Wednesday, September 30, 2020

and on again...

 Well, back to work for me. 

 I'm being turned out like a whore again, but this is, strangely, part of the plan. 

 After a few months of not having a permanent assignment, we now have a home. It's not nice, but it's ours. Sort of. My partner B and I have to get into a rotation that will work, which meant that there wasn't a place for me on board for 2 more weeks from now, but my back-to-work date was today, thus, I am being used to fill in the gaps. IOW, I be a ho. 

 Currently, I'm on a big ass barge that stays busy. I was over here filling in for a few days last month, so I already have the basics down, at least. At the moment, I'm only supposed to be here for a few days, and while my first watch on board was hectic, and the watch rotation is the dreaded 6 on/6 off, my second watch, the 0000-0600 right now, tonight, we are sitting with a small load on board that a local terminal wanted to get out of their tanks and which will get blended into something else in a few days, hopefully by the grace of God, after I'm already on to my next assignment. 

      So it was a whirlwind of a time off, for sure. I was productive, I had fun, got to spend time with family... everything was as hoped for. I knew I was going to be a harbor whore for this 2-week period, so I determined not to worry about it, and thus arrived to work without all the usual preoccupation that has been bothering me these last few months, wondering when I was going to get reassigned yet again. 

 I don't like change. I'll admit it. I gasp, I expire, whatever, I wither on the vine without I have some sense of permanency. Hell, this is a temporary job I took almost 12 years ago. I should probably use quotes on the word temporary at this point. 

       We're coming into the fall season, when American companies start stocking warehouses and retail shelves for Christmas, and the cooler weather shifts gasoline blending to winter blends. And business has picked up a bit for us, which is a blessing. I'm more sanguine now about us getting by in the next few months, me especially. I went home with a vague dread that my new barge assignment was going to get yanked out from under me, since there wasn't much work on board my first 2 weeks there. I was worried for a bit that she'd get laid up too, but in the past week there's been plenty of work for her, which is a fine thing. I hope there will be more. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Still not dead

 I'm home, on my scheduled time off and I'm having a great time. Been a crazy busy but productive time. Nothing maritime-ey to write about, though. Just fun, sun and family. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Will this go on my permanent record?

Something interesting happened, but I keep wondering if I should talk about it. 

 We had a 'near miss,' an incident caused by equipment failure that wasn't anyone's fault. We call it a near miss because no one got hurt, there was no loss fiscally, and no damage to the environment. 

 But I spent 18 hours on deck unfucking the matter, so that sucked, and another 12 the next day, too. 

          Things are so messed up in our trade that I don't wish to see my employer look bad for something that isn't their fault, though. I had good support, and got the help I needed to see the problem solved. It sucked to go through, was likely unavoidable, and I'm sore as hell, being unaccustomed to the work I was doing. 

   So it goes. Makes me appreciate the quiet days when everything works. 


Saturday, September 5, 2020

I may have to be put down

I'm gonna call Dr. Kevorkian if this shit keeps up. 

 I don't care if he's dead. 

      The other day, I bit my tongue. I'm eating healthy and every 3 days or so I throw 5oz of steak on top of my rabbit food or whatever healthy shit I'm eating. 

 I got a bad, chewy steak, and managed to bite the ever-loving shit out of the side of my tongue. I bled like a stuck pig. It was almost a 'I need to put a stitch in this' bite, except it was too broad. I took like a 1/8" furrow off of about half my tongue. Why? Because I am an idiot.  And also because I blame that steak. Somewhere in Kansas there's a farmer scratching his head and wondering why he's got an extra cow but is missing a horse. 

  Still, I don't think I did even this this bad as a kid. 

    The day before I got a canker sore in my mouth. I've been eating a lot of spicy, acidic foods. I haven't had one of those in at least 5-10 years, either. So between the two, I'm hating life. Turns out I must move my tongue a lot in my sleep. I know this because ouch. 

I drool a lot. I'm sitting on an oil barge I don't know with a second man I don't know, and he's trying to talk to my while I'm drooling as I talk back, or just sitting there, like a mastiff, dampening my shirt. So there's a lot of respect there, I'm sure. Excuse me while I change my bib. 

the Harbor Whore returns

  Well, it's been a week, for sure. 

        I got moved. Again. 

        Look, I don't do well with change. I do best, and am at my best, when left in place, like an ivy vine, or asbestos. 

        Unfortunately, the temporary HQ was pulled out of service, being optimized to transfer fuel to cruise ships, which aren't working during Covid. Admittedly it made little sense to spend money on keeping the HQ crewed with no work in sight. 

      So off I go to... where I'm at. I'm on board the new new temporary HQ. I'm trying to find a name for it. The Obstacle Course, maybe, or the Pakistani Hospice. I'm trying to focus on the positive. It's work, after all, and it's poor form to be critical of the folks who are trying to keep me working. But it's not an environment I like. 

    The new new temporary HQ is a hodgepodge of pipelines and obstacles that make getting around on deck an issue. My clumsy ass is certainly going to be falling down a lot. There's not a lot of open space. The upside to this is that the barge is versatile, capable of handling a lot of segregated products. 

          Well, focusing on the negative won't get me anywhere. It's something to get used to, and it's work, like I said. There's a fair number of layoffs have happened around the area in our trade, and of course, in general there's little grace to be had in complaining overmuch that things are not as nice as they were a few months ago, given the state of the world. 

      Am I happy? No. Heck no. But so what? I'm working, family is fed, and usually some positive things come out of disruptive change. I'm not a roll with the punches sort of person, but maybe I should be. 

         So, trying to be positive. Some positive things:   I'm friendly with the senior guy here, whom I relieved this week. He'll come in in a few weeks, when it's time for me to go home. Nice guy, someone I've worked with in the past a few times. One of the brand-new generators on here cratered and is being rebuilt in-situ, so I am at a dock with shore access and no cargo for the weekend, which means that while I can't avail myself of the local restaurants, being on a diet and such, I can go for some long walks for a few days, which is good for the diet and also good for the mind. Plus, I've got like 10 days to go and I can go home. That's always good.