Adapting to Life

I am a kind of gunslinger, traveling for work to where I am needed. I work busy ED’s so the usual length of a “contract” is about a year. This one here in Evansville has been most unusual in that I have been working here for about 4 years, way longer than locums stints go.

I generally work 3-4 days in a row, then go home for a “rest”. Sometimes it amounts to merely washing dirty clothes and repacking by bag with clean stuff, getting to play ball with the dog a bit, and a dinner or two with my wife. Now that I am an official “old guy” I try to only work about 10 shifts per month. That usually translates into about 13-14 days away from home, and often means much of a week off at some time in the month.

This month, however, they were short people, so I am pitching in over my usual number. As a result I will be away from home about 18 nights. I don’t get more than a 4 day stretch home at any one time.

Learning to live on the road is a trait that takes time to develop. I believe I learned the basics back in the Marine Corps, and subsequently in the Guard, where on a drill weekend I often spent the whole time out of town in some flea-bag motel. The service doesn’t spend much on the people. Some of the places I stayed probably should have been condemned. Still, it was life from a suitcase. The result is that I manage to deal with this coming-and-going better than many. My son travels for work, but his trips are rarely more than a couple days at most gone, and he already isn’t wild about that. Never had to live from a knapsack. That teaches you a lot about what you NEED – and how much you like “your stuff”.

The end result of all this is that I have a fair amount of “my stuff” at home. I resist all attempts of my wife to “organize”, “clean up”, “rearrange”, or otherwise intrude into my things. BDB mentioned reorganizing his man cave. I would dread having to do that – unless I got about twice the space I currently have. Which is highly unlikely, of course. I guess not having my stuff all the time makes it more precious for the times I am able to be home. Kind of like a king surveying his strong room.

?So how do the rest of you travel. ?In a well-stocked caravan, or stripped to the bare necessities. ?How long can you tolerate being away from home.

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12 Responses to Adapting to Life

  1. NandaNanda says:

    It’s a caravan (minivan) for me, Dev…and rented portable patient lift @ my destination, usually my Uncle-Colonel’s for a week. I don’t travel as lightly – or as well – as I used to. (sigh) now that I have far-flung friends to meet….

  2. MLHMLH says:

    When I was somewhat serious about ballroom dancing, I spent about 2 weekends a month with friends down in Phoenix. As a swimmer, I always have an overnight bag ready, in a sense. Throw in ballroom shoes, a dress (if there was a dance to attend) and off I’d go. Wasn’t much different for heading out for a long weekend to visit my parents (running shoes instead of dance shoes). Neither of those were to “third world countries” so if I forgot something it was easy enough to buy it.

    When I was mobilized to NH Gitmo in ’94, the orders said to pack a seabag (but with dress blues?!?). I managed to acquire a bunch of stuff in my 6 months there living in the BOQ.

    I do find it hard to get rid of stuff but feel that I need to. With the pending move of Dad into a smaller and shared apartment in the ALF, I’ll be acquiring more stuff with significant sentimental value. I need a bigger garage.

    Le S i g h

  3. AdministratorAdministrator says:

    I read a wonderful guide which the wife is provisionally on board with. Great advice for the sentimental stuff — memorialize the stuff. Take pictures of it, make a little presentation page or something, some construction paper, markers and a photo if you just have to have it with you. But you can throw the threadbare chair away without feeling like a beast for doing in your departed mum’s favorite sitting spot.
    I think fear of our own mortality makes us pre-emptively guard, sometimes a bit zealously, the treasured stuff from others’ lives that would just be crap if it were “our own”. Dresses that don’t fit and never will. Chair/desk/hutch that belong in a museum of hillbilly repairs.
    My own stuff, on the other hand. Well, I need all of that. You never know.

    • NandaNanda says:

      Truth in all of that, beloved Admin; especially about -your- stuff. Though I’ll never sit in it, my sister and nieces (who come in daily to assist me) gravitate to my recently-departed Mom’s favorite chair. (Which is nowhere near threadbare, thankfully.) When it is, she’d tell us to ditch it, actually.

  4. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    “My own stuff, on the other hand. Well, I need all of that. You never know”

    Herein is the kernal of it all. At least on “keeping stuff”. My wife and I are the opposites on this issue; I hoard, she tosses. So there is a continuous tension about what we should toss and what to save. We both go too far.

    Over the years I have learned to cull through things and toss those I no longer find probable for use. So, eg. I tossed magazines I had collected for a long time. (Well, I DID give away my car magazines to another collector who wanted a fair portion. I once had every issue of Car & Driver, Road & Track, and Sports Car Graphic going back to 1963. But I never looked at them.) So every 6-12 months I go through my “office” to toss things I had saved, sometimes for unknown reasons.

    My wife OTOH, seems to throw out anything she hasn’t used in the last 20 minutes. She would say I exaggerate, but …

  5. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    I think the other issue here is how comfortable are you away from your home base.

    I love my home. My wife keeps talking about moving to something smaller, but I resist. It doesn’t cost me that much, and I love the place.

    The location, OTOH, is ..,. nice. But I WOULD move in a heartbeat if I could find something like this in Dallas. My wife keeps trying to tell me how terrible such a move would be. I would be without “friends”, alone in a strange place. All my friends are here.

    Truth is, many of my friends ARE here. But many are not. I keep a regular correspondence up with guys from by Basic School class, including a “brisk” debate on various topics. I don’t seem to require a lot of people to know and “socialize” with, probably implying I am a rather anti-social type. I go to events my wife wants me to go to, but often these parties are way beyond boring. The people are all phony, the bon homme put on, and I often escape to somewhere not a lot of the people go to. Last such party I went to I stood in the kitchen and listened to jazz on the radio there.

    Interestingly, I seem to find someone to hang with often, but not always. In Evansville I have found a great friend. Another guy has been about, but has seemingly dropped out lately, for unknown reasons. I don’t try to push on that; it is what it is.

    The other “problem” is that I seem to be singularly insensitive to “feelings” – mine of others. I know open hostility, and clearcut insult, but all the nuances of today’s society just go over my head. Once in a while I am told I am being “insensitive” and I ususally respond, “Yup! That’s me! Old Insensitive. Couldn’t have gotten my troglodyte badge else.” Don’t quite know how people make it through life being buffetted by all these trivial emotions.

    • NandaNanda says:

      Dev, agree re: the emphasis on the fleeting, the superficial, the so-called emotional, even in casual relationships. Maybe that makes me a troglodyte, too? (Grin) I can think of worse things to do than listening to good jazz near (hopefully) good food at a party.

  6. ArahantArahant says:

    Years ago, my wife went through the CD collection and boxed up a bunch to get rid of, supposedly only of her CDs and duplicates sent by other friends in the radio business. That was about the time my favorite CD went missing. (I always had the feeling she didn’t like it much as it is cheesy Irish songs.) But she swore she hadn’t touched any of mine, only hers. She apparently wanted to review them one more time, so taped up the box and put it on a shelf.

    A few months ago, she saw the box and decided to finally go through it that one last time. I got to it first, and there was my CD. I have probably played it ten times since. Still as good and cheesy as ever it was.

    As for living from a rucksack/suitcase, no big deal for me. I’m a consultant. The road is where my feet belong.

  7. Kay of MT says:

    As a child of the Depression, and living through WWII rationing, living in orphanages and foster homes where I had few possessions, or what few I had were taken away from me or given to others, or just trashed by adults who felt I had no need for them, I find myself hoarding excessively.

    I have closets of clothing I will never wear again, I still have my mother’s clothing she wore to all her social activities, including gowns, suits and her kilts and Tartans. We were about the same size so have never given them away. Books; my grandmother’s, my mother’s and of course mine.

    I have closets of dolls, some collectable, doll makings, boxes of doll paraphernalia. I did pack up a box with 300 clothing patterns dating back to the 1950 to the 2000s, waiting for the ability to ship them off. And I did manage to give one storage box of cotton fabrics away to a quilting group. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to part with stuff. I really have a hard time regarding the books. These past few months I have given away 3 boxes of books to a grand daughter in CA, and 3 to a daughter.

    • DevereauxDevereaux says:

      Wait, wait! Books are not to be included in any accounting of what one “has” or doesn’t have. Although I must admit to giving away seceral cartons of books to the library, mostly stuff I would no longer read (probably). But I still have “important” books.

  8. NandaNanda says:

    Glad to see that books are exempt, Dev! Mine and my Mom’s all have memories attached…

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