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16 tons and a cup of coffee

The alarm clock goes off at 4AM now. Before this week I used my own internal alarm clock, which meant I usually woke up after 7-9 hours of sleep. Not now. Now I’m up with the alarm because my husband (affectionately known as Mr. Truck Driver/Mr. Rockstar) has a local job–no more OTR (Over The Road) for a week or more at a time driving  a 16+ ton 18 wheeler. He’s still driving a big truck, but now he’s driving what is known as a tri-axle or a roll-back. I’m a trucker’s wife, a writer, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a domestic goddess, a photographer, a chauffeur, a counselor, a banker, a secretary, a gardener, a jack of all trades and a master of few since my list could go on and on… 

The perfume commercial from the 80s.and the song…. “I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan…” comes to mind right about now. 

I don’t work outside of the home. In this day and age, I suppose that’s a rarity.  I never thought I’d enjoy staying at home…being a domestic goddess, which is such a sweeter sounding term than “housewife.”  Before this week, when the alarm clock went off I was up making a pot of coffee, organizing Mr. Trucker Driver’s things to take on the road: his clean uniforms, food “stuffs,” personal items such as towels, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc….and sometimes putting them in the trunk of car while he showered and got ready. By the time he was out of the shower, (usually a long one because it might be a couple of days to a week before he could enjoy the luxury of a long, hot shower again–not all truck stops or yards (as his previous company has) allow for such, and at $11 a shower or free if you purchase a certain amount of fuel (at least $300+ in fuel) he often chose to wait until he got to one of his company’s yards (where the minimum amount of time the water stayed warm was about 5 minutes)  he often went without a shower for a couple of days–Thank Goodness for baby wipes.) 

With a cup of coffee in one hand for myself, and a cup of coffee in the other for Mr. Truck Driver…I’d spend a few minutes with him enjoying the first cup of coffee of the morning (sometimes it was 3 AM, other times it was 5 or sometimes it was Sunday evening and he had the night shift so to speak). An 18 wheeler empty weighs approximately 16+ tons, once you put a “load” in the trailer it goes up from there. I went out on the road with him for 5 weeks total. During that time I enjoyed many cups of coffee over the road. The last week I was with him, we saw a big rig (from his company, one of his fellow drivers) turned over on its side at the foot of the Saluda Mountains in the Gorge. The wind toppled it right over. It looked like a giant had flicked it with the his fingers and it had toppled over just like a domino. I saw various trailers swaying back and forth from the force of the wind while we were out that week, but seeing that truck from his company lying on its side like that in the Gorge made my stomach queasy, my heart wrench, and left me with nightmares. When he got the phone call about the local position and wanted to  jump on it even though it doesn’t have benefits, I supported him in that decision. 

My job(s) wouldn’t allow me to do anything else. His safety and well-being are my primary concern. For some people, going OTR is fun, enjoyable, etc… Gives them a sense of freedom out on the open road…and you don’t have someone hovering over you at work either. But for others, being away from home for a week or weeks at a time is depressing–truckers spend an enormous amount of time alone and that life is a lonely one–it’s not for everyone. It’s definitely not for my husband, who values family above all else. I got that sense of freedom, the beautiful back drops that you just don’t get from an office window, the sense of accomplishment that what you’re doing is important even though others take it for granted. Much like a domestic goddess position. Truckers are often looked down on by others, unappreciated, and taken for granted. Without a trucker our groceries wouldn’t be in the grocery store, our gas wouldn’t be at the gas station…how do you think vehicles get to the car lots, or the items on the shelf in Wally World or the hardware store or the drug store or the parts that your plumber, mechanic, heating and air guy, electrician, contractor, etc use… 

Housewives are also another position that is often looked down on, unappreciated, and taken for granted. Luckily, my husband appreciates every thing I do–from the simple things like making coffee and making sure he has one cup to drink on the way and another for later that he can put in his coffee warmer cup, to the larger things like making sure he has clean clothes to wear and clean towels to use, as well as clean sheets to sleep on or making sure he has plenty of food to eat, including veggies and fruits in that. He also supports my writing, as well as my photography, though I don’t get paid to do either. One day I might get paid for one or the other, maybe even both, but for now it’s something I do simply because I love it, because it’s who and how and what I am–a part of me. 

It’s not often that I spring out bed, I’d need an automatic coffee maker next to my bed that actually handed me my cup of coffee right after the alarm clock went off for that to remotely happen–I’m not a morning person, and neither is my husband, but I do look forward to every day. Do I enjoy doing laundry (yes, but I hate folding clothes), do I enjoy doing the dishes (not at all unless we’re doing them together), but my job(s) keep me sane. If I couldn’t write, or take pictures, or some other creative pursuit I would go mad. Just as staying out on the road any longer than he did would have driven him mad. I’ve had that job that sucks the very life out of you and drains you of any and all joy, creativity, and life. When the moment the alarm clock goes off you’re pissed off because it’s a new day but to you it’s just yet another day of drudgery. That “soul-destroying” job that turns you into a drone.  I ended up with ulcers, stress induced panic attacks, headaches, and an overall piss-poor, grumpy attitude. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

My husband was singing “Take this job and shove it…” yesterday afternoon after he was offered the local position and found out he started this morning. Should he have given at least a one week’s notice? Yes. Do I blame him for not doing so? No, not at all. The company he worked for wanted drone’s. They took the human factor out of trucking, and wanted worker bees instead. No don’t think, or need to eat, or rest, or anything else. They didn’t factor in 10 hour breaks that are mandatory by law, or meal breaks, or weather, or traffic, or the weight of the load, or anything else. They didn’t pay for real miles, or even actual practical miles, but some crazy mileage that only a plane or bird could have actually accomplished…My husband called it “as the crow flies” mileage. A straight line from point A to point B, which is impossible in a vehicle, much less a big rig. The new company he’s going to work for is a small company, thus no benefits yet, but they already know his name. He’s more than just a number to them. He won’t be a drone, he’ll actually be part of a team not just a slogan, and he’ll be appreciated. 

Every time I wash a load of clothes, wash dishes, sweep and mop, etc… I am partaking in an activity that 1. doesn’t get done by itself, 2. is appreciated, 3. gives me physical exercise, 4. gives me a break from my desk and writing while allowing me to be part of the team–our home team. For example, yesterday we both were out in the yard with a push lawn mower cutting our lawn. It was a team effort (once we fix the riding lawn mower things will be easier–we have a large backyard and a decent sized front yard, we could fit a pool, a small barn, a shed or three, and a deck in our backyard and still have areas of grass that would need to be cut). When we were finished mowing the lawn Mr. Truck Driver says to me, “Thank you,” and I ask “for what?” and he replies, “for helping me…for being you,” and that’s all the pay I need.  There’s no place I’d rather be than where I am right now. 

DPChallenge: SIxteen Tons: How do you feel about your job? Do you spring out of bed, looking forward to work? Or, is your job a soul-destroying monotony of pure drudgery, or somewhere in between? 

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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Coffee, Daily Prompt, Family, Home, Life, Writing

 

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Writing (on the road) without internet

For the next week I won’t be able to post anything that requires internet. I’ll be writing, but it won’t be on my blog, not even via my phone. I’ll be back on the road with the husband, my third week in a row out on the road with him, but this week my phone will be out of commission and his phone isn’t a smart phone, so the most I might be able to do with it is FB, which I seriously doubt I’ll bother with. I think this will be my week away from all internet distractions. A hiatus from the WEB.

No FB, no email, no Twitter, no blogging, no Googling, no Instagram….Nada. Just me and my laptop and Scrivener. If we were somewhere out there on the road that had free WIFI I could use the D-Link and gain access to the World WIde Web and peruse the internet all those wonderful distractions, but I do NOT think I will. I think a hiatus from the internet is just what I need to get through this part of my novel.

Sure there are some things I need to research but it can wait until I get back home. Good thing I’m not one of those people who worries about my stats.

Yesterday I was thinking about what we did before the internet. Before FB, Twitter, Instagram, Google, etc… Before cell phones. When we remembered telephone numbers. When we played more board games. When I wrote with a Brother Word Processor and was grateful for it because typing on a manual typewriter is hard work, and so is an electric one when it comes to errors (White Out is helpful but…) and as I thought about writing my term papers on that electric typewriter, which meant using footnotes, and praying you didn’t make any errors because that meant typing the page all over again because my teachers would mark your paper with all kinds of red ink if you used White-Out. I remember when I had to work harder to get a few chapters written but the words came easier in part because I didn’t have so many distractions.

This week I’m going to concentrate on the writing. I’ll miss blogging. I’ll miss FB and Instagram…But I won’t miss being distracted.

Hope everyone has a good week. I’ll catch up with things on the Reader this weekend, and write a few posts. Right now it’s time for me to get some much needed sleep.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Life, Scrivener, Traveling, Writing

 

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Gallery

Sunsets Over the Road

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First picture is of the sunset today in Lexington,Kentucky. Second was the sunset in Panama City, Florida. Third was in Summerville, SC. Breathtaking. No other words necessary.  Will add other sunsetd later from the pics I took on my Canon. These were taken with my phone and don’t really do the sunsets justice.

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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Life, Pictures, Traveling

 

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Best thing ever

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My dad got my husband one of these for my husband to use while he is on the road and it is the best thing ever. It can actually cook soup it gets so hot. Right now it is warming my coffee that I brought with me (I made it early this morning before we left so I’d have a cup to take with me.) Once mine is hot I’ll pour it back in my regular mug and warm the Mr.’s. One cup of coffee is just not enough– not for this coffee addict.
So we are back on the road. A little of the initial excitement has worn off, but I am still excited. After we drop off this load and pick up the next in Summerville, SC we will be headed to Kentucky. Last time we went to Kentucky it was covered in snow and absolutely gorgeous. They keep their roads clear, which was great.
Well, I am about to get the laptop out and work on my novel. I really need to get one of those Wi-Fi’s to go, then again it is nice being able to write without all the distractions of the internet.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Coffee, Life, Traveling, Writing

 

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All through the house

Not a creature is stirring, not even the spouse

The gran is asleep, both girls are too

It’s just me and you…

Family night was a blast, but wore me out–I’m actually too tired and wound up to sleep. Mr. Rockstar/Truck Driver is asleep in his recliner. He feel asleep fifteen or twenty minutes into the the move. The Man of Steel. As I watched it I wondered about how many Superman moves there have been. I grew up watching Superman, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk (Lou F), Aqua Man, Batman, and a few others. Wonder Woman was a hero in my book. She was strong, brave, and a beautiful female. I wanted to be just like Wonder Woman when I grew up.

As I got older and began to understand that not only would I not look like Wonder Woman, but in real life the only thing I might ever have that was invisible was my deodorant, and that was on a good day. If my life were a movie or a television series, the kitchen would just be clean, the food would put itself away, the laundry would be done and folded and put away without me having to do it all–Laundry, oh you mean someone has to do that? i don’t just have clean clothes? They don’t just put themselves neatly into my dresser or closet?

After being on the road with my husband for the past week we got home and unpacked the car. I checked the mail. I started a load of laundry. I text messaged my daughter to let her know we made it back. Called Mr. Rockstar’s parents to let them know we were back. I opened the bag of dirty laundry and sorted through it. Darks in one pile and lights in another. I took a shower and shaved my gorilla like legs and armpits (yes we showered while we were on the road but I didn’t have the time or luxury to shave) and washed my snarly,knotted hair. After the shower I felt like a real live human being again.

I doubt if Wonder Woman ever had to worry about snarls in her gorgeous, silky hair. After the shower and a clean set of clothes I was ready to tackle the rest of the afternoon, or so I thought. We’d decided to have a family day once we got back from being on the road. Mr. Rockstar would pick up his daughter around 4, my daughter and grandson were coming over, and we were going to go to the grocery store. Get some stuff to cook on the grill. Make some cookies. Get a move from RedBox. We ended up having a delicious meal: steaks, shrimp with onions, bell peppers and mushrooms on the grill. Baked potatoes. Garlic bread, Broccoli with cheese. And squash and zucchini. My daughter made the homemade chocolate chip cookies while my husband grilled the steaks and I watched the little man. (I was also still doing laundry.)

I downloaded the pictures from the week, but I put them on my desktop and the pack-n-play and the baby are in my writing room asleep. I’m on the laptop so I won’t be able to do anything with the pics until I can get to my desktop. Tomorrow I’ll write the official post about my experiences on the road with my husband then. I didn’t get to write as much as I wanted to. It’s hard to write on a laptop when you’re bouncing around, or when the sun’s glare makes it nearly impossible to see the screen, or when…Excuses I know. I had my notebook with me and could have written out a few things the old fashioned wiay–with pen and paper. But I did get some really great pictures and I can’t wait to share them.

Now it’s time for me to turn in. I’ve had a really long week and I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Family, Home, Life, Traveling, Writing

 

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Sunrise

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It’s the end of the week and we are about to get coffee and hit the road. We’ve traveled thru: SC, NC, AL, GA, MS,LA, and back thru some of the same states. It’s sunrise in GA and we are about head home. Being in such tight quarters is intimate, but we have managed to make the most of it. I have actually gotten quite a lot of writing done. I have also taken a lot of photographs with my camera. This picture was taken with my phone. Sorry for the poor quality.
Monday morning I head out with him again and hopefully we’ll go to different places than we did this week. I am collecting post cards for myself and one of my sister-in-law’s. I am putting mine in my Smash Book. I am learning a great deal about the country, being a trucker, my husband, and life in general. I think I am going to make one of my female characters a truck driver.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Coffee, Life, Traveling, Writing

 

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Part of the experience

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So we are in Atlanta’s 5 o’clock traffic on 285 and it sucks. People texting as they drive and almost running into other vehicles or big trucks, people cutting front of you–not a smart thing to do to a big truck since they aren’t able to stop on a dime…and the exhaust smells–ugh!

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Life, Traveling

 

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