Hangry Stewart

Hangry: When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both. (Urban Dictionary)

For the first thirty years of my life, I had no concept of the word hangry. It never made sense to me. If you get hungry, eat! There’s no reason to get upset. Just grab an apple, and get back to work.

And then I met Yooper Stewart. Hard working, handsome, sweetest-guy-you’ll-ever-meet.

I won’t lie: the first several years of our marriage were hard. We didn’t live together before we got married, so it wasn’t just being married that we had to figure out. We had to learn all about each other’s habits and living styles (and let me tell you—as one of three daughters—living with a man for the first time opened my eyes to whole new levels of clutter and body odors).

One thing I never would have anticipated: an adult man who’s incapable of identifying his body’s hunger cues. Someone who could wake up a confident, capable man, then regress to toddler-like logic and confusion by lunch time.

For years, we argued. I tried to reason with my overly sensitive husband, but he always found something else to whine about. His whining annoyed me. My annoyance frustrated him. His frustration made me anger. Eventually there would be yelling and tears.

More than a decade later, I’m starting to figure him out. This past weekend*, for example, went something like this…

YS: (holding an empty plastic storage container) I don’t know what to do with this.

Me: We don’t use it for anything. We could get rid of it.

YS: (sigh) I guess I could use it for my Lego store.

Me: I thought you were closing that, and you already have stacks of containers.

YS: Fine! (throws container into recycle bin)

Me: We don’t have to throw it away. We could donate it.

YS: (cue toddler voice) But then we’d have to wash it!

Me: What the heck? So we wash it! What are— (realization)

Me: (pours a bowl of cereal, pushes it toward Yooper Stewart, slowly backs away)

TEN MINUTES LATER

YS: I’m going to run to the store, then get started in the yard and work out in the garage. Do you need anything?

Crisis averted.

And that, my friends, is why I carry snacks with me everywhere.

*Yooper Stewart would like to go on the record as saying that he’s pretty sure I was hangry this past weekend, and that I may have been overreacting a bit too. (Doubtful, but I promised I’d let you know.)

A New Season, A New Truck

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!

Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

His home for the past 18 months.

Eighteen months ago, Yooper Stewart started work as an over-the-road truck driver with a company downstate. They’re a great company that took care of YS, giving him a “welcome to the road” kit during his first solo trip, offering bonuses for everything from on-time deliveries to Long Island deliveries, and providing as much flexibility as possible in his driving schedule.

But when you’re gone for 10-14 days at a time and you’re commute to work is 2+ hours one way, it didn’t take long to become physically and emotionally tired — the last thing he wanted to do after a hard trip on the road was drive another two hours home, but he didn’t have a choice. And we missed each other. Bluetooth made it possible for us to talk a lot while he was gone, but that’s not the same as making dinner together or walking the dogs together.

It wasn’t easy to leave his first trucking job, but we knew when YS started driving that the goal was for him to eventually find a local job. Today, he started that job!

 

How Yooper Stewart enjoys coffee and breakfast before work on an early July morning.

This morning he drove thirty minutes to work. He’ll be home tonight in time for dinner. After he finishes work on Friday, he’ll be home for the weekend. And we can expect the same thing next week and the week after and the week after! He’ll still get to drive, enjoying hours a day to himself, but at the end of the day we’ll be home together (and Cooper will be one happy dog!).

The one downside … Yooper Stewart had to say goodbye to his beard. I like the beard. I’ll miss the beard. But we’re both happy to sacrifice it to see each other every night.

Here’s to a new season in a new a truck (and, hopefully, more frequent Yooper Stewart posts!).

This is what happens when you don’t have kids and your wife can’t do first-day-of-school pictures.

A Trucker and His Dog

Yooper Stewart & Lady Cakes

Once upon a time, Yooper Stewart met Super Cooper. Yooper Stewart wasn’t happy about Super Cooper because Yooper Stewart had recently said good-bye to his first love, Lady Cakes.

Mrs. Yooper Stewart, however, loved Super Cooper, so he stayed … and Yooper Stewart fell in love. Then YS hit the road as an over-the-road trucker, and he disappeared for weeks at a time. Super Cooper didn’t understand what was going on — where did Daddy go? When would he be home? How many times could he lick Daddy before he disappeared again?

SC made the best of his Daddy-less life by guarding shoes, sleeping with slippers, and keeping an eye on Mommy. Until the day Mommy decided to take a vacation.

She needed to find someone to watch SC. Normally, she took him to Camp Grandma where he got lots of snuggles and learned how to entertain himself by dropping a ball down the basement steps, then running down to retrieve it. But this trip was special (her first time to Jamaica!) so she decided SC needed a special trip. After making a few phone calls, she surprised SC with his ultimate adventure — a trip in Daddy’s truck!

SC didn’t know what was going on. Daddy was getting ready to leave (again), but he let SC jump in the car before he left. And then Daddy didn’t make him get out. And then Daddy took SC on a car ride! After two hours in the car, they got into an even BIGGER vehicle! It felt just like home — a big, soft bed, pillows, treats, a doggie bed. Exciting!

Yooper Stewart took Super Cooper through Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, and Arkansas. They spent most of their time in the truck, but SC quickly figured out the difference between stopping and stopping when setting the air brakes (FYI — when YS sets the air brakes, SC gets out of the truck!). They took daily walks together, cuddled at night, and — of course — YS introduced SC to dozens of people who agreed that he’s just about the cutest dog in the whole world.

YS didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked, but here’s a quick look at a little dog in a big truck:

Day 1 – 0 miles – so excited!

Meeting new friends in Tennessee. Mara LOVES Cooper!

Taking a “dog” nap in a dog bed. Many hours spent in this position!

“Dad…why did you take my bone? Where’s my bone, Dad?”

If you feel like you’re being watched…

…you probably are.

 

Super Cooper’s haul back to Michigan!

Yooper Stewart left the truck to get some paperwork. Suddenly the horn started honking!

I wonder why…

 

After 3400 miles…

After 3600 miles, Super Cooper was beat!

 

Yooper Stewart Saves the Day

Apologies for the hiatus. Yooper Stewart and I have both been busy, and it didn’t take long for the days, weeks, months to get away from us! After several months of silence, I put some pressure on YS – give me a story or get out of the house! (Not really, but I may have bribed him with tacos.) Unfortunately, he’s not the best communicator, so that conversation went something like:

Me: Tell me something interesting that’s happened recently.
Yooper Stewart: Um…

Eventually I got a few stories out of him but I won’t lie – they weren’t exactly interesting, but they were typical. Drivers in compact cars with death wishes cutting him off. Loading dock workers waking him up two hours early to unload his truck. Snow storms delaying his travel. Nothing noteworthy.

And then he opened with this line: I saved a trucker today.

Ding, ding! That sounded like a great story!

I’ll let you decide.

YS: I saved a trucker today.
Me: (impressed) Really, what happened?
YS: I backed into a dock–
Me: And saw a guy pinned behind a truck?
YS: No, I noticed his tire was off the rim–
Me: And the trailer was falling so you pushed him out of the way and to safety?
YS: No, I went over and pointed it out to him. I told him he might want to check the rest of his tires.
(Crickets)
Me: That’s it?
YS: Yeah.
Me: I thought you were going to say you held up a trailer so some guy could escape. Let’s tell people that. It’s a better story.

Yeah.

On the plus side, I asked him to send some pictures to share. This is what he sent.

Life with Yooper Stewart is certainly not boring! I’ll try to get more stories out of him over the next few months but I can’t make any promises about the pictures.

Long Lost Yooper-isms

Today I was cleaning out my old writing files when I stumbled across a nondescript blue notebook. Since I’m a bit addicted to buying school supplies, that’s not unusual. When I opened the cover, however, I discovered a small stash of Yooper Stewart quotes. Based on the other contents in the notebook, I think these are about eight years old. I have no idea what inspired most of these, but they still made me laugh!

Here you go:

“Don’t give me that upper-crust, born-on-the-right-side-of-the-tracks look.”

“True Grits: The Real Story of Breakfast.”

“That could be a hillbilly love song – The Whistling Beer Bottle.”

“I like that pillow. If I was an executive, I’d buy that pillow.”

“I think the flora and fauna in my digestive tract are off.”

(I love that man!)

Yooper Stewart & Sister Stewart Hit the Road

After a CRAZY summer of family and fun, I’m finally back at the computer with Yooper Stewart stories (technically just one for now, but more will come)! I apologize for the delay, but the photos are worth it, I promise. I actually have photos this time because YS took a passenger with him – this is the story of Yooper Stewart’s road trip with Sister Stewart.

One of the perks to Yooper Stewart’s job is that he can bring visitor’s with him, so earlier this year Sister Stewart took a few days off to see the world! Instead, they saw the freeway and some parts of the East Coast. It was an experience for both of them, sharing a 6′ x 6′ space. Thankfully they get along, so they enjoyed most of it.

YS took SS took through Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, across the George Washington bridge, across Manhattan, under three skyscrapers, through the giant orange Hot Wheels loop and onto Long Island. From there, they went to Western Indiana (carrying pallets to be recycled). Then they picked up cardboard to drive back into Michigan.

The trip took five days, and YS had a blast. Lots of fun talking, he introduced his sister to the Waffle House, and – most importantly – someone else got to experience the sheer lunacy of how people drive around semi-trucks. Then there were the truly odd experiences – a deer walking past their truck on Long Island and a car parked along the freeway with people sitting outside it playing guitars.

Sister Stewart also had the chance to play with her “Ways” app – it’s a real-time traffic app. She got points for being the first person to spot and report different traffic issues, then got even more points when others commented on her reports. Apparently she collected lots of points, but – like “Whose Line is it Anyway?” – the points don’t seem to matter.

After that successful guest-trip, Yooper Stewart has decided that it’s not bad having someone he likes in the cab with him. That’s why I’m going with him next month! I’m sure the experience will be a little different than it was with his sister, but hopefully he’ll still enjoy it. As long as I don’t have to drive, I’m sure I’ll do just fine.

Keep scrolling to see even more photos from their trip!

Backyard BBQ, Yooper Stewart Style

Yooper Stewart and I have been lucky – his last two trips home we’ve had great weather. Because of that, we’ve been enjoying backyard cookouts and bonfires with the family. When you eat outside with Yooper Stewart, however, you can’t expect things to be normal. When it’s windy, for example, your “tablecloth clips” may be unconventional.

And there’s definitely nothing normal about starting a bonfire. Yes, he uses kindling and wood like anyone else, but why use fire starters or any other normal bonfire technique when you could use … hand sanitizer.

 

And after dinner, when the parents go home and your wife and sister go see a movie, what better way to relax than to sit back with … your laptop.

 

Really, it’s just another day in the life of Yooper Stewart, when he’s not on the road or selling Legos or running an Amazon business.

I didn’t know these things about Yooper Stewart when I met him, but I had an inkling when, on our wedding night, he introduced me to Red Green. Lucky for me, Yooper Stewart’s handy and handsome.

Life Hacks with Yooper Stewart

Yooper Stewart Bed Frame Flavor Bars. Patent pending.

Meijer – the preferred retail store of Midwesterners. It’s also where Yooper Stewart and I regularly hang out. We not only grocery shop, we restock his Amazon store, buy clothes, and laugh uncontrollably at ourselves as we cruise the aisles, often with a tactical shopping cart (a YS term for the smaller, dual-basket carts).

On our most recent trip to Meijer, Yooper Stewart clued me in to some of his redneck-inspired life hacks. Here are three of my favorites:

  1. Weekend Wear: why bother with an entire wardrobe when you can wear one outfit all weekend (saving yourself time and money)? Here’s how it works: take a shower Friday night, then put on a clean shirt. Wear that shirt to bed, and to your family picnic the next day, then to bed again. No muss. No fuss. No coconuts – just the same shirt all weekend.
  2. Flavor Bars: Open your gas grill. Look into it – below the grates you’ll see some metal strips. These strips cover the flames, protecting the fire from going out while also adding flavor to your food (the drippings heat on the metal, creating smoke and adding flavor). After a while the flavor bars may need to be replaced. Normal people go to the store and buy replacement bars. Yooper Stewart disassembled a bed frame and used pieces of it in our grill. Since I’m not keen on the flavor of burned paint on my food, I wanted to buy real replacement flavor bars. So there we are in Meijer – Yooper Stewart and I arguing because he didn’t trust the quality of the store-bought flavor bars. You know – the ones specifically designed and made for a grill. His argument: store-bought flavor bars will only last 10-15 years; his bars will survive at least two generations of grill masters. It took fifteen minutes to convince him that the store-bought bars were probably a better option than Aunt Linda’s old bed frame.
  3. The Belt. I have no words. Instead, I’ll let you see for yourself.

I can’t wait to see what I learn from him the next time he’s home!

Yooper Stewart Inspires Matt-less Shenanigans

There are pros and cons to being a trucker’s wife.

Pro: The house stays clean.
Con: Limited cuddling.

Pro: We have deeper, more meaningful conversations.
Con: We talk about what we’d like to do, but we don’t usually have the time to do it.

Pro: He gets paid better.
Con: I spend the extra money on comfort food to cope while he’s gone.

Overall it’s been a good experience – Yooper Stewart and I are both learning a lot about ourselves and our marriage. This past trip, however, has been hard on both of us, and we’re both counting down the days until he’s home again (though we actually don’t know when he’ll be home, so it’s a hypothetical counting). As I recently lamented my loneliness of Facebook, a friend said she wished she was closer so we could participate in Matt-less shenanigans (disclosure – Yooper Stewart’s real name is Matt).

Matt-less shenanigans.

I like it! Not the Matt-less part, the shenanigans part. I’ve been staying busy while he’s gone, but I’ve also discovered that I spend a lot of time on the couch killing time. Bleh. I realize this is Yooper Stewart’s blog, so I’ll be talking about these shenanigans on my blog (possibly my Facebook page), but since YS inspired them, I wanted to mention them.

I also used this opportunity to remind YS that I haven’t posted anything since February, partly because I’ve been busy and partly because he hasn’t sent me any more pictures (okay, mostly it’s my fault, but I can’t completely admit to that can I?).  That inspired him to send me a few pictures from his journeys. I hope that I’ll have more photos to share than of just his truck, but for now you can see what Yooper Stewart sees every day.

Except for this sign – he doesn’t see this sign every day, but it was worth the time to take a picture of it!

 

 

The New (and Improved?) Yooper Stewart

0220170943a_500x1000He did it!

Yooper Stewart finished his first solo week driving in his own truck. He drove to Connecticut through a winter storm, was woken up at 1 a.m. for a 5 a.m. delivery, and managed to drive 3,000 miles total.

The Saturday after his week ended, his company threw an employee party to celebrate people for their years of service and to recognize the company’s 45th anniversary. We decided to attend so YS and I could meet more of his co-workers. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to help him organize his truck (though he wasn’t sure that he wanted the help).

When I arrived, Yooper Stewart looked the same, but something had changed. I didn’t realize it yet, but after five weeks on the road (one by himself), YS had had a heart change. Miraculously he did two things he’s never done before.

0219171610

  1. He wanted to go to a party. That’s right – no more waiting until the last minute with me dragging him behind me as he tries to come up with a good reason why he should be able to skip another social function. I knew my bearded introvert would enjoy his alone time in the truck, but I didn’t realize that all that alone time would awaken his social side and lead him to seek out personal interactions. Not only did we arrive early, we were one of the last few people to leave.
  2. He let me organize his things. I’m a natural organizer. Yooper Stewart is not. I’ve been begging him for years to let me help him organize his office, but he’s never let me. After a tiring week on the road in a cramped, disorganized truck, however, he was willing to let me try. And he liked the results. (Maybe now he’ll let me into his office!)

0219171919_500x1000To celebrate his first successful week, he celebrated like any good redneck – with a medium-rare ribeye (thank you Mom and Aunt Linda for the gift card!).

With his first week behind him, he’s feeling more confident and relaxed. He’s ready to take on his first month, his first summer, his first year. (And I’m ready to take on his office…)