Four Trains A Week

It seems really weird to be on a train again, and four times in one week. These days, what with the fact J drives, and the fact that we also seem to be inseparable without him having a hissy fit, we go everywhere together. Back in the day I would look after our Northern clients by myself, getting there by hook or by crook on the train. Now we both do the jobs together. It costs our clients more, of course, but they seem to be willing to pay it.

It also means, though, that trips away are now quick turnaround jobs. We go up timed to start there, then go back almost as soon as they’re over. This can mean 400 miles in 2 days. It’s not the most enjoyable of timetables, and worse when you consider that it is worth almost nothing to us.

We’ve been coping over the last year with this somehow. Every time we go away it kills us, causes us huge amounts of stress, and 99% of the time results in us coming back to office carnage. Our office admin assistant, who looks after things when we go away, does her best… but generally all she can do is sit and take messages. It makes people feel better, but the queue when we get back can be very long indeed.

This week was no exception. But this week was worse. I sit now writing this post on a train, zooming into London. Today I have a special job with our London client. They’re OK, but rather stressful too at times. But I have already been into London this week, on Wednesday, and that was far more difficult than today. This morning the train is empty, I can sit and stretch my legs, and type thoughtful thoughts (haha). On Wednesday, I stood for the whole journey. Not my idea of fun.

It took quite some convincing to stop J being too depressed about me gallivanting off. That seems to be what he thinks I’m doing. In fact, I’m just trying to earn us more money. This month has been rubbish. We’ve barely made a profit, and for that to just come out of the blue is a little disturbing. I hope it will go away as quickly, but right now we’re left searching for an answer as to why the month has been so poor. We sit around all day getting the flak from our clients when the latest Windows Update fucks their computers over (again) – and it makes us almost zero money each time. There’s very little “good” work out there any more. Or perhaps there never was. We’ve done well for profit this year, except for this month and the last. I don’t get it. We’re not suddenly any different. The fundamentals of life – and computers breaking – don’t change day by day. We’re growing every day in reputation, not falling. So why?

I’ve given up trying to understand it. But basically, when one of our clients who pays pretty well comes out of the blue and says that they need me to come in two, and maybe even three times, in a week, with a guaranteed half a day each time, and all travel costs covered, even making a profit, we have to take it. We have to cope with the demands it causes back at the office, but we must take it.

So this week I’ve actually had some time on my own. It’s been refreshing, actually. Time away from J actually makes me realise how much I do love him, and miss him when he’s not around. It makes me less snippy. I can be snippy at times, especially if I’m in a mood. It’s not his fault that I get snippy over stupid things that happen. I am much better at managing my passive-aggressive sarcasm than I used to be, but it’s not always easy.

Primarily the benefit of being apart though is also that I get some time alone to just think about things. I rarely get that any more. Together I sit and worry about us, and our future, and money, and not being able to do anything fun with our lives. Apart I reflect it’s not all bad. We have each other, and for now we have a relatively stable life. We don’t have any friends, really, just business acquaintances and other miscellaneous hangers on. But we do have a really strong bond, that has had almost no blips at all this year. That’s pretty good for any couple.

Last time I spent so much time on trains I was travelling back up North on my own. I spent all of the journey no doubt chatting to J because he was so depressed about me being away that he made himself feel physically ill. He doesn’t seem to cope with it well at all. It worries me. But it all seems so long ago now. Back then was the final time we agreed that I would go away up North without him staying back here to look after the office. It’s not exactly been easy, but we have coped.

It’s been an interesting reminder as to how things used to be. Not quite the same, but still, an insight. We are stronger now… I think. But we have a long way to go mend each other’s insecurities.

Perhaps we never will.

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