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

 

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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.}

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  • 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).

Princess Rosebud And Her Tugboat Man

Nope, I don’t surf, but if I did, this is what I’d look like, and I’d be blonde, too!


Vintage-surfing princess rosebud

While he’s surfing, I’m cleaning the house and doing massive loads of his laundry that came home in the biggest black plastic garbage bag I’ve ever seen.

It’s so big, I could fit inside of it.

They have a washer/dryer on board; I suppose it’s much easier for him to stuff it in his suitcase and know that his live-in maid/laundress/cook will wash, dry, fold, and put it all away while he’s riding the wild surf. 

Or maybe it’s a primitive vestigial trait just like the way a kitty brings a dead rat home and lays it at your feet.

Yeah, it’s just like that.

His laundry = dead animal prize.

No problem, Tugboat Man, you worked hard and deserve a little R & R.  I saved my pilgrimage to South Coast Plaza for that perfect wedge ’til you came home so you could enjoy spending the day following me around the mall, too!

Payback and all that, right?

Hot Boy Toy Eye Candy Crushes (In Retaliation)

EMAIL

Hello? Generic? Too busy to call me, huh? I guess the honeymoon’s over. Geez.

I’ve obviously become a NON-priority to the tugboat man.

In that case, I’ll devote the remainder of this post to my hot boy toy eye candy crushes and wait for my tugboat man to remember he has a wife and call me.

Is that too much to ask? Yes, I know he isn’t just vacationing out there on the high seas and that the work he’s doing, towing a four hundred foot barge loaded with heavy equipment from here to there, might be a TAD distracting…but still, a princess expects certain things from her tugboat man. “Too busy to call?” NOT good, Captain, not good at all.

This is Day 30: These kind of ocean-going assignments have no particular end date. There’s only an approximate date by which he should be relieved by another captain. It’s not like some mariners who are on a fixed rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off. Whether he’s voyaging across the Atlantic (not fun in the winter) or over to Korea, Guam, or even Russia– or south to the Gulf of Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, and through the Panama Canal — Africa even — I’m left twisting in the wind, eternally waiting for the return of my tugboat man.

High winds on the high seas — that’s a major cause of a slow down. A tugboat “in tow” (a maritime term) is the definition of danger. There are other factors that contribute to a delayed return like this; crewing issues, additional requests by the contracted company — but it’s all the same to me –no ride to the airport to pick up my  BFF.

Done with that rant..time to move on to something positive:

BOY TOY EYE CANDY CRUSHES

ct-ent-beck-bennett-1.jpg-20130130I gotta be honest with y’all. I don’t normally notice other men on the street or on the beach   — not in the “oh he’s so hot way” — cos really, my captain’s ALL THAT,  if you know what I mean, but I have the mostest majorest crush on the ATT guy, you know, the guy in the “It’s Not Complicated” storyline.

His name’s Beck Bennett (is that his real name?)
Click here to read all about him. He’s so funny and slightly snarky at the same time. Just my type…The ad campaign is so delightful and fresh — I wish I had thought of it.

And then there’s Gossip Girl‘s Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald and Ed Westwick, Chuck Bass. I am fully aware these two babies are younger than my son — SO WHAT!
Just look at Chace…he’s looking RIGHT AT ME. I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it!
Ed’s thinking about something I said late last night.

Ed-Westwick-Previews-GQ-Fall-Fashion-ed-westwick-6721315-944-1222chacecrawford300


I’d still crush on Johnny Depp if he still looked like this  – YUMMY

Johnny-Depp-johnny-depp-23328477-441-600

…but his bad teeth and poor dental hygiene gross me out. Floss, Johnny, FLOSS!
johnny-depp-teeth-3I used to totes luv Brad Pitt, but the way he discarded Jennifer got him crossed off my list. Plus, I heard he doesn’t bathe on a regular basis, so there’s that whole hygiene thing again… well, maybe I’d make an exception if he walked toward me looking like this, right?brad_pitt_sexyor this…brad-pitt-vs-aiswarya-rai-

My last crush is Max Greenfield — SCHMIDT! — of New Girl.
Best smile, best Jewish boy body on TV. We luvs us some Schmidt!
max greenfield

HEY TUGBOAT MAN, BETTER COME HOME SOON, YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

P.S. At one time, my tugboat man looked just a little bit like this, I mean if I squinted, in the dark, with the right lighting. Yup, there’s a definite for real slight resembance of my captain about twenty-five years ago when we met.
GregNelson

THIS IS AN UPDATE: I forgot to add that I THINK I saw Chace Crawford hiking in Laguna Hills about a year ago, but I was too freaked out to say anything — ME, the big mouth!  I don’t have any confirmation it was, but I had a FEELING. I was all like…

“Hey tugboat man, don’t you think that guy with the other guy that just walked by us was that guy I LUV from Gossip Girl?” “Rosebud, I’m not looking.” “No, just look for me, ‘cos I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure.”
“There is no way I’m doing that. YOU go and ask him if you think it is.” “Well, I don’t want to be wrong and if it’s not, I’ll feel like an idiot. Make that an OLD idiot!” Anyway, I really think it was and that’s the end of THAT story. Whoever it was — he was BEAUTIFUL. Sigh.

A Boring Day in the Life of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Nautical Clock

Yawn. Bored. Sooo tired of waiting.

Waiting for my tugboat man to come home. Sooooooooooo boooooring.

cross-out-daysThis is called living in limbo: waiting for the assignment to be over with the date circled on the calendar and then crossed out because homecoming is delayed due to unavoidable circumstances.

Sometimes this totally sucks!

I’ve almost run out of little projects and you can imagine what that means!

But you know what they say; when the cat’s away, the mice will…SHOP!

There are certainly other more productive ways I could spend my time, but who’s kidding who(m)? Retail therapy is very therapeutic.

I drove to the DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse)  in La Jolla near UCSD because I usually always get lucky and find my size in the sale racks. Not today. Nada. I saw some cute styles in wedges and espadrilles, but they were all out of 5 1/2 s. Crap. I should have driven to the other one in Mission Valley — they have a larger selection, but there’s so much traffic. Next time…

Ross Dress for Less is situated right below DSW so I thought I’d give it a try ‘cos I had driven all the way there. Ross is sometimes very bargain basement but there are gems to be had if you frequent it on a regular basis.

Yay! Success!

espadrilles

I’m trying to improve my fashion photog skills. Love the close up!

I wanted a couple different styles, but these’ll look super cute with dresses AND skinny jeans, no? Charles David regularly priced $90.00 on sale for $19.99 ??? WTF? Damn, these babies came home with me for sure.

Don’t they look all sassy and beeyotchy? I thought so, too. I feel like I could wear them and start snapping my fingers to get shit done. Oh yeah. SNAP. Get me a drink. SNAP. Get me another one

Wandering up and down the aisles aimlessly attempting to waste a few of the captain’s hard earned dollars, I found an Indian/Moroccan-inspired pouf. I had to have it, of course.
poufAs I was struggling to put it in the trunk, a lady stopped her car (a brand new Jaguar) to tell me how much she loved my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which totes made my day shiny and happy.

I still need another pair (or two) of shoes so it’s on to the OC and South Coast Plaza later this week. I mean, I saved so much at Ross, I deserve to be rewarded, right? Right!

And my tugboat man? Ah well, still missing him, but making the best of it. 🙂

How To Stay in Shape if You Work On a Tugboat

Have you given any thought to the daily life of a mariner working aboard a tug at sea?

wheelhouse

Wheelhouse or bridge on a tug

It’s a fairly sedentary life with bursts of physical labor, but mostly there’s a lot of sitting and standing, as in “standing watch”. Standing watch or watchstanding refers to the division of qualified personnel necessary to operate a ship continuously.

What is Standing Watch?
On a typical sea-faring vessel like an oceangoing tugboat, specific crewmembers keep watch on the bridge (also known as the wheelhouse) and the engine room. It’s a twenty-four hour, seven days a week job. Time is divided up as “watches” so that every one is on a rotation.

Someone has to be there all time, or else it’d be like a car rolling down the road with no driver!

On a tugboat, there is usually a team of two bridge partners, a lookout and an officer or mate who is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. Safe navigation means keeping the vessel on course and away from dangers as well as collision avoidance from other vessels. The engineer ensures that the tug will continue to operate around the clock. A secondary function of watchkeeping is to respond to emergencies on the tug or involving other ships.

When they’re not standing watch or working, the crew sleeps and eats. They watch videos, play video games, and read books.  Most tugboats aren’t large enough to hold exercise equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical; consequently, there are few opportunities to exercise and maintain good health habits.

My tugboat man developed his own workout routine when he’s unable to go to the gym and he’s stuck on a tug for days – weeks – sometimes even months.

Neither one of us are licensed trainers but we both share a lifelong love of being physically fit and healthy. He used to be on a semi-professional soccer team, and has always worked out, lifted weights, martial arts, surfs, skis, and swims. I’ve taken ballet most of my life, taught aerobics, and work out almost every day. We hike and bike and ski as our activities together.

Not my hubs abs, sigh...

Not my hubs abs, sigh…

This is a basic but comprehensive cardio and strength training routine. Unless there are dumbbells or weights on board, he doesn’t travel with them, so this routine doesn’t use them. Because of the steel decks, there isn’t a lot of jumping around because that surface is too stressful for knees and other joints. If he can’t do jumping jacks safely; for instance if the tug is bouncing up and down in a storm, he’ll do high knees, high steps, or kicks. He brings a jump rope but can’t always use it.

Actually, this is a good routine to follow if you need a workout while you’re in a hotel that doesn’t have a gym, or even if you’re not a member of a gym. Add a five or eight (or more  — pound weight and a set of curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses, and that’s all you need to be on your way to good health and strong bones.

A Tugboat Captain’s Basic Guide to Exercise
Performed as a circuit; depending on fitness level: two to five times. Starting with one circuit is 100% OK. It’s important to move around and be active at any level.

Start with three to five minute stretch.

  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 burpees
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 burpees
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10)
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10) Alternate regular push-ups with triceps push-ups.
  • 50 sit-ups
  • If he can use his jump rope, he’ll end the session with a three-minute jump, or a count to 500.

Don’t forget to always end with a series of stretches.

Check out this video for some great chest exercises:

Holla! to Pinterest

Of late, I’ve been shamefully neglectful of my Pinterest boards. I know you’re all out there, organizing and pinning and repinning and following and liking.

He's soo dreamy!

He’s soo dreamy!

I even know what you like best about my own Pinterest site (click to visit) and that would be  my NUMBER ONE pin: Ed Westwick, who so briliiantly portrayed Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl — and Owls.

Saw-whet owls

Yes, owls are a fave amongst my pinning pals! And animals in general, which makes me happy, ‘cos I’m a huge animal lover.

Pinterest now has created Group Boards that one can be invited to join and pin to, but what kind of freaks me out in a slightly squinchy way are my MALE pinners. I just don’t get the appeal for a guy. I’m not at all sexist, but the two males I asked — my tugboat man and my son —  said they would never in a zillion years have any interest in Pinterest. Sorry for all you guys that do, but in my own little world, the answer is NO WAY. All I got was a “let me see those In the Tube surfingsurfing pics” and then they walked away, shaking their heads.

Although…I got a little snarky comment under his breath from my tugboat man, something along the lines of…”must be nice to have so much time to waste on crap” but when I demanded that he repeat what he said, he changed it to, “That was a delicious dinner, my love” but don’t you worry, I heard it. Yes, it’s a waste of time. I agree. But it’s also very addictive.

Click on my Chanel board. Very aspirational, don’t you agree?

Chanel surfboards

OMG, this is an amazeballs seashell wedding cake, isn’t it?

Unique-Beach-Wedding-Cake-IdeasDoesn’t it make you want to get married all over again? Hmmm. Ya know, I’ve been thinking about planning a vow renewal for our big #20 wedding anniversary next February. Pinterest is the perfect place to organize themes and ideas.

Now if I could only PIN my tugboat man down to actually being at the same latitude/longitude as me, maybe it’ll happen!

This isn’t my mariner nor his tug, but it’s a good example of the kind of work he does. 

Tug and barge

Don’t bury the lead

My tugboat man called last night.

When he’s near land, he tries to call at least once a day. I know he’s concerned about me being here alone and a phone call or an email eases his worry.

I spent about ten minutes blithely chatting away about my car that slipped a little on the wet streets because it was raining and everything else I did: went to the gym,  how I was planning the menus for my son/DIL’s visit and what kind of birthday cake the Angel Boy requested (chocolate), and how we were hoping the weather would be nice for them.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 7.57.30 AM

When I stopped to take a breath,
he told me what was happening on the tug –they played cribbage,
he lost–he was tired and
going to sleep, and oh, by the way, the assignment was winding down and he’d be flying out in a couple of days.

WTF? WHAT?

WHAT. THE. HELL. DID. HE. JUST. SAY?

What did you say? You let me chatter on for all that time and never stopped me to say you’re coming home? YOU BURIED THE LEAD? Who does that? You’re supposed to LEAD with the important part of the story. Geez”

“I was planning to, whenever you stopped talking.” he said. Oh SUH-NAP.

What every writer should know

BURYLEAD

Every writer, every journalist, EVERYONE knows that you never bury the lead!

Once upon a time, there was this thing that was made out of paper that had words printed on it. It was called a newspaper. People just like you and me read them every day to learn about the world around us. That was before television even, and well before the internet. Writers and journalists were a key element and held in high esteem. (This is MY story, right?)  Those of us who took journalism and writing classes in college learned the old adage: Never Bury The Lead.  In the pre-blog paper based publishing world, page space held a premium. All writers knew their magnificent five hundred word story might get hacked up on a busy news day. If the shortened version didn’t “have legs” on its own, the piece could be killed. That’s why news writers are concise.  The survival of their by-lines depended on it.

hisgirlfridayNothing like the good old days, am I right?

Our conversation would have taken an entirely different path if my tugboat man had started with “I’m coming home”.

Barring more delays (entirely possible), he’ll be here early next week!

Picture me spending that time finishing the spring cleaning, grocery shopping, and baking — oh, and planning what to wear to pick him up at the airport. I think it’s time for another new outfit to match my new and improved face,  don’t you?

Happy International Women’s Day and Happy Friday, everyone!

For your enjoyment,  another Cure song (of love and sadness) along with one of our favorite Bob Marley songs (of love and joy).

Smooth sailing? Not always.

The Continuing Saga of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man

Day 30…thirty days and thirty long nights since my tugboat man has been away.

He’s on the move–closer to land–and his cell works! He called last night. Other than the five minute satellite telephone call on our anniversary a couple weeks ago, this was the only time we’ve spoken. It was so unexpected. What a surprise to see his name pop up on my screen!

I always ask the same thing, “When are you coming home?” The answer this time was the answer he usually gives me; he doesn’t know, it could be now or in a month. “…you’ll be the first to know.” Dry humor.

The unpredictable life of a mariner

Some mariners have a regular schedule: three weeks on, three weeks off or two weeks on and two weeks off or even a month on and a month off. In the world of ocean-going tugs, there is no such certainty. One of my captain’s recent assignments was estimated to last  two months and it dragged on for a full four months due to several factors–including weather related issues.

Weather

There’s always weather. Right now, the project he’s on has had a lot of weather delays. If there are storms, high winds, and high seas, it’s neither prudent nor safe for a tug to proceed, and that entails a wait or what they call “on standby” until it clears.

What do you think about that? Do you think that uncertainty is a relationship hardship?

Things weren’t always so idyllic for us.

Did you think it was?

Before we met (at the company where we both worked), the captain had plotted a career move to Hawaii. His goal; good surf and work, probably in that order. Our company was setting up operations in Hawaii and he was tapped to head up that division.

Guess what? A year later, he left. He did. He really did.

I do kinda still hate him for that sometimes…wouldn’t you?

I took him to the dock and had to say goodbye. I mean a real goodbye, maybe a forever goodbye; he had packed up all his belongings and they were on the boat with him.

It was horrible at the time and it makes me sad now thinking about how I felt that day…so alone and bereft.

Us–we–it didn’t end. Over the course of several months, we visited back and forth a half dozen times. I was unhappy with the whole situation–I had done my work, made my list, and he was IT. Hawaii’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love paradise–but that wasn’t part of MY plan.

Oh yes, he was IT for me but I couldn’t figure out how to persuade him to move back and allow our relationship to blossom. I was running out of options.

What if he met someone else?

One day I had just had enough. I was sick and tired of having a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not boyfriend. It wasn’t what I wanted. And do you know what I did?

I changed my telephone number.

That’s just the way I roll. My home number was a landline and I called the telephone company and changed it. I figured that when he called, he’d get the recorded voice saying, “The number has been disconnected and there is no forwarding number” and he’d become so distraught when he couldn’t reach me that it would be the catalyst he needed to come running back to me!

MotorolaPager

I didn’t have a cell phone. I had a beeper, a pager–remember those things? Now I think only drug dealers use them LOL. He had one, too.

I waited for him to beep me. I waited all day. I was DYING to know if he had TRIED to call. This was 1992-ish; email was in its infancy–I don’t believe we even had a home computer, and the computers at work didn’t have internet access.

This is the funny part.

I started power paging him; over and over again. I mean, like twenty times, thirty times.

WITH MY NEW NUMBER.

I went to so much trouble to change my phone number and I couldn’t wait twenty-four hours. When he called, I asked him if he had tried to call the old number and he said he had (still not sure of that) and asked why I did something crazy like that. I can’t remember my response–I WAS crazy at that point.

[The quick end to that story is that I flew to Hawaii the following weekend and from there we went to Kauai and he said that I had wasted my time changing my number because he had already come to the conclusion that he couldn’t live without me and he didn’t want to live without me and he proposed and came home for good two months later and we were married nine months after that.]

Fast forward to yesterday’s phone call.

After we said our initial hellos and all that, I asked him,  “Do you ever get worried that I”ll change the number again and you won’t be able to reach me? Like when you’ve been gone a really long time and I’m getting tired of it? Like NOW?”

Him: (Laughing) “Not really, or if you did, you’d just call me right away to give me the new number like you did before.”

HA HA.

Now he’s turned into a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not HUSBAND. The difference is that he always comes home–to me. Oh, and his paychecks come here even when he’s not. Hee Hee.

Final Words

It cracks me up when I hear “Somebody That I Used to Know“.  Gotye sings, “No you didn’t have to stoop so low. Have your friends collect your records and then change your number“…