This morning was Loren’s first morning working “first shift”. We have been a “second shift family” since we have been married. Our mornings are short and our nights are long. Loren leaves for work about 3pm and returns home at 1:30am. We chat for a while when he gets home and chores are done and in general we are in bed by about 3:30am and sleep until 10:30am or so. The schedule works good for us since we are both night people and we both love our sleep and when you get to sleep past 10am (even if you just went to bed) procrastinators like ourselves feel like we are getting away with something. Loren had the option of working first shift when he first took this job a couple years ago but likes to be up late and those early mornings during his training was enough first shift for him! We have become pretty comfortable with being a second shift family. Some of the egg customers had to learn to not knock on the door at 8am when we had just hit the sack a few hours before and often phone calls were not picked up and the answering machine had to be the only voice early morning callers heard.
So when our little second shift family routine was suddenly shook when we discovered that this year’s winter lay-off was going to be handled a little differently, we knew there would be some adjusting. They would be shutting down second shift completely and implementing a rotating work schedule on first shift for the guys that would like to keeping working through the winter. In the next 16 weeks Loren will work 9 and have 7 weeks off. Last year because of the wedding he asked to be laid off with the first bunch of guys and was off a long time. Because business was slow (people aren’t building much in the winter in and around Minnesota … surprise surprise!) and so he only worked 2 weeks between Dec. and April. We didn’t complain however since we were newly married and liked the time to adjust and set up the house. Even during the lay off last year we tried to keep the second shift schedule since we weren’t sure when Loren would be called back in. So for a year we have been living second shift. Unless we were heading out of town or had something to be up early for we kept our sleeping schedule as is … rarely up before 10am (unless it’s a Sunday of course and we go to Mass).
But starting today … today we were up at 4:30am! That is mighty early. Loren needs to leave by 5:30am and animals need to fed (as well as himself) and so the alarm clock blared much earlier then it normally does. The new schedule is 6am – 3pm (unless there is slower days or busier days and the end time might change a bit). This morning went ok and we both got up with little trouble … but I think that is because we slept so little and were anticipating an early alarm. Trying to sleep early in the evening when your body is not used to it is not fun. I think that we managed a few hours but it wasn’t a “good night’s sleep” as we had hoped for even though we headed to bed by 9:30pm. When the alarm went off at 4:30am Loren said “finally!, I have been up like every hour all night waiting for that alarm to go off.” Poor guy. I did sleep a little bit more than him I think and I heard him snore a few times so he at least knew that he slept some.
Loren was off right on time and I went back to sleep! I know I know, I should have been a better new farm wife and stayed up and worked on something productive but man it was so early and this house was cold and dark and my tired body told me to sleep. It does seem a bit odd to be home alone in the morning and afternoon and I have some more responsibility with the animals but I am sure that we will adjust … and then adjust back to second shift in April. But it might be a sleepy few days around here as we learn to go to bed early and rise long before the sun when we would rather do the opposite.