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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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

Secrets Revealed…For Real This Time

So on a fairly innocuous Sunday afternoon while most of you are probably watching a football game, I’ve decided that I procrastinated long enough; even though my stomach is tied up in knots because it’s NOT PERFECT, and the only truly perfect thing I’ve ever done in my life is give birth to my Angel Boy, and well, I guess there’s the undisputed fact that I’m a great shopper, and there’s that tugboat man of mine, so I guess all in all, I really do possess quite a bit of perfection.

And humility.

NOT.

But this is a big secret, guys!

Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife confesses:

Princess’s Progeny Procreates!

Oh, and here’s that new blog of mine: Diary of a Yummy Grandmummy

storkSave it, bookmark it, follow it! http://diaryofayummygrandmummy.com/

My DIL will be a contributor, because she’s the one who’s experiencing the highs and lows of a first-time baby making machine!

We’re going to attempt to be informative AND humorous, so come along for the journey as I truly become the most obnoxious yummy grandmummy ever (see how it’s always about me?)

We’ll be asking for advice as well as dispensing it; must have products and everything that’s new since I gave birth in 1981.

HELP!!!

I’ll still be confessing and shopping and seashelling here, but it’s time to put on my grandma panties and dust off my diaper-changed skills, so I’ll be spending a lot of time at Diary of a Yummy Grandmummy!

Estimated date of arrival: March 1, 2016

Did you think this was going to be the secret I’ve been teasing you with?

My Tugboat Man is Gone and I’m Blue

It seems like I can just copy and paste the same posts because the same things happen over and over again.

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.

Hopefully, but that’s what was supposed to happen last time, and it turned into FOUR months!

And because I try to find silvery and sparkly linings in most difficult situations, I came up with these…

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. 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

how to excite your spouse (or why you men should really listen to us)

What happened in our home a few minutes ago is a perfect example of one of the many differences between men and women and if nothing else, it succinctly illustrates the very real fact that men do NOT listen with their full attention when we speak.

The facts:

I was cleaning the bathroom this morning.

Hub was in the garage.

I walked out to the garage and said to him…

“I need some white caulk”

THAT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WHAT HE HEARD because his response was, with graphic hand gestures (ahem)…

“I’ve got some right here for you.”

End of story.

My plea to MY husband AND your significant other:

Please pay attention to us so that you will be spared the embarrassment (and disappointment) when you actually comprehend what we’ve said when we talk to you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to CAULK the area around the shower.

Have a lovely weekend.

caulk

How I Feel When Tugboat Man Comes Home

Easy Friday post, got a minute or two to write ‘cos he’s out surfing OF COURSE.

Tugboat man’s deffo my soulmate; I’m a lucky girl, and not just because he’s taking me out to buy me a prezzie today lol.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend and enjoy the blue moon!