A little backstory:
My husband, Scott, has worked with Union Pacific railroad for 26 years. He has some fascinating stories of his time on the railroad. One of my personal favorites is on 9/11 when he was in lock-down at the main dispatching station in Omaha, Nebraska, listening to the tv say all planes had been grounded but looking outside in the sky as Air Force One brought the president to the underground bunker in Nebraska (dude!) He has been a train conductor, a manager, an instructor and as of October of last year, he has been managing a yard in Atchison, Kansas/St. Joseph, Missouri. He drives an hour and half to work and an hour and a half back home. The commute is ‘doable’, but not ideal. That was the reason for our moving further north. We didn’t want to leave the Kansas City area but needed to be further north and near a highway for Scott to pop on quickly. Our move to the River Market would cut a half hour off his trip – gaining him one full hour a day. We’ll take it.
Scott had some days off so we were going to dedicate four days to looking for something in the downtown/city market area of the city. And then I got sick. I battled the flu for the first two days so it wasn’t until the third day that we could start our search. Centropolis, the building we ultimately decided on, was our first tour. Of course they say you shouldn’t ever pick the first place you see, but when the first place you see makes your heart sing, what need is there to look further?! We told the realtor we loved it and begun the application process.
Not 24 hours later we received a phonecall from Scott’s boss. He apologized for calling Scott on his day off but he knew we were going to be looking for houses and wanted to give Scott a bit of news…
But first, another backstory. Or is it a sidestory?
There is a segment of the railroad commonly called the Tie Gangs. (Sounds like they’re Brooks Brothers bandits, doesn’t it?!) There is a VERY large, multi-million dollar machine – which I’m sure has an official name but I don’t know what it is – that travels the country laying cement railroad ties, replacing the old wooden railroad ties you’re probably more familiar with. When it comes to an area of the country, it is usually there for a number of months laying track in that area. Railroaders bid to get these jobs. They travel from all over the country to work on these Tie Gangs. A number of years ago Scott worked one of the Tie Gangs as the conductor of the train that carried the cement ties. They moved a few inches at a time while the Big Machine picked up the ties and laid them on the track. It’s actually pretty fascinating to watch!
But back to my story…are you still with me?…
Scott is on the phone with his boss, Curtis. Curtis told Scott he knew he planned on looking at housing but said NOT to look in St. Joseph or Atchison because the big, BIG boss of the region had called Curtis to say The Big Machine was coming through Kansas City this summer and he wanted Scott to run the entire operation in Kansas City for the duration of the summer and fall. WHAT?!
To recap: We move downtown to be closer to Scott’s St. Joe/Atchison work and Scott ends up working in downtown Kansas City. CRAZY!
It is a real honor for Scott to be given this responsibility. The head of the region nominated Scott specifically, based on his experience and knowledge of the railroad (he really is a Railroad Savant!) The thing about Scott is that he is a communication hound. He’s liked by everyone (no bias or overstatement here…ask anyone. Our friends just put up with me, but truly love Scott) 😉 and he is very easy to work with. He will be the perfect person for the job!
So just like that, the entire landscape of our lives has drastically changed all within a 24 hour period of time.
As Scott was telling me about his day yesterday (the Tie Gang’s first day on the job) he said it was impressive to see all the people gathered together under a big spotlight, early in the morning. The Gang foreman gathered everyone around for a job briefing then they all bowed their heads for prayer. “Be with us, Lord, and keep us safe. Be with our families back home while we’re away. Help us to watch out for our brothers out here in the field…” Scott said it was a moving scene. These guys are doing a pretty dangerous job and know that they need to start with a plea for God’s protection.
So no stress here! Major downsize. Big move. New job. Extra responsibilities.
As for me and Scott, the best thing we can do is to stop, gather under the lights in the early morning, and commit this season to prayer…