Thursday, 30 April 2009

We heard yesterday that the offer on our house had been finalised and that we are due to move on 29th June. The pictures above are of our new place but really don't do it justice, I will post more once we have moved.
I completed the first part of orientation at the new company and tomorrow will be meeting with Andy, my new boss, to collect keys, paperwork and everything else ready for my first trip.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

If you have been following this blog you will know that over the last few weeks I have had a couple of major breakdowns, well not me but the truck! The clutch was replaced in Michigan and 3 weeks later the drive shaft fell off and the shop actually found a bolt on the hanger bearing that hadn't been torqued properly. I was called into the office last week to discuss the breakdowns but little did I know that it was all my fault. Apparently it is the way I have been driving the truck that caused the clutch to fail and the drive shaft to fall off, a clutch with close to 900,000km on it and a drive shaft with a loose bolt on the hanger. The decision was made to send me driver training.
For those unaware I was a qualified driving instructor (cars and class 1 trucks) and qualified fleet trainer in the UK, a member of IAM (cars, trucks and motorcycles) and had attended numerous defensive driving courses, anti-rollover course, abs course and completed a SAFED (safe and fuel efficient driver) training course to allow me to train other truck drivers in this style of driving, so I know how to drive and yet the breakdowns were my fault.
I found this a little hard to swallow and that now the trust had been broken I was no longer prepared to work under the pressure of knowing that if anything goes wrong it is going to be my fault, what happens next time I break down for instance? Head on the chopping block?
So I lost some sleep over the last week but decided I needed to move on yet again.
This is a great shame because I do believe that driving for Jade will probably be close to one of the best jobs you will find in this area working with great people. The guys in recruiting and dispatch have been the best I have worked with. It was a very difficult decision to leave but I cant work under that continued threat.
So I got myself yet another job. I will be driving for an owner operator leased to Penner International based here in Steinbach Mb. It will be long haul pulling 53ft box vans driving an International 9400i.
Tomorrow I will be attending a short Orientation class at Penner International which will allow me to run Canada only until a full orientation class is arranged then I will be able to run state side again. Hopefully I will be able to leave on my first trip on Monday.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

We have two new members to our family, Buster and Jasmin. Jasmin is the little girl with the white front paws. They were born on 6th February 2009 and are brother and sister. The mother was a pure bred German Shepherd dog and the father a pure bred Husky.

We got them Saturday evening and they were very well behaved, they cried for 5 minutes when we first went to bed and then again at 5.00am when Gary got up for work. Sunday morning was a little different, we put the gate across the laundry room door when we were leaving the house as we had Saturday night but Gary came home from work to find them having lots of fun around the house.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Wes Manke

Company: Century 21 - Gold Key RealtyTelephone: 326-4459Send an email to this agent
Wes has been a Realtor since 2002, and continues to enjoy helping his clients make the right Real Estate decisions. He has consistently achieved Centurion Producer status since 2004.
326-4459 cell 371-0159
"Opening the door to your next move"

There are a few differences when it comes to purchasing property in Canada. One of the first things to do is find yourself a realtor that you can work with.
Unlike Great Britain you can approach any realtor and still purchase a property that is being advertised by someone else.
Most people considering emigrating start looking at properties long before arriving in Canada, we did. We used local agents web sites but mostly which we found was a great site with all agents advertising in one place, but that is only partly true. MLS is only used by some agents and is not always the most up to date site. Some properties have already had offers made before eventually making it onto MLS and others advertised long after being sold and you will find a lot of the good ones go very quickly, networking amongst the agents is a great way to sell.
The realtor you choose will make all the appointments and take you to view all the properties you choose and will then deal with the selling agent when you are ready to make an offer.
I used Wes Manke, details above, when first arriving in Canada in 2007 and had good service from him so it made sense to use him again to both buy a new home and sell our current house. Again Wes has provided a great service with good communication at all times. Wes will spend time with you to find out what you are looking for. He is even willing to give up his spare time on a Sunday to come and keep me up to date and sign anything that needs signing.
So if your looking to buy in the Steinbach area and are not already working with a realtor drop Wes an email he would be only too happy to help.
The house has been on the market for a little over a week. We have had 8 or 9 viewings already and someone has put in an offer. The offer is subject to them getting finance.
Buying and selling property in Canada is much simpler than in UK. The offer is a binding contract which means if they get finance they get the house, so basically it is as good as sold.
We had an offer on another house accepted subject to us getting finance and selling ours, we got the finance so almost there. Date of possession will be 29th June.
I liked the one above but don't think Sue was all that keen.

This trip was going really well, almost 1900 miles in 3 days, my I94 renewed and my interview at Duluth, Minnesota for my TWIC (Transport Worker Identification Credential) card another scam by homeland security to get more money from transport workers. I am really lucky as Jade pay for all these cards and the time spent getting them.
So everything went well, including the 90 minute detour around Morris because of the floods, until 3 miles from the yard. Traffic lights were on green, sitting at 80km/hour, BANG, bang, bang, rattle, rattle, scrape, hiss, hiss, no power, no air!!! Got the truck onto the shoulder and there it was, the drive shaft and u-joint resting on the exhaust. The hanger had given up, the drive shaft came out at the gearbox, wrecked my exhaust, ripped of an air line, damaged the pto drive shaft and who knows what other damage underneath.
What really surprised me was what happened next. I have been quick to praise Jade as a company and the people that work there but read on, I made a couple of calls and spoke to Mark, shop supervisor, who was arranging someone to come out to me. Kris turned up about 20 minutes later and crawled underneath. After some rattling of spanners and banging he dragged himself out and made a phone call.
It was decided to give me a ride back to the yard to let me get home and Mark would come out to help Kris while they waited for a wrecker to tow my truck to the shop!!!!
It felt strange to jump in the pick up truck and leave my truck at the side of the road for someone else to deal with.
Another couple of days at home waiting for repairs now.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

We have been thinking about moving house for a couple of weeks. We wanted somewhere with a little more land. So our house is now on the market and we are looking at other houses now.
We have only looked at a couple of houses but already seen one we would really like so just need to sell ours. Had some viewers already and more booked next week.
Click the link above to take you to the realtors website.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The floods on I29 in North Dakota have receded a little but with more snow falling and rain forecast people are still expecting the worst. Even in Pembina at the border crossing with Emerson the army have been called in to erect flood defences, as seen in the bottom picture, to protect the Customs and Border Patrol offices from the expected flood waters.

Friday, 3 April 2009

This was the first time in over a week I was able to travel on I29 in North Dakota on my way to Illinois. As you can see conditions have been very tough around here.

Got this month off to a better start. Quick turn around in Bedford Park, Illinois meant I was home Wednesday and left again Friday this time to load Saturday noon in Kankakee Illinois.