Saturday, October 17, 2020

On Board HQ3.0: Home of That Smell

 Well, the Harbor Whore has been reinstalled here aboard HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/Retirement Castle. I came aboard a few days ago and we went to work soon after. Month over month, business is picking up. This month is merely anemic, where as last month was more or less a writeoff as far as work went. We've got a busy weekend planned, with 3 cargoes fixed. 

          The New (to us) HQ was in pretty poor shape. A friend was the lead guy here for the past few years, but he was partnered with two old timers who lived, well, like slobs, to be fair, and gave the bare minimum of fucks. E, our friend on here, after years of being the only one who actually did maintenance, recordkeeping and cleaning, lost some motivation in the face of so much apathy, but did his best. With some new blood aboard, things are coming along nicely on HQ3.0. My first 2 weeks aboard were mostly putting out fires and cleaning the quarters- the smell of unwashed old men and unwashed old linens was powerful and resistant to exorcism. I failed to eliminate it completely, but did get it reduced. Every bit of linen and bedclothes and blankets went in the trash- some quite ancient, all quite crusty. Scrubbing down the decks and overhead, soogeying the bulkheadss with straight bleach (at one point my wet soapy hand left a clean print on the bulkhead prior to cleaning. Turns out the bulkheads are off-white, not dark yellow! Anyhow, I got a fair bit of cleaning done, but not enough. We had multiple mechanical failures on deck. HR didn't keep one of the permanent crew on board during shipyard this past summer, and as a result, no one was onboard who gave a fuck about the place or who knew her ideosyncracies. Sad. Dumb avoidable things, some serious, and some not avoidable, too. 

       With a newer, younger, dare I say more hygenic and seamanlike crew aboard, while I was home, E and B went nuts, outside and inside, and cleaned, organized, repaired, replaced and maintained their asses off. E was pleased as punch at coming back to a tidier home that didn't smell like unwashed old timer. The two of them blitzed the quarters, and I came back to a much nicer place than I'd left. It was gratifying. 

    The new HQ has a long way to go, and has some issues... it's LOUD- the sound of the cargo pumps is unbelievably present when one is trying to sleep, and that sucks, and also I hope that whoever thought to put the fucking engines 25 feet from the house and then not insulating the place well gets himself a flaming case of scabies. But so it goes, we'll survive. There's a lot of potential, too, though, and I do enjoy the opportunity to work on projects that improve our quality of life. Cargowise, it's a little weird but doable, and she strips (empties the last of the residue in the tanks) like an absolute dream. That's wholly positive. It's nice having two long cargo cranes instead of one, like the old HQ. 



Bob said...

I remember in my last Navy deployment I was wearing foam earplugs almost 24/7 - - the work space was full of chattering teletypes, and the berthing area was noisy from various types of machinery. I had tried wearing the orange rubber earplugs that the engine room crew wears, but those caused ear pain when worn for long periods, so I switched to foam, which worked well.

Will said...

For cleaning that sort of situation, I use a floor sponge mop on the walls and ceiling. If chasing mold, a square sponge (flat with square cut corners) with a bleach mix works well. The shape allows you to get into the corners where the mold gets heavy, without having to do any hand wiping.

Some years back, I helped a roommate ship a bunch of his stuff when he retired due to eye problems. He was diabetic, and I figure he couldn't feel (and maybe not smell) how bad his bedding had gotten. His sheets didn't smell too bad, but felt like cardboard. That saying: "no good deed goes unpunished"? Washed and dried them, and washed a full load of my NOS Banana Republic clothing that I had had stored for maybe 15 years after GAP bought them. That load came out of the washer smelling terrible. His sheets had contaminated the washer and dryer so bad that I had to scrub them with a couple bouts of degreaser and bleach. My new clothes never stopped smelling. At least 15 washes with every type of cleaner that wouldn't damage them. Nothing worked. 5 pairs of pants and collared shirts in the trash. More than $750 worth of clothes that were not available anymore.