Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home and Recovering

Well I got my procedure done at the Nacogdoches Surgery Center and I am at home and doing well.  I had a slight fever last night, but nothing too concerning.  Sarah took one look at me and said, "that's a scary looking face lift your got there."

My sweet wife is fussing over me and putting up with my convalescence like an angel.  It is soooo good to be here with her.  I have been teasing her over the past week and saying that I was going to lay up in the bed and be as much trouble as I can, but in reality I'm wanting to help her with things around the house, and she won't let me because the doctor doesn't want me to exert myself.

Here's what I looked like when I got home from the hospital:

Later when I removed the ice pack and bandages I got to see my new look.  It was a little scary - I'll have to get used to it, and so will my friends and family.  It looks like what Sarah said, "a scary looking face lift."  Here's my new look:

I'm doing well, and feeling pretty good.  I had a little fever last night, but it is gone this morning.  I'm happy to be home, but ready to get back to work also - such a conflict of desires at times.  It is a difficulty having a job that requires you to be gone, but it makes your time at home that much sweeter!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Going Home, But Not Because I Want To

Don't get me wrong, I love getting to go home, but this time I'm going home for some surgery.  I've got a skin cancer situation that I'm going to have to deal with, and I'm scheduled for surgery on Wednesday this week.  Today is Monday, and I'm down in Corpus Christi, but as soon as I finish up down here I'll be heading home - I should be there tonight.

We'll just have to see how this all turns out, I may even lose an eyebrow in the process.  It's not certain how extensive the tumor is and they really won't know until they get in there and start cutting away the tissue.  I'm not really looking forward to this, but it must be done.

On another note I was really wanting to be home this week because I got sick on the road.  I think I got some sort of food poisoning.  I was throwing up and having severe diarrhea - not a good combination of problems when you are trying to drive a truck.  I felt like a little kid who just wanted his mommy!  I knew if I could just get to my wife, she could make it all better, but alas I was too far away to benefit from her gentle ministrations.  Oh well, I will soon be home, and I plan on laying up in the bed and being as much trouble as I can for a few days!

Friday, April 15, 2016

While You Slept

Many times I find that I have to drive all night on this dedicated account for SAPA.  The trip that I just finished up into several states which was supposed to end in Grand Rapids, MI had one little glitch in it, the first customer in Columbia, MO rejected their freight because they apparently had specified that their part of the load be loaded on the back of the trailer because they can't get their fork lift out of the building to unload me from the side and they needed me to back up into a dock so they could unload it from the back.  So, I worked out an arrangement with them that I would go and deliver everything else and then I would have my last customer in Grand Rapids move the material to the back so I could come back through Columbia and deliver it.  That all worked out fine, plus it allowed me to get another 535 miles on my load, because it was SAPA's mistake.  We talked about it on the phone and they agreed to add the miles onto my dispatch order.  I'm sorry, I'm getting all bogged down in the details, but what I was trying to tell you is that I had to drive all through the night for three nights in a row, plus a little bit of day time driving to make everything work out right on that load.

It is not uncommon for me to work while most of the country is sleeping.  Even tonight I will be driving all night back to Delhi where I will pick up a load tomorrow that is bound for North Collins, New York.  It will need to be there Monday, so I will be driving all through the nights on Saturday and Sunday to make it work out right.  Driving at night removes all the nice things that you get to see, but it also takes away a lot of the problems with traffic and crazy drivers.  I know when I was growing up my mom would always warn me about being out at night, and as a parent I understand those concerns, but when you are travelling like I do, the night shift can be a welcome surprise at how peaceful and quiet it is with out all the cars on the road.  I have had cars do some amazingly stupid things around my truck in the day time, but I only can recall one such incident like that which has happened at night.

When you go to the store to pick up your favorite brand of toilet paper, or that special box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, just remember there was probably some dedicated truck driver who drove all through the night so you'd have the convenience of having what you need at your fingertips.  I recently heard about a city that was implementing an ordinance against any eighteen wheelers coming to their city.  Well, that was kind of dumb!  I guess they'll re-consider when they find they can't even get the goods they are accustomed to having on the shelf in their stores.  Almost everything we purchase or consume makes it's way to us on a truck, and often times the driver was driving through the dark of the night.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Simple Pleasures For A Simple Man

The life of an over the road truck driver is not easy, which is probably one of the reasons that this industry has a 100% turn-over rate.  Part of that is attributed to people job hopping for a slight increase in their wages, but most of it is new people who try to give it a go and then realize how difficult it is to live on the road away from all that makes life secure and comfortable.  Familiarity and comfort with your surroundings are transient pleasures, at the most, for an over the road driver.  I won't deny that I actually enjoy this job, but it can be very trying at times.  I completely understand the paradoxical stories from veteran truckers whom I've talked with who tell me stories of growing weary of the road, so they hang up their keys and settle in at home only to find in a few weeks that they are missing the road.  I miss my family terribly at times, and I know that my being gone causes them issues also, but we all do our best to make it work.  For us, this job was a God-send, and we try to keep that in focus.

It is a strange life out here.  I've been doing this for almost three years now, and just recently I've realized that I am starting to have friends all across the country that recognize me and are glad to see me when I randomly show up at their places of business.  Just the other day I stepped into R.J.'s Cafe in North Collins New York to be greeted by the owner with "Hello stranger, where have you been?" Of course I couldn't really answer the question because she didn't have the time to hear all the places I've been since I was there probably something like four months ago, but it kind of feels good having somebody recognize you every once in a while.  In my hometown, my kids were always amazed, if not vexed, that everywhere we went there would almost always be somebody that would come over and greet me at any public place we visited.  I've made a lot of friends over the years, but this job removes you from all those things that are familiar and comfortable to you.  I am so constantly on the move that I seldom ever rest in one place for any length of time.  The sun may rise on me in one state and then set on me three or four states away each day

I have learned to settle for a different type of satisfaction or pleasure if you will.  I'm sitting in Dandridge, TN today and will leave here at about two o'clock in the morning heading to Delhi, Louisiana to pick up a load that has nine different stops on it.  The stops run like this: first stop is Columbia, MO, then Evansville, IN - Louisville, KY - Hebron, KY - Greenfield, IN - Aurora, IL - Sturgeon Bay WI - Dowagiac, MI and then finally into Grand Rapids, MI.  They wanted me to run a load right back up to the Northeast but it needed to be in Riverdale, N.J. first thing Monday and I couldn't get it there until about ten o'clock Monday morning with my available hours, so I had to decline the load.  My good friend Habakkuk will run that load.  He is coming off of his home time and has a full clock available to him.  Okay, I'm getting all distracted from my subject of simple pleasures - here is what I wanted to share with you - the things that brought a little pleasure to my life and formed a bit of a smile on my face recently as I was running this last load from Louisiana up into Upstate New York.

-The dogwoods and red-buds in bloom all along the I-40 and I-81 corridor through Tennessee and Virginia.

-An old simple white farm house and red barn pleasantly situated in a verdant valley in Virginia.

-A small flock of Turkey hens on the side of the road with a proud looking Tom, just concealed in the edge of the woods nearby, standing tall and looking with pride over his little harem as they feed in the grasses along the interstate.

-At least a quarter mile of Wisteria in full bloom hanging from eighty or ninety feet up in the trees and cascading all the way down to the ground along the edge of the roadway.

-A single blue bird perched atop a fence post, satisfactorily surveying an open field before her that promises a horde of insects that she can feed to her brood this year.

-A group of ten or twelve white-tail does grazing along the roadside with their heads bobbing up and down, looking for all the world like pop-corn popping in a skillet, and wagging their short little tails like ducklings who just can't seem to be satisfied with where God made it to hang naturally.

-The seemingly new invasion of grey hair I noticed as I was hanging my head out the window to catch a reflection of myself in my side-view mirror as I combed my overly long hair. (I need a haircut)

-Bright yellow daffodils, and intensely red tulips in bloom.

I could go on and on, but I see so many things that they all begin to run together in a blur.  It really is like living three or four lifetimes when you are out here moving around the country like I do.  All of these things managed to bring a little satisfaction and contentment to me as I made my way along the all too familiar route from Louisiana up into the Northeast quadrant of this great land.  Even though I am familiar with the route there is always something new to give a little variety and pleasure to my daily tasks.