemed to be for sale but that he couldn’t possibly tell me who owned it or how much they might be asking.

After much grunting and groany gesticulating I thanked him and drove away. But I was hooked. She’s dirty, she’s been sitting for five years, but she’s cool and she’s everything I ever wanted in a truck.

The exposed stacks, the dual air cleaners, the rocket launcher ID and cab lights, the air horns and train horn, the 13 gear tranny,  cleaned up I imagined she’d be perfect.

Unfortunately, I’m still tied up at the hospital and Miss Carol likes me home nights so I contacted an old buddy of mine who just got his CDL to see if he’d be interested in driving for me. He could drive 80 or 90% of the time and I could spell him and go out on the road when my schedule and Miss Carol let me.

Perfect, yes?

‘Cept this morning I went back early and spoke with the widow of the owner. Turns out he was an ex-cop that bought the truck new in 2001 and drove her until he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. He tried to keep her up and running until last year when his cancer just got too bad and he was forced to watch her sit and rust while he died.

His widow is asking a pretty high price for her mostly ’cause I don’t think she wants to sell. And I can’t blame her, but the math isn’t working out right now so I don’t know.

But man, I want her.