Saturday, May 28, 2022

Hey Handsome

 We had some sun a few days ago. I buzzed my hair off before coming to work, and got myself a sunburn on my dome after a very long day spent mostly on deck.  As I am the color of a fish's belly, my head of course turned a bright cherry red.

 Oh, I was smart. I put sunblock on my face, neck and ears. Didn't think of my goddam head, though. Wicked smaht, as I often say. 

 And now, it being a few days later, I'm happy that the discomfort has gone. My head no longer feels like I could fry an egg on it... and of course, my UV damaged scalp has started peeling. So I got that going for me. 

 Seriously, it looks like Christmas every time I move my head. The flakes fly.  My head looks like a diseased dog's ass. 

  Now that the horses are out, I closed the barn door. I've got a hat on when I go outside, so that the seagulls won't pick the scabs off my head. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

We make like a butterfly

 The HQ is moving product hard this week. 

   We're the harbor whore for sure this week. We went from dead and collecting dust last week to non-stop this week. We're moving oil every watch, doing *something* as demand for small to medium parcels of low sulfur oils this week in NY has us digging like a cat trying to bury a turd under a marble floor. 

 Good to see. We finished fueling up a car carrier this morning, and have a nice 6 hour wait for a  small container ship to come in and tie up, so we can come alongside and give them the fuel they ordered, and then we've got to catch a midnight tide to fill up so we can pump off to another ship at dinnertime tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

to work!

The last few days are not a blur, they are full of rich memories. My kid graduated high school, and we threw a small party for him over the weekend.  The party was before the graduation, during the weekend. For some reason the graduation itself was on a Tuesday evening. It being Florida, maybe that was to avoid the heat, I dunno. 

       Everything but time to sleep worked out well. I've been only sleeping 5-6 hours a night for the past little while0, courtesy of Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife's new habit of complaining in her language in her sleep. It's too hot, too cold, honey stop breathing too loud, etc, and then at first light, a goddamn woodpecker has decided that it's fun to drum on my bathroom window, about 15ft from my bed, every 10 minutes or so. He's wary enough that he disappears when I pop my head outside with a .22, and ignores the usual scaring devices, a plastic owl, etc. I need to set up a blind next year and wait him out one morning, get me a nice new organic chew toy for the neighbor's dog.    

 So, not much sleep the past 10 days or so. Originally, I had a flight out and back to work after the graduation ceremonies, but that got cancelled so I had a 5am flight yesterday morning. 

 So, graduation wrapped up at about 8, then it was decided we'd go to dinner to celebrate more, as I was unexpectedly home, and my kid wanted Thai food, which is normally OK, but after getting into bed at about 11pm, I was up by 1:30 with cramps, and got back into bed about 0230. So waking up at 3 to get to the airport on time was lots of fun. Sleep debt caught up to me. 

     The flight and ride to Brooklyn was uneventful and I got onto the HQ about noon. I was on watch until 1730, whereupon I was able to unpack my stuff and wind down, finally getting to sleep about an hour later, and waking up 11 hours later with a backache because I'm 90% sure I didn't move an inch all night, just dead to the world.  I was lucky we didn't have a job on my first watch back. I was a zombie. 

 So, back to normal now and back to work. 


Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Brazilian Pyramid Scheme.

OK, this will be a boring post, but the good news is that I had 2 big ass glasses of whisky on an empty stomach before starting it, as tonight... didn't turn out as expected.  

During drills 15 years, a thousand miles and a a job ago, there was a mantra uttered during the weekly fire and boat drill, when the ship would go to all hands for the weekly safety drills and everyone had to get up and participate. 

     During the day, at sea, unlicensed goons like me were generally not in the wheelhouse.  But having been aboard the same ship for about a decade, and being on a friendly first-name basis with the licensed officers (except the captains, who were 'captain' whether on watch or off), at times, whether it was for weather or not, I'd be in the wheelhouse for the drills, which usually happened at 1500, during break time for the dayworkers.  The captain would enter the wheelhouse, say "Mr. mate (or use the mate's name, depending) please ring the general alarm and report to your station for the muster." 

 It's funny I was reminded of this tonight, where we're working hard at home getting ready for my kid's graduation party. Lord help me, he's finishing high school and I am old. 

 To explain, I have to explain about the Brazilian Pyramid scheme- housecleaning. 

 When I met Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, she was an illegal alien. No BS, she earned her green card the hard way, by marrying my retarded ass long ago. 

Like so many, she was working about 75-80 hours a week in two different jobs. She was a housecleaner in the mornings and early afternoon, and then worked as a seamstress and dry cleaner afternoons and evenings. 

 Also, holy shit, dry cleaners should be fitted for a fucking full-face respirator. It's goddamn criminal not to at this point. The chemical trade is pretty intense. My ssense of smell has been desensitized by sulfur compounds in bunker fuels. My wife's, by aromatic hydrocarbons. Serious, she's been exposed to more benzene than I have and I've worked on a fucking benzene barge. 

So like any Brazilian who has entered the middle class, we have a housecleaner. My  wife no longer works as a housecleaner herself, but after 8 years in the trade, she's pretty damn good at it. 

    The way it works, Brazilian illegals work their asses off, save $3000-4000 (in 2003 dollars) and 'buy' a bunch of housecleaning customers from another Brazilian. They then hire 1-2 more girls and get to cleaning houses, and also buying and selling housing customers like horse trading.  There's an unspoken agreement that if you get a green card, you'll pay it forward and have a housecleaner yourself. 

So now we have a housecleaner.

 On the upside, our housecleaner is adorable. Nara is a  young single mom, a petite fireball who calls me "Meester Pol" and when I see her I always cook something good and thus she equates me with being a master chef rather than just a fat guy.  She worked her first job all day, and as we had a cleaning emergency, after working 8 hours, she showed up at my house at like 4pm, looking gray and hollow. 

   Oh, also, if you do have a house cleaner, feed her.  Last month she married a feet-dry Cuban (a refugee who made it onto a beach and thus will get US Citizenship) whose English was finally good enough to pass the FL medical board few weeks ago, so she's about to go from struggling to make ends meet to being a doctor's wife with a green card. 

 And with my kid's graduation party just 2 days away, the house has been turned inside out, and tonight, after I spent the day on my hands and knees fucking with the irrigation system in my yard and getting pipe dope in my eyebrows, I sat down in my office, away from the ladies, for a quiet little while to write and also pay bills and read the news online... wind down, in other words That is, until my wife ran in and more or less yanked on the general alarm- 

 "Hohnee I need chu to you sew dis." A little pillow, one of a dozen that lives on my bed when we're not in it (seriously, I can't sit on the nice couches, or lay in my bed without dealing with so, so many pillows. So many. This year, we have outdoor furniture pillows too. The goddam wicker bullshit outdoor furniture has a dozen fucking pillows too now). 

 The pillow gets dumped on my keyboard. It's 1/4 size, one of the last ones that goes on the bed, the crown of Mt. Pillow, and it's got a tear about 3 inches on a seam, buit crosses a cross-stiched section that doesn't have a weave I can tie into, being tatted rather than woven.. OK, no big deal, someone with real eyes or good glasses can thread the eyes in the cloth. 

 Funny thing. I can sew. I learned reading the WWII merchant seaman's manual. Seriously, get one. They're amazing. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife can tat lace, crochet or use a sewing machine, but she can't hand straight line sew for shit. I can. That's all I can do. I can sew a seam.   

   Now, no one is going in my goddamn room during this party, so why the F am I getting my wa disturbed after 8 hours and a couple of blown capillaries in my cheeks from hanging upside down under my lawn all day? 

 Seriously, I have a thing about no one going in my bedroom. Shit's sacred. My kid knew not to go in unless he had had a nightmare and needed us, or something was on fire.  And yet here I am with a pillow at 8pm on a Thursday. 

   Well, nothing for it but to sew it up. I'm out of practice anyhow... and then I realize I can't see to thread the needle. 

     Holy shit. I wear reading glasses for a reason. I have for the past 6 months. Not only can I not see shit, my hands are all over the place, like a spastic kid trying to light a candle. 

 It took me 15 minutes to thread the needle and my sewing job was... substandard. It was disappointing. 

 I used to be able to darn socks, and could thread a needle in my sleep. Shit, my mom didn't thread a single needle her last 20 years of life. It was rare for me to need 2 tries to thread a needle and then roll through a double surgeon's knot to lock it. With 20/10 vision, I could see what direction the stitches of a baseball are turning, and in the past 6 months, my eyes are suddenly worth their weight in human shit. 

Well, the pillow's fixed, anyhow. It looks... adequate. I've done better. I need glasses so I can do better. I'm disappointed in myself. My wife thinks the shitty seam she saw is my best, and thus is being nice, but I'm a little embarrassed at my work. I've done better. I can do better. But fuck me, I can't see

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day!

 Happy Mother's day to every mom out there. 

      I started the day off with mimosas and a giant breakfast for Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife. Our son is now over 18, which means that I have a lot more help in the kitchen, and thankfully he's becoming a fair cook in his own right, so we were able to throw together all her favorites right out of the pantry. 

     I've been home for a week and a half already. Time's flying by.  The pool temp is already in the mid-80's out back, which means swimming season is definitely here. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Home again

 I made it home last week. It's been great. I haven't done all that much, beyond rest and recover and enjoy time with family. Today, I think I've been home 5 days now? Today is my first day to suit up and get actual maintenance done- yardwork and the like.  I'm looking forward to a quiet day.