I got back from another trip about 10 last night. Seems like they get longer and longer all the time. At least the railroad powers ran us fairly straight through. It didn't take all twelve hours as it usually does lately. Just another day at the office though...big sloppy freight train, electrical problems, slow grind up the hills, etc...same old, same old. I always say that I don't care a lot about a fast trip, I just want them to be uneventful, unexciting (boring is good) and profitable. This one pretty much went along without major uproar so in that regard, it was successful. But I'm about burned out from so many in a row so I took a couple of personal days this week to regroup and get myself reassembled. I always know when it's time to bail out...my SA starts to get fuzzy and I have a hard time keeping all my assorted distractions safely stashed in the box I usually pack them in behind my concentration. Even after all these years, I still have to think about what I'm doing to do it well and when things start to pile up...I just can't. Time to step back and take a look at the landscape.
The one bright spot of the trip came after we'd stumbled up over the last heavy grade and were finally cruising downhill into home plate. I glanced out my side as I was blowing over a crossing to see a familiar van sitting at the gate with an even more familiar face in the windshield. There sat my wife and the kids, grinning away like they'd just won shopping sprees at GameStop and Lane Bryant. They were out train-chasing and just managed to catch me on the glide slope. She used to chase all the time when this was new and the boys were small. She knew most of the track speeds as well as I did so she could get ahead of the train, set the boys up and wave at the next crossing. Routine eventually set in as it tends to do, the kids got older and the novelty wore off so the chases kind of faded away over time. Still, every once-in-a-while, she loads them up and away they go. She's not quite as adept at finding the right train anymore (or even the right tracks) but even so, sometimes they get lucky and find the monster in the woods with the old guy driving and make me smile. Simple things for a simple man can brighten the dark days.
There's been a series of personal events lately that have me pretty shook up and confused so with the drop of my grip at the door...I believe I'm going to sit still a minute or two, maybe sip a beer and think things over. Nietzsche said that "...when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." Maybe it's time to look long and see what it is that's looking back. Times have been tough around the Wayward Home for many weeks and the world has been awfully cloudy, inside and out. I could use a little clearer vision perhaps.
In the meantime...C and I are going to break away a little bit while I'm off and have a late Valentine's Day with each other. As usual, we missed the actual day because I was working but over the years, we've sort of adapted to having holidays and such on odd days anyway. It has it's advantages. On the big weekends, we miss the traffic and the jacked-up prices by taking the day off on Tuesday and for everything else...the thought counts more than the calendar box as far as we can tell. Any day without CMC ringing my phone is a holiday to me and by this evening...it'll be off and I'm not going to care where I left it.