Gripers, Rubber Erasers, Income Tax, That Sucks, Customers, Wild Guesses, Jackie Robinson, McDonald’s, and Spiral Glazed Ham

April 15, 2021 at 12:01 am | Posted in Old Straycat Blog Posts | Leave a comment

According to the National Day Calendar, there are more than 1500 national days every year – meaning that there is at least one holiday for every day in the calendar year. All you have to do is choose which holiday(s) you want to celebrate.
With that said, today’s holidays are listed below — so let the festivities begin. 

Good morning malcontents. Today is Thursday, April 15, 2021. Today is the 105th day of the year, and 260 days remain.

National Griper’s Day  

National Griper’s Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. As you might suspect, this holiday serves to remind us that no matter how much we complain about our gripes, very little can be done to change the things that other people do to irritate us. — short of slow, excruciatingly painful torture, which is probably illegal. About the best we can hope for is that we don’t strangle them the next time we see them.
National Griper’s Day is not a holiday to get on your soapbox and rage against “the man” or bemoan all of the inequities of society. Instead, this holiday relates to the petty, irritating, insignificant little things that are too small to take the time to change but, nonetheless, are still a nuisance. For example, leaving the cap off the toothpaste or squeezing it in the middle rather than from the end, leaving your dirty clothes strewn on the floor rather than putting them in the hamper, talking with their mouth full, or leaving about a teaspoon of coffee in the pot rather than making a fresh pot for the next person. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, being obsessively tidy, germophobic, or nit-picky. These are just a few examples of the myriad petty things that people gripe about.
I promise not to gripe about how, or whether or not, you choose to celebrate National Griper’s Day.

Rubber Eraser Day

Rubber Eraser Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. You can easily infer that this holiday celebrates the rubber eraser, or, more accurately, it commemorates the date in 1770 when Joseph Priestly discovered that a “new” product imported from Brazil, rubber, could be used to “rub out” print from paper.
Sometime later, in 1839 to be precise, Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization (a method that would cure rubber and make it a durable material), and this process made rubber erasers standard throughout the world. Further cementing the place of rubber erasers in history, Hyman Lipman of Philadelphia, PA patented the pencil with an eraser at the end in 1858.
Prior to the invention of the rubber eraser, tablets of wax were used to erase lead or charcoal marks from paper.  Another option for the eraser was crustless bread. Students preferred this method because teachers would give them as much bread as they needed, and since crustless bread was needed, they got to eat the crusts first.
But why Rubber Eraser Day and not just plain old Eraser Day? Well, the fact is that even today, a majority of erasers are still made from rubber. In fact, in England, erasers are still referred to as ‘rubbers’.
If like many Americans, you are just now sitting down to do your taxes at the last minute, you probably won’t have a problem celebrating Rubber Eraser Day. If your taxes are already done, celebrate this holiday by simply erasing something.

Income Tax Pay Day

Income Tax Pay Day [aka Tax Day] is “celebrated” annually on April 15th. You don’t need to be an accountant to conclude that this “holiday” is the day when Income Taxes are due in America.
In most years, today is the deadline for Americans to file and pay their taxes to the Internal Revenue Service if they haven’t already done so. Originally, Tax Day fell on the closest weekday to March 1st (from 1913 until 1917). In 1918, the law was changed, and Tax Day fell on the closest weekday to March 15th. In 1955, the law was changed again and Tax Day moved to the closest weekday to April 15th.
This holiday is certainly no cause for celebration for most of us, so celebrate Income Tax Pay Day in a manner apropos to your personal situation or feelings on the subject of taxes.
Author’s Note:
In my humble opinion, this tax money, and much more, is then squandered by their elected Representatives on meaningless “pet projects”, which are not meant not to benefit the citizenry they supposedly represent. Any benefits that “trickle-down” to the taxpayers who actually fund the government is purely coincidental. Instead, they use this money to pay back the high-dollar contributors who donated to their campaigns (through back-door legislation which benefits them), to advance their own personal political agenda, to benefit themselves financially, to undermine the Constitution, to strip away the rights and freedoms of those citizens who elected them, and/or to subvert the law so that it is easier for them to get their corrupt, self-serving, sorry a$$es reelected in the future. 

That Sucks Day

National That Sucks Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. This holiday was created in 2005 by Bruce Novotny, who noticed that April 15 has historically been a very unfortunate day.
Usually, April 15th is Tax Day, which sucks. April 15th is also the day that Abraham Lincoln died and the date that the Titanic sank. Both of those events also sucked. Not a stellar record for a single day of the year, wouldn’t you say? What future events will occur on this date to further tarnish its reputation? Only time will tell.
To celebrate That Sucks Day, do some research to find other historical events that happened on April 15th that also “sucked.”
Author’s Note:
William Shakespeare famously wrote in his play Julius Caesar: “Beware the Ides of March”. Well, with all of the ominous things which have occurred on this date, I would update that quote to include: “Beware the Ides of April”.

Get to Know Your Customer Day

Get to Know Your Customers Day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July, October). You don’t need to be a “people person” to deduce that this holiday is a holiday for businesses, large and small, to reach out to their patrons and get to know them better – to find out what they want and what they expect from them – then, to the extent they can, accommodate them. It is a holiday for businesses to reverse the trend toward being an impersonal entity and make it a point to get to know a little more about their customers and make each of them feel like they are their most important customer of the day.
Not too long ago, most businesses were locally owned and operated. The owners knew their customers by name and knew their shopping habits. They typically knew what you wanted to buy, and if they didn’t have it, they were willing to order for you. However, with the rise in popularity of big-box stores, chain restaurants, franchise auto repair, and other service-type businesses, and online shopping, much of the personal attention paid to customers by retailers has gone by the wayside.
Since Get to Know Your Customers Day is a business-oriented holiday, I have no idea how you, as a consumer, can celebrate it. I suppose you could patronize only businesses where you are known and appreciated today to ‘protest’ the dispassionate attitude of “big business”.

Take a Wild Guess Day

Take a Wild Guess Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. Take a “wild guess” at what this holiday celebrates. If you guessed that it is a day honoring guesses, hunches, inspirations, speculations, and other forms of “intuitive intelligence,” you were correct.
Whether it is merely the number of jelly beans in that jar on the counter at the store or our income for the current tax year, one constant in life is that we all make guesses from time to time – and hope that they are right. According to dictionary.com, one of many definitions of the word guess is, “to arrive at or commit oneself to an opinion about (something) without having sufficient evidence to support the opinion fully.” Making decisions in life based on little information is inevitable. It is impossible to know everything about everything. So, to celebrate Take A Wild Guess Day, simply take a wild guess at something today.
Author’s Note:
The military uses the acronym WAG which stands for Wild A$$ed Guess. It is used to convey to others that the information you are about to relate to them is not a certainty, but is nonetheless, the best estimate you can give with the information you currently have. 

Jackie Robinson Day  

Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. It commemorates the date in 1947 that Jackie Robinson became the first acknowledged African-American to play major league baseball.
Jackie Robinson ranks with Babe Ruth in terms of his impact on the national pastime. Ruth changed the way baseball was played; Jackie Robinson changed the way Americans thought. He was the first black man to win a batting title, the first to win the Most Valuable Player award and the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He won major-league baseball’s first official Rookie of the Year award and was the first baseball player, black or white, to be featured on a United States postage stamp. He played his entire career with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
During his 10-year career, his lifetime batting average was a solid .311, but because of the brevity of his career, his cumulative statistics are relatively unimpressive by Hall of Fame standards. Robinson hit a respectable .319 and averaged more than 110 runs scored per season. He drove in an average of eighty-five runs, and his average of nearly fifteen home runs per season was outstanding for a middle infielder of that era. And he averaged 24 stolen bases a season for a power-laden team that didn’t need him to run very often. He was an excellent bunter, good at the sacrifice, and always a threat to lay one down for a hit. Not known as a home-run hitter, he displayed line-drive power to all fields, had a good eye for the strike zone, and rarely struck out. For his entire big-league career, he drew 740 walks and struck out only 291 times—an extremely impressive ratio. Robinson was an impressive base runner, and successfully “stole home” nineteen times in his career—tied with Frankie Frisch for the most home-base steals since World War I. At the age of thirty-five in 1954, he became the first National Leaguer to steal his way around the bases in twenty-six years, and a year later he became one of only twelve men to steal home in a World Series.
To celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, learn more about this baseball icon.

McDonald’s Day

McDonald’s Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. You needn’t be a fast-food franchisee to ascertain that this holiday celebrates the opening of the first McDonald’s franchised restaurant in Des Plaines, IL, in 1955 by Ray Kroc. This was the first restaurant of his franchise, but the ninth McDonald’s restaurant overall. Kroc helped make McDonald’s the most known fast food restaurant in the world, but the story doesn’t start with him.
Brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a barbeque restaurant in 1940 in San Bernardino, California. In 1948, they changed up their restaurant and introduced the “Speedee Service System.” Instead of having waiters bring food to tables, their restaurant had self-service counters. They used an assembly-line format in the kitchen. Prepared food was wrapped and placed under heat lamps. They also simplified their menu to include only hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, potato chips, sodas, milkshakes, and apple pies. All of these changes helped make food preparation and service quick and efficient, and kept their prices lower than competing diners. They sold their hamburgers for just 15 cents apiece.
Ray Kroc was a salesman who had sold malt and shake mixers to the McDonald brothers. He stopped at one of their locations in 1954 and convinced them to let him open a franchise for them, which he did on today’s date in 1955. At that time, Richard and Maurice McDonald claimed they had already served 15 million hamburgers over the previous seven years. In 1961, Mr. Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for 2.7 million dollars. By 1970 there were 1,000 McDonald’s restaurants, and by 1988 there were 10,000. By 2017 there were more than 37,000.
To celebrate McDonald’s Day, simply enjoy your favorite menu item from your favorite, or closest, Mickey D’s restaurant.
Author’s Note:
I have never really cared much for McDonald’s, but I may be in the minority on this issue. I find most of their menu items unpalatable. I can, in desperation, digest their Filet O’ Fish sandwich, their chicken nuggets, their fries, and some of their breakfast items. Walter and Wolfie, my beloved fur-babies, who traveled with me when I was an over-the-road truck driver, enjoyed the “Happy Meals” they got on their birthday, and the occasional pancake they got from there – but then, they also enjoyed licking their own butts and genitalia – so you can draw your own conclusions.

National Glazed Spiral Ham Day 

National Glazed Spiral Ham Day is celebrated annually on April 15th. You don’t need to be a master chef or an over-emoting thespian to figure out that this holiday celebrates glazed, spiral-cut ham.
Glazed spiral ham is a hearty, savory dish that often makes an appearance at holiday feasts. A traditional ham glaze contains sugar, honey, or orange juice, and flavorful ingredients like cloves, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Americans have been making glazed ham for many years. Recipes for the dish first appeared in local newspapers during the 1940s. Around the same time, a man named Harry Hoenselaar invented a piece of equipment that could efficiently cut the glazed ham into uniform slices. His patented machine carved the ham into a single, continuous spiral. In 1957, Honeselaar opened the first Honey Baked Ham store. Today, the company has over 400 stores nationwide and sells millions of glazed spiral hams during the holiday season.
Ham is the upper haunch of the boar or pig. There are two basic types of ham. The first type is wet-cured ham. Wet-cured hams, while less expensive, are those briny, watery, tasteless hams that you find in cans at most supermarkets. Many include other “pig parts” that are pressed together, injected with salted water, then cured in, even more, saltwater. The second type of ham is dry-cured (as in smoked, aged, or country ham). Dry-cured hams are far more flavorful, well-marbled, and juicy. You actually get to taste the meat rather than the brine.
Although considerably more expensive, I think the extra cost for a dry-cured ham is worthwhile. Enjoy some ham for dinner tonight in celebration of National Glazed Ham Day. Whether it is cured in saltwater or dry-cured, glazed, and/or spiral-cut is entirely up to you. Your secret will be safe with me.

Listed below are some other holidays celebrated on this date that are worthy of mention. 

Life Day 25123: Pet Parent’s Day

April 24, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Old Straycat Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Good morning everyone. Today is April 24th. The first holiday today is Pet Parent’s Day.  Pet Parent’s Day is always celebrated on the last Sunday in April and salutes those who love and nurture their pets every day. If you consider your pet(s) a part of the family, then this holiday is the day to celebrate that fact. Give yourself a pat on the back for all the poop you’ve scooped, cat litter you’ve sifted, the kibble you’ve dished out, and for sharing your cramped bed with your beloved furbabies. Good luck getting them to  take you to dinner or send you flowers though — Just knowing that they love you unconditionally and worship the ground upon which you walk should be reward enough. Spend a little extra quality time with your pet today; and every other day for that matter. Your time with them is limited, so spend as much time with them as possible; not only for your sake, but for theirs as well.

The next holiday today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. In today’s world of digital photography, pinhole photography, one of the earliest methods of capturing images, seems archaic. These days, you can take professional-quality pictures with your smartphone without even using film, so, why would you even care about a holiday like this? The answer, I guess is nostalgia. Did you ever build a pinhole camera, either as a class project or as a ‘rainy day’ activity when you were young?
Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is a holiday celebrated on the last Sunday in April to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. A pinhole camera is simply a light-thigh container (box, can, etc) with a tiny hole in one side (as a camera lens) and any photosensitive surface in it. The effects you can create with a pinhole camera, a little practice, and a lot of trial and error are amazing.

Another holiday today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Genocide Remembrance Day is a national holiday in Armenia and is observed by Armenians in communities with a large Armenian population dispersed around the world on April 24 of each year. It is held annually to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1923. The date, April 24th, commemorates the deportation from the Ottoman (Turkish) capital in 1915, of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals, notables, and community leaders, most of whom would be executed. On 9 April 1975, the US House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 148 designating April 24th as a National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man. The Resolution commemorated the victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry who succumbed to the genocide perpetrated in 1915, The resolution however failed to pass in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee due to President Gerald R. Ford’s strong opposition to what he saw as a threat to the country’s strategic alliance with Turkey.

Other holidays today of less significance (to me) are listed below. A link to each is provided.

The food-related holiday today is National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day. Culinary historians have tracked the first recipes for modern pigs in blankets, small cocktail franks baked in flaky crust, to 1950. These pastry-wrapped piggies are likely direct descendants of Victorian-era canapés. The earliest recipe found in American cookbooks that was called “pigs in blankets” was published in the 1930. But there was no frankfurter or other sausage: it comprised oysters wrapped with bacon. Today, this delicious finger food is popular with kids and cocktail party guests all across the world. In fact, there are many different cultures that have their own unique twist on this comfort food classic. In the United Kingdom, pigs-in-a-blanket are small sausages wrapped in bacon. People traditionally serve them as Christmas dinner appetizers. In Israel, kids enjoy Moshe Ba’Teiva (Moses in the Ark), which are miniature hot dogs rolled in a ketchup-covered puff pastry and baked in the oven. In the United States, pigs-in-a-blanket are hot dogs or cocktail wieners wrapped in biscuit or croissant dough and baked until golden brown. Yum! IHOP (International House of Pancakes) even has their own version; a pork sausage link wrapped in a pancake.  No matter where you are or how you decide to enjoy your pigs-in-a-blanket, make this tasty finger food for dinner tonight.

On this date:

  • In 1800 – The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation.
  • In 1833 – A patent was granted for first soda fountain.
  • In 1877 – In the U.S., federal troops were ordered out of New Orleans. This was the end to the
  • North’s post-Civil War rule in the South.
  • In 1897 – William Price became the first to be named White House news reporter.
  • In 1898 – Spain declared war on the U.S., rejecting America’s ultimatum for Spain to withdraw from Cuba.
  • In 1916 – Irish nationalist launched the Easter Rebellion against British occupation forces. They were overtaken several days later.
  • In 1944 – The first B-29 arrived in China, over the Hump of the Himalayas.
  • In 1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city.
  • In 1953 – Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • In 1961 – Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers struck out 18 batters becoming the first major-league pitcher to do so on two different occasions.
  • In 1961 – U.S. President Kennedy accepted “sole responsibility” following Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
  • In 1967 – The newest Greek regime banned miniskirts.
  • In 1973 – Albert Sabin reported that herpes viruses were factors in nine kinds of cancer.
  • In 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer was introduced.
  • In 1989 – Thousands of students began striking in Beijing.
  • In 1990 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.
  • In 1997 – The Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. The global treaty banned the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following people of distinction.

  • Jack E. Leonard 1911 – Comedian.
  • J.D. Cannon 1922 – Actor.
  • Freddy Scott 1933 – Singer.
  • Shirley MacLaine 1934 – Actress.
  • Jill Ireland 1936 – Actress.
  • Sue Grafton 1940 – Author.
  • Barbra Streisand 1942 – Singer.
  • Eric Bogosian 1953 – Actor.
  • Michael O’Keefe 1955 – Actor.
  • Glenn Morshower 1959 – Actor.
  • Djimon Hounsou 1964 – Actor.
  • Cedric the Entertainer 1964 – Actor, comedian.
  • Eric Balfour 1977 – Actor.
  • Rebecca Mader 1977 – Actress.
  • Kelly Clarkson 1982 – Singer.

August, 2004

December 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Old Straycat Blog Posts | Leave a comment

August 1st (Sunday): Delivered the load from Pueblo, Co to Billings, MT (661 miles) this afternoon. I got a load from Worland, WY to Ontario, CA (162 miles empty, 1024 miles loaded). Since it doesn’t deliver until the 4th, i’ll probably T-call it in Salt Lake City, and get a load from there. The route for today will be I-90 west to US-310 south to US-20nsouth to Worland, WY. Then US-20 south to US-26 west to WY-789 southwest to WY-28 southwest to US-191 south to Rock Springs, WY. Then I-80 west about 40 miles to Little America, WY. Will finish the trip to Salt Lake tomorrow via I-80 west.
August 3rd (Tuesday): I love it when a plan comes together. I T-called the load from Worland, WY, yesterday afternoon in Salt Lake, and got a pre-plan for a load from Brigham City, UT to Brownsville, TX (52 miles empty, 1623 miles loaded). It picks up this AM as soon as I get there. The planned route today will be I-15 south to I-84 east to I-80 east to Cheyenne, Wy, then I-25 south into Denver,CO.
August 4th (Wednesday): Continuing the trip to Brownsville, TX. The route today was I-25 south all the way through Colorado into Raton, NM. Then US-87 east into Dumas, TX. From there, it’s US-287 south into Amarillo, TX, then I-27 south to I-20 east to Sweetwater, TX. Between Amarillo and Lubbock, I got into a nasty microburst. The rain was so heavy for about 6 miles that you literally couildn’t see 100 feet in front of you. I survived by following another truck through it. I could see that there was no one between us, so I just followed his tail-lights. I have no idea how the heck he was navigating through it. NO FUN at all.
August 5th (Thursday): Continuing the trip to Brownsville, TX. The route today was I-20 east to US-83 south through Laredo into Brownsville.
August 6th (Friday): Delivered the load (from Brigham City, UT) at the “consignee” in Brownsville, TX this AM. The Planner gave me a load that picked up at the Laredo, TX Terminal going to Hayward, CA (201 miles empty, 1725 miles loaded). The route for today was US-83 north to Laredo, I-35 north to US-83 north to Carriizo Springs, TX. Then US-277 west through Eagle Pass, TX to Del Rio, TX. From Del Rio, US-90 west to Sanderson, TX, then
US-285 north to Fort Stockton, TX. As it turned out this was “the load from HELL“!! I arrived in Laredo, picked up the paperwork for the load, and went out to hook-up to the trailer. I coundn’t find it anywhere in the yard. I finally found it in the Shop. They were installing new brake shoes. I finally got hooked to the trailer some 3 hours later. (the Shop has their priorities, & I have mine. They just happened to “collide” on this day). The “laden weight” of the load was 45,354 lbs (quite heavy, but “do-able” if the trailer was properly loaded). I was full of fuel (being the dutiful little trucker that I am, I had fueled upon entering the Terminal). Anyway, I went to the scale in the yard and weighed the load. It was legal according to that scale. Not being a trusting soul, I departed the terminal and went to the Pilot Truckstop and decided that a “certified” weight was needed. I scaled the load there, went inside to pay the fee and get my weight ticket. They couldn’t find it. (must have been a language problem. I speak & understand English, they didn’t). Sooooo, I fight my way through all the traffic in the truck stop and 15 minutes later am back on the scale. The lady takes my company and truck information again. I find another parking spot, go inside, and they can’t find this ticket either. At this point, I “inform” her (using more colorful and less urbane language) that, compared to her, FORREST GUMP was a genius, and trace her lineage clear back to LASSIE. Anyway, I leave the truck stop in disgust, and without a certified weight ticket (after all, it had scaled OK at the terminal). Between Carrizo Springs and Eagle Pass (about 20 miles form Eagle Pass), I have a tire “blow-out” on the left, inboard, forward axle of the trailer. I “limp” into Eagle Pass and call the company for help. This went relatively smoothly, considering the kind of day i’ve had so far. Swift has a network of hundreds of shops that they can call when a driver has mechanical problems on the road. Fortunately, there was a tire shop available right there in Eagle Pass. A half hour later the guy shows up with a new tire and has me ready to roll within a half hour of his arrival. Total time lost about 1.5 hours including getting a bite to eat & walking the doggies. I then continued my “slog” to Fort Stockton with no further problems.
August 7th (Saturday): Continuing the “saga” of the “trip from Hell”. The planned route for today was I-10 east through El Paso,TX; Las Cruses and Lordsburg, NM; into Arizona through Benson and Tucson and into Phoenix. The best laid plans of mice and men, however, are often thwarted by fate. I arrived at the El Paso Terminal at noon. I filled up with fuel, then (as an afterthought) decided to scale the load again. It was a “good thing”,because, sure enough, I was illegal (500 lbs overweight on the “steer axle” and 1700 lbs over on the “drive axles”) with no way to make any adjustments to the weight other than re-working the load. Had I entered the “port of entry” into New Mexico being that far overweight, I would have got a hefty ticket, and spent the week-end in my truck there until I could get help on Monday. I went into the office and told them of my plight. they said to go to the truckstop (10 miles away) and get a certified weight, then come back in to see them. I did so (with considerably less effort than yesterday). I told them that the load had to be re-worked, and asked if the shop could help me. They said that the shop did not work weekends and wouldn’t be in until Monday AM. I asked if they had a key to the shop so that I could use the forklift and re-work the load myself and continue on my way. They said that they had no access to the shop at all. I called my “home Terminal” (Salt Lake City, UT). My driver manager happened to be the “driver manager du jour” for the week-end. After some research, he said that Arizona allows 20,00 lbs on the steer-axle, so if i could “slide the weight forward on the 5th wheel, it would move all the excess weight to the steer-axle and the drives (drive-axles) wound then be legal and I could proceed to Phoenix and re-work the load there (where the shop doesn’t have “bankers hours”). I succeeded in moving the weight and got the drives legal (but just barely). I then asked him about New Mexico’s regulations. New Mexico does not specify a legal weight for the steer-axles. He said that he didn’t know and to use my judgement as to whether I should try to proceed with the “plan”. Being the cautious type I decided that the best plan of action was to call the New Mexico Port of Entry and find out their interpretation of “not specified”. Another “good thing”. The officer at the Port said that the maximum allowable weight was 12000 lbs, and they would write a citation for anything overweight. End of that “plan”. Satan 3, Ernie 0. I called my driver manager back & told him the bad news. The load that was to deliver Monday, would still be in El Paso awaiting re-work, and would have to be re-scheduled (despite my Herculean efforts).
August 9th(Monday): Still on “the load from Hell”. The planned route for this day was I-10 west through Phoenix, AZ, then on into Blythe,CA. This morning, I checked in with the EL Paso Terminal. They informed me that the “yard manager” had not showed up yet, and that I should check with the shop to see if they could help. I did so. When I told them what the problem was, they looked at me like I had just asked them to “throw their puppy into a wood-chipper”. I got no help there. Back to the Drivers Window I went, and not really happy. I asked to see the Terminal Manager. He “shined me on” for about 1 1/2 hours. He was in his office less than 20 feet from me with his door open. I finally got tired of that. I elevated my vocal timbre by about 50% and asked what the He** I had to do to get him to come talk to me about the problem. That got his attention. He came out of his office, obviously not pleased with the disturbance, and the verbal “fisticuffs” began. We traced each others lineage, he inferring that I was decended from the above mentioned LASSIE, and I inferring that he was “unaware of the identity of his paternal parent, and that he suffered from an Odephus complex ( again using the more colorful and less urbane language, much to the amusement of those in the office and the Drivers Lounge as well). He said that he didn’t have time to be dealing with drivers’ “petty complaints”. I said: ” I’ve been here for almost 48 hours waiting to get this load re-worked and that you can either find someone to help me re-work the load, or T-call it and get me on my way with something else, but that you are going to make for time this drivers ” petty complaint”, or that my next phone call would be to the Company President. Before the situation could deteriorate much further, the Yard Manager (who had been at the doctor passing a Kidney Stone) came in and said that he would help me. FINALLY. We had to pull every pallet out of the trailer and re-load it. Since the pallets were similar in weight and number to those of a beverage load, we decided to use the same load plan as a beverage load. Worked like a charm, and I was finally en-route once more. I do not suffer incompetance nor incompetants well, and this place is rife with both. I guess i’m “persona non gratis” in El Paso terminal for a while. Tsk, tsk. tsk. Anyway the rest of the day went well. The lesson learned from this is that you ALWAYS  get a certified scale certificate from a truck stop on any questionable load coming out of Mexico.
August 10th (Tuesday): Still on the Devil Load. The route today was. I-10 west to I-210 west (to avoid the LA grid-lock) to I-5 north to Santa Nella. All went well.
August 11th (Wednesday): The Hell Load will soon be history. It delivers at 0900 this morning and good riddance. All I have to do is navigate the 70 or so miles through the Bay Area traffic without killing any “bone-headed” California drivers. The route is I-5 north to I-580 west to I-880 south to Hayward. Yes, I finally arrived without incident and made the delivery on time (for the re-scheduled appointment), but “par for the course”, there was no freight available. The Planners did eventually find me a load, but it didn’t pick up until the next day, so I just headed to the Lathrop, CA terminal and “kicked back”.
August 12th (Thursday): The load that the Planners found for me picks up in Modesto, Ca at 8:00 AM and delivers today at 5:00 PM in Ontario, CA. The route will be I-5 south to CA-120 east to CA-99 south to Modesto. Then CA-99 south through Bakersfield, Ca (where i mis-spent my youth and can stop for some decent Chinese food) to I-5 south to I-210 south to I-15 south to Ontario, CA. I told my driver manager that I was ready to go “to the house” for a couple of days, so he “stacked” a plan on me that will get me home. All went well with this load. Delivered on time and went to the Fontana, Ca Terminal for fuel and sleep.
August 13th (Friday): Picked up a load in the Fontana yard that I will take to Henderson, NV (70 miles empty , 224 miles loaded) and swap with another driver. He will have an empty trailer for me. All went well. HOME AT LAST. I’ve been out since the 15th of July, almost a month. That’s too long.
August 15th (Sunday): Latched on to a good load this time. It picks up anytime today before 5:00 PM in North Las Vegas, NV and delivers in Denver, PA (not Colorado). It’s near Lancaster, PA (not Califfornia), (14 miles empty, 2384 loaded) on the 19th. The routing was I-15 north to I-70 east (through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri to I-64 east (to bypass downtown St. Louis) then back to I-70 east through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, an 11 mile portion of West Virginia (through Wheeling), and into Pennsylvania. There i’ll connect with I-76 east (the PA Turnpike). Then on to Denver. The load went without incident except for some fairly heavy rain in eastern Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania which slowed everyone down, There was some “brutal” construction on the PA turnpike too. That, coupled with the rain and the darkness of night made for some “puckering” driving conditions at times. Delivered the load on time on the 19th.
August 19th (Thursday): Due to the late afternoon delivery, there was not much freight available that I could legally deliver on time. The Planner finally found a load for me from Bethlehem, PA to Carrollton (Dallas area), TX (59 miles empty and 1459 miles loaded). It is pre-loaded and I can pick it up this evening. The planned route was US-222 east to PA-61 north to I-78 east to US-22 east empty into Bethlehem. After pick-up the route was US-22 west to I-78 west to I-81 south all the way through Pennsylvaina, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and into Tennessee. There, I-81 ends and merges into I-40. I took I-40 west all the way through Tennessee and into Arkansas. At Little Rock, I took I-30 west into Texas and the Dallas area.
I arrived at our terminal in Lancaster, TX on Sunday evening. I traded this load for a “local delivery” on Monday afternoon, because this load didn’t deliver until Tuesday afternoon, and I want to keep rollin’.
August 23rd (Monday): The local delivery that I traded for delivered at 3:00 PM. It was a “live” unload (meaning that I back the trailer to the dock were it is unloaded and I then leave with the same trailer). All went well. The “back-up” load was a good one. It picked up in Greenville, TX and delivered in Red Bluff, CA (77 empty miles and 1881 loaded miles). The route was I-30 east to Greenville. I arrived at 7:00 PM. and picked up the load. The route from Greenville was US-69 north to US-82 west to US-287 north to Amarillo. Trom Amarillo, I took I-40 west through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and into California. At Barstow, CA I took CA-58 west through Bakersfield (where I mis-spent my youth) to Buttonwillow, CA. Then, I-5 north all the way to Red Bluff, CA. I arrived there late on Thursday afternoon. I delivered the load without incident or problems. When I arrived in Red Bluff, I had already used up 6.5 hours of the 11 hours that I had available for the day, plus I only picked up another 5.5 hours for the next day, so I decided to take the night off and consolidate the hours left from Thursday with the hours that I picked up on Friday so that I would have 10 hours total available thew next day.
August 27th (Friday): When I woke up this morning, I discovered that my Qual Com was not working. (Qual Com is the satellite link that I use to communicate with Swift). I had to use my cell-phone to contact my Driver Manager. Anyway, I had a load from Willows,Ca to Las Vegas, NV (46 miles empty and 625 miles loaded). The route was I-5 south to Willows, then I-5 south again to CA-58 east to I-15 north to Las Vegas. The load delivers Monday the 30th , so I’ll get some “home time”. I stopped at our terminal in Lathrop, CA to try to get the Qual Com repaired , but there was no one there who qualified to repair it. I did get both of my “steer” tires replaced. One was way out of balance. The terminal was also having Driver Appreciation Day, or as I call it “free food Friday”. Every Quarter, Swift has the Management personnel Bar-B Q for all the employees. They had brisket of beef with some excellent “ranch” beans and potato salad, chips, green salad, soda, etc. It was really good.
August 28th (Saturday): Finished the load to Las Vegas as planned without incident. Arrived In Las Vegas at 8:00 PM. The load delivers at 5:30 AM on Monday, so I get a day off at home.
August 30th (Monday): Delivered the load on-time and with no problems. The “guys” had a Vet appointment for some shots at 9:00 AM, and a grooming appointment at 11:00 AM, so I just took the rest of the day off.
August 31st (Tuesday): Still no Qual Com, so I called my DM. He had a load from Henderson, NV to Salt Lake City, UT (25 miles empty and 435 miles loaded). The route was I-15 north. The load went well and I arrived in Salt Lake at 9:00 PM.
Comments: All in all a fairly good month (except for the “Load From Hell” (ref: August 6 through 11). I drove a total of 731 miles empty and 12431 miles loaded for a total of 13162 miles.
I like to average between 12000 and 14000 miles a month, so it was a little above average.

July, 2004

July 31, 2004 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Old Straycat Blog Posts | Leave a comment

What better day to start something than on my birthday? I’m going to give Blogging a try. Bear in mind that I love to write, but am a total technophobe when it comes to technology. So bear with this troglodyte as he tries to navigate through the blogosphere totally blind.

July 13th (Tuesday):/ Las Vegas NV: Happy Birthday to me!!  I had a good day. I put the doggies in a really nice Kennel (more like a “resort”) so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them while I was “out & about”. I also got a room at the Wild, Wild West Casino. It’s also a truck stop, so I didn’t have to worry about my truck either. I went to dinner with a friend, had a few drinks, then went to bed. 
July 14th (Wednesday):  
I picked up the doggies and just relaxed. Listened to the radio (XM), cleaned the truck, etc. I did take the doggies out to the desert so they could run “off leash” for a while.
July 15th (Thursday): I picked up a load destined for Salt Lake City, UT, (421 miles) and departed Las Vegas. It was a “trade show” load, so it was light (under 5000 lbs). The route for the load was due North on I-15. The trip was uneventful.
July 16th (Friday): Delivered the “trade show” load and picked up a load to Laredo, TX (1367 miles). A good load to start off the week. The route for the day was I-15 South to US-6 East (through Price, UT) to I-70 East (through Green River, UT) to US-191 South (through Moab, UT) to US 491 [formerly US-666 before they changed it due to the “Satanic” reference. It begins in Montecello, UT goes East to Cortez, CO, then Southeast to Shiprock, NM then South to Gallup, NM where it ends], I-40 East to Albuquerque.
July 17th (Saturday): Started off the day feeling a little “achy”. By the time I got to El Paso, TX, I was feeling so bad that I decided to “T-call” (drop in transit) the load there and seek Medical attention.
July 18th (Sunday): Went to Emergency Care in El Paso. I was running a fever of 101 degrees. Turns out I had an infected in-grown toenail that was causing my problems. They prescribed some anti-biotics and Motrin for the pain. I got a motel room for 3 days to recuperate. The fever broke later that afternoon, but I stayed for the 3 days so I could get into my shoes without discomfort.
July 21st (Wednesday): Picked up a load in El Paso going to Chandler, AZ. (387 miles) The route for the load was I-10 West through Las Cruses, NM and Tucson, AZ towards Phoenix. The trip was uneventful. My foot held up well.
July 22nd (Thursday): Delivered the Chandler load and went to Tempe, AZ to pick up a load of Coca Cola going to Albuquerque, NM (421 miles). The route for the load was I-10 West to Phoenix then I-17 North to Flagstaff, AZ, then I-40 East to Albuquerque, NM. The trip was scenic, but uneventful.
July 23rd (Friday): Delivered the Coke load. Got a load that picks up in El Paso and delivers in Memphis, TN. Good miles for a change (263 miles empty and 1069 loaded. Total: 1332). The route was I-25 South to Las Cruses, I-10 East to El Paso. From El Paso the route was I-10 East to I-20 East to Abilene, TX. The run was normal with no problems.
July 24th Saturday): The route for today was I-20 East to I-30 East through Ft. Worth and Dallas. Then I-30 East (actually Northeast) to Little Rock, AR, then I-40 East to Memphis, TN. No problems today either.
July 26th (Monday): Delivered the load from El Paso yesterday, but there was no freight until this AM because it was a slow week-end. I just kicked back at the truck stop for the rest of yesterday. Today I got a load out of our Swift terminal here in Memphis going to Chicago Heights, IL (486 miles). The route was I-40 West to I-55 North to I-57 North through Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois into the Chicago area.
July 27th (Tuesday): Delivered the load from Memphis this AM. Went to our terminal in Gary, Indiana to fuel, then got a load from Bolingbrook, IL going to Pueblo, CO (1038 miles). The route for today was I-80 West through Davenport and Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE to Lincoln, NE. The run was boring and uneventful.
July 28th (Wednesday): The route for today is I-80 West to I-76 West into Denver, CO then I-25 South to Pueblo, CO. I dropped the load as soon as I arrived in Pueblo (2:30 PM).
July 29th (Thursday):I sat all day today waiting for a Dispatch. About 4:00 PM , the Denver terminal messaged me to grab an empty trailer and head up there to get a load. When I went to the Dispatch window in Pueblo to ask for an empty, they said they had none. They suggested that I grab a Red-Tag (broken) trailer and take it to Denver for repair, then use that to get a load out of there. The Terminal Manager for Pueblo overheard the conversation and intervened because he could see that I was unhappy with the proposed plan. We went into his office and he called Denver and asked if they actually had a load in mind for me, or if they were just going to try to find me one after I got there. Denver said that they had no specific plan. He then started looking through the available loads for tomorrow. He asked me if I had any specific requests. I said that I had no preference, just as many miles as possible. He gave me a choice of 2 loads (as well as the option of the above stated plan). I chose a load to Billings, MT (661 miles). It was 20 miles shorter than the other choice he gave me (Idaho Falls, ID), but had a much earlier delivery time on August 1st.
July 31st (Saturday): I picked up the Billings load at about 8:00 AM. The route for the day was I-25 North through Denver and Cheyenne, WY to Casper, WY. Then I-90 West to Billings. The drive went well.
Comments: All in all, a pretty crappy month. I drove 8574 miles loaded and 636 miles empty, for a total of 9210 miles. When you consider that about 10,000 miles is my break even point (due to truck payments, fuel, taxes, permits, etc., etc., etc.), I think that I may have actually lost $$$$ this month.


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