Dan has made the switch from commuter to freight, not a lot of difference but enough to change up our food plans and our schedule. He had to pack for his first trip within the first day of being on freight, which includes his overnight bag and his large lunchbox. His overnight bag is his area, I make sure he has clothes but he packs it. The lunchbox is my domain, I will ask what he would like and for the most part he just leaves it up me. I make sure he has enough hot food, enough snacks, protein bars, fruit, breakfast items, and drinks. Also some sort of sleep aid, sleepytime tea extra is usually what he likes for his away trips. Things I tend to forget because my mind is a fickle thing, silverware, napkins, and seasonings. I usually have a check list in my head, but I get flustered sometimes and forget this and that.
Grocery shopping changes when he is on freight I have to plan for extra meals, not just one left over. The last minute change this weekend sent me running to the fridge, I knew he was planning on it so I wasn’t completely surprised. I had a package of boneless chicken and I had the sauces that I have previously mentioned. The only down side to those is that they usually require rice as a side. We try to limit rice to 2 of his lunches so that he doesn’t have to much carb intake while on the road. Carbs are usually reserved for work out days, or heavy activity days. I also need to make sure that he has his little in between meal foods, yogurts, applesauce, apples, tuna packets and so on. I try to stay in stock of all that whether he is on freight or not. That way my grocery bill isn’t huge when he does change over. Protein bars are expensive but when you get them on sale or find good coupons or online codes they can be a pretty good deal.
We do get lucky sometimes, freight doesn’t always mean 2 days away from home. It doesn’t always mean packing up for the long trip, but we would still rather be ready and prepared rather then him getting sent away unexpectedly. I think we have been through all of the situations you can possibly go through. He has left things at home, he has been told he is coming home and then they send him farther away. A long time ago we decided that he should just always go prepared, it can be a hassle bringing so many big bags with him but in the long run better to have and not need than need and not have.
One of the big issues for me when he is on freight is getting used to him being gone. For the most part my days are slow while the girls are at school and then its off doing this activity, that sport, or this club. Dan is a huge help splitting the girls up so i’m not running around like crazy, he is also a big help when I get frustrated with the baby. (No I am not a perfect mom, never claimed I was one) He is also an adult and for any stay at home mom, you know that adult conversations do not happen often. I find myself missing him more and more as the years of him being on freight continue. We do talk but there is nothing like a face to face conversation with hand gestures and the ability to hear my sarcasm. We make due and he winds up getting an ear full of pointless stories and antidotes about the dog, the girls, and whatever other nonsense that I find amusing while he is at work. At some point I am sure I turn into the Charlie Brown teacher to him. He is also a big help with homework, so when he is gone overnight and Chloe has a math or science issue google is where we turn to which isn’t always the smartest decision. It is work making our schedule work for us. Our friends who have slightly more “normal” jobs get confused and maybe sometimes frustrated with our inability to commit to anything until the day of or possibly the day before. Family doesn’t understand how he can be at work for holidays and birthdays, but again we make our schedule work for us, its about making time with our girls important, NOT the day itself. If Christmas for us gets celebrated on the 23rd or 26th then so be it, anniversaries, birthdays are all the same as well. We celebrate when we can, and we make it special when we can. Its not easy, I wont pretend that we have it down perfectly. We have problems and I have issues with it still, 13 years later, but when he is home we do things, we go out, we veg together, and we try and have date nights. We make time and that is important to us.
We don’t know how long he will be on freight for, could be a couple weeks, couple months, or into the new year. We make it work, I will be posting more about the ins and outs of gym time, grocery shopping, and other small things that people don’t always think about when it comes to overnight away trips. Stay tuned, and I hope you enjoyed some insight into our life on freight.