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Author Topic: I love these things...  (Read 1163 times)
mark_engels
Demon God(ess)
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Posts: 122


Let's think about this for thirty seconds...

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« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2003, 10:16:28 AM »

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Yup!  I think Mark is the oldest (or close to it) among all of us.  :P  (No offense there, just fact.  ;))  


I mentioned in another thread Adcock's a few notches above me on the seniority roster.  ;)  And Haran's in his fifties if I read his bio right ("bjork" from back in the EH threads.  But I think he got scared off after one of the "dub vs. sub" debates.)

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But I agree with all that he said there, very nicely put.  I don't think there's a thing I could add to this thread at this point.


Now if that ain't the most subtle way of saying "LET'S MOVE ON" I don't know what is.  :)  One thing that I've discovered is a necessary part of my own healing processes is to show my support for those who are going through similar challenges and disappointments as I did.  That is not to say I'm without challenges and disappointments of my own, friends, but they are much different now at 32 than the ones I experienced at 17, 19 or 22.  I wouldn't change a thing, however, because all those things that happened then and the lessons I learned from them have helped me cope better with the myriad of different things I'm having to deal with now.

This will sound cliche but one day each of you will look back on all the nasty things you've gone through and be grateful--those things will have helped you appreciate the good things that did come your way.

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Anyhow... you're all too young to be bitter... just wait til someone strings you along for 3 years... heh THEN you can be grizzled like me!


And I would suggest to you, Kathy, you're too young to NOT be bitter.  Just before all the things I describe above went down I found myself thinking much the same thing.  But I found the process of accepting the hand dealt me and moving on to be a liberating one, as it appears you are discovering.  Being lonely can try one's soul, but being *alone* really ain't so bad once you get used to it.  

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I'm sure there is SOMEONE out there who can put up with my crap... but I have yet to find him... maybe I will maybe I won't... at this point... either way... I don't care.

I can look on the bright side... If I don't meet someone and I'm in good health I'll be able to live off my teaching retirement cos I won't be worried about anyone but me... which means I can retire at 53 years old... heh sweet. Be afraid... cos scary things happen when I am bored! yes, indeed...



It was after I had found myself comfortable and accepting of my situation of being alone that I found I could build a healthy relationship with someone else.  By then I had put my anger and the resultant stand-offish nature aside and simply allowed myself to accept the intentions of whomever came my way.  That's when I met Sonia (and the rest, as they say, is history.)

Railroad Retirement is pretty good too, which is part of the reason I took this job (we pay into that and not into Social Security, which Railroad Retirement predates.  And we're nicked a lot more for RRR than I would have been for SS, so it builds up much faster.  That doesn't mean I haven't stopped contributing to my IRA, though, because who knows what this administration or any other will do to monkey around with that sacred cow?  Ah, but that is for another discussion thread.)

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LOL ok... that was damned funny right about now... I don't know why... I think I need more sleep... 4 and a half hours is just not cutting it ^_^;



I read your intro on your sarahsensei page and can empathise with your plight.  When I first moved to Minneapolis the engineering gigs I found were so skimpy I could barely make my house payment!  And my wife was working too, third shift because of the shift differential pay.  So we were broke and didn't get to see each other much!  I ended up selling my truck because I couldn't make the payments anymore.  Let me explain: I grew up in farm country, folks, THAT HURT getting rid of my '95 Chevy K1500 Z-71 in forest green!!!!  But the Grand Am I bought to replace it could really scoot!

So to help make ends meet I went back to driving truck on the weekends.  I had worked in a scrapyard and for a ready mix concrete place the couple summers before I worked for the Corps of Engineers, so had first gotten my commerical driver's license then.  I took a part time job at Home Depot driving their delivery trucks on the weekends.  I would roll out at 4:30 Saturday morning (usually before my third shift wife had even come home from work) be out the door by 5:30 and at the store by 6.  Then I would curse and stamp around because every one of the orders I had to put on my truck hadn't been picked and staged.  So I'd spend the next two hours picking my orders and staging them on pallets, THEN put them on my truck and strap 'em down.  I'd call for a manager to come over and check my load (they had to sign off because material strangely disappeared if they didn't inspect every outbound load.)  That would mean another half hour wait.  SO I'm three hours late on my first delivery every Saturday which despite my hoofin' it I could never make up.  Sundays would be much the same.  So after a summer of working seven days a week I was about sick of it.

I had a 96 International with a Cummins L-10 and a nine-speed RoadRanger tranny.  That was nice and the little Moffet forklift I toted along on the trailer behind me was fun to run.  It was really a Tim Allen thing--men would worship the ground I drove over with that thing!

Shortly there after I left Home Depot to take a job with a company that hauled intermodal trailers of US Mail from Minneapolis to Chicago, where they would be loaded onto flatcars for the ride east to the Atlantic Seaboard (Harrisburg, PA and Springfield, MA.)  That job was a lot less screwing around (the loads were sealed so it was all drop and hook with 45 or 48 foot dry vans) but the hours SUCKED.  I'd get called up about 8:30 or 9:00 PM on a Friday night.  By the time I drove my car across town to pick up my tractor, fill out my logbook, do my walkaround inspection and book my butt over to the BMC (Bulk Mail Center) It would be oh, say, 10:30 or 11:00.   Stand in line, grab my bills, lock my kingpin under one of those old ugly beat up wagons that hardly ever even rolled straight and pump up my air.  Check my lights, tug on my brakes and cut 'er hard to the exit lanes.  Wait in line AGAIN to get out of there (what could they have been thinking we were smuggling out?) and finally get onto NB I-35E sometime about midnight.  Veer off onto I-494 and stand on the pedal to get me rolling fast enough to make the hill east of the Lakota River Bridge and ride about a nickel or dime over until I got to EB I-94.  Two toots on the horn (we lived within earshot of this interchange) to say hello to my wife before she left for work.  Slide down a couple to make the cloverleaf then throw 'er back into top gear up against the dashboard.  Stand on the pedal and don't let up until I hit Mauston, Wisconsin some three to four hours later, depending on the weather.  Traffic that time of day across central Wisconsin was hardly a problem.

It would be well into the wee hours I'd jump out in Mauston for a twenty minute stop.  During that time I'd dump in some fuel if I needed it, go drain down the ballast tank (hit the head!), grab me some grease n' caffiene, walk around waving my arms around to keep the blood circulating, update my logbook and be off again.  Throw 'er into top gear again stick straight up against the dash again and leave 'er there until I got to the Illinois State Line.  

Stop and go every twenty miles or so and pay toll.  Get downtown Chi-town, grateful its late enough at night the "spectators" have gone home.  (Anyone who's ever driven through the middle of urban decay at about 2:30 in the morning knows what I'm talking about.)  Hit the yard, stand in line.  Decipher someone's broken English (I've been UP ALL NIGHT for cryin' out loud!) to find out where to land this damn trailer.  Monkey around trying to parallel park a 48 foot trailer in a 40 foot space.  Say AFI and pull the pin, knowing I'll be long gone before they find it this way.  Call the dispatcher and get my new trailer number to bring back to The Cities.  Wait as he takes fourteen other calls ahead of me.  Get a number and bounce around the gravel yard with potholes large enough to lose small cars in as my bleary eyes try to make out those 3" numbers on the end and sides of every trailer (which are really hard to see in these dimly lit yards when my eyes are half closed anyway.)  Hook under the right one and check my lights and brakes.  Wait in line AGAIN to check out.  Roll west on State Street and jump on the WB Dan Ryan without even a backward glance.  Pull off at the oasis in Des Plaines, IL just as the sun begins to crest the eastern horizon.  Update my logbook, run up my cruise so the heater will stay running preventing me from feezing the boys off in my sleeper bunk (it happened ONCE, folks) and collapse.

Wake up six and a half hours later after having been up for the previous twenty-four hours.  Not feeling too good.  Stumble into the bathroom at the McDonalds in the oasis and splash water on my face.  Brush my teeth, comb my hair, curse myself for not putting down at least somewhere where I can rent a shower (like at most truck stops, but, eheheh, that's another story altogether.)  Grab me some more grease n' caffiene.  By now I've been off duty for my legal eight hours so I can roll again.  Maybe I'll get back while it's still daylight provided one of these shitty tires on these junky intermodal trailers don't leave an alligator along the freeway someplace.  Do my walkaround again, clean my windows, update my logbook, and let's ride.  Stop and go at the damn tolls, keep my speed legal (it's 55 for trucks on the Illinois toll roads though that hardly stops me from being passed like I'm standing still) and stand on it when I get to the Wisconsin border.  Stop at Mauston again--let some out, put some in, and ride ride ride.  Back in Minneapolis a time later.  Drop the trailer back at the BMC and bobtail back to the rental place.   Drag my stuff out of the cab into my car trunk, throw the keys in the drop box and thank God I don't do this for a living.  Get in my car and drop my bills and logbook off at the dispatcher's office.  Head back home to wait for my wife to get off work and catch a snooze.

And then go to work on Monday to my DAY JOB and do it all over again.  Tuesday or Wednesday the check shows up...usually I'd clear about $200 or so for my little 28-hour jaunt.  But was it worth it hurtling 80,000 lbs. of steel down the freeway at 65 MPH when I could barely keep my eyes open?  

Ah the things we do for the almighty dollar.  Suffice to say I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore just to keep the creditors away.  

But at least I had three or four hour stretches where I could "listen to the engine moanin' out his one note song" and ponder the quandaries of life.  That's when a good number of my previous Battle Angel Alita fan fiction ideas were tossed around in my mind, in fact.

--me

Mark Engels
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