Considering The State of The Empire

Corbin, Kentucky. I stopped at the Love’s to take a nap. As usual I was here longer than I meant to be, but I’m still good. My load is going to Burlington, Wisconsin, which is around Milwaukee. On the way up U.S. Xpress set my appointment for 15:00 tomorrow, so I’m in no real hurry anymore (good thing, because I needed the nap). I feel a little strange at the moment. I turned down that job offer today, and I woke up thinking about how strange it was to be pretty much all set to jump ship and go with this job this morning, but be dead set against by this afternoon. Mara is my reason for turning it down. She brought up a very valid point. Insurance. On that job I would be working through a temp agency for 3 months (I despise the very concept of a temp agency) which does not provide insurance of any sort. Dude said there would be insurance once I was brought on permanently by the trucking company I’d be working for, but that would leave Mara and I in a vulnerable position. Neither of us expect any problems, but until her hand is completely healed, we can’t afford to be without insurance. If anything were to go wrong with her hand and she were to need additional surgery or therapy, we couldn’t afford it without insurance.
I haven’t given up on the idea of leaving U.S. Xpress. I’m not going to sit out here and starve and be content with scraps from Max Fuller’s table. But we have to play this smart. We can’t put ourselves in a vulnerable position. Experience has shown that whenever we have, life has had a tendency to kick us in the teeth. As much as I liked the idea of working for a small operation, I have to admit that there is security with The Borg. And while I may be hoping to leave a big company, at this point I wonder if I’ll just be going over to another big company, albeit one with local jobs, such Con-Way, Estes, etc. I still prefer the idea of being home every night, athough transportation is still a problem because we only have one car. I may consider fantasies about getting the Thunderbird back on the road, but I don’t know that we could afford gas for that bitch.
Anyway, I’m here at U.S. Xpress for the foreseeable future. I’ll be surprised if I’m still here come Christmas, but I’m not going to do anything drastic. Right now all I’m thinking about is going home next week and having four or more days off. That’s what I need. I’ve been getting home a good bit, and I’ve enjoyed that, but that’s not the same as knowing that you have a few days to do nothing at all if you wish. I’ll unwind next week and then look at my options. Hell, I may put in a few applications. But I don’t know if I should look for a local job right now. Mara doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to get back to work. If I get a job first and have to use the car, Mara may never get back to work. Hehe. I wish I could make the kind of money where she could stay home and play Everquest all day, but that doesn’t seem likely. We’re not going to be able to pay our bills without two paychecks, and that’s just a fact of life.
Mama’s worried to death about all these changes. Mama wouldn’t care if we had to dig ditches in piles of shit with demons flailing the flesh from out backs if it paid good. She was trying, in her way, to tell me this morning that she was worried about me fucking up by switching jobs. “That’s why I was worried about ya’ll taking on all these bills” (like we had a choice). “That’s why I talked about getting an apartment. I’m too old to be worrying about all this.” Mama frustrates the hell out of me sometimes. But in the end, it’s just because she doesn’t think. At this, for Mara and I both, it’s not so much about making a lot of money as it is about quality of life. Mama will never know what it cost us physically and emotionally to run that dedicated run for a year and a half. All Mama knows is that we made a lot of money and the bills were not a problem. I don’t blame her for like that part of it, but I wish she could understand the rest. Hell, I look back on those weeks of $1,500 take-home pay for Mara and I together and wish that we were making that kind of money now. Mama said that she had kind of thought that Mara might get back on the truck after she healed, but I think it’s beginning to dawn on her that this isn’t going to happen. Now she’s kind of trying to nudge us in that direction. It makes Mama sound bad to say this, and I certainly don’t mean to. I love Mama, and I think the world of her. But she doesn’t think these things through. All she knows is that we made better money when we were driving as a team, and that from what we’ve told her there’s no way we’ll make that kind of money at home. She doesn’t understand that what it cost us physically and emotionally to make all that money was in no way compensated by the paycheck.
Well, I’m sure I could sit here for half the night and grind out issues and concerns, but I’d better get moving. I’ll finish up this run in smaller shifts, since I don’t really have the option of taking a full 10 hour break. Well, I could, but I’m not in the mood to drive the rest of the way in tomorrow in one shift. And I still hope to get through Chicago in the middle of the night. This is one of those times that call for creative logging. I should write a book.

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