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Another Summer Gone


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#1 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 08:58 AM

Some of you may be wondering where I've been. Well, I've been having my adventures.

First my doctor told me no more heavy work unless I wanted to experiment with life in a wheel chair and/or the thrill of joint replacement at the ripe old age of 46. I'd already started delivering flowers to a major big box store for extra cash, so I continued with that and tried to start a bit of a tractor service.

The tractor thing went okay, since I already had a bit of a client base for it, but I found that everybody wanted their grass cut too and not many people were willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile on an ongoing basis. I still do some work for my regulars and their referrals, but it's definitely a spare-time kind of thing.

So I did a bunch of research and signed up for a truck-driving school. I guess I didn't do enough research because the school I was in had instructors that thought yelling was the same as teaching. They also thought it was okay to make racist and sexist comments. Their much-vaunted job placement program turned out to be supplying fodder for the long-haul companies when I was clear from the beginning that I wanted local work.

There was also almost no instruction. The instructor would yell when you got things wrong, but he never explained how to do them right. I taught myself to back up (very specific to the test) by drawing pictures until I figured it out; taught myself how to shift by pretending to double clutch; and was in the process of teaching myself corners out of a book when I got fed up and walked away. My nerves were shot and I was at the point of yelling back. I likely could have passed the test by the end of the course, but have no confidence I would have been a safe driver with a 53 foot trailer and 80,000 pounds behind me. In fact, I think that school is turning out professional wheel-holders that likely shouldn't be on the road.

I'm still looking at getting my class 3 (CDL B) at some point in the future, but I've got a little too much life experience to put up with that kind garbage. If I wanted some half-bright redneck yelling at me, I'd go visit my family more often.

So I've taken a job driving a 3 ton flat deck for a local equipment manufacturer. I start on Wednesday. No tarping and everything is heavy enough that you load and unload with a forklift. Pretty light work by the sound of it, and I can get my forklift and HazMat tickets through them.

Through all of this, I've been landscaping my yard. Gotta love that JD 420. I've moved about 30 yards of clay fill and 20 yards of topsoil with it, hauled old concrete, knocked down a shed and an old wooden fence, put up a chain-link fence, moved trailers, tilled, scraped, and loaded and unloaded. I have about another 30 yards of fill and about 10 of topsoil that I'll have to move before the back is done.

The only issues I've had are leaking hydraulics and the hydraulic controls seized up. Both were relatively easy and cheap fixes. It also hasn't used a drop of oil. Not bad for a 20 year old machine.

My LA 105 has seen very little service this year. It's been dry, so the grass hasn't been growing much. When I have used it, it's taken a fair bit of abuse. The landscaping and construction have left some pretty rough patches. It needs new blades and I have to level the deck as a result, but that can wait until things are cleaned up. Not much point in fixing it just abuse it some more.

So that's been my summer. I hope fall lasts a long time because I still have a lot to get done.

#2 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 09:04 AM

Hi Rev, nice to see you back and you are still ok. Dad and I were just talking and your name came up as one of the members we were wondering where they got to.

As for the CDL schools, they are all a joke and they are primarily there just to feed the big companies with wheel holders. Same as a lot of the one year schools you hear about for other professions.

I think you will like the equipment hauling job, worst thing you will have to deal with is loading and unloading in the rain. Just make sure you take your time as slipping and trying to get up and down off the deck is sometimes as hard on the body as lifting heavy stuff.
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#3 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 09:27 AM

Loading and unloading in the rain won't be as bad as loading and unloading when it's 30 below and the wind is howling. I have some experience with these things. Not having to tarp will minimize the need to climb on the deck too. You're right on about being careful though...it's easy to get hurt.

It sounds like a pretty good job though and the company has a decent reputation. Also, it's year round work...a lot of jobs driving smaller trucks here are seasonal, since they are in landscaping.

#4 MH81 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 09:40 AM

Hey Rev, glad to hear you're OK. Sorry about the Docs report, but that's what happens to old guys. (I'm 40)

Good luck with the new job. It sounds like a decent one, be careful and stay in touch.

One more question, are you going to do snow plowing when the grass stops growing? That 420 have a cab? LOL

Have a wonderful and productive Fall.

#5 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 09:51 AM

I move my own snow and do the neighbour's places, but I don't do it for cash. It's too much work, and too cold, for too little return. I did see a blower on Kijiji for the 420 though and had a brief moment of wondering.

#6 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 09:59 AM

I'll be 53 next month guys, so I really worry what shape you guys will be in by the time you hit my age! I gripe & moan much of the time, but I do ok for the most part. Hearing you guys makes me feel better about my body score! My left knee is stiff & sore, but I can still get all the jobs done with minimal problems.
Rev, good to see you back, and take care of yourself. We get just one shot here on earth as you so well know.

#7 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2011 - 02:54 PM

Glad you are back! Sorry to hear of the joint problems. I'll be 64 in Feb. and my body lets me know it.

#8 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2011 - 08:31 PM

Hey Rev! Good to hear from you! It has been a really busy summer here too! I'm sorry to hear about the doctors report! I fully expect to hear the same thing from mine in due course, but hopefully it'll be longer than 4 years from now (I'm 42)! Glad that you've found a new job and hope that it's what you want, or at least something you can deal with. Keep in touch, and best of luck for a long and productive fall!

#9 grand OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2011 - 08:54 PM

I was just asking my son (NUTNDUN) the other day about you. I went back and checked your posts and saw that you hadn't been on for awhile. I always enjoyed your posts because you seem to be like a down to earth type of fella. I wish you the best of luck my friend. Keep us updated.

#10 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2011 - 09:10 PM

Thanks everyone. The joint problems aren't so bad...they give me an excuse to stay on the tractor.

#11 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 11:37 AM

Glad you are getting a decent job Rev. Glad to hear the 420 is doing a good job. I had a choice of a 420 or a 318 recently. I went with the 318 as it came with weights. I keep thinking about the 420 though. I think he still has it.

If you get a chance, post some pics of your yard work and the Deeres.

Hope the new job goes well.

#12 ducky OFFLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 11:54 AM

Hey Rev
Welcome back. Hope all goes well for you.
I can not believe i spend the weekend putting stuff away for the winter already.
Not a whole lot of nice days left anymore.




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