Monday, September 22, 2008

Boogers, paint, fresh water...and not a drop to drink (from my sink)

As some of you know, after Hurricane Ike tossed our salads here on board, I got a sinus infection, as did about 2/3 of the crew. This happened because 50 years of dust got kicked up when stuff smashed through the internal walls all over the house. So it goes. As it happens, my sinus infection is 100% full-on strong.
But there's that booger/sleep thing. You know, where one side of your sinus passages remains sort of clear, and the other one is blocked off, and then you roll over, there's an itchy feeling behind your schnoz, and the clear/blocked nostrils switch places? I hate that shit.
SO today, like every other day this week, I've been blowing snot rockets over the side and jamming my nose into a kleenex and honking like a goddamn trombone, all to minimal avail. Cus you know how that shit goes. When you're busy, hankyless and in public, you're going to sneeze, and that will be the moment when, like the breakup of ice in the rivers of the Arctic, the gates are going to come off of the hinges, and one full quart of lung clams are going to rain out of your beezer, and you won't be able to stop it, cus, lets face it, it's either out your nose and down your throat, and, well, damn, that's nasty, and why doesn't this ever happen during the morning dump or somewhere private? No, it's always on the train, at church or in traffic, and there's not a snot rag within shouting distance.

Just a thought.

Things are looking up, sort of. With the cleanup from Hurricane Ike, well, cleaned up, my ship is looking better than ever. The powers that be, after five years of hemming and hawing, have invested in some new assets to get this old tub looking sharp again. A water blaster and a really high-end paint sprayer, to be precise. In a year's time, this place ought to be looking wicked shahp! There's a cost, of course. Overtime.
Most ships offer overtime for maintenance, and ours is no exception. By agreement with the union, our overtime rate is, to my Northeastern eyes, mighty low. One could make more money flipping burgers at McDonald's on the night shift, where I come from. Unfortunately, where I come from has a high cost of living, certainly a lot higher than, say, the South. So, there hasn't been much incentive for me to give up my free time to make less money per hour than I did when I was 15.
...Till now, when I'm a married man, and an extra couple of bucks means more to me than it ever did before. So be it. Anyhow, the senior officers got called to the carpet 'cus the ship was operationally very sound, but, sadly, ugly. As I've said in the past, I like a nice positive environment, and, with the rock solid guys we've got on the unlicensed side of the ship, working overtime isn't too bad, and with the gift of tools invented after the death of Christ, we can actually be efficient at putting some lipstick on this pig.

After a week sitting in the Mississippi, drinking water is getting a little scarce, however.
Here's what you need to know about our water: it's friggin' good. Since we're a steamship, the plant uses a LOT of water to make up for what gets burned off. To do this, we have two very large evaporators that distill sea water and deliver fresh water to our holding tanks. But, here's the thing. To have nice drinking water, we need clean sea water from the deep ocean. Any chemical contaminates in the water would make it into our drinking water supply. As such, we certainly can't make drinking water from Mississippi water. Ever heard of "The Dead Zone?" This is an area the size of Delaware at the mouth of the Mississippi where the water is so anoxic (read, oxygen free- a good indicator of pollution) that nothing grows there. So, yeah, we ain't drinking that shit.

To conserve water and stave off the horrific expense of a couple hundred beans for a water barge to come alongside, we have restricted access to drinking water. The water in our taps isn't the beautiful, tasty, better-than-anything-in-a-bottle water distilled from above the Abyssal Plain, but rather, non-potable water from the Big Muddy, fit for the boilers and showers and such, but not for drinking. We have to rely on the messmen, the cooks healpers, who lug big carboys of water up to the mess halls for us to consume. It's not precisely a hardship, but it ain't convenient.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Urea will not distill out when you Distill River Water the Olde Man River is loaded with Urea from all the Junk we put into the River shit and piss in drinking water and then distill it to Drink again??