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Writing Workshop: Travel

September 18, 2014

So this week’s prompt #4 is a perfect way for me to share pictures of our summer vacation. I could blog about the pitfalls of traveling with 13 family members, especially when no one likes to take control and one member took advantage of that… but it really was a fabulous trip with a lifetime of memories made.

First of all, if your spouse is a Merchant Mariner, I suggest finding out where all their classmates sail and if any happen to be on cruise ships.

That was just a secondary and happy occurrence but the Chief knew the Chief and it was only poor scheduling that his sea partner was not Captain at the time… I can only imagine the goodies we would have gotten if he had been on board. No, we took the cruise for the Chief’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. They wanted to show the grandchildren where their parents had grown up. Otherwise, no, the Chief would not spend his own money to go sail on a boat for his vacation. And his parents graciously paid for the cruise and our island accommodations.

Needless to say, we were spoiled by the Chief’s well-placed connections. The Chief said to me at the end of the voyage, “I hope you don’t expect every cruise to be like this.” To which I replied, “Are you kidding? I want to know where all your classmates sail.”

Here are just a few pics and captions. Enjoy and don’t be too jealous.

The best turkey burger and fries. Yum!

The best turkey burger and fries. Yum!

Another dining option... this time we took the girls. At first we couldn't find the specific restaurant because you had to go through the wine bar to get to it... hello, we don't drink. But I'm glad we found it for lunch on our last day.

Another dining option… this time we took the girls. At first we couldn’t find the specific restaurant because you had to go through the wine bar to get to it… hello, we don’t drink. But I’m glad we found it for lunch on our last day.

It wasn't our anniversary but our steward must have thought something was up with all the gifts we got everyday. These love birds were cute.

It wasn’t our anniversary but our steward must have thought something was up with all the gifts we got everyday. These love birds were cute.

yup, the creepiest.

Yup, the creepiest.

More yummy chocolates.

More yummy chocolates.

The Chief had to get this bottle of wine because it was described as "tasting like cherry coke." His parents enjoyed a glass each too.

The Chief had to get this bottle of wine because it was described as “tasting like cherry coke.” His parents enjoyed a glass each too.

We passed this plate around to his parents and his sister & husband.

We passed this plate around to his parents and his sister & husband.

The Chief has this submarine cruise on his must-do list. I was not feeling well but I enjoyed the smooth ride and the cool temps. Now that I think about it, I'm lucky I didn't make a whole lot of other people sick.

The Chief had this submarine cruise on his must-do list. I was not feeling well but I enjoyed the smooth ride and the cool temps. Now that I think about it, I’m lucky I didn’t make a whole lot of other people sick.

We decided to take the Chief's parents to dinner with us as a way to thank them for the cruise. The food was delicious.

We decided to take the Chief’s parents to dinner with us as a way to thank them for the cruise. The food was delicious.

The one surprise plate we did not share with the others. T2 ate a strawberry almost as big as her palm before I came back to the room. YUM!

The one surprise plate we did not share with the others. T2 ate a strawberry almost as big as her palm before I came back to the room. YUM!

Got to love the creepy red eyes on our towel animals. But Louis was awesome!

Got to love the creepy red eyes on our towel animals. But Louis was awesome!

Exactly.

Exactly.

The Chief made contact to let the Chief know we were sailing with him and he asked the Chief what his "poison" was... not a drinker, the Chief asked for diet soda. We were sent two cases of soda and a magnum of champagne.

The Chief made contact to let the Chief know we were sailing with him and he asked the Chief what his “poison” was… not a drinker, the Chief asked for diet soda. We were sent two cases of soda and a magnum of champagne.

The first of many surprises left in our cabin. We also got an invitation to attend a private reception with the Captain and the top officers.

The first of many surprises left in our cabin. We also got an invitation to attend a private reception with the Captain and the top officers.

One of the sights my FIL wanted to see was the Arizona Memorial. Very somber and moving. Copyright The Chief 2014

One of the sights my FIL wanted to see was the Arizona Memorial. Very somber and moving. Copyright The Chief 2014

KuKui nut leis. The hotel employee responsible for helping guests with taxis and shuttles talked with me and the girls about the leis I had made T1 and how I didn't have kukui nuts to add... he said "Don't leave if your shuttle gets here" and went into the building to bring back 4 leis for our family. Now that is customer service.

Kukui nut leis. The hotel employee responsible for helping guests with taxis and shuttles talked with me and the girls about the leis I had made T1 and how I didn’t have kukui nuts to add… he said “Don’t leave if your shuttle gets here” and went into the building to bring back 4 leis for our family. Now that is customer service.

Rainbows in Hawai'i--Who would have thought? Copyright SnipeWife 2014

Rainbows in Hawai’i–Who would have thought? Copyright SnipeWife 2014

So sorry all the photos are out of order. We also got a tour of the engine room and a map signed by the Chief and the Captain. The Chief also got crew coveralls from the Chief. Too funny.

Well, I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble for posting about all of this.

If you want to know more about Mama Kat’s Writing Workshops, click on the trophy in my side bar. Here are this week’s prompts:

1. Show us where you go for quiet.
2. Throwback time! Share an old class photo of yourself.
3. List the top 6 books on your list to read next.
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: travel.
5. Something funny your child said.

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Sunrise & Chill

September 17, 2014

Sunrise914

As much as I am loath to getting up early on mornings, I have been enjoying sitting on the porch and watching T1 walk to the bus stop (right below that burst of light) and sitting with T2 for a few minutes before she walks around the corner to meet a friend to walk to their bus stop out of sight.

It seems like just this past week, the sun is rising later and there is a chill in the air first thing in the morning. I personally am enjoying not getting woke up by the crack of dawn (but it is harder to roll out of bed while it is still gray out) and the chill weather means improved E.o.t.T. running. I just can’t run well in temps over 75 degrees. I’m miserable. I’ve had some good runs in the past week and it is a good thing because my 5k race is in 4 weeks and I hadn’t run over 2 miles straight until last Friday.

So T2 did not sit with me this morning. She is mad at me. She walked away early, barely mumbling “I love you” in response. Well, imagine how much madder she’d be if I had made her get out of bed at midnight last night and clean her room like I had asked her to after school instead of just waking her up and laying down the law for the upcoming week if she ever wants to do anything fun ever again. (Extra points for emphasis.)

T1 had to inform me of all the dramatics this morning. “She said you told her she couldn’t even read today at school. She’s being just like I was, isn’t she?”

“First of all, I said no TV and no computer and no made-up language [she spent all day creating] but I said nothing about reading at home or at school. But she has to clean her room [first]. Second, yes, just like you and your hormonal drama and black-and-white fatalism. Good bye, have a nice day!”

Thankfully, T1 is showing me there is a light at the end of the tunnel even though she’s not out of it yet. I just wish T2 could have taken a detour around the tunnel and skipped this phase altogether.

The Chief says there are spelling and grammar errors… but I’m not seeing them. So if you find any other than the one I did fix, let me know.

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Delay … Am I Bad to Want One?

September 14, 2014

After 18+ years I am used to this, really I am. The Chief is supposed to make the change out on the 23rd. However, they will be in transit to a warm, out of country port. He’s actually supposed to be in a nearby port on his birthday (the 19th, and he’ll be turning 45), just before this out of country port. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be able to join him on his birthday and sail with him for 5 days … but that just won’t work with my schedule and I guess the company doesn’t want a change out occurring out of country.

This would be the first time the Chief will be at a nearby port in about 16 years. Nearby meaning several hours away but that’s better than on opposite coasts. I would really like to drive up there and pick him up. As I said, my schedule is nuts and arranging a sitter for the daughters and the greyhounds… not even sure if it will be a drive and turn around or if I’d get to stay the night on board. And then the Chief mentions something about not having too many more opportunities to bring his dad to see his ship–both because his dad is 70+ and because the Chief is getting serious about retiring in a few years. So I also think it would be a great bonding thing for my dad to accompany us and see where his son-in-law works. Yes, after 18+ years I think my dad and husband need a little bonding experience.

Again, is it just a drive by “Hop on in!” and drive right on back home; would we get a chance to get into the port (not company owned anchorage) and actually see the ship; or would we get to spend the night on board–I know I have a bunk but what about the dads?

I really can’t get a sitter to take the girls to their soccer games and T1’s first high school fall social on Friday or Saturday … but if he is delayed by a day or two I could get a sitter for Sunday into Monday.

I’ve never had a chance to pick him up in port. It has been so long since I’ve sailed with him or even visited his ship(s) … like 15-16 years ago. And I do honestly want to bring the fathers.

So the babysitter and I are crossing fingers and hoping the delay happens. I have checked the oh-so-unsecure website and I know they have left port with an ETA of the 20th but as their satellite is on the fritz, it looks like they are “out of range” (when really they aren’t) for the time being. The Chief promises to update me as soon as he thinks they’ll have satellite communication.

P.S. I have given ample notice to all potential babysitters that if this run occurs during the winter, I am so sailing with the Chief out of country. The girls are less busy and I will make it happen.

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Writing Workshop: First Time on My Own

September 11, 2014

I don’t want this blog to die. It’s not that I haven’t been writing… I journaled and I journaled this summer in Hawai’i and at camp. (And we had a discussion about how journals are private, not meant for public consumption.) And I’ve been answering a few random posts on the Merchant Marine Wives Facebook group page … I am so verbose. Some of my answers are way too long.

It’s not like I don’t have things to write about… come on, Hawai’i was amazing and I have another great Personal reflection on my time at camp. Our oldest just entered high school and is in an accelerated program–that decision alone was nerve-wracking but I am so stinking proud of her. My PsA is doing great but I am dealing with bouts of depression–a reality I am loath to admit and while I’m working on it, I think I’m keeping my thoughts close to my heart rather than put down on here.

But I don’t want this blog to die. At some point I think I’d like to tell the MMW FB group that I have this blog. That would really blow my anonymity … not to mention at least two of the Chief’s coworkers (one directly under him) are on the page and we have all “introduced” ourselves. Maybe that is the conflict that is keeping me from writing … and writer’s block … and self-censorship … and a little bit of passive-aggressive hostility.

So I had the thought that maybe I should go back to my early beginnings and do a Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop post. Interestingly enough I feel I can take #3 and relate it to the merchant marine life.

3.) Write about what it was like to live on your own for the first time.

My story is not a typical story. I was 21 years old… two weeks shy of my 22nd birthday. I was a newly wed. I found myself the owner of a 3-bedroom 1,600 square foot home, a burgundy Mercury Sable, a purebred lhasa apso, and I had power of attorney to manage another piece of real estate. I didn’t know too many 21 year olds in my position. The Chief (then a lowly 3rd) was shipping out for the first time.

I had never lived on my own. Not really. I remember sitting in the car, on a cold day (remember we were married on the Blizzard of ’96 and much of the world around us was still snow-bound) either just before we went to closing or right after, and just kind of stared in awe at the chief as he began calling the phone company and the electric company and whatever else utilities you needed to call to have service connected to our new home, in our name. I guess I just kind of thought all of that was automatic. It never would have occurred to me you had to call to set those things up… every year I was at school you just walked in, picked up your phone and it was all done for you.

I’ve always said I got to grow up with the biggest safety net underneath me.

It could have been worse. There are some wives who either run home to live with their moms the entire time their mariner is away or live across the street from their parents or in-laws. We at least lived 10 minutes away from both sets and only because I worked in the city.

It was about three days after he left and I totaled his car. Not my finest moment and not my last accident. I had no real way of contacting him. I was at the mercy of his port schedule. My father had given me strict advice not to call him with the news. So I waited for the Chief to call me but it was the first thing out of my mouth.

And his first words: Are you okay? What car do you want to get now?

This is not to say that over the years he hasn’t nostalgically sigh about how much he misses “that car.” To be honest, I miss it too.

I had to deal with the insurance and a court date (his dad took me and advised me to plead “no contest” even though I had gotten out of the car and took responsibility when it wasn’t exactly clear that I was 100% responsible). I had to keep on top of bills and house maintenance. I had to deal with the lhasa’s psychotic behavior at being left alone 10 hours a day instead of going over to my MILs … I did finally call them and said “come get this dog or so help me … Oh my GOD! there are bloody paw prints on the doors! Come over NOW!!!”

And I got a puppy, with the Chief’s knowledge but not waiting till he got home. Never again. Never, ever again. The tiny adorable thing was a holy terror at 6 weeks old–yup, puppy milled and sent to the animal shelter too young and filled with worms. Chewbacca, or Chewie more appropriately, chewed everything and even got herself stuck behind the washer and gnawed little holes in the drain hose … a fact we didn’t discover until two days later when the Chief got home and ran a load of laundry and flooded the entire floor.

It was the silence that seemed to get to me the most. Although for most of my time at college I did have a room to myself, there were other people on the floor and the noises of communal living. I would walk through the house turning on lights and radios. I would stay awake till exhaustion hit because I didn’t like the empty bedroom. I’m not as bad now but even after the girls go to bed I don’t like the quiet of the house those first few nights.

Living so close to family was an issue. My mother wanted me to check in–seriously? I lived 3 hours away and only called once a week but I had to check in after work every day? Not going to happen. It got worse as the year wore on. Now in all fairness, I did have a trusted observer tell me that half the year I acted like I wasn’t married (my new-found relationships with my in-laws was going so well that I was like a daughter, not a daughter-in-law) and the other half I played at being married. At their church most people still assume I am their daughter even though my parents attend there as well. (A fact that if my mother were honest with herself and others, irks her to no end.)

I have had to deal with many household crises over the years… how many heat pumps does a person have to replace? The Chief was here for one hot water heater and I just took care of the last one… I was more prepared to handle all the utilities when we moved to this house–the Chief was at sea and I had an amazing realtor who held my hand the whole time and gave me a great check list.

Oh, this all reminds me that I need to get the car in for an inspection.

The Prompts:
1.) September is National Apple Month, create a blog post inspired by apples.
2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: goals.
3.) Write about what it was like to live on your own for the first time.
4.) You won an award for at some point in your life…what was it for?
5.) List activities that keep your kids busy on rainy days.

Click on Mama Kat’s Trophy in my side board to join in on the fun.

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