Tiny But Mighty Titanic

On April 10, 1912, Titanic departed Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage to New York City. She sank five days later on the morning of April 15th after hitting an iceberg four hundred miles off the coast of Nova Scotia.

My tugboat man is a true waterman on land, too. When he’s not driving tugboats all around the world’s oceans and waterways, he’s surfing big and small waves here in SoCal.

I’m NOT a water lover like he is, but I enjoy kayaking and sailing (with him) our little dory appropriately named Princess Rosebud. Read all about it here: In Which Princess Rosebud Embarks Upon a Magical Journey

When my tugboat man is home between assignments, he likes to assemble models. Of boats. He’s especially fascinated with Titanic. I wrote about it here: Building A Paper Titanic.titanic

This time he created an adorable tiny sparkly silver Titanic, about six inches long, using tweezers and a magnifying glass.

tinytitanic1The details are so precious!tinytitanic2Isn’t it the cutest little thing, and so sparkly?tinytitanic3The assembled model right next to the picture on the box.tinytitanic5tinytitanic6Nope, no jokes, not going there LOLtinytitanic7On the dock.tinytitanic8I’ve searched on the internet for different models that my water loving mariner might like. I found some elaborate tugboat designs, but they’re very expensive, in the  $300-$400 range. That’s a BIT pricey for something that’ll eventually sit on a shelf to be dusted by moi.

Does your spouse have a hobby?

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How to prepare for a cruise: Tips from a professional mariner

Are you planning a cruise vacation?

Some things you should know before you go–from my personal maritime expert.

My captain’s in an isolated location with no TV or newspapers or internet access (other than simple email) so I include in my daily missives to him local and national news updates.

The Cruise Ship Carnival Triumph

I sent lots of reports about the problems of the broken and stranded Carnival ship Triumph last week–that poor ship ultimately endured a less than triumphant arrival into port amidst horrific tales of sewage-soaked carpets and open decks, with food so limited that passengers were reduced to eating candy and ketchup on buns.

2-14-13-Carnival-Triumph_full_600Since I have my own personal encyclopedia of maritime knowledge at my fingertips (ha ha) I thought it’d be interesting to share his thoughts about it.

People think I’ve been on every boat imaginable because of him–but that’s not true. I’ve never taken a cruise for a couple of reasons; I don’t like boats very much (unless they’re named after meand I’m too impatient. I like to get to my destination in a hurry.

A boat ride, whether it’s in a lagoon or a river or an ocean–is inherently rife with danger.

My captain’s been involved in salvage work for maritime accidents where he’s had to dive and search for bodies. As you might image, it’s impossible to erase those images from his memory.

The Titanic and the Costa Concordia are obvious examples of the worst possible outcomes.

Living in close quarters brings out the best and the worst in people–even without a disaster to deal with. Add an engine fire, backed up toilets, unlimited alcohol, and you’ve got a potential explosion. Some people panic, hoard food and water; some drink too much (the Triumph crew wisely shut down the open bar)–while others step up to the challenge with exemplary leadership skills; share, organize, and deal with the situation in a calm and logical manner.

I’ve listed a few of my captain’s recommendations before you embark on a cruise. This is by no means an exhaustive list; just a few tips from my in-house expert.

  • If you don’t already have one, obtain a Passport Card, which is a separate document from a Passport that you might have to surrender to a foreign flagged cruise ship. In the event that your passports are taken, a Passport Card might give you a sense of well-being if you want to get off the ship in a foreign port and go home.
  • Take a small flashlight and carry it with you at all times. Keep it next to your bedside.
  • Pack energy bars; nuts and raisins, and even protein powder if you have luggage space.
  • Take part in the lifeboat drills, know where your life jackets are and how to put them on. Pay attention!
  • Locate your life jacket in your cabin as soon as you arrive; practice putting it on.
  • Don’t wait for the required safety drill to memorize the location of your assigned lifeboat.
  • Make a family plan. Stay together.
  • Practice finding your way from your stateroom to a stairway to the deck bypassing an elevator. Know how to escape.
  • Find a U.S. cruise line in the inner coastal waters or Alaska or on the Rivers instead of a foreign flagged vessel that might not offer a passenger the same rights and legal protections. Norwegian Cruise Line‘s Pride of America is the only large U.S. flagged cruise ship.

Building a Paper Titanic

This seemed as good a time as any to revisit a previously written post.

This one’s about one of the captain’s hobbies. He def likes to keep busy. He’s gone again, missing Thanksgiving, which is one of his fave holidays cos he likes to eat and it’s a day that I don’t police his consumption.

He’s a surf-aholic and this time of year usually brings good waves. Right now there’s a High Surf Advisory from an Alaskan storm. It’s about 5-6 ft. –maybe more– and my son’s here with DIL and sister wife.

They’ve been surfing twice a day, which leaves me time to clean up from all their meals and start prepping for the next one. I’m really missing the captain but there’s so much to be grateful for in spite of his absence.

I have so much admiration for the wives of our deployed soldiers. They are apart for much longer periods of time than this wife of a Merchant Marine, and have to be incredibly brave and stoic–and hope their loved ones come back alive. Although being a tugboat captain has its elements of danger, being shot at or bombed is not one of them.

When he’s home,  after he catches up on his sleep, my captain lines up projects to keep busy, whether it’s around the house or something creative. Unless there’s surf. In that case, I become a surf-widow and only see him when the tide drops or he’s hungry.

He’s made some awesome shelves in the living room and our bedroom, done a whole lot of house painting (inside and out).  The last time he was home for a few months, he found a paper model of the Titanic (he’s fascinated with anything Titanic) called Build the Titanic at Barnes and Noble and holed up in his man cave working on its miniature parts, gluing and painting. It’s more than two feet long and pretty much to scale. There’s a great little book that came with the model written by a female captain, Meghan Cleary, who lives aboard her thirty-five-foot sailboat.

I don’t normally watch daytime TV on any regular basis since All My Children went off the air. My mom and I started watching it together when it first began.  She was a stay-at-home mom until high school and then she went back to work part-time, as an RN. She was charge nurse for Women’s Surgical at a local hospital and worked the 3pm to 11pm shift, so we would hang out during summer vacation before she left for work.

When my son was born, I used to nurse him during All My Children, One Life to Liveand General HospitalThree hours, that’s right. I would switch him from side to side every twenty minutes or so, ‘cos my mom told me to nurse him as long as he was hungry, so we  had these marathon sessions. Plus, I read somewhere that breastfeeding burns tons of calories, so it provided value added options for me. I could lose baby weight, bond with my child, feed him, and watch TV at the same time!  That’s what I remember I was doing during Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981.

I was working on a small proofing job and caught a few minutes of The View, muted ‘cos that one blonde chicka has a voice that could turn milk sour, geez, but what in the world has happened to Barbara Walters’ earlobes? I have enough of my own personal body image issues so that I do have empathy, but they are ay-may-zing specimens. I know she’s like eighty or something, and gravity happens, but WOW. She was wearing gigantic button earrings (ring, ring, 1983 is calling!) but even those monstrosities could not hide her elephant-sized lobes. It was fascinating and stomach-turning at the same time; I couldn’t turn away, I couldn’t look, I expected them to start flapping in the breeze. C’mon girl, you are obvs no stranger to plastic surgery-for the love of all that is holy, pullease nip/tuck those things! At the very least, have your hair stylist do a little cover-up. Pull-ease. It’s funny–for the hell of it I Googled “Barbara Walters’ ears” and discovered a lot of internet commentary, so I am not the only one who noticed. Like I said, aging is sad for so many, many reasons.

It’s now 9pm and I’m watching So You Think You Can Dance. Got a call from my captain, but it was such a bad connection and kept breaking up, so we didn’t get to have any kind of conversation besides the usual, “How are you, is everything OK?

“Yes, I’m fine, are you all right?”

“I can’t really hear you, I’m breaking up, I better go, I’ll try and call again in the morning if we’re near a cell tower. Love you.”

“I love  you, too. I miss you lots.”

At least we were able to get the important things said.  I am fanatical about ending conversations with “I love you”. With my son, ever since he spent his junior year abroad and continues to travel all over the world,  I always end every single telephone call or Skype that way.  No matter how brief the conversation, I want those to be the last words and the last thought I leave with him.

Building a Paper Titanic

When he’s home,  after he catches up on his sleep, my captain likes to have projects to keep busy, whether it’s around the house or something creative. He’s made some awesome shelves in the living room and our bedroom, done a whole lot of house painting (inside and out).  The last time he was home for a few months, he found a paper model of the Titanic (he’s fascinated with anything Titanic) called Build the Titanic at Barnes and Noble and holed up in his man cave working on its miniature parts, gluing and painting. It’s more than two feet long and pretty much to scale. There’s a great little book that came with the model written by a female captain, Meghan Cleary, who lives aboard her thirty-five-foot sailboat.

I don’t normally watch daytime TV on any regular basis since All My Children went off the air. My mom and I started watching it together when it first began.  She was a stay-at-home mom until high school and then she went back to work part-time, as an RN. She was charge nurse for Women’s Surgical at a local hospital and worked the 3pm to 11pm shift, so we would hang out during summer vacation before she left for work.

When my son was born, I used to nurse him during All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. Three hours, that’s right. I would switch him from side to side every twenty minutes or so, ‘cos my mom told me to nurse him as long as he was hungry, so we  had these marathon sessions. Plus, I read somewhere that breastfeeding burns tons of calories, so it provided value added options for me. I could lose baby weight, bond with my child, feed him, and watch TV at the same time!  That’s what I remember I was doing during the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

I was working on a small proofing job and caught a few minutes of The View, muted ‘cos that one blonde chicka has a voice that could turn milk sour, geez, but what in the world has happened to Barbara Walters’ earlobes? I have enough of my own personal body image issues so that I do have empathy, but they are ay-may-zing specimens. I know she’s like eighty or something, and gravity happens, but WOW. She was wearing gigantic button earrings (ring, ring, 1983 is calling!) but even those monstrosities could not hide her elephant-sized lobes. It was fascinating and stomach-turning at the same time; I couldn’t turn away, I couldn’t look, I expected them to start flapping in the breeze. C’mon girl, you are obvs no stranger to plastic surgery-for the love of all that is holy, pullease nip/tuck those things! At the very least, have your hair stylist do a little cover-up. Pull-ease. It’s funny–for the hell of it I Googled “Barbara Walters’ ears” and discovered a lot of internet commentary, so I am not the only one who noticed. Like I said, aging is sad for so many, many reasons.

It’s now 9pm and I’m watching So You Think You Can Dance. Got a call from my captain, but it was such a bad connection and kept breaking up, so we didn’t get to have any kind of conversation besides the usual, “How are you, is everything OK?

“Yes, I’m fine, are you all right?”

“I can’t really hear you, I’m breaking up, I better go, I’ll try and call again in the morning if we’re near a cell tower. Love you.”

“I love  you, too. I miss you lots.”

At least we were able to get the important things said.  I am fanatical about ending conversations with “I love you”. With my son, ever since he spent his junior year abroad and continues to travel all over the world,  I always end every single telephone call or Skype that way.  No matter how brief the conversation, I want those to be the last words and the last thought I leave with him.