Holy shit, I should have waited to write that last post

So, it will seem that I just posted this immediately after the last post, but I wrote the last one yesterday. I wrote it before I seriously fucked up.

So, because I had my headphones on watching anime, I managed to misunderstand the announcement for my connecting bus and I completely missed it. I started to have a small panic attack when I realized I missed it, but managed to recover by focusing on my options. I had to wait for the supervisor to get back from break to find out if I could get rescheduled to a later bus. While I waited, I called around to try to find out if I could rent a car and just drive myself the rest of the way there. Fun fact: if you are younger than 25 and do NOT have a major CREDIT card, no one will rent to you. Why it has to be a credit card, I do not understand. It may be that you need a credit card regardless of your age. I don’t know. At that point I was too irritated with myself to really try to find out.

Fortunately, when the supervisor came back, she was able to switch me to the bus leaving at 11 and getting there at 2:20 am. Not ideal in any way, but at least I didn’t have to wait until Monday to catch the next bus. Unfortunately, the bus didn’t arrive at the destination until about 3 am. At that point, if I had been able to go to bed right then, I would have only gotten 4 hours of sleep before class. So, I called the company to tell them I was there and they sent out a shuttle. So, I went out the front doors and waited… and waited…. and waited. After half an hour, I called back and the dude managing the phone said he would call the guy and call me back. Called me back and said he would be there in 10 minutes. 15 minutes later, I called back again. Dude calls shuttle again. Shuttle should be there in 10 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES LATER I called back and the dude seemed really pissed at the guy driving the shuttle. Calls back, says 10 minutes. At this point, it’s after 4am. Fortunately, the shuttle FINALLY shows up and I heaved my heavy ass bag into the back of his van. At this point, I had been sitting or standing in exceptionally uncomfortable positions for the last 16 hours. Had to carefully heave myself into the van without my legs giving out. Drive for ANOTHER HALF HOUR because the shuttle guy had a passenger with him that I suspect slowed him down. Dropped that guy off first, but fortunately he just had to drive to the opposite side of the building to drop me off. Get in out of the rain (because OF COURSE it was raining) and the guy signing me in is lovely. Got my bag upstairs because the main elevator is broken and my room is on the third floor. By the time I finally unwound, texted my parents, and was ready for bed, it was after 5am. I couldn’t sleep well because I was so sore from all the traveling and I got up at 7am to go eat breakfast.

I have been severely sleep deprived with excessive yawning, my fine motor skills are in the shitter, and I fell asleep several times during the intro stuff today. Even with all that, I am stoked to be here. I am so excited to eventually get out on the road and see the country. The process to get to that point is very long and complicated and I will explain it properly when I’m more coherent. Everyone seems very friendly and us students are already forming a comraderie. I have my own personal room with a bed, small desk, and closet/drawers. The facility is very clean and there is a really great relationship between staff, trainers, and students. I think this could be the start of someting amazing. And possibly the start of my legs turning into solid muscle from climbing up and down 3 flights of stairs 5-10 times a day.

Hope to have you along for the journey.

~Catherine

I’m on my way!

Sitting in the Columbus, Ohio bus station, I remember last night when it really hit me that I’m leaving home for a month or more. It really hit me that I won’t see my dog in a very long time. The last time I had to leave my dog, I had to leave her in a really bad situation and I still haven’t really forgiven myself for that. I started to feel the same things I did then: guilt, fear, despair. But then I remembered that I’m not leaving her in another bad situation. She will be properly loved and cared for even though I’m not there to do it. That realization helped more than I thought it would. Even though I’m going to miss Snickers more than anything, I’m not going to be worried for her safety. And that’s important.

Some people might think that my priorities are backward that I’m going to miss my dog the most, but I will be able to talk to my family. I can video chat with them. I can’t pet my dog. I can’t snuggle with her. She won’t be sleeping in my bed every night. And that’s how we communicate. I know some people skype with their dogs, but I know that she wouldn’t understand what was happening and it might make her more depressed. I know it will make me more depressed. So I’ll just love on her non-stop every time I get home time.

As for the bus, I’m currently on a layover. I’ve ridden Greyhound before and I will say that they continue to improve their travel experience. It’s not perfect. Nowhere near. But it’s better than the first time I took a bus in 2009. Unfortunately, they advertise the shit out of their free wifi at terminals, but I can’t connect at all. So this will be posted later, possibly tomorrow when I’m at the training center. The bus was the most crowded I have ever been on, but it’s likely that the Akron-Columbus route is more popular than Fort Wayne-Detroit. Hopefully my next bus will be less crowded. I’m a little worried about getting delayed. They already had to split a bus going to Cleveland into two trips and a 3 o’clock departure left at 4. I hope I’m not too delayed since I won’t be getting to the center until 10 pm at best.

In the mean time, I’ve got the copious amounts of anime that I downloaded last night, as well as music. I’m currently sitting in the food court and, I’ll be honest, this terminal is pretty disgusting. I’m only eating here because I don’t think I will get another chance to eat for the rest of the day. The Akron terminal, which is also the city bus station, was very nice. The cafe was closed, likely because it’s Sunday, but it was clean and aesthetically pleasing. The Columbus station is clearly quite old, smells like you think a bus station would, and is in slight disrepair. I hope they update the station soon. It is quite large and clearly heavily used, so it may not be efficient to combine it with the city bus station. It would need quite a bit of space, which is pretty limited in downtown Columbus. I’ve noticed quite a few cities combining their Greyhound stations with their main bus stations, which makes sense. Especially for smaller cities that don’t have as much traffic through their Greyhound terminal, it is much more cost effective to combine the two, instead of paying for electricity, plumbing, AC, etc. for just a handful of people a few hours a day. It also means they can potentially pool their resources to keep the station better cleaned and in good condition.

I’m just rambling because I’m bored. My layover is at least 4 hours, depending on when my next bus shows up and I still have at least another hour to go. Oh! I almost forgot! Our bus got pulled over on the way here by the cops. They boarded and said they were looking for someone, asked for ID’s from a few people who, I’m assuming, fit the profile of the guy they were looking for. It was very strange. We pulled over into a, currently, unused construction site with nothing but a shack and port-a-potty and we were like, “Shit, what you gonna do to us in that shed?” It was weird.

Anyway, I’ll try to update tomorrow and depending on wifi, I may post twice tomorrow. See you then!

~Catherine

I’m Off to See the Wizard!

Jesus, that’s a dated reference. *Ahem* I mean, I did it!! I FINALLY got my CDL permit and I’m scheduled to leave to start school to get my CDL on Sunday!

It took me three tries to pass the knowledge test and it made me feel like an ignoramus. I used to do pretty well in school, but this was hard for me. What I found most difficult was remembering exact stopping distances, air brake psi for different situations, and other numbers I needed to memorize. I’ve always had trouble integrating numbers into my memory banks. If it’s algebra, where all you need is the formula, I somehow have no trouble with that. But dates or any other specific numbers for specific situations are next to impossible for me to remember. That’s ok though because I know it is a limitation and have developed methods for coping.

I also had to pass a DOT physical, which has to be given by a specifically licensed physician and usually costs about $60, although I’m sure it varies by state, too. It’s also almost never covered by health insurance, but most schools will reimburse you for the cost. It wasn’t much more intense than a regular physical. Had to keep my blood pressure below 140/90 which usually is not even  remotely an issue, but when I first got it taken with a machine, it was 143/87 which is RIDICULOUSLY high for me.  Fortunately, the doctor took it manually later and it was 123/83, which is much more like my normal range. Had to do a urine test for different health factors, not drugs. It screens for kidney issues, diabetes, and other potential health problems. Had to do a VERY basic strength test which just about anyone could pass. Just push against his hands with your arms and legs while he exerts a very mild amount of pressure and make sure you are able to squat. No big deal. Then they go though and make sure you don’t have any disqualifying health problems like epilepsy or shcizophrenia or anything else that could interfere with your ability to drive a truck. In all the information I read about getting this physical, it talked about bringing vaccination records, medical records, verification of medications taken, but NOWHERE that I found did it say ANYTHING about getting a letter from your psychiatrist verifying that your mental health is stable and your meds are working. That ended up being the ONE thing he needed from me. And OF COURSE my psychiatrist is on vacation until next week. Fortunately, I was able to get in to see a psychaitrist who works with mine and he signed the letter. I’m very fortunate that my office was so willing to help me out, but MAN that was frustrating.

But now I finally got everything done, called my recruiter, emailed her pictures of my DOT physical card and CDL permit, and now I’m scheduled to leave! I’m SO excited!! Also, I found out that instead of having classes M-F 8-5, classes are now 7 days a week at the same times, so that will shave off about a week of training. Now I’m expected to be on the road with a trainer in 3-5 weeks instead of 4-6, which is great because that means I will get a paycheck sooner. I don’t get paid while I’m doing the classroom learning and practicing on the lots. I only get paid when I start hauling merchandise.

I’ll update again soon when I have more information on what to pack and such.

~Catherine

What would YOU do for a Klondike Bar?

Today I finally got a job. For the first time since January 2014, I will be employed. What will I be doing? I’m going to be a trucker. As in gone for a month at a time, hauling whatever to wherever whenever. In a truck. You know, the ones you hate driving next to. I’m going to be behind the wheel of one of those in about a month’s time.

Why trucking? Basically, the money. My family and I have been struggling to get by since the recession and I think a decade is enough financial hardship. So, when I first had this idea about a month ago, I only knew that the pay is better than any minimum wage job that I could get as a college drop out. However, once I started researching, I realized that I might actually enjoy trucking. It’s all still hypothetical right now, but I think the trucking lifestyle might suit me well. We’ll see.

My long term plan is to be a trucker for 3-5 years to save up enough to go back to school and get my degree in accounting. Yes, accounting. Why? Money, again. Also, I love algebra. It’s my jam. I also find the work interesting. Some people might think that the jump from trucking to accounting is strange or a large leap, but I like to think that I have an eclectic skill set. Besides, trucking will allow me to support my family AND save for school. Sounds pretty good to me.

So, if you want to come along for the ride, this is going to be where I document this little experiment. Hopefully this will help combat the loneliness of being on the road for weeks at a time. If I can figure out the technology, I’ll post photos, maybe videos, and generally share what this unique lifestyle is like. Hope to see you there.

~Catherine

I'm going on an adventure