Monthly Archives: September 2013

Handmade mileage and memo books for the road.

I made a pact with myself….NO WHINING!  That is why this blog has been quiet for the past several days.  Too much whining going on.  Amidst all the whining I did get some time between all the many errands, doctor appointments, and cooking…… #you’re whining again#!

Very carefully, and with feet strategically placed, I made it into my craft room to get the necessary supplies to build the two books.  I think I may need the hard hat and steel toed shoes once I am able to get in this room to clean it up so I can use it.

Craft room obstacle course.

Finding what I needed in this mess, I took it all out to the kitchen table where I could make a mess out there 😀

Flat spot on the kitchen table I can use

The best thing about creating your own journals and/or notebooks is you get to recycle cardboard.  Use the cereal boxes you normally toss out.  Tear the flaps off cardboard boxes.  The backer boards of notepads you have laying around with only one or two sheets of paper on them.

Rummaging around in my craft room.  Opening doors, pulling out folders, opening drawers, pawing through piles of stuff is how I spent a good 30 minutes locating the sticker sheets I wanted to use on these two books.  Keep in mind the products I have used are well over five years old and are probably no longer available for purchase.  This first sticker sheet, from Creative Imaginations, is probably about eight years in my stash.

Creative imaginations stickers

PSX Design Company stickers were also used.  These stickers have been in my stash for approximately six years.

PSX Design stickers

A sheet of die cut tags from Club Scrap that has been in my stash for about five years.

Club Scrap die cut tags

Tim Holtz Idea-ology sticker pad is my most recent purchase and has been stashed for approximately four years.  This product I know is available for purchase.

Tim Holtz idea-ology sticker book

The man I am making these books for is taking my place with Joe as he continues to do Drive-Away.  Jim From is his name.  He does some singing with country/western bands near his home in Arkansas.  As an effort to include his love of playing and singing music I thought this sticker would be a great feature image for his memo book.

Music themed sticker

The memo book has lined notebook paper between the covers.  He can jot down the names and phone numbers of people he meets on the road that have a common interest in playing music.  Or for the notes he needs to write to himself as reminders.  Maybe even create some lyrics about life on the open road as a truck driver 😀

Handmade memo pad

The mileage tracker book is one he will need while doing the actual job of Drive-Away.  Keeping track of his load numbers, where the pick up and delivery locations will be, the state line mileage recording as he passes them along the interstates.

Mileage tracker book

The pair of notebooks I made for him.

The books I made

It was fun getting to play with my paper and sticker stash.  Gives me an incentive to get my paperwork and housework in order so I can put on my hard hat and steel toed shoes to begin the clean up process in my craft room :/

Leslie


Making a work apron for Joe.

Joe’s work apron is about 10 years old.  It is fraying around the edges.  He has sewn the side ties back on the apron several times over the years.

Joe's work apron

I have purchased a couple aprons for him and he doesn’t like any of them.  His old apron is the one he likes.  The others just don’t work for him.  So…I had a talk with him and asked what he would like to have in an apron and he told me.  One that he could adjust the neck strap on when he has to wear it outside of a heavy coat, sturdier ties, and maybe even a bit longer when he has to wear the bulky coat.

I took some measurements from his old apron and did some imagining of my own.  The dimensions and “pattern” I made for my frame of reference.

Apron dimensions and pattern

I then went into my craft room, made a complete mess by pulling out my cutting mat from beneath several piles of paper.   Hunted through my sewing equipment stash to find the rotary cutter.  Pulled out drawers and rummaged through bins looking for my French Curve.  Further searching through my small bins with little clear plastic drawers were pawed through until I found my chalk pencil and measuring tape.  For good measure I checked all the door knobs in my craft room for the yard stick hanging from one of them.  This yard stick is not straight, it has a bow in it but it will come in handy.

Sewing tools needed

Don’t mind the bit of photo on the cutting mat.  That puppy is stuck there with adhesive that I use in my paper crafting.  Fun times here in my crazy house.

Oh, and I had to hunt through my sewing bins to find my fabric scissors I keep hidden from myself so I don’t use them on paper.

I will be making straps for Joe’s apron which will involve sewing a long and narrow length of fabric together then turning it right side out.  I stole this bit of metal rod from Joe a long time ago.  I have no idea what it is made of but I think it is 1/4″ in diameter.

Scrap metal rod

If you choose to make an apron using my pattern you may want to mark on the fabric the top and bottom of the body piece of the apron.  I had a crazy time figuring out which way the crazy thing went.

Bottom of fabric

“B” for BOTTOM of apron body fabric piece.Top of fabric

“T” for TOP of apron body piece.Now I know which way is UP

Now I know which end is UP 😀

To cut the arm area of the apron top I referred to my pattern.  The “BIB” part measures 11 inches wide by 10 inches long.  I folded the body in half and marked the placement of the 10 inch mark using my chalk pencil.  Then measuring from the fold to the right at 5-1/2 inches I made another chalk mark.  These marks would be the starting point and ending point for the BIB.

Marking the Bib

Placing the French Curve at my two chalk marks I would have the correct curve for the Bib.

Align the French Curve with the chalk marks

Place the French Curve as close to the bottom chalk mark as I could.Bottom of curve at the lower mark

Placing the top of the curve nearest the mark as I was able.

Top of the curve at the upper mark

Using my chalk pencil I drew along the French Curve for my cutting line reference.

Draw along the French Curve

Cut through both pieces of fabric at once to ensure both sides will be the same.

Cut along the chalk like through both pieces of fabric

There, nice and clean and even 😀

Evenly shaped bib

The strap pieces were cut to 37 inches long by 2-1/4 inches wide.  I was shooting for 1 inch wide straps.  I ended up with 3/4 inch wide straps :/ when they were finally sewn.

Sew the strap material with right sides together.

Sew right sides together

Trim away the excess fabric.  This will make turning it right side out easier – less bulky

Trim away excess fabric

Open the sewn end just a bit.  Don’t take out the stitching, just separate the two pieces of fabric.  You have to start the “tunnel”.

Open the sewn end with your fingers

Poke the metal rod into the sewn end of the strap

Work the metal rod into the fabric by pushing the rod through.  The fabric will gather at your fingers as you do this.

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Use your left hand to hold the metal rod in place as you use  your right hand to pull and smooth the fabric outward.

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Keep going until the fabric covered metal rod comes out of the tunnel.

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Pull on the end coming out of the tunnel with your right hand and pull the “tunnel” fabric with your left.  The strap will be turned right side to when you have completed this.

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The metal rod is now inside the tunnel.  Oh NO!  How do I get it out?!!!!

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Just lower the open end to the floor and hold the sewn end upward.  The metal rod will come out all by itself.

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Now repeat these steps until you have all your straps created.

Sew along the outer edges of the strap to add stability to the “tunnel” and make the strap look better.  This will also keep the strap from twisting around on itself over time.

Sew around the outside of the strap edges

I used my serger….something that has not seen the light of day in nearly 17 years….over all the outer edges of the apron and inside the top of the pocket.  This step will keep the denim from fraying and tearing.

I used my serger on the cut edges

I used the serger on the inside top of the pocket.  Joe will be going in and out of the pockets.  Wait.  That’s not right.  Joe won’t be going in the pocket.  His HANDS will be going in and out of the pockets.  This will keep the denim from fraying.

And the inside top of the pocket

All that is left is a “Fashion Show” 😀  Turn a little music on…

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Sometimes life interrupts goals.  Make time in your schedule to do something that needs to get done.  There will never be enough time to do everything.  Pick your battles.

Leslie


A few thoughts on being “Self Employed”.

You see the tempting Internet ads. Work from home. Be your own boss. Start your own business. Be self employed. Work for yourself.

As an employee I had the odd occasion to think my bosses had the good life. Come to work for a few hours and pretend to do something, all the while checking the clock to make sure they don’t miss tee time at the country club. Or take half days mid week, in summer, to take the kids to the pool at the country club. One person I worked for would take a week off to go play in the trees with guns. Returning to work he regaled us all with his tales of being the “Silent Hunter” then showing photographs of the buck he shot and killed.

Being an “Employee” has many advantages. Being a business “Owner” has many opportunities.

As an “Employee” your work time is a set schedule.  Days or nights you go to work.  Part time or full time.  Put in your hours doing your assigned tasks then go home.  You have scheduled days off.  Either during the week or on the weekend.  Some employees have their off days split.  For example they will work Sunday to Tuesday with Wednesday off, then back to work on Thursday to Friday with Saturday off.

As a “Business Owner” in Drive-Away we don’t get many days off.  We will work for an entire calendar month and not see home.  If we do get a day off it is because the trucks aren’t ready yet or one or both of us are ill, which doesn’t happen often.  That “time off” is usually spent in a hotel room far from home.

Doctor appointments dictate our time home.  Family events dictate our time off.  Equipment repairs and service to the pickup dictate our time home, as well.  By the time we do get home we are so beat the first couple days are spent in a stupor with frequent naps.

As an Employee your tasks are defined.  Your job is compartmentalized.  A grill cook at a fast food place, for example.  You stand in front of the hot grill all day long slapping down burgers one after another.  Someone else is assigned the tasks of putting the burger together and wrapping it up.  Another person is in charge of the deep fryer.  Another person gets to deal with the public and take their orders.

In an office environment one person handles the incoming phone calls and sends them off to the requested extension.  Another person is in charge of the vendors which supply product for the business.  Another person is in charge of the accounts receivable, monies owed the business for work done.  Another person is in charge of the accounts payable, monies owed to the vendors.  Another person is in charge of sales, promoting the business and/or products to other business that would require the product and/or service.

As a small Business Owner you get to do every job.  Sales person, purchasing agent which deals with the vendors, accounts receivable and payable to see and know where the money gets spent and how much comes in.  You are responsible for the equipment used in your work.  Making repairs necessary to keep the business running.

In our business of Drive-Away we are:

  1. Order Expeditors“.  Picking up the trucks in a timely manner and delivering them as well.
  2. We do “Cost Analysis” on each job.  How much fuel will be purchased to get the trucks from one point to the next.  Which route(s) to take for shorter miles and fuel savings.
  3. We are “Schedulers” for each job.  Determine how long it will take to get to the pick up location and how long it will take for delivery.
  4. We are “Travel Agents” calling hotels along our route and wheedling the best price for a night’s lodging.
  5. We are “Maintenance Facilitators”  finding the nearest Road Service to come out and fix a flat tire, change a fuel filter, or some other type of repair necessary.   Also to hire qualified facilities to maintain our pickup and our trailer as is needed.
  6. We are “Client Representatives” in that we deal with the clients on a one to one basis.  The client has previous experience with other Drive-Away drivers and are not too keen on them.  The client’s experience, at times, is one fraught with an ill tempered driver, rude behavior, foul mouth, not willing to be flexible in delivery.  We are judged by the last driver that arrived.  If it was a bad experience we are assumed to be the same.
  7. We are skilled in “Time Management” on the road.  At each job site we know how long it takes to hook up the trucks and how much space we will need.  At delivery locations we know how much time it takes to get the trucks off our equipment and placed in the designated areas.
  8. We are “Inventory Control Specialists” in that all of our necessary supplies to do the job are where they need to be.  Chains, straps, air lines, electric lines, adapters, and all other stuff we need to do our job.
  9. We are “Purchasing Agents” as we go into a hardware store for straps, boards, air line fittings, rubber bungee straps, and any other item that is needed in our job.

Those are the jobs we do in the actual Drive-Away business.  The other side of this business is clerical.  The work I am doing now.

  1. Mail Room Clerk.  I get to go through all the mail and determine what is relevant to our business and/or personal life.  Determining what goes where.
  2. Clerk Typist.  I create the file folders for bank statements, monthly  household bills, Settlement Sheets, Load (Trip) Documents.
  3. File Clerk.  Handling the filing system for business and home.
  4. Data Entry Clerk.  The loathsome job I am working diligently to avoid doing right now.
  5. Accounts Payable Clerk.  Scheduling payments for vendors we use in our business.  Companies we purchase nuts and bolts and other hardware goods from.  Companies that fabricate specialty items, such as hydraulic hoses with fittings to replace failing equipment.  Paying the hotel bills via a company that can get us up to 20% off a nights stay.  Paying our accountant and legal team.
  6. Accounts Receivable Clerk.  Sending out necessary documents at the end of a job for payment.  Maintaining a data base (QuickBooks) for entering the invoices and monies received for payment due.

If you are considering striking out on your own and being your own boss it is important that you keep in mind it is more challenging to be a business owner than it is to be an employee.  How determined are  you to be “Self Employed”?  Do you have what it takes to keep a business going?  Are you up for not having a personal life?  Are you willing to sacrifice your social life?  Are you willing to be totally responsible for the food on your table and the roof over your head – with no weekly paycheck to fall back on?

Do you want to enrich your life and learn new things?  Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and do many tasks you don’t have a clue how to do?  Do you want to have the satisfaction of knowing that you create your day – good or bad – without the influence of a boss?  Do you want to know that each dollar earned in your business came from your own initiative?  Your own blood, sweat, and tears?

Another aspect of being your own boss is you are responsible, not only for the growth and development of your business, but for your home environment as well.  You will find yourself scheduling time to clean the toilets, meal planning and execution, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, and all the myriad other household chores necessary to keep a clean house.

I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have accomplished creating my filing system for 2013 AND I have got both of our bathrooms cleaned from top to bottom.  In this week alone.  The rest of my house is a wreck but will be tackled one week at a time.

My craft room is the place where I really want to be.  Before I can get in there and play around, get back into my crafty social life, I have to slog through all the work for my business and clean my house.  Some sacrifice is necessary in order for everything to be fully functioning.

Okay, I’ve spent enough time avoiding my “Data Entry” duties.  Crapazoid :/  Time to get back to work.

Leslie


Time for a Dr. Carlisle-ism. “How much sugar is in a Pay Day?”

Our General Physician is like an old country doctor.  He takes time with his patients and talks to them.  Our doctor is the man on the left.

Our Dr. Carlisle

He is gruff, at times, in his assessment of our health.  He actually takes time to listen to the myriad of ails Joe has.  The majority of them are, largely, because of Joe’s weight and his advanced years.  Yesterday’s visit was because of a bright red rash Joe has developed under his arms, under his belly, and in his groin area. You can see an example of this rash HERE.

After Dr. Carlisle entered the exam room, with Joe and I, he asked what the visit was for.  I had Joe remove his shirt and show the rash under his arm to the doctor.  I had to wipe away the cornstarch we had applied to better see the reddened area.  What follows is what I like to call a “Dr. Carlisle-ism”.

Dr. Carlisle:  How much sugar is in a Pay Day?

Joe:  *smugly* I don’t eat them.

Dr. Carlisle:  *with a grin*  You still a truck driver?

Joe:  Yes.

Dr. Carlisle:  You still getting paid to be a truck driver?

Joe:  Yes.

Dr. Carlisle:  You still eating fast food?

Joe:  Yes.

Dr. Carlisle:  Okay, then how much sugar is in a Pay Day?

I got the reference Dr. Carlisle was making right away.  It took Joe a moment to realize the crux of the matter as well.

Dr. Carlisle went on to explain……

“The fast food you are eating causes sugars to build up in your body.  These sugars get emitted in your sweat and the bacteria on your body has an abundant supply of food.  This bacteria then becomes a fungus.  Now you  have a fungal rash.”

Dr. Carlisle went on further with his explanation……

Being in the truck for long hours in the summer heat and sweating the folds of skin that cover the affected areas can’t breathe properly.  Air doesn’t flow around to keep these places dry.

Dr. Carlisle’s prescription:

  1. Shower well with soap and water all over your body.  Have a clean wash cloth handy.  Not the one you used to soap with.  Using the clean wash cloth and clean running water remove the soap from these rash areas until the skin squeaks when rubbed.
  2. Towel dry, paying particular attention to the rash areas.
  3. Using a blow dryer, on a cool setting, blow dry the rash areas until the surrounding skin is completely dry.  Don’t use the hottest setting on the blow dryer.  I don’t want you back in here with blister burns because you couldn’t figure that one out on your own.
  4. Three to four times a day get in the shower and fully rinse the affected areas.  Use soap only once a day.  Only clean water for the subsequent rinses.
  5. Completely towel dry after each rinse.
  6. These extra showers of clean water will wash away the bacteria pooling in your sweat soaked skin folds.
  7. I’ll give you a prescription to kill the fungus.  This will take about a week to get rid of.

Then Dr. Carlisle looked at Joe and gruffly declared.  “You’ve gained 22 pounds since your last visit here six months ago.  22 pounds in six months.”  Dr. Carlisle let that sink in.

His parting words…..”Now you know how much sugar is in a Pay Day.  You need to get the weight off.”

I realize that not all people would appreciate Dr. Carlisle and  his cryptic questions.  Most people want a doctor to hold their hand and be nice to them.  Joe and I love our Dr. Carlisle.  He has mentioned a time or two that he would like to retire. Having to find a new doctor to replace him once he does retire is not something we are looking forward to.


Today, I am a “Clerk Typist”.

Many, many years ago I used to be in the clerical field.  Carissa, now 34, was only 2 when I began my career as an office worker.  I had to start out as a Clerk Typist.  My dreams were to be an Executive Secretary to some high muck-ety-muck.  Now I’m the Executive Secretary to myself :/  And I’m not a very good boss either.

A “Clerk Typist” has an integral role in any office environment.  A rather lowly job and far down on the totem pole for the person to know the extraordinary benefit they are to a business.  A Clerk Typist is the one that gets delegated the jobs that are not glitzy.  Seemingly mindless jobs that have no real reason to be done other than make work.

Paper, in a business, is the life blood.  Without paper documents a company doesn’t know where they stand financially, nor how they are doing in the sales department or with customer service.  Getting a handle on the paper documents is vital in knowing how the business is doing.

Computer programs can spit out graphs, reports, and all other means of knowing the health of a business but the day to day life of a business is written on paper.  Paper handling, by which I mean proper paper handling, makes the job of the data entry person easier and the accounting jobs easier.  There is nothing worse than having to sift through piles of unrelated documents in order to get answers.

This basic, and integral, job begins with the Clerk Typist.  This job entails creating file folder and envelope labels.  A job that, on the outside, is drudgery and non-essential.

I am a bit anal when it comes to my record keeping.  Once all this mess has gone through the “Data Entry” phase I can find anything I need to find.  If I need something from six years ago I can find it within about 15 minutes.

My Dymo LabelWriter 400 Turbo is a tool that is very important to me in my business.  Before someone saved me and invented this machine, and computer program for it, I had to drag out my old typewriter to make file folder labels.  With the program, included with the machine, I can make labels easily.  I don’t have to retype every word and year on each and every label.  I just change the month and it spits out a label.  Many labels in fact.

Dymo Label program

Labels print out the way that I want them to.

Dymo label maker

Change the month and press print and bada-bing it is done.

A string of labels in no time

Sorry for the really bad pictures in this post.  Too much caffeine for me today.

Cash register receipts get put in a monthly envelope.  I purchased this box of 6 x 9 white envelopes about four years ago and these work really well to hold all my small bits of paper.

6 x 9 envelopes

My label is placed on the flap of the envelope.  One for each month.

Label on the flap of each envelope

I go through file folders like you would not believe.  I like the file folders that are medium weight and 1/3 cut.  I don’t need the reinforced and heavy duty file folders.  Once I have finished with the data entry and put the folders away in a bin they don’t get handled anymore after that.  In the event that we get audited everything is within a folder and easily accessed.

Before I begin using a new box of file folders I get them in order.  The box has 33 left tab, 33 center tab, and 34 right tab folders all nicely stacked together.

New box of folders

I take the time to put them in 1/3 order.  That way all I have to do is grab a folder from the top of the pile and not look back.

File folders in order

The Dymo label fits nicely on the tab and sticks really well.  The type is large enough that I can quickly see which folder I’m looking for.

Label attached to folder

Next is to put the monthly envelope in the proper folder….

Envelope and folder ready

All that mail from yesterday, plus the receipts that were emailed to me and printed off are in the month that it applies to.  Business and personal papers are mixed in at this point in time.  The data entry phase will further sift the papers out.

Documents in corresponding files

Cash register receipts are placed in front of the envelope so I don’t have to get in the envelope multiple times.

Receipts in front of the envelope

My shredder is getting a workout.  The email receipts from payments I made online have this nuisance second page with next to nothing printed on it.  Nothing of any importance anyway.  Piles of paper at my feet.  Makes me crazy.

More shredder fodder

I will be a “Clerk Typist” once again tomorrow.  Getting the file folders ready for the trip envelopes and the Settlement Sheets.  Sorting through more paper will be my job for tomorrow.  Then it will be bank statements that will require a file folder as well.

In my head I hear one of my bosses from long ago.  He frequently told me “Handle a piece of paper only one time”.  If he only knew that bit of wisdom wouldn’t fly in my current job.  Besides, I don’t think he was ever a Clerk Typist or he wouldn’t have repeated that phrase to me the second time.

So, to all you Clerk Typists out there.  If there are any that read my blog.  My hat is off to you.  You are very important in your office.  Dare I say even “Extremely” important in your office.  Hold your head high and be proud of the work you do.

Leslie


Today, my role in my business is “Mail Room Clerk”.

We got home late Sunday night (9/8/13).  Monday and Tuesday were veg out days.  All I accomplished was food prep (sandwiches and store bought potato salad) and the laundry.

Wednesday I had to go with Joe to Bowie and Grand Prairie, Texas to hook up two trucks going to Celina, Ohio.  These trucks were “Emergency moves for a good customer” and Dependable wanted to look good.

Joe has a lot of work to do on the trailer and had started making schedules with his various vendors to have the trailer this week.  So, it will be put off one more week.  After Joe gets home from Celina, Ohio late tonight he will have this week and most of next for the repairs to be made.

Joe has a couple of doctor appointments next week he has to attend.  Can’t put these off.  One of them is to make sure his lungs have healed well enough from this bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and he can be taken off the Warfarin for good.

Starting my paperwork regimen is always fraught with angst.  I made a vow to myself that this year there will be NO WHINING.

Thursday I went to Office Depot for the necessary supplies I will need to complete this task.  I decided to get a full blown day planner.  I usually carry with me a monthly planner to keep track of the days we are out and home.  This is for our tax purposes and to help me remember where we have been.  This new day planner will be one that will be used for setting goals and keeping track of them.

Normally I have three months to do all the paperwork, clean the house, fix meals, and make attempts to get some crafting done.  The urge to get cracking on everything is so strong because I’ve taught myself to cram everything in all at one time.  The result of this is I have created an ADD Monster.  Attention Deficit Disorder off the scale %itch.  I don’t like me before it is all said and done.

In fact, I dislike myself so much during this time that I don’t even want to be home.

I had a “Management Meeting” with myself yesterday.  Didn’t last long because my head wasn’t in the right space.  However, I was able to write down a few things that are important to me.  Security and Personality Qualities.

Self examination

While at Office Depot I found some cute Washie Tape rolls I will be incorporating into my day planner as I go along.  I’m not going to get all critical about myself and the design elements of my pages.  I need to be accountable to myself.  Find out just, exactly, how much time I spend procrastinating over an element of my work that I don’t like doing.

Washie Tape

One section of the day will be goals for my paperwork and another section will be my goals for house cleaning.  I’m going to be doing the Flylady Zones instead of trying to kill myself by doing it all at once….as I normally do.

Goal setting for this coming week

I will be wearing many hats this coming week.  The first hat will be “Mail Room Clerk”.  This morning I wore my “Management” hat to get the weeks goals written down.  First for our business…

Business goals

Then I had another Management meeting for scheduling housekeeping goals….

Housekeeping goals

Putting the task off as long as I could, I had to remind myself that one of my “Personality goals” was to be more accountable to myself and to focus on a task at hand with discipline.  See it through to the end.  Looking at eight months of mail….I looked around me to see whom I could pawn the task off to.  No one else here.  Might as well get on with it.

8 months worth of unopened mail

Three hours later the “Mail Room Clerk” job was finished.  Piles of bank statements, Settlement sheets, Joe’s medical bills, and our household bills.

Piles of paperwork

The floor has suffered quite a bit through this exercise.  The pile nearest the kitchen sink will end up in the recycling bin.  The pile further away will be shredded and the resultant bags of shredded paper will also be dumped in the recycling bin.

Pile of trash

Now that this task is finished I think I will go watch some YouTube videos on decorating day planner pages or some other paper crafting delight.  Get the old nearly fizzled out embers heating up and setting fire once again.

 


Recycling anyone? Or a different connotation of a Peterbilt trash truck.

Joe had been dispatched a “Split Load”. What this means the two trucks he was assigned to were in two different locations. One, a runner, in Morton, Illinois and one, a non runner in Northlake, Illinois.

Morton to Northlake, Illinois

153 miles is about three hours driving. Hooking up time is about one hour. Another three hours back to Morton, Illinois and boda-bing, rub your hands together, job done. Spend the night in a hotel and leave Morton, Illinois to deliver in Strafford, Missouri the next day.

Morton, IL to Strafford, MO

Piece of cake! Be finished in two days then head for home.

NOT!

One thing to note about Peterbilts manufactured after 2005…..you can’t lock yourself out of the truck. What this means is you have to physically use the key to lock the doors when you are out of the truck. Pushing down the door lock button then closing the door does not work. The door remains unlocked.

Joe was told the keys would be found in a cupholder inside the truck.

Now, I must stray just a bit from my post subject. There are trucking companies that advertise “Lease Options” on trucks. This means a “Company Driver” or a newby driver can actually purchase a truck and become an “Owner Operator”. The bad part about this is the trucking company itself. There are some ethical companies but, by and large, these companies are ruthlessly UN-ethical.

A “Company Driver” is one under the employ of a trucking company and is paid anywhere from $.23 (twenty-three cents) per mile and up to $.42 (forty-two cents) per mile. The Company Driver does not have to pay for fuel, repairs, tires, mechanical issues, or other normal operating expenses. The Company Driver is given a $50 “Advance” in his/her pay for food and non-essential items during their work week. The Company Driver does NOT have the option to decline a load – at any time or for any reason. Company Drivers will be “allowed” to be home for a period of UP TO 24 hours.

Some trucking companies treat their Company Drivers better and know that a happy driver is one that is able to be home more frequently than say once or twice a month….possibly once or twice in three months. These trucking companies have a policy of “Weekends Home”. “Weekends Home” do not mean arrive home on Friday night and leave Monday morning. Most of the weekends home apprise of arriving home mid day Saturday and leaving home just near or after midnight Sunday.

The “Lease Option” for “Owner Operators” is quite a boon to the UN-ethical trucking company. This company will set up a payment plan with the truck manufacturer or lending institution whom the company actually buys the truck from.

The driver that wishes to be an “Owner Operator” then is lead to believe they will be the actual owner of the truck once it is paid for during the “Lease Term” which is the “Goose With The Golden Egg” for the trucking company.

This is how the ruse gets played out. The driver wishing to be an owner operator signs a contract with the trucking company stating they will have an amount automatically deducted from their “Settlement” of say $700 per week for the payment of the truck lease. These payments will be deducted for a term of five (5) years. A Lease price of $168,000.00

For drivers with no credit or bad credit this is a dream come true. Too good to be true.

Most often this is actually the case. Too good to be true. The driver is, in fact, lining the pockets of the trucking company and that company could care less if the driver ever reaches the five year end of contract.

To clear this up for you. This is the math part, and I will show you how this is a complete farce and I have no idea why there are no regulations in place to protect the driver from these trucking companies.

Let’s use an example here of a truck currently for sale. A 2013 Peterbilt 386. Sale price is $138,836.00 The features of this truck are as follows:

70 in Ultracab; MX Paccar Engine 485 hp; Diesel; 13 Spd; Engine Brake; Pete Flex Air Suspension; 3.36 Ratio; 22.5 LP Tires; Polished Aluminum Wheels; 244 in Wheelbase; Tandem Axle; 12,000 lb Front Axle Weight; 40,000 lb Rear Axle Weight; Drive Side: Left Hand Drive;

For this particular truck a loan will be for a period of 15 years. The interest rate, at 4.5%, for the life of the loan will come to an amount of $52,339.49. Making the total cost of the loan $191,175.49. Monthly payments will be $1,062.09.

Truck payments of $1,062.09 per month could be further broken down to weekly installments of $266.00.

This very same loan for a time period of 5 years the interest would be $16,463.33 at 4.5%. The total loan cost will be $155,299.33 – interest included. The monthly payments would be $2,588.32. Breaking these monthly payments down to weekly the amount would be $647.08.

You look at the math in this light and you would think – “Heck, I can do this in my sleep!”

The “Owner Operator” will be paid up to $1.15 per mile. Massive difference between the $.28 to $.42 per mile the company driver is paid.

The Owner Operator can drive 3500 miles per week and have a “Settlement” of $4,025.00 for that week. For the month the “Settlement” will be $16,100.00. Easy peasy to make the truck payments. You think?

Well, out of this $16,100.00 the Owner Operator has to pay for all the fuel used. Fuel costs for one week would be $2,334.00 for 3500 miles at 5 miles per gallon at a cost of $4.00 per gallon. For the month that fuel total will be just over $9,334.00.

I’m not going to get into the cost of DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) which is a component of the fuel system in the new trucks and the cost is around $2.67 per gallon. I’ve only had to purchase DEF one time in all the years I drove.

The further operating costs of being an Owner Operator are ALL of the maintenance costs of running the truck. Tires, fuel filters, oil changes, grease and lube. These are the costs the trucking company picks up for the “Company Driver”.

So, now to the gist of this post.

This new “Owner Operator” or Lease Driver will not have an Amortization schedule of payments. They won’t have any loan documents or coupon slips to make the necessary payments. There is, in fact, no documentation for the driver to know that he/she actually has a financial document that shows a proper loan.

Asking these drivers how much their loan is the answer most always is “I don’t know”. Asking what the interest rate of the loan is the answer is “I don’t know”. When asked when the truck title will be in their name the answer is “I don’t know”.

These nefarious trucking companies will take $700 weekly from the Owner Operator or Lease Driver. Where that money goes is anyone’s guess because it does not go toward the payment of the truck. The trucking company will run the driver all over the place and will happily keep the driver working. That is until the last year and a half of the contract. That is the magic time. The loads will dry up, the long runs will disappear, the “Settlement” will decrease to amounts where being a “Company Driver” is more profitable.

The trucking company will coldly tell the driver that they signed on the dotted line and the company has every right to lay claim to their $700 weekly payment. Doesn’t matter to the company if the driver can’t eat or feed his/her family any longer. The driver quits.

The truck is returned to the trucking company and the wonderful deal is made all over again to another unsuspecting truck driver.

Now to the meat of this post. The Peterbilt Joe was to pick up had been left in a Sam’s Club parking lot at the rear of the building near the docks. The driver locked up the truck, took the keys, and walked away from it.

Once we got the truck opened this is what we found inside. Just behind this glass of the knee window is a tell tale sign of what is to come.

 

Knee window on passenger side

Opening the door, an avalanche of trash fell out onto the ground. We did our best to put the trash in some shopping bags we had on hand.

Quickly bagged trash

Once the door was opened fully, this is what was to be seen. Starting with the passenger side foot well.

Passenger foot well

And now the passenger seat.

The passenger seat

The floor between the driver and passenger seats.

Floor between the driver and passenger seats

The floor of the bunk area. The walkway between the driving compartment and the sleeper berth.

Leading to sleeper berth

A closer view of the trash pile.

Close up of the trash pile

These two photos are of the sleeper berth itself.

Sleeper bunk

IMG_7647

Whomever this driver was, that person was highly pissed off with someone. Joe believes the driver went to all available trash cans and dumped the contents into the truck. From the look of the sleeper bunk and the stains it holds I am of the opinion the driver couldn’t be bothered with emptying the trash, just tossing it anywhere in their wild dash on the highways.

This truck will be cleaned out. A newer mattress will be put in the sleeper bunk. The truck will be scoured inside of all dirt and grime. The outside of the truck will be cleaned and made sparkling. Ready for the next poor sucker to become the “Goose Who Lays The Golden Egg”.

The trucking industry is brutal. Ready and willing to take advantage of anyone that has no concept of financial responsibility nor any business sense whatsoever. The companies with “Lease Options” figure putting “Lipstick on a pig” is the way to go. It is their thinking that all truck drivers are just stupid and there for the taking.

BEWARE THE LEASE OPTION AT TRUCKING COMPANIES. They are set up for you to FAIL not succeed. Just like the many casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada which are “Monuments to losers”. The Lease Option is only there to benefit the trucking company NOT the truck driver.

Leslie