NIght Shifts and How We’re Adjusting

When J.O took on this new job, we knew two things:

1. There would be A LOT of hours

2. The majority of them would be on a night shift

With that being said, there is no reason for us to complain, we knew what we were getting into. I should note, that I use the term ‘we” here because it’s an adjustment for us both.

You may have read my post from earlier this summer where I discussed that with every job there is a give and a take. This is no exception; long hours, new sleeping schedule < located in one city for up to two years, great crew and lots of “double bubble” time.

For the past two weeks, we have both been getting used to this new crazy schedule. J.O is working 6-7 days (or should I say, nights) a week and each shift is on average 12-16 hours long.  This past week alone, he’ll have close to over 100 hours under his belt. Ufft-dah! I’ll admit, I was nervous on how long it would take us to adjust, how long it would take for it to feel like a normal routine. Would I hate it? Would he hate it? Was the gamble we made on leaving the last job to get onto this job worth it? To my surprise, it didn’t take that long to get used to, J.O loves it, I don’t hate it and so far, yes, it’s been worth the gamble.

Our country’s linemen are fearless and tireless animals. If someone told me that I had to work from 7pm to 11am, I think I would cry. Not only am I the furthest thing from a night owl, but a 16 hours work day? ICK. But, these guys jump in at it. They know that because it’s the only time that major businesses can deal with a power outage, it’s the only time that the work can get done. A power outage that is needed for the company’s electrical supply to be upgraded just to ensure that they can have power the next day. Side note: It’s sad that everyone is so reliant on electricity that they can’t shut down shop for one day to ensure their power supply for the days ahead; thus, putting those that secure their electrical supply in the position to have to work crazy hours. I guarantee that the majority of people don’t think twice about how their power stays on day after day.

So, with these new hours, our lives have altered just a bit and like I said, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be! J.O. had a bit of trouble falling asleep during the day at first, but now he comes home and it’s no problem at all. My day now starts with either a nudge from the Long Dog telling me to get up or a call from J.O telling me he’s 5 minuets away and to please unlock the door. No, I don’t sleep in until 11am, he calls me on the days that he gets off before 6am :) Once he gets home, (no matter what time) I take his things, he unties his boots and I pour him a beer and myself a coffee: as he unwinds from his day, I am getting mine going. We talk about our evening and as soon as he gets that sleepy look in his eye, I leave him and take Long Dog on a walk, hoping that he’ll be asleep soon. We have completely blacked out our bedroom, and I am so thankful that we have a 5th wheel where the bedroom is completely separate from the rest of the living quarters. While he is sleeping, I’m able to go about my normal daily routine. I run, clean, go do laundry, get things done for NSUJL, cook and best of all, I now have a vehicle to use EVERY day to run errands! No more planning out which days I’ll drive him to work so that I can use the truck (simple pleasures :) ). I still go about making the same meals for our dinners too, he just now has them in his “lunch” pail.

My days really are no different then they were before and I seem to have found some added comfort in him being home durning the day, even though he is sleeping. It feels good knowing that he is at home with me. It’s like he’s at home sick! He sleeps roughly 5.5-7 hours and then when he wakes, our conversations and time together seems more alert than when he worked days. I don’t know how to explain it, but before, I’d barely saw him but to give a kiss goodbye in the morning (both of us still groggy and in a rush) and when he came home we were both so tired from the day that we seemed to just zone out. Now, things seem to be on a different time table: not so rushed, similar but different. We go on walks with the lone dog if there is time and it’s like a lazy Sunday afternoon when he wakes.

Once I send him off for the night, I eat my dinner, walk the long dog one last time, lock the door, watch whatever I want on TV (little added bonus!) and when I’m ready to hit the hay, I send him a text to say goodnight, and that I’ll see him when I wake. Sleeping by myself has been the hardest part. Having a big bed all to myself is not easy to get used to. Long dog is LOVING the extra space, but I’m only thankful for his warmth, that helps fill the void a little bit. That and holding on to two pillows; one in my arms and one with a leg draped over it. I find myself waking up more in the middle of the night, but I’m now comforted by the text from J.O I find on my phone in reply to my goodnight text.

Monday, we move to a new RV park in Pacifica so that J.O will be closer to his show up. If all goes as planned, we’ll be settled there until at least April!

This past Friday, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and although we weren’t able to do the traditional ‘out on the town’ dinner, we were still able to have our dessert, make our favorite meal from when we first started dating (sausage and peppers pasta) and exchange cards and gifts. Even after a 16 hour night shift, my lineman went out and bought me flowers and a card, came home with a smile and a kiss and I was able to spend the entire day with him being at home (even if he was sleeping). That night, I did what I do every year on our anniversary while he is at work, I watched our wedding video and as always it was fantastic. Just goes to show that even with a 180 degree turn on a time schedule, traditions don’t have to be broken and it’s all in how you look at things.

anniversary flowers

anniversary flowers

Leave a Reply