The last 2-week tour of this voyage is underway. Tour #5 since I last saw my family.
I don't have channel fever or anything like that, but I'm VERY aware that I've been away from home for too long. After 7 years here, I'm no longer able to contemplate 90, 100, 120+ day voyages dispassionately. In fact, after I think 8 months of not working any extra, I've absolutely gotten used to that. I can see why coworkers think I'm fucking nuts to be out here.
Something I've noticed, where working extra can mean between $5,000 to $30,000 more income per year; at the end, I don't have all that much to show for it- the intangible benefits are there, but the cost of not being home eventually outweighs the benefits to the nuclear family.
I see that now. So I tend not to work extra. But it happened that I wanted to make some extraordinary purchases this summer and fall, so I sought out the extra work and am grateful for the opportunity.
Now that the money is in the bank, and I'm down to like 12 days to go, I wish I had just gone home.
It seems I'm not longer fit for my self-appointed role as workhorse. I'm not hungry enough anymore.
Mostly, getting older thus far has meant aches and pains and very slightly diminished capacities that weren't there before. Thank Christ, some Wisdom has finally manifested. I'm absolutely cool with that.
It's interesting, though, that so many little changes have happened for me to notice this voyage. OT, part time Hulk and our new full-time crewman, has made me realize how much I took for granted the gestalt of living and working here on the HQ, including how I contribute while I'm just doing the things I do the way I like doing them- having to have a conversation about how I never like having more assistance than I need was... sublimely retarded.
Anyone can understand that some people just enjoy and prefer working alone where and when possible- but having to tell a perfectly nice and perhaps even better-socially-adjusted person NOT to volunteer to come help me and not to feel guilty about it was a pretty hard sell. I'm pretty sure the new guy thinks I don't like him. The truth is that Big B and I have optimized the HQ for our own maximum efficiency given the idiosyncrasies of the HQ's deck layout and the operations that we carry out. There are times when having two PIC's (Persons In Charge) is more efficient, and those times we will call out for help when needed. But mostly, so long as it doesn't cost time, big B and I like working on deck solo when and where we can.
I was warned before I took this job that being a tankerman can make you more of a loner, and 'a little fuckin' weird' was the phrase used. It's held out to be reasonably accurate, but I was a little fuckin weird long before I was a tankerman, which may be why I'm so comfortable with the job.