July 31, 2012

Monthly Chores and a "Tour"

 The end of July. Can you believe it? I know it's been asked a million times over the ages, but....

Where did this month go? For that matter, what happened to 2012? It flew by when I wasn't looking!

The end of the month brings with it a paperwork job for me.

Every month, at the end, I have to print off our trip sheets that I've created at each delivery.
We have to report to the government how many miles we drive in each state, keeping record of the odometer reading as we enter and leave the states to prove the mileage we report.

In addition we have to report the gallons of fuel purchased and the amount spent on fuel in each state during that month.

I have to match up each trip sheet with the fuel receipts that go with that trip.

And then we mail them, or drop them off if we're passing through, to our prorate service.

Our prorate service is wonderful. They take care of all our permits, vehicle registration renewals, and calculate our fuel taxes each quarter for us. Then they just tell us how much we owe. I'll gladly pay them to do all that, so I don't have to worry about getting it done correcly. I've heard it's easy, but they are good and they are afordable and I am happy to let them do it for me. One less thing!

Another age old argument.....
If we fought for freedom from England in part due to their taxing taxing taxing (without representation I know), then how on earth did we get to this point where we are taxed taxed taxed?

We pay an annual "Heavy Highway Use" tax of $550 because we drive on the roads and cause wear and tear. But then we also pay a quarterly tax based on how many miles we drove in each state and how much fuel we bought in that state, and so on and so on.....(rolling eyes and heaving sigh of irritation).

I'll stop the complaints because regardless of all those frustrations, we still have a TON of privileges compared to other countries and I wouldn't trade for a million trillion dollars. I just hope we can hold on to all those privileges. But I'm not going to get on a political soap box here, so don't worry. You can keep reading and not get preached at.

For the month of July, we drove roughly 19,000 miles and spent somewhere around $13,000 on fuel. Last year, third quarter IFTA was a light bill because we basically were home for most of July and August helping to hay. This year, there is no hay to cut, so we'll be on the road all of third quarter, racking up miles and fuel expenses. We'll see what kind of impact that has come tax time next Spring.

This morning, we're in Sunnyside, WA. Isn't that a delightful name for a town? We've not been here in over a year, which is a real tragedy on the culinary experience. We found a little hole in the all Mexican restaurant here a couple years ago, that we really love and we've missed it! So last night I had tacos and Malcolm had Carne Asada and then we enjoyed Fresas con Crema for desert, because we've not found a place that makes it to compare to this one.

As soon as we're unloaded here, we'll head to Boardman, OR to pick up potatoes. But on our way out of Sunnyside, we'll stop at the dingy little truck stop that happens to have the best ever taquitos. I'll have one with chicken and cheese, and one (I can't wait!) with cherries and rolled in cinnamon sugar! Yes, we do love this little town of Sunnyside. Wish we passed by more often! Breakfast is going to be good!

As I was in the back working on my paperwork, I realized I've never given you the official tour of the new truck, and someone even requested it! I'm sorry! Let me show you around.

This truck is a 1999 Kenworth (I think it's a 900L?...but that's more Malcolm's knowledge and he's not in here).

You've already seen the outside, but here's a reminder photo.
Some have asked, or wondered but didn't ask, why we've bought an older truck with less room and more miles. There are three good reasons:
1. it's Malcolm's dream truck
2. the payment is SOOOOOO much smaller than the newer trucks
3. more than likely (unless I change my mind so don't hold me to it) Paris, Ella, and I are abandoning ship come the end of the year (or next Spring) and Malcolm and Carlie Jean are going out solo. So we figured we could live with being a little cramped for a few months so that he can have his dream truck with the smaller payment.

As far as the cab goes, there's about the same amount of room.

Unlike the old truck, where the cab had a rubber mat covering the entire floor, this one is carpeted all the way through. In addition, the exhaust system crosses under the truck right beneath the seats. The girls quickly discovered that this set up means they have a heated AND carpeted space to lay on. And they all three take advantage of it frequently, especially Paris, the sun/fire worshiper.

The sleeper is where we got a little crunched. This truck is what is referred to as a "flat top sleeper." It looks cool! It looks classic. But it means we lost some space. Regardless, it was fairly easily managed. We left some things at home that we hardly ever use, like the TV and DVD player and I don't carry around so many books and magazines. I have my Kindle now and that solved that issue.

the home office and clothes closet
We have to store the dog food and water bottles in the side box and access them from the outside of the truck, but that's not a big deal. It's tight, but cozy, and we adjusted quickly and are pretty comfortable.

the rest of the home office, clothes closet, and food pantry. I found those woven buckets at Bed Bath and Beyond and they fit perfectly! Works good since there aren't any doors or curtains on these storage spaces like in the former truck.
The flat top sleeper also means we lost a bed! The other truck, which was the traditional modern style, had bunk beds in back. Top bunk for me and Paris, bottom for Malcolm and the other two girls. Now we're in the flat top, with one bed, a slightly larger than average twin size bed I might add, which makes for forced snuggling. The girls have been ousted and now sleep on a blanket pallet in the floor, something they were not to impressed with at first, but have adjusted to. And in the mornings, as soon as Malcolm starts to get out of bed, they all three waste no time in reclaiming their spots under the covers in the bed.
one perk is we lost a bed but we gained a window. This truck has a window on the back wall with a lovely boring view of the front of the trailer. But is sure does let in lots more sunshine and us girls like that. He'll just have to wait to live in a "man cave" till three of us have moved out.
Our girls are not early risers. It was 7:50 when I took these pictures and we'd been up since 6:15. Don't see the girls anywhere in these pictures do you? Look closer. See the lumps under the covers?
The running joke in here is that Ella is always saying that she doesn't sleep so good on the floor. So as soon as we've abandoned the bed, the girls move in, and catch a few more moments of sleep. Eventually they emerge, more rested I supposed.

Paris was first this morning. She must have been warm and happy because she immediately started bouncing and wallowing all over the bed, which disturbed the beauty rest....

another lump rises
....of Ella. Ella is funny. Of the three, she is the biggest (literally and figuratively) sleepy head. She doesn't "do" mornings. If we get her up before 7:30 to go potty, you can almost certainly count on her being half asleep for the job and immediately returning to bed when we get back in. She is never fully awake and energized till at least 8:00am.
And now it's an hour later, 8:50am, and I have yet to see Carlie Jean. She's still under the covers. She hasn't emerged yet. Ella and Paris have curled back up for another nap, but they are at least on top of the covers now where they can see what's going on. They like their pillow piles, especially Paris.
Sorry for the blurry images of the girls. Without the flash, any movement from them almost always makes the picture blurred. But, smart girls, they have figured out that when the flash is on, there is a sensor light on the camera and when they see that light up, they turn their faces away. It has ruined many a cute moment. So I try to leave the flash off and accept blurred ears and tails.

Yesterday we delivered sunflower seed chips to a bird seed company north of Spokane.
Then we drove south to Pasco and loaded meal which we brought over here to Sunnyside. Now we're just about finished here and heading just across the border, about 75 miles, to pick up some potatoes in Oregon. And tomorrow we'll be back in North Dakota, and then heading home for a few days, maybe a week. Maybe longer, we'll see. Might possibly have a local job to do, if the timing is right and if that's the case we'll stay a few extra days to get that done.

PS: If your curious and missed it three years ago (?????THREE YEARS AGO????? REALLY????) here's a link to when I gave the tour of our then new, but now "old" truck. You can compare and see the differences. I like the new truck better. It feels more western, more cozy, the colors are prettier, and so on.


Muffy's Marks said...

Thanks for the tour, I've never seen the inside of a sleeper before. Safe travels and enjoy your 'new' truck!

Dreaming said...

Thanks for the tour. I have ALWAYS wanted to see inside the sleeper cab of a truck!
The girls are hysterical about their lazy mornings! Gypsy and Tucker can only wish they could do something like that! With their hair, we'd never want them near our bed - it's bad enough that we have dog hair all over the back seat of the truck!

Meagan said...

Great post!!!! I am so glad to finally get a tour of the new truck! Looks cozy.. I'm glad everyone has adjusted so easily AND so excited to hear that you might stay home next year! OMG - I can only imagine the sewing, reading, cooking, blogging, and horse-ing that will go on! Woohoo!!!!

Paperwork = no fun. I knew you had lots of paperwork, but seriously? Exact milage and gas for every state? That's a little excessive! Yuck!

Love and Miss you!!!! xoxo!

Michaele said...

Oh I just love coming here. I have never seen the sleeping area in a truck before and ALWAYS wanted to. It looks so cozy. The girls are hilarious as always and the way you write about them just makes me giggle out loud. Thanks for taking us along once again : )

MTWaggin said...

Sarah, Thanks for the tour of the new rig and hope you are going to get some home time soon. Enjoyed reading about the extra paperwork...I never realized how detailed of records are needed when trucking.

Shirley said...

I hate paperwork and tend to put it off util it's an emergency to get it done. Uck!
Your dogs are precious, such characters. So what are your plans when you stop trucking, are you going to be a full time farm girl?

thecrazysheeplady said...

Definitely more style to Malcolm's dream truck!