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10:27 pm EDT        50°F (10°C) in Gary, IN

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I’m back out on the road again after spending six days at home. I should next be home in early November, when I will have to return to the Jackson County Courthouse for the final disposition of my speeding ticket from July.

On that topic, the traffic school I attended this past Wednesday evening was a complete and total joke. The instructor spent the first hour and 15 minutes of the four-hour session doing nothing but talking about American and European history, starting with Christopher Columbus and eventually ending with the War of 1812. It wasn’t even until after the first break that he got into anything even remotely related to the safe operation of a motor vehicle, and even from that point on, the whole thing had more to do with attitudes at the wheel than anything else. It was a total waste of time, but it was a waste of time that will save me as much as $600 over the next three years, so in that sense, I suppose it was worth it.

I just don’t get it with the Michigan football team this year. As soon as I had given them up for dead after the disastrous collapse against Minnesota two weeks ago, they have now come back with a pair of last-play victories over Penn State and Iowa. The hopes of winning the Big Ten are still pretty slim, although those would get a big boost with a win at Northwestern next Saturday. I almost don’t know what to expect in the final three games; I guess it will depend on which Michigan team shows up to face the Wildcats, Hoosiers, and Buckeyes on those respective Saturdays.

I did a fair bit of shit with my car during the time off. Over a couple of days earlier this week, I put the paint through a three-step process of cleaning, polishing, and waxing; after that, on Thursday, I changed the oil. I think I’m still going to have some big-bucks projects coming up, most notably the tires; those are getting down close to the “wear bars” in the tread, although I suspect I probably still have several thousand miles left on them. Front brakes and front struts probably wouldn’t be bad ideas, either.

My dispatcher is back at it again. Prior to going home last Saturday, I had sent a message to dispatch explaining my rationale for a late-afternoon projected time of availability (PTA) yesterday. My father was going to be making a business trip to Lansing, then stopping in the small town of Stockbridge, MI, to pick up my 91-year-old grandmother and return her to her own home after a week of visiting one of my aunts. Upon my father’s arrival at my grandmother’s house, he needed me to help him wheel her up the ramp into her living room (as she can no longer handle steps). Obviously, I had to wait for the two of them to arrive before I could even do anything, and it was 4:15 pm EDT before I was done with that and back in the truck.

Apparently that was a perfect excuse to bitch me out about “productivity” and whine about how I wasn’t doing enough to keep my weekly miles up. After I reminded him that there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about my father’s later- than-expected arrival at my grandmother’s house, he proceeded to assign me to a load that gave me the whole weekend to run all of 500 miles. Kettle? I’ve got Pot on the phone for you; he says you’re black. Seriously, do your own job before you bitch at me.

Well, as I said, I have until early Monday morning to get from here to St. Louis. I’m going to put a bit more of that distance behind me tonight, and save perhaps five hours for tomorrow.