July 3, 2016
In early April, I was studying at Lone Star College’s driving school in Spring, Texas. While it was an hour long commute from home, (1) I could hardly complain, since the whole idea was to learn how to drive long distances…and (2) I still lived at home, regardless of the commute. But then came the Houston floods that crippled some areas of the city, especially the Spring Branch area where the Lone Star school was located. We had a week of cancelled classes while I was limited to such activities as neighborhood canoeing.
Above: Steve and neighbor Dominick navigate the street
The school finally capitulated to the weather and decided to send four of us off early to Dallas (on April 24th) and the Transport home office where we would have wound up anyway. Two weeks there and then we were assigned to over-the-road instructors, where we would spend six weeks of driving across the country. As I have mentioned, I wound up spending seven weeks on the road, because of the mountain descent requirements. Then there was another week of “graduation class” in Dallas before I was assigned a truck of my own and sent on a delivery to Houston, after which I parked the truck and trailer and went home on July second – after seventy two (72) days away from home. No more than a handful of those days were anything resembling “days off”.
I am now another person. I have lost almost seventy (70) pounds. My blood pressure has gone from nearly a disqualification to below “normal”. This job will not make me rich or even “comfortable”. The pay is minimal, especially when compared to my former salary. But, while it was an intense and demanding experience, I have come back a better and stronger person. I will resort to the cheap tricks of diet ads with “Before and After” pictures.
Above: Before. Note that, while it may seem so, I was NOT “puffing out” my cheeks for this picture.
Above: After – Same place in the house, but it has been painted. I happily lost the prescription glasses to cataract surgery. The “readers” you see there are only for fine print. For more on that, click here: The Experience of Cataract Surgery
That strength will be needed to face the new reality that forced retirement has brought me. Truck driving doesn’t pay much at all. But it does provide unique experiences and give me stories to tell.
Home at Last,