Up until the end of August, Roy was a long-haul truck driver. After six years as an owner/operator hauling mostly lumber or pipe into the States, the thrill is gone.
To blame are the worsening economy in the U.S. and the stronger Canadian dollar. Overall, both the number of loads and price per load have dropped. The downtime waiting for a reload has grown from a few hours to as many six days.
Those were days spent in American truck stops: all hard time if you don’t have a girlfriend or go to casinos or bars. All he could think of were the jobs waiting for him at home. Maddening. Increasing friction with his dispatcher was the last straw.
The usual month or so he takes off for harvest is turning into four months. The grand plan is to juggle working for a new firm (doing hourly work pulling a winch trailer in Alberta) with pulling his own gravel trailer. All of the construction slated for Edmonton ? Fort Saskatchewan ? Redwater should mean some lucrative work for gravel haulers close to home?as long as the bottom doesn’t fall out of the Alberta economy.
I think Roy finally acknowledges what I’ve known for some time. The sleep deprivation and poor eating habits were taking years off his life.
It’s been good to have him home. He needed the downtime. He needed to sleep in, improve his eating habits, and tackle some jobs that have been put off for years. For a guy who never ate breakfast, starting each day with porridge has been a shock to the system. He’s eaten more fish and salads in the last three months than in the last six years.
Taking one evening to install the organizer in my closet has earned him mucho brownie points. We’ve been stumbling around the component pieces for over a year now. (Men, if there’s one way to a woman’s heart, it’s through a well-organized closet.) Unfortunately it’s not any bigger, but it functions so much better. Thanks, hon.
After spending years sleeping in the bunk of a truck Roy continues to be amazed at the silence of a country night and the comfort of his own bed. He’s sleeping more and rarely sets an alarm.
He also has more time for family and friends and for frittering away whole days.
We’ve logged quite a few miles in the new Honda, running errands, Christmas shopping, buying the new gravel trailer and related accoutrements, seeing doctors, doing procedures.
This level of togetherness can break a couple. Thankfully we’ve got 34 years of practice to fall back on. An abiding love and quirky sense of humour have saved the day on more than one occasion. It’s almost like a preview of retirement.
That said, it’s time to get back to work, from where I sit.