surprise call

This morning, the phone rang about 9:30 am. It’s Saturday—nobody calls that early; I sleep in on Saturdays. Who the heck ... so I figured I’d better answer it (no caller id on the bedroom extension—not that I could read it through bleary eyes, anyway).

“Hi Aunt Lee, this is Brian.” My nephew, who is a truck driver for Schneider (those pumpkin-orange trucks), was in Connecticut and used up his hours so was stuck at the truck stop until tomorrow evening. Or so he thought. He was at the TA Truckstop at exit 28 on I-84, which is Milldale, CT (next to Waterbury). He wanted to know if we’d come and get him.

Sure! But he called back a while later to tell us that he misread his timesheets and was only stuck there until 4:00 am Sunday, and since it was so far away from Norwalk, he’d try to see us next time. So Stanley and I decided to head up there an meet Brian for dinner. It really isn’t that far, particularly on a weekend when traffic is usually light. It’s just I-95 to Rt. 8 in Bridgeport, then straight up to I-84 and east a little bit from there—about 50 miles or so. We like Brian a lot and would’ve been sorry to miss him.

So, we had dinner with Brian at the Country Kitchen truck stop. We checked to see if there were any other restaurants around there besides the truck stop and couldn’t find anything that looked interesting, so what the heck. It was cheap at least.

Brian had just come down from Auburn, Maine I think he said, about a 250-mile trip. He said he saw a moose, was eye-level with the moose while he was sitting in the cab of his truck. He said he would’ve taken a picture but he didn’t want to do anything to piss off the moose, which, he said, can do serious damage to even big rigs. He said it’s so dark in Maine that the moon gives more light than his headlights.

Brian went with his dad Kevin to pick up Brian’s brother Aaron from Fort Lee in Virginia a couple of months ago, though they missed Aaron’s graduation ceremony, he said, because they didn’t know what company he was in.

He also told us about trying to get out of the Seattle area before the snowstorm hit there, but got stuck there anyway because his truck broke down. He was buried in 17 inches of snow and he had to sit in his truck for six hours before he got help.

He also told us that it was -38° when he was driving through Montana. When he pulled in to get some fuel, he said he saw signs that warned “Do not turn off engine.” Of course, he noticed them AFTER he turned off his engine and after fueling and trying to start the rig again, he realized why he shouldn’t have done that. He said he had to hit his starter with a hammer to get it going again. It was so cold out that his truck engine never got above 150° and though he had the heater blasting full and was bundled up, he just couldn’t get warm.

Brian also filled us in a bit about news from Michigan—Aaron working as a welder, his dad taking early retirement from Ford Motor Company (Brian said taking early retirement was a better deal for Kevin than the buyout offer or just getting laid off at the end of February). And Kevin’s travails in trying to sell his house so he can move down to Oklahoma (where his wife has family). It’s not at all easy to sell houses in the Detroit area—a lot of people are losing money selling, or have negative equity because of the ridiculous mortgages they were sold—which might have been survivable if the auto industry didn’t tank at the same time as the housing market started tanking. And he doesn’t know if Aaron will get deployed to Iraq to join his unit, which had already been deployed while he was finishing up boot camp—mainly because Aaron doesn’t know yet what’s going to happen.

And Brian’s mom, Carolyn, got rid of her cats! I was really shocked—had we known she was going to dump Lil’ Bits, we would’ve taken her home with us in November since she is such a sweet little cat and Twitch loves her. The orange cat, Uday, a gorgeous but extremely nasty cat, I won’t miss. I miss Carolyn—I wish she’d come and visit us again.

Here is a picture Stanley took of Brian standing next to his truck (and yes, I experimented with what Picasa can do a little—pretty impressive photo processor for a freebie—click to enlarge):

Brian McCaskey, Milldale, CT January 27, 2007

Brian said his truck usually looks better, but was coated with road salt from his trip down from Maine.

Hope we see him again soon. If he gets a bit closer to us, like the Milford or Branford truck stops, we can bring him home where he can shower, do his laundry, and get a home-cooked meal and even sleep in a comfortable bed if he has time. I’m glad he seems to like his job. My cousin Bruce works for the same company, but works out of the Dallas office—maybe their paths will cross sooner or later. Brian said he’s going to see if he can email photos with his camera phone and will send me a snapshot of something interesting if he can—I hope so.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/27/07 at 08:47 PM
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