Friday, October 10, 2008

Thankful: Days Off

I don't recall how long ago it went into affect, but one day out of the blue, Kev was notified at work that the plant was switching to rotating shifts, for all workers (except office staff). His seniority completely out the window, and the fact that he'd worked for years to snag a straight day shift was gone. *poof* Just like that, it's rotating shift or sayonara, Bubba, find another job. More than a few folks at the plant did exactly that. What this rotation means is that for 2 weeks he's on days (7am to 3pm), then for two weeks he's on afternoons (3pm to 11pm), then for 2 more weeks he's on nights (11pm to 7am). It's been quite a while he's been on this shift, and for the most part, we all pretty much hate it.

There are a million reasons to hate it, which include the fact that for 2 weeks he's sleeping during the day and in the winter time when all the kids are stuck in the house because it's too cold to play outside, they have to tiptoe around like mice. Ever tried to keep 4 kids under 10 quiet all day long? Ha! It's not much better in the summertime when they're outside playing, because there is a rule with kids when you're in the pool or on the trampoline and that rule is "you must scream, and do it often, and as loud as possible". So, it's hard on them when he's on night shift. It's hard on me too, trying not to stress out keeping them quiet. Even worse, it's hard on him! He can't get used to it, and the first week back on night shift he can't sleep during the day, and he's a zombie come the weekend. If someone ever decided to make a movie called "Night of the Living Dead Factory Workers on Rotating Shifts", I know exactly who they should cast. They wont even need much make up, the dark circles and expressionless stare is on the house.

One of the other 987,534,226 million reasons to hate this shift, is that in many ways, it leaves all the household/outdoor projects and chores that need to be done, with me. Due to the fact that it's a 45 minute commute each way, he's away from home for roughly 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Midnight shift is even worse since even when he's home, he's not all there (nor would I be, I'd be a wreck if I had to do it!) So then, along with all my regular chores such as dishes, laundry, mopping, etc. (all those things that everyone does every day) I also get lawn mowing, pool cleaning, driveway shovelling, firewood hauling, bird feeder care, and anything else that needs to be done outside or around the house. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind hard work at all. I'll do it because it needs doing, but HE doesn't like it that it's on me. When he's home and has been able to have enough sleep, he'll head outside and like a whirlwind sometimes he'll get so much done we're all amazed.

Somehow, we manage to get homeschooling in there too, and eating meals at a regular time, breathing, blinking and running all the errands that need to be run, going to church and waving hello/goodbye to whoever's coming or going. It's funny, when I write it all down I really don't know how we do what we do. This does explain however, why I never have the tidiest house on the planet, and why I have "stuff" sitting around the house all the time. Stuff that needs to be put away/repaired/cleaned/ironed/washed/donated/etc. That does get to me, because I'm a neat freak and I will never be okay with clutter. However, a person can only do so much in one day before one needs to just sit down and declare chores "done!" for the day.

So that's our life and that's the way it is. I know for some folks it might seem overwhelming (and to be honest, some days it is) and for other people who are far more busy than us, it might seem like a walk in the park. Either way, whatever your life is like you just do your best to adapt and that's what we've done.

So then what am I thankful for today? I'm thankful for his afternoon shift. When he's on this shift he's the homeschool teacher and I get to tackle those mountains of stuff, run errands, and just do what needs doing around the house and outside. It's nice to have this two week break from school, every 4 weeks. I'm also thankful for our homeschool schedule in that we pack all the book-learnin' business into the first 4 days of the week and Fridays are for extras, like the public swimming pool for an hour in the morning. That's where we're headed this morning. Yep, there's always a silver lining and always something to be thankful for, no matter how small or how overwhelming the other stuff can be.

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