Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Forth And Back.

So a few new guys have hired on down at The Dock, they started a couple months ago. What this means for me is this. They are all trained up now, so I get to work in the warehouse. I'm only out on The Dock sometimes, it's cold in the warehouse too, not as cold as it is out on The Dock. Well a bug is goin' around, so some guys are out sick, so I'm back out on The Dock this week. Last night a truck driver went to drop his trailer. He dropped his trailer. He forgot to lower the landing gear, those are the retractable legs that hold the trailer up when it's parked unhooked. The trailer was loaded, it's a fifty-three foot by eight and a half foot trailer. Probably weighed in at fifty thousand pounds, made a big bang when it fell. I had to get the big lift, biggest lift we have. It's a diesel, forks are ten feet long. I got the lift under the trailer, picked the front of the trailer up, the big diesel engine on the big lift just died. Now I'm stuck with the nose of the trailer up in the air, can't just get another piece of equipment and tow the lift over to the nice warm truck shop. The mechanic was about as happy with the situation as I was.

So I stay out on The Dock with the mechanic, we're tryin' to figure out what's going on. It's less than thirty degrees out, it's snowing a little bit and the wind is blowing. It sucked. We finally got a handle on things, turns out there was a short in one of the ignition wires. A mouse or maybe a rat must have got up in there and chewed it up, that's what it looked like in the dark anyway. So we get the lift runnin' and the mechanic starts laughing at me as I'm gettin' ready to sit the trailer back down. It seems that I also forgot to lower the landing gear, had to climb down and turn the crank on the side of the trailer. I cranked it all the way down, that truck driver will have to crank it again to lower it before he can hook back up. Normally I wouldn't do that. Normally I'd set the landing gear to the right height so the driver just has to back in under the fifth wheel, the jaws lock around the king pin and you're hooked up. Nope, he's going to have to get out and crank that trailer back down. Hey, I could have made things worse for him. I could have left it to low, then he'd have to crank it up. That's harder to do.

So I spent the rest of the night moving trucks around, droppin' and hookin' trailers. I was real careful to check the landing gear. Hey, it could happen to anyone.

This morning I had to take our younger daughter up to the high school. The kids in the gifted program have like an annual convention type thing up at the high school every year. All the gifted kids from all the elementary schools get together with their respective teachers and discuss, well, gifted things I guess. She was so excited, she spent a lot of time picking out her clothes. She has a presentation to make before the whole group, she wanted to look and feel her best. She even went to bed an hour earlier than usual last night. She did that on her own. Yeah, it's a big day for the smart kids today.

I built a go-kart when I was in metal shop in ninth grade. Had a Vespa Scooter motor on it. It was pretty fast, I wrecked it of course. That was the epitome of my academic career. Yeah, and I have two brilliant daughters. Those girls are proof that a higher power does exist. No way a knucklehead like me can claim responsibility for that. I have to do spell check now.


Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Those stories are the meat & taters, aren't they? I worked with a guy at the paper who jacknifed a semi on the Bay Bridge and caused a 6 hr (more or less) traffic jam. They made him a supervisor ; (
Good things with the kids, isn't it?!
After 23 yrs, I often wonder not only how I could have been someone's parent, but that he turned out as good as he did, without any ill affects for us as he grew up.
The wonder of it all!
Cheers to you & yours!!!

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Squarehead,
Glad you got that truck sorted. Sounds like it was a very big deal. 50,000 lbs? Wow. Must have felt like an earthquake.

Sometimes the obvious things are not that obvious.

8:07 PM  
Blogger OK.NOWwhat said...

what i'm wondering is...is that the same truck driver who lost his entire trailer on the PA Turnpike today. the thing crashed into a bus and closed part of the Pike down for most of the morning.

i enjoyed that you made his hook-up a little more difficult. sometimes i think truckers don't appreciate the destructive power of what they're driving. could have been me, or you and your family driving behind that truck on the Pike. and bye-bye for us, for sure.

now i will look at the encryption letters i have to type in for this post, then try to make something our of them on my blog. (still trying to avoid Thanksgiving-related work here.)
you and yours have a good one.

8:11 PM  
Blogger OK.NOWwhat said...

Hmmm. you don't USE encryption!

8:12 PM  
Blogger Squarehead said...

Yeah Coofee, all good things. Thank you for the heartfelt sentiment. I felt it in my heart. On the Bay Bridge? Wow, bet he was on the news. I once rolled over an old Autocar tandem dump truck. It was a '72, 400 Cummins with the Spicer split shifter. All I did was bury some kids car parked in front of a pizza joint with about 16 yards of wet topsoil. My boss gave the kid 200 bucks, more than that old Chevy was worth. My boss told me I'd be runnin' the compaction roller. That was twenty-six years ago, I was 18. You didn't need a CDL to drive straight trucks back then. I joined the army shortly after. I should have stayed working there, I was working with the best dozer operater/grade man in the state of New Jersey. Hey, it's typical, that guy who jacknifed being promoted. I think that's called The Peter Principal, rising to one's own level of incompetance.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Squarehead said...

Well Alexys, having never actually lived through an earthquake. I can only guess, yes, it did.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

it is funny how our children so often surpass all our own acheivements. have you ever tried to figure out their homework?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Squarehead said...

Hey Okay, nope, don't think it was the same guy. That is a shame, what happened on the Turnpike. You are right about a lot of drivers don't realize what can happen. In defense of the truck drivers however, I will say this. Having driven trucks at different times throughout my life, I think one of the biggest problems is the way that drivers are paid. Drivers who are paid by the hour (Like where I worked when I was 18, and like where I work now.) tend to be a lot more careful. Most over the road drivers get paid by the mile or by the load, this creates a dangerous situation. Guys will push themselves to get those miles or those loads in, just so they can earn a decent buck. The rules limit a driver to ten hours behind the wheel. Like all rules, there are ways around them. I can remember hauling residual waste from a sewer treatment plant in the Bronx down to Charles City Virginia, we got paid by the load. A tri-axle dump trailer hauling down I-95 with a giy behind the wheel who's been up for two days just so he can make the mortgage or the rent. In Australia, they passed a national law, drivers have to be paid salary or by the hour. They had enough fatal accidents involving overworked drivers, they did something about it. Most people don't realize this but, most drivers who work for a union shop (Teamsters) are paid by the hour. They tend to be much safer behind the wheel. You will almost never see a UPS semi out there in the money lane (left) going 75 or 80 mph flashing his lights to push cars out of his way. I know that the company I work for would rather pay OT than deal with wrecks. The bosses make a point of telling all the drivers that. We are a union shop, but that's got less to do with it. We are a family owned business, a family that puts people before profit.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Squarehead said...

Okay, no I guess I don't use encryption. I do have to approve all comments however. I should look into that. I'm not very techy.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Squarehead said...

Cocaine Jesus, yeah it is kind of funny. It never ceases to amaze me......The homework, man don't even go there. We had to buy an expensive TI claculator for our older daughter, she needed it for trigonometry. I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing on! She told me not to worry, she got it. Our younger daughter was recently explaining astronomy to me, or trying to. I didn't know that the Big Dipper was not actually a constelation, it's part of a bear. She said they call the Big Dipper the Big Saucepan in France. She said they call it something else in England. When went outside and she showed me a whole bunch of stuff that I was never aware of. I asked her how she knew all that. She said "Daddy everybody knows that". Those girls make me smile.

Hey thanks for stopping by here.

1:11 PM  

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