Time to say goodbye

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Today is the day we say goodbye to Liliana. So far I am holding together but as my thoughts drift to the memorial service about to begin the harder it is to stay focused enough to be the rock I need to be. I know my main purpose need to be as a strong support for John and Maria. While it breaks my heart to know the pain that they are going through, I must hold together for them.

I have admitted that my pain is not the same and the pain is not as bad for me. No one can truly understand the pain of losing a child except those who have lost one as well. I have been fortunate enough to have never had a loss like this myself. My children mean the world to me and when one of them is in hurting then I hurt as well.

I didn’t get to spend much time with Lili but I can’t get her beautiful face out of my mind. I see those big curious eyes looking intently at me trying to figure out the world she suddenly became a part of. She gave me a chance to see the world all anew from the innocent and naive eyes of a child. As an amateur scientist and astrophysicist I enjoyed learning things about our world that people didn’t not see. The eyes of a child see things that others do not. Those eyes are not blinded by expectation or anticipation. They see the world untainted and fresh. This can be disorientating but it is also liberating. It may leave one with a million questions but seeking the answers to those questions gives one a reason and purpose. Without questions to solve discoveries can not be made and advancements can not be accomplished. Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Who has a better imagination than a child who has a whole universe to learn about. That is powerful. and I have Lili to thank for giving me that gift of seeing the world from her eyes.

RIP Liliana Jean Donaldson

Born: 26 November 2014

Deceased: 28 December 2014

We love you Lili.

Everyone else is paying…

More TL carriers rolling out pay increases
Sean Kilcarr Aug 13, 2014

U.S. Xpress plans to boost base solo OTR pay by 13%
Following hard on the heels of Swift Transportation’s driver pay raise announcement in late July, two other major TL carriers are now introducing pay increases of their own.

U.S. Xpress Enterprises plans to boost its base mileage pay for over the road (OTR) solo, non-dedicated truck drivers by an average of 13% effective Aug. 25 while also eliminating its “sliding pay scale” for all OTR solo drivers as well.

Eric Fuller, U.S. Xpress’ COO, noted that for many of the carrier’s drivers, the “sliding pay scale” made it difficult to calculate base pay from week to week. Thus the company is activating what it calls a “simpler” pay structure where all OTR solo drivers will earn the same base mileage pay regardless of their length of haul.

Con-way Truckload, a subsidiary of Con-way Inc., is planning to boost its per-mile pay for new-hire experienced drivers to a total of 42.5 cents per mile starting Sept. 7 and beef up its incentive bonus structure in the bargain as well – an effort aimed at increasing productivity while rewarding drivers for their loyalty, said Joseph Dagnese, the carrier’s president.

On top of that, with respect to layover pay, he noted the carrier is increasing driver compensation from $60 to $75 per day.

“Our drivers are the company’s most important asset,” Dagnese explained. “After listening to their feedback and evaluating current market trends, this is the right time to increase our mileage rate and add new compensation programs which reward driver loyalty, productivity and safe driving performance.”

Based on reaching thresholds for continuous mileage/continuous employment, Con-way Truckload’s enhanced incentive program provides the opportunity to gain additional earnings via an annual bonus of between 1.5 cents and 3 cents per mile on miles driven over the previous 12 months from their anniversary date.

Dagnese added that the mileage pay increase also would apply to Con-way Truckload’s independent contractors as well. “Our independent contractors are a key part of our strategy for providing consistent, high quality capacity and service,” he said.

Jonathan Starks, director of transportation analysis for FTR Transportation Intelligence, noted in the firm’s most recent Trucking Conditions Index report that truck freight continues to show steady increases and, with the tight truck capacity situation unlikely to loosen up any time soon, expects to see both spot and contract rates continue to rise into the fall shipping season.

Yet finding and keeping drivers still remains a tough task for the trucking industry. Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) trade group, noted recently that the industry has in the range of 30,000 to 35,000 unfilled truck driver jobs – a shortage only expected to worsen.

“As the industry starts to haul more because demand goes up, we’ll need to add more drivers – nearly 100,000 annually over the next decade – in order to keep pace,” he said.

Max Fuller, CEO for U.S. Xpress, added in a statement that nearly every facet of the country depends upon some type of goods or services that were delivered by a professional truck driver.

He pointed as well to recent ATA data that stated approximately 70% of the freight shipped annually in the United States was delivered by a truck driver.

“This means more than three million professional truck drivers are transporting more than 9.2 billion tons of freight by driving approximately three million heavy-duty, Class 8 trucks,” Fuller said.

“Drivers are the ones who ensure that our store shelves are not empty, manufacturing does not grind to a halt and our economy does not stall,” he stressed. “With more goods and services being shipped by trucks, we need to expand the workforce so our industry has better trained, more qualified drivers that can take better care of our customers.”

New pad

Well I finally did it. I found a place to live. It is a decent sized 2 bedroom apartment on the second floor in the quiet little town of Greencastle.

The apartment is close and convenient to much. Only about 8 minutes from work and only 17 minutes from my “Don’t slap the bitch” classes. 5 minutes to the truckstop. 30 minutes from the kids. 15 minutes to 2 major towns.

My parole officer will be so happy now that I have a place to get mail and that he can inspect.

On the good side the apartment is completely empty so inspection should be easy. No beer, no pot, no couch and no bed. Hopefully he doesn’t pay attention to the Tavern right in front of it close enough to stumble home afterwards. But the food is good and not expensive. I’m sure he won’t believe it when I say I wouldn’t, shouldn’t and can’t drink. But it won’t be in the apartment.

On the bad side the landlord had no idea where the key to the mail box is so I can’t check it.

A couple of friends have offered to help me move my stuff in when I can afford a moving truck to haul the stuff. Wish I could just steal a trailer again but there isn’t enough room at the storage unit.