By: Heidi O.
Most people only see the fact that we travel together or that we just get to be with our spouses all the time. Have YOU ever been in a CONFINED space with your significant other for an extended period of time? It is definitely NOT all roses and sparkling rainbows. Matter of fact, living on the road can almost be compared to locking yourself in the bathroom with your significant other for a few days without the comforts of the bathroom.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that some of the spouses at home are “envious” or “jealous” or some just plain “irritated” that some spouses get to be on the road all the time with our drivers. The person actually said to me that they were irritated because spouses on the road “whine” about things and they have it made. “Have it made” you say….hmmmm, have you EVER been on a semi or better yet, have you LIVED on a semi?
Well, let me tell you from a few ladies point of view what YOU are missing.
You have a bathroom in your home you can walk into and use at your leisure. We do NOT. Some of us have to wait for miles and miles to find a rest area or truck stop to pull into before we are able to use the facilities; and if the wait gets to be too long, the good old coffee can in the back comes in handy. Faye says, “I have a bucket potty with a regular seat lid that’s lined with trash bags and kitty litter. Works Great!” This is what we get to use.
Again, you can run right on down your hallway and use your shower. We, on the other hand, sometimes have to wait a day or at worst two to find a decent place with an available shower and the time on our clock to take one. Sometimes we have to fit these showers into our 30-minute breaks so that we get one. Tracey says, “There’s no relaxing with a lunch stop shower. It’s get in, suds up, rinse off and get out!” It gets us clean and back on the road so we can continue on our way.
These are almost non-existent on the road (unless you splurge for a Hotel). I say almost because Little America Truck stops out West do have bathtubs you could enjoy if you choose. We, however, cannot just run a hot, sudsy bubble bath at our leisure.
We can’t do our laundry daily or whenever we feel we want too. We have to have a laundry bag on the truck to hold the dirty laundry until we are ABLE to do it and that’s praying on the fact that every other driver isn’t doing their laundry that day or at that exact time. If you haven’t ever seen a truck stop laundry room, take a trip on down to your local truck stop and give it a look. Most truck stop laundry rooms have 2 to 4 washers and anywhere from 4 to 8 dryers. It is not a LOT when you consider anywhere from 30 to 90 or more trucks could be there any given day, especially if it’s a weekend.
Although we can cook on the truck and few are able to bake, we do not have these luxuries as we would if we had a home. If your generator or APU are not working then you won’t be cooking and you must rely on eating out, which is not always healthy and is not cheap.
We do NOT, contrary to what stay at home spouses think, get to be lazy. I get up every day with my husband, if he is up, I am up. If he is working, I am working. There is no, “I want to sleep in today.”
We can’t make a doctor’s appointment for two weeks from now and expect to be there because we never know where we will be. We have to depend on Stat Care type clinics and if in a true emergency, the Emergency Room, but we have to make sure to take great care of ourselves to prevent us from getting sick. We can’t “stay home” because we don’t feel good. This is our home and we must keep it moving to make money.
Hair and Nail Salons are accessible to those at home. We have to WAIT to find ones that allow a big truck to even get close to them. (And yes, I do keep my nails done and work on a step deck slinging chains and straps and binders and tarping loads… but my nails ALWAYS look nice). “Not being able to actually keep hair and makeup looking nice – I’ve given up on my makeup,” D’Ann said with a chuckle.
You may think because we are out here we don’t worry about the weather, but it’s the opposite, we worry all the time. We see these vehicles out here and how they drive and worry about not only our spouses but ourselves as well.
Some of the other comments from the ladies included the following:
Angela says, “We don’t get to just drop everything whenever we want and go out to eat or watch a movie with friends.” That we don’t. Our “plans” consist of what time to unload and what time to load and what truck stop or rest area we will be stopping at for the night, those are the plans we make.
Faye says, “The thing that got me right off the bat when I started living on truck was not being able to be there for my family and friends and support them through difficult times.” This is very true. We can be there through phone calls and emails and video chats, but that is nothing like being there for a friend or family member to hug and tell them it will be ok.
D’Ann said, “Women at home will never know what it’s truly like standing outside in freezing temperatures to help your spouse adjust tandems.” And I will add that working outside in freezing temperatures to tarp and un-tarp a load is not a basket full of cherries either. It’s usually cold and windy and sometimes it’s freezing rain outside and you don’t get the luxury of saying you don’t want to do it, it has to be done, so we help our spouses get it done.
Sebrina says, “Traveling in a small cubicle when tension is thick with your spouse is NOT fun.” She is absolutely correct about that one!! We have all had days when we would like to get out and just “take a walk” but that is hard to do when you have 1200 miles to do in 2 days!
Those are some of the main points of things we miss out on. I know a lot are reading this and saying, “Well, go home and you would have those things,” but maybe you don’t understand what this is all about because the few of us that LIVE out here with our spouses, we don’t have a home… the TRUCK is our home!
Sebrina said it best when she stated to me, “Our lives are not as glamorous as many tend to think and it definitely is NOT for everyone; but for those of us who endure the bad with the good, we wouldn’t give it up for anything, at least I wouldn’t.” I am in agreement with her and I wouldn’t give up living on the road for anything. It may not be glamorous and it may be hard at times, but you will NEVER hear me “whine” or “cry” or “complain” about my life on the road with my spouse. I love it and wouldn’t change the way things are right now.
So, for those that may be “envious” or “jealous” or think we are “whiny,” maybe it’s time to take a look around your home and be THANKFUL for all that you have because some people don’t have all those luxuries in life and we love our lives just the way they are!