Just a Cup of Coffee – The Love Story of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Captain – Part One

PS WordPress is playing games with FONT SIZE. I can’t change it, can’t fix it…

Reposted from a while ago…

Today:
Sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not. That’s the life of a tugboat captain’s wife

February 21, 1994

The wedding. Our song, our first dance as husband and wife. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

The Beginning…This is the love story of me, Princess Rosebud, and her tugboat captain.

We met when I was a year into my deal with myself to stay celibate until I met someone, uh, worthy

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010… At 3:40 this afternoon, I was in the threshold of our garage door that leads into the living room where I had dragged in a ladder to help with my latest project–painting the living room walls a divine shade of seafoam green–to stay busy when the captain’s out to sea. I mean, I can’t shop ALL the time. A girl has to take a break now and again, right? I set the ladder down and went back to close the garage door. At that precise moment, the glass vases on the shelves surrounding our fireplace began to vibrate and wobble. Here in SoCal, I’ve endured a handful of quakes, but never such intense shaking.

Through the open garage door I saw the bicycles that hang from the ceiling sway back and forth. As I attempted to process THAT information, the crystal lustres on my grandmother’s antique porcelain candelabras clashed and clinked. Terracotta tile flooring in the foyer seemed to roll back and forth and I had a difficult time standing.

Feeling dizzy and unbalanced, I grasped the doorway for support.  My poor kitty gave me a dirty look like I had interrupted her nap on purpose. So much for the concept that animals can sense an earthquake–not this spoiled little brat.

I ran up our oak-planked steps into the family room and through the patio doors onto the deck and shouted out to the neighbors.

“Look at your pool!”

“I know, this is crazy! Are you OK? Any damage?”

“I don’t think so. A couple seashells fell off the shelf in the family room, but I was so freaked, I didn’t want to stay inside, so I ran out back. I don’t know if we should stay in the house or what we should do!”

“Us either! Let’s see what’s on the news.”

This quake was so violent that it caused the water in their pool to slosh over the sides like a mini-tsunami. We each went back in our respective homes and turned on CNN. We discovered that there had been a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico. The first reports that came in revealed a lot of damage near the epicenter in Mexicali, but no major problems in San Diego; only broken glass and falling cans at grocery stores, which seemed pretty miraculous considering the earthquake’s size.

Still spooked by the shaking and some pretty strong aftershocks, I surveyed the house, removing anything unsecured and potentially dangerous.

This is as good a time as any to confess something. I’m a shell-aholic.

seashell mirror

I’ve got shelves and shelves of seashells in every room–including the bathroom. Everyone collects seashells, right? One here, one there, as a memory of a great beach or a fun vacation, right? Well…I’m a seashellhoarder. I want ALL seashells–there are never enough seashells to collect or buy. I make things out of some of them–picture frames, mirrors, boxes–they line the walls in our two bathrooms and even our front door, but mostly they just hang out–in bowls, on shelves, anywhere and everywhere. There is no empty space in our house, and if there is, it’s quickly filled with a shell–or a rock.

After a couple decades, we have come to an understanding, the captain and I. He thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with shells and rocks and driftwood, and I don’t destroy his surfboards if he doesn’t give me a hard time about it.

I anxiously emailed the captain who’s half a world away in the middle of an ocean. I figured that if anything would cause him to cut his four month assignment short, this might be it. The way that emailing works in deep ocean situations is through a pretty inefficient satellite; sometimes it takes hours to complete the process. If there’s a real emergency, I have a phone number to call, but this didn’t really fit the definition. I wasn’t hurt and the house wasn’t damaged or anything. When he finally read the email and wrote back, he told me to “standby” at the house phone because he would try to make a call from the boat’s sat phone. When he called, I used all my powers of persuasion to convince him to come home, but to no avail. He simply wasn’t going to call the United States Coast Guardto fly a rescue mission a thousand miles from land to bring  him home because the kitty and I were scared.

Well, I know where I stand in his list of priorities. Hmmm, I wonder if this is when I hatched my plot to get that Chanel. Hmmm, I wonder.

After that stressful event, and many aftershocks later, some pampering was definitely well deserved. That evening, I drew a bath in the upstairs bathroom we call the spa because it’s decorated in earthy tones with seashells and beach glass surrounding the mirrors and along the walls.

(I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.)

I lit a fragrant and calming lavender candle, eased my body into the almost too-hot-to-stand-it water, and trickled in ginger and lemongrass aromatherapy oils. Sipping from a glass of merlot, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and my thoughts wandered.

Experiencing an earthquake; the dizziness, the weightless feeling in a tub of warm water; it all reminded me of falling in love. It all felt the same… and it all started with a fifty cent cup of coffee.

Newly divorced in 1990, I speed dated a few guys, including one totally boring and slightly scary man who immediately wanted me to meet his parents after the first (and last) date, along with a couple of total idiots whose combined IQs prolly didn’t equal my Border Collie‘s. Those unsavory experiences became flashing red lights–STOP! NO! THINK!–impossible to ignore–that I seriously needed to take some time off the dating circuit.

It was the perfect time for a list.

I’m an inveterate list maker; I prioritize my errands and even list groceries in the order of where they’re located in the store– like my own custom board game–where I start at the entrance and finish at the cash register.

I wrote this particular list with the hope that if I documented the qualities desired in a significant other, the universe would deliver the right one when all the planets were aligned. Or so I dreamed.

At midnight on August 7th, 1990, with a bottle of wine to seal the deal, I made a promise to myself–I would not date (or do anything else) for a very long time, and the next one would be “the one”.

The List
1. Must call when he says he will. This is non-negotiable.
2. Must show up on time for dates.
3. Must love pets. Also non-negotiable.
4. No cigarettes. No smoking, and of course, no drugs.
5. Likes to exercise, work out, eat healthy, etc.
6. Must have gainful employment.
7. Must be nice and polite and honest and trustworthy.
8. Fidelity is of paramount importance.
9. When the time is right and he meets my son, my son has to like him. Also non-negotiable.

Next: Part Two

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Best Friends

“Marry your best friend. Marry someone who you wouldn’t mind waking up to every day for the rest of your life. The one who makes you glad to be alive. Marry someone who drives you crazy. The one who frustrates you. The one who calms you. Marry the one you don’t mind fighting with because they will be fair about it. Don’t marry someone who gives their ego more importance than they give you. Marry someone who makes you the best version of yourself. The one who believes in you even when you don’t. The one who stands by you through thick and thin. The one you can weather life’s storms with. Marry someone you can’t imagine your life without. Marry the one who knows what you want to say even when you’re too tired to say it with words. The one you can spend comfortable silences with from time to time. The one who loves a seashell as much as a Chanel. Marry your best friend.” (From Think Positive Words)

vintage weddingpic

Burying the Lede. Again.

Picture this: last evening at 5pm…I’m still sick with the flu (but recovering) on the sofa in my flannel jammies, the ones with happy little owls sprinkled all over a turquoise background, drinking ginger tea (I’m always drinking ginger tea lol) and hub calls.

He casually chitchats for a few minutes about how I’m feeling and about the rain we had and then asks me if I’ve checked his email today (I check his email when he’s gone cos he doesn’t have access to it AND because we have no secrets) and I said no, but hold on, I’ll look right now.

I tell him there’s nothing there and he said, oh, I guess they didn’t cc me.

I said, WHO didn’t cc you WHAT?

No response.

Silence.

I start feeling a little apprehensive.

Not for any other reason than after twenty-two years, I think I’ve finally figured out that hub’s silences speak volumes.

Tugboat man-a man of few words-enjoys observing my mind make quantum leaps.

Oh, don’t even tell me, I said. SILENCE. Absolute silence.

AREYOUFLYINGHOMETOMORROWANDYOU’RETELLINGMENOWWW?

His response? Laughing. That’s it. He laughs.

So…boys and girls, after waiting and waiting and waiting, and thinking for sure he’s coming home on Tuesday,  it’s official.

Tugboat man will be home TODAY.

I’ve never met anybody in my entire life that could bury the lede like he does.

Now is the season for miracles and it’s gonna take a miracle to get me ready and to get some food and freshly baked goodies in this house.

Wish me luck, ‘cos I’m gonna need it.


 

BURYLEAD

FYI, if you’re a writer, you know this is how things are supposed to go!

Read about another time he buried the lede (or lead)

 

 

 

Featured image via Google Images by https://talesfromtaughlumny.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/pbear-coming-home1.jpg

my part-time marriage

You know what I hate more than my tugboat man’s delays that prevent him from coming home?

I really hate all the people who don’t stop asking me when he’s coming home and give me a sort of a snarkly schadenfreude look when I tell them I don’t know or you’ll see him when I see him–they invariably ask me why I stay married to a guy like that–why I put up with it.

That’s just so f***ing rude.

Or they make dumbass comments about how much fun I must have being single for 50% of the time and do I go out and party a lot and how he must cramp my style when he’s home.

Or the one that really gets me boiling…they wish THEIR men were gone most of the time like my guy, cos their hub is annoying, stupid, lazy, boring–or a combination of a few or all of those traits.

Since I don’t normally unleash my UBER-BEEYOTCHY side on the people I see on a regular basis, I’m doing it here.

Let me clarify…

We have a twenty-two year marriage that’s built on trust, love, commitment, strength, and respect.

WE ARE A TEAM.

We’re in this marriage together–TOGETHER–whatever it is, we deal with things TOGETHER– not as adversaries blaming each other, but we work on issues and problems as a TEAM.

Whether his career now takes him out to sea and offshore and away from home for six weeks or two months or even four months–it’s a blip on the radar of the love we share.

Oh, and for those who wonder if I’ve ever been unfaithful or if he has relationships in every port–let me tell you that I can be 1000% certain that has never and will never happen because our marriage motto is FULL DISCLOSURE.

We never keep secrets; there is no reason to–we’re each others besties.

And there’s no one in the world that could ever replace him.

And yes, even all the shopping I do (and the Chanels, whether it’s a necklace or a handbag)–it’s MOSTLY always discussed and is agreed to before it happens hee hee.

Physical distance is only one aspect of a relationship-it can blossom and grow no matter how many oceans separate us.

REALLY.


And here’s a little song from the one and only Frank Sinatra

 

(Featured image from http://www.newlovetimes.com/)

 

This is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife…

My tugboat man departed mid-September for what was supposed to be a six-week assignment.

In the world of the merchant mariner, that’s easy; a piece of cake.

He’s still not home and what’s today’s date?

November 22.

Will he be home for Thanksgiving?

Nope.

Will he be home the week after?

Hopefully, but no guarantees.

Am I complaining?

Only kinda, sorta, cos I’m pretty much used to this by now.

During the first fifteen years or so of our marriage, he worked in our local harbor as a tug captain and also as port captain of a tug company, and then with the downturn in the economy in 2008, he was offered an opportunity to return to his roots of long distance towing.

Not only is he a maritime academy (won’t tell which one) graduate and a high ticket tug captain, he’s a tow master.

Being a Master Towboatman is highly specialized and a difficult and often dangerous job.

Which is why if I don’t hear from him every day, I get a little (OK, a LOT) crazy.

Even though we do have limited satellite email, I haven’t actually SPOKEN to him in a few weeks, but tomorrow he’s going to bring one 800-foot-long barge into a port and exchange it for another one to take offshore and do whatever it is that he does (can’t tell you) and the highlight of my day is a PHONE CALL.

A TELEPHONE CALL.

Which makes me very, very happy!

So, in spite of my bestie not being here on this Sunday where Princess Rosebud (me) can make him his fave buckwheat pancakes, I am very thankful that I’ll be able to hear his voice tomorrow.

Gratitude…Take it wherEVER you can find it.

gratitudetexlagoon

 

if you love someone…

“If you love someone more than anything, the distance only matters to the mind, not the heart.”

I saw this posted on Facebook and it seems so very true—and helpful to remember at those times when we really miss our faraway mariner.

Like me, like now, when he’s been delayed AGAIN and might not be home for Thanksgiving and it all depends on the weather, so I’m sending good thoughts to Mother Nature to calm down a bit!

SIGH.

Our hearts are connected no matter where he is or how long he’s gone.

Being a Mariner’s Wife is a Constant State of Worry

Woke up to this terse email from my tugboat man:

emailtugboat

P.S. What he means by “go in” is sailing into a safe port, but now the weather is swirling all around him, and best practices dictate staying offshore. Oh, and “shitty” is a mariner term too haha.

I’m pretty sure I can speak for most mariner spouses when I say that we’re not completely calm unless our guys are on land — terra firma — and in our sightline.

There are just so many variables out there on the water; like that routine voyage from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico, which my hub has done a zillion times—can be fraught with danger.

IF everything goes wrong. Not just one or two things, but as in the case of El Faro, EVERYthing went wrong. Loss of engine power, taking on water, steering directly into the eye of the hurricane. Like that.

I checked the National Weather Service offshore waters forecast for the area he’s in and it’s not great: high seas and strong to GALE FORCE winds with a late hurricane season disturbance.

In mariner terms, winds are categorized on the Beaufort Scale. Here’s a graphic:beaufortscale

Even though I know he’s the BEST captain in the world-

Even though I know he’s the SAFEST captain in the world-

Even though I know he’s been through dozens of bad storms all over the world-

Even though I know all of that, the El Faro tragedy is so fresh in our minds that it causes more worry.

I keep the boat phone handy—just in case.

I monitor the weather—just in case.

I put the company phone number on speed dial—just in case.

The worry is a constant thread that runs right along with all my other thoughts.

Like keeping a tab open on the computer and refreshing it every couple of seconds.

The worry is there at the gym during an (amazing) kickboxing class.

The worry is there grocery shopping.

Watching television can’t drown it out, nor does reading a book. (Poor choice of words.)

It’s very stressful, and when retail therapy doesn’t work its magic, you KNOW I’m super worried.

Tugs are very sturdy vessels; I’m sure he will be FINE.

After all, we have to decorate the nursery, right?

b4435b75e99e6e0b77e1eef60e97db78To all the mariners out on the high seas, be extra careful.

And a little merchant mariner humor…

e5c00b9eb0acba9500a514b7a2d80458

To Pee or Not to Pee

bath5

The walls are NOT this shade of green lol ; they’re more of a ferny green, not so neon!

THAT’s the question.

(I’m so sorry, Mr. Shakespeare)

Here’s the story:

When tugboat man was still here and we were having our house re-roofed, one of the guys slipped and stuck his foot through the ceiling in our upstairs office.

I’m happy to say he wasn’t hurt at all.

Later on that day, the roofer’s drywall friend came over to do the repair.

Hub requested that I cover all the furniture and the rug in the vicinity of the hole to protect it from dust and stuff ‘cos he knows how freaky OCD I get about dirt, and the whole roofing experience triggered all THOSE issues.

After I found some old sheets and draped the area, I went downstairs to wash dishes while hub chatted with the repairman.

Hub came down to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water and my bat ears (that’s what I’m called cos I hear EVERYTHING) picked up the sound of the upstairs toilet flushing.

I looked at hub in horror.

“That wasn’t the drywall guy flushing the toilet, was it?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Do you mean that he USED OUR BATHROOM?”

“Yup, why?”

“Did he ask you if he could use our bathroom?”

“Yes, why?” As he’s looking at me quizzically.

“And did you say yes?”

(Now I hear the sound of running water.)

“Yes, why?”

I’m hyperventilating, my mind’s eye scanning each and every surface this person must have touched; the toilet seat, the flushing handle, the water faucet, a towel (a TOWEL!), and the light switch. Oh, and the door knob. Both of them.

I’m seeing germs, I’m seeing hoards of stranger germs (stranger danger STRANGER DANGER!) multiplying and spreading all over the bathroom and overflowing down the stairs to invade each and every corner of our house.

I’m thinking of the horror stories I’ve heard about stuff being stolen—or OMG WHAT IF HE WENT NUMBER TWO?

I’m not really a snob (I’m NOT!) but this was not someone we hired; it was a friend or acquaintance of our roofer and we didn’t know his name or anything about him.

What if he had some kind of disease?

I couldn’t even handle that.

Not even.

Whew.

In a very controlled voice, I asked…”Don’t you know that as a general practice, one never allows strangers to use our personal bathrooms?  I mean, we don’t even really have a guest powder room or anything. This is private.”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“Do you mean that in the twenty-five or so years that we’ve been together, you didn’t know that that was one of the things I just cannot abide?”

(Did I just hear him whisper to himself that right now It feels like 40 million years?)

“No really, I didn’t know that, but why not?”

“WHY NOT? Because it’s just not done, that’s why!”

“Well, what was I supposed to say?”

“I don’t know, what I say is either, I’d prefer that you didn’t, or It’s not something I’m comfortable with or maybe, I have a crazy wife, so you probably shouldn’t.”

I mean, here’s the thing…there are two kinds of people; those who don’t care if strangers use their toilets, and those who think it’s not appropriate for a stranger, especially one who’s there to do a job, to use the customer’s facilities.

Most contractors bring their own porta potty for jobs that take a few days, or they leave to use the restroom at a restaurant or anywhere else but here.

When he finished the small job of fixing the ceiling, I donned my ubiquitous yellow rubber gloves, a respirator mask (not really), and a gallon of bleach, and rushed into the now possibly-infected-with-stranger-danger-germs bathroom.

To add insult to injury, do you know what I found?

HE LEFT THE SEAT UP.

Yup. He left the seat UP.

I yelled that to hub, “HE LEFT THE SEAT UP!!”

I could hear hub muttering to himself; I don’t even want to know what he said.

Ick. Yuck. I spent the next hour totally disinfecting every surface.

Don’t think I’m like this when friends or family visit; of course not, not if I know them, their genetic makeup, their social security number, their address, their medical history…JUST KIDDING!

According to a discussion of this very topic on Angie’s List, here’s one contractor’s thoughts: David Webber, who owns David’s Home Cleaning in Raleigh, N.C., says he would never think of using a client’s bathroom except in a dire emergency, even though he can sometimes be on a job for eight hours.

“It’s like a personal, private space,” Webber says.

On long jobs, he’ll take a break to use a restroom off-site.

Kristopher Toth, owner of Toth Painting Solutions in Parma, Ohio, says he doesn’t expect to use his clients’ bathrooms.

“I think it’s a courtesy; I don’t think we can just assume we can use their bathroom,” Toth says.

What say YOU?

Do you let repairmen use your bathroom? What is YOUR criteria?

PS Had a date/publish issue with WP so I’m reposting.

When a Ship Goes Missing — The Other Side of Being a Mariner’s Wife

It’s not ALL about shopping ’til I drop while my tugboat man is out to sea.

From ABC News:

“A stricken cargo ship with 28 Americans on board that vanished during Hurricane Joaquin remained missing early Saturday.

Officials said there was still no sign of the El Faro, which was last heard from around 7:20 a.m. Thursday when a distress call indicated it had lost power and was taking on water.

The 735-foot vessel was bound for San Juan in Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida, at the time. It was carrying 28 Americans and five Polish nationals.

Image: Cargo ship El Faro missing in Hurricane Joaquin
The container ship El Faro. TOTE MARITIME via EPA

Around 850 square nautical miles were searched on Friday and the effort resumed at dawn Saturday.

When the El Faro left Jacksonville on Tuesday Joaquin was just a tropical storm. It quickly grew in intensity and was declared a Category 4 storm Thursday as it approached the Bahamas carrying winds of 130 mph.”


It could be 1815 or 1915, but in 2015, ships still go missing and are at the mercy of the elements.

Even with advanced communications technology and state-of-the-art equipment, Mother Nature reigns supreme.

The terror of being lost at sea is all too real and always somewhere in the back of our minds.

That’s why I need to hear from my tugboat man every day or I start to worry.

It doesn’t matter that he’s one of the best captains in the industry; in a heartbeat, things can happen that are outside his control, and all it takes is a minute—for a disaster.

This is our nightmare.

Our hearts go out to the crew and their families.

P.S. My own tugboat man is sorta in the area, and he’s safe but I wish he was here; home, on terra firma.

To Pee or Not to Pee

bath5

The walls are NOT this shade of green lol ; they’re more of a ferny green, not so neon!

THAT’s the question.

(I’m so sorry, Mr. Shakespeare)

Here’s the story:

When tugboat man was still here and we were having our house re-roofed, one of the guys slipped and stuck his foot through the ceiling in our upstairs office.

I’m happy to say he wasn’t hurt at all.

Later on that day, the roofer’s drywall friend came over to do the repair.

Hub requested that I cover all the furniture and the rug in the vicinity of the hole to protect it from dust and stuff ‘cos he knows how freaky OCD I get about dirt, and the whole roofing experience triggered all THOSE issues.

After I found some old sheets and draped the area, I went downstairs to wash dishes while hub chatted with the repairman.

Hub came down to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water and my bat ears (that’s what I’m called cos I hear EVERYTHING) picked up the sound of the upstairs toilet flushing.

I looked at hub in horror.

“That wasn’t the drywall guy flushing the toilet, was it?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Do you mean that he USED OUR BATHROOM?”

“Yup, why?”

“Did he ask you if he could use our bathroom?”

“Yes, why?” As he’s looking at me quizzically.

“And did you say yes?”

(Now I hear the sound of running water.)

“Yes, why?”

I’m hyperventilating, my mind’s eye scanning each and every surface this person must have touched; the toilet seat, the flushing handle, the water faucet, a towel (a TOWEL!), and the light switch. Oh, and the door knob. Both of them.

I’m seeing germs, I’m seeing hoards of stranger germs (stranger danger STRANGER DANGER!) multiplying and spreading all over the bathroom and overflowing down the stairs to invade each and every corner of our house.

I’m thinking of the horror stories I’ve heard about stuff being stolen—or OMG WHAT IF HE WENT NUMBER TWO?

I’m not really a snob (I’m NOT!) but this was not someone we hired; it was a friend or acquaintenance of our roofer and we didn’t know his name or anything about him.

What if he had some kind of disease?

I couldn’t even handle that.

Not even.

Whew.

In a very controlled voice, I asked…”Don’t you know that as a general practice, one never allows strangers to use our personal bathrooms?  I mean, we don’t even really have a guest powder room or anything. This is private.”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“Do you mean that in the twenty-five or so years that we’ve been together, you didn’t know that that was one of the things I just cannot abide?”

(Did I just hear him whisper to himself that right now It feels like 40 million years?)

“No really, I didn’t know that, but why not?”

“WHY NOT? Because it’s just not done, that’s why!”

“Well, what was I supposed to say?”

“I don’t know, what I say is either, I’d prefer that you didn’t, or It’s not something I’m comfortable with or maybe, I have a crazy wife, so you probably shouldn’t.”

I mean, here’s the thing…there are two kinds of people; those who don’t care if strangers use their toilets, and those who think it’s not appropriate for a stranger, especially one who’s there to do a job, to use the customer’s facilities.

Most contractors bring their own porta potty for jobs that take a few days, or they leave to use the restroom at a restaurant or anywhere else but here.

When he finished the small job of fixing the ceiling, I donned my ubiquitous yellow rubber gloves, a respirator mask (not really) and a gallon of bleach and rushed into the inow possibly-infected-with-stranger-danger-germs bathroom.

To add insult to injury, do you know what I found?

HE LEFT THE SEAT UP.

Yup. He left the seat UP.

I yelled that to hub, “HE LEFT THE SEAT UP!!”

I could hear hub muttering to himself; I don’t even want to know what he said.

Ick. Yuck. I spent the next hour totally disinfecting every surface.

Don’t think I’m like this when friends or family visit; of course not, not if I know them, their genetic makeup, their social security number, their address, their medical history…JUST KIDDING!

According to a discussion of this very topic on Angie’s List, here’s one contractor’s thoughts: David Webber, who owns David’s Home Cleaning in Raleigh, N.C., says he would never think of using a client’s bathroom except in a dire emergency, even though he can sometimes be on a job for eight hours.

“It’s like a personal, private space,” Webber says.

On long jobs, he’ll take a break to use a restroom off-site.

Kristopher Toth, owner of Toth Painting Solutions in Parma, Ohio, says he doesn’t expect to use his clients’ bathrooms.

“I think it’s a courtesy; I don’t think we can just assume we can use their bathroom,” Toth says.

What say YOU?

Do you let repairmen use your bathroom? What is YOUR criteria?