From the Den of the Homestead to Jim Trainer for Letter Day

Belated Response to Letter Day from Jim Trainer of Going for the Throat

Evansville, AR 72729

Jim Trainer

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Austin, TX 78765

First Written: 08/06/2019, 8:52 PM

Edited & Updated: 07/13/2020, 6:00 PM

Greetings and Salutations My Fellow Freak:

How goes it you say? It is only Tuesday and it has already been a Hella week at work. I am currently almost a week behind in my graduate school studies. I have a sick cranky teenager that only just got home from his father’s, where he was at for six weeks for summer vacation. The little man just might be making life more challenging than necessary. But I am so glad to have him home that I could just hug him and love him and kiss his and squeeze him. You get the idea.

But back to already a Hella week… so I am a trainer and instructor for a juvenile (obviously I mean in development) trucking company that hauls expedited produce, seafood, and chicken. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my work and the challenge of helping a company with a fantastic business model to grow into their big boy pants.

For you see when I started working there 11 months ago, they had a bout 75 trucks in their fleet. As of me finish up the training class today, the company is now sitting with about 200 trucks in their name and 185+ running.

Some of the challenges they currently face have to do with basic logistics. They may have plenty of trucks and most of them new. They may have hired enough staff to service them all or not. But they still only have the toilets for a baby company … three toilets. A third was put in prior to COVID 19.  That is for the 16 and 4 bay shops and all that staff. Then for the 200 drivers that are in and out, the company has one toilet that is in a water closet with one tiny shower and one sink. This is also the restroom utilized for onsite drug screens, so it can get a little crowded when as a safety compliance officer, I am trying to do randoms, and new incoming drivers. In short, there are now four toilets for all. That is also for the entire corporate headquarters of 35+ people.

Did I mention that the growing company, with four toilets is still trying to use one small dumpster for all of the above? And they collect their cardboard in a stock trailer? The country life! Did I also mention they have no shred services for the mountains of paper with sensitive information that has to be shredded weakly?

That’s okay I carried it home to the Cluck G Sells Homestead and used if for compost for 20 months.  There were much more in basic requirements that were not yet being addressed, as a part of their explosive growth.  The whole building the plane while you flying in it concept – I loved the challenges!

This week in a room the size of a large kitchen, I am training 9, new to the company drivers, finished another 1 from last week for 10. Add to that group, an aging father that also sat in for class today and two service animals and we are up to 12. Oh, and then there are the two safety staff, one risk management staff, three recruiting staff, two other directors, four dispatcher, and the owner for a total of 25 people in and out working in my “room” today! But I am told we are building an orientation facility that will be 2,000 feet, so fingers and toes crossed.

While orienting and coordinating the aforementioned, I am also working on converting all of our training material for orientation to an online delivery system, doing the paperwork to set up employee files, and payroll files, as well as the onboarding for all new hires. I also collect all the health and emergency contact information for all employees. I am also the liaison for company benefits. And I not sure what all else but being only Tuesday night, I have already worked at least 24 hours, on the clock, in the building while suffering a horrible migraine headache.

About an hour before dispatching the last driver that completed orientation, I see a missed call in red come up on my notifications, on my infernal computer that I call a phone. Oh shit!

It is the program I have been in for two years through my divorce and all the fun that goes with that. See I set up the program when my income was technically four times what it is now. Take away the ex-husband and we are to 50%. Take away the great government job and we are to 20% ish percent, but then add in child support and we are back up to the 25% of income that I was at two years ago when I first set up my income-based program.

So, it goes without saying that I am NOT paying in over a week’s pay a month to these folks and they refuse to lower my payments permanently.  So, I call every 8 weeks and do a revised schedule, where I THINK I will be able to make all the deposits and we keep trucking.

I had this voicemail and once I crawled into my 2012 Jeep Liberty … my trusty stead that carries me 45 minutes both ways up over and across the Ozark National Forrest, into civilization where I can earn a living, and interact with other humankind.

I get stopped on the way to my burgundy stead by a driver whose tractor and trailer are parked, taking up almost the entire parking lot, because he cannot figure out how to operate his onboard computer system.  He has to pick up a load an hour away and then driver 1/3 across the next state and has less than four hours on his clock.

My driver is sweating bullets and it is his second day on a new job, driving a truck he has never driven, to customers he has never heard of, sleeping hopefully in a truck stop in God knows were, and in a bed he has never slept in – without any bed clothes! All of this, after being in a tiny classroom with ME and those 25 other people, I may or may not have mentioned. So, I throw all my bags into my Jeep, switch the AC controls to high- high, and close the door.

After I take a deep breath, I light a cigarette because since I got up at 6 AM I have had two and it is after 7 PM. Then I crawl up onto the steps on the side of his rig, advise him to close his door so he doesn’t loose all his AC, and I grab up his computer.

After some instruction, a few well placed questions, and showing him how to fix his unit, I smile reassuringly, tell him to be safe, and to call me when he needs help, and I close the rig door. My trusty stead awaits, and it is down to no more than 80 degrees in the baking Oklahoma heat with the AC on full blast.

I gingerly check the mirror all the way around, as I strap on my seatbelt. Phew no one in sight. Six new messages on my phone … I respond back to the boy and see the missed call from the number in red and think to myself “Not now Annie, right now you just need to get home.”

The drive is much safer in the light of day, because you are far less likely to hit an animal like the deer that jump out in front of me all the time. I have only hit or run over two in the year that I have lived in the forest and driven back and forth to civilization.

Alright time for reverse, yeap good not going to back into a semi-tractor and I am out of there!

I take one look at the radio dial and my phone and think hell no … the whistle of the kayak racks on top will be fine for the drive home.

I finally make it into “town” and think,  “when in the hell is the last time you checked the mail?” I couldn’t remember so I pulled in, turned off the key, and went into the tiny post office (a room full of boxes) and take another deep breath, insert the key, and peak in.

There are two garbage magazines, two NSF charge notifications that my phone told me about last week, and a letter in a plain white envelope with type writing from Texas.

I think “Well shit! Now who is suing me?” But I flip it over and there is this interesting insignia on the back, so I slide me key along the back, and pop it open before I even get to the stead.

I look and it is a type written letter! So, I sit in my driver’s seat, with my keys in my lap, and begin to read. Someone is sitting on a hated loveseat … love it. Then in the next two sentences there is Fucking French and a kiss off from a French woman … hook set.

I take another look at the address typed on the letter and dammit. I know this guy! He is funny and authentic as hell. I like this dude! We have never met but this guy is my kind! Freaking fantastic and I remember some time back seeing a project of his where he writes letters for Letter Day.

On a lark, I sent him my address (it is a post office box). What is the worst that could happen?

Well I’ll be damned and here I am sitting in the parking lot at the post office. Slap my leg and call me Sally. I fold up the letter, place it back in the envelope, and secure it in the side pocket of my purse.

I pull into the driveway and garbage is strewn all over my front yard and among it is my bathroom rug! Again! Obviously, my son has been on his computer and not paying the slightest attention to our dog that is a huge puppy! Once in the door the mess continues, so I go and sit down all my bags and glance at my letter, with a smile and take another deep breath, then holler for the kid and the script starts. 

Out of the deal, I got help picking up some of the torn-up garbage. Yes, I am talking about the garbage starting in the front yard and in a trail all the way to the back door. I also got help putting up a new hook for my hanging light on my closed in back porch.

I sit down to turn on my trusty laptop to reply to my real-life letter and am faced with Windows updates! So while I am waiting, I sweep up the egg shells on my “office” floor, open out the pub table because I need MORE room to work on grad school, and realize the underside –now the top of the pub table has mold growing on it. Yuck!

A scrubby and an old dishtowel with Dawn materialize, some scrubbing goes down, and I dry off the table. Oh look, we are up to 32% on the upload. Where are my cigarettes?

Computer up, letter in front of me, I sit down with my cigarettes, a cold drink, and my letter and I read.

I read Annie I don’t give a shit. I was slut to the man for too long. Like everyone in my family always has I get called Sister and asked if I can handle my shit? Well yes. Yes, I can. Some days I wonder, but in all it’s crazy I am doing it. I am told that you are not paralyzed, well neither am I Brother. And all I can say is I hear you on the IBS. The fight or flight of survival mode that becomes our modus operandi takes its toll. That is a pied piper that will be paid. Keep hanging in there and do you! Build your empire. Go for the throat.

Jim, you said you are glad to see that I am out there or here as it seems. You are no different than the artists and entrepreneurs that I have worked with my entire career. You are a man with a passion. With a burning desire and a gut full of grit.

You don’t give a shit about the stupid shit or what people might say, but you certainly give a shit. It seeps through in every word, but a part of you resents that you care at all. It is like the weak spot in a knight’s armor, but it is just part of the suit.

In the past week I have worked with ariel artists, yogis, flame breathers, fire jugglers, other photographers, mermaids, and more traditional small business owners and independent contractors. I have consulted on social media for several professional musicians, including a band that is on their fist tour in California out of Nashville, Tennessee.

Did I mention that was all in the last week?

Do you know what you have in common with all of these folks Jim? These people that I call my people?

Jim you are a freak. Chris Brogan would say that the freaks shall inherit the Earth. One of his examples is Marie Foleo and oh yes you can bet I have been following both of their careers, throwing support their way, sharing their genius and have been in their tribes since before Facebook was cool!

 It all comes down to embracing who you are, what you REALLY want, cultivating self-discipline, accepting that you don’t know everything, embracing challenge and that includes failure, and cultivating your community.

That includes using whatever you need, including media, to find your tribe.

But most importantly act, don’t wait for the right time, be brave, be bold, and do you!

Keep playing anywhere and everywhere you can.

Keep standing up and reading until you can’t stop.

Hang onto that long view, but for goodness sake record some of your shit … all of it: blog writing, letter writing, playing, poetry reading, what the hell ever else and post to your YouTube!

The mini videos and photos, like you share to Instagram, use them and cross post them to YouTube. 

If you don’t want to do it then work out a trade in your network and find a social media manager to do it for you.

Rocker you are missing the boat and there is a whole world full of people like us that will eat you up!

Take it or leave it that is my two cents and a colorful snapshot into my day.

Like I said you can call me Rockette or Sister but I am calling you Freak!

Be Blessed,

Ms. Annie Sells


P.S. Trainer I appreciate you. Keep the good stuff coming, and please work me back into Letter Day. Much has changed since I first composed this letter to you and I think you will find that I have been trying to take my own advice and yours to build my empire.

Published by Ms. Annie Sells

Writer | Photographer | Paddler & Peddler | Gardener | Fur Baby Momma | Foodie | Coffee Lover | Believer in Magic | Trail Junkie | Homesteader

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