Sunday, April 30, 2023

Diaper Rash Dash

 Busy week. Lots of cargo in small parcels, lots of time on the phone, and being rained on too, on several occasions, so lots of diaper rash too. 

    It sucks being almost 50 and still getting chafed on my 'taint, legs, buttcrack and giggleberries. All combined, yeah, diaper rash. Wearing wet drawers for 12 hours straight, coupled with lots of walking. It's been like that off and on the past few weeks, at least a couple of days a week with this frigging weather and our busy schedule. 

    When I were a younger younker, I discovered Gold Bond. Good for staving off the effects of mild Swamp Ass.  When I went all in full-time as a lobsterman, I discovered Bag Balm. 

 Bag Balm was my savior in the late 90's.  It's plain old udder cream for cows. Some sort of medicated Vaseline because apparently cow udders are sensitive and prone to chapping.   Here's why it's important. 

  OK, you're a hard working guy in a wet environment in an intensely physical job.  Diaper rash for sure happens because your clothes are wet 2 hours into a 12 hour shift. Whether it's seawater or sweat, salty water-soaked clothing chafes, and it happens fast.  Hence, after a single day your danglies are hairless and cherry red and giving off enough heat to toast a marshmallow, and you're doing the Cowboy Shuffle, walking like a man who just spent 2 days bareback on a bony-assed horse. 

     Yeah, the hairless part is graphic, right? Ever get an Indian Burn? Chafes the hair off your forearm before it actually breaks the skin. So it goes with a wet pair of fruit of the looms and The Twins if you're running up and down deck in foul weather gear all day every day.  The testicles you know and love are gone, replaced by an angry sack of hate and pain and despair the exact color of one of those kickballs from grade school gym class. Fire. Engine. Red. 

      OK, so the journeyman tradesman learns early on about Gold Bond- mentholated absorbent baby powder- the yellow can for your boots, orblue can if you're hardcore; and the special green can for your matrimonial bits.  Like a cool breeze through your BVD's on a hot day, Gold Bond Green does what Calgon can't- it takes you away to a better place, at least emotionally. 

 So, you'd think that keeping your ground tackle dry is the secret of longevity and not chafing if you're working in a wet and dirty place... and you're right...

 But you're also wrong. 

         At some point, you either need to put a gold bond dispenser between your legs or you have to accept that you're beyond where Gold Bond can help.  It's sort of like when you realize a couple of band-aids aren't going to be enough and you've got to tell your father that you need to go get stitches. 

 No amount of Gold Bond is going to save your nuts when you're sweating or soaked enough that you have to pour salty water our of your boots every little while. 
   So, while it seems counterintuitive, at some point, you need to accept that whatever solution may be required to save your marbles, it's not going to involve trying to keep them dry.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Like a car engine, the secret is in reducing friction. And to do that, you need to displace the salt water as the liquid medium between adjoining parts. 
    Enter Bag Balm.  Balm for your Bag. 

           Medicated Petroleum jelly is non-polar. It isn't water-soluble.  What it is, is sticky. But it doesn't stick to materials that are waterlogged. In fact, in a wet environment, Bag Balm  sticks to the surface you smear it on, provided that surface is more or less impermeable and solid, like, say, human skin. In wet conditions, Bag Balm becomes slippery as all get-out.  Friction is eliminated. 
 So, like a saturation diver, before starting a Diaper Rash sort of day, you've got to pre-prime your butt and nuts with Bag Balm, even before you get damp. In fact, it feels pretty gross until you're working. Then it feels pretty good. And if you're suffered before, it's a miracle. 

      One funny thing, with all the reduced friction downstairs, my average walking pace picks up an extra half knot too. 


Saturday, April 22, 2023

You Don't Know Where I've been

 ...because I haven't been writing. 

 I'm at work, here on the HQ, just haven't been inspired to write. Also, my computer wasn't working right. For some reason the wifi adapter on my laptop stopped working. I thought it burnt out, but I did a whole lot of digging, and found that my particular PC, an Asus ROG Strix, now approaching middle age at 3 years old, got fucked up en masse  along with it's cohorts from an update a few weeks ago, where some  scumbag leftist enabled a feature whereby it would shut off the wifi 'to save power' at times, but forgot to allow it to turn itself back on. 

 Nice of the green weenies to do that. OOh, saved almost 3 watts of power drain! We going green all up in this bitch. 

 Anyhow, no.  So as of this morning, I believe I saved myself the need to get a new PC. 

       The reason it had to wait over a week to see what was up with my PC is that we're pretty busy this tour. And it's annoying busy, not balls to the wall busy. 

 Annoying busy means we're getting cargoes at the last minute, CONSTANTLY, which is not how things worked before. Before we had time to look up the orders, write up a load plan, debate changing it, set things up, and do maintenance and shit while waiting for the loading time to arrive. Instead, we're pumping off a cargo, and getting notified that we'll be loading again in 6 hours... which is fine, except that 20 minutes later, no, it's 12 hours, then 10 minutes later, it's immediately on completing discharge of the current cargo.  So then we have to scramble, beg the people doing this to us to provide information on the cargo, like it's density, because we can't plan a load without certain numbers, and they don't give us those numbers unless we beg. Everyone likes having their ass cheeks polished to a high gloss I suppose. 

 But you know what's really fun? You arrive at the loading terminal, connect cargo hoses, work out a final loading plan with the cargo surveyor, have the pre-transfer conference with the dockman, start loading, and the office calls and says "hey, change of plans, the charterer is changing the volume now. You haven't started yet, have you?"  So then, basically, everything starts over, but you have minutes to correct the numbers, change the volumes, and sometimes change the tanks you'll be using. And you're expected to do this without shutting down the oil flow if you can. 

 So this has been happening, like, a lot, lately. Constant. So when we do get hours of down time, we're more likely to want to just sit at the table and go 'well, fuck me, wow.' than get proactive work done. 

 Ah, I bitch, but it's within tolerances of what we can live with. 'specially 'cus I have good shipmates around me, when I do get to see them, guys of an age with me, so we commiserate together. And nothing, but nothing, makes a tankerman happier than an audience to listen to his many, many complaints.

         My kid flies out this week to meet with corporate HQ and start as a deckhand trainee. Gonna be an interesting week. 


Monday, April 10, 2023

They say that the mind is the first thing to go

 ... and this morning I was going to write about the Second thing to go, but now I'll be damned if I remember what it was. That's a bummer. First time in a while I was inspired to write and had a good subject and everything, fertile ground, and here I am, can't remember shit.

   Part of getting older. Speaking of, so apparently I have skin cancer now.   Biopsy results came back. I tested positive for overwhelming masculine charm and also skin cancer. So I have to have something dug out of my face and also on my back when I get home. I got the one you want, though, when you have to have skin cancer. Locally nasty, not particularly inclined to spread. So with stitches in my melon and on my back, I can't swim nor wallow in the jacuzzi, two of my favorite evening activities at home, so that's a bummer. I have a fairly sizeable landscaping project I wanted to knock out, hopefully I can do that at least. Given my complexion (corpse white but florid, politely called "ruddy' ) and my inability to work for long indoors, it's inevitable. Also, I live in Florida, duh. 

     So I went back to work one week early, to make a little bank, and tomorrow is normally my fly-in day  for crew change Wednesday morning. It feels like I've already been here forever, and my regular tour doesn't even start for 48 hours, lol.