Monday, October 25, 2010


The stores and donation centers think the central warehouse is capricious and picky. That's what they tell me at the stores and dc's. I say, "I feel ya."

The warehouse thinks the stores and dc's are deliberately screwing with directives. That's what the tell me at the warehouse. I say, "Yup yup yup."

Every store says, "WE help you more than any other store to get your run done." That's true of at least 3 stores, each with its own strength. At each one, I say, "Damn straight."

Ah, Switzerland.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a rain poncho at the office

wowwww. mucho lluvia today. rain. rain. rain. LOVED IT!

Cargo pants over my polypro long johns; my "Big Basin" thermal long sleeved tee shirt. hiking boots (serving until my boot voucher comes through), beanie cap with girly flowers (cuz I'm a girl). Rain poncho.

and SOAKED to the bone as I, two dock guys and a first day community service volunteer unloaded and loaded my truck as fast as we could. Tarps, wet gaylords, damp wares and textiles. ankle deep puddles.

Tarping a wet pile of enormous cardboard boxes, grinning like a fool. "What a beautiful day."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So the sweet babboo has close to twenty years of stories, among them variations of the "We gotta cut down overtime, dammit" story, which translates to "You gotta work harder so we can get more for the same pop."

My brilliant husband 1) says 'Sure thing, boss,' and then ignores it or 2) says 'I'm willing to do this faster. Just show me how.' ... He had one manager take him up on the offer and the guy was begging for a bus stop (to get back to the office) by 2:30.

So when the Soop says at 8am "No overtime," I don't even blink when I say, "Fine with me." At the end of the day when he wants me to pull the rig out of dock 2 and swap the 28 foot trailer for the 48 footer and dock it, I tell him, "I'm 5 minutes from clocking out. It'll mean overtime...." ... and just as Jim has taught me, wait for the "Welllll, it's gotta be done. It's only 20 minutes. oh, and keep your phone on tomorrow (my day off). We might need you."

I'm glad to work. Glad for the OT. Glad when I get to go home at night with no OT. ... Funny sorta job being hourly vs salaried. being vital vs ...something else. 

Friday, October 15, 2010


I have hair that is neither long nor short. At the moment. If you've known me in the past 20 years, you've seen it bra-strap long ... spiral permed (thanks, 1994), straight and braided, bunned and pony-tailed; and Demi Moore Ghost short. My fav pic to take to the stylist is Meg Ryan in French Kiss. 'Make me look like her. ... No pressure.'

So here I am, cinching my hair into a rubber band each day, pleased by the look around my face (with the bangs I've had since I was 5), but unpleased by the lack of body and what I believe to be a flat back of my skull. OH!, to have a melon-round head that lent itself to perky ponytails. Mayhap the skull is round, but the hair too thin to offer any za-za-zing. (I still think it's the flat-backed-head). A blow-dryer could solve this, except that I'm lazy. Long hair takes soooo long to dry. Like 10 minutes. eternity.

On the other hand, I fantasize about the Judi Dench pixie. So cute and perky and feminine on her. Classic even. ... But too many people said to me, "Oh, but I thought you were a lesbian," in my college years (the Demi Moore Ghost hair years). Today, when I wear my work gloves, I am always working out ways to take them off.   'Look, I'm married. US Federally-sanctioned married. Not just New Hampshire married. ... Not that there's anything wrong with that.' (Long live my lesbian friends! May you have federal marriage rights soon!)

If I become a truck driver with a pixie cut, will I be a cliche? (It would be sooo light and cool in the truck. *sigh*)

Will I miss the long locks and regret the 2 years it will take to grow them again?(I have to admit, I can't help enjoy the wolf whistles and looks as I'm driving. Is the hair choice a part of this? oh dear.)

Earth Mama or punk-grrrl? hirsute or shorn? Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany's? Oh, the very important, truly important on a big cosmic scale dilemma.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

48 Feet

Not only got to drive my Mack yesterday to the regular stop And a new stop (such a brave BettyBulldog to work out a new sitcheeation) ... but also got to swap out the 28 foot trailer for the 48 footer. Woo hoo! Alley docked that baby in just 3 pull-ups. I rock!

What's involved in a swap, you ask? Well, mainly dis.
  1. Unhook -- remove the primary and emergency air brake lines and the electrical. 
  2. Lower the landing gear (ie crank n crank n crank the big jack-in-the-box handle on the side of the trailer). 
  3. Hook the release-latch, plant your foot on your duals (tires) and pulllllllharrrrd while simultaneously yanking to your left so you can lock it in an open position. (It's good that this is hard to do since one relatively little lock around a ball is all that holds trailer and truck together.) 
  4. Get in the truck and carefulcarefulcareful pull out, watching that the landing gear holds before completely pulling out from under.
  5. Hook Up. Back under the other trailer until THUNK, the plates meet and the latch closes around the ball.
  6. Try to pull forward (with the trailer brake on). If you can't, you're connected. 
  7. Hook up the air and electrical.
  8. Lift the landing gear (ie crank n crank n crank, only dis time the other direction)
  9. Feel the burn! Wipe the brow! Screw the gym membership! woo hoo!
And then, baby, back that thing into a dock between a 40 foot rail on one side and the trash compactor on the other. With just 25 feet or so to play with to the front and to the left of you. A good day.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

ice cream sam'mich

So after a 10-hour day yesterday, the phone rings before 7am this morning, and the Soop says, "How soon can you be here?", bypassing the 'heysorrytowakeyou' pleasantries. I'm there by 8 (when I was scheduled for 9:45).

... Short version because the Sweet Babbo wants to watch Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Morning stunk. Truck broke down ~dunno why. Guessed fuel pump. Rotten loading dock at one of the stores ~ had to organize a debris field of shtuff in my way before I could load the gaylords and bins. Lunch. Brought back ice cream sam-miches to everyone and felt better. Did another run. Got off work. Mechanic arrived. A fuse had melted + some corrosion.

Day done. Sweety Babboo calls.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sorta about the Soop

I started on a Sunday, so I guess next Saturday marks my one-month-iversary, but as this is my Friday (remember, Fridays are Mondays and Tuesdays are Fridays in my world), I'm marking today as my one-month. A good day ~ started by unloading and loading two trucks by myself, 8-10am; making a run; taking lunch; making a run in my beloved Mack tractor trailer; and unloading a truck. It sounds like so little, but really, that's a pretty solid day. I got drive time away from peoples (you know how I feel about peoples). I got warehouse cardio time (feel the burn, baby!). I got time with the peers and the Soop (my supervisor).

People in the org ask me how I'm doing, whether I'm enjoying my new job, and 100%, I say, 'Way!" (Actually, I say, 'Hell, yes' ... yes, I've found a home for my potty mouth.)

Sweet Babboo warned me that my comfort level in the truck would outpace my skill level pretty quickly,  and I think about that when I'm on a run ~ whether it be in a class C bobtail (basically, a U-Haul with a lift gate) or my Mack big rig. I'm so aware, so conscious of driving and all the actions and decisions involved in every moment. I feel challenged, physically and mentally.

Also at one month, I'm very aware that I have the exact supervisor any newbie driver would want. He's been a driver himself (class A), so he knows drivers' challenges in completing a run. He's pragmatic, but also pushes us. And he protects his drivers. ... ie, don't f**k with our dock. And the warehouse had better keep things moving so that we can keep the trucks rolling. Warehouse grumbles about him; I appreciate that my boss has my back.

If I just keep hold of Sweet Baboo's number one advice to keep the rubber side to the road, I think I'll be okay going into month two.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Humble Pie

After feeling plagued (plagued, I tell ya!) by my last blog post, I enjoyed a humbling day. Even as I was posting yester-eve, I was thinking, "Boy, missy, you sound smug. Think funny, not self-satisfied, silly girl." Even considered editing the post.

Too tired. First run today -- they were mad I showed up mere hours after the first truck. "We don't have enough right now to fill a truck, but we Will. Later!" Second run -- not bad. THIRD RUN ~ two hours doing a one-hour trip. Argh!

Do you remember those little puzzles, 3 inch x 3 inch or so, where all but one square had a tile in it? You had to move tiles around and slowly arrange them? Maybe the puzzle was a sequence or numbers, "1, 2, 3, etc" or an image.

Transferring one van filled with empty bins into one van filled with full bins. ... Sisyphus, I have a new appreciation for you, my dear damned man.

And when I got back to the yard, the boss says, "If you put out your lift gate, you have a staging area." ... "Doh!"

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Friday Monday (Monday Friday?)

I've been a Monday-Friday worker for far too long, just as I've never outgrown my upbringing along a North-South highway .... Bay Area freeways confused me for years, messing with my sense of direction with all their bends and curls and cohabitation along the same stretch of road. Was I on 80 or 880? both at once? Who knew?

One of those qualities I love about my adopted home is its adherence to the poles. I'm back on a north-south line, as I should be.

And now, there's these Monday Fridays, by which I mean today, Friday, is my Monday. I couldn't figure out why it was all nuts-to-butts traffic this afternoon as I was trying to make my second run. Then, illumination! Friday. ah. I'm going to learn to hate my Mondays. But oh, sweet Tuesday and Wednesday. Lighter roads. *bliss sigh*

But the 'off' feeling of beginning a week as most others end theirs. This feeling of being 'other.' There are so many ways in which compartments are created ~hierarchies. Weekends. Carpet vs concrete. Suits vs day-glow vests. Cosmetics vs axle grease. Didja know the office staffers have 3 times the holidays of the infrastructure workers?

3 times. That's fine. I have no beef with it. We're trained to think carpet, suits and more holidays equate with power, with satisfaction, with choice. But I've taken paths that have given me more ability to decide my life than most people.

Hell, I feel like the most powerful person in the company. I can say, "I Choose This." Plus, I can turn off that truck at night, clock out and head home to a hot shower and my sweet babboo. If I'm passing couples on their way to a Friday night on the town as I think about what I want in my lunch bag tomorrow, it's a more than fair sacrifice. Maybe Friday is one habit I can outgrow.