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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The Roller Coaster Life of a Professional Mariner’s Wife

The sea is calling

We’re in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s — collect the re-usable bags from the back seat — to replenish the empty pantry after our vacation.

A cell phone rings.

“Is that your phone or mine?”

“It’s mine. [He looks at the screen] It’s work.”

“What is it, do they have ESP? How did they know you were back home?”

“I’ll meet you in the store when I’m finished with the call.”

[A few minutes later in the yogurt section]

“They want to know if I’m available to pick up a newly built tug from a shipyard and take it through the Panama Canal.”

“Uh oh. Are you SERIOUS? When?”

“Day after tomorrow.”

“WHAT?? Crap. For how long?”

“Altogether, about two months.”

“But we just got home!  You’re not supposed to leave for two more weeks. That’s not fair.”

“I know, it sucks.”

[He doesn’t look too sad.]

“Hey, you’re not fooling me. Don’t act like you’re not excited to drive a brand new boat. It’s like a new car, all shiny and clean, right?”

“Well, I have to admit it does sound exciting, but I’m not happy to go. I’m never happy to leave.”

“Fine. I guess we better start getting you ready. We only have one more day together.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Only fish in the seaSIGH…the plan is to keep busy by downloading and organizing pics and video of our trip — we shot video of the most intense thunderstorm either of us have ever experienced — and trying to read my journal’s scribbles. Home before Thanksgiving, fingers crossed…

Anchor Heart

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. 🙂

Attachment Parenting: Are YOU Attached or Detached?

Oh guurrl, pleeze!

Y’all don’t know WHAT “attachment parenting” really is.

Y’all just be amateurs if you think it ends when they start school!

time-magazine-breastfeeding-cover-time-magI’m sure by now everyone has seen the Time magazine cover of a breastfeeding four-year old, or here’s Wikipedia’s definition of attachment parenting: Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology.

According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences.

Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well-being.

Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of a child’s secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment.

I believe being a stay-at-home mom creates the best foundation for growth and creativity and builds a happy, secure child.

This is a fact: When I volunteered in my son’s classroom during his elementary school years, I could pick out every child who had a stay-at-home mom.

They were able to stay on task longer, and weren’t clingy and insecure because they received the appropriate healthy unconditional love from their parents, not a series of paid strangers.

I believe this is the best way and Nature’s Way to raise a child; however, it’s kind of a shame that we have gone so far astray from our natural bond with our children that we have to be educated about how to nurture a beneficial connection.

Sad.

My son ended nursing right around his first birthday. I wasn’t ready, but it was his decision,  his time.

I think it revealed his exceptional level of confidence that he was able to instinctively know that it was time to grow as autonomous individual.

But…I win the prize for limitless attachment parenting — Advanced AP, as it were.

When my son was planning his (university) junior year abroad to Germany, I told him I would plan to visit him.

Being a healthy, confident, secure (snotty teenager) child, he asked me if I would still visit him if he changed his mind and went even further away — to Japan, let’s say —  for his year abroad.

Of course, I replied.

He then asked me how far away would he have to go so that I would NOT visit him (i.e. check up on him), to which I responded:

“The umbilical cord is like a rubber band; it can stretch — but never break — and there isn’t anywhere on earth that you possibly go to get that far away from me.”

And to make sure he understood exactly what I meant and to indelibly inscribe it in his Muscle_RubberBand2brain, I pantomimed the action of stretching a rubber band between my two hands, and then mimicked the breaking of a stick.

And I have science to back me up in the article, Babies Never Leave You, or at Least Their Cells Don’t. (Jezebel)

You might think that once you give birth to a child that they’re no longer a part of you physically—except, of course, for the complete control they retain over your heart and mind.

Well, think again, because it turns out that during pregnancy some of their cells scatter in your body and stay there for years, maybe even forever.

So they are literally a part of us, like FOREVER.

It’s hard to decide whether that is magical or deeply creepy. While it’s been known for a while that fetal cells migrate into a mother’s body during pregnancy, it hasn’t really been understood what types of cells stick around and what they do.

Diana Bianchi, Executive Director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center, and her colleagues have done a new study that sheds some light on what exactly is happening during this little alien invasion.

How much do you want to bet that they’ll eventually discover that it’s those crafty little cells that allow kids to exert control over their moms for life.

Need a hug? A ride to the mall? Some money?

Just activate your sleeper cells and suddenly your mother is physically incapable of resisting you.

See? Nature knows what it’s doing and is always looking out for you.

Baby’s Cells Mix and Mingle with Pregnant Mom’s [Live Science]

Postscript: There is a really funny AbFab episode in which Eddy talks about her son, Serge, the same way I did in real life. I watched this years after my comments, and I could not. stop. laughing. Art imitating life?

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no…

way I’ll ever go on BART again. No. Way.

That comes a bit later in the chronology of Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man’s most recent adventure.

If you’re going to San Franciscooo, be sure to wear some flowers in your hairrr…
There are sad vestiges of the Era of the Hippie; parts of Berkeley were a huge time warp. I bet hubs if I walked down the wrong street, I’d be pulled back and disappear in a pot-smoky haze of tie-dye and dreads and he’d never find me. 

The tugboat man had a business meeting in NorCal (that’s Northern California) and I decided to tag along.

I packed heavy; my motto is “you never know” and I might need to have an appropriate outfit for lots of different occasions.

Here’s what I brought along for a couple of days. You’ll notice an absence of dresses and heels, and that’s because I knew we’d be doing a lot of walking and it could rain at any time.

  • Black skinny jeans
  • Denim skinny jeans
  • Two pairs of workout pants
  • One long cashmere sweater
  • One short Free People sweater
  • Four t-shirts, including a Yale t-shirt since I’d be in Cal country and felt the need to represent
  • One nice silky blouse
  • Black boots, tall
  • Ugg type boots
  • Athletic shoes
  • Leopard print flip flops
  • Black raincoat
  • Warm fuzzy dressing gown
  • ***A pair of “he might get lucky” silk pajamas
  • ***My Hello Kitty, “I’m tired and going to sleep–don’t even try it” pajamas
  • Chanel handbag, of course
  • Backpack
  • Three scarves
  • And just in case we stopped to hike, I packed all my hiking gear, including my hiking poles.

Rose Garden InnSearching online, I found a place in Berkeley called Rose Garden Inn.

How could we NOT stay there?
I know, right?

We drove up Tuesday morning, had a late lunch with a cousin of mine that lives nearby, and checked in.

It’s a bit funky, a complex of old Victorian homes that’ve been transformed into rooms and suites. The first thing I make hubs do is check for bedbugs before I put anything down. I’m happy to say we were bug-free. (That silly Chanel loves to photo bomb every pic!) I wear flip flops in the shower; I wouldn’t let my bare skin touch any surface unless I cleaned it with a gallon of bleach. (Soz for the bad pic)roomatrosegardeninn

The courtyard is very inviting and quaint.Courtyard

Tuesday night we walked up the street to eat at an Indian/Nepali restaurant called Mt. Everest. It was an absolute treasure. Every dish we had was filled with flavors and fragrance, including the most amazing Naan bread.

His meeting on Wednesday was gonna take a few hours so I was on my own.  The concierge told me about a shopping area called Elmwood that was about ten blocks away, not enough to call it a hike, but a pleasant walk. It was chock full of the cutest little shops and bakeries and cafes.

I bought a couple prezzies for hubs and DIL,  whom we planned to meet for dinner near where she works in the city.

BART = HELL ON WHEELS

Bay+Area+Commuters+Hampered+Second+Day+Bay+zzz3mLm0DmKlHere’s where this BART thing comes in. Bay Area Rapid Transit.  We didn’t want to drive ‘cos there’s tons of traffic and no place to park in the city.  I never took BART, even tho I’ve spent a fair amount of time in SF on family visits — and I never will again. Never. Ever.

As you might surmise, I’m not an aficionado of public transportation — I’ve only been on a handful of buses even, but hubs grew up in the Bay area and I felt safe navigating BART with him.

We had one EXTREMELY unpleasant encounter with a gentleman who was UBER hostile and aggressive and threatening because we wouldn’t give him money; quite a few others appeared like they needed to be in locked facilities rather than freely roaming around.

BART SURVIVAL TIP: NO EYE CONTACT NO EYE CONTACT NO EYE CONTACT

Poor hubs arm is  probably still full of bruises the way I was hanging on for dear life. Our BART needed to go under the water – UNDER THE WATER to take us from Oakland to downtown San Francisco.

It was way too stressful for me;  I swear I’ll never take the Chunnel after this experience, but the worst part was that the stupid train STOPPED half way through its journey — STOPPED UNDERWATER and all I could think of was the millions and millions of tons of water pressure on top of us. I was THIS CLOSE to having a MAJOR MELTDOWN. After dinner and a few very necessary glasses of wine, we took the ferry back, which was a stress-free and quite pleasant voyage.

Chanel photobomb ferry SFMy tugboat man agreed: it’s better to be on top of the water than under it.
See that silly Chanel. Always with the photo bomb, even on the ferry…what an EGO, right?

The Oakland-Bay Bridge is adorned with a beautiful light show that totes made up for our scary ride at the bottom of the bay.Check out the amazing light show.

LA traffic

A loud party at the Inn kept us awake and we got a late start driving home — had to endure rush hour through LA.


A deep sigh of relief at our first glimpse of the ocean near Trestles. Almost home!Trestles

Dorothy was SO right, “There’s no place like home.”

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“…

Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation

AppleGravity…and other Laws of Nature.

  •  What goes up must come down.
  • The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
Sextant (source-Wickimedia.org)

Sextant (source-Wickimedia.org)

  • The earth revolves around the sun, which might be true for you and me, however, in my husband’s world of celestial navigation, the SUN revolves around the EARTH. 

That’s right! A paradigm shift! Just for you!

With regard to celestial nav, you would take the opposite view–you see the sun move from left to right–or right to left–depending on one’s perspective.

In order to properly take a celestial sight of the sun, you need to treat the sun as if it were revolving around the earth! (The captain used to teach celestial nav, so if he says it–it’s true.)

My World

And in MY world–as you’ve prolly realized–in this world that revolves around ME,  there are my very own Laws of Nature.

  • Just like the tides ebb and flow, my tugboat man will come and go.
  • As Archimedes‘ Buoyancy Principle is true for water and solids, it’s also a truism that a tugboat man who comes home must go out to sea again.

All the things that were new are now done in reverse.

The welcome home becomes the farewell.

That first apple pie becomes the last apple pie.

veuve clicquotThe first flute of Veuve Clicquot to toast the end of a journey becomes the last glass raised of leave-taking and hopes for a safe voyage.

The hello kiss becomes the goodbye hug, holding tight as long as possible.

It’s that time once again–being the wife of a tugboat captain–one half of a married couple who are apart as often as they’re at the same latitude and longitude.

Sigh…