Working Summer Nights

The first heatwave has passed us by. As much as I enjoyed lounging by the pool (bit did I ever enjoy that!) I was able to combat the heat in other ways. We had our heat pump serviced last week and the technician gave us some advice on running the AC in order to keep the unit lasting longer.

We also keep the blinds down when the sun is hitting the windows. As well, we keep doors cans windows closed. The ceiling fans are on low in order to circulate the cool air. The comfort level in our home is perfect. So comfortable in fact that it makes it easy for me to sleep during the day.

That’s because my favorite way to battle the summer heat is to work at night. Yeah, night shifts aren’t fun, but the cool evening air and light breeze makes work so much better. When I was a switchman, I worked nights quite regularly in the summer in order to avoid bugs and the heat. I know not everyone has that option in working and outside job- but if you can- I recommend summer nights for working.

Since most folks work normal hours, remember to stay cool and hydrated! Even stuffy offices should be a comfortable place to work at.

Much Needed Nap

Today I took a nap. It was really needed. Working nights and swapping into doing stuff during the day- takes its toll on me.

Our couch was the perfect spot to squeeze out an hour of zzz’s, or so I hoped. Albeit not as peaceful as I hoped. The robot vacuum was on, people were putting away dishes and working in the kitchen, and lots of walking around talking at normal volume.

It was as though my nap was offensive in some way to the rest of my family. It seems they still don’t get it when I work night shift that can’t just switch it off and go back to being a normal human on my days off. I have another week of nights to go, so inverting my sleep schedule doesn’t make sense.

But I tried to nap. Good thing my wife and I are going out tonight, I have a feeling I’d be a bit grumpier if it was just the two of us. I’ll do my best to be aware of my emotions tonight. Being exhausted can be just as bad as being hungry.

I like napping, and haven’t done as much as I once did. That’s okay, but I think it’s time to change that.

Starting Night Shift Rotation

Switch every two weeks from days to nights is a bit challenging. After doing two weeks of day shift, I had three days off to get ready for my first night shift. Instead, I was still waking up early, going for walks, doing chores and in bed long before midnight.

I’m about to attempt a nap now. I’ll likely get a couple of hours, but not the full four I was hoping for. This usually happens. The other thing that happens is that I will sleep all day tomorrow and my body will be close to the flip of nights.

Anyhow, not much to write about today. Just that I need a nap and swinging into nights is difficult. Oh well. I like my job so I’ll keep doing this for a few more years. Retirement will be arriving in September 30, 2034. Without a loss to my pension. Age 58 isn’t so bad to call it quits. Freedom from night shifts is within reach!

Day Sleeping

Working night shifts means I need to sleep during the day. Since it’s still winter, I fall asleep while it’s still dark out. However, my bedroom doesn’t stay that way.

The blinds we have are not “blackout blinds” and a lot of natural light gets through. However, it reminds me of our old home.

In our previous house, we didn’t have blinds for a number of years. The trees just gave natural shade to the bedroom. I became accustomed to the diffused light, so there is no issue sleeping here.

I pride myself in the fact I can fall asleep anywhere and quickly as well. I don’t need it to be dark or even quiet. Sometimes background noise or music is nice for me to fall asleep to, albeit unnecessary for my sleep.

I do prefer our new home ambiance compared to our previous house. The color palette is calmer and soothing. I generally feel relaxed at home now, not worrying about repairs or renovations. Just enjoying the house. I sleep a lot better these days.

Quiet Streets

Working nights can be a beautiful thing. As much as I sometimes complain, there is still some good that can be found in the night shift.

My favorite thing about working at night is how quiet the streets are. I can travel down the city streets with no other cars in sight and make every green light. Even the commute is easier. I’m busy traveling in the opposite direction from rush hour traffic.

I also really like the peace and quiet that nighttime brings with it. There’s a certain time at around 3am that just seems to shut down the world. As if the universe is resetting itself to begin anew.

I’m also enjoying the last couple of nights because the temperature drops to a comfortable level. Normally I’d feel as if I was missing out on the daily grind. But our record breaking heatwave was getting to be unbearable.

Do you work shift work? How do you like it? Drop your opinion in the comments section and let me know.

What Day Is It?

Working night shifts is pretty rough these days. My sleep pattern is so broken because of all the extra stuff going on with selling and buying a house. I get phone calls, emails and texts from our realtor during “normal” business hours while I’m trying to sleep. I was glad last week when I only had to work Three Shifts.

I can’t get angry at those who contact me. But I do wish that I could pass them off to my wife. Problem is she is working normal hours. Usually she is good at leaving me alone. My kids however… they tend to be louder and noisier when they know I need sleep.

I’m about to go in for my third 12 hour shift in a row tonight. I feel like a zombie- getting just barely enough sleep in order to function. I have one more to go after this as well.

Hopefully I can catch up on some sleep on my days off. Then I can become normal once more.

Ending Vacation / Starting Short Work Week

My vacation is over which means back to work for me tonight. I have a “week” of night shifts. But it’s really only three nights. I have a four day weekend coming up starting Wednesday. Which makes it nicer to ease into the workload after vacation.

It’s been nice just doing camping, kayaking, and hanging out. No smell of diesel or grain dust on me. I will need to dig out my work clothes and gear before I return to work this evening.

My wife doesn’t return to work until tomorrow. So she is going to relax for one more day while I nap before my night shift. Pretty sure she is going to play video games. She has an extra day off on Thursday so her work week is shortened as well.

So far summer has been pretty good to us. I hope for it to continue over the next couple months.

Keep On Sleeping

When I’m doing a couple of weeks of night shifts I tend to stay in the rhythm of the night. So I stay up late and sleep most of my day away.

In all honesty, I can also sleep all day and all night. Naps are the greatest thing as well. Sometimes I take two or three a day. Glorious sleep.

My wife doesn’t understand how I can sleep so much. But I love sleeping. There’s something about it that I enjoy. I guess it’s that my brain takes me away to a dreamland that I tend to forget when I wake up. Or that it’s time to eat when I wake.

Eat/sleep/repeat

I can fall asleep almost anywhere as well. And quickly. I’ve mastered the art of passing out. I’m glad that I’m getting back into it; as last week I was unable to. It’s been a long time since I had difficulty sleeping. Now it comes in the blink of an eye.

Night Shift is For The Birds

Oh man. Finished the night shift yet again. I enjoy working at night for the simple fact that the world is calmer and not so busy. I’m so lucky to be home to hear the birds chirping and singing before the world gets busy.

Sure, it’s nice and tranquil most of the time. I used to pull all nighters as a teenager/twenty something. I would be out wandering parks or fields and listen as the birds slowly woke up. It was like a concert firing up. An overture played from eons of nature growing and practicing together.

Falling asleep to the sound of birds is very different than waking up to hear their lovely tune. I want to say I enjoy it, but it’s keeping me awake longer as I wait for the sounds of cars and human noise to lull me to sleep.

Back To Normal?

My vacation is ending today. I enjoyed my physical distancing of the rest of the world as I stayed home. I kept busy during my time off working around the house/yard. I also enjoyed the cooking and painting I accomplished while in seclusion.

Getting back to work after an extended time away is always challenging. There are changes to adapt to and hundreds of emails to read. Heading back to a “normal routine” during the epidemic feels a tad strange. Moving trains helps keep the goods flowing to the customers and places to keep the public supplied. I’ll still be practicing my physical distancing and extreme cleanliness.

Traveling to work and coming home will be the majority of my venturing into the wild during this COVID-19 crisis. I’m glad that for the next three weeks I’ll be working the night shift as well. It means far less people to interact with. Plus I get to sleep all day long.

Like one giant nap.

Getting My Feet Wet

It’s been about a year since I had to be a switchman last. It’s like riding a bicycle- my legs were a little wobbly at first, but it all came back to me once more. Over the past four nights I have been back at it again doing twelve hour shifts each night. Last night I was soaked because of the rain. I was quite literally “Getting My Feet Wet” once more.

A part of me enjoyed doing this job again at first. Seeing some of my favorite graffiti art that I hadn’t seen in ages has been a real treat. I remember many of the images and it’s odd to see them show up again.

However, I’d like it to be over soon. I’m hoping that things settle down and the conductors return into their regular roles. They are more apt to doing this type of job than I am. I don’t feel that I am as good as I once was that’s for sure. But if I have to, I will do what is required of me until such a time that I won’t be needed.

And here I thought my career was moving away from working nights in the rain. Oh well.

Fuzzy Mind

I’ve worked night shift the past few days. It has made me very fuzzy in the head. Today has been especially bad.

I feel like I cannot come up with coherent sandwiches sentences. I’m also confused as to what date it is. I keep thinking it’s two days ago. No idea why. As well, my stomach isn’t overly happy either. No gut. That’s a bad gut. Bad.

I know the solution!

Nap time. I love a good nap. Naps make me feel sort of human again.

Mid-Day Post Night-Shift

Sleeping after a night shift is one of my favorite things to do. I find I get a really good sleep as I waste away in preparation for my next night shift. Sometimes I get woken up in the middle of my daytime snooze. Usually because I have things to do. Or I get woken up early and decide it’s too much work to go back to bed.

Take today for example. I had to wake up in the middle of my sleep in order to pick up my kids from school. (Darn half day at school.) I’ll probably get back to sleep and snag another 4 1/2 hours. But still- two short sleeps don’t always make up one good sleep.

I am completely understanding of the fact that I have a commitment to our children. I can’t let them down. It’s not like the school they attend is close by either. We have to drive at least twenty minutes to get to the school. At home, our kids are very respectful of my sleep and never bother me or make a ruckus.

Only one more night to go this week. Then a few normal days. Followed by another stint of nights.

I got this.

Really I do.

💤

Early To Bed

I’m coming off five weeks of night shifts. My body and brain haven’t adjusted yet. It’s only been two days so far, but it feels like I never sleep. I barley saw my own kids while on nights, now I’m going to bed early.

I’ve found it difficult this time for the change over. It also doesn’t help I’m working in a location I haven’t spent much time in over the past year. Lots of changes and my brain is back in full gear trying to keep me going. It’s mentally exhausting.

Unfortunately my children haven’t seen me much lately. So my time at home is very precious as well. Tonight, my son decided that he needed to showcase his talents on violin and trumpet. He came into my bedroom with his trumpet as I crawled into bed. I think it must be revenge for something.

But I love that he wanted to share what he’s learned so far in school. It was also easier to let him play his piece than argue for ten minutes.

Now it’s time for me to go to sleep. Fresh trumpet sounds echoed on my mind.

Doing Night Shifts with Day Plans

Days like today are a pain. I stupidly made a doctor’s appointment for mid morning. Which really isn’t so bad, except I’ve been on four straight weeks of night shift.

I went home after work to take a quick nap before my appointment. Before falling asleep, I didn’t feel that tired and thought, “it shouldn’t be that bad” when I wake up. I slipped into a deep enough slumber that I awoke to my alarm with my face in a puddle of drool.

I lay in bed. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Five more minutes. Then I had to race to get ready and ran out the door. Now I’m hiding in the corner of the waiting room wondering how long it will be before the doctor sees me. Anyone who needs sleep counts every minute they need before getting on with their day. He’s already seven minutes late!

There’s nothing I can do about it. So I wait. Hoping to get sleep at some point today before work.

I’m Not Crazy. Really.

I work the nightshift regularly at the moment.  I sit at a desk typing things into a computer, answer the phone and the radio, and generally work alone.  There have been hours at a time that I’m the only one in the building.  I like to have the lights dimmed and the blinds closed as I work.  Like a late night radio dj, smooth and calm is how I like to run my shift.


But, I get a bit stir crazy sometimes.  The other night, I randomly began singing about eating my curry chicken and rice.  Most nights I am swearing and cursing before I would answer the phone in a calm manner.  I often sing my responses to the crews as they ask questions on the radio.  Sometimes I’ll quote movies as my responses.


The job is tedious at times.  It’s also extremely stressful.  My job is best described as being an air traffic controller for trains.  It’s a dangerous and unforgiving environment for those who work on the ground.  They are expecting me to give them the best information I can in order for them to do their job safely.  I take great pride in my work every night.  Many of my coworkers have come to understand my style of working.  As well, I’ve grown to understand their capabilities.  

Together, we make through each night until daylight breaks.

Interrupted

I am physically and mentally exhausted today.  It’s from a lack of sleep.  Not that I haven’t tried- I came home from my nightshift and promptly went to bed.  It’s my friends forgetting that I am working nightshifts that seem to be the issue.  


The real world seems to be 9-5 Monday to Friday with Everybody Working For The Weekend.  But there are those of us who can’t or don’t.  That’s where the hardship comes in.  Most people sleep all night and forget that there are some of us who need to sleep during the day.  Even my friends and my family forget or have a tough time adjusting to the thought that I’m not as alert as they are during the day.


Working nights is tough but it also has its advantages.  It means I am free to make doctor or dentist appointments for anytime of day.  It means I can volunteer more for my children’s school activities.  It also means I can do shopping during the calmer times and not be stuck in lines and crowds during the after school/ dinner hours.  I’m looking at you Costco– I swear those are the worst times to shop there.

But in arranging appointments and time with the family, my schedule gets altered.  Following most nightshifts, I get home and try to fall asleep by 9am, waking up for dinner.  I’ll spend the evening with the family.  But other times, it’s a few hours nap, wake up & do stuff, nap, wake up to eat, maybe nap again.  My body is generally accustomed to this.  


But, I also have days like today.  A day where emails, phone calls and texts have interrupted me far too much to get even a decent nap.  “Turn off your phone Josef.”  I can’t really do that.  It’s the main communication I have to my wife, work and emergencies.  Most texts or calls I can ignore and respond to when I wake up. No offense to my friends, but sleep is kind of important.


Don’t talk to me anymore today.  I’m going to try and get a four hour block of sleep now.  Thanks.

Two days off isn’t enough.

Working a regular job is great.  I know when I’m going to work and when I’ll have time off.  But working straight nights messes me up on the weekend.  I try and swing my body back to sleeping at night for two days, when really I shouldn’t.


I’ll get home after my Friday night shift and go to sleep, but only for about five hours.  The rest of my Saturday afternoon and evening is spent fighting off sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion.  Passing out about eight hours after my nap is a regular occurrence.  Sometime falling asleep while watching a movie with the family.

The Sunday usually has me waking up early and making a large breakfast for the family.  Then we have a good day of hanging out with other friends followed by a nice evening with a couple of drinks. I get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up on the Monday morning at around eight am.

Then repeat.


Then the frustration kicks in.  I’ll be awake for hours, then toss and turn trying to get some sleep before night one of my work week begins.  After that first night shift, I’ll get home and crash for ten hours or so trying to get my body back into the swing of nights.  Every week is like this.  But I really enjoy the night shift because there’s so much to get done and I can still squeeze in some time with the family for a meal or adventure.

Like most people who work regularly, two days off just isn’t enough.  A third day added on would be great.  I’d love to have a four day work week.  Although, switching my sleep schedule around from days to nights and back again halfway through the week would probably take its toll on me worse than what two days off does.

Anyhow, time to try and get a nap before my Monday begins.  I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!