It is after 11 pm as I write this, beyond my bed time no doubt, but I want to write while it is all still fresh. This morning I got up with Ian at 3 am, slightly later than usual, but not uncommon for winter days. I made his lunch and a breakfast burrito for on the road and walked him out to his truck. This morning was a little different because he needed to unhook from the trailer that he had brought home, drive back to Pullman and pick up a different load to take to the port. While we prefer not to have a trailer at the house, we had done this before without issue. I was nervous because something seemed wrong this morning but in my experience as a trucker spouse, that feeling is not uncommon.
It was cold and Ian was having to work hard at getting the landing gear down and everything unhooked, so I said “I love him” and gave him a goodbye kiss and headed back to bed. Once in the house I looked back to admire him one last time before going back to bed. It’s only a few minutes later my phone chimes letting me know he’s gotten the trailer unhooked and is taking off.
As I laid in bed hoping to get back to sleep, the negative feeling in my stomach won’t go away. So I start to say a little prayer that has helped in the past on mornings when I am having trouble going back to sleep. But only a few words in, I hear it… metal groans… Any one who has hauled a trailer or been around heavy metal objects would recognize it. It is a far worse creak than a floor board. I immediately think, “Oh no the weight of the trailer is pushing it and it’s going to roll into the neighbors house.” But before I can get out of bed…. THUD… and it’s like a tree has fallen… SILENCE.
My bad feeling were warranted, but thank goodness the trailer had not rolled away. Instead it had flipped on it’s side into our yard. I grabbed my phone and called Ian looking out our bedroom window. Then I have to go take pictures as best as I can for the darkness that is 3:40 in the morning, so he can send them to his boss. Of course, by the time I’m finished there is no hope of going back to bed for me. I can’t believe that this happened. Of all the things I saw possibly going wrong with unhooking a trailer at the house, this was not one of them.
I do some reading and generally waste time until it is time to get John up and go get kids on the bus. Sharing pictures with the Kanes, who can’t believe it either. Sarah decided to even leave a few minutes early to drive by and see it in person. After she leaves the kids and I are talking about the trailer and other perils of the trucking industry, when my phone rings and it’s Sarah. “Em, you need to call the Town crew, there water coming from somewhere.” My heart sinks, I know this is a bad situation, but now there’s water line damage too. I knew it had landed over the water main for the house, but I hadn’t thought in the early hours to check for water around the container. So I ask Ian to leave messages on basically all the town phones that we have a situation when they are up and running. Also letting our land lords know all that’s going on.
Coming home I have a brief conversation with our land lady, and then try to figure out what to do. Our house had no water as it was all being fed to the front lawn. Luckily we have lots of bottled water cause I had bought extra last time I went shopping. And we have lots in the back to bring in buckets for the toilets, when needed. “Ok, we can do this I think.” But it doesn’t take away from the view from the front door of 70,000-80,000 pounds laying over the last spot I saw my husband. I know he is ok, he was gone before it even started to tip, but I look at my phone messages. There was only 9 minutes between when he pulled away and when I called him after. Figuring the time I spent looking at it before grabbing my phone, it was only 5-7 minutes after he had been standing there. Thank God he is alright.
I do a few things throughout the day but there is the most traffic I have ever seen on this road. Most are just curious onlookers, but some want to stop and chat. One wanted to make sure I knew we had a water problem, I just laughed, at this point we had a good stream across the yard, so a joke about winter landscaping seemed appropriate, I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy.
Ian’s boss didn’t arrive until 3 pm to start assessing and getting things put right. The trailer was easily cut away and rocked back on it’s wheels. Then they had to wait on some equipment to start unloading the can. In case you don’t follow Ian on social media (OrthodoxTrucker) or know about his work, most of the time he is hauling garbanzo beans (chick peas). The plant loads them in to huge canvas totes (weighing approximately 2,500 pounds each). In one can or container that is 20 ft long they load 15-17 of these totes. Even though the totes are tied up any kind of jostling, especially tipping over they are going to spill, but cleaning up as much as they can to save the load is what has to be done.
The crew started pulling totes and putting them on a separate trailer around 4 pm and they pulled the last bag out shortly after 9 pm. Once the totes were out they could drag the can onto the road and flip in upright and we were able to get one of the town maintenance guys to come turn off our water, so the pond in the yard will go away. As I type this they are getting the can loaded on a trailer and starting to put equipment away.
It has been a long and stressful day. It was nothing like I thought it would be and yet as I approach the end of it, I can’t be anything but grateful. Ian is safe, he delivered the load he picked up in Pullman. Due to bad roads he is parked at a rest area, but he is safe. Our water bill is going to be astronomical, but even with the “flooding,” our home and cellar are dry and no damage was done to any other buildings. Ian’s job is in jeopardy, but we have learned so much from his employer that we have to be thankful for the time we have had there if that time has come to an end. And if he still has a job, we could not be more grateful to have such honorable men in our lives as his bosses.
The saying is “we plan, God laughs: but I’m not sure that’s true, while I did laugh today I’m not sure it was humorous. I think sometimes we just need to go through something to see the beautiful plan God has laid out for us. And whatever our future has in store, I’m thankful for all I have been given, even if I’m not sure why right now.