Saturday, July 15, 2017

pay now, or pay later (while also paying now)

I haven't been writing much lately. I just haven't been motivated.

 When my #2 man approached me and asked if I was willing to cover for him for a few weeks while he worked on a project at home, I agreed readily- it's been an expensive year; I think I bought our family dentist a new BMW, in fact. Working a couple extra weeks has been a boon in that regard.

        Well, I've been here for about 45 days so far, and I'm pretty well adjusted to not working more than 28 at a time. I'm pretty beat. The money I'm making has been a blesing- the price I pay is not.

 At some level, once you have food clothing and shelter, no matter how much money you have, any extra just doesn't go as far as you might expect. I spent the last few years working way too much, and while it's been shocking at tax time, in no way do I look back and see where it made a big difference in my life. Some things, yes, certainly. But I felt happier, healthier and more well-rounded when I didn't work overtime.

 Well, so it goes. Live and learn, and I'm crying all the way to the bank, so there's not much use in getting soggy and hard-to-light over it. Plenty of people would give their left nut to have to worry about being offered too much overtime just now.

 My employers have pared down the payroll, and laid some vessels up to gather dust and save money while the oil trade is so anemic this year. I'm working more and harder here than we've ever done before, meanwhile. Bunkering is busy. Not insanely busy, but busy, and there's not quite enough of us to cover all the work. Without the extra bunker barges and tugs, we're hopping, constantly late, and feeling the pinch of not quite enough time to get everything done that we want to do.We're way behind on painting for the summer. Generally we're done by labor day for the year. We haven't even really started. No time. You gotta have time to paint and time to let paint dry, after all. We're feeling the pinch, and the bunker suppliers are too. We made the worst bunker soup you've ever seen this past week. We loaded 3 grades of heavy fuel oil in miniscule amounts, like ridiculously small amounts, at 3 different terminals. After blending all these things, not to mention the tugboat moving us in and out of 3 different terminals the same day, we cut the oil with diesel, to thin it. Then we gravitated it to some empty tanks on board, and loaded a 4th shot of oil on top of it. We then gave it to some ships, along with some diesel oil, too. Under normal circumstances, it'd take abot 2 hours to load the heavy oil and about an hour to load the diesel. What with the shifting docks, and being passed from tug to tug like syphilis in a whorehouse, it took 24 hours. I hope it was worth it. No skin off my ass, after all, but I can't imagine somene made a lot of money on all that work. Above my pay grade, I guess.

 This afternoon is  a good example of not enough time- we finished a job and were at the dock to wait 12 hours for the next one. It being our first chance to get ashore in a week, we quickly went to the local grocery and loaded up on grub. After unpacking and making dinner, I changed the oil on one of our generators that needed service. By the time we had eaten and had the gen on standby, it was getting dark and I still had to do my weekly inspection for the EPA and pull oil samples. No time to paint. Maybe tomorrow. I'm lucky enough that we had the time to get the gen serviced. Some of my friends are waking up in their off-watch sleep time to get it done. So it goes, and if it gets intolerable, no one is pointing a gun at me and making me stay. I can always go if it comes down to it. I'm still content enough to stay. For now.


Dwan Seicheine said...

That "soup" is going to cost those engines. Do the ships that received it know what grade of mix and match oil they were getting?

Paul, Dammit! said...

Yup, the oil is analyzed prior to discharge. They get a full chem analysis before we start. No one wants to be on the hook for a dead ship.