I have decided to work more for less pay. A dumb idea. I've had this psych job in the Napa Valley for eleven years. For the past six years, I've been traveling 330 miles round trip, at first twice a month, and then--starting three years ago--- once a week. During this time, I've spent a large amount of time away from home. The trips got more and more burdensome. I get more and more homesick.
Satellite radio helped---a present Joni gave me for Christmas. I spend a lot of time in the car. I eat way too many meals while traveling on the road, wiping the French fry grease on my car seat--spilling sodas and ketchup on the passenger side seat as I wrestle with a fast food meal while driving. I eat way too many of these; they are just too convenient while traveling. I've pretty much lived out of the car. Many trips I just left my clothes in the car even when I got home.
For the last six years, I've stayed at Crystal Springs---an old haunted turn-of-the-century Nursing Dorm on my hospital's campus. Many of us older nurses travel to work here in the Napa Valley. We can't afford to live here, so we stay in the Nurses Dorm. It has helped us traveling nurses get close to each other. We have become second family. There have been many nights when we've had a few beers in the Crystal Springs parking lot, enjoying the ocean breeze as it travels up the Napa Valley at night. We'd have beers (against the Adventist Hospital rules, for sure) and we'd process the sometimes violent events that happen on a psychiatric unit. Its a little like going off to war together; only other psychiatric nurses understand the locked and secretive world of a mental health unit.
On the 9th of June, all of this will come to an end. I've decided to take a job in Chico as a home health psych nurse. I will actually drive more miles in my new job---I will have all of Tehama and Butte Counties as my territory. But I will get to go home every night.
There are plenty of reasons for not taking this new job: I will earn a lot less money; the health insurance is awful (to insure Joni it will cost us $700 a month); I won't have the worker camaraderie with fellow nurses I have now. Home health nursing can be lonely work.
So why do it? Because the travel has worn me out. I miss being home. I miss Joni. I miss the girls (although they are moving out in June to live with their mother). I miss the dogs. I miss taking walks. I miss the canyon. I miss my trail camera. I miss working on the house and the yard.
It is hard to have two homes. Time to just have one home.