CDLLife guest writer Melissa Cook, of My Crazy Life as a Trucker’s Wife, recently hit the road with her husband, Steve. Here she gives tips to new drivers’ wives or the new wives’ of drivers.
By Melissa Cook
“I might as well start making some of the money back that I put in to getting this expensive license,” He said.
I, being the supportive wife, agreed and urged him to follow his heart and to just make sure this was what he wanted to do. His decision to do so is why I am able to write this article today.
I always have had a fear of big trucks, but I decided to overcome my fear and take a trip to see exactly what my husband goes through on a daily basis. Boy was I in for a surprise! If you have never been out on the road before but plan to, here is a list of items that were helpful:
A) Shower Slides/Flip Flops – I don’t care if they say the showers are “freshly” cleaned… I am NOT standing barefoot in that bathroom. No way! You have no idea what Bubba did before you in that shower, or if you have some kid working for minimum wage cleaning showers that’s anxious to go to lunch and did a spot clean.
B) Baby Wipes – These were useful for getting grease and dirt off my hands when I helped Steve tarp and chain.
C) Bottled Water – Not only for drinking, but if you find yourself sleeping in a parking lot somewhere you can still freshen up and brush your teeth.
D) Small Electronics – Laptop, IPad and my phone were great. My husband slept more than I did, so these items kept me company.
E) Book, crossword puzzles and magazines – These were good when we were waiting to get loaded.
F) Gum or Mints – Climbing mountains is just like going up in a plane. Your ears do indeed pop, so these are good to chew to relieve the pressure.
The list can go on and on, but these were the few that I found most useful. Of course you have your normal items such as clothing, toiletries, blankets & pillows, extra pair of shoes and an umbrella. Some of the parking lots are quite big and being stuck in a truck having to use the restroom in the pouring rain really stinks!
A few things that I learned and witnessed in my 8 days on the road really opened my eyes to the whole experience and what our spouses really go through when they are not at home.
We ate at a truck stop diner one night, and there were six men all alone eating. One was discussing with his wife about bills, another was telling his spouse he missed her and the last one was listening to his children read a story book. They all looked so sad and alone. It broke my heart.
I said to Steve, “This is how you look when talking to me while waiting for your food, huh?”
He said, “Pretty much!”
I used to get mad at him when he would call me and tell me he was relaxing at his grandmothers home or he was out running his RC car with the other truck drivers that had one as well.
I thought about it one night– he has more responsibility than I could ever THINK about having during the day. He drives this monster vehicle everyday and has to keep it in check. He has to know what’s around him all the time. You have your GPS going off, the CB going off, cars riding in your blind spot, loads could cancel, tarps and chains can get stolen. He’s out there driving 3-6 weeks at a time, paying all the bills for his family, and he don’t even have the opportunity to enjoy what he is paying for but 5-7 days every 2 months.
I used to call him with everything that went wrong. Not anymore! Bills, broken windows and car problems can wait. If your spouse is anything like mine, then you know they will worry all the way until it’s time to come home. He does not need the silly household added stress on his shoulders.
I hear horror stories about truckers who cheat or their spouses always accuse them of being unfaithful. If your call goes unanswered, don’t automatically think your trucker is up to no good! Remember: They have a job to do! I call 1 time and if he doesn’t answer I know its because he is either loading/unloading, showering, sleeping or in traffic. He calls me back when he can. Most trucks have GPS on them or there are GPS apps for smart phones that can tell you exactly where your driver is.
I respect my gear jammin’ flatbed haulin’ asphalt cowboy for everything he does for his family and yours. Not all women are made to be truckers wives. It takes a special breed of ladies. We have to be in 10 places at once and that is no easy task. Remember the words trust and communication. If you have that, then everything else should just fall into place.