Butterflies, Bees, Bunnies, Babies, and Bliss

Everybody needs some bliss; especially ME when tugboat man comes home unexpectedly and then even more shocking, gets a call to return to work WHILE WE’RE DRIVING HOME FROM THE AIRPORT!

It’s not unheard of in the maritime world, but I’ve not really experienced it until now.

Glass half full; we had an enjoyable one-and-a-half days. Thirty-six hours is better than nothing.

It’s important to stay positive and present in the moment, rather than dwelling on the injustice, which would be a waste of time, and TIME is precious.

So he’s gone again and it’s time for a little bliss in the form of Mother Nature.

Breathe deeply and OMMMMMM….

Butterflies…

ButterflyMay172015may2015butterfly3 Bee on buckwheat. may2015bee Bunny trying to get into the vegetable garden. May2015bunnyI also saw a baby bunny running around, but couldn’t snap a pic before he ran under the deck.

Baby announcement!

The ultimate blissful event is the birth of one of my resident hummingbird’s eggs; you can BARELY see a miniature fluffy speck huddled in the bottom of the nest.

HummybabyMay16Mom feeding her newborn. HummyfeedingMay15

And JUST NOW, the second egg hatched! Could anything be more amazing than Mother Nature?

Hummy2eggsMay17-

Here’s an update: Pretty good close up video of the two newborn hummingbirds:

Ending with the B is for Bliss theme, a boat birdhouse.

At least THIS boat is firmly anchored and will stay in one place, right?

boatbirdhouse After the rain; blue sky bliss.

BlisscloudsGone in the blink of an eye; it’s as if he was never here, except that he fixed a couple of my car’s minor problems and I have more laundry than usual.

Tugboat man should be home for sure at the end of June; at that point he’ll have been out to sea for more than ninety days when it was only supposed to be for six weeks.

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife.

PS All photos, unless otherwise noted, are property of EnchantedSeashells.

Empty Nest or Full, Mother Knows Best

Single status: Day 50

Yup, tugboat man’s been gone since March 10.

I’ve almost forgotten what he looks like, and if he didn’t make a brief satellite call once a week, I’d forget what his voice sounds like, too.

This is the transitional time for absentee spouses.

The initial missing of his constant presence is OVER, life goes on, and my own routine is firmly established.

It looks like he should be home in about two weeks or so, PROBABLY missing my birthday, but in time to go camping with son/DIL, which is my birthday present, so I don’t mind being alone on my bday if it means he’s for sure home for the celebration.

And just in time for Mother’s Day, an Anna’s Hummingbird built her nest right outside our kitchen window on the deck, on HUMMINGBIRD WIND CHIMES.hummingbirdchimes

Isn’t this the craziest thing?

Do you think my little hummingbird KNOWS where she is?

hummingbirdwings

It’s magical, watching her build her nest out of spider webs and feathers. I touched it and it feels like a handwoven sweater, soft but strong.hummingbird5

Can’t stop taking pics; look at that beautiful color.

hummycloseup4A Mommy hummy in flight.

hummysatapril26wings

Isn’t this amazing?

hummingbirdday3nestcloseup

2015-04-26 05.18.22

Mom doesn’t mind when I walk back and forth or get up close and personal for pics, but she’s so protective of her nest when another bird flies into her personal space.hummyapril29(7)An egg!! There are supposed to be two; waiting for the next one!

hummyapril28egg(2)

Hummingbird sitting on hummingbird nest on hummingbird chimes.

Could anything be more adorable?

Who needs a dumb old tugboat man when this magic is inches away?

hummyapril29(1)

My Tugboat Man is Gone and I’m Blue

And so it begins…

Tugboat man withdrawals. Cold turkey.

I took him to the airport at 4:30 a.m.

Once again there’s that lonely ride home.

This time he’ll probably be gone for six weeks or so.

blueskywrds

I pointed my camera straight up because the sky was so blue, more blue than I’ve seen in a long time. Not a cloud in the sky.

And so hot. August hot. Record-breaking hot. Drinking ice water all day.

And nope, I can’t go with him, in case you were gonna ask. 

Sky blue, SO BLUE — can you believe this is an un-retouched pic I snapped in our backyard? Kind of heart shaped, can you see it? If you tilt your head just a teensy bit to the left, can you see it now?

blueskythursday2

My old friend, Willie Nelson, singing “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin

Bright Blue Ukelele

One of my tugboat man’s many ukeleles…he makes music in the wheelhouse during those long and lonely midnight watches.

music, ukelele, tugboat

Christmas Eve EVE

Preparing for Santa Tugboat Man’s arrival this evening —  I’m busy busy busy baking and cleaning AGAIN.

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife.

Almost finished decorating his welcome home dining room table. Chanukkah, Christmas, seashells, and love in the middle.christmas2014table

Looking through old pics, I found this one of Angel Boy with our best and smartest Border collie, Stella Rondo, named in honor of one of my favorite writers, Eudora Welty, from her short story, “Why I Live at the P.O.”

Was there ever a more adorable fashion-forward little boy?

Love the stripes and print! My little man definitely has always danced to the beat of his own drum, even when he was seven!jasonchristmasHappy Christmas Eve EVE!

I’m Guessing The Honeymoon Is OVER

Source:Found on Pinterest

Source: Found on Pinterest

Here’s why.

This is what it’s like being married to a professional mariner who’s also a surfer.

My erstwhile and often absent tugboat man is trying to program his work schedule for the rest of the year based solely upon future winter swell forecasts, and NOT about being home for the holidays.

On his regular daily call, I was forced to listen to a thirty minute diatribe (while he’s studying a calendar) about these pressing issues:

“If I come home now, I’ll miss the next swell but if I stay a bit longer, it’ll put me in the perfect position for that potentially big December surf.”

Nice to know I’m such a high priority in his thought process, right?

Welcome to my world, friends.

And don’t even think for ONE MOMENT that I’m not contemplating either jewelry or a new dress that will look FANTASTIC with those new Loubies I’m getting because of his previous infraction.

(Hee hee)

Tormenting Husbands is FUN

When my tugboat man goes out to sea, communication is limited to email and cell phone, and even that depends upon what part of the world he’s in. Sometimes, there’s no cell at all and I’ll only occasionally receive a call from the vessel’s sat phone. And sometimes the boat’s computer stops functioning and I don’t get email. And that’s when I start to worry.

Since he’s a fairly quick learner after twenty-plus years of training,  he tries to call or email at least once a day, the obligatory “I’m still alive” type of thing. Read more about that HERE (if you don’t call, I think you’re dead, and that’s why I’m getting a pair of Loubies)

Every so often I attempt to spice things up and venture beyond the boring…here’s a verbatim transcript of pretty much every call,

“Hi, honey, what’s up? How are you today, did anything break down, is the car OK, anything come in the mail for me, anything I need to deal with, what’s the surf like, and oh, by the way, I miss you.”

it’s  a definite struggle to maintain that thread of mystery and personality in a three-minute call or a few words tapped in black on a sterile white background.

A lot of the time, one or both of us’ll say, “I got nothing else” and the other will say “I got nothing, too” and then my tugboat man’ll end with “Lock and load” which is our secret code for “don’t forget to turn the security alarm on before you go to bed.” always ending with “Love you” and “Love you, too”

So far, this this time he’s been away for about thirty days —  he’ll HOPEFULLY be home before Thanksgiving, which totally sucks ‘cos I thought he was gonna be home by Halloween. Nature of the biz and all that.

To try to inject a little fun into our convo yesterday when he called, I asked him if he was sitting down ‘cos I had something really serious and important to tell him:

“You might want to sit down ‘cos I gotta tell you something that might shock you and I don’t want you to faint.”

(It was a total set-up.)

He gets this super cute, super serious tone in his voice,

“What is it. Is everything OK?”

And then I hit him with the shocker:

“I washed the car today”

Maybe y’all don’t get how earth shattering that news is, but you have to trust me that it could cause hub’s heart rate to skyrocket and blood pressure to explode.

In shock.

I don’t like to spend the $$$ or the time to take it to a car wash and I don’t EVER wash it — I mean EVER — but there I was in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and a hose.

With neighbors watching in case hub needed witnesses to this miraculous event.

He laughed so hard it was totally worth it to wash that stupid car.

And then there was more.

“Are you sitting down?”

“Yes.”

“For reals? Where are you?”

“In the wheelhouse, but we’re tied up at the dock right now.”

“‘Cos there’s more.”

[Pause]

“I went to a gas station and filled the tank with gas.”

“Oh. My. Gawd. Stop the presses. Was it running on fumes? Had you depleted the Reserve tank like you usually do?”

“Nope, I had about a quarter tank, but I drove by a gas station with cheap gas, and thought it’d be a good idea to take advantage of it.”

“Shocked, huh? Speechless?”

“I’m more shocked that you actually thought to fill it up before you were stranded and  forced to call triple A; that’s the part that’s boggling my mind. But good job! You go, girl! I’m proud of you!”

And that’s how we keep our love alive around here, or in other words, how we torment our husband and have a little gentle fun at his expense.

Just another day in the life of Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man…

 

 

 

My Tugboat Man is Gone and I’m Blue

And so it begins…

Tugboat man withdrawals. Cold turkey.

I took him to the airport at 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Once again there’s that lonely ride home.

This time he’ll probably be gone for a month or so.

blueskywrds

I pointed my camera straight up because the sky was so blue, more blue than I’ve seen in a long time. Not a cloud in the sky.

And nope, I can’t go with him, in case you were gonna ask.

Sky blue, SO BLUE — can you believe this is an un-retouched pic I snapped in our backyard? Kind of heart shaped, can you see it? If you tilt your head just a teensy bit to the left, can you see it now?

blueskythursday2

My old friend, Willie Nelson, singing “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin

Why Would a Tugboat Need to STOP Motion?

Yet again, I’m preparing to drive that arduous forty minutes to our airport to pick up an arriving tugboat man.

This is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife. They’re always going or coming.

Here’s a snippet of our conversation last night:

Me: “I had to put gas in the car.” (Imagine that I said it in a reproachful manner, kinda whiny, cos it’s a chore I HATE and tugboat man usually does it for me.)

Him: “Well, I hope you at least filled it, ‘cos I’m sure the only reason why you fueled up is because you were on empty.” (In a slightly know-it-all voice.)

Me: ” You are so funny. NOT. I did NOT fill it up. I only put in about twenty dollars, ‘cos I got bored standing there and plus it’s not my job. It’s stinky and dirty. And yes, Mr. Smarty Pants, it was on empty and I would’ve run out on the way to the airport to pick you up so you can see it’s all your fault.”

Him: “I just don’t get you. If you’re there with the pump in the tank, would it kill you to stand there for an extra couple of minutes? It’s only logical, right? Makes sense, right?”

Me: “Logical? Me? Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Although he was gone the entire week, continually bemoaning the fact that he missed the giant surf, this time he wasn’t out to sea.

Did you know that professional mariners need to attend lots of continuing education classes?

That involves everything from keeping up with USCG (United States Coast Guard) licensing requirements, enhanced security procedures, managing a crew, practicing medical lifesaving techniques (because captains are the medical officers onboard tugboats), fire safety and prevention, and radar.

There’s lots more but I can’t remember it all right now.

This time he was learning and being certified in something called Dynamic Positioning

US Navy 110603-N-EC642-170 The New Breed offsh...

US Navy 110603-N-EC642-170 The New Breed offshore supply vessel HOS Shooting Star uses dynamic positioning to maintain its position while performin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He often trains with simulators; probably this time, too. I forgot to ask, ‘cos our conversations mainly consisted of his whining and moaning about missing out on surfing epic waves.

Here’s a bunch of random words strung together in sentences that makes absolutely NO SENSE to me whatsoever, but is a detailed explanation that I hope y’all comprehend. (‘Cos I surely do not.)

Dynamic positioning (DP) is a computer-controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel’s position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters.

Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyro compasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel’s position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position. 

The computer program contains a mathematical model of the vessel that includes information pertaining to the wind and current drag of the vessel and the location of the thrusters.

This knowledge, combined with the sensor information, allows the computer to calculate the required steering angle and thruster output for each thruster.

This allows operations at sea where mooring or anchoring is not feasible due to deep water, congestion on the sea bottom (pipelines, templates) or other problems.

Dynamic positioning may either be absolute in that the position is locked to a fixed point over the bottom, or relative to a moving object like another ship or an underwater vehicle.

One may also position the ship at a favorable angle towards wind, waves and current, called weathervaning. [Source: Wikipedia]

Confused? So am I…
This is a simpler explanation that even I can understand:
Sometimes when a tug is working on a project rather than simply being underway from point A to point B, it needs to stay in one specific location and not float around. DP is an advanced method to hold a tug stationary.

That was your lesson for today. There will be a quiz at the end of the day. :)

Have a lovely Friday!

 

 

 

Burning Down the House–The Story of My Tugboat Man and Fire Drills

pier-1-scented-seashell-candlesI love candles. I have candles covering virtually every surface in every room of our home.

I don’t light candles while my tugboat man is gone.

Not anymore.

There’s a very good reason for this.

I almost burned our house down and my husband’s firefighting training was the only impediment to potential disaster.

One very tranquil evening last spring after dinner, I lit every candle in the bathroom adjoining our bedroom and proceeded to take a leisurely shower. There were candles on the countertop, candles on the bamboo shelf above the toilet, and candles on another floor shelf unit.

Normally I extinguish them when I’m finished, but this time I didn’t because the room looked and smelled so lovely.

Wearing a black silk kimono and feeling quite frisky (if you know what I mean) I went out to the family room and snuggled up on the sofa to watch the Daily Show with a glass of merlot and hubs.

After a bit, he took the remote and muted the sound.

He cocked his head like he was listening for something (he looked very puppy-like and cute LOL) and said,

“Do you hear that?”

Me: “Hear what?”

Him: “I think I hear something in the bedroom, or wait, did you leave the water on?”

Me: “No, I didn’t. What do you hear?”

Him: “You’re not making popcorn, are you? Do you smell anything?”

Me: “Nooo….no popcorn, I can’t really smell –wait, I do kinda hear something, I wonder what… ”

Suddenly, he takes off running toward the bathroom and I stand up but I swear, I’m totally paralyzed, I can’t move a muscle to follow him or anything.  (I’m not a real take charge kind of girl in any emergency. I’m the one whose limbs turn to stone. I don’t react. Don’t count on me.)

So…the next thing I hear is a lot of “Oh sh***t” and “F**k F***K F***K F***K!!” and things crashing, and for a split second I think someone broke in and they’re fighting.

It was soooo crazy.

I’m still standing two rooms away and my feet are like in cement; I mean I know I should DO something, but I just can’t. I can’t even move to the phone to call 911 or anything.

Then I heard the sound of the shower being turned on and sizzling sounds. I was finally able to triumph over my fears and pry my feet loose, and tiptoed toward the bathroom.

OH -EM-GEE.

What I saw was a disaster. The bathroom was filled with smoke; smoke was beginning to fill the house (later we figured out that the smoke alarm’s battery had died.)

My personal fireman hero was soaking wet — apparently the noise I heard were his huge biceps ripping the engulfed in flames bamboo shelf off the wall and tossed in the shower. What a hero! He had the presence of mind, not to mention the strength, to prevent a major tragedy.

As you might imagine, fires on boats are a potential catastrophe, and professional mariners constantly train and drill in the event of a fire in the engine room or anywhere else on board. I know that my mariner takes it very seriously, and I am SO glad.

Watching him in action was very reassuring (and VERY sexy).

Here’s what happened…

One of the candles was on the bottom shelf of the bamboo unit above the toilet and next to the shower. The heat from the flame ignited the shelf right above it, which also had a candle going, and that in turn ignited the shelf above that and finally the whole thing was ablaze with foot-high flames, searing the ceiling, coating it in a horrible black smoky sooty mess. The ceiling stayed too hot to touch for hours, and it was just plain luck that the attic didn’t explode in flames; it was that hot.

The burning bamboo set off little flaming arrows of fire all over the bathroom, burning the floor, the rug, and everything it touched. Cleaning the bathroom was a nightmare. There was congealed candle wax covering every surface, including the shower and the countertop, the sink, the mirror, and even the ceiling. It took forever to scrape it off.

The burnt bamboo shelf

burned shelf

This wasn’t my first brush with a candle-related disaster, however.

We have an entertainment unit in the family room that has beautiful glass shelves.

entertainment unit

I lit a candle on the bottom shelf (déjà vu, right?) and left the room (déjà vu again, right?) and we heard a sound like an explosion, ran in, and found shattered glass everywhere. The shelf must have heated up and cracked. Wow.  Everything on the shelf crashed and broke, too.

The replacement shelf had to be custom-made, and the expensive lesson learned that time was not to light any candles under glass shelves.

But I guess I didn’t learn the ENTIRE lesson or I surely wouldn’t have walked away from a roomful of candles!

I am ever so grateful that hubs did not bring up the previous incident as I felt bad enough without being reminded of my carelessness.

So…it’s no surprise that I avoid any candle lighting until my personal fireman is here.

Before he leaves to go out to sea, he forces me to perform –fire drills. (Head OUT of the gutter, people!) I think it’s more to make him feel better about leaving and hoping that I have the tools and knowledge to act appropriately  in an emergency.

Well, that’s probably not going to happen.

The fire extinguisher is in the garage, and I know he’s shown me a zillion times how to make it work, but I don’t remember a single thing he says. Considering that my response time isn’t so good, the darn thing is heavy and unwieldy and it’ll be next to impossible to react at all when my feet are pinned to the floor, unable to move — I guess I’ll have to be content with a picture of a candle until he comes home.

candle