Yesterday was one of those days.
We've had a thing going aboard HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/ Institute for Murphy's Law. Since I got back aboard about 10 days ago, nothing has gone quite right.
It's small stuff. Every day something goes sideways. Ships shut down early, or the crew disappears for hours and we end up waiting for them, or our potable water system ices up and we have no running water until it thaws, or a refinery ignores our cries to stop pumping oil and overloads us... things like that. Every. Job.
Yesterday afternoon was poised to break this very annoying cycle. We're loading two small parcels of fuel. First one, a splash of marine diesel oil, gets loaded without a hitch. Second parcel gets loaded too, also correctly. All goes well.
While we're completing the paperwork at the end, our tugboat for the night calls us. They want to leave right now, as the tide is almost at slack. I'm trying to hurry us. The surveyor, a guy I don't know, is arguing with his office about the next job he has to do. Not our job mind. He's supposed to be working on our cargo papers. He's yelling with his office, but he's also Facetiming with his wife on his personal cell phone, too. This guy has NO inside voice. He yells. He's yelling with a coworker, and answering his wife's questions ON SPEAKERPHONE at a yelling volume. All the while he is definitely NOT working on our cargo paperwork. I inquire. He says just a moment. Well, he yells just a moment. Politely. My ears are ringing. He goes back to yelling on speakerphone to his office and yelling at his wife, also on speakerphone.
I hear the VHF radio crackle, and the tug is calling our name. I answer. Loudly. And I mean really loudly. Even louder than the surveyor. "Yeah, (tug name), I can't get the surveyor to do his fucking job, but he heard you say we need to leave now. We should be done, but he's got two phones on speakerphone and he's yelling into both, neither of which involves this job. Don't fuckin' swear, though, he's talking to his family, too, and that shit ain't genteel." I'm looking at the guy dead in the eyes the whole while.
My partner E is in another chair, he's not on watch yet. He's watching this like a tennis match and starts laughing.
The guy hangs up one of the phones, his office phone I guess, and returns to pecking at his laptop. There's glory for you. He's returned to work.
...and my cell phone rings. Caller ID says it's my kid.
This is odd. Getting my kid to call me is like pulling teeth. He'll text all day, but will go out of his way to not, you know, actually make phone calls. So I answer it. "Hey, (his name), everything ok?
"Hi dad, no. I just got home to change for work, and there's water coming out of the lights in the ceiling in the kitchen."
So, the first part of the cargo went in good, if annoying, but I've got a water leak in my house, and I'm 1200 miles away. Guess it's not going to be the first good day of the tour after all.
My kid is only on like his 3rd day at this job and he can't be late. I have him shut off the water main, throw down a bunch of towels and take off while I call a plumber.
Turns out, the bidet ( I have a bidet. Don't judge. It came with the house and is excellent for washing boots, feet and I suppose genitals too) in the master bathroom sprung a leak in the water feed line. The plumber ripped a hole in my kitchen ceiling and found the leak, fixed it. $250 and a hole in the ceiling, not bad for an after 5pm call on a Friday, really. I'll have to hang a half-sheet of drywall and patch the thing when I get home next time. So it goes. Oh, and go over the bidet too, I guess.
My watch ended at 1730, but I was a bit keyed up and stayed up late, laughing with my wife and texting with my kid at his job a bit too.
Today? Today is a new day. The discharge was uneventful, thank God. I slept through it, and woke up at our lay berth. I slept through sailing and docking. Not bad.
Nothing worse than "that" call when you're a thousand miles away and can't just handle the problem yourself. Least your plumber was cool.
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