Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Eeyore the one who didn't pay taxes?

Seems a strange question, hmm? It was asked to me by Ben during a sleepwalking episode earlier today. I hear the velcro of the sleeper curtain tear apart and then his question.

My response is clearly, "What on earth are you talking about?"
Ben replies, "I'll explain it later."
"Are you sleepwalking, hon?"

Right. Forty-five minutes later when he is awake I question him about Eeyore and his expression is puzzled. "Who's Eeyore?"

This is not the first time he's dreamt aloud or had a sleepwalking episode, but I will say the times are fewer and farther between now that we're trucking. One of my personal favorite non-trucking episodes occurred at our friends, the Bitlers, house, in which Ben set off the security alarm because "there was a horse in the garage and I had to let it out". There are countless others, and I'll be sure to share the trucking ones every now and again.

Back in August, when we first started driving together as a team, we had a load going west to Sacramento on I-80. I was driving the night shift and because of road construction on the stretch between Reno and Sacramento, all 18-wheelers had to take a slow, windy detour through the backroads in the hills. Just as I was a few miles from getting back on the interstate, I hear a frantic scream from the back and Ben saying, "DEB! STOP!" I should have known he was sleepwalking/talking, but it sppoked me so much that I pulled over as soon as I could. Turns out he dreamt that I was driving and didn't realize he wasn't in the truck so he grabbed on near the rear tires to stay with me. He hollared at me to slow down so he could get in the truck; and he awoke with his hands clinging to the sheets and blankets on the bed.

Usually when sleepwalking happens, it isn't that drastic of an episode; it's usually a funny phrase here or cute action there. He's told me that I should play with him next time and try to carry on a conversation. Once we were both sleeping and he asked, "Deb, is the snake going to bite me?" I groggily replied no, then thought a better response to be, "the snake isn't, but the tarantula in your hand is."

Maybe next time.

It certainly keeps me on my toes and provides great comic relief when things can get stressful.

We're in Louisville, KY relaying a load up to Youngstown, OH tomorrow morning. It's likely we'll head back out west from there!

Have a great week, and God bless you!


PS: Happy Feast of St. Polycarp! Check out his martyrdom!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Record Highs and Lows

Ben and I like to keep a little friendly competition going while we're in this career field, and it boils down to two things:

1) What is the highest number of miles one can drive in a single 11-hour shift? (the shift is broken up with periodic short breaks; to drive 11 hours straight is close to insanity)

2) What is the coldest temperature one has had to drive through? (this is obviously up to chance and Mother Nature)

Presently, I hold the record for both, for now. I drove 697.5 in one shift, and in another shift I drove through -31 degree temperatures in northwestern Minnesota. That's not windchill, people, that's air temp. A few hundred miles later in that shift we fueled up in -15 degree temps in Wisconsin and I mistakenly opened up the truck door from the outside with an un-gloved hand. Immediately, I flashed back to that scene in A Christmas Story with the poor lad's tongue stuck to the flag pole. Thankfully my hands were not wet, but I felt the freezer-burn effect on my fingers. BRRRR!!

Do any of you readers out there have suggestions for other friendly competiton Ben and I could engage in while out on the road? We're open for suggestions!

We're headed south from Salina, KS to Oklahoma City, OK to move into a BRAND NEW TRUCK! Very excited about this! If I can ever figure out how to post pictures from my phone, I'll make an attempt (suggestions, BB users?).

God bless you!

deb & Ben

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Driving Down the Debt!

We are happy to report that we have 2 (of our unfortunate several) debts paid down! Both were credit cards, one with miscellaneous expenses and the other had the purchase of our Dodge Ram pick-up truck. It feels great! We plan to have our VW Jetta car payments cease in 2 months by paying that debt off in full. Baby steps!

We spent Super Bowl weekend back in Bend and had a great visit with friends during the game. The rest of the time we spent working on our degrees, which was uber-productive. I've got my comps coming up in April, so it's time to buckle down!

Right now we're hanging with Sarah Swaykus in NW St. Louis. Earlier today we went to Mass at St. Jude parish in Oak Grove, MO. We're on our way to Memphis!

God bless you!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Our Grocery List

You may wonder what goes into our bodies while we're out on the road. There are plenty of stereotypical truckers who are unhealthy, overweight, and eat only the fast-food and/or buffet food readily available at truck stops. While we indulge in that from time to time, our goal is to not "look the part" of being truckers and to get proper nutrition as best as possible.

Each time we return to Bend for our home-time, we make lenghty visits to Costco, Safeway, and Grocery Outlet. Our grocery list for a months-worth of supplies is generally along the lines of:

1 case V8
1 case chocolate Slimfast (good supply of vitamins/minerals)
1 case Diet Coke
3 12 packs Diet Mountain Dew
4 double boxes of cereal
6 quarts unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 canister instant oatmeal
2 boxes Zone protein bars
1 box Trio nut bars
1 box Fiber1 bars
Various other bars (usually found at Grocery Outlet for super-cheap)
1 bag raw almonds
1 bag peanut M&Ms
2 containers Sunrise Energy bars
1 container cub claws
1 container chicken salad
1 quart chai tea latte concentrate
1 bag dried apricots
8 small tins of various loose flavored black teas
1 box triscuits
1 block co-jack cheese
1 bag of apples and pears
1 jar salad dressing
1 container baby greens salad
2 bags sugar-snap peas
1 bag baby carrots
1 jar sunflower seeds
1 jar salsa
1 bag tortilla chips

The list may go on...at this hour I'm having a hard time recollecting anything else. What is nice, is that it usually works out that every week or every other week we're able to make it to a grocery store and re-stock the fresh food items. We really do try to stay away from the unhealthy stuff, but sometimes if we're in a rush or running really hard, that's the easiest thing to grab. If we have time on a load or in between loads, we enjoy getting a bite of hot breakfast food with eggs (deb) and steak (Ben). Having something warm to eat, and a "full meal", is a nice alternative to always snacking on a bar here or a bowl of cereal there.

And every now and again, we're able to meet up with friends or family who are willing to drive us out to a great place to eat. Just a few weeks ago we hooked up with some of deb's friends from college in Chicago and had a great meal at a Mexican restaurant. Thanks for the treat out and a fun visit, Ryan and Carla!

As the months have gone by, we've really been able to adjust our list and really find what works the best. We've run in to other drivers from our company who started the same time we did, and they complain about having gained 40+ pounds in the past 6 months. We certainly haven't stayed as trim (as is to be expected with a sedentary lifestyle as we now know it), but between the two of us, 10-15 pounds is the max we've gained. The difference between us and them? Largely, the credit goes to having a fridge. Keeping the fresh food on hand really adds up (and sure makes for less of a dent in the pocket book!).

Right now we're in western Nebraska on our way back to Portland, OR, with a load full of parts for Daimler-Benz. Once we drop, we're on our way back to Bend to watch the Colts win another Super Bowl! We'll spend the rest of our time visiting friends, studying, grocery shopping, and enjoying a hike or two in the great outdoors.

Then, back out on the road! We are blessed...

God bless you too!

deb & Ben