It’s been a long time since I’ve shared much about our family’s journey in the linework world. It’s just our normal, and I’ve become pretty accustomed to the constant changes that it brings. I forget that there are so many other young couples and families starting out in the business every day. With the recent devestation along the gulf coast from Hurricane Ida, the linewife groups online have been flooded with newbies. For many of them, this is their first experience with a major storm. If this is you, I’ve got some tips to help pass the time, worry a little less, and know what to expect.
The plan will change. Then change again. Over and over. (Insert “PIVOT” joke here.)My rule of thumb: “Believe where he’s going when he’s checked into a hotel room. Believe he’s coming home when he walks in the back door.” Even the hotel part is debatable, as sometimes they overbook or mix things up. Also, after most storms, the first few days are spent sitting and waiting. It takes time for the damages to be assessed, jobs organized, and assignments given.
He will be uncomfortable. It sucks. It’s part of the job/situation though. They know that going into it. It’s temporary. There will be long hours. There will be less than desirable food, maybe even no food outside of what they brought with them for a while. Sometimes they have regular hotel rooms. Sometimes they have rooms with no AC. Sometimes they are in “man camps” or even sleeping in their trucks. It doesn’t always mean they work for a terrible company or someone wasn’t doing their job. These towns have been ravaged by a natural disaster. Many local residents have been displaced, and now there are thousands more people pouring into the area to try to restore things as quickly as possible. That creates a logistical nightmare. The powerline companies and utilities are doing their best to find the resources to care for their workers.
Be very cautious about what you post on social media. This is a big one. Customers are watching. Companies are watching. Like it or not, as his spouse, girlfriend, etc. you also represent their company.
Protect your mental health. If you can’t laugh at the ridiculousness, do NOT read the comments on social media. If it’s going to make you angry or anxious, don’t even look.
You probably will not hear from him very much. Phone service may be down or congested. They will also be working extra long hours. Communicate that you would like a “good morning” and an “I’m going to bed,” text if possible, so that you don’t worry. Outside of that, just try to be patient. Another options is to utilize apps for location sharing to ease the worries on both sides.
Find something to do. Seriously. Buy a new book. Start a new Netflix show. Learn a new hobby. Paint your bathroom. Find. Something. To. Do. It will not be good for you or him for you to be sitting around bored and anxious.
Be supportive. Now is not the time to pick fights or get your feelings hurt over silly stuff. Do not be a drama mama.
Dread bedtime? Make it your time. Many linewives will tell you that as much as they love having their husband home at night, this is also a big perk to storm calls. Get the kids in bed, grab a snack and a book or tv show. Guess what – you don’t have to share and you get to pick the show!
Find community. This one is so important. It can be really exhausting answering the same questions over and over, trying to explain to others all the things you worry about or the problems you are facing while holding down the fort at home, knowing they don’t fully understand. Reach out to the wives of his co-workers if you can. Join a group on Facebook. Reach out to the other women that understand this crazy life. We are here for you. <3