Just a Cup of Coffee – Part Two

Just a Cup of Coffee…the true love story of Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man.

Click to read Part One HERE

(This might take a while, grab your hankies, it could have been broken up into three parts, but I didn’t want to prolong the happy ending.)

Fast forward to a year later, the following September 1991.

Yes, I kept my promise; no dates and no mistakes. There was the excruciating lure of nubile and suntanned young surfers but I stood firm in my resolve in spite of the half naked, salty-skinned–oh crap. Living in Southern California is sooo like opening up a fresh box of candy. It wasn’t fair, but a deal’s a deal.

box of chocolatesIf only I could have had just a teensy-weensy bite here, a bite there–oh, SO yummy–that one has a caramel center, or that other one’s coconut-filled, or a tart juicy cherry embraced by dark chocolate, or full of Baileys Irish Creamer–you get what I’m sayin’?  I’ll just bet you do. On my towel, surveying the beach, I wanted to take a little bite out of each one, so to speak.

But….I had to go cold turkey and avoid them all. Not one lick, not one taste.

I had a goal, I had a vision; I had my list–clenched tightly in my hand–WILLPOWER–it’s all about the willpower.

Here’s where serendipity might have had a hand in the convergence of our lifepaths.

In the beginning, I THOUGHT I first laid eyes on the captain when I was hired for the marketing department of a local cruise line.

Aside…because the whole idea of me and boats is a joke. I’m not what you’d consider sea-worthy. I’d only been on a couple of boats previously and became violently seasick on both of those trips.

OK, now read this – could it be the hand of fate that brought us together? Was our eventual connection forged a decade before ?
_________________________________________________

Was it luck or serendipity? 

On a romantic evening In front of the fire with a couple snifters of Courvoisier, my tugboat man and I concluded that our paths did cross, not in a prior life, but…

In the 1980s he captained a charter vessel in our local harbor–tours of the bay, dinner cruises; that kind of thing.  

In between going out to sea for four to six months, he’d come back to SoCal for a break and to surf-and worked locally.

Around that same time, my mom and I took my then five-year-old son on his first boat ride, a tour of San Diego Bay.

At that time, there was really only one boat company that offered daily excursions.

It wasn’t until we had been married for probably ten years or so– looking through an old photo album–when he saw a pic of my mom and me on “his” boat — that the subject came up.

(That’s part of me and the Coronado Bridge. Obviously, my mom couldn’t take a decent pic.)

Since there were only two captains, and the time of day we were there was during his (remembered) shift, it’s highly possible that we spoke–or made eye contact. As captain, he always greets and counts the passengers while he collects boarding passes; especially because we had a child with us. Always concerned with safety, my captain.

Our ships DID, most likely, PASS in the night (day).  

What would have happened if we had talked? I was married with a little boy–the timing was absolutely not right.  

Did we each hold on to a momentary glance or imprint on our subconscious so that our path to romance was pre-determined? 

Why did I become employed at a cruise line when I don’t even like boats?

I still have no idea.

That we met in 1991 and felt an instant connection might be interpreted as luck or serendipity. 

Which do you think it is?
_______________________________________________________________

Back to the story:  Was it merely coincidence–meaninglessly simultaneous occurance–or  synchronicity?  We agree that it was meant to be. We’re two peas in a pod, me and him.

We mirror each other.

One of my first marketing duties was to attend a downtown trade show. I vividly recall my ensemble–and before you get all judge-y and everything, let’s take the year into consideration–1991–please be kind.

You know you looked exactly the same.

You KNOW you did.

I wore a short split skirt (dare I say skort) of silky polyester-type material (I know, I know) imprinted with brightly colored parrots (cringe), a turquoise blazer, and four-inch-high red heels. Oh, and they were LARGE parrots.  I’m five-feet-tall with very curly dark brown hair. You can imagine the style when I tell you it added five inches to my height. Nuff said–stop laughing, I have nothing to apologize for; it was the decade of big hair.

The owner of the company walked by our booth and introduced me to his senior captain. I played it cool; I’m good at that–just a quick handshake and then I turned my attention to the marketing materials like I was very, very busy.

I only allowed myself a passing glance his way, committed as I was to making a good impression on my boss. Plus, I was fully dedicated to my promise to celibacy and just because he was ADORABLE was no excuse to give in to temptation. Not even with those green-gray eyes. Not even.

Since I was on a “man diet, I transformed him (in my mind) into a rich chocolaty truffle chocolate truffleand successfully used my powers to resist–at least on that particular day. During the next few weeks, our paths crossed many times; at the office with brief hellos in the hallway, and with overt scrutiny during cruises when I accompanied some of the charters. (When I wasn’t stuck with my head in the toilet. I told you the truth, I’m not a natural seawoman.)

As much as I tried to deny it–I can’t lie–there were those familiar little tingles, goose bumps even, delicious frissons of attraction. On one hand I was fighting it with all I had, yet on the other hand I spent more time in the office than I really needed to.  A little extra makeup, perfume, a few new outfits–you know how it is. OK OK, I admit it! A smile from him did something to my insides, that fluttery butterfly sensation I willed myself to ignore.

I carried The List in my handbag and referred to it in moments of weakness, and for a while I was able to avoid temptation.

Here comes the good part, y’all.

In mid-November, I met with a client at one of the boats to plan a large corporate event. As we walked up the gangway, I discovered the captain was on board in the wheelhouse. I had no idea he would be there, and resolved to ignore him, except that everyone always wants to meet a captain, (too much Love Boat) so I was forced to be polite and make the introductions.

Here’s where it all went wrong-or right-depending on your point of view.

After my meeting ended, I did not immediately leave. I stalled, meandering around the small area of shops located near the harbor. I was so mad at ME; I tried to talk myself into leaving by going over The List and telling myself that I should be writing up the event details.

Just GO, I said to myself! But guess who didn’t listen? I found myself furtively looking around to see if the captain was still there. Since the whole chocolate visualization thing didn’t seem to be working anymore, I turned him into as a gooey, cheesy, spicy pizza and I used all my willpower to stand firm–to stay focused–recounting all the reasons why that delicious piece of heaven is not worth the calories.

I swear to you, I had every good intention of leaving and driving to the corporate office, I really did, but cosmic forces had grabbed hold of my good sense.

I was powerless. The hand of fate had me in her grip–and that chicka had been working out with the heavy weights.

Finally, I could find no further excuse to drag my feet and delay the inevitable departure.

I very reluctantly and slowly walked to my car, parked in front of a coffee shop, and as if by magic, the captain appeared.

I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in spite of the fact that my heart was racing.

“Where are you going? Why didn’t you say goodbye? “What’s up?” “How about buying a co-worker a cup of coffee?”

I demurred, saying I had to go, I had another appointment (not true); uh, I don’t buy guys coffee, and he kept badgering me,

“C’mon, don’t be stuck up, don’t you have fifty cents for a cup of coffee?”

(That was before six-dollar lattes and Starbucks on every corner.)

“You don’t want me to think you’re a snob, do you?”

[pause]

That did it.

Of course you understand why I wouldn’t want him to think any of those things, right? RIGHT? It was a matter of pride; once he turned on his charm, I was hooked. I unearthed a few quarters from the bottom of my handbag.

Yes, I bought the coffee. It’s something I can’t believe myself.

My other credo had always been, “Princesses don’t pay. Men pay.” But buy the coffee I did.

Honestly, I was borderline pathetic. Not even borderline. I was hanging on to the cliff with my fingertips.

It’s like sparks were flying off his body. I made every excuse in the book to lean over and oops, accidentally brush his arm and cop a sniff. He smelled heavenly.

It’s that damn pheromone thing. I was–still am-hopelessly–magically attracted. He’s irresistible. And he knows it.

We took our coffee outside and sat at a cement patio table. It was one of those perfect SoCal November days–balmy even. For a few moments we said nothing as we sipped from our coffee and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Red lights flashed on and off in my head.

DANGER AHEAD! STOP THE MISSION! RUN!

Less than a foot away from me he straddled the half-moon shaped concrete bench. His thighs were encased in soft worn jeans and my thoughts were heading into hazardous waters.

His hair was wet and looked like he just had showered.

“What are you doing here? Did you know I was going to be here?”

“No, I didn’t, I had to update the logs, and I surfed a bit earlier.”

Ah, that’s where the wet hair came from.

“So…you’re a surfer?”

That is most definitely NOT on my list.

“I like to think I am.”

Scintillating conversation, huh? I thought that was a bit arrogant, a bit–AHEM–cocky.

Later I learned that he had spent much of his youth in Kauai and he really was/is a great surfer, but I didn’t know much about him — only what I was feeling.

As the conversation unfolded and we chatted–he told me where he lived and where he had gone to college, and–those thighs, oh wait–no, not that–of course I meant what kind of music he liked and that he loves animals–I found myself listening to his voice but not hearing the words.

This is where it gets weird.

And pinky-swear, it’s all true, it all happened exactly like this. It was REAL.

He looked at me and smiled.

I felt lit from within.

My heart melted. (Even now, his smiles affect me the same way.)

I sighed. He sighed. I sighed again.

That was IT.

Everything became quiet and a calm-before-the-storm sensation enveloped me. I placed my hands on the bench because I was suddenly lightheaded–I needed support because I felt like the ground beneath shifted;  waves that triggered that falling phenomenon just before you completely succumb to sleep–like a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch.

Faintly, I sensed the planets tumble into position, the clickclickclick… of stars aligning in the heavens; the sun, moon, Venus, and Mars at that moment were singing in the universe.

Did we just have an earthquake? I jumped off the bench like it was on fire. I ran to my car, unable to deal with the intensity of the moment. He was right behind me. He was so annoying!

“Where ya  goin’? We  should go out sometime.”

I was having a hard time breathing and fumbled with my keys as I unlocked the car. I leaned against the door for support and turned to him,

“When? Tonight?”

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not known for being subtle.

“I have to work a charter later, I’ll give you a call.”

And with that, I drove off.

Of course, I never went back to work. Who could blame me?

I raced home and power-called all my girlfriends.

I was in panic mode.

I reported every detail to one friend after another. I needed advice, I needed explanations. I needed to be talked down. But no one had experienced anything comparable. No one knew what to do.

I was on this voyage alone; no rules to follow. I was in uncharted waters.

That evening I did what we are warned not to do, what mothers counsel daughters against.

I was nervous and jumping out of my skin, but also determined to be 100% honest (also on my list). How else would I know if he was “the one”? I called and left a message on his voicemail. Remember way back when we used voicemail?

“Hi, can you give me a call when you hear this message? There’s something I need to ask you.”

He called a couple hours later. I was  on my bed, reading a magazine, pretending I was not waiting for the call…dreading the call.

“Hi there, it’s me. I got your message, but I was planning to call you anyway. What’s up?”

I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never–I needed to go for it…take that chance. DO it.

”Uhh, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what happened at the harbor…I never felt anything like that EVER, and I think… I think…”

I took a deep breath and the words tumbled out,

“IthinkIamfallinginlovewithyou
andwonderifyoufeelthesame
way–orifitisjustme.”

“I mean, I really need to know.”

[Pause]   [More pause]

Oh boy. In that single, painful, heartstopping moment I wished I could hit delete and erase the last five minutes.

Palms sweaty, heart pounding, OMG, I am a total f-ing idiot–what have I just said–I’m insane, he’ll think I’m a freak or I’m exhibiting psycho pre-stalker tendencies–and then, finally, it seemed like hours of silence had gone by–I was gonna hang up and hide under my bed if he didn’t say something–he said,

“Umm, no, it’s not just you. I’m feeling the same exact way. Something happened to me today too,  and I can’t explain it either.  How about us going on a real date and let’s talk about it?”

I released the breath I hadn’t been aware I was still holding. That last planet locked into position.

I discovered my soul mate, my tugboat man.

There’s lots more to this story; some twists and turns and ups and downs, but the thread that ties it all together is how we found each other and fell in love.

Today: I wait for him to come home. And wait. And wait. And remind myself, “Don’t count the miles, count the I-love-yous”

Christina Perri, “Miles”

twenty years of conversation: the condensed version

This isn’t an especially sparkly or edible post, no mention of retail therapy —  I thought of this as we were driving home from the gym and running errands.

We’ve had pretty much the same exact conversation fourteen billion times over the last twenty-plus years and now we’re gearing up for a long drive up the coast to San Jose for BlogHer 2014, which means we’ll be spending several hours in the car…here is a condensed version of what a lot of our “car” time sounds like.

(Don’t you think it’d be funny to record it and not have to say a thing for the first twenty miles?)

Tugboat man: “Buckle up.”

Me: “Did you bring water?”

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to get it.”

Me: Did you turn the alarm on?

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to do it.”

Me: “I’m cold. Turn the AC up, OK?”

Me: “But don’t open the window. It’s blowing my hair.”

Tugboat man: “Did you see that guy race through the stop sign?”

Me: “It’s only a suggestion, remember?”

Me: “Look at the car next to us. She’s texting. The light’s green and she doesn’t have a clue.”

Me: (In Trader Joe’s) “Don’t talk to me while I’m thinking. ‘Cos you distract me, and I might forget something that I forgot to put on the list that I forgot and left in the car.”

Me: Can’t you walk faster? You are SO slow!”

Me: “What do you want for dinner?”

Tugboat man: “I don’t know, it’s only 9:00 a.m. How about if you ask me after lunch?”

Me: “You just missed the BEST parking spot.”

Tugboat man: Laughing…”Do you have any idea how annoying you can be?

Me: “It’s not as if this is breaking news. I’m the exact same person I’ve always been.”

Tugboat man: “Yes, and you’ve always been annoying.”

Me: “But you love it, don’t lie.”

Tugboat man: “Well, you got me there. But for the love of all that is holy, can you dial it down just a notch or two? Give a guy a break once in while, OK?”

Me: “Well, since you’ve asked so nicely…all right.”

I AM annoying. It’s one of the words that describes me perfectly.

But don’t worry, I’m not ALWAYS annoying, and I am a good traveling companion!

31503209

 

Celebrate Day of the Seafarer

ad78effbee15e399f233d839b49c9eea_XL

Today is International Maritime Organization’s Day of The Seafarer

“Think of something you own and which came by sea. Whether it’s the car you drive, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the gadgets you use or the furniture you sit on, write it down and post it, adding the hash tag “#thankyouseafarer.” If you can also post a photo or video, even better,” said IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu.

Who doesn’t love bananas? Did you know that your daily dose of potassium was brought to you by a mariner? My own tugboat captain has docked hundreds of Dole banana boats over the years.

How about cars and trucks, marine construction equipment, coal, grain, oil, chemicals, trash, recyclable materials, sand, gravel, and timber?

All brought to you by ships and barges — and tugboats.

Right now my own tugboat man is pulling into a dock. It’s not nearly as easy as parallel parking a car…

His 150 ft. tugboat has a 1000 feet of tow wire pulling a 700 foot barge. Sorta like this, but this is NOT hub’s tug; I just wanted you to have a visual.

What has a the sea brought me?
She brings my tugboat man home safely.

I’m so excited!! It’s been a long six weeks.

Yes, even after twenty years, my heart beats a little quicker, the sun is a little shinier, my heart sings a happier tune — when my tugboat man is home, exactly like the lyrics of my favorite Christina Perri song, “A Thousand Years”

“I have died everyday waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years. I will love you for a thousand years more..”

While I’m baking and cleaning and perfuming and figuring out what to wear for the long drive to the airport, I’ll listen to my favorite songs by Christina Perri:

1. Don’t Count The Miles, Count The I Love Yous”

http://youtu.be/vl-2OHvBYX0

2.  “A Thousand Years”

http://youtu.be/q9ayN39xmsI

 

 

#dayoftheseafarer

I Said “Seaman”, NOT “Semen”. SHEESH. Grow Up, Would Ya?

With regard to the recently released film, “Captain Phillips” about the ship that was boarded by pirates, I am boycotting it. I forced my very handsome tugboat man to audition, and he went through two videotaped auditions (including sides, which is part of the script) and he was NOT hired for a major role. I believe it’s because he’s so blindingly beautiful that he would have grabbed the spotlight from Tom Hanks, who MUST have felt threatened.  My hub’s audition tape was AWESOME. So. There you have it.
______________________________________________________________________

Not this!sperm from etsy But THIS4780_CruiseShip+Captain

I thought it’d be fun and informative to conduct an interview of my seaMAN, my merchant mariner, my tugboat captain, my sometimes-he’s-here-sometimes-he’s not husband of nineteen years. What kind of man is the husband of Princess Rosebud? What’s it like being a merchant seaman? He didn’t always go out to sea for months at a time. We met in 1991 at a local boat company where he was the master captain of several vessels and I was in the marketing department, and he worked around our harbor for many years.

It was “annoy” at first sight…

I’ve written about our love story in “Just a cup of coffee” and “Just a cup of coffee, part two”  with many more chapters in draft form as the story unfolds.

As you’ll see, he’s pretty serious when discussing his career; otherwise he has a very dry sense of humor, not too snarky. He’s really a very good natured, even tempered guy. Like I always say, he’s the turtle to my rabbit.

On an enchanting side note, as I walked out of Trader Joe’s this morning, a homeless man told me I had a beautiful smile. Life is good, y’all. A compliment is a compliment. It was appreciated!

Let’s Play!

Twenty Questions for a Merchant Seaman

The interview of this mariner took place while he was home between assignments. He’s a professional mariner, an academy graduate, and has been in the tug and tow industry for a quarter of a century. He’s also captained 700 passenger vessels and worked in just about every aspect of the maritime industry (except fishing).

Thank you to TheFurFiles, tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily, ibdesignsusa and  Yvonne La Brecque Deane for playing along and submitting questions.

WORK-RELATED QUESTIONS:

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

What types of boats do you work on?
Mostly I work on vessels of limited tonnage-under 3000 tons. I’ve worked on numerous unlimited tonnage ships but currently am assigned to work boats and tugs.

Do you think it’s a good career for young people to pursue?
I think it’s is a good career, but it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to live for long periods of time in close quarters with others, and it’s difficult to be away from home.  It hasn’t been dramatically effected by the downturn in the economy.

Can you talk a little about the adjustment period from being home to being stuck on a boat 24/7 in cramped quarters.
The worst is right when you report aboard find your room, bed, etc. it takes a couple of days for the pain of being away dulls then you get into a routine of standing watch and life aboard ship and your new shipmates then things settle down and its not that bad.

What do you eat while you’re out to sea?
I’m a vegetarian which makes it a bit challenging. I eat a lot of brown rice and lentils and vegetables; sometimes seafood. We stock up on high quality foods unless we’re away from port for extended periods of time, then most of the food has to come out of the freezer.

Does everyone cook his/her own food?
Most boats I’m on have a cook on board. Every once in a while I’ll bake for the crew and email Rosebud for a recipe and a coaching session–I’ve made apple pies and brownies and banana bread. She’s a great instructor.

What do you do out to sea when you’re not working?
I work out, do my knot tying, read, watch videos, listen to music, and play my ukelele.

I know that you were involved in Desert Storm. Can you talk about what role you played?
Yes, it wasn’t much but the ship I was on was prepared to support the war effort. We were loaded up with military equipment some of the exploding type but were redirected when the bombing stopped and did not reach the Gulf.

What do you do nowadays in times of conflict?
Even if we are not directly involved with the support effort, our service is important. Keeping our credentials current gives the US a support force that can be called during times of war. This has happened throughout US history.

What do you do with a dead body?
We follow the orders of the medical adviser.

What do you do if you need to restrain a crew member because of a mental break or a crime?
Restrict them to their room, or lock them in if necessary. Otherwise restrain them somehow. ZipTies work without hand cuffs until the next port of call.

How far is too far for the United States Coast Guard to make a medical rescue?
I think about 1000 miles.

Have you encountered pirates?
Not directly,  but I ‘ve been in dangerous waters where there was an elevated risk.

What’s the smallest craft you’ve encountered on the high seas?
An ocean going row boat.

What is the biggest drama that’s taken place while on duty?
Usually it has to do with unruly crew members causing trouble with other crew members or while ashore; getting into fights etc.

Have you ever been near a tsunami?
I haven’t experienced a tsunami, but have been offshore enough times during tsunami warnings. It’s n eerie feeling when you are offshore when that happens–actually being far offshore is safe because you rarely feel the effect of a tsunami in deep water.

What is the Jones Act?
Jones Act laws are what’s left of US job protectionism. We should protect the laws that protect US jobs. Without laws like these, we would lose our jobs to cheaper foreign labor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that foreigners are less safe. There are very professional foreign flag merchant mariners world wide, but most countries have the same protectionism which would prevent me from taking their work. The anti Jones Act drive predominantly rides along the lines of cruise ships which are just about all foreign flagged vessels. It is a complicated thing that gets distorted. It’s all about profit. Proponents of Jones Act laws are claim that in order to remain competitive…blah blah blah, we need to rescind these laws. They claim that since most of our products imported and exported are done so by ship, the cost of transporting these goods by US standards are hindered by the high cost of US labor. Relatively speaking, US seaman rates are higher than internationally, but in the big scheme of things our labor merely cuts into the higher profit margins that big companies would gain and do gain when they re-flag their fleets. APL (American President Lines) a company that benefited from Jones Act laws during WWI and WWII by giving them priority in carrying US goods to and from war zones have now shifted most of their assets into the foreign market. Most APL ships you see today fly foreign flags and carry foreign crews. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the end of the Jones Act in my lifetime. In the world of Costco and Walmart, its all about the cheapest goods. My job is expendable if a pair of jeans can be purchased for ten bucks.

How important is it to the economy to have a vibrant merchant fleet?
It is important to the economy to import and export goods. This has to be done by ship or barge. It is nice to buy “Made in the US”, but there is nothing wrong with buying foreign either as long as US manufacturers can compete fairly in the international market. US is restricted by environmental and labor laws that most foreign companies are not, making it very unfair for US manufactures to compete both in the domestic and overseas market. The US jobs that our merchant fleet create are in the hundreds of thousands I’m sure, but is a relatively small job creator in the big realm of things. Keeping a strong US merchant fleet provides good paying jobs to a whole bunch of people all around the country.

PERSONAL QUESTIONS; HE’S A MAN OF FEW WORDS, NOT LIKE ME!

At the time you met Princess Rosebud, did you ever think she was going to be your future wife?
Probably not at the time, I was a bit lost then, and now I’m not lost.

When will the next ChaCha purchase take place?
2028.

What do you love most about your lovely wife?
I love how she makes the most awesome homecomings that last for weeks on end and that she loves the simple things I bring home for her, like rocks and shells and stuff that washes ashore. She loves the other stuff too, but it’s not all about the nice things that I can’t always afford.

What’s your favorite movie?
Apollo 13,  Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan.

What’s your favorite food?
I love my wife’s cooking, her homemade granola, tuna melts, all of her desserts, that chocolate swirl bread, and buckwheat pancakes. I really like to eat.

What do you like to do when you come home?
It takes a while to catch up on sleep and adjust to a different schedule. I take a lot of naps for the first few days. I try to get back to the gym immediately. Of course, I’m sure you’ve read about all the surfing I do and now that I have a standup paddleboard–like Rosebud said, “no wave’s too small”, and that’s pretty much the truth. We like to hike and camp, too. What I really like to do is drive my princess around on her many daily errands from the grocery store to shopping excursions. It helps to bring me back to a normal life, as does the list of chores and projects around the house and yard.

boat_captain_fisherman_t_shirt-r3d30f65e60844ccda55bfb7dcd4b615a_804gs_512

SAILOR MERRY: Gay seaman won’t be charged for having ‘unnatural’ sex in cheating case (vancouverdesi.com)

My Fresh Obsesh

Blog Update: I don’t know what’s happening to me! If you’ve been following the life of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife for a while you might have noticed a sea change, a slight course correction, a freshening breeze.

It’s become increasingly more difficult – impossible even – to suppress the other seashells that insist upon rising to the surface…more than frivolous pursuits; pearls and Chanel, Hello Kitty and retail therapy, more than waiting for my sometimes-he’s here-sometimes-he’s-not tugboat man to come home.

The real world has rudely barged in and is guilty of disrupting Princess Rosebud’s rose-colored glasses form of reality, in spite of all the vigorous denial of that river in Egypt.

I’d much rather write about my seashell gluing and sewing projects, the search for that perfect shoe, or any of my seemingly neverending encounters with bad drivers and crappy customer service – but when animals are being abused, neglected, abandoned, slaughtered, unloved, or species threatened with extinction — it’s impossible to ignore.

My one small voice in concert with many will hopefully become a roar loud enough to effect positive change.

At least we have to try, right?

**This is a warning of sorts. You’ll be subjected to more posts that will be calls to action to raise awareness about animal related issues, defending these magnificent creatures, and providing them with the voices they lack. It seems like I should change the title of my blog to be Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife and Beeyotchy Animal Advocate-- or, too much?

===============================================================

But that’s not today’s topic. Today is all Princess Rosebud in her shopping glory!

If you’ve been keeping up with the saga of my quest for the perfect wedge. here’s an update:

I’m in holding pattern. I’m not actively searching anymore; I’ve exhausted all of my resources. I’ve looked far and wide up to Orange County and have experienced disappointment at every turn. I’ve made the majorest of decisions to leave it all up to Mother Universe — when she’s ready and the time is right, she will place the ultimate shoe in front of me — and I need to stop stressing about it.

There. I’ve given it up to a higher power.

Edging out the wedge (ha ha) of Number One priority status is my new (obesh) obsession to find the perfect black suit — pencil skirt and jacket  — for my public speaking event at a hearing in Sacramento on October 2 with Defenders of Wildlife.

Normally, I don’t travel alone. I don’t like to fly, I don’t like airports, I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like taking my shoes off in potentially germ-ridden places. I’ve only flown alone a few times; to visit my tugboat man in Hawaii before we were married, and to visit my son at Yale. Going to Sacramento alone is a major deal for me.

I’m not afraid of the public speaking part of this; I don’t suffer from glossophobia – I’m afraid mostly of driving to the airport, finding a place to park my car, getting from the airport to the hotel; those kinds of things.

So it makes sense that a new outfit to boost my confidence is just what I need, amIright?

A pencil skirt can enhance one’s shape or detract from it in a most unflattering way.

A three-way mirror is a harsh critic but very necessary, especially since I’ll be standing at a podium, facing the panel, but I can’t forget about the audience behind me. They’ll have the rear view.

A good fit is priceless.

That’s my logic for probably spending way too much money. I’m depending upon this suit to speak volumes to my audience and maybe even the media. Call me a media whore, no really, call me a media whore and I’ll answer you. I’m not ashamed of it, I’ve been known to whore myself out for a few precious moments of video, as long as my makeup and hair look good and my butt looks small. Well, smallish.

My Monday retail therapy pilgrimage brought me once again to White House Black Market. They have a pretty good selection of sizes for my five-foot-tall frame. Yes, I’m a Size Two and sometimes a Zero, but I’m a FAT Two. Really, there is such a thing. I’m small but solidly built. That’s what a zillion years of ballet and training with weights’ll do.

Black suit1I was lucky; I got a lovely skirt and jacket that look professional and will travel nicely. The jacket has a half-belted back that looks great and accentuates my waist. The three-quarter length sleeve is perfect for my short arms; this way it won’t have to be taken to the tailor.

I paired it with a deep charcoal gray shell; the only jewelry a simple strand of pearls and pearl earrings, along with platform patent leather heels. And of course, my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, ‘cos that’s the ONLY Chanel I have…for the moment.

Being so short, I’ve found that I need to dress in a severe manner if I want anyone to take me seriously; I tend to still have a “little girl” look even though now it’s a wrinkled and Botoxed affect. Ah well, aging…

These selfies don’t really do justice to the deep black; I must have a lighting issue. And they’re neck down ‘cos I’m scary with no makeup.

Since my mean and non-existent-for-the-moment tugboat man has FORBIDDEN me to get a new smaller Chanel to supplant my courage, this suit will have to do it all — carry the day.

Although…he’s NOT the boss of me (I tell him that all the time) and he CAN’T tell me what to do, ‘cos I always do the OPPOSITE.

blacksuitopenWAIT!

Hold that thought for a minute.

Let’s analyze what he said.

HE KNOWS THIS. He knows that I’m contrary and normally do the exact opposite of mostly everything he suggests. (Example: my broken wrist. He told me not to run up the hill in slippery flipflops ‘cos I might fall and I did it anyway…fell, wrist broken. Read about that here.)

MAYBE the reason why he said I couldn’t get a new handbag is FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT HE WANTS ME TO GET ONE!

YES! That’s IT.  Reverse psychology!

Problem solved.

Looks like I need to do a bit more shopping, don’t you agree?

Hee hee.

Call Him Master! What It’s Like Being Married to a Tugboat Captain

Here in real time, our real life.

Short and sweet, here’s our emails from about an hour ago.

It reveals all you need to know about how we deal with this long distance marriage thing.

You will notice that he is referred to as MASTER. Isn’t that just the funniest thing ever?

That’s what they call the captain of the vessel….Master.

Sometimes I’ll call him “Master” in public just to freak people out.

Email captain

Oh, and he was thanking me for sending him a current weather report. Don’t ask me why he likes whatever forecasting model I use instead of the options he has, but I send him one every day.

And you can tell who talks the most, huh?  This is exactly what we’re like when we’re inches apart as opposed to being separated by thousands of miles.

His word count is four.

Nuff said.

Have a lovely Friday evening, y’all!

POETRY: Ebb and Flow

serene-ocean-and-vast-horizon-under-cloudy-skyWith my tugboat man so far away somewhere in the vast, vast ocean, I’ve been reading a publication my son sent to the tugboat man as a birthday gift.

Lapham’s Quarterly / Volume VI / Number 3 / Summer 2013

Title: Sea Change
“Standing on shore, we struggle to understand its fury; Lewis Lapham explores the mystery and power of the sea.”

It’s a lovely publication; a compilation of sea stories, excerpts, and poems from Homer to Melville to Marquez to Conrad.

I discovered the beauty of this poem and yeah, I’m missing that big tugboat guy just a bit.

Ebb and Flow

 

My Husband is a Small Blue Triangle

I’m always asked what it’s like to be the wife of a professional mariner whose career takes him away from home for long periods of time.

  • Being alone. Yes, there’s that, for sure. I write a lot about what I do when he’s gone…retail therapy is #1 on my list.
  • Communication. Better now with email and a phone call whenever he’s near a cell tower or uses the satellite phone.

However, one of the perks that all you non-mariner spouses don’t have is the ability I possess to stalk track know where he’s at 24/7.

Like most vessels, his tug’s equipped with GPS.

I’m a click away from watching his progress around the clock, pretty much up to the minute in real-time.

It’s not like I can actually SEE him or anything, but I have a warm spot in my heart for the little blue triangle that represents his tug.

I can see his how fast he’s going, too. Right now it’s about ten knots.

He can run, but he can’t hide.

Wave to my tugboat man, y’all!

My husband is a blue triangle

What I Do is What I Do. A Day in the Life of an Empty Nester.

(With a very obscure tip of the hat to Solzhenitsyn.)

This isn’t typical of when my tugboat man’s here, and most definitely not the fabric of my waking hours when I was a SAHM; rather, this is an especially bland and Seinfeld-ish day. 
_____________________________________________________________________________

My day commences abruptly at 6:00 a.m.

Sleep to instant wakefulness at the hoarse, screaming kee-eeee-arr of a red-tailed hawk.

Over and over again. Ear-piercing screams.

I get up, find my glasses (I’m extremely myopic, can’t see a thing), locate hub’s extra binoculars, and discover two hawks in the eucalyptus tree. They’re sitting on the same branch and they’re facing each other, having an early morning conversation or a duet, probably courtship time.

6:15 a.m…Grind beans, Trader Joes‘s French Roast, make coffee, simultaneously grab the remote to turn on the news and pop open my laptop. News is depressing. Problems in Syria, fires in Yosemite, a SWAT standoff in La Mesa; time to turn it off. After checking to see if my tugboat man emailed me (he didn’t),  I turn to WordPress.  A few comments necessitate responses (not as many as I’d like), a few likes (not as many as I thought my brilliant post deserved), and then I switch over to Facebook. In the beginning of FB, or at least my experience with FB, it was all about connecting with new and old friends, sarcastic and funny observations, cats, dogs, mainly cute animal pics. Now it’s all about supporting “friends” in their sponsored posts, marketing and promoting for their sponsors. I don’t begrudge anyone who can generate income; it’s just that some blogs start to feel really corporate and inauthentic after they become “affiliates” or “brand ambassadors”. It’s a newer version of Tupperware or jewelry parties where you get all your friends to show up and buy your stuff.

Of course I’d love to monetize — I’ve even had one sponsored post — and I want my book to be published and make a truckload of money so that my tugboat man wouldn’t have to go out to sea anymore, but I don’t think I have the personality to push products or pull people to my site –which is funny ‘cos I have a background in public relations and marketing — but I’m more of a soft sell, not the jackhammer-type.

I’m more like “Hey, I’d love for you to come by if you have the time and no pressure or anything. No worries if you can’t, I understand.”

I check Twitter too, but it’s kinda lost its appeal for me at the moment.

7:00 a.m…Paid a couple of bills online; mortgage and credit card. Checked TMZ but it’s all Kardashian-this, Kardashian-that, and I’m sooo over it. I hear the squawk of our resident scrub jays, throw a few raw nuts on the deck and watch them eat.scrubjay

7:20 a.m….After a couple cups of black coffee (the only way I drink it),  I start to get ready for the gym, but first I make the bed and wash whatever dishes I didn’t do the previous evening. I don’t eat breakfast on a regular basis; sometimes I’ll have a little protein drink, or a couple bites of toast, but I don’t really like to eat in the morning, unlike hub, who’s up and chewing before his eyes are completely open.

7:35 a.m…Check email again. Yay, a brief message from hub. All the last minute work was completed on the tug, they’re underway and are offshore. Everything is going fine, which is good to hear. I write him back and tell him about my boring weekend without him; how I went for a six-mile walk to the beach and back, gardened, washed the windows, boring, boring, boring, oh, but I heard a coyote and an owl, so there’s that.

7:55 a.m…Get dressed; black workout pants, yellow Zella top. Brush teeth, use Clarisonic to wash my face, apply light makeup — just eyebrows, liner, lipstick, spray perfume –Chance by Chanel (of course). Fill a water bottle, grab an apple for after Boot Camp.

8:30 a.m…Publish the post I wrote the previous evening. I try to stay one or two days ahead.

8:35 a.m…Head out. Water a few plants near the front door; take the trash cans out to the street (something else I have to do when hub is gone).

8:45 a.m…The 24-Hour Fitness I go to is about three miles away, but up a huge and long incline or I’d ride my bicycle. Sometimes I get lucky and get all green lights; today was one of those days, yay!

10:10 a.m…Back in my car after a strenuous workout with a zillion tabatas to exhaustion. Squats, lunges, box jumps, weights, jumping jacks. I still can’t do any real weight bearing exercises, so no pushups yet or plank. If I wear my cast/brace, I can lift five pounds in my left hand while I lift ten with my right. Eat the apple, need nourishment for a little retail therapy hee hee. Oh NO! I almost forgot I had an 11:15 a.m. physical therapy appointment for my almost healed broken wrist. No time to shop now, darn. I’ll have to run home and shower.

11:00 a.m…Made a fast smoothie including yogurt, banana, chia seed, wheat grass, protein powder, and frozen loquats and mulberries from the garden. Showered, threw on a maxi dress, and out the door to Encinitas. Hope there’s no traffic or I’ll be late.

12:30 p.m…Where to go after PT? I drive up Encinitas Blvd. to El Camino Real and you know about Speed Dating? This is speed shopping. I stop at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Pier One Imports, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, White House, Black Market, and even H&M. This was more of a browsing mission. Nothing really caught my eye; nothing I couldn’t live without, so I came away empty. Plus, I’m out of water and thirsty. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow :)

3:00 p.m…Back home, and NOW I’m starving. Time for hummus with Ak-Mak crackers and a veggie wrap. (Lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, cucumber, raisins rolled up in a tortilla.) Plus ginger tea and a fat-free fig cookie.

3:30 p.m…Check email, WordPress, FB, Twitter. All pretty quiet. No new Miley Cyrus outrageous behavior. Best news of all, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is back. Yippee!

4:00 p.m…Work out in the garden since it’s cooled off a bit. Our summer garden was HORRIBLE this year. I’m not sure what caused it, but I pulled everything out and will allow it lay fallow for a bit. I’ll need hub to get more mushroom compost when he returns; in the meantime, I’ll work compost in. Mowed the lawns, front and back. Another job I must do while my tugboat man is away. Take the trash cans back from the street. Had a chat with a nice neighbor who keeps an eye on me while hub’s away.

5:30 p.m…Back in the house, checked email again; this time I discover a message from my tugboat man, letting me know that plans have changed and he won’t be making a port stop in San Diego after all, and he’ll call to explain when he gets in cell range. Oh DARN! I was really looking forward to seeing him, even for only a brief moment. I’m disappointed, but not overly so, things change all the time; I’m inured — accustomed –to fluid situations.
There’s always the possibility things will change back again; I’m a hopeful, glass half full kinda girl.

6:15 p.m…I got so dirty working outside I’ll need to take another shower and wash my hair this time which takes forever — curly hair needs a lot of love…

6:45 p.m…It’s no fun at all preparing and eating food for just me. One really is the loneliest number! I decide to make quinoa and add broccoli so it all cooks together. It’s ready in fifteen minutes, delicious with a dash of Mae Ploy, sweet red chili sauce.

7:30 p.m…Turn on Jeopardy and keep the TV on, mostly not watching it, while I write the next day’s blog and work on my book (yes, I too am writing a novel.)

9:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – ish…Get ready for bed, slather my face with a few layers of anti-aging creams; Retin-A, glycolic acid, brush teeth, pop in my retainer, read for a bit, and fall asleep. Goodnight, y’all.

2:00 a.m…awakened by the plaintive voice of a coyote. It seems very close; just one lonely howl. As long as I’m awake, I might as well use the bathroom and I’m back to sleep in just a few minutes.

That’s my very empty nest day.

You’ve Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It.

Making the bed

                             Making the bed. Perfect, right? Yes, those are Hello Kitty slippers.

What goes on behind closed doors at Casa de Enchanted Seashells?

Besides seashells and glitter and the constant repositioning of my Princess Rosebud tiara, here’s an accurate recollection of a recent conversation between me and my Tugboat Man.

I’m not promising you that it’s at all funny or witty or full of banter — it’s like a Seinfeld episode — a whole lotta nothing.

Backstory: I change the sheets on our bed every week. That day is referred to as “Sheets Day.

Me: I’m gonna change the sheets today, it’s Sheets Day!

Tugboat Man: Do you want some help?

Me: I think I can do it myself, but thank you for offering.

Tugboat Man: Don’t be a martyr. Let me help you with your broken wing.

Me: OK, but you have to follow my orders and do everything MY WAY. Can you promise to do that?

Tugboat Man: No.

Me: Well, then I don’t want your help, cos that’s not helping at all. Helping is doing everything I say. THAT’S helpful. Otherwise it’s just called pissing me off.

Tugboat Man: OK OK. Don’t get your panties in an uproar. Let’s do this, c’mon, I need to go surfing while the tide is right.

Me: Well, excuse the hell out of me. Don’t let me hinder your surfing lifestyle, Gidget. Geez.

Tugboat Man; {Pointing to the clock by the bed} Tick tock.

Me: Pick up this end of the mattress and lift it so that the fitted sheet will completely surround the corners and be as taut as possible.

Tugboat Man: Let’s just get it done. Really, Rosebud, you are such a micromanager. Why are you such a control freakazoid?

Me: Well, I told you I could do it by myself, but since you insisted, you have to do it my way. There’s a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to do this. MY way is right, YOURS is wrong.

Me: Now I’ll teach you how to do a hospital corner with the top sheet, mitering the sides as we tuck it under and smooth it out. That’s how Mommy taught me. It’s called a “hospital corner”. You know she was an RN and that’s the way I learned to do it and that’s how I’ve done it and that’s how I want it done.

****If you don’t know how to make a “hospital corner”, click on the link.
It’s a perfect tutorial!   
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Hospital-Corner

Me: Why are you acting like such a baby? You are really messing with my bliss here.

{Tugboat Man sloppily pushes the sheet under the mattress and moves on to the other side} 

Tugboat Man: There. It’s done,

Me: No, no, no, not like that. Sigh. You can’t simply shove the sheet under the mattress! It has to be perfect. Remember that story, The Princess and the Pea? That’s me. I can feel it if it’s not right.

Tugboat Man: OK, how’s this?

{He threw all the blankets on the bed and rolled himself up like a burrito, laughing maniacally}

Me: Oh-Em-Gee. You are worse than having a kitty around when I’m making a bed. Get up. Get off the bed. Geez. I thought you wanted to go surfing. Stop rolling around.

Tugboat Man: Why did you put the sheet on upside down?

Me: It’s NOT upside down. It’s only printed on one side, right?  You like it when the top sheet is one way and I like it this way, so when the printed top is folded over, the pretty side shows.

Me: Anyway, why does it matter to you?

Tugboat Man: I don’t know, I just like it the other way.

Me: Next time I’ll do it your way, ‘k?

Me: Now let’s take the bedspread — NOT LIKE THAT — fold down your side the exact same width mine is folded, OK?  Now it’s perfect. Thank you for your help. {Eye roll} Leave the pillow arrangement for me to do. You can’t just throw them up there — they each have a specific location.

Tugboat Man: Can I go now?

Me: You are soooo annoying. Why are you always so passive aggressive? If you didn’t want to help, you shouldn’t have offered. Yes, please go. NOW.

{We kiss goodbye. He leaves, and I rearrange everything MY way, and NOW I’m happy.}

_________________________________________________________________________

  • Do you and your significant other agree or disagree about which side of the sheet is revealed — or do neither of you care at all? 
  • And how about toilet tissue? Are you an over or an under? Hubs and I do agree on that (over).