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?


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.


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.




if you don’t call, I think you’re dead, and that’s why I’m getting a pair of Loubies

(If you don’t know what Loubies/Louboutins are, scroll down to the end for a pic.)

We are officially at Tugboat Man Minus Two.

In other words, two more shopping days ’til I drive to the airport and pick up a man.

That’s funny, but it’s true.

I go from SASSY single girl to a coupled MARRIED woman at the whim of a flying machine.

Well, after a good amount of time ‘scaping and scraping and all that jazz.

Got a totes adorbs dress at the Banana Republic @Carlsbad Outlet today.

Fifty percent off! Kinda Pucci-like, don’t you think?bananarepublic

I’ll pair it with skinny jeans or black tights.

And those LOUBOUTINS I’m about to receive as soon as hub comes home and catches up on his lost sleep.

Sleep loss is a real health hazard of the professional mariner.

But enough about him.

Here’s why I deserve those scandalous, over-the-top, uber extravagant and gorgeous shoes.

Settle in, this is a good story, albeit a tad convoluted, but not if you follow my way of thinking about things. If you’re like me, you’ll soon nod your head in agreement.

Remember a few weeks ago I shared with you that hub got a new surfboard? Do you also recall how i was the ultra supportive wife who encouraged him to buy it (and that I figured it behooved me to be “all in” so that I could expect the same reaction when I suggested a trip to Chanel for that iconic pearl necklace?)

OK. That’s the first part.

What you don’t know is that after my 50+ year-old tugboat man acquired his new toy, there was a slight swell (that’s surfer talk), a bump in the surf — and he became OBSESSED with surfing. Surfing in the morning, surfing in the afternoon, surfing until the sun went down. Normally, I’m pretty cool with that — he loves to surf, he’s gone a lot — when he’s home, he deserves to follow his bliss, right?

Now it’s time for you to understand that I’m the type of person who thinks if I don’t hear from you, you’re dead.

A to Z, black and white, dead or alive. No gray area.

I was am that way with my son, too. If he does’t call or text or email, I get so worried that I believe the WORST POSSIBLE THING HAS HAPPENED.

At any given time, I’m THAT close to calling the police, hospitals, FBI, State Department, and boarding a plane to wherever.

With my son, it’s not as if there isn’t some history…for example, one year he rode his bicycle alone from Carlsbad to Utah and had a pretty bad accident in Moab; more recently there was his life threatening illness and life-saving surgery — oh and let’s not forget that time he was riding his bicycle home from school at Johns Hopkins (where he received one of his two Masters) and a carjacking took place RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM and the car RAN HIM DOWN and mangled his bike. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt at all. LUCKILY.

AND that one occasion DIL and I were together while Angel Boy was hiking in some godforsaken remote location. I’ll never forget and neither will she…we were eating fish tacos at Rubios prior to her flight back home (she travels more than anyone I know) and we were waiting for a CALL from Angel Boy to let us know he was off the mountain. No call; she power called him until her fingers were sore, but it went straight to voicemail. Finally, she called one of the guys he was hiking with and we learned that the rest of the group had met up at the arranged time, but not our Angel Boy. In fact, the rest of the group was becoming worried and had contacted the rangers, and there was talk about forming a search party. Can you imagine how worried we were? We’re in the car, on the way to the airport, very upset as you can imagine, when he finally called. As thankful as we both were that he was OK and now I can’t really remember the reason for his delay, we were SO MAD AT HIM. And now it’s kinda ruined Rubios for us, because it brings us right back to that place of panic.

Now’s the time you should be nodding your head in agreement that there’s some justifiable basis for the way I am. RIGHT?

Back to my tugboat man. His job is a very dangerous one, no matter that he’s the captain and is inside the wheelhouse mostly driving the boat; it’s inherently rife with danger. At any moment, I could receive a call from the company with some bad news. AT ANY TIME. So much to worry about.

And surfing is dangerous too, right? My son’s childhood friend disappeared while surfing in Hawaii, and there are always horrible surfing accidents on the news that further support my crazy.  In fact, a few years ago, through no fault of his own, hub was involved in a freak accident out in the water where he was stabbed in the lower calf by the tip of someone’s board – he drove himself home — I took one look at the injury, which was open all the way to the bone (MAJOR GROSS), and we made a trip to the ER where they sutured it.

End of story?

Nope, just the beginning. Suturing was a bad idea. The wound became horribly infected because of FILTHY OCEAN WATER; he had a fever of 105 degrees, contracted an antibiotic resistant staph infection, was in incredible pain, but LUCKILY recovered with no limbs lost — just a small divot in his calf and an ugly scar.

As you can see, I’m not ALL that crazy. Sorta cray, but not ALL the way cray.

OK, back to the present (literally). Hub’s been taking Spanish lessons when he’s home, I think mostly so that we can go to Costa Rica (to surf, duh).

Anyway, here’s where it gets hinky.

He loaded his new surfboard in the back of his truck, and said he’d MAYBE go surfing after the class was over.

Class was over at 6:00 p.m. No phone call. 6:15. No call. 6:30. No call. I started power calling his cell. No answer. 7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

He NEVER doesn’t call.My almost-always-perfect hub UNDERSTANDS the importance of a two-second courtesy call or text.

On this particular day, one of the hottest in history, a call would have been especially nice if he had asked if I wanted to meet him at the beach to cool off and take pics or video of the big surf.

7:45 p.m. No call.

One by one the ingredients I had prepped for dinner were put away.

What ifs were peppering my brain.

What if he got hit with a board again? What if he cut himself on glass?


He rolled in a few minutes before 8:00 p.m., happy and hungry.

Me, not so much.

I proceeded to explain to him the thousands and thousands of ways he failed me as a loving husband by selfishly not caring enough to make that phone call. It’s worse ‘cos he KNOWS how crazy I get. He said he was sorry, that he thought I understood he was planning to surf…blah, blah, blah.

I tossed a couple lettuce leaves in his direction, telling him to enjoy his dinner, while I flounced off to not speak to him for the rest of his life.

The next morning I went to the gym while he went surfing AGAIN.

When I got home and pulled into the garage, there was a handwritten huge banner staring at me; “I’m very, very, very SORRY, how can I make it up to you?”

Louboutins, my friends.


And don’t EVER do that again. ‘Cos I’m crazy,

And when I’m cray, YOU pay.


#Louboutin #Loubies

Bleeding car and chirping house, Part Two

Use your imagination!

I’d like to introduce you to my husband. He’s right there inside that cell phone. Yeah, you’re seeing it correctly. Even if you’ve had a few too many glasses of wine or whatever else you might do in the privacy of your home,  you still see it clearly. And I don’t want to know what you do; don’t make me an unwilling accomplice. (But tell me anyway, you know you want to.) Yes everyone, my little confession du jour is that I do not have a smart phone; it’s a dumb phone–well, a stupid phone really–and yes, it’s hot pink and covered in silver stars. I don’t have an iPhone to go with my MacAir. It was on the To Do list while the captain was here, but we didn’t get to it, so that chore carries forward to the next homecoming. 

Watch what you say; he’s listening. Check out his snazzy captain’s hat. He looks really cute when he wears that…and nothing else, if you know what I mean.  Stop. That. Right. Now. It’s inappropriate.

My captain is quite the problem solver. Even in absentia, he’s worth his weight in gold. (Although less gold than before ‘cos he’s lost a bit of weight under my watchful eye.)

We were so close last night. It lasted for forty-five minutes, the longest its been since we first met. He leaned against my head, whispering in my ear in that special way. I was pleasuring him the same way, my lips to his…EAR. What did you think I was talking about? We were on the phone, for goodness’ sake, get your mind out of the gutter!

He called and systematically solved my two pressing dilemmas. If you’re wondering why we didn’t Skype, it’s ‘cos he doesn’t have the bandwidth to do anything complicated like that. It didn’t matter. It was almost like he was right here instead of just being a disembodied voice emanating from a happy pink phone. I put him on speaker so he could hear the beeping and chirping sound that had me once again straddling that tenuous line of crazy. It seemed to come from the garage area so we went into the garage together. At first I thought it was coming from my new car radio he installed last week. Could it be a type of alarm that was beeping even though the car wasn’t running? He didn’t think so. Then I hauled him over to the driver’s side door that he’d been messing around with, and it’s electronic and all so I thought he had screwed something up. He didn’t think that was it. I set him none too gently on the stool and the beeping stopped. Weird. Then it started up again. He told me to open the hood, so I did, ‘cos I’ve been taught how. Maybe it was a bird that got in there somehow! Nope, that wasn’t it either. (Check out my cool diesel engine.)  He shared some thoughts about the possible sources of beeping. I think he said it could be a sensor to something called a vacuum booster but to me it sounded like “Blah, blah, blah, vacuum, blah, blah, blah.” I actually asked him if he remembered who he was talking to and did he think that while he was gone I magically turned into someone who gave a shit about stuff like that. I really said that. I was joking (sort of). Most of the time he thinks I’m really funny and I think he has a great sense of humor ‘cos he thinks I’m funny. We’re a great team. There I was, being my witty self once again. His new thing to say is, “Are you going to blog about this?” “Well, DUH, Captain Dorky, of course I am!” Keep reading, I’m almost at the end of this part of the story. Even if you think you know how it ends, continue reading, please. He put me on hold for a minute while he checked with the engineer. After they conferred, they came to the conclusion that it could not have been the whatever he thought it might have been. We were back to square one. The sound stopped. He told me to check the time. OK Captain Kirk (he was sounding very StarTrekky to me.) There goes the damn chirpy beepy crap again. He said to time it and I said it was just like timing contractions and he said I should try to stay focused. We counted together….thirty seconds and another one. Thirty seconds and another one. He said he was totally stumped. Then I got a cosmic message from the universe and looked up on the wall near one of his quivers of surfboards. Oh. My. God. There was a smoke alarm up there. I said, “Hey, there’s a smoke alarm in here, did you know that?”

“Are you kidding me? Didn’t you check the smoke alarms before all this? I thought you would have done that days ago!!”

“What? How was I supposed to know there was a smoke alarm in here?”

I stuck him in my pocket and climbed up on the big somekindofsaw table so that I could reach the smoke alarm. I’ll be darned if that stupid thing wasn’t beeping and chirping his little heart out! Now he has a new battery and all is quiet at Casa de Enchanted Seashells. At least we didn’t tear the walls apart to find the source of the beeping like that couple in the UK (see article below).

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew worked together and solved the mystery; what a great team we are! Now on to the next problem-my bleeding car. The captain had me describe to him in exquisite detail about the little drop under my car. It was about the size of a contact lens, blood-red, and kind of oily. He determined that it was probably a bit of transmission fluid and not to worry unless there was so much gushing out that it looked like a burst carotid artery.

Seashell tree atop a seashell table

All of that took a lot out of me. I so deserved a bit of retail therapy. I found a simply awesome seashell tree to kick off  the holidays.

It is a daunting task to be married to me. I raise my glass to the captain for maintaining his even temperament and composure through every screwball situation.