God, Family, Fishing, and Work


Rhetorical crap

Lorazepam will make you feel like this!  😀


Life throws you a few curve balls now and then.  I’ve joked a lot about how a person’s priorities should be God first, then family, then fishing, and at the bottom of the list, working.  Little did I know how true that statement was!

Stressed OutBefore Dad died, I had started a job at a telephone contact center for a respected retailer.  I liked the coworkers and quickly made new friends.  Even though the stress level was tough, it looked like the sky was the limit in terms of growth potential.

One night after work (November 26) I called the nursing home and told Dad how exhausting it was learning the new job.  There was so much training compressed into very little time.  It made me wonder (for good reason) what I’d gotten myself into!

Dad calmly joked, “Well don’t quit just yet.  At least stay until you get paid for the training.”

I loved his sense of humor and comforting words.  I was too exhausted to visit him that evening but Dad understood.  He was tired as well and told me to come and see him in the morning.  A few hours later he passed away in his sleep.

Since then, the last few weeks have been busy with the funeral and burial, starting the Executor duties, and trying to get back to work.  There was not enough time to rest and grieve.  After returning to work, within days I had some serious anxiety issues resulting in medical intervention.  In retrospect, something had to give and it turned out to be the nerves!

Only logical

If only family members could understand that logic!

I called the employer on Wednesday and requested to work a part time schedule going forward.  The H.R. department said that working fewer hours is not possible.  Nobody is working part time during the busy holiday season.  (bah, humbug?)

I politely offered to end the employment.  Predictably, the resignation letter I sent included “… business needs must prevail in this situation and our [availability] requirements are incompatible.  A separation is necessary and logical.”  

The decision to resign immediately solved the time conflicts.  The anxiety issues disappeared practically overnight.  The outlook is now optimistic and depression symptoms lifting.  There are no worries.  When money is needed, there will be other jobs waiting in the bottom of the barrel.  But for the time being, family comes first… then some camping and fishing… then looking for work.


According to the latest forecast, we’re looking a a 6″ snowstorm this weekend – just in time for a picture postcard type white Christmas.  It’s likely that Serena and I will be out there somewhere camping and enjoying the winter weather.

May your Christmas (and other) travels be safe and enjoy the time with your families.  I treasure all the wonderful times with Dad and Mom, both of whom are gone now.  Enjoy one another this year!  Peace and joy to you!

God Bless!

Bradford, the Van Trekker

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

10 Responses to God, Family, Fishing, and Work

  1. Todd says:

    Sometimes, “the needs of the one… outweigh the needs of the many.”

    Brad, I’m glad you found a way to step back and take care of yourself!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Very true, Todd! Now I’ve got to go back and watch Star Trek II, III, and IV again. 😀 Thank you though! “Humans make illogical decisions.” (Spock, to his mother in Star Trek IV)

      I know if the roles were reversed, Dad would make a similar sacrifice, too. He did many times. It was amazing how much anxiety resulted from not being able to make a tough decision – and the release that came when a tough call was made. NOW the healing is occurring. 🙂

  2. Jerry says:

    Brads quote: I’ve joked a lot about how a person’s priorities should be God first, then family, then fishing, and at the bottom of the list, working.

    Jerry Says: not sure how to argue that point, but wouldn’t Spocks logic say “fishing must come first” because if you don’t eat, nothing else matters you will not exist ? But I’m sure no one would disagree that working should be last..

    So then who would “Mind the Stores” and stock the fish while 300 million RV’s are out fishing ?

    Cheers Jerry

    PS I saw its only supposed to be a mild -18 in Decorah this coming week…thought you were kidding me a while back.

    • VanTrekker says:

      LOL. I liked that comment. Food is right up there with the priorities… especially for me! (which is obvious in the posts!)

      But it’s true that for many of us – particularly vandwellers or wannabe nomads – all this corporate bullcrap means nothing! At the moment, in Iowa the unemployment rate is very low and companies are hurting for people. If you can work for shi* wages, they’ll hire a one armed man to teach archery classes. (sorry – that’s not politically correct) I think there’s MORE security when you are looking in the bottom of the corporate jobs barrel. 😀

      Yeah, it’s going to verrrry cold once again! Now they are talking 7 – 10 inches of snow by Sunday night… Winter is coming in fast and furious!

  3. Meg says:

    Brad, your story reminds me of something that happened with my own father right after I moved to Colorado (more than 30 years ago now). I was still working as an RN then and my new job was just too much; the scheduling was really wacky and I remember at one point having to work all 3 possible shifts – 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7 – in one week. Needless to say, my stress level was very high. But I hadn’t been at the job long – 2 months, I think – and it seemed too soon to leave. I was worried about how it would look on my resume and if it would affect my search for a new job.

    Then on a phone call to my family I was complaining to my father about all the job problems and he said, “Why don’t you just leave?” Considering this was coming from someone who grew up during the Great Depression and was laid off from his own job at the age of 48 – after 30+ years with the company – I was really surprised; I was expecting a lecture on why I should “hang in there” and I got the opposite! So I decided to act on his suggestion and went job-hunting.

    Early in the process I decided I should explain why I wanted to change jobs so soon. That turned out not to be necessary; at one interview when I started to talk about that the interviewer interrupted me and said “You work at [xxx]. You don’t have to explain, we know what it’s like there.” I had no trouble finding another job.

    My father’s been gone a long time now and honestly, lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of less positive memories of him. Thanks for reminding me of one of the good ones. 🙂 And good luck with your own job search; considering your history I fully expect it won’t be long before we get some more good news from you about that.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words and the story! My dad and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye over the years but in later years he and I sure became more like best friends. It is the most positive of memories that endure… and for good reason. I understand what you mean about the “you work at xxx”… I’ve been hearing that lately about the job I just left! It’s funny how you don’t hear that up front! 😀

  4. Pleinguy says:

    Hope you have a stress free and wonderful holiday season. A new year will bring fresh opportunities. Take care of yourself Brad.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks! Enjoy the holidays as well. It’s going to be -18 tonight in Cedar Rapids – definitely a perfect night to sleep out in the van. If it wasn’t too cold, it would be a beautiful place to paint some scenery. Take care!

  5. Jo says:

    I’m glad you left that job to get your stress down. My daughter works at one of those call centers and they work them like dogs. She is working 12-13 hr. shifts 6 days a week. It worries me because she is diabetic and not eating right on this schedule. And they are also facing losing their jobs to outsourcing in another country. What is wrong with this picture.

    Take care catch your dinner and enjoy.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo, and thank you so much for the kind words. I worked in a call center for two years some time ago and thought it was possible. I’d forgotten how bad it really is, even for a fine company like the one I was working for. It really sucks. Also, I’d drifted from my goal in life – a more nomadic lifestyle. Working 6 days a week is not compatible! Have a great holiday season – VT