Still Kicking


Just in case y’all thought I’d fled the country or died, fortunately I have done neither of those things.  I’m still kicking.

It occurred to me tonight that I need to update my blog and bring everything and everyone up to date.  I’ve been way lazy about everything that isn’t directly related to working (hotshotting), working (housework and cat wrangling) or working (on the kitchen garden.)

As far as hotshot work goes, this year has been exponentially better than last year, and the quality of the loads I’m getting has improved drastically.  Not to say that I won’t have to revert to hauling horse trailers six days a week if things slow down, but it is nice to get decent paying, light-weight loads!  After dragging that big old 40′ trailer around all of 2011, 2012 has been a piece of cake with 95% truck-only work.  The icing on the cake is that every load I’ve booked this year has been oilfield related.

On average, I’ve had about 1-2 loads per week, with only about 3 or 4 dead weeks so far this year.  I’ve also been lucky as far as distance; the farthest I’ve roamed from the home place has been just down east of Baton Rouge.  Most of my work has been in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas.  And I like running in this region of the country, so that’s a huge improvement over last year’s far-flung deliveries to North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona.

Not that I didn’t enjoy most of those trips and made the most of my return trip doing some sight-seeing, but it’s so much less stressful these days and just about every job is enjoyable instead of being a race to get too far in too little time.

The other huge improvement has been hooking up with a very good and decent load broker.  The good ones are (in my experience) few and far between, so I’m jumping when they say jump.  In return I get good loads, good pay, and amazingly enough, respectful and appreciative treatment.  What’s not to like about that?

Of course, things still go wrong.  We just had another pinion seal leak fixed today and I had to take the truck out of service last Friday until it could be repaired.  But the Dodge house guys did this repair under warranty just like the last one, (that one was the axle seal) which was pretty fantastic.

This time the truck got a new seal, yoke, and nut, which they hope will solve the mysteriously leaking seal issue since it went out last November and they had already replaced the original seal then.

Once again I just sat back and let BB handle the dealership service guys.  He has a way with people.  (Which probably means he’s nicer than I am but that’s OK, I have suspected that for some time now…)  At any rate, when he deals with them, things just go so much smoother.

This might just mean that I’m learning how not to be a pain in the rear control freak, and to be honest, it’s sort of freeing not to micromanage everything in sight.  (That’s a hold-over from my cop days I suspect when being in control was essential for literal survival in certain situations.  I’ve said jokingly I’m a recovering cop, but I guess it may actually be true.)

On the home front we put in a huge garden that took me a full week just to catch up weeding as I puttered around a little at a time during a slow week.

We planted tons of stuff including about seven varieties of tomatoes, three types of beans, two types of onions, about 3 or 4 different peppers, potatoes, sunflowers, squashes, a few types of cucumbers, cantaloupes, and watermelons, carrots, corn, strawberries, a grape vine, rhubarb, and even some asparagus.

Oh, and herbs too, (Noooo, not that kind of herb, the edible, legal ones like oregano and such)  so there’s a lot of work going into keeping it all tidy.

Did I mention pumpkins?  Yep, some regular ones for pie and a few “giant” pumpkin plants just for fun.  We’ll see how that goes.

So I guess my point is that even with a fairly decent amount of paying work rolling in, we still have time to hang out at home, piddle around in the garden, keep the hacienda neat and relatively clean, keep the laundry caught up, and herd all the cats around.

Which really boils down to this… life is pretty darned good these days and I don’t have a single thing to gripe about.  Knock on wood…….

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