Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.
It was a busy holiday. I shopped and wrapped gifts for my family and his. Packed it all into the car – the gifts, cookies, dog and pillows needed for a decent sleep at 8 months pregnant. We (the dog and I) drove two and a-half hours north to spend the night with my parents. The drive was long and tiring followed by a long uncomfortable night in the guest room, followed by a wonderful morning of gift giving and family banter. Sea Husband called to say Merry Christmas to all from the Gulf of Mexico. He sounded sad and I know he was and I wished for the words to make it ok but there were none. Our daughter is due in mid February and in order for Sea Husband to be home when she arrives he has to be at sea for Christmas. He was at sea for Thanksgiving too, so we celebrated two weeks early with a huge bird, all the trimmings and family- it felt like the real thing even though it was two weeks early. We are celebrating Christmas late – at least his mother, sister and I. We are holding off on most gifts until he is home next week. We will have another feast and it will feel like Christmas. But I still miss him tonight. After I left my folks I drove another two and a-half hours to be with his mother and sister for a feast. There was a deep fried turkey, dressing, and cookies galore. A few gifts were exchanged. As the night draws to a close I feel very lucky to have two families who love me when there are those in the world with none. I feel blessed to have a child in my belly and most of all to have a husband who loves me and loves me enough to sacrifice the holiday season so he can be home when we welcome a baby into our home. It will be a busy and happy spring. I am happy, blessed and loved, but I still miss him tonight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The circle of life.

One of the great things about working ashore in an office is joining that wonderful CLEAN world of nicely dressed business people, comfortable and tidy offices, and "restrooms" with never ending supplies of TP. There is no rust busting, no once a week laundry privileges, no head cleaning - or de-clogging, no painting, no greasing lifeboat bearings, no awkward bridge-window cleaning, no engineering issues with heating and cooling and I can wear heels if I want to. (though I don't very often). I can buy pretty purses, and match them to my shoes, granted my shoes may be Dansko clogs, but dammit they are shiny and they are not grubby sneakers, or worse - steel toed work boots. These things I have been especially glad for and when ever I feel that longing for a an at-sea sunrise, I remind my self of all these luxury's.
However, recently our office has moved into a different space,after a major company downsizing and some things I was taking for granted have now ceased to exist. We no longer have nighttime office cleaners. That popcorn I had at 2:30 last Thursday.... still on the floor, empty bag still in the trash under my desk. The bathrooms... not being cleaned, AND we now have to stock our own TP. The heat is kept low to save money... so much for my cute new short sleeved maternity top. I have an electric space heater going and am wearing fingerless gloves and a wool zip up sweater - I wish I had thought to put on wool socks today. (and it's only October!) It has been suggested that we clean our own office including the bathroom... and I realize I sound a bit whiny here, but honestly! I though I was joining the world of suits and ties, and Banana Republic matching separates! At least no one has asked me to chip paint.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Stay at Home Seawife

Being a Seawife I already feel like I "stay at home". I mean compared to what most of my peers from the maritime academy are doing, shipping out in one form or another, I do "stay at home". While at home (or ashore) I also work 40 hours a week for a company which makes nautical charts and cruising guides. I love my job, I love the people I work with and I especially love that I am using my maritime education though it has been a struggle at times to grapple with the fact that I haven't set foot on a commercial vessel for over two years. But now, expecting a Seababy I am grappling with the NEW meaning of "stay at home".

On Friday I told my boss that I would not be returning to work full time after the baby is born but that I would very much hope to be kept on part time and from home. Is some ways this sounds like a totally unreasonable request - I should just be lucky to have a job especially after my company was recently downsized by about 90 percent. But I know in my heart and in my head, that I could not work full time and send my child to daycare, and keep an orderly house and a happy husband. Doing some research on the Internet I keep coming across articles which say things like "if you are fortunate enough...", "if your budget allows...", "if you can afford the luxury of..." being a stay-at-home-mom. When did staying at home with your kids become a luxury? Don't get me wrong. I am so very grateful for all the women of history who have broken down doors and have so far allowed me into a school, and a career where previously only males existed, but now it seems our society has swung the opposite direction. You are an inadequate woman if you CANT handle a career and a family at the same time! (The emergence of Sarah Palin has brought many of these issues to the forefront of discussions and I am glad for that - though I'm not a huge fan of her possibly being our Vice President.) Anyhow, I was very relieved to have the support of my parents, family and husband and also my co-workers as I made the decision to Stay At Home, at least partially, while I watch the little one grow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


By the way, my dear little sister is spending 9 months in Germany as a nanny. Here is her blog. Thus far she follows in my footsteps of not updating on a regular basis, not posting photos and including questionable punctuation and spelling. But she's cool and I love her so maybe you will enjoy it too. PS -She is a SeaSister, because she went to sea for four months in high school with Ocean Classroom. She also has taught sailing for 4 years to the kiddies in our hometown. If only I could get her to attend a Maritime Academy, I'd have the perfect clone!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seahouse and Seababy

We bought a house. Seawife and Seafaring Husband are now homeowners. He has been home for the move and settling in parts – which is good because I’ve been busy, creating a placenta and feeding a being who has decided a good place to grow, is my womb. That makes me tired and weak.
The recent hurricanes in the Gulf Of Mexico have affected this time home a little – though firstly I am relieved he has not been IN the storms! Now, it is time to throw a lovely housewarming party to celebrate our piece of the American Dream Debt Pie and to schedule it when he will be home. He MAY be leaving tomorrow or later this week, though the scheduling office in Texas was evacuated and is still without power. So if he were to leave this week it’s most likely that we would hear at the last minute and he would be gone within 24 hours. If we don’t hear by Thursday – it could be safe to assume he’ll not be called to duty for another two weeks with the next crew change. Being the social coordinator for a husband who goes to sea is a difficult task.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Day 1

Day 1.

Today he left for a 28 day hitch. New ship, new company, new crew and new hope for a good working environment. We call it a hitch not a deployment because we are Merchant Mariners.

Today I feel relaxed, confidant, like a good Seawife battening down the hatches while my husband will be away for a few weeks. I went to work, made phone calls to the realtor, bank and insurance offices (we're about to buy our first house). After work I took the dog for a more than adequate 40 minutes of playtime at the park then went to yoga (Bikram of course). The dog needed a good hosing off in the dark when we got home - it is mud season here in New England.

A good day, a good start to a hitch. No anxiety, no tears, a good Seawife.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just a Girl in a Port has exhaled that sigh, and I know just how she feels. I have to hold my breath for a few more days but it won't be long now. Chin up, hands busy, smile.


Nights are the hardest for me. Sometimes I stay up real late just to be sure I will fall asleep fast and not have time to feel sorry for my self. Laundry at 11pm? You bet!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How can I keep from singing

He was going to be arriving home at 8:30 pm, but has moved his flight up to 5pm! I was counting on using those few hours between work and his arrival to "set things right" in the house; do the pile of dishes, vacuum up the dog hair, change the sheets, maybe prepare a nice little meal, music, candles ect. but now..... !! It'll be a mad dash to get home before he does and I guess I'll probably only have time for the dishes and the vacuuming. Oh well, a bottle of Knob Creek ought to make up for rest. Happy Day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I haven’t blogged for a while. Like Kiwi at Sea I have started and not completed many entries. Here in a blog nutshell is what I’ve been doing that I couldn't bring my self to post a single entry for quite some time.

My husband was home for a very nice long holiday season beginning before Thanksgiving and lasting into the second week of January. While this was lovely amount of time to spend together, it was also NOT part of the financial “plan-to-success” or as we like to say “we had to dip into the Morris Fund”. (Yes, aren’t I smart, I’ve figured out how to use hyperlinks.)

Part of the reason he was home so long what that he had left one job where he found the ship unsafe and the work more racking on his body than he wanted. Totally understandable, I need my husband to be both living and healthy for this marriage to work. So during his time off he looked at many different jobs and settled on a temporary assignment in the armpit of the earth, otherwise known as Port Fuchon, LA. Now I have never been to Port Fuchon but I’m heard it’s not a real tourist destination.

The other part of the reason my sailor husband was home so long was his father’s impending death. So as per Murphy’s Law as soon as Husband heads off the dirty bath of the Gulf of Mexico, his father took a turn for the worse. Luckily the company had pity and got him home as quickly as possible and a son was able to be by his father’s side at the time of death. Everything went as well as a death could possibly go.

I was in Seattle for work at this time and was able to catch a red eye back in time to help with all the arrangements. It was a long weekend preceded by a week of 10 hour days in the booth at the Seattle Boat Show. Monday came and went and husband was back at Sea by Friday.

THEN came the big news as work. I work for a company in the maritime industry and a few Thursdays ago we found out we are For Sale. The following day people from were let go and all weekend I paced the house wondering if I would last the following week. Well I did. I am one of the lucky ones who works in a division that will very likely be bought and with some luck I may even get to keep my job.
It has been absolutely heartbreaking to see people being “let go” at work. It has reminded me once more to count my lucky stars. Husband and I have no mortgage, no children and two incomes. This is not the case for many of the people who have been let go from the company. At work, it’s been like scenes straight out of Office Space ever since the Announcement. I love this job and this company and I hope to buckle in and hang on as we go through some changes.


Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oulē wound
Date: 1605

1:capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2 : open to attack or damage : assailable
3 : liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge

When my husband is at sea I sometimes feel this way. It’s a strange sensation that I feel most when he first leaves and then again just before he comes home, usually beginning around day 24 or 25.
I first noticed this feeling while driving. There was a time 5 or 6 years ago when I was a bit of an aggressive driver; a vehicle tailgating mine would find they suddenly had to stop short when I slammed on my breaks and stuck my finger out the window. Not very lady-like I know. Eventually I graduated to not sticking my finger out the window and just pretending to have seen a cat or some wildlife that made me stop so suddenly, but I still had the evil sly sneer on my face when I glanced back at them in the mirror. Luckily I have grown up enough now that I no longer slam on my breaks when someone is riding my stern a bit too close. If they are terribly aggressive I will pull over, right off the road if it’s safe to, and let them pass. Now, here’s the vulnerability part. If I’m feeling brave (and usually I am) I’ll smile a REALLY big fake smiley and wave vivaciously at them hoping they somehow will feel bad about their act. But if I’m missing my sailor or feeling especially alone in the world I will look away and not make eye contact because horrible visions of being followed and further harassed fill my head! What if they follow me home! What if they try to smash into my car with theirs! What if….?! It’s ridiculous I know, and to tell the truth I often miss the girl who thought nothing of flipping off some meathead in a huge truck with truck nuts and a NASCAR sticker.
Just a few moments ago a car smashed into a snow pile at the entrance to our driveway. I heard a loud squeal and a crunch and then a revving engine and looked out the window of my rental to investigate. There perched atop the snow pile was a black sedan. The car’s front axel was entirely off the ground about 5 feet off the pavement and onto MY yard and MY snow pile. I did not recognize the car or the male driver and I called the police. A few years ago, before marriage, before knowing the feeling of security that only my husband can offer me, I would be been out he door with a snow shovel, a phone, and a mag light showing no fear and even offering to help push this car back onto the road. Today I peaked through the curtains and waited with my breath held for the police to come – which they did promptly. A tow truck was called and the whole thing is now over. But that one incident will have me feeling on edge for the rest of the night. He comes home tomorrow.