acidicice

When Life Gets Tough

In the last two months or so my day to day life has changed dramatically. I have a very hands on and involved husband. He helps me tremendously with the kids and running the household. He has been stuck in a dead end job for many years. He didn’t earn a bad salary for the line of work he was in, but there is just no room for growth or any opportunity for promotion or even doing something different in the company. I have always been the breadwinner in the household and he has done his best, but if the things I hear are true this kind of thing bruises a man’s ego. Apparently men have a primal instinct to provide. I don’t really know, I’m not a dude. So just over 2 years ago he decided to try and do something to get himself into a better position.

His father is a truck driver. Has been for over 30 years. He had spoken about wanting to drive trucks before, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it. Before I knew it he was writing his learners and we were booking driving lessons. He only had 3 and aced his code 14 or EC. He applied for and obtained his PrDP (Professional Driving Permit) and the job hunting began. For 18 months he hounded company after company. I would send out his applications to firms on a daily basis using details he had collected by browsing career websites and cold calling numbers on trucks. He never let up. He was turned down time and time again because he had no experience. Then he decided that his license clearly wasn’t enough and he went to get certification to transport dangerous goods and again aced the test. Rinse, repeat. He would often bring up the job hunt over a beer with whoever and not too long ago he mentioned it to someone in our complex who works for a trucking company. This guy put a good word in for him with the boss and they let him come in to drive and show what he is made of.  The week that he spent training/driving was really rough. He left the house at 5:15 in the morning and came home after 19:00/20:00 and one night after 21:00. After 4 days of driving they put him alone on the truck and even got him to come in on the Saturday and gave him a truck to complete deliveries with no co-driver. He worked from early the morning till after 17:00 that Saturday. He came home with stories about driving trucks and how scary/complicated/dangerous it is that left me cold. If there is one thing I can say about my husband it is that he is an excellent driver. I trust him with our lives. He is by far a better driver than anyone I know. So the fact that he was driving well didn’t surprise me at all, but I felt like I barely saw him all week. Some nights he made it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight. He was informed that he could start working there and that he would be on probation for a few months. He finally got a job after all his hard work. It was hard for me and for the kids. We missed him so much.

This job never felt “right” to me. He explained to me that the truck he was driving had no working indicators and the speedometer also didn’t work. That just didn’t sit well with me considering he was driving over mountain passes! He would also only earn overtime after working for 10 hours. The company is 35 km away from home in one direction. I had to pick him up a twice late at night with the kids in the car. Not ideal. The guy that put a good word in for him also told him that he always gets his pay on time, but hadn’t seen a payslip for the 8 years he had worked there. That kind of “under the table” thing doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a stickler for rules. I shut up and sucked it up, because I knew he needed the experience and that he is chasing a dream. I knew how hard he had fought just to get a chance.

On one of his days off that he took to sort out paperwork and resign from his old job, he took a chance and drove to a huge distribution center close to home. At first they wanted to turn him away, but one of the guys there told him to come in and take a driving test. It was scheduled for a Friday, but they moved it up to the Thursday. I happened to be on leave on the same day to get my hair done and run some errands. I took him to the distribution center early in the morning and went off to go about my day. He was the only one that passed the driving test. The next thing he knew they were taking his fingerprints and making him an access disk. He had landed the job! I was ecstatic! It is only 8 km from home and is a big retail chain, so much more stability and structure than a fly by night tax evader, no? He had to start the very next day at 2:30 AM! We immediately went out and bought a him a scooter (motorcycle) so that he could get to and from work independently. We don’t even know what his new salary will be, but I’m pretty sure he is going to be earning enough overtime to bridge any gap there might be in what he is earning. I don’t know whether or not there will be more money coming in. I freaking hope so, considering how much less of him we see. Despite it not being about the money, fair is fair. Sacrifice should equal reward.

We are a little frustrated at the moment since he doesn’t get called in to work every day. He gets paid by the hour as he is not a permanent employee, so no work, no pay. He asks to work every day, but a lot of days there isn’t work for him. It looks like we’ll come up short in the budget again this month and it is really stressful. I work with the finances and I am a worrier by nature, so it really takes an emotional toll on me. Apparently they will be appointing permanent drivers really soon. We can just pray and keep the faith that he will be permanently appointed in which case he will get a basic salary plus overtime.

That aside, I now have to do the things he was doing plus whatever I did. I’ve always been against him doing long distance driving. I don’t care about the money. Money cannot buy your children’s childhood back. Money cannot buy missed events, missed memories. Money does, however, pay school fees/rent/child care/new winter clothes for the kids/groceries. Here’s hoping he will be permanently appointed very soon so that we can be guaranteed at least his basic salary as an income.

Cross all the bits please!

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