Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10-4 Good Buddy

I must be stupid.

No, I'm a conformist.

Wait, I'm hopeful.

Nah, I'm just 'Dude', I guess. Some dude. Just that guy over there, and I'm perfectly happy with that.

Life is cool. I haven't been doing much around here, I just haven't had much to say in recent weeks. The marriage is going as well as folks that have been married a year and some change can go. We have ups and downs. We have disagreements and make noise like the next couple and then turn around and go out to dinner, come home and act like a disagreement had never taken place. We're in our movie renting phase where we'll get stuff the other one probably will never see. We also have separate TiVos and record different stuff. I hang out in my man cave downstairs and do stuff. Sports related stuff. X-Box related stuff. Writing stuff. I pass out on the couch just like the next guy. She scrapbooks. She's also an associate professor. Yep, she teaches and develops her business. We multi task and interact.

We do most of this at home.

We need every square foot of what I like to call the compound in order to be effective in what we do business wise and to also be effective in being with each other. For the most part its hit and miss. The other parts are bulls eyes that probably need game film so we can successfully get the do overs correct on the next spin. Marriage is indeed a great balance, and since November of last year we've been delving deeper into the inner workings of each other. Most times by choice, other times by necessity.

Most of y'all know that I was a truck driver contracted out to one of the big trucking companies that sent me across the cracked roads that stretched across America (Canada and Mexico too). Last fall, I decided to do something different and hopped out of the truck, partially to save my marriage and to be closer to home so that we could start a family. I gathered my tax info and got myself an EIN and started down the road of business ownership as a private courier. The business was good and I enjoyed being home every night with my other half. The being home thing was new to us because I actually enjoyed being on the road, so before I quit driving the rig my wife started coming with me. What we found out was that there was a lot of stuff we didn't know about each other due to my absence and she adjusted to traveling in the truck with me. And we had a little fun.

It was a bit different November, December and January because I was no longer on the highways and byways, calling home to see what was going on. No more hotels and 'exotic' foods. No more city hopping and souvenir buying because daddy was at the spot weekday evenings and weekends. I missed being in the truck and she actually missed going out on the road with me when she had down time so in January... I called and asked to get back into a truck.

Now I have to add that the tax breaks I had as a courier was a bit better than being a truck operator or lessee due to everything being expended as a part of business, but my wife started looking at houses and the money going out to pay for fuel, lunch and licensing was going to keep me working until December of this year when I would have gotten much of it back in taxes. We couldn't wait and my getting back into the truck would have gotten us the 10 to 30% needed to put down on a home. Plus truck drivers can amass a ton of cash quickly and with the market tanking we could take advantage of the real estate prices being down in 2009 until...

The big trucking company telling me to step off near the beginning of this month.

Thing is, we didn't sweat because we were saving money and after sitting down and getting to the deep end of how our relationship works I asked my wife if I should buy a truck (meaning tractor-trailer) as opposed to going to another company and leasing one or just being a company based driver for so beer or soda company. Reason I wanted to continue driving the rig is because the trucking industry is recession proof. Everything you have in your house or apartment right now was either shipped, delivered or hauled in the back of a 53 foot trailer. And, as a driver a couple of years ago for another trucking company (as well as the one I was just driving for) I've hauled everything from laptops to frozen goods to airbags for hybrid-electric vehicles. Truckers run the economy.

Oh, did I mention that truck owner/operators make somewhere from $2 to $5 per mile and averages 2500 to 3000 miles per week. I just never thought of becoming an owner operator because i knew how much time it would take away from being at home, and I know this is a little late in the game but... I just got to know my other half on a much deeper level and I kind of got used to being home weeknights and weekends. Maybe it was the holidays. Nah, it was the time spent. When you drive for a company as opposed to owning your own rig you'll never get more than 60 cents per mile. If you lease a truck from a company like I did a few times the truck isn't really yours and the weekly fees and such will suck up the $1.30 (on average) per mile you make. Also, you gotta do your own paperwork, logs, accounting as well as find your own accounts to drive and that's why a lot of drivers just go to xyz company and let them do all of the back office work. And that's why they (the drivers) only get damn near 60 cents per mile.

So I took the last couple of weeks and redefined my transport company from courier to freight forwarding/intermodal - interstate haul. I obtained my own authority to broker and carry freight across interstate lines and got myself an easy pass (tolls are a bitch). And I asked my wife to be my partner with that whole back office thingee. The paper trail needed to maintain this kind of business is horrible, but worth every penny. And then I went and found my horse.

yes, it's black. No Irony here

I guess I'm back to hauling freight over the road.

One thing, this time I'll have control over when I get home and how long I stay there and also what we'll do when I am there. I never had aspirations of being a truck driver. I never had the wherewithal to actually own a tractor and go thru the red tape and paperwork that comes with ownership. I never knew that I could make so much money doing this either, but my wife asked me for a house and my initial response was "okay, we'll look". When I saw that having an actual home was attainable I wondered if I had it in me in sacrifice.

Then I remembered that this is the same woman that gave up her life on the other side of the planet to make a home with my stank ass.

And then I was called to service by my commander in chief.

This is exactly what was asked of me last night. Put in the work, make the sacrifice and pay the cost and in the long run, we'll be alright. If I can stay safe and keep my drivers license this wouldn't be a full time gig based on how I decide to run my miles. This also means that I can get back on the road and enjoy just being out there. This also means that we can make more than one baby, cause I was wondering where the loot was going to come from for number one...

That and the mortgage
And the car payments
Stuff like that.

I'm telling you, it can be done. You just gotta' give something. Some of us have to figure out exactly what that is.

So to celebrate this magnanimous decision I've decided to head to the Big Easy for a few days to celebrate heathen style. I figure now that Mardi Gras is over I could actually creep around New Orleans with a little elbow room.

I really just want a little etouffe.

10-4 good buddy.


chele said...

I am really happy for you and my girl. And you have most definitely inspired me. There is nothing I can't do as long as I am willing to do the work.

Her Side said...

My first time here. I enjoyed this post very much. Best believe you go into the stack of "favorites."

To some, sacrifice is a four letter word. Like it means hanging from a cross or something. You found a "sacrifice" that put you back on the roads you loved to travel - but with more control over how and when you travel. Awesome. And very inspiring.

NeenaLove said...


that is a true partnership! marriage is hard work but so worth every minute.

owning you own business is by far, the most freeing thing any person can do, especially a person of color. not having to answer to "the man"... PRICELESS!

i would love to have my OWN business but i sacrifice that until my husband is comfortable with it. one of these days....

Bananas said...

Well let me say this about that.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you this Hassan, but my primary day job is Vice President of Transportation, Logistics & Systems Development.

Yes, it's as boring as it sounds.

I do this for a national manufacturing company. I’m the guy, who bosses the guy who calls the company (or broker or freight forwarder), that calls the dispatcher, who calls the guy who drives the truck.

I’m also the guy, who bosses the guy, who bosses another guy, who bosses the dispatcher, who bosses the guy who drives the truck.

That’s a lot of guys.

My point is that a lot of people are involved in our business and are making a lot of money. I actually have a driver who has been driving for our company for more than 20 years. He makes more money than I do. A professional driver can make a whole lot of money with the right deal. And they are getting harder to find.

What amazes me is it most people have no idea of the operating cost. As you mention licensing, fuel and permits alone will eat you alive. You have to worry about IFTA agreements, roadside inspections, DOT audits and insurance. A truck payment alone is often more than most people’s monthly mortgage. It’s not easy, but those who have a head on their shoulders can make serious bank.

The hardest deal for our Traffic Manager to make the Driver agreement for “time at home”. Drivers are asking for a better quality of family life and want to be home more. They miss birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, picnics - all the things that those of us who go home every night, take for granted. Just like you mentioned, that’s the really hard part. Balancing time on the road, with time at home. Druvers need a life off the road too.

Even if it’s not THE thing you love most, you have to admit, being a Driver is something you’re good at. Not too many people can do that job.

Strange thing is, it's hard to ignore the call of the road once you're bitten.

I congratulate you on your business and wish you the best of luck. But most of all, as a person who depends on people like you…thank you very much for you hard work.

By the way, sorry for blogging on your blog, but I want people to understand you business is an extremely important one.

Keep the Volvo upright don’t cha know.

Ladynay said...

Wow, congrats are in order.

Bballmom said...

Congratulations and best of luck to you. Next thing you kow, we'll be reading about the decision to purchase a fleet of trucks and expanding the business!

The best part is that you and the wife are working this out together as partners. Do your thang!

Kofi Bofah said...

Just floating through blog world to see what's good.

Glad to stumble onto another Chicagoan...

Big Mark 243 said...

This is the first time I read your blog ... it came up when I was looking for something regarding P.E., and the phrase, 'freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude'.

I am happy for you and envious as well. But it is all well intentioned, because I want to build a fascimile of the kind of thing you have going.

I am glad for you, that you have found the path for you and yours partner in life. I have tried to do the married thing, and I look forward to trying again, because I don't think that anything can be better, than to find that ONE PERSON out of billions, you know.

I know I am rambling, but this is going to stay with me a while. You keep doing what you are doing, and I will be dropping by, gleaning insight and taking notes!

Rose said...

Do your thang brother and congratulations! I wish you nothing but success and more success!

2 said...

From a man that was born here, has lived here for (most of) my entire life, and will most certainly be buried here - enjoy New Orleans my man.

I know I'm late to the party, but I just found my way over here from Sister Toldja's spot.