Monday, July 22, 2013

Bye, Bye

Part of the spirit and the culture of the U.S. military is the creed that you don’t leave anyone behind.

On tugboats, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. Should the unthinkable emergency happen, everyone on my crew is highly trained and motivated to do everything they can to try to save one another. 
But, when it comes to crew change, we will leave your ass behind in the blink of an eye.

As of late, I am the one being left behind.  Waving goodbye from the stern of the boat as my crew mates  happily depart on their two week reprieve away from the boat. 

See 'ya later, suckers!
However, on this crew change, I was the one thinking “sucks to be them” as the launch boat pulled away leaving not one, but two of our crew behind.

Mongo/Superman/Witness Protection got to stay behind because his relief had decided that tugboating wasn’t the job for him. His relief had only made it one hitch before he quit. Not really a big loss. I didn’t even learn the guy’s name. So our deckhand gets to stay and work with the opposite crew. He then gets to stay and work our hitch with us before he goes home. Six weeks on a tugboat isn’t much fun. We still laughed at him.

JM also got left behind. His relief was stuck in Cleveland (what the hell is the deal with getting stuck in Cleveland?). At least he doesn’t have to work 6 weeks straight. It still sucks nonetheless. Especially, after he paid for his flight home. We laughed at him too.

We are hoping for better luck next time.

Our fearless leader will be back after leaving us with TPWSNBN while he was at home fighting off some nasty infection. Which we suspect he caught while visiting some shady New Jersey highway rest stop.

Mongo will be on the downhill slop of a six week hitch.  

And I might actually have a steady relief.  The third different one in a year.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It smells like...Victory

That face is staring at me
“An army marches on its stomach”--- Napoleon Bonaparte
So does a tugboat.
A chief engineer I once worked with, not quite as eloquent as Napoleon, once said, “This ain’t no F@#king camping trip.” 

Grub, and grub shopping, are an integral part of a happy crew.
We usually try to go shopping just before we crew change to get on the boat. However, our fearless leader decided he was going to get an eye infection on his time off, so he couldn’t come back to work. Which leads to a whole host of issues. 

Just get the essentials
First and foremost, it means we get to work with TPWSNBN.
Yay! <sarcasm>
But it also means that all of the money we have to spend on grub is at his house with him and not with us.
Not to be caught without a fresh supply of milk and eggs on the boat we did a quick and inexpensive grub shop in record time. Needless to say, we didn’t get everything we wanted/needed the first time around. So we went grub shopping a few days into the hitch to refill our coffers and refresh our supply.

With seven different guys on the boat (eight this time), we all have our own little specialty items that we like to get for grub.

I happen to like 1% milk.
The 2nd mate likes Feta cheese.
The engineer wanted Jell-o because he just got his wisdom teeth pulled out.
And we all have decided that Walmart makes a pretty good pre-made pizza.

Good to go for another week
Because we don’t want to forget anything,we have a grub list on the computer that we print out every time we go shopping. To this, we can add (sudden craving for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?) or subtract anything that we have too much of (think Ricotta cheese).
Since TPWSNBN was working over for our fallen leader he had a need to resupply his body wash. So on the list it went. 

Now, when dealing with anything that involves men, the Devil is in the details. You just can’t write down “body wash” no more than you can just write down “screws”.
Is it Phillips head screws? 
#8 or #6? 
Wood or sheet metal?
What length?
“Body wash” just isn’t going to cut the mustard? We need details, damn it!

So the deckhand, being the good deckhand he is, called the boat from the grub store to make sure he was going to get the correct body wash.
I now present you with a transcript of the voicemail message that he left:

Hey Cap, it’s (name redacted to protect the mentally insane)
… aaahhh… 
What type of, I guess, flavor of Olay body wash do you want?
Very manly
Luscious Orchid?  
Silky Berry?
Soothing Cucumber? 
Avocado oil?
 … aaahhh…
Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter?
I don’t know. There’s a lot.
Sunflower oil?
Give me a call.  Bye.
Subtle advertising for a different gender?

Clearly, there was a break down in communication.

First of all, It’s a tugboat! We get dirty. We get sweaty. We smell like diesel oil.
My wife refers to the particular aroma as, “You smell like boat.”
Which I take as a compliment.
Secondly, we use soap!
We don’t use body wash.
And we definitely don’t use Olay body wash that smells like a meadow of flowers after a fresh spring rainfall.
It makes the boat smell like a French whore house. And not in a good way.

On the plus side, it’s “hump day”. Halfway through the hitch. The boat is, once again, back to a seven man crew. It can only get better from here. I hope.