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Reblog: Transition Points

September 30, 2014

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/shipping-out-transition-points-for-the-children-of-mariners

The above article in Maritime Executive is a good resource for those of us “living the life” with children. I’ve blogged about my own hits and misses and guarantee you that what works (does it really?) for our family will most definitely not translate for another. You have to find what works best for you and your family, in your circumstances. I am currently participating in a FB forum of MM spouses. Many of the joys and complaints shared are universal but it becomes painfully obvious who the long-timers are and who are the ones struggling through those first years–with and without children. It has definitely made me more appreciative of my saint of a Chief, that’s for sure.

I would make a snarky comment that you can also tell 95% of the time who is married to a deckie or to an engineer too but that wouldn’t be nice.

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Writing Workshop: FALL!

September 26, 2014
The remaining vine has a few fruits starting. Yeah! I love fall and I love pumpkins!

The remaining vine has a few fruits starting. Yeah! I love fall and I love pumpkins!

So my front flower beds are a joke. Way back when I hired a landscaping firm to landscape for us and they did a lousy job. The Chief has tried every weed barrier and trick known to man and the weeds are outrageous. Of course the girls and I do not weed and this is horrible because I know weeding would be a way to show the Chief we love him … he usually spends two days when he gets home weeding and trimming back trees.

Last year both of us chucked rotting pumpkins over the rail not really caring where they landed. They sprouted amongst the overgrown weeds! I was so excited and laughing because the vine actually grew up a tree instead of spreading out on the ground. I wasn’t sure we’d get any fruit because the “accidental” spaghetti squash only produced an invasive vine. But lo and behold this week the chief found fruit on the pumpkin vine while he was clearing out the brush and weeds! I stopped him just after he pulled out one of the vines. “No! Please save one of them for me! I want pumpkins! I promise to plant them proper next year!”

The Chief is being nice about the condition of the flower beds this time… maybe because T1 and I actually worked on one half of it and made an effort.

P.S. In addition to weeds, the flower bed has grown corn and sunflowers from bird seed. I wouldn’t be so lucky if I tried to plant a garden…

If you want to know more about Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there….

This week’s prompts:

1.) The first day of Fall is September 23rd, take a photo and share what the first day of Fall looks like in your next of the woods.
2.) Share a quote you love.
3.) Write about an embarrassing moment!
4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: late
5.) Pinterest inspired! Try something you saw on Pinterest and share the results.

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Doing Something New!

September 24, 2014

Normally the Chief takes a car to the airport and he picks up a car from the airport to come home. Without giving away too much, he normally sails on the opposite coast. In 1997 I sailed with him for about 7 days when he was assigned to a Gulf Coast ship. In 1998 I drove to the major shipyard in our state to spend a day or two with him while the ship was being overhauled for new owners. But since then I have not been able to visit the ship or sail with him–either not convenient to our schedule, not on the same coast, or an emergency comes up. That happens more often than not with children.

So his ship is now on the same coast and doing what is called “tramping”. In other words, they are picking up cargo runs for anyone and everyone rather than having a dedicated intra-company cargo run. this means he could be anywhere at any time. As luck would have it, he was coming into a nearby port (by nearby I mean within 4 hours of home) right around crew switch out. But this kind of tramping could mean delays and detours with no real way of knowing where and when he would arrive. With the children and their schedules it was looking like if they arrived early I would once again miss the opportunity and he would have to get himself to the airport to pick up a rental car and drive himself home. So I was crossing my fingers for the delay.

I got my wish! I asked my father and my father-in-law to go with me… my FIL is 70+ years old and his health isn’t the best. This could be the last realistic opportunity for him to do something like this. I wanted my father to go because really until you’ve been up close and personal with the guts of a ship you have no idea what mariners do for a living.

I gave daily updates on the Chief’s position. At first my father was a little confused about the schedule, etc., and actually did back out of going at first (“unless you need me to ride shotgun” to which I replied “my FIL is planning on going so it is okay”). Then as the Chief got closer the arrival time was narrowing–it could have been just a drive 3+ hours, meet him at the terminal, and turn around with no time for a tour, etc., but I still wanted to pick him up so I’d make the trip either way, understanding if the fathers wanted to back out. My FIL offered his car. Then I get a text from my father, “We can take your mother’s car… it is only a year old and it has the EZ-pass.” Wait. “We”? Sunday morning I get a text from the Chief saying to get to the terminal sooner rather than later because their departure was bumped up 3 hours. This allowed me to tell him our plans–dropping the girls off at church and trusting someone would take pity on them and bring them back to the house, driving to my home town to pick up the fathers (BTW, my dad is coming and we’re driving my mom’s car), and getting on the road by 10:30 and eating in the car. The Chief appreciated the update because my father had been taken off the security list! ACK!

At first my dad didn’t let me drive but we did switch out when we potty stopped. We hit a 10 mile back up due to a tractor-trailer on its side. Could have been worse because we were expecting to hit several sporting events traffic. So we arrived probably an hour later than expected but still with plenty of time to take a tour after the Chief came and collected us with his official TWIC card.

The 3rd engineer was given the task of giving us the tour while the Chief went and took care of paperwork, waiting for his relief to get there. And he was cutting it close–they were concerned we were going to be put ashore and would have to leave without him and the exchange was going to have to take place downriver and we’d have no idea where. Whew–the guy arrived about an hour before we were warned the gangway was being removed in 20 minutes. “Um, have you told the Chief that because we’re here to pick him up?” IMG_3592

Whoops... had to remove the company logo! But thumbs up on the engine. :)

Whoops… had to remove the company logo! But thumbs up on the engine. :)

My FIL ate up all the technical stuff. For me and my dad, we just smiled and nodded. The 3rd was in his element explaining everything to us, in our hardhats and hearing protection. My dad asked about all the work benches crammed in every available corner and the machine shop. “I see all these work benches. Is there that much to do or is it just for convenience?” “Oh there is that much to do. My job is to take this one apart and then the next and then the next and by the time I’m done with the third it is time to work on the first one again. We’re in a state of constant maintenance and repair.” Now, Dad, you know why the Chief is the way he is and how he ticks. It was good for my dad to see.

It was such a relief to have the Chief with us. I drove home, hitting some traffic and being stunned at the food prices at the highway rest stop. the girls had a great afternoon with friends from church and then waiting patiently for us the rest of the day (both were asleep by the time we got home).

This was such a huge thing for me… I do NOT like to travel to new places without at least 5 different maps and building in at least 2 hours for traffic, etc. We didn’t even have an exact place for the terminal–we were totally winging it! I had no problem driving to the shipyard back in 1998 by myself but the older I get, the less I like to take chances. Either that or I was just young and stupid. But we did it. I did it. I got to pick him up right off the ship and I can’t stop grinning.

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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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