A Traveling Linewife in a Pandemic
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Let me start by saying 2020 has been the weirdest, craziest year I have experienced on this earth, yet. It’s only fitting that the aliens came and went. Even NASA was shocked they didn’t stay. I am sure they agreed we are all crazy and just left us alone. A traveling Linewife’s life is already quite different than any normal “brick and mortar” life.
Alright, let me back up a bit. I met my Lineman in 2011. He has always traveled for work and honestly has a drifter soul. I love that about my Lineman. We got married in 2015. I continue to stay home and work full time and he continued to travel all over the United States. All this while I was still at home keeping that boring same schedule every day.
He was getting to explore every part of Midwest, West coast, and the north east. Honestly, I was a bit jealous he getting to see all these amazing places. Since we first met, he has always encouraged me to come on the road with him.
I am VERY regimen person. I like comfort in consistent schedules, and I am absolutely in love with planning ANYTHING. Did I mention I like talking too? I love people, their stories, their personalities, and their quirkiness. So, leaving my comfort zone was something I subconsciously put off for an exceptionally long time. Travel blogs in the Line industry was new and there really was not much information out there. From what I found; it was isolating. Most women had kids to distract themselves, worked from their campers, or locally wherever they were. I didn’t’ have kids and wouldn’t have a 9-5 job for the first time in my life.
Listen, one of my fears is isolation. Like I blabbered on before, I love people. My first encounter on the road was wonderful. I was literally welcomed into the world of tramping with amazing ladies who are now lifetime friends. Karena and Stephanie, thank you. You both are amazing ladies! It totally helped that it was in Sonoma Valley too. Lots to do, wine, and lots of unique yummy food choices.
My first park was such an amazing experience. I just assumed it would always be like this. Let me also say, I have stayed with my Lineman on the road for weeks here and there. I never made friends as we always kept to ourselves when I would come to visit. Naturally as most Line couples do while visiting their spouse on the road. After moving from this amazing campground in Sonoma to Fresno which was not in the best area and no line ladies. I hit my first moment of what 2020 would bring.
So, our second campground was not the greatest. I lucked out that this campground did have a walking path around a lake. That walking path and our new acquired doggo kept me sane during that month. My Lineman was working even longer hours than before, and I was feeling the “lonely” creep in. The good thing is he saw it and my bestie back home heard it in my voice. It pays to have good friends and husband who supports you when the going gets tough. As luck would have it, there was an opening on another job with the same company a few hours south and he was able to transfer to it.
Our next campground was probably in the worst part of the California, Bakersfield. I met many ladies in this town, none stayed too long. Either their husbands moved to different jobs or the jobs ended. We stayed in this campground for 9 months before we moved in during the start of the pandemic. Yeah, it wasn’t fun, but the traffic was awesome! I will keep that glass half full!
We got in where we are now purely by luck and partly due to the pandemic. We were able to get the entire crew in one campground. There is one thing I can say about this trade. It is absolute brotherhood. I got to see these guys bond over dinners, outdoor competitive board games, and hear many stories of tales in the trade. I honestly think these guys grew closer together and in that, they realized that they were more like each other than they realized. Four months of quarantine and not being able to leave will either bring you closer or push you away from who you are with.
During this pandemic time there was one other Linewife who was here. We were at the same campground before and our husbands worked together. We never officially met or hung out. We did not speak the same language. So, in the beginning we just casually conversed or walked around the park together. Now, we both wish we would have met and hung out sooner. Turns out we can both understand each other very well. She travels back and forth to their home a lot, or visits family so she was not here consistently.
That leaves me a lone in a camper during a pandemic with a dog. There are only so many conversations you can have with a dog before they look at you like you are crazy. I think this Line dog had enough of his crazy “mom” talking to him.
In the County that we are in everything was shut down. Only doctors’ offices, takeout food and grocery stores were open. It was like this for a little over four months. My Lineman was still working long days. With nothing to do and nowhere to go it was not easy keeping my sanity. I am not a “TV’ person and quickly realized that watching the minute by minute news was going to push me over the edge. I turned to reading. The laundry mat in the park had some good books and I read them. I did a lot of writing, I learned how to do my own eyebrows, my own nails, and even learned how to eat way more than I needed to. That last skill I feel like I am not a lone on.
I have always been a busy person. If I had idle time, I would fill it with perusing the shelves at Target or my local TJMaxx. I did not know how to STOP and slow down. Never sitting still. Well, the universe certainly had plans for me. Shopping did transfer to online, but it did not give me the same feeling. I needed to get out. But I didn’t, I couldn’t. It was not allowed. Nothing was open anyway.
I found ways to keep myself busy. I immersed myself in work, research, and learning anything I could. I found a new love for not leaving once during the day. Before, I would thrive off, “Oh no I forgot this”, or “I’ll just run to the store”. Now it is almost a game to see how long I can make it without going to the store. And those delivery services? Take my money! I do not have to worry about a mask, spending too much or buying stupid stuff I don’t need.
The pandemic brought me something I didn’t expect. No, not the corona virus. It brought me the ability to slow down, to live in the moment, a closer relationship with my husband, and it changed who I am. Had I kept spinning that “wheel” the way I was going, I was bound to crash, burnout or hit a wall. So, in this pandemic I found so much including thankfulness.
Our Linemen’s line of work offers us all to succeed even in the worst of times. They will always be needed. These Linemen will always need their partners, wives, or girlfriends. No matter how big and bad they are, they need you girl. Just as you need them. They need that smile when they return home from a long trip. They need a shoulder to cry on should the worst happen at work. They need to vent when work is tough. You are their safe space as they are yours.
When times are looking bleak and tough, remember that nothing good is created without trial and error. Look at diamonds, they are beautiful, but created under pressure (I know you have heard this one). You can’t be good at anything without practicing and failing.
The pandemic has brought change to all of us, affecting us in many ways. We are all different now. Nothing is the same. We cannot bring back what is already gone.
Find balance in this very moment. Find your happiness right now. That super green blade of grass, the smell of the ocean, that song that gives you goosebumps, or maybe it’s the reflection looking back at you in the mirror. You are the only one who can bring the peace and happiness.
May an army of angles surround your Linemen and crews as they work, and may you never forget what an amazing and strong woman you are.